The Montgomery County Board of Education in Maryland voted 7 to 1 to scrub Christmas and other religious holidays from its published school calendar without disturbing the days off.
Montgomery School Board member Rebecca Smondrowski was flooded with angry messages after Tuesday’s decision. She had supported a proposal to strip Jewish and Muslim holy days from the calendar and offered an amendment to remove Christmas and Easter, too.
A day later, Rebecca Smondrowski stood by her decision and stressed that students would still have the holidays off; only the calendar presentation would change. The idea, she said, was to reflect that schools were not being closed for religious observances but because of high absenteeism among students and staff members on those days.
School Board Vice President Patricia O’Neill said she’s confident that the board made a good decision.
“It seems we’ve made multiple religious groups mad, but I believe we did the right thing,” she said.
The Montgomery County Board of Education in Maryland voted 7 to 1 to scrub Christmas and other religious holidays from its published school calendar
“And we’re in good company. Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun – all are silent in calling out Christmas; they call it winter break.”
Montgomery’s School Board vote to eliminate calendar references to religious holidays followed an earlier request by Muslim community leaders to give equal prominence on the calendar to the Islamic holy day of Eid al-Adha.
Muslim leaders had for years requested that Montgomery’s schools be closed for at least one of the two major Muslim holy days. They had not succeeded, but in the 2015-2016 academic year, Eid al-Adha falls on the same day as Yom Kippur, which is a day off in Montgomery. So Muslim leaders asked for equal billing on the calendar.
Montgomery County officials note that state law requires school closings for days surrounding Christmas and Easter.
The decision to close schools for Jewish holidays goes back to the 1970s, officials say, although there has been some dispute about how high absenteeism would be on those days.
One man died and 20 people were hospitalized due to apparent drug overdoses during a pop and dance music festival in Maryland, authorities said on Saturday.
Tyler Fox Viscardi, 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina, died after being taken to the hospital at 9 PM local time Friday after he attended an all-day Mad Decent Block Party festival in Columbia, about 20 miles southwest of Baltimore, the Howard County Police Department said in a statement.
The Mad Decent Block Party travels throughout the US
Authorities said Tyler Fox Viscardi died of an apparent drug overdose, and investigators are working to determine what type of drugs were in his system.
A 17-year-old Virginia man, who attended the same event, was in critical condition suffering from what appears to be a drug overdose, according to the department.
Another 19 concert-goers were taken to the hospital during the event, also suffering from what authorities believe are drug overdoses.
The Mad Decent Block Party travels throughout the US. Investigators said similar circumstances have unfolded at other Mad Decent Block Party events.
“We were shocked and saddened. … Our hearts go out to everyone impacted,” organizers said in a statement on the event’s website.
Police said they issued 50 under-age drinking citations and made three arrests during the event.
One person died in California and other seven – including three newborns – have become ill in Maryland in a Listeria outbreak linked to Hispanic-style cheese.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that the outbreak is linked to semi-soft, Hispanic-style cheese called Caujada en Terron that is sold from a chain of grocery stores in Maryland.
The cheese was made by Roos Foods of Kenton, Delaware. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning Wednesday to avoid products made by Roos Foods, which also sells cheese under the brand names Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, and La Purisima Crema Nica.
The CDC did not name the grocery chain linked to the outbreak.
The CDC said that Listeria outbreak is linked to semi-soft Caujada en Terron cheese that is sold from a chain of grocery stores in Maryland
The illnesses were diagnosed between August 1 and November 27 of last year. Seven of the eight were hospitalized. Five of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium listeria monocytogenes. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches and diarrhea. Seniors, pregnant women and newborns are particularly vulnerable to the illness.
In 2011, 33 people died in the US after consuming cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria.
Hurricane Irene killed last night at least ten people, including two children, as the storm hit North Carolina and Virginia. More than 2 million people from South Carolina to Maryland were without power as the giant 580-mile-wide storm brought widespread flooding and high winds that knocked down power lines.
Meanwhile Irene’s power was downgraded to category 1, but as it approached New York, forecasts warned it would hit the city at or near hurricane strength.
According to the National Weather Service, conditions were ripe for tornadoes in the city, Long Island and southern Connecticut, as twisters were reported touching down in Delaware and Maryland.
In Maryland, officials warned of a potential dam failure late on Saturday, they warned “may cause significant flooding that could threaten people, homes and roads downstream from the St. Mary’s Lake Dam”.
Hurricane Irene path along East Coast
St Mary’s County Government urged residents in the immediate downstream area to move family and pets upstairs or to a high place with a means of escape.
Deaths due to hurricane Irene included two children, an 11-year-old boy in Virginia, killed when a tree crashed through his roof and another child from North Carolina, who died in a crash at an intersection where traffic lights were out.
Another man in Onslow County, North Carolina, suffered a heart attack and died while boarding up his windows, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Hurricane Irene killed last night at least ten people, including two children, as the storm hit North Carolina and Virginia, and more than 2 million people from South Carolina to Maryland were without power
A man in Nash County was killed outside his house after he was struck by a tree limb picked up by the strong winds.
An identified man, who went to feed his animals outside his Nashville, North Carolina home, was killed by a tree or branch which fell on him.
In Florida, a surfer was killed when he was knocked off his board at New Smyrna Beach, where surfers had flocked to take advantage of 10-foot waves.
Other two people died in car accidents in North Carolina on Saturday night as a result of the hurricane.
Another man died in Chesterfield County, Virginia, after a tree fell on his home.
In Queenstown, Maryland, a woman died after a tree knocked a chimney through the roof of her home, crushing her.
Sandbags laid down in Manhattan which will be used to control possible floods
Tornadoes were reported touching down in Delaware and Maryland.
In Lewes, Delaware, Governor Jack Markell said at least 17 homes had been damaged by a twister. In total, up to 40 houses were damaged in the town because of the storm.
The National Weather Service reported a tornado touching down in Nassau Station, Delaware, and Maryland State Police said there was an apparent tornado on the lower Eastern Shore of the state.
Andrew Cuomo, the New York Governor raised the number of National Guard soldiers deployed to New York City to 1,900.
The soldiers, who have been mobilized from across the state, will assist with traffic control on bridges and tunnels, sandbagging operations at the World Trade Center site, evacuation shelter operations in New York, the construction of barriers for railway yards and train tunnels, and other hurricane emergency efforts.
Hurricane Irene came ashore near North Carolina’s Cape Lookout around 7:30am EDT, and then chugged up the coast on a north-northeast track.
Irene stirred up 7 feet waves, and forecasts warned of storm-surge danger on the coasts of Virginia and Delaware, along the Jersey Shore and in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic beach of North Carolina and one man was killed outside his home this morning.
The man was hit by a tree limb that blew down while he was walking around his house this morning in a rural area of Nash County, where winds were roaring at more than 60 mph, county Emergency Management Director Brian Brantley told the Associated Press.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic Beach, Cape Fear and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Category 1 winds and rain and made landfall in Nags Head, North Carolina.
Hurricane Irene hit Atlantic Beach, Cape Fear and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Category 1 winds and rain and made landfall in Nags Head
The center of hurricane hit the coast of North Carolina near Cape Lookout with Category 1-force winds of 85 mph.
Hurricane warnings for the next 48 hours have been issued for North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, coastal Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Until now, eastern North Carolina has already seen three tornadoes in the past few days, and the majority of the state and areas of Maryland and Virginia are under tornado watches through Sunday.
Stacy town, on the coast of North Carolina, is seeing 93 mph wind gusts this morning.
The far end of the fishing pier in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina collapsed overnight.
The 100-foot long pier is still standing, but its end has disappeared into the ocean.
About 200,000 homes in North Carolina are experiencing power outages, according to Power Energy.
Winds up to 85 mph have ripped power lines from their poles, causing many of the shortages.
“Our crews are restoring service as quickly as possible, where it is safe to do so,” Power Energy tweeted.
The hardest hit areas were Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]At least 7 states – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut – declared emergencies as Hurricane Irene massively advances toward US Eastern Seaboard.
North Carolina is likely to take the first blow, according to officials.
Hurricane Irene advances toward the Eastern Seaboard with 115-mph winds and officials issued a hurricane warning for the entire North Carolina coast to the Virginia border.
New York officials ordered low-lying hospitals and nursing homes to evacuate.
If Hurricane Irene follows its current projected path, it will make landfall along North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Saturday.
Hurricane Irene passed Bahamas (AP photo).
“The Category 3 storm withdrew from the Bahamas late Thursday, traveling north at 14 mph,” the National Hurricane Center said.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Although North Carolina will take the first hit, “the rest of the Eastern Seaboard is well within the path of this storm,” National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said.
Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor said: “This could be a 100-year event.”
New York City officials said they might have to suspend all mass transit beginning Saturday. In addition to ordering nursing homes and hospitals in low-lying coastal areas to evacuate ahead of possible flooding, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg advised residents to stay out of parks.
“Because of the high winds that will accompany the storm, we are also urging all New Yorkers, for their own safety, to stay out of parks, where the high winds will increase the danger of downed trees and limbs,” Bloomberg said.
“And incidentally, it’s a good idea to stay out of your own backyard if you have trees there.”
Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial postponed it indefinitely because of the Hurricane Irene.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]More than 50 million people live in the projected path of the storm.
Irene has an outside chance of growing into a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds topping 130 mph. But current forecasts predict it will diminish to Category 2 after pummeling North Carolina, with sustained winds up to 110 mph as it plows into Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue declared an emergency in all counties east of Interstate 95, about a quarter of the state, and officials set up emergency shelters inland. President Obama declared North Carolina an emergency too, expediting federal help.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency established a depot for food, water, generators, baby formula and other emergency supplies at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as well as at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts.
Up to 200,000 tourists and residents are affected by evacuation orders in North Carolina alone, with states to the north rushing to prepare their own evacuation plans. Forecasters said Irene was so big and powerful that severe road flooding and widespread electrical outages were likely, especially in the Northeast, where the ground is saturated from recent rains.
“This is a very dangerous storm,” said Dorothy Toolan of the Dare County Emergency Management office in Manteo, North Carolina, across the Roanoke Sound from Nags Head.
“People really need to take this seriously.”
Hurricane Irene would be the first hurricane to hit the US mainland since Ike devastated the Texas coast in 2008.