Yastrzemski sparks Baysox comeback Win

— Mike Yastrzemski’s 2-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be key as the Baysox rallied from a two-run deficit for a 3-2 win Saturday evening in Bowie. It was the opposite of Friday night’s game where Harrisburg also rallied from two runs down for a 3-2 win.

There were a pair of Big Leaguers playing in the game on MLB Rehab Assignments with Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and Washington Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon squaring off. Wieters finished the game 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI on a sac fly. Rendon went 0-for-3 with a walk.

The Senators struck first in the top of the third inning against Baysox starter Parker Bridwell. Kevin Keyes hit a lead-off single to right field and moved to second base on a Pedro Severino fly out before scoring on a Shawn Pleffner single to center field. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Tony Renda singled to center field to bring home the second run of the inning and give Harrisburg a 2-0 lead.

Bowie came back to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning against Harrisburg starter Austin Voth. Ozzie Martinez hit a lead-off single to center field and Glynn Davis followed with a single to right field. Yastrzemski brought both runners home with a double down the left field line and he went to third base during the play on the throw home. Wieters gave the Baysox the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field that made the score 3-2.

Bridwell threw six innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking three in the win. Reliever Marcel Prado pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and walking one. Mychal Givens recorded the final four outs of the game for his team-leading 10th save of the season.

Voth took the loss for Harrisburg, throwing seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking one batter.

LHP Jhonathan Ramos (0-0, 0.00) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as the team plays the final game in a three-game home series against the Harrisburg Senators. He will be opposed by RHP Joe Ross (2-2, 3.05). Sunday is Toy Story Day beginning at 2:05 p.m.

HBCU Sports: Coppin State NCAA Track Recap

— The outstanding seasons ended for Shane Green and Deandra Daniel at the 2015 NCAA Division I Track & Field East Region Preliminary Championships at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida Saturday night.

Green was 26th overall in the triple jump with an effort of 15.08 meters (49 feet, 5.75 inches). Battling an injury for much of the outdoor season, Daniel wasn’t herself and finished 33rd in the high jump after clearing 1.70 meters (5-7).

Despite the bittersweet ending, both athletes brought tremendous pride and honor to Coppin State with their consistently excellent performances during the season. It’s never easy to reach this point of the season and both athletes were able to accomplish that.

Nothing can ease the sting of the tough performances here. However, when the hurt subsides, Green and Daniel will have plenty to be proud of. They are two of the best ever athletes to ever compete for Coppin State.

Green earned All-MEAC honors in the triple jump after finishing third at the championship meet in Greensboro on May 2. Six days later, Green soared a personal best 15.58 meters and was part of a school record-setting 4 x 100-meter relay team at the Don Webster Invitational (40.32 seconds). Green finished fourth at the IC4A/ECAC championship meet in the triple jump, a performance that helped him land a spot on the IC4A All-East team.

Daniel captured her sixth straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) high jump championship. Daniel was third at the ECAC/IC4A championships two weeks ago. During the indoor season, Daniel was phenomenal. She earned All-American honors after placing third in the NCAA Championship meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Daniel tied her personal best and school record mark of 1.87 meters (6 feet, 1.5 inches) to claim a bronze medal in her signature event. Daniel was named the 2015 Coppin State Female Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Hogan announces homeownership initiative for veterans, military families

— On Memorial Day, Governor Larry Hogan and Secretary Kenneth Holt announced a $20 million initiative that will give a significant boost to veterans and military families who are looking to buy a home in one of Maryland’s 86 Sustainable Communities.

The “You’ve Earned It!” initiative offers a 2.75 percent fixed-rate 30-year loan through the Maryland Mortgage Program and $10,000 in down payment assistance in the form of a zero interest deferred loan to active duty military, including members of the military reserves and National Guard, and honorably discharged veterans and veterans with a disability.

The first phase of “You’ve Earned It!” aimed at qualified homebuyers with more than $25,000 in student loan debt was announced recently. The initiative is for a limited time until the $20 million allocation is exhausted.

Maryland’s Sustainable Communities program seeks to strengthen reinvestment and revitalization in the state’s older communities through state, local and private sector partnerships.

There is at least one designated Sustainable Community in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.

A list of Maryland’s Sustainable Communities can be found at www.mmp.maryland.gov.

If you’d like to see whether a specific property address is in a sustainable community, view this map.

For more information about the Maryland Mortgage Program, as well as other loan specials, participating lenders and homeownership counselors in your area, visit the Maryland Mortgage Program website: www.mmp.maryland.gov.

‘Green Ambassador’ helping sustain Baltimore community

— Cathy Allen is recognized as the Green Ambassador. She has helped to spearhead efforts to plant trees at city schools, playgrounds, and parks and in Baltimore’s urban communities.

The Green Ambassador hosted a 20 Member Youth Japanese Delegation from Fukushima, Japan in 2012. They planted Cherry Blossom Trees in the historic city of Fredrick, Maryland to celebrate the centennial of the cherry tree in the United States.

(Courtesy photo)

The Green Ambassador hosted a 20 Member Youth Japanese Delegation from Fukushima, Japan in 2012. They planted Cherry Blossom Trees in the historic city of Fredrick, Maryland to celebrate the centennial of the cherry tree in the United States.

Now, the local resident has helped to create Growing Resources After Sowing Seeds or GRASS, a youth and young adult entrepreneurship development program, which is based on the fundamentals of gardening, agriculture and ecology.

The program tackles hunger and even unemployment in some of the city’s forgotten communities, where young individuals learn the value of going green, according to Allen.

“I’m humble and grateful that I’m in this position to bring this type of a program to Baltimore’s largest food desert and not only to feed the population a product, but to feed them knowledge that they can create their own enterprises by feeding Mother Earth,” said Allen, an award-winning environmentalist. “I have been an ambassador for about five years now. I got into doing this because my children suffer from environmental asthma and I said somebody’s got to do something,” Allen said.

Allen says it’s common knowledge that trees serve to help the environment. She also says that teaching inner-city youth about planting trees and caring for the environment could go a long way in helping them carve out ways in which they can become self-sufficient and, in some cases, self-employed.

“I focused on where the children spend most of their time which is school and this is all about changing the landscape and adding beautification. The children actually plant the trees with volunteers so they can have ownership,” she said.

Allen also has focused her GRASS program in Cherry Hill and its surrounding communities, largely because it’s an area that is one of the city’s largest food deserts. Statistics revealed that Cherry Hill has a combined unemployment rate of 37 percent.

Allen has also teamed with Karla Owens-Moody, a STEM educator, to create environmental, ecological and agricultural socioeconomic change for Cherry Hill.

“In order for social change to happen, it has to happen in a urban community and it has to be a trend,” Allen said. “It’s starting to catch on so that its second nature. Marketing has always been on the outskirts of the urban community, yet here’s all of this grant money and nothing is ever in place for sustainability.”

She says there has been no one leading the charge and setting the standards.

“That’s where I come in and bring everyone together,” Allen said. “As an environmental educator and environmentalist, it is my duty and honor to seed the knowledge of how you can grow, eat and prosper just by simply honoring Mother Earth.”

On August 22, 2015, Allen will host a “GRASS Garden Party” fundraiser at the Cherry Hill Community Garden located at 900 Cherry Hill Road at Veronica Avenue beginning at 11 a.m.

In 2018, environmental engineer technicians are expected to earn $40,000 per year and those who go on to higher education in the environmental sciences will make $74,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“My primary goal is to foster growth amongst youth and young adults by providing them with the right opportunities to become self-sufficient,” Allen said, noting that participation has been nothing short of phenomenal. “I’m not surprised by the participation,” she said. “But, I’m excited, grateful and humbled because I knew it would happen.”

For more information about the Green Ambassador or to find out how you can help, visit www.facebook.com/pages/The-Green-Ambassador/129381800453763.

Congress says, “War Powers? What War Powers?”

A few weeks ago, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia made a small splash in the press when he took Congress to task for failing to authorize our nation’s ongoing war against Islamic militants.

“The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is cowardly and shameful,” he said. “[T]his Congress, the very body that is so quick to argue against President Obama’s use of executive power… allows an executive war to go on undeclared, unapproved, undefined and unchecked.”

Those were strong words, meant to spur Congress to action. Yet after a day or two, they sank without a trace. No one in the media picked up the call. No one in a position to influence the Senate or the House made a move to advance a congressional war authorization.

Indeed, it has been three months since President Obama sent his proposal for an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” focused on ISIS to Capitol Hill. It, too, met with a brief flurry of attention and then went nowhere.

This is mind-boggling. If you had any question that we’re at war, the bombing runs over Ramadi and the recent Delta Force raid that killed an ISIS official should have settled it. On the most important question government faces— military intervention overseas— Congress seems unable to stir itself to hammer out an agreement with the President. You can blame the President for this or you can blame Congress— each side comes in for its fair share— but inaction only expands the power of the President, leaving him to make hugely consequential decisions by himself. It’s a shocking dereliction of duty on Capitol Hill.

Why do I say this? The Constitution vests in Congress the power to declare war, but should that mean that Congress also has the responsibility to do so?

Let’s start with this: former acting CIA director Michael Morell recently said that the “great war” against Islamic terrorists is likely to last “for as long as I can see.” This is going to be a long and difficult conflict. It raises tough questions about the scope of the President’s powers, the duration of those powers, the definition and identity of the enemy, the extent of the field of battle, the kinds of force that should be used, America’s vital interests, and its fundamental role in the world.

The decision to apply American lives and resources to such a war is momentous, and as a country we need to know how far we’re willing to commit ourselves. The President needs backing for a military campaign, and the discussion about what it ought to entail needs to be open and rigorous.

I understand that this is a lot for Congress to undertake. A resolution authorizing the use of force is tough to draft— Congress needs to make the parameters and goals of military action clear without hindering our ability to respond to a fluid situation or micromanaging the executive branch. And, of course, it’s just as tough politically. Some members will want to give more powers to the President, others less. No one wants to be on the wrong side of a war vote.

However, the difficulty of a task is no reason to avoid it. If we are going to send U.S. forces into dangerous places, they need to go in with the public backing that comes from a formal authorization hammered out in Congress. This does not mean enacting a resolution after we’ve intervened— because then it’s an argument about supporting our troops in the field, and only a few members will vote against that.

Both the President and Congress are dragging their feet on this, but that only helps the President, not the country. It leaves him— and most likely his successor— with dangerously broad authority to use military force without restriction, in perpetuity. This is not how a democracy like ours should operate.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank announce 2015 Touchdown for Teachers winners

Being involved in the community is something that comes naturally for the Baltimore Ravens. The team as well as individual players have done countless things as a way of giving back to the city of Baltimore and the surrounding area.

Led by Emily Scerba, the Ravens community relations program has put together various programs that have allowed the Ravens to become a fixture in the community.

One of the more outstanding programs is the “Touchdown for Teachers,” which honors and recognizes local teachers for their leadership, dedication and commitment to education and for their outstanding service to their school, students and community. The teachers were nominated by way of an on line application.

The Ravens and M&T Bank recently announced their Touchdown for Teachers program finalists and grand prizewinner. The Touchdown for Teachers grand prizewinner was Julie Macro from Mars Estates Elementary.

Macro teaches all subjects to her group of fifth-grade students at Mars Estates Elementary School in Essex, Maryland. In addition to serving as a teacher, Macro has established numerous programs that benefit her fifth-graders. The programs have had a great impact and they include a Math 24 Challenge group, Bloggers Café and Fit Friday. The program consists of over 90 students from third through fifth grade. The students will run a 5K at the end of the term.

Macro will be presented with a check for $2,000 in grant funds. Additionally, her efforts have earned her a classroom visit by a Ravens’ coach or player, accompanied by Ravens mascot Poe and cheerleaders in the near future.

The 2015 Touchdown for Teachers finalists are: Gil Baguio, Eager Street Academy; Sheila Beyer, Timber Grove Elementary; Edwin Perez, Baltimore City College; and Chad Shoales, Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School.

The five finalists each receive a personalized Ravens jersey and an award certificate. The runners-up each receive $500 in grant funds.

“It’s important to recognize the outstanding work our teachers are doing in the community,” said Augie Chiasera, President of M&T Bank’s Greater Baltimore and Chesapeake regions. “Teachers can literally turn lives around and inspire our young people to reach their potential. The Touchdown for Teachers program is a way to celebrate the positive impact teachers have on our students and the entire community.”

M&T Bank also teams with the Buffalo Bills to present a “Touchdown for Teachers” program to the educators in the city of Buffalo and the surrounding area. Last year’s grand priz winner was Jasmine Blanks of Magnolia Middle School. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams visited Magnolia and spent the whole morning there. The school entertained the Ravens by holding a student talent show.

Baltimore author brings children to Brazil’s rain forests in new adventure book

— Author Dawne A. Allette announces the nationwide release of her new children’s book, “Wellington Willowby Weeks.”

photo

Author Dawne A. Allette

In Allette’s new book, Wellington Willowby Weeks uses his magic globe to travel. His first stop is a rain forest in Brazil. He wants everyone to know about how important rain forests are for the survival of everyone and everything on earth. The good thing about his adventures is that he always gets back home before his mother notices that he is gone.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

Allette was born and raised in Grenada, West Indies. She has traveled and lived in Europe and the Middle East, yet she now resides in the United States. She is the author of six children’s books, which are noted for their humor and educational value, and biographies of President Obama and Michele Obama, which are used in various schools in the U.S. Aside from being an author, Allette is also a motivational speaker, a stand-up comedienne and an artist.

B.B. King: Why I sing the blues

“The blues has lost its king and America has lost a legend…B.B. may be gone, but that thrill will be with us forever.” —President Barack Obama on the passing of B.B. King.

As a young boy in 1920s Mississippi, Riley B. King, who would one day come to be known as legendary blues icon B.B. King, was introduced to the electric guitar at Reverend Archie Fair’s church. The introduction soon turned into infatuation, with King deciding he would learn to play a guitar. As soon as King got old enough, he ordered a guitar playbook from a Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail catalog. The first tune he learned to play was “You Are My Sunshine.” Fortunately for us, it would not be the last tune he would coax from his yielding guitar strings.

King was born in 1925 on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta. The future King of the Blues, the son of sharecroppers and the great-grandson of a slave, worked the fields, first as a picker at the age of seven and then a mule driver. He aspired to be a gospel singer like his mentor, Rev. Archie, but fate had other plans. In a 1993 interview, King admitted to leaving Mississippi in the early 1940s because of the racial violence, lynchings and hangings that were becoming all too commonplace.

King moved to Memphis, playing small gigs and working as a disc jockey at WDIA, the local blues station. The station manager dubbed King the “Beale Street Blues Boy,” which was shortened to “Blues Boy,” and then to B.B.—and it stuck. It was at this time that King made another momentous introduction, this time to T-Bone Walker singing “Stormy Monday.” King said it was the first time he had ever heard blues on an electric guitar and he was determined to get one. He got that electric guitar in 1946.

What followed was an enduring, influential career that defined and redefined the blues—a quintessentially American art form with roots in African-American slave songs, field hollers and spirituals— King carried its moans and mourning to the four corners of the earth. The blues, set loose on the guitar strings and growl of one of America’s greatest musicians, spoke of our universal experience of pain and perseverance, tribulations and triumphs. King once remarked that, “Blues music actually did start because of pain.” A pain he experienced at an early age, and like so many influential and groundbreaking figures who came before him, King used his talent to rise out of the dirt of his humble beginnings to live a life as industrious as it was incredible.

A 15-time Grammy Award winner— the most Grammys ever received by a blues singer— King was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. In 1998, his most acclaimed song “The Thrill Is Gone” was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award. King also received a National Medal of the Arts award, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and has been inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Blues Hall of Fame. King seemed to always be performing somewhere, playing an average of more than 200 concert dates a year well into his 70s. In 1956, King and his band played an astonishing 342 concerts. He never stopped doing what he loved most: playing the music, which he said, “was bleeding the same blood as me.”

King passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Las Vegas home, and yet, the thrill is far from gone. His notes and innovative sound gave birth to countless blues and rock players, including Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Keith Richards, to name a few. His contribution to the blues can be heard, and will continue to be heard, in jazz and rock. King’s outsized influence on blues— on American music— cannot be overstated. B.B. King is to blues what Louis Armstrong is to jazz, Elvis is to rock, James Brown is to funk and Michael Jackson is to pop. Like King, you cannot mention these musical genres without prominently mentioning their names and substantial contributions.

Today, I join the chorus of those celebrating King and his iconic career. He sang his way out of Mississippi’s cotton fields to touch each of us— black or white, American or not—with his talent and insight into our shared human experience. And it is, perhaps, from his brand of soul music that we can learn what found him in that recording studio or night-club almost every day of his life: “Everybody wants to know why I sing the blues. Yes, I say everybody wanna know why I sing the blues. Well, I’ve been around a long time. I really have paid my dues.”

I couldn’t agree more. Rest in peace, B.B.

Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.

Deadline extended for local baking competition during Monumental Bicentennial

— Calling all bakers! The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts on behalf of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy is seeking local bakers to participate in “A Monumental Baking Competition” in the park squares of Mount Vernon Place on July 4, 2015 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The competition is a part of the Monumental Bicentennial, a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Washington Monument in the parks of Mount Vernon Place. The deadline for all interested participants to apply has been extended to Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

In the spirit of George Washington and to celebrate the growing season of corn, cherries and peaches, organizers are asking local individual bakers and chefs to make their best cherry or peach dessert or cornbread.

The entries will be blind tasted and judged by a committee during three separate competitions.

The winning recipe in each category will receive an award, be posted online and have their recipe card available at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar. All participants will receive recognition and a treat! Only one entry is allowed per person; a maximum of 20 entries is allowed per category.

For more information and to apply online, visit http://promotionandarts.org/events-festivals/monumental-bicentennial.

For information on the Monumental Bicentennial, call the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts at 410-752-8632 or visit www.promotionandarts.org.

For more information on the Washington Monument and the Mount Vernon Place

Conservancy, visit mvpconservancy.org.

Award winning actress teams up with foster youth for ‘Foster Youth Shadow Day’

— As a part of the Fourth Annual Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day, 63 foster youth and foster youth alumni from across the nation convened on Capitol Hill on May 20, 2015, to shadow their Congressional Representatives. In addition to being granted a rare behind the scenes look at the House of Representatives, the youth between the age of 18 and 24 directly shared their personal foster care stories with the policy makers in an effort to improve the foster care system through reform.

Mary Josephine Fuwa (left) and Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) during the 2015 Foster Youth Shadow Experience Luncheon. Fuwa aged out of the foster care system in Maryland in November. She currently attends Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Andrea Blackstone)

Mary Josephine Fuwa (left) and Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) during the 2015 Foster Youth Shadow Experience Luncheon. Fuwa aged out of the foster care system in Maryland in November. She currently attends Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

“I officially got into my first foster home when I was 14, and I just aged out in November,” said 21-year-old Mary Josephine Fuwa, a college student and part-time nanny. Fuwa spent time in foster care mostly in Maryland and was also a ward of the state in the District of Columbia.

Over a three-day period, the National Foster Youth Institute, Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, Foster Club and Casey Family Programs and other advocates worked together to promote awareness that more than 400,000 children live in foster care.

Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) welcomed Foster Youth Voices Luncheon attendees and recognized caucus

co-chairs and members. The congresswoman co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Care in 2011 and is a co-chair along with Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Trent Franks (R- Ariz.), Diane black (R-Tenn.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). They joined 119 co-sponsors in introducing “H. Res. 251” to recognize May as National Foster Care Month.

In a May 5, 2015 press release, Representative Franks said “Last year over 23,000 children aged out of foster care without a permanent family. We must do more.”

Award-winning actress Victoria Rowell delivered an eye-opening keynote speech that stressed the importance of inclusion, advocacy and determination.

“Somebody stood up for you somewhere,” Rowell reminded foster youth, while reflecting on her own foster mothers and mentors who made sacrifices.

The American Ballet Theatre Ballet alumna, member of the Screen Actors Guild, member of the Television Academy and author spent 18 years in foster care. One of six children, all of different paternity, Rowell said that she has been a foster care advocate since 1991.

Rowell stated that the difference between failing and succeeding in her life was hard work and instinct. The actress took time to answer fan mail from incarcerated individuals.

“I knew that could’ve been me in that prison cell, if no one had given me access to be at CBS to work for a soap opera,” the former Young and the Restless star said.

Rowell spoke about studying ballet on a farm in Maine. Her foster mother taught her the art form from reading a book. The advocate revealed her sentiments about being a voice for the underserved. She also remains vocal about increasing diversity in soaps but most importantly, Rowell showed foster youth that they too can be a champion for others and accomplish their dreams.

“I’m not here to talk about the statistics. We know what they are,” Rowell said. “I’m telling you we are special people.”

The NAACP Image Award winner spoke about foster care youth having an ability to connect with underserved individuals. She credited those who gave her courage and taught her self-worth. Rowell’s book, “The Women Who Raised Me” was published by Harper Collins and is a teaching tool for social workers.

“I just want all of my foster brothers and sisters to protect your stories. Do not just give away your stories for a sound bite or a photo op. Your stories need to be registered with the Unites States Library of Congress” Rowell said, at the beginning of her speech. “I am not saying don’t share your stories to promote and advocate for foster care, but your stories are unique and a very special import. They’re valuable and they’re worth money.”

Rowell stressed the need to change the status quo and not being afraid to speak.

“I’m 56 and I just applied for college,” Rowell said. “I’ve gone back to the state of Maine. I am endeavoring to get my college education from a state that denied it to me. I’ve applied to Bowdoin. So far they are saying no, and also to the University of New England, so we’ll see.”

To learn more about the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, visit: www.fosteryouthcaucus.org.