By Luke Broadwater and Scott Calvert and The Baltimore Sun | March 10, 2014
Last March, Baltimore issued a speed camera ticket to a bus company after one of its yellow buses was clocked going 42 mph on Harford Road. But the city voided that $40 citation after concluding the vehicle's actual speed was just 26 mph - below the 30 mph limit. That erroneous ticket is among a number of problems that city transportation officials knew about but did not disclose publicly when they suspended the speed and red-light camera program last April, according to internal city documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. The documents come to light as the City Council presses Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to turn over reams of records to a council committee investigating the troubled camera program, which operated from 2009 until last April.
February 19, 2014
Pesticides have been linked to a variety of human diseases, from cancer to birth defects, asthma and various disorders of the nervous system, so it's hardly unreasonable for people to be concerned about their exposure to them. But good luck finding out about the use of pesticides in Maryland, as there are scant reporting requirements. That needs to change, and the first step toward developing an appropriate pesticide reporting database is to create the means to pay for one. Legislation pending before the General Assembly would create a modest $10 fee - added to the annual $100 fee paid by chemical manufacturers to register their products in the state - to finance just such a database that would be available to scientists and the public.
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2014
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was trending on Twitter Wednesday afternoon for all the wrong reasons. In an eight-hour period, Rice's image suffered severe damage -- the kind from which it might never recover. It was the result of two devastating media developments. It started with TMZ releasing video from an Atlantic City casino early in the day, and was followed by publication of a summons saying that Rice hit his fiancee with his hand "rendering her unconscious" at the casino Saturday night.
By Luke Broadwater and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | February 18, 2014
Maryland speed camera programs came under intense scrutiny Tuesday in Annapolis and Baltimore, with the General Assembly considering reforms ranging from a ban of the so-called "bounty system" to levying heavy fines against operators that issue erroneous tickets. Meanwhile, a city councilman leading an investigation into a secret audit of the city's speed camera system said Baltimore's top lawyer has agreed to turn over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee conducting the probe.
By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun | February 11, 2014
A federal grand jury indicted two Garrett County developers Tuesday on charges related to a $3.7 million bank fraud conspiracy. The indictment, announced by U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt, alleges that the two developers, who were involved in land deals together, used fake documents that included false names and inflated sales prices to secure a total of $3.751 million in bank loans for two properties...
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | February 10, 2014
A City Council committee investigating a confidential audit of Baltimore's speed camera program on Monday delivered a letter to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake seeking 31 batches of documents involving nearly all aspects of the once-lucrative program. Councilman James B. Kraft, chairman of the judiciary committee, is seeking hundreds of pages of reports, contracts and financial material related to the city's speed and red light camera program, which has been off-line since April. His letter seeks documents pertaining to former speed camera contractors Xerox State & Local Solution and Brekford Corp., as well as consultants URS Corp.
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | February 5, 2014
The Rawlings-Blake administration took a step Wednesday toward launching a new speed camera system as officials hired a consultant to assess up to 50 possible sites - over the objections of the City Council president. The Board of Estimates, which is controlled by the mayor, voted 4-1 to pay Century Engineering of Hunt Valley $160,000 to be an "on-call" consultant to the city's speed and red-light camera network, once the largest in North America. The company will help city officials perform "site evaluations and engineering assessments" at potential cameras locations throughout Baltimore.
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | February 5, 2014
The American Civil Liberties Union released an online "toolkit" on Wednesday outlining ways local advocates can improve conditions for LGBT prisoners across the country. It also provides information on how LGBT prisoners can protect themselves. In its announcement, the ACLU said lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inmates in the United States face increased levels of sexual harassment, sexual assault and physical isolation. Transgender people often cannot live in spaces for those of their identified gender, and are forced to strip so guards can check their genitals.
By Luke Lavoie, | February 3, 2014
The Laurel man found fatally shot in a pickup truck in North Laurel was shot in the head and is believed to be the target of a drug robbery gone wrong, according to the charging documents produced by Howard County police. Police have charged  Desmick Jermario Lewis, 22, of the 7000 block of Talisman Lane in Columbia; Amanda Nicole McAdoo, 18, of the of 9500 Park Avenue in Laurel; Lauren Elizabeth Maready, 18, of the 12800 block of Lime Kiln Road in Highland; and Taylor King Pepe, 19, of the 8300 block of Sand Cherry Lane in Laurel.  All four, who were charged last week, face first-degree murder charges.  Lewis, who is being held without bond at Howard County Detention Center, is believed to be the trigger man, according to police.
By Erin Cox and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | January 31, 2014
The head of the state Senate committee that is leading an inquiry into what went wrong with Maryland's health exchange is planning to turn the probe over to state auditors — who would not release a report until summer at the earliest. Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, who chairs the Finance Committee, said this week that the panel is unlikely to hold further hearings on the matter this legislative session. His "tentative" plan is to give the mountain of documents that his committee requested from health officials to legislative auditors, who already were scheduled to do a financial review of the exchange this summer.
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