Hagerstown aiming to be more 'business-friendly,' overcome negative perception

Hagerstown officials say they’ve made improvements to their planning and code administration practices, but the perception that the city is not “business-friendly” remains a common criticism. The city’s Planning and Code Administration Department has implemented a number of procedural and staffing changes this year in line with recommendations by city leaders and the Permitting, Inspections and Code Compliance Review (PICCR) Committee. (Herald-Mail)

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As death of woman who helped panhandler gets national attention, Baltimore homeless see decline in generosity

Justin Morles walked along a traffic median in Baltimore’s Otterbein neighborhood Wednesday gripping a cardboard sign that bore a simple request — he needs help and a job. However, the homeless man’s pleas to motorists on busy Conway Street were met this week increasingly with a click of car door locks. Since the story of a woman who was fatally stabbed in Baltimore while helping a panhandler made national news this week, Morles and some of Baltimore’s other homeless citizens who panhandle in the Inner Harbor, Downtown West and Otterbein neighborhoods say they have seen the number of motorists willing to lower their windows dive. (Balt. Sun)

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December 6 // Cannabis-waste recycler wins Colorado grant to develop aftermarket hemp products

A cannabis-waste startup has been selected to receive a $250,000 grant from Colorado to find aftermarket uses for hemp and marijuana waste. 9Fiber of Silver Spring, Maryland, plans to process waste hemp and marijuana stalks for industrial purposes such as bioplastics, construction materials and animal bedding. The company expects to start operations in Pueblo, Colorado, in late 2019 or early 2020. “Our mission is to revive the U.S. hemp fiber market through processing of the waste streams of the current cannabis and hemp industries,” 9Fiber CEO Adin Alai told Hemp Industry Daily. (Hemp Ind. Daily)

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Baltimore County to conduct national search for new police chief

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., who was sworn into office this week, said Wednesday that he intends to retain current police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan for six months while he conducts a national search for a replacement. Sheridan has led the department since January 2017, when former County Executive Kevin Kamenetz pushed out then-chief Jim Johnson. Sheridan also served as county police chief from 1996 to 2007 and was superintendent of the Maryland State Police from 2007 until 2011. In his 70s and having already retired twice before, few expected Sheridan to stay on through Olszewki’s term. (Balt. Sun)

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Columbia named safest city in U.S.

Columbia is the safest city in America, according to a comparison of 182 cities by personal finance website WalletHub. The study considered nearly 40 metrics within three primary types of safety: Home and community safety Natural disaster risk Financial safety Columbia had a total score of 85.98 out of 100 and did especially well in the "home and community safety" category, coming in at No. 4. The Howard County city ranked No. 34 for 'financial safety' and No. 63 for "natural disaster risk." (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Opposition mounts to calls for a plastic bag fee in Howard County

Opposition is growing to a proposal that would permit Howard County to place a fee on plastic bags. A state bill introduced by Del. Terri Hill would allow the county to impose a fee of up to 5 cents on plastic bags; it would not apply to paper bags, plastic bags used for bulk vegetables or produce, dry cleaning, newspapers or prescription drugs. Hill, a Democrat who represents portions of Howard and Baltimore counties, introduced the bill on behalf of Less Plastic Please, an advocacy group concerned that the number of “single-use plastic bags” exacerbates climate change. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Chesapeake farmers counting on the federal farm bill

A gaggle of excitable white turkeys gobbled and clucked in their pen at Open Book Farm on a chilly afternoon in late October. In the spring and summer, the turkeys shared the 192-acre farm with chickens, hogs and cows. The turkeys soon joined the other animals in Open Book’s freezer after being slaughtered and processed. Open Book is one of many farms in the state that has received funds from government programs helping farmers. The programs help them develop conservation plans and pay for projects that include planting trees along riverbanks, and purchasing livestock fencing, water lines and pasture seed. (Daily Record)

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Annapolis quagmire: Residents and business fight over plans for Fourth Street

How do you solve a problem like Fourth Street? A quiet slice of the Eastport neighborhood, the street has become a quagmire of issues facing wider Annapolis: how to develop responsibly, preserve human scale and get parking off the street without clogging tiny streets with traffic. Of three projects on Fourth Street, one is a residential project four years in the making. The Eastport Sail Loft, now under construction, is a planned development of six houses, five apartments and office space that will house Hammond Wilson Architects. (Capital)

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