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NEWS
March 11, 2013
What pesticides are Maryland families exposed to on a regular basis? Good luck finding out. There's simply no way for the average person to discover what chemicals are being applied to farm fields or even backyards. Worse, it's nearly impossible for anyone in the public health field to find out either. Should doctors discover an unusually high incidence in Maryland of leukemia or other cancer that might be associated with environmental exposure, they'd be hard-pressed to analyze the risk from pesticides.
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NEWS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | November 19, 2012
A Bethesda-based insurance company that gained advantage over competitors by allowing its employees to inappropriately access a federal Medicare database has agreed to pay the federal government $3 million to avoid criminal prosecution, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. According to an agreement with prosecutors, top officials at Coventry Health Care Inc., which is incorporated in Delaware but headquartered in Bethesda and provides group and individual health insurance to some five million members nationally, knew of the inappropriate use of the database and did nothing to stop it until a federal agency raised concerns.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | August 13, 2012
The costly struggle to reduce storm-water pollution in Maryland may be harder than previously thought - because much of what's been done so far to control runoff has been misreported, allowed to deteriorate - or perhaps never even done. That's the upshot of a new survey by Owings Mills environmental consultant Richard Klein. Of 175 storm-water retention ponds, rain gardens and other "best management practices" for capturing runoff that he checked out in Baltimore city and nine of Maryland's largest counties, Klein found that 40 percent of them were either misidentified or impossible to find at all. Klein, founder and head of Community & Environmental Defense Services , relied for his survey on " StormPrint ," a computerized data base of storm-water controls that's been developed by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2012
On Sunday, The Sun revealed that a dozen area businesses, nonprofits and federal government organizations owe the city of Baltimore more than $10.5 million on water bills that are past due by at least six months. In some cases, the businesses haven't made any payments on their accounts in years. It was the latest in a series of articles that Sun colleague Julie Scharper and I have written since February about Baltimore's problems issuing and collecting bills associated with its aging water system.  We've reported on the city refunding $4.2 million to customers after an audit found widespread problems with water bills; and uncovered voluminous problems of our own , including a $100,000 overbilling of Cockeysville Middle School and a Randallstown woman who's been receiving her neighbor's bills for seven years -- both of which were fixed after our inquires.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2012
The city of Baltimore on Wednesday accepted about $600,000 in state grants for a variety of criminal justice initiatives. The grants will fund efforts to process charges for juveniles more quickly, develop a database of juvenile vehicle thefts, fund overtime for a gun trace task force and train investigators of sexual assaults. The city's spending panel, the Board of Estimates, approved the grants Wednesday. Sheryl Goldstein, who recently resigned as the director of the mayor's office of criminal justice, was frequently praised at City Hall for her ability to secure grants for police initiatives.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | July 21, 2012
When Baltimore first installed crime cameras in 2005, they numbered fewer than 200 and were largely confined to high-crime areas. Two mayors later, the number of cameras in the city's police surveillance system has quadrupled. Baltimore owns 583 and has access to feeds from more than 250 installed by various businesses. Now that system is likely to become much larger. The city's Board of Estimates agreed last week to create a database that will make it easier for businesses to give the Police Department access to their private security cameras.
BUSINESS
Jamie Smith Hopkins | July 12, 2012
The popular state search site for real estate information in Maryland -- who owns that home, how much did they pay for it and how much does the state think it's worth -- has been down since Monday. You've probably been aware of this since, oh, Monday, if you use it as much as I do, but July is a big month even for occasional users. Tax bills go out in July. "Since Monday we have had major database problems with the online Real Property system ," reads the warning , up as of Thursday morning, on the state Department of Assessments and Taxation site.
BUSINESS
Jamie Smith Hopkins | June 29, 2012
The massive database of tax bills we compiled for properties in Baltimore -- what owners had to pay and what breaks if any they received -- is getting some suburban company. Take a gander at this new searchable database of Harford County property taxes . It's for the tax year that ends Saturday, giving you a look at bills for the last 12 months and an opportunity to compare and contrast. How does your bill compare with your neighbors' bills? How much are big companies paying?
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | June 19, 2012
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been accepting consumer complaints about credit cards for close to a year. Today, the agency made a database of those complaints available online. You can see the names of the card issuers griped about, the gist of the complaint and company's response and the consumer's zip code. The CFPB says it has received 16,840 credit card complaints, with the most common complaint involving billing disputes. The agency sent 84 percent of those complaints to the card issuers, while the rest went to other regulators or were incomplete.
NEWS
May 7, 2012
I would like to respond to Dan Rodricks ' column on taking DNA samples from people who are arrested ("DNA: Why wait for an arrest?" May 3). I support his opinion, but I think he could have included more reasons, especially for a general gathering of DNA. If all of us gave samples, the medical world would benefit tremendously. Close matching organ donors could be located immediately. Untold information could ease the tracking of diseases from the common cold to virulent cancers.
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