Honor Black History Month by Feeding Your Brain

By Peter Van Buren

With its origins dating back over a hundred years, February has been officially declared Black History Month by every U.S. president since President Ford in 1976.

The theme of Black History Month changes yearly. This year’s theme is The Crisis in Black Education. We need not look any further than Baltimore’s own schools to witness this crisis. But, where do we start in solving it?

Why not start by educating yourself? Here are a few ideas to consider for your education program. 

  • Volunteer at one of our neighborhood schools. Consult the Youth/Schools section of Bolton Hill’s Community Asset List to see where you might be needed. The children love having visitors, even if you just go once. You might find that once is not enough.
  • Attend this month’s Party with a Purpose organized by the Social Action Task Force, where guests will be asked to read a passage from a black author of their choosing. Donations raised at the party will support local youth organizations. The Party with a Purpose takes place Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2-5 pm at 1308 Bolton Street; more details here.
  • Lillie Carroll Jackson

    Learn about Lillie CarrolJackson, renowned civil rights activist who lived at 1320 Eutaw Place. To honor her legacy, Morgan State University completed a major renovation of her beautiful home in 2012, transforming it into the state-of-the-art the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funds to support its administration, the museum remains closed except by appointment (email LCJmuseum@morgan.edu or call 443-885-3895 if you’d like to visit).

    You can help make this valuable educational resource available to regular visitors by writing a check payable to the Morgan State University Foundation (note “Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum” in the memo line), and send to Mr. Gabriel Tenabe, James E. Lewis Museum, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251.

  • Be inspired by the courageous and groundbreaking legacy of the many other famous black residents of the 21217 neighborhood by walking the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail, whose 2 mile path winds from the State Center to the Upton Metro. Brochures for the Trail (and delicious baked goods) are available at The Avenue Bakery, 2229 Pennsylvania Avenue. You can also take an audiovisual tour of Pennsylvania Avenue using the izi.Travel app or on your computer.
  • Expand your musical knowledge by listening to a black artist that’s new to you. Amazing black musicians are too numerous to count, but one I recommend is Gil Scott Heron. Try his hard-hitting The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, or the beautiful, but painfully sad Winter in America. Or if you want to go farther back, check out izi.Travel’s Eubie Blake’s Ragtime Riffs musical tour. 
  • Celebrate the rich contributions of black poets to American poetry by contemplating Twelve Poems at the Academy of American Poets website. Twelve contemporary black poets from across the country chose one poem each that should be read this month and then explain why.
  • Start down the path to social justice by learning about the critically important concept of white privilege. I’m learning a lot from Waking up White, by Debby Irving, while next up on my reading list is the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me, by West Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates. 
  • Learn about the separate but unequal legacy of Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education by reading Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools.

Knowledge is power and it’s also cathartic. We welcome your suggestions about other ways to learn about black history or the crisis in black education. Leave a reply or comment below, or email us at bhbeditor@gmail.com.

Traffic Survey Needs Your Input

Many thanks to those of you who have helped MRIA’s Traffic Committee promote pedestrian and motorist safety in Bolton Hill by providing input through their online survey. If you haven’t yet taken the survey, it’s not too late!

Follow this link to complete the four-page survey.

Your responses will help MRIA prioritize safety initiatives and provide vitally important observations to support requests for traffic studies at problem intersections throughout Bolton Hill.

There is strength in numbers, so please help out.

If you’d like to get involved with the MRIA Traffic Committee, please contact Steven Skerritt-Davis, swdavis80@gmail.com.

Time to Renew Parking Permits

All current residential parking permits will expire March 31. You may renew and pay for your permits online at the Parking Authority website beginning February 20. Residents who are new to an RPP area must apply for permits in person. More information about residential parking permits is available here.

Permits and visitors passes are $20 each.

Purchase your permits online at least three days before you plan to pick up. Bolton Hill has scheduled two Neighborhood Pickup Days, Saturday, March 18, from 8 am to 12 noon, and Saturday, March 25, from 8 am to 1:30 pm, at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and Park Ave. Enter at the Lafayette St. door.

You can also obtain your permits at the Parking Authority Office, 200 W. Lombard Street, Suite B, 21201. Office hours are 8 am–5 pm, Monday through Friday. Plus, the office will be open for one Saturday, March 18 from 9 am to 1 pm, and open late one night, Thursday, March 30 until 8 pm.

TIP: you can park for free at the Arena Garage (entrance at 99 S. Howard St.) with validation from the Parking Authority Office.

In addition to credit cards, the Parking Authority also accepts checks and money orders made out to the Director of Finance. Cash is not accepted. Whether at a Neighborhood Pickup or at the Parking Authority Office, you will need to present current documentation when picking up your permits. These documents include your current Maryland Vehicle Registration with an Area 3 address, plus one of the following that shows an Area 3 address:

  • Current driver’s license
  • Proof of residency, such as a current lease signed by all parties that is not month-to-month.
  • Proof of home ownership (settlement papers)
  • Utility bill in your name that is at least 30 days old
  • Official State ID card

If your vehicle is registered out of state, you must register your vehicle in Maryland before being permitted to purchase a parking decal, unless you are a full-time student or a member of the military.

Out-of-state students and military must purchase a Non-Resident Permit from the MVA and present it at pick-up for the decal to be released.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Parking Authority at rpp@bcparking.com or 443-573-2800, extensions 863, 845, or 851. You may also contact your Area 3 representative, Patsy Andrews, by email at pandrewsmd@yahoo.com.

When you pick up your passes, give a big thanks to Patsy, who has organized our convenient neighborhood pickup for many years.

The Commuter Chronicles #3: The Ca-cough-ony

Day in and day out, more than 30,000 people make the daily trek from Maryland to Washington DC, traveling 4-6 hours per day just to be able to call Charm City home. These are their stories.

by Claudia DeCarlo

cacophony   ca • coph • o • ny   /ke kafene/  

n. a hard, discordant mixture of sounds. “a cacophony of deafening alarm bells”

syn. disharmony, noise, clamor, discord, dissonance, uproar.

I’ve got my own version of cacophony on the MARC train in winter: The Ca-COUGH-ony.

It starts with one cough. The woman in front of me. Loud. Abrupt. Intrusive. Unapologetic. It rouses me from my numb, MARC-train-number-507-5:50am-departure-sleepy state of being.

A slight pause, then the soft sniffle of the person next to me. Innocent. Needy. Sickly. Sorrowful.

Then suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, the ca-cough-ony begins. It seems that everyone is coughing, sniffling or sneezing at the same time. Long raspy coughs, short repetitive coughs, sneezes that end in whoo-hoo and ones that sound like a boar snorting in the wild. Combination coughs: Cough-sniffle-cough or cough-cough-sniffle—that come in regular 15-second beats like a broken record.

I become focused on the sounds and can’t escape them. I left my headphones at home. Again. How I wish I could crank up the iPod and drown out these sounds! But after some time, I start to hear, or imagine that I hear, patterns in these discordant sounds. Could it be that these sounds are weaving into an arrangement? Not so much a ca-cough-ony as a symphony of sickly, sniffly, sneezy sounds? Is Old Man Winter at the head of this train car waving some invisible baton trying to wrangle the sounds into some sort of music?

If he is, it’s more like a third grade band recital than the BSO.

Alas. No. It’s nothing like that. It’s just my imagination—and the steadfast, hardworking gaggle of commuters who travel the MARC train daily, even when they’re sick, to get to work.

Here’s to more music and less coughing in 2017!

Samaritan Community Welcomes New Co-Program Director

After more than 20 years as a successful attorney, Linda Boyd, Samaritan Community’s new Co-Program Director, felt she wanted to do something else in her life.

Linda knew what that “something else” was. She had volunteered at many local organizations over the years, including Samaritan Community, and knew that she simply wanted to help people. That desire led her to be ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church.

When she first started volunteering at Samaritan as part of her social ministry training, Linda worked directly with Samaritan Community members. And she was immediately excited about what she experienced. 

“I had never been part of such a dynamic group before,” she said. “Members are well served in a dignified, respectful manner. The feeling is more like a team effort of all those involved, rather than one group of people being served by another.”

Linda started in her new position this past fall. She is involved in all aspects of Samaritan’s work. She works closely with programming staff to facilitate individual and group empowerment counseling, crisis intervention, and case management. She also creates educational and inspirational activities for support groups and helps oversee a team of more than 45 volunteers.

“She knows us, understands who we are, and has the right knowledge and experience for the job. And with her kindness, patience, and deep desire to help others, this is a really great fit for us,” says Sharon Krieger, Program Director at Samaritan Community.

For more information, visit the Samaritan Community website, and like their Facebook page.

Bolton Hill Nursery Seeks Applications for Festival Grants

Dancing in the rain to Mambo Combo.

In spite of the rainy weather that met last fall’s Festival on the Hill the festival made a profit.

Festival funds are shared between the main organizer, Bolton Hill Nursery, and special projects that benefit the Bolton Hill neighborhood. In preparation for distributing the Festival’s proceeds to worthy projects, the Nursery is now seeking grant applications.

Any nonprofit that serves the 21217 zip code is invited to apply for a grant by the application deadline, March 10. Grants are awarded to special projects that either wouldn’t happen at all or would be greatly diminished without the funds. Grants are awarded May 1; the maximum award is $1,000.

Grant application information and further details are available on the Bolton Hill Nursery site.

Past recipients include Corpus Christi Church, Dance Happens, Mt. Royal PTO, the Mt. Royal School Garden, the Memorial Episcopal Rectory Teaching garden, Samaritan Community, Rutter Mill Park Association, Midtown Academy, and the Brown Memorial Tutoring program.

Pamper Yourself at the New Bolton Hill Salon

The beautiful new Bolton Hill Salon just opened on the first floor of the recently renovated Linden Park Apartments (301 McMechen Street.)

Floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with warm natural light. “The salon is absolutely gorgeous,” said manager Lisa Gerhardt. 

Open to the public, the salon offers top quality services for women and men, including cuts and sets, haircuts, perms, hair coloring, highlights, relaxers, facial waxing, manicures and pedicures. Their store also stocks a fine selection of quality hair and nail care products.

Stylist Michael Brian Richardson, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, brings more than 30 years of experience to Bolton Hill Salon. Lisa tells us that Michael is an expert on traditional styles, as well as keeping abreast on all the latest techniques and trends in hair and fashion. Utilizing his background in art and jewelry design, Michael creates customized color and precision haircuts and styles that will make you look and feel great.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 410-575-3540, or visit their website

Mention that you read about the Salon in the Bolton Hill Bulletin and get 20% off your first visit.

Meet Joe Palumbo, CPA

Each month, “Meet Our Sponsors” highlights one or two of the businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the Bulletin. We hope this will help readers learn more about the neighborhood, as well as encourage them to support the people who make this newsletter possible. See the list of our sponsors here.

Joe’s favorite destination – Hawaii

Not all CPA offices are boring. In fact, the welcoming, cozy feel of Joe Palumbo’s office at 1500 Bolton Street makes clients think they’re in a friend’s home. Talking taxes becomes just a bit less, well, taxing here.

Sitting in the comfortable armchairs in his front office, you can’t help but take in the floor-to-ceiling wall of Joe’s photos, taken on his wide-ranging trips.

“When I’m not crunching numbers, I love to travel,” says Joe. By his count, he’s traveled to 45 states and 13 countries. “I guess Hawaii’s my favorite place,” he says, “because of the wonderful scenery and the laid-back attitude. But Iceland and Costa Rica rank right up there.”

Joe’s love of travel happily meshes with his other passion, running, He has run marathons in Berlin, New York, Chicago and Boston. Last year in Washington D.C., he completed his 15th and final marathon, and now plans to run just for fun and exercise.

As a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, Joe has been preparing tax returns since 2000. When his then-employer retired in 2003, Joe bought the Glen Burnie business, which became (and still is) his first office.

However, as a longtime resident of Bolton Hill, he always had his eye on the 1500 Bolton Street space, thinking it would make the perfect second office. In 2013, he happened to inquire about its availability just as its occupants were giving up the space. Perfect timing! Joe was moving in within a month.

Besides Joe, the office staff includes administrative assistants Kim Scaglione, in the Bolton Hill office, and Jodi Vanderford in Glen Burnie, as well as accountant Matt Horton. Matt and Joe split their time between both offices.

The firm’s star greeter is Duffy, Joe’s black lab, who goes to work with him every day. Duffy turns 11 on St Patrick’s Day, so be sure to stop by to wish her happy birthday. Or come say hello to Kim, or grab a treat from the office candy jar. While there, why not make an appointment to talk with Joe about your 2016 taxes? Now’s the time, after all.

Joseph J. Palumbo CPA, 1500 Bolton Street, Baltimore or 323 Crain Hwy. S.E., Glen Burnie, 410-412-3321 or 410-761-2664, joe@joepalumbocpa.com

“Getting Involved” – Got Photos?

Group from Memorial Episcopal marching in MLK Day Parade

Judging by the photos on Facebook, a lot of neighbors got involved in January.

We had big events, like the MLK Day Parade, the Women’s March on Washington, and the protest on immigration rights at BWI.

Plus, many others are regularly involved with lower key projects that fly under the radar – volunteering as a tutor or mentor, helping at a shelter or cleaning up a park. 

So, for a photo essay in the March Bulletin, please send us your best shots on the theme, Getting Involved.

We encourage photos of the above events, as well as anything else, from polar bear plunges to selling cookies for your school.

Let’s show each other what we’re made of. There lies inspiration.

Send JPG photos to bhbeditormail@gmail.com – DEADLINE: Monday, February 20

February Events

Here’s a brief overview of some of the local happenings in February.

Go to the Bulletin Calendar for details and additional events. Just click on an event to see more information.

February 1 – Town Hall Meeting on Safety, organized by MRIA and MICA with city officials

February 4 & 5 – Souper Bowl at Corpus Christi

February 5 – Social Action Task Force meeting, come help throw the next Party with a Purpose on Feb. 26

February 6 – the Baltimore Premiere of Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer, at MICA

February 7 – MRIA Board Meeting; everyone is welcome to attend.

February 11 – Circle of Voices and the West Coalition

February 12 – Mt. Vernon Marketplace Fundraiser for Bolton Hill Nursery

February 17 – Movie at MICA: Lom Nava Love, the unflinching story of Black families in Baltimore

February 17 – Live and Learn: The Immigrant Experience, a fundraiser to benefit Strong City Baltimore

February 22 – Gallery Walk & Talk with Sandy Christenberry, in conjunction with MICA’s exhibit on the works of William Christenberry, Laying By Time

February 23 – Movie at MICA: Welcome to Leith 

February 26 – Social Justice Coffeehouse at Corpus Christi, with special guests Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham of Viva House

February 26 – Black History Party with a Purpose, organized by MRIA’s Social Action Task Force

February 27 – Laying by Time, Panel Discussion, in conjunction with the current MICA exhibit of William Christenberry’s work