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Keyword: kevin kamenetz

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.

Baltimore County SealBaltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

The rising cost of healthcare is one of the most important issues facing our county and nation.

I hope you had the opportunity to read my recent op-ed in the Baltimore Sun regarding Baltimore County’s efforts to provide healthcare and retirement benefits that are fair for its employees and sustainable for taxpayers. That same day, the Sun ran a story dealing with Anne Arundel County’s efforts to address this same issue.  I invite you to read both articles.

Baltimore County, MarylandBaltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

Over the past several weeks, we’ve celebrated the amazing fact that half of our Baltimore County high schools were ranked among the nation’s best, and that 19 County neighborhoods were rated among the best in the region. This got me thinking about what an exceptional place Baltimore County really is.

It seems that every week, another headline appears touting the successes of the people, employees and businesses of Baltimore County — and it’s getting hard to keep track of them all. I did a little research to see what other interesting facts I could uncover that demonstrate why Baltimore County is such a great place to live, work and play. Even I was surprised at how much we Baltimore Countians have to brag about!

Our Schools Rule

  • In 2013, 52% of Baltimore County’s traditional and magnet high schools were named to national “Best Schools” lists.
  • Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) has the second-highest graduation rate among the nation’s 50 largest school districts.
  • Six BCPS schools earned Maryland Blue Ribbon honors in December 2012, and Maryland’s education system ranked top in the nation for the fifth year in a row.
  • Baltimore County is home to five out of the fifteen colleges and universities in the Baltimore metro region, including the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), which educates nearly 74,000 students each year and half of all Baltimore County residents attending college as undergraduates in Maryland.
  • An impressive 35.2% of Baltimore County residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Taming the Tax Burden

  • In Baltimore County, there has been no property tax rate increase in 25 years and no income tax rate increase in 21 years!
  • Baltimore County is one of only 39 counties out of more than 3,000 in the nation (or approx. 1%) with a Triple AAA Bond Rating, a tribute to our strong fiscal management.

Living Large

  • Baltimore-Towson ranked on The Atlantic’s 25 Best Places to Live for Recent Graduates list in 2012.
  • CNN Money named Towson the eighth-best place in the nation for the rich & single.
  • Baltimore-Towson was named the fourth-best place for baby boomers to pre-retire by
  • West Towson was named “Best Neighborhood for Seniors” by AOL.
  • With 817,455 residents, Baltimore County is more populous than its two nearest cities, Baltimore and Washington, DC, as well as the states of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska. Baltimore County is also larger in land than 30 countries around the world.
  • With a cost of living that falls well below other Northeastern metropolitan regions, Baltimore County has great urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods that are culturally diverse communities and offer something for everyone. Nineteen of our neighborhoods were named in Baltimore Magazine’s “Best Places to Live 2013” issue.
  • Baltimore County is home to many historic neighborhoods, with 388 designated Baltimore County Landmarks and 17 County Historic Districts. Baltimore County also has 86 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including two National Historic Landmarks.
  • Baltimore County won six 2012 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties for several technology and safety initiatives.
  • There are five hospitals in the county and 38 across the region, including those belonging to the Johns Hopkins Health System, whose flagship hospital has been ranked as America’s best for the last 21 years.
  • Baltimore County is experiencing historically low crime rates, with a 22% drop in violent crime based on the last five-year reporting period.
  • Thirty percent of Baltimore County’s land is preserved as parkland and open space — lands that provide for recreation, green space, drinking water protection, family farms and local food production (EPS sources). The County is ranked sixth-best in the nation for its agricultural land preservation program (Farmland Preservation Report 2011).

Our Festive Nature

  • Baltimore County boasts more than 200 miles of shoreline, with beaches and 70 marinas and yacht clubs.
  • Between our 200 parks and recreation sites, and the four beautiful state parks in Baltimore County, you can find great hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking trails, lighted artificial turf sports fields, nature centers, dogs parks, disc golf courses, and much more.
  • Dundalk’s Heritage Fair was recently named the second-best community celebration in the U.S.
  • Baltimore County is home to three of the top ten shopping malls in the state.
  • Catonsville is known as Music City, Maryland, thanks to its multitude of music stores, venues and educational facilities.
  • Baltimore County is horse country, with more than 140 picturesque thoroughbred horse farms.
  • The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offers summer performances at the Oregon Ridge Park outdoor amphitheater.
  • More than a half million people flock to Timonium every year for the 11 best days of summer at the Maryland State Fair.
  • Bengies Drive-In Theatre in Middle River is the biggest continuously operated movie theater screen in the USA.
  • We have wine country! Enjoy Baltimore County’s portion of the Piedmont Wine Trail.

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