Officer Nero Trial
(Alex Fine)

↑ JHU Animals

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will no longer use live animals in its curriculum—namely pigs for surgical training. A righteous move for sure, considering it's "not essential to the professional development of a medical student," according to the task force that conducted months of research and surveys to determine the necessity of the practice. But the switch to computer simulations has been a long time coming: until now, JHU was one of two U.S. schools that still used live animals. That'll do, pig. That'll do.


↑ The Contemporary

Last week, The Contemporary announced a call for entry to its first Artist Retreat, slated to take place over four days in August, where 50 local artists and 25 national critics, curators, and collectors will get to find out what each other's about and build relationships. Digging around Internet databases for artist residencies, grants, workshops, calls for entry, and jobs can be arduous, fruitless, and expensive—organizations offering these opportunities are often trying to make a buck, too, so you can wind up paying loads of money just to apply. But this retreat is free for the selected artists (plus a modest $15 application fee), and feels like a step in the right direction toward making art more accessible.

→ Nero Trial

In the first verdict stemming from Freddie Gray's death in police custody, Judge Barry Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero of all charges. Around Baltimore, reactions from activists and others demanding reform were a mix of disappointment and resigned acceptance. Williams, meanwhile, stresses that he had to analyze and rely on the information provided to him. Still, that same information reveals a staggering number of troubling facts about training and how information is disseminated among the BPD. The defense argued that Nero, a "baby officer" never got an email mandating that officers seat belt people into police vehicles—but in what other job is not getting an email an excuse? The case highlights some major systemic problems with training that BPD ought to hop on.

↓ Gay Bars

And the city says "goodbye" to another gay bar. Last week, the Liquor Board voted not to renew the liquor license for Mount Vernon's the Drinkery. After hours of testimony, some of which claimed the bar on Park Avenue and Read Street brought in rowdy, loud, and sometimes dangerous patrons (violence and "drug activity" were mentioned) the newly-appointed liquor board voted no. Some patrons who testified disagreed and either way, along with the closing of Club Hippo (soon to be a CVS!) and Leon's Leather Lounge, Baltimore's gayborhood is a little closer to being gone for good. Meanwhile, the Drinkery's owner, Fred Allen, left an offensive note to a neighbor that threatened that the "possible buyer" of the property is "a black bail bondsman." Oof. A mess all around.

↓ Shady Springs Elementary School

Last week, the Baltimore Sun wrote about a club at Shady Spring Elementary School that was designed to teach kids etiquette in "an era of anything-goes"—and noted that other Baltimore County schools are planning similar clubs. Called Guys with Ties, Girls with Pearls, students are "taught 21st-century manners along with old-school courtesy," including such things as "how to correctly pull out a chair for a lady." The fourth- and fifth-graders dress up once a week with girls wearing dresses and pearls. They're also taught that if they can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Really? In 2016, when women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, does anyone think donning a set of pearls, being a "lady," and shutting up is going to level the playing field? That makes about as much sense as reinforcing gender stereotypes and calling it "progress."