Friday, July 27, 2012

Otakon Returns

Otakon is in full force this weekend in Baltimore. If you are unfamiliar take a look at the photos from the Baltimore Business Journal. Baltimore has been hosting this convention for fans of anime, asian cinema, and more since 1999. Attendance has steadily risen over the past number of years, with it reaching 31,000 last year. While I cannot say I can pick out who these costumed aficionados are supposed to be, what I can say is that there always seems to be a lot of tails, and entirely too many cat eye contacts. Unfortunately this year, I am out of town. If you're downtown at all this weekend, I'm sure it will be great people watching! Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

BCFD Closes T-15 and S-11; T-10 on 10/1

Truck 15 (opened in 1908) and Squad 11 (opened as Engine 11 in 1874) closed today because of budget cuts. Truck 15 was one of the busiest in the city, responding to nearly 4,100 calls in East Baltimore last year. Make sure to contact your city council rep to voice your opinion: Too bad the Mayor will probably just ignore it anyway.

Baltimore Brew has been following the story of the three companies that will close (Truck 10 opened in 1895 and will close on October 1st) this year. There is a great picture of Truck 15 in front of the Baltimore Cemetery.

There has been plenty of scrutiny over these decisions, which will save the city $500,000 a year, but put communities in East and West Baltimore at a further distance from effect fire support. The city claims other engine companies will be able to cover the territory, but two of the companies that are closing are truck companies, also known historically as "hook & ladder". These firefighters are the ones who go into buildings the rescue residents, and go on the roofs to cut holes and fight fires from up top. The engine companies, while they can pump water onto a fire, do not have the equipment to do the other job. This leave Baltimore City with just 16 truck companies to cover the entire city. With both neighborhoods that will lose truck companies, having so many vacant buildings there is a real concern that fires could spread as the BCFD waits for truck companies to arrive from further away.

Once again, if the Mayor is trying to encourage 10,000 new families by 2022, what message does this send?