Julia Marciari-Alexander, the newly christened executive director of the Walters, can’t wait for July first. It’s not that the museum’s launching some grand new exhibit on that day; instead, July 1 marks the date her husband, John Marciari, will step down as curator of the San Diego Museum of Art and call himself an official Baltimorean. This early summer, he, Marciari-Alexander, and their twins, Jack and Beatrice, nine, will all finally reside together in their house in Homeland, embarking on a busy life guaranteed to bring extreme change. Read More →
Back in ’93, the general manager of college radio station WJHU, Dennis Kita, turned to theatrically minded and politically outspoken Baltimorean Marc Steiner for advice on how to start a public interest radio show. Steiner’s recommendation: “Let me give it a shot.” If you live in Baltimore, you know he got that chance and made a career from it. The rest is history, though that sounds too simple — Steiner’s local fame is certainly not controversy-free.
Still on the airwaves, Steiner’s eponymous “The Marc Steiner Show” made him a local celeb nearly overnight; he helped found WYPR (88.1) and served as exec vice president of the station from 2002 to 2006, and meanwhile founded his own non-profit company, the Center for Emerging Media (CEM).
Then in February of 2008, Steiner was fired unexpectedly. In a similar flash, supporters launched a petition and several websites, collecting over 1,000 signatures demanding he be reinstated. Listeners picketed the station’s advisory board meeting. They vowed not to renew their WYPR memberships. Through it all, General Manager Tony Brandon stuck to his firing guns. Read More →
For many Baltimoreans, Bill Struever needs no introduction. Yet a re-introduction might be in order since he’s kept a lower profile following the fall of his original company, the legendary Struever Brothers, Eccles & Rouse. But he’s back, and in full-force. The urban pioneer is currently Principal of Master Planning and Real Estate Development for Cross Street Partners, the real estate consulting firm he helped found in the wake of the economic crash of 2008. Cross Street allows the native Baltimorean to keep busy re-imagining this city (and others), but without the heavy debt burden that ultimately forced SBER to close its doors in 2009.
One of Bill’s recent projects is the Baltimore Food Hub, a healthy food campus in East Baltimore. “The local food economy is important to cities across America both from an economic development (growing jobs and businesses) and health (nutrition and wellness) perspectives,” he says. “The Baltimore Food Hub, a project of our foundation American Communities Trust (ACT), aims to create a high energy, synergistic campus of food related businesses, programs and services. Current plans for the Food Hub include a kitchen business incubator, a production kitchen for Woodberry Kitchen, hoop houses for Big City Farms and a model Edible Schoolyard garden and teaching kitchen, a feed and seed store and farmstand and a lively co-working/ classroom space for food related businesses and programs. When riding Amtrak through East Baltimore, you will be able to look to the north and see glorious transformation of old Wire sets into urban farms and food businesses.”
Bill has always been an expert miner of gold in even the brownest of “brownfields” (underused industrial sites containing hazardous materials), and unlike many people in the real estate game, he has a holistic vision that extends beyond the profit motive to the very health of the American City. His ACT foundation echoes his mentor James Rouse’s non-profit Enterprise Community Partners, and is “dedicated to improving social and economic conditions in low-income communities.” He has been a leader in Green urban revitalization, always preferring to reuse than to replace, his projects consistently LEED certified. He is outspoken on the need for more efficient urban transportation systems, and served on the Baltimore City School Board for many years. Ever since the days he spent as a master electrician in the 1970′s, wiring the Baltimore rowhomes that his brother Freddie and his friend Cobber Eccles were renovating, Bill has been passionate about helping Baltimore move forward intelligently.
When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
When I dropped out of high school, worked at the 3rd Ward Urban Renewal Agency (still could smell the burned out buildings from the ’68 riots) and became quickly dismayed by the destruction of a community. I spoke up, got “fired” and fired up: Make a difference. Make the world a better place. Never give up. (Bill eventually graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Anthropology.) Read More →
“I Wish I Had a Little Bit of Anorexia” and Other Misconceptions: A Candid Conversation with Dr. Steven F. Crawford of Sheppard Pratt
Prompted by this reporter, Dr. Steven F. Crawford — the associate director of the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt — rattles off a few common misconceptions about eating disorders. He riffs. In fact, he’s very creative in his responses.
“I wish I had a little bit of anorexia,” Crawford says. “Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice; you can tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking at them; eating disorders are a young girl’s disease; eating disorders are a passing phase in someone’s life and it is best to ignore [them]; eating disorders are caused by photographs of skinny models; the family causes someone to have an eating disorder…” Read More →
One can’t help but be inspired by Bill McLennan. As executive director of Paul’s Place, the former banker has been working since 2002 to build community, offer hope and restore dignity to broken lives in one of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Started as a soup kitchen in 1982 by two volunteers from St. John’s Church in Glyndon, Paul’s Place, the community center he runs in Pigtown, now offers programs, services and a community gathering place as it serves 8,000 local residents each year.
That’s no easy task. What started out as a modest helping hand serving lunch from St. Paul the Apostle Church on Washington Boulevard is now an 11,000 square foot building with 15 employees and 22 programs. The lunches are still served — 80,000 meals a year, to be precise — but added to the menu are an emergency food pantry, adult literacy programs, computer skills training, wellness classes, Narcotics Anonymous meetings and more, most of the new programs put in place under McLennan’s leadership. Pulling it all off means budgets must be met, staffs supervised, money raised and more. It takes a certain kind of personality — one that mixes a businessman’s attention to an income statement with the emotional generosity of a social worker — to head an operation as well-run as this one, all while keeping true to the difficult mission of changing lives.
Next Saturday, March 2, the center turns 30 and McLennan will be at The Hyatt Regency with a crowd of over five hundred to celebrate with typical fanfare: dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions. Galas like this one are common this time of year, but what’s rare is a single organization and its supporters working day after day to do the heavy lifting of turning a neighborhood around, small victory by small victory, affecting the lives of more than 200,000 people over 30 years. We can think of no better reason to celebrate.
We asked the beloved exec to share with us the secrets to his success and what it is that keeps him fighting the good fight, year after year.
Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
Be the best of whatever you are. Read More →
In July, when Notre Dame of Maryland President James F. Conneely was sworn in, the school buzzed with enthusiasm but whispered a sentiment of surprise. After all, Conneely, a Long Island native, is the first man to take up the top power position at the 117-year-old institution that still educates an all-female undergrad core alongside its growing coed grad population. Read More →
For decades, UM law prof and political consultant Larry Gibson found himself talking the record straight about Thurgood Marshall’s youth and young adulthood – it bothered him that the media held certain basic misconceptions about the justice. For example, Marshall didn’t resent his hometown of Baltimore. He didn’t lack a sense of humor. Nor did Marshall ever intend to be a dentist! Of course, there’s meatier more (the meticulously researched book weighs in at 413 pages). But you’ll have to read Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice (Prometheus) for the larger, nuanced character study. Read More →
University of Baltimore President Robert Bogomolny (pronounced bow-go-mole-knee) isn’t your stereotypical chief university officer, with patches on the elbows of his blazer and a past life performed most loudly in chalk-dusty seminar classrooms. Before accepting the job in August of 2002, Bogomolny served as corporate senior VP and general counsel at the pharmaceutical firm G.D. Searle and Company (think Ambien, Metamucil, Nutrasweet), and before that as professor of law and dean of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University from 1977 to 1987. Born in Cleveland in 1938, Bogomolny’s business and academic experience is rich and varied; he is widely credited with amping UB’s enrollment and enabling the school’s urban campus to expand and beautify annually, and credited, as well, with knowing how to dig in and “grow” the school based largely upon his far-reaching resume. Read More →
Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Anthony G. Brown means to put a radical spin on his traditionally low-key job description. He’s not sitting around waiting for gubernatorial mansion paint to dry, he’s working to end health-outcome disparities among race and geographic state lines; he’s advocating adoption as a chance to effect exciting twofold change; he’s also gearing up to run for governor in 2014.
A Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Brown is the country’s highest-ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq. His father came to the States from Kingston, Jamaica, and his mother from Altdorf, Switzerland — Brown himself was born in 1961 in Huntington, New York. I talked to the lieutenant governor about his work at hand, his ambition, what we can learn from the Orioles, and more. Read More →
Coming Out about Parkinson’s: Public Health Visionary Peter Beilenson on Ambition, Obamacare, and What We Can Learn from “The Wire”
Dr. Peter Beilenson — the high-profile Howard County health officer — prefers to keep his personal life out of the press. When he announced publicly his Parkinson’s diagnosis last month, he did it for one reason: to support Obamacare. Diagnosed five years ago, Beilenson, 52, made public his health status the same day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the central provisions of Obama’s federal health care overhaul.
“I disclosed it because I was so disgusted by the right wing’s constant vilification of the uninsured as ‘getting the poor health they deserve,’ and wanted to make the point that I have Parkinson’s but am fine — because I have insurance,” Beilenson says. Read More →
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