"Highlandtown... The Heart of Baltimore"
Thank you for joining us on Sunday April 22th for the 15th annual Highlandtown Wine Festival. We had a great time a look forward to next year.
The Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council has approved for accreditation the newly-instituted Cadet-Apprentice Program, effective immediately. Qualified individuals can enter the Cadet program at age 18 and continue until 20.5 years, when they are then eligible to enter the Police Academy. Cadets will be involved with structured on-the-job learning, paired with rigorous educational programming and coordinated mentoring. Cadets’ starting salary is $30,000 and they will receive full employment benefits. There are currently 11 cadets in the program and we hope to expand it to up to 20 Cadets by year-end.
Mobile WorkForce Center
Ensuring that every Baltimore City resident who wishes to work is able to find suitable employment, it was my pleasure to christen our new Mobile Workforce Center. Operated by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, the Mobile Workforce Center will bring job resources to citizens and provide services such as job readiness assessments, résumé review and customization, job referral assistance, recruitment and resource information event information. This roving employment resource is equipped with 16 computer workstations, laptops to increase service capacity to up to 24 customers at a time, satellite internet access, exterior audio visual and broadcasting capabilities, as well as tables and chairs for outdoor presentations. For more information about where the Mobile Workforce Center will be in the community, check regularly at: https://moed.baltimorecity.gov/mobile-workforce-center
Violence Reduction Initiative
Each and every day of the work week, leaders from every City agency join me in meeting with Police District Commanders as part of our Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) to identify and develop solutions to neighborhood issues that have the potential to lead to violence and crime. This Violence Once a week, we walk throughout a specific neighborhood to meet with community leaders and residents and see first-hand the problems that threaten the safety of citizens and their quality of life. This initiative – along with our bi-monthly “Call to Action” meetings is leading to clear and positive results. Crime continues to decline in every category: homicides are down 20%; non-fatal shootings are down 10%, overall violent crime is down 16%, burglaries are down 28%, and aggravated assaults are down 13%. Overall, total crime in the city is down 18% compared to the same period last year. We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to reduce crime and create a City worthy of all our citizens.
The 6th Branch
It is always a moving experience to participate in the Together We Serve 9/11 Day of Service honoring those lost on September 11, 2001. This year, I joined 400 volunteers, organized by The 6th Branch, and more than 15 corporate and community partners to focus on clearing and improving vacant lots in the Broadway East neighborhood of East Baltimore. This is the seventh year of Together We Serve hosted by The 6th Branch. Thank you to all who made this day so meaningful and impactful!
Minority and women-owned business leaders participate in the 2018 DPW Small Business Development Program.
80 Minority & Women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) have invested to participate in year three of a 10-week construction management training program created to make local M/WBEs contract-ready for more than $3 billion in utility construction work, including Consent Decree sewer rehabilitation and replacement, and capital improvements under drinking water, stormwater and wastewater programs.
I wanted to share two exciting opportunities that my office offers to Maryland students.
Congressional App Challenge
This year, I am proud to offer middle school and high school students in Maryland's Third Congressional District the chance to participate in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge -- a competition that encourages students to learn how to code and that showcases cutting-edge applications designed by young innovators.
Eligible students in Maryland's Third Congressional District are encouraged to register and submit their own original apps by Monday, October 15, 2018.
For more information about the Congressional App Challenge see here.
For official rules and eligibility requirements, see here.
Congressional App Challenge winners will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives' website and displayed in an exhibit located in the U.S. Capitol.
Service Academy Nominations
Every year, I am honored to nominate residents from Maryland's Third Congressional District for admission into the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy. I am truly impressed and inspired by the caliber of candidates we receive each year, and I look forward to meeting thenext class of prospective students.
For more information about service academy nominations, see here.
The application for students seeking a nomination from my office for the class of 2023 is available here. Completed application packets are due to my office by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 19, 2018.
If you have any questions about either of these opportunities, please contact my office in Towson at (410) 832-8890.
John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional District
Jess Gartner, CEO of Allovue, and I published an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun today about taking a common sense, nonpartisan, and immediate approach to solving facilities challenges in Baltimore City. This problem is solvable, so long as we demonstrate the political will to act. I hope you will take the time to read and share our op-ed to keep up the pressure for swift action.
"While cooler temperatures are, we hope, on the horizon, making AC deficiencies in schools less urgent, a failure to offer new solutions for the city's facilities challenges right now will result in a fresh round of outrage when our first freeze hits. As deficient boilers break and failing windows leak, city schools will face predictable accusations of mismanagement. A problem decades in the making will not be resolved by political infighting, it will only be fixed with action. Instead of shuffling from one crisis to the next, let's do the hard work of collaboratively solving problems.
We can all agree that the state of Baltimore schools is unacceptable for students, educators, families and communities. Let's also agree that present officials deserve a clean slate that assumes the best of their abilities as they work to undo decades of disinvestment and injustice. We have the expertise, resources, and ability to right historical wrongs. The only remaining question is whether we have the political will to get the job done." Keep reading by clicking here...
As always, thank you for your continued engagement and support.
State Senator Bill Ferguson
Other sites of Interest:
Baltimore’s Department of Planning is proud to release a new vision plan for our City – the Baltimore Green Network plan is an ambitious effort to bring new green spaces to Baltimore neighborhoods, particularly those hit hardest by vacancy and disinvestment. The plan sets a framework for an interconnected system of natural and recreational spaces throughout Baltimore City – including landscaped plazas, parks, urban gardens and forests.
The release of the Baltimore Green Network plan is a culmination of more than two years of planning in partnership with residents and community based organizations, including dozens of meetings and the feedback of hundreds of individuals. The Department of Planning is grateful for the many community residents who contributed their feedback, ideas, and energy to shape the plan.
A copy of the plan document may be found on the Department of Planning website at https://planning.baltimorecity.gov/green-network-plan.
The Baltimore Green Network plan will be presented to the Planning Commission for adoption on September 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm in the Stanton Board Room, located at 417 East Fayette Street, 8th Floor. The hearing will be viewable through live-streaming at that time using this link.
If you wish to provide written testimony, please email the Department of Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or send written testimony to Mr. Sean Davis, Chairman, at Department of Planning, 417 East Fayette Street, 8th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.
If you wish to attend the Planning Commission meeting, please note that the security procedures in the Benton Building require that you bring photo-identification with you. If you require special accommodations to attend or participate in the Planning Commission hearing, please provide information about your requirements at least five business days in advance of this event. Both the building and hearing room are wheelchair accessible.
State Department of Assessments & Taxation
SDAT Offers Tax Relief, Mails More Than 75,000 Postcards for
Tax Credit Awareness Campaign
Encourages Low-income Homeowners and Renters to Apply for Property
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is urging Marylanders to consider whether they may be eligible to receive a homeowners’ or renters’ property tax credit and to submit an application before the September 1 deadline. As part of this awareness campaign, this week SDAT mailed 77,544 postcards to low-income Maryland homeowners who may be eligible to receive a credit, but have not yet submitted an application. SDAT representatives have consistently participated in various community outreach events throughout the year hosted by senior centers, neighborhood alliances, and non-profit organizations to educate Marylanders about tax relief that may be available to them.
The Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program provides tax relief for eligible homeowners by setting a limit on the amount of property taxes owed based on their income. If a resident has already paid their property taxes and applies before September 1, any tax credit that the homeowner may be eligible for will be refunded by their county finance office. The Renters’ Property Tax Credit Program similarly provides tax relief for eligible renters who pay high monthly rent relative to their total income. This credit is issued in the form of a direct check payment of up to $1,000 a year.
To determine whether you are eligible to receive a tax credit, you may visit the links above or call 410-767-4433 or 1-800-944-7403 (toll free within Maryland). To receive an application, please email email@example.com or call 410-767-4238.
These credits must be applied for annually by September 1. In 2017, approximately 47,000 homeowners received an average of $1,339 in tax relief, while more than 8,800 renters received an average of $402 in tax relief. Combined, these two tax credit programs saved Maryland taxpayers more than $65 million last year. After the 2017 Tax Credit Awareness Campaign, an additional 10,000 Maryland homeowners and renters applied for a tax credit. Many counties and municipalities also provide supplemental credits, which provide additional tax relief. If a resident is approved to receive the state credit, they will automatically receive any local supplemental credit for which they are eligible.
In order to educate Maryland homeowners and renters about the availability of these tax credits, SDAT has been proactively sharing this information with the public through direct mail, email campaigns, social media, and other forms of community outreach.
Guest Speaker at HCA Meeting on 16 April 2018
We want to thank Baltimore City's 25th State Attorney Marilyn Mosby for attending our community meeting and answering our questions. Though we have a long road ahead in fixing issues surrounding criminal justice, we are thankful that you attended our meeting and shared your vision.
In addition to school related matters, the Kirwan Commission's excellent preliminary report has provided a guidepost and vision for major policy and funding reform to genuinely improve the long-term prospects of our State's economic future. Want to help change the world? Check out Strong Schools Maryland today to see how you can be a part of making this vision for a world class education a reality in our State. You can access the full report here and the PDF version here.
Last but not least, Strong Schools Maryland consists of hundreds of grassroots activists across Maryland speaking up and saying that the current education system is failing many of our students and crippling our economy. They know that the best way to ensure lasting change is to create the public will necessary to force our leaders to implement solutions we know work. Join the organization in building the public will to create a world-class education system for every student.
The objective for Strong Schools Maryland is to create a system in which the following three ideas are true:
(1) All Maryland students graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in post-secondary education without the need for remediation.
(2) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in which they find satisfaction and earn a living wage.
(3) All Maryland students graduate with the knowledge and skills to be an effective citizen
Maryland Emergency Management Agency Launches "Know Your Zone" Hurricane Preparedness Campaign
With the record-setting 2017 hurricane season still fresh in most American’s minds, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with local emergency managers, is rolling out a new hurricane and severe weather evacuation system as a result of the Maryland hurricane evacuation study which concluded earlier this year. The study identified 3 large areas in Maryland subject to tidal flooding. Know Your Zone aims to bring awareness of the evacuation zones to the forefront of Marylanders’ summer plans and make evacuation notices easier to disseminate.
**Featured Contracting Opportunities**
For a list of more contracting opportunities, click here
For additional City contracting opportunities, go to:
Baltimore CitiBuy: https://www.baltimorecitibuy.org/bso/external/publicBids.sdo
Design and Construction Projects: http://cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/DCP/ProjectList.aspx?agencyName=&projCat=&contact
Baltimore Housing: http://www.baltimorehousing.org/contractors.aspx
Baltimore City Public Schools: http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/Page/25290
Baltimore Development Corporation: http://baltimoredevelopment.com/rfps/
AN UNOFFICIAL STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH ILLEGAL DUMPING
Baltimore has a major problem with dumping in our streets and alleys. The city asks residents to make use of the 311 system, but does not seem to be willing to invest in enforcement. Many believe that the cost of enforcement would be offset by the reduced costs associated with clean up. The cost of cleanup is not the only expense. Filth and trash are unsightly and attract rats which carry disease. Property values, and the related tax revenue to the city, are reduced.
Here is a list of possible strategies:
Use 311 whenever there is dumping – please be vigilant, this will not be resolved quickly
There is a free 311 phone app that automatically records 311 report numbers which allow you to track every 311 report you have ever made
It can be found at Google Play and the Apple Store
You can easily attach pictures to your report
It uses your phones GPS to record the location, although it often is not accurate enough to pin point the exact address – you can adjust the location or record the address in the body of the comment area
City employees may call you with questions or to follow up, so we know that the reports are seen
Contact your city council representatives and provide them with the 311 report numbers
East of Conkling Street contact Brandon Scott’s office at 410-396-4808 or at Brandon.Scott@baltimorecity.gov
West of Conkling Street contact Zeke Cohen’s Director of Civic Engagement, Joshua Thomson at 410-396-4821 or at Joshua.Thomson@baltimorecity.gov
copy the Highlandtown Community Asso. at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your 311 report numbers
Any relevant pictures, including pictures that may show the dumping in progress and license plate numbers
Pictures of any incriminating evidence, such as mail with an address, found in the debris
Always ask your city councilman for stepped up enforcement, not just clean up
The Highlandtown Community Association has a portable motion activated camera with night vision (aka a wildlife/deer camera) that can be used to capture pictures at chronic dump sites. This camera requires a location where it is unlikely to be noticed or tampered with. If you have a chronic dump site you may request use of the camera at email@example.com . Please include your phone number and be prepared to help locate a good spot to place the camera.
From the office of Senator Bill Ferguson
Members of Team 46 (Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis) offer a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work - and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have now so that we can address violence and crime head-on...
To comprehensively address this crisis, each of these recommendations requires leaders in the Baltimore region to consistently meet, plan, and implement an identified game plan. We need ongoing programming, innovation, and experimentation to create opportunity, reduce violence, and restore the level of trust in relationships between our communities and law enforcement. This collaborative and data-driven work should include participation of electeds, emergency responders, police (leadership and patrol officers), teachers, counselors, juvenile justice workers, judges, community leaders, and state/federal partners.
Finally, our approach must recognize that we only resolve this crisis sustainably when we create real opportunities for Baltimoreans: jobs, training, education, reliable transit, addiction counseling/ treatment, and affordable housing. We cannot ignore the deeper, structural problems that lead to crime — lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, addiction, structural racism, youth unemployment, segregated housing — each of which contributes to the broader landscape that causes crime spikes. Unfortunately, though, when crime reaches levels we are experiencing today, tackling these larger challenges becomes nearly impossible. We must triage the emergency, establish a path to a violence-free future, and work every day and every session toward reaching that vision of a safer, more equitable Baltimore.
Read our policy paper, Baltimore PROSPERS by clicking here.
Highlandtown's very own Agnes Arnold has been awarded the annual "Citizen of the Year" award by the Exchange Club of Highlandtown/Canton for outstanding dedication to the citizens and the community. Here she accepts her award along with Pastor Mark Parker (left), the incoming President of the Exchange Club. Residents of Highlandtown thank Agnes & Mark for their continued efforts to improve our neighborhood!