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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Horizon Foundation and United Way announce 2nd round of "Changemaker Challenge" grants

"Columbia, MD (July 23, 2019) – The Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland announced today the launch of the second Changemaker Challenge, focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing social issues. 

Individuals, teams and nonprofit organizations are invited to pitch a big idea and have a chance to potentially receive up to $25,000 in prize money. Ideas are not limited to specific categories and could focus on people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, health, the environment, social justice, children, teens, older adults or a host of other issue areas.

“Despite all the strengths of our community, we recognize that many pressing problems continue to persist,” said Sandy Monck, Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Central Maryland. “One in four Howard County households do not earn enough to meet a basic ‘survival budget’ and face barriers beyond their control that limit their ability to become financially stable. Chronic diseases like diabetes disproportionately affect people of color in our community. Public transportation infrastructure remains a hurdle for residents who need to get to work, school or grocery shopping without a car. There are many issues that changemakers could address.” 

 How does it work?

  • All big ideas to make Howard County better must be pitched at by September 16.
  • If an idea is chosen, it will be presented to a live audience on November 11.
  • Four grants totaling $60,000 will be given in the amounts of: $25,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $10,000. One will be awarded to a project serving people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Howard County has a long history of tireless work by many individuals and organizations that have brought creative solutions to some of these pressing problems. The Changemaker Challenge is designed to spark and celebrate new and continued innovation in our community. 
Social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than current solutions. 

“We know Howard County is a community of big thinkers and innovative problem-solvers,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “As we continue to see results from our first Changemaker Challenge in 2017, we hope even more community members will join us in sparking fresh ideas for meaningful, lasting, social change.”

Since 1998, the Horizon Foundation has invested $53 million in community programs, including grants to more than 300 organizations serving the county, from after-school programs to faith-based organizations to health care providers.  

United Way of Central Maryland makes the communities it serves, including Howard County, stronger. The organization works directly with families and individuals to keep them in their homes and out of shelters, with kids who are falling behind in school, and with people who need easier access to healthy food and jobs that pay the bills.

Learn more about the Changemaker Challenge, including official rules, terms and conditions online at: "

Friday, July 26, 2019

Turmoil November 2020

     With the Mueller testimony of the Russians probably attempting to interfere with the 2020 Presidential election the only question seems to be what will they attempt this time.  The last election they were content to attempt to influence voters in swing states with social media posts.  What if in 2020 they attempt to go into states voting systems to change votes.  They have already shown an ability to probe state voting systemsSenator McConnell seems willing to block any effort to make our voting systems more secure.   It seems as if the Republicans may feel that the only way to win in 2020 is to get assistance from Russia.
     So fast forward to election night 2020 and we start to see some unusual totals coming in from swing districts or there seems to be a problem with getting totals from heavily Democratic areas or voting machines seem to be non-functioning in some districts.  The integrity of the election system seems to be in question.  In almost all close election district results, Trump seems to be winning narrowly.  Trump declares that he has been re-elected.  The Democrats file suit in court that the results should not be certified because of the irregularities in many polling stations in Democratic areas.  The legal fights from 2000 are here again only this time in a more complicated manner in more than one state. Election headquarters all over the Country could be mobbed with angry voters who feel that the election has been stolen.  The legitimacy of the election in many states seems to become open partisan warfare.
       Sound unlikely?  The Republicans have shown us that their interest in retaining power makes them willing to encourage and support the involvement of a foreign enemy whose interest is undermining democracy.  Undermining democracy is now the goal of many Republicans though making voting harder and gerrymandering. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Changemaker Challenge in Howard County from Horizon Foundation

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Coming Soon! What's your BIG IDEA to spark social change in Howard County? Win up to $25k to bring it to life. Contest starts on 7/23! #changemakerhc #hocomdHosted by: United Way of Central Maryland &Horizon Foundation

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Latest economic threat to the Rust Belt states

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     We are hearing a great deal about how the Democrats lost the last presidential election because of the loss of Midwestern states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Trump spoke to their feelings about the loss of blue-collar jobs to overseas competition and automation.  This area is now looking at a future of another economic loss that is just beginning.  I am talking about the loss of dairy farms and meat production with the shift away from dairy and meat products.  This is a big problem for a state like Wisconsin.  The movement to plant-based substitutes for milk and meat is only beginning to have strong consumer demand.    Milk usage is dropping quickly.

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  Plant-based milk substitutes are rapidly increasing.   Foreign exports which had been picking up some of the loss of domestic demand has been hurt in the tariff war with China

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      Quickly following the switch to plant-based dairy products is the switch to plant-based meat substitutes.   You know when Burger King introduced its own version of the Impossible Burger that even McDonalds will have to follow with its own plant-based burger.   The next big thing is growing real meat in a lab rather than slaughtering animals.
      Recently the PBS NewsHour did a report on the difficulties of dairy farmers in the Midwest surviving falling demand and the competition from large factory type dairy farms.  After listening to this report it is not hard to imagine that the adjustment for dairy farmers will be as challenging as the adjustment to the loss of blue-collar jobs in this area of our County.   As the area has struggled to adjust to the loss of blue-collar jobs there are no easy answers to how to adjust to this new economic threat for the Mid West.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Blue Catfish

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    Recently I was introduced to Blue Catfish.  These fish can grow to over 100 pounds and are considered invasive in our local waters.  Wegman's carries this in their fish section.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Another side of the immigration debate for the US

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   Two posts on Canada in a couple of days.  I can just hear Trumpers saying "If you love Canada so much why don't you live there?"  So I will answer them first.  I like warm weather and it is too darn cold in Canada.
     I subscribe to a Facebook page called "The Faces of New York" that has stories from NYC mostly but sometimes they have postings from other cities.  Here is one I want to share that portrays a different angle to our Country's immigration situation.  While the focus of our debate is on the flow of immigrants on our Southern border, here is one impact that shows how our Country is losing out on high tech workers too.

"I came from India in 2011 to get my Masters, and ended up working for a major tech company in San Francisco. It was a lucrative job, but there was always a looming cloud of uncertainty. Half of the people in my department were international workers-- mostly Indian and Chinese. All of us were on visas, so our future in America depended upon keeping our employment. I don’t think the managers intended to push us harder. But the international workers were more afraid, so we took more abuse. It just became part of the culture. We were given extra work, and the only way to keep up was to kill yourself every day. I just couldn’t do it. Eventually, I burned out and moved to Vancouver. Canada was very welcoming. My wife and I have residency already. I’ve started my own business. I have all the clients I need. But most importantly I have a home. And I’m not talking about a brick structure. I mean a place that I’m allowed to be. Because once I had that, all my other problems seemed smaller. I could start thinking long term. Because no matter what happens, at least I know I’ll be here.”

       I said it before

Monday, July 8, 2019

Cost of medicine pushing more Americans to Canada to get their meds

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     It seems like every day we hear stories of Americans paying excessive amounts for their medicine because of the cozy relationship between drug companies and members of Congress.  It is outright bribery. The latest drug is insulin.   Here is a list of briberies.  It may be a secret but you can easily get your medicines from safe reputable pharmacies in Canada.  You don't even have to travel there as you can get them through mail order.  While technically illegal for Americans to get meds from another country no one has been prosecuted if it is for their individual use.  You find a legitimate Canadian pharmacy at this site.  This issue should be near the top of any presidential debate.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Opioid overdoses down dramatically in Howard County

    Through the hard work of Howard County personnel, the number of overdoses and death from opioids has seen a significant decline in our County.  We should all be thankful and praise the people who have worked very hard on this issue in our County.  Howard County has always been a great place to live with the high quality of services we get every day. 


Saturday, July 6, 2019

New letter uncovered from a Revolutionary War soldier

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  Many of us heard Trump's speech on the 4th at the Lincoln Memorial talk about the Revolutionary War soldiers controlling the airports.  It was seen as a weird comment given that the War was fought in the 18th Century but a newly uncovered letter from a soldier must have been the basis for his comment in the speech.  Here is the letter:

"My dearest Kate, I must tell you of our latest triumph in our war for independence. Though outnumbered by the redcoats, General Washington was adamant that at dawn we charge the concourse by gate 12, the one nearest Spirit Airlines, sadly we had to pull back all the way to the Southwest gates. There I saw my best friend James die of a peanut allergy. Oh, the humanity! But by noon we were triumphant! I feel this war will be coming to a close soon as we now control JFK and LaGuardia. Ever your love, Thomas."


   Further evidence for Trump

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Generalissimo Trump celebrates the Fourth

Rumor is that his bone spurs have finally healed for his Fourth of July military show this Thursday.

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    I can't confirm the rumor that he is taking hand growth hormones.

P.S 1

     Trump's dream for Pennslyvania Ave.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

His Type

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Remember the time we didn't have a rapist in the White House?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Prepare for Success

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     This is the 18th year that the Community Action Council has operated a "Prepare for Success" program to provide supplies to Howard County students in need of a backpack and school supplies.  The program is co-coordinated by volunteers Roy and Susan Appletree.  This is a program that I have blogged about for the past few years and I hope everyone will consider making a donation to this program as I have.  Go to this link to donate.


Friday, June 21, 2019

A "squirrelly" tale of life in Trump Country

When I first read this story I thought it would have made a good "Onion" story but it is really a true story.  Then I realized how we get a President like Trump when we have this happening in the region of the Country with this population.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jane Dembner 1961-2019

    Obituary of Jane DEMBNER

  Today Columbia lost one of our leaders and a wonderful person.  Jane Dembner was the Director of Planning and Community Affairs for the Columbia Association.  An avid biker around our community and someone who was always open to discuss how our community could be improved. In spite of her health issues, she was always a smiling face at many events around town.  She will be missed.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

The plastic controversy moves to Howard County

Image result for plastic bans in florida keys

     On a recent visit to the Florida Keys, I noticed that all the straws were the old fashion paper straws instead of the plastic ones we now have.  Plastic may have been the wave of the future at one time but it is now seen as an environmental hazard.  Australia cut its plastic waste by 80% in just 3 months.  Many recycling centers are now losing money because China has stopped buying our plasticsLocally a bill has been passed in the Maryland General Assembly to give permission for the Howard County Council to impose a fee on the use of plastic bags.  Now it is the time to let your Council member know you support this fee being imposed.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Patuxent Trail closed because of tree hazards

     I ran along the trail this morning and Parks and Rec has had to cut up a lot of trees along the trail
and it looks like they have marked a number of dead trees to be cut down.  Here is the notice they
posted on Facebook today.
     "Due to the extreme amount of overhead tree hazards along the Patuxent Branch Trail, the trail will be closed from Savage Park to Lake Elkhorn until further notice."

About says it all

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Route 1 Master Plan public comment

       Anyone who has traveled along Route 1 from North Laurel to Elkridge knows how much the area has changed from when it was a 2 lane road with Mom and Pop stores and trailer parks.  Now, much of the residential development in Howard County is occurring along the roadway.  A Master Plan is being developed by the County and they are inviting the public to comment on the plan.

Activating transportation, infrastructure, land use and economic development implementation strategies to improve vibrancy and quality of life throughout the Route 1 corridor
May 31, 2019

Howard County invites you to participate in two upcoming meetings on the Route 1 Corridor Master Plan.

Elkridge Library Branch
Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Belmont/Hockley Rooms
6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge, MD

North Laurel Community Center
Thursday, June 27, 2019, 6:30-8:30 pm
Chesapeake Multi-Purpose Rooms
9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel, MD

Interested community members are encouraged to attend either meeting as they will cover the same material. Each meeting will include a presentation by the Route 1 Master Plan consulting team, led by RKG & Associates. Multiple displays/stations will provide an update on the progress of the Plan and include the following:
  • Results from the 2018 open houses and 2019 virtual open house
  • Existing conditions
  • Development trends and real estate market demand
  • Land use and transportation assessments
  • Character area analysis
  • Preliminary implementation tools

You are also invited to stay after the presentation to speak to county planners and the consultant team at the displays around the room.

An interpreter for people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be available if requested seven working days prior to the meeting. Please call Jeff DelMonico at 410-313-2350 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
For questions or more information about this meeting, contact Peter Conrad, at 410-313-4350 or email
We hope you stay involved throughout the planning process. For more information on the project, please visit:
Are you on our mailing list?
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If you were forwarded this email and would like to continue receiving the latest news and updates on the Plan in the future, please sign up using the link or button below.

Click here to sign-up for updates or use the button below.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Alabama and Kansas shows where conservatism leads

  •     Alabama has been in the news lately with its Republican-controlled radical pro-life agenda in restricting access to abortions. This former Confederate state has a long history of showing the impact of resisting progress and change.  Here is where the state ranks on quality of life issues.
  • Health Care                                                                                                                        #49
     Some have joked that life begins at the borders of Alabama.
     Kansas is another example of where conservative Republican control leads to disaster when they implement their policies.  The long-held Republican belief in tax cuts to stimulate the economy were blown out of the water with the example of what happened in Kansas.  Here is what happened:

"In 2012 and 2013, at the urging of Governor Sam Brownback, lawmakers cut the top rate of the state’s income tax by almost 30 percent and the tax rate on certain business profits to zero.  Under “supply-side” economic theory, these deep tax cuts should have acted — as Brownback then predicted — like “a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” stimulating strong growth in economic output, job creation, and new business formation.  But in reality, Kansas underperformed most neighboring states and the nation on all of those measures after the tax cuts.  For example:
  • Kansas’ 4.2 percent private-sector job growth from December 2012 (the month before the tax cuts took effect) to May 2017 (the month before they were repealed) was lower than all of its neighbors except Oklahoma and less than half of the 9.4 percent job growth in the United States.
  • Likewise, the number of Kansas residents reporting income on their federal tax returns from a partnership or “S corporation” (two of the main types of businesses that the tax cuts exempted from income tax) grew by 4.1 percent between 2012 and 2015, well below the 5.4 percent growth for the United States and below all of Kansas’ neighbors except Missouri.
Moreover, Kansas revenues plunged, leading to cuts to education and other vital services and downgrades in the state’s bond rating.  On June 6, 2017, the legislature terminated what Brownback had termed a “real live experiment” in supply-side tax policy, repealing the business profits exemption and moving income tax rates back toward where they had started."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Next big technological shift

     In the 1990s who would have seen the impact that the digital revolution would have had on our lives.  How we communicate, learn, get our music, even the way our cars work have been dramatically changed.  We may be seeing another seismic change in what we eat that will cause a change in agriculture that may be profound.
     The move in diets from dairy and meat will have significant impacts on what farmers grow.  Traveling around the Mid West recently it was clear that a vast amount of land is used in the production of our dairy and meat production.

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     So what will bring about this dramatic change--the rapid increase in non-dairy and non-meat products.

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     The growth in non-dairy milk alternatives from nut based products is rapidly growing if you go into any grocery store.  If you haven't tried these alternative products you are missing out on healthier products that can have a very similar texture and taste to milk.  My favorites are almond and soy milk.  The texture of soy milk is probably the closest to regular milk and certainly better than skim milk.  Almond milk is better if you want to stay with a lower calorie drink.  I even mix those two drinks.
     Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground Frozen Gluten Free - 13.7oz

         At the same time, the rapid growth of non-meat products that closely resemble meat is escalating daily  The two major companies in this growth are Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger companies.   While the product that they have initially developed is a burger product they will be eventually rolling out other meat products such as steak, chicken and fish.  The initial efforts have focused on developing a product that feels and tastes like real meat but the future will be targeted to having those qualities in a far healthier product.  Once these are developed and are price competitive to real meat the meat industry will be severely impacted. 
      Getting back to all those Mid-Western farmers who now grow crops that go into dairy and meat what happens to them?  Will they go the way of workers in the blue collar jobs that don't have equivalent jobs to move to?  Or will the transition mean that they will transition to crops that are used in the production of the new products?  The Mid West may be in for a change in the near future similar to what the coal mining areas of our Country have been experiencing the past 50 years.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It's becoming clearer everyday

     Trump Republicans are showing every day that when it comes to choosing to further your political priorities or defending our democratic values you have no trouble choosing your political priorities.  We now face a time when the courts will have to decide if the separation of powers defined in the Constitution still applies in the "Age of Trump."  Maybe it shouldn't be surprising that almost 40% of Americans and almost 90% of Republicans never did really want to live in a democracy but would prefer authoritarian rule.  We are getting to see every day what it would have been like to have had George Wallace elected President.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Richard Rothstein author of "The Color of Law" at the Miller Library May 30th


         Richard Rothstein has written a book on how the laws of our Country discriminated against persons of color in federal housing programs.  Here is the link to register to hear this author.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Rise Southern biscuits and donuts set to open in Columbia on McGaw Road

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  If you wondered what would come into the space that Yogi Castle had on McGaw Road we now know what is coming into that space.  Rise Southern Biscuits and Donuts will be opening this Saturday, April 27th.  For those who can't wait till Saturday, there will be a "soft opening" on Friday from 11 am to 2 pm.  Not sure of the details on the soft opening.

     Here you can learn more about the concept behind Rise.


Monday, April 22, 2019

April 28 Set you DVR's for Rouse interview on Columbia

MPT to air Columbia’s Promise April 28

 With Columbia one of the most meticulously planned cities in the world and having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, Maryland Public Television (MPT) has produced Columbia’s Promise, a one-hour documentary about the city and its founder, Jim Rouse. It will air on MPT on April 28, at 7 p.m., and will be rebroadcast on MPT2 on April 29, at 10 p.m.
Rouse’s careful planning cultivated social diversity, economic prosperity and some of the best schools in the nation. Using rare archival footage, viewers will be able to hear Rouse tell the story, interspersed with interviews with the likes of Robert Tennenbaum, who was one of Rouse’s top executives at The Rouse Company; Joshua Olsen, author of “Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse”; and long-time area journalist Len Lazarick, publisher of and contributor to The Business Monthly.
“Rouse was famously modest and resisted most formal photo sessions, as well as televised interviews,” said MPT Senior Executive Producer Ken Day. “However, one prescient television producer/cameraman, Scott Kramer, begged Rouse for years to sit down and talk about Columbia. He finally succeeded, and in December of 1987, Rouse consented to a 90-minute interview about how Columbia came about. That interview drives much of this documentary.”
MPT is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has several events and observances planned throughout 2019 and into next year. A two-hour documentary, Made Possible By Viewers Like You: 50 Years of Maryland Public Television, will premiere on June 3, at 8 p.m.; in October, an official exhibit will open at Hornbake Library, at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will run for a year.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

When a guilty person suffers from amnesia

      Having skimmed through the Mueller Report the part that I found most interesting was the part that showed Trump's written responses to the questions given to him by the Mueller attorneys.   Maybe I should say "the written responses by Trump's attorneys."  The only way Trump wouldn't perjure himself was to have his lawyers write his responses.   Like having someone else take your test.   What is not surprising is that over 30 times the answer was related to him not remembering.  Some times that was the entire answer.  This is surprising when you remember how Trump boasted about his memory.  Or when he mocked a person for her memory.

     You can take your Easter or Passover weekend to read the entire report.

     If Trump isn't working in some embarrassing, possibly illegal, way with the Russians why are there no notes or other American officials invited into his meetings with Putin?  Sounds like there is something "fishy" going on.

    Two more thoughts.  Is it not collusion if you collide in public?  Is it not obstruction is you are too stupid on how to get others to do your obstruction?

P.S. 3
       Aren't we proud of our leader's use of words in his tweets?