$700,000 grant will improve rail crossings
The Maryland Department of Transportation won a $700,000 federal grant on Tuesday to improve four rail crossings in Rosedale, near where a train derailed and exploded in 2013. The Federal Railroad Administration grant will help pay for new gates, bells and lights at four private grade crossings in an industrial area of Rosedale. In 2013, a truck driver drove over the tracks as a freight train was passing by, and the collision caused the trail to derail and hazardous materials carried by the train to explode. No one was killed, but a few people were injured and the blast broke windows, cracked concrete and buckled metal paneling and roofs, causing millions of dollars in damage. Drivers are required by law to stop at ungated rail crossings, but many don’t. The Baltimore Sun found in 2013 that of 631 public grade crossings statewide, only 20 percent were gated. The Rosedale crossing where the collision happened ranked16th in the state for likelihood of a collision, with a 4.2 percent chance that one will occur any given year, according to federal records.
Ex-Ravens player in medical marijuana lawsuit
Former Ravens player Eugene Monroe chastised the state’s medical marijuana commission Tuesday, saying that it unfairly rejected his company’s application to grow cannabis. Monroe is part of GTI Maryland, which filed a lawsuit on Monday over preliminary licenses issued last month. He is also one of the most outspoken advocates for letting NFL players use medical marijuana to treat pain. In a news conference with lawyers and other principals in GTI, Monroe emphasized his role as a football player as he contested the decision of the Maryland Cannabis Commission to pick lower-ranked companies over his in order to achieve geographic diversity. “One lesson I learned early in life, and it’s followed me throughout my football career, is that you don’t change the rules after the game has been played, and yet that’s what’s happened here,” Monroe said. GTI was one of two companies bumped out of the topranked applicants to receive preliminary growing licenses.
Final charge dismissed from activist’s arrest
The last remaining charge against an activist arrested in December while protesting the trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray was dismissed on Monday, after a judge found that his arrest was baseless, his legal team said. Kwame Rose, 22, was arrested outside the Baltimore Circuit Court building on Dec. 16 after a 12-member jury failed to reach a consensus on four counts against Officer William Porter, one of six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death. Rose, who had been using a bullhorn during the protest, was charged with obstructing vehicle traffic in front of the courthouse, obstructing pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk, disturbing the peace by using the bullhorn, and failing to obey an order from law enforce- One day after federal officials announced funding to boost mental health resources for students at Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, someone burned down the playground. Fire crews responded to the West Baltimore school around 5 p.m. Saturday, where they found the school’s playground engulfed in flames and heavy black smoke, according to Fire Department spokesman Sam Johnson. Officials said smoke was visible from at least three blocks away from the school’s Payson Street location — where federal and local leaders gathered Friday to celebrate a $2.375 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Among those who attended were Maryland lawmakers U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. “This reinforces what Friday was about,” said David Guzman, principal of Matthew Henson. “We need a myriad of services and options to keep our scholars’ minds active and focused on positive outcomes.”