Jeremy Butler plans big come back from injured reserve

— A lot of emphasis has been placed on the amount of wide receivers the Baltimore Ravens interviewed at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Some draft experts are saying that the Ravens will select a receiver with their first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. One thing to consider is that the Ravens have a solid group of young play makers already on the roster.

Second year receiver Jeremy Butler is a player who was on injured reserve last year. Butler plans to have a big comeback from his season spent on injured reserve. He has yet to take snaps in a regular season game. Butler was a guy that the Ravens really liked in training camp. They liked to line him up in the slot.

Butler says that he learned a lot from sitting out this past year. He learned how to be a pro and how to train like one. This includes taking care of his body. Butler is learning how to cook healthy meals for himself which excites him.

Having a positive mindset when faced with adversity is a strong trait. Butler uses that mindset. “In a weird way, it added to my career. It taught me how to watch film, take coaching and things like that. My mindset is that I didn’t play last year, so attack this year. Most guys are trying to take time off and recoup from the season but I am looking to come right back and get a good start.”

Steve Smith Sr. and Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram are two guys who have helped Butler both on and off the field. “Coach helped me out on the field and made me I feel part of the mix each and every week. He kept me focused and tested me to make sure that I was locked into the game plan.”



Jeremy Butler #17 of the Baltimore Ravens lines up against the San Franciso 49ers during an NFL preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Butler learned how to set both short term and long term goals from Smith Sr. There are countless things that Smith Sr. has taught Butler but one thing stood out the most to him.

“The thing that stands out the most is understanding that you have to make the most of what you have and make the most of your ability. He told me to make the most of what I as given.”

The work that Butler has put in doesn’t go unnoticed. The Ravens coaching staff has kept an eye on Butler because they appreciate how he is willing to do everything that he could to make it onto an NFL roster. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has spoken about Butler very often when the idea of a young receiver on the team comes up.

Butler has big plans this season. “ I am not letting him down. I am coming in to make an impact. I am not coming in to be just a guy in the jersey, just a guy on the team, happy to be there. I want to be great and I am putting the work in to be that.”

Ravens terminate contract of Chris Canty

— The Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contract of DE Chris Canty, general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced Friday morning.

Canty, 32, spent two seasons (2013-14) with the Ravens, seeing action in 26 games (24 starts). The 10-year NFL veteran recorded 63 tackles (33 solo), 2.5 sacks, six passes defensed and three forced fumbles while playing in Baltimore.

“I had a conversation with Chris this morning and thanked him for his contributions both on and off the field,” Newsome stated. “He represents the best of what a Ravens’ player is: committed on the field and a shining leader in the community. We thank him for everything he did for us the last two seasons. I know that Chris still wants to explore playing again, and he’s preparing to do that. We certainly would not close the door to Chris coming back to us.”

This past season, Canty played in 11 games (all starts), producing 33 tackles, a half-sack, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. He added two solo tackles in Baltimore’s two playoff games, one of which he started.

“We are a better franchise for having Chris Canty with us the last two years,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He added maturity and leadership. Chris played well and played a lot of snaps for us, especially last season. He was an outstanding contributor to our playoff season in 2014.

“When we were handling serious off-the-field issues last season, Chris stood out internally with our team and represented us externally in the only way you expect from Chris – with intelligence and in a first-class manner.”

Below is a statement from Canty:

“First thing I want to do is thank Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie and coach ‘Harbs’ for bringing me to Baltimore and allowing me to wear the purple and black,” Canty stated. “I am very proud to be a Raven. They are a great franchise, and I was privileged to be a contributor to that outstanding tradition of defense that is part of the team’s lore.

“I love the coaching staff there, including the defensive staff. Dean [Pees], my line coach Clarence Brooks, Ted [Monachino] – really, all of them. What can I say about my teammates on that side of the ball? [They are] special players and good people, like ‘Sizzle’ [Terrell Suggs] and Haloti [Ngata]. Thank you. They helped me re-discover and continue my passion for football, a game I respect and love.

“I also want to thank Ravens fans. They embraced me immediately, and I embraced them back. They were inspirational.

“I am going to continue to prepare to play again and will explore other possibilities to play the game I love.”

Decisions, decisions: when weather forces school delays, closures

— Snowstorms and extreme cold can create a situation that makes it unsafe for students, parents and staff to travel to and from school.

So, with forecasters predicting the Baltimore area isn’t out of the woods just yet, with the possibility of more bone-chilling temperatures, students and even school officials must still think about potential delays and closings.

“Due to the extreme weather this season, there have been several two hour delays,” said Edie House-Foster, a spokesperson for the Baltimore City Public School District. “To date, we’ve had two full-day closings.”

Mychael Dickerson, the chief communications officer for the Baltimore County Public School District, said while schools in that district rarely close because of low temperatures, it must take into consideration the safety of students when deciding whether to have a two hour delay or to cancel school for the day.

“If we close, it’s because the temperatures caused other issues, such as issues getting the boiler started or a pipe bursting,” Dickerson said.

Meanwhile, some 1,350 miles away in a place known as the nation’s “Ice Box,” the past several days have brought real-feel temperatures down to between -30 and -40 degrees below zero. When asked how many school delays or closures residents have experienced this year, Minnesota’s International Falls School District Superintendent Kevin Grover gave a response that’s almost certain to raise eyebrows, at least locally.

“None. Zero,” he said.

“We don’t have a hard and set boom, where we say we’re canceling school or we will have a delay,” Grover said. “The wind and road conditions are factored in but we have extra buses always at the ready.”

Grover said while it’s not a hard and fast rule, officials in his district would consider canceling or delaying the start of school if the combined thermometer reading and wind chill factor equals -50 degrees.

“In the past, if it was 40 below zero that would apply in making the decision to close. [Monday] it was 20 below zero and -37 with the wind chill, but we still had school.”

Attendance usually is at or near 100 percent even with those conditions, but Grover said the district pretty much leaves it up to students and parents to decide if they will attend. If not, there’s usually no punishment, he said.

While snow day closings have long been a staple of local winters, shutting schools or delaying the start because of bone-chilling cold has fast become normal because officials said the cold has the potential to cause some serious problems for students trying to get to school.

“We’ll get calls from folks who say where they live the sidewalks are clear and they’re fine,” Dickerson said. “But, we’re a big county and some of our kids have to walk to school and in some areas it may not be conducive to walking.”

Well before daybreak, staff from the city schools’ operations office assesses road conditions, neighborhood sidewalks, school parking lots, and school walkways and obtain input from the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and the Maryland Mass Transit Administration, House-Foster said.

The schools’ CEO or someone designated reviews the assessment and the most current weather forecasts available, and makes the decision whether to open schools on schedule, delay opening schools for two hours, or close schools, she said.

“The CEO or designee also determines whether conditions are sufficiently severe to warrant a closing or delayed opening of district offices where students do not regularly attend,” House-Foster said.

However, in Minnesota, it takes more than just a blizzard or sub-zero temperatures.

“We do well,” Grover said. “We’re used to this weather.”

Fifth Annual Marine and Maritime Career Fair helps students learn about marine, maritime careers

— Back for its fifth year, the Annual Marine & Maritime Career Fair will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from noon to 3 p.m. at Annapolis High School Cafeteria & Auditorium located at 2700 Riva Road in Annapolis.

Students in grades six through 12 (public, private and home-schooled) from Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region are invited for this popular and free event. The fair offers students and parents something new to discover about marine and maritime careers. This year, students and parents can learn about marine trades in the Chesapeake Bay region plus meet and talk with engineers, scientists, publishers and boat builders who represent a wide range of marine and maritime careers. Students are also eligible for valuable door prizes. For further information contact or 888-383-8777.

”The fair is a great time to explore all the different fields and to decide what interests you the most. To keep track of what you learn, you should bring a pen and a backpack for carrying all the fun swag, freebies, and cool information from exhibitors,” said Laura Carty, a Severna Park High School student who attended last year.

Exhibitors will share their knowledge and expertise about careers connected to the Chesapeake Bay and our nation’s oceans, rivers and lakes. Students can meet industry experts from educational institutions, industries, non-profits and the military about different career paths including: the marine trades (electronics, carpentry, plumbing, engines, boat building, marina management, sail making, sail rigging, Interior design, etc.); engineering, naval architecture, product development, marketing, publishing, port management and commercial shipping.

Students can attend informative presentations on: Marine Trades in the Chesapeake Bay Region (2pm); STEM Role Models: Engineers, Scientists, Boat Builders …careers based on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (1pm).

For more information contact or 888-383-8777.

Seven Anne Arundel County youth collaborate to write new book

Seven girls from Pumphrey and the Glen Burnie area, who are members of the Dream Girls Youth Ministry at St. John United Methodist Church, collaborated to write a new book called “Angel Voices,” which was released February 4, 2015.

Over the course of three Saturdays, Armani Jackson, Shamira Miles, Camille Sewell, Roshawnna Brinkley, Raven Gaither, Chyianne Raymond and Jada Raymond worked with local author Feleshia R. Thomas to write the 33-page book.

The collaborative effort ties into the purpose of the Dream Girls Youth Ministry. It was established under the direction of Gloria Jean Smith, Jackie Middleton, Carolyn McCutcheon, Lucille McDowell, Pam Jones and Stephany Cotton. Smith spearheaded the group that works to mentor 14 girls ranging from eight to 13 years of age. Women who mentor female students encourage them to follow their dreams. Since 2012, members have gained leadership skills, worked on building self-esteem, improved goal-setting abilities and etiquette lessons. Sewing and cooking lessons have been on their agenda, along with tea parties. Some activity ideas are suggested by youth in Dream Girls Youth Ministry. However, it was Smith’s idea to write “Angel Voices.”

“She [Jean Smith] said it would be nice if they wrote a book. She met Feleshia Thomas and she was talking to Feleshia about it. Feleshia said that she has a little publishing company and that’s how it originated,” Middleton said. “All seven of the girls are on the cover. That is another exciting thing.”

Thomas introduced topics in the book. Smith remarked that many of the girls who participated in the project are introverts. The activity prompted them to express themselves and evaluate their opinions and values.

“Outside of the fun of doing it, I think it gives them an identity, because it is their book. We talked to principal, Kathryn Fieldhouse. She is going to put the book in the library at Brooklyn Park Elementary School. They seem to be excited,” Middleton said.

Shamira, a sixth grader who attends Brooklyn Park Middle School, is a co-author of “Angel Voices.”

“The book is about interviews with seven youth between eight and 13 about subjects like bullying, rap music and what makes kids happy,” Shamira said.

Camille, 10, also attends Brooklyn Park Elementary School. She agreed to participate in writing the book after Smith asked her to become involved.

“This book is designed for everyone who enjoys reading about young people and what they think about,” Camille said, “It feels good [to be an author] and it was a great experience, because it allowed me to write about a lot of important things in the lives of young people.”

Middleton says that she has observed that Dream Girls Youth members are transforming from little girls into young ladies. Through their book project, youth reportedly improved their ability to communicate with adults.

“I think that adults can learn from this book, because we talked about some subjects which are important in our lives, and the lives of other girls our ages. One of the topics was ‘Sometimes I feel like.’ My answer was I feel like I want my mom to take me out and do things and go places, instead of staying home and relaxing or going to my room. I would like us to do more things together,” said 12-year-old Roshawnna.

The authors of “Angel Voices” hope to inspire others to read. Their project also serves as a reminder of the importance of literacy.

“Reading is important, because if you can’t read, it is hard to do anything. Sometimes reading can take you places that you have never gone, and let you read about things that you will probably never do. For instance, fly to the moon. If you can’t read, you can’t function too well. And as you get older, it will be even harder,” Shamira said.

A book signing will be held at St. John United Methodist Church, located at 6019 Belle Grove Road in Baltimore on March 7, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. The event will be open to the public. For more information, call Jackie Middleton at 410-370-3683 or Jean Smith at 443-433-8192.

The War and Treaty CD ‘LIVE at Blue House’

There are many faces to Soul/R&B music, one of which is folk music— passionate music that comes from the heart.

On their newly released album “Live at the Blue House,” internationally renowned singer Tanya Blount and her singer/songwriter husband Michael Trotter stripped down the lyrics and music, and really returned us to our musical roots of sound, vocals and emotions. This CD is all about love: spiritual, emotional and love for fellow man.

“Live at the Blue House” is talent in its purest form. From the minute you press play, you know you are in for a treat. Michael and Tonya are truly a magnificent and when you hear them sing you can’t help but feel the love and the energy. Each song takes you to another level.

Standout tracks include: “Made Whole,” “My Dear,“ and “The Other Side of Green.” Download the song “Maryland,” which is also on the CD, and a portion of the

proceeds will be donated to help veterans through Operation Second Chance.

“Live at the Blue House is available for sale at For more information about these independent artists or tour dates and locations, visit:

RAMBLING ROSE: Black History Month ends with a bang!

Hello, Hello, Hello, my dear friends. “BABY, BABY IT COLD OUTSIDE!” Girlfriend, I am not complaining, because when I look at the news on TV, at other cities on the East Coast, we are truly blessed. But it is cold as you-know-what outside!

Rosa Pryor, CEO of the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund and Tessa Hill Aston, President of Baltimore City NAACP hanging out recently at the Lexington Market for Black History Month.

Rosa Pryor, CEO of the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund and Tessa Hill Aston, President of Baltimore City NAACP hanging out recently at the Lexington Market for Black History Month.

Black History Month events are going on every weekend, no matter the weather. I think it is wonderful that you have supported these events in these harsh cold, windy, snowy and icy conditions. That is real dedication and strong support and I am sure the organizations hosting these events appreciate you. All the events I have written about and attended were very successful.

The Baltimore Alumni Association Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Inc. out-did themselves at their recent Cocktail Sip at the Forum Caterers with a sell-out on a record coldest and windiest day in years.

The Baltimore Alumni Association Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Inc. out-did themselves at their recent Cocktail Sip at the Forum Caterers with a sell-out on a record coldest and windiest day in years.

So wrap up warm and let’s party. The Grown & Sexy Affair “Sabian’s” is hosting an affair on Saturday, February 28 at 3934 Frederick Avenue from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. The dress code is sexy and grown, with buffet, BYOB and DJ Mike will provide the music.

Last Chance Entertainers Singers will perform on Sunday, March 1 from 4-9 p.m. at Forest Park Senior Center, 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue.

Last Chance Entertainers Singers will perform on Sunday, March 1 from 4-9 p.m. at Forest Park Senior Center, 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue.

Lexington Market is ending their Black History Month with a bang! It is Artisan’s Weekend, with vendors set up in the Arcade, selling and displaying hand-made jewelry, clothing, crafting, paintings, dolls, live entertainment and much more. It is an ideal lunchtime spot to enjoy fresh food, shopping and socializing and it is free.

Baltimore’s Dunbar Alumni Jazz Band headed by Trombonist/educator, Charles Funn, will perform some Billy Strayhorn compositions, called “A Journey Down Memory Lane at the Jazz @ Wesley Uptown, 5312 Connecticut Avenue NW in Washington, DC. Saturday, February 28, 6:30 p.m. Free admission, but donations are accepted. For more information, call 202-262-7571.

Before I forget, I want to let you know that I will be going on vacation from March 12 thru March 29, so if you got anything going on between; March 1 thru April 15th, I suggest that you email it to me now to Or mail it to me to: 214 Conewood Road, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136. Please remember that if you wish for me to do a book signing at your event, please indicate that.

My “Boo-Boo” and I with my son, Keith and his wife Lisa will be going on a cruise to Panama, Aruba and St. Maarten leaving out of Tampa, Florida. We will be catching a train to Florida, because I do not fly. This will be the first time I have ever been on a train in my life. I am very excited about that. The Carnival Pride Cruise Ship will return to Baltimore. So while you will be shoveling snow, I will be in my bathing suit soaking up the sun on the beach. I LOVE IT!

Check this out! Get paid to sing Karaoke with Last Chance Entertainment when they present the only over 40 Karaoke Contest & Show on Sunday, March 1, starting at 4 p.m. at the Forest Park Senior Center, 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue. It is cabaret style with BYOB and BYOF, with free set ups. They will have full course dinners available on sale for those who wish not to bring their own food. They will also have raffle, door prizes and vendors, so bring some extra cash and credit cards, live entertainment and a lot of fun. I also will be there with my new book for a book signing. For ticket information, call Smokey at 410-532-2274.

Well, my dear friends, I have to finish packing and I am out of space. Remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at: UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Rural digitization project sheds rich light on African American lives

Until the late 20th century, African-Americans found it difficult to have obituaries published in newspapers around the country. In modern times, some blacks cringe over the cost for publication of memorials for their loved ones because the charges associated with obituaries often limit the length of the document and prohibit the publishing of a complete tribute to the deceased.

However, two organizations, including one in Virginia and another in Utah, have established a method in which obscure stories of thousands of deceased African-Americans are finding their way to the Internet.

“We work with large national, state and municipal archives to make large collections like censuses and vital records more available online to the masses,” said Paul G. Nauta the public affairs manager for FamilySearch International in Utah, an organization that boasts being the largest genealogy organization in the world. “There are so many smaller collections, like the Virginia African-American Funeral Programs, that fill in the blanks of our family members’ lives and provide incredibly rich detail and context that makes them much more personal and real to us.”

The Virginia African-American Funeral Programs project began five years ago as a collaborative initiative between FamilySearch and the Tappahannock-based Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society (MPAAGHS) of Virginia.

In a news release, officials said more than 10,000 funeral programs have been digitized, and over 200,000 names of the deceased persons and their families and friends mentioned in the programs were linked by volunteers and published in a free searchable database at the FamilySearch website.

“Funeral programs are a veritable treasure trove of family history information because they provide such a wealth of information about the deceased,” Bessida Cauthorne White, president of MPAAGHS, said in an email. “A typical funeral program includes birth and death dates and places and the names of parents, spouse, children, and other relatives. The biographies included on most of the programs, are mini-histories that add a glimpse of the decedent’s personality by disclosing schools attended, work history, church and organization affiliation, hobbies, and accomplishments.”

Also, funeral programs may contain multiple photographs of the deceased and family members.

“We often use the printed copies of the funeral programs to answer family history inquiries,” White said. “To be able to finally search the programs electronically will be tremendous.”

With regards to the length of the obituary that could make it costly to publish, funeral programs don’t have such limitations, according to White.

“You get a much richer picture of the deceased person,” White said.

To date, FamilySearch has published over three billion historical records online in free collections from over 100 countries. It continues to digitize and publish about 400 million new records online for free each year, according to Nauta.

The responses from families who are able to connect to both their living relatives as well as their deceased ancestors from these types of free collections online continue to swell with growing interest in one’s roots,” he said.

Nauta says that satisfied and happy online patrons are continually posting and sharing the joys of their discoveries from free collections like these online with other family members and friends across the various social media.

“The funeral programs are wonderful as a source because they share very personally rich information,” he said. “It’s common to see a photo of the deceased and easy to discover their life story through the information the funeral programs usually disclose, such as a broad range of family relationships stemming multiple generations in all directions, their profession, personal interests, hobbies, lifetime highlights, as well as some lowlights, that help personify the decedent and endear them to you.”

For more information about the program, visit: or

Five interesting foods that should be on everyone’s bucket list

— Whether you live for culinary adventure or unfamiliar items on your plate make you nervous, trying new foods is a worthwhile endeavor. But even avid foodies don’t have the time to try everything.

So how can you prioritize your food bucket list?

Enter, “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die,” a new book that presents the globe’s must-have foods into one master list of the best dishes, ingredients, restaurants, markets, books and movies, that everyone should experience.

To whet your appetite, author Mimi Sheraton, former New York Times restaurant critic and award-winning cookbook author, shares five food must-haves originating from five regions of the world:  

White Asparagus — Europe

Milder in flavor than the green variety, white asparagus is highly prized in Europe, while in the U.S. it has only recently come into favor. A harbinger of spring, asparagus is celebrated in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where special asparagus menus are featured in restaurants.

For an Italian approach, serve cold with lemon juice and olive oil. If you prefer elaborate flavors, serve with a Hollandaise sauce of egg yolks, lemon juice, butter and nutmeg.

Egg Cream — United States

A New York original, egg creams contain neither eggs nor cream. A once ubiquitous street treat, this beverage is a lot harder to come by now.

Make your own at home with a squirt of chocolate syrup, followed by a shot of seltzer and a quick stir, then add a trickle of whole milk and stir vigorously while blasting in vibrant shots of soda to create a frothy, creamy concoction. 

Tagine — North African

Like the pans Americans call “casseroles,” a tagine is both a cooking vessel and the stew cooked within. A tagine is a deep, wide terra-cotta bowl, with a high-peaked conical cover that directs and concentrates heat. Meats, poultry or fish are slow cooked with various vegetables over direct fire or charcoal, absorbing aromatic spices such as saffron, cinnamon and ginger.

To serve, tangines are fitted into colorfully woven baskets and passed around to guests, along with rice, couscous or fresh, hot bread.  

Congee — Asia

Like Westerners, the Chinese believe in starting the day with a hearty meal. Congee, a creamy rice porridge, is a favorite. Variations found throughout Asia are sold everywhere, from street stands to dim sum palaces. To prepare, cook short grain white rice until it approaches mush, then serve with a variety of toppings, such as spicy, pickled vegetables, dried fish, preserved eggs and tofu.

Vegemite — Australia

Australian children cry for this caramelized spread made of brewer’s yeast and vegetables, as American tots do for peanut butter and jelly. Spread on buttered toast or bread as a snack or a sandwich, or on biscuits as a special treat at teatime, Vegemite may not be pretty, but it is one of the world’s most iconic foods and definitely worth a try.

More information about the book can be found at

By being a little more adventurous with what goes on your dinner plate, you can expand your horizons and explore the whole world.

Federal funds available for summer meals

— The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced that federal funds are available to assist public and private nonprofit organizations in serving free nutritious meals and snacks to children this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U. S. Department of Agriculture program.

Nearly 390,000 Maryland children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, but may not have access to nutritious meals during the summer when schools are closed. For every 100 eligible children, only 16 participate in the summer nutrition program. For families with children, food insecurity increases during the summer months. The SFSP provides children the nutritious meals they need to keep hunger at bay and remain healthy throughout the summer.

“The meals provided by the Summer Food Service Program support summer programs and help draw children into educational, enrichment and recreational activities that keep them learning, engaged, active and safe during school vacation. The program helps prepare children for the new school year so they can perform to the best of their ability,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.

The SFSP provides reimbursement to organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the NSLP, or when 50 percent of the children enrolled in a program qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Most organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks per child per day. Migrant programs and camps may be reimbursed for up to three meals per child per day. Meals and snacks must meet federal nutrition guidelines.

The Program is open to children and teens age 18 and under and to individuals over 18 who are mentally or physically disabled. Interested organizations should contact MSDE at 410-767-0214. The deadline for applications is May 29, 2015. For information about the SFSP, visit: