Baltimore-based community land trust among leaders in affordable housing movement

Long-standing housing discrimination and inequalities have put countless Baltimore City residents at major disadvantages. Hence, the need for the North East Housing Initiative (NEHI), an organization that advocates for the rights of homeowners while ensuring that permanent affordable housing is also available.

With unfair housing practices, including gentrification permeating so many of America’s major inner cities, the affordable housing movement has played a crucial role in making homeownership possible for underserved communities.

Garrick Good, executive director of NEHI, works tirelessly with his colleagues and partners to serve communities throughout the quadrant of Northeast Baltimore.

Since its inception in 2014, NEHI, a community land trust, is dedicated to providing permanent affordable housing for low-income individuals or families at 80 percent AMI (Area Median Income) and below.

The current focus of NEHI is on housing in the four-by-four community off Belair Road. A ‘four-by-four community’ is a section of homes spanning four blocks horizontally and four blocks vertically, which in NEHI’s case makes up about 600 homes— more than 50 of which are abandoned.

“We chose the four-by-four community because in Northeast Baltimore it seems to be the forgotten community,” Good said.

NEHI works through a partnership with the City of Baltimore to acquire as many of those properties through receivership as possible.

In January, NEHI announced a five-year plan to obtain 200 homes to be used for permanent affordable housing. As it currently stands, two homes are on the market, and five are under construction for lease or sale sometime this summer, according to Good.

Even in the midst of a public health crisis in Baltimore City, NEHI’s services did not stop.

“It has affected our organization like most others in the community. We are still focused on our housing strategies, but we are also focused more now on our stewardship component,” said Good.

NEHI has expanded its stewardship program to help targeted families be better prepared for housing both pre and post sale.

“We’ve identified a lot of prospective homeowners, and so we’ve worked with them in getting food as well as snacks for students that are a part of the families, [and] we’ve worked with giving referrals to families on an as-needed basis to ensure that they get the assistance they need,” Good said. “We had a number of families that had children that didn’t have sufficient Internet for their homes, so we worked with them to get Internet in their homes so the students can continue to learn.”

In addition, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund made it possible for the NEHI to secure funding that allows the organization to provide affordable housing to families and individuals who qualify.

“The average family is able to get a three or four bedroom home for less than $600 a month. Some of the clients that we’ve been working with in looking for housing are paying twice that and have substandard housing,” Good remarked. “And so what we’re doing is a game changer, that will allow families to have a new home with new appliances and new systems, and be able to focus on other things that will continue to make them productive citizens in the community and give them disposable income to do other things.”

NEHI’s partners include PNC Bank; Fulton Bank; and Belair-Edison Neighborhoods, Inc., which helps NEHI with recruiting families, housing counseling and selling the homes.

Furthermore, the NEHI offers available subsidies that lead to price reductions that ensures housing costs are no more than 30 percent of a family’s budget, Good highlighted.

“That number and the subsidies change from family to family, depending on what the household looks like,” Good said. “But what we’re doing is we’re working to really understand families’ needs, and then work with them post-purchase of their homes to look at other things that they can do to start being really active in the community and change the dynamic in communities like the four-by-four.”

The Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development and commissioner Michael Braverman work closely with NEHI to assess strategies that best meet the needs of Baltimoreans.

“The HCD (Department of Housing & Community Development) has a commitment to providing housing stock. They see where community land trusts can be one of the tenants in achieving that goal,” Good noted. “They work with us in a number of ways in ensuring that we’re prepared and that we break down barriers that arise in preventing families to become homeowners.”

If you or someone you know is interested in affordable housing and would like to discuss the possibility of obtaining a community land trust home, contact the NEHI directly at 410-488-4857 or visit the NEHI website at https://www.nehihomes.org/.

Ravens re-open training facility

The NFL recently showed signs of climbing out from the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the country. As more states begin to open up, various NFL teams are re-opening their facilities.

The Baltimore Ravens recently received notice from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan that they are cleared to re-open their facilities with Phase 1 restrictions.

A drive past the Under Armour Performance Center or M&T Bank Stadium will no longer result in seeing an empty parking lot. The buildings won’t see the return of all team employees however. Phase 1 permits up to 75 team employees to be allowed in the building.

Each NFL team opening their facilities are required to implement an Infection Response Team. The team is made up of the following:

• A local physical with expertise in common infectious disease principles

• The club infection control officer

• Team athletic trainer

• Team head physician

• HR Director

• Chief of security

• Team mental health physician

• Member of club operations staff

The 75 employees don’t include players or coaches. Players that reporting to the facility for rehab before it closed in March are permitted to continue to go to the building. If the strength and conditioning coach was working with the players during their rehab process before the facility closed, he/she is able to continue to do so during Phase 1.

Members of the football administration staff, football operations staff, personnel staff, medical staff, equipment staff and nutritionists are permitted in the building. Any employee entering the building must first undergo COVID-19 safety and hygiene training.

Like other teams that are re-opening, the Ravens will require employees to wear masks and practice social distancing. There will also be temperature checks before entrance into the facility is granted.

Although the future schedule is uncertain, this is a step in the right direction towards revisiting some form of continuation into the next part of the offseason.

The next phase of the reopening plan calls for coaches to return to the building. but Ravens team President Dick Cass hinted that it will be kind of a wait and see approach.

“If the infection rate is really low, as I expect it will be by late summer, and we have adequate testing, and people are careful when they leave the building, I think there’s a really good shot that we’ll be OK,” Cass said via the Ravens team website.

The goal is to at least have a full training camp leading into the regular season. According to Yahoo Sports, June 15 and June 27 are dates earmarked as possibilities for full-squad minicamps. None or that is possible without signoff from the NFLPA.

As of Wednesday, there is no agreement in place regarding the players’ role in the reopening plan. Cleveland Browns offensive lineman and NFLPA president JC Tretter released the following statement on social media on Tuesday:

“Our union has not agreed to any reopening plan. Any reports about coming back to work are hypothetical. You will hear from the NFLPA when there are new developments.”

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told CNBC earlier this week that he fully expects an NFL season to take place. However, Ross admitted that he was uncertain as to whether or not fans will be in the stands.

Rambling Rose: Memorial Day Was a Salute, Remembering With Love

Hello everyone, I know when you look at these photos you may think that the “Rambling Rose” column has changed into an obituary column. No fear, I promise that is not happening. It was Memorial Day weekend, and since it is impossible for me to name all of our friends and your friends and family members that we have lost in the recent months and days, I thought I will stick with the entertainment side. Entertainment is really my professional thing, so I want to acknowledge some of the people/artist, who we know you may be familiar with who has recently passed away.

To all my readers and followers who have lost someone since this terrible coronavirus pandemic started, please know that you and your family are in my prayers. Hopefully we can get pass all of this terrible situation and began to smile and just remember your loved one in a positive way, remember the good times; think of something about them that will put a smile on your face.

Whit Williams, another friend and musician passed away May 21, 2020. He was such a gentlemen. He was a legendary saxophonist, educator, composer and arranger. He lived in Baltimore and was a part of the jazz scene for many years. In 1981, he founded the “Whit Williams’ Now’s the Time Big Band” and the group performed with Aretha Franklin and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2008, he released the album, “The Whit Williams Now’s The Time,” featuring Slide Hampton and Jimmy Heath. My condolences to his family and his music family.

Courtesy Photo

Whit Williams, another friend and musician passed away May 21, 2020. He was such a gentlemen. He was a legendary saxophonist, educator, composer and arranger. He lived in Baltimore and was a part of the jazz scene for many years. In 1981, he founded the “Whit Williams’ Now’s the Time Big Band” and the group performed with Aretha Franklin and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2008, he released the album, “The Whit Williams Now’s The Time,” featuring Slide Hampton and Jimmy Heath. My condolences to his family and his music family.

Even though some of our counties and our state has opened in some situations, the Covid-19 has still caused the cancellations of jazz and music festivals that we would normally attend this time of the year. It’s disappointing news for the state of Rhode Island. The Newport Folk and Jazz Festival that was set to take place at Fort Adams this summer, has been canceled. All ticket holders for this festival have the option of a 100% full refund if desired. The Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals were created by George Wein (now 94 years old) in 1994 and 1959 respectively. These festivals are two of the largest running music festivals in history.

Kevin Barnes, a member of Jimmy Briscoe & the Little Beavers passed away May 14, 2020. Kevin sang baritone for the famous recording group. The group members were Jimmy Briscoe, Stanford Stansberry, Kevin Barnes, Maurice Pulley, and Robert Markins were the original Jimmy Briscoe & the Little Beavers. Bobby Finch replaced Markins in 1977. Condolences to his family.

Courtesy Photo

Kevin Barnes, a member of Jimmy Briscoe & the Little Beavers passed away May 14, 2020. Kevin sang baritone for the famous recording group. The group members were Jimmy Briscoe, Stanford Stansberry, Kevin Barnes, Maurice Pulley, and Robert Markins were the original Jimmy Briscoe & the Little Beavers. Bobby Finch replaced Markins in 1977. Condolences to his family.

The 2020 Hampton Jazz Festival known for bringing the best of jazz, blues, soul, and R&B to Hampton Roads has announced that it is also canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and has been postponed until June 2021. Refunds will be issued automatically for those purchased online through Ticketmaster. Refunds for tickets purchased at the box office can be obtained by returning the purchased tickets once the office opens up to the public.

The 28th Annual Capital Jazz Fest, originally scheduled for June 5-7, 2020 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland has been postponed. This is one of my favorite festivals. Each year in early June, tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to attend “the jazz festival with soul”; The Capital Jazz Fest started in 1993, this multi-day multi-stage outdoor music festival, which attracts music lovers nationwide, is more than just a concert, it’s an event! It’s a place to people-watch, eat drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, make new friends, and of course hear some of the coolest jazz and soul music on the planet. In-between musical sets, enjoy fine art and crafts at the Festival Marketplace, culinary treats at the food court, and meet & greet the artists. Hopefully next year we all can be there.

The 2020 French Quarter Festival and Satchmo Summerfest have also been officially canceled. Satchmo Summerfest, a celebration of the legacy of New Orleans native Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, is generally the first week of August at the Old U.S. Mint. The free French Quarter Festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of attendees every year with a program consisting almost entirely of south Louisiana musicians.

We try not to ever miss the New Orleans Festivals. My “Boo-Boo” and I go every year to these festivals to cover the exciting events for my “Rambling Rose”column. . We love New Orleans, it is always full of life, fun, live entertainment on every street corner and happy people. Now, the new 2021 dates for the festivals are April 8-11 for French Quarter Festival and July 30-August 1, 2021 for Satchmo Summerfest. The French Quarter Festival followed the same path as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Essence Festival of Culture and the Buku Music + Art Project.

Oh well, I know I should be trying to put a smile on your face and talking about something positive, but this were the cards I was dealt. So in the meantime, stay strong, safe and healthy. And remember, if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at rosapryor@aol.com. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Documentary Digs Deep into Ethnomedical Heritage

“Pharmaceuticals treat you, but the roots and the herbs cure you.” These are the words of Corey ‘Ras Stimulant’ Davis. The Vegan Chef’s words set the stage for Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink, a documentary which explores Jamaica’s ethnomedical heritage of making Roots Tonics.

Linton Hinds, Jr., is the director of the documentary. According to Hinds, Root Tonics are herbal remedies made with herbs, roots, and plants. He highlighted that Roots Tonics are said to heal everything from cancer to erectile dysfunction.

“The goal of the documentary is to put information out there,” said Hinds. “We want people to be more accepting and appreciative of traditional medicine. We also want people to utilize traditional medicine. They absolutely do work. We are groomed to use synthetic medicine, but unfortunately they have a lot of side effects.”

Hinds was born to Jamaican parents, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Loyola University, where he played basketball.

“In 2013, I stopped eating meat, and started eating different herbs,” said Hinds who lives in South Jersey. “I am more fit at age 35 than I was at 18 or 21. I also have a lot of energy.”

Hinds says that the roots and herbs he uses are Chaney Root, Moringa, Guinea Hen Weed, Strong Back, and Sour Sop Leaf.

“Things are out there,” said Hinds. “Many products don’t heal. They just treat because they are looking for long-term customers. The goal is to put you on those products for the duration of your life. Then you are paying for it for the rest of your life. When you eat right, you don’t have to worry about that. You can just take the root and eat that. You also have to exercise. That’s why I felt it was important to do this documentary.”

Hinds teaches U.S. history to 11th grade students at Thomas Mastery High School in Philadelphia, PA. He also owns and operates KonciousT.com, an e-commerce apparel store. The educator also hosts “I Never Knew Radio,” a show that airs Sundays, 9 a.m. until 11a.m. on WLOY LOYOLA RADIO. Hinds says his YouTube Channel, “I Never Knew TV,” has drawn over nine million views. On April 24, 2020, Hinds posted Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink on YouTube. The documentary has already garnered 9,000 views.

In addition to ‘Ras Stimulant’ Davis, the documentary also features Dr. Sylvia Adjoa Mitchell, a Senior Lecturer at the Biotechnology Centre, UWI Mona, Jamaica, and Gregory Rutty, owner of Sunsplash Caribbean Bakery in East

Orange, NJ. Rutty is also a manufacturer of Roots Tonic. Hinds’ wife Deborah did the voiceover for the documentary.

“I wanted viewers to see a lead doctor,” said Hinds referring to Dr. Mitchell. “I didn’t want them to believe the documentary was some mumbo jumbo. Dr. Mitchell has studied Jamaican and ethnic culture. Every culture understands what plants can do, and the benefit of plants.”

Dr. Mitchell who is Caucasian, is the Group Leader of the Medicinal Plant Biotechnology Group. She has over 32 years of experience in plant tissue culture, and has undertaken several research and development projects in plant tissue culture, bioactivity screens and product development.

Hinds, said a total of five people were interviewed for the documentary, and it took five months to complete. He noted he has no formal training in film, but shot half the documentary. The film’s Cinematographer Ryan Hohn shot the other half. Hohn resides in Kingston,

Jamaica and shot the interviews that were conducted in the region.

“It was a real privilege working on this documentary,” said Hohn. “I live in Jamaica, and Linton lives in America, but we are on the same path. It’s about getting information out there so people will see it. This whole movement is about people being healthy, conscious of themselves and to stop being programmed. Nature is still around. It has everything we need.”

Hohn, who owns a company called Yardreel, says he also does directs, produces, and does photography.

“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the documentary. It shows another option of how to live. Roots and herbs boost your immune system. We are at a turning point in history now. We have been building up to COVID-19. Every year, it was something different. There was SARS, and H1N1. If you paid attention, you knew COVID would happen. It was really no surprise. Those who took care of themselves were ahead of the game.

“We have to preserve ourselves. Not kill one another, or kill our own selves with food. It’s about self-preservation.”

Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink, is just over 16 minutes long and can be accessed by the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYBz7_4f2BY

Mental Health Break: What adjustments do you need to make?

The pandemic has completely modified our day-to-day lives like we never could have imagined. With well over two months since the virus first impacted the United States, it’s no surprise that the pandemic has completely reshaped modern life as we know it.

Our repetitive, almost instinctive schedules have been modified in ways that none of us were prepared for. We’ve had to adapt and modify our habits, schedules, and daily routines.

Some of us have even lost jobs and even loved ones during this period unsettling period. It’s no question that even a small combination of some of these factors can significantly influence your mental health. It’s imperative that we all stop and take time to ask ourselves how we are doing to determine what is supporting you or undermining your mental health needs.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, stop and ask yourself how you are feeling. Take time to sit down and consciously think about how the pandemic might’ve affected you. Have you adapted well? Is there room for improvement? What do you think is working for you or working against you? This is a chance to truly take time to think about the days you’ve enjoyed vs. the days that could have gone better. Remember our emotions about ourselves are the sum total of our experiences and memories. Although the pandemic may have changed our daily habits and schedules, humans are extremely adaptable if we take the time to reflect, recalibrate and focus on what our mind, body and soul needs on a continuing basis.

There are many contributing factors that can directly influence your emotional health and mental health. These can include your diet, regular physical exercise, and close connections with friends and family. Do a mental inventory and think about the things that put you in a good mood. If you find some habits that are not working for you— that’s ok, at least you’ve recognized them to make adjustments. For example, if you are a habitual snacker while working from home make and effort to snack on food that is healthy like trail mix or fruit. If you’ve noticed you are not exercising as much as you would like to, schedule some time for a walk, run or and indoor workout to get those feel-good brain chemicals going. Trust me it’s not easy to start but I bet you will feel amazing after it’s over.

Here are some ways to adjust and monitor your mental health:

Keep a daily routine— Our brain loves routines. In fact, our brain is filled with habits that we have instilled overtime. COVID-19 has influenced habits and schedules, which could throw you into confusion. Make sure you take time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time every day. Find a morning routine that makes sense that will give you the boost you need to conquer your day. Continuing monitoring your habits and correct the ones that may not support you. For example, mindlessly scrolling on social media may not be the best for you during this time. Instead pick up a book that feeds your energy and spirit.

Be proactive in reaching out to family and friends— Scientists have proven that our connection with others contributes to both our physical health and psychological well being. Moods and behaviors are contagious and in many ways our happiness is significantly, influenced by those we associate with.

Although we may not be able to see our friends and family face-to-face, we can make use of web conferencing apps such as Facetime, Google Duo or Zoom. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. After the call is over you might even feel a rush of feel-good chemicals in your brain.

Take breaks from social media— It’s easy to fall into the trap of mindlessly scrolling through social media with no apparent objective. Especially during this time it’s important to take breaks from social media and news outlets to give your mind a chance to rest. Set limits on your devices if you find yourself overwhelmed or unhappy after scrolling on your social media or news sites.

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team will feature a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how you can support, volunteer, or donate to Positively Caviar, Inc. please visit: staybasedandpositive.com.

Joe Biden attacks freethinking black Americans while President Trump empowers them

A bigot is defined as “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.” By that definition, Former Vice President Joe Biden is a bigot.

At the end of a recent interview on the very popular radio show, “The Breakfast Club,” Joe Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

For a man who claims to have graduated with honors from so many elite schools, and is married to an educator, it is surprising that he would say “You ain’t black.” Maybe that is how he speaks on a regular basis, or maybe that is how he speaks when talking to black people.

The last thing that any freethinking, civically engaged black person needs in 2020, is a 77-year-old white man from Delaware “whitesplaining” blackness to us.

I was born black; still live the black experience as a black man in America every single day. My family comes from the South, and we have experienced discrimination, racism, bigotry, and survived Jim Crow. My Papa was a proud member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. King, and still knowing my history, I am a black man voting for Trump.

Try as they might, the one thing Joe Biden and his liberal friends can’t take away, define, or critique is my blackness because I am voting for Donald Trump.

In 2016, President Trump looked at the conditions and statistics of many predominantly black cities in America and saw that despite being led by Liberal lawmakers, our communities were faced with high crime, high unemployment, and poor public schools. Real estate values were down and there were not as many opportunities to advance, as there should have been. He asked us to trust him, listen to his plans and vote Donald J. Trump because at that point he said: “What do you have to lose?”

In response to Joe Biden’s bigoted comment, Charlemagne tha God said, “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact I want something for my community.” At the end of the day, that is exactly what the black vote is about in 2020, our community. Identifying who has the record and resolve to get things done for the black Community. I have worked most of my adult life advocating, promoting, and defending my community inside the Republican Party at all levels and have seen many results. However, I have seen the most results for my community under the Trump Administration.

Joe Biden asked The Breakfast Club audience to look at his record. That was not a gaffe— he was serious. For 44 years Joe Biden has been either MIA or on the wrong side of history when it comes to fighting for the black community. Let’s start with his record on justice. We all know Joe Biden was the architect of the infamous 1994 Crime Bill that literally locked up thousands of men that look just like me. Biden was proud of his record on mass incarceration of black men that destroyed communities, dismantled families and stifled black wealth for generations.

How many strikes do we give Joe Biden until we say enough is enough, you are out? Out of touch; out of the mainstream; outside what black Americans need in leadership.

Thankfully, black people can look at the record of Donald Trump on the issue of Criminal Justice Reform and see the thousands of people who went home because of his bold advocacy of the First Step Act righting Biden’s wrongs in just under, four years.

In 2012, Joe Biden told a predominately black audience in Virginia, “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains,” referring to Republicans.

Joe Biden can’t accept that the Republican Party has historically been and currently is the party of freedom, and opportunities for everyone, especially the black community. We have a Republican President and candidate in Donald Trump, and an entire party that believes in school choice. We believe giving all parents the ability to place their children in better performing schools no matter your socio-economic background, color and zip code is the right thing to do. But Joe Biden only sees color and class saying, “poor kids are just as smart as white kids.”

The media needs to stop calling these statements gaffes because they are not. Call them dog whistles, call them bigoted, call them offensive and call them racist.

In 2020, there is a clear choice to be made for the black community. We should examine the records of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump and vote our interests. By all objective measures, President Trump remains the champion for the black community in this election. His record of support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, school choice, opportunity zones, criminal justice reform, minority businesses, kidney health, and direct aid and support to

underserved communities during this global pandemic makes him worthy of our vote in November. Black people are signing up for “Black Voices for Trump” because he has kept his promises to our community.

The bigoted statements and damaging policies of Joe Biden need to remain quarantined with him in his Delaware basement.

Paris Dennard, Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee

Courtesy Photo/Paris Dennard

Paris Dennard, Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee

Paris Dennard is a GOP political commentator, strategist, and Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee. Follow him on Twitter at @PARISDENNARD.

Parents: Do these five things before returning to child care

As stay-at-home orders are lifted, many working parents are returning to their jobs and many child care programs are reopening. Parents need to know how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted their child care programs. Here are five tips to help families with young children transition back to child care routines:

  1. Pay your bill— Parents, you were probably asked to pay at least a portion of your fees while your child care program was closed. While it may seem unfair to pay for care while your child is home with you, charging fees to reserve a child’s space is standard practice for child care centers and it is essential for keeping programs running. The center’s expenses continue even when children are not present. Facility costs like mortgage or rent payments must still be met. Most importantly, staff must be paid. Retaining skilled and experienced teachers and caregivers is one of the biggest challenges in the field of early childhood care and education. Paying your child care fees while your center is closed will help ensure that the staff will be there to welcome your child when they return.

If your family is not yet ready to return to child care and you have an opportunity to pay to hold your spot, do it. The current economic crisis means many child care centers are closing permanently, and it will likely only get harder for families to access early childhood care and education in the future. Do what you can now to retain your family’s relationship with a quality child care program. If your financial situation makes it difficult to pay your fees, contact the director of the program and explain your situation. They may be able to refer you to assistance programs in your community.

  1. Practice wearing masks at home—

Child care centers are now adapting their health and safety practices to pro

vide as much protection as possible against the spread of COVID-19. In most centers, the staff and parents will be required to wear masks, at least during drop off and pick up. In some centers, children over the age of two will also be required to wear masks. Seeing people in masks and wearing a mask may be difficult for many young children. You can help your child adjust to this new normal by practicing wearing masks at home.

First, offer your child a simple explanation for why people wear masks. For example, “A mask is something people wear that covers their nose and mouth. Wearing a mask helps keep people from getting sick.” Let your child touch and hold your mask before you put it on. Children learn through play, so include masks in silly “peek-a-boo” games or in pretend play. Make little paper masks for your child’s stuffed animals or dolls. Allow your child to pick out or decorate their own masks and let them practice putting them on and taking them off all by themselves.

Prep extra supplies— Most child care centers will now have stricter rules for keeping children’s supplies clean. This means that parents can anticipate the need to bring more items from home to the center each day, as well as the need to bring those items home and wash them more frequently. Check with your child care center to find out what new guidelines are in place, but keep in mind that you will likely need to prep individual meals and snacks, to provide more changes of clothing and extra diapers and wipes, and to more frequently swap out and wash blankets and nap items.

Thank your child care teachers and staff— Professionals working in early childhood care and education were already underpaid and overlooked before the COVID-19 pandemic. While some policy makers and leaders are now recognizing the importance of child care services in rebuilding our economy, your child’s teachers and caregivers have not received the recognition and appreciation they deserve. Be sure to take a moment to tell them how much they mean to your family and thank them every day for their commitment to your child.

Contact your legislators— To ensure that quality care and education is available to all young children, make sure your legislators are making child care a top priority. Advocacy organizations like the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Zero to Three provide guidance for reaching out to legislators and speaking up about the importance of investing in child care and other early childhood services.

To learn more about “The COVID-19 Child Care Crisis: What Parents Need to Know,” visit https://parents.britannica.com/the-covid-19-child-care-crisis-what-parents-need-to-know/.

Ann Gadzikowski, Executive Editor of Britannica for Parents

Courtesy Photo

Ann Gadzikowski, Executive Editor of Britannica for Parents

William Paca Garden Plant Sale : Everything You Need for Your COVID-19 Victory Garden

Annapolis— The William Paca Garden Plant Sale has been an Annapolis tradition for more than 40 years. This year, due to the fight against COVID-19 Historic Annapolis has moved the sale to the first week in June and change to a pre-order, curbside pickup format to keep our customers, volunteers and staff safe.

The William Paca Garden Plant Sale will have everything you need to plant your COVID-19 Victory Garden and bring some colorful history to your garden. This year’s plant sale will be held from Saturday, June 6, 2020 to Friday, June 12, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning Wednesday, June 3 customers will be able to browse the full list of plants at www.annapolis.org, select plants for their order, pay for their order via phone, and select a date and approximate time to pick up their plants.

Victory Gardens began in World War I to help feed Europeans who were suffering from food shortages. At the same time, Americans were facing shortages of canned goods, and began backyard gardens as a way of filling the gap and allowing more commercial crops to be sent to the troops overseas.

The idea became even more popular during World War II when an estimated 20 million small gardens produced 40 percent of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States.

To fill your own Victory Garden, the William Paca Garden Spring Plant Sale will feature hundreds of culinary, annual, and vine plants, all hand raised by Historic Annapolis volunteers. Along with other culinary crops, some special tomatoes including the Micro Tom Tomato will be offered which is considered to the be world’s smallest tomato with plants only 6-8 inches tall. In addition to both yellow and red cherry tomatoes, the relatively new Celano Hybrid, a 2020 AAS (All-American Selections) Winner will be available.

A fun crop to grow with children are the heirloom peanuts, originally brought to the United States from West Africa in the 17th century and one of the first peanuts imported and grown in the colonies.

Among the annuals that bring color to the garden all summer are Wishbone Plant (Torenia kauai) that likes the shade! And, we have biannual Hollyhocks, Nicotiana (flowering Tobacco), and Verbena Bonariensis (Tall verbena) among many other beautiful, flowering annuals.

Among the offerings in the vine category will be the fragrant Snail Vine, which was said to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite bean and Annapolis’s favorite Hyacinth Bean with its purple flowers, stems and beans.

For additional information, visit: www.annapolis.org or email info@annapolis.org or call 410-626-1033.

Established in 1952, Historic Annapolis is the leading nonprofit preservation and history organization in Annapolis, Maryland. Our mission is to Preserve and Protect the historic places, objects, and stories of Maryland’s capital city, and provide engaging experiences that Connect people to the area’s diverse heritage. For more information or to get involved with Historic Annapolis, visit www.annapolis.org.

The Baltimore County Farmers Market Opens Wednesday, June 3

Baltimore County, Md.— Farmers Markets— considered an essential business and an important food source during the current state of emergency— have been requested to remain open by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Opening Day of The Baltimore County Farmers Market at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at the 2200 York Road Main Gate (near the digital sign) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The market will be open every Wednesday from June through October (with special dates and hours during the Maryland State Fair).

The Market will offer high quality in-season fresh local produce, meat and other items and will make the necessary recommended adjustments in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: promote social distancing; increase access to hand sanitizer/washing stations for staff; regularly sanitize touch surfaces; and consider any operational changes that may reduce the spread of infection.

American innovation helps patients beat coronavirus

American scientists are working furiously to develop treatments for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

No group of patients needs a vaccine more than those with chronic conditions.

Patients with just one chronic disease who contract COVID-19 are 80 percent more likely to experience a “poor outcome”— like hospitalization or death— than those without any chronic conditions, according to recent studies.

Fortunately for Americans living with chronic disease, the United States leads the world in medical innovation. As long as policymakers protect this innovation ecosystem, U.S. scientists will surely produce vaccines and treatments relatively quickly— and keep our nation healthy through this crisis and for years to come.

Americans are rightly worried about COVID-19. More than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and nearly two million have tested positive for the disease.

Patients with chronic diseases are particularly vulnerable. Forty percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have some type of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Other chronic conditions— like arthritis, diabetes and cancer— could make it harder for the body to fight the virus.

But our scientists will rise to this challenge and invent new therapies, just as they have countless times in the past. Heart disease death rates have declined 36 percent since 2000, largely thanks to new and better medicines. Similarly, cancer death rates have declined 27 percent since the 1990s.

Health gains like this come at a hefty price. It takes up to 15 years and $2.6 billion to develop just one new medicine. And only 12 percent of drugs that begin clinical trials ever make it to pharmacy shelves. Drug companies and their investors will only roll the dice on novel research projects if they have a chance of recouping their development losses and earning a return.

Because the United States fairly values medicines, scientists have a strong incentive to launch research projects here. All told, American firms develop half of the world’s new medicines.

Researchers tend to flee countries whose governments arbitrarily cap prices of new medicines. Consider that in the 1970s, Europe produced more than half of the world’s new medicines. But throughout the 1980s, many European countries imposed increasingly strict price controls on drugs. As a result, today Europe produces only 33 percent of all new drugs.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers want to implement similar price controls in the United States. A few members of Congress attempted to slip a price control into one of the first COVID-19 spending packages. The provision would have allowed the government to dictate the price of any COVID-19 vaccine that resulted from the emergency funding.

Congress wisely stripped out that provision, which would have discouraged investments into COVID-19 cures, vaccines, and therapies. Congress’ decision is great news for every American hoping for a COVID-19 vaccine, especially those living with chronic disease.

COVID-19 poses an enormous threat to American society — but our smartest scientists are already on the case. Let’s hope our policymakers don’t put any stumbling blocks along their path to a cure— whether for coronavirus or any other dangerous disease.

Kenneth E. Thorpe is a professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease