Baltimore City Council bills aim to cut back on vaping, smoking — including banning flavored vape liquids

Baltimore City Council members have introduced a package of legislation aimed at curbing smoking and vaping. The three bills look to broaden the definition of smoking devices and ban the sale of flavored vaping liquids, as well as call for tobacco retailers to post information about smoking risks and cessation and carry nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum. City legislators worked with the Baltimore City Health Department for most of the year to craft the bills. (Balt. Sun)

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State health exchange enrollment up, federal enrollment down in last week

As the state health exchange enters the final week of this year’s open enrollment, Marylanders appear more interested in buying health insurance than many other Americans. The number of people buying private policies through the state’s online marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act is up a bit, while enrollment on the federal exchange that serves 39 states is down 11 percent. “We’re not done yet,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which oversees the state marketplace. “But we’re hoping for a really strong ending.” (Balt. Sun)

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The hidden loss: Maryland farmers confront rising suicide rates

Earlier this year, at a loss for what else to do, Keith Ohlinger, a livestock farmer in Howard County, picked up his phone and dialed a friend. He wasn’t calling to borrow equipment or trouble-shoot a problem on the farm. Instead, he was offering to talk or help, if he could, as he struggled to find anyone or any group willing to address his concerns about rising suicide rates among farmers. (News-Post)

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Pastor who invited Trump to Baltimore hopes president's visit will showcase city as model for revitalization

The pastor of an East Baltimore church invited President Donald Trump for what will be his first trip to the city since taking office, hoping to showcase Baltimore as a model for urban revitalization through federal "opportunity zones" and other programs. Trump is expected to meet Wednesday with the Rev. Donte L. Hickman, pastor of the 4,000-member Southern Baptist Church, and other clergy and elected officials at the church in the Broadway East neighborhood, Hickman said Saturday. (Balt. Sun)

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Naval Academy chapel dome slated for renovation

The Naval Academy will renovate the iconic chapel dome beginning this winter. The academy will soon commence the $8.9 million project, which will restore parts of the masonry wall and dome in the next year. The academy awarded G-W Management Services LLC the contract in late September. “I am writing to make you aware of a significant project that is about to commence at the chapel,” academy Chief of Staff Capt. George Lang wrote in a memo to academy faculty and staff. (Capital)

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December 7 // Open enrollment ends December 15, 2018

Open enrollment to buy, change, or renew a qualified health plan for 2019 will end December 15 for healthcare starting on January 1, 2019. Remember that Medicaid enrollment is year-round, and Medicaid-eligible Marylanders may start their coverage immediately. Marylanders who are enrolled in Medicaid must renew their Medicaid coverage once a year through the Maryland Health Connection. (MedChi)

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Baltimore passes 'Complete Streets' law requiring more bike-, pedestrian-friendly road design

Baltimore officials on Thursday announced the passage of the “Complete Streets” law, a broad set of regulations requiring the city’s Department of Transportation to design roadways, sidewalks and bike lanes in a way that promotes walking, bicycling and public transit, beyond just cars. Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who sponsored the legislation, said it will set up Baltimore for success and improved equity in the future by encouraging “designing for a more human-scale city.” Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the bill into law late last week, and Dorsey held a news conference at City Hall Thursday to celebrate it. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore City Council releases police commissioner pick Fitzgerald's resume, begins confirmation process

The confirmation process for Baltimore police commissioner nominee Joel Fitzgerald officially began Thursday, as the City Council takes up his nomination at its final meeting of the year. Unlike past nominees, Fitzgerald has chosen to stay in his current job as the chief of police in Fort Worth, Texas, saying he’ll begin working in Baltimore once he’s confirmed by a council vote. On Thursday, The Baltimore Sun reported new details about how Fitzgerald emerged as Mayor Catherine Pugh’s choice. The mayor first met him in May and ultimately picked him from a list of candidates in October. (Balt. Sun)

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