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Rawlings-Blake Endorses Brown, Jones Ouster Ruled Improper, and Sunday's OC Plane Crash

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown picked up another high profile endorsement in the 2014 governor’s race yesterday – that of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Maryland’s highest court has ruled that the Anne Arundel County Council improperly ousted former Councilman Daryl Jones last year. Two Ocean City police officers have been confirmed dead, in a Sunday plane crash off the coast. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of Central Maryland today; yesterday’s storms may have produced a tornado in PG County. Plus: regulating cell phone recycling, West Nile Virus season begins, “Diamond Jim” still swimming in the Bay, and more.

Central Maryland Weather: A Flash Flood Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service through late tonight. Forecasters say today’s showers and thunderstorms could produce as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain. Yesterday’s storms may have included a tornado – the Washington Post reports that watchers saw a funnel cloud in southern Prince George's County in the Brandywine area a little before 8 o’clock last night; there were reports of a rotating storm cloud north of Waldorf. There is no confirmation yet as to whether a twister actually touched down in the area.

Rawlings-Blake Endorses Brown: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has formally endorsed Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown to succeed Martin O'Malley as governor. More here from the Baltimore Sun.

Two Ocean City Police Officers Confirmed Dead After Weekend Plane Crash: Maryland State Police have confirmed that two Ocean City police officers died in a plane crash over the weekend. The Daily Times reportsthat the plane went down in the ocean, about a quarter-mile off shore near 130th Street. Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. The Baltimore Sun has more

Jones Ouster Ruled Improper: Maryland’s highest court says that the Anne Arundel County Council improperly removed former councilman Daryl Jones from his post last year. As the Capital Gazette notes, Jones had been sent to prison for five months in 2012, after being found guilty of failing to file a federal tax return, and in his absence the Council declared his seat vacant, and replaced him with current Councilman Pete Smith. But the Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the move was improper; it’s sent the case to the Anne Arundel Circuit Court, which will issue a judgment and could reinstate Jones to the council. The Baltimore Sun has more here

Regulating Cell Phone Recycling: Time was you couldn’t do much with an old cell phone other than try to sell it online. Now, a company called ecoATM is offering folks an opportunity to trade in those old devices for cash. But the problem with that, says one Baltimore City Councilman, is that the idea appears to violate the city’s “second hand dealer” laws; he’s looking for a ban. WYPR’s Kenneth Burns has the story.

West Nile Virus Season Begins: Maryland health officials are now tracking the new season for West Nile virus.The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says 2003 was the peak year with 73 human cases reported around the state; just 47 human cases of the disease were reported last year. West Nile Virus is rarely fatal… but can pose significant dangers to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Tuition Goes Up At Carroll Community College: Students will have to pay more to go to Carroll Community College this fall; the school is hiking tuition by six percent, starting in the next semester. The Baltimore Sun reports that six other community colleges in Maryland are expected to raise their tuition rates for the fall. 

Replacement Statues At Mcullough Homes: Two statues that symbolized the hope of children are once again on display at a Baltimore public housing complex. The original statues at McCullough Homes were 70 years old and were too damaged to save… but WJZ reports that replacements have now been put up – recreations of the originals. 

Blacktip Reef Grand Opening Delayed: The National Aquarium in Baltimore has put off the grand opening of its new Blacktip Reef exhibit. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Aquarium officials say the 12-hundred animals that will live in the habitat will need more time to acclimate to their new surroundings.

“Diamond Jim” Still At Large: The 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge has entered its second phase – and a fish named "Diamond Jim" is still on the loose. The state Department of Natural Resources has tagged about 200 rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay, one of which is identified as "Diamond Jim," and worth 20-thousand-bucks to the angler who catches him between now and midnight July 31st. The prize for his capture increases each month he stays off of someone's hook… so if “Diamond Jim” isn’t caught ‘till August, he’ll be worth 25-thousand dollars. 

Blue Crabs Iconic – But How Iconic?: Maryland’s blue crabs are certainly a key part of our cultural identity… and they’re in the running to be one of USA Today’s “Ten Most Iconic Dishes” in America. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the contest is down to 20 regional specialties, and is pitting Maryland blue crabs against such notes foods as Philly cheesesteaks and Atlanta's Southern fried chicken. You can help to make put the blue crab on the final list by voting here.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles are back from a day off to kick off a 3 game set with the Chicago White Sox, in Chicago, tonight.