History Club holds discussion on Covid-19 vaccinations

The University of Baltimore’s History Club hosted a discussion with students Tuesday evening about how and why people should get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The event coincided with expansion of vaccine eligibility. Starting Tuesday, individuals 16 years and older with preexisting conditions became eligible to receive the vaccine as Maryland moved to phase 2B of its vaccine rollout. 

Aside from the folks in phase 2B, frontline workers, anyone working in education or health care, individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, government employees, grocery store employees, and anyone over 60 were previously eligible for vaccination.

The discussion featured comments from four students who have already been vaccinated, who noted how they were able to make an appointment and why they chose to get the shot.

“I do grocery delivery part time and I was part of phase 1C. I went on to the UMMS coronavirus website and filled out the pre registration form” said Ted Bundi. Although appointments didn’t initially populate, after refreshing the page a few times Bundi was able to schedule a time.

For Derek Chavis, who works as a substitute teacher, getting the vaccine was a matter of safety. 

“I knew at some point we were going back into the building. For me it was never a question. There was a very interesting realization that set in because [eligibility] didn’t include substitutes” said Chavis. “I’m not going back in that building until I know I’m safe”

All of the students noted some sort of issue with being able to find an appointment. In most cases, appointments were only found through someone in the students’ network. Dr. Joshua Davis, director of the history program who spearheaded the event, gave similar advice.

Starting April 13, vaccine eligibility will expand to phase 2C, which includes all Marylanders over age 55 and essential workers in critical industries. Starting April 27, all Marylanders over age 16 will be able to get vaccinated.

Dr. Davis shared myriad options for people who are interested in getting the vaccine. Maryland OneStop allows users to pre-register for an appointment at one of Maryland’s mass vaccination sites online or by calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX.

Appointments can also be made at local pharmacies, including chains like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid both online and over the phone.

However, there are specific times and days that tend to work better than others for making appointments, according to the crowdsourced Facebook group Maryland Vaccine Hunters. The group has a spreadsheet that provides detailed information on the best practices for making appointments. 

Through the Facebook group, those having extended issues making appointments can also get help from people who may be more tech savvy. Overall though, it’s a matter of patience.

Although the three vaccines available have all been proven safe, misinformation has made some people hesitant to get the shot. Events like the History Club’s are aiming to dispel some of that.

The CDC says, “All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19”

Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting.

The Quick Rise of a Hometown Hero: Immanuel Quickly

Becoming a professional basketball player may seem impossible. But Northern Maryland native, Immanuel Quickley “quickly” rose to stardom as one of the most important pieces of a rising New York Knick squad, also garnering the nickname “The Floater King” for his efficient use of floaters around the paint.

Quickley was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland on June 17, 1999. His parents, Nitrease Quickley and Marcellous Quickley, raised their family under a Christian lifestyle. Of course, Immanuel thanks his parents for his support and continues his journey as an NBA player.

“I put all my faith and trust in God. My mom, along with the rest of my family, have done a really good job since I was a little child of putting that in me”, says Immanuel (Kentucky Today)

Not everyone was very excited about Immanuel dedicating his craft to just basketball. His father wanted to make sure his son did not prioritize basketball over his love for God. Kyle Tucker from The Athletic puts it best, “Marcellous Quickley has never seen his son play basketball in person until he was featured on television. As a devout member of the Pentecostal church, he has long viewed basketball as a road to perdition — a foolish distraction from the path to salvation at best, a self-edifying gateway to hell at worst”. Quickley still focused on his love for basketball, while remaining humble from God’s work.

Photo: Don Markus – Baltimore Sun

Eventually, he went to John Carroll on an athletic scholarship to play high school basketball. Although, Immanuel did not have a great freshman year, he bounced back in his sophomore year where he was finally able to start. He averaged eighteen points per game, four rebounds per game, three assists per game, and two steals per game according to USA Basketball. After having a great second season at John Carroll, Immanuel’s father finally realized that his son was capable of playing basketball at an elite level and being an elite Christian at the same time.

Source: Kyle Tucker – The Athletic

The next year, he improved his game by averaging: twenty-four points per game and seven assists per game. Then for his final campaign at John Carroll, he averaged: twenty-one points per game, seven rebounds per game, seven assists per game, and four steals per game.

Evidently, Quickley improved his defense tremendously and was named MVP of his high school team and earning more honors on the state level. On a national scale, he was named as a member of the McDonald’s All American team that has featured past legends: such as Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony.

After achieving great success at John Carroll, Immanuel knew he had to choose a college that would improve his game. Immanuel was recruited by some of the top D1 schools in the country, including: University of Maryland, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, and University of Miami. (USA Basketball)

Photo: UK Athletics (Kentucky Today)

He decided to join legendary coach, John Calipari, at the University of Kentucky. Immanuel saw this as an opportunity to enhance his basketball knowledge and pave the way into the NBA. As a true freshman, he mostly sat on the bench while playing behind NBA first round draft pick, Tyler Herro. While doing so, he averaged an abysmal five points per game, two rebounds per game, and one assist per game.

According to YouTube sports researcher, under the name Romp 2.0, he states: “Immanuel admits that he was partying way too much and was not committed to playing great college level basketball”. Quickley knew he had to turn this around as he did not want his father’s precautions about him playing basketball to come true. Just like his freshman year of high school, Quickley reemerged as a college superstar in his sophomore season. Immanuel averaged sixteen points per game and four rebounds per game (Sports Reference College Basketball).

Source: Romp 2.0 – The Inspiring Story of Immanuel Quickley: The Overlooked Rookie Who is Taking Over New York

His incredible progression catapulted this young man into the national spotlight. Quickley was named SEC Player of the Year and was named to SEC First Team (USA Basketball). Following this season, he declared for the 2020 NBA draft. He was drafted with the twenty-fifth overall pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then was traded to the New York Knicks on draft night (Corier Journal).

The young superstar started out the pandemic-ridden season slow, but has catapulted all the way to the top of the rookie report by averaging: twelve points per game, two rebounds per game, and two assists per game while helping the Knicks get to a winning record for the first time in five years. He is shooting at an efficient frequency along the paint and has garnered the floater as his signature shot.

Source: Report Door

Some may consider Quickley as the steal of the NBA draft, as he is in contention for the Rookie of the Year Award alongside his fellow draftees, LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton – who were also lottery picks in this year’s draft. He is living proof that regardless of what people say (including your own family), you can achieve greatness if you believe in your goals.

Demetrius Jones is a staff writer for The Sting. He is an English major at the University of Baltimore

Restaurants on North Charles face hardship with virtual learning

In December, Mayor Brandon Scott announced a ban on both indoor and outdoor dining. In January, dining was able to resume with indoor seating capped at 25% capacity and outdoor capped at 50% capacity. A one-hour time limit was imposed. Last week, Scott finally lifted the time limit requirement.

Although restaurants across the city have been allowed to reopen with these restrictions, the amount of business just isn’t the same. On North Charles St., restaurants have been hit exceptionally hard since most of their clientele, University of Baltimore students and staff, haven’t been on campus in almost a year.

Restaurants on North Charles St. that are a bit closer to campus include Turp’s, Viccino’s (formally Jay’s Deli), XS, and Chicken and the Egg. 

Of these places, only two of them are closed until further notice. 

Turp’s, an American pub style restaurant, and XS, a breakfast and sushi fusion restaurant/bar, are the only two restaurants closed until further notice. XS did have a sign posted on their door about the possibility of returning in the fall.

Both Turps and XS were quite popular among students because they offered a wide variety of food options and a setting where students could go to relax and drink (if they were of age).

Chain restaurants further south on North Charles include Chipotle, Subway, and Smoothie King, though these places haven’t been affected by the pandemic as much since they already had a strong takeaway business. These establishments also had the flexibility of using apps like DoorDash or Grubhub. 

Grille Twelve 24, another popular spot for students, also has an extensive amount of carryout options that have helped them weather the storm. Aloha Sushi has been able to support itself with a similar range of carryout options and an in-house liquor store.

Due to the many obstacles and restrictions put in place, Covid-19 has caused over 17% of restaurants to close nationwide. 

With new vaccination programs and restrictions beginning to ease, restaurants on North Charles St. are optimistic that they will soon be able to reopen, even before students and staff return to campus.

CJ Rhem is a senior writer for The Sting.

Reflecting on the Ravens’ 2020 Season

Now that we are almost a month removed from the Super Bowl, we are officially in the 2021 NFL offseason. Yesterday, February 23rd, marks the first day for teams to opt in and designate a franchise tag for any player with an expiring contract – according to NBC Sports

With the pandemic still wreaking havoc, the minimum salary cap is set to increase to $180 million (a $5 million increase from last year) – which can be considered a setback for the projected $198.2 million cap agreed between team owners and the NFLPA.

The Baltimore Ravens still have some work to do, as they fell short with another early playoff exit after acquiring key veterans last offseason, such as: Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Derek Wolfe. Some fans may consider this year a win since Lamar Jackson won his first playoff game. For all you hardcore Ravens fans, like myself, our team has faced unbelievable scrutiny since the beginning of the season. 

But the ultimate goal still remains clear every year: Win a Super Bowl.

The 2020 season began with the release of former All-Pro free safety, Earl Thomas, after an altercation with fellow teammate, Chuck Clark. The team deemed his removal was necessary as Thomas’ lackluster leadership was apparent during his tenure with the Ravens, consistently missing practices and showing up late to team meetings.

”Guys have been frustrated about this situation since last year and it was only getting worse. He had to go. Earl was the most disliked guy in that locker room,” said one unnamed team member (via CBS).

In turn, team sources believe his departure has rejuvenated the team’s chemistry, promoting the development of young prospects, such as fellow safeties DeShon Elliot and Chuck Clark.

At the start of last season, the Ravens started out 5-1 before entering their bye week in Week 7. It seemed like the Ravens could make a legitimate run for the Lombardi Trophy. Unfortunately, their plans began to collapse between Week 8 and Week 12. The Ravens lost 4 of their next 5 games before heading into a primetime matchup against their notorious rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When it came to that matchup, the Ravens encountered one of the most bizarre outbreaks of the coronavirus. 22 players were officially out for the “triple rescheduled” primetime game against their longtime rival. When the game concluded, many were impressed by the second and third string players who stepped up to almost defeat the then-undefeated Steelers. Since then, the team was fined $250,000 for violating the NFL’s new wellness policy implemented for the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring health and safety for all members of each team during this pandemic.

It seemed like the Ravens were suddenly out of playoff contention after that crucial loss, having a record of 6-5 with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders creeping up in the AFC playoff hunt. But as we all know, the Ravens regrouped and won their last 5 games of the regular season, ending their campaign on a high note.

The Ravens went on to defeat their newly-formed rival, the Tennessee Titans, in their first playoff game of the postseason. Their victory silenced critics, dethroning the narratives alleging Lamar Jackson’s inability to win a playoff game. 

Their next task was to go up against a gritty opponent in the divisional round, the Buffalo Bills, who were considered as “dark horse contenders” for the Super Bowl. In that game, the Ravens offensive line was blown to shreds and Lamar’s key receivers, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, seemed nonexistent throughout the game. In the second half, Lamar was taken into concussion protocol after taking a late hit after a bad snap from backup center Patrick Mekari. The team’s morale was hit just as hard by his diagnosis, as Jackson failed to return to the game. The Ravens lost 17-3.

Even though the season ended abruptly (or at least felt like it did), we can say this season is considered a success during the early stages of the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore. Also in part, let’s also consider the fact that this team made a deep run into the playoffs with the pandemic weighing down on the shoulders of the NFL. Besides, let’s thank the fans of the Buffalo Bills for making the Ravens’ season end on a positive note – contributing to Lamar’s charity back in Louisville.

Jeff Dominguez is the communications director for The Sting.

Covid-19 has detrimental impact on college students with children

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has impacted our lives in one way or another, but how has it impacted college students? How it has impacted parents that are also college students? 

According to Dr. Aleksander Aristovnik, during the lockdown students primarily raised concerns about their future career and study issues among other anxieties and frustrations.

One University of Baltimore student, who preferred to go by M.Martinez, said she finds herself having less motivation in a virtual environment. “It’s just not what I’m used to, and I noticed that last spring, also, I was not as focused, I was not as interested in the material, I wasn’t learning it as easily.” 

A’Ja Ross, a college student at Prince George’s Community College, said that the demands of remote learning and the lingering threat of Covid-19 have placed tremendous stress on college students across the country. 

But for those who are juggling their studies in addition to helping their school-aged children navigate virtual classes, this semester can be overwhelming. 

Another student at UB,  who preferred to go by M. Delgado, felt the same way. Delgado has two elementary school-aged children who are currently studying virtually as well, and she has a full-time job.

Delgado has to stay close to her children during the daytime, just in case they need any help with the assignments or they don’t understand something. After helping them, she rushes to go to work. 

The only time she has to focus on her studies is late at night and on Sundays. To add fuel to the fire, Delgado says that Covid has made it difficult to afford most of her expenses such as tuition, rent, internet, etc. “From March until May 2020 they closed down my job due to Covid-19. I have never been more scared in my life than at that moment. I thought about all the responsibilities I had.” 

That period was financially challenging for Delgado and it affected her studies as well. Not having a stable internet connection, she had to drop some of her classes. “I was supposed to graduate earlier but I didn’t want to fail any of my classes due to poor internet connection, so I lowered the risk by dropping two of my classes.” 

However, now Delgado’s job is opened back up and she is determined to graduate despite all the obstacles she has to face every day.

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting.

“That’s Three!”: How the O’s Struck Out Another Lifelong Fan

Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Opening Day 2019 (Photo: Tony Sheaffer)

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the obviously fake tweet saying something to the effect of, “I’ve been an Orioles fan all my life, and a season ticket holder since [insert year here]. The Orioles have lost me as a fan.” 

Of course it’s just a copy and paste format, meant to aggravate the real fans on Twitter., How is this fooling anyone? A true die-hard would never abandon their team. Even if it is the Orioles. 

I’ve been an Orioles fan my entire life, for real. Without holding a season ticket, I’m in the stands for at least five or six games a season. I’m even a fan away from home. I spent part of my 2019 vacation in Phoenix watching the Orioles play the Diamondbacks instead of the plethora of tourist-centric options available on my last night. 

The “three strikes rule” applies to a lot more than batting, and the Orioles have finally reached their three stikes and are now out. At least in my book. 

Strike One: Chris Davis (no pun intended)

Chris Davis is not only the biggest disappointment in recent Orioles history, but he’s also an expensive one.  Not only did hesign a seven-year, $161 million contract going into the 2016 season, he simply has forgotten to deliver. 

He led the MLB in Runs Batted In (RBI) in 2013, home-runs in both 2013 and 2015, and strike-outs in 2015 and 2016, it seemed that his talent leaped away during that leap year. By 2018, Davis couldn’t even bat .200, and ended 2020 at an abysmal .115. 

For some reason, he’s still in the lineup. He’s a decent first baseman, but it’s almost a sure thing nowadays that when he comes to the plate, you can be confident he will end up striking out or hitting a pop-fly right to an outfielder. 

A friend suggested that he should oil mitts since that’s all he’s good for in baseball. 

Strike Two: The 2018 Trades and Losses

Without much of a choice, Chris Davis remains on the team but every other core member of the Orioles postseason runs in 2012 and 2014 has either been traded or took better deals with other teams.  In most instances, this happened while the Orioles couldn’t even place competitive offers for free agents.

This is with few exceptions. Trading Machado to the Dodgers made sense. There was little chance of making him an offer that he couldn’t refuse in time for his contract’s 2018 expiration date.  It was the only trade that season that actually gave the Orioles something to work with. On the bright side, Dean Kremer, who made a few promising starts for the O’s last season, was part of that transaction.

Others made no sense.

Pitchers Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Kevin Gausman were all traded to the Braves for prospects and international slot money, which is money earmarked for international players. 

Although with Dan Duquette in the front office, you can imagine that money was not put to good use. 

Zach Britton, a 2016 Cy Young contender, was traded to the Yankees for prospects, all of whom have yet to really pan out. 

Jonathan Schoop, who was one of the most vibrant figures on-field, was traded to the Brewers for two prospects and second baseman Jonathan Villar. The prospects didn’t pan out (noticing a pattern here?) but Villar did manage to put up some pretty respectable numbers for the rest of 2018 and again in 2019. He was traded to the Marlins between 2019 and 2020 for pitching prospect Easton Lucas, who has been unable to play with the organization yet because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than a few, in between this time span, simply got away. 

The Orioles did not renew catcher Matt Wieters’ contract after he became a free-agent following the 2016 season. It was rumored afterwards that he would’ve stayed in Baltimore had they offered him something, but he ended up signing a deal with the Washington Nationals. Upon his return to Camden Yards in 2017, he was greeted with a standing ovation.

The Orioles also let beloved center fielder Adam Jones get away following the 2018 season. Jones was a fan-favorite in Baltimore and was known for his upbeat personality, Gold-Glove worthy talent, and his pie-slinging prowess. He continued that tradition when he landed in Phoenix for the 2019 season. Jones now plays for the Orix Buffaloes in Osaka, Japan.

Strike Three: The Broadcasters

Scott Garceau and Ben McDonald calling Orioles games had to be one of the worst parts of the 2020 season. Awkward and constantly fumbling player’s names and positions, my girlfriend began to mock my anguished look when Garceau referred to the Philadelphia Phillies as, “The Phils.” 

The saving grace, for me, going through 2020 was knowing that the usual crew would be set to return in 2021.

Boy, was I wrong. Dead wrong.

Last week, the Orioles announced their 2021 broadcast team, bringing a long-festering rumor that most of the beloved Orioles broadcast team would be let go, to fruition. 

The broadcasters who made me fall in love with Orioles baseball, and baseball broadly, had such a profound impact on my life. We spent numerous milestones together united by our passion for Orioles baseball and losing them feels like losing a part of my childhood. 

In the blink of an eye, some of the most dedicated members of the Orioles family were no longer on speaking terms. Family like Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Tom Davis and former Orioles players Mike Bordick, Rick Dempsey, Gregg Olson, and Brian Roberts, all gone with no chances to return. 

And so was I. 

The Orioles organization doesn’t care about the fans, Baltimore, or baseball. They, instead, wander aimlessly in hopes of stumbling into a postseason berth and eventually a World Series title.

Fans are meanwhile caught in the dust of poor, misguided decisions. 

Strikes one and two were intertwined. They kept on dismal players like Davis while letting others like Jones go. They squandered their funds and opportunities to grow as an organization and instill that same love of baseball into a new generation of fans. They look the same, year after year, and it really does feel like the people who run the Orioles don’t even care.

The broadcasters were the last thing keeping me invested. Now that they’re gone, it’s strike three. They’re out, and there’s nothing left for me here.

Some will call me a fair-weathered fan. Others will say I was never truly an Orioles fan in the first place. 

I don’t really care what anyone says. I loved the Orioles, but the feelings weren’t mutual. It’s just time to cut my losses.

My love for baseball, as the most beautiful game ever created however, remains.

Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting.