Harford awards $1.5 million in tourism grants

Harford County government has announced its latest round of grants to local non-profit organizations to promote tourism related activities in the county. This is the third year for the grants, which are funded through the 6 percent lodging tax the county began collecting in March 2015. The grants cover the 2018 fiscal year beginning July 1. (Aegis)

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Cumberland votes to approve property tax hike

Mayor Brian Grim and the four-member City Council voted Tuesday to raise city real estate taxes 9.75 percent beginning July 1. The tax increase passed by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Eugene Frazier voting in opposition. Tuesday’s vote at City Hall ended three months of debate on the fiscal year 2018 budget and the tax increase. (Times-News)

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Rapper The Game asks his fans to contribute to fundraiser for slain Baltimore dirt bike rider

When rapper The Game visited West Baltimore to film a music video last year, he gave a cameo to a young dirt bike rider named Sean Williams, who is seen zipping by while popping a wheelie. Williams, 18, was fatally shot Sunday night in West Baltimore, and The Game took to Instagram, where has 8 million followers, to ask fans to donate to a fundraising account for Williams' family. He personally gave a $1,000 donation. (Balt. Sun)

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No mobility limitations at Patapsco Valley State Park's new Hollofield playground

After years of behind-the-scenes design and funding challenges, the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park celebrated the opening of Maryland Park Service's first fully accessible playground at the Hollofield area of Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City. The brand-new playground, featuring components made of recycled material, is located off Route 40 and opened to park visitors last month. The nonprofit Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park collaborated with the state park service, park rangers and Towson University to accomplish the six-year project. (Howard)

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June 20 // One of the Department of Liquor Control’s Biggest Critics Visits DLC Headquarters

A strange thing happened on Friday afternoon—Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot visited the headquarters of the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC). Franchot has been a persistent and vocal critic of the DLC, which controls the wholesale distribution of alcohol and retail sale of liquor in the county. In the past, he has called the department that generates about $30 million in profits for the county “the last bastion of a medieval state system.” He has urged county and state leaders to privatize the sales and distribution of alcohol. (Bethesda)

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Some bumps in the road for bus riders as BaltimoreLink hits city streets

BaltimoreLink, the Maryland Transit Administration's $135 million redesign of the region's bus system, received mixed reviews on its first weekday commute Monday. Some people balked at the confusing changes, while others welcomed them. Everyone enjoyed the free rides being offered for the system's first two weeks. The MTA even figured out a compromise to get Johns Hopkins employees to and from Green Spring Station, a route that was being eliminated, though it was not without its first-day hiccups. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County officials withdraw public works notice bill

Anne Arundel County officials have pulled legislation that proposed to change public notice for some Department of Public Works actions. Bill 55-17 would have allowed the department to move public notice online for right-of-way purchases, road abandonments and petitions to extend water and sewer services. Current law requires public works officials to inform the public of those actions by posting a sign on the property affected or running notices in the newspaper. DPW Director Chris Phipps told the council that giving his staff the option to provide online public notice would help increase efficiency. Bernie Marczyk, a lobbyist for County Executive Steve Schuh, added that it would provide the county with a "quicker communication tool to share notification for citizens or community groups." (Capital)

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Baltimore City Council passes deal on controversial Northern Parkway apartments

The Baltimore City Council agreed Monday to set terms for the construction of a 148-unit apartment building off Northern Parkway, a project bitterly opposed by some who live in the area. The complex, dubbed the Overlook at Roland Park, has pitted developer Jonathan Ehrenfeld and his Blue Ocean Realty firm against residents of the affluent neighborhoods nearby. Council members voted 14-0 to approve the legislation, which allows the developer to build under previous and more advantageous zoning rules. Neighbors say their next step will be to call on Mayor Catherine Pugh to veto it. (Balt. Sun)

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