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News Wrap: Schools Seek Snow Day Waivers; Mayor Holds Call to Action

Maryland School Systems Seek Snow Day Waivers

Eleven school systems in Maryland are asking for waivers for snow days used this winter, and state education officials say others will likely make similar requests in the coming weeks. Yesterday, the state school board voted to give local systems up to a three-day waiver from the 180-day school year requirement. Under the plan, Maryland State School Superintendent Dr. Lillian Lowery will consider the waiver requests on a case-by-case basis. 

Six Sickened By Carbon Monoxide 

A faulty furnace is blamed for making six people sick in a home in Northeast Baltimore. City fire officials say carbon monoxide levels were high in the home in the 1200 block of East 36th St., near the site of the former Memorial Stadium. The victims, five adults and a seven-month-old girl, were hospitalized in critical condition. 

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, and carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during colder months. Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms including headaches, dizziness, burning eyes, and drowsiness. Fire officials warn residents to have furnaces, hot water heaters and other fuel-burning appliances regularly inspected by an authorized utility company, and recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Call To Action Draws Community Leaders, Mentors To Stop Black Youth Violence 

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake convened the first in a series of forums designed to help reduce violence among Black youth. The call-to-action drew a crowd of about 1,000 people. During her State of the City Address, the mayor called on Black men to do more to stop violence in the city. More forums are planned to recruit mentors and find solutions to end the violence. 

Victim Of Caton Avenue Shooting Dies In Hospital 

Baltimore City Police are investigating a murder in West Baltimore. Officers were called to the 3300 block of West Caton Ave. just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, and found a man who had been shot multiple times. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. Police have not released any information on a suspect or a motive.

State's Inter-Agency Heroin Council To Meet Today 

Maryland's new Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council is scheduled to hold its first meeting today. Governor Larry Hogan established the council and a separate task force to address the state's growing heroin and opioid crisis. The council includes representatives from state agencies including the health department, state police, corrections, education department and medical services.   

Maryland Lawmakers Continue Fracking Ban

The Maryland General Assembly is saying no to fracking in the state for at least the next three years. Both the House and Senate yesterday easily approved bills calling for a moratorium on the natural gas extraction process at least until a scientific review can be completed. Both measures passed by veto-proof margins. 

Bill Allows New Birth Certificates For Transgender People 

The Maryland House and Senate have approved a measure that would allow transgender people to change the gender and name on their birth certificates. According to the Baltimore Sun, the bill would require the state to issue new birth certificates if a medical practitioner certifies that it's warranted. The bill must still undergo procedural votes before being to the governor.  

Residents Gearing Up For Maryland Day 

Marylanders across the state are celebrating Maryland Day today. The observance commemorates March 25, 1634, when a pair of English ships with the state's first settlers sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and landed at St. Clement's Island. The Four Rivers Heritage Area in Anne Arundel County and the St. Clement's Island Museum in St. Mary's County will be holding Maryland Day celebrations.