1 MTAAfter years of impassioned pleas (from City Paper, among others), the MTA finally began offering weekend MARC train service to D.C. in December. In response to higher-than-expected ridership, MTA will now add higher-capacity trains into the rotation. We're still hoping for the service to extend beyond 10:15 p.m. on Saturday nights-and maybe to allow bikes on board-but the train of progress is at least moving in the right direction and weekend commuters are grateful.
2 PotThe General Assembly has officially killed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use-disappointing but hardly surprising. A bill that would make possession of under 10 grams of pot a civil offense, punishable only by a $100 fine, seems to have more traction, passing the Maryland Senate 36 to 8. Slowly but surely our legislators seem to be coming to a conclusion that many, maybe most, Marylanders have already come to: The war on weed is a giant waste of time and money.
3 Baltimore Police DepartmentIt's no surprise that BPD reacted swiftly to the shooting of off-duty Sgt. Keith Mcneill on Friday night (he's in critical condition but is expected to survive). Cops served six search warrants in two days and declared suspect Gregg Thomas, who turned himself in to police on Sunday night, "Public Enemy No. 1." We're kinda baffled how police identified the suspected shooter so quickly but are glad he was apprehended. We can't help but hope that every shooting victim gets such swift justice.
4 Anthony BrownAfter months of dysfunction, Maryland is poised to finally flush its turd of a health care exchange and start over with a new system based on a more successful one launched in Connecticut. This is not good news for lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown, who spearheaded the creation of the exchange and has defended it vigorously. He's still the frontrunner in the race and could very well win based on name recognition and low turnout alone, but that may say more about our state's cracked democracy that Brown's bona fides.
5 Gregg BernsteinAn investigation by The Sun revealed that, of 205 cases launched by the State's Attorney's office, 20 percent of suspects were held for over five days with a court appearance*, and some were held for as long as 59 days-a direct violation of citizens' Constitutional right to a speedy trial. The delays are a result of State's Attorney Bernstein's new strategy of having prosecutors, instead of police, charge suspects in a stated effort to "streamline" the process. Bernstein, who is up for reelection this year, might have given fired-up challenger Marilyn Mosby considerably more fuel.
*An earlier version of this story inaccurately reflected the findings of the Sun investigation into how long some suspects were held without a court appearance.