State refunds withheld from those with open warrants in Howard County

Howard County police and the county sheriff's office are participating in a program withholding state tax refund checks of residents who have outstanding warrants. The program between law enforcement agencies in the state and the Maryland Comptroller's Office was approved by the General Assembly in 2016, though some jurisdictions were already doing it. This is the first year Howard County is taking part. (Balt. Sun)

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Chesapeake Bay female crabs at their most plentiful since at least 1990

There are more spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay than there have been in at least 28 years, a sign that efforts to help the species withstand natural population swings are working. An annual survey of the bay's crab population found that there are fewer crabs overall in the bay than there were a year ago, however — about 455 million, down from 550 million. (Balt. Sun)

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Justice investigation, police administrative review of Freddie Gray's arrest and death both remain open two years later

Two years after Freddie Gray died from injuries suffered in Baltimore police custody, two investigations into the circumstances surrounding his arrest remain open, according to the local and federal law enforcement agencies conducting them. The U.S. Department of Justice announced it would conduct an independent civil rights investigation into Gray's death on April 21, 2015, just two days after his death and amid growing protests. Ian Prior, a department spokesman, said there are no updates on the status of that investigation. (Balt. Sun)

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Injured by errant bat at Orioles game, woman sues for more fan protection

Patricia Dowdell never saw Chris Davis lose his grip on the bat, sending it spinning wildly over the Orioles dugout and into the fourth row where she sat with her fiancee. Dazed and bleeding, Dowdell couldn't fathom what hit her head and face as she looked at the scoreboard during the game against the Cleveland Indians last July 23 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Every season, foul balls strike hundreds of fans and bats fly into the stands, though more rarely. To protect fans, Major League Baseball recommended that teams, starting last year, extend netting at least to the dugouts from home plate. But Dowdell — who rarely attends games and said she knows little about the sport — believes that's not enough, that more can be done to protect fans. (Balt. Sun)

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Carroll County commissioners approve several funding requests and end deliberations early

The county will get a second drug treatment liaison, bailiffs will get a raise, correctional officers' pensions will be in line with those of sheriff's deputies and Carroll County Public Schools will get more money in fiscal year 2019 after the commissioners approved those groups' funding requests during their Wednesday meeting. The Board of County Commissioners meeting came to a close with a vote to end deliberations after three hours of discussion and decisions. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Activists make their poultry house case in Worcester

Farmers, activists and public health officials made their case Tuesday night for change with new rezoning legislation pending for Worcester County's poultry operations. County Bill 17-3, introduced by the Worcester County Commissioners on March 21, would put poultry farms into a separate zoning category. Zoning proposals would include limiting the number of chickenhouses on a single parcel to eight, creating a 200 foot setback from surrounding properties and mandating a vegetative buffer around every parcel. (Daily Times)

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Anne Arundel County dredging program digging out of a hole

Determined to get county waterway dredging back on track, County Executive Steve Schuh announced his upcoming budget will earmark $1.5 million over the next three years for those improvements. At a gathering Wednesday to celebrate the completion of a $1.12 million dredging project recently completed in Deale's Rockhold Creek, the county executive noted his determination to make the county's waterways more accessible to its citizens, including dredging creeks and other water resources. (Balt. Sun)

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Frederick County lawmakers look to halt pending applications for solar projects

Two Frederick County lawmakers asked the state to hold off on two applications to put large solar on agricultural properties while the county considers its own legislation to limit that type of development. County Executive Jan Gardner and County Council Vice President M.C. Keegan-Ayer submitted a letter to the Maryland Public Service Commission on April 11 asking it to not expedite LeGore Bridge Solar Center's or Biggs Ford Solar Center's applications for a certificate of public convenience and necessity. (News-Post)

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