A year after the Bell Foundry was shut down, Baltimore's DIY arts scene remains in flux

When Butch Dawson walks by the former Bell Foundry, the vacant, 13,000-square-foot building the Baltimore rapper once called home, he often stops, just momentarily. “I look up, and look inside the windows, and get this weird nostalgia,” said the 24-year-old West Baltimore man. “There was no negative energy. It was a true safe space in the center of the arts scene. It couldn’t have been any better than that.” The former industrial building on North Calvert Street housed dozens of artists of varying backgrounds and practices, and regularly hosted unsanctioned live performances, fostering a free-spirited and supportive community that enlivened the Station North arts district. But then a fire last December at a similar space in Oakland, Calif., killed 36. (Balt. Sun)

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Bus locator app available on New Year’s Eve

Ocean City is celebrating the New Year with the introduction of the highly anticipated bus locator application. Debuting on New Year’s Eve, the enhanced service will allow bus patrons to view real-time location of buses with the TransLoc Rider app. Available for both iOS and Android, users of the app can watch Ocean City buses moving in real time, as well get an accurate arrival prediction of buses to their exact location via the app’s text messaging feature. (Dispatch)

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December 14 // Anti-violence program Roca, funded by private donors, coming to Baltimore, Mayor Pugh says

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday that an anti-violence program that focuses on the most troubled teenage boys and young men is coming to Baltimore, thanks to $10 million donated by charities and business leaders. Pugh had been seeking $16 million to bring the program, called Roca, to Baltimore for four years. She received commitments from several private foundations totaling $3.5 million, and at a meeting with the Greater Baltimore Committee last week secured $6.5 million more from businesses. (Balt. Sun)

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CareFirst initiates programming, funding efforts to combat opioid problem

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is committing new programming and $1.5 million to help combat the region's ongoing opioid epidemic. The state's largest insurer announced several initiatives during a press conference at City Hall Wednesday, all aimed at addressing opioid use and addiction problems among its members. The programs include developing a network of addiction recovery centers to which members in need of treatment can be referred, enhanced prescription drug monitoring and new limits on allowable prescription quantities and durations for certain drugs. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Mayor approves $10 million for affordable housing

Mayor Catherine Pugh and the Board of Estimates Wednesday approved the allotment of $10 million in future bond money for affordable housing. The money, which would start flowing in the summer of 2019 and continue through mid-2021, is higher than originally contemplated by the Pugh administration, but still far short of the $40 million sought by the Baltimore Housing Roundtable. (Brew)

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Hopkins favored out-of-state patients over locals to increase revenue, lawsuit claims

A former supervisor in the patient appointments department at the Johns Hopkins Health System Corp. has accused the medical system in a lawsuit of prioritizing out-of-state patients over Maryland residents to boost revenue. Anthony C. Campos said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court that his department was directed with the task of “filling the plane” with patients from outside Maryland. The directive to bring in more of these patients came from the highest ranks at the medical system, the lawsuit contends. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland health exchange extends deadline to enroll in Obamacare

Marylanders seeking health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act will get an extra seven days to sign up, state officials announced Wednesday. The new enrollment deadline is December 22 rather than Friday. The deadline was extended by a week to accommodate procrastinators and avoid a last-minute enrollment crush at the end of this week. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore Co. to require more employee training to prevent sexual harassment

Baltimore County employees will be required to undergo sexual harassment prevention training every three years under a policy change announced Wednesday by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Under current policies, county workers undergo an hourlong training session once, when they are newly hired. But Kamenetz cited “the revelations across the nation over the past few months [that] have been very disturbing” in making the change. (Balt. Sun)

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