Hate in Maryland: From racist taunts to swastikas to a campus stabbing, bias reports up sharply in state

Students at Crofton Middle School find a noose hanging in the courtyard. In Montgomery County, a 13-year-old Jewish girl receives several anti-Semitic texts. They say, in part, “JNTD” — an acronym for Jews Need to Die. A gay man at Baltimore’s Gilmor Homes is beaten by a man yelling homophobic slurs. Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a black college student from Calvert County, is confronted and stabbed to death on the University of Maryland campus, allegedly by a white student from Severn who was a member of a racist Facebook group. Reports of hate are on the rise in Maryland. (Balt. Sun)

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Two county watershed groups to merge into Arundel Rivers Federation

Two major Anne Arundel watershed groups are joining forces in the continued fight to improve local water quality. . The Thursday morning announcement by the South River Federation and West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. said they plan to consolidate their two nonprofit organizations, pending approval from a membership vote later this month. The joint organization, the Arundel Rivers Federation, will focus on the continuing use of science, restoration and community action to make the South, West and Rhode rivers cleaner and healthier, a joint news release said. (Capital)

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Baltimore's last weekend without a shooting was the weekend Freddie Gray was arrested

New York City recently had its first weekend without a shooting in 25 years. The last time Baltimore went shooting-free from Friday through Sunday was in April 2015 — the same weekend Freddie Gray was arrested. Spurts of violence and high homicide rates have largely colored the last several years since Gray’s death. There have been 45 homicides in the last 30 days and 11 shootings on Tuesday alone. The high crime rate prompted the Baltimore Police Department to reassign hundreds of officers from administrative positions to patrol duty, as Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle and Mayor Catherine E. Pugh decried the shootings. (Balt. Sun)

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Montgomery County Council urges Metro to keep rider advocacy group

Montgomery County officials are urging the Metro board to keep its Riders' Advisory Council, the sole direct rider liaison to transit agency officials. The board is slated to vote on eliminating the RAC at next Thursday’s meeting, and a majority of board members appear to support the move. But Thursday, Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner (D-District 1), in a letter signed he and his colleagues on the County Council, urged the board to reconsider. (Wash. Post)

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Montgomery Co. inspecting hundreds of voting machines before election

In Montgomery County, crews will spend the next few weeks meticulously inspecting voting machines to ensure everything is ready to go when Maryland heads to the polls on November 6. For Lisa Jones and her crew, pouring over the intricate machinery of over 600 voting machines might be far from fun, but it’s definitely important — even though it’s sure to be a grind. “It’s a lot of effort,” admitted Jones, after demonstrating the lengthy process that goes into checking and securing each voting machine. It can take up to three hours to examine a single machine and ballot-marking device, Jones went on to explain, including a 40-step process — established by the state, followed rigidly — to prove everything is in working order. (WTOP)

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Howard, commissioners push back against planning commission letter about Freedom Plan

Commissioner Doug Howard spent a portion of Thursday’s meeting railing against a letter sent by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the Board of County Commissioners concerning the Freedom Area Comprehensive Plan, stating that timeliness was always a priority in completing the plan and that the commissioners acted within their legal authority to take the plan back to finish it. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Maryland's new Chesapeake Bay license plate highlights blue crab, bay bridge

Maryland drivers can update their expression of Chesapeake pride and help with efforts to “Save the Bay” with a new license plate design unveiled Thursday at Sandy Point State Park. The artwork for the new license plate was created by Tina Cardosi and Sujen Buford, of Frederick, Maryland-based design firm TM Design Inc. The new plate will be available beginning Oct. 29. It’s the third iteration of a Maryland bay-themed tag in 28 years. (Balt. Sun)

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As 'House of Cards' ends, Michael Kelly leaves behind a film love letter to Baltimore

It could have been just a job — spend six years in Baltimore filming Netflix’s “House of Cards,” then simply move on to the next role. But that’s not how it happened for Michael Kelly, so memorable (and thrice Emmy-nominated) as Doug Stamper, devoted underling to Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and doer of much of the dirty work Underwood himself couldn’t handle. Kelly, a New Yorker with roots in Georgia, grew to love the city, he says, living in Harbor East, taking runs along the waterfront to Fells Point, having dinner at the James Joyce Irish Pub. (Balt. Sun)

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