MRIA Briefs

Useful information from the last Board Meeting on June 7th:

Neighborhood Safety

Major Russell reported that an officer has been assigned to patrol the neighborhood at night through the summer to provide a visible presence on the street.

From his walks through the neighborhood at night, Officer Evans noted that he has seen many people staring at their cell phones, which places them at risk. Would-be thieves see such staring and the use of white ear buds as cues that people are not paying attention to their surroundings. Jill confirmed that based on her review of police reports, cell phones are often involved in robberies.

Also in response to concerns about neighborhood safety, there are now four regular Citizens on Patrol (COP) walks each week, per the schedule below. The walkers welcome new members anytime, so please consider joining one. Good conversation provided.

  • Monday, 7 am: meet at the northern fountain on Park Avenue
  • Monday, 8 pm: meet in front of Memorial Episcopal Church
  • Wednesday, 7 am: meet at the northern fountain on Park Avenue
  • Thursday, 8:30 pm: meet in front of 1329 Bolton Street.

911 Calls

Scott Brillman, the Acting Director of 911 and Emergency Communications, addressed the group on 911 operations. Since Baltimore uses the same technology as other areas of Maryland, this information offers everyone good guidance.

In Baltimore, there are about 4,000 calls per day, with about 90% of these coming from cell phones. Many calls focus on crime, but there are all kinds of other calls as well as. For instance, if someone is having heart attack or stroke, operators are equipped to provide information to help save lives.

When calling 911, operators first confirm the location address, which is asked twice to double-check, so be patient and respond twice. Calls are normally answered in 3-6 seconds, but sometimes there’s a recording when more calls come in than the operators available, such as when there’s a major accident on the highway.

If you get the recording, please stay on the phone, because if you hang up and call back, you go to the end of the queue.

For city service issues and other non-emergencies, use 311, available from 6 am to 10 pm. However, if you are reporting a suspicious person or situation, use 911. Callers can remain anonymous and ask the operator to delete their identifying info.

Blue PlaqueBlue Plaque Committee

Volunteers are needed for Neal Friedlander’s committee tasked with selecting worthy neighborhood homes to receive a new wave of Blue Plaques. The committee’s selections will then be vetted by University of Baltimore history professor Betsy Nix.

Blue Plaques celebrate and honor past residents who made important contributions to human welfare, history, or cultural and intellectual life. The person honored must be deceased or at least 100 years old. If interested, contact Neal at

New Board Member

Katrina Smith had to resign from the Board. The nominating committee unanimously nominated Ashley Day of the 200 block of Lanvale, who was unanimously approved by the Board.

Boltonstock 2016 a Big Success

Boltonstock 1Success is built piece by piece: a gorgeous summer evening, great music, tasty treats from grill meisters, bakers and brewers, plus a big happy crowd of neighbors. It turns out, this was the perfect formula to make Boltonstock 2016 a huge success.

The evidence is in the many smiles in the slideshow below (photos by Kellie Welborn, Kendra Parlock and José Hernandez). Boltonstock’s organizer Chas Phillips estimated that 325-340 people attended.

According to MRIA Treasurer Barry Blumberg, income from the festival totaled $2,765, which left just under $600 after expenses were covered. In contrast, 2015’s festival did not quite break even. MRIA’s Executive Committee has earmarked this overage to start a “Boltonstock Reserve Fund”, to cover losses should the event ever need to be cancelled due to bad weather.

Chas said, “It was the community’s support that made Boltonstock a success.” He continued, “We’re fortunate to have so many people willing to come together to build community while we enjoy an evening at the park. I’m optimistic about 21217 not because it’s perfect, but because we have so many resources to tackle the problems that we do have. Boltonstock is just one small indicator of that.”

Many people deserve credit and thanks for making the event happen, including:

  • All of the performers: DJ’s Vok2, Caleb Stine & the Brakemen, and the OrchKids;
  • Chris Whisted and the Brewer’s Art for donating beverages;
  • Mary Consugar and the team of volunteers who masterminded the food and beverages;
  • the Social Action Task Force (SATF) for organizing, coordinating, and volunteering at the event;
  • Jess Wyatt and Aften Blackwell for their hard work in inviting and organizing the many community-based organizations who are doing such good work in our neighborhood;
  • Monty Howard for helping with design and printing;
  • Midtown Community Benefits District for providing security;
  • the local financial sponsors, Steve Howard, Michael Booth, Kristine Smets, Michael Marcus, and Peter Van Buren;
  • and most of all, the whole of 21217 for coming out to celebrate our neighborhood, connect with one another, and work toward making this place an even better place to live.

In preparation for Boltonstock, the SATF reached out to about 20 organizations that serve residents in the 21217 area code, inviting them to participate in the event. They were offered a free table at which to showcase their organization’s work and inform residents on how they can support their efforts with time or resources. The organizations that attended were:

“We had a ton of fun at the festival. The youth earned approx $100 from sales of their products (t-shirts and bags), making it one of our best events ever,” noted Kim Loper, Artist-in-Residence at Jubilee Arts.

She went on, “This money goes into a pot that we use to pay their work stipends, so it was a huge contribution to getting them paid. It was also great for them to network with people in the Bolton Hill area. We are so appreciative for the opportunity and hope we can participate again in the future!”

In addition to the community tables, Thread student Tavian Coleman supported Chas Phillips as emcee earlier in the evening. Thread provides under-performing high school students confronting significant barriers outside of the classroom with a family of committed volunteers and increased access to community resources. Learn more and get involved at

For more information on organizations that support the 21217, check out the SATF’s ever growing Community Asset List, listed under the “MRIA” menu tab at the top of the Bolton Hill Bulletin Website.

Organizers are already planning to make Boltonstock 2017 better still!

Rebecca Nagle Wins Sondheim Prize

Monument QuiltCongratulations to Bolton Hill neighbor Rebecca Nagle and the arts group she co-founded, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, for winning this year’s Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. They will receive the $25,000 grand prize, which is awarded each year during Artscape.

They were honored for their creative public art projects, events and internet campaigns, including the Monument Quilt project, which they describe as “a public healing space by and for survivors of rape and abuse.”

The quilt is collects stories from survivors of rape and abuse, and is displayed in public to “create and demand public space to heal,” they write. “The quilt resists the popular and narrow narrative of how sexual violence occurs by telling many stories, not one” and thereby “builds a new culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed.”

This past spring, the Monument Quilt was displayed on North Avenue between Howard and Charles Streets in preparation for a tour of other cities this fall. The goal is to grow the quilt to 6,000 fabric squares so that it will blanket over one mile of the National Mall in Washington, and spell out “Not Alone.”

Well done, Rebecca!

Learn more about FORCE and The Monument Quilt here.

Crab Feast Needs Volunteers

Crabfeast 6MRIA hosts an annual Crab Feast to show our appreciation, to the people who serve our neighborhood, including Baltimore Police and Fire personnel, MICA Security, and Midtown staff. Honorees and neighbors meet for a good time of eating and camaraderie.

The fun happens this year on Tuesday, August 30, from 5–7:30 pm at the Bolton Swim & Tennis Club. Please see the calendar event here for more details.

With the date fast approaching, MRIA needs volunteers to assist with the event. It won’t take much time, and your commitment can be flexible. The shifts available include:

  • 4:00–5:00 pm:  4–5 people to arrive early, help set up tables, and mark crabs for buyers
  • 5:00–7:30 pm:  3–4 people to assist during the feast (monitor the beverage station, serve crabs, monitor dessert/side dish tables, help guests as needed)
  • 4:30–7:30 pm:  3–4 people to grill (hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers) during the feast
  • 7:30–8:00 pm:  5–7 people to assist with cleanup

If you are able to help, please call Jill Kingery at 443- 621-4300 or e-mail at To whet your appetite, we’ve included some images from last year’s feast below.

Bolton Hill Garden Club Awards Grants

A previously funded project.
A previously funded project.

To encourage the beautification of Bolton Hill’s public spaces through gardening, the Bolton Hill Garden Club awards grants each year to residents and neighborhood groups through their Green Space Grants Program.

The club conducts three fundraising activities throughout the year: a spring plant sale, a fall pansy sale, and a holiday greens sale. They then funnel the proceeds from these events back into the neighborhood through their grants program.

This spring, they awarded over $4,000 to 9 different projects throughout the neighborhood, including the planting of flowers, shrubbery, and trees, as well as the maintenance of flower beds. See the 2016 grant winners here.

For more information about the Bolton Hill Garden Club and the Green Space Grants Program, please visit their web site at

Midtown Offers Tree Services

New Street TreeThe Midtown Community Benefits District offers a wide range of services to Bolton Hill. Here are some things they do to help care for street trees and the general upkeep of the neighborhood.

Tree Wells: Midtown staff are responsible for routinely weeding and removing trash or debris from the tree wells along their assigned routes.

Plantings: Midtown staff can assist community groups in their tree planting efforts by picking up trees, ordering tools and picking them up from the ToolBank, ordering mulch and compost from Home Depot, and providing staff and resources when available during planting days.

Watering: Midtown staff will water all newly planted trees for up to two years after being planted. Watering takes place on a daily basis during watering season (May–October).

Pruning: Midtown staff coordinates with community tree stewards to schedule tree pruning events in the neighborhood. For more immediate or emergency pruning, please contact 311.

Tips on pruning and other information on street trees is available on the Baltimore City Forestry Department’s website. Here are a few of their pruning service guidelines:

Who should I call if my tree needs pruning?

Contact 311. Trees, unlike shrubs, only need to be pruned every five to seven years. Be aware that topping is very unhealthy for a tree. Pruning of city trees is usually done in order to elevate the lower limbs high enough so that people can walk on the sidewalk, and to remove limbs so that trucks will not damage them. We also prune away from lights and stop signs.

Rather than being a concern, homeowners benefit when trees grow over their houses because they provide shade to buildings in the summer which can reduce the cost of air conditioning.

What is considered a pruning emergency?

If a tree or portion of a tree is blocking a road or has fallen on private property, such as a car or a house, the Forestry Division will respond immediately.

Trees that are blocking a sidewalk are not considered emergencies, but should be called in to 311. Hanging limbs or dead limbs that have not broken off the tree do not constitute emergencies, but should still be called in to 311 for a pruning request.

For additional information or if you have questions, please contact Midtown Baltimore at 410-528-1512 or


Do Yoga in Bolton Hill

IMG_0963Wouldn’t it be great to be able to take a yoga class in Bolton Hill?

Ask, and ye shall receive! Beginning next month, Memorial Episcopal (1407 Bolton Street) will begin hosting a Baptise-style Power Yoga class most Wednesday evenings at 7 pm on the second floor of the Parish Hall (entrance on Lafayette Street). Classes begin Wednesday, August 3.

Classes will last one hour and be led by our neighbor Virginia Knowlton Marcus. A donation of $10-20 is suggested, but there is no financial barrier to participation. The majority of funds collected will go toward needed painting at Memorial Episcopal.

Also known as Vinyasa Flow, Power Yoga is a physically active style of yoga connecting breath and movement to align body, consciousness and spirit. Some prior yoga experience or good physical condition is recommended for this yoga practice.

Virginia recently competed her 200 Hour certification and is nearing completion of her 300 Hour program. She has been teaching yoga since January 2016 at the Y in Waverly and at Sid Yoga, where she is earning her yoga certifications.

“I initially came to yoga as an injured athlete, and discovered that it helped me become more healthy in every way, beyond the physical,” said Virginia. “I love supporting others in their yoga practice and am excited to be bringing this to Bolton Hill. Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ’to unite’ and this is such a wonderful opportunity to practice together as a community.”

“We are very excited to collaborate in bringing yoga to the Bolton Hill community,” said Monty Howard, junior warden at Memorial Episcopal. “We have the perfect space to offer a yoga class. If the yogis raise enough funds for us to be able to paint our rectory doors, that will be a bonus.”

Any occasional class cancellations will be noted in advance on the Mt. Royal Improvement Association Facebook page. For more information, email

Samaritan Volunteer Needed

Jim Volunteer PhotoSamaritan Community is looking for a reliable volunteer or two to help with their Thursday pickup from Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington.

Volunteers arrive at the market between 10–10:30 am to load donated produce, baked goods and groceries into their car and then bring the food to Samaritan Community’s pantry in the basement of Memorial Episcopal Church.

The only requirements for volunteering are:

  • The ability to reliably make the commitment most weeks, though there are always times when a volunteer can’t make it due to vacations or other conflicts.
  • The ability to lift up to 30 pounds.
  • A car with sufficient room for the donations. SUVs and wagons are ideal, but mid-size sedans are adequate.

Volunteering with a friend often works well, as this makes the work more fun and flexible.

If you have an interest in helping with this important task, please contact Peter Dunn at

Bolton Hill Looking Unkempt

Streetscape 2By Sarah Lord

Gracious, here ’tis: summer in earnest.

With our tree pits, sidewalks and curbs looking this unkempt, we know we’re not going to be Hollywood’s stand-in for Georgetown.

When you have a moment, step out with your trowels, clippers, even Roundup if you must. Our Bolton Hill streetscape needs spiffing up!

TIP: The best time to pull weeds is after a rian when the ground is moist. The roots pull out much easier than when the soil is dry and baked to a brick-like consistency.

And while you’re at it, any time you take timbers or bricks out from around our tree wells and lower the soil level to just below the sidewalk, you are helping the Bay. Without barriers, more stormwater can enter the tree pits, where thirsty roots can suck up more water. This reduces the amount of (not so clean) city runoff washing into the Bay.

Please support tree planting on our sidewalks citywide! And get rid of unsightly messes like these:

What’s Happening, Summer Edition

Here’s a brief overview of some of the local happenings in the rest of July and August. The next Bulletin will be out around September 1 as usual.

For details and additional events, check the Bulletin Calendar—just click on an event to see more information.

July 22: The third Fridays at Brown concert features Rob Tracy on vocals and guitar

July 22, 23 & 24: Baltimore Pride Weekend events, show your support for and pride in our LGBTQ community, including Saturday’s Charles St. Parade at 2 pm, with the Block Party afterward until 10 pm.

July 29: Community Celebration and Mural Tours showcase the eight new murals created this summer by Art @ Work on Pennsylvania Ave.

July 29: The fourth Fridays at Brown concert features Brown Memorial’s own Chancel Choir

August 3: Hymn Sing & Lemonade at Brown Memorial

August 3: Yoga Classes start at Memorial Episcopal and will continue every Wednesday

August 13: A Taste of Jazz @ The Avenue Bakery

August 30: MRIA Crab Feast

September 3: The last installment of A Taste of Jazz @ The Avenue Bakery this summer.

September 6: MRIA Board Meeting

September 10: Community Yard Sale on Park Avenue Medians

September 17: Dancing for a Cause Gala to benefit Jubilee Arts

Get out there and have some fun!