Hogan orders Maryland flag at half-staff for deputy chief fire marshal fatally struck by car

Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered the Maryland State Flag lowered to half-staff this week to honor Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Sander B. Cohen, who was fatally struck by a car on the shoulder of Interstate 270 in Montgomery County late Friday. Cohen, 33, had pulled over to help Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, 36, of the Central Investigative Division at FBI headquarters, who had crashed on the highway, when both men were hit and killed by a third vehicle, authorities said. (Balt. Sun)

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2 Maryland parades ranked best in the country

It's a holiday tradition in Baltimore, and now it's getting some national attention. The Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade in Hampden was ranked the third best holiday parade in the U.S. The list is put together by USA Today and voted on by readers. The Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade includes floats, marching bands, Santa, and more than 100 Harley Davidsons. Also making the top five, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade in Annapolis. (WMAR)

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Columbia nursing home makes elder Koreans feel at home

A woman sat in a wheelchair intently reading a story in a Korean-language newspaper about an earthquake that had ravaged a part of her native land. Other gray-haired residents at the Lorien Columbia skilled nursing center clapped their hands as they sang a traditional Korean song about feeling sentimental for one’s home town. Some watched a Korean-language news channel on a flat-screen television. The elderly men and women live on a wing of the nursing facility that caters to Koreans — a unique but growing concept that helped Lorien Health Services tap into an underserved population. In Howard County, 16.2 percent of the population is Asian, including 4.2 percent who are Korean, according to 2015 Census estimates. (Wash. Post)

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New app will track Ocean City bus locations

Ocean City is ringing in the New Year with a new bus locator app. To be debuted on New Year's Eve, users will be given real-time locations of buses with the TransLoc Rider app. “We are continuously exploring ways to improve public transportation in Ocean City, making it an easier and more enjoyable experience for our residents and visitors,” said Rick Meehan, Ocean City mayor, in a release. “We know that time is valuable and the TransLoc Rider app gives patrons the ability to know exactly what time the bus will reach them. It’s easy to use and answers the primary question our riders have: where’s the bus?” (Daily Times)

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Charm City Bluegrass Festival expands to two days in April with Devil Makes Three, the Travelin' McCourys

The Charm City Bluegrass Festival will expand to a two-day event at Druid Hill Park this spring, organizers announced Monday. Entering its sixth year, the festival will take place April 27-28 with performances by the Devil Makes Three, the Travelin’ McCourys, the Steeldrivers and more. The event will feature 21 bands, local food vendors, Union Craft Brewery beer, artists, kids games and more. (Balt. Sun)

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December 11 // As Baltimore awaits FBI response to take over Det. Sean Suiter investigation, analysts say it’s a tough call

A week after Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis asked the FBI to take over the investigation into the shooting death of Det. Sean Suiter, he still had no answer. Police confirmed Friday that Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray had yet to respond to Davis’ letter requesting the takeover, which was dated Dec. 1. T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, said police “know the FBI is extraordinarily busy,” and Baltimore detectives “are continuing to investigate” Suiter’s death on their own as they await a response. (Balt. Sun)

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Shifting risk: County proposes new, optional retirement plan where employees drive investment

County Executive Steve Schuh has proposed new legislation creating an alternative retirement plan that would vest faster than the current plan but shift investment risk from the county to the employee. The plan is called an Employee Retirement Savings Plan and was introduced in November. Compared to the current plan — the Employee Retirement Plan — it vests at twice the speed but comes with a lower county contribution. It’s a defined contribution plan, meaning the employee contributes 4 percent salary and the county contributes 8 percent. But instead of the county investing the money, the employee can choose how to invest. The new plan would impact general employees, not public safety officers. (Capital)

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During lesson on handling police encounters, Baltimore youths suggest it's cops who need the training

Supervisory Special Agent William Borden III wasn’t long into his presentation on how kids can better interact with police officers when one of the Baltimore youth leaders before him raised her hand with a question. “Since this kind of stems from police misconduct, are police officers being told how to interact with us?” asked Monae Epps, a 16-year-old junior at Baltimore City College. Borden, a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, or NOBLE, said police officers are taught how to interact with the public during their police academy training, but Epps wasn’t satisfied. “What I’m saying is, as police misconduct has become more prevalent, have they been re-educated?” she asked. (Balt. Sun)

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