Montgomery asks for more transit in state tolling plan

Montgomery County leaders on Thursday urged the state’s transportation chief to expand transit options as part of Maryland’s plan to relieve traffic by adding toll lanes to the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Montgomery County Council members told Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn that they appreciated the state addressing the region’s crippling congestion. However, they questioned whether adding four toll lanes to each highway would make a difference — and perhaps even contribute to auto-dependent sprawl — unless additional transit options took more vehicles off the road. (News-Post)

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Hogan: Maryland offering $100,000 reward for information on person who killed Baltimore homicide detective

The state of Maryland is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for killing a Baltimore homicide detective, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Twitter Thursday evening. This money is in addition to the $69,000 reward being offered by local authorities and the Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland. “My best hunch is more than one or two people know or suspect our killer was involved in this yesterday,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at a Thursday news conference. “We’re asking those folks to do some soul searching and pick up the phone and give us a call.” Det. Sean Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the city police force, was shot Wednesday afternoon while investigating another killing in the notoriously violent Harlem Park neighborhood in West Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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Will the Purple Line make people healthier?

As construction on Maryland’s Purple Line gets underway, a University of Maryland researcher is starting to examine whether the light-rail line will make people healthier, or at least more physically active. Jennifer Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, said previous studies have found that people who live near public transportation are generally more physically active because they often walk or bike to and from the transit stop, as well as to shop and make other trips. (Wash. Post)

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Carroll commissioners approve next step in FuTuRe, a pay-as-you-throw trash program pilot

The county commissioners took another step toward moving to a pay-as-you-throw trash model. On Thursday, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to move into the public engagement phase of Fair Trash Reduction, or FuTuRe, which would treat trash disposal like metered utilities. This vote comes after the county’s Department of Public Works came before the commissioners in March, a step that moved forward the concept for a pilot program for FuTuRe. At that meeting, commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, absent because of work conflicts, to have staff formally seek engagement with study partners. Commissioners asked staff to first look at homeowner associations in Carroll, and then look at the municipalities. (Carr. Co. Times)

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County officials coming closer on ethics reform bill

Frederick County officials are working to draft a compromise ethics legislation bill for the upcoming General Assembly session after dueling bills last year stalled progress. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) said in a meeting Thursday that they are working through remaining issues on a bill that could be drafted by next month. (News-Post)

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Cord blood bank program struggling amid costs and declining usage

When Laura Brinkley gave birth to a baby girl last August at Mercy Medical Center, she donated the blood from the umbilical cord in the hope that the stem cells it carried could treat someone with a debilitating disease such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia. Deciding to donate was easy for Brinkley, who happens to be a nurse. She especially wanted to help fellow African Americans who have a harder time than other racial groups finding a stem cell match. “Once the doctor explained it to me I was on board,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help.” (Balt. Sun)

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Potential sale of historic New Windsor church to masonry contractor raises concerns

The historic Pipe Creek “Brick” United Methodist Church in New Windsor has been for sale without a buyer for years. Now a buyer, a masonry contractor, has stepped up but some in the community are upset that the property will no longer be used for worship. In 2006, Pipe Creek faced a challenge familiar to many small, rural churches across the country. Its population had all but aged and moved away and the trustees made the decision to close the doors of the nearly 180-year-old worship hall. (Balt. Sun)

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Redevelopment plan calls for partnerships, use of vacant land in Edgewood

Revitalizing the core of what is considered “Old Edgewood” will take a partnership of government, residents and private sector investment to develop several vacant properties, a new plan unveiled to the community Wednesday proposes. The Edgewood Small Area Plan got a key instant endorsement from the private sector, when the owner of one of the area’s largest commercial properties said he would be interested in participating. “There’s a lot happening here; we would certainly be interested,” Ronald Strawn, whose Sandmar Properties LLC of Potomac owns the Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center, said during a meeting attended by about 130 people at Edgewood High School. (Aegis)

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