Shortage of housing for poorest families grows

It's growing increasingly difficult for the poorest families in Baltimore to find affordable rental housing, and some housing advocates worry new housing policies such as privatization could make the problem worse. An analysis by the Urban Institute found a yawning gap between the number of low-income renter households and affordable units available in every jurisdiction in the country. In Baltimore City in 2012, there were 43 affordable units available per 100 extremely low-income households, down from 58 in 2000, according to the study published last week. The number dropped to 16 in Howard County in 2012 from 38 a dozen years earlier. (Balt. Sun) 

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Md. House passes needle exchange expansion

The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a measure to allow drug users to get more than one clean needle at one time in Baltimore's needle exchange program. The House voted 84-51 Friday for the bill. The measure repeals a requirement that needles be exchanged on a one-for-one basis. It would limit new needles to 10 for one used one. (AP/Wash. Examiner)

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Release of Black Panther leader renews decades-old debate

Arthur Turco had defended members of the Black Panther Party across the country, but it was in Baltimore that he would be arrested and jailed — on charges that he and members of the militant group had killed a suspected police informant within their ranks in 1969. After a year in Baltimore's jail and a mistrial, Turco said he was offered a deal: plead guilty to a misdemeanor and go free on time served. After discussing it with his associate, William Kunstler — the radical lawyer who defended such brazen civil disobedients as the Chicago Seven and the Attica prison inmates — they decided to take the offer and run. (Balt. Sun)

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How social media fights repressive regimes

When Emily Parker started writing columns about China and the Internet for the Wall Street Journal in 2004, she was skeptical that fledgling social media sites could make much of an impact. "I wasn't convinced that the Internet was going to be transformative," she said during a recent interview. (An edited transcript of that conversation appears below.) "I thought, 'OK, a little information will get past the censors. But, is that really going to change China?' " (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Museum of Art curator talks about the stolen Renoir

Katy Rothkopf has been curating exhibits at the Baltimore Museum of Art for the past 14 years. But this is definitely the first time she has built an exhibit around a stolen piece of art. A federal judge’s ruling that returned a long-lost painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir to the BMA gave Rothkopf a rare chance to build an exhibit around the donated collection of the late Saidie May. The Baltimore resident donated Renoir’s painting “On the Shore of the Seine (c. 1879)” to the museum in 1951. It was stolen that year and then decades later allegedly discovered by a woman at a West Virginia flea market. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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GMO food-labeling proposals to be introduced in Annapolis

Two bills calling for labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms will be introduced Tuesday in Annapolis. The House Health and Government Operations Committee will discuss HB 1191, and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will discuss SB 0778. As drafted, the bills would require retail-sold food that contains more than 0.9 percent by weight of genetically modified ingredients to be labeled, according to the Need to Know Maryland Campaign, a grassroots effort to get genetically engineered food labeled. (News-Post) 

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State backs off on plan to end cash toll at Hatem Bridge, Harford legislator says

The Maryland Transportation Authority has agreed that the cash toll collection lanes will remain at the Route 40 Thomas Hatem Bridge for at least two years, State. Sen. Nancy Jacobs said Friday. "I appreciate the MdTA listening to my concerns and their cooperation and understanding of the needs of the citizens and businesses in Harford and Cecil County," Jacobs said in a news release. Jacobs' announcement came after the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday passed a bill that would require the MdTA to further study its plan to institute all-electric tolling at the Hatem Bridge and the majority of its other toll facilities, with an eye toward finding an alternative to penalizing drivers who don't use E-ZPass. (Aegis)

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CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager readies for Baltimore tip off

The dribbling of basketballs, the squeaking of sneakers on a hardwood court and the euphoric cheers of diehard college fans will be in full force this weekend at the Baltimore Arena as postseason college basketball returns to Charm City for the first time in nearly 20 years. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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