Mayor Pugh, measles outbreak, cannabis science and Netanyahu

Catherine Pugh
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh lights a candle in memory of the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre at the JCC on Nov. 2. (Photo by Steve Ruark)

Calls for Mayor Pugh to resign

In the aftermath of revelations that Mayor Catherine Pugh quietly took six-figure money from institutions with clear conflicts of interest, the council sent her a terse two-sentence letter, declaring, “The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore for you to serve as Mayor. We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately,” writes Michael Olesker. Then, the mayor’s office issued a statement on her behalf, saying she continues to recuperate from her recent bout with pneumonia, and that she “fully intends to resume the duties of her office and continuing her work on behalf of the people and the City of Baltimore.” The mayor knows better. She’s a smart, insightful woman who spent years working hard to take over leadership of this city. That’s what makes her story such a sad one. A lot of people invested a lot of hope in her when she got the job. But she’s become an embarrassment in a city already embarrassed by its homicides, its drug trafficking, its thousands of decayed houses, its impending loss of the Preakness Stakes, and the still-pungent memory of a previous mayor, Sheila Dixon, who had to vacate office because of a criminal scandal.

Read more: If Mayor Pugh Really Cares About Baltimore, She Needs to Resign

Also see: Mayor Catherine Pugh Needs to Answer a Few Grown-Up Questions

Measles vaccine
There have been 285 reported cases of measles in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community since October, 246 of which are children, the Department of Health reported in early April,. (Hannah Smith/KOMU/Flickr)

Lifebridge changes visitation policy

LifeBridge Health has implemented a major change to their hospital visitor policy. On April 10, the health care organization announced that effective immediately, no one under the age of 14 will be allowed visitation at any LifeBridge hospital, according to WMAR. The company cited a confirmed case of measles in the area as the reason for the change. “Measles is highly contagious among people who are not vaccinated, so we made this proactive decision to protect the health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees.” LifeBridge owns four hospitals in Maryland including Northwest, Sinai, Levindale and Carroll.

On April 12, a free MMR vaccination clinic for adults will be held at Shomrei Emunah Synagogue, 6221 Greenspring Ave., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinic will be conducted by Sinai Hospital, in conjunction with the Baltimore City Health Department. The clinic is for adults born between 1957 and 1989 who have had only one MMR vaccine.

In a statement, the Rabbinical Council of Baltimore, also known as the Vaad HaRabbanim, urged members of the Orthodox community to take precautions in the measles outbreak: “Please note that — especially in the light of recent patterns of outbreaks in other Orthodox communities, and because of the extensive travel and close contact between communities – we consider the entire Orthodox community at increased risk.”

In a letter emailed to the membership of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC, wrote: “As many of you are aware, there was a reported case of measles in Pikesville over the weekend. At the JCC, the health and well-being of our membership is a priority.  We want to assure you that we are committed to keeping our facility and members as safe as possible.

“There have been no reported cases of measles at the JCC.  For our licensed programs (Early Childhood Education and Summer Camp), we require that all participants be vaccinated. Additionally, any programs that occur in our preschools during the school day will now require proof of vaccinations (unless documented medical exemptions are provided, as required by law.) In addition, we regularly disinfect our classrooms, common spaces and toys to prevent the spread of germs.

“It is our understanding that while all of us should exercise caution, at this time there is not an epidemic of any kind in our community. … We will be certain to share any updates, as your health and safety are very important to us.”

Read more: Measles scare prompts LifeBridge to ban hospital visitors under the age of 14

Also see: NYC Declares Public Health Emergency Over Measles Outbreak

Devices (Photo by Amanda Krotki, Jmore)

Cannabis Science Conference

The Cannabis Science Conference held its first-ever East Coast event at the Baltimore Convention Center this week. The world’s largest and most technical cannabis science expo brings together industry experts, manufacturers, scientists, medical practitioners, policymakers and others in order to improve cannabis science. This year’s keynote speakers were TV personality and Baltimore native Montel Williams (founder of Lenitiv Scientific, a hemp-derived CBD brand); Ricki Lake (executive producer of the documentary”Weed the People”); and Abby Epstein (director of “Weed the People”).

Read more: Thoughts and Insights from the 2019 Cannabis Science Conference

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at his victory speech in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2019. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Trump: ‘Better chance’ for peace with Netanyahu winning

President Donald Trump congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his re-election as Israeli prime minister and said it paved the way for peace in the Middle East. “I’d like to congratulate Bibi Netanyahu,” was the first thing Trump said April 10 as he approached a gaggle of reporters on the White House lawn. “It looks like that race has been won by him, it may be a little early, but I’m hearing he won it and won it in good fashion.” Netanyahu narrowly defeated Benny Gantz, the leader of the new centrist Blue and White party, in the elections held April 9. Trump made no secret that he favored Netanyahu in the election. Among other boosts, Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House for a ceremony marking U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Another Trump administration action seen as favoring Netanyahu was delaying the release of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, which might include difficult concessions for Israel, until after Israel’s election. Trump appeared ready to push ahead with the peace plan now. “Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and the Palestinians,” the president said. “I think we have a chance. I think we have now a better chance with Bibi having won.”—JTA

Also see: 9 takeaways from Israel’s historic election

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