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Date: Feb 2017

Annual Award Honoring African-American Heritage in Baltimore County Presented to Three Distinguished Recipients

Today, at the Owings Mills Library with Louis Diggs in attendance, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the 2017 recipients of The Louis S. Diggs Award—a recognition event that takes place annually during Black History Month. This award is presented to individuals whose life work represents a commitment to the celebration of the African-American experience in Baltimore County, and whose efforts inspire others to strive for success and to celebrate the diversity and achievement that is our strength.

The 2017 Awardees are:

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Serving as President of UMBC since 1992, Dr. Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report (2008), Dr. Hrabowski has been touted as one of America’s top leaders by numerous national and worldwide publications, institutions, and foundations.

Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
Distinguished as a visionary leader, Superintendent Dance has united BCPS into a powerful force committed to producing globally competitive graduates. Since 2012, Dr. Dance has been responsible for overseeing the instruction of 112,000 students in 173 schools, centers and programs in the 25th largest school system in the nation.  Dr. Dance’s leadership was recognized with his appointment to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Delegate Adrienne Jones, Speaker Pro Tem, Maryland House of Delegates
Since 1997, Adrienne Jones has been a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for District 10. Delegate Jones is the current Speaker Pro Tem, holding that post since 2003, and the first African-American female to serve in that position in the State of Maryland. Born and educated in Baltimore County, Delegate Jones was employed by County Government before retiring in 2014 where she was the director of the Office of Minority Affairs, the Office of Fair Practices, and the deputy director of Human Resources.

About Louis S. Diggs

The award is named for Baltimore County resident Louis S. Diggs, a respected and distinguished authority on County African-American history. Diggs’ research and historical perspective has guided him to publish 10 books; organize tours in the community; present lectures; and manage the Diggs-Johnson Museum in Granite.

“No one has done more to preserve and promote African-American history in Baltimore County than Mr. Louis Diggs,” stated Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “I am immensely proud to present this year’s Diggs award to three very distinguished individuals who embody the true spirit of this honor. Freeman Hrabowski, Dallas Dance, and Adrienne Jones are outstanding leaders who make a difference in our County each and every day.”


Baltimore County’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is seeking community input to help identify the next round of pedestrian and bicycle projects. Members of the public are invited to voice their preferences at a community input meeting to be held Tuesday, March 14, 5:00 p.m. in the Jefferson Building Hearing Room, Room 104, 105 West Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, MD 21204.

The Committee is looking for projects that will provide County residents with the greatest benefit at the lowest cost. Projects should be ones that have been recommended by Baltimore County’s Eastern and Western Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plans and have the following characteristics:

Relatively low in cost   Due to the County’s many capital needs, the availability of County funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects is limited. State, federal and private grant funding can be sought to pay for projects such as bike route signage, bike lane striping, and feasibility studies for shared use paths, as well as sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements.

Link to significant destinations   Improvements that provide many residents with safer pedestrian or bicycle access to schools, libraries, parks, shopping centers, employment areas or transit stations are especially desirable.

Community support   Not all communities are ready to become walkable and bike-friendly. The PBAC wants to target projects in neighborhoods that really want them and will use them.

For more information, please contact Jessie Bialek, Department of Planning, at 410-887-3480 or jbialek@baltimorecountymd.gov. Written comments may also be submitted to this email address.


By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Communications Specialist, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management

Americans are biting off more than we can chew.

Picture it: you bring groceries home from the store and prepare a family favorite for dinner – spaghetti and meatballs with salad and garlic bread. After eating, you all pitch in to clear the table, placing food scraps and maybe even some leftovers down the garbage disposal or in the trash. With everything put away and the counters and table shining clean, dinner is over, and you and your family settle in to watch an episode or two of your favorite show on Netflix. It’s a familiar scene, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Not even close.

So, what is the whole story? The story of our food is a complicated one involving a long, meandering journey from “farm to fork to landfill." In 2017, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management plans to explore this journey in a series of articles about food waste, food waste prevention and food recovery to help readers better understand the impact our daily food choices have on our families, our communities and our planet. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food makes up the largest percentage of waste that is buried in landfills or burned in incinerators, and more than 30 million tons of food are sent to landfills each year. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced annually in the U.S. is thrown away, which is more than 20 pounds per person, per month.

Think about it – what kinds of foods made up your 20 pounds last month? What foods are you actually eating, and what are you throwing away? How much are you throwing away, and how much did it cost? To reduce the amount of food we waste, we must first understand what we are wasting, why we’re wasting it, and how that waste affects us. 

From farms to cafes to our kitchens, food waste happens in a variety of ways, such as: 

  • People prepare too much food for meals and throw out the leftovers;
  • Food that was overcooked or badly prepared is thrown away;
  • Diners over order at restaurants, or the portions are too large, and the leftovers are disposed of;
  •  “Ugly” fruits and vegetables are left to rot on farm fields or disposed of at grocery stores;
  • Food goes “bad” before we’ve had a chance to eat it, or is disposed of due to confusing food date labeling.

Why does this matter? Food waste is costly. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, food waste costs Americans $165 billion each year. That works out to approximately $529 per person. Food waste also harms the environment. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that food waste, if ranked among countries, would place third in total greenhouse gas emissions, after China and the United States. Lastly, food waste is a social problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that nearly 13 percent of U.S. households, or 42 million people, were food insecure in 2015. 

Given the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, we all have a role to play in reducing the amount of food we throw away. Here are 10 tips to help you prevent food waste at home:

  1. Plan your meals in advance and shop smart.
  2. Don’t over-serve at home, serve food on smaller plates, and eat your leftovers!
  3. Store food in the right places (pantry, refrigerator) and containers (freezer bags, airtight containers).
  4. Avoid kitchen clutter and keep food neat and visible; keep foods “first-in, first-out.”
  5. Regularly take inventory and note approaching expiration dates; plan meals using those items.
  6. Treat “sell by,” “best by,” and “use by” dates as guidelines only. The FDA actually permits stores to sell food past the “expiration date.” Remember, food date labels serve the retailer, not the consumer.
  7. Use soft produce in smoothies, soups and juices.
  8. Keep a food waste diary of the kinds of food you throw away, and why.
  9. As they say, beauty is only skin deep, so go ahead and buy that “ugly” produce. 
  10. Use it up – cook with food scraps, such as meat trimmings and produce skins, peels, stems, and stalks. 

It’s also important to talk to your family members about what they can do to prevent food waste at home, school and work. 

In the next installment of our series about food waste, we will provide an overview of Maryland’s very first Food Recovery Summit, which brought together representatives from nonprofit organizations, local schools, environmental groups, the retail food industry, and local, state and federal governments to share ideas and best practices for reducing food waste in our state. 

This article originally appeared in the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s REsource Newsletter. To subscribe, visit our website


 
 
Revised September 26, 2016