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Baltimore County News

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
  1. Baltimore County Restaurant Week Kicks-Off

    Sixty-two participating restaurants will offer specials from January 18 through February 2, ranging from $15 to $35.

    At the new Michael’s Café in Middle River, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that the 17th Baltimore County Restaurant Week will begin on Friday, January 18. At the kick-off, Olszewski was joined by promotion partners Brent Howard, from the Baltimore County Chamber and Todd Collins of RestaurantReputations. Sixty-two Baltimore County restaurants have joined the winter promotion.

    The participating restaurants from across the County will feature special menus at discounted, fixed prices, offering one to three course brunch, lunch and dinner specials ranging from $15 to $35. 

    “Foodies and patrons alike look forward to Restaurant Week—it’s a great time for them to experience places they’ve been meaning to try—or return to an old favorite—at a big savings,” stated Olszewski. “We hope people across Baltimore County will experience the diverse cuisines our communities have to offer and support our local restaurant industry.”

    “Baltimore County’s restaurants provide not only enjoyment for its patrons, but employment to 27,556 workers in its 1,613 establishments,” said Howard. “The restaurant industry is big business in Baltimore County, bringing in $1.6 billion in sales yearly.”

    View a list of all participating restaurants and their menus, and place your reservations.

    Other partners for the promotion include the Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion, Lanterna Wine Distributors, Bond Distributing Company, Downtown Diane, The Restaurant Association of Maryland and CITYpeek.

    Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:55:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-restaurant-week-kicks-off-2
  2. Baltimore County Offices Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    Trash and Recycling Collection Normal, Drop-off Facilities Open

    Baltimore County government offices, and the District and Circuit Courts, will be closed on Monday, January 21 in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Health department clinics, libraries and senior centers will be closed, and CountyRide vans will not operate.  Parking meters must be fed and Baltimore County Revenue Authority parking garages will be open as usual.

    Trash and recyclables will be collected according to the normal schedule.  The County’s trash and recycling drop-off facilities will be open. Residents can log onto www.baltimorecountymd.gov/solidwaste for more information about recycling and trash collection, including schedules and drop-off center locations and hours.  Residents may also call the Bureau of Solid Waste Management at 410-887-2000.

    Collection schedules are also available on the County’s new BaltCoGo app, available on mobile phones. The app is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users and may be downloaded from their respective app stores. 

    Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:52:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-offices-closed-for-martin-luther-king-jr-day-3
  3. Furloughed Federal Employee Resources

    Support and Relief Programs Available During Shutdown

    Baltimore County is home to more than 15,000 federal employees. While the majority of those individuals work at the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where the shutdown has a minimal effect, we know there are County residents who are struggling with a loss of income as a result of the federal shutdown. There are also many contractual workers in the County who are affected.

    The following resources may be available to federal workers who have been affected by the ongoing federal government shutdown.

    Social Services

    Social Services has programs and services designed to help residents in financial need who meet income-eligibility requirements. Apply for benefits at a District Office. Be advised there is required paperwork for application processing.

    • Child Support Program provides help in accessing financial support from a child's parent.
    • Emergency Assistance is available to families with a child who are facing a financial emergency. Examples include eviction and utility turn-off.
    • Food Supplement Program (formerly Food Stamps) provides monthly benefits to families and individuals who need assistance in buying food.
    • Housing Office Assistance helps eligible low-income families and elderly and disabled persons pay their rent.
    • Maryland Energy Assistance Program (Home Energy Programs) provides assistance with home heating bills.
    • Medical Assistance provides medical coverage to eligible individuals and families.
    • Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) provides cash assistance to families with children under 18 years of age when other resources and services do not fully meet the family's needs.
    • Temporary Disability Assistance Program provides temporary cash assistance to disabled adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years who have no children under the age of 18 in the home.

    Other resources may be available via the County’s Community Resource Directory or by calling 211.

    Water Bills

    Waive Late Fees

    Baltimore City will waive late fees on water bills for furloughed federal employees and contractors who are customers of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) water system. Eligible County customers should send the following information to customer support:

    • A copy of their work ID or furlough letter
    • Your name, address and account number
    • Indicate if you would like to set up a payment plan as well as a late fee waiver

    By Mail

    DPW Customer Support and Services Division
    200 Holliday Street, First Floor, Room 8
    Baltimore, Maryland 21202

    By Email

    Email DPW.Billing@baltimorecity.gov.

    Repayment Plans

    Any customer who falls behind in their bills may request a repayment plan to help them become current. Customers with a household income within 175 percent of federal poverty level may qualify for a one-time credit of $236 toward a payment plan. Call 410-396-5398 to discuss your account. 

    BGE

    With many Marylanders impacted by the ongoing federal government shutdown, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is taking steps to expand awareness of existing assistance programs to help customers through temporary or extended financial hardships. The following options are available to customers experiencing challenges paying their BGE bill:

    • Payment arrangements and installment plans—BGE will offer multiple flexible payment arrangements to accommodate customers who are currently not receiving pay due to the government shutdown.
    • Due date extensions—Customers who currently have their bills due can have their due dates extended to accommodate their current situation
    • Budget billing—BGE will also work with customers affected by the government shutdown to make their budget billing retroactive considering their current arrangement 
    • Deferred service terminations—BGE will work with customers who are in threat of termination with alternative payment solutions

    Customers who may be challenged to pay their BGE bill should contact BGE as soon as possible by calling 800-685-0123. Customers can also review the Community Resource Guide, which provides information about various energy assistance programs.

    Permit Fees

    For the duration of the shutdown, the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections will defer all fees associated with “personal” permits (electrical, building, plumbing or rental registration) for those affected by the government shutdown. Fees will be due after the government shutdown ends.

    Eligible residents who wish to request a deferral should send mail or deliver a copy of their work ID or furlough letter to Julie Sanders.

    By Mail or In-Person

    Julie Sanders
    Permits Approvals and Inspections
    County Office Building
    111 West Chesapeake Avenue
    Towson, Maryland 21204

    By Email

    Email jsanders@baltimorecountymd.gov.

    Older Adults

    Information and Referral

    Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County serves as the entry point for obtaining information, referrals and options counseling for seniors, adults with disabilities, their families, caregivers and professionals. Federal employees who are experiencing difficulties because of the government shutdown may call to find out what services they or their older family member may be eligible for, including emergency assistance. 

    Baltimore County MAP
    Phone: 410-887-2594
    Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Nutritious Meals

    Baltimore County residents aged 60 and over, and their spouses of any age, are eligible to participate in the Eating Together program at over 35 senior centers, community buildings and senior residences. Participants are asked to make a voluntary, anonymous donation. Younger persons may also participate but are required to pay the full cost of the meal. Reservations are required in advance.

    Staying Connected

    Federal employees of any age who are looking for a way to fill time during the shutdown and be around others are welcome to stop in and take part in activities at any of the 20 senior centers throughout the County. Senior centers are an active place to stay engaged—opportunities include lifelong learning, arts, recreation, socialization and skill development. Visit the senior center closest to you and start "Living Longer, Living Well!“ 

    Volunteer

    Some federal employees who are experiencing the government shutdown may want to spend their time helping others. Make a difference in your community by sharing your time, talents and experience. Explore the range of volunteer opportunities available for all ages throughout the Baltimore community, or search by your skills and interests.

    For those who are over the age of 55, we encourage you to get involved with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), an initiative under the federally-funded Senior Corps program. Through the development of partnerships with nonprofit organizations, public agencies and proprietary health care organizations, RSVP connects senior volunteers with a variety of causes and community needs. 

    Other Resources

    Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:34:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/furloughed-federal-employee-resources
  4. Let’s keep our homes safe from electrical fires

    By Lee Jolley, Chief Electrical Inspector
    Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections

    Though there are many new devices designed to make our home safer, we still see a lot of electrical house fires. In fact, faulty electrical distribution or lighting equipment is the third leading cause of home fires in the U.S., behind cooking and heating equipment.  

    We all have electricity in our homes, and most of us aren’t licensed electricians. So we may not understand how electrical fires can start.

    Most electrical fires are caused by:

    • Loose connections
    • Buildup and ignition of flammable dryer lint
    • Improper use of extension cords
    • Old appliances not approved by Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL)
    • Worn out or broken switches and receptacles
    Electrical fire in a wall outlet.

    The U.S. Fire Administration puts the number of residential electrical fires at about 26,000 each year. Electrical issues are a factor in about one in ten home fires and 18 percent of fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

    A little knowledge and some diligence on your part can prevent most electrical fires in your home.

    Never use extension cords as a permanent wiring method. The wires in a cord are significantly smaller than the wiring in your walls and, over time, will heat up and catch fire. Consider the use of UL-rated cords and the addition of surge- protected power strips.

    Empty the dryer lint tray after each load. Lint is extremely flammable and can ignite from heat from the dryer.

    Old appliances, switches and receptacles should be replaced periodically. They wear out, and the connections inside separate slightly. When this happens, the electricity has to jump through the air to make the connection, heating the air around the connection and starting a fire.

    How often to change devices depends on how often the device is used.

    Usually, light switches should be changed at least every 10 years. They crack internally and dry out. You can't see the problem, so it's impossible to know that it needs to be changed. Use your best judgment with switches; older switches were more solid and were actually capable of withstanding much more use than modern switches.

    The safety of receptacles is a little bit easier to judge. When the plugs no longer fit firmly in the socket, it's time to replace the receptacle. When you replace receptacles, you must bring them up to current (2017) National Electrical Code. Most receptacles in dwellings are required to be tamper resistant and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter-protected (AFCI). When appliance cords become worn or when an appliance begins behaving badly, it's time to replace or repair it.

    If you have aluminum wiring in your home, always have a licensed electrician make any repairs. Improper connections or connection to devices that are not designed for aluminum wiring can start a fire.

    If you see your lights continually dim and grow bright, there could be a loose connection. Contact your utility company.

    If you hear a sizzling noise coming from a switch or appliance, find the circuit breaker for that circuit and turn it off. Contact a licensed electrician to check the circuit.

    If you smell ozone or an unusual electrical smell, something electrical may be heating up. Find the source and turn it off. Call a licensed electrician.

    If you observe smoke or sparking, call 911. Trained firefighters will respond.

    It is always a good practice to make sure circuits in the breaker box are properly identified. This will help you find the source of a circuit quickly if you have an emergency.

    Always check to make sure any appliance you purchase is approved by UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or another recognized testing laboratory.

    Never use unlicensed electrical contractors. Baltimore County licenses more than 4,900 electrical contractors who are qualified to serve you.

    And of course, install properly working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The Baltimore County Fire Department offers a Smoke & CO Alarm Education Program that provides personalized guidance on preventing home fire and carbon monoxide incidents. You can request a visit from firefighters through the County web site: https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/fire/safety%20education/smokealarmprogram.html

    If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 410-887-3960 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:30:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/let-s-keep-our-homes-safe-from-electrical-fires
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