Unemployment Insurance and Broadband Access in Maryland could be strengthened thanks to assistance from the American Rescue Plan, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan (R) made the announcement during a press conference on March 31 to detail where $3.9 billion in federal stimulus would be apportioned as a supplement to the current budget bill.
Of the $3.9 billion in federal funding, $1.1 billion has been set aside to provide additional funds for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
The increased support would stabilize unemployment insurance rates and keep the fund solvent for the next two years, according to Hogan.
Another $800 million would be added to Maryland’s emergency economic relief programs that have provided grants for small businesses and other economic relief programs for Marylanders.
Maryland schools would receive $600 million to assist in the return to in-person instruction as well as offset pandemic-related expenses, such as improving HVAC systems.
Some $300 million will be spent to strengthen the state’s broadband internet infrastructure in an effort to close the digital divide exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore city) called the investment in Maryland’s broadband infrastructure “historic” in his comments Wednesday.
Ferguson went on to say that the state was using support from the Biden administration to “close problems today that will set us up for a stronger post-pandemic future.”
Another half a billion dollars was set aside for infrastructure improvements through the Department of Transportation.
House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) said that investment in “shovel-ready” projects would help put Marylanders back to work quickly.
The House speaker also announced that funding had been made available to fund park and playground projects in all of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.
Other initiatives included $100 million in extra funding for both state employees, and training and apprenticeship programs across the state.
Another $300 million was apportioned for cash assistance programs, temporary disability insurance, and utility assistance for low-income families.
Col. Tyler Schaff, 316th Wing and Joint Base Andrews commander, welcomed 24 new community leaders into the honorary commander civic leaders program during the first ever virtual induction ceremony here, March 25.
“The program cultivates partnerships with civilians in the community and empowers them to learn more about our mission here,” said Schaff. “By enhancing these relationships we hope to strengthen our relationships with our local neighbors.”
The 24 new inductees will join 12 returning honorary commanders to round out this year’s honorary commander/civic leaders program. Additionally, seven honorary commanders were inducted into the Andrews Ambassador emeritus program.
“The Andrews Ambassador program honors the honorary commanders with longevity in the program who have consistently demonstrated their commitment and support to JBA,” said Schaff. “The Andrews Ambassadors serve as mentors to incoming honorary commanders, instilling in them the significance of community partnership and how it positively impacts Airmen and their mission accomplishment.”
Honorary commanders can serve up to two years and are invited to participate in various events throughout the year, he explained.
This year’s guest speakers included Mr. Michael Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway, who shared his experience as a Dover Air Force Base honorary commander and his selection to participate in the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leaders Program.
Senior Ambassador Mr. M.H. (Jim) Estepp, president and CEO of the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable, welcomed the new Andrews ambassadors and shared his insight on the Andrews Ambassadors program. He stressed the importance of maintaining and enhancing relations between JBA and the local communities.
Prior to the virtual ceremony, being mindful of the importance of tradition while keeping health and safety paramount, commanders scheduled smaller in-person inductions. The online event served as a celebration and recognition of members retiring and returning, and introduced the newest members into the group.
2021 Joint Base Andrews Honorary Commanders inductees are:
Mr. David Harrington, President and CEO of Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce
Mrs. Ginger Miller, President and CEO, Women Veterans Interactive
Dr. John Barnhardt, President and CEO, Bishop McNamara High School
Mrs. Barbara Holt Streeter, Partnerships Officer, Office of Community Partnerships, Prince George’s County Schools
Mr. Martin Harris, Deputy Director, Dept. of Public Works and Transportation, Prince George’s County
Ms. Tiffany Green, Prince George’s County Fire Chief
Mrs. Lisa Smith, Executive Director, Bowie Business Innovation Center
Dr. Joseph Wright, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, University of Maryland School of Medicine/Capital Region Health
Dr. Brandon Bruns, Associate Professor of Surgery Trauma Medical Director, Medical Director of Perioperative Services, University of Maryland School of Medicine UM Capital Region Health
Mr. Nathaniel Richardson, Jr., President and CEO, University of Maryland Capital Region Health
Mr. Keith McMichael, General Manager at Alban Tire, Springfield
Mrs. Samantha Cotton, Science & Technology Program Coordinator, Charles H. Flowers High School
Dr. Tameka Woodruff, Science and Technology Program Coordinator, Oxon Hill High School
Mrs. Larysa Kautz, President & CEO Melwood and Marco Alvarez, Senior Vice President of Bank Operations for Andrews Federal Credit Union
Dr. Falecia D. Williams, President of Prince George’s Community College
Mr. Anthony Savia, Vice President, Administration and Finance, Bowie State University
Ethel Shepard-Powell, Executive Director, Community Support Systems, Incorporated
Mr. Maz Movahed, Owner, Halo Fitness Experience
Ms. Theresa Cullen, Executive Director, Alice Ferguson Foundation
Mr. Kevin Rochlitz, Senior Vice President, Baltimore Ravens Under Armour Performance Center
Dr. Felicia Martin-Latief, STEM Instructional Supervisor for Prince George’s County Public Schools
Ms. Sonya Gaston, Principal, Francis T. Evans Elementary School
Mr. Joe Schultz, Manager Lead/Senior Sales Associate, Pacers Running
Mr. Marco Alvarez Senior Vice President of Bank Operations for Andrews Federal Credit Union
Honorary Commanders transitioning to Andrews Ambassadors are:
Senior Ambassador Mr. M.H. (Jim) Estepp, President and CEO of the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable
Mrs. Christine Wray, President, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
Mr. David Dotterer, Director Operations, Mission BBQ
Mrs. Helga Weschke, Director, Federal Business Relations, Office of Military & Federal Affairs
Mr. Ryan Patrylo, Owner, Chick-Fil-A
Mr. John K. Jenkins Sr., Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Glenarden
Bishop John A. Cherry II, Pastor, From the Heart Church Ministries
The Joint Base Andrews Honorary Commanders Program encourages an exchange of ideas and experiences, increases public awareness and understanding of the military as well as encourages friendships between key leaders of the base’s surrounding communities, JBA commanders and Airmen.
“We do incredible things here at Joint Base Andrews and can’t wait to show you the community how we support the Department of Defense, Air Force and National Capital Region,” Schaff said. “And we look forward to working with and building lasting relationships with all of our honorary commanders.”
Maryland State Police are continuing the investigation into a traffic crash that occurred on Saturday morning in Prince George’s County that killed one person and injured another, a press release states.
The deceased victim is identified as Diamond T. Hayes, 23, of Mitchellville. She was the driver and sole occupant of a 2020 Nissan Versa. Hayes was transported from the scene by Prince George’s County ambulance personnel to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, where she later died.
The injured victim is identified as James A. Christian, 75, of Upper Marlboro. He was the driver and sole occupant of a 2019 Ford Explorer. He was transported by ambulance to the same hospital for treatment of his injuries.
A third person, identified as Charles M. Schmitt, 55, of Edgewater, was driving a 2011 Ford truck, was also involved. He reported no injuries and drove his vehicle from the scene.
According to a MSP press release, shortly after 7:35 a.m., troopers from the Forestville Barrack responded to the report of a traffic crash on the westbound side of Central Avenue at Watkins Park Drive. When troopers arrived, they found the three vehicles described above had been involved in the crash.
The preliminary investigation indicates the vehicles driven by Christian and Schmitt were stopped for a red traffic signal at the intersection of westbound Central Avenue and Watkins Park Drive. According to investigators, Hayes was traveling in the same direction, approaching the stopped vehicles, when the light changed and she made an abrupt lane change, striking the rear of the Ford Explorer. Hayes then apparently lost control of her vehicle and struck the Ford truck.
The Maryland State Police Crash Team responded and is conducting a detailed crash investigation. It is unknown at this time what the cause and contributing factors involved in the crash were. The investigation is continuing.
Two killed in crash on 301
MSP is investigating a fatal two-vehicle collision that occurred on April 4 at approximately 10:24 pm in Prince George’s County. Troopers from the MSP Forestville Barrack responded to a collision involving a 2014 Honda CR-V and a 2006 Toyota Scion.
According to a preliminary investigation, the Honda was traveling south bound on Route 301 in the area of Harbor Way, when it collided with the Scion. The driver of the Honda, identified as Elizabeth Davis, 70, of Washington, D.C., was transported to Prince George’s Hospital where she was later pronounced deceased. The driver of the Scion, John Starr, 68, of Annapolis, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Route 301 south bound was closed for approximately two hours as a result of the crash, and remained partially closed for an additional hour.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Troopers struck in separate incidents
Two Maryland state troopers were struck in separate incidents while both were sitting stationary along Maryland highways this weekend.
The first incident occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. on April 3rd, when a trooper in a marked patrol vehicle was parked on a closed ramp along southbound Rt. 295 near Annapolis Junction. The driver of a Toyota Rav4 drove through traffic cones and highway signs before striking the trooper, who was seated in the patrol car. The force of the crash pushed the patrol car out into the travel lanes of southbound Rt. 295. The trooper was transported by ambulance to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The driver of the Toyota was transported to Harbor Hospital for treatment. Charges are pending.
The second incident occurred about 7:15 p.m. on April 4th, when a trooper from the Forestville Barrack was sitting in a patrol car with its emergency lights on, at the scene of a disabled vehicle on the right shoulder of southbound I-495 at Rt. 202. The trooper was struck in the rear by a passenger vehicle. The trooper was transported to an area hospital where he was treated and released.
Drivers are reminded of Maryland’s move over law, which requires drivers approaching certain vehicles on the shoulder of the road from the rear to move to an adjacent lane if safe to do so, or if not, to slow to a reasonable and safe speed as they pass the scene. The law requires this action to be taken by all vehicles approaching an emergency vehicle using visual signals, as well as tow trucks, fire trucks, medical and rescue units, transportation, service and utility vehicles, as well as waste and recycling trucks with yellow or amber flashing lights or signal devices.