As the weather becomes nicer as we ride out of the winter season, it is nice to be aware of what outdoor activities are available to you. Loch Raven Reservoir is located about 25 minutes northeast of Baltimore City, and is a great way to get outdoors in a traffic free atmosphere. with great views of the water. Try to park at Providence Road and Loch Raven Drive, but if you get there too late in the morning (as we often do!) as there are very few parking spots, you will have better luck parking at the additional spaces at Morgan Mill and Loch Raven Drive.
The actual closed off area of road measures about 3.7 miles, and it takes about 35 minutes to walk one length at a regular pace with a few stops for pictures and to appreciate the views. We went around 2 pm in the afternoon and it was not crowded at all, but enough to feel like you were not alone in your enjoyment of the outdoors.
The road is closed to traffic on Saturday and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm, and it is a great place to walk, ride your bike, bring the kids to ride their bikes, jog, or bird watch. There are also trails off the road that you can explore, as well as a small beach area where you can say hello to the geese and get a close up view of the water. You may also see a few couples setting up a hammock to relax, and a young family nearby setting up a picnic.
Be aware that there are no facilities to go to the bathroom in the area, but it is a nice space to spend your time for a few hours.
Either way, a visit to Loch Raven Reservoir on the weekend between 10 am and 5 pm is worth a little trip to get a nice view of the water, the geese, the ducks, and the woods. You can also explore the side trails that are readily available. If you have suggestions on how to enjoy this stretch of Loch Raven on the weekends, please share below!
Baltimore has one of the most overloaded 911 systems in the United States with staffing problems in the police patrol division. The Baltimore Police Department recently created a new telephone reporting system but it is now issuing some clarification on procedures for calling 911.
The new reporting system is designed to reduce the demand on police officers to show up in person for calls. Baltimore residents have long had a habit of calling 911 for nearly everything, from dogs on the loose and minor fender benders to major accidents and crimes. The Baltimore Police Department is trying to break this habit by encouraging residents to only report some crimes and emergencies to 911 and divert other reports to a different phone system or online.
Every year, the Baltimore police receive over 1 million calls for service. The city has the highest rate of 911 calls in the country and most are not emergencies. The department uses 311 and 911 operators to divert non-emergency calls to its telephone reporting system that may resolve calls for service over the phone.
The Baltimore Police Department says its goal is reducing the workload on officers so they can focus more on emergencies to get to these priority calls faster.
As always, very serious calls for service are dispatched for immediate police response, including calls regarding domestic violence, crimes in progress, suspects on the scene, crimes that just occurred, and immediate threats or danger.
The Baltimore police encourage residents to use online reporting for less serious calls such as illegal dumping, lost property, theft, auto larceny, and property destruction.
A recent report found that the Baltimore Police Department is severely shortchanging patrol units while keeping other department areas fully staffed. While the positions are there, the department doesn’t place the same value on the officers that residents say they want to see the most: patrol officers. There are 1,102 patrol officer positions in Baltimore but just 809 are filled. This has created a vacancy rate of 26.6%. Of the 1,240 non-patrol positions, 1,217 are filled.
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle recently made the decision to reassign 115 police officers to patrol and shut down the burglary unit.
The report also concluded that community policing may require less focus on specialized units, such as the disbanded Gun Trace Track Force, which the Baltimore Police Department has relied upon for decades.
One possible solution to Baltimore’s 911 overload may be a system that has been introduced in Washington, DC: the use of triage nurses. In DC, triage nurses now sit with 911 dispatchers to assist with call fielding. Most 911 calls in Baltimore are not emergencies and include calls regarding injuries like fractures and rashes. The triage program is designed to reduce the number of non-emergency 911 calls by diverting non-urgent calls to medical care that does not require an emergency room or ambulance.
When the triage nurse determines the caller is not facing an emergency, they assist the caller with creating an appointment with a primary care provider who can see the caller the same day. The triage nurses in DC are even able to coordinate free Lyft rides for Medicaid patients.
With warm weather and record rainfall over the last two months, mold has become a problem in dozens of schools in Maryland. The problem has been severe enough to force students to relocate.
The excessive rain over the summer combined with an end-of-summer heat wave has created the perfect growing conditions for mold, which thrives in damp, warm areas. The Baltimore area has had a record year for precipitation with 51 inches of rainfall already, about 9 inches higher than the average annual amount.
At Callaway Elementary School in Northwest Baltimore, students had to be relocated from numerous contaminated classrooms on the first and second floor. Dehumidifiers and insulating pipes are being installed to stop condensation that has been isolated as a major contributor to the mold problem.
Other Anne Arundel County Public Schools buildings has had similar mold problems with mold on carpeting, furniture, and other surfaces.
Mold spores were also found at the University of Maryland, College Park. Students in Elkton Hall were forced to move into nearby hotels when mold was found throughout the dorm and other residence halls. The University paid for students to stay in hotels after several students reported the mold made them sick.
University staff first reported the mold in a September 19 email to students saying they had received reports of mold on bedroom surfaces and furniture. A week later, an update was sent out informing Elkton Hall residents they would be relocated to facilitate aggressive mold remediation.
More than 500 students, mostly freshman, were living in Elkton. While they are staying temporarily in hotels, mold remediation contractors are cleaning every room in the 8-story dorm. Some students are expected to remain in area hotels until the beginning of October.
The mold only adds to the other housing issues at the compound campus. Nearly 2,000 students are living without air conditioning and beds must be added to some rooms while lounges need to be converted to dorm rooms to accommodate an extra 350 students this year with a larger-than-expected number enrolling.
While most mold infestations are not dangerous, mold exposure can cause a wide range of allergic symptoms such as eye irritation, congestion, rash, cough, sore throat, sneezing, and aggravation of existing asthma. In some people, mold exposure can cause more serious problems like infections, persistent cough, and bronchitis.
This isn’t the first time mold has been a problem in Maryland schools. Two years ago, parent complaints prompted an audit that found 12 Howard County schools had higher-than-expected mold levels. Other states have also reported an increase in mold issues. In Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, other schools have been forced to relocate students for mold remediation.
In the last two weeks, mold has forced the closure of a Yonkers school in New York after mold was found in ceiling tiles due to a leaking roof. Two schools in West Virginia had to close schools after tests found high levels of mold. A middle school on a military base in North Carolina was also affected. Parents expressed outrage after students were returned to class despite mold and water damage from Hurricane Florence that made some students sick. When parents visited the school, they reported bugs, buckled floors, and mold on vents and ceiling tiles.