Hogan and Rutherford make Thank-You Tour stop at BIGGY’s Community Center

— Governor-elect Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor-elect Boyd Rutherford, and their wives, Yumi Hogan and Monica Rutherford, traveled to Baltimore on Saturday, December 20, 2014, for a Thank-You Tour stop at BIGGY’s Community Center. There, the Hogans, Rutherfords and staff passed out presents and goodie bags to local children and their families for the holidays.

“I was very happy to get back to the BIGGY’s community,” Governor-elect Hogan said. “This is a wonderful organization that is doing great things for the community, and I was thrilled to help them and to see all the kids and their families.”

Governor-elect Hogan and Lt. Governor-elect Rutherford are no strangers to the BIGGY’s organization. During the campaign, the pair and staff held a Labor Day Cookout for BIGGY’s and later toured the area and spoke to residents, many of whom were receptive to its message of change.

“This was a great opportunity to do something for an organization that does so much for our youth and inner city communities,” Rutherford said. “It feels great to be out here with the Governor-elect.”

Indie Soul Music Review: Dreamzzz by Philip Lassiter

For all my music lovers, Indie Soul discovered a gem of a CD for you. The CD is entitled “Dreamzzz” by Philip Lassiter and features 11 true music sounds, which combine, hip-hop, soul, jazz, and blues.

Lassiter has an impressive background which includes arranging songs for multi-platinum artists like Prince; Fantasia; Kelly Rowland; Jill Scott; Roberta Flack; Kirk Franklin and many more. The highlights of his career include production and arranging work for seven Grammy winning projects with Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin in addition to working as section-leader, arranger and lead trumpeter for Prince.

When you listen to Lassiter, you can hear his passion for music and the many styles that inspired him. His songs take the listener on a musical journey as he travels into the land of funk with “Strut” featuring Bernard Wright of Cameo. He gives you a touch of that new school with “Shawty” featuring Jason Waters and Josephine Rojer. And if you are a blues lover, there is the song “Room for the Blues” featuring Jay White. “Dreamzz” contains two outstanding songs “Pick Myself Up” with Tommy Sims, and the sensuous favorite “Liquid In Love” which features Mark Kimble, Joey Kimble and Kim Mont.

Philip Lassiter certainly set the table with a different sampling of what he has to offer musically. True music lovers will appreciate the many sounds of “Dreamzzz.” It’s available on iTunes.

Indie Soul welcomes your questions and comments. To contact Phinesse Demps, call 410-366-3900 ext. 3016 or 410-501-0193 or email: pdemps@btimes.com. Follow him on Twitter@lfpmedia.

Kunsman named Assistant Dean of Workforce Development

Anne Arundel Community College has named Kip A. Kunsman the assistant dean for Workforce Development. In that role, he oversees the Center for Workforce Solutions, Technology Training and the college’s noncredit Cyber initiatives.

Kunsman brings more than 20 years’ experience in workforce development to the position. He began at AACC in 2006 as the director of the Center for Workforce Solutions and served in that position for five years before becoming the director of AACC’s CyberCenter in 2011. In that role, he oversaw contracts for both credit and noncredit cybersecurity courses and training and identified and developed strategic partnerships to enhance the college’s cyber programs.

Before coming to AACC, Kunman worked in training and professional development at Baltimore City Community College’s Business and Continuing Education Center, as a workforce development coordinator in the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development in Baltimore City and as manager of Administrative and Regulatory Operations for the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Investment Board.

He is active in the business community, serving on the board of the Chesapeake Regional Technology Council and as national coordinator for the Regional Champions Program for Global Corporate College from 2011-present. Kunsman also was a member of the West County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2006-2012. He has a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Health Services Management from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Master of Science in Human Resources Development from Towson University.

Which New Year’s resolutions will you be making this year? Diet? Exercise? Finances?

A positive attitude is one of the most powerful assets you can have. Positive people find success, good health, happiness, wealth and rewarding relationships throughout their lives. This is not because they are already successful, or because they are more confident, it is simply the attitude. The law of attraction is that positive thoughts lead to positive results. Your thoughts are much more powerful than just electric signals between synapses. They have the ability to define you and affect those around you. However, it’s not easy to summon this way of thinking on command. It may take years of patience and practice to change your overall mentality.

Learn from the example of others. “Early leaders in the United States understood the true meaning of positive thinking,” says Stanley Murphy, department chair for the Graduate School of Business and Management at Argosy University, Nashville. “It is one aspect of the root of their success. Philip D. Armour, F.W. Woolworth, Thomas A. Edison, Marshall Field, Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and a host of other movers and shakers who participated in shaping our country in the early 20th century all understood these two powerful words: positive thinking.”

It is true that the most successful people throughout history have all recognized the power of positive thinking. Even Gandhi was a strong advocate of positive thinking. He is reported to have said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

So what are some proven methods to developing mastery in positive thinking? Well for starters, believe that you can become a positive thinker. “Invest and commit yourself to your own personal development,” suggests Murphy. “You must first believe in yourself. When you do, you will notice that others believe in you too. Examine how you are investing in yourself. Make note in your observation of yourself. See if your personal investments are constructive or destructive. If they are destructive, then try to eliminate them. If constructive, then perfect them.”

R. Brian Salinas, professor at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area recommends interacting with people who are on the same journey, whether they are ahead or behind.

“People project who they are and you will too. You’ll start to pick up their traits and ways of approaching things,” says Salinas. “Read books that talk about handling the lessons and challenges that come up in life and that mirror those you want to overcome in yours. In a few years, you’ll find that your story of triumph over adversity mirrors those you read about.”

Consider the physical aspects as well. Try to incorporate the practice of daily meditation (a minimum of 20 minutes a day) suggests Murphy. “Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Moderate exercise, balanced diet and adequate rest will keep you physically fit for your daily task.”

Also, try to be realistic. Everyone has down moments, and that’s alright. “Positive attitude is more than the sum of your feelings at any particular moment. If a loved one passes away or you are facing a challenge that feels overwhelming at the moment, it doesn’t mean that you’re not a positive person,” adds Salinas. “Positive people have every right to feel sad. It’s even healthy to express those feelings from time-to-time. Just remember that those moments don’t define us.”

BSO Kids Program helping students around Baltimore

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is easily identified for its artistic excellence and, over the years, the organization has been able to attract a devoted following not just locally, but the world over.

The orchestra made music history in 2007 when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts, becoming the twelfth music director in the orchestra’s history and the first woman to head a major American orchestra.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has offered programs of Beethoven and Bernstein and many other highly regarded compositions and recitals but, among the most endearing to Dan Trahey is the orchestra’s OrchKids program which he says puts musical instruments into the hands of Baltimore school children regardless of their ability. However, more importantly, Trahey says, the program teaches life skills to young Baltimore residents in inner city and poor neighborhoods.

“The most valuable lesson isn’t that we’re providing instruction in playing an instrument, but it’s about teaching the kids, giving them something to think about,” said Trahey, OrchKids’ artistic director. “I firmly believe that an orchestra is the perfect metaphor for a functioning society, he said.

The program has grown since its beginning six years ago and now serves more than 750 students, who would not have an opportunity to learn music in public schools.

Through donations and grants, the BSO raises the approximately $1,200 that is need for each student to participate in the program. Instructors offer music classes twice a week during school hours at four different schools, including pre-kindergarten students. Some of the students attend after-school programs too, Trahey said.

“We just felt like [music] education was lacking in this town and we started with 25 kids and our goal was to show that by working in a consistent manner and creating a sense of longevity, that we’d get hundreds of thousands of kids playing music in Baltimore,” he said. “Our dream is to create the access for all 83,000 kids in Baltimore.”

Recently, the BSO announced that philanthropists Robert Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker pledged their second gift of $1 million to the program, enabling OrchKids to expand to eight schools helping 1,600 by the 2018-2019 school year.

Trahey’s dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last year, he received an award presented by first lady Michelle Obama that was given to just 12 youth programs nationwide. The Baltimore Sun reported that Trahey was consulted about launching programs similar to OrchKids in several other U.S. cities, plus Austria, Brazil and even Iraq.

“OrchKids has become a model program that people around the world want to know about,” said Jesse Rosen, president of the New York-based League of American Orchestras. “Dan is not only responsible for executing the program, but he brings his own vision to the work. He’s a zealot, a real crusader.”

Trahey says he interacts personally with every child that he can as often as he can. The program has resulted in not only bringing music education into the schools, but higher test scores in all subjects by the students who participate, according to Trahey.

He said it has also resulted in near perfect attendance by all of the students.

“Classical music is huge and we are here and we have a team of people in the schools every single day. We sink ourselves into the community,” said Trahey, who noted that music didn’t necessarily come easy for him, either.

“My own story is very simple. I wanted to play music and my parents didn’t have money but someone gave me a tuba and that’s all it took,” he said. “I wanted to create that same opportunity for others.”

Chinese higher education delegation visits AACC

Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and Montgomery College recently hosted 20 higher education visitors from China including presidents, vice presidents and deans. The participants wanted to learn more about community college systems and processes as well as partnerships with local industry and four-year colleges and universities.

The three-week visit was arranged through AACC’s partner Global Corporate College and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). CEAIE is committed to meeting the needs of China’s modernization through developing exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese educational community and other parts of the world, promoting the advancement of education, culture, science and technology, and strengthening understanding and friendship. The visit included meeting with colleagues at the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C.

During their three-day visit at AACC, 12 members of the delegation learned about the college’s organization, structure and governance systems, instructional programs, partnerships with secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, a myriad of student support services and the function and operation of the AACC Foundation. They met representatives of the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Northern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce and visited the county’s Emergency Response Center. During their time at the AACC CyberCenter, they met AACC’s industry partners from Maryland Live! Casino, Ciena Learning Solutions and Goodwill Industries.

Several of the visitors also participated in the 5th Annual Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) Summit on Completion. The Completion Summit focused on strategies for improving college completion rates by identifying, highlighting and sharing innovative and successful practices for educating community college students.

Local musician’s CD tops iTunes© jazz charts at #20 in 48 hours

Ron Ward Jr., a full-time musician who lives in Glen Burnie, Maryland, released a CD entitled, ‘It’s Just Music’ on December 9, 2014. Ward describes his new project as 14 tracks of “good, clean music.” The album shot to the #20 position on iTunes© jazz charts within 48 hours, impressively positioned there for a week. Eclectic musical selections on Ward’s project offer R&B, instrumental, gospel, vocal, inspirational and jazz sounds.

“Social media is how I promoted the CD (It’s Just Music) and how it was able to chart so fast. No one was aware that it was coming. Dec. 9, 2014 at 12:01 a.m., we bombarded social media. It was everywhere. People woke up and downloaded it. People who supported my music in the past are really surprised at the versatility,” Ward said. “It’s a good solid project that I feel could appeal to anybody. It’s something on this CD for you, if you just like music. That’s why I entitled it ‘It’s Just Music.’ ”

The 43-year-old son of Dr. Ronald Lee Ward Sr. and Patricia Ward grew up in Riverdale, Maryland. Most of the family migrated to Anne Arundel County in 1990. Along with his sister, Latonya Harrison, Ron began taking piano lessons at the age of 14. His music teacher informed his parents that he was musically gifted. Today, Ron is a singer, songwriter, music producer and studio engineer. The professional musician works as the minister of music at Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church, located in Severna Park, where Rev. James A. Bishop Sr. serves as pastor. Ron’s father was formerly the pastor of the church for 21 years.

“I’m trying to transition into another phase of music that would still be appropriate for me to create as a minister of music. I get my biggest joy on Sunday mornings playing in church. If something transpired, I would be ready for that, but I’m perfectly happy being an independent artist right now,” Ron said.

While attending Anne Arundel Community College, Ron, Craig Dobson, Frederick Simpson and Troy Hilliard formed an R&B music group called Seductive Music Unique Vocals (SMUV) in 1990. ‘We Give Good Lovin’’ topped the charts several weeks on 92Q and V103 radio stations in 1992. SMUV won awards, such as the Coors Light National Talent Showcase. Ron produced three of the group’s independent projects and later completed vocal production work for artists like Lil’ Mo and remixes for Amerie and Jagged Edge.

‘It’s Just Music’ is a fusion of homegrown talent and friendship. Dobson and Ward share a strong bond of Christian fellowship and music, although SMUV members have all kept in touch. Dobson, now a teacher working in Montgomery County, was raised in Annapolis and serves as the worship leader at Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church. He provided background vocals on three songs for ‘It’s Just Music.’ Art Sherrod Jr., a jazz saxophonist, co-wrote two songs and played saxophone on the CD. Bill Pettaway, described as Timberland’s business associate, played guitar on several tracks. DorRay Casey sang background vocals the track, ‘Oh How I Love Jesus.’

Over the course of fifteen years, Ron has been civically engaged in his community, while working in the music field. He served as a volunteer basketball coach at Annapolis High School, Archbishop Spalding High School and Arundel High School.

“I never felt that I had to leave the area to make it. I feel like if you make good enough music, eventually someone will hear it. I know some people say you have to go to N.Y., but with the Internet and social media, it puts you in those places. It’s more of an independent artist’s game right now instead of a major label’s.”

You may purchase digital versions of ‘It’s Just Music’ on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Cdbaby.com offers digital and hard copy formats of Ron’s CD. In 2015, the music artist plans to perform with an accompanying band that he assembled. Ron’s Facebook artist page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ron-Ward-Jr/ 1508015639476175? pnref= story.

McCormick® Flavor Forecast® reveals eight flavor trends for 2015

McCormick & Company, a global leader in flavor, released its McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2015, highlighting eight enticing trends that will shape the future of flavor. Now in its 15th year, the much-anticipated report drives flavor innovation and exploration throughout the food industry and in kitchens everywhere.

Reflecting the rapidly increasing demand for bolder, more intense flavor experiences, the McCormick Flavor Forecast 2015 pinpoints adventurous global tastes on the rise, like Japanese 7 Spice (Shichimi Togarashi), as well as an appreciation for the robust flavors developed in slow-simmered dishes from around the world. The report also showcases new ways to elevate pantry essentials to starring roles, like smoking spices and herbs or pairing sours with coarse salt.

Over the past 15 years, the Flavor Forecast has predicted trends that have changed the way people eat at restaurants and cook in their home kitchens. Even the products found on retail shelves today were impacted by trends forecasted in this industry-leading report.

“Many early trending flavors in past reports have become favorites of today. Take chipotle chile, for instance,” said McCormick Executive Chef, Kevan Vetter. “When we first identified this chile pepper as a flavor to watch in 2003, many people couldn’t pronounce it. Today, it’s a household name. Pumpkin pie spice, sea salt, coconut water and cocktail-inspired flavors have seen similar success, taking over restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. The flavor trends highlighted within our 15th annual Forecast promise to do the same.”

Identified by a global team of McCormick chefs and flavor experts, these are the eight flavor trends to watch that offer a taste of 2015 and beyond:

Global Blends On the Move – Japanese 7 Spice (Shichimi Togarashi) offers a new kind of spicy heat, while Shawarma Spice Blend lends warm, spiced flavor to grilled meats and more.

Middle Eastern Mezze – These distinctive dips and spreads, packed with zesty herbs and seasonings, offer an approachable and delicious introduction to a vibrant global cuisine.

Sour + Salt – Combining coarse salt with surprising sours like pickled ginger, sour cherry, dried mango and lemon zest results in a lively finishing flavor that lends brightness and texture to dishes.

Smoked Spices – Smoking spices and herbs deepens their flavor and aroma, adding richness to meals and drinks.

Umami Veggies – For a fresh way to savor the tempting “fifth taste,” look no further than naturally umami-rich veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori.

Liquid Revolution – Fresh purees and juices blend with bold spices and herbs to intensify sauces, pasta, dressings and more – providing a fun, delicious way to enjoy an extra serving of fruits and veggies.

Flavor Worth the Wait – Lift the lid to discover the rich flavors from recipes around the world that meld aromatic spices and comforting ingredients into mouthwatering slow-cooked meals.

Cookies Reimagined – Classic spiced cookie flavors take new form in decadent, imaginative desserts that redefine “milk and cookies.”

Visit FlavorForecast.com and pinterest.com/mccormickspice for innovative recipes, images and more ways to explore this year’s top tastes.

National Remember Our Troops Campaign

The National Remember Our Troops Campaign is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to honoring all military service members, all veterans, and their families, for their service and sacrifice, supporting those in need to the best of our ability, and letting them know they are not forgotten.

More specifically, we provide recreational therapy for wounded troops and disabled veterans. We offer employment programs for unemployed veterans, transitional housing for homeless vets… We are proactive combating major stress, PTSD and suicide among service members and veterans… and we honor the families of service members killed in the line of duty. For more information about volunteering visit the website at www.nrotc.org/volunteer.htm, contact Tom Ruley at headquarters@nrotc.org/ or call 410-687-3568.

Caring and Sharing Committee at John Wesley United Church promotes education

— “We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.”

— Mary McLeod Bethune

The Sharing and Caring Committee at John Wesley United Methodist Church located at 3202 West North Avenue in Baltimore promotes higher education by awarding students with perfect attendance, averages of B+ or higher in reading, language or mathematics and improved social/emotional behavior.

On Saturday, December 20, 2014, students who qualified for awards received a new bike and other prizes as a reward for their academic success. The church also gave coats, hats and gloves to children in need.

Doris McQuaige Duncan has been spearheading the campaign for well over 30 years following in the footsteps of the legendary Mary McLeod Bethune.

“I am very big on education. This is something we do yearly to help promote the importance of learning. To be a part of this, [the students] have to meet the goal of a B+ or better. We work with the schools in our area, as well as the parents, so we get a report on what children are doing. [They] don’t have to be from our church to participate. This is for the community. We don’t turn any child down.”

The event also featured a magic show, Santa and performances. John Wesley United Methodist Church encourages the community to visit their website: www.jwumc.org to see the many services offered including Community Outreach Feeding, GED classes, and many more activities and events.