1 Del. Heather MizeurThe first televised debate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary race featured lots of sniping, particularly from Attorney General Doug Gansler about the Maryland health care exchange debacle, and from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown about Gansler's gaffes, including failing to break up a high school party with beer-beer! Mizeur pointedly avoided the mud-slinging and came out the clear winner. Her smart, progressive ideas-like using revenue from legal pot to fund Head Start programs-and status as a relative outsider have local activists buzzing more than they have about a statewide candidate in years.
2 Maryland Film FestThe 16th annual festival was also the first that did not include the Charles Theatre as a venue. By almost all accounts, the setup, with screenings taking place at MICA, the Windup Space, and the Walters, among other venues-with a bus shuttling audiences to and from locations-worked well. But it was the programming that made the film festival shine, with highlights including local comedy-horror auteur Chris LaMartina's Call Girl of Cthulhu and Marylander Michael Tully's ode to '80s Ocean City, Ping Pong Summer. With the addition of the Parkway Theater, in 2016 or so, expect the festival to be even more grand.
3 OystersThe bay is still a mess, especially for bivalves, which have been decimated by diseases in recent decades and are estimated to number less than 1 percent than they once did in local waters. But a new survey by the Department of Natural Resources finds that the population has more than doubled since 2010. The progress is still limited to south of the Bay Bridge, and the local industry is still a shell(!) of what it once was, but we're keeping our stock of Tabasco and lemon on hand for even better days to come.
4 BPDThe department still doesn't have this PR business quite right. So, they set up a 24-7 hotline for citizens to anonymously call in complaints to an internal investigations detective: good. But the 800 number actually redirects to an adult chat line offering "hot ladies" to talk to: not as good. Maybe worse, faced with The Sun's Justin Fenton, an honest reporter who routinely tracks down facts about the department and treats it fairly (Fenton is a member of City Paper's Best of Baltimore Hall Fame for his reporting), BPD freezes him out. You're not exactly winning hearts and minds, Batts..
5 BGEThe utility is facing a lawsuit alleging that failing pipes led to a February gas explosion in East Baltimore that killed 8-year-old Troy Douglas. Lawyers say the case is hard to predict and will ultimately depend on whether Douglas' family can prove causality-that bad pipes caused his death-but it still looks terrible for BGE, especially coming in the same week as news that the utility sent out 600,000 suspension-of-service notices this winter, 10 percent more than last year. Maybe they should spend less time on collections and more on repairs.