In Catonsville's District 44 primary, seven Democrats vie for General Assembly seats

Democratic primary voters in the Catonsville area will be choosing a candidate from among two running for state Senate and two candidates from among five running for the House of Delegates. The Republicans, with one candidate for Senate in District 44 and none for the House in District 44B, do not have a competitive local primary for the General Assembly. District 44 stretches from Oella, to Woodlawn, to Lochearn and to part of Catonsville, including the Paradise Community. (Balt. Sun)

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Local advocates, family members push back at new state prison book rules

Jana Lambert’s son likes reading science fiction novels. She orders them for him because reading seems to distract him from the stress of his incarceration in a Maryland state prison. The Frederick woman’s son has been incarcerated for about two years and is eligible for parole this summer. “Reading a book is his mental escape,” Lambert said. New restrictions on ordering books for inmates recently enacted in Maryland are aimed at curbing drugs from entering the prisons. But some local family members like Lambert say the restrictions are just creating another indignity for their loved ones. (News-Post)

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Pikesville volunteer firehouse gets $1.6 million renovation

When the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company’s East Sudbrook Lane firehouse opened in 1963, the company shared the building with the Baltimore County District Court. After the court moved in the 1970s, the fire company converted that space into a single large makeshift bunk room where the firefighters and medics could catch some sleep between calls. But it wasn’t an ideal setup by any means, fire company vice president Richard Berkowitz said. “They moved out, and we put beds in,” Berkowitz said. “We had one old, inadequate shower.” (Balt. Sun)

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Eastern Shore farm owner faces animal cruelty charges after horses found dead

The owner of a farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore has been indicted on animal cruelty charges after dozens of dead and sick horses were found on her property. Seventy-four-year-old Barbara Pilchard of Hebron made in initial appearance Friday in Circuit Court in Salisbury on 16 felony counts of animal cruelty and 48 misdemeanor counts of animal abuse and neglect. The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said in March that it found as many as 25 dead horses on the 2-acre (.8-hectare) property. (Balt. Sun-AP)

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Powhatan Park opens in Gwynn Oak, providing a community green space

The Powhatan Farms community in Gwynn Oak worked for more than a decade to reclaim a dead-end lot that had become a wild thicket of dead trees, vines and tall grass. But before they could transform the space into a small community park, they had one major obstacle — a large abandoned semi truck. “You want to talk about a job?” said Aaron Barnett, president of the Powhatan Farms Improvement Association. He pointed where the abandoned truck had sat unclaimed, while the community association fought for two years just to have it removed and worked since 2007 to acquire the land. (Balt. Sun)

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June 8 // Maryland officials press EPA to reconsider decision on upwind air pollution, threaten lawsuit

Maryland environmental officials say they are mounting a challenge — including a potential lawsuit — to fight the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision not to force power plants from Pennsylvania to Indiana to tighten pollution controls. Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles said Thursday that state officials will counter the denial at a public hearing scheduled for June 22 in Washington. But he’s not waiting until then to voice his frustration. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore council passes Mayor Pugh's $2.8 billion budget, funding 100 new officers and tax break

After 51 hours and 30 minutes of hearings over the past two weeks, the Baltimore City Council on Thursday approved Mayor Catherine Pugh’s $2.8 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The council approved the spending plan — an increase of $60 million, or 2.2 percent, over the previous year — without any amendments and sent it to Pugh who signed it shortly after the 12-3 vote. (Balt. Sun)

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Tapp-Harper, longtime Baltimore commander and spokeswoman for police and sheriff, wants commissioner job

Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper, a longtime law enforcement presence in Baltimore who currently is a top commander and spokeswoman in the Baltimore sheriff’s office, has submitted her name to be Baltimore’s first female police commissioner. Tapp-Harper, who spent 26 years in the Baltimore Police Department before retiring in 2014 at the rank of major to join the sheriff’s office, confirmed she offered her candidacy to Mayor Catherine Pugh this week, but otherwise declined to comment. (Balt. Sun)

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