Annapolis Democrats want to reduce city debt

Debt is shaping up to be a prominent issue in this year's election in Annapolis. Holding a big sign with a red debt arrow rising upward and a green revenue arrow staying flat, Democratic City Council members joined candidates for mayor and council the morning after the city adopted a budget to charge the trend is untenable. (Capital)

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Woman at center of Ocean City toplessness fight hires civil rights lawyer

The Maryland woman who kicked off the Ocean City toplessness debate when she contacted the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office about the legality of it last year has hired a lawyer. Chelsea Covington, a national advocate for the “topfreedom” movement, is now represented by Pennsylvania-based civil rights lawyer Devon M. Jacob, of the Jacob Litigation firm in Mechanicsburg. Jacob said the next step could be a federal lawsuit against Ocean City. (WJZ-TV)

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Kwame Kwei-Armah to step down as Center Stage artistic director next summer

Kwame Kwei-Armah, the adventurous artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage since 2011, will step down when his contract expires next summer, seven years after he started the job. “It was not an easy decision to make,” Kwei-Armah said. “I absolutely love Baltimore Center Stage and I absolutely love Baltimore. Baltimore has made me a better artist." (Balt. Sun)

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Montgomery County liquor store employees won’t have to require ID from every customer

Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control Director Robert Dorfman is loosening a policy he proposed that would require the county's retail liquor store employees to ask every customer for identification. Dorfman sent a memo to employees Monday revising the policy he first announced in May. Dorfman wrote in the memo that the department still plans to roll out its written ID verification policy next month, but employees "will have discretion, not to require an ID, from those customers that obviously meet the age requirements." (Bethesda)

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Baltimore City Council adopts resolution asking state to stop Clayworks sale

The grassroots effort to prevent the board of Baltimore Clayworks from selling its Mount Washington buildings picked up fresh momentum Monday night when the Baltimore City Council approved Resolution 17-0030R: “For the purpose of requesting that the Governor of Maryland, and the Members of the Board of Public Works of Maryland, reject the proposed sale of two buildings owned by Baltimore Clayworks at 5706 and 5707 Smith Avenue in the Mt. Washington community of Baltimore City, to ensure that they remain a vital part of the larger Baltimore Clayworks community and an asset for the Citizens of Baltimore City.” (Balt. Sun)

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New technology coming to help make MARC trains safer

Technology that can reduce train accidents is coming to Maryland’s commuter rail system, and it’s designed to take over when humans make mistakes. MARC is on a roll. Ridership on Maryland’s commuter rail system is up, and protecting those passengers is about to ramp up with positive train control. “Positive train control, or PTC, is like the air traffic control system for trains,” said Erich Kolig, with MTA. “What it does is make sure that trains are separated and stay separated.” (WJZ-TV)

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Harford awards $1.5 million in tourism grants

Harford County government has announced its latest round of grants to local non-profit organizations to promote tourism related activities in the county. This is the third year for the grants, which are funded through the 6 percent lodging tax the county began collecting in March 2015. The grants cover the 2018 fiscal year beginning July 1. (Aegis)

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Cumberland votes to approve property tax hike

Mayor Brian Grim and the four-member City Council voted Tuesday to raise city real estate taxes 9.75 percent beginning July 1. The tax increase passed by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Eugene Frazier voting in opposition. Tuesday’s vote at City Hall ended three months of debate on the fiscal year 2018 budget and the tax increase. (Times-News)

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