Meetings scheduled for public input on Annapolis police chief search

The City of Annapolis will host community meetings in the next month to gauge the qualities residents want to see in the next police chief. Mayor Gavin Buckley said the four meetings will offer Annapolis residents a chance to voice what they want to see in the next chief and help prioritize the questions the selection committee will ask during interviews. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley announced Friday the people who will help him select the city’s new police chief. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore launches a push to demolish vacant buildings

The number of vacant houses in Baltimore has remained stubbornly flat for a decade — almost 17,000 abandoned buildings blighting the city’s streets. And for every one knocked down or fixed up, a new one appears somewhere else. But city Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman says his team is finally in a position to drive the number down and has pledged to demolish more than 2,000 vacant buildings by summer 2020. It’s a $50 million project that is projected to bring the city’s total number of abandoned buildings below 15,000 for the first time in a decade and a half. (Wash. Post)

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Pugh denies ethical breach, but returns $100,000 for latest Healthy Holly order

Amid the swirling controversy over her Healthy Holly book deal, Mayor Catherine Pugh was making no public appearances today – canceling her weekly press availability due to what her spokesman described as a “bronchitis-like” illness. But on the phone and in person she defended the $500,000, multi-year sale of her self-published children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical System, purchases made while she was (until Monday) a board member. Pugh told WBAL she has “documents, including tax documents,” to account for the money her business was paid by the medical system for the books. (Brew)

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Hogan, legislative leaders to meet with top U-Md. Medical System officials

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly will meet Wednesday afternoon with University of Maryland Medical System officials to discuss the financial deals awarded to its board members. Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have all sharply criticized the deals, which were first reported by the Baltimore Sunand were in some cases worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Was. Post) 

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Howard councilman criticizes County Executive Ball over refusal to allow auditor to attend bond rating trip

A councilman is criticizing Howard County Executive Calvin Ball for his decision to not invite the county auditor to the annual bond rating trip in New York City. County officials each year travel to New York City for a one-day trip where they meet the three bond rating agencies — Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch — that assess the credit rating. Howard County currently holds a top AAA bond rating from all three agencies. The trip has in the past been attended by the county executive, council chair, Chief Administrative Officer Lonnie Robbins, Director of Finance Janet Irvin and, since 2012, County Auditor Craig Glendenning. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Maryland, which bans fracking, is a global gateway for fracked gas. Here's how.

For the past year, Maryland has been a global gateway for American natural gas extracted from the ground through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — despite the state’s ban on the controversial process within its own borders. Fracked gas from Pennsylvania and other states is being piped to an export terminal at Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland, then shipped around the world. The trade puts Maryland at the vanguard of a growing global trade in liquefied natural gas. (Balt. Sun)

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Three new anti-violence 'Safe Streets' sites opening soon in Baltimore

New locations for the anti-violence Safe Streets group are expected to open this spring. New sites in the Brooklyn, Belair-Edison and Madison-East End neighborhoods were announced by the mayor’s office in December for the group that uses reformed criminals to intervene in disputes before violence breaks out. The Belair-Edison site operated by the Living Classrooms nonprofit will be located at 3412 Belair Road, and is set to open April 3. The Brooklyn site, operated by Catholic Charities, will be located in a storefront at 423 E. Patapsco Ave., and is expected to open in mid-May. (Balt. Sun)

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Fort Ritchie sale price to start at $3.5M

The starting price for the remaining 528 acres at the former Fort Ritchie military base in Cascade is $3.5 million. The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to set that price for the acreage in the county’s northeastern corner to help quicken a sale. The county’s roughly $1.1 million fund for maintaining the property is expected to run out around April 2020. When the land would be put on a commercial real estate listing, such as Co-Star/LoopNet, wasn’t known yet. Business Development Director Susan Small said Wednesday she will meet with the county’s master developer for the property, JG Business Link International, this week to confirm details. (Herald-Mail)

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