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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

The changing face of politics in America

1976 Democratic primary candidates

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2020 Democratic primary candidates