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Will Michael Phelps swim in Rio?

When Baltimore native Michael Phelps finished competing in the 2012 Olympics in London, he insisted that he was finished with competitive swimming for good.  However, NPR reports that the most-decorated Olympian's decision isn’t as cut and dry anymore.
While touring in Barcelona, Spain, for the World Swimming Championships, Phelps was asked about whether he'll compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and he said he hasn't planned that far ahead in his life.  Far from a confirmation, but far from the black-and-white denial he offered after his time in the London games, as well.
While not currently training, NPR notes that there would be plenty of time to get into competitive shape for the 2016 games, were he to start preparing by 2015.

You can read NPR's full story here.

ABC's 'Secret Millionaire' visits four Baltimore charities

On Sunday night, ABC’s premiere of “Secret Millionaire” brought Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels out of her life as a millionaire in Pennsylvania to downtown Baltimore.

In Baltimore, Beiler searched for charities to support under the show’s premise – a millionaire goes undercover to find ways to help those in need. 

According to TWC Central, Time Warner Cable’s news website, Beiler visited four Baltimore charities: Miracle Garden, Moveable Feast, Casey Cares Foundation and the Rose Street Community Center.

In the show, Beiler learned the stories behind the people the charities benefit, such as that of a woman who Casey Cares helped after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Now that she is in remission, the woman volunteers with the organization.

After interacting with the volunteers from the charities, Beiler donated money to support all four.

Read more about Beiler’s experiences in Baltimore here.

Ad Age names Millennial Media exec a 'Woman to Watch'

Advertising Age has named a female executive at Baltimore's Millennial Media on its list of "Women to Watch."

Mollie Spilman, the Canton mobile advertising firm's chief marketing officer, is one of 25 successful females on this list.

The former chief marketing officer at Yahoo tells Ad Age that Baltimore acts is a weekend respite for her and her two kids after spending her work week traveling to far-flung destinations like Paris, London, Los Angeles, Germany and Singapore. 

In spite of her achievements, she tells Ad Age that she has mixed feelings about being labeled a successful female executive.

"You don’t want to be singled out as a special case, as if there should be some different threshold for women.”

Read the entire story here.

'House of Cards' filming in Maryland State House

The Maryland House of Delegates chamber will be getting a Hollywood makeover this week for the political thriller “House of Cards.”

The television drama, which airs on Netflix, will be transforming the House of Delegates chamber to resemble the U.S. Senate, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, the lieutenant governor and their staffs will have access to the building during filming and O’Malley himself will make a cameo appearance in the show.

This weekend, the show’s crew will be completing set construction on the State House and the building will be closed to the public Monday and Tuesday, June 17-18 for filming.

The Maryland-filmed political thriller starring Kevin Spacey brought $140 million in spending to the state, according to the Maryland Film Office.

Read the full story here.

Writers Guild names 'The Wire' one of the best-written shows of all time

The Writers Guild of America has named “The Wire” one of the 101 best-written shows of all time.

The critically acclaimed HBO drama broke the top 10, coming in at No. 9. The show ranked above classics like “The West Wing,” “I Love Lucy,” and “Friends.” Critics consistently praised the show for its engaging portrayal of urban life in Baltimore during its five-year run.

Another Baltimore-set show made the list. “Homicide: Life on the Streets” was ranked at No. 46 on the list in a tie with the 1980’s drama  “St. Elsewhere.” “Homicide” won the Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Drama for three consecutive years during its run. The show ran for seven seasons on NBC in the 1990s.

The top three shows are “The Twlight Zone,” “Seinfeld,” and, at No. 1, “The Sopranos.” Check out the rest of the list here at E! Online.

Mobile TV service Dyle expanding to Baltimore

Mobile TV service Dyle is expanding into Baltimore, USA Today reports. 

Launched in August, Dyle is growing rapidly and will be in 116 stations in 39 markets by the end of the year. It is currently in 91 stations in 36 markets.

"In using Dyle and MyDTV, TV stations send broadcast signals over the air to a smartphone or tablet (currently, limited to Apple devices)," USA Today writes. "Users must pay about $80 to $100 for an antenna dongle, inserted into their device, which receives the broadcast signals."

You can read the rest of the story here

Baltimore mentoring program featured in Forbes

Sarah Hemminger tells Forbes magazine that when she moved back to Baltimore for grad school in 2004, she and her husband Ryan felt like "something was missing."

That something was being part of a loving, nurturing community. That prompted her to launch the Incentive Mentoring Program, which matches a family of committed volunteers with underperforming high school students.

"We must build a reliable social support network by facilitating dependable, long-term relationships among students and caring adults," Hemminger tells Forbes

Michigan professor teaches a class on 'The Wire'

Who knew McNulty and Omar had so much to teach us.

University of Michigan professor David Harding is using storylines from "The Wire" to teach his students about public policy, USA Today writes. The HBO crime drama is set in Baltimore. 

Titled "Urban Public Policy Through the Lens of HBO's The Wire," the class connects storylines in the HBO with real-life city challenges, such as housing, labor, health care, substance abuse and urban decay.

"It's a growing trend across the nation -- take some piece of pop culture, tie it to an academic subject and hope it grabs students' attention more than a standard academic class," USA Today writes. 

You can read the entire story here

Baltimore earns a spot on most literate cities list

One of Baltimore's well-known slogans "The City that Reads" may not be that far off the mark.

A study by Central Connecticut State University ranks Charm City No. 19 on its list of most literate cities. Washington, D.C., snagged the top spot for the third year in a row, followed by Seattle, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Denver. You can see the complete list here

Researchers took into account the number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet and library resources and newspaper circulation. The study also took into account the number of online book orders and hits to local newspaper websites, writes USA Today.

SNL spoofs Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is known for getting teary-eyed after a winning game and doing his famous squirrel dance. 

His antics have caught the attention of Saturday Night Live actors who lampooned Lewis in the Jan. 26 show, eight days before the Ravens square off against the San Francisco 49ers at the Super Bowl. 

In the skit, "Lewis" says if his team wins the Super Bowl, he'll kneel down and "ascend into heaven." And then Thompson does the squirrel dance.

You can see the video here

Meanwhile, Chris Tucker and other Hollywood actors attempted their own version of the dance. 

Goucher College features Jane Austen exhibit

Jane Austen aficionados from around the world are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the penning of "Pride and Prejudice" this month. 

Among those celebrating is Goucher College in Towson, writes the New York Times. It opened "Pride and Prejudice: A 200 Year Affair" Jan. 28.

The exhibit features what it bills as the largest Jane Austen collection in North America, including the first edition that was published and rare and illustrated editions. The exhibit runs through July 26. 

Legg Mason Fund Noted for Top Returns

Legg Mason's William Miller is known for his legendary investment streak. He beat the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years with the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust — a streak that ended in 2005. 

Now Miller is back in the investment spotlight for another fund he manages, the Legg Mason Capital Management Opportunity Trust. It's one of three stock mutual funds highlighted in the New York times for its performance during the fourth quarter of 2012. The fund had a 12 percent return for the quarter and invested heavily in financial and housing stocks. 

You can read the rest of the story here

Baltimore Ravens Score Big in TV Ratings

The Baltimore Ravens not only scored big on the field in their winning game against the Denver Broncos, they scored big ratings for CBS, according to USA Today. 

Even though Denver and Baltimore aren't particularly big markets, the Jan. 12 game drew the highest ratings for an AFC divisional playoff. The nail-biting game went into double overtime and ended in the Ravens' favor after Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal. 

It could have also gotten quite a few viewers since it's the last season for No. 52 Ray Lewis, who is retiring at the end of the season after a 17-year career. 

Maryland's Medifast Gains Points for New Weight Loss Ads

Owings Mills weight loss company Medifast Inc. has rolled out a new ad campaign that has received attention from the New York Times, Mashable and Business Insider. 

"Medifast has a clever TV campaign running right now that includes a heartbreaking ad featuring customer Tina Shelley, who appears as both her former (fat) self and her new (svelte) self," writes Business Insider. "You have to have a heart of stone not to get a little choked up," the online magazine writes. 

Business Insider also talks to the creative director of Minneapolis ad agency Solve, who explains that the videos are before and after shots of actual Medifast customers who lost weight over a period of nine months. 

You can read the entire story here. And here's a link to the New York Times story

Gordon Ramsey Visits a Reinvented Cafe Hon

Denise Whiting and her restaurant Cafe Hon are once again the darlings of the Hampden neighborhood, according to a recent episode of Gordon Ramsey's "Kitchen Nightmares."

Ramsey revisits Cafe Hon a year after his first visit to find a bustling restaurant, humble owner and good food. 

"The food was better, they said, the staff seemed happier -- the first piece portrayed them as primed for a full-scale revolt -- and the community seemed ready to let bygones be bygones, especially once Whiting made good on her promise to let go of the trademark," writes Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun.

Whiting, of course, faced a public relations nightmare after trademarking the word "Hon." She then later abandoned the trademark and her decision was broadcast on MIX 106.5 and on "Kitchen Nightmares."

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