Adam DeRose

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JP Morgan Chase to open ‘community branch’ at Mondawmin Mall this fall

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Baltimore City officials and representatives from JP Morgan Chase on Tuesday break ground on the bank’s new “community branch” that is planned for Mondawmin Mall. Photo by Adam DeRose.

JP Morgan Chase is planning to open a new “community branch” in West Baltimore later this fall, the company announced Tuesday.

Mayor Brandon Scott joined city officials, community leaders and representatives from Chase for a groundbreaking event outside Mondawmin Mall, where the bank plans to open the new location.

New art installation in East Baltimore lights the way for better community connections

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A new lighted art installation called The Beacon is part of a project to transform dark, unwelcoming underpasses in the area into links connecting East Baltimore neighborhoods. Photo by Adam DeRose.

Lit blue and amber to mirror the twilight, a new art installation in East Baltimore aims to make the area safer, more welcoming, and more visually appealing.

Mayor Brandon Scott joined elected officials, community leaders and residents Monday evening to celebrate and dedicate the 16 neon structures lining sidewalks of the Amtrack underpass along Gay Street between Wolfe and Ellsworth streets.

At Mondawmin, the CEO of Whiting-Turner invests in a community and is listening to it

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Whiting Turner CEO Tim Regan recently purchased the years-empty anchor Target building at Mondawmin Mall and plans to open a new community “hub.”

Leaders in West Baltimore are envisioning how a new community center at the Mondawmin Mall could serve surrounding neighborhoods, and they’re reimagining how the historic mall interacts with area residents.

A Dollar General store is a ‘slap in the face’ to Waverly, but building owner is working on agreements

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A Dollar General store is getting ready to open on Greenmount Avenue in Waverly despite opposition. Photo by Adam DeRose.

A new Dollar General store is set to open soon in Waverly, despite pushback from neighbors, community leaders and elected officials who say they had a grander vision for a long-vacant space.

‘A huge source of pride’: Powerful space telescope commanded from Baltimore

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The James Webb Space Telescope is being controlled from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, a source of pride for those who live and work in the city. Credit: Yong Taing

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is nearing its final destination about a million miles away, and in Baltimore, scientists and engineers are working to make sure that happens smoothly.

Jackhammers at night and intersections closed off: BGE falls short on communication during repairs, residents and City Council member say

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A street mural at Waverly Commons was damaged by BGE utility repairs, and has not been fully restored.

Samantha Solomon was prepared for an overnight power outage on Dec. 1, after receiving a November letter from BGE alerting her of the plan.

But then there was another outage a week later on Dec. 7. This time she had no notice from the utility company, a major inconvenience since she works from home.

A third outage soon followed. BGE contractors worked on a utility pole behind her house on the 400 block of 24th Street. Solomon said she learned about the third outage on a door hanger about a week before the lights went out, but even then, the outage lasted longer than expected.

Roland Park Community Foundation prevails in effort to buy country club land for park

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The Roland Park Community Foundation has purchased Baltimore Country Club land to become Hillside Park.

A new 20-acre park is coming to North Baltimore after a neighborhood group successfully negotiated the purchase of land belonging to the historic Baltimore Country Club.

Bright lights, big city: Baltimore signage district to bring energy to downtown

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A projection installation on the D & F Tower in Denver. (credit: Third Dune Productions/Nightlights Denver)

Select buildings in downtown Baltimore could soon be ablaze with lighted signs and digital billboards, following permission last month by the Baltimore City Council.

Within a new district created by ordinance, more than a dozen electronic signs could be located throughout downtown — displaying art installations and interactive gaming opportunities while generating revenue for arts and downtown programming. The scale of the new signage district, officials note, would not be akin to Times Square in New York City or the Vegas strip – but is modeled after successful programs in Denver and Atlanta.

“The concept is not to overwhelm the visual beauty that we already have here,” said Lauren Hamilton of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. “I think we all love Baltimore, the architecture and the views. It is not the intent of this initiative to change that at all.”

Ban on plastic bags in Baltimore takes effect Friday Oct. 1

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A ban on plastic bags in Baltimore takes effect Oct. 1 , 2021

Baltimore’s plastic bag ban is set to take effect on Friday Oct. 1, and after months of postponements, residents and businesses are bracing for the change.

The ordinance bans plastic bags at checkout. Alternative single-use options, such as paper bags, will be subject to a 5-cent fee, and a penny of that fee goes to the city.

Baltimore mail delivery remains among worst in nation, and officials scramble to respond

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Some customers are avoiding the Hampden post office, saying it is continually out of supplies and stamps.

Audrey Bergin was shocked when she saw a yellow postcard in her mailbox informing her that if she did not respond to a jury summons questionnaire, she faced a $1,000 fine or even jail.

The warning was the first she heard about a summons.

“That was kind of concerning,” said the Hampden resident, “and led me to think, ‘what else are we not getting in the mail?'”

Bergin is among a legion of Baltimore-area residents who continue to report lost or delayed mail more than a year after a controversial Trump-era official began major changes at the United States Postal Service. Mail delivery in the Baltimore region continues to lag the nation and is so poor that the USPS inspector general has launched a targeted investigation. Federal and local political leaders are grappling to address the concerns of their constituents and point to staffing as a major contributor.

Getting edgy to promote vaccines: The city health department’s social media campaign takes off.

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The Baltimore City Health Department’s series of memes promoting vaccinations have swept the internet.

Ginger ale can’t cure COVID-19.

That message went viral this month thanks in large part to the Baltimore City Health Department’s social media strategy, which has included a series of attention-grabbing memes designed to promote vaccinations.

“We really touched on something that a lot of people, either seriously or not seriously, really do think will prevent COVID, because they do make you feel better,” said department communications director Adam Abadir about the “Ginger ale can’t cure COVID, Derrick” meme.

All or nothing: Two-thirds of Baltimore restaurants get zilch from federal relief fund

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Faidley’s restaurant in Lexington Market was shut out of federal restaurant relief funds, while Phillip’s Seafood received $5 million.

After a shutdown in the spring of 2020, the Golden West Café in Hampden muscled through the pandemic by adding outdoor seating, increasing wages and buying protective equipment for staff.

Composting expands in Baltimore with new drop-off pilot program

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Baltimore residents can drop food scraps at bins at a city collection facility on Sisson Street and four other locations.

Baltimore residents can now bring their food scraps to compost bins at each of the city’s five Department of Public Works citizen drop-off sites as part of a new pilot program expanding composting options across the city.

Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, grains and bread, coffee grounds and tea bags will be accepted at the bins, officials said.

Walking, biking and riding to Druid Park: “Complete Streets” planning gets underway

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Baltimore transportation officials are working on a series of Complete Streets projects around Druid Hill Park.

Baltimore is reimagining what the busy thoroughfares running along Druid Hill Park could look like in the future and asking for residents’ input to make the park friendlier for bicycles, scooters and pedestrians.

The Druid Park Lake Drive Complete Streets planning and concept design project is mapping out neighborhood priorities as the city transportation department works to improve the roadway for all types of transportation.

With underground water storage tanks installed, planning for Druid Hill Park shoreline amenities gets underway

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The construction of new underground reservoir tanks at Druid Hill Park is near completion, so planning of shoreline amenities can begin.

As a massive reconstruction of a Baltimore reservoir at Druid Hill Park nears completion, the project is set to move to a new phase: reimagining a destination shoreline with artwork, swimming, biking and other amenities for city residents.

In the meantime, Baltimoreans and commuters can expect a reprieve from construction and roadwork before the next stage gets underway.

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