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Maryland

Md. presses federal government for more monkeypox vaccine doses

State has 129 confirmed cases

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(Photo by HalfPoint via Bigstock)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health on Tuesday pressed the federal government for more monkeypox vaccine doses to states.

“While vaccine supply from the federal government is severely limited at this time, anyone who believes that they may need testing or treatment should contact their healthcare provider or local health department immediately.” Hogan said in a statement that detailed updated information about monkeypox. “We will keep pressing the federal government to provide more vaccines to the states and do all we can to make resources available to those at risk.”

“We want to emphasize that the goal is limiting the spread of the virus and vaccinating those who may have been exposed in the prior two weeks,” Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services Jinlene Chan added. “Due to the limited supply of the vaccine from the federal government, the state is working closely with local health partners to make doses available in a manner that focuses on locations that have case counts and higher-risk populations. We plan to expand access to the vaccine as more supply becomes available.”

According to the latest release, 3,202 patients will be able to get the two-dose Jynneos vaccine in Maryland, as allocated by the federal government. Vaccination priority will be given to identified close contacts and health workers exposed to infection. People whose sexual partners have been diagnosed over the last two weeks and those who are members of high-risk populations will be able to access the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported there are 129 lab-confirmed monkeypox cases in Maryland, constituting 2.2 percent of cases nationwide. Most of the reported cases have been found in the National Capital Region. 

Individuals who believe they were exposed to monkeypox or have similar symbols should contact their medical provider. People without a provider or insurance should visit health.maryland.gov/CSTIP/local to find contact information for their local health department.

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Maryland

Silver Spring Pride sign rebuilt in memory of beloved neighbor

GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $4,000

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Tony Brown's neighbors help repaint the Pride sign his late partner created in their Silver Spring, Md., neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Molly Chehak)

Residents of Silver Spring’s Rosemary Hills neighborhood have come together to rebuild a Pride sign. 

The sign was constructed in June 2020, and was meant to stay in place throughout Pride Month. Neighborhood residents, however, requested it stay up past its intended month-long display, and has remained in place for more than four years. 

The sign spelling LOVE is at the neighborhood’s entrance between Sundale and Richmond Streets. It was made from plywood and the O was painted in the colors of the Pride flag.

“We wanted to take it down, but we just felt it was not ours anymore and belonged to the neighborhood.” Tony Brown told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview. “It was a positive thing for the neighborhood and began to take on a life of its own.” 

Brown and his partner, Mike Heffner, designed the sign and said the Black Lives Matter movement inspired them to create it as a strong symbol of an accepting community.

The sign was vandalized numerous times last fall, resulting in neighborhood residents taking turns repairing it. Brown and his partner could not do the repairs themselves because Heffner was fighting Stage 4 lung cancer.

Heffner passed away on Oct. 6, 2023.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help raise funds for the replacement Pride sign, and it has raised more than $4,000. The replacement sign is more permanent and made of metal.

“I can’t speak for the neighborhood overall, but people who knew Mike I think are happy that we were able to honor his memory with this sign because this sign is so him,” Molly Chehak, a friend who lives next door to Brown, told the Blade. “He (Heffner) was an outgoing super social (person) who just made you feel good the way this sign does. It’s a perfect tribute to him.” 

Chehak and other neighbors created the GoFundMe account.

Heffner’s family and his neighbors are still working to rebuild the Pride sign. It has become a memorial to Heffner.

“We wanted to do one that was clearly a Pride reference,” said Brown, noting the L is a fully painted Pride flag that spirals across the entire letter. 

“For the O we wanted to do something reminiscent of times in the past, a throwback to the 60’s and 70’s so it’s a hippie montage of flowers and butterflies,” he said. 

Brown described the V as being colorful, nonbinary people hugging each other with the idea that love is more than what one may see. 

“During COVID, he had started painting rocks and putting kind and fun messages on them leaving them around places as sort of a pay it forward Karma and so the E is basically that stylized writing and to embrace a bunch of ways we embrace love,” he said. 

The final letter had the phrase “love is love” written repeatedly in various handwritings to pay homage to Heffner and what he did for his neighborhood during the pandemic. Brown’s four daughters — one of whom is a professional artist — and their friends designed it.

The landscape around the sign has also been transformed with rocks that honors Heffner’s love for Rosemary Hills and his passion for rocks.

Chehak also said Heffner always wanted a bench, and neighbors are looking to install one soon next to the Pride sign.

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Maryland

Trans woman wins Miss Maryland USA, making history with a list of pageant firsts

Bailey Anne Kennedy won crown on June 1

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Bailey Anne Kennedy smiles with tears in her eyes as she holds a bouquet and wears a tiara and Miss Maryland 2024 sash. The previous year's winner adjusts her sash and other beauty pageant contestants smile and applaud behind her. (Photo by Anthony M. Gomes/Miss Maryland USA)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | She’s 31. She’s married to a military officer. She’s Asian American. And she’s a trans woman.

When Bailey Anne Kennedy was crowned on Saturday as Miss Maryland USA, she broke almost every barrier that existed in the state’s pageant history. And she did it with her first pageant.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Maryland

How Hogan, Alsobrooks are courting LGBTQ support in Md. US Senate race

Republican former governor marched in Annapolis Pride Parade

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Larry Hogan, middle, U.S. Senate candidate and former governor of Maryland, hugs supporters as he marches in the Annapolis Pride Parade and Festival on June 1, 2024. (Photo by Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

BY PAMELA WOOD | With a rainbow sticker affixed to his campaign ballcap and another on his black polo shirt, Larry Hogan zig-zagged from one side of the street to the other, shaking hands and posing for selfies at the Annapolis Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon.

The former governor, now a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, was marching in his first-ever Pride Month event. “How you doing? Happy Pride!” he said to obliging parade-watchers. Others quietly dodged Hogan and a few openly booed him.

“Get Republicans out of Pride!” one person shouted.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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