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In the Media: Nick Mosby Enters Mayoral Race; Playgrounds Built to Heal

Nick Mosby addressing a crowd.
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Nick Mosby addresses a crowd on sunday.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Baltimore Sun: Two Mosbys in High Office? Observers Divided on Whether its a Conflict

"New mayoral candidate Nick J. Mosby is likely to face questions about whether his wife's job as the city's top prosecutor is a problem.

"Mosby, a city councilman from West Baltimore, formally entered the mayor's race Sunday with a rally in Reservoir Hill. His wife, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, stood silently by his side.

"Should Nick Mosby win, he would have authority over the $38 million budget of his wife's office and her more than 300 employees. He would need to balance funding of her initiatives as Baltimore state's attorney with other city priorities, such as police, education and economic development.

"Among other roles, the state's attorney serves as a check on the mayor's Police Department, deciding when to press or drop charges — decisions that some believe create a healthy tension between police and prosecutors. For instance, former Mayor Martin O'Malley and former State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy famously clashed over O'Malley's 'Zero Tolerance' policing policy, with Jessamy dropping thousands of arrests she deemed illegal.

"City prosecutors have been known to bring charges against wrongdoing by employees of the Police Department or other city agencies. Marilyn Mosby is currently investigating alleged wrongdoing by public housing employees, who are overseen by the mayor's housing chief. If Nick Mosby were to win, Marilyn Mosby could find herself in a situation where she would be tasked with investigating people on her husband's staff.

Farajii Muhammad, co-host of former state Sen. Larry Young's radio talk show, said perceptions of a conflict of interest could be Nick Mosby's "Achilles' heel."

"'There are some who like the symbolism of a Baltimore power couple,' Muhammad said. 'But other people are going to be very concerned. People will always have to wonder about the decisions they're making.'

"Nick Mosby, 36, formally entered the race Sunday before a crowd of 350 at the Madison Park North Apartments, a once-troubled complex dubbed "Murder Mall" that is slated for demolition. In an interview, he said he sees no conflict in his wife's role, saying both are accountable to voters."

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From The Baltimore Sun: Post-Riot Grant For Baltimore Job Training Starts to be Distributed

"The first wave of awards from a $5 million federal grant Baltimore received after the April riots is set to be approved by the city's spending board this week.

"Contracts with eight job training organizations worth a total of about $1.7 million are set to go the Board of Estimates Wednesday. Another four awards are expected in the coming weeks for a total of about $2.6 million targeting training for at least 700 people.

"Officials looked for ties to community organizations and employers when making the awards, based on conversations after the riots in which people said they felt disconnected from the opportunities available, said Jason Perkins-Cohen, director of the mayor's office of employment development.

"'What the unrest highlighted is we've got to do better,' Perkins-Cohen said. 'It's not that our residents didn't know of any services that were available, it's that the connections weren't strong enough to meet the full array of needs.'

"Grant recipients are expected to work together to recruit participants and share best practices. Other money from the grant is slated to go to groups providing services, such as legal aid and mental health counseling, to support those enrolled in the programs.

"Perkins-Cohen said the goal is to create a "more fully-formed workforce system" that connects the out-of-work with the jobs and help they need."

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From The Baltimore Sun: Playgrounds Play Healing Role in Baltimore Neighborhoods

"The volunteers at Gilmor Elementary School worked diligently at their assigned tasks Saturday.

"They came from the neighborhood and beyond to rake dirt and roll out sod. They painted a game of Twister and a map of the United States onto the blacktop. They assembled swings, bridges and a slide for what is soon to become a new playground for the school.

"Near where they worked stands the public housing complex where Freddie Gray was arrested in the spring. His death a week later of injuries suffered while in police custody, touched off turmoil throughout the city.

"But there was no chaos or unrest on this day.

"'This is an example of what is possible for the city,' said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who stopped by to encourage the volunteers. 'This is a part of healing Baltimore.'

"The playground may be especially helpful for the area's youngest residents. Studies have shown that living in violent neighborhoods can cause hidden trauma in children, organizers said. Building anxieties can erupt into bad behavior, difficulty sleeping and poor concentration in school.

"'When you live in a community like this, where children see and feel the impact of violence, [a playground] can become an outlet where they can work off that negative energy — but also a place where children can feel safe,' said Bronwyn Mayden, an assistant dean at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, who helped coordinate volunteers and raise money for the playground.

"The Gilmor project was one of three playgrounds set up by volunteers across Baltimore on Saturday as part of an initiative dubbed Play More B'More, put together by KaBOOM!, which promotes the importance of play and recreation in children's lives. The other two play areas were built at Tench Tilghman Elementary on North Patterson Park Avenue and at the nonprofit LIGHT Health & Wellness on North Monroe Street."

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