Feb. 11 // Ceasefire Baltimore

Of the ideas for reducing violence in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's State of the City address, the one with the greatest potential for immediate impact on Baltimore's skyrocketing homicide rate is her commitment to fully pursuing a set of crime fighting strategies known as Operation Ceasefire. Developed in Boston in the 1990s, Ceasefire is based on what is by now a familiar premise in Baltimore, that a disproportionate amount of violence is committed by a small and inter-related set of people. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore's man to see

Willard Hackerman held no public office, but he was as much a city father to Baltimore as any mayor or City Council member, delegate or senator. Few, if any, have had a larger impact on this community than the 95-year-old man who died at Johns Hopkins Hospital Monday morning, and few have demonstrated greater devotion to it. (Balt. Sun)

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Juliette Bell -- UMES mission: maximizing potential

Maximizing potential: At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, that’s what we strive to do each day. As the lower Eastern Shore’s oldest institution of higher education, our doors are open to students with the potential to be successful. Concern for where students are going and how we can help them get there has been a priority rather than the socioeconomic conditions that may have limited their access to advanced education and stilted their desire to achieve. (Daily Times)

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Dan Rodricks: Heroin's lasting grip in Baltimore suburbs

One day in February 2000, I sat in a police car on Poplar Grove Street in West Baltimore to observe a reverse sting: Instead of attempting to buy heroin from dealers, undercover officers were offering to sell it to users. They cleared out the regular salesmen, took over their corners and waited for the customers to arrive. The police arrested 53 people that day, including the daughter of a prominent contractor and a fellow who lived in an upscale city neighborhood. (Balt. Sun)

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Timb Mantegna: Redistricting reform?

Maryland’s congressional district map is embarrassing. U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes has the distinction of representing a district often described as “a broken-winged pterodactyl,” and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called “outrageously unconstitutional.” As characterized by The Washington Post, our map is a “mockery of democracy.” (News-Post)

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Mitchell MacNaughton: Talking trash in Baltimore

A used diaper, a half-eaten banana and a ripped shirt. The significance of these three items could be anything, depending on the person. But for me, these random objects represent a glimpse of the trash that could be littering my neighborhood at any given moment. (Balt. Sun)

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Heroin use a growing problem for nation, county

The word “epidemic” shouldn’t be tossed around recklessly. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2012 put the number of respondents reporting heroin use at some point in the past year at 0.3 percent — in other words, three out of every 1,000 people surveyed — instead of the 0.2 percent of 2011. So we’re talking about a comparatively small number of people, and many experts believe the upswing in heroin use among them is tied to the success of police and pharmaceutical companies in limiting access to OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. (Capital)

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Marcia Boyle: Newborn screening would save lives

Maryland is justifiably proud of being a leader in many health care initiatives. Yet when it comes to adopting a simple policy that would save the lives of babies, Maryland policymakers are sadly behind much of the nation. While more than half of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened as newborns for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID), no babies in Maryland are screened for the condition. As a result, babies born with SCID in Maryland will be at a severe disadvantage, and some of them will die. (Balt. Sun)

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