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Baltimore County Now

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Date: Jan 2014

charcoal drawing of Dr. KingOrrester Shaw, Education Liaison for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

I will never forget when I first learned of the assassination of Dr. King. I was in my sophomore year at Morgan State, and as I was walking to the campus library to put the final changes on a research paper. Suddenly, one of my classmates informed me that Dr. King had been killed, gunned down as he stood on a balcony in Memphis.

I could not believe it. Later, I heard other students sharing the very same horrific news, many of them weeping, almost if one of their own immediate family members had been killed. Our nation has not been the same since that tragedy took place on the 4th day of April in 1968. I am not sure we ever will be the same again.

In my entire life, other than the assassination of President John Kennedy, I cannot remember any other time when this nation was impacted by an event to that degree. As I recall, there were mass riots, lootings and much unrest in every major city in the United States. Neighborhood stores were closed and ransacked. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “During the riots after Martin Luther King Jr.'s killing, 350 people were arrested for looting and published accounts say nine to 11 people died.”

Over the following few days and weeks, more than 100 cities would experience significant civil disturbances. National Guard troops were dispatched to bring peace, and in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. —it took thousands of active Army and Marine units to restore a sense of calm.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the source of hope, pride and dignity for people of color. He stood for freedom, equality and fairness for all people. His message moved people from all races to work together for a better society. The American civil rights movement that he spearheaded changed the culture of our nation and created an awareness that our country needed and still needs today.

Moreover, the most amazing and significant take-away of Dr. King’s legacy is that all of this was accomplished through non-violence. It is for this reason and so many other overwhelming reasons that we now celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. When I think about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, I am reminded of one of my favorite songs of worship, “If I Can Help Somebody.”

                                             If I Can Help Somebody

If I can help somebody
As I travel along
If I can help somebody
With a word or song
If I can help somebody
From doing wrong
My living shall not be in vain.

My living shall not be in vain
My living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody
While I'm singing this song
My living shall not be in vain.

In 1983, Congress passed legislation that was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan recognizing Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday. Illinois was the first state to adopt Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday, and the state of my own mother’s birth, South Carolina, was the very last state to commemorate this great man.


photo of Pikes Theater signDavid Green
Division Chief, Neighborhood Response Team
Baltimore County Department of Planning

Thriving small businesses strengthen our traditional commercial areas and bring new shopping, restaurants and services near neighborhoods. Baltimore County’s Neighborhood Response Teams focus on connecting small businesses with the resources they need to create large community impact. Here a few recent successes from the past three months.

The Pikes Theatre had not shown a movie since 1983. Today, the Pikes is once again a destination for movie goers, thanks, in part, to Baltimore County’s Commercial Revitalization Program.  A building improvement loan from the County helped Ira Miller, an experienced local movie theatre operator, to reclaim the art deco building as a community movie theatre.  With an upgraded menu at the attached Pikes Diner, Pikesville’s traditional commercial corridor is brimming with new activity. 

The Green Turtle, a well established locally owned restaurant in Towson, now features the Turtle Shell, a rooftop bar and grill with expansive views of downtown Towson. Thanks to public and private financing from the restaurant owners, a local bank, Baltimore County, and the Maryland Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, the Green Turtle can be more competitive with national restaurants coming to Towson Square, a new entertainment venue just a short walk from the Greene Turtle. Towson Square will feature a 15-screen Cinemark movie theatre, eight new restaurants, and a parking garage.

Colin’s Seafood and Grill, a locally owned upscale, sit down restaurant was a just what the Liberty Road community wanted. The County’s Neighborhood Response Team connected the owners to the State’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program, which provided funding to build-out the 146 seat restaurant in the Randallstown Shopping Center.  Colin’s opened this fall and is now a Randallstown favorite.

Towson, Pikesville and the Liberty Road Corridor are three of the County’s 16 designated Commercial Revitalization Districts, areas that are often the front doors to many well established neighborhoods in Baltimore County. Neighborhood Response Teams in the County’s Department of Planning work closely with business and community organizations to identify opportunities for small businesses to grow and sustain these traditional commercial areas.

Is your business in a Commercial Revitalization District? For maps and more information visit our website Baltimore County’s Neighborhood Response Teams and Commercial Revitalization Program.     



Team BCPS logoBlake Lubinski, Communications Intern, Baltimore County Public Schools

Great news! You made the team – Team BCPS!

Team BCPS includes ALL current, former and future students, teachers, staff, parents, neighbors, volunteers and supporters of Baltimore County Public Schools – everyone whose lives are impacted by the County school system.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15, 2014, BCPS will launch “We Are Team BCPS,” a new campaign intended to promote pride in and encourage engagement with the school system. Unfolding over the year, the campaign will include multiple opportunities for community involvement.

Among the opportunities is Team BCPS Day. Scheduled for the campaign’s launch date, the day calls upon the community to dress in “BCPS blue” (which is any shade of blue) and submit photographs and videos. The best photographs and videos received through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BaltCoPS) and Twitter (@BaltCoPS, #BCPSblue) will appear on the BCPS website, www.bcps.org, and Facebook page.

A second opportunity for involvement is through story-sharing. BCPS invites Team members to share their stories of the school system’s impact on their lives through short paragraphs and videos. Select testimonials submitted to communications@bcps.org will appear on BCPS-TV, the BCPS “Deliberate Excellence” blog, the BCPS Facebook page or in the weekly BCPS e-newsletter.

The community may become involved online, as well. In addition to the debut of a new “We Are Team BCPS” page offering opportunities to get involved with the school system, the BCPS alumni webpage allows former students to relate their high-quality BCPS education to their accomplishments in their respective professions. Graduates may submit high-resolution photographs and brief profiles, including the name of their alma mater, a short description of major achievements/activities and thoughts about BCPS’s role in preparing them for the future, to dspencer4@bcps.org. Any nominations for inclusion on the alumni page must include direct contact information for the nominee.

Visit the BCPS website to learn more. And don’t forget to go blue. Team BCPS is bound to score on January 15!


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