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Michigan professor teaches a class on 'The Wire'

Who knew McNulty and Omar had so much to teach us.

University of Michigan professor David Harding is using storylines from "The Wire" to teach his students about public policy, USA Today writes. The HBO crime drama is set in Baltimore. 

Titled "Urban Public Policy Through the Lens of HBO's The Wire," the class connects storylines in the HBO with real-life city challenges, such as housing, labor, health care, substance abuse and urban decay.

"It's a growing trend across the nation -- take some piece of pop culture, tie it to an academic subject and hope it grabs students' attention more than a standard academic class," USA Today writes. 

You can read the entire story here

Oscar-winning 'Searching for Sugarman' writer lived in Baltimore

If you were watching the Oscars Feb. 24, you know that "Searching for Sugarman" won Craig Strydom the Oscar for best documentary.

If you were searching for the movie's writer Craig Strydom, look no further than Charm City, the Baltimore Sun writes. Strydom lived in Baltimore for 13 years and worked for marketing firm IMRE.  

The movie tells the story of a music fan searching for the enigmatic 1970s singer Sixto Rodriguez whose music was used in South Africa's struggle against apartheid.

Apartment rental prices growing faster in Baltimore than D.C.

We all know that D.C. is way more expensive than Baltimore.

But apartment rents for new leases actually grew at a faster clip last year in Baltimore versus our neighbor to the South, according to Property Management Insider.  

New apartment rents grew 2.7 percent in Baltimore compared with 1.4 percent in Washington, D.C. There's a lot more apartment construction happening in D.C., so prices there aren't growing as fast as Baltimore, where the supply is more limited.

You can see the entire report here

Baltimore earns a spot on most literate cities list

One of Baltimore's well-known slogans "The City that Reads" may not be that far off the mark.

A study by Central Connecticut State University ranks Charm City No. 19 on its list of most literate cities. Washington, D.C., snagged the top spot for the third year in a row, followed by Seattle, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Denver. You can see the complete list here

Researchers took into account the number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet and library resources and newspaper circulation. The study also took into account the number of online book orders and hits to local newspaper websites, writes USA Today.

Forbes highlights Under Armour's new products

Before Under Armour debuted its Brand House Feb. 16, CEO Kevin Plank and other executives gave New York media a preview of the 8,000-square-foot shop and what's in store for the Baltimore sportswear company. 

"The first item Plank introduced wasn’t a product after all, but a place where Under Armour will display its goods," Forbes writes about the Harbor East store.

Execs also talked about "Infrared, part of Under Armour’s innovative ColdGear line," new running shoes the company will unveil this summer, and a digital training monitor, Forbes says.

"There must be, among rival companies like Columbia and even Nike, to a degree, a bit of jealousy regarding Under Armour and its founder," writes Forbes of the company that pulled in $1.2 billion in sales last year. 

USA Today features Baltimore hotel promotion

You've heard of Restaurant Week and probably savored a few three-course meals for $30.

Now city promoters in Baltimore and other locales are devising hotel promotions and perks to lure travelers, writes USA Today.

"Baltimore's inaugural Hotel Week..comes on the heels of New York's second annual lodging promotion, which ended in January," writes USA Today. "Another Hotel Week is being planned for the Caribbean in August, traditionally a slow time in the islands."

Next year, Baltimore may combine its second Hotel Week and Restaurant Week, Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan tells USA Today.

"During Baltimore's inaugural hotel week (Feb. 8-18), travelers could find package deals from 14 hotels including the Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt Regency and Kimpton's Hotel Monaco," USA Today writes.

You can read the entire story here.  

Wall Street Journal features Locust Point 'hairdo archaeologist'

Janet Stephens makes her living as a hairdresser at Studio 921 Salon & Day Spa in Locust Point. 

But her real passion is studying the ancient hairstyles of Rome and Greece, writes the Wall Street Journal in an extensive profile of Stephens, whom it dubs a "hairdo archaeologist."

"Her amateur scholarship is sticking a pin in the long-held assumptions among historians about the complicated, gravity-defying styles of ancient times," the Journal writes. "Basically, she has set out to prove that the ancients probably weren't wearing wigs after all."

Read the rest of its hair-raising feature

Johns Hopkins among 10 best writing colleges

Johns Hopkins University has won accolades for its world renowned academic studies in medicine, public policy and engineering.

The Baltimore school's writing program is also among the best, according to CollegeDegree.com. The site, in conjunction with USA Today College, placed Johns Hopkins No. 3 in its ranking of the ten best writing programs for college students. 

"Their English department boasts a long history of producing well-received and distinguished writers," CollegeDegree.com writes about the Charles Village school. "While they do offer courses in creative writing, Johns Hopkins focuses much more on literary writing, critical analysis, and literature education to improve writing skills."

Hopkins came behind Emory University in Atlanta and Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

You can see the entire list here

OpenTable's most romantic cities list includes Baltimore

Just in time for Valentine's Day, OpenTable has assembled a list of the top 25 most romantic cities. 

And No. 17 on the list is Baltimore. Aldo's Italian Restaurant in Little Italy, Harbor East's Charleston and Mount Vernon's Sotto Sopra were among the restaurants diners deemed romantic. Charleston got another accolade recently as Zagat named it one of the 25 best restaurants in the nation for service

The OpenTable Most Romantic Cities Index was determined by the percentage of restaurants OpenTable diners rated as romantic, the percentage of tables seated for two, and the percentage of couples who dined out for Valentine's Day last year. That's according to an OpenTable news release

San Antonio, Austin, Texas and Providence, R.I., rounded out the top three. 

Zagat says Charleston among nation's best restaurants for service

Which restaurants are dishing out the best service these days?

Baltimore's own Charleston is among the nation's best, according to Zagat. Located in Harbor East, the restaurant received 28 points out of 30 for service from Zagat reviewers. 

"Cindy Wolf remains 'at the top of her game', applying 'world-class technique' to 'Low Country' cuisine to create 'phenomenal' New American masterpieces at her Harbor East 'destination,'" writes Zagat, quoting Charleston fans in its guidebook. 

Zagat's list includes Next in Chicago, New York's Per Se and the Inn at Little Washington in Virgina.

Md. lawmakers sink their teeth into the soft-shell crab debate

Maryland lawmakers are debating weighty issues that affect everything from economic development to health care.

But there's one issue they're really sinking their teeth into: making the soft-shell crab sandwich the official state sandwich. 

"Debate began to heat up on Thursday when Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (D-Calvert) testified in favor of the bill he is co-sponsoring at a committee hearing," writes the Huffington Post. 

Maryland Life magazine Editor and Publisher Dan Patrell weighed in on the debate, arguing that official designation could lead to more awareness of the Chesapeake Bay's bounty and higher sales.

"It wasn’t long ago that this same body considered naming the Smith Island Cake as the state dessert, which some may have also thought frivolous," Patrell said in written testimony. "But I ask you to consider the economic impact of that legislation: you raised general awareness not only within the state but well beyond its borders."

You can read the rest of the story here

Netflix to release Baltimore-filmed 'House of Cards' on Friday

Netflix is releasing its Baltimore-filmed political thriller "House of Cards" on Friday, Feb 8.

The Maryland Film Office says the $100 million production starring Kevin Spacey is the largest filmed in the Free State, writes the Washington Post.

The 13-part series will be available all at once via Netflix streaming. 

Much of the movie is filmed in Baltimore, which stands in for D.C.

The Oscars are coming to Baltimore

The folks who put on the Academy Awards are taking their iconic gold Oscar statuette on a roadtrip. And Baltimore is one of the stops.

The first ever Oscar Roadtrip started in New York Feb. 4 and is hitting Baltimore Feb. 8. Oscar promoters are letting fans in 10 cities know what it's like to hold a gold statue in their hands.  Philadelphia, Chicago Washington, D.C., and Phoenix are some of the other places they will hit. The last stop is, of course, the live broadcast of the Academy Awards Feb 24 in Los Angeles.

It's unclear where exactly the Oscar will stop in Baltimore, as a lot of the decisions will be made at the last minute, the website says. You can follow @OscarRoadTrip on Twitter to follow their adventures or Tweet suggestions on places to visit around town. 

Loyola professor writes a book on the history of wine

The rich, velvety Bordeaux you just had with dinner wasn't always so pleasing to the palate.

That's according to Paul Lukacs, a Loyola University of Maryland professor who has written a book on the history of wine, featured in the New York Times.

In his new book "Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures," Lukacs writes that for much of history wine wasn't all that palatable, but the only option as water and milk weren't so safe to drink back then.

"It was really with the Enlightenment in the 18th century, when a series of revolutions began that would transform our understanding of grape-growing, wine production and wine storage, that wine began to resemble what we now take for granted," the Times writes. 

You can read the entire story here

Huffington Post editor pens a love letter to Baltimore

"Baltimore love is snow-balls covered with melted marshmallow."

So declares Baltimore native Caroline Weller in the Huffington Post, where she is a news editor. 

Her love letter to Baltimore talks about the city's myriad charms that make it special: Maryland Blue Crabs, Berger cookies and Natty Bohs, among them.

And of course, the Baltimore Ravens — even when they aren't the Super Bowl champions.

You can read the entire letter here
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