Tons of fossilized oyster shells headed to Md.

The first of several shipments containing more than 100,000 tons of fossilized oyster shells was unveiled Friday as part of a public-private partnership to help rebuild habitat in oyster sanctuaries on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Gov. Martin O’Malley attended an event at the Port of Baltimore to show the first 2,750 tons. The shells have been shipped from a Florida quarry in a partnership with CSX, which will be transporting 112,500 tons of the fossilized shells by train over the next nine months. The shells are headed to reef restoration initiatives in Harris Creek and the Little Choptank River. (AP/Star-Democrat)

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Fatal crash raises questions about safety of Maryland railroad crossings

Months after a CSX train collided with a truck in Rosedale, triggering an explosion felt around the region, a crash that killed two in Baltimore last week again raised questions about the safety of the state's railroad crossings. Nationally, Maryland has one of the lowest rates of fatal crashes between trains and vehicles at grade crossings. But the crossing on Hollins Ferry Road near Paca Street — where a man and a woman were killed when their SUV was struck by a MARC train early Tuesday — is considered the state's second-most dangerous. (Balt. Sun)

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State police don't analyze stop & frisk data, either

With Baltimore police taking (and accepting) flak recently for failing to track and analyze its officers' use of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, another agency has the data and isn't doing much with it, either. State law requires police agencies to forward a copy of every stop-and-frisk report to the Maryland State Police, which receives them at irregular intervals and does not sort them or enter them into a database. The agency keeps the reports for one year before tossing them, said spokeswoman Elena Wendell-Russo. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimoreans pay tribute to Sandy Hook victims

Baltimore-area residents have used a variety of ways to publicly express their condolences to the people of Newtown, Conn., one year after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. People are torn over how to commemorate the anniversary. Some chose to do so through private prayer, but many gathered for modest tributes. One college student put it this way: Although at a distance, we are coming together in solidarity with Newtown. (WBAL-TV)

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MoCo: Reservist’s status has been restored

Montgomery County has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a police officer who claims it mishandled his military leave time, noting that it has taken the actions he requested in the six weeks since the suit was filed. Jae S. Hwang, a Montgomery County Police sergeant, claimed his seniority, pay, benefits and retirement benefits suffered when the county did not place him on active-duty status while he was training as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army Reserve. (Daily Record)

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Dec. 13 // Mac McGarry, ‘It’s Academic’ host, dies at 87

Mac McGarry, the avuncular TV quizmaster of “It’s Academic” who spent a half-century pitching local teenage contestants hundreds of thousands of fastball trivia questions about topics as diverse as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Chubby Checker and the chemical makeup of paint, died Dec. 12 at his home in Potomac. He was 87. (Wash. Post)

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Christian farm in Baltimore County helps hungry receive fresh food

As Baltimore County couple Rick and Carol Bernstein realized just how scarce produce is on the tables of the poor, they founded First Fruits Farm, a Christian ministry run entirely by volunteers. Since the farm was founded in 2004, organizations feeding the poor have placed a greater emphasis on providing nutrient-rich fresh fruits and vegetables. The Maryland Food Bank — which supplies 600 partner organizations with food to feed the hungry — now works with dozens of farms to deliver fruits and vegetables, and hopes to increase the volume of produce it distributes over the next five years. (Balt. Sun)

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Bipartisan bills would limit police use of tech 

Two senators — a Democrat and a Republican — will team up in the General Assembly on a legislative package to limit law enforcement’s ability to use cellphone, airborne-drone and license-plate tracking of criminal suspects. High-tech surveillance raises a bevy of constitutional and civil liberty concerns, particularly the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches as well as fundamental privacy rights, said Sens. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin and Christopher B. Shank. (Daily Record)

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