BSO’s schedule, Esskay hot dogs, Buzzfeed layoffs and more

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Members of the Baltimore Symphony orchestra (Handout photo)

BSO’s schedule dispute

On Nov. 1, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s board of directors announced its intention to cut the musicians’ employment schedule from 52 weeks to 40, and their salaries by 17 percent. And if that were to happen, it could mark the end of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as any kind of orchestra worth listening to–and possibly, the beginning of the end for other great orchestras in mid-size cities, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. If the BSO is cut, what prevents it from being cut to ribbons? If a city has no need for a 52-week-a-year orchestra, why would it need a 40- or 30-week orchestra? There is no such thing as a great part-time orchestra, no such thing as the best part-time musician. Once an orchestra becomes part-time, it is playing with a deck completely stacked against it. Several of the BSO’s best young musicians have already moved on to other orchestras, another 20 will consider it, and the best young musicians who might replace them will go look for jobs in Europe instead.

Read more: What Baltimore loses if the BSO is forced to cut its schedule

Esskay hot dogs no more

According to WJZ-13, Esskay announced that it would no longer produce its hot dogs. “Our organization made the difficult decision to discontinue Esskay hot dogs, and stopped production in December of last year. We will continue to make Esskay deli meat and chipped beef products, which can be found in Baltimore-area grocery stores,” said Chad McFadden, Esskay brand manager, in an email to WJZ. Esskay, founded in Baltimore in 1858, has provided the hot dogs at Oriole Park at Camden Yards — it was the traditional ballpark frank.

Read more: Baltimore’s Esskay Hot Dogs Discontinued; No Longer Served At Camden Yards

View from Federal Hill Park

View from Federal Hill Park — E. Montgomery St., Baltimore (Photo by Joel Nadler)

City approves fixes to Federal Hill park

On Jan. 23, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved $318,000 for the repair of Federal Hill Park after a part of the eastern slope eroded away in December, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. Of that, $150,000 comes from the state and $118,000 from the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, a benefits district funded by grants from Maryland’s three biggest casinos, including Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. Adam Boarman, chief of capital development for the Department of Recreation and Parks, said the funds will go toward temporarily stabilizing the hillside as the agency works with engineers and the Maryland Historical Trust to develop a long-term plan. Workers are currently removing any loose soil and sediment, installing slope drains and adding shelves into the slope that will be back-filled with stone, he said. Boarman estimated the temporary measures would take about four months to complete. The slippage is likely the result of damaged water lines that run below ground and excess stormwater; last year was the wettest on record, with the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport recording 71.82 inches of rain.

Read more: City approves $318K for temporary fixes to Federal Hill park

BuzzFeed layoffs

BuzzFeed is preparing to lay off about 15 percent of its employees, according to CNN. The reductions will affect multiple departments, including the news division, according to sources familiar with the matter. BuzzFeed has about 1,450 employees, so about 220 will be leaving, one of the sources confirmed. BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti confirmed the sharp cut on Jan. 23 after reporters from other news outlets began inquiring. The layoffs, he said in an internal memo, are part of a broader effort to “put us on a firm foundation and allow us to invest and grow sustainably for years to come.”

Read more: BuzzFeed to cut 15% of staff in new round of layoffs

Etgar Keret wins Israel literary prize

Etgar Keret is the winner of the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award. The award for 2018, presented on Jan. 22, is for Keret’s collection of 24 short stories titled “A Glitch at the Edge of the Galaxy.” The prize includes a more than $40,000 cash prize and support for the book’s translation into two languages: Arabic and a language of the author’s choice. Keret, who won the 2016 Charles Bronfman Prize for humanitarians under 50, has written several collections of short stories, as well as movie scripts, poetry, plays and comics. His work has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Norwegian and Swedish.

Read more: Etgar Keret wins Israel’s most prestigious literary prize

Chelsea Clinton expecting 3rd child with husband Marc Mezvinsky

Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky are expecting their third child. Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, made the announcement Jan. 22 on Twitter. “Marc and I have loved watching Charlotte be such a wonderful big sister and we’re excited to watch Aidan become a big brother!” she wrote. “We cannot wait to meet our newest addition later this summer.” Mezvinsky, who is Jewish, is the banker son of two ex-Congress members. Clinton serves as the vice chairwoman of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Clinton and Mezvinsky were married in late July 2010 under a traditional chuppah, or Jewish wedding canopy, and recited the traditional sheva brachot, or seven wedding blessings. A rabbi and a Methodist minister officiated at the wedding. The couple signed a ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract.–JTA

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