Baltimore's bike crusade

Infrastructure improvements have contributed to safer streets for cyclists in Baltimore. Since 2006, 140 miles of cycling lanes on city streets have been installed, a measure that garnered Baltimore recognition from the national League of American Bicyclists as a bicycle-friendly community. And according to some inside the city's Department of Transportation, the increase in overall bike-lane mileage is just the tip of the iceberg. This spring, the city is looking to roll out a number of far-reaching cycling measures. Among them: Charm City Bikeshare, a bike-sharing program with 25 stations and 250 bikes in Southeast, South and Downtown Baltimore to start, and run by the same company that operates Washington, D.C.'s, Capital Bikeshare and New York City's CitiBike. (Balt. Sun)

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Developers plan to create 30 more lots near Havre de Grace

Developers are seeking Harford County approval to create 30 residential lots on 175.22 acres west of Havre de Grace, the second phase of the Susquehanna Meadows housing development. The land, which is zoned for agricultural use, is owned and will be developed by the Estate of Elwood V. Stark, of Bel Air. (Balt. Sun)

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Montgomery County rolls out senior transportation service

The county is providing a new transportation service to get more residents into its regional senior centers. On Friday, County Executive Isiah Leggett and several council members announced the Senior Center Transportation Initiative with a press conference at Wheaton’s Holiday Park Senior Center. On weekdays, seniors can request to be picked up by a bus provided by the Jewish Council on Aging and transported to and from their nearest county senior center. The free service is available for residents age 55 and over who are living up to five miles from a senior center. (Gazette)

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Second phase of Memorial Park improvements to include remembrance plaza and timeline

It was shrouded in snow Wednesday, but by spring, Hagerstown officials expect the second phase plans to improve Memorial Park to begin taking shape. At next week’s regular session of the Hagerstown City Council, Mayor David S. Gysberts and the five-member panel, pending a formal vote, will approve the proposed timeline of historic events in the city’s history to appear as markers along the park walkway, the phase two funding plan and to authorize city staff members to develop a committee to nominate names for the honor walls, according to city documents. (Herald-Mail)

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Jan. 22 // Chief judge testifies for bail reforms

Though the case is back before her court, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera urged the General Assembly on Tuesday to pass the state judiciary’s recommendations for complying with the September decision that detainees have a constitutional right to counsel at initial bail proceedings. “The judiciary will ensure that defendants have a right to counsel,” Barbera told the House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee in support of the recommendations. (Daily Record)

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Shoppers in city may see 10-cent bag fee

Customers at most stores in Baltimore would have to pay 10 cents for almost every bag they accept — whether paper or plastic — under legislation headed to the City Council for a vote next week. The legislation — which would apply to most purchases at grocery stores and major retailers such as Target and Walmart — cleared a key council committee Tuesday. The proposal is the latest in a decade-long effort against disposable bags that advocates say is intended to reduce litter and help the environment. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland Zoo to spend $3.5M to upgrade elephants' home

As the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore completes construction of its new penguin exhibit later this year, the institution will next begin renovating its elephant yard. The zoo at Druid Hill Park is slated to receive $5 million in capital funding from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget for fiscal 2015. If the budget passes, $3.5 million will go toward elephant yard renovations and $1.5 million will fund general zoo maintenance, CEO Don Hutchinson said. There is currently about $13 million to $14 million worth of construction underway at the zoo, Hutchinson said. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Leon Billings: Recalling the long, hard slog to a 'historic piece of legislation'

When the famously volatile Sen. Ed Muskie was "particularly testy," his staffers had a solution: Call Leon Billings. Billings, who worked with Muskie for more than a decade, would find the Maine Democrat in his office, brooding over legislative annoyances or a setback to his 1972 presidential campaign. "I heard later that they called me 'red meat,'" the former Maryland delegate said in a recent interview. He was more than willing to play the part. "My personality was not significantly affected by the fact that he was yelling at me. Sometimes I would just laugh at him, and it would really tick him off." (E&E Daily)

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