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The cost of an auditorium at Bel Air High School large enough to accommodate the full student body was $171,000 less than expected, a savings that has helped the town government make up for revenue shortfalls.

At their meeting Monday, the Bel Air town commissioners approved a mid-year budget adjustment, which balances a projected revenue shortfall of $592,000 with corresponding spending cuts.

Several years ago, the town had agreed to pay the difference for an auditorium at Bel Air High larger than what school officials were planning so the full student body could be accommodated, but when the final payment came due this year, it was $171,000 less than the town had allocated, which makes up for a portion of the revenue shortfall.

In addition, the town did not spend $200,000 on planning this year for a major upgrade of town hall, which makes up another large portion of the shortfall.

Among the major reasons the town saw the revenue shortfall were a reduction of $89,000 in money expected from Harford County, the loss of a $70,000 federal Community Oriented Policing Servicing grant and a loss of $45,000 in real property taxes after assessment appeals. The town is also not getting $58,000 it had projected to receive from its new red-light camera.

Dog problem

Several people spoke during the meeting about their concerns regarding dogs running loose off Ewing Street, in the Rockfield Park area.

Greg Sentman said packs of loose dogs have been terrorizing people and have damaged his fence.

“It has become a nuisance. We try to bring businesses into the town and try to bring people in, and a lot of these people [in the park] are from out of town,” he said. “Why should I foot the bill for an improvised dog park in town? It’s a hazard to people in town and anyone who walks along the park.”

Sentman later said he would also take up the issue with the county, which has jurisdiction over animal control.

Amy Sullivan, of Giles Street, also said she has been accosted by about three dogs and now avoids the park because “it’s terrifying.”

Police Chief Leo Matrangola later noted dogs are not required to be on a leash and they are only considered to be at large if they are running around with no owner.

“They either have to be on a leash or under control of their owner,” he said.

He said, however, he will ask a volunteer who normally locks the gate from night until morning to start doing so again, to prevent dog-walkers from visiting the park at night.

“I think with the snow, he hasn’t been able to do it,” he said.

Swinton also accused Mayor Dave Carey of walking his dog in the park without a leash, after which Carey laughed and said, “This is not an inquisition.”

Thanks for the school

Also during public comments, Dante Leoni, a wrestler at Bel Air High School, thanked the board on behalf of the wrestling team.

“I just want to thank you for supporting us and opening the new school,” he said, to which the commissioners replied, “You’re welcome,” and burst into applause.

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Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic

Amira Jennings, 17, who dreamed of opening up her own beauty salon one day and loved helping her family, was killed by a hit-and-run driver Thursday morning.

Baltimore area residents continue to report serious problems with U.S. Postal Service delivery this week as the union representing local postal workers says their processing equipment is being dismantled.

Strong City, a nonprofit that helps local organizations manage funding, acknowledged problems Friday afternoon, saying it had not kept pace with its rapid growth of recent years.

Local contractors say any number of issues with customer-owned equipment could have led to Monday's blast, which killed two.

Ask Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander why he’s among baseball’s leaders in RBIs, how he improved his plate discipline or what’s allowed him to be a better defender in 2020, and the answer in his native language is likely to include "el trabajo," Spanish for "the work."

The leaders of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates decried as “truly shocking” a six-figure severance package received by Gov. Larry Hogan’s new chief of staff after the official voluntarily left an independent state agency he was running.

Baltimore’s acting public works director said recent delays in trash and recycling pickup have been caused by staff shortages due to COVID-19, as well as a spike in trash being set curbside during the pandemic.

Many businesses have been reopening across the country during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including restaurants, bars, malls and gyms. But the reopening of schools has become a particular source of stress for teachers and staff as well as parents and guardians of school-aged children. Uncertainty and safety concerns have prompted many to look into “pandemic pods” — here’s what to know about this concept, including how one could look as well as its pros and cons. (Kaitlin Miller, The Active Times)

Wacky Waffles, a mobile catering business that’s serviced weddings, festivals and more in the Baltimore area, is putting down roots in Patterson Park this fall.

Artist-turned-carpenter Mark Supik has a wood-turning business that is the place to go for one-of-a-kind wood requirements.

Just two weeks into the month, the Baltimore region has already seen far more rain than average for August.

Maryland’s 24 school superintendents voted unanimously Friday to request that state health officials create clear benchmarks for deciding when students could safely return to school buildings.

Officers were called at about 10 a.m. to the area of West Ridgely Road and Francke Avenue, where a passenger who had been asleep on a Maryland Transit Administration bus woke up, and started shouting he would shoot people, said police spokesman Kevin Gay.

Family members of Shaliqua Watson, 21, remember her life after she was fatally shot on Saturday, Aug. 8.

While nearly seven in 10 Maryland households have answered their census questionnaire for the once-in-a-decade tally, that still leaves more than 800,000 that have not. And there are neighborhoods in Baltimore where more than half the residents are still officially uncounted.

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that Baltimore Police detectives coerced false statements and manufactured a narrative that implicated the three youths to the crime.

Maryland has opened a statewide hotline to report potential violations of executive orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, contrasting Gov. Larry Hogan’s previous statements that local jurisdictions should take more control over enforcing the orders.


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