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Week in review: 11/9/12

Admitted to bar again

Last Halloween, as flames licked up the walls of The Mt. Washington Tavern, groups of horrified customers watched the blaze ravage their favorite hangout, while the co-owners pledged to rebuild. Rob Frisch and Dave Lichty made good on their promise. Just a year and a few days after the two-alarm fire, the tavern emerged from the ashes as an entirely redesigned restaurant and bar, open to the public as of Tuesday at 4 p.m. Former customers and neighboring business owners in Mount Washington Village said they’re thrilled to welcome the tavern back, even though it’s hardly recognizable thanks to massive renovations to the tune of $4 million for the 10,000-square-foot space.

East Baltimore community advocate Gorham dies at 81

Lucille Gorham, described as a soft-spoken community advocate for Middle East who carried a big “slingshot” and often took aim at the likes of the Johns Hopkins University and City Hall, died Saturday evening at the age of 81 after years of failing health. Gorham, a one-time candidate for Baltimore City Council who for years had advocated for stable low- and moderate-income housing options and spearheaded development of an apartment complex near the Johns Hopkins Hospital, had been moved from her home at 1931 E. Chase St. in 2006 as part of a massive relocation of 732 households in Middle East to make way for a $1.8 billion redevelopment by East Baltimore Development Inc. She moved to a house in Belair Edison, where she experienced a multitude of problems.

Ex-Mayor Dixon falls behind on restitution

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon could be headed back to court. A Dec. 7 hearing has been set in Baltimore City Circuit Court to hear a violation of probation charge filed this week by the state for a lapse in making regular monthly restitution payments to a charity under a court order. The hearing will be held before Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, who presided over Dixon’s three-week trial in November 2009. Nearly a month after she was convicted on Dec. 1, 2009, of a misdemeanor theft charge of gift cards intended for poor city residents, Dixon reached a plea deal with state prosecutors under which she agreed to resign as mayor, received probation before judgment and was required to pay $45,000 to a charity as part of her restitution.

Maryland casino revenue falls below $40M for Oct.

Two out of three Maryland casinos showed year-over-year decreases in October revenue as the trio combined to generate $39.6 million last month, the first time since June the state’s slots parlors failed to break $40 million. The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency announced the numbers on the day after an election in which Maryland voters approved the General Assembly’s plan to expand casino gambling to include a sixth state casino, in Prince George’s County, and table games at every licensed slots parlor. Monthly revenue totals are almost always reported on the fifth day of each month, unless that day falls on a weekend or other non-working day. Lottery officials said Monday that revenue calculations were delayed by government closures forced by superstorm Sandy last week.

Charles North inundated by major water main break

A major water main break at North Charles and East 20th streets flooded the entire area on Wednesday, frustrating business owners and residents, disrupting public transportation, halting incoming traffic to the area and clogging other city thoroughfares. The water began gushing about 7:30 a.m., and parts of the Charles North neighborhood were under several inches of water throughout the day.

W. Maryland residents don’t want elk reintroduced to area

Western Maryland residents who met recently in Cumberland expressed skepticism about a proposal by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to reintroduce elk in Western Maryland. Farmers said they were concerned about crop damage. Representatives from the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation said visitors would come to see or hunt the animals. The Garrett County Commissioners have said they don’t want elk in their county.

Donated stem cells help repair damaged hearts

Researchers are reporting a key advance in using stem cells to repair hearts damaged by heart attacks. In a study, stem cells donated by strangers proved as safe and effective as patients’ own cells for helping restore heart tissue. The work involved just 30 patients in Miami and Baltimore, but it proves the concept that anyone’s cells can be used to treat such cases. Doctors are excited because this suggests that stem cells could be banked for off-the-shelf use after heart attacks, just as blood is kept on hand now. Some of the work was done at Johns Hopkins University.