Baltimore rebrands its food deserts: Now they're 'healthy food priority areas'

Call them “food deserts” no more. Areas of Baltimore where residents don't have ready access to healthy, affordable food are now to be known as “healthy food priority areas.” While the new name might be much less evocative, Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday that the new term is more accurate. “There has been an evolving conversation both in Baltimore and nationally,” she said. “ ‘Deserts’ implies there is no food, when actually there is an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy foods.” (Balt. Sun)

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Mayor Catherine Pugh, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation launch grant program

Mayor Catherine Pugh has teamed up with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to create the Baltimore City Community Grants Program for small nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to low-income individuals and families in Baltimore. The program will provide grants of up to $10,000 per year and a maximum of two years for general operating support, program support, equipment, and capacity building. (WMAR-TV)

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Ocean City topless debate heads to federal court

The topless issue that created a firestorm for Ocean City officials this summer is heading to court after a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges the town's emergency ordinance prohibiting women on the beach from going topless. Salisbury resident Chelsea Eline, who previously used the pseudonym Covington in interactions with local officials and with Delmarvanow.com, filed a suit in U.S. District Court with four other women that claims Ocean City's emergency ordinance is unconstitutional. Tuesday's filing in court makes Eline's real name public. (Daily Times)

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Cellphone jamming system tested at Maryland prison

Federal prisons officials on Wednesday tested a jamming technology inside the walls of a federal prison, a rare move that authorities said they hope will help combat the danger posed by inmates with cellphones. The test was conducted over several hours Wednesday morning at a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland, Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams told The Associated Press as the testing took place. Williams didn't give specifics of how the test worked but said it marks a step in the fight to cut down on inmates' ability to communicate unsupervised and carry on with criminal efforts. (AP)

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Controversial critic of 'militant Islam' to address Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs

The Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs says it will allow a controversial commentator on Islam and the Middle East to address its meeting Thursday night despite calls from Muslim and Arab advocacy groups to rescind his invitation to speak. Daniel Pipes, the founder and president of the conservative think tank Middle East Forum and a widely known critic of what he calls “militant Islam,” is scheduled to address a paying audience at the Baltimore World Trade Center. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County receives modest gains in Hogan's budget

Gov. Larry Hogan delivered his budget Wednesday and with it comes a modest overall increase in county funding, but a decrease in state funding to Anne Arundel Community College. The governor pitched his fourth budget much like the last three: it holds the line on spending, doesn’t raise taxes and increases education spending to “historic” levels. That latter bit has been a big tradition for Maryland governors ever since education spending was linked to formulas that drive up spending every year. (Capital)

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Governor’s budget includes increased aid to Frederick County, no downtown conference center funding

The governor’s proposed budget would grant more dollars to Frederick County, but it again leaves out funding for the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center. Total aid to the county, including retirement payments, would increase 2.7 percent from $299,846,000 to $307,946,000 if the Legislature adopts Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) fiscal 2019 budget. (News-Post)

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Hogan budget benefits Shore projects

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday released his proposed operating and capital improvement budgets for fiscal year 2019. Here is how the budget will benefit the Lower Shore. (Daily Times)

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