Maryland bans ginseng picking on public lands

Hoping to save what's left of Maryland's dwindling wild ginseng population, the state has banned collection of the sought-after herb on all state-owned lands. Worried that remaining patches of the slow-growing plant are being stripped from Western Maryland forests by pickers hoping to cash in on its reputed health benefits, the Department of Natural Resources announced this week that harvest would no longer be permitted in state forests or in wildlife management areas. Picking ginseng already was prohibited in state parks. (Balt. Sun)

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Companies propose first solar energy farm to be built in Carroll

Preliminary steps have been taken to pursue building the first solar energy farm in Carroll, which would be privately owned and located on 66 acres south of Taneytown. Two Maryland-based companies, BithEnergy and Total Construction Services, proposed the project together. Officials from both said it has the potential to possibly benefit Carroll residents and would be a good fit for the land, which is just outside Taneytown’s city limits. (Carroll Co. Times)

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Rodney Henry, Baltimore's pie man, places second on 'Food Network Star'

In the end, pie style wasn't enough to make Rodney Henry the next 'Food Network Star.' Henry, the owner of Baltimore's Dangerously Delicious Pies, placed second in the Food Network reality show’s popular vote. Damaris Phillips, a Southern cook who promised to help guys win over their dates with Southern favorites, won the chance to have her own Food Network show. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Prison nurse sues over firing 

A Bowie woman claims she was fired by a health-services contractor for refusing to keep quiet after she witnessed guards beating inmates at Patuxent Institution, the state’s correctional mental health facility in Jessup. (Daily Record)

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Batts: Officers found sleeping 'will be held accountable'

Reacting to recent television news segments showing multiple Baltimore police officers asleep on the job, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts sent his officers a stern warning. The commissioner's email to all sworn officers comes after WBFF-TV Fox 45 began recently putting pictures on its newscasts and website of pictures sent in from viewers of uniformed officers in squad cars allegedly snoozing behind the wheel. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County settles pension cases

Three part-time Anne Arundel County state’s attorneys won’t have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension benefits. Greg Jimeno, an attorney representing two of the employees, said the county reached a settlement with the employees based on legislation passed earlier this summer by the County Council. (Capital)

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Group targets Baltimore's vacant houses with art, activism

The two-story abstract mural — featuring a pharaoh's headpiece, a cotton field and fire spewing out of rowhouse windows — showed up suddenly this summer on a vacant house in North Baltimore. The artwork at 4727 Old York Road came with a political twist: A sign next to it prominently listed the name of a trust that owns the house and those of government officials who represent the area. The mural and sign are the work of a local group of artists who call themselves "Wall Hunters" and a housing activist seeking to publicly shame absentee landlords and elected officials into addressing the issue of vacant homes. (Balt.. Sun)

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Baltimore Co. chief recognized by law enforcement association

Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson was recognized this month by a national law enforcement association for advocating for stricter gun control laws. Johnson received the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives' Outstanding Service Award for serving as the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. (Balt. Sun)

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