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Baltimore County News

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Date: Feb 2018

by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

More than 400 arts advocates came to Annapolis for Maryland Arts Day this week to speak with one voice: an investment in the arts is an investment in a vibrant community. 

I could not agree more. At a time when the arts could seem like a luxury, their value to our quality of life and economic vitality is greater than ever.

More than 6,900 people work in 1,744 arts-related creative businesses in Baltimore County alone. Statewide, the arts provide jobs for over 14,500 people, with over $1.16 billion in economic impact.

There’s well-documented evidence that arts education helps students learn, stay in school, and think, see and hear in new ways.

Low-income Baltimore City Public Schools students who participated in an arts-related summer academic program from Young Audiences avoided summer learning loss and, in many cases, gained ground on their national peers in standardized testing, according to evaluations.

Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, 3rd graders who participate in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests, according to a study published in Advanced Cognitive Psychology.

Students who study art are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance, according to The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The arts enrich our lives.

As part of an exhibition at the Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, visitors were asked to share their thoughts around this idea:  “People around the world create art in order to _____.”  Here are just a few of the more than 200 responses.

Have fun. Be creative. Maintain sanity.

Teach. Believe. Inspire.

Open minds to new ideas. Unite communities.

See the world in a different way.

Share life stories and testimonies.

Relax. Live fully. Connect. 

At a time when having a good connection usually means having good Wi-Fi, the arts make the case for human connections.

It is a case worthy of our full support.

Plans to Expand Will Include Ten Additional Neighborhoods

Residents, inspectors and community leaders agree that the County’s multi-pronged rat eradication pilot program has succeeded in controlling rodent infestations in 13 communities targeted last year for intensive extermination and education efforts and an extra trash collection each week. Building on that success, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County plans to expand the program to include 10 additional neighborhoods beginning this July.

“People shouldn’t have to live among rats and the feedback we’re getting is overwhelmingly positive that our enhanced comprehensive approach is working well in these targeted areas,” said Kamenetz. “We are eager to move forward in these remaining communities and expect to have similar results.”

The initial pilot program began last summer in 13 neighborhoods including Hillendale, Holland Hills, Riverview, West Inverness, Berkshire, Colgate, Eastwood, Hawthorne, Bear Creek, Eastfield/Stanbrook, North Point Village, Charlesmont and Middlesex. These pilot areas received two, eight-week extermination treatments, increased pick-up and educational outreach on rat control tips. Additional trash collections and maintenance-level extermination efforts will continue in the initial pilot areas.

The expansion will include homes in ten new neighborhoods, including Loch Raven Village, Ridgeleigh and Knettishall in the central portion of the County; Edmondson Heights and West Edmondale on the west side; and the eastside neighborhoods of Saint Helena, Yorkway/Cornwall, Country Ridge, Ballard Gardens and Foxcroft.

Communities included in the initial and expanded pilot programs were selected based on an analysis by Code Enforcement officials in concert with discussions with County Council members and community leaders. 

“This is good government at work bringing effective solutions to communities and I enthusiastically support this planned expansion,” said County Council Chair Julian Jones. “Our residents came to us with a problem and we have responded with a positive solution.”

“I am delighted that communities in my district will be part of the County’s rat eradication program,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “It is very exciting to know that the pilot program is proving to be effective.”

“I am very pleased that we are adding additional neighborhoods in my district to the rat eradication program,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins.  “As I move around my district, there is nothing more important to my constituents than their quality of life, and ridding communities of rat infestation is a critical component of that effort.”

Community Engagement is Key

“My neighbors and I in the Middlesex community are extremely pleased with the results and we appreciate the focused attention and follow-up maintenance we’ve received from the County,” said Clifford O’Connell, President of the Middlesex Community Association and leader of the Core Group, an umbrella group of some 15 to 20 community groups in the Essex, Middle River and Dundalk areas.

The rat eradication effort also involves Code Enforcement and Public Works representatives working with community groups to increase education and to sponsor community clean-ups in order to reduce trash and debris that can provide a food source and harborage for rats. The County’s Department of Public Works will provide dumpsters to communities to assist in this effort.

“I commend the communities in the pilot program for their partnership in helping us get the word out to people about what they can do to deter rats and prevent them from returning,” Kamenetz said. “It’s all about community participation and neighborhood pride.”

County Reviewing Options Including Appeal

Baltimore County Attorney Mike Field issued the following statement regarding the jury's verdict today:
"A mother died, a child was unintentionally injured, and police officers were placed in mortal danger.  By any account, this was a tragic situation. The County is disappointed with the verdict and is reviewing all of its options, including an appeal." 


Revised September 11, 2017