News Coverage

Artists and vendors battle heat in preparing for Artscape (WBFF)

As Baltimore prepares for the 36th Artscape, billed as the country's largest free arts festival, artists and vendors struggled in the sweltering heat to set up their exhibits. The three day festival begins Friday but dozens of workers were busy laying cable and erecting booths. Baltimore Artist Steve Bunker says he and friends built a huge campfire exhibit late Wednesday night to avoid the heat.

Baker says he has plenty of advice for those planning to attend the festival. "Drink a lot of water, try to stay cool as much as possible, no matter who you are, you're going to burn so swear some sunscreen, wear a hat," said Baker. He says he hopes the heat will not deter people from attending Artscape which routinely draws more than 300,000 visitors each year.

Baker says those worried about excessive heat during the day should attend the festival in the evening. "You know you beat the heat by not being in the heat, stay in the cooling tents." Gerald Riley, a city employee who was working at Artscape says he's used to Baltimore summers. "It really don't bother me when you get used to it, really the sweating is good for you really," said Riley. But last year in Baltimore City, five people died of heat related illness.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen says excessive heat can be a silent killer. "So watch out for signs of hypothermia, which is high body temperature, and dehydration. "Stay indoors when possible in air conditioned spaces when it's going to be the hottest," said Dr. Wen. Artscape is open 11am to 9pm Friday and Saturday and 11am to 8pm on Sunday.

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Baltimore declares Code Red heat advisory for Artscape weekend (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore’s Code Red heat advisory continues today through the weekend as Baltimore kicks off Artscape, the nation’s largest free arts festival. 

Temperatures in the high 90s are forecasted for the next few days. The National Weather Service predicts a high of 98 degrees Friday, with the heat index forecast to approach 107 degrees. On Saturday, the high is near 95 degrees, with heat index values as high as 100. And temperatures could reach as high as 95 degrees on Sunday.

According to the weather service, “the combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.” 

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen issued the Code Red heat advisory that went into effect Thursday. The health department is urging people to stay safe when they’re out in the heat.

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Civil unrest related to Freddie Gray death caused depressive symptoms among mothers in affected neighborhoods, study finds (Baltimore Sun)

Half of the mothers who lived in the neighborhoods wracked by the civil unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 became so stressed by the circumstances that they suffered from insomnia, loss of appetite and other depressive symptoms, according to new research by the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

While the mothers weren’t tested to see if they fit the clinical definition of depression, the researchers said the results found that the sight of burning buildings, looting, and the constant blue lights from police cars was enough to have a major emotional impact in neighborhoods located in the six ZIP codes where the brunt of the unrest took place.

Gray was found unconscious with fatal neck injuries suffered while in police custody on April 12, 2015. His subsequent death sparked the unrest.

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Federal cuts affect Baltimore teen pregnancy prevention programs (WBAL-TV)

The White House is cutting millions in federal funding to teen pregnancy prevention programs, which has left some in Baltimore feeling blindsided.

Baltimore City health leaders are scrambling to regroup this week after sudden word from the federal government that funding has been cut to two major teen pregnancy prevention programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is pulling the plug on more than $200 million in Obama-era grants to 81 teen pregnancy prevention programs and research projects across the country. It adds up to a $2 million budget gap for Baltimore's Healthy Teen Network.

"The whole field, I think, was blindsided," said Pat Paluzzi, with the Healthy Teen Network. "To all of a sudden get the letter saying your grant either ended June 30 of this year or was ending June 30 of next year, two years ahead of schedule, was a hard pill to swallow."

The Baltimore City Health Department is losing $3.5 million, which is the last two years of its grant to provide health education to middle and high school students.

"(It) means about 20,000 of our students are not going to be able to get these comprehensive reproductive health education services anymore," Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said.

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Dangerous heat expected for Artscape weekend (WMAR-TV)

With a heat index expected of between 101 and 104 degrees expected beginning tomorrow through the weekend, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has issued a Code Red Heat Advisory for Thursday, July 20, 2017 through Sunday, July 23, 2017. The heat index is a measure of air temperature and relative humidity and indicates how hot it feels to individuals outside.

"Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those in our city who are the most vulnerable," Dr. Wen said. "As Baltimore prepares for a fun weekend with one of the nation's largest free arts festivals, it is important for all residents to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration. Please be cautious and remember to stay cool and hydrated."

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Code Red Heat Advisory Issued For Baltimore For Artscape Weekend (WJZ-TV)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has issued a code red heat advisory for Artscape weekend.

The heat advisory is for Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23, as the heat index is expected to be between 101 and 104 degrees

“Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those in our city who are the most vulnerable,” Dr. Wen said in a release. “As Baltimore prepares for a fun weekend with one of the nation’s largest free arts festivals, it is important for all residents to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration. Please be cautious and remember to stay cool and hydrated.”

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Heat Advisory In Effect, Code Red Heat Advisory For The Weekend (WBAL Radio)

Baltimore City health officials issued a Code Red heat advisory through Artscape weekend.

The heat and high humidity will make it feel like it is 105.

WBAL meteorologist Ava Marie says the extreme heat will remain through Monday.

“Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those in our city who are the most vulnerable,” health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said in a statement. “As Baltimore prepares for a fun weekend with one of the nation’s largest free arts festivals, it is important for all residents to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration. Please be cautious and remember to stay cool and hydrated.”

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Baltimore health department gets $150,000 grant to expand healthy local stores program (Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore City Health Department has received a $150,000 grant to work with the owners of local corner stores to stock and sell healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods and low-fat milk.

The two-year grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission will be used to add 40 stores to the Baltimarket Healthy Stores Program, which now has 17 retailers participating. The health department will also hire 40 young people to serve as nutrition educators and supply the stores with advertising materials to promote the program. The program was started in 2014 with the goal of providing healthy food options to those living in so-called food deserts, or places with few traditional grocery stores.

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Statewide Grant Brings Healthier Options To Baltimore Food Deserts (CBS)

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–  The Baltimore City Health Department announced a $150,000 state grant to expand the “Baltimarket” program, making it easier for corner stores to carry healthy foods.

The new funds will provide credits, advertising and training to 40 more corner stores throughout the City to carry fresh fruits and vegetables.

This will bridge the gap for one in four Baltimoreans who live without easy access to healthy food.

“Baltimarket offers an innovative and effective way to increase access to fresh and healthy foods,” said Surina Ann Jordan with Maryland Community Health Resources.

“How can our patients eat well when they live in areas of food deserts? Where they have to go and take two buses or walk 25 blocks in order to get healthy fruits and vegetables,” said City health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.

The inventory goes hand-and-hand with education; teaching customers that they can sub out unhealthy foods in their diet. The lessons come from hired youth ambassadors like high school senior Eva Wise.

“Some people were really surprised. They’re like, ‘wow, oh my gosh! They were like I need to change, I need to change,'” Wise said.

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Summer heat can be tough for those working outdoors (Fox 45)

Summer heat can be tough for those working outdoors

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -The summer sizzle has set into Baltimore, and for people who must work outdoors, the conditions can be tough. According to the Baltimore City Health Department there are 115 licensed food trucks. Brian Youse is the chef insid the ‘Crossroads Bistro’, which was parked Monday outside Baltimore City Hall.

“We have had it get up to 110 [degrees] in here," he explains. “We have two fans up top. They help a little bit, and just keep the back window for a little bit of a breeze."

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