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Delaware; Maryland ; Howard County ; Maryland ; Delaware; Police: 4-year-old struck; in head by stray bullet ; Authorities search for missing man, autistic son ; County executive's email list used in phishing scam ; Financial disclosure required for inaugural balls ; 'Thank God nobody was hurt': Wind destroys church's steeple

Capital - 12/25/2018


Police: 4-year-old struck

in head by stray bullet

MILFORD, Del. - Police in Delaware say a 4-year-old girl is hospitalized after she was struck in the back of the head by a stray bullet as she stood next to a Christmas tree inside her apartment.

Milford police told news outlets the girl was taken to Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children after Sunday night's shooting.

Officers dispatched to the apartment complex learned there had been a fight between multiple people in the courtyard and that someone in that fight then fired a handgun. Detective Timothy Maloney said one of the bullets hit the child.

The girlfriend of the child's father told the Delaware News Journal the girl had been standing near a small Christmas tree, under which was a present she was waiting to open.


Authorities search for missing man, autistic son

CLEAR SPRING - Authorities in Maryland say a man and his 10-year-old autistic son are missing they left their home to look at Christmas lights.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office told news outlets Enrique "Henry" Alejandro Vela and his son, 10-year-old Michael Anderes Suarez-Vela, were last seen Sunday at 8 p.m.

Officials say the father and son were traveling in a blue Hyundai Elantra with Maryland registration plates 4CZ4512.

Howard County

County executive's email list used in phishing scam

ELLICOTT CITY - A Maryland county is warning residents that its executive's distribution list was used in a phishing scam that sends emails that appear to be from Netflix.

Howard County announced that Calvin Ball's Constant Contact was compromised Sunday, and told residents to delete emails with the subject line "Account Cancellation." A screenshot from WMAR-TV shows that the emails appear as if they're from Netflix but feature Ball's county email address.

The county said Monday that an unauthorized user created three phishing campaigns associated with the account, sending emails to 35,000 recipients. About 2 percent of recipients clicked on the link. Constant Contact disabled the link attached to the emails. It also temporarily suspended the account, but it's now back online.

Ball apologized in a statement to those who received the email.


Financial disclosure required for inaugural balls

For the first time in Maryland, private donations from people and corporations that fund inaugural festivities for the governor will be made public in financial disclosure reports required by law.

While the measure was passed in 2015 and signed into law by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, his inauguration for a second term in January will be the first one since the law went on the books. Maryland law previously was silent on the matter of disclosing how much corporations were spending to pick up the tabs of inaugural balls.

Damon Effingham, executive director of the government-watchdog group Common Cause Maryland, described the Maryland law as "a good step forward" in increasing transparency. Still, he questioned whether "lavish inauguration events (is) a culture we want to continue," and said he hoped that the state one day will enact "capped limits" on inauguration spending.

The state of Washington is among the few states that have taken steps to reduce the use of corporate money in inaugural celebrations by designating a non-partisan committee of citizen volunteers to plan inaugural balls, with all costs covered by the price of admission.

The Maryland law prohibits an inaugural committee from making a political contribution or using the money for any purpose other than financing the inaugural celebrations. In 1983, then-Gov. Harry Hughes was criticized for using a $125-a-plate inaugural ball to help pay off his $86,000 campaign debt.

If a Maryland governor uses private money for inaugural festivities, the donations will have to be received by an inaugural committee. The committee is required to file reports with the state elections board, which will make them public online. The first report will be due March 7.


'Thank God nobody was hurt': Wind destroys church's steeple

BETHANY BEACH, Del. - Fierce winds have destroyed the steeple of a Catholic church in Delaware.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reported Saturday that windy weather in Bethany Beach blew off the steeple of the St. Ann Catholic Church late last week. The church's priest, the Rev. John Klevence, says the loss of the steeple won't affect the church's scheduled Christmas mass.

The steeple was attached to the church's parish hall, which was the original church when the structure was built in 1955. Klevence says the steeple toppled sometime between Thursday and Friday, and he thanks God no one was injured.

Additionally, the steeple's loss won't affect the ringing of the church's bells. Klevence the steeple didn't contain real bells, but instead housed a speaker that played a recording. He says the speaker wasn't damaged.


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