Baltimore health commissioner announces her resignation

One of the few remaining members of Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s original cabinet, Dr. Oxis Barbot, is leaving as commissioner of the city health department, effective April 26. Barbot will return to New York City to become first deputy commissioner of health. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey, who joined the city as a deputy health commissioner, will serve as interim director when Dr. Barbot departs next month. (Brew)

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New city police policy says public has right to film officers

The Baltimore Police Department has instituted a new policy that prohibits officers from stopping people from taping or photographing police actions, the agency said Wednesday. The new rules were unveiled as the city agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who says police seized his cellphone and deleted the video of an arrest at the Preakness Stakes in 2010. (Balt. Sun)

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Mayor, Batts attend west-side town hall meeting

For Raymond Kelly, fixing the issue of crime in his Sandtown Winchester neighborhood seems simple enough — make sure police and community leaders are visible. "Drug dealers on the corner don't want to be seen," the community organizer said. "We want to be seen." Kelly and his wife, Melissa, have run "No Boundaries," a seven-neighborhood community improvement coalition, for about six years. On Wednesday night, Kelly petitioned Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to join them at their monthly meeting and discuss how police could help their cause. (Balt. Sun)

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Hearing on plan to sell Baltimore's public housing draws concerns

The Baltimore Housing Authority's plan to sell 22 of its 28 apartment and townhouse complexes drew dozens of concerned tenants and workers Wednesday to a City Council committee hearing. Floyd Vines, a resident at J. Van Story Branch high-rise, one of the properties to be sold, said Maryland leaders should petition Congress to restore its investment in the public housing, rather than turn to private developers to provide a cash infusion. Under the plan announced last week, the Housing Authority will sell nearly 40 percent of its properties to private developers as a way to raise more than $300 million in renovations and upgrades to the aging complexes that need new elevators, heating and cooling systems and modern kitchens and bathrooms. Rent for the apartments and townhouses will remain low. (Balt. Sun)

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City relaunching Operation Ceasefire

Baltimore City is prepared to roll out a community-based approach to combating crime, the aptly named Operation Ceasefire. The idea is to dissuade repeat criminal offenders with the threat of heavy jail time or offering them a way out of the “life,” which is an over-simplification of the program. The plan’s architect Prof. David Kennedy, of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has been in Baltimore this week to get the operation on its feet. (WMAR-TV)

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New crime-fighting technology comes to Baltimore

Someone fires a gun on a violent street in Baltimore... Officers will hear about it with the help of a new crime-fighting tool -- the ShotSpotter, a system that uses a network of microphones and cameras to detect gunfire and alert police. Police say it’s unlike anything they’ve used before in city. (WMAR-TV)

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Bowie faced with replacing three experienced directors

Bowie officials are working to replace about 80 years of lost experience after three department directors left in about a two-month period. “I’m saddened to see some really good quality people go,” said Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson. Bowie’s longtime director of information technology, Robert Boller, retired after 20 years of work on Jan. 13, along with public works director Jim Henrikson after 28 years of work on Feb. 21 and director of finance Robert Patrick after 30 years of service on Jan. 3, said city officials. (Gazette)

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Seton Keough High School students' walk-a-thon for cancer

The loop in front of Seton Keough High School on Caton Avenue was filled with students Wednesday morning for the all girls Catholic school's 7th annual Kathleen Bowen Walk for Hope. Hundreds of girls wearing purple shirts walked laps around the circle to raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a nonprofit that advances treatment and prevention of catastophic diseases in children. (Balt. Sun)

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