Baltimore group helps reimagine city's Confederate monuments, address inequity in arts scene

Artist Sheila Gaskins performed all over the city before she noticed the arts community was segregated. On one part of town, audience members were predominantly black. On the other, they were all white. “I didn't understand how divided the city was when it came to race relations. In Station North and a couple areas downtown, they kept getting these young white kids [who were] having buildings and theaters and spaces to do art,” Gaskins said. As a black artist, she began to wonder how they were able to solidify those spaces. (Balt. Sun)

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Jones is the county's first black council chair

Praise and worship at New Antioch Baptist Church is when you’ll undoubtedly meet Julian Jones. He never misses a Sunday, and never misses a chance to meet with those he loves – his people. “It’s good to be able to help people. Especially people who have run into road blocks and this job, [I’m] fortunate enough, it gives me the type of access where a lot of times I can make a phone call and really make a difference for somebody,” Jones said. (WMAR)

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Clarksville resident serves as bridge between Korean community and Howard County government

After helping Montgomery County launch a language-friendly consumer hotline in March, Young Ran Smith knew what she needed to do next. The Clarksville resident and community activist, who immigrated to America from South Korea more than 40 years ago, began urging Howard County to provide a similar service to help its Korean-speaking residents avoid scams and resolve disputes. Nearly a year later Smith, president of the Howard County chapter of the League of Korean Americans of Maryland, joined with County Executive Allan H. Kittleman on Feb. 1 to signing a memorandum of understanding creating a bilingual hot line for county residents who speak Korean. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Revised Havre de Grace route for Running Festival gets city's OK

Approval from the Havre de Grace side of the Susquehanna River has been granted for September’s bi-county Susquehanna River Running Festival, an event expected to bring several thousand runners to Cecil and Harford counties. Organizers are still working with entities such as the State Highway Administration, the Maryland Transportation Authority and the Town of Perryville, as well as the City of Havre de Grace, to finalize their plans. At least 3,000 runners are expected. (Aegis)

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Montgomery County’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers expected to be folded into larger federal case

Attorneys representing Montgomery County filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt Tuesday against opioid manufacturers and distributors to try to stop the companies’ advertising practices and recoup money the county has spent addressing the epidemic of overdoses caused by opioid addiction. The county’s lawsuit is the latest in a surge of legal challenges nationwide filed against pharmaceutical companies that deal with opioids. (Bethesda)

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Baltimore police union balks at policy requiring officers to pay some legal damages themselves

As many as nine Baltimore police officers could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in damages after juries found they acted with “actual malice” in the course of making arrests — a development that prompted a warning from the police union and, in turn, a fiery response from the city’s top lawyer. The union asserted in a memo Tuesday that forcing officers to pay such damages themselves was a change in the city’s policy. (Balt. Sun)

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Ruth Cummings, mother of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and founder of Victory Prayer Chapel, dies

Ruth Elma Cummings, founder of the city’s Victory Prayer Chapel and mother of U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, died Monday, according to the congressman’s office. She was 91. “My mother was one of the smartest, most thoughtful and loving people I have ever known,” the congressman said in a statement. “She created a home for me, my dad and my six siblings where God was at the center and love overflowed.” (Balt. Sun)

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Gun Trace Task Force case about 'equal justice for all,' prosecutors say in closing arguments

Federal prosecutors told jurors Wednesday that the Gun Trace Task Force corruption case is about “equal justice for all,” and asked them to convict two Baltimore police detectives who believed they were “above the law” and victimized people they believed were “beneath the law.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Hines pointed to the government’s final witness, a young detective who testified that he rejected a proposition to join the group in their crimes. (Balt. Sun)

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