Festival on the Hill 2016 Is Here!

Join the fall fun at the 63rd Annual Festival on the Hill, Saturday, October 8, 11 am to 5 pm.

The Festival will have its usual mix of music (Mambo Combo!), food, entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, and a fun, interactive kids’ area. The takes place on the 1300 block of Bolton Street and the 200 block of Lanvale Street.



The Bolton Hill Nursery has organized the Festival for the past few years, and this year, they’ll offer Festival T-shirts for sale—now made with organic cotton! and a Pie-in-the-Face contest.

Festival goers will be able to buy a bag of pompoms and “vote” for the person they would most like to see get a pie in the face. Choices include a city councilman, a school principal, a new rector and our favorite, a co-editor of a neighborhood newsletter. The “lucky” winner gets to be hit with their pie FIRST, but all the deserving volunteers will be able to delight in having a cream pie mashed on their face.

Remember, ALL the proceeds from the Festival go to support non-profits that serve the 21217 community. See related article on the recipients of last year’s Festival grants here.)

Come join the fun. See you there!

Cameras and Communication: MRIA updates

MRIA focused on two important topics at their first meeting following the summer break, held, as always, on the first Tuesday of the month: security cameras and the new neighborhood communication plan.

security-cameraSecurity Cameras

At September’s Board meeting, the Safety and Security Task Force updated attendees on the Security Camera Initiative. With Jill Kingery recently stepping down from this task force (a big thanks to her for all the hard work), the reins have been picked up by co-chairs Barbie Klik and Richard Dunfee.

To take a proactive stance toward neighborhood security, the Task Force, with the help of neighbor David Scott, conducted an email survey which revealed that at least 60 people in the neighborhood were interested in finding out more about security cameras.

They then researched how individual households could install such cameras to protect their own property and increase security for neighbors. Once installed, cameras can be registered with CitiWatch to provide information to police if a crime occurs nearby.

The Task Force has posted a great deal of valuable information online in a Google Drive folder. If you don’t already have one, you will need a free Google account to access this folder.

The information includes a fact sheet that provides lots of tips for installing a system, including the pros and cons of different types of cameras and professional vs. DIY installation. David noted that some homeowners’ insurance policies provide discounts if security cameras are installed.

The information folder also contains sample proposals from three contractors deemed suitable for installing systems on houses in historic neighborhoods. These installers have agreed to provide a discount to Bolton Hill residents in support of this effort.

David reminded everyone that all exterior projects, including camera installations, should be presented to the Architecture Review Committee for approval before proceeding.

Communications PlanMRIA Communications Plan Including a NEW Website

Under the direction of Second Vice President Linda Rittelmann, MRIA has undertaken a major and much-needed update to all of its communications systems, including email,the Bolton Hill Electronic Network (BHEN), social media and other online resources.

As part of this effort, all communications to MRIA members and BHEN have been consolidated onto the same platform, providing an easier, more secure and more stable tool for these important messages.

The next step is to build a new website to replace BoltonHill.org, which was state-of-the-art at one time, but is now in desperate need of an overhaul. With Executive Committee backing and Board approval at September’s meeting, work is underway to identify a professional website designer to build the new site. A budget of up to $5,000 was approved for this project, and an RFP has been circulated.

It is hoped that the new website will be live in early winter 2017.

If you know a web designer to recommend, or if you yourself would be interested in bidding on this work, please email Linda at Linda.Rittelmann [at] gmail.com.

As part of these changes, the Bulletin Board and Home Improvement Directory are no longer available. The new, improved website will resurrect the Home Improvement Resource Directory in a new format to allow crowd sourced input and recommendations.

However, the Bulletin Board communications are being replaced by the MRIA Facebook page and with NextDoor, a private, web-based bulletin board that provides the same functionality as the Bolton Hill Bulletin Board did, but with more features. Both services are free.

Next Meeting & More

The next MRIA Board Meeting will be on Tuesday, October 4 at 8 pm in Farnham Hall at Memorial Episcopal Church. Socializing and light refreshments start at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend.

This issue of the Bulletin also details two other items mentioned at MRIA’s September’s meeting:

It’s Hideous: Memorial Episcopal Gala 2016

GalaPoster20160902Since this year’s 82nd annual fundraiser for Memorial Episcopal Church falls on Halloween weekend, the organizing committee, chaired by Monty Howard, decided they just had to go to the dark side. (Cue screams and howls.)

Come in your most macabre, ghostliest garb to the Halloween Gala, to be held Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6-9 pm in Memorial Episcopal’s old Farnham Hall.

To make their descent to the dark side complete, the church has created unique pricing for the gala: church members will pay $65 per person, while neighbors & friends pay only $35/person. They call this policy “radical hospitality.

The church wants to reciprocate the hospitality the whole neighborhood has shown their new rector, the Rev. Grey Maggiano and his family, who are comfortably settling in after their move from Miami,

The church is collaborating with the MRIA’s Social Action Task Force to make the Gala a Party with a Purpose. Actually, it’s the second half of the day’s Parties with a Purpose, following the Ugly Pumpikn Halloween Fest in the afternoon. A portion of the proceeds from both events will be shared with four local non-profits, Jubilee Arts, Wide Angle Youth Media, Child First and Kappa League’s Guide Right mentors program.

While dining on fabulous fare from Michael & Steve of Culinary Creations, guests will enjoy Memorial Players’ own Greg Satorie-Robinson tinkling the ivories and singing lovely, or perhaps ghoulish, tunes. Representatives from neighborhood non-profits, including Rebecca Nagle and Ray Kelly of the No Boundaries Coalition, will be on hand to discuss their work in the neighborhood.

As always, silent and live auctions will feature fantastic treasures, getaways, and meals at lovely local homes. But event sponsors are expanding this year’s catalog to include paintings and prints by the talented youth from Jubilee Arts, as well as other refreshing new finds.

Please come in your most elegant funereal vestments. With luck—and prayers—you’ll pass through to the other side unscathed. But the event organizers warn you to BEWARE!

It’s a pity that old Farnham Hall only fits 120 people, because this is the social event of the season. Be sure to get your tickets NOW by purchasing online here – while they last.

For more information, call 410-243-2902.

Ugly Pumpkin Halloween Fest Oct. 29

On Saturday October 29 from 1-3 pm, everyone—especially kids from 1 to 92—is invited to the Ugly Pumpkin Halloween Fest, organized by MRIA’s Social Task Force (SATF), in collaboration with several area organizations. Service fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi has generously offered to host the event at their Youth and Community Center, 1207 Eutaw Place.

There will be face painting & tattoos, a costume swap & parade, music, CANDY, and of course, pumpkin decorating. Best of all, everything is free, including the pumpkins!

Why an Ugly Pumpkin party? Because local pumpkin farms are donating the ones that they weren’t able to sell elsewhere to the party for beautification.

Give a little love to an ugly pumpkin.

This afternoon “kids'” party is the first half of SATF’s fall Party with a Purpose program. In the evening, adults are invited to attend Memorial Episcopal’s Gala 2016 (see details here), which is sure to be the most hideous event of the fall season.

And, as these are Parties with a Purpose, the SATF selected several non-profit youth groups that serve the 21217 area as beneficiaries for the day. All four organizations will receive a portion of the proceeds from these Halloween festivities as a donation. Everybody wins.

For these events, the SATF selected Jubilee Arts, Wide Angle Youth Media, Child First, and the Kappa League Guide Right Program. Representatives from these groups will be on hand to talk with you about their programs. The party provides a great way to find out about their work and how you can support it.

Donations are needed to make the events successful. If you’d like to help out, bring your supplies to the SATF booth at the Festival on the Hill. They’ll be approximately in front of 1331 Bolton St., next to the MRIA booth.

Donations can also be dropped off in the vestibule of 1309 Bolton Street, both before and after the Festival. Of course you are also welcome to bring donations to the event itself, especially money to share with our non-profit partners.

They can use all of the following:

  • gently-used Halloween costumes
  • old sheets or clothes that can be used to make costumes
  • pumpkin-decorating supplies, such as stickers, markers, pipe cleaners, and glue (no knives or cutting will be involved)
  • decorations
  • and money for all the things that aren’t donated.

If you are interested in volunteering for the event, please email the SATF at SATF@boltonhill.org.

Something Old to Build Something New—a New Neighbor Story

By Claudia Decarlo

My daughter and I had been working with a real estate agent for several months. We must have looked at two or three dozen homes, liking some, not liking others. But as soon as we turned the corner onto the 1600 block of Bolton Street for the first time, we started to feel a connection. First, to the neighborhood.

We came very early, because I figured we’d never find parking. But we found a spot right away. I commute to DC, and I was surprised to find this picturesque tree-lined street, quiet and peaceful, within walking distance to Penn Station.

Are there really neighborhoods like this in Baltimore?

We moved to Bolton Hill to plant roots for our family. Well, we certainly have roots now!
We moved to Bolton Hill to plant roots for our family. Well, we certainly have roots now!

We climbed the steps up to the tall front doors, a bit faded, a bit weathered. We turned the knob, a little loose from age or overuse or both. Exchanging nervous but excited glances with each other, we crossed the threshold, and never looked back.

Every room offers something new, a different storyline, a curious surprise and plot twist.

Walking through the house was like reading a book you’ve never even heard of before and being unable to put it down. Every room offered something new, a different storyline, a curious surprise, a plot twist. In fact, if this home was a book, we had to read it twice, since we literally had to walk through it a second time to take it all in.

The vintage drinking glasses on the piano bar, the dark wood trim throughout. The dining room took my breath away. The crooked stairs going up to the second level. My head said, Note to self: Ask the seller’s agent about this. My heart said, I wonder how many children have run up and down these stairs over the past hundred years?

I wonder how many children have run up and down these stairs over the years.
I wonder how many children have run up and down these stairs over the years.

Upstairs we instantly knew exactly where things would go. We are both avid readers, so you can imagine how excited we were about having room to build a library. Back downstairs, we got temporarily lost trying to find the kitchen. When we learned the kitchen was in the basement, we looked at each other, speechless.

Really? Can we deal with the kitchen in the basement?

Skippy found the best view in the house.
Skippy found the best view in the house.

We climbed downstairs and walked around, excitement continuing to build. My daughter said to me, “We’re keeping the kitchen in the basement.”

We’re keeping this house.

“But this house needs so much work,” I protested. She responded, “No Mom. It needs so much love.” She’s an old soul. She was right.

People say, “Wow, great house! You must be really handy!” I am not. Or, “Wow, you must have a big family!” I do not. It probably makes no sense that I bought this house, but I really want to go on a journey with this house—perhaps since I am on my own journey after what has been a particularly challenging year for me, personally. I see the renovation process as a great responsibility. I want to make this house our home, but in such a way that respects its past and builds upon it without trying to re-write it, just like I am doing in my own life.

Sometimes it takes something old to build something new.

Samaritan Toilet Paper Drive at Festival

samaritan-community-at-festivalAt Festival on the Hill on Saturday, October 8, Samaritan Community will be holding a toilet paper drive to help clients with one of their greatest necessities.

This bathroom staple is one of the most requested items at Samaritan Community’s food pantry. So please bring a roll or an entire package (pre-packaged, please) to the Samaritan Community table. Then, stay and purchase a delicious treat and hot coffee (all proceeds benefit Samaritan Community).

While you’re visiting the booth, listen to Bolton Hill champion Monty Howard inform visitors about all the ways that Samaritan Community improve the lives of neighbors facing tremendous challenges.

A proud part of the Bolton Hill community since their founding, the Samaritans are looking to the neighborhood to help other neighbors. Together, we can make a big difference! For more information, visit the Samaritan Community website or call 443-438-9286.

Privette Sentenced Sept. 21

The sentencing hearing in the state’s case against Michael Privette, convicted of multiple sexual assaults, including in Bolton Hill, took place on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Privette pleaded guilty to four instances of sexual assault and was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with all but 40 years suspended.

Six women and three men from Bolton Hill attended the hearing in support of the victims. A community victim impact statement was written on behalf of the neighborhood and submitted to Assistant State’s Attorney Trey Perkins, who read the statement before Judge Wanda K. Heard.

The hearing closed this case just a year after the Bolton Hill crimes occurred. For more on the hearing and the cases involved, please see the full Sun article.

Vote Yes on Ballot Question I on November 8

by Councilman Eric T. Costello

Through audit reform, our City government has a unique opportunity to further reduce property taxes and improve the quality and scope of City services. That’s why I’m asking you to support Ballot Question I when you go to the election booth in November.

Before joining the City Council, I was an auditor with the US Government Accountability Office. This experience gave me a deep appreciation for effective performance and financial auditing.

For the past year and a half, I have worked with the Mayor, City Council, and Comptroller to reform what was known as Quadrennial Audits, a deeply flawed auditing approach that had been watered down through the political process.

The new proposed auditing process ensures that the administration and City agencies are held accountable to the taxpayers. We are accomplishing this change through an amendment to the City’s charter, which received approval by the City Council and mayor.

For final approval, citizens need to vote in November on this proposed measure, listed as Ballot Question I. I encourage you to vote “yes” on Ballot Question I.

Specifically, the bill will:

  1. Transfer responsibility from the Director of Finance to the Department of Audits (City Auditor) to remove a conflict of interest.
  2. Increase the frequency of both performance and financial audits from four years to every two years.
  3. Provide for staggered audits, so that half of the agencies are audited in odd-numbered calendar years, the other half in even-numbered years.
  4. Add three critical agencies to be audited: the Department of Health, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and the Mayor’s Office of Human Services.
  5. Provide funding through the Comptroller’s annual budget request, based on negotiated agreement between City administration and the Comptroller’s office.
  6. Ensure the audits are completed by the City’s Department of Audits, not by outsourced consultants.
  7. Publish audit reports online.
  8. Require the City Auditor to report on the status of Recommendations for Executive Action from the immediate past audit for each agency.
  9. Establish the Biennial Audits Oversight Commission (BAOC), which will be controlled by the City Council and comprised of the City Council president, three City Council members, the Comptroller, Director of Finance, and Inspector General. The BAOC will hold at least two publicly advertised meetings per year and will provide input and guidance to the City Auditor on the scope of performance audits.
  10. Require reporting by the City Auditor to the BAOC on the status of all audits and a public discussion of agency corrective actions to address Recommendations for Executive Action.
  11. Take effect in January 2017.

These measures will not increase taxpayer costs for what the City is currently paying to conduct these audits. That may be the best reason to vote YES for Ballot Question 1!

Tune Up for Spring Musical Auditions

The Memorial Players are holding auditions in October for their spring musical, The Secret Garden, based on the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Auditions take place at Farnham Hall at Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St. (Lafayette Ave. entrance) the weekend of Oct. 14-16.

secretgarden-smDirector Bill Kamberger and producer Paul Seaton have plans for a big cast, including a “Chorus of Dreamers” of nearly a dozen male and female voices. There are parts for everyone ranging from age 10 to, well, as old as you like! with needs for every decade in between.

Auditioners should prepare a song excerpt, 1-2 minutes long, preferably from a Broadway show. You will be asked to read from a director-selected scene and to do some basic movement.

Children over the age of 8 are welcome. A parent/guardian or responsible adult must accompany children under 13 at all rehearsals and performances. If you’ve got a theatrical child, why not audition alongside? Make the spring musical a full family opportunity.

The spring production of The Secret Garden has book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon. Performances will be held at Memorial Episcopal Church the weekends of May 5-7 and 12-14.


  • Friday, October 14: 7-9 PM
  • Saturday, October 15: 10AM-1PM and 2-5PM
  • Sunday, October 16: 1:30-4:30 PM

Contact director Bill Kamberger at William.kamberger [at] maryland.gov or
oroducer Paul Seaton seaton.p [at] gmail.com with any questions. For more information, visit the Memorial Players website or follow the Players on Facebook.

Youth Snow Program Available: Register by Oct. 31

baltimore-snowIt’s just starting to feel like fall, but winter will be here before we know it. If you’re a senior or disabled, you may be worrying already about what to do when the snow comes.

The Department of Transportation is coming to the rescue once again. They are launching its Youth Snow Program again this year to benefit senior citizens and the disabled with removing snow from their public right-of-ways in city communities.

This new initiative will link student workers between the ages of 14-21 with senior citizens who need assistance in clearing snow from their public sidewalks. City residents who are 65 and older and incapable of removing snow on their own, or are legally disabled are eligible for the program.

Residents enrolled in the program will be matched with a city student who will shovel their public right-of-ways after a snow storm when schools are either cancelled or closed. Residents will get their public sidewalks cleared and students will receive a stipend for their work.

Residents and students who are interested in this program must register before October 31, 2016 in order to be considered. Applications for both seniors and students can be obtained online here or by calling 311. Student workers may also email Jobs.trans@baltimorecity.gov. Registration forms will NOT be accepted after the October 31st deadline.

Two Exhibits Feature MICA Faculty

Rusted Eyes
Rusted Eyes

MICA’s Faculty Exhibition
takes place September 23 through October 16 in the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries, Pinkard Gallery, and The Gateway galleries at MICA, highlighting their diversity in content, medium, and style.

The Rusted Eyes exhibition follows suit from October 21 through November 13 in the Pinkard Gallery, featuring a group of photographs by MICA faculty member Dan Meyers reflecting “personal encounters with the unremarkable.”

Take a Class this Fall at Jubilee Arts

jubilee-artsJubilee Arts offers classes in many creative areas for everyone age six to seniors, right at their center located at 1947 Pennsylvania Ave. This fall’s offerings include writing & magazine design, drawing, clay, fashion, and a variety of dance styles, from ballet to step dancing.

There are even two offerings the whole family can attend: African Dance for all ages on Wednesdays 6–7:30 pm, and Family Clay on Saturdays 10 am–12 pm. Click here for a complete class schedule.

Classes start the week of October 3 and run through December 9. All youth classes are $3/class or $30 for the full 10-week session, while adult classes are $6/class or $60 for the full 10-week session.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot by completing a registration form before the class start date. Please note that attendance in each class is required. More than two unexcused absences will jeopardize your spot in the class.

Doors Open Baltimore

motor-houseHave you been wanting to visit the Duchess of Windsor Museum on Biddle Street? Do you know what amazing things are going on at Motor House on North Avenue? Want to learn more about Baltimore’s arabbers and see their stables?

These sites and many more will be open for you to explore on Saturday, October 22 from 10 am to 4 pm during Doors Open Baltimore.

In this year’s event, the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, in partnership with AIA Baltimore, has arranged for over 60 special sites to be open and FREE to all attendees. Doors Open Baltimore gives city residents and visitors to the city alike a chance to see inside buildings that are not always open to the public and learn more about Baltimore’s history.

In addition to opening the doors to over 60 buildings around the city, Doors Open Baltimore is sponsoring dozens of special events throughout the day. Walking tours, architect-guided building tours, and behind-the-scenes tours are just a few of the special events scheduled.

doors-open-baltimoreYou can participate in this self-guided event on foot or bicycle, use public transit, or drive a car.  Everything including the special events are free, but some require advance registration. Check out the Doors Open Baltimore website for information on the sites that will be open and to register for special events. You can also find Doors Open Baltimore on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You can also participate by volunteering for part of the day. Volunteers are posted at all the sites and you do not need to know a thing about Baltimore history or architecture to help out. Just be excited to show off some wonderful Baltimore buildings.

Sign up for a morning or afternoon shift, and then use the other half of your day to go off on your own. A good time is guaranteed for one and all.

Visit their volunteer site to sign up.

ADDITION: The Bulletin Editors asked neighbor and Baltimore Heritage Director Johns Hopkins for his picks to help us focus our time this Saturday. Here’s his response:

“There are, literally, more fantastic historic places open on this year’s Door Open Baltimore tour than you could possibly visit in a day. So with the impossible task of picking just a few, if you want a few surprises, you might try to get to a couple of the following. That is, in addition to the bus tour that Baltimore Heritage is sponsoring with the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and the American Institute of Architects!

10 Light Street – Arguably Baltimore’s greatest Art Deco building and seeing the grand banking hall will be worth it.

Arabber Preservation Society – A glimpse into the stables and tradition of this Baltimore institution.

Baltimore Immigration Museum – Newly opened and showcasing Locust Point, one of the busiest ports of entry for immigrants in 19th century America, many of us have family who came through here.

Baltimore Society of Model Engineers – The granddaddy of model train sets for generations tucked into a second floor space on Saratoga Street.

Clifton Mansion – If you haven’t been to the summer home of Johns Hopkins the philanthropist in a while, it’s a whole new place.

Davidge Hall – The oldest building in continuous medical use in the country, Davidge Hall’s not one, but two lecture halls in the round are fantastic and perhaps a little creepy.”

Save the Dates for Memorial Players’ Romulus


A farcical but still tragic fable of the fall of Imperial Rome in 467 A.D., Gore Vidal’s Romulus seems content do to nothing while Rome comes under siege. Meanwhile, his wife and courtiers scramble and conspire to find a way to save Rome—and their own necks.

A treatise on historical morality, absurd, sad and hysterical by turns, Romulus turns a critical eye on the legitimacy of an empire whose noble roots have been corrupted by endless bloodshed and the abuse of power. Can money save the day? Or will the barbarians at the gates be the saving grace of civilization?

Vidal adapted Romulus from a play by Swiss dramatist Friedrich Durrenmatt. The Memorial Players’ cast features many well-known faces from past dramas and musicals. The play is directed by Rina Steinhauer and produced by Kristine Smets, with set design by John Seeley, costumes by Christine Calderon, and poster by Lynne Mennefee.

As always, Romulus is admission-free, though good-will donations are always welcome. Performances take place at Memorial Church at the corner of Lafayette and Bolton streets.

Romulus will be performed Friday-Sunday the weekends of November 11-13 and November 18-20, with Friday and Saturday evening performances at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 3:30 pm.

More information at the Memorial Players website and on the Memorial Players Facebook page.