Scooters Are A Huge Problem For Cities. No One Knows How To Solve It Yet.

— Stewart Goodwin tried to put a stop to the constant flow of scooters into the plaza he oversees. He spoke to the government and scooter companies, but to no avail.

“We still find scooters in our fountains,” Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials in Indianapolis, told CNN Business. “We find them in the canal. We find them strewn all over the sidewalks.”

In the Wild West of transportation, no one knows what to do about scooters. They appeared suddenly in many cities, triggering complaints of clutter and blocked sidewalks. When ridden, scooters emerged as sidewalk bullies — fast enough to unsettle pedestrians and create safety issues. But force scooters into the streets and they are slow and vulnerable amid two-ton vehicles, not to mention potholes that can swallow small tires.

Now, governments, communities and businesses — even the scooter companies themselves — are playing catchup on finding the right rules for scooters, and how to enforce them. Debates have emerged over when and where scooters should be ridden, and if the form of scooters needs to evolve, with bigger wheels, brighter lights or even a seat.

“It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Noelle LeVeaux, executive director of Uptown Dallas, a business improvement organization that manages the neighborhood’s public spaces. “We don’t have a lot of good data. So much is anecdotal, that’s the biggest issue.”

None of this is what was supposed to happen.

The inconsistent rules of the road

As urban populations swell, cities and startups have been searching for fresh transportation solutions. Scooters are an obvious mode for experimentation: They offer an affordable and quick way to make short trips in congested cities, much like bicycles, but without anyone breaking a sweat.

LeVeaux’s group initially welcomed scooter riding on its sidewalks. They seemed like a safe place for new riders to use the scooters, LeVeaux said. But Uptown Dallas soon saw the pedestrian safety issues of sidewalk riding and flipped its position. Now it’s reconsidering if scooters, which can reach speeds as fast as 15 mph, should be ridden at night. Atlanta banned nighttime riding this summer following a string of scooter deaths.

Other cities have totally banned scooters, with lingering memories of how Uber stormed onto their streets and created long-lasting challenges for local governments.

Scooter rules vary widely by city, and even by company. You may be able to ride to the art museum or football stadium in one city but not another. In Denver, you can park a Lyft scooter at the pro hockey or baseball stadiums, but not pro football. To park at pro football, you’ll need to be on a Bird or Lime scooter.

The restrictions are made by the companies, with input from governments and communities. Companies are quick to restrict sensitive or crowded areas, such as federal government buildings and large event spaces. Cities vary in their requests. Bolt, a scooter company, said Portland, Oregon, gave it a list of 400 areas to restrict.

Some businesses nationwide that were contacted by CNN Business, including an art museum in Baltimore and a hospice in Raleigh, North Carolina, said they weren’t even aware scooters had been blocked near them.

Scooter companies enforce riding restrictions via GPS. If you go outside the bounds, your scooter may slow down and not allow you to end your ride. These restrictions impact businesses, sports stadiums, museums, even transit stops.

Scooter companies sell themselves as an equitable form of transportation that connects residents to traditional public transit by addressing the “last-mile problem.” Public transportation generally doesn’t take people to their final destination, so the last leg of a trip can be slow or expensive. The companies view scooters as ideal for this final stretch.

But that’s not always how things have played out.

Where the streets have no scooters

Earlier this year, Scoot, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of Bird, restricted parking in Chinatown and the Tenderloin, a neighborhood with a significant homeless population. It said the decision resulted from narrow sidewalks, and concerns raised by the local community groups.

Groups were divided over a ban. Fernando Pujals, spokesperson for the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, said he reached out to Scoot about crowded sidewalk concerns, but didn’t want a ban.

“People should be given just as much access as somebody in an affluent neighborhood,” he said. “Our recommendation was how to bring scooters into the neighborhood in a thoughtful way that would encourage ridership.”

Charlotte, North Carolina’s government has tried to juggle promoting scooters as a complement to transit, while making sure scooters don’t end up clogging stations full of pedestrians — or falling on tracks. It’s had scooter companies use GPS to block off the stations. Some have gone further, including blocking nearby streets. Bird has even restricted parking around the city’s downtown transportation center, which takes up an entire block and is adjacent to a light rail stop. Bird declined to explain the policy.

Just because there are restrictions, doesn’t mean they’re actually enforced. Bird’s app warns riders when they’re in a no parking zone, and urges them to move out of it. But a rider can override the suggestion and still end the trip.

Another limitation is GPS accuracy, which tall buildings can distort. Plus, if a scooter is moving at 15mph into a no-ride zone, the scooter may not realize and slow down until a rider is deep into a restricted area.

Some organizations who have requested restrictions described the GPS technique as ineffective.

Do scooters need to be regulated?

One question in managing scooters is whether to treat them like bicycles or regulate them more strictly. Increasingly, distinctions are being drawn in response to more complaints and concerns about scooters than bicycles.

Denver’s 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian zone, welcomes bicycles on weekends, but not scooters.

The Wharf, a waterfront development in Washington, DC, opened in 2017 with public spaces designed especially to welcome bicycles and pedestrians. Several roads are built without curbs, so that all forms of transportation mix on level ground, a European tactic proven to slow down cars.

But then the scooters came.

Monty Hoffman, CEO of Hoffman & Associates, which co-developed the Wharf, likes scooters enough to place two in his company’s office for employees to ride to meetings. Scooters add to the city’s “urban theater,” Hoffman said. But that theater has turned too dramatic, and he’s asked for speed restrictions of 6 mph, and no-parking zones a the Wharf’s piers.

“We embrace [scooters] and we want more, but we want it done the right way,” Hoffman said.

In classic scooter regulation form, company responses vary widely. Some have taken no action. Others have placed no-parking and no-riding bans over the entire Wharf, and nearby streets.

All of these scooter problems are playing out at the same time investor interest has cooled as companies burn through millions. On top of regulatory woes, scooters aren’t lasting long enough to make good business sense.

Either companies find fixes that win over investors and the public, or history may remember shared scooters as a fad.

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Diverse Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra Ready To Wow Locals

On Sunday, September 8, 2019, the Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra is scheduled to perform at Paulie Gee’s Hampden at Chestnut Avenue in Baltimore.

The 12-piece big band specializes in early jazz and dance tunes from 1920 to 1935 and features a Morgan State University grad student, the music chair at a Baltimore County middle school, and a retired Viet Nam Veteran. Overall, the band prides itself on diversity.

The band’s founder and conductor, Lynn Summerall says a shared bond between the group is their love of performing songs written before the better known 1940s swing era.

“I am proud that our early jazz repertoire includes songs composed by 15 or so great well-known African-American composers,” Summerall said.

A few of these include Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, James P. Johnson, a very young Duke Ellington, Kid Ory, W. C. Handy and, Cab Calloway.

“Many of our songs come from popular Broadway shows or early talking pictures of the day,” said Summerall, a former NPR jazz and classical announcer who spent much of his career in theater management at Center Stage, Radio City Music Hall, and other renowned venues.

“The style and look of the Hotel Paradise Orchestra is unique to Baltimore big bands, and authentic to the period, thanks to the inclusion of a tuba (vs. string bass), banjo (vs. guitar), and a violin section. Our music is bright, sweet, jazzy, fun, old-fashioned, and danceable,” Summerall said. “These excellent jazz and classical musicians look sharp in our white or black tuxedos. We’ve got our act together.”

Violinist Rodney Allen and band Conductor Lynn Summerall.

Dennis Lynch

Violinist Rodney Allen and band Conductor Lynn Summerall.

Violinist and retired Baltimore City Schools teacher Rodney Allen says it has been a treat to be a part of the band.

“Having this type of band brings back the old style of music which is missed in today’s society,” Allen said. “Also, having diversity in the band brings a more current picture of today’s society than back in 1910. We are all very talented musicians and have a love for making music. Playing the concerts gives us a strong family bond.”

Saxophonist Chris Warren says being in the band allows for the continued sharing of music for past, present, and future generations.

“The responses from the audiences has been warm and great,” Warren said.

While he has never considered the racial makeup of the band, Warren says he has always been more interested in the generational and gender diversity.

“The diversity of the ages within the group allows for us to share musical experiences with each other and great history lessons about the style, music, and composers of the particular era,” Warren said. “The gender diversity also shows that, just because we are playing music from the 1920s and 1930s, it doesn’t mean we are adopting every aspect of that decade or the decades before. Whether you enjoy listening, dancing, or playing, this style of music has brought us all together.”

The big band business has never been easy and only gets harder, according to Summerall.

“Of course, audiences tend to be older, but not ancient. A 20-something jitterbug who danced to Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller in 1940 would be about 100 years old today,” Summerall said. “If they danced to young Louis Armstrong (in the 1920s) they’d be around 120 years old. Thanks to a revival in swing dancing, many retro bands of all sizes attract fans in their 20s and 30s.”

“I choose to form a small version of a big band, the kind very popular from 1920 to 1935, before Goodman and Miller. I use 12 musicians including a violin which is unusual in this day and age,” he said. “A huge pleasure this has given me is introducing this great music to audiences and musicians who knew little or nothing about it, beyond what they might hear in old movies or on records.”

For more information about the band, visit the Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra page on Facebook. To contact Paulie Gee’s Hampden, call 410-889-1048.

American Idol Star Visits Diabetes Camp At Johns Hopkins University

At six-years-old, Crystal Bowersox was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune disorder that researchers say affects more than 1.2 million Americans.

The former American Idol finalist says the potentially life-threatening illness, where the pancreas stops producing insulin, turned her young life upside down.

“Well, I was in second grade, my teachers had taken away my recess breaks from me because I was taking too many bathroom breaks and water fountain breaks. And they thought that I was just trying to cut class,” said Bowersox, now a successful musician who appeared on Season 9 of American Idol.

Doctors eventually discovered that Bowersox’ glucose levels were so low that she had to be hospitalized while being taught how to manage her diabetes diagnoses.

Commonly known as juvenile on-set diabetes, Type 1 occurs at every age and in people of every race, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

There are more adults who have Type 1 diabetes than children. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and the body breaks down the carbohydrates people eat into blood glucose (also called blood sugar), which it uses for energy.

Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives, according to the ADA.

“It was scary when I was diagnosed. I remember hiding under the hospital bed because I didn’t want to take the shots,” Bowersox said. “I didn’t understand at six-years-old what was happening inside of my body. I remember what it was like being a kid in a rural community and I was the only kid, as far as I knew, who had Type 1 diabetes and it felt very lonely.”

At one point during her run on American Idol, Bowersox kept quiet about the affects the hectic schedule was having on her and she didn’t properly manage her blood glucose levels. That led to her being hospitalized and producers decided to take her off of the show.

“I was really sick,” Bowersox said.

She convinced the producers to let her remain in the competition and she made it all the way to the finals, eventually landing a recording contract.

Now, when she isn’t performing, Bowersox embarks on a different kind of tour. She visits ADA sponsored diabetes camps as a Lilly Diabetes Ambassador where she shares her story and helps to inspire camp goers to have fun and reach their dreams while managing diabetes.

American Idol Season 9 finalist Crystal Bowersox visited “Camp Charm City,” at the Johns Hopkins University Athletic Center in Baltimore where, among other things, she participated in a “Camp Idol” talent show to showcase the various musical talents of the campers. Bowersox was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was six-years-old.

Ross Lewin

American Idol Season 9 finalist Crystal Bowersox visited “Camp Charm City,” at the Johns Hopkins University Athletic Center in Baltimore where, among other things, she participated in a “Camp Idol” talent show to showcase the various musical talents of the campers. Bowersox was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was six-years-old.

Earlier this month, she visited “Camp Charm City,” at the Johns Hopkins University Athletic Center in Baltimore where, among other things, she participated in a “Camp Idol” talent show to showcase the various musical talents of the campers.

“It’s important for kids with diabetes of any age to build connections with each other,” Bowersox said. “All of us with Type 1 diabetes just want to be able to breathe and be normal and I want the kids to understand that they can accomplish their goals and they shouldn’t be limited by anything.”

One message Bowersox says she continues to provide to camps is that, regardless of how well she watched her diet and exercises, she will always need to use her insulin and test her glucose.

“So my mission is just to raise awareness and to be inspired by and help inspire the camp,” Bowersox said.

As for the “Camp Idol” competition, she said, “they all get the Golden Ticket. They all go to Hollywood.”

Beware Of New IRS Impersonation Email Scam

Taxpayers reminded the IRS does not send unsolicited emails

The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners are warning taxpayers and tax professionals about a new IRS impersonation scam campaign spreading nationally on email. Remember: the IRS does not send unsolicited emails and never emails taxpayers about the status of refunds.

The IRS this week detected this new scam as taxpayers began notifying about unsolicited emails from IRS imposters. The email subject line may vary, but recent examples use the phrase “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder.”

The emails have links that show an website with details pretending to be about the taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account. The emails contain a “temporary password” or “one-time password” to

“access” the files to submit the refund. However, when taxpayers try to access these, it turns out to be a malicious file.

“The IRS does not send emails about your tax refund or sensitive financial

information,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves. We urge you to be on-guard at all times.”

This new scam uses dozens of compromised websites and web addresses that pose as, making it a challenge to shut down. By infecting computers with malware, these imposters may gain control of the taxpayer’s computer or secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, eventually giving them passwords to sensitive accounts, such as financial accounts.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, which work together in the

Security Summit effort, have made progress in their efforts to fight stolen identity refund fraud. But people remain vulnerable to scams by IRS imposters sending fake emails or harrassing phone calls.

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or

social media channels to request personal or financial information. This

includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

The IRS also doesn’t call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

A Fool’s Folly

The hundreds of thousands of distressed desperate women with babies, children and men from Central America, South America and Africa who journey thousands of miles from their countries, risking their lives and leaving those that they love behind to enter the United States for a new life, will not be stopped by a Southern border wall.

That belief is simply folly, or at worse, political rhetoric designed to win over emotional voters that can be easily manipulated during the election season by an administration whose life expectancy, many predict, will conclude in 2020.

Serious thinkers understand that a comprehensive federal immigration strategy and a working relationship with the leaders of nations such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, are critical to stem the tide of the massive numbers of migrants that are moving north.

Perhaps the president and those who help him to shape his immigration policy might consult with people such as the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who recently suggested that migrants would remain in the country that he leads if there were sufficient employment and a safe environment.

President Bukele recently urged Washington to become his country’s partner in creative a massive jobs programs in El Salvador.

He said that he believes his government, with assistance from President Trump, could create nearly 400,000 jobs that do not exist today. Those jobs, President Bukele said, would discouraged Salvadorans from seeking a life in the United States, he added, saying “… if people have an opportunity for a decent job, a decent education, a decent health care system and security, I know that forceful migration will be reduced to zero.”

No one wants to leave their home. If the average person were to examine their own lives and found that they were jobless and fearful, they would search for a place where they could earn an income and raise their families in peace.

Isn’t that what the first settlers in this country did when they fled what they characterized was tyranny in England?

So, history teaches us that those who stand at our Southern Border eager to enter and those who are walking towards it are not much different from those who settled what is now the United States of America, which we have declared as the ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’

Congresswoman Johnson represents the 30th congressional district of Texas in the US House of Representatives.

Get Ready To ‘Fall’ With Greenleaf Another Season

Welcome to megachurch Calvary Fellowship World Ministries formerly headed by “Bishop James Greenleaf” (Keith David), and his wife “Lady Mae Greenleaf” (Lynn Whitfield).

“Lady Mae Greenleaf” (Lynn Whitfield) and “Bishop James Greenleaf” (Keith David).

Photo Courtesy of OWN

“Lady Mae Greenleaf” (Lynn Whitfield) and “Bishop James Greenleaf” (Keith David).

After losing their church to “Bob Whitmore” (Beau Bridges) and Harmony & Hope Ministries, the Greenleafs attempt to maintain a united front. An uneasy alliance is also formed within the family to reclaim the church, but secrets past and present create what could be fatal fractures in the family’s fragile foundation.

Meanwhile, “The Bishop” continues working to mend his rift with his wife “Lady Mae,” while day by day Harmony & Hope’s grip on Calvary tightens.

To see how this riveting story plays out, you’ll have to tune to Season Four of the hit megachurch drama series Greenleaf on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Ursula V. Battle

Whitfield talked about her character “Lady Mae Greenleaf.”

“Lady Mae is a woman rediscovering her purpose,” said Whitfield, who is an alumnus of Washington D.C.’s prestigious Black Repertory Company. “She has put all of her energies into raising her family, and beatifying the church, and not much energy into what God has purposed in her life.”

Greenleaf will premiere on its new night Tuesday, September 3 at 10 p.m. Last season, the megachurch blockbuster was Wednesday night’s #1 original cable series for African American women and total viewers and has averaged over two million viewers in each of its three seasons.

Oprah Winfrey, who appears in the show in a recurring role as “Mavis McCready” is among the show’s executive producers. Greenleaf is produced for OWN by Lionsgate in association with Harpo Films and Pine City.

“Lady Mae is glamorous,” said Whitfield, whose many film credits include The Josephine Baker Story. “She is a Lady McBeth. She is a grand lady, but also a hard worker. As we open Season Four, she is displaced. She finds herself dealing with all kinds of changes in her life which makes her less powerful in earthly terms. We see her turning to God more, and she wants her old life back. However, she also wants to move forward in her own passion to teach and to preach. She is a lady rediscovering what God intended for her life.”

Greenleaf takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful. Born of the church, the Greenleaf family love and care for each other, but beneath the surface lies a den of iniquity—greed, adultery, sibling rivalry and conflicting values that threatens to tear apart the very core of their faith that holds them together.

“In Season Four, this family is fighting to strategize to save Calvary,” said Whitfield. “This is also a family realizing a certain kind of humbleness in how things have gone down. Not only has Calvery been taken over by another church, but it has been taken over by white leadership.”

“Lady Mae” and Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf, the estranged daughter of the powerful Greenleaf family, join forces to reclaim their church from Harmony & Hope. “Grace” uses her status within the church where she’s operating as interim head pastor. But her mission becomes complicated when a mysterious phone call sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal her secret.

Merle Dandridge portrays “Grace ‘Gigi’ Greenleaf.”

“Season four is my favorite journey Grace has been on so far,” said Dandridge. “She opens up a Pandora’s Box with a trip to Phoenix. It creates a reckoning she has not been able to face. She is usually the one who turns the tables, but this time, the tables get turned on her. Hers get turned over her in middle of leading the church.”

Dandridge has acted in a number of popular series, including NCIS: Los Angeles.

“Being on Greenleaf has been a ministry,” she said. “One of the greatest gifts I have had is that I can combine my faith and my craft.”

Deborah Joy Winans of the renowned gospel-singing Winans family, portrays Bishop Greenleaf’s daughter “Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee”.

“I have fallen in love with Charity,” said Winans. “She is a woman of the people and a lot of women relate to her. We have seen her be young and naïve. We have seen her try her best to show her parents how much she feels she is called to ministry in preaching and shut down on many occasions. Through it all, we see her go through all these trials and tribulations and we see her mature into a grown woman.”

Winans received her BFA from Wayne State University and Moscow Art Theatre School. She also holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

“We see Charity owning the decisions she makes,” said Winans. “We also see her decide that if you don’t want to see me, I’m going to make you see me . She makes decisions that no mater who it hurts, that is what she is going to do. This season she is not asking, she is doing.”

Viewers can catch up on the show’s complete three seasons on Netflix. For more information about Greenleaf, visit

Penn North Residents Welcome Youth Advocate Programs’ Safe Streets Team

Special to The Baltimore Times


YAP Penn North Safe Streets

As Penn North neighbors gathered for a back-to-school resource fair at Cumberland and Carey Park, the owner of Will B’s Better Bodies, wanted everyone to know that the door to his gym across the street was unlocked. Anyone wanting to use the restrooms was welcome.

Will B, Better Bodies Gym owner

Will B, Better Bodies Gym owner

Hosted by Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., the resource fair was also a grand opening celebration for Baltimore City’s Penn North Safe Streets team. YAP is one of the city’s newest Safe Streets partners, overseeing the Penn North team.

“I refer to myself as a trench person. I work right here in the trenches; I live in the trenches. I used right around here in the streets in the trenches; I recovered in the trenches; I’m six years clean,” Will B. said. “I’m so excited about the help with this coming to Penn North— with Safe Streets and YAP— because I kind of felt like I was doing it by myself; well not by myself, but we just needed help and more resources.”

Dedra Layne, Baltimore Safe Streets Director

Dedra Layne, Baltimore Safe Streets Director

Baltimore Safe Streets Director Dedra Layne explained at the grand opening ceremony how Safe Streets works as a public health approach to reducing shootings and homicides in communities in Baltimore City. Safe Streets staff are men and women who were formerly justice-involved, which lends to their credibility and ability to establish relationships and build rapport to change behaviors and norms of individuals with backgrounds similar to theirs.

“I’m honored to be able to give back to my community; to connect people to resources and tools they need to find success for themselves and their families,” said Penn North Safe Streets Site Director Dennis Wise, who recently returned to Baltimore after spending 38 years in prison.

Wayne Brewton, Penn North Safe Streets Violence Prevention Coordinator

Wayne Brewton, Penn North Safe Streets Violence Prevention Coordinator

Wayne Brewton, who like Wise, spent nearly four decades in prison, looks at his role as Penn North Safe Streets Violence Prevention Coordinator as his opportunity to keep his neighbors from suffering the way his victims did and to keep youth from losing their freedom the way he did.

“When I was 17, I went to prison for murder,” he said. “While I was there, my sister lost her life to violence. I started a victims’ awareness program, and that’s what I brought back to my community, so I can help my community heal,” he said. “I want to share my story, to let these young guys know that you can overcome drug addiction, gangism, hustling on the street; because if you don’t, one bad choice can ruin your life forever.”

Penn North Safe Streets partner organization, YAP, is better known for its work with juvenile justice and child welfare systems as an alternative to youth incarceration and out-of-home placement. A Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) partner, YAP hires neighborhood-based advocates who serve as mentors to help youth identify and realize their strengths and connects families to needed tools and resources.

“As a Baltimore’s Penn North Safe Streets partner, we’re able to extend our brand of empowerment to more individuals and families, connecting them with health, financial, education and other accessible tools and resources. We can also help people find a way they can give back,” said YAP Regional Director Craig Jernigan, who grew up in Penn North.

Tumani, Safe Streets

Tumani, Safe Streets

YAP participants, who are also part of the DJS Green Cadets job readiness program, offered advice to kids and parents attending the grand opening and resource fair, hoping to help young people avoid pitfalls that once led them down the wrong path.

“I’m talking about choices; about the choices that they’re going to make and how it could affect them,” said Tumani. “And if they’ve got something that they’ve got going on, they can just ask me, and I’ll tell them how I would do things different.”

DJ, YAP participant

DJ, YAP participant

DJ, another YAP participant, led a question and answer session during the Safe Streets grand opening. “Before I was with the YAP program, I used to do any and everything from disrespecting women to disrespecting family and friends,” he said. “I realize with the YAP program and with Ms. [Shantear] Williams, my [Green Cadets] boss to treat people the way you want to be treated and to respect your mother, because you only get one.”

Safe Streets is the first and longest running replication of Cure Violence, an international violence prevention model.

“This is ground zero,” said Will B. “This is where we need the most help. Thank God we have Safe Streets.”

Ravens To Host 2019 Countdown To Kickoff Party

The 2019 NFL season is drawing near for the Baltimore Ravens. The team opens the season on the road against the Miami Dolphins on Sept 8, 2019.

Fans will get a chance to see the players at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff on Friday, Sept 6 at a free event at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. The gates open at 5 p.m.

Fans will get to see select Ravens players and legends along with team mascot Poe and the cheerleaders plus an assortment of activities available for fans to take part in. The event will also feature a live band performance. WBAL-TV will broadcast the event live.

The Fairgrounds are located at 2200 York Road in Lutherville-Timonium. There will be free parking provided but on a first-come, first-served basis so be sure to arrive early. Fans who plan to take public transportation can take MTA to the Timonium Light Rail Stop or take the MTA No. 9 bus.

For more information or for tickets, visit: This is a great opportunity to come out and support the Ravens as they kickoff their defense of the AFC North division title.

Faith It Until You Make It

When I work out more times than not you can catch me listening to something along the lines of what the young people call “trap music.” There is something about these high energy tunes that get my blood flowing and heart pumping. Recently, as I prepared for my workout I came across a panel discussion from the 2017 Essence Festival featuring Queen Latifah; Monica; Jada Pinkett Smith; Mary J. Blige; Niecy Nash; Dee Rees; and Kristi Henderson as they spoke about the strength of a black woman and the advice they would give to their 15-year-old self.

I listened to this panel discussion on repeat throughout my workout and immediately I knew that there was no trap song that could ever amount to the sense of motivation and inspiration I gained from listening to this interview during my workout session.

One moment that struck me was Monica’s response to the question: “How do you overcome when things don’t work out the way you want them to?” Her answer: “Faith it until you make it.” Ever since I heard that phrase it’s become my daily motto. What does that mean exactly? Having the ability to believe in something you can’t see but you know is possible.

In the Bible, Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as “the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”

Whether it’s your career, mate, lifestyle, or finances having a strong belief that what you want will manifest if the most important step toward conquering your goals. When you don’t believe it’s impossible but when you believe you can achieve.

While having faith is an important step in fulfilling your purpose, it’s equally as important to put your faith to work for we know faith without works is dead. Think it, meditate on the exact way you see your vision revealed. The same way you imagine yourself in a particular outfit is the same way that you can visualize your goals. Say it, verbalize and affirm everything you want to come to fruition. Using your voice is powerful. Stating exactly what you want to conquer in this life gives it power; brings it to life; and makes it real. Do it, take physical action and watch your vision manifest. Your goals will never happen is you don’t jump in and take action.

Applying to your dream school, getting a financial advisor or networking in the field you want are all physical actions that one can take in the pursuit of their purpose.

Dig deep to find your inner motivation and you will feel compelled to pursue your dreams in the end. Remember your purpose and never quit. The journey isn’t always easy, but it will be worth it. Stay the course even if the pace seems slow for you never know what’s waiting for you at that next step. Wholeheartedly believe that no matter what cards you are dealt, you are going to be successful. This is just how my faith is set up. This is just how I was built.

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on a message of positivity and optimism. Once a month, a member of our Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a purposeful and positive lifestyle. To learn more about our organization, the nucleus team or how you join our positive movement, visit:

We Need To Revitalize The Great 8a Business Development Program

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA): “The federal government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.” Here are the Program benefits: “To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.”

“Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) Program can: Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program. Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA’s mentor-protégé program. Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, market assistance, and high-level executive development programs, as they apply.”

The above program was the brainchild of the late, great Parren J. Mitchell while he was the Chair of the House Small Business Committee and his staff, led by NBCC Board Member Anthony W. Robinson. It is, without debate, the most successful minority business program in the history of federal procurement. No formal program has made more black millionaires than this program. Despite this, it needs to be updated and reinforced.

Having a five percent minority business goal for the federal government is pittance. The black population percentage of our nation is over 14.6 percent alone. Hispanics have a percentage of 17.0 percent. That amounts to 31.6 percent without other ethnicities. Racism and passive discrimination in this nation still exists and per the U.S. Supreme Court and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 discrimination needs to be addressed according to the disparate impact placed on identified groups. President Bill Clinton had the answer to this after being encouraged or intimidated from the Million Man March of 1996. His plan to “Mend” affirmative action rather than “end” it included formal Disparity Studies for each of the 10 Federal Regions. Following that adjusted goals could be implemented. One big problem— he never did it. The Congressional Black Caucus should wake up and take the lead from its greatest Founder, Congressman Mitchell, and proceed with the above idea.

The great HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson applied this logic and took black procurement at HUD to new heights— approaching 32 percent. President George W. Bush watched his “back” as democratic congressmen tried to have him indicted for whatever reason they could find. He eventually resigned to spend time protecting his name and future during various hearings and investigations. HUD does about four percent in black procurement today.

Updating the goals and returning to a serious aura can bring this program back to the effectiveness it once had.

The greatest challenge to the 8a Program came under the Barack Obama Administration. It is so ironic! This president had a mission to “repay”

white construction unions for raising over $600 million dollars in his first presidential campaign. His pay back to them was to require federal construction contracting over $1 million to become union only projects. As blacks and Hispanics are terribly underutilized by construction unions, this would cripple the 8a program. We went to the White House and pleaded on the effect this would have over our constituency (should have been his too). They ignored our efforts and quickly became adversarial towards us.

What quickly happened was devastating. The Obama Administration went “dark” over the 8a Program. Black procurement levels at the time George W. Bush left office were over eight percent. When Obama finished his two terms it had been reduced to a little over one percent. People, we are talking billions of dollars extracted from our communities. SBA Regional Administrator Ashley Bell spoke at our recent annual conference and emphasized the reduction in black procurement due to the reduction in active black 8a firms. The same can be said for SBA business loans. It was just devastating and most of the black community does not know what “hit” them.

What was particularly “salt in the wounds” was that the SBA under the Obama Administration became very hostile towards Black business. At one point, the SBA would reject our emails to them. They took their budgets for funding development grants away from black associations and tossed them around to non-black groups. There was pure hatred over there during those eight dark years. How could blacks do this to other blacks in the 21st century?

Let’s get busy with turning this atrocity around. We must encourage the White House and federal agencies to quickly “pick up the pieces” and bring the 8a Program back to life and with vigor and updated goals. If black firms could attain at least five percent in procurement contracting with the federal government that would mean $25 billion dollars annually infused into our economic base. There is a federal election coming in 2020 and we must make significant improvement while that environment exists. It is time for blacks to address each political candidate with that great quote from Chaka Khan: “What Cha’ Going to do for Me.”

Harry Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce ®. Kay DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the Chamber.