Howard to bore a tunnel and raze four buildings to ease Ellicott City flooding, could cost $140 million

Howard County will spend as much as $140 million to ease the deadly flooding that sweeps into historic Ellicott City. The massive civil works project involves boring a large tunnel near Main Street to divert the storm water that rushes down the steep-sided valley into the quaint mill town. Four buildings on the lower part on the historic strip also will be razed, county officials announced Monday. Yet none of this will prevent flooding, just reduce it. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Baltimore City's liability in Gun Trace Task Force lawsuits to be decided case by case

A Baltimore judge has thrown out a request by city attorneys seeking to ensure taxpayers won’t be responsible for lawsuits against the rogue cops of the Gun Trace Task Force. The dismissal Monday by Baltimore Circuit Judge Gregory Sampson sets the stage for judges to decide case by case if the city is liable, City Solicitor Andre Davis said. He had sought a preemptive ruling to strengthen protections for the city. Sampson, however, wrote that he could not grant such a request without hearing from the plaintiffs themselves. (Balt. Sun)

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Md. team deploys to practice hurricane response

A versatile rescue team from Maryland that is often sent to hurricanes and other natural disasters nationwide is going through extensive training this week, preparing for hurricane season. Montgomery County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, known as Maryland Task Force 1, was activated Monday as part of the elaborate drill. “It gives us the opportunity to exercise all the tasks and work that we would normally do,” said team leader Monte Fitch, a battalion chief with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. “We do everything from life and safety to humanitarian missions.” (WTOP)

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Montgomery council approves union contract, after rejecting earlier raises

The Montgomery County Council on Monday voted to approve a union contract for county workers that walked back some negotiated pay increases, saying the more modest hikes were better aligned with the county’s finances. The 7-2 vote was an indication that the all-Democratic council is prepared to limit first-year County Executive Marc Elrich’s spending, including on items important to the labor unions that are a key part of his support base. Last month, the council rejected the package the Elrich administration negotiated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 Municipal and County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO) and sent them back to the bargaining table. (Wash. Post)

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Poll: 61 percent of D.C.-area residents favor plan to add toll lanes to Beltway, I-270

A clear majority of Washington-area residents favor adding express toll lanes to Interstate 270 and Maryland’s part of the Capital Beltway, a centerpiece of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s traffic relief plans, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll. But support is uneven in the Maryland suburbs, and most residents regionwide say they are concerned about tolls being too expensive, the lanes failing to reduce traffic and nearby homes being destroyed by wider highways. (Wash. Post)

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'It's a public safety risk': With summer looming, Baltimore police renew effort to target dirt bikes

As warmer weather comes to Baltimore, so do the dirt bikes — and police enforcement. Under new commissioner Michael Harrison, the department’s seasonal dirt bike violators task force will continue to target areas known for street riding, which the department says is illegal and unsafe. “It’s a public safety risk,” said Col. Richard Worley, the department’s chief of patrol. Riders, other drivers and pedestrians are at risk, he said. (Balt. Sun)

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Report: Former Baltimore police commissioner hopeful Joel Fitzgerald kicked out of Texas police union

Four months after Joel Fitzgerald had to abruptly pull his name from consideration to become Baltimore’s next police commissioner, the Fort Worth police chief has been suspended from a state police union back home in Texas. Joel Fitzgerald, the Fort Worth police chief who was being considered to be the city’s next police commissioner before he ultimately dropped out in January due to a family emergency, was kicked out of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, The Star Telegram reported Friday. (Balt. Sun)

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Howard County-based Respite Retreats wants to give cancer patients a break from daily routine

As a working mother of two boys, Holly Thornton was already adapting to a new normal after a recent divorce when life dealt her a huge blow. The 34-year-old Elkridge resident was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and had a double mastectomy soon after. Since her surgery, she has worked at maintaining a positive outlook as she prepares to start chemotherapy. (Balt. Sun)

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