Home Court: Grub City

Baltimore is home to many local delicacies, but the best spots are only known by locals. Home Court’s host Sarunas Jackson sits down with Eric Williams, the 21-year-old owner of Nacho Bangers, a restaurant that is giving back to the city of Baltimore through Eric’s love of food. You won’t find a Nacho Banger anywhere else.

Along with giving insight into his cutthroat approach to the music industry, — which was bred through his experiences being born in Baltimore — A$AP Ant stops by to talk about the best value meal in Baltimore.


Home Court: Grub City

CCBC Hosts Baltimore County College Promise Information Sessions

— The Community College of Baltimore County will hold Baltimore County College Promise Information Sessions from July 31 to August 2, 2018 for students and their parents, who are interested in learning about how to earn an associate degree or workplace certificate tuition-free.

Baltimore County’s 2017 and 2018 high school and home-schooled graduates, parents, and those who have earned a General Education Diploma (GED) within the past two years are invited to attend.

Students and parents participating in CCBC’s Baltimore County College Promise Information Sessions will learn about the scholarship program criteria, its benefits, scholarship requirements, and the application process. Interested participants are encouraged to register online at www.ccbcmd.edu/collegepromise.

To qualify for the Baltimore County College Promise, students must:

•Be a Baltimore County resident.

•Be a graduate of a public, parochial or private high school within the past two years, with a GPA of 2.5 or better.

•Be a home-schooled graduate within the past two years and have earned a GED score of at least 165.

•Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

•Have an adjusted gross household

income of $69,000 or less.

•Be enrolled full-time at CCBC.

For more information, call CCBC

Admissions at 443-840-1377 or email: ccbcadmissions@ccbcmd.edu.

The Baltimore County College Promise program covers tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying students to complete an associate degree or workplace credential at CCBC. Students are required to apply for financial aid and the Baltimore County College Promise program will cover tuition and fees not covered by financial aid. Students

receiving the scholarship will still be responsible for other costs such as books, transportation, supplies and materials. The scholarship applies only to the first degree or credential sought.

The new Baltimore County College Promise program was announced by the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in March 2018, and passed by the Baltimore County Council in May 2018, and guarantees eligible students tuition-free attendance at CCBC.

Local Head Start Administrator Graduates From UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program

— Training completed by Head Start executive Aamil Abdul-Saboor will ultimately benefit children and their families from Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start in Baltimore City. Aamil Saboor is one of 38 graduates of the 2018 UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program, an intensive 12-day leadership and management development program, conducted at the UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles. The program was developed in 1991 to strengthen the management and leadership skills of Head Start administrators and is currently funded by the Head Start National Center on Program and Management and Fiscal Operations.

Throughout the program, fellows are equipped with the tools they will need to effectively lead and deliver developmental services in changing environments, secure funding, efficiently implement programs and network with other Head Start executives across the nation. Since the program’s inception, 1,560 executives have graduated with enhanced management and leadership abilities.

“Head Start creates the foundation for a wonderful future for children and their families,” said Yasmine Daniel-Vargas, director of the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations. “Graduates of the UCLA Head Start Management Fellows Program have introduced successful community initiatives that make a lasting impact on the health, nutrition, and school readiness of the children they serve. The commitment of the UCLA Anderson School of Management to teaching excellence is a hallmark of the program’s enduring success.”

Head Start programs provide comprehensive developmental services to low-income, preschool children and their families. Head Start also provides a range of medical, dental, mental health and nutrition care, and parent involvement services.

Marylanders Reminded To Take Basic Steps To Reduce Risk Of West Nile Virus

— The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) announced the first confirmed and locally acquired case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Maryland this year. The infected individual is an adult who lives in the Baltimore Metro region. MDH routinely tracks and responds to mosquito-borne infections, including Zika virus, and no other locally acquired arboviral infections have been identified this year.

The number of human WNV cases in Maryland has varied over time. The peak years of human activity occurred in 2003 and 2012, with 73 and 47 WNV cases reported statewide, respectively.

In 2015, there were 46 human cases of WNV infection in Maryland, nearly reaching the 2012 peak.

Marylanders are reminded that they can take simple steps to reduce the risk of getting infected. Those protective measures include:

•Avoiding areas of high mosquito activity

•Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes

•Using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent according to package directions

Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. Those who do develop illness usually will have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally

appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Fewer than one percent of individuals exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis.

In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Individuals older than 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease.

Individuals with compromised immune systems also may be at high risk of WNV infection.

Marylanders are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes.

To eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:

•Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely

•Empty or screen corrugated drain pipes

•Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment

•Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, wagons, and carts when not in use

•Flush water from the bottom of plant holders twice a week

•Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week

•Turn garbage can lids upside down and make sure trash receptacles are empty of water

•Fix dripping faucets

•Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system

For additional information on West Nine Virus, visit MDH at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/west-nile-virus.aspx and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.

Lamar Jackson Already Excelling At Ravens Camp

The Baltimore Ravens traded back into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to select rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson with the No. 32 overall pick. The Ravens offense has been in need of a jolt over the last few years.

Jackson’s dynamic playmaking ability led to him winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016. He tortured opposing defenses both throwing and running with the ball while at Louisville. Now, his goal is to do the same in Baltimore.

“When they see my running ability, they see me make people miss in the open field; they just try to label me. I don’t want to say as an ‘athlete’ but at the same time, they could say, ‘He could play running back or receiver,’ or something like that,” Jackson said during his first press conference in Baltimore back in April.

“That’s just a plus for me. I can throw the ball with the best of them like I always say. I can make any throw on the field, but I can bring something else to the table, and that’s dynamic running ability.”

The evidence is already has started to surface already as Jackson has made numerous deep throws for touchdowns to wide receivers such as undrafted rookie free agent Jordan Lasley. The effortless flick of the wrist that Jackson uses to launch the ball down the field is reminiscent of former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

That is no coincidence. Jackson grew up watching Vick dominate football games.

“He’s been a big influence on me. My first Madden game was 2003, but I played with Michael Vick [in] 2004, and he was out of control,” Jackson said. “Just watching him on a video game and watching him on TV and seeing what he did, what he brought to the table with his team, winning games for Atlanta, it was like, ‘Man, I want to do some of the things he did on the field.’”

Jackson’s play has stood out to veterans on the Ravens already in camp. Veteran wideout Michael Crabtree called Jackson a ‘baller’ and said he plans to encourage the young quarterback to go out and make plays to prove doubters wrong.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg worked with Vick in Philadelphia. He likes what he’s seen from Jackson so far.

“He’s done an outstanding job up to date. He’s way ahead of the curve,” Mornhinweg said in a recent press conference. “You can see on the practice field; it’s coming now. He’s getter better every day. He’s done a fabulous job here of improving every day becoming a pocket passer.”

Jackson will get a chance to showcase his skills when the Ravens open the preseason at the Hall of Fame game in a couple of weeks.

Big Data Could Set Insurance Premiums, Minorities Could Pay The Price

Are you a registered Democrat? You could be more likely to experience anxiety these days, causing you to need more mental health care. Have you lived in neighborhoods near industrial zones? That could increase your chance of chronic illness. Do you buy video or board games? You might be less likely to exercise, raising your medical costs in the long term.

According to an investigation that ProPublica and NPR released on Tuesday, health insurers have begun acquiring huge amounts of non-health-related data about the people they insure or will potentially insure. This data includes race, net worth, consumer behavior, criminal and civil court records, and prior addresses, among other things.

Health insurers buy it from data brokers, who scoop up pretty much everything from the data trails we all leave behind as we move through the world. Those data brokers, as well as the health insurers themselves, also create algorithms to find relevant patterns in this data — like relationships between particular purchasing habits or life events and increased health care expenditures.

While health insurers claim they’re not using these algorithms to set insurance costs for individuals, they’re unable to cite any law that would prevent them from doing just that. And considering that the very purpose of insurance is to assess risk and charge customers accordingly, there’s a very real concern that insurers will start using these algorithms to set their fees.

Existing health disparities mean that data will consistently show members of certain groups to be more likely to need more health care. What will happen, then, if this data starts being used against those groups? We know, for example, that black women are much more likely to experience serious complications from pregnancy than white women. So, health insurers might conclude that a woman who is black and recently married is likely to cost them more money than a white woman in the same position. Even in cases where they don’t have accurate race data, insurers might draw the same conclusion for women who purchase black hair-care products or those who have tweeted about television shows like Atlanta or Scandal.

More broadly, people who live in poor neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color are much more likely to have health problems than those in affluent neighborhoods. The ProPublica piece quotes one health data vendor joking, “God forbid you live on the wrong street these days … you’re going to get lumped in with a lot of bad things.” Is it fair to make health care more expensive for people based on zip code or race?

The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions or gender, but it doesn’t say anything about race, religion, national origin, or anything else insurers can learn about you from data brokers. At the state level, where insurance in this country is largely regulated, more than half of states don’t even ban using race explicitly in pricing health insurance. That’s a problem, especially in the age of big data, when it’s extremely tempting for insurers to raise prices for customers they perceive to be risky, sometimes in order to drive them away.

Actors in other lines of insurance, like auto or homeowners’ insurance, have started to use digital data to raise prices for customers who they predict won’t switch insurers if their rates go up. It’s a big enough problem that 20 states have issued bulletins banning the practice.

Historical and ongoing racial discrimination has created an enormous racial wealth gap, and because we continue to live in such a segregated country, almost all the data held by data brokers reflects and encodes racial disparities. When predictive models are built using this data, people of color are consistently disadvantaged— black people whose credit scores are as good or better than those of whites might not get a loan simply because of the neighborhood in which they live.

If that happens in the lending context, the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects the borrower. When similar algorithmic discrimination occurs in the housing market, the Fair Housing Act provides protection, as does Title VII when there’s a job at issue. Since, in addition to barring intentional discrimination, each of these statutes prohibits neutral policies that nonetheless have a disparate impact on members of protected groups— like people of color— they are vital in the era of algorithmic decision-making.

The ProPublica report shows that the danger of discrimination in insurance is increasingly real. But there’s a big hole in civil rights law when it comes to insurance. State legislatures should explore new ways to prevent discrimination in health insurance, including requirements that insurers audit their own use of consumer data for discriminatory effects and publish the results. Consumers deserve no less.

Rachel Goodman is a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program.

Editor: Re: Trump Is A Security Threat

Trump is a threat to our security because he continues to befriend Putin, who is an adversary of the United States and the Western world; and Trump continues to condemn our intelligence agencies.

Trump refuses to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, and he demeans Special Counsel Mueller, while trying to weaken the investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Trump fired FBI Director Comey and had Attorney General Sessions fire Deputy Director McCabe. They were heavily involved investigating the Russian interference in the election.

Trump refuses to condemn Putin for incursions into Ukraine and Georgia, and poisoning the former Russian intelligence official in England.

Against the advice of his advisers, Trump called Putin and congratulated him on the Russian election victory, which was a sham election.

It appears Trump trusts and admires Putin and he is willing to overlook Russian transgressions. Will this affect Trump’s strategic decisions impacting Russia? Trump has control over the launch of retaliatory weapons against Russia if it attacks the U.S. Our national security is in jeopardy. As a former holder of a top- secret cryptographic security clearance, I question whether Trump qualifies for a top secret security clearance.

Hair Cuttery Supports Underprivileged Children With Share-A-Haircut Program

— Hair Cuttery, the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, will be donating back-to-school haircuts to children who need it most this summer. From August 1-15, 2018, for every child up to age 18 who purchases a haircut at one of Hair Cuttery’s nearly 900 salons, one free haircut certificate will be donated to an underprivileged child in the community.

“A fresh haircut to celebrate a milestone is something that can easily be taken for granted,” said Dennis Ratner, Founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery. “Through our Share-A-Haircut program, we strive to provide every child with this simple but impactful service that will help send them back to school with confidence and enthusiasm to kick-off the year.”

Within the first two weeks of August, Hair Cuttery is aiming to donate tens of thousands of free haircut certificates ahead of the new school year. Certificates will be distributed with the help of more than 200 local government and non-profit organizations in communities across the country.

Since 1999, the Share-A-Haircut program has donated more than 2.4 million free haircut certificates valued at nearly $50 million. This year marks the 19th year of Share-A-Haircut, with Hair Cuttery’s most recent campaign donating more than 80,000 haircuts to survivors of domestic violence this past spring.

For more information visit: www.haircuttery.com

Celebrity Chef Brings Culinary Arts Program To Baltimore

Baltimore native, Robert “Chef Stew” Stewart made his mark as a personal chef and caterer to various celebrities. He is also the winner of the television show, “Cutthroat Kitchen” on Food Network. While living in Las Vegas, Nevada, the entrepreneur’s culinary quest led him to prepare cuisine for corporate and entertainment A-list clients.

Now, Chef Stewart’s latest endeavor incorporates lending a helping hand to Baltimore youth and young adults who want to learn to cook and bake their way to better opportunities.

Tucked inside the old Samuel Morse Elementary School, located at 424 South Pulaski Street, a free culinary arts training program offering employment opportunities, and on-the-job training for Baltimoreans is in development.

Chef Stewart is the visionary and CEO of a new community organization called Transition Kitchen, which is counting down the final months of preparation for a projected September launch. Registration kits with a list of supplies that the students will need are being requested from anyone who is willing to donate items. Kits include everything from pens, pencils, highlighters and flash drives to cut gloves, slip resistant shoe covers, chef beanie style hats, digital thermometers, aprons and tote bags. Raising $12,000 through GoFundMe is Chef Stewart’s current goal to cover the cost of items for 120 students at a time.

“Although Transition Kitchen was an idea I planned to incorporate into my journey, once I obtained the funding to finance it completely, watching the (Freddie Gray) riots and the ruling from the Department of Justice, the Korryn Gaines incident, and a few other heartbreaking events, I decided literally to step away from my pursuit of a restaurant and utilize my resources to provide a solution for the city,” Chef Stewart said. “So, if you can help with anything on the [registration kit] list, we plan to train 75 students monthly or 825 yearly.”

Update at press time: “On yesterday, a major donor with roots in Baltimore, pledged $20,000 to Transition Kitchen. It was given to cover the costs associated with Transition Kitchen Student Registration Kits, and one month of operational costs,” Chef Stew said. “We are extremely excited about our first major donation! Our strategy has been to ask for donations in increments that allows us to build relationships with sponsors and keep the community’s trust. We will soon release our financial statement and overview of the Transition Kitchen Program expenses to launch a fundraising campaign that will cover year one. I believe that if we collectively build, collectively the City of Baltimore benefits.”

Chef Stewart noted that the dedicated staff will not receive any financial compensation from the program, until they can begin training youth and show Transition Kitchen’s impact. A nonprofit organization called The Food Project is a partner.

“I know it’s said that charity begins at home and Charm City is my home, so I personally came back to see this thing take shape,” Chef Stewart said. “Transition Kitchen is designed for anyone [at least] 15 and a half, with a work permit, to ensure that the goal of lowering unemployment numbers would be honored. After all the stuff, I plan to implement in training is highlighting positions within the hospitality industry. It’s also very important to learn how to cook, [know the] benefits of ingredients, healthy eating habits, and importance of food safety, even if you have no desire to work in the industry as a career choice.”

Chef Stewart’s early story is rooted in perseverance. His 33-year-old father’s funeral was held the day before his twelfth birthday.

Chef Stewart recalls watching his grandmother cook in the kitchen, then returned home while wanting to duplicate the short order cook’s dishes. The young boy began calling her on the phone to ask questions and he began cooking for his brother and mother. The future chef later enrolled in Eastern Vocational Technical High School’s Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Program. After graduation, he worked at Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel as a banquet server. His beginning point is connected to his current efforts to help Baltimoreans.

Transition Kitchen is a community-based effort and a call to action for leaders and individuals to collectively contribute to an innovative program. Gail McGee, who has been a pastry chef since 1995, will serve as the pastry chef for Transition Kitchen. Chef Stew’s former school friend will teach youth and young adults how to make diverse signature items, while teaching entry-level skills. A sous chef will work with culinary students, when Chef Stew is not present. The program will also incorporate an afterschool component.

“Each class runs for 30 days, and every 30 days, the end of that month, we have a celebration for those students. And every month, we start a new set of students, so it will be culinary and the baking, so they can choose between the two,” McGee said. “At the end of the day, he [Chef Stew] is like pretty much showing them [Baltimore’s youth], ‘Hey, I was in your position, look where I am. I used my hands to get me out of this bad situation, and the culinary position can take you far.’”

Please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/registration-kits to donate to the GoFundMe campaign. Email transitionkitchenbmore@gmail.com for more information about the program. Please note if there is an interest in the culinary or pastry portion.

Future Baltimore Earns Prestigious National Award

In 2017, Kaiser Permanente announced a $1.7 million commitment to launch a neighborhood revitalization project in partnership with Bon Secours that both entities said would advance health equity and economic opportunity in West Baltimore.

The announcement was built on previous planning grants to Bon Secours Community Works and solidified a long-term partnership between Kaiser Permanente, Bon Secours and several communities in the 21223-zip code.

Today, officials at Future Baltimore, the flagship partnership between Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente, received national recognition for its exemplary partnership to transform an entire zip code in West Baltimore.

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations (COF) announced the 2018 winners of The Secretary’s Award for Public Philanthropic Partnerships, a national award presented by HUD Secretary Ben Carson at HUD headquarters in Washington recognizing 10 foundations and their public-sector partners for collaborations to transform communities and improve lives.

“We are deeply humbled to have our transformative initiative recognized by HUD and COF. It gives us national visibility and will only help enhance what we are accomplishing on the ground,” said Dr. Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic’s director of community health. “Future Baltimore is the cornerstone of Bon Secours, Kaiser, and neighborhood leaders that are attempting to leverage the power of hope and partnership to dramatically disrupt the inequity in [the area].”

Future Baltimore remains dedicated and focused on addressing the social, economic and health needs of community members who live in three neighborhoods in the 21223-zip code, which includes Fayette Street Outreach, Boyd Booth and Franklin Square.

The centerpiece of the Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente collaboration is the renovation of an abandoned library located one block south of Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital at 31 S. Payson Street. The plan is to transform the property into a community resource center to house support for issues ranging from health care to economic and social services.

The community resource center will be supported by local partners.

“The partnership between Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente is building relationships and changing lives in West Baltimore. Neighbors are excited about the transformation underway and look forward to taking the journey into a Future Baltimore with us,” Dr. Samuel Ross of Bon Secours Baltimore said in a statement.

Also, in a statement, Secretary Carson praised the collaborative approach to service that he said would lead to solutions to help the most vulnerable communities.

“I’m pleased to recognize these award winners for the important work they do to serve the housing, health, and safety and educational needs of their fellow Americans,” Dr. Carson said.

The cross-sector partnerships demonstrated among the winners highlight the power of collaboration, said COF president and CEO Gene Cochrane.

The unofficial model of the Future Baltimore program is “Nothing about me without me,” Ramjohn said, meaning that the organizations serve at the pleasure of the community and responds to their needs.

She said the partnership has nine programs that address four community health needs; mental health, economic security, health care access and community safety.

“We are in this for the long haul,” Ramjohn said. “We will consider it successful when we have disrupted the cycle of poverty, disrupted inequity in [the zip code] and when we see expanded opportunities for employment and affordable housing and communities that are hopeful and socially adhesive.

“We have to make sure we’re agile enough to continue to be a good partner because it’s the kind of issues that can’t be solved overnight.

“We plan to be lock-step in the community and responding to their needs.”