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Baltimore County News

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Hundreds Cheer Honorees at Awards Luncheon

At today’s 27th annual Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Awards ceremony, an enthusiastic crowd helped to recognize the achievements of eleven individuals, employers, advocates and organizations for their outstanding achievements and contributions.             

The Commission on Disabilities provides support and advocacy for County residents with disabilities and works to ensure that County programs, buildings and services are open equally to all persons, regardless of their disabilities.  In addition, the Commission provides resources and referrals on obtaining services not only from the County but through programs offered by the state and federal government. 

“Healthy communities thrive because they have people who care, who get involved and who look out for the needs of their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We are pleased to recognize the efforts of some remarkable people living with disabilities in our communities and the people who help them in their journey.”

This year’s honorees include:

  • Jessica Solomon of Goucher College, winner of the Education Advocate of the Year Award;
  • Kayla Burroughs of Rosedale, winner of the Student of the Year Award;
  • Patricia Lane-Forster of Essex, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award;
  • Amy Smolenski on behalf of PDP Group of Hunt Valley, winner of the Employer of the Year Award;
  • Crystal Brockington of Towson, winner of the Employee of the Year Award;
  • Biliana Borimetchkova of Timonium, winner of the Art Accessibility Award;
  • Mat Rice of Towson, winner of the Statewide Advocate for Change Award;
  • Jennifer Hobbs, Pathfinders for Autism, winner of the Media-Public Awareness Award;
  • George Bollock of Fallston, winner of the Volunteer Award;
  • Richard Gnibus of Middle River, winner of the Disability Advocate Award;
  • Wanda Brown of Dulaney High School, winner of the Chairperson’s Special Award.

A few interesting stories…

Patricia Lane-Forster is an art teacher at Ridge Ruxton High School who serves students who are severely disabled, both intellectually and physically. She finds ways to adapt art projects so that students can complete the work independently, regardless of their ability. For example, she has developed methods through which nonverbal students can communicate color, texture and style preferences. For students with limited mobility, she incorporates robotics into the art class so that every student can make a mark on paper or canvas with the touch of a button.

Mat Rice, an individual with disabilities, has been at the forefront of self-advocacy in the legislature and in teaching other individuals with disabilities about how to advocate for themselves. Rice graduated from the Maryland School for the Blind and Parkville High School and went on to work as the Public Policy Specialist for People on the Go of Maryland. He has been instrumental in advising legislators on issues that affect the quality of life for people with disabilities in Maryland.

George Bollock has been a volunteer with the Oriole Advocates since 1991. He became a chairperson and “cheerleader” for a program known as the Challenger Baseball League, in 2010. The Challenger Baseball Program offers a variety of adapted baseball opportunities for athletes with disabilities. Bullock has provided more than 800 tickets each year for the athletes and their families to enjoy a game at Camden Yards during “Challenger Night.”

Wanda Brown, who teaches an engineering class at Dulaney High School, has led her engineering students through a standard engineering design process to create what is known as “chariot” for a young boy named Chandler who has Cerebral Palsy. The “chariot” is essentially a wheelchair bicycle hybrid that helps him exercise his limbs while being pushed outside in the neighborhood by his parents. This is just the most recent of eight projects for children with disabilities that Dulaney High’s engineering class has completed under Brown’s leadership. 


Department of Health and Human Services Invites all Baltimore County Residents to Super Saturday Clinics

Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services and “Sure Shot,” the Department of Health mascot, announced the County’s Super Saturday, free flu vaccination clinics.

On Saturday, October 21 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Department will hold public flu vaccination clinics at the follow locations in each of the seven councilmanic districts:

  • Drumcastle Government Center
    6401 York Road, First Floor
    Baltimore, Maryland 21212
     
  • Dundalk Middle School 
    7400 Dunmanway
    Baltimore, Maryland 21222
     
  • Hereford Middle School
    712 Corbett Road
    Monkton, Maryland 21111
     
  • Lansdowne Middle School
    2400 Lansdowne Road
    Baltimore, Maryland 21227 
            
  • Randallstown Community Center
    3505 Resource Drive
    Randallstown, Maryland 21133
     
  • Middle River Middle School
    800 Middle River Road
    Baltimore, Maryland 21220
     
  • Pikesville Middle School
    7701 Seven Mile Lane
    Pikesville, Maryland 21208

Free flu vaccinations will be available, while supplies last. Vaccines are given on a first come, first serve basis and no appointment is needed. Residents are asked to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless shirts for quick and easy access to the portion of their arm where the vaccination will be administered.

“Nobody wants to catch the flu and flu vaccines are a great defense against this common, but potentially dangerous illness,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “By having clinics located across the County, we are making it as easy and convenient as possible for people to get their free, annual flu shot on Saturday.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine - even if they were vaccinated last year - since immunity from vaccination declines over time and strains my change from year to year. The vaccine is safe, effective and readily available this season.

“I am urging all individuals six months and older to stay in the game and get a flu shot this year,” stated Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “As I remind residents every fall, the best defensive move against the flu is knowing the flu FACTS – Frequently wash your hands, Always get an annual flu shot, Cover your coughs, Take time off when you are sick, and Seek medical treatment if symptoms get worse.”

For more information on Super Saturday flu vaccination clinics, call 410-887-BCHD (2243) or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/flushot


Infrastructure improvements and expansion of aging marine facilities at Tradepoint Atlantic could receive a significant boost as Baltimore County submits a $25 million grant request to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant would be matched by a $25.5 million private investment from Tradepoint Atlantic, developer of 3,100 acres at Sparrows Point.

With funding from the TIGER grant, Tradepoint Atlantic will make structural upgrades to the East-West Berth, modernize it for efficient movement of 21st century cargo, strengthen bulkheads, perform maintenance dredging to allow deep water ships access to the marine terminal, and other necessary improvements designed to leverage existing rail and highway systems on the site.

“This public/private infrastructure investment will ignite job creation in Baltimore County and the entire region by speeding up the turnaround of Sparrows Point from a shuttered steelmaking site into a modern hub for global commerce,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The investments in dredging, a stronger berth, and short line rail track will facilitate efficient and safe loading and unloading, reducing handling costs for shippers using the facility. 

“By partnering with Baltimore County to secure a federal grant for this key infrastructure investment, we can continue our commitment to creating a first-class facility dedicated to increasing long term job creation in the Baltimore region and lowering prices of American export and import consumer goods,” said Aaron Tomarchio, a Senior Vice President at Tradepoint Atlantic.

The project will expand the region’s bulk handling capability by restoring an obsolete regional marine asset to a state of good repair. The modernization program expands bulk cargo handling capability at Tradepoint Atlantic and does not introduce container cargo handling to the site.

If successful, the grant projects will span four years. The TIGER grant application and administration is led by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development. The application is supported by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“With this federal transportation grant request, Baltimore County continues to proactively put key pieces in place to support development of Tradepoint Atlantic,” said Kamenetz. Baltimore County initiated creation of the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone and established a foreign trade zone to facilitate global commerce.

Economic and Jobs Impact

A recent economic impact report projects Tradepoint Atlantic will generate 17,000 jobs in the Baltimore region, plus another 21,000 jobs during construction. Economic impact is projected to top $3 billion when development of the 3,100 acre site is completed in 2025, according to the Sage Policy Group study.

“There are more than 17,000 jobs on the horizon at full development, but jobs already are coming back to Sparrows Point from world class companies including FedEx Ground and Under Armour,” added Kamenetz.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017