New Neighbor Party a Hit

New Neighbor Party 7On January 31, MRIA hosted a new neighbor party to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood. This annual event introduces new Bolton Hill residents to the MRIA board members and each other, while encouraging them to get involved in the community.

Kristin Smets and Michael Booth graciously opened their grand home to host the festivities, and its ample space was needed to accommodate a crowd of over 70 Bolton Hillers.

Area businesses generously donated welcome gifts, board members provided the food, and the Wine Source came through once again by providing the wine.

A wonderful time was had by all. This tradition is just one more reason that Bolton Hill is a great neighborhood in which to live.

MRIA gratefully thanks all who participated in making this event a big success.

Photos by local photographer (and neighbor) Kellie Welborn.

Update from the Social Action Task Force

Ray Kelly, No Boundaries Coalition
Ray Kelly at the first Party with a Purpose

That’s the new name for the group formerly known as the “Social Justice League.”

Responding to feedback from many, the group decided that “Task Force” better represented their relationship to MRIA.

The Social Action Task Force’s (SATF) mission remains the same: to encourage, facilitate and initiate personal engagement between the Bolton Hill neighborhood and the surrounding 21217 community. They hope that their efforts will act as a catalyst to create a healthy, vibrant, just and safe community for everyone.

The SATF’s first projects have met with great success. On January 29, over 60 neighbors attended the inaugural Party with a Purpose, collecting over $300 in donations for the No Boundaries Coalition (NBC) and about 100 books for Reading Partners’ Take Reading Home program.

Maria Goodson and Alexia Acciani of Reading Partners and Ray Kelly and Rebecca Nagle of NBC addressed the partygoers, explaining the work that they do to improve our community. They also outlined ways that Bolton Hillers can support their organizations’ efforts, both by contributing financially and by volunteering their time.


After the official program, neighbor Jessica Wyatt, who was in the audience, spontaneously addressed the group. Along with one of her students, she introduced attendees to her organization, Thread, which provides focused one-on-one support for underperforming high school students.

Rich and Shereen Zellars generously offered the use of their lovely home, which is currently for sale and furniture free. It was the perfect space to use, considering the size of the crowd.

Every party needs food, but the eats at this one were fantastic, due to the skills of the local two caterers, Black Sauce Kitchen and Dovecote Café. With tasty offerings including both beef and chicken barbecue, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits and a finale of a peach upside-down cake, everyone went away satisfied.

SATF’s future projects include improving the online Community Asset List, sponsoring more Party with a Purpose events, and initiating neighborhood-wide efforts to support organizations that serve the 21217 zip code.

Neighbors who want to get involved are encouraged to attend the next SATF meeting on Sunday, March 6 from 5 to 7 PM at Peter Van Buren’s house, 1500 Bolton Street. (NOTE: Enter from the Mosher Street side.)

All three organizations featured at January’s Party with a Purpose welcome volunteers. Find out more about them at their websites: Reading Partners, No Boundaries Coalition and Thread.

Reminder: Renew Your Parking Permits

Editor’s Note: This is a mostly a copy of the article that ran in the February issue of the Bulletin. However, after personally renewing my permits, I can add two things.

First, the new website is greatly improved over the previous online store. It’s not state-of-the-art, but it is much easier and less prone to glitches, reducing the frustration with this process.

Secondly, we made a mistake in the previous article. In order to ensure that your permit will be available for one of the pick-up days at Brown Memorial, you must complete your purchase online at least three days in advance.

All Current Residential Parking Permits will expire March 31. If renewing, you may do so and pay for your permits online at the Parking Authority website. Residents who are new to an RPP area MUST APPLY FOR PERMITS IN PERSON. Visit here for more information about residential parking permits.

Permits and visitors passes are $20 each.

After purchasing online at least three days BEFORE you plan to pick up, you can collect your permits on our two Neighborhood Pickup Days, Saturday, March 12, & Saturday, March 19, from 8:30–12:30 at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on Lafayette and Park Ave. Enter at the Lafayette St. door.

You can also obtain your permits after March 24 at the Parking Authority Office, 200 W. Lombard Street, Suite B, 21201. Office hours are 8 am–5 pm, Monday through Friday. Plus, if you miss the Saturday dates in the neighborhood, the office will also be open on Saturday, March 26. (Note: 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
  • Any photo ID

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 or 443-573-2800, extensions 863, 845, or 851. You may also contact your Area 3 representative, Patsy Andrews, by email at pandrewsmd [at]

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

Got Photos? Enter the Bulletin’s Photo Contest

Fitzgerald Park, 3/24/2013
Fitzgerald Park, 3/24/2013

A Call from the Editor, Peter Van Buren: 

I have always loved photos—not that I think that’s very special. Most people do.

And, I also like taking them. It’s so satisfying when you capture a good one.

Smartphones have been a boon to my hobby because, though they may not be as good as a “real” camera, the newest ones do a fine job in most conditions. Plus, they are almost always with you.

You’ll never get a great shot if your camera’s in the closet.

I’ll bet I’m not alone, so I’m calling out all neighborhood shutter bugs to enter our first Bulletin Photo Contest. The theme is a pretty easy one: Spring.

The photos need to be taken in Baltimore, preferably in the 21217 zip code, and there is a limit of two entries per person. Photos can be from this year or years past.

Please submit them as JPEG files to the Bulletin Editors at by Wednesday, March 23. The editors will select the best examples for inclusion in April’s Bulletin.

Happy snapping.

Mt. Royal Elementary Needs Funding for Sixth-Grade Trip

At February’s board meeting, Stacy Wells, president of the Mt. Royal Elementary/ Middle School PTO, told MRIA of the school’s funding campaign to support the sixth graders’ week-long spring trip to NorthBay Adventure Camp in Cecil County.

In the wake of school budget cuts, they need to raise the money to cover camp fees, transportation, and scholarships. Their goal is to raise $10,000 by April.

Kids at the NorthBay Adventure Camp.
Kids at the NorthBay Adventure Camp.

The students grow from the experience, learning about environmental science while undertaking challenging activities such as a ropes course and putting on a talent show. The camp also uses multimedia to connect environmental issues with the students’ own lives.


Seventh graders who attended the camp last year have taken up the cause to raise money for their sixth-grade classmates. They wrote a fundraising letter to businesses, which Stacy read aloud.

Individuals and organizations are welcome to donate. All donations are tax-deductible. Checks can be made out to the Mount Royal PTO and can be dropped off at the school or at 1219 John St.

MRIA Vice-President Michael Marcus motioned for the finance committee to discuss how MRIA should respond to this fundraising request and make a recommendation to the MRIA Board in March.

Stories from Samaritan Community: A Beautiful Collaboration with MICA

Samaritan and MICA projectStudents from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) spent some time at the Bolton Hill non-profit organization, The Samaritan Community, to capture the non-profit’s work and the stories of its members and turn them into art.

Sharon Krieger, executive director of The Samaritan Community, praised the students for creating beautiful images that help explain the organization’s activities, the people it serves, and the people who support it. “This is art that helps move our mission,” she said.

Read more & see other photos from “Stories from Samaritan Community.”

And here are details about volunteering to be part of The Samaritan Community.

Local Establishments Featured in the Sun

b Bistro
Dining al fresco at b.

In case you missed it, the February 21 issue of the Baltimore Sun had a couple of excellent articles about neighborhood enterprises.

In the Arts & Entertainment section, our very local b, a Bolton Hill Bistro, received a rave review from restaurant critic Suzanne Loudermilk. Congratulations to their new chef William Weaver and all the staff at b.

And in the real estate section, there was a great article about the Station North Tool Library. They lend tools instead of books. Plus, they have a fully equipped workshop that members can use, and even hold classes to teach people how to use all these tools properly.

Seems like a great resource to keep in mind If you like to do projects around the house. The Tool Library is located on the other side of the Penn Station at 417 E. Oliver Street.

You can also visit their websites: b, A Bolton Hill Bistro and Station North Tool Library.

Clean Up Waterways and Earn Credits on Your Water Bill

Did you know you can lower your water bill while spending time in the great outdoors?

Under a creative new Baltimore Public Works program, volunteers can earn stormwater credits by working on projects that benefit Baltimore waterways. Eligible projects include cleanups that remove trash and invasive plants from our parks.

Water bill with stormwater fee
Water bill with stormwater fee.

Mark Cameron of the Department of Public Works and Mary Hardcastle of Recreation & Parks have been working to provide park volunteers with the information they need to lead cleanup projects. By completing these projects, volunteers can earn credits toward their water bill – up to $30 per year.

See this how-to guide that explains the fairly simple process for getting a project started.

As the weather gets warmer, spending a day in the park to reduce your water bill sounds too good to pass up. Plus, you will be caring for city parks and helping the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


Dusk-to-Dawn Light Bulbs Make Our Streets Safer

Dawn-to-Dusk lightAfter the recent MRIA inventory of lighting in our neighborhood’s streets and alleys, the volunteers who conducted the survey noted that a number of houses had front door lights that were not turned on.

Brightly lit streets and sidewalks help make the neighborhood safer. The MRIA Lighting Committee encourages everyone to keep their outdoor lights on at night.

And they suggest an automatic and energy efficient way to do this: replace your unlit outdoor lights with dusk-to-dawn light bulbs.

These bulbs automatically turn themselves on at dusk and off again at dawn, so you can simply leave the light switch turned on all the time. The bulbs are also energy efficient and long-lasting.

TIP: Take your old bulb with you when you go to the store to buy the dusk-to-dawn replacement to make sure you get the correct size.

Let’s Take Care of Our Trees

Trimming TreesBolton Hill’s trees make the neighborhood a great place to live, but trees can’t take care of themselves. And it turns out, March is great tree-trimming weather.

Certified TreeKeepers David Nyweide and Sarah Lord are ready to lead a band of Bolton Hillers in branch trimming. Prune the tree in front of your house, or all the trees on your block.

Proper trimming promotes healthy growth for our street trees, and trimming branches selectively can ensure that street lights are not obscured.

To volunteer, contact Sarah Lord at fennofarm [at]

Save the Date for the Boundary Block Party: Sat. April 16

The No Boundaries Coalition and Jubilee Arts are hosting this year’s Boundary Block Party on the day that early voting begins, Saturday, April 16 from 1–4 pm at the Upton Triangle at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Presstman Street.

Volunteers are needed on Friday for setup and to make banners for the voting shuttles, and on Saturday to set up, serve food, staff art tables, provide support at the Resource Fair, manage the bathrooms, and clean up.

The big job is COOKING. Do you or someone you know have experience in cooking for large quantities of people? We need people to cook up 1,000 hamburgers and hot dogs!

The party also needs shuttle bus coordinators to ride with people to and from the early polling stations and ensure that everyone who gets on a bus returns on the bus.

Please contact David Nyweide at if you’re interested in helping to plan the event or if you would like to register people to vote.

But, most of all, mark the Boundary Block Party on your calendar and plan to come on out and celebrate community across neighborhoods with music, food and fun!

Ragtime, The Musical Hits the Boards in April

Ragtime for webRehearsals are in full swing for Memorial Players’ spring musical, Ragtime, based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow—who just passed away last year—and presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International.

This musical sings of the American Dream, full of love, hope, possibilities, adventure, friendship, despair and redemption.

The cast of just over 50 comes from across the Baltimore region, with seasoned actors who have returned year after year and many new faces.

Though this is Director Bill Kamberger’s first production with Memorial Players, he is well known in the theater community. He was named Baltimore’s Best Stage Director by the City Paper in 2003, and by Baltimore Broadway World in 2015.

The show opens on April 15th at 7:30 pm, when the Players will transform Memorial Episcopal Church into New Rochelle, Harlem, and the Lower East Side at the turn into the 20th century. Performances will be held for two weekends, with Friday & Saturday evening shows at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 pm.

Make a night of it by attending one of the pre-show receptions, hosted at a neighborhood home with fine food and drink. It’s a wonderful way to support Memorial Players, and the only way to get reserved seating. Check out Memorial Players’ Facebook page for more information on the show and these receptions.

Make sure to save the date on your calendar and bring your friends for a heart-stopping production of Ragtime.

March Events

SpingHere’s a brief overview of some of the local happenings in March.

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

March 2 – Tri-Church Education Series, “Hospitality in an Age of Terror”; Series continues on March 9 and March 16

March 3 – The first Mayoral Debate at the National Federation of the Blind in South Baltimore

March 5 – Bolton Hill Nursery’s Senior Prom Benefit: Follow the link to get your tickets.

March 11 – Deadline for Festival Grant Applications. Open to any non-profit that serves the 21217 zip code.

March 20 – Neighborhood Palm Sunday Procession

March 22 – Mayoral Debate for the Top Democratic contenders. NOTE: this debate and the next three are all nearby at the University of Baltimore, but no-cost tickets are required and seating is limited. Click on each event to find a link to its ticketing page.

March 22 – Reschedule of the U.S. Senate Republican Debate

March 23 – Mayoral Debate for the Republican contenders

March 25 – Reschedule of the U.S. Senate Democratic debate