↑ Joyce J. Scott
This year, in particular, the accolades don't stop flying at Sandtown-based sculptor and jewelry maker Joyce J. Scott. After receiving the Baker Artist Awards' $50,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize in May as well as our own Best Artist Award in September (and previously in 2014) and having multiple solo shows in Baltimore and beyond, Scott was named one of the 23 MacArthur "Genius" Fellows. The fellowship grants her $625,000 over the course of five years. And we couldn't be happier—it's overdue, and with her commitment to her neighborhood, we know that the fellowship benefits Baltimore as much as it benefits our glass queen.
↑ Broadway East Food Hub
Half a decade in the making, a $23.5 million combo-platter of farm, market, commercial kitchen, and school broke ground on the 1800 block of E. Oliver Street last week. The site of the old East Baltimore Pumping Station—a grand brick building falling to ruins—is a brownfield. Cleanup is underway with construction slated to be complete in two years. The project, co-captained by the American Communities Trust and the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC), aims to create hundreds of jobs in the food service industry while giving food entrepreneurs crucial guidance and seed funding. The markets will also fill a great need in an area that's a food desert.
↑ Professor Trash Wheel
On Sept. 22, the Waterfront Partnership announced that it had finally secured the funds to install a second trash wheel in the Inner Harbor, and that's a good thing—the one placed at the mouth of the Jones Falls has collected 483 tons—tons!—of debris since 2014. And since the anthropomorphized Jones Falls wheel, which you know as the googly-eyed Mr. Trash Wheel, is so popular, the Partnership held a "gender reveal party" to introduce his counterpart. Turns out the new trash wheel is a female professor with "a degree in trash studies with a focus on the Chesapeake Bay and her dream is to educate Baltimore kids about what they can do to help clean up the Baltimore Harbor," according to Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative. She will begin work near Canton by the end of the year and have a Twitter account all her own. Here's to cleaner water and shattering the trash-collecting glass ceiling.
↓ Peter Franchot
State Comptroller Peter Franchot, usually a loud voice for whatever he's a loud voice for, was unusually subdued this week as legislative auditors dropped a 42-page notice that all is not pristine in the administration of state funds. The big news: The comptroller's people miscoded 14,861 tax returns, diverting $8.7 million into subdivisions that should not have gotten the money. The Sun went above the fold on this, but the audit itself was less scathing than it first appeared: No money was lost and the errors amount to .2 percent of the $6 billion in tax receipts distributed. Still, The Sun's treatment of it, and State Sen. Bill Ferguson's criticism of Franchot, indicate both a waning of Franchot's power and a keen use of the supposedly non-partisan audit process to score political points.
The Baltimore County Police Department hasn't faced the same scrutiny as Baltimore City Police, but after the death of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines last August, a Buzzfeed story published earlier this month that uncovered major problems with the way rape cases are investigated, and the death of 21-year-old Tawon Boyd last week, we think that needs to change. According to the police report, Boyd appeared confused and paranoid when officers responded to his Middle River home last Sunday. A struggle ensued, and Boyd died at Franklin Square Hospital three days later. Speaking about the incident, Boyd's grandmother told The Baltimore Sun, "I kept telling them to stop before they hurt him because I told them they could kill him like that." Baltimore County Police: What are y'all doing?