After Baltimore police corruption trial, Maryland official proposes disbanding the department

After this week’s conclusion of a federal corruption trial that convicted two Baltimore police officers, a Maryland lawmaker floated a radical proposal: disband the Baltimore Police Department. Del. Bilal Ali, a Baltimore Democrat, proposed the idea in a memo he sent to Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and her newly appointed police commissioner after a federal jury convicted two Baltimore detectives for their roles in one of the city’s biggest police corruption scandals. Six other officers pleaded guilty in the case. The idea quickly generated reaction among politicians Tuesday — from one calling it “nonsense” to others saying Ali should not be dismissed. (Balt. Sun)

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Two possible routes chosen for high-speed maglev train linking Baltimore to DC

A federal review has narrowed the possible routes for a proposed high-speed, magnetic levitation train linking Baltimore and Washington down to two. Both routes more or less track the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. A route that would have run along the heavily developed Penn Line operated by Amtrak has been dropped. The proposal calls for using maglev technology on a 40-mile (64 km), $10 billion line where trains could reach 375 mph (603 kph), reducing the trip between the two cities to 15 minutes. Most of the route would be underground. Some communities along the proposed paths are opposed. (Balt. Sun-AP)

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Baltimore City Council committee unanimously votes to advance foam food and drink container ban

A Baltimore City Council committee voted Tuesday morning to advance a ban on polystyrene foam food and drink containers, setting up the environmental measure for likely final passage in coming weeks. The idea of a ban has been considered before but failed to advance. The current version waited many months to get a hearing, but began moving forward last week. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke credited new council members elected in 2016 for the change in the measure’s prospects. (Balt. Sun)

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Trump budget slashes Chesapeake Bay cleanup funding by 90%

The Trump administration is proposing a 90 percent cut in federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, drawing rebukes from environmentalists who say it will cripple the monumental effort. The president's 2019 budget recommendation, released Monday, slashes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's annual bay budget from $73 million to $7.3 million. That would leave funding available for monitoring the cleanup's progress but none for restoration projects carried out by the District of Columbia and the six states in the watershed. In 2017, the EPA dealt out $48 million to the states, including $13 million in Maryland. (Daily Times)

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Gov. Hogan Announces 2018 Is ‘The Year of Frederick Douglass’

A yearlong celebration is underway to celebrate the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, a Maryland native who shaped American history. Douglass’ life and legacy will be honored across the state. “We don’t learn enough about Frederick Douglass or Benjamin Bannaker,” said Charlotte Wojick of Ellicott City. Douglass’ rise from a Maryland slave is on display at the Bannaker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis. “His fight for human rights and equality, still resonates today,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. (WJZ-CBS)

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Four places in Maryland rank among the nation's most ethnically diverse, study says

Four places in Maryland are among the top 10 most ethnically diverse locations in the country, according to a new report. The study, conducted by WalletHub, ranked Gaithersburg as the second most diverse “city” in the country, followed by Germantown and Silver Spring in third and fourth places, respectively, along with Rockville in ninth place. (Wash. Post)

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Baltimore Police corruption trial reveals deep reach of city's drug economy

One target drove a Mercedes and lived in a waterfront condo on Boston Street; another was homeless, essentially living out of a storage unit where he kept his money balled up in a sock. One lived with his extended family in a house he bought with a lead poisoning settlement; yet another had a half-million-dollar home on two acres of land in Westminster. The circumstances of the people who were targeted for robbery by the Baltimore Police’s Gun Trace Task Force ranged widely, according to witnesses in the federal trial of two of its former members. The sums allegedly taken went from three figures up to six. But the unifying factor, as so often is the case in Baltimore, was drugs. (Balt. Sun)

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De Sousa decentralizing Baltimore police citywide shooting, robbery units, sending 80 detectives back to districts

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa is decentralizing the two units that investigate shootings and robberies citywide, returning about 80 detectives from headquarters to the city’s nine district stations. De Sousa made brief mention of the move during a news conference late last week touching on a range of changes and new command staff appointments. The department said this week that the move would be made over time. “It is an ongoing process and it will be phased in,” said T.J. Smith, a police spokesman. (Balt. Sun)

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