Should ‘Good Behavior’ Be Part Of Children’s Educational Curriculum?

Deceased Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and producer Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince to his worldwide legions of fans, released his 13-times-Platinum album, Purple Rain in 1984 that contained the number one hit single, “Let’s Go Crazy.” When you hear this song you want to, well, go crazy, let your hair down, holler, shout, let it all hang out.

If you’ve pulled your car alongside a yellow school bus lately or had the occasion to visit a school during lunch period when students are in the cafeteria, the song Let’s Go Crazy will quickly come to mind. The behavior and decorum students are encouraged to observe in the classroom is completely abandoned and students are allowed during those times to literally ‘go crazy.’

It’s not uncommon to observe students in pandemonium mode, screaming, yelling, tussling and agitating bus drivers, tossing food, practicing acrobatics, engaging in skirmishes, and ignoring commands of personnel in cafeterias, and too often insulting and/or assaulting teachers and administrators.

It should surprise no one that people, particularly young people, loudly and boldly use profane language and raucous behavior in public, in anyone’s presence, without concern or compunction that they are insulting anyone or being in any way disrespectful; most wouldn’t care anyway. Some might even ramp up their rowdiness if they suspect you are annoyed.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, has earned a reputation for behaving badly and has been denigrated for eroding norms of civility in public discourse, and setting a poor example of how public officials— and everyday citizens— should comport themselves.

A wider view of interrelations between strangers in public reveals a continuing deterioration of mutual respect and consideration across the gamut of interactions we routinely engage in as citizens that not only result in minor altercations and interpersonal friction, but neighborhood hostilities, workplace violence and road rage incidents. Americans seemingly have become increasingly predisposed to belligerence in situations that not very long ago were addressed with tolerance and restraint.

The erosion of civility in and among the public seems to have hastened since most school systems dispensed with Civics curriculums a couple of generations ago. There was a time when the core educational programs of most secondary schools included teaching young people their basic rights and responsibility as citizens, including things like free speech and voting, components of government— legislative, executive and judicial branches— and a code of public conduct including standards of behavior for interacting with strangers in public that encouraged treating others as one would prefer to be treated themselves.

Perhaps, reinstituting a Civics curriculum beginning with kindergartners on the first day of school which indoctrinates students with reasonable standards of behavior on school buses, gymnasiums and cafeterias to ensure a measure of self-discipline, respectful interactions with peers and persons in authority, and an understanding of how their individual behavior contributes to the quality— or dysfunction— of their school environment, communities and society at-large might begin to reestablishment cordiality going forward.

To encourage students’ compliance to Civics lessons their cooperation should be rewarded. Their adherence to standards of good civil conduct should earn them ‘educational’ achievements along with English, math and science. If American society will salvage a modicum of civility in our future public discourse, then our children must collectively be taught to be civil.

Baltimore City Awaits Vote On Statewide Minimum Wage Bill

State legislators in Annapolis are expected to vote on a proposal to gradually increase Maryland’s state-wide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023 on Thursday, February 21, 2019. The bill has 77 co-sponsors, and comes after years of campaigning by community activists and labor groups.

Twenty of the 22 state legislators representing Baltimore City are either co-sponsoring the bill or expressed support of it to The Baltimore Times. The other two, Dalya Attar (D-41) and William Ferguson (D-46) did not respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 2012 by fast food workers in New York, the Fight for 15 campaign has been active in supporting such wage raises across the country. Ricarra Jones, an organizer for Maryland’s Fight For 15 group, says a bill like this one is long overdue.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on the ground talking to residents about the need to raise wages, and how when we raise wages it has positive effects on the community,” Jones told The Baltimore Times. “We have a lot of residents expressing the concern, or the need, that the bill should be implemented faster.”

The bill would also remove the lower legal wage for tipped employees by 2027. Jones says this change would mark a victory for some of Maryland’s most vulnerable workers.

“Most tipped workers, especially in Baltimore, are women and they’re women of color,” Jones explained. “They also have some of the highest rates of poverty, of having to receive public assistance, and some of the highest rates of sexual harassment. So this issue is very, very important to us, and we absolutely want to see these workers receive a full minimum wage.”

Jones added that the Fight for 15 campaign has received the most resistance in Baltimore from the Chamber of Commerce. The Baltimore City chamber did not respond to requests for comment, but Jones stated that some business owners she has spoken with were not consulted about their opinions on the bill.

Columbia business owner Brian England supports the minimum wage increase, and describes feeling frustrated when his local and statewide Chambers of Commerce take strong stances without consulting business owners.

“I was on the legislative committee of the [Howard County] Chamber of Commerce about a decade ago, and… it’s not very democratic,” England told The Baltimore Times. “What happens is, the board will decide on a position and send it down to the legislative committee to be approved.”

In England’s experience, many small businesses adopt the Chamber’s position on important issues because they lack the time and resources to do their own research. The Chamber itself, however, is often reluctant to reveal the reasoning behind its decisions.

“One of the frustrations I’ve had is I’ve never been able to get data from people,” England said of the bill’s opponents.

When another local businessman told him a minimum wage increase would “cost a fortune,” England calculated how a $1 per hour wage increase would affect the man’s restaurant franchise. He found that food prices would need to

increase by only 1.6 percent to give fifteen restaurant employees each an extra $2,000 per year under such a change.

“That money goes back into the local economy,” England said. “Raising the minimum wage up to fifteen dollars over a period of time is the right thing to do

because it’s going to take pressure off the social safety net, and it’s right that people should earn enough money to live. They shouldn’t have to rely on food banks and [other public services] to get by.”

A fifteen dollar minimum wage is not a brand-new proposal in Baltimore City. In 2017 the City Council voted in favor of a gradual increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, but the measure was vetoed by Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Former state Delegate Donald C. Fry supported Pugh’s veto, arguing that wage increases at the city level would have negative economic impacts. Fry is now the president of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), a group of local businesses and civic organizations.

The GBC expressed support for the current bill on the condition that it adopts a number of amendments, including eliminating provisions that raise tipped wages and protect seasonal and youth workers. It also expressed desire for an extended timeline for some businesses to implement the new wage.

“Small and mid-size employers need additional time to plan and adjust to ensure their financial stability and future growth. Otherwise, they may face hardship,” said Fry in a press release.

Jones, however, emphasized that citizens should put pressure on their representatives to vote for a “clean fifteen”– a bill with no such amendments to the new wage law.

“[We need] a bill that covers the most people,” Jones concluded, “meaning that there’s no carve-outs, no exceptions, and we’re not leaving big groups of workers behind.”

Two Baltimoreans To Play Prominent Role At APPE 28th Annual Conference

Baltimore will be the host site for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) 28th Annual Conference from February 28 through March 3, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Front and center for this international gathering will be two well-respected Baltimore leaders: Chief Melvin Russell of the Baltimore Police Department and Dr. Joanne M. Martin, founder and president of The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum.

Dr. Martin will kick off the event by giving the Plenary Opening Address on February 28, 2019. She will speak on the topic “Judging Your Values and Valuing Your Judgements: Insights from a Museum Founder.” Three of the museum’s well-crafted wax figures will be on display for the duration of the conference.

On Friday, March 1, 2019, Chief Melvin Russell will deliver the keynote address. His forty-year career in the Baltimore Police Department as an expert on community policing and his chairmanship on various boards and initiatives makes him uniquely qualified to offer insights on his conference topic, “Leadership through Partnership.”

Marilyn Mosby’s Good Job An Example Of Baltimore’s Good Citizenship

Baltimoreans should be reminded that regardless of who is chosen to lead the Baltimore City Police Department it will ultimately be the level of engagement, oversight and vigilance from citizens that will determine policy, procedure and results affecting crime and violence in our community.

As Michael Harrison assumes control of policing in Baltimore, the deck is stacked in his favor to succeed thanks to a secret weapon resulting from the kind of responsible civic engagement espoused by those of us who believe selecting strong municipal leaders through the power of the vote is a direct expression of citizen decision-making in local government affairs.

After the Freddie Gray debacle in 2015, Baltimore citizens embraced a bold young lawyer-activist, wife and mother who stepped forward demonstrating bold leadership, moral courage and stalwart determination as a novice candidate for Baltimore City States Attorney.

Marilyn Mosby challenged the status quo and faced down entrenched political interests, including the powerful Baltimore police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, who the Obama Department of Justice would determine was representing one of the most corrupt, racist and brutal police departments in the U.S. evidenced by their reluctant agreement to enjoin a consent decree acknowledging unjustified, unconstitutional conduct against Baltimore citizens.

Her epic indictment and prosecution of the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray notwithstanding, Mosby quietly set about transforming the City States Attorney’s office from the rubber stamp of a police department that victimized African American citizens on par with the victimization one might expect on Baltimore’s most violent streets, to a community resource that unabashedly advocates for victims and witnesses, and refuses to further punish over policed citizens criminalized by race-based targeted arrests and harassment.

The biggest winners from Marilyn Mosby’s brand of justice are obviously Baltimore taxpayers. However, Mosby’s contribution to the city, including substantial savings of money and manpower resulting from her bold policy decisions and administrative innovation, must not be lost on City Hall. Moreover, new police commissioner, Michael Harrison, is the latest recipient of Marilyn Mosby’s program of fair play as she equitably approaches issues of crime and punishment in Baltimore.

Mosby’s recent decision to suspend prosecution of citizens for minor Cannabis possession will save the city millions of dollars from the combination of redirected police activity and administration, housing and feeding jailed suspects, and prosecuting cases. Besides, studies have shown that Baltimore marijuana busts are racially motivated, demonstrating Mosby’s respect for due process and equal justice by refusing to adjudicate.

Despite former governor Martin O’Malley’s decriminalization of pot in 2014, arrests for possession in Baltimore have increased dramatically— for African Americans only— going from 44 in 2015 to 429 in 2017. Incarceration rates were more than 96 percent African American and low income, which is no surprise since police targeted those areas, while Baltimore’s poorest majority-Caucasian neighborhood experienced fewer than 50 cannabis arrests.

Mosby’s policy of forgoing marijuana arrests allows the incoming police commissioner to commit more law enforcement resources to combat 300 plus murders per year and tens of thousands of violent crimes annually, freeing up the court system to focus on prosecuting violent offenders.

Marilyn Mosby has also introduced the YOU’RE NOT ALONE. TOGETHER WE’RE STRONGER campaign through her office’s Victim & Witness Services Unit. This program offers support and a safe haven for citizens, which encourages their participation to help take dangerous criminals off the streets and bring them to justice.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE can prove to be an effective deterrent to the Stop Snitchin’ culture that has hindered police efforts to investigate and apprehend Baltimore’s most notorious lawbreakers for years. Again, Harrison is the beneficiary of a valuable tool from Mosby that can help him prevail in his mission to provide a safer environment and better quality of life for Baltimoreans by encouraging closer cooperation and trust with the community at-large.

Michael Harrison’s temperament and experience, and Marilyn Mosby’s tenacity and commitment, can produce a formidable team to reduce violent crime in Baltimore.

Remember Baltimore, you chose Marilyn Mosby and have embraced and supported her. The wonderful job she does is a dividend of your good citizenship. Continuing to wisely vote-in honest, capable leaders to city government like the City States Attorney will inevitably transform Baltimore to the world-class metropolis it could be.

West Baltimore native, Regi Taylor is a married father of four. He is an artist, writer and media professional specializing in political history.

Help To Fight Killer Cold Weather

This article is part of the #STCPreventionMatters campaign from the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland. For more information about the campaign and the Center for Injury Prevention and Policy, visit www.umm.edu/PreventionMatters

An ambulance brought an elderly man to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED) after he was found lying on a sidewalk. The temperature had dipped to 35 degrees on that winter night. No one knew how long the man had been exposed to the cold. At the scene, the EMS crew recorded his body temperature as 68 and couldn’t find a heartbeat. As they wheeled him into the ED, they gave him CPR, trying to save his life.

The ED team took over, giving him medications and shocks to try to restart his heart, circulating warmed air and pushing warmed fluids throughout his body to try to bring his temperature back to normal. His temperature started to rise toward 90 degrees, but the effects of the cold were too great. After hours of CPR and despite all of the team’s efforts to revive him, his heart would not restart. The cold had done too much damage.

Unfortunately, many people in Baltimore do not have access to shelter and warmth. This time of year forces them into a constant struggle for life and limb. At UMMC, there is an increase in the number of people coming to the ED with hypothermia and cold-related injuries such as frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Last winter, Maryland recorded 61 cold-weather deaths. Hundreds more people sustained cold-related injuries. Most of the people who die or are injured because of cold conditions are homeless, elderly, the very young or individuals with mental health illnesses. In the general population, emergencies related to the cold usually involve intoxication, participating in outdoor activities, or simply being outside without proper clothing for too long.

If someone who has been out in the cold begins to mumble, fumble or stumble (the “Umbles”), get them to a warm place and call 9-1-1. The Umbles are signs that the body is beginning to lose its capacity to warm itself. Hypothermia is defined as a body temperature below 95 degrees. In its first stage, from 90 to 95 degrees, the body attempts to warm itself by shivering, constricting blood vessels in the fingers and toes, and burning stored fat and carbohydrates. Once the Umbles set in, below 90 degrees, the heart rate begins to slow and irregularities in the heart’s rhythm start to appear.

In Baltimore, homeless shelters operate on “winter shelter conditions” when the temperature, including wind chill, falls below 32 degrees. On those days and nights, the shelters extend their capacities to accommodate the increased number of people in need of warm shelter. All of these shelters can be accessed by going to the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center on a day when winter shelter conditions are declared.

UMMC staff members make every effort to ensure that patients who are being discharged from the hospital have adequate shelter on cold days and nights. If patients do not have a warm place to go, access to shelters is arranged and transportation provided through a bus fare or a ride service. Staff members regularly access UMMC storage closets where clean clothes, shoes, and socks are available for patients in an emergency with inadequate clothing. Additionally, through the UMMC Project Engage campaign, the hospital provides health and social services to the homeless community of Baltimore, including food, medical, behavioral and housing resources.

What can you do to prevent cold-related injuries?

•If someone is showing signs of hypothermia, help them get the care they need and call 9-1-1.

•When you know you will be exposed to cold weather, protect yourself by wearing appropriate clothing.

•Dress in layers; you can always take clothes off, but you can’t put more on if you don’t have them.

•If you’re going out into the rain or falling snow, avoid cotton clothing because it doesn’t dry well and will stay wet longer than other fabrics.

Winter will be with us for several more weeks. Let’s be vigilant about preventing hypothermia in ourselves and about protecting the young, the old, and those who do not have access to warm shelter. We are all vulnerable to winter weather, and we can take common-sense precautions to protect ourselves and those around us.

The Weinberg Housing and Resource Center is located at 620 Fallsway, Baltimore, MD 21202. The phone number is 667-600-3230. It is open 24/7 and never closes for holidays or bad weather.

Dr. Nicholas Walter is a resident physician in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine. He is a former wilderness guide for the Outward Bound School and has specialty interests in wilderness and environmental medicine. Dr. Callahan serves as the Vice President of Population Health and Dr. Marcozzi is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Co-Director of the Program in Health Disparities and Population Health and the Assistant Chief Medical Officer for Acute Care at UMMC.

Govans Elementary Takes First Place In Regional Robotics Competition

— The Govans Elementary Robotics Team took first place in the FIRST LEGO League regional competition on January 26, 2019. The team of 10 students competed against 14 other Baltimore City teams.

“Today was an amazing culmination to a season of hard work and dedication by coaches Ms. Nemeth and Ms. Crosby, LET’S GO Boys and Girls mentor Amanda Porter, and the 4th and 5th grade students on the team,” said Debbie Dininno, Baltimore Region STEM Director for LET’S GO.

Last fall 10 students from the Govans Elementary after school program were selected to be on the FIRST LEGO League team based on their love of STEM and robotics. They practiced weekly to prepare for the regional competition. They also gave up their half-days to stay at school and work.

The students designed, built and programmed a robot; researched the challenges astronauts face in space; and ‘created’ an innovative solution called Medic 2.0., which is a pharmaceutical machine to compound and dispense medicine.

The students also interviewed an engineer; shared their research with local medical professionals; and learned how to work together as a team and improve their communication skills.

At the regional competition the team took first place in Robot Performance. This award recognizes a team that scores the most points during the Robot Game. Teams have a chance to compete in at least three 2.5-minute matches and their highest score counts. Their robot scored 94 points.

They also won the Champions Award, which recognizes a team that embodies the FIRST LEGO League experience by fully embracing the Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project. This is the highest award at the competition.

By winning the Champions Award, the team advances to the State Championships on February 23, 2019 at UMBC. The top 72+ teams from all the qualifiers around the state of Maryland are invited to compete at this championship.

The Govans Elementary after school program is an initiative of the 21st Century Community Learning Center at Govans Elementary, which is funded by a generous grant from the Maryland State Department of Education.

In addition to developing the Robotics Team, LET’S GO Boys and Girls provides STEM curriculum, teacher training and ongoing support for the after school program.

Fourteen-Year-Old CEO Celebrates African History Through Business, Education

While Black History Month is certainly an ideal time to celebrate African-American excellence, and historical trailblazers who paved the way for justice, a devoted 14-year-old named Kalimah McKeaver stays busy working in her home studio making clay key chains, bow ties, African activity tubes, African greeting cards, and hair beads throughout the year.

The mission of her company, Dinkra Stylez, LLC is to educate clients about their African heritage through the creation of fun, colorful and engaging products. Kalimah is the CEO of the world’s first craft design firm with this integrated mission. The kid boss who loves her job, teaches ancestral knowledge to individuals of all ages. Her demanding schedule entails participating as a vendor at events, representing her brand as an inspiring leader, teaching and networking.

“My products are geared towards educating girls, boys, men and women from ages three to 103,” Kalimah said. “I wanted to start my company, because I was inspired by other kid entrepreneurs that I read about or saw on TV.”

The Clinton, Maryland resident who started Dinkra Stylez, LLC at the age of 12 is home schooled. She is in the ninth grade. Her mother, Kalimah Abdul-Sabur explained how Kalimah’s passion to teach, create and sell her products began with a school research assignment.

The forward-thinking mother assigned a research project to her daughter about the Ancient Empires of Ghana and how their inventions and contributions benefited modern day society. Kalimah who was in seventh grade at the time, embraced the empowering lesson, which sparked her entrepreneurial journey.

In order to complete the assignment, the ambitious student used encyclopedias and online articles, which were really intended for college students and older researchers. Nevertheless, Kalimah was not pleased with having to gather fascinating information in a boring manner.

“She asked me if she could make something as her final project for the assignment, instead of just writing about the subject. I told her that as long as she retained the information she was free to deliver the final project in any format. She created hand-sculpted clay hair beads adorned with the Adinkra symbols— at that moment Dinkra Stylez was born,” Abdul-Sabur said, also explaining the meaning of the company’s name, Dinkra Stylez. “The name Dinkra is derived from the word ‘Adinkra,’ as in the Adinkra symbols. We just dropped the ‘A’ and borrowed the rest of the letters. We added the word Styles with a ‘Z,’ to indicate that her products (although hand-crafted) were stylish, fun, colorful, and engaging.”

Kalimah McKeaver, 14, is the CEO of the world’s first craft design firm with this integrated mission. The kid boss who loves her job, teaches ancestral knowledge to individuals of all ages.

Courtesy Photo/DinkraStylez, LLC

Kalimah McKeaver, 14, is the CEO of the world’s first craft design firm with this integrated mission. The kid boss who loves her job, teaches ancestral knowledge to individuals of all ages.

Kalimah further explained that she was fascinated with the rich and inspirational heritage of Africa, while doing research for the school project.

“I wanted to find a way to help others experience this same feeling without having to spend countless hours in the library or online,” Kalimah said, “One of the most rewarding aspects of being a teen CEO is getting opportunities to do some pretty cool stuff…. like teaching workshops and meeting new or famous people.”

Although Kalimah is a teen with observable discipline, good manners, and a memorable smile, running her business also requires a great deal of personal sacrifice. Challenging aspects of being a teen CEO include: mastering time management; producing large quantities of her products; and finding a balance between school, work, and fun. However, young Kalimah is able to save some of her profits, and not bother her mother for an allowance.

Learning real-life skills is an added benefit of being a teen business owner who knows that growth is a part of being successful in business now and in the future.

“I definitely needed the skill of patience and the tolerance for failure in learning to make my products. It often takes my attempts to get a product just right before it goes to market to be sold,” Kalimah said. “As a result, patience and a tolerance for failure were the two biggest skills I needed to learn.”

Abdul-Sabur pointed out that as a home schoolteacher, evaluation is key. While reflecting on her daughter’s journey, the supportive mother said that she believes that her student has learned a very important lesson. Anything is possible with a little bit of planning.

“She has learned that the management of time and resources are key components in running a successful business,” Abdul-Sabur added. “Finally, she is learning that entrepreneurship is truly one of her passions in life.”

To learn more about Kalimah McKeaver and her products, visit: www.dinkrastylez.com.

Rambling Rose: Most Worshipful Prince Hall Foundation Honor Black History Month

Hello everyone, I am hoping everything is well with you and you enjoyed the activities in Baltimore and the surrounding counties that many organizations hosted this month. The one that stands out with me is the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Foundation of Maryland, Inc. Thurgood Marshall Black History Month Celebration that they hosted last week entitled “Voices of Triumph”.

Prince Hall Free Masonry has played an important historical, as well as a modern day role in the shaping of the African American community and experience in the state of Maryland and nationally. Prince Hall Masons were present at the conception of prominent organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League. African American Masons organized events such as the “Freedom Now Rally” and were a significant force in the Civil Rights Movement.

“Black History Month is a time when the community can make a focused effort to reflect on the contributions and shared experiences of African Americans” said Rainier C. Harvey, Sr., 32 degree Prince Hall Foundation CEO. “Such reflections are required in order for us as a nation to continue to make advancements towards equality, access, and justice.”

Last Sunday, the Masons of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge publically honored the work that a chosen few have done and are doing on behalf of the community. I was blessed to be one of the few to receive the “Golden Trowel Award” along with Ericka Alston-Buck, Larry Young, Carl O. Snowden, and Kweisi Mfume received the “Life and Legacy Award. Held at Morgan State University in the Murphy Fine Arts Center, it was a beautiful event and I want to personally thank the Foundation Committee and our wonderful, the Honorable Emanuel J. Stanley, Most Worshipful Grand Master for including me in such a celebration. I am proud to be a member of the Eastern Stars for the past 35 years, and a sister in one of the “baddest” chapters in the order— Trinity No. 5 at Prince Hall.

Well, my dear friends, it’s about that time. I am out of space. But remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474, or email me at: rosapryor@aol.com. You can also send me your correspondence to 214 Conewood Avenue, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Lou Fields presents the 6th Annual Langston Hughes Book Fair hosted by the Baltimore African American Tourism Council of Maryland at the Empowerment Temple AME Church located at 4217 Primrose Avenue in Baltimore from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the public and free. For more information, call 443-983-7974.

Lou Fields presents the 6th Annual Langston Hughes Book Fair hosted by the Baltimore African American Tourism Council of Maryland at the Empowerment Temple AME Church located at 4217 Primrose Avenue in Baltimore from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the public and free. For more information, call 443-983-7974.

Shirley Duncan and Lawrence Bradford invite you to their Hand Dance Workshop and Dance Classes on Tuesdays at the Zeta Center located at 4501 Reisterstown Road in Baltimore and on Thursdays at 2270 Park Hill Avenue from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come out to experience the traditional exciting, smooth rhythm and blues style of swing dance. For more information, call: 410-523-0575 or 410-370-3439.

Shirley Duncan and Lawrence Bradford invite you to their Hand Dance Workshop and Dance Classes on Tuesdays at the Zeta Center located at 4501 Reisterstown Road in Baltimore and on Thursdays at 2270 Park Hill Avenue from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come out to experience the traditional exciting, smooth rhythm and blues style of swing dance. For more information, call: 410-523-0575 or 410-370-3439.

Marva Laws invites you to her Same Gender Love Boutique located at 339 N. Charles Street in Mount Vernon on Sunday, February 24, 2019 and every Sunday for “Mimosa Sundays” to support, socialize, shop and sip from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Marva Laws invites you to her Same Gender Love Boutique located at 339 N. Charles Street in Mount Vernon on Sunday, February 24, 2019 and every Sunday for “Mimosa Sundays” to support, socialize, shop and sip from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Toyota Aspires To Strengthen Local Community Through ‘Walk In My Boots’ Program

Toyota Motor North America, in efforts to be more than just a car company, demonstrated its commitment to ‘enriching lives one step at a time’ and serving local communities by donating winter boots and socks to families in need through its “Walk In My Boots” community outreach program.

After showcasing an assortment of vehicles at the Baltimore Auto Show, Toyota partnered with The Salvation Army of Central Maryland to give several families—some of whom were from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Franklin Square and Middle River—175 pairs of Bogs waterproof insulated boots and Smartwool socks fashioned to protect the wearer’s feet from harsh weather conditions at the Salvation Army Warehouse on East 29th Street on Feb. 16, 2019.

“Winter can be the hardest season for low-income families. While many programs offer winter coat giveaways, a person’s feet are often left vulnerable as many are often forced to use local modes of transportation such as taking the bus or walking in harsh elements,” says a statement released by The Salvation Army and Toyota.

“When temperatures drop below freezing, or the snow and rain take center stage, people are at severe risk for hypothermia to set in and consequences can be fatal. Having the proper footwear can help keep feet dry, comfortable and warm for longer periods of time.”

Before the giveaways, officials from Toyota and The Salvation Army gave heartfelt remarks and expressed how elated they were to be a part of a philanthropic partnership designed to give back to less fortunate families in Baltimore City and surrounding areas.

Quinetta Cooper and her four children were one of the special, spotlighted families presented with boots during the program.

“It’s truly a blessing to have received these boots and to be surrounded by great people,” said Cooper, a resident of Middle River. “It’s just a pleasure to be here.”

Also in attendance was special guest speaker, comedian and Baltimore native MESHELLE, who gave words of encouragement to the audience.

Alva Adams, the founder of Walk In My Boots, said the program started in 2011 after she saw a need to give back to the underprivileged communities who might have undergone hardships in extremely frigid weather conditions. The event began in Detroit and has been in Baltimore since 2017, she said.

“Anything that Toyota can do to help families, to help communities to get to their dreams, to accomplish their dreams—it just makes us feel really, really great as a company,” said Adams, the director of multicultural business and strategy and dealer relations with Toyota Motor North America.

Officials from Toyota (top to bottom) Tim Hale, Nicole Fortune, Alva Adams, Paige Barton along with MESHELLE pose with Quinetta Cooper and her four children, recipients of new Bogs waterproof insulated boots as part of the 'Walk In My Boots' community outreach project.

Officials from Toyota (top to bottom) Tim Hale, Nicole Fortune, Alva Adams, Paige Barton along with MESHELLE pose with Quinetta Cooper and her four children, recipients of new Bogs waterproof insulated boots as part of the ‘Walk In My Boots’ community outreach project.

“It makes us want to continue to do more in the community; to help build their confidence, to help build their self-esteem, to let them know that we’re behind you. You know, let’s start our impossible together, let’s go places together.”

In addition to Detroit and Baltimore, Toyota holds annual Walk In My Boots giveaways in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

JoAnne Clatterbuck, a resident of the Woodberry neighborhood in Baltimore, showed up with her two grandchildren and a great grandchild to receive boots and socks.

“It means a lot. Like I said, my daughter belongs to the Salvation Army and they’ve helped me out a lot with the children, with the grandchildren. I’ve always appreciated that.”

Furthermore, Toyota presented a $15,000 check, along with an additional $10,000, to The Salvation Army of Central Maryland, enabling the organization to continue its support for less fortunate children and families.

“By Toyota offering these high-quality boots for [our clients], not only does it stretch the life of their own shoes but they’re able to walk in the winter with comfort and not have to worry about walking in wet shoes. So, I think it means a lot” said Gene Hogg, the area commander of The Salvation Army of Central Maryland.

At the conclusion of the program, participants were served a buffet luncheon prepared by Black Tie Caterers, courtesy of Toyota. Children received various coloring books that were signed and distributed by Munson Steed, CEO of Steed Media and founder of Rolling Out Magazine.

According to Hogg, the funds donated to The Salvation Army will go to the programming involved in the organization’s Boys & Girls Clubs located in Franklin Square, Middle River and Glen Burnie.

New Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman Looks To Expand Ravens Offense

The recent move the Baltimore Ravens made by trading quarterback Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos is yet to be official, but it signifies a new beginning.

The Ravens also promoted former run game coordinator Greg Roman to their offensive coordinator position. Both of the moves were made with dynamic signal caller Lamar Jackson in mind.

Roman is looking forward to working with Jackson and putting together a new offense for Baltimore.

“I’m very excited about it. We’re re-imagining our offense. Lamar Jackson is a special player,” Roman said during a recent press conference. “You’re going to see a lot of elements. We have used a morphed offense over the years, but we want to start fresh and rebuild it from the ground up. Let’s build an offense that accommodates Lamar’s unique skill set.”

As the run game coordinator, Roman was largely responsible for the suffocating, run-heavy scheme the Ravens employed last season.

The Ravens were among the leaders in time of possession last year, which helped the defense. Roman wants to operate an efficient offense that is productive in situational football. He wants the scheme to be able to work when teams load up to stop the run and avoid being one dimensional.

“I stress balance and putting our players in position where the opponent can’t call our plays,” Roman explained. “I am not looking to blow up any statistical category. I’m looking to blow up the win column.”

The tight ends will be one of the groups that help create a variety of looks for the offense. Baltimore invested heavily in the position via the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting Hayden Hurst in the first round and Mark Andrews in the third round. Roman explained how he plans to use them in different packages next season.

“Those are two young guys we’re really excited about. We can work in a fullback too but definitely use some 12 personnel,” Roman added. “Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst finished well. You’ll see a lot more of them this year and not just in traditional alignments. I’m excited about expanding with them this year.”

Regardless of what package the Ravens use, it won’t work unless the offensive line is strong. That concept isn’t lost on Roman. He pointed to the offensive line first when he was asked about the necessary personnel to make his offense work.

The past success that Roman had proves his point. The offensive line that was in place when Roman was in San Francisco was known as one of the most physical and nasty units in the league. Baltimore added to their offensive line when they used a 2018 third-round pick on Orlando Brown Jr. who along with Ronnie Stanley and Marshall Yanda make the front unit a good one.

Last year, the offensive line weighed on opposing defenses with a ball-control offense that emphasized Jackson’s electrifying ability as a runner. Baltimore rode their success to an AFC North division title after posting a 6-1 record with Jackson under center.

Now Roman has to highlight Jackson as a passer to compliment the running game. While members of the national media think Jackson is limited as a passer, Roman is confident in his quarterback. He even compared Jackson to a former NFL MVP.

“As far as him throwing the football, we feel great about it. We saw a lot of improvement and he’s only going go get better. The sky is the limit there,” Roman said. “He has a great feel for the game. He has really good field vision. Often times he’ll just see guys open. That takes his ceiling and moves it up. Steve McNair was like that. He had an uncanny ability to see guys that might not have been a part of the progression.”

It all has to come together to effectively for the Ravens. Roman is in the process of installing the scheme step by step. He likened it to putting together furniture from Ikea.

“You have to start off at the most basic parts. It’s like when you put together your kid’s furniture from Ikea. If you make one wrong move you have to take it apart and start over again. It’s a time intensive thing that has to all fit together. It’s a real grind and a lot of fun,” Roman added.