Harford council passes fiscal 2019 budget, rejects amendment to defund ag preservation program

The Harford County Council approved the county’s fiscal 2019 capital and operating budgets Tuesday night, after rejecting an amendment that would defund the county’s agricultural preservation program. An amended ordinance setting a $734.6 million operating budget and $166.1 million capital budget was approved 6-1. Councilman Mike Perrone, who unsuccessfully tried to defund the ag preservation program, cast the only vote against the final budget, which takes effect July 1. (Aegis)

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North Baltimore Social Security office among a string of locations set to close

The Social Security Administration office at the Rotunda in North Baltimore is scheduled to close next month, the latest in a recent string of field office closures decried by activists and lawmakers. The office at 711 W. 40th St. is slated to close June 22, when staff members will be relocated to other offices in the Baltimore area, according to Nicole Tiggemann, a spokeswoman for the Woodlawn-based federal agency. Tiggemann said in an email the office is closing “due to an expiring lease.” (Balt. Sun)

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HBO producing documentary series on Adnan Syed, 'Serial' case

Adnan Syed is about to be tried — again — in the court of public opinion. HBO announced Wednesday that it is co-producing a four-hour documentary series, “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” which will revisit the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee. The series will be directed by Amy Berg and co-produced in the United Kingdom by Sky Atlantic. Syed was Min’s high school boyfriend. His original conviction and his subsequent efforts to get a new trial have galvanized people throughout the world since they were featured in 2014 in the “Serial” podcast, which was produced by former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig. (Balt. Sun)

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Former Baltimore police chief De Sousa's initial federal court appearance on tax charges set for Monday

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa’s initial appearance in federal court on three misdemeanor charges of failing to file federal tax returns will be on Monday at 1 p.m., the federal prosecutor’s office confirmed Wednesday. The charges against De Sousa were unsealed Thursday. He was suspended by Mayor Catherine Pugh on Friday, and resigned Tuesday. The charges allege De Sousa willfully failed to file federal tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He faces up to a year in prison and a $25,000 fine for each charge. (Balt. Sun)

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OC Art League funding cut hits after school programs, youth classes

Last week at a budget hearing, the Worcester County Commissioners voted to discontinue funding to the Art League of Ocean City, thereby ending the public private partnership that was established between the state of Maryland, Worcester County, the Town of Ocean City, and individual donors. This type of cooperation is rare, and it has taken decades to bring it to fruition. Since opening the new Ocean City Center for the Arts in 2013, the Art League has filled a cultural void in the area, and has become a place where people of all ages come for personal growth, creative expression, and community involvement. (Daily Times)

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May 16 // Baltimore Police Commissioner De Sousa resigns amid federal tax charges

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned Tuesday amid a growing federal investigation into his personal finances and other private and professional affairs, prompting Mayor Catherine E. Pugh to announce a national search for his replacement just days after she expressed continued confidence in him. De Sousa’s departure — after 30 years in the department and less than four months at its helm — comes amid revelations that the federal prosecutors who charged him last week with failing to file federal tax returns are probing deeper into his past. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County Council chair says there will be no public hearings on replacing Kamenetz as executive

The chairman of the Baltimore County Council said Tuesday he does not plan to seek candidates publicly or hold open hearings on who should replace County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who died suddenly last week. Julian Jones said council members were elected to make these type of decisions — and did not require public input. “I do not anticipate any public input, only because of the timeline,” said Jones, although he did not set a date for a decision to be made. “This is the job of the County Council. This is part of the charter. Everyone up here has been elected to do a job and I think it’s important that we do the job.” (Balt. Sun)

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Despite Baltimore Police Department shake-ups, panel reviewing Det. Suiter's death moves forward

An independent panel continues to review the investigation of Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter’s death, despite a change in leadership at the police department, officials said Tuesday. A spokesman for the police department and members of the Independent Review Board said at its second meeting Tuesday that the suspension, and later resignation, of Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, hadn’t halted the panel’s progress. (Balt. Sun)

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