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Baltimore County News

Baltimore County News

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  1. Kamenetz Recognizes Baltimore County Volunteers

    Annual Volunteer Luncheon Highlights Contributions and Service

    Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz offered his thanks and congratulations to about 1,000 volunteers who serve their communities in a multitude of different capacities. He joined the Baltimore County Department of Aging at their 39th annual luncheon honoring volunteers who contributed at least 100 hours last year to service organizations in Baltimore County. Volunteers with 1,000 hours of service last year and volunteers who have reached 4,000 hours of lifetime hours of service received special recognition. Awards were also presented for the Volunteer of the Year and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Champion Awards.

    The event recognizes the many services that volunteers provide the citizens of Baltimore County, such as tax assistance, kindergarten classroom help, emergency preparedness assistance, meal delivery to homebound seniors, driving seniors to medical appointments, helping the environment and much more. The luncheon is paid for in full by department partnerships with the business community through the creation of the Community Resources publication.

    Volunteer of the Year

    The Volunteer of the Year for 2017 is Charlie Conklin, for whom volunteering is an integral part of his life. Not only is he a registered RSVP volunteer, but he also has spent decades serving as an environmental advocate and volunteer throughout the Baltimore region. He serves on the RSVP Advisory Council and is a leader of one of the program’s agency partners, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy.  This past year he went above and beyond to assist the RSVP Office in giving a presentation to Towson University students about the importance of volunteerism for seniors.

    Nonprofit of the Year

    The 2017 Nonprofit of the Year Award winner is the Parkville Senior Center Council. At the heart of the Parkville Senior Center is a philanthropic council spearheaded by 14 council leaders and supported by countless center members and staff. Annually, the council designates funds to assist seniors in need with prescription costs, BGE turn-off notices, and housing assistance. One of the council’s most notable programs, the Adopt- A- Senior holiday donation drive, provides assistance annually to more than 120 seniors. Donations of household items, clothing, toiletries and food are collected throughout the year and then distributed during the holiday time. Over the course of its five years of operation, the drive has turned into a community-wide effort involving the support of local businesses, community organizations and individuals.

    Economic Opportunity Champion Award

    For the past four years, Debbie Cunzeman has been an inspiration to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office. Working behind the scenes, she assists with the essential task of statistical reporting Last year alone, Debbie entered as many as 6,070 client contact forms into the database.

    Educational Services Champion Award

    Instilling a love for learning is one of the many gifts that Sondra Spencer offers during her weekly volunteer visits at Lyons Mill Elementary School in Owings Mills. Her primary assignment is to work with small groups of students to coach them on letter sounds, sight words, and colors. The additional attention that she gives to the students ensures everybody is progressing and nobody is lagging behind in their development. She makes it a point to greet everyone in the school, helping to create an atmosphere of collaboration in the building.

    Health and Wellness Champion Award

    Volunteerism and wellness have long been influencing factors in Mary Branch’s life. When she joined the Fleming Senior Center, she decided to take an active role in educating others about the importance of their health. She initiates monthly presentations to provide techniques on how to make healthier lifestyle choices.

    Special Acknowledgement 

    The Baltimore County Department of Aging highlighted Jana and Karollmae Tan, two of the youngest guests at this year’s luncheon. The sisters are high school students enrolled at Maryvale Preparatory School. They began volunteering at the Overlea Senior Center during their summer break last year. They came in nearly every day, each offering more than 100 hours of service, and have continued to serve throughout the school year during holiday breaks. They willingly take on any task at the center, including outdoor grounds-keeping, assisting with planned programs, and helping with the Eating Together program.

    Photos from today’s event are online at Please feel free to share them. 

    Thu, 18 May 2017 20:38:00 GMT
  2. MACo President Kamenetz Received Warmly by Harford and Carroll County Legislators

    Kamenetz Visits Closest Neighbors as Part of MACo Statewide Tour 

    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, President of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), spent yesterday afternoon and evening meeting with Harford and Carroll County legislators in Westminster and Bel Air. He attended meetings of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and the Harford County Council to talk about MACo’s advocacy for Maryland counties in the General Assembly session and on state and federal issues.  

    At their afternoon meeting, the Carroll County Commissioners touched on a number of topics including MACo’s positive influence in Annapolis during this year’s General Assembly session and how statewide MACo conferences offer local officials a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and share best practices. Kamenetz and the commissioners talked about the importance of county elected officials coordinating with their Statehouse delegations and discussed the need for long-term treatment for opioid addiction.

    Carroll County Board of Commissioners President Richard Weaver said, “It’s refreshing to have the president and senior staff of MACo come to each of the counties and give us session highlights and brief us on what MACo is doing for the counties. We need that connection between the statewide and county levels of government and the work that MACo does doesn’t go unnoticed.”

    In the evening session of the Harford County Council, discussion centered around concerns about the state funding gap in Highway User Funds provided to counties, with revenues at only 10% of previous levels and tending to favor municipalities within counties. Kamenetz and the Harford Council members agreed to work together through MACo to try to find solutions to this vexing problem of cost-shifting to the localities.

    “As I travel around the state I continue to find that our county governments have more in common than differences and that elected officials appreciate the opportunity to compare notes and work collaboratively to solve problems and create opportunities,” Kamenetz said.

    MACo, first organized in 1939, is a non-partisan collaborative organization that advocates for the needs of local government to the Maryland General Assembly, representing all of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Kamenetz is the fifth Baltimore County Executive to serve as President in the history of MACo, succeeding Christian Kahl, Dale Anderson, Dutch Ruppersberger and Jim Smith. With this new term, Kamenetz also becomes the longest serving current member of MACo, first joining in 1994 as a member of the Baltimore County Council. 

    Wed, 17 May 2017 22:45:00 GMT
  3. Don’t Waste the Night, Celebrate Right

    By Kimberly Cuthrell, Chief, Bureau of Behavioral Health

    As sure as spring brings May flowers, it also brings a flurry of activity as teens prepare for prom night and graduation celebrations. Parents share the excitement, but also worry about the safety of their children. In the adolescent mind, planning an unforgettable prom night or memorable graduation party may involve high-risk behavior such as alcohol/drug use or unprotected sexual activity.

    Talk to your teens about alcohol and drug use

    Research has shown that the area of the brain that helps teens assess short and long term consequences is not fully developed until the mid-twenties. Prom and graduation season presents an opportunity for parents to talk with their teens about their expectations and rules.

    Teens need approachable, well-informed parents to discuss issues such as alcohol and other drug use with them. In fact, parental disapproval has been shown to be a significant reason why some youth choose not to drink. The time to begin this “heart-to-heart” conversation is long before any celebration. 

    Help prevent fatal teen car crashes 

    A common concern of parents during this season is the risk of impaired driving and the possibility of fatal outcomes. Car crashes continue to be the number one cause of death among teens. Accidents can happen at any time for teen drivers, but the chances of being involved are higher at night and on weekends. Almost one third of teen motor vehicle deaths occur in April, May and June.

    Students who attend after prom parties are assured an alcohol and drug free evening. Adult support is essential in planning after prom parties that successfully keep students entertained throughout the night and off the roads.

    Safe & Sober Prom Season Guide

    If you are the parent/guardian of a high school student, use the Baltimore County Department of Health’s Safe & Sober Prom Season 2017 Parent Guide and Pledge Book. This valuable tool is a “must-have” for parents. The booklet includes information about what parents can do to encourage driver safety, support after prom events, and chose a transportation company that has made a commitment to not allow alcohol in their vehicles.

    Do your part to be sure the high school students in your life “celebrate right” with a safe and sober prom and graduation season.  

    Wed, 17 May 2017 12:01:00 GMT
  4. Arts and Culture Show Explores Art, Learning, Philosophy, and Psychology Connections

    The new edition of smARTS, the Baltimore County arts and culture television show, discusses connections between art, learning, philosophy and psychology. The program airs on Baltimore County cable channel 25.  Featured segments include: 

    • Host Carolyn Black-Sotir speaks with Lori Snyder of AEMS, the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, about the vital role of arts in preparing students for an ever changing world.
    • How does art help express an artist’s values and way of looking at the world? A perspective from Richard Wilson, Towson University philosophy instructor, artist, and member of the Towson Arts Collective.
    • Artist and psychologist Alice Dvoskin talks about the relationship between art and mental health.
    • The Hunt Valley Symphony Orchestra is community music from community people. Co-founder Greg Lauer shares how to become part of the orchestra and where to hear their concerts.
    • Get to know the French horn, from its beginnings as a call to hunters to the brass section of modern orchestras.  

    smARTS airs Thursdays and Fridays, 7:00-7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 11:30 a.m.- noon on Baltimore County cable channel 25. SmARTS segments can be viewed on the Baltimore County Government YouTube channel.

    smARTS is a production of the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Baltimore County Public Schools and BCPS-TV. 

    Tue, 16 May 2017 20:00:00 GMT
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