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USA Today video highlights Baltimore refugees planting urban gardens

Some Baltimore refugees have managed to recreate some of their beloved memories from home through urban gardening, according to a video posted by USA Today.
One refugee from South Sudan, Joyce Kedan, explains through a translator “when I come here and grow things, I feel very happy and positive, and I think of home.”

In order to farm, Kedan turned to Baltimore nonprofit New Roots, which provides refugees with their own plot of fertile soil and uses community garden specialists to help refugees grow rural and exotic crops in urban soil.
See the video here.

Baltimore resident keeps an eye out for slumlords

Baltimore resident Carol Ott’s unconventional job takes her to neighborhoods in Baltimore with boarded-up windows and vacant properties, according to the Atlantic Cities.

The website, which focuses on urban areas across the globe, reported that Ott is behind Baltimore Slumlord Watch, a blog that publishes any information that Ott can obtain about vacant properties in Baltimore. 

The goal of the blog is to identify neglected properties and their owners in an effort to solve Baltimore’s problem with vacant homes.

Ott also began a second website in June, called Housing Policy Watch, to educate renters and landlords about common issues. Ott began this project with help from the nonprofit Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc.

According to The Atlantic Cities, Ott has been a resident of Baltimore for 13 years and says that her websites are a way for her to show “some tough love” to the city.

Read the full story here.

Md. energy company proposes massive energy tower

An Annapolis company called Solar Wind Energy Inc. wants to build a massive energy tower on the U.S.-Mexico border, Forbes reports.

"Known as a downdraft tower, the project by Solar Wind Energy Inc., is an untested and hugely ambitious endeavor," Forbes writes. "It has, however, attracted some heavyweight partners, including GE Energy and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., which has built everything from steel foundries to the Baltimore Ravens’ football stadium."

You can read the rest of the story here

City Proposal Could Make Poe Museum Evermore

Baltimore City has proposed a plan to keep the former home of Edgar Allen Poe going under a plan that was approved by the Board of Estimates Oct. 3.

Under the proposal, the B&O Railroad Museum will get $180,000 to help the West Baltimore attraction continue operations, the Baltimore Sun writes. The museum had been in danger of closing. 

"The overriding idea is to turn the Poe House into a draw that will not only see increased attendance, which has fluctuated between 3,000 and 5,000 annually, but also make Baltimore a destination for Poe enthusiasts," the Baltimore Sun writes. "It also envisions an annual operating budget of between $200,000 and $300,000 — substantially more than the $85,000 the city had been spending annually on the Poe House."

You can read the rest of the story here

Ancient Water Found Under Maryland

Maryland is sitting on ancient water.  

Some of the groundwater in the upper Patapsco aquifer is more than a million years old, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

"Groundwater age indicates the length of time that a sample of water has been in the ground since infiltrating from the land surface," the U.S. Geological Survey says in a news release. "This study reveals that modern pumping in southern Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore is tapping groundwater resources that have accumulated in the aquifer over multiple cycles of climate change and are not quickly recharging." 

There are few aquifers in the world containing million-year-old groundwater, according to the USGS. They include the Nubian aquifer in the Sahara Desert, Canada's Alberta Basin and the Great Artesian Basin in Australia. 

Baltimore Ranks No. 15 Among Cities With Plentiful Parks

Baltimore has a decent amount of green space, according to ParkScore.

The rating system for city parks analyzed 40 largest U.S. cities and used mapping technology and demographic data to determine how well each city is meeting the need for parks. 

Baltimore ranked No. 15 on its list, ahead of Phoenix, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., and Long Beach, Calif. 

San Francisco, Sacramento, Calif., Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. rounded out the top five. 

Baltimore got a ParkScore of 54 out of 100 and found that approximately 10 percent of the city is dedicated to park land. You can read more of ParkScore's analysis of Baltimore parks here. To see the whole ranking, click here

Redeveloped Brewery Featured in Fast Company

Baltimore nonprofit Humanim has redeveloped the former American Brewing Co. headquarters into a job training center in East Baltimore.

Fast Company highlighted the $24 million transformation in a slideshow and story on the magazine's website. The piece is featured in Co.Exist, a section devoted to innovative ideas and groundbreaking use of resources. 

Next American City Highlights Baltimore's Demolition

It's not often that cities get praised for tearing down buildings. 

But Next American City credited Baltimore for tearing down more than 300 unsafe structures last year. It joins Detroit and Youngstown, Ohio in the movement to demolish vacant buildings. 

"What Baltimore, Detroit, Youngstown and an increasing number of U.S. cities with shrinking populations have in common is a problem Americans are unused to solving: How to creatively and safely deconstruct our cities," Next American City writes. "In places like Baltimore—which has lost a third of its population since 1950 and where, depending on who you ask, almost 20,000 properties sit vacant—this breaking down and reinterpreting of place is already happening."

You can read the full article here

Environmental News Site Names Baltimore "Ideal" Travel Destination

A website that covers environmental news has recognized Baltimore as its destination of the week.

Mother Nature Network says Baltimore -- once a "victim of Rust Belt decay -- is now an "ideal East Coast destination."  The article highlights eco-friendly retail outlets, LEED-certified hotels and restaurants that serve dishes sourced from local farms.

"Like other aged East Coast cities such as Philadelphia and Boston, Baltimore has walkable historic sightseeing routes," Mother Nature Network writes. "These, coupled with the city's parks, markets and user-friendly transit options, make it a good addition to low-impact travelers' East Coast itineraries."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Troubles Continue For Poe House

Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe House remains in danger of closing.

From the source:

But the city that named its NFL team after his poem "The Raven" may soon lose a key physical connection to Poe. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, where the writer lived for four years in the early 1800s, is in danger of closing next year, due to budget cutbacks by the city.

"Everyone is tightening their belt," said Jeff Jerome, the museum's curator and only employee, who also works for the city's planning department.

Read the whole story.

Senator Theatre Plans Move Forward

Plans to expand Baltimore's legendary Senator Theatre by adding a wine bar and new screens have been approved.

From the source:

The Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation approved proposed renovations to the Senator Theatre on Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun.

As previously reported, James "Buzz" Cusack and Kathleen Cusack, the Senator's operators, are seeking to add a wine bar and three more theaters to the building.

Read the full story.

Poe House Faces Continuing Difficulty

Funding woes persist at Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe House, as the Washington Post recently reported.

From the source:

For a second year city leaders have chosen not to subsidize a museum in the tiny house where the impoverished Poe lived from around 1833 to 1835, a decision that means it may have to close soon.

Since the city cut off its $85,000 in annual support last year, the house has been operating on reserve funds, which are expected to run out as early as next summer. In the coming months consultants hired by the city will try to come up with a business plan to make the Edgar Allan Poe House financially self-sufficient, possibly by updating its exhibits to draw more visitors.

But the museum sits amid a housing project, far off this city's tourist beaten path, and attracts only 5,000 visitors a year.

Read the full story.

Snakeheads Return to Maryland

Remember the snakehead scare from several years back? It's not quite a "scare" this time, but one of the nefarious creatures was recently discovered near Annapolis.

From the Post:

A mature, egg-bearing northern snakehead has been discovered by scientists in a river just south of Annapolis, raising the possibility that low salinity in the Chesapeake Bay this year may have allowed the invasive fish to escape from the Potomac River.

The 23-inch snakehead was found in the Rhode River last Thursday by biologists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center taking annual fish samples by net.

Read the story here
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