Enoch Pratt’s Forest Park library branch next up for renovations

Photo from 2014, via Enoch Pratt Free Library/Flickr

Forest Park’s century-plus-old library is the next Enoch Pratt branch in line for an overhaul.

Two contractors, student injured following explosion at McDonogh School

Photo via Baltimore County Fire Department/Twitter

Two contractors and a child were injured at Owings Mills’ McDonogh School after an explosion in the school’s boiler room that partially collapsed a smokestack, school officials said this morning.

A statement released by the school around noon said the student “sustained a minor injury,” and was released from a local hospital after an evaluation.

Two outside contractors also suffered minor injuries, and one was transported to a hospital for an evaluation, the school said.

The note said “all students, faculty, and staff are safe.” School dismissed early at 11 a.m. after the incident, and all afternoon activities there are cancelled.

The blast caused the top of a smokestack connected to the boiler room to crumble, sending bricks falling to the ground. The smoke tower sits adjacent to the Allan Building, and school officials said the area “has been cordoned off.”

Fire department crews were at the campus investigating Wednesday morning, including a collapse team evaluating the stability of the tower. Officials asked drivers to avoid McDonogh Road while teams were responding.

Units were dispatched to the private school just after 8:30 a.m. A photo later posted by the department showed the damaged top of the smokestack.

A school spokeswoman reportedly notified parents about 20 minutes later that the explosion had occurred in the boiler room.

Per its website, the Allan Building houses administrative offices, the school’s business office, its technology department, the counseling office, music studios, choral music space, the Upper School’s humanities department and a library. It was built in 1929 and was recently renovated.

The school said it contacted a structural engineer today “to assess the building and ensure that the surrounding area is safe.”

This story has been updated.

While Baltimore weighs police gag-order changes, city to pay $75K settlement for woman’s violent 2014 arrest

Photo by Elvert Barnes, via Flickr

Two days after Baltimore lawmakers heard emotional testimony about the city’s use of “gag orders” in settlements for lawsuits against police, officials are set to approve a $75,000 payment to a woman who allegedly was choked, lost a tooth and called a racial slur during a 2014 arrest.

Opioid overdose deaths decline year over year, but remain staggeringly high

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in nearly a decade, Maryland is seeing a decline in overdose deaths in the midst of the nationwide opioid crisis, according to new data from the Maryland Department of Health.

But the number of deaths remains staggeringly high. Through June of this year, 1,060 people in Maryland have died from opioid overdoses, the second-highest level recorded since 2007. Of those, 962 fatal overdoses–or 90 percent–were caused by the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl.

Police find missing Milford Mill woman’s body and car in city, suspect cousin in her death

Charla Melvin. Photo courtesy of Baltimore County Police Department.

Police have located the car of Milford Mill resident Charla Melvin, whose body was found over the weekend in Southwest Baltimore.

In a release put out Monday afternoon, county police said homicide detectives have taken the black Hyundai Santa Fe, discovered at Manhattan and Jonquil avenues in the city’s Glen neighborhood, for forensic examination.

New train station opens at Camden Yards

Photo by Ed Gunts

Baltimore, the birthplace of American railroading, has a new train station.

The Sun loses three key staffers as negotiations on a new contract continue

The Sun’s Port Covington printing plant. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

As newsroom employees continue their fight for wage increases, The Sun is losing three well-known staffers to other jobs.

City Hall reporter Ian Duncan is leaving for The Washington Post, and investigative reporter Doug Donovan and opinion editor Andrew Green are taking positions at Johns Hopkins University, sources at the newspaper confirmed.

Rising heat requires swift action from individuals, neighborhoods

A mural honoring the McElderry Park neighborhood runs along a treeless sidewalk. Photo by Timothy Jacobsen/University of Maryland.

By Dan Novak, Kaitlyn Hopkins, Ian Round and Sandy Banisky
University of Maryland

Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a four-part series on Code Red heat in Baltimore by the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service and the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. A longer version is available to read on the Code Red project website.

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland–Researchers know how cities can ease the impact of climate change. For starters, they can replace some concrete and asphalt with grass and trees, cover tar roofs with reflective white materials, remove the hard pavement that contributes to flooding and substitute permeable surfacing materials that let water drain through.

All those plans are expensive, but Baltimore Del. Robbyn Lewis says cities no longer have the luxury of delay, no matter the politics, no matter the resistance from residents, no matter the cost–even in cash-poor Baltimore.

“Do we want to live,” she says, “or do we want to go extinct?”

Harrison defends crime plan after Hogan’s criticism, mayor says they’ll talk further with governor’s office

Photo by Elvert Barnes, via Flickr

With more criticism lobbed at his five-year crime plan unveiled earlier this summer–this time coming from the governor himself, who knocked it as “status quo”–Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison this morning defended his strategy.

‘Tucker Carlson Live,’ originally set for Oct. 5, called off at Modell Lyric

Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Conservative talking head and Baltimore agitator Tucker Carlson’s early October appearance at the Modell Lyric has been called off.