Closer Look At Westside Baltimore Neighborhood Cause For Concern

Good news. Baltimore’s murder rate declined 10 percent in 2018, with 309 killings versus 342 for all off 2017. However, the scope of violence overall continues to plague the city’s neighborhoods and our reputation.

This month will mark one year since USA Today caused a local uproar and brought national scorn upon Baltimore by proclaiming our city the most violent in the country. Unfortunately, the empirical data cited from the FBI’s annual national violent crime index report is irrefutable.

More frightening is that upon closer examination of the research presented to support USA Today’s designation of Baltimore as the “Nation’s Most Dangerous City” reveal grim statistics about a relatively small community located in the Southwest corner of the city, and about Baltimore’s west side in general.

The roughly 2.5 square mile area of Carrollton Ridge located north of Carroll Park, east of Edmonson Village, south of Sandtown-Winchester, and west of the central business district has the apparent dubious distinction of being Baltimore’s most violent neighborhood.

The murder rate in Carrollton Ridge in 2017 was one killing for every 850 residents in a community of roughly 25,500 people, nearly double the city homicide rate. Citywide, Baltimore’s rate of 55.8 per 100,000 equates to one murder for every 1,792 residents. The murder rate in the state of Maryland is eight per 100,000, and in the U.S. six victims for every 100,000.

By comparison, the Sandtown-Winchester community, number two among neighborhoods for killings in Baltimore, had a rate of one murder per 1100 residents, followed by the Park Heights area, with three murders for every 2000 residents. All three communities are on Baltimore’s west side.

The unfortunate trend is that Baltimore’s west side neighborhoods have been historically more violent than other city communities. Among the Baltimore Police Department’s nine districts— Central, Eastern, Northern, Northeastern, Northwestern, Southern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – the three western districts collectively have consistently outpaced the other regions of the city for murders.

The swath of Baltimore City from north to south that includes the Northern, Central and Southern districts,

except for occasional outliers, have typically had much lower murder rates. The eastern and western districts have experienced a macabre competition for murderous behavior, with the west side usually ranking higher.

Consider these statistics from the last five years: 2017 total Baltimore murders, 342. Eastern districts: 116 v Western: 131; 2016 total Baltimore murders, 318. Eastern districts: 108 vs Western: 142; 2015 total Baltimore murders, 342. Eastern districts: 111 vs Western: 161; 2014 total Baltimore murders, 211. Eastern districts: 73 vs Western: 89; 2013 total Baltimore murders, 235. Eastern districts: 81 vs Western: 99.

In the five-year period from 2013 through 2017, the three west side police districts accounted for 43 percent of total murders committed. In every one of those years except 2013, when the Carrollton Ridge neighborhood placed second with one in 1275 of its residents becoming murder victims, that community has been number one among Baltimore neighborhoods for murder, peaking in 2015 with on in 671 of its residents falling victim.

Another important statistic that may not be getting sufficient attention while the emphasis is placed on firearm murders is the proliferation of shootings overall in Baltimore. Most of the shootings were not fatal, but severely maimed victims. The spike in non-fatal gun violence is trending sharply upward.

From 2014 to 2015 non-fatal shootings in Baltimore increased 72 percent from 370 to 637. The number slowed but continued to increase in 2016, climbing to 670 attempted firearm killings, almost two per day. According to Maryland Shock Trauma Physician-In-Chief, Dr. Thomas Scalea, the average cost to treat a gunshot victim— most of whom are uninsured— is $112,000. Extrapolate this amount by 2016’s 944 shootings for a total cost of $105 million.

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

Baltimore Comedian Wins NBC Stand-Up Competition

If you don’t know comedian Mike E. Winfield, he at least wants to make sure that you correctly say his name.

“Mike … pause … E… pause… Winfield,” said the excitable Baltimore native, the winner of the 15th annual StandUp NBC comedy competition.

Winfield beat out 1,600 applicants during the peacock network’s annual search for comedians of a diverse background.

“It was incredible,” Winfield told the Baltimore Times. “I try to feel like a winner on a daily basis but when someone hands you a trophy, it just legitimizes you and I haven’t stopped grinning since that day.”

For his triumph, Winfield received a talent holding deal with NBC Universal and a headlining spot at the National Association for Campus Activities annual convention where he will perform for talent bookers from across the country. Also, Winfield will headline the regional semi-finalist showcases for the 2019 StandUp NBC competition later this year.

“Since its inception, StandUp NBC has forged a path for some of today’s most sought-after comedians,” said Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “Following the program, many of our finalists have appeared in substantial roles on notable TV series and feature films as well as hosted their own stand-up specials on major networks. Their continued success speaks to their undeniable talent as well as the effectiveness of our program to help launch emerging comedic talent.”

A total of 1,600 stand-up comedians auditioned last year through online submissions and open calls in Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and New York.

Winfield and fellow finalists join Michelle Buteau (Isn’t It Romantic?), Deon Cole (Grown-ish), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Hasan Minhaj (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj), Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens), and Dulcé Sloan (The Daily Show) as alumni of StandUp NBC, one of the network’s tent pole talent infusion programs.

A special celebratory event honoring the program’s 15th anniversary and a finale showcase hosted by comedian and StandUp NBC alumnus Orlando Leyba (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) were held in December at The Improv in Hollywood.

The finalists performed their sets in front of an audience of NBCUniversal television executives, casting directors, agents, managers and industry tastemakers.

Winfield credits his success to his Charm City upbringing.

“Baltimore molded who I am,” Winfield said. “I have thick skin and I believe in myself more than anyone else.”

Winfield says he has always allowed everyone else to talk, but he prides himself on being a risk taker.

“I’m attracted to thrills and that’s how I got here,” Winfield said. “My Baltimore surroundings and the energy from hip-hop has been a driving factor— from rags to riches has fueled me to want more than what I was raised with. The sky is the limit.”

Author Recalls Brave ‘Maryland 400’ In New Book

A few years ago, Baltimore author Chris Formant happened upon an announcement in a local newspaper describing a ceremony that was taking place in Brooklyn, New York, to honor the Maryland 400, the Revolutionary War regiment that fought in the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. Now, Formant has written “Saving Washington: The Forgotten Story of the Maryland 400 and the Battle of Brooklyn.”

The 320-page historical tome that weaves in literature and fiction reveals that the soldiers were untested in battle, many only teenagers. However, by the end of the vicious and bloody Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776, the Maryland 400 would turn the tide of the Revolutionary War and ensure the birth of a new nation.

After reading the newspaper clipping, Formant recalled that he went to Brooklyn so that he could find out more about the lives of those soldiers whom historians said were vastly outnumbered and who suffered heavy losses in the first and biggest battle of the war as they tried to hold off the British while Gen. George Washington’s army regrouped.

“I had never heard of them before,” said Formant, who also authored “Bright Midnight,” a book that one reviewer said weaves Formant’s vast knowledge of rock history in with “a page turning thriller” to provide his version of the deaths of legendary rock stars like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

“This book wasn’t something that I planned on doing but I immediately googled the Maryland 400 and there was very little information about them,” Formant said.

After he discovered more details, Formant said the little-known military engagement, and the citizen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, counted as the inspiration for his novel.

“Saving Washington” follows two young merchants-in-training, Joshua Bolton, who swears to avenge his father’s murder by British forces, and his best friend, Benjamin Wright, a free black man. Enlisted in the Maryland militia as part of the Maryland 400, they marched to New York with only minimal training.

“Their mission: to prevent the British from taking Brooklyn Heights, which will turn into a battle for the survival of the Continental Army and General George Washington,” Formant writes.

The book’s publisher notes that the novel seamlessly blends real-life historical figures and events with colorful, richly developed fictional characters and crisp dialogue in a time of unknown loyalties, intrigue, spies, romance and betrayal, friendship and comradeship, survival and sacrifice.

Transported back in time to the docks of Baltimore and the muddy carnage of the battlefield, the publisher says the book counts as an enthralling opportunity to be an eyewitness to the dawn of the United States of America.

“Four hundred citizen soldiers from Maryland— bravely stood up to a superior British Army in order to allow George Washington and the Continental Army time to escape,” Formant said. “It was a true suicide mission, only six weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that saved the young country and its revolution. They were America’s 300 Spartans.”

Angela Wilson’s Tears Of The Soul Production Looks At Memphis Sanitation Strike

On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage collectors, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. Twelve days later, frustrated by the city’s response to the latest event in a long pattern of neglect and abuse of its black employees, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike.

The Memphis sanitation workers’ strike is remembered as an example of African-Americans standing up for themselves. During their strike, sanitation workers marched in the face of racial injustice donning signs which read “I Am A Man.” The strike is also remembered as the prelude to the assassination of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was shot by a sniper who was identified as James Earl Ray, as the civil rights leader stood on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Hotel.

One local playwright has captured how this historic movement played out through the eyes of a Memphis family through her stage play drama “Tears Of The Soul.”

“Tears Of The Soul is historical and educational,” said writer Angela Wilson, who also produced and directed the gripping production. “I love Black History. As a playwright, you come across something you believe makes a good story. When I began researching James Earl Ray, I was struck by the sanitation workers’ sacrifice.”

Sanitation workers, led by collector-turned-union-organizer, T. O. Jones, and supported by the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Jerry Wurf, demanded recognition of their union, better safety standards, and a decent wage.

“They didn’t have anything, but were willing to stand up and say, ‘this isn’t right, and we deserve to be treated better’”, said Wilson. “I was really inspired by them and began to see them as heroes. Everyone knows about Dr. King, but I wanted to share the story of the AFSCME union workers.”

(Left-right): Evelyn C. Liggins, Memphis sanitation worker Cleophus Smith, and Playwright Angela Wilson

Courtesy Photo

(Left-right): Evelyn C. Liggins, Memphis sanitation worker Cleophus Smith, and Playwright Angela Wilson

The story is centered around the Barnes Family, and how the strike and impending death of Dr. King impacted their household. “Fred Barnes” (Pierre Walters) and his wife “Vivian Barnes” (Joelle Denise) endured their share of pain, which included marital challenges, militancy in their children, and the shocking news of King’s assassination. The family also included “Ida Mae” (Regina Gail Malloy), “Dexter” (Devin King), and “Gina” (Leah Mallory).

Despite the many challenges they encountered, the close-knit family weathered the storm, and grew closer together. Through “Eileen Bridgewater” (Sharon Goldner), the play also highlighted the sacrifices made by Caucasians who supported the movement.

The cast also included Robert Freemon, who portrayed Memphis sanitation worker“ Turner Davis” and Michael Roxie Johnson who played his wife “Maxine Davis.”

“Most of the cast were not even born, and had very little knowledge of this story,” said Wilson. They did research on their own and really delved into some ugly stuff. You could see that they understood what they had learned, and it came through in their performance.”

“Tears of the Soul” was performed in April and October of 2018 at the Chesapeake Arts Center located on Hammonds Ferry Road in Brooklyn, Park, Maryland. Plans are in the works for a return engagement of the production.

Pierre Walters (Fred Barnes) and Robert Freemon (Turner Davis) portrayed Memphis sanitation workers in the production.

Pierre Walters (Fred Barnes) and Robert Freemon (Turner Davis) portrayed Memphis sanitation workers in the production.

Cleophus Smith, who was among the Memphis union workers, attended the October performance.

“He is very humble and a wealth of information,” said Wilson. “He was able to really help me to understand what it was like for them, which was something you could not read in a book.

“There are 28 remaining workers, and they travel a lot. I felt blessed and honored that he thought this was important enough to come and share this experience with us.”

Wilson is the founder of the AngelWing Project, Inc (AWP), a 501(c) 3 non-profit performing arts organization that promotes the development of the performing arts in the local community.

“Where are we today 50 years later?” asked Wilson. “There are a lot of parallels. The message of this play can help us to deal with some of the things we are dealing with today, especially when it comes to listening to one another.”

Decades later, in 2017, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced a group of 14 city sanitation workers from 1968 would be getting $50,000 grants from the city, totaling $700,000.

“They did get an increase in wages, but it still took a long time,” said Wilson. “In 2017, the remaining workers were awarded back pay. It was 50 years later, but the remaining ones received a nice contribution from the city.”

AWP’s next production is RISING UP: A Dramatic Presentation of Notable African American Firsts. The admission price is $10, and will take place on February 24, 2019 at the Chesapeake Performing Arts Center.

For more information about AWP, visit www.theangelwingproject.org.

Why “Likes” Will Ruin Us All: The Generation of Problematic Validation

— We all love a good scroll through social media to pass the time and satisfy our idle minds, but the question is, at what cost? We live in the generation of instant gratification and double-tap validation. All you have to do is swipe up to RSVP for the weekend move, or tap to vote on whether or not your friend should buy the denim jacket she’s been eying in her favorite store. But is there a downside to people having access to your every move?

Yes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to social media. It’s an amazing vehicle to start a business, meet people, collaborate with companies, and honestly the perfect form of escapism from the un-glamorous aspects of everyday life. But when does it negatively affect how our generation perceives relationships, self-actualization, and our individual goals and aspirations?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I often find myself in a weird headspace after finally escaping the blackhole of the explore page on Instagram. It’s kind of like, “Well… now what.” And I suddenly feel like I’m running out of time or I’m not successful enough. We are constantly inundated with images, videos, tutorials, and just overall unimportant content, that it’s unbelievably easy to get lost in the digital sauce. Because of the overwhelming amount of information we consume, it undoubtedly affects mental health as well.

After I had my weekly internal conversation about not comparing myself to people and to remind myself that at the end of the day that the internet is a separate entity from reality, I came across a very interesting video.

What was the video you ask? Well, it was the late Purple Rain Legend, Prince, talking about the hazards of the internet. He was giving a speech at an award show, mind you this was about 20 years ago, surrounding the fact that we as people and consumers need to stay woke.

YouTube

Prince giving advice about the internet

He talks about how there would be a time where all we care about is the internet as well as the detrimental digitization of our lives. He references The Matrix and how it’s ultimately what the world is today, a simulation of endless patterns of mindlessness. Basically saying that technology will eventually start running our lives.

Can you say shook? It was so weird because it was almost like me watching that video was a message, to stay focused and to always keep in mind what’s real and what’s an illusion.

Ironically, the next morning and I wake up to a global frenzy about Instagram and how a “glitch” caused users to lose millions of followers worldwide. The crazy part is, that’s literally what Prince was talking about in his speech. Everyone was upset over virtual engagements while ignoring the issues going on in real life that actually matter.

To an extent, yes followers and engagement matter for people who run businesses, creatives, initiatives, and any other user who cares about their content. But followers do not equate to potential. It’s so easy to allow followers and likes to be a metric for success. However, don’t forget to place your focus on doing the work in real life too. The internet is great, but the world is also your oyster, so be mindful of where you place your emphasis.

Welp, this is your cue to go rewatch The Matrix and draw all types of crazy parallels to life today. I will leave you with this, if social media disappears tomorrow, will you still be able to sustain yourself and mental health? Food for thought. Thanks for coming to my TedTalk folks. K baiiii!

(Art by me. Follow me on IG @LexiShow for updates and creative projects)

Originally posted on Lexi’s Blog at thelexishow.com! Visit for more commentary, art, fashion, & more!

Eugenics, Euthanasia, Infanticide And The Lord’s Work

New York’s Catholic Democratic Governor had the World Trade Center in lights to celebrate its abortion-on-demand-until-the-day-of-birth law. This law was framed as empowering women through guaranteeing “Reproductive Health.” Women in New York must be really powerful since New York’s abortion rate is twice the national average. This and eight other similar state laws were largely ignored as merely codifying Roe v Wade. But the state of Virginia’s Democratic pediatrician governor’s ghoulish advocacy for abortion until delivery of the infant was jaw-dropping as he explained that killing the infant after birth was allowed.

How can we tolerate this moral regression? Infanticide was the norm throughout ancient Athens and Sparta where the elders inspected the newborns to ensure that only the strong survived, and the weak were left to die. Early Roman law decreed that deformed children would be put to death. Fortunately, by the 4th century, European law, religion, and medicine rejected the intentional killing of an infant.

Americans have been sucked in before by pretty words that mask the brutal reality of “evolved” policies. There was a time when America’s best and brightest were teaching Dr. Josef Mengele a thing or two about eugenics, the “science” of improving the human gene pool for the preservation of society.

At the First International Eugenics Congress in 1912, a Carnegie Institute-supported paper, Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population (“Breeder’s Report”), analyzed the problem of the “unfit” and the need to find solution to “cut[ting] off the supply of defectives.”

Even black intellectuals jumped on board. The Harvard-educated professor and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois believed only fit blacks should procreate to “eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.” The NAACP promoted eugenics theory by hosting “Better Baby” contests.

The Model Eugenical Sterilization Law (1914) was the blueprint for the sterilization of the “socially inadequate” including the feebleminded, insane, criminalistic, epileptic, inebriate, diseased, blind, deaf, deformed, dependent, orphans, ne’er-do-wells, tramps, the homeless, and paupers. By the 1920s, thirty-three states had compulsory sterilization laws.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, advocated for mandatory IQ testing for the lower classes and the issuance of government-approved parenthood permits as a prerequisite to having children. Sanger criticized philanthropy as tending to perpetuate “human waste.” She also proposed that, “the whole dysgenic population would have its choice of segregation or sterilization.”

Compulsory sterilization of the “feebleminded” was etched in stone by the revered liberal Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Buck v. Bell (which has never been overruled) concluded that, “the principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”

With Congress steamrolling exclusively government-controlled medical care with Medicare-for-All, we must reflect on our past as well as the present policies of our civilized neighbors. What happens when the government runs out of money to pay for everything our politicians promised?

The Model Sterilization law’s selling point was that sterilization of those maintained wholly or in part by public expense was cost-effective: segregation for life cost $25,000 and sterilization a mere $150.

In Belgium, a nine and an eleven-year-old were euthanized for conditions that we in the United States vigorously treat: cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Canada is considering allowing such barbarism— aka medical assistance in dying— to be perpetrated upon its children.

Iceland has virtually eliminated Down’s syndrome through abortion.

Coincidentally the Ministry of Health lists Down’s syndrome as the most expensive disease for the state-funded health care program.

The British National Health Service’s Institute for Health and Care Excellence supports the use of “quality-adjusted life years” (QALY) to measure the quality and quantity of life added due to a particular medical treatment. If the cost per QALY gained exceeds a predetermined amount, the government denies payment for that treatment. ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel’s “Complete Lives System” prioritizes adolescents and

persons with “instrumental value,” i.e., individuals with “future usefulness.” With current nursing home costs averaging $7,500 per month, hospice care could be the default medically necessary treatment for the disabled.

It was not too long ago that the top Democrat official, Nancy Pelosi said “[Republicans] pray in church on Sunday and they prey on people the rest of the week. And while we’re doing the Lord’s work, ministering to the needs of God’s creation, they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them.” I don’t know whose “lord” she is talking about— perhaps the overlords who aim to take over mankind in sci-fi stories or the “Lord of the Flies.”

The day erecting a barrier to stop drug and human trafficking is considered immoral and killing viable live babies is celebrated is the day some Americans tossed morality into the abyss.

Dr. Marilyn M. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers.

Robert Wooden III & Levite Praise Debuts At Concord Baptist Church

This past Saturday, February 2, 2019, I had the chance to see Robert Wooden III & Levite Praise (RWLP) perform at their very first concert at Concord Baptist Church in Baltimore City. I’d like to get right into my experience— it was a roller coaster that kept going up and up and the only dip was that the show had to end!

Over the past year, I’ve heard and seen snippets of RWLP on social media, and in person coincidentally at Morgan State University during one of their many

rehearsals. When I was found out the group would be putting on a show for the public, I was immediately interested and wanted to know where and when the show would be taking place.

Fast forward a few months and it was finally showtime. When I walked into the church, the excitement in the room was an undeniable. Everyone was completely attentive and on the edges of their seats— literally.

There were a few opening acts before RWLP hit the pulpit. Three voices that stood out the most to me from the opening acts were Jamielle Gilman, Jamaal Whittington and Terrance Smith. All three were exactly what you want in a gospel singer— a voice that can fill up the room, passion for the Lord and an understanding of not just praise, but the word of the bible.

We’ve all been to shows where we dreaded listening to everyone before the headliner, counting the minutes until the person you came to see and hear is on stage. However, let me say that there wasn’t a moment when a performer on that stage didn’t own their moment. I have to give immense credit to the producer and promoter of the event who happens to be Robert Wooden III himself.

When asked how is he able at 20-years-old to gain the respect of his peers and maintain his leadership role in the group, he responded, “You can’t receive respect if you don’t give it. I showed my peers the same respect I expected. I’m so blessed to have such great people around me. Once they saw my dedication and how serious I was about this show, they were all in with me.”

There was a true continuity and chemistry within RWLP. The smiles on everyone’s faces on stage made me feel their energy as an audience member. I too felt the urge to be joyful, and I surely was. With the band adding just that extra level of emotion to every syllable being sung and every melody expressed, I was overwhelmed by the amount of emotion in the room, I stood during their entire set. Even my close friend Muammar Muhammad was on his feet with me during the final hour of the show.

What really took the audience over the edge of a praise break was RWLP’s song titled: “The Best Day.” Robert’s voice assertively but beautifully glided through every inch of this piece. When the intensity of this piece reached it’s peak, Robert began to jump up and down, his energy was contagious, and had me and many others jumping along as well.

At the end of this show, I was completely amazed by the whole two and a half hours of high-powered praise that I had just been apart of.

When asked about some of the difficulties of putting a show together like this and what would his advice be for a first time show developer looking to put on their own event, Wooden said, “My advice would be always have God in your mind when making plans. Make sure you communicate clearly with everyone, such as your show manager, your musicians, and your sound engineer.”

Lookout for RWLP’s debut EP scheduled to be released on March 22, 2019.

The group currently ministers at New Solid Rock Fellowship Church, located at 4003 Northern Parkway on the second Sunday of every month. Everyone is very welcome to come out and worship with us.

Be sure to follow Robert Wooden & Levite Praise on Instagram @levitepraise_

Ravens Safety Ed Reed Is Hall Of Famer On And Off The Field

The Baltimore Ravens have always been known for defensive excellence. Linebacker Ray Lewis has had his share of running mates on defense during his Hall of Fame career. Safety Ed Reed is the first fellow defensive player to join Lewis in Canton, Ohio.

Like Lewis, Reed was a game changer for Baltimore’s defense. The two players infused a high degree of swagger into the Ravens. It’s something they cultivated while playing football for the University of Miami and led to a Super Bowl Championship in 2013.

Reed is perhaps the best ball-hawking safety of all time. His 64 interceptions (6th All Time) in 174 games are proof. Reed also has 139 pass breakups on his resume. Few players were as dangerous as Reed once they got their hands on a turnover. Reed’s 1,590 interception return yards are the most ever by a defender.

The legacy that Reed has includes nine Pro Bowl selections, five First- team All Pro nominations and being named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He was also named the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

There is no questioning Reed’s greatness on the football field. However, his Hall of Fame personality and contributions off of the field are equally as great.

Reed’s compassion for others came to the surface when he spoke with Fox Sports’ Joe Buck at an event during the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII earlier this month.

“We have volunteer firefighters here cleaning up after grown men. Lockers are two feet from the garbage can. You come in and cut the tape off your feet, your ankles, your wrist and instead of throwing it in the garbage you throw it on the floor,” Reed said.

“I’m like, ‘Listen guys it’s the little things man!’ Pick up your towel as you’re walking out. The dirty clothes bin is right there as you walk out. Why leave the towel in there for someone else to pick up?! Super Bowl year, we don’t win it if we don’t do the little things.”

Reed went on to say how he’d pick up the towels and the trash because he didn’t want the volunteer firemen tasked with cleaning up the locker room to see how messy his teammates were.

Passion for helping others was manifested when Reed created The Ed Reed Foundation. The mission statement is to “provide character-building opportunities by inspiring at-risk youth with athletic initiatives founded in mentorship, leadership, and exposure to new environments.”

As a child growing up in a family of five, Reed took to sports as a way to show how special he was. He was a standout in football, track and field, basketball, and baseball.

Reed’ s Foundation focuses on children who simply need an opportunity to see how special they can be.

“If we surround ourselves with the right people, in the right environment, our opportunity for success increases greatly,” Reed says on his foundation’s website.

Reed’s foundation is involved with communities in Baltimore and the New Orleans area, where Reed is from. His latest project is building a multipurpose turf field and basketball courts near the Preston Hollow and Turtle Creek Neighborhoods in Louisiana where he grew up. The park will also have an open area for cookouts, a playground for children and a new road into the park.

For more information about The Ed Reed foundation, visit the website: www.edreedfoundation.org

Ed Reed, the football player will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August but there is much more to him than the dynamic defender most people know him as.

Cold Weather Tips For Pet Owners

— Pets are in danger from being out in the cold just as much as humans are. Here are some tips from the Baltimore Humane Society for pet owners to keep their pets safe from the dangerous weather.

1. Bring your pets in! If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet to stay outside for long periods of time. If you have outdoor cats or care for feral cats, check out this site on how to make a kitty enclosure: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/How_To_Feral_Cat_Winter_Shelter

2. Coats! Yes, well fitting coats ARE helpful to many dog breeds. Short haired dogs, very small dogs (teacup breeds), older dogs, and breeds that have a naturally lean body (whippets, greyhounds…) can benefit from coats and should wear a jacket! They will keep dogs warm and dry just like they do for us. Breeds that do not have an undercoat (dogs with undercoats are breeds like shepherds, huskies, malamutes, retrievers) can get cold quickly.

3. Keep off of road salt. Not only is it toxic if your pet ingests it, it can be very irritating and even painful to their paw pads.

4. Wipe your pet’s paws off with a lukewarm washcloth to remove any melting salt so they do not ingest it when they groom themselves. Our pets’ paws are very sensitive to the salt that is typically put down when there is snow. The salt can also make them sick if accidentally ingested while they are grooming their paws. You can also try dog boots/booties to protect their paws when there is snow on the ground. Simpler, is to just wipe their paws off after each walk with a wash cloth. Instead of regular sidewalk salt for your home, use a product like “Safe Paws.” It works just as well and is safe if dogs step on it!

5. Consider applying a barrier to your pet’s paws like petroleum jelly to protect their paws while out on a walk.

It helps protect them from the salt as well as snow and ice build-up. Ice ball formed in the paw pads can often be prevented this way.

6. Keep your pet’s coat appropriately groomed. A healthy coat will work most efficiently in keeping warmth on the body and cold away.

7. Anti-freeze is extremely poisonous and also tempting to pets due to its sweet taste. Dogs and cats are actually attracted to it because it has a sweet taste. If you have it in your garage make sure it is kept up high in a leak proof container. Clean up any that might drip from equipment that uses it. If you believe your pet ingested anti-freeze, get them to a veterinarian immediately!

8. Pets exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time can experience hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include low body temperature, low heart rate, low respiration (breathing), violent shivering, and their gums may turn pale or blue. If you believe your pet is experiencing hypothermia, warm them slowly to avoid shock, and get them to a full service vet immediately.

9. Secure and brace outdoor gates and fences that could break from strong winds and snow.

10. Less time outside may mean a bored pet. Increase your animal’s indoor enrichment! Frozen kongs, food puzzles, and training games all provide mental exercise to tire out a pet who can’t get outdoors.

11. Cuddle up! Cold weather is the perfect time to spend snuggling and playing with your pet.

Here are two more tips for pets that are not your own:

1. When getting ready to start your car, tap on the hood first. Why? Outdoor cats and other wild animals like to hide under car hoods overnight because it is warm! Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

2. Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold. Here is advice from the Humane Society of the United States on how to handle the situation when you see a pet left in the cold. First politely let the owner know you’re concerned. If they don’t respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when and respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.

The Baltimore Humane Society (BHS), founded in 1927 by Mrs. Elsie Seeger Barton, is an independent, non-profit, no-kill animal shelter, which offers low-cost veterinary care to the public, and a pet cemetery with grief support services. The BHS receives no operational funding from the local or federal governments, or any national animal welfare organizations. For more information about BHS, and how you can contribute, volunteer, adopt or foster, visit: www.bmorehumane.org or call 410-833-8848.

Connecting Diabetes Patients With Help

Every year an estimated 28,000 people in Maryland are diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The price of diabetes costs an estimated $7 billion in Maryland each year.

While diabetes is on the rise all over the country, it doesn’t impact every person the same. This silent killer disproportionately affects people of color. African Americans are 50 percent more likely to have diabetes than whites and three times more likely to have diabetes-related amputations.

It is critical that people manage their diabetes very carefully. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, amputations, stroke, end-stage kidney disease, and death.

People with diabetes have medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes, according to the ADA. The scariest part— the medical expenses related to diabetes management often make people choose between their health and their financial security.

When bills become too costly to manage, patients sometimes will try to ration their insulin to stretch it out longer. This leads to a variety of dangers, such as blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure and even death. Studies have shown the best way to manage and live with diabetes is with strict medication adherence plans.

In recent years, we’ve learned firsthand the impact health issues have on our constituents and our state and city budgets. We are committed to identifying more solutions to help our most vulnerable citizens.

Last Fall, Eli Lilly & Company launched a multifaceted approach to help connect diabetes patients with the medication they so desperately need. The Lilly Diabetes Solution Center offers insulin affordability assistance for patients who need help paying for insulin. If you are in the deductible phase of a high deductible insurance plan, have a lower income, or are uninsured, the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center helpline can offer a range of solutions including point-of-sale savings, counsel on accessing insulin through free clinics, and support for immediate needs. For more information on the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center, please call 833-808-1234 or visit: insulinaffordability.com/solutions.

We applaud Eli Lilly for taking action to support those who need assistance managing their diabetes and look forward to seeing other innovative solutions emerge as we continue to tackle the cost of healthcare in Maryland.