Baltimore police commissioner pick's contract comes with higher salary, but more ways for a mayor to fire him

Baltimore’s spending board approved a 5-year contract for the incoming police commissioner Wednesday, backing a deal that gives him valuable perks and a much higher salary than his predecessors but also makes him easier to fire. Michael Harrison, who Mayor Catherine Pugh selected to run the Police Department last month, would make $275,000 a year with raises of 3 percent each year. And his raises could be even larger if he meets goals to drive down crime, according to a copy of his contract the mayor’s office released after the Board of Estimates vote. (Balt. Sun)

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NAACP calls for investigation into Annapolis police sergeant. City officials deny racial profiling.

The Anne Arundel County NAACP is calling for an independent investigation into an Annapolis police sergeant being sued a second time for changing the race of man named in an arrest warrant. In a letter Wednesday to Mayor Gavin Buckley, county NAACP President Jacqueline Boone Allsup said if the claims against Sgt. Christopher Kintop are proven to be true, they “pose a significant threat to the civil rights of all Anne Arundel County residents.” James E. Bailey of Edgewater is suing Kintop and the city for the second time, claiming the officer deliberately did not correct a warrant that led to his mistaken arrest in 2010. (Capital)

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Baltimore picked for federal program to help eradicate HIV/AIDS

Baltimore is one of dozens of hotspots the federal government plans to target as it aims to drastically reduce HIV and AIDS nationwide during the next decade, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The city, along with Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, is among the areas where the federal health department estimates about half of new HIV cases occur — including 48 of some 3,000 counties nationwide, seven states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The department plans to direct funding to those areas to boost resources for fighting HIV and AIDS. (Balt. Sun-AP)

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After millions spent, solution for excess manure still elusive

For the last few years, Jason Lambertson’s farm near Pocomoke City on the Lower Eastern Shore has been home to an expensive experiment. Jason Lambertson, a grain and poultry farmer in Pocomoke City, MD, launched Planet Found Energy Development in the hope of finding alternative uses for the poultry litter that, when spread on cropland as fertilizer, can pollute the Chesapeake Bay. The third-generation farmer received nearly $1 million in state funding to build a giant poultry waste converter and distribute its main product: fertilizer. (Md. Reporter-Bay Journal)

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In State of Judiciary, Maryland's chief judge cites gains in legal counsel for unrepresented litigants in civil cases

Maryland's judiciary is helping more people who can't afford legal counsel to better represent themselves in civil legal matters, the state's chief judge said Wednesday in her State of the Judiciary Address. Since 2015, the state's judiciary has funded four additional self-help centers, phone and online chat services and educational videos that provide legal advice for matters in the district and circuit courts, Judge Mary Ellen Barbera told a joint session of the General Assembly. The four added centers were in Baltimore, Frederick, Salisbury and Upper Marlboro. (Balt. Sun)

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Taneytown Councilman Bradley Wantz 'wholly opposed' to proposed National Civil War Memorial

Taneytown Councilman Bradley Wantz firmly denounced on Wednesday night the proposed National Civil War Memorial in the city, moments after Mayor James McCarron announced plans to assemble a committee to delve into the details. “I am wholly opposed to this memorial in Taneytown,” Wantz announced at the Mayor and Council workshop meeting Feb. 6, breaking from his colleagues who have all raved about the idea. “I just want to make it clear that it may seem like the council is standing together on this and, right now, we’re not because I’m opposed.” (Carr. Co. Times)

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Montgomery Co. on verge of expanding smoking ban

It’s already against the law to smoke inside restaurants and bars in Maryland, though in many places, it’s still OK to smoke while drinking and dining on outdoor patios. But a ban that’s already been passed by the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg could soon cover all of Montgomery County, Maryland. The county council’s Health and Human Services Committee passed a ban Monday by a 3-0 vote. However, it was amended to include two exceptions: golf courses and venues with balconies. “There are very few restaurants that have rooftops and balconies,” said Council member Gabe Albornoz. (WTOP)

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Neighbors toast new traffic light in North Baltimore after grassroots campaign for installation

Neighbors living near North Calvert and 23rd streets say they’ve heard a screech of brakes and sudden thud enough times to know the North Baltimore intersection desperately needed a traffic light. So when city officials lit the newly installed traffic signal in the Barclay neighborhood Thursday night, a small crowd of residents gathered to sip celebratory wine and snap selfies — and to swap dozens of anecdotes of near misses over the years. (Balt. Sun)

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