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Orioles, University of Baltimore, Dan McIntosh, The Daily Record, and Mount Vernon

 


1 Orioles

After a flurry of late offseason moves, the Birds may be better situated to make a pennant run than they have been in years (see feature, page 16). Powerhouses Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy are all back, and they'll be joined by veteran slugger Nelson Cruz and backed up by the best O's pitching rotation in years, including vet Chris Tillman and newcomers Suk-min Yoon and Ubaldo Jiménez. It seems every year O's faithful find a reason to be hopeful on Opening Day, but this year it doesn't feel like a stretch to do so. Buckle up!



2 University of Baltimore

UB announced an innovative program called Finish4Free, offered to this year's incoming first-time freshman, which will give them their final semester of school for free if they're on track to graduate in four years. It's a smart way to boost graduation rates and help reduce student-loan debt. Of course, UB only costs $3,300 per semester for in-state students and $9,000 per semester for out-of-state students. It would be great to see MICA ($51,000 per year) or Hopkins ($61,000 per year) offer similar deals.



3 Dan McIntosh

The onetime co-owner of Sonar and Talking Head, convicted of being part of a massive cross-country marijuana-dealing conspiracy, was sentenced to 10 years this week, the most lenient sentence possible (see page 10). It still seems like a tough reality for McIntosh, who has three children and has never been convicted for violent crimes or dealing harder drugs, especially at a time when Maryland and other states around the country are overhauling marijuana policy.



4 The Daily Record

The Minneapolis-based Dolan Co., owners of the Maryland Daily Record, announced a plan to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, leaving the business- and law-focused publication in the hands of its creditors. Publisher Suzanne Fischer-Huettner says "The Daily Record is consistently profitable and has never lacked for investment." But it remains to be seen whether the paper, which relies heavily on subscriptions from law firms and businesses, can survive as its readership endures a slow economic recovery.



5 Mount Vernon

The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy's plan to renovate the monument and, later, all of the parks surrounding it-including the controversial plan to replace almost all of the trees-has driven WTMD's First Thursdays concerts to Canton and now the Baltimore Book Festival to the Inner Harbor. Worse, the conservancy drew up its master plan apparently without consulting the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, leaving the group to scramble for a new book festival location when it saw the construction walls going up. What used to be a cultural center is now simply a construction center.

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