Maryland transportation chief under fire from Democrats over Baltimore Metro safety

A Baltimore lawmaker and a candidate for governor, both Democrats, have criticized Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s transportation secretary after The Baltimore Sun reported that the state operated the city’s Metro system for more than a year after discovering 17 sections of rails failed to meet safety standards. With less than 24 hours’ notice last week, the Hogan administration shut down the Baltimore MetroLink subway system for a month to replace rails that have been worn down to unsafe levels in the system’s 36 years of operation. (Balt. Sun)

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Former Anne Arundel prosecutor Colt Leitess files to regain office

Former Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess will run to regain the position this year, setting up a possible rematch of the 2014 election with incumbent State’s Attorney Wes Adams. Colt Leitess, a Democrat who served as the top county law enforcement official between 2013 and 2015, lost to the Republican Adams in 2014 in a hotly contested election. She was appointed to the job by a panel of judges after the retirement of longtime State’s Attorney Frank Weathersbee. (Capital)

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Baltimore council, public to examine acting police chief De Sousa today for permanent post

A City Council hearing to consider acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa’s permanent appointment as the city’s top cop is scheduled at City Hall at 5 p.m. Wednesday. De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, was promoted by Mayor Catherine Pugh last month after she fired former Commissioner Kevin Davis, saying she’d grown “impatient” with Davis’ inability to stem violent crime. The hearing before the City Council’s executive appointments committee may be the public’s only opportunity to voice their opinions about De Sousa prior to his confirmation. (Balt. Sun)

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C&O Canal Trust looks to next three years; strategic plan to set group's course

The C&O Canal Trust offers historic lock houses along the C&O Canal in which visitors can stay; sponsors Canal Pride Days to keep the landmark clean; helps canal visitors make the most of their experience through Canal Discoveries; and facilitates the Canal Towns Partnership, a group of nine communities along Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The nonprofit group also raises money for the C&O Canal’s Towpath Forever effort to make infrastructure improvements in the park and canal classrooms, which offer learning opportunities on the towpath to students in grades kindergarten to 12 . (Herald-Mail)

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Excessive wear, fear of derailment prompted Baltimore Metro shutdown, MTA says

The Maryland Transit Administration has released additional details about what caused the recent system-wide shutdown of Baltimore’s Metro. A report made public Thursday says there was excessive wear on the Gauge Face Angle (GFA) — a situation that can lead to derailment. MTA had previously calculated that the city’s subway rails would be functional until this coming summer, when track replacement was planned. “We thought that the rail was going to last,” said MTA administrator Kevin Quinn. (Balt. Sun)

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February 20 // MTA knew Baltimore Metro rails did not meet safety standards in November 2016

The Maryland Transit Administration knew that the Baltimore Metro subway’s rails violated the agency’s safety standards for more than a year before officials declared an emergency shutdown of the system with less than 24 hours’ notice last week, according to an MTA inspection report. Seventeen of the Metro’s turns were deemed to be “deteriorated to the point where no train movement is allowed” in a November 2016 geometric evaluation, which was referred to in the inspection last month that prompted officials to shut down the system for repairs until March 11. (Balt. Sun)

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USA Today names Baltimore 'the nation's most dangerous city'

Baltimore’s highest-ever per capita homicide rate in 2017 also made it the deadliest big city in the country, USA Today reported Monday. Though official data from the FBI won’t be available until later in the year, USA Today reviewed the homicide rates in the nation’s 50 largest cities and Baltimore came out on top. The 342 homicides the city experienced in 2017 were a 17 percent increase over the prior year, and translated to a rate of 56 killed per 100,000 people. (Balt. Sun)

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Hundreds gather for Women’s Rally in Annapolis

The fourth annual Women’s Rally in Annapolis on Monday night centered on four key issues advocates and lawmakers want addressed during what remains of this year’s legislative session. Hundreds of women gathered in front of the Maryland State House in a dynamic display under dreary skies. Lawmakers and advocates spent the evening meeting and discussing the more than 30 pieces of proposed law that would benefit women the state. (WJZ-TV)

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