Health Department issues Code Blue warning for Sunday evening

Image via Facebook.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa issued a Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert for Sunday evening into Monday morning, when temperatures are expected to dip into the low 20’s.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are forecast to drop to 21 degrees on Sunday night, with wind gusts as high as 23 mph. Prior to that, the forecast calls for a mix of rain and snow throughout most of the day Saturday.

BPD detective indicted for role in gun-planting incident tied to GTTF

Gun Trace Task Force members (top row L-R) Thomas Allers, Momudo Gondo, Maurice Ward and Marcus Taylor, and (bottom row L-R) Jemell Rayam, Evodio Hendrix, Daniel Hersl and Wayne Jenkins. Images via the Baltimore Police Department.

Federal prosecutors indicted a Baltimore police detective over his alleged role in helping Gun Trace Task Force Sgt. Wayne Jenkins plant a gun on a man he had hit with his pickup truck in 2014.

Robert Hankard, 43, is also charged for allegedly falsifying police reports from a 2015 drug bust, and giving false testimony about the gun-planting incident when he appeared before a federal grand jury in February 2019.

Tribune Publishing proposes buyouts, raising prospect of more Baltimore Sun departures

Photo by Brandon Weigel.

Tribune Publishing, owner of more than a half dozen newspapers, including The Sun, is starting the new year offering company-wide buyouts, president and CEO Tim Knight announced in an email to employees.

Baltimore mayoral candidate and former BPD spokesman T.J. Smith releases crime plan

Smith in 2018. Photo via T.J. Smith Media/Facebook.

Former Baltimore Police Department spokesman and mayoral candidate T.J. Smith released today his crime plan, calling for targeted policing where the murders happen, putting more police officers on the street, and disrupting the flow of guns into the city, among other initiatives. Smith, who most recently worked as a spokesperson for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., served as chief spokesman of the BPD from 2015 to 2018.

“We can change the culture of gun violence in our city, but we must also change the approach of City Hall,” he said in a statement. “Real, immediate results can be seen with a mayor who has the policing experience, vision, and trust of the community.”

Baltimore mayoral candidates respond to record homicide rate

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The death on Dec. 31 of a man shot two weeks earlier marked the 348th murder in Baltimore last year, the highest homicide rate — 57 per 100,000 residents — on record.

The final weeks of the year were especially deadly, with a mass shooting injuring seven people, the murder of a mother-of-four in the deli where she worked, and the murder of a hair salon owner in her shop. Two days before the close of 2019, four men were shot, and three killed, in a North Baltimore house.

The city’s destructive violence has become the number one issue of the mayoral primary, just over three months away, as residents, business leaders, clergy and others demand solutions and a change in direction to reduce the bloodshed. 

Baltimore Fishbowl’s Top 10 news stories of 2019

Mayor Catherine Pugh displays a “Healthy Holly”-affiliated bib on March 28. Still via live stream from Charm TV/Facebook.

Baltimoreans would be forgiven for thinking the last year was really more like five or 10 years. All the turbulence and uncertainty from various scandals and seismic changes had many residents wondering, “What could possibly happen next?” Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest stories from the last year.

1. After being swept up in “Healthy Holly” scandal, Catherine Pugh resigns
It all started back in March, with a story in The Sun. Luke Broadwater detailed how nine members serving on the board of the University of Maryland Medical System secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts with the nonprofit medical organization. One was Mayor Catherine Pugh, who had UMMS buy her self-published children’s books on healthy living, “Healthy Holly,” to distribute to students in schools.

Analysis: Maryland’s suburbs saw a large influx of prescription opioids from 2006-2012

Opioids. Photo via Flickr, CC by 2.0.

By Emily Top
Capital News Service

Between 2006 and 2012, Maryland saw a large influx of prescription opioids, more of which, per person, were sent to suburban areas of the state than the urban or rural areas, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration database published by The Washington Post.

Much of the rest of the nation also saw suburban areas hit harder than rural or urban areas, but Maryland saw fewer pills per person on average than across the nation.

Additionally, urban areas in Maryland had the lowest number of pills per person—compared with rural areas and suburbs—whereas nationally, urban areas had the second-largest influx of prescription opioids per person.

BPD to bring back ‘spy plane’ for multi-month pilot program

The surveillance plane’s two “orbit areas” over Baltimore during its first test run in 2016. Photo via Police Foundation/BPD.

Months after choosing not to endorse a surveillance plane program, saying it lacked evidence to support its effectiveness, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison is giving the go-ahead to bring the plane back to the skies for a trial run in 2020.

Preliminary designs unveiled for $185M addition to UMD Medical Center

The three design options presented by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The University of Maryland Medical Center unveiled preliminary designs today for a 10-story, $185 million addition that planners say has the potential to become the new face of the hospital.

The Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine is the name of the project, which is being planned to rise at the southwest corner of S. Greene and W. Baltimore streets, where the main entrance to the hospital is now.

Officer charged with assault after viral arrest hit with dozens of new charges

Body camera footage shows Sgt. Ethan Newberg violently arresting a man who criticized the way he was making an arrest. Image via the Baltimore Police Department.

A Baltimore police officer seen in a video violently arresting a passerby was charged with 32 counts of false imprisonment, assault and misconduct in office, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday.

Mosby alleged that Sgt. Ethan Newberg, 49, had a history of stopping, harassing and intimidating citizens without probable cause between July 2018 and May 2019. That claim is substantiated by body camera footage, she said, revealing “a pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation.”

Many of the incidents from which the 32 additional charges stem, Mosby said, bore resemblance to the May arrest that earned Newberg notoriety.