Christmas Village in Baltimore returns to Inner Harbor

— Christmas Village in Baltimore sails back to West Shore Park with its Grand Opening Ceremony on Sunday, November 30, 2014. The ceremony will feature an official visit from the Christkind (the traditional Christmas Angel and bringer of gifts) from Nuremberg, Germany, a traditional prologue, a meet and greet with the Christkind and Santa and an official Christmas tree lighting with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.

The Christkind (pronounced Kristkint) is a fairy-like being, dressed in a gold and white robe with a crown atop her golden locks. In Germany and other countries throughout the world, the Christkind is the person who brings the Christmas gifts to children. Christmas Village in Baltimore officially partners with the city of Nuremberg, Germany to bring the famous figurehead of the Nuremberg Christkind to Baltimore.

A panel of judges and the people of Nuremburg elected the Christkind who will be visiting Baltimore this year. Every two years, a new Christkind is anointed as the “official” Christkind worldwide. She undertakes the huge responsibility of representing the Nuremburg Christmas Market, one of the largest markets of its kind in the world, and taking part in charitable events.

At 2:15 p.m., the Christkind will sail along the waterfront on a decorated water taxi with holiday music playing, from Harbor East to Harborplace, where she will then meet Santa and he will accompany her to Christmas Village’s outdoor area. The opening ceremony starts at 3 p.m. City representatives, Christmas Village’s president Thomas Bauer, Visit Baltimore’s President Tom Noonan and Waterfront Partnership’s Sarah St. Clair will make brief remarks and at 3:20 p.m., the Christkind will officially open the market with her traditional prologue, accompanied by the Hereford High School Choir.

After the opening ceremony, the Christkind will walk around Christmas Village with a basket full of candy greeting guests of all ages. Guests will have an opportunity to take photographs with the Christkind while listening to a beautiful performance by the Hereford High School Choir. Then, at 4:30 p.m., the Christkind will meet Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on stage for the official lighting of the majestic 21-foot Christmas tree placed in the center of the market. A brass ensemble of the Baltimore Youth Symphony Orchestra will accompany the tree lighting.

Running until December 24, 2014, the Christmas Village brings the true spirit of Christmas to Baltimore. With beautiful outdoor wooden booths that harbor fifteen vendors in the outdoor area, Christmas Village creates the feeling of a true German Christmas Market. Inside the 180 x 60 foot heated festival tent, forty vendors will sell special holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry and high quality arts and crafts from all over the world. Christmas Village’s unique atmosphere with the backdrop of an ancient German town in the tent, great Christmas lights and decorations, and the delicious smell of treats such as Bratwurst, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), pretzels, mulled wine, German beer from the Bavarian Beer Garden and beverages, will put the whole family in the perfect Christmas mood.

New attractions added to this year’s market offer an even more authentic German Christmas Market experience for all visitors. An Advent Wreath will be situated in front of the entrance to the heated tent and one candle will be lit each Sunday to count down the final four weeks until Christmas arrives. Beginning December 1st, one of the twenty-four doors will be opened every day on a German style Advent Calendar and it will reveal surprises for visitors of Christmas Village. Little visitors can also enjoy a train ride on the new Christmas Village Express and have the opportunity to send letters to the actual Christkind Post Office in Engelskirchen, Germany.

For more information about Christmas Village in Baltimore, visit:

Create your family health portrait on Thanksgiving: National Family Health History Day

Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. today declared this Thanksgiving day, November 27, as the eleventh annual Family Health History Day. Over the holiday or at other times when families gather, Americans are encouraged to talk about and keep a record of the health problems that seem to run in their families.

Ninety-six percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family’s health history. The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait tool is a free resource that helps people collect and privately share their family history information through a secured system.

“We are taking an important step in helping Americans identify opportunities for preventing serious disease and conditions,” said Lushniak. He added, “This year, I am pleased to announce updates to the technology behind the My Family Health Portrait tool that will make it easier for people to record their family health history information and to share it with their health care providers.”

This year, the My Family Health Portrait tool has three new features to offer:

Optional modules that help determine if an individual is at increased or average risk for colorectal cancer and diabetes in an easy format to share with health care professionals.

Mobile-friendly access so users can manage their family health history information wherever they are and whenever they want on their mobile devices such as tablets.

More ways for users to save and manage their family history information to personal digital storage sites that use secured information transfer methods.

By collecting health information from relatives, individuals and families are taking the first step towards preventing diseases or health conditions. Family history cannot be changed — but sharing the history with health care providers can help to identify strategies to reduce risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease in the future. Making healthy choices is important for everyone, but it is especially important for those at higher risk because of a family history of disease.

More information on the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait is available at the Surgeon General’s My Family Health History Initiative webpage.

Most of us know that we can reduce our risk of disease by eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and not smoking. But did you know that your family history might be one of the strongest influences on your risk of developing Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, or Cancer? Even though you cannot change your genetic makeup, knowing your family history can help you reduce your risk of developing health problems.

Family History and Your Risk of Disease

Family members share their genes, as well as their environment, lifestyles and habits. Everyone can recognize traits that run in their family, such as curly hair, dimples, leanness or athletic ability. Risks for diseases such as Asthma, Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease also run in families.

G.K. Butterfield elected to lead CBC

After his unanimous selection as the next chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, North Carolina Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield said he’s grateful to all in the caucus, including outgoing chair Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

“I’m moved by the unwavering support the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has shown me throughout the years,” said Butterfield, who will take over as chair in January.

“Each year they’ve continued to elect me to senior positions within the caucus, solidifying their confidence in me to help steer and now lead the conscience of the Congress as chair. I do not take this endorsement lightly.”

Butterfield, whom officials say has a long history of civil rights activism under his belt, previously served eight years in leadership positions within the caucus.

“The new Congress provides a fresh start to address the issues that are important to us all,” said Butterfield, 67. “Members of the CBC come from every region of the country. While we each have our own priorities, we speak with a singular, powerful voice in our fight to deliver on the expectations of Americans, which is to have a government that works for us all.”

Butterfield said his roots growing up in Wilson, North Carolina taught him the values of hard work and responsibility. His father, Dr. G. K. Butterfield Sr., a respected dentist and elected official, graduated from Meharry Dental College and practiced dentistry for 50 years in the poor and segregated community of East Wilson.

Many of his father’s patients had never received dental services because they were unable to afford care. However, Dr. Butterfield did not turn anyone away because of their inability to pay. His son said the elder Butterfield considered it his duty to care for the poor and not burden them with expenses they could not afford.

Butterfield says his mother, Addie, loved education. She taught elementary school for 48 years in some of the poorest communities in North Carolina and she focused on making sure that all of her students learned to read, a right that had been denied to many blacks in the South.

After graduating from Charles H. Darden High School in Wilson, Butterfield earned a bachelor of arts in Political Science and Sociology from North Carolina Central University (NCCU), where he helped to organize voter registration drives in Durham.

After the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Butterfield organized a student march from the State Capitol in Raleigh to the Wilson County Courthouse to dramatize the importance of voter registration.

At the conclusion of the march, he registered to vote for the first time.

Butterfield also received a juris doctor degree from the NCCU School of Law and he served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1970.

After completing law school, Butterfield began a career as a civil rights attorney and his litigation work helped to preserve the ability of several African-American communities to elect candidates of their choice to public office, according to his official biography.

Butterfield won election as Resident Superior Court Judge for the First Judicial Division and for 12 years, he presided over civil and criminal courts in 46 counties throughout North Carolina.

In February 2001, then-Governor Mike Easley appointed Butterfield to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

In 2004, he won election to the House of Representatives and, in 2007, Butterfield snagged an appointment from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn to serve as one of eight chief deputy whips whose responsibilities are to assist in the formulation of Democratic policy and to ensure the passage of legislation by maintaining a high-level of communication with party members.

“I am happy to pass the chairman’s gavel to my friend and colleague, Rep. Butterfield,” said Fudge, 62. “He has dedicated his life and career to advancing the priorities of the disenfranchised and overlooked, both in his home state of North Carolina as well as here on the Hill. Rep. Butterfield’s service and leadership, while a member of the CBC, have been critical to a number of key successes for the Caucus. I congratulate him on his election, and I look forward to supporting him in this new capacity as he continues to move our Caucus forward.”

Indie Soul Entrepreneur of the Week: Franchon Crews

This week’s double threat is a talented singer and a heavy hitting diva, oh by the way she models as well.

Crews, also known as the “Heavy Hitter,” is a boxing champion who made history by becoming one of the first American women to be on the women’s Pan American boxing team. Just missing her chance at making the first ever Women’s Olympic team in 2012 she moved up to a heavier weight class of 178 lbs. and was ranked second in the world. “ It would be a dream come true to be able to have the Baltimore area support me and to be able to have a fight here for the DMV area to see” says Crews. Up next is for Franchon Crews to fight in Rio in 2016.

For you music producers and writers looking for an artist to produce, then look no further than Crews. She showed her vocal chops by performing the National Anthem at the Baltimore Boxing Renaissance and nailed it!

“I will be working on music soon. I am open to working with really good producers so in 2015 people can be on the lookout for some music,” says Crews.

Franchon Crews credits the love of her husband, family, and friends, but more importantly God for her continuing success. She says, “I am nothing with God in my life and the love of the people around me.

You can follow Franchon Crews on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under TheHHDiva and on her website:

Local family relocates to California to pursue entertainment careers

Trisha Goodman believes in identifying goals, having faith and approaching them confidently. Nine months ago, she left Arnold, Maryland with her children Gabrielle Goodman and Michael Goodman in pursuit of dreams to work in the entertainment industry in California.

Gabrielle Goodman will appear in her first film project “Second Chance Christmas,” which airs on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8 p.m. on TV One.

(Photo: Playbox Studios)

Gabrielle Goodman will appear in her first film project “Second Chance Christmas,” which airs on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8 p.m. on TV One.

Trisha grew up in Annapolis but did not venture too far from home. A layoff inspired her to withdraw retirement money and plan to make a big move with 12-year-old Gabrielle and 11-year-old Michael, who had been involved in modeling, acting and singing from a young age.

 Eleven-year-old Michael Goodman and his sister, Gabrielle, began modeling, singing and acting at a young age.

(Photo: Playbox Studios)

Eleven-year-old Michael Goodman and his sister, Gabrielle, began modeling, singing and acting at a young age.

“If you never try, you miss the point of life,” Trisha said.

As a part of Gabrielle and Michael’s upward climb, she works as a full-time taxi driver, maid, cook, mom, life coach and all things in between. During her stay in California last October, Trisha networked and mailed out pictures of her youngest children. After driving across country, the Goodmans landed a top agent who sought them out. Douglas Goodman, Trisha’s husband, is a minister who still resides in Maryland and travels. Gabrielle and Michael’s background singing in church equipped them to be unafraid of the spotlight. Trisha and her family hope to be bicoastal.

“People invest in things all of the time. I just chose to invest in my children. We came to the conclusion that that we were invested so much already that this the place to go for it,” Trisha said. “This is 100 percent sacrifice. It’s a total commitment to get them their auditions, help them with their scripts and of course home school. We do that so that we can have freedom of time.”

Trisha recognizes the importance of establishing a foundation at home, being practical and working together with other families and moms who become like family.

“A lot of people come to California and think it’s glitz and glamour. It really is a community here. It’s nowhere near as bad or near as frightening as people think. I love it. This is home. There’s been challenges but there’s been other moms out here who show you the ropes and who are very supportive. You do have to find that niche. People will try to sidetrack you,” Trisha warned.

Results are proving the sacrifice and hard work has been worth it. The “momager’s” talented children have been learning as they go. Gabrielle and Michael’s two songs will soon be released. They won a car, trip and money on a show called Family Game Night. Both children have booked commercials. Michael has acted in short films as a main character and helped college students with their projects.

Gabrielle and Michael are also learning important life lessons as they continue their adventure.

“Once you learn the business, you learn that not getting a part is nothing personal. You learn that they are looking to book someone who fits a specific role. Gabrielle and Michael realize that. They make friendships with other child actors. Even if they’re going for the same part, wishing each other well is coming from a genuine place,” Trisha said. “And if they do a good job, they will want to use you again.”

Trisha’s oldest son, Darren Moulden who lives in Atlanta has been supportive of his siblings.

“He’s kind of the backbone of everything for his brother and sister,” Trisha said.

Moulden coordinates online tasks and brings his fashion design skills to the equation. Many of her family’s creative pursuits are in the works.

Gabrielle will be a co-star in her first film project “Second Chance Christmas,” which airs on December 6, 2014 at 8 p.m. on TV One.

“Second Chance Christmas is going to be a must-see. It has many different angles of what the spirit of Christmas is,” Trisha said. “For being new, we’ve done things that people that have been here for five years haven’t. I’m kind of new to luck. Sometimes you’re just lucky.”

Follow Gabrielle and Michael via or find GabeandMikeGoodman on Facebook.

New book explores corruption in Miami City Hall

Author Thomas Barr Jr. spent over a decade working in government. He tapped that experience in the first of a planned series of fiction books, which portray Miami’s political, business and entertainment cultures. The book, “Overlords Karma: Miami’s Urban Chronicles Volume I” is a biopic of the life of former Miami Overtown Commissioner Art Teele.

Thomas drew from his years of experience as a Miami resident when writing this book.

“Many African American politicians such as Detroit’s former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, 43, and recently, Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Patrick Cannon, 47, fall prey to the lure of money and power,” Barr said. “One must always remember where they came from and not fall prey to disillusionment.”

Thomas based his main character on the tragic suicide of Art Teele; the former Overtown Miami commissioner and wanted to tell his story to others aspiring to that profession. “The Youth must adhere to certain ethics when it comes to leadership,” Barr said.

The book details events that influenced the main character in negative ways and documents his tragic errors in judgment. The protagonist in an attempt to take control of his life makes the ultimate decision in deciding his fate. Author excerpts are available at:

Thomas Barr Jr. in his debut novel attempts to chronicle the life styles of African American politicians and why they go awry. The book was released on April 25, 2014 with a campaign for movie adaptation and is available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and Ebookit.

Follow Thomas on twitter at ThomasBarrJr., Instagram at MiamiUrbanChronicles and

November is American Diabetes Month

— MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, along with Sugar Free Kids Maryland, is proud to participate in American Diabetes Month to promote diabetes prevention and control and promote healthy living.

Diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but now, nearly a third of American teenagers are diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic. Unless some changes are made, one in three U.S. children will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.

The rate is even higher among African American and Latino youth— one in two of African American and Latino youth can expect to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes (CDC, 2011).

Because of this, this generation may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. The main driver behind this epidemic are sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, and sweetened juices and teas contribute more calories and added sugars to the American diet than any other food or beverage (IOM, 2012).

We can use this month to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes. Here are just a few ideas:

·Encourage people to make small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

·Talk to people in your community about getting regular checkups. They can get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked and ask the doctor about their diabetes risk.

·Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

·Avoid concentrated sweets and sugary beverages such as regular soda, juice and sport drinks.

“It is important for growing kids to get enough calories and nutrients for normal growth and development, while preventing the excessive weight that can set the stage for type 2 diabetes and other health problems and it is important for adults to make healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise as well,” said Dr. Tyler Cymet, president of MedChi.

Poet Cherrie Amour reads from her first book of poetry at Enoch Pratt Library

— In her first book of poetry, “Free to Be Me: Poems on Life, Love and Relationships,” spoken word artist/author Cherrie Amour explores her journey of trials and triumphs from childhood to adulthood. She will read from her book in the Poe Room at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch’s “Open Mic, plus Featured Poet” event on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Central Library is located at 400 Cathedral Street in Baltimore City.

Amour presented her book’s award-winning poem “Hermoso Negro” at the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Reading and Awards Ceremony in February at the Poetry Center in Paterson, New Jersey, along with other winning poets. This is an annual event that honors the literary contributions of Ginsberg— the legendary Paterson, New Jersey— reared Beat poet and writer who passed away in 1997. Her poem “Hermoso Negro,” (Handsome Black Man) a tribute to her father, appears in the Fall 2014 issue of The Paterson Literary Review.

Amour, who also has two poetry CDs, Love’s Journey and ilovemesomewords, was born in the Caribbean and raised in Canada. Her eclectic background serves as a strong influence in both her performances and her writing. Cherrie Amour will also be signing copies of her book.

Successful entrepreneurship is a labor of love

People often congratulate me for starting my own firm, Caldwell Strategic Consulting, at the ripe young age of 26. I often thank them, and sometimes add that I had no choice. Of course, I had a choice. I could have done lots of things, but lobbying and consulting is my passion and I really had no choice but to follow my passion. This is an entrepreneur’s story.

One benefit of the economic downturn was an expansion in entrepreneurship. Millennials who were unemployed yet had vision began their own businesses.

Pushing for a dream unseen by most can be an insurmountable task for some, but this is what entrepreneurs are born to do.

People will discourage others from following their passion. They don’t do it out of spite, but because people are preconditioned to fear failure. They consider their discouragement a favor. They may advise others to find a “stable company” and “move up the ladder,” or point out that business owners need years of experience.

Sounds innocuous, right? Truthfully, working a safe job one doesn’t love or taking the road most traveled is risky. One always risks something, so why not take the ultimate risk by following one’s passion?

Entrepreneurship does require a unique skill, judgment and discretion to make certain sacrifices in furthering the overall success of an organization and brand. Think of Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. Imagine how many people probably told Zuckerberg that his little website would never make any money. How many told him to go back to college and get a real job instead of taking a chance on something that was never done before? But he had a vision that few understood. Some even thought it was preposterous. He had, however, what all innovators have: passion. He had passion so strong that some people will likely never understand it.

Against all odds, the passionate believe in themselves and refuse to capitulate. A sacrifice might be leaving others behind. When following a dream, not everyone will be going in the same direction— and that’s ok.

At the age of 18, I began attending the Living Word Christian Center in Chicago. Pastor Bill Winston told me: “It doesn’t matter how old you are; you can own a business and be very successful.” All I needed, he said, “is the knowledge to do so.”

Pastor Winston planted a vision within me. I wanted to own my own apartment building. I learned from past experiences that, if I wanted to do something that isn’t practical, I should keep my vision to myself— only sharing it with people who could help or encourage me. At the age of 19, without support from family or friends, I closed on a multi-unit apartment building.

All too often, people attack individuals’ dreams and discourage them from following their vision. They encourage a more practical road— the easy road.

A man once said: “A million-dollar opportunity comes to you once a day.” But we are trained to not see the opportunity. As a business owner and an entrepreneur, I only see opportunities.

Funnyman Jim Carrey gave the commencement address to the Maharishi University of Management’s class of 2014. He said: “So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect… My father could have been a great comedian, but he

didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice.

Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.”

Ownership is one of the most powerful keys to success and independence. Use that key to achieve freedom.

Project 21 member Gianno Caldwell is the founder and principal of Caldwell Strategic Consulting. Comments may be sent to

Towson University Dance Company performs to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson

The College of Fine Arts and Communication and the Towson University Department of Dance presents Legends, a dance concert on Saturday, November 22 and Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, November 23 and Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 2 p.m. in the Stephens Hall Theatre located at 8000 York Road in Towson.

Legends highlights America’s golden jazz era. Choreographers Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent E. Thomas, and Runqiao Du create a series of soulful vignettes to a collection of music by Neil Simon, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and other 20th Century icons. Featuring French “chanson” music from the 1930’s and 1940’s, C’est le ton qui fait la chanson opens the concert. Choreographed by D.C.’s award-winning choreographer, Christopher K. Morgan (Artistic Director of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists), this wistful, romantic dance delves in the imagery and atmosphere of artwork in the 2011 exhibit, Snapshot: Painters and Photography Bonnard to Vuillard. The concert features performances by the Ballet Repertory classes and Towson University Community Dance.

In addition to C’est le ton qui fait la chanson, the program includes Legends choreographers Runqiao Du, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent E. Thomas, music by Neil Simon, Etta James, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson; The Chopin Collection, choreography by Runqiao Du and music by Frederic Chopin; Waltz from Act I of Swan Lake, choreography by Marius Petipa (Bolshoi version) restaged by Susan Mann with music by Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. Lighting design by Rebecca Wolf and original costume design by Kyle Lang.

Dancers from the Towson University Ballet Repertory class include Madison Bonvissuto, Aliyah Caldwell, Rishell Chambers, Gianna Cirillo, Mary Clark, Hailley Miller, Erica Powe, Elizabeth Rumpz, Ashley Thompson, and Anthony Lee. Dancers from Towson University Community Dance include Eleanor Weir, Damontae Bell, Marjorie Bowerman, Tyla Hairston, Sydney Samson, Margaret King, Katherine Nurminsky, Monae Johnson and Ajee Robinson.

Tickets are $20 for regular and $15 for senior citizens; $10 for students. Youth tickets for age 12 and under free with an adult. Tickets are available at the Center for the Arts Box Office located at the corner of Osler and Cross Campus drives. Box Office hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and one hour prior to events. For ticket charges and additional information, please call 410-704-2787. Tickets can be purchased online at