Rainfall, winds trigger debris inspection in Ellicott City waterways

A wet Thursday last week has prompted Howard County, Maryland, to activate a component of its Safe and Sound plan for Ellicott City’s waterways. The plan directs crews to inspect waterways for debris after more than 2 inches of rain falls in a 24-hour period or when sustained winds of 30 mph blow for an hour or more. “Debris is a serious public safety issue because during weather events it can create blockages throughout the watershed that can lead to flooding,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. (WTOP)

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Howard lawmakers file bill to expand access to diaper-changing stations

Four lawmakers have filed a proposal to expand access to diaper-changing stations in buildings throughout Howard County. The legislation would amend Howard County’s building code to require certain newly constructed or substantially renovated buildings to have diaper-changing stations in their public restrooms. Buildings affected would include restaurants, theaters, stores, gas stations and clinics. Buildings that already have permits, not undergoing renovations or those that do not allow minors to enter are not included in this bill. (Balt. Sun)

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‘Harry Hughes Was Class,’ Funeral Held For Maryland’s 57th Governor

Relatives, friends and former colleagues said good-bye to Maryland’s 57th governor Thursday. Harry Hughes died on March 13, at the age of 92. Hughes was eulogized as, “all about bringing people together.” The Caroline County Democrat was elected to the House of Delegates and the Senate before serving two terms as governor between 1978 and 1986. At the time of his election, the state was recovering from political scandal. (WJZ-TV)

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Baltimore Mayor Pugh addresses fallout over 'Healthy Holly' book deal in statement

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh defended her self-published children’s book series in a lengthy statement that came a week after it was revealed she had a lucrative business deal with a hospital system whose board she served on for nearly two decades. Pugh came under fire after The Baltimore Sun reported she failed to fully disclose a longstanding deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, where she served as a board member since 2001 until resigning Monday. Pugh self-published a series of children’s books titled “Healthy Holly,” and the hospital network purchased 100,000 of the books between 2011 and 2018 in deals totaling $500,000. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland gets $17 million federal grant to expand access to opioid treatment

Maryland is getting $17.3 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the latest installment in a program designed to expand access to opioid treatment. The two-year-old program seeks to address the opioid crisis in part by making Food and Drug Administration-approved medications more widely available. The addition of the $17.3 million means that Maryland will be receiving $33.1 million from the State Opioid Response program during the fiscal year — about the same as it received the previous year, according to the office of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. (Balt. Sun)

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Study: Washington area tops Baltimore area for region's worst congested highways

Just as the General Assembly is in the final stages of approving a budget, Maryland transportation officials and a nonprofit group have released a ranking of the most congested major roads in the state that cited Gov. Larry Hogan’s transportation priorities. A new report by the nonprofit TRIP released Thursday found the Capital Beltway between Route 1 and Route 29 in Prince George’s County is the worst congested highway in the state during the morning commute. (Balt. Sun)

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Hagerstown council supports program to address cyclical tax-sale properties

Days might be numbered for vacant or abandoned properties in Hagerstown that keep popping up on Washington County’s tax-sale list. Hagerstown City Council members on Tuesday agreed to a new program targeting cyclical tax-sale properties to turn them over to new property owners and return them to the tax rolls. “Obviously, it’s a no-brainer,” Councilman Lew Metzner said following a work-session meeting at City Hall. “We have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.” Each year, the city sends 250 to 300 parcels to the annual county tax sale, seeking to sell properties with delinquent taxes for the amount owed. However, in many cases, the taxes and liens on certain properties far outweigh their value. (Herald-Mail)


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Common Cause launches probe of Pugh's business dealings, calls for release of tax returns

Common Cause Maryland says it's launching a probe of Mayor Catherine Pugh's business dealings and campaign contributions after controversy has engulfed the University of Maryland Medical System and City Hall over a $500,000 book deal. Joanne Antoine, interim director of Annapolis-based watchdog group, said she has called upon Common Cause's national staff to help scour contributions to Pugh's campaign war chest and those donors business dealings with the city and Pugh. "I’m hoping to start it today," Antoine said. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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