Maryland's only privately owned and operated toll bridge booth gets technology upgrade

Robert Toscano recalled a few years ago when he used an old tuna fish can attached to a broomstick to gather fees from motorists that crossed the Oldtown Toll Bridge. Although the collection method hasn’t changed much — drivers now deposit money into a small pot with a long handle — the toll booth recently got a technology upgrade. “We have a new touchscreen computerized register,” Toscano said. (Times-News)

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Baltimore County authorities seek dismissal of claims against them in class-action sexual assault lawsuit

Attorneys for Baltimore County authorities filed motions Monday to dismiss claims against them in a class-action lawsuit that alleges law enforcement and prosecutors fostered a culture to dismiss and cover up complaints of sexual assault. According to the civil lawsuit originally filed in September and expanded in October, five women with ties to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said they were sexually assaulted by UMBC students in separate incidents and that authorities failed to properly investigate, report or prosecute. (Balt. Sun)

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Salvadoran woman who won civil rights suit in Maryland granted restraining order against ICE

A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order for a Salvadoran woman against U.S. immigration officials after she was unexpectedly detained last week amid mediation for her 2009 civil rights lawsuit in Maryland. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake issued the restraining order Monday, directing the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to remove Roxana Orellana Santos from the United States, according to court records. The order does not guarantee her release, but is a “positive first step” toward her release, Santos’ attorney, Nicholas Katz, said Monday. (Balt. Sun)

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In Virginia and Maryland families forced to fill in for nurses

Laurie Baturin, a substitute teacher in Hagerstown, stays up two nights a week, watching to make sure her son stays stable till morning. Alex, 16, a quadriplegic with severe cerebral palsy, has been receiving home nursing care since he was 3. He has a feeding tube and needs to be catheterized every four hours and constantly monitored for seizures. He is qualified through Medicaid to receive nursing care seven nights a week and on school days. But the service provider that Baturin uses doesn’t have enough nurses to fill all the shifts, so, like many parents, she must fill in the gaps. (News-Post)

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Baltimore County police unveil new uniforms, roll out first wave of $13M fleet of SUVs

The Baltimore County police department is replacing hundreds of its vehicles and is also rolling out new uniforms. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Police Chief Terry Sheridan unveiled the new equipment Friday, saying the changes are meant to keep up with the latest safety features and technology. The department will switch from Ford sedans — similar to the Taurus model — to the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, an SUV modeled after the Explorer. So far, the department has bought 50 of the SUVs for $2.6 million. (Balt. Sun)

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Below the line: More Frederick County residents live in poverty

The federal poverty line is an income of $12,140 a year for a single household and $25,100 for a household of four. In 2012, 6,571 people in Frederick city and 13,091 in Frederick County were below the line. That number rose to 7,713 and 17,336 in 2017. The increase was greater than the overall level of growth in the area, too. In 2012, 5.7 percent of Frederick County residents were living in poverty. Today, 7.2 percent do. (News-Post)

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Momentum building for paid firefighters in Washington County

From May to December, the Washington County Division of Emergency Services scheduled 9,153 hours of coverage by its part-time paid firefighters. That was 2,799 fewer hours than requested by the eight volunteer companies that took advantage of the service. "It’s been a band-aid, but we need to move on with the next step, the next level with phase two," Potomac Valley Fire Chief Roger Otzelberger Jr. said. Phase two calls for the county to provide enough full-time paid firefighters so each volunteer company would have one paid firefighter around the clock. (Herald Mail)

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Maryland attorney general: Hotline for clergy abuse victims

Maryland’s top law enforcement official on Thursday announced a phone hotline for victims to report child sex abuse associated with a place of worship or school across the U.S. state, which is steeped in Catholicism like few others. Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the creation of the hotline in Baltimore, home to the country’s first bishop, first cathedral, first diocese and first archdiocese. Unlike counterparts in other states that have formally announced probes into clergy sex abuse, Frosh’s office has only publicly called for victims of abusers linked to schools or places of worship to come forward. (Star Dem.)

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