A mix of clouds and sun today, with highs in the mid 80s and a chance of showers. Humidity should clear out overnight – tomorrow will be sunny and in the low 80s.
Safe Streets, an anti-violence program run by the city’s health department, suspended operations in East Baltimore after a police raid found guns and heroin in the program’s offices. Police raided the office as part of a robbery investigation, arresting two Safe Streets employees along with seven others.
Basically, Safe Streets hires ex-felons to mediate neighborhood conflicts before they turn violent (on the idea that the former convicts have more credibility than police or other outside mediators). The program is generally considered to work (Safe Streets is cited as a main reason why the Cherry Hill neighborhood went over a year without a homicide) – but it’s struggled with problems like this (drugs and guns via Safe Streets workers) before. The city’s three other Safe Streets programs will stay open while health department officials sort out what to do next.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is pitching a plan to raise money for $136 million in park and recreation center enhancements by selling the city’s four downtown parking garages (for about $60 million). The planned improvements would add or rehab 11 fitness and wellness centers, renovate five community centers, and upgrade several outdoor sports facilities and pools.
The mayor has called for selling the garages to finance rec center improvements before, but has met stiff opposition from city council president Jack Young. Young is wary of selling the garages, which generate almost $3 million in revenue a year, and thinks that any plan for rec center enhancements needs to include new, major facilities for both east and west Baltimore.
Rotunda Cinemas has closed for good. The 4-screen theater inside the Rotunda Mall was facing dwindling business during nearby construction, and was already planning to close next year when a new theater opens nearby.
Federal Hill-based startup RedOwl Analytics closed a $17 million Series B funding round. The company’s cybersecurity software is designed to hunt down insider data breaches.