State to open investigation into hiring of Greensboro officer involved in Anton Black's death

State officials will investigate the hiring of the Greensboro police officer involved in the death of Anton Black, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman said Saturday. Gerard Shields said the agency would launch an investigation into why a complete record of Thomas Webster IV’s policing history was not sent to the public safety department when state officials were asked to consider granting the officer police powers in Maryland so he could join the force in the small Eastern Shore town. The investigation will not begin until the Maryland State Police complete its probe, Shields said. (Balt. Sun)

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Volunteers plant 4,000 chestnut seeds to restore blighted trees

Every American chestnut tree from Alabama to Maine will eventually succumb to blight. “It’s just a matter of when,” said Larry Grossman, president of the Maryland chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation. But after decades of work to improve the trees’ resistance to a deadly fungus, Grossman’s group is getting closer to reversing that outcome in Maryland. Armed with shovels and gardening gloves, about 30 volunteers with the American Chestnut Foundation planted 4,000 chestnut seeds Saturday in the warmth of a greenhouse at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Cockeysville. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Police commissioner says department has so few officers it's 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'

Facing renewed questions about his department’s ability to hire new officers, interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said Thursday that his agency is “understaffed across the board.” “You can’t hide that,” Tuggle told reporters at police headquarters. “It’s evidence. We are literally robbing Peter to pay Paul within the agency.” Tuggle’s comments build on a picture of the department that emerged at a City Council hearing Wednesday night. Police commanders say they’re not only struggling to field enough officers on patrol — a long-acknowledged problem — but also have too few detectives to investigate shootings, robberies and homicides. (Balt. Sun)

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Concerns aired over 6th District boundaries

Western Maryland residents attending a public hearing on the redrawing of boundaries for the 6th Congressional District told commission members Wednesday they believe the current map is unfair and the area lacks access to representatives. Gov. Larry Hogan established the Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering and appointed nine members to serve on the panel. "Our charge is specific," co-chair Alexander Williams Jr. said. "It was emergency legislation introduced and enacted by Governor Hogan to get your comments and help us come up with a map that is legal and fair. We are here to take notes and to hear from you." (Times-News)

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Howard County executive updates Ellicott City flood mitigation study

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said Thursday that the county is still studying alternatives to demolishing structures on lower Main Street in Ellicott City to mitigate flooding, and will host a series of public meetings to present ideas and design options after costs have been analyzed. At a press conference to update status of the flood mitigation and recovery process, Ball also said the county will also install two sirens as part of an alert system to warn residents when flooding is imminent. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Baltimore County still pursuing arts & entertainment district designation for Catonsville, Arbutus, UMBC

Almost a full year after first applying with the state to make Catonsville, Arbutus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, part of the first designated Arts & Entertainment District in Baltimore County, county officials and community groups are still working on the process. Baltimore County first submitted an application to get a designated A&E District in March 2018, and was asked by the Maryland State Arts Council to address some questions and concerns about its application. In the midst of that process, however, then-County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest. Marilyn Maitland, president of the Baltimore County Arts Guild, said losing Kamenetz “put everything on hold” as county administrations transitioned. (Balt. Sun)

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Bond bill bolsters hope for transformation of Howard County's Harriet Tubman Building

Plans to renovate and repurpose Howard County’s former all-black high school are seeing renewed vigor with the county delegation’s recent vote to support a $500,000 bond bill for the project — a measure that could result in $1 million overall with a county match. Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Democrat who represents District 13 including North Laurel and Savage, introduced the bond request in Annapolis for the former Harriet Tubman high school. The school has long been slated to become a local museum and community center. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Anne Arundel Community College professor appointed as new Bowie City Council member

The Bowie City Council appointed Wednesday Anne Arundel Community College associate professor Darian Senn-Carter to represent District 3, filling a vacancy left two months ago when Councilwoman Courtney Glass stepped down. The council interviewed 24 candidates in three closed meetings over three days, citing an exemption in Maryland’s Open Meetings Act that allows for private discussion of personnel or appointees. The interviews were published online after they were all completed. The last meeting and interview was Feb. 6, and at the conclusion the council went into open session, five council members voted to appoint Senn-Carter and one abstained. (Blade-News)

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