Rebels Rule at Ride for the Feast

Bolton Hill Rebels
The Bolton Hill Rebels With a Cause.

Bolton Hill had a strong showing in this year’s Ride for the Feast (RFTF) on May 13-14. Bolton Hillers participating in this annual fundraiser for Moveable Feast are members of Rebels With a Cause, the largest RFTF team with 77 registered riders.

The Ride’s official tag line is “2 Days. 140 Miles. 1 Cause.” That may have described the purpose of the event, but doesn’t come close to capturing the conditions on Day 1. During their 100-mile trek from Ocean City to Easton, riders faced torrential rains, 35 mph gusts and temperatures in the low 50s.

More than a few registered riders opted out due to the weather, while some of those who persevered were literally blown off their bikes. Nevertheless, over 300 riders rose to the challenge, supporting each other with camaraderie and much laughter through the long day. The hearty cheers and smiles from supporters at their six stops made the going easier.

Day 2 (Mother’s Day) erased almost all of the misery from the previous day. The weather was perfect, energy was high, and the riders completed the last 40 miles from Easton to Baltimore city on the Baltimore & Annapolis trail.

Ride for the Feast 4
The triumphant Rebels return to Baltimore.

After their triumphant entrance into the city, riders rode en masse through Baltimore to a mimosa- and beer-fueled party at the Maryland Science Center. From there, they completed the final leg with a police escort to the Moveable Feast offices in East Baltimore.

The event closed with speeches from the RFTF organizers, Moveable Feast clients, and Bolton Hill neighbor Peter Jackson, a Moveable Feast board member.

Joe Palumbo in his pink pony shirt

The Rebels with a Cause team led donations for the event, collecting over $150,000—enough to provide one hundred Moveable Feast clients with home-delivered, nutritious meals for an entire year. The event as a whole is expected to meet this year’s goal of $800,000.The Rebels honored team member Joe Palumbo, who led the team in donations and team spirit, with a special Rebels’ Pink Pony jersey.

Rider Kendra Parlock said, “As a first time rider, I knew the ride would be tough and to prepare for the worst. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming support from friends, family and neighbors for this amazing cause. I am so proud of what we accomplished and I can’t wait to do it again!”

She also offered an alternative tag line for next year: “The Toughest Thing You’ll Do and Love.”

Bolton Hill Rebels included Steve Marker, Joe Palumbo, Andrew Parlock, Kendra Parlock, Michael Booth, Kristine Smets, Donna Hager, Debi Celnik, Kristin Seeberger, Abby Ferretti, and Peter Jackson. Neighbors Jon Kaplan and Susan Lawrence also served as guest bartenders at the ride’s finish on Sunday.

Boltonstock 2017 Arrives on June 3

Merdalf opens the evening

After the Boundary Block Party, come on over to Sumpter Park for the official after-party, Boltonstock 2017, Saturday, June 3, 5–10 pm. This annual summer festival celebrates its third year, thanks to organizers Chas Phillips and Jessica Wyatt.

The musical lineup opens with street musician Merdalf, who has delighted the crowds at the Waverly and JFX farmers’ markets. He’s promised to bring his balloons!

Things will kick up a notch with Baltimore blues band The Cleanse, featuring the distinctive growling vocals and wailing guitar work of Quinton Randall. “I want audiences to feel a sense of hope, clarity, and freedom,” says Quinton of his music.

The evening wraps up with DJ Uncle Quincy, whose grooves will have everyone dancing in the park.

The Cleanse
The Cleanse headlines Boltonstock

During the break in the music, representatives from the Holistic Life Foundation will help recenter the crowd by introducing their mindfulness techniques, providing a moment of calm for festival-goers.

Grilled food will be available for purchase, including burgers and hotdogs, plus—back by popular demand—Catoctin Mountain Farm bratwurst. Quench your party thirst with a nice selection of wine and craft beers. And the famous Memorial Episcopal Bake Sale will be back, with proceeds going to the church.

Plenty of kids’ activities will be available, including some game-ready sports equipment. As with last year’s event, local non-profit organizations will have tables surrounding the park to explain their work and how folks can get involved.

Help spread the word, and bring lots of friends. RSVP and follow the event on Facebook to show your support.

Real Food Farm Comes to Bolton Hill

Mobile Framers Market
Real Food Farm on Bolton Street.

With little fanfare, Bolton Hill’s Mobile Farmers Market quietly appeared on Bolton Street on May 2, in front of Memorial Episcopal Church. What a delightful surprise!

Operated by Civic Works’ Real Food Farm, the stand will set up every Tuesday from 12:30–1:30 pm during the growing season.

The farm itself is located in Clifton Park, and it provides much of the produce offered at the mobile market. However, as their Mobile Farmer Market program has expanded, RFF alone can’t satisfy all the demand for fresh local vegetables. But fortunately, the number of city-based farms has grown to meet that demand.

By partnering with the Farm Alliance of Baltimore and their twelve member farms, almost everything the Mobile Market offers is Baltimore-grown. Now that’s buying local! And the prices are great too.

Recent offerings included, eggs for $3 a dozen, head lettuce for $1-$2 a head, strawberries for $4 per quart, arugula and spinach at $4 a 1/2 pound, and kale or collards for $2 a bunch.

The seeds for Real Food Farm were planted in 2008 by a volunteer group called the Urban Agriculture Task Force, that included Civic Works. A determined group of visionaries, they set out to create a fully operational demonstration farm in Baltimore City.

After a great deal of research, they developed a business plan focusing on high tunnel “hoophouses”—basically, low-cost, easy-to-build greenhouses. Then they already had the perfect managing organization in Civic Works, a well-established non-profit with access to six acres in Clifton Park. Civic Works also had strong community relationships in city neighborhoods that needed increased food access, and a long history of training youth in job skills and establishing community gardens.

With help from many agencies, organizations and individuals, the partnership constructed seven hoophouses in 2009, and then harvested the first produce at Real Food Farm in December of 2010. They’ve been growing ever since—and their proven success has spurred many new farmers to start similar operations in the city.

This is exactly what the Urban Agriculture Task Force hoped for. If you grow it, they will come.

Real Food Farm uses their Mobile Farmers Market as the primary tool for bringing food into city neighborhoods that lack easy access to fresh, healthy produce. During the market season from May through December, their Mobile Farmers Market team hosts neighborhood markets and makes home deliveries of fresh, local, seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the city.

This online schedule lists all 21 stops serviced each week by the Mobile Framers Market.

Whitelock Farm Stand opening day
Whitelock Farm Stand on opening day in mid-May.

If you can’t make Real Food Farm’s Tuesday market in Bolton Hill, here’s a list of the other nearby farmers markets open every week during the growing season.

Neighbors Unite at Boundary Block Party

By David Nyweide

Most of us think of our neighbors as being the people we see in Bolton Hill. We pass each other on our way to work, say hi while walking the dog, or chat at a coffee shop around the corner. We sometimes forget that Bolton Hill is part of a larger quilt of neighborhoods in Central West Baltimore. 

Just to the west across Eutaw Place, three neighborhoods—Marble Hill, Druid Heights, and Madison Park—encompass just about the same geographic area as Bolton Hill have housing stock of the same vintage, style, and proportions.

Why don’t we consider those west of us our neighbors? One reason is simple: because we infrequently interact with people who live on the other side of Eutaw Place. The less frequently we interact, the less likely for any relationship to develop, or even to start. 

So what stops us from interacting with each other?

The American Community Survey provides an illuminating portrait of the differences that hinder interaction between residents in Bolton Hill and other near-west neighborhoods. Based on demographic data from 2011-2015, the survey shows large and consistent disparities between Bolton Hill, Marble Hill and the combined neighborhoods of Druid Heights and Madison Park according to race, education level, household income, unemployment rates, rates of home ownership, home value and numbers of vacant properties.

American Community Survey chart
Chart adapted from the American Community Survey showing economic and racial disparities between Bolton Hill and other 21217 neighborhoods.

Although these neighborhoods are in the same area of the city, these differences show a pattern of separation that’s hard to break, especially since people tend to live where they resemble their neighbors. 

You can start to break the cycle by simply getting to know your neighbors to the west of Bolton Hill. The No Boundaries Coalition started with this purpose, providing opportunities to interact with neighbors who share the same interests in and desires for our corner of the city. We all want good schools for our children. Access to healthy, affordable food. Safe streets and police accountability.

If you share these interests, come and join your neighbors at the Boundary Block Party on Saturday, June 3. Hosted by the No Boundaries Coalition, in partnership with Jubilee Arts, the Boundary Block Party celebrates everything positive happening in Central West Baltimore.

No Boundaries meeting
No Boundaries Coalition meeting at St. Peter Claver Church.

If you’re interested in really getting to know more of your neighbors, attend a monthly No Boundaries Coalition meeting the second Tuesdays of the month at St. Peter Claver Church on Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle Park. You’ll meet people who live, work, or worship in this part of the city and are advocating together for strengthened safety, better fresh food access, more voting, and youth empowerment. 

Working on shared interests with residents from the full Central West Baltimore community reminds you that your neighbors are not limited to Bolton Hill alone.

Midtown Academy News

Jonathan Veale, 8th grade, winner of Carson Scholarship.

Carson Scholarship Winner Announced

The Midtown Academy is excited to announce their newest inductee into the ranks of Midtown Carson Scholarship Awardees. Jonathan Veale, 8th grader at The Midtown Academy, was honored this April for his outstanding academic performance, commitment to community and his caring personality and heart. Midtown is proud to stand behind Jonathan and his family as he enters Baltimore School for the Arts next year.

The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4–11 who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their communities. The minimum requirements are a 3.75 GPA and involvement in community service. Schools are generally allowed to nominate only one student per year.

BIKEMORE Bike Installation at The Midtown Academy

You may notice something new outside our doors here at The Midtown Academy. BIKEMORE, the organization which works to expand, protect and promote bicycle infrastructure between neighborhoods, installed their 100th bike rack right in front of our school.

The Bikemore installation in front of The Midtown Academy.

Students, teachers and staff will now have a safe space to lock up their bikes during the day. “Our goal was to encourage our students to ride their bikes to schools, promoting healthy lifestyles and a quick way to get to and from,” says Midtown Executive Director, Jennifer Devon.

Happy bingo players at The Midtown Academy’s bingo fundraiser.

Annual Bingo Raises Over $4,500!

Thank you to all of our community friends and families who came to support The Midtown Academy at this year’s BINGO! Well over 50 players attended, and they helped us raise $4,665 to support critical programs here at The Midtown Academy. Not only did we raise money for our school, but we had an awesome time winning bingo baskets full of prizes and auctioning off great experiences with our Midtown teachers and staff. The Midtown Academy wants to especially thank 1st-grade teacher Mrs. Engel, who took this on along with some of our dedicated parents. Thanks to all those families who makes Midtown such a special place.

Midtown Students on the Run

If you think you’ve seen a flash of lightning coming down Lafayette, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the 5th through 8th grade students in The Midtown Academy Running Club. Students meet every Monday in their “pace groups” and head out for an hour of running and fun games. Thanks to community volunteers and new friends from Morgan State University for helping Midtown’s students get in shape and have fun doing it.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017 

We are excited to announce the 2017 graduating class of The Midtown Academy, who will be attending schools including City College High School, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, the Institute of Notre Dame, Western High School, Baltimore School for the Arts, Milford Mill Academy, Greene Street Academy, Bluford Jemison School, and Digital Harbor High School. We are proud of our graduates!

Fall Play Auditions for A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolMemorial Players is pleased to announce auditions for the Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by Romulus Linney, co-directed by Rina Steinhauer and Darren McGregor and produced by Kristine Smets.

Auditions will be held on the following dates:

  • Friday, June 9th, 6–9 pm
  • Saturday, June 10th, 10 am–1 pm
  • Sunday, June 11, 1–4 pm

Where: Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St, Baltimore, in the second-floor Parish Hall (entrance on W. Lafayette Street).

Callbacks (if needed) will be announced by email.

Who: We are looking to cast 25 to 30 people. All roles are open and unpaid. Actors of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to audition. A list of characters is available here.


  • Actors will be auditioned in half-hour blocks. 
  • Please sign up for an audition slot at SignUpGenius.Com. Please indicate if you have an interest in a specific role.
  • Walk-ins are welcome, but come early.
  • Actors interested in the role of Scrooge, Cratchit, Fred, Marley, Fezziwig, or one of the three Spirits should come prepared with a one- to two-minute monologue. 
  • Those auditioning for other roles are welcome to prepare a monologue, but it is not required.
  • Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.
  • You will be given a projected rehearsal schedule to review. 

Rehearsals will be held three times per week (Wednesday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon) and will begin on September 6th. Please be prepared with dates of major conflicts during the rehearsal period.

Show dates are December 1–3 and 9–11 at Memorial Episcopal Church. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 pm and Sunday performances at 3:30 pm.

Questions? Email

Two Years After Baltimore Uprising, BYOP Cultivates New Leaders

BYOP on Pugh
BYOP member Diamon demanding accountability from Mayor Catherine Pugh. Photo courtesy of @UNBOUND_RCK.

By David Nyweide

Freddie Gray died two years ago, sparking demonstrations that came to be known as the Baltimore Uprising. What’s happened since?

Here’s just one example of positive change.

The Baltimore Youth Organizing Project (BYOP) was established in October 2015, born of a desire to empower youth in West Baltimore in the wake of the Baltimore Uprising. Through their involvement in BYOP, youth have learned the principles and techniques of community organizing, conducted a listening campaign to hear about issues important to their peers, ratified a youth city agenda, and organized forums with political candidates and elected officials.

BYOP is a collaboration between Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) and the No Boundaries Coalition (NBC). Reverend Tim Hughes Williams at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church helped launch BYOP, and the church provided starter funding for modest stipends for eight youths who attended regular meetings and met with more than 400 young people in the community. Rev. Hughes Williams continues to work with BYOP members along with Rebecca Nagle of NBC and Gwen Brown of BUILD. He’s also looking for opportunities for youth affiliated with Brown Memorial to become involved.

“It has been inspiring to work with young people who have an intuitive, firsthand understanding of how the city needs to change to meet the needs of its youth,” said Rev. Hughes Williams. “BYOP has been a vehicle to teach them to tell their stories powerfully and hold elected officials accountable for their decisions. After the Baltimore Uprising, this has felt like essential and satisfying work.”

The BYOP youth agenda was ratified at a meeting of almost 100 youth in January 2016. It advocates for funding from the city and public-private partnerships that would support after-school programming, recreation centers, and youth employment—all of which help keep youth off the streets and develop their potential to contribute to the life of the city.

In March 2016, BUILD hosted an Accountability Forum at Coppin State University to hear the mayoral candidates’ positions on the BUILD One Baltimore Agenda: a city for youth, a city for jobs, a city that is safe. BYOP was able to present its youth agenda as part of this event. Approximately 200 youth sat on stage with six of the mayoral candidates, and 600 adults sat in the audience. Every candidate, including our current mayor Catherine Pugh, committed to the BUILD One Baltimore Agenda.

At the end of 2016, BYOP graduated its first class of eight young people. Now headed by Samirah Franklin—a member of that first class—BYOP is one part of NBC’s work in Central West Baltimore.

In its second year of organizing, BYOP has focused on holding Mayor Pugh accountable to her promises as a candidate. On April 4, 2017, Trinity Baptist Church (at McMechen and McCulloh) hosted about 150 adults and youth to hear the BYOP youth publicly ask Mayor Pugh for two specific commitments:

  1. Create 250 year-round youth jobs within the city and the corporate community in her first year in office; and
  2. Maintain current levels of funding for afterschool and community school programs in the 2018 budget.

The mayor agreed to help create 250 new year-round jobs for youth, but equivocated about after-school funding. In fact, her preliminary 2018 city budget cut afterschool and community school funding by 25 percent, or roughly $2.4 million.

BYOP is now fighting to restore the funding, with the help of BUILD, NBC, and the Child First Authority. They are calling on both the Mayor and City Council to acknowledge the cut and restore the funds.

“In the aftermath of our city burning, Baltimore’s elected officials made a promise to us, the youth of the city,” explained BYOP’s Lead Youth Organizer Franklin. “It’s only been two years, and we are cut. We call on the Mayor and City Council to keep their promise to us and restore afterschool and community school funding to its current level of $9.2 million.” 

BYOP also plans to continue listening to residents and providing youth workshops on community organizing. These activities help develop the voice and power of more and more youth to hold their elected officials accountable and effect the changes they desire in their communities.

To find out how you can support the young people of BYOP and their efforts to build power for Baltimore City youth, contact Samirah Franklin at

Memorial Episcopal Walks on Good Friday to Repent Racism

By Rev. Grey Maggiano

Plans for Unveiling
Daughters of the Confederacy Announces Program
April 24th, 1903

Mrs. D. Giraud Wright (1632 Park Ave.), President of the Maryland Daughters, announced
at social meeting of the Baltimore Chapter …The Strains of Dixie will mark the formal
opening of the program, and following this the invocation by the Rev. William M.
Dame (Rector, Memorial Episcopal Church), Chaplain of the Maryland Daughters
of the Confederacy.”

Station 2: site of the former segregated Bolton St. Recreation Center
Participants visit the former site of the segregated Bolton St. Recreation Center, Station 2 on the Repenting for Racism walk.

Almost 114 years ago to the day, most of Bolton Hill—some 700 people stood on the stage alone!— turned out for the dedication of the Daughters of the Confederacy Monument on Mt. Royal Avenue. Leading the proceedings were the then-Rector of Memorial Episcopal Church and the President of the Daughters of the Confederacy, a longtime Park Ave. resident.

This monument was one of the fourteen stops on Memorial Church’s Repenting for Racism: Stations of the Cross Walk last month, which was held on Good Friday.

After a long period of research and truth-telling, Memorial Members selected fourteen sites around the neighborhood that call attention to both our parish’s and our neighborhood’s legacy of racism. These included:

  • The former site of the segregated Bolton Hill Recreation Center on the east side of the 1300 block of Bolton Street;
  • 1212 Bolton Street, which was purchased by a black Baptist pastor who was forcibly evicted by unhappy neighbors; and
  • Memorial Church’s own parish hall, in which blackface minstrel shows were staged to entertain the neighborhood for many years.
Stations of the Cross walk
Visiting the “stations of the cross” of Bolton Hill’s past, April 14, 2017.

When people ask me why we need to do these kinds of things— why we need to “drudge up” this ugly history, and remind ourselves of the painful past— I point to stories like this. Or I tell of the strong neighborhood activism supporting segregated housing, or my ancestor’s letter to the editor urging the restriction of the right to vote for “the Negroe.” 

We need to do these kinds of things because they are not ancient history. They didn’t just happen before the Civil War, or in the 1800s, but in the mid-twentieth century. Current parishioners and neighbors were alive when many of these events took place. And, though most Bolton Hill residents didn’t live here then, there are many, many neighbors, churches and institutions across Eutaw Place who do remember.

The reality is that we have asymmetrical access to information and asymmetrical notions of history. While Bolton Hillers celebrate the very diverse, very inclusive neighborhood we see between Mt. Royal and Eutaw, and Dolphin and North Ave., neighbors on the other sides of these boundaries remember a not-too-distant past when to walk through Bolton Hill as a person of color guaranteed a visit from the police. 

Perhaps you, like me, have asked why Bolton Hill retains its reputation as a predominantly white, wealthy neighborhood when the actual numbers suggest it is much more economically and racially diverse? Or why your institution or organization, like our church, has trouble developing relationships with organizations west of Eutaw Place? Or perhaps you have wondered why urban renewal, redlining, and segregation didn’t have the same effect in Bolton Hill as it did in Reservoir Hill, Upton, or Penn North?

Memorial Church’s research shows that the answer to all of these questions lies in our own history.

They say that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Whether or not that is true in this case, our lack of knowledge of the past makes it very hard to dialogue with those who continue to feel its impact.

We hope that by bringing these truths to light, we can help all of our neighbors, black and white, rich and poor, longtime residents and new arrivals, to understand both the problematic history of these few city blocks, and to band together to set out a different future— for our Church, for our neighborhood, and perhaps for our whole city.

For more information please visit Memorial Episcopal online, and see this related article about the Repenting Racism walk in the Washington Post.

Construction at Druid Hill Park Reservoir

Druid Hill Park ReservoirBy The Friends of Druid Hill Park 

Over the next few weeks, the Department of Public Works will begin construction at the Druid Hill Reservoir to install buried water tanks.

As a result of the construction, access to the full loop around the reservoir will be restricted. Approximately 1/3 of the loop will be closed to public access during the 4-5 years it takes to complete this project. Access to the 2 exercise stations on the west side of the reservoir will not be accessible during the construction period.

Construction WILL NOT affect park roads, pavilion, ball fields, the Rawlings Conservatory, Druid Hill Farmers Market, or pool access.

The reservoir has served as the heart of Druid Hill Park for over 100 years. This construction will have major impact on many park patrons and events.The FoDHP has posted walking/jogging/biking route options on their website.

Druid Hill Reservoir Plan
Druid Hill Reservoir Plan

You can also visit Baltimore Green Map (BGM) for a great map of Druid Hill Park that park users can use to find new exercise routes. BGM also produced a Jones Falls Trail map. The trail may be an option for some park users. Paper versions of both of these maps are available in the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.

Please Note: Unlike the reservoir loop, these routes require using public roadways in Druid Hill Park. Please use caution when using these routes. Routes may also be closed due to events or parking for large park events.

More updates and timelines from the Department of Public Works and Recreation and Parks are expected as the process. The Friends of Druid Hill Park will share all information as it becomes available on their website; consult either the FoDHP website or the Department of Public Works website for more information on the reservoir plan.

Big Bucks from Bowls of Beans at Chili Dinner Fundraiser

We were stunned last year when MRIA turned an evening’s worth of chili into over $3,500 in donations for the Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School North Bay summer camp fund. At this year’s chili dinner fundraiser, we blew away last year’s totals.

This year’s event, held on April 19 at Brown Memorial church, raised a grand total $6,195.

“On behalf of the Mount Royal School, we would like to thank the MRIA and local community for your amazing support in helping us send students to North Bay Outdoor Adventure Trip again this year,” said Principal Job Grotsky. “Because of your generous support, every sixth grader wishing to go is now able to. This is over 60 students afforded the opportunity to learn about the restoration efforts to save the Chesapeake Bay.”

Principal Grotsky’s sentiments were echoed by the President of the PTO, Stacy Wells, who said “WOW, I am speechless. Amazing. Thank you.”

Photos by Powell Perng

The overwhelming success of the event, surpassing even the committee’s ambitious goal of $5,000, was the result of strong efforts of MRIA’s Churches and Schools committee members. Marjorie Forster, Barbara Francis, Patrick Francis, Hannah Logue, and Powell Perng were aided by Linda Rittelmann, Carla Witzel, Victoria Patch, and Tunji Williams on the day of the event. Andrew Parlock was the great raffle announcer.

Save-A-Lot donated chili supplies, H&S Bakery donated dozens of rolls, and Blacksauce Kitchen donated pulled chicken and four large double pans of biscuits (which went REAL fast!). Neighbors Linda Rittelman and Don Palmer each donated batches of their own world-famous chili, and Monty Howard designed the posters.

Andrew Parlock shouted down the crowd of adults and kids to raffle off the fine offerings donated by local merchants including Art of Attraction, b Bistro, Earth Treks Climbing Gym, Epitome Barber Shop, On the Hill Café, Park Café, Roland Park Driving School, and the Charles Theatre, plus watercolors from artist Martha Dougherty.

A special thanks goes to the Bolton Hill Grocery, Sutton Sandwich Shop, and MRIA for their generous monetary donations to the fund. 

Brown Memorial Presbyterian donated the space and all the dining supplies, as well as setup and cleanup help. They even helped with promotion by distributing flyers to the congregation. Many neighbors graciously supplied homemade desserts.

Neighbor Barbara Francis said, “We hope the 6th graders have a fabulous experience and send pictures. We were happy to have this opportunity to participate in the life of the school and were gratified by the outpouring of support from the community.”

The Commuter Chronicles: Name That Network

MARC mapBy Claudia De Carlo

One of the great advantages to commuting on the train is the ability to relax and surf the web while travelling—something that those driving on the highway can’t (or shouldn’t) do.

Recently on the train, was connecting my laptop to the bluetooth wireless internet network on my iPhone when the long list of available wireless networks caught my eye. It occurred to me that they must belong to other tech-savvy train commuters. A funny, clever bunch, as it turns out. Here are some of my favorite network names:

  • Snakes on a Train
  • Clinton Email Server
  • geturown
  • Earlandtheotherone
  • The Evil League of Evil (Yikes!)
  • Godblessyou (Awww…)
  • Lemur princess’ Karma (I don’t get this one, but OK!)
  • Kawaii (How cute!)

And to those commuters that own the following network names, I know you’re not as boring as your Wi-Fi names! 

  • GALAXY_S4_9326
  • Mike’s iPhone
  • Jennifer Personal

How to join the ranks of the funny, clever commuters? You don’t need a computer science degree to do change the name of your Wi-Fi hotspot. You can do it right on your phone.

How to change your Wi-Fi name on your iPhone:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your device’s home screen.
  2. Tap General from within Settings.
  3. Tap About.
  4. Tap the Name tab.
  5. Tap the small X next to your device’s current name to remove it.
  6. Type a new name for your iPhone in the input field.
  7. Tap Done on the onscreen keyboard when you are finished.

How to change your Wi-Fi name on your Android:

  1. Open Settings on your phone.
  2. Scroll to About and tap on it.
  3. On the next screen, tap on Device Name, type the desired name for your device in the text field.
  4. Select OK.

You can also do it from your laptop. Here’s a great tutorial with step by step instructions for both PC and Mac.

So go on, fellow commuters, live a little! Change it up! Change your WiFi name and make your commute just a little more fun!

Boltonstock 2017 on June 3

Save the date of Saturday, June 3 for the best party day of the summer. It’ll start midday with the Boundary Block Party at Upton Triangle from 11 am to 4 pm. Then come on over to Sumpter Park for the after-party, Boltonstock 2017, from 5 to 10 pm. This annual summer festival celebrates its third year, thanks to organizers Chas Phillips and Jessica Wyatt.

 Photos of Boltonstock 2016 courtesy of Kellie Wellborn


Lots of volunteers are needed for jobs like serving beer and wine, grilling and preparing food, selling drink and food tickets, and cleanup. Email organizer Chas Phillips at chas.phillips [at] if you can help out.

The musical lineup has expanded this year, including street musician Merdalf to open the evening, followed by Baltimore blues band The Cleanse, and DJ Uncle Quincy.

They’ll be plenty of kids’ activities available, along with grilled food, baked goods, and a nice selection of wine and craft beers for purchase. Look for plenty of involvement from local non-profit organizations, whose tables will surround the park.

The organizers seek sponsors to support Boltonstock 2017. Sponsorship starts at $100, and can be purchased by businesses, organizations or individuals. If you or someone you know is interested in being a sponsor, please contact Chas Phillips at chas.phillips [at]

Please help make Boltonstock a success. Save the date, spread the word, and bring lots of friends. Let’s see the whole neighborhood come out for what should be a fine evening of entertainment.

Don’t forget to follow the event on Facebook.

MRIA Votes in Opposition of Arena Plan for State Center

State Center rendering
Rendering of the proposed State Center complex at Howard and MLK.

Governor Hogan recently proposed the building of an arena at the State Center site as an alternative to the proposed development that is currently under litigation. At the March MRIA Board meeting, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose the arena plan. 

John Kyle, Bolton Hill resident and president of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, briefed everyone on the current status of the State Center redevelopment before the vote. 

After more than a decade of unprecedented community, state, and developer engagement, Governor Hogan led the state Board of Public Works to cancel all contracts last December and then sued the developer. The developer responded to the lawsuit in kind. This litigation will probably take two to three years to resolve.

Meanwhile, the governor decided to move ahead with a $30,000 task force to study the site as the location for an arena. Another study from several years ago already concluded that it was an unfavorable arena location. Moreover, representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods are not included on the task force.

Objections from nearby residents are detailed in a front-page story in the April 1 edition of the Sun, as well as through numerous op-eds and letters to the editor. Many elected officials support State Center redevelopment, including City Council President Jack Young, Councilman Costello, and Mayor Pugh. 

John highlighted some key consequences if State Center redevelopment does not proceed:

  • State employee jobs could be transferred to other areas of the state.
  • Abandoned State Center buildings could sit unoccupied indefinitely.
  • Private-sector jobs that would be created by the new development would no longer generate state tax revenue.
  • The full-service grocery, which had been a proposed use for the Armory building, would not be developed.
  • Proposed transit-oriented development would be scuttled.

The State Center Alliance is now trying to bring the administration and developer back to the table. MRIA has been a longtime supporter of State Center redevelopment plans, and following John’s updates, the MRIA Board voted unanimously to oppose an arena at the State Center site.

On March 20, Councilman Costello sponsored a resolution supporting the State Center Development, which was unanimously adopted by the City Council.

What You Can Do to Help State Center Redevelopment

Sign the petition. After all this time, folks may have lost sight of the good things that will come from redevelopment. As a reminder, project developers have launched an online petition that will enable West Baltimore voice its need for a full-service grocery store and desire for redevelopment of the State Center site. Sign the petition here.

Write, call, or email Governor Hogan to encourage him to restart negotiations and implement the plan. Remind him that the plan has been 10 years in the making and has the full support of the surrounding communities. Showing widespread support will apply more pressure for the State to return to the table.

For more information and to get involved, like the State Center Neighborhood Alliance Facebook page, visit the developer’s State Center website or follow @StateCenterLLC on Twitter

Eat a Chili Dinner to Send Kids to Camp This Summer

The MRIA Churches and Schools Committee will host its second annual Chili Dinner on Wednesday, April 19, 5-8 p.m. at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Park Avenue and Lafayette. 

Come and enjoy delicious homemade chili (meat and vegetarian available), cornbread, a bake sale and raffle.  

Tickets are only $10 per person, but you are always welcome to give more. Children 12 and under are admitted free.  

This fundraiser supports Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School’s weeklong outdoor educational program that every spring sends all sixth grade students to Northbay Adventure Camp, an environmental science and character education program in Cecil County. Last year’s event generated over $3,500 for the trip. The goal this year is $5,000.

With this year’s school budget crisis, such efforts are particularly needed. Join the tasty fun and lend your support.

Parties and More Parties

Patricia Rice reading to the group

MRIA’s Social Action Task Force (SATF) hosted their fifth Party with a Purpose in February. The theme honored Black History Month with guests reading selections from their favorite black authors. The group then guessed, sometimes successfully, who the author was. 

The crowd of 60-70 attendees was deeply engaged with dozens of people taking the stage to read a quote. And they were generous too, donating a total of $1,065 that was split between two youth organizations, St. Francis Neighborhood Center and the Kids Safe Zone.

The event’s discussion area on Facebook has lots of photos, a cool little movie, and the text from many of the pieces that were read.

The SATF has already started planning two more events. First, the return of the Stoop Party with a Purpose set for Saturday, May 13, 11 am to 1 pm, at the Gazebo in the 1700 block of Linden Avenue (between Sav-a-Lot and Sumpter Park). In response to the city’s school budget crisis, the donations collected at this party will be shared between three neighborhood schools, Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary, Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle, and Midtown Academy.

At the end of the party, the group will continue the fun by walking together to join the Boundary Block Party at Upton Triangle. This was a huge success at last year’s Stoop Party and will be a great chance for the whole community to enjoy a spring day together.

Boltonstock 2017 arrives a short three weeks later, on Saturday, June 3 from 5 to 10 pm in Sumpter Park. The SATF is working with organizers Chas Phillips and Jessica Wyatt to make this year’s event bigger and better. Starting earlier and ending later, they plan a real festival with a variety of musical acts.

Volunteers are need to help with both of these events. If you’d like to get involved, come to the next SATF monthly meeting on Sunday, April 2, 5-6:30 pm at the carriage house of 1500 Bolton St. See the calendar item for details.

If you can’t make the meeting, but are interested in these SATF events, please contact Peter Van Buren about the Stoop Party, or Chas Phillips regarding Boltonstock,

Garden Club Greening Grant Applications Due May 1

A previously funded Greening Grant project.
A previously funded project.

The deadline for Bolton Hill Garden Club greening grant applications is May 1. The club’s Green Space Grants Program funds public space greening projects within Bolton Hill.

Applications are accepted via email or by mail. Don’t forget to include a “before” picture of your project and a budget. Also, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions for information on what types of public space projects the garden club can fund.

Click here for a grant application and more information. Questions may be sent to

Help make Bolton Hill greener! And don’t forget the club’s Spring Plant Sale on April 29.

Samaritan Program Director Sharon Krieger Celebrates 40 Years of Service

Sharon Krieger
Sharon Krieger welcomes all who enter Samaritan’s doors.

By Emily Reichart

In 1977, Sharon Krieger started volunteering at Memorial Episcopal Church’s food cupboard, under the direction of Rev. Barney Farnham. Since then, this humble food cupboard has evolved into The Samaritan Community, with Sharon at the helm. It currently serves approximately 1,100 people annually through its food pantry, clothing shop, individual counseling, group support, emergency financial assistance, and more.

While Samaritan has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, it is still very much a small nonprofit. Sharon is the only full-time employee, joined by five part-time staff members and a team of about 45 volunteers. With an annual budget of about $300,000, funding comes from individuals, private foundations, businesses, faith-based organizations and fundraising events. Even with a small team and a small budget, a lot gets done. In fact, the people of Samaritan have a saying— “We’re a small organization with a big impact.”

Sharon has been able to accomplish all this over the past 40 years because of her love of people and through a tremendous amount of hard work. She works with clients from the early morning well into the night. 

“She is a warrior in the local battle against loneliness, uncertainty and despair,” says Paul Silvestri,
board president of The Samaritan Community. “There is no off time for Sharon. She is always working to help our members.”

In all of her work, Sharon focuses on the individual, the member, the human being who needs a little help. As she says, “each member becomes the program.” She in turn takes the time to build true relationships with them, learning their unique circumstances and personal stories.

“I am deeply grateful for Sharon’s love and support. She had faith in me even when I didn’t. She got me back on my feet and I am so thankful,” says one Samaritan member. “She is totally devoted … I love the way she keeps us together.”

As for Sharon? She just wants one thing: “I want people to know they are loved.”

Learn more about the Samaritan Community on their website.

Construction Update—Dolphin Building, Madison Park North, John Edgar Howard RC

Over the winter, major progress was made on various construction projects around the neighborhood.

Crews demolished the old Dolphin Building near the Mt. Royal light rail stop, and a new MICA building is rising in its place.

Dolphin after
MICA’s newest building at Dolphin and Mt. Royal takes shape.
Dolphin before
The Dolphin Building disappears, as the site is readied for a new MICA building.









To our north, demolition is well underway on the large Madison Park North site, that encompasses more than 3 full blocks between Linden and Park on the north side of North Avenue.

MPN before
View in February of the Madison Park North complex, from Bolton St. north across North Ave.
MPN after
The site’s new look on March 29.









The John Edgar Howard Recreation Center site is also being redeveloped, so the area under construction is even larger. The vacated center sits in the middle of the construction-site photo below. (click to enlarge)

Looking north from North Avenue near Eutaw, you can see most of the site.

Local Finds: Authentic Jerk Chicken at Vibes Jamaican Restaurant

Vibes Grilled Jerk Chicken
Vibes Grilled Jerk Chicken

By Peter Van Buren

The smell of chicken roasting over charcoal drew me in. I just had to find out how I could get some of that deliciousness.

The source was a barrel grill smoking away on the sidewalk, with Vibes Jamaican Restaurant’s head chef, Stephen Levy, ensuring perfection. He cooks up authentic charcoal-flamed jerk chicken that’s to die for.

Hailing from Mandeville, Jamaica, Stephen has years of experience. In fact, he’s got the medal to prove it, as winner of the Montego Bay Jerk Chicken Championship in 2000.

This is the real deal at great prices, with traditional sides like rice and peas, cabbage and plantains. A large dinner ($10.50) was more than I could finish, but the leftovers doubled the delight when I quickly polished them off for lunch the next day.

Vibes also has Jamaican country-style fried chicken, curried goat, and delicious simmer down chicken stew, as well as fish dishes and more. Whether dining in or ordering carryout or delivery, you’ll love it if you try it.

They cater too. In fact, Stephen put the idea in my head to have him cook for an upcoming family party. That is one itch that will need to be scratched.

Vibes Jamaican Restaurant, 2101 Maryland Ave. Open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday, closed Sundays; 667-930-3530. Their menu and delivery/carry out options are available on Yelp.

The Bulletin’s Local Finds column highlights the great businesses and organizations within walking distance of our neighborhood. Please tell us what spots you think deserve coverage by leaving a comment. Even better, you could be the roving reporter who does the finding and writes the column. To volunteer, contact the editors at The Bulletin needs you!

An Note of Thanks from Park Café and Coffee Bar

Editors’ Note: Near the end of January, police arrested the man they suspect committed robberies in the neighborhood at the Park Café, as well as other nearby businesses. Charged with armed robbery and assault, his preliminary hearing was held on February 23.

Our State’s Attorney liaison Ashe Smith will monitor this case and keep the community informed so we can participate. We received this update from Café owner David Hart. 

The Park Café would like to thank the Baltimore City Police Department for the apprehension of the suspect who is believed to have robbed not only the cafe, but other area businesses.

While the process took longer than any of us—neighbors and police—would have liked, this person is now off the street.

Additionally, on behalf of our staff, we are grateful for the outpouring of concern, the many good wishes, and the continued patronage by our neighbors in Reservoir Hill and Sandtown Winchester, as well as the Bolton Hill community.

As a result of our experience, the Café no longer accepts cash. We are working on a process for selling gift cards using money orders and will unveil this to our customers shortly.

With gratitude, David Hart and Joseph Costa