Learn to draw at School 33 Art Center

— Want to draw, but not sure where to start? School 33 Art Center offers Drawing for Beginners. This four-week introductory workshop runs Saturdays, March 15 through April 5, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Instructed by Ismael Carrillo, this course focuses on the basics of drawing. Topics include materials, lighting, proportion and space. A visual artist for more than two decades, Ismael Carrillo’s artwork appears in publications worldwide. He teaches within the Illustration Department of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the Fine Arts Department of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Originally from Barcelona, Spain, Carrillo currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Registration is open for students ages 12 and up. A $120 registration fee is required, plus the cost of materials (approximately $30). School 33 is located at 1427 Light Street.

To register or find out more information, call 443-263-4350 or email qpalmer@promotionandarts.org. Payments with credit card are taken via phone or checks made out to the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts can be mailed to School 33 Art Center.

For more information on School 33 Art Center, visit www.school33.org or call 443-263-4350.

Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis seeks volunteers

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (BGCAA) is a nonprofit, which reaches more than 2,800 youth every year from the ages of 5 to 18.

As a community-based organization BGCAA is uniquely positioned to positively affect the lives of youth through membership and community outreach in six club locations— four in Annapolis, one in Severn and one in Pasadena.

From nutrition programs and hot meals that help keep kids healthy, to educational initiatives that enhance their performance in school and character-building programs that instill the importance of community service, BGCAA continues to prepare the next generation for success.

BGCAA’s mission is to “inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Volunteers are needed as tutors, mentors, assistants in computer labs, arts & crafts program leaders, sports coaches, and to provide administrative help in the office. For more information on volunteer opportunities or to request an application, please contact Tierra Snowden at TSnowden@bgcaa.com or call 410-263-2542. Web site is: www.BGCAA.org

Senior housing seeks volunteer computer instructor

The Bates Senior Residence is operated in Annapolis by Community Preservation & Development Corporation (CPDC), a nonprofit organization that creates and preserves financially sound, socially responsible affordable housing for low and moderate-income individuals and families. There is a current need for a Student Volunteer Computer Instructor one or two days a week to provide two hours of computer training for CPDC residents in learning how to operate the computer including word processing, internet searches, emailing, social media, printing documents and playing games. In addition there is a need for Student Presenters on Health and Nutrition for one- hour sessions once a week for residents who want to learn more about eating healthy and learn more about nutrition. For more information, contact Cate Sirko at 410-263-3009 or e-mail csirko@cpdc.org. See website: www.cpdc.org.

Paula Deen feels like ‘that black,’ gay football player

— Paula Deen has been down for the past several months, but she won’t be counted out.

The 67-year-old celebrity chef is slowly rebuilding her career in food after it imploded last year when she admitted to previously using a racial slur.

And she says she is finding inspiration in what might seem an unusual place given her past troubles.

“I feel like ’embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name,” she tells People magazine, in a recent cover article. “It’s like that black football player who recently came out,” she said, referring to NFL prospect and former University of Missouri football standout, Michael Sam.

“He (Sam) said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.”

The former doyenne of Southern also tells People about her life since last June when she acknowledged in a deposition that she’d used the “N” word in the past.

The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed against Deen by a former employee who alleged she witnessed the Southern star commit numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism. (The lawsuit was later dismissed.)

It’s the support from her fans, Deen tells People, that’s enabled her to get back up after last summer’s controversy stripped her of sponsors and her gig as a Food Network personality.

“If it wasn’t for my fans’ love, I’d be home breathing into a paper bag,” Deen says. “When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again. … I’m fighting to get my name back.”

It looks like Deen’s efforts may be paying off. Within the past month, Deen has made a warmly welcomed appearance at the recent South Beach Wine and Food festival), has announced a new company, Paula Deen Ventures, and confirmed she’s planning to open a new restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.


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Code Blue Alert issued through Wednesday

— With predicted wind chills in the teens and single digits between tonight and Wednesday morning, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, M.D. has declared a Code Blue in Baltimore for Sunday evening March 2 through Wednesday, March 5. These will be the 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Code Blue days of the season.

“Wind chills in the single digits or teens combined with the expected cold temperatures can create dangerous conditions for anyone outside for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Barbot. “We urge individuals to stay indoors in safely heated areas to minimize the risk of hypothermia. If people must go outside in the cold, we urge them to dress warmly and in layers. For those experiencing homelessness, we encourage them to take advantage of shelter resources that are routinely provided.”

Baltimore’s homeless and seniors are among the most vulnerable populations in extreme cold weather. During the Code Blue alert, emergency shelters will operate with overflow capacity and workers will conduct outreach for vulnerable residents.

During the Code Blue, the city’s 311 line will maintain normal hours of 6am to 10 pm to direct customers to the appropriate agencies and to allow customers to report problems or request service. Citizens may also report issues at www.baltimorecity.gov or by calling 410-396-3100 after hours.

Code Blue is a multi-agency coordinated approach to providing vulnerable populations in Baltimore City with relief from extreme cold weather. Code Blue indicates an increased risk for cold injuries or even death for those exposed to low temperatures. The program’s goal is to reduce the number of hypothermia deaths and related illnesses in the City. The greatest risk of illness and deaths due to cold weather is from December to February, with the risk peaking in January, typically the coldest winter month.

There have been four cold-related deaths so far this winter in Baltimore City; three males (all between 45 and 64-years-old) and a woman, older than age 65.

“People also need to remember safety tips for their pets,” Dr. Barbot said. “Dogs and cats should not be left outside for extended times during this cold weather. Wind chill can affect a pet’s life just as it can affect a human’s life.”

During the Code Blue, the Mayor’s Office of Human Services has requested that all city-funded shelters addmore spaces during this weather event and encourages private homeless shelters to extend their hours and keep people indoors.

Cold Weather Tips for Staying Healthy:

  • Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing.
  • Always wear a head covering, like a hat and/or scarf, when outdoors.
  • Keep space heaters and candles away from flammable materials, such as
  • curtains, furniture and loose clothing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Check on those who are elderly and/or chronically ill.
  • Provide appropriate shelter for domestic animals.
  • Heart patients are advised against physical exertion in colder temperatures.
  • Protect yourself against falls in icy or snowy conditions

Based on historical data from Baltimore and data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the vulnerable populations in cold weather situations include:

  • Street dwellers and the homeless
  • Individuals abusing drugs (heroin/methadone), alcohol, or other substances
  • Economically disadvantaged and without home heating
  • Elderly persons and young children
  • Individuals suffering from pre-existing heart conditions and diabetes
  • Individuals with mental health problems

Elementary students invited to create new BGE natural gas safety hero

— Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) announces the launch of the “Who is Captain Mercaptan?” BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge to help create awareness of natural gas safety. Beginning on Monday, February 17, 2014, public and private elementary schools across BGE’s service area have been invited to submit drawings, created by their students in kindergarten through fifth grade, of their depictions of BGE’s new natural gas safety hero, Captain Mercaptan, for the chance to win up to $10,000 to fund a school enrichment program. The downloadable entry kit is available online now at BGEGasHero.com. The new hero derives his name from mercaptan, the odorant added by utilities to normally odorless natural gas to make it safer and detectable by scent.

“BGE has a long-standing commitment to ensuring public safety and supporting educational initiatives in our communities,” said Calvin G. Butler Jr., senior vice president of regulatory and external affairs, BGE. “BGE’s commitment to maintaining a safe and reliable natural gas system begins with educating our customers and their families about living with and near this important energy source. Just like BGE’s Wires Down Video Challenge, which aims to educate children about the importance of electric safety, the ‘Who is Captain Mercaptan?’ BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge encourages children to use their creativity, while learning about the importance of gas safety. We are excited to see the depictions and identities created for Captain Mercaptan.”

Eligible schools will have an opportunity to win the following awards:

·BGE Captain’s Award – $10,000

·BGE Hero Award – $5,000 for winners in grades K-5

·BGE Spotlight Award (for the drawing with the most online votes) – BGE backpacks full of school supplies and safety gear

Submissions will be accepted from February 17 through April 14, 2014. On April 21, entries will compete against each other during a two-week online public voting period. The winning schools will be announced in early June 2014. For more information, including official rules, downloadable entry kit and helpful tips, visit BGEGasHero.com.

In addition to the Captain Mercaptan Challenge, BGE provides schools and students with energy safety and other educational materials on safety, including classroom lessons, teacher guides, experiments and games— all of which are available on our e-Smart Kids website.

For more information on natural gas safety or the Captain Mercaptan BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge, visit bge.com.

’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture

— The searing drama “12 Years a Slave” was named best picture at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, won just three awards, but they were all major: best picture, best supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and best adapted screenplay (John Ridley).

Brad Pitt, one of the film’s producers, accepted on behalf of the film before deferring to its director, a noticeably excited — and tongue-tied — Steve McQueen.

“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup,” McQueen said.

He added, “This is for all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still endure slavery today.”

Nyong’o, a newcomer, paid tribute to her character, Patsey, a slave in 1840s Louisiana. Her voice cracked as she spoke.

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is because of so much pain in someone else’s,” she said.

The force of ‘Gravity’

“Gravity” topped all films with seven Oscars, including an award for director Alfonso Cuaron.

The Mexican director devoted four years of his life to making the technically challenging film about a space mission gone wrong. He’s the first Latin American to win the award.

“Gravity’s” other Oscars are for original score, visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing, cinematography and film editing.

“Dallas Buyers Club” won three awards, including two in acting categories: best actor for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for best supporting actor. The film also won for makeup and hairstyling.

As expected, Cate Blanchett won best actress for her turn as a modern-day Blanche DuBois in the Woody Allen film “Blue Jasmine.”

Blanchett praised films with female protagonists. Female-centric movies are “not niche — they make money!” she exclaimed to an ovation.

“Let It Go,” from the animated film “Frozen,” won best song. Robert Lopez, one of its songwriters, became an EGOT with his Oscar win: He now has an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. “Frozen” also for won best animated feature.

One of the evening’s highlights was Darlene Love, one of the singers featured in documentary winner “20 Feet From Stardom.” Love launched into an impromptu version of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” upon the film’s win, and her full-throated take brought down the house.

“The Great Gatsby” won two Oscars, for production design and costume design. Italy’s “The Great Beauty” took home the Oscar for foreign-language film.

“American Hustle,” which had tied “Gravity” for the most Oscar nominations (10), was completely shut out at the awards ceremony.

Ellen sets a record

Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres managed to set a social media record with a celebrity-filled selfie that was retweeted more times than any photograph in Twitter history.

She went into the audience and gathered a number of stars — including Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Bradley Cooper, who shot the image — and encouraged people to send it around the world. She had a pretty good head start, given that she has more than 25 million followers on Twitter.

DeGeneres was generally loose and low-key throughout the broadcast, inspiring smiles more than laughs. In her opening monologue, she cracked the usual jokes about Hollywood and image. Later, she went into the audience to ask if anyone wanted a pizza — and later borrowed Pharrell’s famous hat to collect a few bucks for payment.

There were also some somber moments.

The “In Memoriam” segment, which has received scrutiny in recent years after certain omissions, included notables who recently died — among them Sid Caesar, Harold Ramis and Shirley Temple Black — and concluded with Philip Seymour Hoffman. And when he took the stage to present the award for best cinematography, Bill Murray worked in a shout-out for his old “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day” friend Ramis.

Blues in the night

On the red carpet, blue was the color of choice for many stars.

Nyong’o was dressed in a striking sky-blue Prada gown. Liza Minnelli and best actress nominee Amy Adams (“American Hustle”) also were in shades of blue.

Jennifer Lawrence was an exception: She was in a striking red dress.

But for “12 Years” actress Alfre Woodard, very little of the glitter mattered.

Asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan what she was wearing, Woodard laughingly turned the question back toward the work that got all the nominees to the red carpet in the first place.

“I hope I’m wearing my talent tonight,” she said.


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