Report: Maryland better prepared than average for public health emergency

If Maryland were to be hit by a public health emergency — such as a natural disaster or an outbreak of a serious disease — officials here are better prepared than in many other states, according to a new survey. On a 10-point scale, Maryland rates 7.5 for its efforts to prepare for and respond to such emergencies, according to the 2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index. (Balt. Sun)

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Report: 169 guns vanished last year from Maryland shops

Roy Lipscomb always had bars over the windows at R&R Guns and Ammo, the store he co-owns in Brunswick. But after 12 firearms were stolen from the shop in February, he added a new layer of security — two more locks on the front door, plus a heavy metal plate to prevent burglars from prying open the deadbolt. According to data recently released by the Baltimore Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) there were 41 reports of burglaries, larcenies, robberies or losses from federally licensed firearm dealers in Maryland in 2016. The number of reports was low compared with those of other states — including Florida, where there were 216 reports — but still covered a total of 169 guns that disappeared last year from retailers around the state. (News-Post)

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Neighbors appeal huge Wicomico chicken farm's permit

Two Wicomico County residents are challenging the building permit issued last year for what would be, if constructed, the largest chicken farm in the county's history. Monica Brooks and Gabby Cammarata, who live in different neighborhoods near the project on the western outskirts of Salisbury, are seeking to overturn county officials' approval of the project's blueprints. Brooks said the permit appeal is focused on a regulatory framework she sees as insufficient in protecting the environment from degradation and neighbors from getting sick. (Daily Times)

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Allegany County health care costs rise nearly $1 million

The Allegany County commissioners are praising the work of staff in developing an $86.9 million budget for 2018 keeping the county in a good fiscal standing. The county budget was in the spotlight at Thursday’s regular meeting of the county commissioners on Kelly Road. County officials are projecting an overall budget increase of $635,000 — or 0.07 percent — for fiscal year 2018. Fiscal challenges facing the county include nearly $1 million in increases for employee health care costs. The county will use fund balance to cover much of that expense. (Times-News)

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Derek Shackelford announces campaign for Frederick city alderman

Father, husband, son, coach, social activist, preacher, author, ballplayer and Frederick native are all words that describe Derek Shackelford. And as of earlier this week, candidate for city alderman was added to the list. The former Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee member joined a roomful of supporters Friday at the William R. Talley Recreation Center to announce his candidacy. He is running on the Democratic ticket and running with a campaign slogan that promises a “new brand of leadership.” (News-Post)

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Allegany County begins search for tourism director

Allegany County officials have begun the search for a new director of tourism to take over the growing industry. The current county tourism director, Barb Buehl, is stepping down, with her contract set to expire June 30. The county has voted to extend Buehl’s contract for an additional six months so a new director can be hired and a “smooth” transition can occur. (Times-News)

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The Maryland Theatre presents $13M expansion plan to Hagerstown

A proposed expansion of The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown will cost about $13 million — including design, construction, contingency, furniture and equipment — with $6.5 million received so far, according to its director. "The vision for the theater is really to preserve, restore and maintain the historic landmark, but with this 30,000-square-foot modern expansion, it's really going to help us generate a sustainable income," Executive Director Jessica Green told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday. Green, along with theater President Benito Vattelana, presented the proposed expansion to the five-member council during an afternoon work session. (Herald-Mail)

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Hundreds rally in Annapolis to join international March for Science

Underneath a hazy April sky with an intermittent drizzle, signs decrying "alternative facts" and the politicization of science serve as a rallying cry and cover from a cool spring rain. At Lawyers Mall in Annapolis, a group of between 400 and 450 people gathered Saturday to join the international March for Science, a movement to fight back against what advocates see as a growing set of federal policies and funding measures that threaten science's place in society. (Capital)

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