Hundreds of smoke and CO Alarms available to Annapolis residents

— Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides and Fire Chief David Stokes publicly thanked Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) for an Emergency Responder Safety Grant that will allow the City to install hundreds of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and better protect Annapolis citizens.

The Annapolis Fire Department will benefit from the $10,000 BGE grant submitted by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). NFFF presented the alarms to the city, after purchasing them from Kidde, the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products. Kidde Community Affairs Manager Neal Zipser announced they will add an additional 100 alarms, bringing the total to 800.

“These alarms will offer ongoing protection to residents with no need for ongoing maintenance,” Mayor Pantelides said. “I offer my sincere thanks to BGE, Kidde, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for their support of our Fire Department and for the donation of these life-saving devices.”

The alarms Annapolis is receiving are powered by sealed-in, 10-year lithium batteries. Kidde’s new Worry-Free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms use one battery for the life of the alarm to provide 24/7 fire safety protection, eliminating the hassles of low battery chirps and battery replacement.

“The odds of surviving a home fire or carbon monoxide release increase greatly with the aid of early warning devices,” Fire Chief Stokes said. “This generous donation of smoke and CO alarms, on behalf of BGE and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, will ensure that our most vulnerable populations, including our seniors and low income citizens, have access to these life-saving devices.”

The Annapolis City Fire Department’s Smoke Alarm program has been in place for 15 years and has continued to provide fire safety protection for hundreds of families. The program gives citizens the ability to call and request installation of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm. This program continues to see progress and builds on the department’s goal of reaching zero fire deaths.

“There is no doubt that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives,” Executive Director of the National Firefighters Foundation Ronald Siarnicki said. “We are pleased to be able to help the Annapolis Fire Department by making these alarms available to the residents of Annapolis.”

If any resident in Annapolis is in need of an alarm, we urge them to call 410-260-2202 and request that a firefighter come to their home and install it.

AAC makes it easier for citizens and businesses to get permits

— County Executive Laura Neuman today announced the reinstatement of the Permit Application Center’s Trade Desk, which expedites the permitting process for electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors. This move results in trade contractors being served in a timelier manner, which benefits both businesses and consumers who need their services.

“The new desk saves contractors time and allows them to get back to the worksite where they can be more productive,” said County Executive Neuman. “Since the bulk of the permits we issue are to trade contractors, it makes good business sense to reinstate a service focused to specifically serve their needs. As we work to remove barriers to doing business in Anne Arundel County, this is one solid way to show that we are serious about becoming more business-friendly.”

An added benefit to the Trade Desk is that it allows the Permit Application Center to more speedily assist residents seeking general permits. They will no longer have to wait in line with trade contractors. Anne Arundel County issues approximately 35,000 permits to trade contractors annually; this represents 75 percent of permits issued.

The Trade Desk announcement is one of a number of improvements being made in the Permit Application Center to help improve efficiency. In November, the Department of Inspections and Permits implemented a technology enhancement that allows permit application comment letters to be sent electronically in order to shorten agency response time. The Department also has been undergoing office renovations to make better use of its space to better serve customers.

Google kicks off student Doodle contest

It gets more visitors than any art gallery and more clicks than any other single site on the Internet. Imagine getting your own drawing on Google’s homepage.

Google is giving aspiring student artists and inventors a rare chance to get their original artwork on the heavily trafficked The company is kicking off a Doodle 4 Google contest, and any student in the United States, grades kindergarten through 12, can submit their own doodle between now and March 20.

The theme of this year’s contest is “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place …” If your idea is especially brilliant, you might want to patent it before showing it off to the entire world or having it turned into a top-secret Google[x] project.

In addition to a $30,000 scholarship and a tech grant to their school, the winner will make a trip to Google headquarters and work with its Doodle team to turn their drawing into an animation. The winning entry will appear on on June 9.

Even as ads and other detritus have filled search results, Google’s search-engine homepage has stayed clean, sparse and almost always free of ads. (Google has made exceptions to push its Nexus 7, Nexus One and Motorola Droid devices.)

The classic multicolored Google logo sits on top of the search bar in the middle of the white page. But over the years, the logo itself has been altered for fun and some smart brand marketing. These artistic “doodles” direct visitors to information on topics they might normally have overlooked, from filmmaker Ingmar Bergman to writer Zora Neale Hurston.

“It’s kind of like the mission behind having a search engine that can bring you all the information in the world,” Google Doodler Sophie Diao said. (Her business card actually lists “Doodler” as her job title.) “We can help users find something or learn about things that they otherwise might not.”

The first Google Doodle was posted in 1998, when the company founders took off for Burning Man and decided to drop a stick figure into the regular logo as a sort of “Gone Fishing” sign. Over time, the company started marking the occasional holidays with decked-out logos, and the doodle took off.

Now they mark important historical occasions and bring attention to people and topics that might otherwise be overlooked, such as Simone de Beauvoir’s 106th birthday, the 66th anniversary of the Roswell Incident and the 100th Tour de France.

The doodles are usually created by a team of 20 Google employees, including 10 artists and three engineers, at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. They make about a doodle a day, though many are only for specific regions of the world, so not everyone will see them on their homepage.

You can see every doodle from around the world at

The altered logos take different forms. Most are static illustrations, but there are also animations and games. Some of the biggest hits are elaborate interactive doodles, like the winter-themed Zamboni game, which can take months to create. Clicking on a doodle brings up search results for that topic.

In addition to hosting the winner for a day, the Doodle team will help an official group of judges sort through entries and pick the best drawings. The public will be able to chime in and vote on their favorites.

“We’re looking for doodles that kind of feel at once very personal and relatable and are also a showcase of the student’s creativity,” Diao said.

Last year’s Doodle 4 Google contest winner was 18-year-old Sabrina Brady, who created an image of a returning U.S. soldier hugging his young daughter. She has gone on to use her scholarship money to enter art school.


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Russell Wilson second black quarterback to win a Super Bowl

Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, many wondered whether black history would be made again on Sunday, February 1, 2014 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In 1988, Washington Redskins quarterback Douglas Lee “Doug” Williams became the first African American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, with his victory in Super Bowl XXII.

Could the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Carrington Wilson become the second African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl?

Twenty-six years earlier, Super Bowl XXII was between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins and American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1987 season.

Coming into Super Bowl XXII, the Broncos were favored to win because most experts thought both teams were equal in terms of talent with Elway considered by many as the superior quarterback to Williams.

The odds were stacked in Elway’s favor. He had won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and was selected to start for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, while Williams had played just five regular season games in the 1987 season.

The game would be decided on January 31, 1988 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. By the time the game ended, the Washington Redskins had defeated the Broncos by the score of 42–10, winning their second-ever Super Bowl. Elway was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Williams became the first black man to win a Super Bowl as a quarterback. He was named the game’s MVP after going 18 of 29 for 340 yards and four touch down passes in a 42-10 bucking of Elway’s Broncos.

Born August 9, 1955, Williams is best known for his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXII. Williams also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half.

Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, league MVP Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos were heavily favored. However, by the time the game ended, black history was made again with Wilson and the underdog Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos.

In an ironic twist of fate, the lopsided 43-8 win marked the second time that Elway had been beaten by a black quarterback. The former Denver Broncos quarterback now serves as Vice President of Football Operations for the organization.

Wilson passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns, joining Williams as the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Actor Eric I. Keyes says NAACP Image Award nomination is a beautiful beginning

“Live Life & Win!” is a half-hour syndicated young adult news and information program hosted by actor Eric I. Keyes. The show has received a 2014 NAACP Image Awards nomination for “Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program.”

The educational program highlights some very interesting and positive actions in the communities of Los Angeles by young adults.

In one episode Keyes learns to ride a horse. In another episode, he interviews Hill Harper, a New York Times Best Selling author of several books, targeting young adult males.

“It’s a beautiful beginning,” Keys said about receiving the NAACP Image Awards nomination, in the same category as other Disney projects and Golden Globe winner Keke Palmer. “I hope I can advance myself as an actor and show host. I never want to stop learning. I want people to say I watched his performance and loved it.”

“Live Life & Win!” is produced and distributed by Connection III Entertainment Corp. Cleveland O’Neal, is the creator and executive producer of the show, which airs in syndication on the Fox Network— reaching 91 million homes.

“The original concept was to bring to light young adults doing positive things we are not seeing,” Keyes pointed out. “It has grown from there. Hill is very active with young adults. His

Book encourages girls to love their ‘puffs’

“Penny and the Magic Puffballs” is empowering young girls of color to feel great about themselves, starting with their hair. The new book is about a young girl, Penny, who faces identity issues with her natural hair and often feels sad because her hair isn’t straight. When her mom gives her big puffballs, the adventurous magic begins.

“There are so many Penny’s in the world, including my daughter,” says author Alonda Williams. “I created Penny to empower my daughter to embrace her differences and love herself, just as she is.”

“Penny and the Magic Puffballs” is a 32-page book that tells the whimsical story of Penny, and her adventures with her puffballs. Author Alonda Williams credits her daughter’s struggles for the creation of Penny’s character. She made up bedtime stories about Penny and her magic puffballs to help her daughter relate to someone that looked like her. Her two children loved her stories so much that it became a part of their nightly routine, with new adventures added to Penny’s story each night. “I decided to write the book because I knew that my daughter wasn’t alone in her struggle. I thought that other little girls would enjoy hearing Penny’s story,” says Williams.

Parents and children across the nation have welcomed this book; and supporters are steadily joining in on the effort to increase the self-esteem of young girls of color. “Penny and the Magic Puffballs” has been an Amazon best seller and has gained close to 6,000 fans via social media since its early December release. “Penny and the Magic Puffballs” is currently available on Amazon and in a few, local bookstores and hair salons. More information is available at

COMMENTARY: Cult of the blameless black

Pro-crime black folk are an existential threat not only to law-abiding American blacks, but to law-abiding Americans of all races and creeds— period!


Nadra Enzi

“Ohhh, you racist,” spit some, appalled that I’d dare speak such heresy. Maybe they think it’s a perverse form of self-hatred against my own race.

With one sentence, I’ve defiled modern progressives’ most (un)holy of holies when it comes to public safety/civil rights issues: The Cult of the Blameless Black.

The Cult of The Blameless Black decrees that black-on-black crime is “victimless.”

The origins of the Cult of the Blameless Black lie in the fiery crucible of the 1960s, when major urban centers burned as bias met Black Power. There was also some free wealth redistribution (via looting) thrown in.

Another flashpoint, provided by the 1992 Rodney King riots, was merely called an “uprising” by the pro-crime crowd, who overlooked the death and theft that resulted.

And then there is the 2005 chaos in New Orleans following the Hurricane Katrina-related levee failures.

The Cult’s latest edict on the quiet riot, known as the “knockout game” is that it’s simply right-wing propaganda to be dismissed.

Dismissed, for the most part. We will likely see more hype about the Justice Department’s indictment of a white perpetrator as something to rival the George Zimmerman case. The rest? Propaganda!

The Cult has used the very real threat of unemployed black felons to force

re-entry programs into becoming affirmative action bribes in exchange for non-existent urban peace.

Right now, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wants to keep employers from inspecting both the financial and criminal backgrounds of prospective hires.

Unbeknownst to cultists, what they’ve really done is light a smoldering fire of resentment among otherwise amiable whites who thought such naked racial aggression was a thing of the past.

And imagine how those who aren’t so amiable are feeling these days?

The threat posed by the Cult of the Blameless Black is this: The cultists will eventually destroy law-abiding American blacks culturally (perhaps literally) and spark a wave of retaliation from other Americans who believe, justified or not, that there are no law-abiding blacks left. All of us will become the enemy!

Obviously, I’m not a white nationalist— so this grim vision isn’t born from the mind of an anxious Aryan! It is born from knowing full well that holding black criminals blameless insures all blacks are eventually going to be blamed in return.

Unlike Santa, be he white or black, panicky people often don’t take time to determine who’s naughty and who’s nice when they are bombarded by bad news about groups with whom they have little contact. It’s even worse when they have little positive interaction at all.

I, for one, seek to be a voice for those blacks, among others, fighting the Cult of the Blameless Black as a genuine threat to our community. I see this fight as a possible prelude to something that may eventually menace the entire nation as such wrongdoing becomes mistaken for our authentic behavior.

Many conservatives say we’re already at this point while liberals are simply in denial.

Quite frankly, this Cult has all but claimed black America’s cultural high ground. It is vital that we reclaim this ground before it is too late.

That is, if it isn’t too late already.

Nadra Enzi is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21 and a community policing activist in New Orleans. Comments may be sent to

Creative fund grant program returns for local artists

— Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts are excited to announce the return of the Creative Baltimore Fund. The grant program provide more than $250,000 in funding to local individual artists and established organizations in 2014 through two grants— including the newly established Mayor’s Individual Artist Award. Applications and guidelines are now available at The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, March 31, 2014.

“I am pleased to announce that we are now once again accepting applications for the Creative Baltimore Fund, which will provide grant opportunities to artists and organizations whose work contributes to Baltimore as an arts destination. From Baltimore’s three Arts & Entertainment Districts to world-class museums and top performance venues to artists creating in their studios, Baltimore’s arts scene continues to flourish. With so many dedicated members of the city’s cultural community working hard every day on positive and innovative projects, we will continue to strengthen our city through the arts, ” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The Creative Baltimore Fund provides support to artists and organizations through two grants. The Mayor’s Individual Artist Award provides project support for programs that promote public access and encourage the breadth of arts and/or cultural programming in our community. Recipients of the Mayor’s Award will showcase the results of their work at a public presentation in November 2014.

Individual artists can receive up to $5,000 for project support; organizations can receive up to $10,000 for general operating support. Grant awards will be announced in May 2014.

For more information, applications, guidelines, dates and deadlines, visit:

Drink to your health!

Most of us know we should eat a healthy diet, but we don’t often think much about what we drink. Yet, our choice of beverage is critically important to our health because proper hydration flushes toxins out of our system and keeps our bodies functioning optimally. Here are 4 tips to healthy hydration:

•Drink eight glasses of pure water every day. Up to 75 percent of us are walking around chronically dehydrated, so we clearly need to drink more water. Water boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, and keeps your body at a healthy pH. By drinking the right amount of water, you will notice so many benefits, such as: a decrease in symptoms of dehydration like fatigue; headaches; back and joint aches; improved regularity; and weight loss. Would it surprise you to know that the average person drinks 10 to 25 percent of his or her daily caloric intake? By replacing sweetened beverages with plain water, you will be on your way to losing unwanted pounds.

•Drink two to three cups of freshly brewed green tea every day. Green tea has powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. Several studies have shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea daily inhibits cancer growth. Specifically, green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder cancer. Green tea can also reduce obesity and help to lower LDL cholesterol.

•Avoid sodas. Both regular and diet sodas are bad news. An average 12 oz regular soda contains 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar, and as you may know, sugar is a major culprit in weight gain. Another major problem with soda is their acidity. Your body requires a slightly alkaline pH to perform optimally, and conversely, disease thrives in an acidic environment. Soda also weakens bones and don’t make the mistake of thinking that diet soda is a better choice. Diet soda contains harmful artificial sugars, and, surprisingly, diet soda is now being associated with weight gain instead of weight loss.

•Avoid energy drinks. Caffeine levels in energy drinks range from about 80 milligrams (mg) to more than 500 mg. in a can or bottle, compared to about 100 mg. in an average cup of coffee. This amount of caffeine can cause dangerous increases in heart rate or blood pressure. My advice? Get your energy from eating nutritious foods, eating regularly and getting adequate amount of sleep.

So start your year off with the simple and healthy habit of drinking for good health.

Teresa Fuller M.D., Ph.D. is board-certified in pediatrics and integrative holistic medicine, and she holds a Ph.D. in physiology. She has been a practicing pediatrician in the Maryland area for the past ten years. Dr. Fuller has become a strong advocate for improving the health of her patients and the wider pediatric community.

Foundation raises awareness about heart attacks

The Heart Health Foundation’s mission to paint the town red for the month of February got off to a celebratory start on Saturday, February 1 in Annapolis with a heart walk parade that covered several city blocks before winding down on Main Street.

“We’re trying to create awareness in the community about heart disease and the fact that more women die of heart disease than anything else,” said Elaine Gary, director of the Dare to C.A.R.E. Program and a former patient whose heart screening led to lifesaving surgery.

Dare to C.A.R.E. (DTC) is a nonprofit organization located in Annapolis, and is directed by Dr. John D. Martin, and Louise O. Hanson, of Cardiology Associates, PC.

It began in 2000, and since then has been attended by thousands of people, many of whom have had life-saving procedures as a result of disease detected at DTC events.

“Cardiovascular disease is the number one health problem in this country today. More than half of Americans will die from complications of atherosclerotic disease, the root cause of cardiovascular disease and millions more will suffer debilitating complications that rob many Americans of a meaningful quality of life,” said Martin, who along with Hanson, founded the Heart Health Foundation program, which helps to save lives by offering free cardiovascular disease screenings.

Martin, the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, has helped the center to become a nationally recognized facility for the treatment of vascular disease.

DTC screenings are responsible for the detection of the early stages of the disease in many who had no idea they were ill. To date, the program has screened more than 40,000 patients and there are 19 DTC screenings sites around the country.

Martin says that his goal is to extend his program across the country and to continue to educate and save lives.

“We’re pretty excited about the momentum and with the walk, people are starting to realize the importance of this,” Martin said. “Statistics show that heart disease is the country’s number one killer. Cancer creeps in at number two, but heart disease, stroke, and the like begins to dwarf all of the numbers, which is staggering.”

More than half of Americans will die from complications of atherosclerotic disease, the root cause of cardiovascular disease. Millions more will suffer debilitating complications that will rob them of a meaningful quality of life, according to Gary.

“One million Americans die of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders every year in the United States— that means two out of every five deaths in the United States or one life every 33 seconds. Unfortunately, the majority of people with this disease are unaware of their problem until severe complications or death occur,” she said.

Through the efforts of volunteers and the use of lectures, educational materials, free ultrasound testing and meetings with cardiovascular specialists, DTC brings the message that complications of cardiovascular disease can be prevented.

The testing portion of the program consists of a blood pressure check and a non-invasive ultrasound examination of the carotid arteries, abdominal aorta, and evaluation of leg circulation.

The second component of the program involves attending an evening of informative lectures about cardiovascular disease given by physicians and nurse practitioners. Topics include the definition of the various types of cardiovascular disease, causes and risks for the disease, and the latest treatment options.

“We have already raised funds and have initiated the mission of providing free programs to all at-risk individuals in our region,” Martin said. Risk factors include age (greater than 60) and health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking or family history of cardiovascular disease. Individuals over the age of 50 who have any of the listed risk factors are also considered at-risk.

Martin said he hopes to expand the program statewide in order to set an example of cardiovascular health for the nation. “DTC is a program we can all be very proud of and a gift we give graciously to our participants,” he said.