Md. uses surveillance, data to track drivers

Motorists in Maryland may be aware of the cameras that enforce speed and red-light violations, but the state’s tracking practices include other layers to assist in law enforcement efforts, and for traffic and planning purposes. Through the different practices, Maryland collects both anonymous and identifiable information — depending on the method — about driving patterns, raising concerns for privacy advocates. (Times-News)

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Residents Concerned About Repeated Sewage Backups In Baltimore

When it rains in Baltimore, residents like Vernadine Kimball fear raw sewage seeping into their homes. Kimball is one of the thousands of people who reported sewage backups in their homes last year. “The sewage came up through here in the tub,” Kimball said, pointing to the fixtures in her bathroom. “The smell is so horrible.” The problems caught the attention of the Baltimore City Council, which held an investigative hearing in November. (WJZ)

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Baltimore County sees deadliest year on record with 50 people killed in 2019 — 85% higher than past year

Baltimore County had more homicides last year — 50 — than any other year on record, according to county police and Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. The 50 homicides surpassed the previous high of 43 set in 1992, according to FBI data tracking violent crime since 1985. The 2019 homicides are also an 85% increase over the prior year, when 27 people were killed in the county, according to police data. (Balt. Sun)

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Montgomery County official wants buses to be free on holidays, like parking

A Montgomery County councilmember is wondering why bus riders don’t ride free on a regular basis, when drivers routinely enjoy free parking at public meters on holidays. “There are approximately a dozen holidays in Montgomery County where drivers get to park their cars for free across the county,” said Evan Glass, (D-At-Large). Following New Year’s Day, a couple of free parking days are coming up soon. Those holidays include: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday on January 20 and Presidents Day on February 17. (WTOP)

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Frederick police officers switching to 12-hour shifts starting Sunday

The Frederick Police Department’s two patrol teams will switch from 10.5-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts starting Sunday in accordance with an agreement reached last year between the city and the local police union. Fraternal Order of Police Francis Scott Key Lodge 91 lobbied for the shift change in the most recent collective bargaining cycle in order to give its officers more days off overall, as well as getting every other weekend off, according to a Frederick News-Post article that ran in June, when the agreement was signed. (News-Post)

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US On Track For One Of The Worst Flu Seasons In Decades

This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in decades, according to the United States’ top infectious disease doctor. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said while it’s impossible to predict how the flu will play out, the season so far is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, which was the deadliest in more than four decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CNN/WJZ)

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Purple Line construction means big travel changes in Silver Spring

Months of significant traffic and transit changes tied to Purple Line construction start this weekend in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Round-the-clock lane closures on Colesville Road each way under the Metro tracks, along with complete “as needed” closures of Colesville Road at times on nights and weekends, are scheduled to last at least through the end of April. (WTOP)

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Harbor Hospital gets $500,000 grant to connect bike, pedestrian paths in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City

MedStar Harbor Hospital announced Thursday that it has received a $500,000 grant to go toward connecting bicycle and pedestrian paths from Anne Arundel County into Baltimore city. In a news release, MedStar wrote that the $500,000 Maryland Anchor SEED funding grant “will provide 30 percent of the engineering design” to develop and connect a 3-mile bicycle and pedestrian path spanning from the BWI Trail in Anne Arundel County to the Gwynns Falls Trail in Baltimore. (Balt Sun)

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