W. Md. local officials concerned about secession movement

Two county commissioners in far Western Maryland are concerned about the impact and publicity that talk of secession is gaining, leading to hostile reactions in other parts of the state. They say public officials aren’t behind the talk, oppose the idea and haven’t been asked about the question by some of those who have written about the topic in newspapers and other media. (Cumberland Times-News)

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Maryland food stamp fraud alleged against Baltimore stores

A federal grand jury indicted 10 Baltimore business owners or operators on charges of stealing nearly $7 million from food assistance programs by agreeing to debit cash for beneficiaries without selling food — then keeping a cut of the proceeds. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore police commissioner wants higher pay for officers

Baltimore's Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said if the city wants a lower crime rate give city officers a pay raise. Batts blames a revolving door of police officers who get training and experience in the city, and then move on to other departments for higher pay. (WBAL-TV)

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Anne Arundel Fire Department sees drop in minority, women recruits

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department has seen significant drops in both minority and female recruits in recent years. The department has seen a large drop in African-American recruits — from 21.4 percent of the Fire Academy’s 2007 class to 1.3 percent of the class that began Aug. 1, according to data obtained from the county’s Office of Personnel by The Capital through a Public Information Act request. (Capital)

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Hagerstown eyes incentive program to reduce number of vacant homes

In an effort to reduce the number of vacant city homes, the Hagerstown City Council informally agreed Tuesday on a plan for dividing $300,000 earmarked for residential grants as part of Invest Hagerstown, a $1.5 million program aimed at sparking private-sector investment citywide. (Herald-Mail)

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Second corrections officer pleads guilty in jail smuggling case

Corrections officer Katera Stevenson, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a racketeering charge, admitting her part in a Black Guerrilla Family gang network that smuggled drugs and other contraband into the Baltimore jail. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. shutters MyCashNow, sister firms 

State regulators have issued a permanent cease-and-desist order against five online payday-lending and collection companies and their owner, saying the unlicensed companies were charging and collecting annual interest rates of 200 percent to more than 550 percent. (Daily Record)

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15 Md. heat-related deaths tallied this summer, lowest since 2009

Heat-related illnesses were a factor in 15 deaths this summer, the lowest number since 2009, according to state health officials. The tally is less than a third of heat-related deaths last summer. (Balt. Sun)

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