Dec. 2 // Details Of Downtown Columbia Arts Park Revealed

Symphony Woods in downtown Columbia is a patch of nondescript land used mainly as a pathway for the tens of thousands of people who attend concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion each year. But a new development plan calls for a dramatic makeover designed to bring more activity to the 36-acre property. Among the architectural features is the Butterfly building, a sweeping structure of mirrors and glass that would include an art gallery and large decks. (Balt. Sun)

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Group Fights To Stop Tree Removal At Mount Vernon Place

With their miniature French poodle, Marcel, in tow, Thomas and Joan Spence start each morning in Mount Vernon Place, walking past the magnolias and cherry trees and Japanese maples, along the sidewalks and around the footprint of the Washington Monument. The couple, transplants from New York who chose to settle in Baltimore for their golden years, say they're lucky to live near the city landmark and eager for its restoration. But they can't abide one aspect of the plan: removing more than 100 mature trees and replacing them with younger transplanted ones as part of a broader $14.5 million privately funded restoration plan. The Spences helped to create the Save the Trees Alliance and circulate a petition to oppose that aspect of the plan by the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, a nonprofit charged with the upkeep of the monument and surrounding cruciform square. (Balt. Sun)

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Mayor-Elect Pantelides Looks Into Annapolis Safety Policies

Mike Pantelides doesn’t want to take any chances. Given the city’s erratic history of weather forecasts, he wants to be prepared if another Snowmageddon should hit the city on Tuesday, the day after he’s inaugurated. The Annapolis native said that when it comes to emergency preparedness, he wants to make sure officials are communicating well with city residents. (Capital)

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Technology Is A New Weapon In Fight Against Oyster Poaching

From the waters of Seattle to the Chesapeake Bay, it’s an age-old problem for law enforcement–poachers. They are damaging efforts to restore the oyster population. Now, Maryland Natural Resources Police patrols are using their newest enforcement tool. Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network, or MLEIN, tracks watermen crossing the boundary of any sanctuary set aside by the state for oyster population replenishment. (WJZ-TV)

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Baltimore’s Washington Monument Glows Red For World AIDS Day

A small service and a moment of silence under a glowing-red Washington Monument commemorated World AIDS Day in Mount Vernon Sunday evening. The Rev. Joseph Muth of St. Matthew Catholic Church on Loch Raven Boulevard told the roughly two dozen gathered in Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church before the monument lighting that the city's goal is to "get to zero." (Balt. Sun)

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It’s A Shell Game, But It Helps The Bay

One Maryland lab is using science to artificially create, feed and grow oyster larvae no bigger than a grain of sand to help restore the Chesapeake Bay. The Horn Point Hatchery, one of the largest oyster hatcheries on the East Coast, has just wrapped up its most successful season yet, producing a record number of oyster larvae that have successfully set into a shell. (Daily Record)

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Ready to aim and fire with classes for Maryland gun licenses

Faith Wachsmuth wanted to know she could protect herself. Christopher Deleon is looking at a career in security. Jan Montgomery needed to know her mother would be safe. The reasons why people buy guns are varied, but in Maryland new owners are all required to be on the same page when it comes to fulfilling purchasing requirements. As of Oct. 1, anyone looking to buy a handgun must obtain a qualifying license, a process that includes four hours of training taught by a certified instructor and time spent firing at a range. (Wash. Times)

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Board of Elections declines to certify comprehensive zoning referendum

A Howard County citizens’ petition to bring certain decisions in the county’s recently passed comprehensive zoning bill to referendum will not move on to the ballot next November, according to county Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley. Mickley said the group of petitioners, Citizens Working to Fix Howard County, had gathered enough valid signatures to meet the necessary minimum of 5,390 names. But the issue was with the way the group described the contents of the petition, which by law had to be short enough to fit on one side of a sheet of paper. (Patuxent)

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