2012 in review: Saving the best for last

Written by on December 26, 2012 in Featured, Neighborhood News - No comments

Note: The first half of retrospective of the Guide’s 2012 coverage follows. July through December will be published on Jan. 2.
An early morning fire damaged rowhomes in the 900 block of S. Bouldin St. on Sunday, Jan 1. All residents were safely evacuated from their homes.

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The Baltimore Ravens looked back at a solid season: going 8-0 at home and sweeping the AFC North. In away games, Baltimore went 4-4. In the playoffs, the Ravens recuperated during a first-round bye before defeating the Texans, 20-13. Unfortunately, their season ended with a 20-23 heartbreaker loss to New England on Jan. 22. With 11 seconds left on the clock, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff, now a free agent, missed a 32-yard field goal that would have tied the game.

The Canton branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library closed on Saturday, Jan. 21, 125 years after Enoch Pratt himself cut the ribbon in February, 1886. The library remains closed, and it’s currently undergoing an extensive rehab, which includes adding wheelchair-user access, replacing infrastructure, and exposing the building’s old cathedral ceilings.

Arguments surrounding Area 43, the Canton permit parking area around the Can Company, began to heat up. About 120 people showed up to a meeting held by Councilman Jim Kraft to voice their concerns. Non-residents may only park in Area 43 for two hours between 8 a.m. and 12 a.m.

While the Parking Authority said that the Canton Community Association had supported the permit parking area, CCA president Darryl Jurkiewicz said that it had not.

Complaints of scammers attempting to enter homes of elderly residents increased in the Southeast District, which includes the Guide’s coverage area. According to residents and police, scammers posed as Baltimore Gas and Electric employees, phone company reps, and TV repairmen to gain entrance to homes.


O’Donnell Square, post St. Paddy’s Day

St. Patrick’s Church, at Broadway and Bank St. in Fell’s Point, reopened after repairs to damages caused by an earthquake. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in August, 2011, in Virginia, but tremors were easily felt in Baltimore. St. Patrick’s opened just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

On St. Patrick’s day, which fell on Saturday, March 17, O’Donnell Square was decimated by an impromptu party that occurred on the infield.

Restaurant owners, employees, and residents cleaned up the square, filling 50 bags of trash by 10 a.m.

In a drive-by shooting in the Bayview neighborhood, a 37-year-old man, Dominic George Thornton, was shot in his vehicle on Pratt St., near the intersection with Kane St. He was shot several times in the upper body.

Residents in the Butchers Hill and Patterson Park area reported seeing a fox roaming around. David Curson, director of bird conservation for the Maryland Audubon Society, said that residents shouldn’t worry.

“They eat trash and rats,” he said. “They do us a favor really.”

News surfaced that the Baltimore Fire Department had plans to disband three companies in an effort to save costs. One of those companies was Squad 11, located at the Bayview station, 5714 Eastern Ave. Fire companies, including Squad 11, consist of a truck and personnel.

Benny Sacks, longtime owner of the Highlandtown pet store Coral Reef Pet Shop, died at 70. Sacks passed away on April 2, at home with family.

The so-called “3 a.m. Bill,” which would have allowed strip clubs with kitchens to remain open until 3 a.m., was withdrawn in the Maryland General Assembly after energetic protests in Southeast Baltimore.

A bill to allow the city to use monitoring equipment to enforce city truck traffic passed. The equipment, which projects a beam which is tripped by tall trucks, should be up and running on restricted city roads this coming summer. It was sponsored by Delegate Pete Hammen.

The city announced plans to re-surface Patterson Park’s Utz Twardowicz Field with synthetic turf, renovate the surrounding stadium, and construct a 5,000-square-foot educational building on the premises, to house Living Classrooms programming.

A Canton warehouse located on the 1200 block of Bayliss St. went up in flames in a three-alarm fire on Sunday, April 22. The warehouse was used by Eastern Plating Co., a manufacturer of precision parts.

A 22-year-old man was shot and killed in the Perkins Homes housing project near Fell’s Point.

The Highlandtown Wine Festival, which had been scheduled for April, took place on May 20 at Our Lady of Pompeii Church on Claremont St.


Leap Frog landing, Patterson Park

Residents noticed that the harbor had taken on a bad smell and a strange color. Mahogany tide, a phenomenon caused by algae blooms, was blamed.

Early in the month, a suspected burglar was shot by police responding to a call, across the street from Holy Rosary Church on the 400 block of S. Chester St.

On Monday, June 11, the building housing the Fresh Foods Market, 517 S. Broadway, burned in a five-alarm fire. About 130 firefighters responded to the blaze. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last time.

In mid-June, the city celebrated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration. Highlights included tall ships from multiple countries docking in Inner Harbor, a Blue Angels air show, and the Navy’s elite parachute squad, the Leap Frogs, descending on Patterson Park.

by Erik Zygmont

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