Diabetes: Over one million African Americans to be at risk by 2030

You can’t feel it. You can’t see it— until it’s too late. Diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20–74. It occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina.

Diabetic retinopathy affects 7.7 million Americans, and that number is projected to increase to more than 11 million people by 2030. Many African Americans are included in these statistics. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), more than 800,000 African Americans have diabetic retinopathy, and this number is projected to increase to approximately 1.2 million people by 2030.

“Only about half of all people with diabetes get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, which is essential for detecting diabetic eye disease early, when it is most treatable,” said Dr. Paul Sieving, director of NEI.

With no early symptoms, diabetic eye disease— a group of conditions including cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy— can affect anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. African Americans are at higher risk for losing vision or going blind from diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 percent of African Americans have diagnosed diabetes.

The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk for diabetic eye disease. Once vision is lost, it often cannot be restored.

Keeping diabetes in control is key to slowing the progression of vision complications like diabetic retinopathy. There are important steps people with diabetes can take to keep their health on TRACK:

▪ Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

▪ Reach and maintain a healthy weight.

▪ Add physical activity to your daily routine.

▪ Control your ABC’s—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

▪ Kick the smoking habit.

Additionally, people with diabetes should have annual comprehensive dilated eye exams to help protect their sight. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can reduce a person’s risk for severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease by 95 percent.

“More than ever, it’s important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. New treatments are being developed all the time, and we are learning that different treatments may work best for different patients. What hasn’t changed is that early treatment is always better,” said Dr. Suber Huang, chair of the Diabetic Eye Disease Subcommittee for NEI’s National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) and member of the NEI-funded Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net). “There has never been a more hopeful time in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.”

Remember, if you have diabetes, make annual comprehensive dilated eye exams part of your self-management routine. Living with diabetes can be challenging, but you don’t have to lose your vision or go blind because of it. To help friends and loved ones reduce their risk, share this article.

For more information on diabetic eye disease, tips on finding an eye care professional, or information on financial assistance, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/diabetes or call NEI at 301–496–5248.

The Un-Islamic State of Terror

In the wake of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris and the double suicide bombing in Beirut on November 12, 2015, many Muslims took to Twitter to loudly and unequivocally condemn the terrorists attacks with the hashtags— #NotInMyName, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist, but is this enough to counter Islamic extremism? When will “moderate Muslims” stand up and speak against the terror and mayhem committed in the name of Islam? Thanks to Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, etc. Islam is facing a major branding problem. Islamic extremism is damaging and endangering the place of Islam and Muslims in the world. As Daniel Pipes argues, if militant Islam is the problem; moderate Islam is the solution. “Moderate Muslims” all over the world, particularly those living in secure environments, must speak out more to condemn and further isolate the medieval extremist elements.

As a moderate/progressive Muslim, I want to note that ISIS does not speak for me nor do I share any iota of their twisted beliefs. ISIS poses a direct challenge to the principle and vision of Islam and a threat to humanity. To say ISIS is un-Islamic is an understatement. In essence, ISIS is an international band of thugs using religion and terror to rape, kill, and extort money. Arguably, ISIS and their sympathizers are willfully and pridefully ignorant. Of course, cognitive dissonance is difficult to overcome. The sad part is that ISIS followers truly believe they have the right interpretation of Islam. Thus, they have created some delusional reality where they ignore tolerance, acceptance, inclusion and coexistence— the core principles of the religion.

As Fareed Zakaria once alluded that both those inside and outside the Muslim world must recognize that the fight against violent Islamic extremism is not a clash between Muslims and the West or a clash between civilizations. “Moderate Muslim” leaders— by far the vast majority— must condemn jihadist ideology and issue Fatwas against extremism. Islamic extremism has to be defeated ideologically and its narrative reformed. As in World War II or the Cold War, the ideological opponents had to be defeated, followed by transformation of the societies in which the ideology took hold. There are more than 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and the vast majority are peace loving and it is within these “moderate Muslims” that the problem lies. The term “moderate” has lost its standing in the Islamic world and “moderate Muslim” voices are often drowned out by the extremists. We must lead the way in promoting counter narratives to extremist ideologies.

Complete military success in Iraq, Syria and other ISIS controlled territories will not destroy the terrorist threat. Reciprocal violence will not stop terrorism over the long term; there are always more recruits to fill the ranks and only a few terrorists are needed to inflict destruction. Other counterterrorism methods such as targeted killings, infiltration, arrest, military repression or marginalization may not work; may be insufficient on their own to end a campaign; or may even worsen the problem overall. The West should focus on winning the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims to counter Islamic extremism.

Though the creation of an Islamic state is an important factor among ISIS’s grievances, there are other grievances that proved fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. The threat of Islamic extremism will disappear only if the region manages to reduce chronic poverty, unemployment, end rampant government corruption, promote democratic principles, and end political disenfranchisement.

To any extremist or ISIS sympathizer who reads this, call me an infidel, I will proudly take that name. I’m not committing blasphemy; I’m challenging your twisted ideology.

Foday Justice Darboe is a Ph.D. candidate in Conflict Analysis and Transformation.

Baltimore prepares for World AIDS Day

— Approximately 13,000 Baltimore City residents are living with HIV and the vast majority or 82 percent are African-Americans.

Each year, 500 hundred new cases in the city are discovered and, although the diagnosis isn’t the death sentence that it once was, it’s still problematic, according to health officials.

photo

(Courtesy Photo)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen

Ahead of World AIDS Day, which takes place each year on December 1, the Baltimore City Health Department is planning a host of educational and outreach activities, so much so that its spokesman said officials remain huddled trying to finalize those plans.

“We are already doing a series of outreach and education efforts,” said Sean Naron, the public information officer for the city’s health department. “We have gotten better with awareness and we’re seeing decreased transmission rates across the board and increased acceptance.”

Naron says the November 17th announcement by actor Charlie Sheen that he has contracted the HIV virus, which causes AIDS could serve to help raise awareness.

“I watched his announcement and fighting the stigma is a part of this, and when celebrities, going back to Magic Johnson, reveal they have it, people are more willing to be aware of the potential and understand that it’s an issue,” Naron said.

To assist the health department’s ongoing efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded the city a $20 million grant to help reduce HIV infection among men who have sex with men and transgender populations, with a specific emphasis on minorities. The grant is part of $185 million in funding distributed by the CDC to respond to the severe burden of HIV among gay men, transgender men and women.

While new HIV infections are declining across the city, they are increasing among gay men and transgender persons in Baltimore, according to the health department.

African-Americans are particularly at-risk as 82 percent of those living with HIV in Baltimore are black.

“This is not just a health issue, but one of social justice,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said in a news release. “Thanks to this generous funding, we will be able to help African-American men who have sex with men and transgender individuals who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, both here in Baltimore and across the country.”

Through the grant, the department of health in collaboration with some community partners proposes to implement and evaluate a PrEP program in order to reduce the acquisition of HIV.

PrEP is a preventive approach to HIV infection that addresses risk behaviors and involves daily administration of the antiretroviral Truvada, to prevent HIV infection if exposed.

“We are taking an organized approach to HIV so that more people know their statuses, get into care, and stay in care,” said Patrick Chaulk, the health department’s assistant commissioner. “We will begin by working with those with the highest risk before broadening this effort to help all Baltimoreans.”

Further, the health department plans to use the grant money to improve engagement in HIV medical care by developing a collaborative with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and local health departments to provide a comprehensive model that brings together experienced HIV clinicians, counselors and other behavioral health and social service providers into a “Care Collective.”

The Care Collective will develop best practices and comprehensive approaches to prevent HIV infection among high risk gay men of color and ensure that persons living with HIV/AIDS ensure that persons living with HIV/AIDS access and remain in care.

“I think the stigma has gone down over the past five to 10 years and over the past decade we’ve been able to cut HIV diagnoses in half,” Naron said. “I think we’ll see a great turnout on World AIDS Day across the country.”

Maryland woman named L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth

As a mother, Schinnell Leake says she knows the importance of children having confidence and a sense of self-worth.

So, when the College Park resident learned that more than 2,000 children live in homeless shelters around the region, she decided to form a nonprofit five years ago named, “Extra-Ordinary Birthdays.”

“I set out to be a part of just bringing joy to children who are faced with homelessness,” Leake said. “In our first year, we probably had about 75 to 80 children that we were doing birthday parties for and each year we partnered with another shelter and it was something that grew tremendously.”

Since her organization’s inception five years ago, Leake says she has arranged more than 400 birthday parties for homeless children in Maryland and in Washington, D.C.

The mission of Extra-Ordinary Birthdays is to transform the lives of homeless children by creating personalized birthdays that make them feel valued and to inspire moments of delight in their lives, according to Leake.

Now, Leake’s efforts are being recognized by the popular beauty care company, L’Oréal Paris, who this month announced its ten 2015 Women of Worth honorees. As one of the people honored for making a difference in her community, Leake will be awarded $10,000 for “Extra-Ordinary Birthdays.”

She has the opportunity to receive an additional $25,000 to advance her cause if selected as the national honoree through an online public vote, which ended on Friday, November 20, 2015.

“An award like L’Oréal Paris is a jumpstart for us,” Leake said. “We want to be able to have faith and I run this nonprofit out of my home and everything is grassroots and we have an amazing community who helps. When you have L’Oréal Paris, who is about community, recognizing what you do, it says you’re worth it.”

The beauty company, which employs a host of celebrity spokespeople, provided special shout-outs to the winners using their stars. For Leake, it was singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.

“I was pleased that Jennifer Lopez chose me for her women crush Wednesday,” Leake said.

In a statement, L’Oréal Paris president Karen Fondu said women of all ages, races and financial backgrounds like Leake, are changing their communities and positively impacting the lives of others.

“These women do not seek recognition or celebrity, but choose to help others because they see a way that they can make a difference and have the passion to pursue it with all their might,” Fondu said.

Hosting birthday parties for her daughter and realizing the joy she gets out of it, helped convinced Leake to offer her services to homeless children.

“I say, as a parent, I understand and know what self worth looks like. I get to see it with the children and I also get to see it with their parents when we do the birthday parties,” Leake said, noting that everything is personalized, including the birthday cake, decorations and gifts. “They get to choose their own cake and their brand new gifts that reflect what the child would want.”

To learn more about “Extra-Ordinary Birthdays,” visit. www.extraordinarybirthdays.org.

Howard divinity student helps children of incarcerated parents go to college

Yasmine Arrington primarily grew up in Washington, D.C. with a father in prison. She never let her experience prevent her from pursuing her dreams and making social change.

The 22-year-old social entrepreneur who is studying to complete her master’s degree at Howard Divinity School founded ScholarCHIPS, a nonprofit that awards college scholarships to children in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia who have incarcerated parents. Arrington started ScholarCHIPS in 2010, during her junior year at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. To date, over $80,000 in college scholarships has been awarded to 23 students.

Yasmine Arrington (left) who was awarded the Peace First Prize on October 20, 2015 in New York will receive a two-year $25,000 fellowship to further her work through her nonprofit ScholarCHIPS. The other Peace First Prize winners are (L-r): Grace Callwood; Brennan Lewis; Jasmine Babers; and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.

Yasmine Arrington (left) who was awarded the Peace First Prize on October 20, 2015 in New York will receive a two-year $25,000 fellowship to further her work through her nonprofit ScholarCHIPS. The other Peace First Prize winners are (L-r): Grace Callwood; Brennan Lewis; Jasmine Babers; and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.

Arrington’s vision to support an often overlooked demographic has garnered recognition over the years. On November 12, 2015, Arrington was selected as a J.M.K. Innovation Prize winner and was awarded up to $175,000. The J.M. Kaplan Fund is a New York City-based family foundation supporting transformative cultural, social and environmental causes. The J.M.K. Innovative Prize seeks early-stage innovations in related fields.

Additionally, in late October, Arrington was one of five young people between the ages of eight and 22 who received the Peace First Prize from Peace First, the national nonprofit organization that invests in young people by helping them to become leaders and the next generation of peacemakers. She will receive a two-year $25,000 fellowship to further her peacemaking work, training, networking opportunities and coaching from a dedicated member of Peace First staff.

“I feel very grateful and encouraged that the teams at [the] Peace First Prize and [the] J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize believe in my potential as a leader and mission with ScholarCHIPS. These awards will allow us to grow our organization [for] outreach and positive impact to youth with incarcerated parents,” Arrington said.

The idea to start ScholarCHIPS began in Arrington’s junior year of high school. Her mother Kimberly Wright died when she was a freshman in high school and her father, Tony Arrington was incarcerated. Yasmine and her siblings were being raised by their maternal grandmother Veronica Wright. While helping her granddaughter to search for scholarships, Veronica noted the absence of scholarships for youth with parents in prison. Around the same time, Yasmine was participating in a year-long extracurricular program called LearnServe International. Students were challenged to identify community issues that they wanted to be changed. Towards the end of the program in 2010, Yasmine presented her idea of ScholarCHIPS to a panel of local business owners and entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C. She received a $1,000 seed grant.

After Washington Post columnist, Petula Dvorak, wrote the first story about Yasmine and ScholarCHIPS, donations picked up. Yasmine even gained attention from the owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder.

“From that point, we just started doing a number of fundraising events like an auction and [other] things that helped us to raise our first funds. When I was preparing to graduate high school, I received a call from Dan Snyder. He called the school [Benjamin Banneker Academic High School] and said, ‘Yasmine, we just want to let you know congratulations, you are 2011 Redskins Scholar.’ And then on top of that, he said, ‘We’re going to provide ScholarCHIPS with a match grant. I think at that time we had raised about $5,000. So right there we ended up with $10,000,” Yasmine said.

Arrington ultimately located multiple scholarships that covered her four years of undergraduate tuition at Elon University in North Carolina. In her sophomore year, she was honored as a 2012 BET Black Girls Rock M.A.D. (Making a Difference) Girl.

The social entrepreneur’s reach includes college students in Maryland. Selected ScholarCHIPS recipients who received $250 book awards or $2,500 tuition assistance attend Bowie State University; Community College of Baltimore Essex; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College.

Yasmine explained that producing scholars helps children of incarcerated parents to understand that their future is not defined by their parent’s status.

“They have the power to write their own story. It’s what you make it. There’s no limit to the positive possibilities,” she said.

For more information or to make a donation to ScholarCHIPS, visit www.scholarchipsfund.com.

Ravens sticking together despite disappointing season

There were many analysts and prognosticators that picked the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the Super Bowl. Many people (myself included) said the Ravens had one of the top five most talented rosters in the NFL. Things have not gone the way anyone expected this season, to say the least.

The Ravens have a losing record and hold a very slim chance of making it to the post season. The season has been a disaster. The Ravens have a losing record at home and stumbled to a 0-3 start for the first time in franchise history.

This season was supposed to be one in which the Ravens celebrated their 20th season by adding another winning season to the team’s history. The Ravens inducted Ed Reed into the Ring of Honor recently. It was a nice touch, honoring number 20 to commemorate the franchise’s 20th season.

Rookie wide receiver and first round pick Breshad Perriman was placed on injured reserve before he saw a single snap with full gear on. Perriman joined Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith Sr. on injured reserve.

To make matters worse, Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett were both lost for the season during the Ravens game against the St. Louis Rams. The Ravens continue to employ the next man up mentality, even with after they lost Flacco, a player that has never missed a game in his career. All in all, the Ravens have lost a total of 14 players for the entire season.

The players on the team expressed confidence in Buck Allen and Matt Schaub, the players that will be called upon to step in for Forsett and Flacco.

“It was devastating. They are two great leaders on offense. I’m definitely going to pray for them, but, at the same time, we’ve got capable guys behind them. Matt Schaub is a veteran in this league,” Brandon Williams said. “He’s got a cannon for his arm and still has a lot of life left, and he’s going to execute the best he can. We support him 100 percent. And you’ve seen what Buck Allen can do all season.”

John Harbaugh was sure to mention how Flacco put the team ahead of himself and did what he could to finish the series despite what is said to be multiple ligament tears in his knee.

“He finished the whole series with two completely torn ligaments and stayed on the field with the clock running, because he knew if he comes off, now we have clock issues,” Harbaugh said. “I told the team he’s an absolute iron man, warrior-type of a player out there, and now it’s his turn. We have to step up and rally up for him, just like he has done so many times for so many guys.”

There’s usually a lot of finger pointing and bickering whenever such high expectations are followed by the level of disappointment that 2015 has brought. It’s easy to point fingers, but that’s not what this team is about. Justin Forsett has kept a positive mindset despite the team not committing to the run and giving him the necessary carries to be successful.

“We’ll go out and prepare hard during the week. I’m just blessed to be with this team. I’ve been on other teams where we’ve been in this situation,” Forsett said. “It’s easy to point fingers and guys kind of separate. But we’ve been together; we’ve been fighting together and trying to get better each week.”

It’s a shame that Forsett broke his forearm in a game where the Ravens actually did commit to running the football. Buck Allen said that he has learned a lot from Forsett and knows he’ll be able to lean on the veteran for help.

The team is closely knit, just like a family. When Steve Smith Sr. went down with an Achilles injury, almost every player stopped by his locker to offer their support. They said they will play the coming games hard just because they know how much he loved the game and can’t play this season. That’s a testament to how close this team is.

Elvis Dumervil was called for a penalty that put the Jacksonville Jaguars in position to kick the game winning field goal. Dumervil was down on himself because he felt that he cost the team the game. His teammates came out publicly and said the game should not have come down to the penalty and there were numerous plays that could have determined the outcome.

That’s how a team that sticks together responds after losing a game the way the Ravens lost to the Jaguars. They still have fun at practice and attack each week with optimism. Joe Flacco talked about staying together as a group after he and Justin Forsett joked about their height difference before a press conference.

“I have no idea what our record is going to be at the end of the day, but we’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to give our best every single week. We have a great group, and we’re going to stay together,” Flacco said. “We’re going to come out of this thing on the other side together. That’s the only way we know, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re here to work. We love to do this, and we’re having fun out here, that’s what it’s all about. Obviously, we’d like to tack on some wins with that.”

When John Harbaugh was first named head coach of the Ravens, he said that taking care of one another and sticking together was of utmost importance. That philosophy held true when the Ravens won the Super Bowl for Ray Lewis in his final season and it surely holds true in the worst season the team has had under Harbaugh.

The Ravens are sticking together and there are zero arguments or disagreements on the sidelines. They still go out and fight to win every game. They play the game for each other, along with those that can’t suit up due to injury. Not once have they adapted to the “why me” mentality. It’s the sign of a true family and that is a testament to the leader that the Ravens have in John Harbaugh.

Freestate Academy prepares teens for GED, successful life

At the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground about 20 miles northeast of Baltimore, 107 teens are on the verge of earning their GED. The young men and women, who range in age from 16 to 18 years old, have experienced various problems at home, at school and with the law.

In many cases, they have encountered difficulties too burdensome to overcome— until now.

They have enrolled in the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, a quasi-military residential program supported through funding from the state and the Army.

“The ‘NG’ is capitalized because the program is endorsed by the state of Maryland and is in a cooperative agreement between The Maryland National Guard and the National Guard Bureau,” said Charles Holloway, the deputy director and program coordinator at the academy.

More importantly however, the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy is a tuition-free program offering at-risk teens an opportunity to change their future by providing the skills, education and self-discipline needed to become responsible, productive citizens.

The program consists of a 22-week residential phase where students— called cadets— learn self-discipline, leadership and responsibility.

Uniforms are issued and bags are inventoried for required items as academy officials collect and review medical and academic records.

Male participants are given military-style haircuts and all participants live and work in a controlled military environment, encouraging teamwork and personal growth.

A 12-month post-residential phase follows and focuses on helping to enroll graduates in continued education, technical school programs or entry-level employment. During the post-residential phase, students are assisted by at least one trained mentor from the community for further development and the academy provides instruction based on each cadet’s personal needs in order to prepare them to take the State of Maryland’s General Education Development exam.

“Where success is a subjective term, we have an expected success rate of 60 percent but often we exceed that number,” Holloway said. “We measure success by placement in jobs, schooling, military and others and by passing the GED test.”

The program has the capacity to hold 197 cadets and, on December 12, 2015, Holloway says 107 students are expected to graduate and receive their GED.

“The academy prepares cadets for the military in addition to providing a foundation of discipline needed for them to be successful citizens,” Holloway said.

Students are provided instruction in bed-making, hygiene, nutrition and anger management.

Cell phones and iPods are not permitted, and there are no televisions. Flashy sneakers are forbidden, as white low tops with white socks are the rule. Pockets are sewn shut to keep students from putting their hands in them. Headgear consists of a blue mesh ball cap and men and women are segregated.

To enroll, an individual must be a U.S. citizen and a Maryland resident between 16 and 18 and a high school dropout or are at risk of dropping out.

“They must not currently be on parole or supervised probation for other than juvenile status offenses; not awaiting sentencing; and not under indictment, charged or convicted of a crime that is considered a felony when charged as an adult,” Holloway said.

Mandatory drug screening is conducted within the first 40 days of starting Freestate ChalleNGe Academy and any applicant who tests positive for illegal drugs will be terminated.

“This is a second chance,” said Quentin Banks, Jr., director of Public Affairs for the Academy. “It’s an opportunity for the kids to possibly earn their GED.”

For more information about the program, visit www.freestatemil.maryland.gov.

Author pens book to help women live fearlessly

Masterfully crafted by Tiana Nicole, “You’re Not the Boss of Me: Goodbye Fear, Hello Success” is the latest in a long line of successful books for the author, marking a radical shift from fiction to female empowerment. Helping every woman discover her innate power and worth, Nicole’s latest masterpiece is poised to resonate across the nation with an uplifting message that will help any woman identify fears, quash them and succeed in life with gusto.

Author Tiana Nicole

Author Tiana Nicole

Looking back on her life, Tiana Nicole is amazed at how much she has achieved considering she wasn’t raised by her biological parents. Under the care of her late great grandmother from a very early age, the odds were truly stacked against her to be successful. Try telling that to her now— she has a degree in Computer System Technology; a degree in Psychology; and a Master’s in Business Management. Oh yes, she’s also a hugely popular author!

This unlikely success comes from Tiana’s ability to face her fears head-on and turn them into opportunities, a skill she knows millions of other women struggle with every day.

“You’re Not the Boss of Me: Goodbye Fear, Hello Success” is the author’s manifesto for every woman on the planet. It’s a bold reminder that manifesting dreams is within the grasp of anyone.

With “You’re Not the Boss of Me,” Tiana Nicole reveals the value of women determining the tools needed to face fear–the unpleasant emotion all women have to find the courage to conquer.

Because fear is the opposite of desire, Tiana Nicole reveals to women how the beast of fear can cripple their dreams. “You’re Not the Boss of Me,” has an important message meant to modify the way women cope with fear in order to achieve the ultimate success.

“To date my three novels have been very much along the lines of “chick lit,” with gripping stories ripped right from my imagination. But as someone who believes to the core of my being that every woman has a purpose well within her grasp, I decided to pen my next book to speak directly to the hearts of women around the world,” explains Tiana. “But I’ll also admit that most women struggle to see their potential and require empowerment to peel back the layers of fear and defeat. That’s my goal with this latest volume – to help women block fear and elevate their success to a level they could have never imagined.”

“You’re Not the Boss of Me: Goodbye Fear, Hello Success” is available at www.amazon.com or www.tiananicole.org. The ebook version can be purchased for $3.99 and the paperback for $12.99.

For more information about Tiana Nicole and her books, visit: www.tiananicole.org

Christmas Village sails into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the 2015 Holiday Season

— Christmas Village in Baltimore will again transform West Shore Park (501 Light Street) into a traditional, indoor and outdoor German Christmas Market, open between Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26 and Sunday, December 27, 2015. Inner Harbor is invited to enjoy holiday sights and sounds with thousands of twinkling lights, two Christmas Trees, live music at the main indoor stage presented by Condor, entertainment, children’s activities and more than 50 vendors. Shop for high-quality, international and local gifts and decorations. Warm up with a glass of warm mulled wine or hot chocolate while enjoying the great variety of European food and drink. On top of opening for an extra weekend, other additions for 2015 include new decorations like Original Herrnhut Stars, daily happy hours, food and drink areas, vendors and tasty treats. Admission is free on weekdays and opening weekend, and only $1 on December 4 and 5, 2015. Admission for all other weekends is $5 for adults, $3 for children 3-18 and free for toddlers under 3. Spread holiday cheer by following @baltimorexmas on Twitter and Instagram, liking Christmas Village in Baltimore on Facebook, and visitinghttp://www.baltimore-christmas.com

Now in its third year, Christmas Village in Baltimore has grown into one of the region’s most unique and charming holiday attractions, with 200,000 people expected in 2015. Authentic wooden huts, a huge heated tent, two Christmas trees and festive decorations will pop-up on West Shore Park, located in between the Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore Visitor Center. It’s the most wonderful time of year on the Baltimore Waterfront, as Christmas Village is located just steps away from popular holiday attractions like Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink (Inner Harbor Amphitheater), Santa photos (inside Harborplace’s Light Street Pavilion), Polar Express 4-D Experience (National Aquarium), 12 Days of Holiday Themed Science (Maryland Science Center), and Merriment and Melodies (Harbor East).

More than 50 international and local merchants are already busy preparing high-quality and lovingly crafted gifts. Famous German vendor Kathe Wohlfahrt will return with thousands of ornaments, genuine German Schwibbogen and pyramids, advent calendars and limited edition holiday decorations. With toys, apparel, jewelry, decorations, home goods, artwork and more, there will be something for everyone on Santa’s list.

Follow the smell of gingerbread and Schnitzel to a full menu of European food, sweets and drinks, including mouthwatering German bratwurst served on a warm roll (Brötchen). Look for a huge food variety this year, including different sorts of gingerbread and mustard. On top of the great shopping and dining experiences, visitors will enjoy the glorious Christmas Tree in West Shore Park, live entertainment at our Christmas Village Stage presented by Condor, theme days and weekends and other surprises to be announced.

Within the heated tent, have a seat in our Hofbrau Beer Garden and enjoy the German delicacies offered by our vendors, such as Bratwurst, Pretzls, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), mulled wine or a good German Hofbrau beer from Munich. A further special themed area, our alpine “The Alm”, will enrich the outdoor area. Designed after the cozy ski huts in the Bavarian Alps, this additional food court will serve Schnitzel, Baked Cheese on a stick, Potato Salad and Potato Latke.

New holiday surprises for the 2015 season will include:

  • Bonus weekend for post-Christmas shopping on December 26 and 27, 2015
  • New Original Herrnhut Stars lighting up Inner Harbor outside the wooden huts
  • Special themed “The Alm” outdoor food/drink area
  • Hofbrau Beer Garden
  • New daily happy hours

Christmas Village in Baltimore will open on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, 2015, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Black Friday, Friday, November 27, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Daily market hours starting Black Friday through the last Sunday in December will be Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Eve hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Christmas Day. The first three Tuesdays are closed. Admission is free on weekdays and opening weekend, and only $1 on December 4 and 5, 2015. Admission for all other weekends is $5 for adults, $3 for children 3-18 and free for toddlers under 3.

The market will have a Grand Opening Ceremony on Sunday, November 29, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Invite your family and friends to come sing-a-long to holiday selections by local choirs and other entertainers. Meet the original Christkind from Nuremberg after she officially opens the market by reciting her traditional prologue and officially light the beautiful 21 feet tall Christmas tree. Take photos with her as she does her traditional walk of the market. In Germany, she is the person that brings the Christmas gifts to the kids, and she won’t be coming to Baltimore empty handed!

For more information, visit http://www.baltimore-christmas.com for more information.

Thanksgiving Day Quiz

It is once again time to talk turkey, stuffing and all of the trimmings. Thanksgiving is celebrated in both Canada and the United States with similar parades and fanfare. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the blessings in one’s life and enjoy the company of family and friends during a special meal.

Although people celebrate Thanksgiving each and every year, they may not be aware of some of its interesting history. Test your knowledge of gobblers and general trivia with this quiz.

  1. Despite competing historical claims, the story most people associate with the first American Thanksgiving took place in a colony in this modern-day state?

a. Pennsylvania

b. New Jersey

c. Massachusetts

d. Delaware

  1. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on which day of the week in Canada?

a. Monday

b. Tuesday

c. Wednesday

d. Thursday

  1. Pilgrims from Europe associated with Thanksgiving are purported to have sailed across the Atlantic to reach North American on which ship?

a. Daisy

b. Mayflower

c. Santa Maria

d. Roseflower

  1. Which tribe of Native Americans taught Pilgrims how to cultivate the land, contributing to the first Thanksgiving?

a. Algonquin

b. Lenape

c. Shoshone

d. Wampanoag

  1. Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas how long ago?

a. 10 million years ago

b. 15 million years ago

c. 20 million years ago

d. 25 million years ago

  1. Three different deboned types of poultry go into this Thanksgiving meal alternative?

a. Orange duck

b. Turducken

c. Turkey chowmein

d. Chixturck

  1. In what year did Congress make Thanksgiving an official national holiday in the United States?

a. 1932

b. 1939

c. 1941

d. 1946

  1. Twenty precent of the overall consumption of this type of fruit is done on Thanksgiving.

a. apples

b. cranberries

c. cherries

d. grapes

  1. The first Canadian Thanksgiving was a welcome-home celebration for Sir Martin Frobisher when he returned to which area of the country?

a. Albert

b. Manitoba

c. British Columbia

d. Newfoundland

  1. Canadians sometimes call the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States by this name to distinguish it from their own Thanksgiving celebration.

a. Yanksgiving

b. Amerigiving

c. Turmerica

d. USthanks

Answers: 1. c 2. a 3. b 4. d 5. a 6. b 7. c 8. b 9. d 10. a