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Ehrlich, O'Malley Square Off In Heated Debate

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- There was no love lost between incumbent Governor Martin O'Malley and former governor Robert Ehrlich in Thursday afternoon's debate at The Washington Post building.  WUSA9 was a media partner for the debate, along with WAMU 88.5 radio.

"While Bob Ehrlich appointed his unqualified cronies to important positions on the Public Service Commission, we've restored professional regulators..." O'Malley said.

"Governor O'Malley calls immigrants 'new Americans,' if someone breaks into my home, does that make him a new family member for the evening?" Ehrlich asked.

Those types of comments started almost immediately as one candidate blamed the other for ruining Maryland's economy, ignoring schools and cutting jobs in the state.

O'Malley's main message throughout the hour-long debate was to bring Maryland people together "positively and diligently."

9NEWS NOW, Washington Post Bring You Maryland Gubernatorial Debate LIVE Thursday At Noon

WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- A heated debate on Maryland's jobs, education system and, of course, the economy is expected for the debate between Governor Martin O'Malley and Former Governor Robert Ehrlich, today at The Washington Post building.

Ehrlich started off the fireworks Monday by accusing O'Malley, who he referred to as "gov" throughout the debate, of lying about how much money he had saved as governor in the past four years.

O'Malley struck back, by saying that Ehrlich raised taxes throughout his tenure at the state's executive.

Another hot topic for the two candidates in their last meeting Monday morning was education.

Prince George's County Executives Clear Officers of any Cheating

LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA) -- The Prince George's County executive, along with the county's chief of police, have cleared all of their officers from any cheating or wrong doing.

In a news conference at the Prince George's County Police headquarters, county officials said that "no officer is guilty of cheating."

They said the similar test scores can be attributed to a "lazy instructor," coupled with inaccurate media reporting.

Police Chief Roberto Hylton said police and county officials will continue their investigation.

Prosecutions May Be Jeopardized By Police Academy Questions

LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA) -- Fallout from an alleged cheating scandal at the Prince George's County Police Academy could include cases against some accused criminals being dropped, according to State's Attorney Glenn Ivey.

"We'll made decisions on a case-by-case basis on where there may be problems and what information we may have to disclose to the defense bar," Ivey said.

Ivey has asked for and audit from the Police Department in the wake of an internal investigation at the police academy.

Police Chief Roberto Hylton says he is investigating whether dozens of cadets cheated on police academy tests.

The probe includes 146 officers from three classes since July 2009. At least 34 officers are facing specific cheating allegations.

Department records show cadets had perfect scores on at least 11 tests measuring basic skills, arrest procedures and how to testify in court. That raised suspicions among some officials.

Handsfree In Maryland

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) - - The first time you're caught driving in Maryland with your cell phone to your ear it will cost you $40.00 every violation after that carries a penalty of $100 and a point on your driving record.

"People really get distracted when they're on their phone," said Tia Goodwater.

MORE: 9NEWS NOW's Great Hang Up Campaign

But admit it. We've all done it before.

Roger Sullivan said, "I feel a need to see what's happening in my other world when i'm driving so it is a temptation."

"Yes, I have and it's dangerous because i have a kid and i shouldn't be doing it," admitted Sherreen Tolliver.

"It's going to be difficult to enforce." 

Natasha Pettigrew’s Mother Will Take Her Place as Green Party Senate Candidate

Kenniss Henry, mother of deceased Green Party Senatorial candidate Natasha Pettigrew, filed her certificate of candidacy Monday afternoon to fill the nomination left vacant by the death of her daughter last week. Pettigrew was bicycling along the shoulder of Route 202 in Prince George's County when she was hit early last Sunday morning by an SUV. She died last Monday night from injuries sustained in the accident.

The party's Coordination Council unanimously approved Henry's nomination on Sunday and has submitted nomination papers on her behalf. "The Maryland Green Party is grateful to Natasha's mother Kenniss Henry for filling the vacancy left by Natasha's untimely passing", said Brian Bittner, Co-Chair of the Maryland Green Party.

Prince George's Leader Backs County Worker Raises

UPPER MARLBORO, MD. (AP) — The top elected official in Prince George's County is recommending raises for county workers that could cost $12 million a year, despite ongoing budget problems.

County Executive Jack Johnson made a recommendation this month to increase pay by 2 percent for roughly 6,000 union and nonunion employees.

The county has had severe budget difficulties; school system workers took a day of mandatory, unpaid leave Friday and have several more furlough days scheduled. Other county workers have had 20 furlough days in the past two years.

Term limits prevented Johnson from running for re-election and he will have left office by the time the county would fund the increases.