Hagerstown still trying to make budget add up

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey and the Hagerstown City Council continued work Tuesday on the fiscal 2017-2018 budget, looking at a possibly lower tax-rate hike than had been considered previously. The proposed budget contained a 5.5-cent tax-rate increase, but city Finance Director Michelle Hepburn said another option is to reduce the increase by 2.7 cents. That would represent $672,041 in less funding, she said. (Herald-Mail)

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Seeding project near Key Bridge looks to give oysters 'a second chance' in the Patapsco

A heaping shoal of oysters might have peeked above the water two centuries ago near what is now the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Such a shoal could explain why the U.S. Army built the hexagonal Fort Carroll in that same area in the late-1840s to defend the busy harbor. But the shellfish have not thrived in the Patapsco River since. It's difficult for them to reproduce there — the process requires saltier water and the population hasn't been able to withstand decades of industrial and urban pollution. Now, Chesapeake Bay advocates are testing a strategy to give oysters a second chance in the Patapsco. (Balt. Sun)

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Purple Line art submissions unveiled

Construction has not started on the Purple Line, but behind the scenes artists have been working for months on their proposals to beautify the light-rail system’s planned stations in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. On Monday, the Maryland Transit Administration and Purple Line Transit Partners unveiled dozens of art submissions created for the $6 million art-in-transit program. (Bethesda)

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Maryland public library now loaning out fishing rods to patrons

A library south of Baltimore is angling to get a fresh catch of patrons this spring. The Anne Arundel County Public Library announced earlier this month that its Mountain Road branch was beginning to lend out fishing poles for two weeks at a time, partnering up with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for the effort. (Wash. Times)

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April 25 // Md. Medical Cannabis Commission launches patient open enrollment

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission launched open enrollment Monday for the MMCC’s Patient Registry. Prior to Monday’s open enrollment launch, patients and caregivers could register based on the first letter of their last name in a phased rollout over the past two weeks. Approximately 4,000 patients and 100 caregivers have applied to register. (Daily Record)

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Authorities brace for more overdoses after Maryland deaths linked to elephant sedative

Health and law enforcement officials around the state are bracing for an uptick in drug overdoses as a deadly synthetic opioid only meant for use in large animals so has hit Maryland streets. The drug, carfentanil, already has been linked to two overdose deaths in Anne Arundel County and one in Frederick County. The drug is potent it was never meant for use in humans and is normally used as a tranquilizer for elephants, hippos and other large animals. It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 5,000 times more potent than heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Balt. Sun)

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Light rail's promise remains unfulfilled - except on game days

Initially estimated at $290 million, project costs ballooned amid overruns and adjustments to appease neighborhoods and businesses. To cut opening costs to nearly $370 million, the decision was made to only use a single track on 9.4 miles of the line's northern stretch. The federal government paid $120 million for extensions south to BWI Airport, north to Hunt Valley and into Penn Station in 1997. A discussed extension to Annapolis never materialized. Eventual double-tracking and other upgrades brought the total price tag to about $680 million, the MTA told The Baltimore Sun in 2006. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore City Council considers naming Oct. 4 for Henrietta Lacks

City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed wants every Oct. 4 in Baltimore to be known as "Henrietta Lacks Day," to observe the late woman's contribution to medical research through her cells. Sneed, of East Baltimore, filed legislation Monday to establish the commemorative day. Lacks, a mother of five from Turners Station, died more than 65 years ago of cervical cancer at age 31. Before her death, doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine took her cells without her consent during a diagnostic procedure. Her cells, known as HeLa cells, have helped in the development of vaccines, cancer treatments and other medical advances. (Balt. Sun)

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