East Baltimore re-development project wins $3.4 million grant

One of the developers behind an ambitious project to transform a swath of Baltimore just east of downtown has been awarded a $3.37 million grant from the U.S. Treasury Department to help build affordable homes in the city’s Somerset neighborhood. Mission First Housing Group, one of the developers of the city’s Perkins Somerset Oldtown (PSO) Transformation Project, was awarded the grant through the Capital Magnet Fund, a program of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The $889 million PSO project aims to revitalize the 75-year-old Perkins Homes, the site of the former Somerset public housing development and Old Town. (Balt. Sun)

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Medical software company founder to become Baltimore’s next health commissioner

Letitia T. Dzirasa, health innovation officer at the Baltimore-based software firm Fearless Solutions, will be Baltimore’s next health commissioner, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced today. Effective March 11, Dzirasa will take charge of the department, which has had no permanent leadership since September when Leana Wen left to become executive director of Planned Parenthood of America. Dzirasa, who trained at Meharry Medical College and did her residency at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was a general pediatrician at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Odenton for three years before she moved into management. (Brew)

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Bon Secours joins effort to build, sustain affordable housing projects

Bon Secours Mercy Health System has joined five other hospital systems and a set of nonprofit groups to bring more affordable housing to communities including Baltimore. The hospitals are working with the Center for Community Investment at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a nonprofit group that works for social change, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on health care. The groups support the idea that housing promotes stable, healthy communities. The initiative, called Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities, aims to help the health systems find local partners and leverage their resources to help their communities. (Balt. Sun)

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MOMS uses billboard to ask Baltimore Mayor Pugh to end marijuana arrests, prioritize homicide investigations

Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters United is using a mobile billboard to ask Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to end arrests for marijuana possession and to prioritize homicide investigations. MOMS plans to unveil the billboard, which is posted on the side of a truck, at a news conference Thursday at 11 a.m. at War Memorial Plaza. The billboard’s message is simple: “Mayor Pugh, stop pot arrests. Solve murders instead.” The truck will circle War Memorial Plaza, City Hall and police headquarters Thursday until 5 p.m. Most killings in Baltimore remain unsolved, and MOMS says resources need to be spent solving them. (Balt. Sun)

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Anne Arundel County Council passes polystyrene ban

Anne Arundel County Council passed legislation banning food service businesses from using polystyrene containers. The council voted along party lines — 4 to 3 — Tuesday night to pass Bill 5-19. That bill requires food service businesses to stop using polystyrene containers. Those businesses have a year after the bill becomes law to make the change. Anyone who uses the containers after that year commit a civil offense that starts with a warning and then increasing fines of $50, 100 and $500. Polystyrene containers are often used as food and drink take-out. Anne Arundel County Public Schools uses the trays for student meals. (Capital)

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Self-proclaimed white nationalist in Maryland planned mass terror attack 'to kill almost every last person on earth,’ authorities say

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist has been arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists. Christopher Paul Hasson called for "focused violence" to "establish a white homeland" and dreamed of ways to "kill almost every last person on earth," according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. (Balt. Sun)

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Bill seeks to extend deadline for state Gun Trace Task Force commission's work

The timeline for a state commission’s investigation into the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force scandal would be extended another year under a bill put forth by key legislators. The panel, called the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, is supposed to submit a final report by the end of this year, but bills filed in the Senate and House of Delegates would push the deadline for the final report until Dec. 31, 2020. The panel’s work has been building slowly, with its monthly meetings largely consisting of information sessions. (Balt. Sun)

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Havre de Grace mayor, three council members to seek re-election

The Havre de Grace mayor and three council members say they plan to seek re-election this spring. The four incumbents — Mayor William T. Martin and council members David Martin, Jason Robertson and Carolyn Zinner — said they will seek re-election.  William Martin will be running for his third term as mayor. “We’ve accomplished many things, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Martin said. “Our successes will outnumber our challenges, but we have some serious bumps in the road we need to deal with, especially with our aging infrastructure and water and sewer fund.” (Aegis)

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