At Pimlico, it's the Preakness jockeys who've had the most interesting moves

If Mike Smith rides the Bob Baffert-trained Improbable to victory Saturday in the Preakness, there will be no waves of shock and awe kicked up with the dirt inside Pimlico Race Course. Kentucky Derby winner Country House and disqualified winner Maximum Security are not running. Improbable is the morning-line favorite. Smith, 53, swept last year’s Triple Crown races aboard Justify. A Baffert horse has won the Preakness seven times. The only real mystery will be how it took so long for Smith to find his way to the chestnut colt. (Balt. Sun)

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Here's how higher regulatory costs are impeding housing affordability

Despite recent declines in mortgage interest rates, housing affordability continues to be a key concern for homebuyers. And, rising cost burdens mean a larger share of household budgets are spent on rent. For example, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, in early 2012 a typical family could afford 77.5% of all new and existing homes that were sold. Today, that share stands near a 10-year low at 61.4%. The percentage would be even lower if not for a recent uptick in income growth. It is widely understood that a lack of inventory – particularly a dearth of new construction at affordable price points – is the primary cause of today’s housing challenges. (HousingWire)

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Johns Hopkins Hospital sues patients, many low income, for medical debt

John Hopkins Hospital has filed more than 2,400 lawsuits in Maryland courts since 2009 against patients with unpaid bills, including a large number of residents from distressed neighborhoods surrounding the East Baltimore medical campus. The number of cases has been increasing, from 20 in 2009 to a peak of 535 in 2016, according a report released by the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins, which includes patients and neighborhood, faith and activist groups such as the AFL-CIO and National Nurses United, a union involved in a contentious organizing effort at Hopkins. (Balt. Sun)

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Kentucky Derby controversy puts eyes on jockey etiquette going into Preakness

Since Maximum Security became the first Kentucky Derby champion to be disqualified in the race’s 145-year history, there has been much discussion about the role played by and responsibility of jockey Luis Saez in what transpired. As a result of Country House being awarded the victory at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, and Saez later being handed a 15-day suspension by the Kentucky Racing Commission, some of the debate has centered on jockey etiquette. (Balt. Sun)

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Heather Cook probation terms include car-ignition interlock, substance-abuse tests and treatment

Heather Cook, the former Episcopal bishop who was released from prison this week after serving 3 ½ years for killing a Baltimore bicyclist in a drunk-driving accident, must participate in Maryland’s ignition interlock program and undergo treatment and testing for drug and alcohol addiction through at least May 2024, her lawyer confirmed Thursday. (Balt. Sun)

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More Scrutiny Sought On Beach Umbrella Safety

With a spike in beach umbrella-related injuries in recent years, including an incident in Ocean City last summer, a group of U.S. Senators from mid-Atlantic states last week called for more scrutiny by a leading product safety authority. With the summer season rapidly approaching and the weather taking a decidedly better turn, beachgoers are starting to return to their favorite seashores and taking their beach umbrellas with them. Millions of beachgoers will employ thousands of umbrellas throughout the summer often with no safety concerns. (Dispatch)

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Ransomware attack forces city to do permitting by hand

Many Baltimore computer systems remain compromised one week after a ransomware attack, forcing some real estate and restaurant businesses to do things the "old-fashioned way." Three tenants that were supposed to open inside the newly renovated Cross Street Market remained closed Thursday. Now, they are among business owners working with city departments to use manual "work-arounds" for some processes and transactions that would ordinarily be completed online. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Early voting could cost Accomack thousands of dollars

A state mandate to have early voting starting next year could cost Accomack taxpayers thousands of dollars. Patricia White, Accomack Voter Registrar, detailed the potential costs Wednesday and asked the Accomack County Board of Supervisors for direction. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to have "no-excuse" absentee ballot voting on seven days leading up to an election, starting in November 2020. (Delmarva)

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