Tag: poverty

Baltimore City Is Poor, but the Suburbs Are Worse!

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Baltimore’s massive poverty problem is impossible to miss, whatever your income bracket. Vacant and condemned buildings speckle the city. And many others that ought to be condemned house families. But of course we no longer need the visual cues. Awareness of Baltimore’s blight is something the entire nation has internalized.

That’s why it’s so surprising to learn that in 2011 there were actually more poor living in Baltimore’s suburbs. That’s by raw numbers of residents living in poverty (around 150,000 in the city compared with 159,000 in the suburbs), not by percentage of population. But when you’ve got the majority of assistance programs focusing their attention on the city, that leaves an awful lot of people in the cold.

A Different Kind of Family Vacation: “We Don’t Have to Buy Crap”

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Enzo Metsopoulos and new Dominican friends, 2011.
Enzo Metsopoulos and new Dominican friends, 2011.

Christine Grillo and her husband, Peter Metsopoulos, are planning a different kind of summer vacation for their family of five this year – the kind of busy, sight-seeing trip that won’t leave much time for sunbathing and souvenir shopping but will no doubt reward each member with take-home gifts. Through Outreach360, Metsopoulos, a teacher at the Bryn Mawr School, daughter Rita, 10, and a Bryn Mawr high school contingent will spend the second half of July volunteering to bolster education in the Dominican Republic, where over one third of the population lives on several dollars a day. Grillo, a writer at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and sons Enzo, 12, and Luca, 7, will join the effort for one week’s time. In Kickstarter fashion, the family aims to raise a modest $1200 in trip support through their Outreach360 website page. Grillo’s excited about the high-concept endeavor for multiple reasons: not only will her family have a dramatic chance to pitch in, they’ll leave home expecting a gift-shop-free non-paradise, they’ll learn life lessons, and the memorable excursion won’t break the bank.

Hopkins Dean Featured in NY Times

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Katherine Newman, Johns Hopkins’s new dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, is a busy lady. Along with being an administrator, she also serves as a sociology professor and a widely-cited expert on a number of issues. You may recall seeing her name around quite a bit in the weeks after the Newtown shooting; Newman is an expert on school shootings. This week, though, she tackles a different subject in the New York Times:  how certain states (especially in the South and West) unfairly shift their tax burden to the poor.

Ravens’ AFC Championship Win Brings Cannoli and Seafood to Baltimore’s Homeless

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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake raked in quite a spread of foods after winning a bet against Boston Mayor Thomas Menino over the outcome of the AFC championship game. Menino sent Rawlings-Blake a package that included “cannoli, ravioli, various packaged goods and an assortment of seafood, including mussels, scallops, oysters and four live lobsters.”

Councilwoman Introduces Bill That Could Discriminate Against the Homeless

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Because of the “dangerous situation” that arises, city Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector has introduced a bill to crack down on people who stand along street shoulders or medians to solicit money from motorists at red lights. But not everyone who does that. She’s not targeting fire departments, charities, youth sports teams, or rose sellers.

New Casino in Arundel Mills: “Slots, Slots, and More Slots”

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The Maryland Live! Casino at Arundel Mills Mall is set to open next week. At 10 p.m. — on June 6th — Maryland Live (plus that terrible little exclamation point at the end) will become Maryland’s third operating casino, along with Ocean Downs in Worcester and Hollywood Casino in Cecil County.

Maryland Live! is the most recent of several new casinos, but not for long — two more, one in Baltimore City and one in Alleghany — have already been approved and are scheduled to open in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

(One of Tuesday’s Links will take you to yet another announcement for a Maryland Casino.)

Maybe it’s just the fact that I went on a lot of movie dates at Arundel Mills Mall in eighth grade (I even bought my first band tee from the mall’s Hot-Topic), but the news — not to mention the proximity of this new casino — is starting to make me think a lot about what the gambling industry can mean to a community.

Remington Rising: Neighborhood Sees Change

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Contributor Joseph Martin, a Remington resident, analyzes the Baltimore neighborhood’s controversial conversion.

Baltimore’s love for urban rehab can feel unseemly; veil of chic aside, Woodberry’s broken windows still conjure the blight of hard times past.  But neighborhood reboots also do a world of good, often throwing each area’s innate style and aspirations into sharp relief.  When the Inner Harbor and Harbor East began to rebuild, they peppered the waterfront with tourist bait, such as swank cineplexes and paycheck-chewing eateries.  Meanwhile, Hampden and Fells Point have both staged boutique revolutions, transforming their quiet storefront strips into bustling meccas of quirk and class.

Still, some neighborhoods beg a subtler facelift than others – Remington, for example.  A residential salad of schools, parks, and playgrounds built around a core of auto shops, the area has long been a model of nondescript living, housing blue-collar families and lifers, as well as a persistent (if nonviolent) mix of daylight drug deals and boarded buildings.  Neither a Wire-style war zone nor a bustling nexus of commerce, Remington kept to itself.  So when gluten-free bakery Sweet Sin arrived in 2010, it raised many a local eyebrow.

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