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Wangechi Mutu’s “Water Woman.” Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
One year after selling off part of its collection in order to acquire more works by women and artists of color, the Baltimore Museum of Art is showing off some of its purchases.
Directors this week unveiled a new exhibit in the museum’s contemporary wing, entitled “Every Day: Selections from the Collection.” Running until Jan. 5, the show required a complete re-installation of the contemporary collection galleries, the first since 2012, and features works by black artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, including many of the newly acquired pieces.
The museum also announced plans for additional exhibits over the next two years, including major shows on African-American abstract art and women artists. Leaders said they plan to dedicate a year of exhibits and programming to women artists in 2020, to mark the 100th anniversary of U.S. women getting the right to vote in 1920.
“‘Every Day’ underscores the BMA’s commitment to presenting the achievements of artists who have for too long been underrepresented in our artistic and cultural dialogues,” said Christopher Bedford, the museum’s director, in a statement.
“Black artists have deeply influenced the development of modern art and are producing some of the most innovative work of our time,” Bedford said. “This installation captures the aesthetic and conceptual interplay between those artists who have traditionally been celebrated for their vision and work and those that deserve much greater acclaim and examination.”
The goal was to “change the paradigm” in terms of what the museum presents and what visitors see and take away, said Asma Naeem, chief curator.
The “Every Day” exhibit is broken into seven thematic groups that explore different ideas: history, ceremony, violence, material, gesture, shape and self. An eighth gallery contains Isaac Julien’s “Baltimore,” a three-screen video that follows two people exploring three cultural sites in the city, the Walters Art Museum, the Peabody Library and the Great Blacks in Wax Museum.
Containing more than 65 objects, the “Every Day” exhibit features works by several Baltimore artists, including Linda Day Clark, Roland Freeman and Joyce Scott, along with well-known artists such as Andy Warhol, Kara Walker and Ellsworth Kelly.
Amy Sherald’s “Planes, rockets, and the spaces in between.” Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
It also marks the BMA debut of works by Amy Sherald, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Julien and others that were acquired with funds from the sale of seven works that were deaccessioned last year.
The pieces that were sold include: Franz Kline’s “Green Cross” (1956, oil on canvas); Kenneth Noland’s “Lapis Lazuli” (1963, acrylic on canvas); Kenneth Noland’s “In-Vital” (1982, acrylic on canvas); Jules Olitski’s “Before Darkness II” (1973, acrylic on canvas); Robert Rauschenberg’s “Bank Job” (1979, mixed-media mural); Andy Warhol’s “Oxidation Painting” (1978, acrylic paint containing metallic pigment with portions oxidized by urine); and Andy Warhol’s “Hearts” (1979, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas).
Since announcing plans to sell the seven pieces, the museum has acquired 31 works in various media by women and artists of color.
Sherald’s work, entitled “Planes, rockets and the spaces in between,” is the first painting that she created after completing her highly publicized portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. It was also her first painting to depict figures in an outdoor landscape.
Other newly acquired works include:
“Water Woman,” a bronze sculpture of a figure that looks like an African woman with a mermaid’s tail, by Wangechi Mutu (seen above);
Self portraits of South African artist Zanele Muholi and American artist David Driskell;
“R.S.V.P. Reverie,” a sculpture by Senga Nengudi;
“Daily Mask,” a video by Maren Hassenger and others;
“Running Freed More Slaves Than Lincoln Ever Did,” a work of oil and mixed-media on canvas, by Mary Lovelace O’Neal;
“8am Cadiz,” a work of oil on linen, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye;
“Ceremony for Freeway Fets,” a series of photographs by Roderick “Quaku” Young, with Senga Nengudi credited as the artist; and
“Scales of Injustice 2017/2019,” a barbed wire sculpture by Melvin Edwards.
On Sept. 29, the museum will open “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art.” Directors said it will feature nearly 80 paintings, sculptures and mixed-media installations that reflect the power of abstract art and “significant contributions that black artists have made to the development of abstraction” from the 1940s to the present. Featured artists include Kevin Beasley Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Jennie C. Jones and Norman Lewis.
Directors also announced “2020 Vision,” a year dedicated to presenting work by female-identifying artists.
Highlights of the effort will be a large-scale installation in the museum’s two-story East Lobby by Mickalene Thomas; a showing of Candice Breitz’s video works and a major survey of the work of Joan Mitchell.
The museum also plans to reinstall more of its galleries to emphasize “the depth and diversity of women’s artistry through time.”
Baltimost is a Baltimore Fishbowl feature series that asks locals what they love about their city. The idea is to celebrate Baltimore and the people who make it so unique.
So what makes Baltimore the Baltimost to you? It could be a favorite place, a great meal, a memorable interaction or something else entirely. Email suggestions to Karen at Knitkin@baltimorefishbowl.com.
In her words: “I started the Have a Nice Day Project in 2015. It’s a happy hour, once a quarter in a local establishment in Baltimore. You’re essentially coloring at the bar, but really you’re writing positive messages to fellow neighbors in Baltimore who you’ll never meet.
I got the idea at Koba Café in Federal Hill. The coffee cup sleeves had ads on them. The ads had nothing to do with Baltimore–a sales rep had just dropped them off. I realized that if I give a coffee shop free sleeves they will use them.
I hosted the first event at Koba Café. It was a brunch. I brought coffee cup sleeves and Sharpies. For the first one, I gave out suggestions for what people could write on the coffee cup sleeves, but I don’t do that anymore. People come prepared. They have taken full ownership and I love it. We usually get around 70 people. We give the decorated sleeves to Koba, the host, and other local cafes.
I’m originally from D.C., but I’ve spent my entire adult life in Baltimore. I got my communications degree at McDaniel College and worked in corporate America before starting my own business nine years ago.
At the time it was such a big decision to go out on my own, but looking back it seems like a natural choice. We have a core team of seven people, plus freelancers.
We do branding, website design and development, and online marketing. We love working with very passionate businesses and organizations.
One thing I love about Baltimore is people-watching in Fells Point. It still has this Old World charm, with its cobblestone streets and taverns that Edgar Allan Poe could have stumbled out of.
First, go to Pitango Gelato. I get a cone with a scoop of crema and a scoop of espresso. It’s like a nice creamy cup of coffee. Then park yourself on a bench on Broadway Square or overlooking the water. When people come to visit me in Baltimore, this is what we do.”
This week is all about the veg, with events including a summer vegetable cooking class at Gertrude’s and a dinner on Cunningham’s farm.
This week brings lots of good news for Baltimore restaurants, plus fun events to help keep your mind off the raging heat. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:
Openings & Announcements Maximon, the new Mexican restaurant opening in the former Four Seasons Hotel home of Wit & Wisdom, has hired an executive chef. Colin King comes to Baltimore from New York, where he was the director of culinary operations with the Empellon restaurant group.
Atlas Restaurant Group, which is opening Maximon and owns several other Harbor East restaurants, announced this week that Choptank, its hotly anticipated Fells Point seafood spot, will open next month.
Atelier Culinaire, the student-run downtown restaurant managed by Stratford University, has reopened, with seating Wednesday through Friday nights.
Whitehall Mill, the new market opening in Hampden, has announced a killer lineup of vendors, including Roggenart, Ceremony Coffee, FireFly Farms and Gundalow Market. The mill will also include restaurants True Chesapeake Oyster House and Heritage.
An arcade and restaurant from the crew at Secret Sauce Co.will open in the old Red Emma’s space on North Avenue.
Max’s at Wishbone Max’s Empanadas is popping up for one night only at Wishbone Reserve on Falls Road. Head to the fun vintage shop tonight for music, wine and excellent empanadas.
Summer veg cooking
On Saturday at 10 a.m., learn everything you need to know about cooking with summer vegetables at Gertrude’s’New Chesapeake Cooking class. You’ll learn from the best in Joan Norman of One Straw Farm.
Not only will the class be educational, it’ll also be tasty. It includes a three-course brunch, with dishes like crispy rockfish tacos.
Happy first anniversary to downtown Mexican spot La Calle, which turns one on July 23.
Lobo also has a big birthday this month. Last Wednesday, the Fells Point bar, which also has terrific food, turned five. Congrats to them!
Artscape Artscape runs from today through Sunday, and that means a couple things. One, it’s going to be hot (it always is), and two, there’s a ton of good food and drink to be had.
This year’s options include classics like Otterbein cookies, crab cakes and crushes, alongside more interesting fare like Filipino-Soul food fusion, brick oven pizza from an actual trolley car and, for the bold, deep-fried watermelon. And don’t be afraid to drink a lot; it’s for a good cause, with all beverage sales benefiting the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.
Artscape is this weekend, which means its culinary counterpart, Foodscape, is also back. Mt. Royal Tavern is hosting the celebration of food-themed art running until July 29.
Cunningham’s farm dinner Cunningham’s has rescheduled its farm dinner, which was cancelled due to weather last week. It’s now set for next Wednesday, July 24.
The festival features more than 40 food trucks, including local favorites like Gypsy Queen, Smoking Swine, Mexican on the Run and Pasta la Vista, plus tons of live music, a kids’ zone and additional vendors.
Domino on wheels
One Trifecta attendee is especially interesting: the Domino Golden Food Truck is a brand new truck from the sugar maker that will be popping up around town over the next week.
Today it’ll be stopping at the Halfway to Mardi Gras Gathering in Owings Mills, and on Sunday you’ll find it at Kinder Farm Park for the Maryland Food Truck Festival.
The truck will make a few more stops before wrapping up its tour of Baltimore and other cities at the Trifecta festival.
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
The front of Bethel A.M.E. Church at 1300 Druid Hill Ave. Photo by Ethan McLeod.
Baltimore’s inspector general is reviewing a vote cast by city Comptroller Joan Pratt that helped facilitate the sale of 15 city-owned lots to an influential church where she has long been a leading member.
Pratt cast the vote approving a land disposition agreement between the city and Bethel A.M.E. Church for the lots on Nov. 1, 2017, as one of five members of Baltimore’s Board of Estimates, which approves various city spending decisions each week. She did not abstain from the vote, board minutes show.
Pratt has been a member of the church for more than four decades, is one of its trustees and has done taxes pro bono for its non-profit community center, Bethel Outreach Center, for at least four years.
The church, whose congregation includes other high-profile Baltimoreans, including former mayors Kurt Schmoke and Sheila Dixon, received the lots at a steep discount. The spending board agenda said the appraised value for the 15 properties on Etting Street and W. Lafayette Avenue, behind the church, was $1,000 apiece, or $15,000 total. But the city was offering to sell off each one for just $1–$15 in all–so the church could “consolidate and pave the lots for off-street parking for its congregation.”
The board agenda noted Bethel has been caring for the lots for 20 years, with its caretakers, security staff and an outside contractor clearing debris, removing snow and monitoring them at a cost of more than $35,000 to the church. It made the case that selling them would “stabilize the immediate community… eliminate blight, and… add to the local economy by providing jobs on a temporary basis.”
The voting members–Pratt, then-Mayor Catherine Pugh, then-City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Department of Public Works Director Rudy Chow and City Solicitor Andre Davis–moved to approve the deal as part of the board’s routine agenda, a list of items that don’t receive individual attention or discussion at board votes. The sales were finalized about three months later, according to property records.
The move effectively eliminated any potential tax revenue the city could recoup on the 15 lots, since they were gifted to a tax-exempt religious organization.
A neighbor who lives nearby on Druid Hill Avenue, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to compromise the investigation, said they were also contacted by OIG investigators about the transaction and Pratt’s involvement with the church last week.
A source at City Hall familiar with the matter, but not authorized to speak on it publicly, also confirmed the inspector general’s office is investigating the sale.
A mistake, the comptroller says
The Board of Estimates regularly approves spending decisions en masse on the routine agenda without discussing them individually; matters that do receive individual attention are categorized “non-routine” and are often discussed publicly when the board meets Wednesday mornings.
Pratt said in January that her staff regularly flags items in the routine agenda that may pose a conflict of interest for her, and which she should therefore abstain from voting on. But in this case, she said her team did not catch the proposed sale to Bethel A.M.E.–they failed to search for “A.M.E.” with periods in the acronym, she said–and it slipped by her team unnoticed.
She chalked it up as an honest mistake.
“I always abstain on things that relate to Bethel because that’s my church,” Pratt said. “It was just an oversight. I always abstain. Somehow it didn’t get caught.”
The OIG’s review of the parking lot sale comes amid a broader investigation of contracts that came before the Board of Estimates over a roughly two-year period when Pugh was at the helm, which the Baltimore Brew reported in April. That review requested details on spending board members’ outside employment, business ownership and board memberships with private, educational and religious organizations.
A spokesperson for the comptroller said Wednesday that Pratt has not been contacted by the OIG about the parking lot deal, specifically. For the larger investigation, “the inspector general’s office asked for board affiliations, and she is in compliance with that request,” the spokesperson said.
Pratt’s role at Bethel is well-documented. A 2015 story in The AFRO said that year marked her 40th as a member. She’s also served as a steward there in the past, and her spokesperson divulged that she is one of the church’s trustees.
The city’s comptroller of six terms has also volunteered her financial services for Bethel A.M.E. regularly. Tax filings for Bethel Outreach Center, listed at the same address as the church itself, indicate her accounting firm Joan M. Pratt CPA & Associates has done the organization’s taxes annually from 2014 through at least 2017, the latest year for which documents were available. Pratt said she volunteered those services.
Pratt, Dixon and Schmoke are among the powerful group of Baltimoreans connected with the 234-year-old institution on Druid Hill Avenue, which Janette Smith, steward and director of church growth, said has an active membership of 1,331. (Previous estimates of as much as 17,000 were not “reflected in church attendance or other engagement,” Smith said she found when she began working for Bethel in 2016.)
The church for years has been a battleground for political endorsements from its leadership. Through its relationship with developer The Cordish Cos., it was able to secure a cut of the profits from Pier Six Pavilion’s overhaul in 2006. Bethel’s influential longtime pastor, Rev. Frank M. Reid III, who gave endorsements in major elections and helped broker that deal with the Cordish Cos., left to become a bishop for the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2016.
As of 2017, its subsidiary Bethel Outreach Center counted Councilman Eric Costello (11th District), Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Jones, since-retired Baltimore Police commander Lt. Melvin Russell, Upton Planning Committee executive director Wanda Best and Cordish Cos. COO Zed Smith as members of its board, per tax filings.
Pratt in January noted the likelihood that the transaction would have gone through even if she had abstained from the vote.
“It was gonna pass anyway. It wouldn’t have made a difference,” she said. “I didn’t have to vote on it. It was on the routine agenda, so it just kind of got approved with everything else.”
Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming said she could not confirm nor deny whether her office is looking into the sale of the parking lots.
Rev. Patrick Clayborn, who took over as Bethel A.M.E.’s pastor after Reid left, said Monday that he has “no knowledge” of the investigation into Pratt’s vote and has not been contacted by the OIG.
Word of the broader review by Cumming’s office surfaced in April after Pugh’s infamous “Healthy Holly” scandal, which began with The Sun’s exposé on her sales of what turned out to be nearly $800,000 worth of her self-published children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical System and politically connected businesses and nonprofits.
Reporters eventually dug up that Pugh had voted to approve lucrative contracts for organizations and companies that purchased copies of her literature promoting children’s fitness and nutrition.
The unpaved lots at Etting Street and W. Lafayette Avenue, located behind the church. Photo by Ethan McLeod.
Some of the church’s neighbors along Druid Hill Avenue were upset to learn about the property deal–namely that it had already been approved by the city before they learned of it.
In a letter signed by about a dozen people sent to the council president’s office in November 2018, they voiced concerns about Pratt’s role in the vote, and about losing the city-owned lots that they’ve used as auxiliary space for years–parking during street-cleaning days, storing vehicles used for commercial businesses, hosting birthday parties and more.
The neighbors had asked that the spending board review the prior approval of the sale, but they said the council president’s office responded that it was already a done deal.
As for their concerns, church officials maintain parishioners were already parking in the lots during Bethel’s well-attended Sunday services and other events, and that the sanctuary has already been caring for them for years.
And neighborhood groups pushed back against the claim residents weren’t informed about the sale, saying they did the proper outreach. At a community meeting at the church this past January—roughly 15 months after Board of Estimates approved the deal—Marble Hill Community Association president Atiba Nkrumah said his organization had surveyed neighbors about the project in 2017.
Upton Planning Committee member Jules Dunham Howie (also an elder at Bethel and a Bethel Outreach Center board member, per its most recent available tax filing) made a similar argument, saying Bethel had shared its plans for community review on multiple occasions in 2017. Both the Upton Planning Committee, which serves as an umbrella group for six community associations, and the Marble Hill Community Association thus gave the project their blessing.
Addressing individual concerns about parking, Bethel officials said they would let neighbors park there during street-cleaning days and snow emergencies. (Abandoned cars and commercial vehicles would be prohibited moving forward, they said, noting they “should not be parked there even now.”)
Rev. Clayborn concluded the gathering by characterizing the conflict as “growing pains” that they could move past. He preached the need for both sides to work together.
“I do believe that the church does not want to inhibit the growth of the residents, and I do believe that the residents don’t want to inhibit the growth of the church. We all want to grow. The question is, How do we grow together?”
Bethel A.M.E. officials detailed the plans to neighbors at the January meeting, showing a paved parking lot with squat, brick walls around two sides and no gate restricting access to the front.
Nearly a year and a half out from when the $15 sale was finalized, the church hasn’t moved on its construction plans. As of this morning, the properties behind the Druid Hill Avenue church remain unpaved, albeit used for their intended purpose as parking.
It’s been getting hotter all week, so it must mean Artscape is approaching. The big event brings out plenty of crowds, plus there are events happening all around, like Ratscape and PMS (3) Art Market. Stick around when the sun goes down for plenty of after-party events in Station North and beyond.
Friday, July 19 Artscape 2019: July 19-21. Mount Royal Avenue and N. Charles Street transform into an arts festival featuring outdoor installations, films, music, an artist’s market, video games and more. This year’s theme is “Discover,” and music headliners include SWV, James Brown Dance Party and English Beat.
Artscape After Party: July 19-21 at The Depot. DJ Ducky Dynamo and Friends play the N. Charles Street bar to keep the party going.
Ratscape: July 19-21 at YNot Lot/The Crown. The underground music gathering returns to the corner of North and Charles. Each day has a full indoor and outdoor lineup.
The space at 30 W. North Ave as workers prepare the North Avenue Market for Artscape. Photo by Brandon Weigel.
SOBO Sunsets at South Point: 4-10:30 p.m. The Friday night event by the water in Port Covington features music from Jonathan Gilmore and The Experience.
Summer Block Party: 5-9 p.m. at World of Beer. The McHenry Row suds spot features beer from the Eastern Shore’s RAR, plus an oyster tent from Urban Oyster, games and music.
3rd Fridays Canton: 5 p.m. at O’Donnell Square Park. The outdoor happy hour event includes music from John Nichols and Top Dead Center.
Artscape: Station North Crawl: 6-9 p.m. at Station North/Rituals Bar. BmoreArt and North Avenue Market host a tour of arts organizations, businesses and institutions with activities throughout the neighborhood. Check out the market in the former home of Red Emma’s, which is soon to be the home of an arcade from MAGFest and restaurant from Secret Sauce Co.
Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World: 7 p.m. at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The ’90s alt-rock heroes join forces for the co-headlining Summer Gods Tour, and bring indie rock group Ra Ra Riot along for the ride.
The Full Ver-monty: 7-11 p.m. at R. House. The evening in Remington features cocktails with Barr Hill Gin, Shacksbury Cider and cheese from Jasper Hill Farms.
Nerd Luau: 7 p.m. at Sandlot. Fandoms unite for a party with a cosplay photo shoot, drink themes, limbo contest and more.
Bmore Hip Hop Karaoke: 8 p.m. at Le Mondo. The event holds a special Artscape after party edition with DJ Harvey Dent, hostess Ellen Gee and Femi the Drifish.
The Original Poe Grave Ghost Tour: 8-11 p.m. at Lord Baltimore Hotel. Running between the Lord Baltimore Hotel and Westminster Burying Grounds, the tours recount the haunted history of Baltimore.
Artscape After Hours: 9 p.m. at Station North stage. The party keeps going on Charles Street after the festival’s official closing time.
4 Hours of Funk: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at Metro Gallery. Following a recent hiatus due to Windup Space closing, the party returns for Artscape with Baltimore club DJ KW Griff, plus DJs Fleg and Graham Hatke.
“8 Short Plays”: Through July 21 at Mercury Theatre. The “surreal vaudevillian variety show” features work from Theresa Columbus in collaboration with Sarah Jacklin.
Saturday, July 20 “The Lion King”: 9:30 a.m. at The Senator Theatre. The screening of the live-action edition of Disney’s classic features a portion of proceeds going to Touching Young Lives, Inc., which provides Portable Alternative Cribs to those in need of safe sleeping spaces for infants.
Bmore Into Comics: 1-6 p.m. at Monument City Brewing Company. The event highlighting local comic book creators and distributors features nine exhibitors, plus a lending library.
Summer Eclipse: 1-8 p.m. at Suspended Brewing Company. The Pigtown brewery debuts Moonshot, an India Black Ale that’s part of a collaboration “duel” with Peabody Heights. The event features food from Masarap Bmore, vocals from Lydia Grmai and Jasmine Edwards and black-and-white photography from Kplenz.
International Reggae Day Festival: 2-8 p.m. at Charm City Meadworks. The event features live music by Fasimbas, Caribbean and vegetarian food, lawn games, snow balls and more.
Inaugural Highlandtown Crab Feast: 3 p.m. at 3800 Claremont St. The Highlandtown Community Association benefit features crab and sides from Captain Frank’s Seafood, beer and wine from Monument City, music, games and a 50/50 raffle.
Sip & Stroll: 5:30 p.m. at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The adults-only event features some wild education during an evening tour of the zoo, along with beer and wine.
Spirits Moon Landing Party: 7:30 p.m. at Spirits Tavern. The bar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with costumes, drink specials and cosmic music.
Image via “The Whole Bushel” on Facebook.
Eze Jackson’s Artscape After Party Release: 8 p.m. at Metro Gallery. The Baltimore hip-hop artist celebrates the release of “FOOL,” his third solo album. Performing on the bill along with Jackson: Mighty Mark, Aus Taylor and Illmite World and Konjure Collective.
A Culture of House: 9 p.m. at Factory 17. Deep Sugar’s all-night dance party for Artscape weekend features music from SGS Sugar Girl Squad, Thommy Davis, Damon Ramsey and N’dinga Gaba.
State of the Art – A Creative Kickback: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Montego Bar & Grille. Stoop Nerds hosts the event featuring artists Vanda Hill, Denise Williams and Akio Evans, showcasing and selling their work.
Artscape After Hours: 9 p.m. at Station North stage. The party keeps going on N. Charles Street after the festival’s official closing time.
Skin Tight Soul Party: 9 p.m. at The Crown. Landis Expandis plays Sci-Fi funk during the party featuring rare groove.
Sunday, July 21 MD Food Truck Festival:11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Kinder Farm, Millersville. The festival brings out 20 food trucks, plus a kids area.
Maryland Fiesta Latina: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville. The event features authentic Latin food, music, arts and more.
PMS (3): noon-6 p.m. at Metro Gallery. The feminist art market organized by Owlcheek Studios highlights more than a dozen talented artists.
LEGO Display: noon-5 p.m. at The Shops at Kenilworth. Classic Bricks is building a giant Maryland-themed Lego city. Check it out in Towson.
The Sandlot in Harbor Point. Image via Facebook.
Silent Disco Party: 6 p.m. at Sandlot. City of Gods hosts the dance party with headphones on, featuring music from multiple DJs.
Iration: 6:30 p.m. at MECU Pavilion. The reggae group stops by the Inner Harbor on the Live From Paradise! tour.
Blink-182 and Lil Wayne: 7 p.m. at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The pop-punk stalwarts and Weezy may seem like an odd pair, but their mash-up of “What’s My Age Again?” and “A Milli” will make you a believer.
UNION Craft Brewing celebrates 7 years with four bands, food and plenty of new brews on July 27.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, center, unveils two new crime-reduction plans. Image via Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s Twitter page.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison today rolled out two plans for driving down crime and transforming the Baltimore Police Department, promising new metrics for officers, such as 10-minute response times, and to use data to deploy officers in focused patrol areas where crimes are statistically more likely to happen.
The new framework also centers around prevention and offering proper rehabilitation for returning citizens. While coordinating with programs like Safe Streets and Roca to intervene before a crime is committed, the department will also work with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice on a pipeline for ex-offenders “to gain access to stable educational and economic opportunities” through workforce training and other initiatives.
Flanked by Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Council President Brandon Scott, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert K. Hur and a number of city council members and delegates, Harrison said at a press conference today the two plans go together.
“Because when the department operates more efficiently and more effectively, we will better be able to reduce, deter and prevent crime,” he said.
BPD analyzed data on gun-related violent crimes over the last five years to draw up the zones, and found the micro-targeted areas represent one-third of all such incidents since 2015.
The department also looked at the times and days of the week when these incidents occurred to decide when to deploy officers to zones. Incoming crime data will evolve and influence the way officers are deployed, Harrison said.
But he also noted there will be more community-oriented practices in these zones, with additional police patrolling on foot and attending community meetings.
The commissioner said he will meet weekly with Mosby to discuss homicide, shooting and armed robbery cases “to enhance the quality of cases that the BPD builds” for the State’s Attorney’s Office to prosecute.
Officers will now have more accountability metrics and performance goals under a revamped COMSTAT system, offering statistics on use of force, citizen complaints, crime trends, clearance rates and other data. Harrison is setting the benchmark of 10 minutes for response times to calls.
To make better use of the department’s human capital, certain positions that have officers on staff, such as crime scene technicians, academy instructors and public relations, will put those cops back on the street, the plan says.
In his remarks, Young elaborated on adopting preventative measures, labeling trauma and historic disinvestment as primary causes of violent crime. He said the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and police will work with communities to “understand what is needed to reach those who wish to turn their lives around.”
Both agencies will partner create programs focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy and transitional employment, he said.
Other officials hailed the plan as needed and long overdue.
Noting that she’s worked with five different commissioners over the last three years and three different mayoral administrations, Mosby said she’s “incredibly encouraged” by Harrison’s plan, which she said takes a holistic approach.
“And when you look at our city, it is incredibly important to take a holistic approach and understand that it can’t just be an enforcement perspective,” she said.
City Council President Brandon Scott, who joined with Councilman Eric Costello last month to request a comprehensive plan, said he finally got his wish–something he’s asked for since he started as chairman of the Public Safety Committee in 2017.
“We were never presented with something that we can take out to the citizens, that the citizens of Baltimore can see, that we can believe in, that we can hold BPD accountable for,” he said. “So we are grateful to Commissioner Harrison, and for the mayor for pushing him to do that.”
Vape pens containing cannabis oil. Photo via Weed Porn Daily/Flickr.
Maryland cannabis regulators have chosen Morgan State University to assess more than 200 applications from hopeful cannabis growers and processors vying for 14 new licenses in the state’s regulated market.
A panel of experts, led by the university’s assistant vice president for research innovation and advocacy, Timothy Akers, will be entrusted with scoring and ranking 104 processor applications and 109 grower applications, according to an announcement today from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
The panel will score them based on various elements, including management, business operations, human resources, security, occupational safety, commercial horticulture and agriculture operations, commercial lab operations, pharmaceutical manufacturing operations and communications.
Akers said in a statement that the historically black Northeast Baltimore school is “honored to be working with MMCC and the people of Maryland in helping to further the Cannabis enterprise for the State.”
“Our team will endeavor to provide the highest quality assessments and evaluations of each and every application.”
The panel will help to pick the winners for four new grower and 10 new processor licenses, created in a 2018 law aimed at bringing more equity to the most profitable tiers of Maryland’s medical cannabis economy.
African-American lawmakers and allies spearheaded the effort after the first round of applications led to no licenses being awarded to black-owned growing and processing enterprises in a state where blacks have overwhelmingly suffered from policing of the plant that’s now being liberalized. The initial round awarded 15 licenses apiece for growers and processors.
Pressed by the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered a disparity study that wound up confirming minorities, as well as women, had been shut out of the industry.
The study cleared the way for the law passed in 2018, which adjusted the application process to give more consideration to racial and ethnic minorities and women who apply, a step intended to boost diversity in the next round of picks. The legislation also created several new licenses for existing growers to become processors, and existing processors to become growers.
MMCC Executive Director Joy Strand today said the state currently has 17 licensed processors—one is still awaiting full approval—and 16 licensed cultivators, with two more awaiting full approval.
Now the state plans to add 14 more.
Morgan State’s panel will be evaluating applications through Aug. 26. Regulators will then review the scores in September, and plan to announce the awardees on Sept. 26, per the MMCC’s website.