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This Hour: Latest Maryland and Delaware news, sports, business and entertainment

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Farmers learn of changes in new Farm Bill

NEW MIDWAY, Md. (AP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department is offering Maryland farmers a chance to learn about changes in the 2014 Farm Bill affecting natural resources conservation.

The meeting Thursday morning in New Midway is the first of two in the state hosted by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. The second session is set for May 8 in Princess Anne.

The USDA says the Farm Bill passed by Congress earlier this year consolidates several conservation programs in an attempt to streamline the administrative process and reduce the burden on agency staff.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides landowners with assistance in areas including resource assessment and resource monitoring.


Man charged in Anne Arundel County carjacking

HANOVER, Md. (AP) - Anne Arundel County Police say a Washington man has been arrested in a carjacking in Hanover.

Officers say 44-year-old Michael Kirk Smith was arrested Wednesday at an apartment complex in Suitland. He is charged with carjacking assault and other offenses.

Police say on April 17, Smith demanded the car keys from a woman who had just parked at a supermarket. Officers say Smith pulled the woman from the driver's seat and forced her in the backseat.

Authorities say the woman was able to escape and Smith drove the car away. The woman was treated for minor injuries.

The car was found in Washington on Sunday.


Md. flags flown half-staff to honor Torrey Brown

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's flag is flying at half-staff over the State House and at all Maryland Department of Natural Resources facilities to honor a former Maryland Department of Natural Resources secretary who died.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley ordered the flag flown at half-staff Thursday from sunrise to sunset in honor of Torrey Brown. Brown was the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from 1983 to 1994. Before that, he was a member of the House of Delegates from 1971 to 1983. A 21-mile trail in the state that follows a former railway route was named after Brown in 2007.

Brown died on Sunday at age 77.


Announcer relishes role as voice of Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Derby will have a new track announcer this year.

Veteran announcer Larry Collmus will call the race for the thousands of fans at Churchill Downs and the millions watching on TV.

Collmus has called the past three Derbys for NBC Sports and will continue as the network's caller for Triple Crown races and the Breeder's Cup.

At Churchill Downs, Collmus says he'll introduce the traditional song "My Old Kentucky Home" before the race, but he says he'll tune out the sing-a-long because he doesn't want to get emotional.

He replaces British announcer Mark Johnson, who had called Churchill races since 2009.

The 140th Kentucky Derby will be held May 3.


'Voice' winner to perform for Memorial Day in DC

WASHINGTON (AP) - The 2013 winner of TV's "The Voice" will perform at this year's National Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol lawn in Washington.

Organizers are announcing plans Thursday for the Memorial Day festivities on May 25. The lineup this year includes Colin Powell along with Danielle Bradbery from "The Voice."

Other entertainers performing include actress Dianne Wiest, Broadway star Megan Hilty, bandleader Doc Severinsen and singers Jackie Evancho and Anthony Kearns. They will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the program again this year. The concert will be televised May 25 on PBS.

This year's concert will welcome home service members returning from Afghanistan and honor those who were killed or critically wounded. This marks the concert's 25th anniversary on the National Mall.


Philly newspaper lawyers to argue auction rules

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A judge in Delaware could decide Thursday whether Philadelphia's largest newspapers will be sold through an open auction or a sealed bid process.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are being sold because of a feud between investors who bought them in 2012.

The rival factions are led by powerful businessmen George Norcross and Lewis Katz.

Norcross favors an open auction with incremental bids, while Katz has proposed a sealed bid auction.

The sale is being handled by a court in Delaware, where the partners incorporated after buying the newspapers from hedge funds.

Both Norcross and Katz have pledged to bid at least $77 million, enough to make their partners whole.

Chancery Court Judge Donald Parsons Jr. will hear arguments Thursday. It's not clear if he'll issue an immediate ruling.


Man pleads guilty to shooting at officers' homes

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - A man serving time for shooting at a police officer's home in Delaware has pleaded guilty to similar crimes in Maryland.

Twenty-one-year-old Orrin Joudrey of Delmar, Md., pleaded guilty to assault and malicious destruction of property in Wicomico County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Joudrey shot at two deputies' homes and a police officer's home in December 2012. No one was hurt.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that Joudrey is serving an 11-year sentence in the shooting of the home of a Dewey Beach, Del. police officer in December 2012.


Court: Delaware must pay landowners' legal fees

MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Supreme Court has ruled that the state's Department of Transportation must pay legal and other fees for a Middletown couple who successfully challenged an attempt to condemn their property for a highway project.

The state's high court found Wednesday that state law "clearly contemplates" that the reimbursement rule applies to reasonable attorney, appraisal and engineering fees incurred in a condemnation challenge.

The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling last year against the agency's condemnation of the property for the Route 301 project. In the earlier ruling, justices found the agency relied on a flawed appraisal in paying $133,000 for 1.5 acres of a 10-acre plot owned by Jack and Mary Ann Lawson.

The case has been sent back to Superior Court to determine what the Lawsons are owed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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