Howard County hosts meetings on grant program for Ellicott City flood mitigation projects

Howard County’s Department of Public Works will hold two informational meetings — including one on Tuesday — to help people who might want to apply for the county’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Pilot Program. Attendees can ask officials questions about the grant program, which is available to property owners in the Plum Tree, Little Plumtree, Tiber-Hudson and New Cut watersheds. Applications are due by March 29. Saying Howard County “must make sure we are not using a sledgehammer when only a scalpel is necessary,” County Executive Calvin Ball said last week that the county will continue its move to acquire buildings in historic Ellicott City, but has not committed to demolishing them. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Marylanders agree that they disagree on race

A new poll shows Maryland residents strongly support some key Democratic agenda items in Annapolis this year, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, legalizing recreational weed use, banning Styrofoam products and backing an “aid-in-dying” proposal. But black and white respondents differ sharply when it comes to questions involving race, the Goucher University poll released today shows. Asked, for example, if “people of all races receive equal treatment by police in your community,” 39% of  all respondents said “yes.” But among African-American respondents, only 18% agreed, compared to 47% of whites. Only 10% of African-Americans polled agreed that “the criminal justice system in Maryland treats whites and blacks equally,” compared to 30% of white respondents. (Brew)

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Hundreds of Baltimore-area sex assault victims signed waivers releasing police from duty of investigating

Over 2017 and 2018, police departments in the Baltimore area prompted sexual assault victims to waive their rights to an investigation — 223 times, according to a survey by The Baltimore Sun. The practice runs counter to guidance from experts and from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Baltimore County had the highest number: 172 victims reporting sexual assault victims signed the forms over the two years. After inquiries from The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County police said they were ceasing the practice. (Balt. Sun)

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Settlement pending over Anne Arundel police's health benefits negotiations

Anne Arundel officials and representatives with the county police union say they’re close to reaching a deal that would allow the union to negotiate their health benefits after a lengthy battle that reached the state’s second highest court. The pending settlement with County Executive Steuart Pittman dates back to legislation passed by a Republican majority under former County Executive Laura Neuman in 2014. At the time, with officials worried about rising costs of health care after the newly passed government mandate, the council passed a law that restructured county employee and retiree health benefits program. (Capital)

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Md. State Police have sought reviews of handgun permit board decisions 22 times since Oct.

In the last four months, the Department of Maryland State Police has appealed nearly two dozen decisions by the Handgun Permit Review Board, a panel that has attracted scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers for its tendency to issue handgun permits contrary to state police recommendations. The appeals are effectively a doubling-down by the police agency, which first decides whether to grant permits to wear, carry or transport firearms in the state. Applicants unhappy with the decision of the Maryland State Police licensing division can then appeal to the Handgun Permit Review Board, a panel established in 1972. (Md. Matters-WTOP)

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Olszewski to issue report from transition team on Baltimore County government topics

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is scheduled to release his transition team’s recommendations for county government on Tuesday morning. Olszewski, who was elected in November, has an announcement scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. His transition team was made up of dozens of members, including local activists and business leaders. They examined a wide range of topics, including education, job creation, public safety, diversity and government reform. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County hires outside attorneys for religious zoning lawsuits

Baltimore County plans to spend up to $1.5 million on private attorneys to defend itself against a series of federal lawsuits claiming religious discrimination — including one that’s been supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. The County Council is expected to approve a contract Tuesday with the law firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP to represent the county in five lawsuits that allege county zoning actions illegally blocked residents from practicing their religion freely. (Balt. Sun)

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'It takes everyone working together': Civic Works volunteers help seven nonprofits across Baltimore

Although 8-year-old Livi Howland was capable of sweeping up the nails other volunteers had pried from planks of wood, what she really wanted to do was join the adults in their labor. “That’s not as much fun,” Livi said when someone offered to find her a broom. A few minutes later, her mother, Erin Howland, supervised as she and her twin brother, Mac, carefully used hammers to coax the metal-ware from salvaged wood. The attitude among volunteers like the Howlands, who spent their Monday completing the Baltimore nonprofit Civic Works’ day of service, was that every little bit helps. (Balt. Sun)

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