Underwater landslide could have been cause of magnitude 4.7 earthquake reported off coast of Ocean City

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.7 earthquake 136 miles off the coast of Ocean City early Tuesday night. The quake hit around 6:30 p.m., and occurred just over 6 miles deep. State geologists said Wednesday that they believe an underwater landslide or “reactivation” of an ancient fault might have triggered it, but that they had not confirmed the cause. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians' contract expires amid debate on major cuts

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's management and its musicians are still at odds over a proposed reduction in the orchestra's annual schedule that could save the BSO millions of dollars — but could also chip away at its reputation on the national stage. A contract between management and musicians expired Tuesday night as they continue to debate whether shrinking the BSO's season from 52 weeks to 40 weeks a year is the best path forward. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Two Baltimore City Council members to go to New Orleans to vet Police Commissioner nominee Michael Harrison

A delegation of two Baltimore City Council members and two staffers will go to New Orleans at the end of the month as as part of the council’s vetting of Mayor Catherine Pugh’s pick to head the police department. Council members Robert Stokes and Kristerfer Burnett, along with two staffers, will be in New Orleans on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. During the trip, they will interview clergy, law enforcement officials, politicians and others who have interacted with Michael Harrison, according to a statement released by Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young on Wednesday. (Balt. Sun)

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Cain taps former candidates for alderman, school board as new staffers

Del. Alice Cain, D-Annapolis, today announced her staff picks, including former Annapolis alderman candidate Toni Strong Pratt. Pratt will join Cain’s campaign committee, Friends of Alice Cain, as a consultant on diversity and inclusion issues, and as a community liaison. A community activist, Pratt challenged longtime Ward 4 Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson. She lost to Finlayson in the primary by 17 votes. Supporters subsequently launched an unsuccessful write-in campaign. The co-founder of Desire Addiction Ministries, Pratt has served on several community boards, including the Bay Ridge Gardens Community Board and Parent Board of Head Start. (Capital)

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Freedom Readiness Center project underway; next step water mains

The Maryland Department of General Services, Department of Maryland Military and National Guard broke ground on the Freedom Readiness Center last fall and are about to move into the next steps of the project. “The clearing of the site is mostly compete at this point, and they are working on water main connections soon,” said DGS Assistant Secretary Lauren Buckler Tuesday. “That's the next big project activity.” (Carroll County Times)

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Public art could be coming to downtown Towson, as committee explores options

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks has launched a committee to explore installing public art in downtown Towson. The committee, co-chaired by two Towson residents — Knollwood resident David Riley and Greenbrier artist Amy Redondo — will work to have murals painted on walls throughout the downtown Towson district. “Our goal is to make Towson a destination for music, art, food and culture,” Redondo said. “One of the things we can do to modernize and honor the core values of Towson is to start involving murals, to make Towson a destination for people to shop, explore and take pictures.” (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore church leaders handing over files amid abuse probe

The Catholic archdiocese in Baltimore has delivered over 50,000 internal files to Maryland’s top law enforcement official amid an investigation into child sex abuse and are in the process of handing over more, church leaders announced Tuesday. Archbishop William Lori described the clergy sex abuse scourge that’s been rocking the church as a “genuine crisis” and said Baltimore’s archdiocese is “working very hard to cooperate” with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s investigation. (Daily Record)

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Washington County Economic Development Coalition still working on transition

Washington County Economic Development Coalition Chairman Michael Reyka said Tuesday that volunteers are still working on the transition from the former economic development commission to the coalition. The group hopes to formalize the structure, elect officers and identify funding streams by March, Reyka said. Reyka said in an interview that the group is looking into grants, state funding opportunities and other options. The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, would help apply for grants. (Herald Mail)

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