Baltimore County News
Baltimore County is Working to Minimize Impact
As our neighbors in Baltimore City work to address the ransomware attack on the City’s computer systems, we wanted to share some information about implications for Baltimore County.
Please note that Baltimore County has not experienced a ransomware attack on our systems. However, there are a few ways in which County residents may be impacted by the City’s attack. County officials are working to minimize those impacts.
Baltimore County will not hold up any deed transfers for water bills. The Baltimore County’s Lien Certificate only lists the phone number for the City’s Water Department—the County’s normal process does not verify whether the water account is up to date. That function is completed by the Title Company.
The water bill issue will only affect the transfer of a property if at the settlement table the buyer does not want to proceed without information about the final water bill. This would be between the buyer and seller. The title company would have the ability to establish an escrow amount for the water charge until the actual amount can be determined.
While the City’s ability to deliver water to residents and businesses is not affected by the attack, the water billing system is down. The City’s Department of Public Works has created an email address, DPW.Billing.Baltimorecity@gmail.com, as a temporary point of contact for customers to send them communication.
The County Department of Public Works Metro District Billing Office uses City water information and systems to assist with customer service inquiries. Until City computer systems are fully restored, the process of responding to billing inquiries may be slowed.
Security of the County’s Systems
Baltimore County Government is committed to protecting citizen data and maintaining availability of citizen services. While no security controls can guarantee complete protection, Baltimore County has invested in technologies over many years to strengthen the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our systems to weather unforeseen events. We have implemented a more rigorous vulnerability assessment program to help us identify vulnerabilities and paired it with a more robust patch management program allowing a faster response once vulnerabilities are identified. We have tools in place to identify threats at the perimeter of our network, which we will continue to monitor and expand.
In addition, we have implemented tools to identify and remove threats from phishing emails prior to them entering our environment. Every County employee receives regular training on how to identify malware and other basic cybersecurity methods. As we became aware of new threats like those in our neighboring jurisdictions being targeted, we began to add warning notices to every email message received from outside of our network so employees could better identify phishing messages and potential malware.Fri, 17 May 2019 19:15:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/how-does-the-baltimore-city-ransomware-attack-affect-county-residents
Expert working group will lead public engagement effort to gather input and develop recommendations
County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced plans to accelerate the County’s response to the opioid crisis by engaging members of the public and convening an expert working group.
Beginning today, members of the public are encouraged to provide input through an online survey (available in both English and Spanish). In addition, residents will have an opportunity to attend public meetings on Tuesday, June 18, and Wednesday, July 10, where Baltimore County officials and members of the working group will share information about the opioid crisis and hear from County residents, including family members and individuals with lived experience with addiction, about their thoughts and ideas for steps the county can take to save lives.
“We have a moral imperative to do everything within our power to respond to this devastating epidemic,” Olszewski said. “Our goal is a fresh look and a strategic approach to addressing this crisis in Baltimore County.”
Baltimore County has the second highest number of overdose deaths in the state – in 2018, 348 people died from opioid-related overdoses, up from 323 in 2017. Olszewski’s transition team made a number of recommendations related to tackling the opioid epidemic, including the appointment of an Opioid Strategy Coordinator to spearhead efforts to address the crisis across the government. The County Executive’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020 includes funding for this position.
“My staff and I look forward to collaborating with the opioid working group in communicating response and recovery efforts to combat this deadly epidemic,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services.
The expert working group will examine evidence and best practices, gather input from stakeholders and the public, and draft a report with recommendations for how the County should move forward. The members of the working group are:
- Dr. John Chessare, President and CEO, Greater Baltimore Medical Center
- Dr. Michelle Gourdine, Interim Chief Medical Officer, and Senior Vice President, Population Health & Primary Care, University of Maryland Medical System
- Dr. Sunil Khushalani, Medical Director, Adult Services, Sheppard Pratt Health System
- Dawn O’Neill, Vice President of Population Health, Saint Agnes Hospital
- Michelle Spencer, Associate Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Dr. Christopher Welsh, Medical Director, Outpatient Addiction Treatment Services, University of Maryland School of Medicine
The working group will receive assistance from staff at the Baltimore County Department of Health and faculty and students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with support from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.
For more information, including additional details about the public meetings once they are available, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/agencies/executive/opioid-working-group.html.
Watch the press conference here: Press ConferenceThu, 16 May 2019 15:04:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/olszewski-announces-plans-to-accelerate-county-s-response-to-the-opioid-epidemic
Seven “Pit Stop” Events Promote Healthy, Eco-friendly Commuting
Bike commuting is a fun way to reduce carbon emissions and improve your health as you travel to and from work. Baltimore County Government and Commuter Connections, in partnership with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, is sponsoring a “Bike to Work Day” pit stop event on Friday, May 17 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the Washington Avenue side of the Historic Courthouse in downtown Towson. People who live and/or work in Baltimore County are invited to participate.
The event is free and pre-registration is encouraged. Bike riders who register by May 15 at BiketoWorkMd.com will receive a complimentary t-shirt and the chance to win other prizes. Event refreshments will be provided by the Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union.
There are seven “Bike to Work” pit stops around the County, offering refreshments, giveaways and networking opportunities to bike-riding commuters. Locations include:
- Towson—Historic Courthouse, 400 Washington Avenue
- Catonsville—Catonsville Fire Station 756 Frederick Road
- CCBC Catonsville—800 South Rolling Road
- CCBC Essex—7201 Rossville Boulevard
- CCBC Dundalk—7200 Sollers Point Road
- Timonium—REI, 63 West Aylesbury Road
- Woodlawn—CMS Headquarters, 7500 Security Boulevard
“Bike to Work Day” is celebrated each May around the country during National Bike Month to promote bicycle commuting as a healthy option, and enhance awareness of its safety and environmental benefits. The event helps to increase public awareness of the rules of the road for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, while highlighting the need to improve bike lanes and safety measures. Events throughout the Baltimore region feature group convoy rides, bicycle tune-ups, riding challenges and more.
“Our participation in ‘Bike to Work Day’ is a great way to introduce people to the idea of riding their bikes to work,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “In addition it highlights the many benefits of bike riding, like exercise, and it also calls attention to opportunities to enhance biking safety and create an environment conducive for walking and bicycling.”
The Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) oversees a comprehensive program for improving the County’s roadways for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Information on the County’s pedestrian and bicycle planning and implementation programs can be found on the County website.
Biking Makes for a Happier Commute
“As a long time commuter I realized after I retired, how much I missed my bike/train commute. It was often the high point of my day and I really liked my job,” said Charlie Murphy, a board member of Catonsville Rails to Trails, who is coordinating the Catonsville “Bike to Work Day” pit stop.
People who commute by bike report being three times happier than those who drive themselves to work, according to a recent study by Portland State University’s Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.Mon, 13 May 2019 13:36:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-celebrates-bike-to-work-day
"Today, we remember the life and dedicated service of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Mr. Kamenetz devoted nearly half of his life to public service—serving 16 years as a County Councilman and almost eight years as County Executive. His mark can be seen throughout the County—as you drive by a newly constructed school, shop at a store in a new mixed-use development, or watch as the Sparrows Point peninsula continues to flourish. He was passionate about Baltimore County. He spoke out against hate and bigotry and he was a staunch advocate for the County’s most vulnerable. On the anniversary of his passing, we remember his steadfast commitment to our County and we continue to keep his family in our thoughts."
"County Executive Kevin Kamenetz dedicated his life to public service. One year ago today he passed away. On behalf of Baltimore County, we extend our continued thoughts and prayers to the Kamenetz family."
–County Executive Johnny Olszewki, Jr.Fri, 10 May 2019 14:15:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/remembering-county-executive-kevin-kamenetz