Kamenetz declares state of emergency; shelters open

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz on Monday morning officially declared a state of emergency in the county as Hurricane Sandy appproaches, and Baltimore County Public Schools announced that all schools and school offices would be closed for a second day Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Kamenetz said the declaration provides the executive expanded powers to respond to the emergency and request resources from state and federal officials.

Kamenetz said he was in regular contact with Gov. Martin O'Malley and emergency responders, and said in a press release that, "We will continue to coordinate our response to this storm with officials throughout the region, and I encourage our citizens to take this event very seriously."

Kamenetz also announced that Baltimore County is opening a shelter at Eastern Technical High School, 1100 Mace Ave., Essex, beginning at 1 p.m. Thi shelter at Eastern Technical will be "pet friendly" — pets will be housed in a separate ventilated portion of the building, but owners will be able to visit their pets.

The state is also operating two shelters on the west side of the county. Those shelters are now open and located at:

• Retriever Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Road, Catonsville.

• The Jewish Community Center, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills.

Those two shelters do not accept pets.

Other closures and changes

Kamenetz also announced that Baltimore County Health Centers and WIC clinics closed at noon on Monday.

In addition, the county Animal Control operation is open for emergencies only; and the county's Medical Assistance Transportation Program is only transporting clients for most essential medical needs. Routine appointments will be rescheduled.

All Baltimore County Senior Centers are closed until further notice; and CountyRide is also suspended until further notice.

Kamenetz also announced that trash and recycling pick-ups are suspended effective 2 p.m. today through Tuesday. County drop-off facilities will also be closed at 2 p.m. through Tuesday.

The county will reevaluate trash collection schedules on Tuesday afternoon.

Also, the county is canceling all administrative hearings, including Code Enforcement, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 30.  All hearings will be rescheduled.

Report outages to BGE

Meanwhile, Baltimore Gas and Electric is reminding residents that to report power outages and downed wires through 1-877-778-2222.

Customers are urged stay away from downed power lines and never to assume they are de-energized, even if the power to the area appears to be out.

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