Bmore Community Fridge attempts to fight hunger in the city

Baltimore might soon have a community fridge system. 

New York City and Baltimore City soon might have something in common: both cities will have community fridges. 

In Baltimore, Bmore Community Fridge has announced plans to open a community fridge in hopes of expanding access to food not available in food pantries or government assistance programs but is struggling to find a space to host the fridge.

Bmore Community Fridge assured The Sting that they will remain in touch for follow-up information.

Community fridges are public refrigerators focused on providing underserved communities with healthy and nutritious food while reducing food waste. This not only furthers access to foods not available in food pantries or government assistance programs but also builds community, as neighbors and businesses can donate food as well.

In New York, individual volunteers and organizations, such as the nonprofit organization A New World In Our Hearts, have established refrigerators throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn with community members maintaining these spaces. Everyone works together to make sure that the fridges are kept clean and that food remains stocked. Some of the fridges even have social media pages that list what’s available daily.

The community fridge system, although novel in many American cities, is a familiar concept in other parts of the world. A volunteer-run organization called Foodsharing pioneered the idea and began setting up community fridges across Germany in 2014 after they had started peer to peer food saving and sharing in 2012. The concept became extremely popularized in Berlin and has made its way over to the United States with community fridges in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Miami.

Kopper Boyd is a staff writer for The Sting.

Light City – Baltimore’s Annual Celebration


Nicknamed “Charm City”, Baltimore is home to the Inner Harbor, rich history, thriving arts scenes, and some of the nation’s best festivals attracting both lifelong Baltimoreans, tourists, and everyone in between.

Light City, the country’s first large-scale festival of art, music, and innovation is in its fourth year in Baltimore and continues to earn praise from critics and locals, alike.

For the first time, the Baltimore Book Festival and Light City have been combined prompting the Baltimore Sun to explain that organizers combination of both emphasized brilliance, “both in the light exhibits and in the imagination inspired by the books.”

Light City reimagines the waterfront into a premier cultural destination: fully accessible, free and open to all. Located along the Inner Harbor’s brick-lined promenade, the festival features awe-inspiring art installations, performances, concerts, a fun-filled family zone and special moments including an Opening Night Parade and a Closing Night fireworks finale. The festival’s food and beverage offerings are proudly 100% local, reflecting Baltimore’s burgeoning cuisine scene” (via Brilliant Baltimore)

Jeff Dominguez is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the UB Post.

Baltimore City Council passes lenient bill for illegal handgun carrying

By Shae McCoy

Staff Writer

Countless debates and heated arguing end with a forced collective agreement. By an 8-7 vote, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill that promises a tough penalty for criminals that are caught with hand guns. Originally, Mayor Pugh’s plan imposed a mandatory one year sentence for anyone carrying a handgun in a public place or setting. As the months went by, the firmness of the plan started to diminish.

While one councilman, Eric Costello, was just satisfied that everyone could finally come to an agreement, stating, “I’m pleased that we got something passed,” (ABC 2). Councilman Brandon Scott who was against the bill believes mandatory minimums do not work when it comes to reducing crime. He thinks that Baltimore will need a smarter and stronger approach to the issue. The confusion seems to be the most prevalent and consistent when it comes to figuring out a solution to the city’s rise in crime. Baltimore City Police Department’s commissioner, Kevin Davis implies that solid penalties caused New York’s homicide rate to drop over time, sending offenders to jail for almost four years for carrying illegally.

Is one year nearly enough for an offender to rehabilitate and come out to be better?  Crime is a manifestation from underlying mental health issues and each case should be taken into consideration from a different approach. Will simply locking up an offender stop them from being released and doing the same thing? No matter how long the sentence is, rehabilitation of these offenders is important.  Mental illness many times is at the root of the criminal activity that occurs in the city.  Along with enforcing stronger bills for gun carrying, there needs to be an effort made toward the mental stability of the offenders.

photo credit: Shae McCoy

Mayor candidate Calvin Young on putting the charm back in Charm City

This year is a big year of voting and elections. Not only do we have the presidential election, soon it will be time make decisions on a more local level here in Baltimore. If you have taken a walk around the city, you might have seen various advertisements and endorsements for candidates running for mayor. Take a look around and you might see a not so familiar face, the up and coming, new to politics, Calvin Young has decided to run for mayor. Mayoral Candidate, Calvin Young, talks about truly making Baltimore charm city and revitalizing the city.

The Post had the chance talk to the 28 year old candidate who relates to the “Baltimore” struggle. He knows the city because he grew up here. He had stern, yet humble, beginnings in Northeast Baltimore in a single-parent home. His mother worked for the city jail for 23 years as a correctional officer, telling him, “I work in the jail so you don’t go to jail.” As a child, Young’s mother was often approached by peo- ple whom she saw in jail. She would tell him why they went to jail and encourage him not to end up that way. Young’s family, like some Baltimoreans, include those who have struggled with various addictions. He describes his family as, “regular as they come! My grandfather worked at Bethlehem steel. My brother goes to law school here. My sister is the volleyball coach at Mervo. My uncle was a pastor – store front pastor. We’re as regular as it comes. Growing up for me was a typical Baltimore life. We stayed over east and my father lived on the west side. We would visit Park Heights. The height of the summer time, Park Heights is what I used to experience. I lived in Northeast where it wasn’t as tough and that had to do with my mother’s decision. She worked a lot of overtime. She worked a lot of doubles. There were many times where she was working a double and we didn’t have no lights because paying the mortgage or the rent was so high but she did it. She didn’t want us to grow up in Cherry Hill, where she grew up. She felt like she could give us a better life that way. The reality is where you grow up dictates how successful you will be. I didn’t have friends that had guns. I didn’t have friends who were drug dealers. Knowing and understanding what everyone faces here but at the same time having a mother that made certain decisions, personally I was effected to make those decisions myself. That’s what life was like.”

He attended Baltimore Polytechnic institute, later going to New York University, then Harvard University. From being an engineer to Harvard business school, Young feels ready to tackle being the mayor of what some might call a broken city. The conversation ranged from his favorite film to the modern civil rights movement and most importantly, his vision for the future of Baltimore. Young is an approachable guy who loves his city. He carries a traditional Baltimore accent and often accompanies his brother at University of Baltimore’s law school. Young is trying to offer

a new perspective to a different and more traditional set of voters. Young didn’t exactly have interest in politics, however the Baltimore uprising in April of last year gave him an epiphany:

“I was never really interested in politics. For me, I’m an engineer— aerospace, things that fly. I’m a nerd. Studying engineering is what I enjoy. I had to go to business school for a lot of reasons, one was to define my purpose in life. But also to give myself a broader skillset to do some pretty amazing things, but stay in corporate

America and make a lot of money. I graduated from Harvard; I had a number of job offers that I turned down. But what happened in April really hit me.

“I didn’t expect to do it immediately…after business school, but April showed me the time is now, no time to wait. The right moment to do something is now, but it wasn’t for me to come home and run for mayor but for me to do something.

“Coming home and reconnecting with the community, I noticed everybody is at the table everybody wants to see the city become a better place. But the problem that we have is that we lack leadership and we lack a unified leader that we can all believe in. I see myself as somebody that can do that. For the African-American women and men who hate to see our children on the streets dying every day, someone they can look at and say this is who I want my son to be like. This is the example I want them to follow, so I’m willing to support this person. For the white family who wants to see Black Baltimore have a champion.

“That’s what I noticed, everybody agreed these can work, it just takes that one person. I can see myself being the person that can unify it in a nutshell and being a young enough person. People who are dying on the streets are 15, 20, 24, not fifty. I’m 28! They’ll listen to me. They’ll do that because I’ve walked their path. I’ve grown up with them in the same way that a lot of people would say those traditional politicians have been around for a long time, they have their base with the older voters because they grew up with them.”

Young sees his opportunity as mayor as a way to make Baltimore the place he feels it should be. He describes it as a place where everyone knows someone, and a big city with a small town feel. However, the city cannot be that without solving social and economic issue and without unity. Some of his goals include: unifying the city, proper education, and local economics through supporting small businesses. He would like to eliminate the “20th century problems”, such as crime, heroin addiction and the illegal drug trade. First, we asked what is meant by unifying the city:

“I’ll set the scene for you. First let me say, March 27, 2015 was the day Freddie Gray was laid to rest. A year later is April 2016. April 2016 is the election. The primary. National news is going to be back for the one year anniversary and what will they talk about when they talk about Baltimore?

“Are they talking about rehiring a mayor who betrayed our trust? Hiring others who have been in politics for a long time and have lied to us in different ways? One candidate previously ran and lied about his education, another one is apparently in corporate developer’s pockets, and other things. Another person who is riding name recognition from the very unrest that we feel so bad about we have all these people with all these unfavorable.

“Are we talking about them or about Baltimore just turned a page on the past and hired its next mayor- a young energetic, smart guy who can get the job done. That can be the future of the city and lead to 21st century Baltimore. A 21st century Baltimore needs a 21st century mayor and that’s what I see myself being able to be for our city when elected. It’s not about me. It’s about changing the paradigm, changing the conversation and taking command of the conversation.

Seeing fall colors in Baltimore and beyond

By Mia White

After a relatively mild October, the leaves are just beginning to change in and around the city. Even on Gordon Plaza, the color of trees is growing warmer. Although central Maryland may not be considered a prime foliage destination, there are a number of places to visit for impressive displays. The UB Post has chosen three destinations; the first two are mostly accessible by car, but the third is easily reachable from the UB campus.

Loch Raven Reservoir, Towson

Loch Raven Drive is closed on the weekends
Loch Raven Drive is closed on the weekends

 

The area around Loch Raven Reservoir has spectacular forests with brilliant fall colors. Just a few weekends ago, the steep shores surrounding the water were bright gold. This golden color came from the Tulip Poplars, which are the tallest and straightest hardwood trees on the east coast. Most other trees were just beginning to turn, so visitors will likely still see striking hues.

Foliage below Loch Raven’s Dam
Foliage below Loch Raven’s Dam

 

Drive up from Providence Road to Loch Raven Drive. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, a portion of the road is closed to cars so that cyclists and pedestrians are free to enjoy the route without traffic.

Patapsco Valley State Park

The Patapsco Valley Park system is a large one, with multiple recreation areas all along the western border of the city. The areas closest to Ellicott City have a lot to offer, including a range of trails that climb the hills surrounding the river, swinging bridges, and a waterfall. Since the entire park is heavily forested, autumn is one of the best seasons to visit. The Buzzards Rock Trail in the Hilton area is a steep one, but well worth it, with stunning views up and down the valley.

For free parking, you can reach the Avalon Area by stopping at the Park n Ride off route 1-66 from I-95, and walking 100 yards down Rolling Road to the Soapstone Trail.

Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore City

If you take the glass elevator up to the twelfth floor of the Angelos Law Center and look east, you will see a tall, dark spire in the midst of a clump of trees. Though it looks like a church, this is actually the Chapel of Green Mount Cemetery.

A ten-minute walk from UB’s campus, this 19th century landmark is worth visiting all year round, but it is especially beautiful during the fall. There are eleven species of hardwood trees within the cemetery’s sixty-eight acres, including gingkoes, which are known for their brilliant yellow hue. Enter through the southwest gate off East Oliver Street, and be sure to stop in to pick up a map with interesting burial sites for Baltimoreans Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, and infamous John Wilkes Booth.

 

Schaefer Center for Public Policy training judges for Election Day

By Andrew R. Koch

Last spring, the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy trained 2,000 judges to man polling stations throughout Baltimore for the Maryland Primaries in June. Another round of training sessions is underway to prepare judges for the Nov. 4 general election.

Election Judge training started on Sept. 19 and will continue through Sept. 27 in the Thumel Business Center. Training will continue between Oct. 1 and Oct. 9 at Winston Middle School on Winston Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. The program is under the direction of Government and Public Policy Professor John Willis (who was Maryland Secretary of State from 1995-2003), and will consist of three three-hour training sessions each day. The Schaefer Center election judges will be working in six early voting centers between Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, and 296 more voting centers on Election Day. Dr. Ann Cotten, Director of the Schaefer Center, says there’s only a limited amount of time to get all the election judges trained ahead of Election Day.

“Total, we’ll be training about 2,400 people in the next couple weeks, so it’s a very short window, so we have to be very efficient with our time and resources,” Dr. Cotten said.

She added that after all the election judge trainees are brought together for a presentation and lecture about election law, they’ll then break out into classrooms of about 25 people each. In the classrooms, trainees will get to do hands-on training to learn how to set up and then use the polling machines and poll books in what Dr. Cotten calls “a good opportunity” to do a run-through of what it’ll be like on Election Day.

Election Judges are selected by the Baltimore City Board of Elections. Dr. Cotten explained that the Board of Elections requires a mix of judges from both major political parties. The Schaefer Center’s responsibility is to register and train the judges. The center features both a 20-station call center and an online training system for election judges.

“By bringing these assets of the Schaefer Center to bear, we can more efficiently run election judge training,” Dr. Cotten said.

The Schaefer Center has been hold- ing training for election judges since 2006. While Dr. Cotten said elections in the city have gone smoothly since then, the Schaefer Center didn’t start offering election judge training until after what Professor Willis described as a “disastrous” primary election in 2006.

“Almost 25 or 30 percent of the precincts opened late. They (the election workers) didn’t know how to use some of the new equipment. They had just a whole spate of problems in the 2006 primary,” Willis said, who’s also a Schaefer Center Faculty Fellow.

“We were asked by the state and the city Election Board to start providing training for the Baltimore City election judges.”

After that primary, Willis said the Schaefer Center trained more than 3,000 election workers in 22 days ahead of the 2006 general election. He said the call center was even used to give election judges reminder calls to show up to work at their assigned polling places on Election Day.

“We went from a situation where the city had a very bad experience with elections to where now, we have 294 precincts; 98 percent of them are opening on time. The error rates have gone down significantly,” Willis said.

“You rarely hear about a complaint in Baltimore City like you do in other larger jurisdictions about how the election has been administered.”

According to Dr. Cotten, 86 percent of election judges are returning, and they come back to get updates on changes in election regulations. Professor Willis says that as a result of the training, the average age of election judges has fallen by about a decade to around 60, indicating that younger people are getting involved in the election process as judges. However, he says most of the election judges in the city are still seniors in their 60s and 70s.