Measure to reform Anne Arundel health benefits passes council

The County Council has passed a bill that overhauls retiree health benefits for county employees. The bill establishes a grading scale depending on when employees were hired, when they retire and how long they worked for the county. Under the current plan, employees who are not in public safety can vest in benefits after five years and with the county paying 80 percent of the costs. (Capital)

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Council members crafting bill to ban smoking in Baltimore County parks

Several Baltimore County Council members say they're planning to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that will seek to ban smoking at all county parks. The proposal follows a recommendation by the county's recreation and parks board, which suggested the county make the move for public health reasons. (Balt. Sun)

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Port wants to sell state-owned pier in Canton

The Maryland Port Administration is urging state officials to approve its sale of a 346,0000-square-foot pier in the Canton Industrial Area. The Clinton Street Marine Terminal, which has seen little use for decades, sits across the Inner Harbor from Fort McHenry in the 1800 and 1900 blocks of S. Clinton Street, and has an appraised value between $2.5 million and $3.1 million, according to remarks on the intended sale before the Board of Public Works. (Balt. Sun)

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Sentencing postponed for Howard County teen in terror plot

The Tuesday sentencing of a Howard County teen convicted of terrorism offenses in Philadelphia has been postponed, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office there. Mohammad Hassan Khalid pleaded guilty to working to pursue a terrorist plot in Europe with a Pennsylvania woman who went by the name Jihad Jane and other people. Khalid mailed stolen documents, tried to raise money and translated extremist propaganda, according to federal prosecutors. His sentencing had been postponed several times and his attorney said last week he was seeking further delay so his client could undergo further psychological testing. (Balt. Sun)

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Upper Marlboro architect brings her passion to town commission

Larissa Ferrer of Upper Marlboro said she believes true beauty is achieved when design and functionality are merged and as the towns newest commissioner, she said she hopes to use her background as an architect to make Upper Marlboro a more practical, attractive place to live. Ferrer was elected as a commissioner after the town held its biennial election Monday. (Gazette)

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Montgomery cites education, training for increased alcohol compliance rates

An increased effort to educate and provide resources to bars and restaurants likely is one reason fewer Montgomery County businesses seem to be selling alcohol to minors, according to county officials. Random checks in the first half of fiscal 2014 showed a compliance rate of 81 percent, up from 72 percent in fiscal 2013, according to the county. (Gazette)

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Jan. 6 // Mayor to propose relief for tax credit errors

City homeowners could receive $3 million in property tax assistance under a plan Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is scheduled to unveil today, addressing concerns over bills that skyrocketed after errors in tax credits were discovered. Taxpayers who received historic tax credits can seek refunds to cover the difference between tax bills they had originally expected and revised bills issued in 2013, said mayoral spokesman Kevin Harris. The plan proposes allowing refunds for three years of tax bills. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County Touts Lowest Homicide Rate In Decades

Baltimore County is touting some historically low homicide rates, fewer than it’s seen in decades—and detectives are closing more cases than they have in years. The last time Baltimore County detectives saw those crime numbers, Jimmy Carter was in the White House. “You have to go back to 1976 to 1979 to find a four year period with an equal number of homicides compared to the last four years,” said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson. (WJZ-TV)

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