Maryland tops states in decline of prison population, report shows

Maryland has surged to the front of a national trend of states reducing their prison populations, according to a new report by a nonprofit group that tracks criminal justice issues. The Vera Institute of Justice said Friday that Maryland led the nation with a 9.6 percent drop in prison inmates in 2017. That is more than 2 percentage points greater than the decline registered in the second-ranking states, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The decline means 1,916 fewer people are serving sentences in state-run correctional facilities — leaving a prison population of 18,078 at the end of last year. (Balt. Sun)

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St. Mary’s Co. community rallying behind plans for oyster restoration

Nearly 60 years ago, the oysters in Maryland’s Breton Bay were so plentiful that you had to be careful where you set foot on the bottom. Chuck Bright, who spent his summers there in those days, learned that the hard way. “I jumped off the pier and sliced my foot on an oyster shell,” said Bright, 68, a dentist who now lives year-round in the waterfront home his father built there in the 1950s. As in so many other places around the Chesapeake Bay, oysters are now scarce in Breton Bay, a short, relatively wide tributary of the Potomac River that zigzags south like a question mark from Leonardtown, MD. (Md. Reporter-Bay Journal)

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Silver Spring residents take to the streets to demand safer roads

It’s a universal complaint in residential areas — people hate how fast and how frequently cars speed by their homes. But one neighborhood in Montgomery County has found what even their local county councilman calls an “unusually effective” way to bring about change. On an average day, about 4,000 cars use a one-mile stretch of Dale Drive between Route 29 and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. But if there’s anything tying up traffic even more so than usual on either one of those roads, that number goes way up. (WTOP)

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Annapolis, Anne Arundel County legislators propose plastic foam ban

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County could become a no-foam zone. Annapolis Alderman Rob Savidge and county Councilman Chris Trumbauer, both Democrats, took aim at plastic foam food service items this month in legislation seeking to ban their use in local restaurants and businesses. Their efforts come after Maryland legislators failed to pass a similar ban statewide, but the idea has seen far more success in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. The councilmen are hoping to see fewer littered foam cups and containers in the waterways, where they can breakdown and harm aquatic life. (Capital)

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Baltimore city solicitor first pitched ethics exemption to allow mayor's staff and agency heads to raise money

The Baltimore city solicitor initially proposed an ethics rules exemption for staffers in the mayor's office and agency heads so that they all could raise private money to fund city programs, a request that has been scaled back since to only apply to the mayor herself. City Solicitor Andre Davis described the plan to the ethics board in an April 10 letter that the board provided to The Baltimore Sun. “Those soliciting donations (the Mayor and her designees) will be employees of the Mayor’s Office or cabinet level City officials and solicitations will be done by letter and in person or by telephone/email contact,” Davis wrote to the board’s chairwoman. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore's interim police chief speaks as he steps up to take over a department in crisis

Tony Barksdale, the last man to serve as an interim commissioner amid a national search, said the role brings its own challenges. He said commanders under Tuggle will jockey for position while speculating about whether he will last. “When you’ve got this type of turmoil at the top, the structure, the unity of command, it gets loose,” Barksdale said. To be successful, he said, Tuggle will have to be tough, professionally and personally. “It’s a whole lot. I hope he paces himself, that he takes care of himself, and spends appropriate time with his family, because that job will kill you,” Barksdale said. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Makes List Of Fittest Cities In The US

Baltimore has made the list of the fittest cities in America, based on a new study from the American College of Sports Medicine. Charm City came in at No. 78 out of 100, and health advocates say this is an encouraging and positive trend. While Baltimore didn’t win the title for the fittest city in America, it is being recognized for promoting healthy behavior. “You will see in neighborhoods and communities, parks, urban gardens, more dog parks and a lot of that is being driven by the citizenry,” LifeBridge Medical Director Miriam Alexander said. (WJZ-CBS)

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Cosmetic facial salons, medical marijuana and more on Anne Arundel County Council agenda

The Anne Arundel County Council’s agenda Monday is lengthy with several hearings on zoning legislation that could change how incoming school populations are counted, where “cosmetic facial hair salons” may be built and reducing how often the county grants variances to medical marijuana projects. The council meets at 7 p.m. every other Monday where it holds hearings and votes on legislation. New legislation is introduced and will received a hearing about four weeks from its introduction. Public hearings are then held on bills available for a vote. If a bill is amended, then that bill is heard again at the next council meeting. (Capital)

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