Harborplace woes, author Miranda Mittleman gives back and Bette Midler’s ‘Battle of the Bulge’

Mayor suggests redoing Harborplace

After years of delayed and unfinished renovations at Harborplace, an exodus of vendors and, as of this week, the shopping plaza being placed into receivership, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young says he would rather see the whole thing razed and replaced than continue to flounder, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. “I would like to see it really torn down and redone,” Young said at his weekly press briefing June 5. “That would be my preference. But you know, it all costs money.” He pointed out that the now-former owners, Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp., “wanted to renovate the whole thing,” and did in fact make some of their promised improvements—albeit while leaving others unfinished. “Still, in my opinion, I would love to see it replaced.” The mayor said he spoke with Ashkenazy reps last month during city officials’ annual excursion to Las Vegas for the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon retail convention. There, they informed the mayor Harborplace would soon be brought into receivership—with the caveat that “they would still have control over what goes there,” Young said. A city circuit court judge on May 30 appointed IVL Group LLC, of New Jersey, to take possession of Harborplace as its receiver, as first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal. The firm is now managing and leasing Harborplace on behalf of Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas, the trustee for UBS-Barclays Commercial Mortgage Trust, which holds the mortgage on the property.

Read more: With Harborplace’s future uncertain, mayor suggests it be ‘torn down and redone’

National Aquarium
The view of Baltimore’s National Aquarium from the Inner Harbor (Photo by Amanda Krotki, Jmore)

Also see: Harborplace’s Future Remains a Question Mark

Michael Olesker writes: The last time I went down to Harborplace to write about it, the date was November of 2017. A sign on the front door of the Pratt Street Pavilion immediately hinted at the pitiful level of attention devoted to the place once regarded as the heart of a great Baltimore renaissance. The sign said: “Harborplace: A New Tradition Begins – Fall of 2016.” You absentmindedly display a sign like that, a full year past its due date, and it shows the whole world you don’t even care enough to be embarrassed. And the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., which has run Harborplace for the last seven years, is about to feel the effects of such outward indifference.

Baltimore County Police Chief
Incoming Baltimore County Police Department Chief Melissa R. Hyatt (left) speaks to the media accompanied by Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr (center) and County Administrative Officer Stacy L. Rodgers. (Photo courtesy Baltimore County Police Department)

Baltimore Co. gets 1st female police chief

Melissa Hyatt will become Baltimore County’s first female police chief. A Reisterstown resident who grew up in Randallstown, she will also be the Baltimore County Police Department’s first Jewish female police chief. Hyatt, 43, was confirmed unanimously on June 3 by the seven-member Baltimore County Council. A 20-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, she will start in the new job on June 17. She replaces Chief Terrence B. Sheridan, who held the position from 1996 to 2007 and then was reappointed to the post in 2017 by the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Last month, current Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. nominated Hyatt for the position. He attended the County Council meeting on June 3.

Read more: Melissa Hyatt Named 1st Female Baltimore County Police Chief

Miranda Mittleman
Miranda Mittleman with her pal, Weaver (Photo by Marcella Anderson)

Miranda Mittleman gives back

Hagerstown-based children’s author Miranda Mittleman — who grew up in Owings Mills and attended Baltimore Hebrew Congregation — was featured on a recent “Wheel of Fortune” segment titled “Changing Lives.” The segment showcased Mittleman’s life since her original appearance on the popular TV game show with Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Sept. 24, 2015. In particular, Mittleman spoke about the charitable work she does for various causes and organizations.

Mittleman, 29, has created the award-winning children’s book series “PAWS and THINK!” and selects a different charity to benefit from a portion of the sales of her books quarterly. Mittleman has visited more than 25,000 schoolchildren and raised more than $5,000 for charity. The current charity of the quarter is Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation.

See the Wheel of Fortune video here.

Read more about Mittleman here.

Bette Midler vs. Donald Trump

President Donald Trump called Bette Midler on June 4 a “washed up psycho” and a “sick scammer,” according to USA Today. Midler previously apologized for sharing a fake quote attributed to Trump from the late 1990s. On June 5, Midler posted about her own “Battle of the Bulge.”

See more: Bette Midler thanks those who defended her after Trump called her a ‘washed up psycho’

YouTube will remove more videos containing hate speech and supremacist content

YouTube is going to remove more hate speech and supremacist content from its video sharing service. “Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status,” YouTube announced June 5 on its blog. The announcement cited as an example videos that “promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory.” The announcement also said that YouTube “will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.” YouTube, which is owned by Google, did not name any specific channels or videos, however. The company also said that channels that “repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies,” but don’t overtly violate them, would be removed from the YouTube Partner Program, which allows channel owners to place ads on their channels and share in the advertising revenue from their video posts. The company also did not say how it would be able to track the violations, considering that more than 50 hours of new videos are added every minute, according to The New York Times.—JTA

Sefaria is letting the public vote on which of these two emoji possibilities they prefer. The organization will submit the winning image for consideration as a real emoji. (Sefaria)

Torah emoji?
, the online free Jewish library, wanted to reach more and younger people, to get them to use the resources on its website. They thought that a Torah emoji would put a kinder, gentler face on Jewish scholarship. And while there are tiny web and smartphone ideograms for everything from soup to nuts, there are very few that are specifically Jewish. And, says Rory Kress, Sefaria’s chief marketing and engagement officer, they wanted “to do something fun.” But designing a tiny graphic Torah comes with so many questions. Open or closed? Sephardic style (standing up in a cylindrical case) or Ashkenazic style (with two wooden dowels)? Should there be hands holding it? If there are hands, then what skin tone should they be? Men’s hands or women’s hands? There are already some other Jewish-themed emojis in use online and in various messaging platforms: a synagogue, two stars of David and an Israeli flag. There are also several emojis that while not specifically Jewish could represent Jewish study. There are book emojis, for example, and there is a scroll emoji, but it looks more like a rolled up diploma.

Read more: It’s Time for a Torah Emoji, and This Organization is Working to Make it Happen

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