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Baltimore News Updates from Independent & Regional Media 9/17

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This week’s news includes: MICA faculty vote “no confidence” in leadership, election information and misinformation, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum turns 15, and more reporting from Maryland Matters, WYPR, Hyperallergic, and others.

 

 

Faculty Declare “No Confidence” in Senior Leadership at Maryland Institute College of Art
by Valentina Di Liscia
Published September 14 in Hyperallergic

Excerpt: Alleging an “inadequate and chaotic operation of the current administration,” faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore have withdrawn their support of the school’s leadership. Last week, a faculty assembly conducted a successful vote of no confidence in President Sammy Hoi, Provost David Bogen, VP of Operations and Finance/COO Douglas Mann, and other senior administrators.

The assembly, composed of 111 primarily full-time faculty, supported the decision by 92 votes in favor, with nine members voting against and 10 abstaining. (MICA currently employs 149 full-time faculty in total.)

In a letter to the Board of Trustees announcing the vote, the assembly outlined a series of “deeply systemic issues that have existed prior to this crisis,” which it says have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include claims of poor communication on part of leadership; a lack of financial transparency; excessive workload demands; and unilateral, non-inclusive decision-making practices that neglect the expertise of faculty.

 

 

White Doctor Claims His Daughter Was Attacked in Baltimore by ‘a Group of BLM.’ Receipts Say That’s a Lie
by Zack Linly
Published September 15 in The Root

Excerpt: It seems like the more popular the Black Lives Matter movement becomes in America, the more desperate white people are to discredit it. Usually, their go-to method of making the movement look bad (to other white people) is to take the absolute worst moments during BLM demonstrations—the rioting, the looting and that one time in 2015 when a group of protesters were chanting “pigs in a blanket, fry like bacon”—and pretending those moments are par for the BLM course. And when that doesn’t work, they resort to making up shit.

On Monday, some white man in Texas tweeted that his daughter and her boyfriend were attacked by “a group of BLM” in Baltimore, Md. What that man didn’t realize was that there’s an existing Twitter page that specializes in monitoring and live-tweeting Baltimore police scanners. That page provided all the receipts including screenshots of the original tweet—which is now unavailable to the public—and audio from 911 dispatch. Needless to say, it looks like somebody lying.

See also:

Police watchdog would be silenced under Baltimore scanner encryption plan
by Louis Krauss and Fern Shen
Published September 3 in Baltimore Brew

 

 

Here’s a quick look at the software BPD is adding for training, records management
by Donte Kirby
Published September 14 in Technical.ly Baltimore

Excerpt: As it looks to implement reforms required under a consent decree with the federal government, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is in the midst of some software upgrades.

In recent months, the department detailed plans for technology that will improve its ability to track officer trainings and certifications, replace a nearly two-decade-old record management system and implement software that aims improve retention and wellness among officers.

Most recently, the department said it is adding training and compliance software from Bloomington, Indiana-based Envisage Technologies. The department will implement the Acadis Readiness Suite under a five-year contract costing $1.38M. According to BPD, this will help address the need for more training and de-escalation techniques under the consent decree signed by the city and the BPD to address the longstanding pattern and practice of violations of the first, fourth, and 14th amendments found by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Per a webpage with info on police tech released by the department (another consent decree requirement in itself), the Acadis software is a one-stop shop for monitoring and facilitating trainings in the police department. The program works as a portal for resource management information, such as facility capabilities and instructor availability. It also includes a utility to track records and registration. This will allow the BPD to track, monitor and deliver training for programs through one system.

 

 

Where To Drop Off A Ballot, Vote Early Or Vote On Election Day In Baltimore
by Emily Sullivan
Published September 15 in WYPR

Excerpt: The Maryland Board of Elections approved Baltimore City’s early voting and Election Day voting centers during a Friday meeting.

Early voters can cast a ballot at eight early voting centers, which will open Oct. 26 through Nov 2. Those casting a ballot on Election Day will have 24 election day voting centers to choose from; early voting centers will also host voters on Election Day.

Baltimore’s voting plan includes locations at high schools, Morgan State University and Camden Yards; the ballpark has not officially confirmed the proposal. “Oriole Park has asked to speak for themselves,” City Elections Director Armstead Jones said at the meeting.

The plan also included 31 ballot drop box locations.

See also:

Md. Elections Board claims USPS mail-in voting message “inconsistent” with state guidelines
by WMAR Staff
Published September 14 in WMAR TV 2

 

 

Doctor taking a swab sample. Stock photo by Mladen Sladojevic/Getty Images

State Launches Program Aimed at Reducing COVID-19 in Hispanic Communities
by Hannah Gaskill
Published September 15 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: The Maryland Health Department has convened an inter-agency task force aimed at reducing the COVID-19 positivity rate in Hispanic communities, Dr. Jinlene Chan, deputy secretary of public health services, told lawmakers Tuesday.

The Hispanic Outreach Task Force, spearheaded by the Department of Health, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Human Services in partnership with local organizations, is looking to provide support to Baltimore City to connect underserved Hispanic communities to social services, prevention tactics, isolation housing, educational materials and contact tracing.

Additionally, the task force is experimenting with an intervention program that would provide financial assistance, medical care, isolation, food and other services for families who have tested positive.

A pilot version of the program is set to serve 10 families. Based on its success, it may be expanded to other Hispanic communities in the coming months. The task force plans to first target its efforts in Baltimore City’s 21224 zip code ― a major hotspot.

See also:

Lawmakers, Advocates to Unveil Program to Reduce Health Care Disparities
by Bruce DePuyt
Published September 14 in Maryland Matters

 

 

Living Statement: As the Reginald F. Lewis Museum turns 15, its mission remains as relevant as ever.
by Ron Cassie
Published September 16 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Philip Freelon and Gary Bowden built the mission of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture into its walls.

Two of the country’s most successful Black architects, they combined the bold colors of the state flag with a striking five-story geometry, embedding the themes of struggle and resilience and the story of Black Marylanders into the black granite, glass, brick, and mortar edifice.

“We saw the museum site was next to the [Star-Spangled Banner] Flag House and that’s where we got the idea of re-interpreting the Maryland flag—we Afrocentricized it,” Bowden recalls. “It was one of the first things we decided. Black became ebony—that one is obvious—red became crimson, representing passion but also blood, yellow became gold, and the white we saw as ivory, which means enlightenment. By incorporating the state flag’s colors into the building, we set the history of Black Marylanders and Black Americans alongside the history of America that’s reflected next door at the Flag House museum. They are not separate histories, but part of the same story of this country.”

 

 

The Remington AT308 sniper rifle, sought by Baltimore police, displayed on the website of its British manufacturer, Accuracy International Ltd. (accuracyinternational.com)

After public blowback, Young withdraws request for Baltimore police sniper rifles
by Mark Reutter
Published September 16 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Faced with an onslaught of criticism, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young withdrew a $115,000 contract to buy new Remington sniper rifles for the Baltimore Police Department’s SWAT team.

The contract was removed last night from the Board of Estimates agenda by City Solicitor Dana Moore on behalf of the mayor, who holds a three-vote majority on the board.

Young did not explain why the contract was withdrawn during today’s meeting. Email requests for comment have gone unanswered by his press officer, James E. Bentley II.

The city’s plan to buy state-of-the-art AT308 sniper rifles from a Denver, Colorado, gun shop was not publicly disclosed by the police or the mayor’s office.

After The Brew discovered the contract and published a story about it on Monday, Twitter and social media exploded, with dozens of opponents calling the purchase an example of the city’s misplaced priorities.

 

 

What they won’t be playing: ‘Maryland, My Maryland.’ Photo by The Racing Biz.

Preakness: No More “Maryland My Maryland”
by Frank Vespe
Published September 10 in The Racing Biz

Excerpt: “Maryland, My Maryland” remains – controversially – Maryland’s state song. But it won’t be heard this Preakness day – or likely ever again at Pimlico – snapping a tradition that dated back to 1909.

A company spokesperson confirmed the move September 10.

The Maryland Jockey Club’s decision to ditch the song came as part of the company’s, and the nation’s, reckoning with issues of race and racism that have come to the fore this year following the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man killed by police.

Maryland, My Maryland,” written in 1861 by James Ryder Randall, was adopted by the General Assembly as the state song in 1939. Randall wrote his poem to spur Maryland to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.

 

 

An empty stage at the Ottobar in Baltimore's Remington neighborhood. CREDIT EMILY SULLIVAN/WYPR

Future Of Small Baltimore Music Venues Unsteady As Pandemic Looms On
by Emily Sullivan
Published September 11 in WYPR

Excerpt: As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, non-essential businesses like bars and retail outlets are slowly re-opening. But concert venues like the Ottobar in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood face a particular challenge: they were the first to close and they’ll be the last to fully reopen.

In the before times, a typical Friday night at the alternative music venue involved dancing, drinking and “absolute madness,” said Tecla Tesnau, the Ottobar’s owner.

“Some of our dance parties, the floor just becomes saturated from the humidity of all of the people in the building and the dancing and the singing,” Tesnau said. “It can be overwhelming, but it’s absolutely joyous.”

The venue’s floors haven’t been sticky with spilled drinks since mid-March, when it shuttered amid stay-at-home orders. And the alternative music venue is not alone: Baltimore’s live music scene is dormant. Venues are fighting to financially survive. Some are serving takeout; others, like the Ottobar, have built makeshift patios for drinks outside. But the fact remains that all of these places pay their bills largely through tickets.

 

 

Image courtesy of CDC.

Maryland’s coronavirus hospitalizations drop after yesterday’s large rise
by Marcus Dieterle
Published September 16 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The number of Marylanders currently hospitalized due to coronavirus dropped by 24 patients on Wednesday, the same amount that the metric increased by on Tuesday, state data show.

On Tuesday, Maryland saw the largest one-day increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in about a month and a half.

Maryland’s current COVID-19 hospitalizations have returned to 347 — the same amount recorded on Monday.

See also:

Maryland Acquires 250,000 Rapid COVID-19 Tests
by Rachel Baye
Published September 10 in WYPR

 

 

Header image: Baltimore Ravens' tribute to superfan Mo Gaba, who lost his battle with cancer at age 14

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