Preservation Maryland launches city historic preservation fund

Preservation Maryland has launched a new fund aimed at saving and preserving historically significant properties in Baltimore. The fund, started in partnership with the Maryland Historical Trust, Baltimore Heritage Inc. and the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), will give out $50,000 in grants to tax-exempt organizations in the city this year. The maximum grant award is $10,000 and organizations have until April 12 to apply. Projects eligible for the funds include, but are not limited to, rehabilitation work, preparation of National Register nominations and educational, research and planning efforts related to preservation undertakings. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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A spate of sleep-related infant deaths in Baltimore sparks review of successful health program

During a six-week stretch in December and January, six infants died in their sleep in homes around Baltimore. It was the worst spate of sleep-related infant fatalities since the city began a campaign in 2009 to teach new mothers how to avoid such a tragedy, and health officials say they are trying to understand what happened and how to bolster the program. (Balt. Sun)

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City Council considers blocking any future sale of Baltimore's 700-mile underground conduit system

The City Council is considering blocking the sale of Baltimore’s 700-mile, century-old underground conduit system, a move supporters say could encourage a public broadband system in the future. The terra cotta system dates to 1898 and contains telephone, electric and fiber-optic cables. The largest user of the system is the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which sought to buy the system for $100 million in 2015. Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young is the lead sponsor on a bill filed Monday that would ask voters to approve a charter amendment in November 2020 to permanently revoke the authority of city officials to sell the vast system. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Co. Council confirms new administrative officer

The Baltimore County Council unanimously confirmed Stacy L. Rodgers as the county administrative officer on Monday. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. nominated Rodgers last month to the post, which oversees daily operations of county government. At the council meeting Monday, council members praised her qualifications and said she was highly respected by those who have worked with her. (Balt. Sun)

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Former BPD Police Chief’s Tax Fraud Linked To Gun Trace Task Force Scandal

The tax evasion prosecution of Baltimore’s former police commissioner has been linked to the corruption case in which detectives resold seized drugs, conducted robberies and falsified evidence. Darryl De Sousa’s prosecution has been connected to the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal for the first time. A sentencing memorandum filed Friday said officers shared tips about how to get tax refunds by claiming fraudulent deductions. According to the memo, DeSousa “deliberately took steps to defraud the State of Maryland and the federal government.” (WJZ-TV)

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Maryland is an unforgiving state for sex-trafficking victims, study finds

Donna Bruce stood before a beauty class in Baltimore in 2011. She was in her late 30s and teaching around 20 students the physiology of hair, a passion of hers since she was young. What they didn’t know, or she didn’t think they knew, was her past. When she was a teenager, her mom trafficked her for drugs and money. “She would set things up and call it a party,” Bruce said. “She was collecting drugs and dispensing me.” Later, the men from the parties took over, coercing her to have sex with others in return for drugs or money. (Wash. Post)

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Bill prevents Baltimore from placing liens against properties over unpaid water debt

The General Assembly has passed legislation that would ban the city of Baltimore from placing liens against homes, churches and other properties over unpaid water bills. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mary Washington, a Baltimore Democrat, passed the state Senate 47-0 on Friday. A companion bill sponsored by Del. Nick J. Mosby, also of Baltimore, passed the House of Delegates 138-0 in February. Owner-occupied homes can go to tax sale if they have at least $750 in unpaid water bills that are nine months late. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore-area Muslims call for goodwill, a strengthening of faith after New Zealand attack

The leader of Baltimore’s largest mosque urged an overflow crowd to show patience and kindness to everyone around them — and to continue, as always, to reach out and help anyone in need — in response to the Friday morning massacre that took the lives of 49 Muslims in two New Zealand mosques. Sheikh Hassan Lachheb, an imam at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, used his khutbah — the sermon that is part of Jumu’ah, the prayer service Muslims attend on Fridays — to stress that even though it’s natural to experience grief, anger and depression at moments of “great calamity,” it’s at exactly such times that the Islamic faithful are called to summon what’s best in them. (Balt. Sun)

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