Success in Style seeking volunteers for new Annapolis Location

Ill-fitting borrowed clothing can distract a job seeker from putting their best foot forward, but the right outfit can make a world of difference. Success in Style (SIS) is a nonprofit, which helps job seekers in Anne Arundel County to dress in style for job interviews free of charge.

All donated clothing that is not job interview appropriate is priced to sell to the public at retail shops, Phil’s Closet and Charity’s Closet in Historic Savage Mill, Maryland for $5.

Proceeds from the two retail stores plus the bridal resale shop, Cherie Amour, all benefit SIS. An additional donation center and resale venue, Charity’s Closet, is expected to open in mid-October in Annapolis.

SIS was founded by Jeannette Kendall, a fashion designer in 2002 and the nonprofit is primarily run by volunteers.

An information session will be held for potential individual and corporate volunteers, as well as organizations interested in partnering in the exciting new venture “Charity’s Closet” on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in the Community Room at the Annapolis Regional Library, located at 1410 West Street in Annapolis from 11:15 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.

“Our mission is to help disadvantaged men and women [who] are trying to find employment to support their families by providing them with interview attire. People are referred to us from various government agencies, private nonprofits [and] educational institutions. They may be taking a class to learn something to improve their job [prospects] and our part is a very small part but very important. [They] to go on an interview and really don’t have interview appropriate clothing. All of our studios are outfitted with everything that a person would need to put together an interview outfit,” said Kathy Botsford, SIS’s outreach coordinator who became a volunteer with the organization after accidentally shopping at one of the resale stores. “We provide that at no cost to our clients, no matter what agency that they’re coming from.”

When job seekers need clothing, trained consultants help them to find suitable clothing. Separate outfits are provided to allow for several callbacks during the interview process. Donations come from stores or individuals who clean out their closets.

The prospect of moving Charity Closet’s from the Glen Burnie Mall to Annapolis arose last year.

“In the spring, we got a notice that there was a new landlord, and they were going to be renovating the mall and we would have to move,” Botsford said. “We had decided that we are going to relocate that donation center closer to where people might be interested in donating. We had a lot of people from Annapolis who said, ‘I’d love to donate, but gosh, Glen Burnie is a long way to drive, so Annapolis puts us [close] to volunteers and donations. We would just like to engage the community there.”

The services provided to clients is not limited by locality but Botsford explained that walk-ins are not accepted. Referrals for clothing help typically comes from come from job coaches and caseworkers. Botsford also says that the best outcomes for jobseekers come from working with people who are truly job ready. They have already connected

with an organization such as workforce development, Department of Social Services and other nonprofits. Some male clients even come from the VA (Veteran Affairs) Hospital inWashington, D.C.

Some people find their way to SIS through facilities in Baltimore County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County.

The MultiService Center located in the North Laurel/Savage community brings together multiple service agencies including SIS to offer easy access to a wide range of resources and support for community residents. Quinton Askew, the Center Manager in the Office of Community Partnerships, noted ways SIS benefits community members.

“Clients have been able to access professional attire, as well increase self-esteem with their new clothing,” Askew said. “Clients always rave of the assistance they have received from SIS staff, and the hope that is provided to them as they continue their journey of looking for employment, or seeking other business related activities.”

For more information about Success in Style and for updates about the organization’s new location in Annapolis, visit:

When the past comes back to haunt you: The Nate Parker Story

To be young, gifted and black is a notable phrase wrought with many complications concerning the invisible glass ceiling considered difficult to break in a society where race and assumed perceptions of race are irrevocably interlinked.

“Birth of a Nation,” which marks Nate Parker’s directorial debut grants imagery to a story about a slave rebellion led by the then enslaved Nat Turner in 1831.

This is a story long overdue in Hollywood, which has been plagued with the issue of diversity for the past two years.

The movie made history in a bidding war at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and for which Fox Searchlight Pictures purchased for $17.5 million. Since then, there has been increasing interest in regards to Nate Parker’s past as is usually inevitable when doing work that garners attention and one chooses to bask in the limelight of being the star, writer, producer and director of a project.

Parker along with his friend, Jean Celestin (co-writer of Birth of a Nation), was accused of rape in 1999 when they were student athletes at Penn State University. Parker was ultimately found not guilty but Celestin was convicted. Celestin was later exonerated due to prior witnesses being too difficult to locate for a re-trial.

Parker and Celestin have gone on to have families and carve out careers in Hollywood, while the victim never fully recovered from the incident. She committed suicide in 2012.

An interview with Variety magazine where Parker voluntarily commented on his past sexual assault case has sparked outrage and questions concerning his moral character.

“Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life,” said Parker. “It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it.”

However, the question that should be asked currently is, what now? Now that his past is open to scrutiny, what do media outlets and potential moviegoers want from Nate Parker?

I doubt a confession of prior misdeeds would suffice, and it seems as though owning up to his misogynistic mindset as a 19-year-old involved in a sexual situation gone horribly wrong doesn’t seem to be winning anyone over either.

In a recent interview with Ebony magazine, when Parker was asked if he thought about the victim or the rape case he was involved in at any point over the last 17 years. He responded, “No, I had not. I hadn’t thought about it at all.” And here is where the problem may lie.

The problem may lie with not being able to suspend disbelief long enough to separate Nate Parker the man from Nate Parker the artist. It has taken 17 years and a movie to promote for him to address, acknowledge and understand that his mentality towards women and consent was selfish as well as destructive.

The timing for clarity, unfortunately for him is all too convenient and disingenuous. The lack of awareness and the ineptitude to see beyond himself conflicts with his interest in a story where a former slave rebelled against a white society that could not bring themselves to see the humanity in others.

Nate Parker will be making the media rounds to promote “Birth of a Nation,” which is in theaters on October 7, 2016. His campaign, come award season may be somewhat tainted, to say the least.

“Birth of a Nation” is a film that deserves its moment. However, many feel that Nate Parker is a questionable candidate to bring such a story to the silver screen. The failure to not anticipate the critique of one’s past despite overseeing a film about the past makes the short-lived positive attention in regards to the film feel bittersweet.

Parker should not be surprised that questions about race, sexual assault and the overall lack of concern shown towards violence against women will only intensify as award season in the film industry approaches. The questions will be complicated and hopefully bring attention to a much bigger conversation at hand— sex on college campuses throughout the United States.

America has evolved and so has what is now deemed appropriate behavior from boys and men. Blaming carefree unmonitored behavior on boyish youth, while exhibiting a lack of self-control is no longer acceptable.

What can be gleaned from this controversy is that one’s past is seemingly never truly erased no matter what is done afterwards for redemption. Innocence may be proven through loop-holes and technicalities exploited in a court of law but forgiveness is not so easily won when traumatic events may have played a part in destroying another person’s life resulting in their death.

Morgan Reid is a graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Film & Media Arts and English minor. Hailing from New York, Reid has gained experience working in the entertainment industry in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She currently works as a freelance writer in the Baltimore area.

Board of Estimates approves water rate hike

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved a rate hike for city water bills Wednesday.

Earlier this month the Baltimore City Council approved the move to monthly billing. All these changes take effect on October 11, 2016.

Officials said the increase will benefit city infrastructure.

“The BaltiMeter Billing system provides a number of technological and economic advantages to our customers,” said Baltimore City Department of Public Works Director Rudy S. Chow, P.E. “It is just one of the changes we’ve been putting in place to make Baltimore’s water and sewer system strong and secure for generations to come.”

Over a three-year period rates will increase approximately 33 percent. The first incremental increase goes into effect on October 11, 2016.

City customers age 65 and older, whose annual household income does not exceed $30,000 will be eligible for a 43 percent discount on water and sewer consumption charges. And the credit for low-income assistance will be increased to $197, from $179, for eligible City customers.

Wholesale water charges to Howard and Anne Arundel Counties will be increased, as well as raw water charges to Carroll County. Baltimore County sets its own water rates.

The last quarterly bills will go out to all City customers in September; inserts in the September bill will have additional information about the switch to the new bill. The first monthly bills will begin going out in October, and continue into November.

A go-to dessert for special occasions

— Decadent desserts make the perfect capper to great meals. Providing the bite of dark chocolate with the sweetness of milk, the following recipe for “Milk Chocolate Torte with Assam Tea Ganache” from Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen’s “Cooking with Tea” (Periplus) is ideal for special occasions.

Milk Chocolate Torte with Assam Tea Ganache

Serves 6 to 8

8 ounces dark milk chocolate (41% cocoa content)

4 tablespoons Tippy Assam tea leaves (or an Assam of your choice)

1/2 cup water

4 ounces sweet butter

4 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted twice

2 teaspoons malted milk powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform or regular cake pan with nonflavored aerosolized spray. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

In a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. In a separate small saucepan, bring the tea leaves, water and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir to melt the butter, allowing the tea leaves to infuse in the water-butter mixture for 3 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve into the chocolate. Stir to blend. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Separate the eggs, place the whites into a perfectly clean, fat-free bowl of an electric mixer and the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Beat whites until soft peaks form. Sift flour and malted milk powder together and then fold in egg whites. Fold this flour-malted milk powder mix gently but thoroughly into the chocolate base. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake appears firm, but not dry. This cake is very moist inside and will fall as it cools. Make the ganache.

Assam Ganache

7 ounces heavy cream

2 tablespoons Tippy Assam tea leaves

7 ounces dark milk chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted (sweet) butter

In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, bring the cream and tea leaves to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to infuse further for 3 minutes. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Slowly add the chocolate and gently stir to blend, without aerating. Add the butter and stir until completely melted. Set aside.

Assembly: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the cake on a cooking rack, then place the rack on the cookie sheet. Pour the ganache over the cake, using a spatula to spread the ganache evenly as needed. Allow to set. Scrape up any ganache that drips off the cake and pour to cover the cake a second time. (Reheat slightly over a pot of simmering water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.) Cool at room temperature.

Note: If your kitchen is hot, place the cake in the refrigerator just until the ganache sets and feels dry to the touch. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving and allow it to adjust to room temperature. PC167240

Governor Hogan unveils Maryland’s new license plate

— Governor Larry Hogan unveiled Maryland’s new license plate design, which will feature the Maryland flag front and center. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will start issuing the new plate on Monday, September 26 for all passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, and multipurpose vehicles.

“You would be hard pressed to find another state that has more pride than our great state of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “Earlier this year we launched our newly redesigned, state-of-the-art, Maryland-themed driver’s licenses, using our beautiful flag for inspiration. Now, Marylanders will have yet another way to show their state pride, with our new ‘Maryland Proud’ standard-issue license plate.”

The new plate meets all state standards and has passed all law-enforcement testing for readability. The new standard-issue plate will replace the War of 1812 plate, but customers who want to keep their existing plates do not need to get the new plate. Those who want to replace their existing license plates will pay the current $20 replacement cost. Registration renewal costs remain unchanged. All vehicles purchased on/after September 26 will be issued the new plate unless customers want to transfer their existing plates to their vehicles.

“We think these beautifully designed plates will be very popular and strongly encourage our customers to skip the trip to the MVA and order them online,” said Secretary Rahn.

The War of 1812 plate was first issued in June 2010 and was scheduled to be in circulation during the Star Spangled commemoration. It is standard practice to update the Maryland license plate every few years. All Maryland license plates are manufactured by Maryland Correctional Enterprises, a division of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. MVA issues approximately 740,000 sets of license plates per year.

To order the new Maryland Proud plate after September 26, visit the MVA website at and click Online Services.