Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Receives Getty Education and Community Investment Grant fromLeague of American Orchestras to Develop OrchKids Program
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is one of 22 American orchestras to receive a first-year Getty Education and Community Investment Grant. The grant of $17,500 has been awarded to develop the orchestra’s OrchKids program, which currently provides nearly 600 Baltimore City students with music lessons, tutoring and after-school care. The grant recognizes Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s innovation and dedication to increasing its relevance to the community.
“We are honored to receive this funding, as it validates on a national scale the impact we are having locally,” said BSO President and CEO, Paul Meecham. “OrchKids is benefitting the lives of hundreds of youth in our region.”
“More and more orchestras all over the country are finding innovative ways to help address community needs through music,” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation’s commitment to encourage these important educational and community engagement programs is a great boost to orchestras’ ability to provide community relevance beyond the concert hall,” he commented.
A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local cultural and/or community organizations, such as schools or social service providers. This year’s grants, part of a new three-year, $1.5 million re-granting program from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, will fund both new and established innovative programs including: long-term in-school partnerships and afterschool programs; health and wellness initiatives in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes; and programs for the underserved and underprivileged, including incarcerated youth.
A total of $425,000 was awarded for the first year grants, with individual grant amounts ranging from $14,500 to $37,500 per orchestra. 45% of the grants were awarded to educational programs, 43% to health and wellness programs, and 12% to those serving other populations.
Applicants for the grants came from every orchestra budget group. The initial 204 applicants were narrowed by an independent advisory panel to 44 semi-finalists; all were then judged on six criteria: the degree of innovation and relevance to community needs; the orchestra’s capacity to deliver; appropriateness to mission and community; appropriateness and strength of partnership(s); ability to assess outcomes; and professional OrchKids is a year-round during- and after-school music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is a cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s efforts to expand the Orchestra’s relevance within the City’s broad and diverse community. In collaboration with several community partners, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship at no cost to Baltimore’s neediest youngsters.
The program is inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, the music program that in 30 years has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in that country’s most impoverished areas. Like El Sistema, OrchKids is intended primarily to address the most pervasive social challenges affecting underserved youth, using music to cultivate fundamental life skills such as self-expression, cooperative learning, discipline and creativity. With assistance from The Family League of Baltimore City and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the BSO has implemented several assessment tools to track if OrchKids participants are achieving social, academic and musical outcomes.
In the 2012-13 Baltimore City School Year, OrchKids will work with four public elementary schools serving nearly 600 children from Pre-Kindergarten thought the 7th grade. Under OrchKids Artistic Director Dan Trahey, students receive classroom music instruction during the school day and in after-school sessions four days a week from 3:30-6:30 p.m. A typical after-school session includes classroom music instruction, group instrument lessons, tutoring assistance and a nutritious snack. OrchKids also frequently have the opportunity to take field trips to local organizations and attend Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts.
For more than 80 years, the BSO has maintained a vibrant educational presence throughout Maryland, supporting the local community not only through concerts and recordings, but also through its commitment to actively giving back with its education, outreach and mentorship programs. The 2012-2013 season marks the fifth year of OrchKids™, a year-round in-school and after-school music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City’s neighborhoods. OrchKids™ provides music education, instruments and tutoring to Baltimore’s underserved children at no cost. Since its start in 2008, the program has grown from 30 students to nearly 600 student participants throughout four schools in Baltimore City. The BSO recently launched OrchLab, in partnership with the Montgomery County Public Schools. This music-in-schools program for elementary, middle and high school students in Montgomery County was created to enrich the instrumental music program in schools within the MCPS system that have the greatest need, as well as to provide professional development opportunities for MCPS music instructors. For the 2012-2013 academic year, OrchLab will be piloted in 23 of the schools located in the Downcounty and Northeast Consortia of the MCPS System. OrchLab is an outgrowth of BSO on the Go, the Orchestra’s education outreach program that has provided more than 12,000 students with classroom instruction and performances from BSO musicians since that program’s start five years ago.
The BSO also provides educational opportunities for adult music lovers through special performance opportunities with members of the Symphony. In February 2010 at Strathmore and September 2010 at the Meyerhoff, the BSO invited more than 400 amateur musicians onstage to perform alongside members of the BSO in “Rusty Musicians” events that captured international attention. This annual event provides participants from across the country the opportunity to meet, rehearse and perform with the BSO and Maestra Alsop. In June 2010, the BSO held its first-ever BSO Academy, an intensive, side-by-side weeklong program of master classes, chamber music, orchestra rehearsals and public performances for amateur musicians and BSO members led by Marin Alsop. The third BSO Academy was held in June 2012 and the forth takes place in June 2013 and offers opportunities for singers.
Proposed Legislation Prohibits Entities with DC Council Members on their Payroll from Doing Business with DC
Also, Constituent Service Funds Prohibited from Purchasing Tickets to Professional Sporting Events, Term Limits & Money Orders Capped at $100 Proposed
Councilmember Vincent Bernard Orange, Sr. (At-Large, D) during the opening legislative session for Council Period 20 introduced legislation, if approved, which will avoid the appearance of impropriety by members of the Council of the District of Columbia. “If this Council is truly committed to ethics, then we should also examine the ethics of the Council” said CM Orange.
Orange introduced the “Prohibition on Third-Party Employers Amendment Act of 2013” which prohibits contractors who employ or retain a member of the Council from doing business with the District. The bill also require family members of public officials to disclose whether they are employed or retained by a contractor that currently has or intends to seek a contract with the District government. “It is disingenuous for Councilmembers to be drawing lucrative pay checks from contractors generating millions of dollars from DC government” said CM Orange. Washington City Paper has indicated that 59% of the people they polled indicated outside employment by Councilmembers should be banned. “I applaud newly elected Councilmember David Grosso from resigning from his job to be a full-time at-large DC Councilmember” said CM Orange. CM Jim Graham co-sponsored this bill.
CM Orange introduced the “Consecutive Term Limit Amendment Act of 2013” which will establish term limits on the elected office of the Mayor, Council Chairman, Councilmembers, State Board of Education members and the Attorney General to no more than two consecutive four-year terms. Orange states “the purposes of the Act are to promote good government by fostering increased opportunities for public service; increase competition through rotation in office of citizens who desire to serve; prevent the establishment of entrenched incumbency; and promote new ideas, different approaches, and different perspectives to governing.”
CM Orange introduced the “Constituent-Service Program Amendment Act of 2013” which will prohibit the use of funds from constituent-service programs to purchase tickets to professional sporting events, concerts and other performances. CM Orange states “the fund should be used primarily for assistance to constituents for purposes like funeral expenses, emergency housing needs, utility payments (preventing families from having their water, heat or power shut-off) and other safety net needs. These funds should not be used for Councilmembers’ personal gratification.” Councilmembers David Grosso, Tommy Wells and Jim Graham joined Orange in this introduction.
CM Orange also introduced the “Money Order Contribution Limit Amendment Act of 2013” to prohibit money order contributions in excess of one hundred dollars ($100). CM Orange states “there are numerous individuals, especially young people and seniors, who would like to contribute to a campaign but they do not have a bank account. Thus, cash or money orders are the only way they can participate. We should not bar these individuals from fully participating in the political process. This $100 cap on money orders is very reasonable.” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson co-sponsored CM Orange’s money order legislation.
Evans Introduces 3 Bills To Provide Real Property Tax Relief And Reform
Councilmember Evans introduced legislation to protect residents from the effects of rapid rises in property values and improve the operations of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
The first bill, the Residential Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013, would help the many DC residents who are challenged by spiraling home values afford to keep their homes. It does this by capping the rate of annual assessment increase at 5%, rather than the current 10%, and also by entirely doing away with the current requirement that homeowners pay tax on at least 40% of the assessed value of their home, even if that results in an increase of more than 10% per year.
The second bill, the Residential Real Property Equity and Transparency Act of 2013, was developed in collaboration with American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and The Alliance to Help Owners Maintain Equity (AT HOME) and would place new requirements on the CFO in order to help prevent the tax sale of our residents’ homes, an event that disproportionally impacts our elderly and economically disadvantaged residents. This bill expands the types of notices and information requirements the CFO must provide homeowners before their home is taken to tax sale, and permits homeowners to enter into installment agreements with the government to avoid tax sale. This bill also expands notices and information on how to redeem property that the CFO must provide homeowners after a tax sale, and establishes fair limits on fees associated with redeeming property sold at tax sale.
The third bill, the Major Real Property Assessment and Appeals Schedule Revision Act of 2013, addresses inefficiencies in the CFO’s valuation and management of commercial real property assessments. It would increase efficiency and accuracy of assessments for income producing commercial properties by adjusting the reporting deadline to occur after the previous year’s income and expense information is due, the first-level appeal deadline accordingly, and require that income and expense information be filed electronically.
“I am excited about the start of Council Period 20 and look forward to continuing my work as Chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue”, Evans said. “My legislation will provide important tax relief to our working families and seniors, while making it easier for residents and businesses to interact with the Office of Tax and Revenue”.
Orange’s Bill to Address Job Training in DC
Jobs Training Act of 2013 Introduced
Councilmember Vincent Bernard Orange, Sr. (At-Large, D) introduced the “Jobs Training Act of 2013” during the opening legislative session of Council Period 20. The bill would require the Community College of the District of Columbia to reassess its job training curriculum and revise it to focus on jobs expected to become available from existing, future, and proposed development in the District.
The District government has determined that 55,000 jobs will come on line within the next decade. Yet, the DC government has not developed a policy that adequately trains and connects DC residents to these jobs. “This bill starts that process” said CM Orange.
The proposed bill requires the Community College to focus on job training courses that train DC residents for positions in culinary arts, hospitality, retail, medical, technology, information technology and administrative industries. The bill requires the Community College to study the jobs expected to become available from development projects including the following:
1. Howard Town Center (Ward 1)
2. The Avenue (Ward 1)
3. City Center DC (Ward 2)
4. Convention Center Hotel (Ward 2)
5. Canal Parc (Ward 3)
6. Cathedral Commons (Ward 3)
7. Beacon Center (Ward 4)
8. Fort Totten Square (Ward 4)
9. Walter Reed (Ward 4)
10. The Shops at South Dakota Crossing (Ward 5)
11. Newtown at Capital City Market (Ward 5)
12. Washington Gateway (Ward 5)
13. Southwest Waterfront (Ward 6)
14. The Yards (Ward 6)
15. Minnesota Benning Government Center (Ward 7)
16. Penn Branch Shopping Center (Ward 7)
17. Skyland (Ward 7)
18. Community of Hope HealthPlex (Ward 8)
19. U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Building (Ward 8)
The bill requires the Mayor to conduct a study of the District’s job training funds to determine how these funds can be allocated to pay for the new job training courses at the Community College. “It’s time to use our training dollars wisely and reduce unemployment in our beloved City” said CM Orange.
The bill also require developers who take part in a public-private partnership in excess of $5 million in the District to work with the Community College and other approved job training providers to develop a job training program to train DC residents for jobs expected to come available from the projects.
“Our goal should be zero unemployment in the District of Columbia” said CM Orange. CM Marion Barry joined Orange in this introduction. Councilmembers Alexander, Bonds, Bowser, Cheh, Evans, Graham, and Grosso co-sponsored the bill.
Orange Bill Aims to Prevent Fourth-Grade Illiteracy
Compliments Orange’s Early Childhood Education Act Which Passed in Council Period 19
Councilmember Vincent Bernard Orange, Sr. (At-Large, D) opened the Council of the District of Columbia Period 20 by introducing the “Reading Development and Grade 3 Retention Act of 2013”. “The bill is designed to prevent fourth-grade illiteracy and give our children the tools to enjoy a good quality of life” said CM Orange. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure development of skills in kindergarten, first, and second grade to ensure that at the end of grade 3, students are reading at or above grade level.
It is well known that 3rd grade reading proficiency is a key indicator of whether a student will graduate from high school. Third grade is also the grade in which prison construction plans are developed throughout the United States based on student reading proficiency. A student who cannot read will not be able to productively move forward in life.
Under Orange’s bill students are required to take an “Annual Skills and Reading Diagnostic Assessment” at the end of each year, kindergarten through third grade. If the results of any assessment indicate the student has a skill development deficiency, the parent(s) will be notified. The nine point “Skill Development Deficiency Notice” includes a description of currently available supplemental skill development programs designed to remediate the deficiency and place the student on track to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The notification also states a student who reads below the minimum level of reading proficiency at the end of grade 3 will not be socially promoted unless an exception applies. The student will remain in the third grade, be assigned a Reading Ends Academic Decline (READ) Teacher and be required to attend summer reading classes. If successful, the student may move on to the fourth grade.
The legislation also recognizes that a student, who cannot read, may have a parent who cannot read. In that regard, the legislation advises the parent of the opportunity to voluntarily enroll in a Certified Adult Literacy Program to learn to read along with the student.
Orange’s Early Childhood Education Act which passed in Council Period 19 mandates the Chancellor to train our three and four year olds for kindergarten and to reasonably ensure that our third graders upon entering the fourth grade can read independently, and add, subtract, multiply and divide. The United States Department of Education has indicated that a fourth grader that has not mastered these skills will more likely than not make contact with the criminal justice system. “My goal and legislative initiatives are to prevent this contact with the criminal justice system from occurring” said CM Vincent Orange. Councilmembers Marion Barry and Anita Bonds joined CM Orange in this introduction.
Mayor Gray Encourages Residents to Mark Martin Luther King Holiday & Presidential Inauguration by Serving Others
More Than 15,000 Volunteers Will Participate at 30-Plus Service Projects across District
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism are calling on District residents to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy and the Inauguration of President Barack Obama by volunteering in the District Saturday, January 19 through Monday, January 21.
The Mayor encouraged residents to become involved in activities that benefit their community by participating in events associated with the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service not only honors the legacy of this civil-rights hero, but also dovetails with my agenda for the District of Columbia, ” said Mayor Gray. “And, with the inauguration of President Obama coinciding with MLK Day, this year is an especially meaningful opportunity for District residents from all walks of life and our visitors from across the country to join together in the spirit of service and unity that exemplified Dr. King’s dream.”
This year, more than 15,000 volunteers are expected to participate in MLK Day of Service activities at approximately 34 project sites in every ward of the District. Service projects include refurbishing schools and community centers, food and clothing drives, environmental restoration projects and more.
“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service shines a spotlight on the power of service and volunteerism to bridge economic and social divides and transform communities,” said Serve DC Executive Director Jeffrey Richardson. “Whether here in the District or elsewhere across the nation, it is an opportunity to see first-hand how service can make a real difference in people’s lives.”
In addition to service project sites across the city, the District will host two national signature service events on Saturday, January 19:
Unite America in Service: In partnership with Points of Light and Target, Operation Gratitude, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Community Blueprint, HandsOn Greater DC Cares, Volunteer Fairfax and the George Washington University, Serve DC will convene 10,000 volunteers at the D.C. Armory to pack 100,000 care packages for United States servicemembers, wounded warriors, veterans and first responders. The event runs from 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., with volunteer shifts of 2½ hours each. Large groups and volunteers ages 12 to 17 years with parents or legal guardians are welcome to join. Learn more and register at http://bit.ly/uniteamericainservice.
National Day of Service Fair on the National Mall: Presented by the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, the National Day of Service Fair will feature service organizations from across the country, including opportunities to get involved right away, and special programming throughout the day. Doors open at 9:30 am, with events and programs happening throughout the day at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm Learn more or register at http://bit.ly/natldayofservicefair.
Residents can learn more about District-based service projects and register for volunteer opportunities on the Serve DC website, www.serve.dc.gov. Follow MLK Day-related events and activities on Twitter using the hashtag #MLKDay.
Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. The MLK Day of Service is a part of “United We Serve,” the President’s national call-to-service initiative, and Serve DC’s “Seasons of Service Days” portfolio, a diverse set of local, national and international service events designed to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers and create innovative solutions to social challenges.
Program for Students with Disabilities
DCPS recently announced that it will launch a new career-focused mentoring program for high school students with disabilities. The program, called Competitive Employment Opportunities (CEO), will connect high school students with disabilities to professional mentors who work in a range of competitive occupations. The CEO program will focus on providing students with career exploration, soft skills training, goal-setting support and paid internship opportunities. Approximately 20 students will participate in the program.
“This new program will engage our students with disabilities in a new way, and provide them with opportunities for real on-the-ground job experience. This program also supports our strategic goals by engaging students through interesting opportunities and preparing them for college and career. I’m very excited to see this program in action.”
“The CEO Program is integral to ensuring not only that our students with disabilities get the best education possible, but also that they are prepared to compete in the new economy that is emerging in the District of Columbia,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said. “Every child in D.C. deserves the chance to learn the skills they need to enjoy a life of working to support themselves and contributing to their community.”
The CEO Program consists of weekly professional development classes, guided email correspondence with mentors and a career-focused final project. Upon completion of the program, students will have the opportunity to obtain summer employment through paid internships at their assigned mentor agency. Current agency partners include NASA, The Architect of the Capitol, The HSC Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Socially Ahead, Capital Area Asset Builders, and The Advisory Board Company.
“Students with disabilities can succeed at the highest levels when supported in the right way,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, Chief in the Office of Special Education at DCPS. “We’re actively working to bring these students back to DCPS and to give them all the right tools to become successful, thriving adults. The CEO program will connect our students with meaningful experiences, strong mentors and skills that they can use for future employment.”
DCPS students were informed about the program by school staff and were encouraged to apply online. The application process included an online application as well as an in-person interview. The level of student interest was very high, as over seventy students applied for only twenty slots.
DCPS will provide a stipend of $8.00 an hour to enrolled students throughout the duration of their professional development training and summer employment. DCPS will also encourage students to open savings accounts through the Capital Area Asset Builder’s Individualized Development Account Program. This will allow students to obtain 1:1 matched savings on earned income for up to $1,000.00 to be used for postsecondary opportunities.
Dominion Virginia Power Warns Customers About Scammers Demanding Immediate Payment of Utility Bills
Scammers claim to be Dominion employees, threaten to cut off power unless paid immediately, Dominion does not ask for specific payment information via telephone
Dominion Virginia Power is warning its customers about a scam involving phone calls from a person claiming to be a company employee, demanding immediate payment of utility bills. The caller claims electric service will be cut off unless the bill is paid within a matter of hours, usually by using a pre-paid debit card such as a “Green Dot card.”
The caller also may claim that a problem with an electric meter could result in a fire if not immediately replaced, offering reimbursement from Dominion at a later date if payment is made now.
Dominion may phone customers whose bills are in arrears to remind them payment is due, but never asks for specific payment information — only directing customers how to make a payment. The company encourages anyone who is improperly contacted about making a payment over the phone to call 1-866-DOM-HELP and local law enforcement officials. In addition, customers should ask to see an official Dominion ID from anyone who comes to their residence and claims to be from the company.
“We hope this warning will be heeded and shared so that other customers can avoid traps like this,” said Gianna Clark, vice president of customer service operations. “Scams are always troubling, particularly in these difficult economic times.”
The scammers have been targeting Spanish-speaking customers, the elderly and businesses throughout Virginia, but all customers should be aware of the possibility of being scammed. If you have questions or concerns about a phone call from someone claiming to be a Dominion employee, report the suspicious activity to Dominion by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
The Better Business Bureau provides these tips to avoid falling for a scam:
- Do your research. If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. For Dominion customers, that number is 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
- Beware of giving personal information over the phone. Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about the person with whom you are speaking.
- Use your own personal information. Always pay your bills with your own personal information; never pay your bills with information that is not your own.
- Beware of the door-to-door sales approach. Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.
- Be proactive. If you have already provided information to someone claiming to offer this service, contact your bank immediately. Also contact the three national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and have a notation made on your account so it doesn’t impact your credit rating.
- Inform others. Share this information with friends and family so they do not become victims. Elderly victims are common in this type of scam, but anyone who pays a utility bill is a potential target.
For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at www.dom.com.
BGE Honored with 2012 Edison Electric Institute Emergency Recovery Award
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) recently announced that it has been honored with the prestigious Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Emergency Recovery Award for its restoration efforts following both the June Derecho and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This is the third consecutive year that BGE has received this award, which is presented annually to U.S. and foreign-based companies in recognition of outstanding efforts in restoring electric service following severe weather conditions or other natural events. In addition, BGE was also awarded EEI’s Emergency Assistance Award for its support of recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy for utilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. BGE was recognized along with sister Exelon utility companies ComEd, based in Chicago, and PECO, based in Philadelphia. PECO received the Emergency Recovery Award, while ComEd received both the Emergency Recovery Award and the Emergency Assistance Award.
“BGE is extremely pleased to be recognized by EEI with these awards, particularly the Emergency Recovery Award,” said Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr., president and chief executive officer, BGE. We have experienced a number of severe and damaging weather events over the past several years, and these storms have tested our emergency preparedness plans and response. But our employees met the challenges of these storms head on, working aggressively and safely around-the-clock to restore service to our customers and repair damage to our system. The fact that we have received the EEI Emergency Response Award for three consecutive years is a testament to our continued focus on enhancing our service restoration during severe storms and to our employees’ incredible dedication. This same dedication was evident in the crews we sent to help fellow utilities restore service following Hurricane Sandy, and I’m proud that we received EEI’s Emergency Assistance Award.”
“BGE was faced with a major restoration effort throughout 2012, following both the June Derecho and Hurricane Sandy,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Getting the lights back on quickly and safely following a major storm is never easy. It takes strong commitment, advanced planning, and great execution. BGE responded with all three. Additionally, BGE’s restoration assistance following Hurricane Sandy was truly remarkable. Working through the industry’s mutual assistance program, BGE’s crews were essential in helping their fellow utility companies restore service in affected neighborhoods. Importantly, BGE’s assistance also shows their compassion in helping others in their time of need. I congratulate them on both awards.”
During the late evening hours of June 29, 2012, BGE’s central Maryland service area began to experience what would ultimately be classified as a “derecho” – one of the most destructive storms in BGE’s nearly 200-year history. The storm, which quickly raced from the Midwest through the Mid-Atlantic in 12 hours, carving a path of massive destruction across 10 states and the District of Columbia, left more than four million customers without power. High wind, wind gusts and intense lightning resulted in uprooted whole trees and snapped tree branches falling onto essential electric equipment leaving in its wake downed power lines, utility poles broken in half, and in some areas, entire electrical infrastructure in need of complete rebuild. Throughout the eight-and-a half day restoration effort, BGE experienced approximately 760,000 customer interruptions. These customer outages included storm-related outages, not only from the June 29 storm, but subsequent heat and severe thunderstorm-related outages that plagued the region throughout the entirety of BGE’s restoration effort.
It is important to note that nearly 50 percent of those customers affected by the initial storms had their power restored within 36 hours of the storm’s passing — well before the bulk of mutual assistance had arrived.
In late October, BGE’s service area experienced another major weather event – Hurricane Sandy. Well in advance of the storm, BGE began executing its emergency preparedness plan to ensure it could begin the anticipated monumental restoration effort as soon as it was safe to do so. Altogether, more than 6,100 BGE employees and external resources worked tirelessly to repair the system and restore service to all affected customers. Within 48 hours of the storm’s passing, more than 90 percent of affected customers had their power restored. In both storms, BGE communicated with customers continuously prior to the storm and throughout the restoration process, providing around-the-clock information and maintaining a real-time dialogue with the help of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube), bge.com, the BGE blog and the Customer Contact Center.
Following full restoration to BGE customers from Hurricane Sandy, BGE deployed its own crews to assist with restoration efforts in areas that suffered the brunt of Hurricane Sandy and sustained significant damage and extended power outages. Nearly 300 BGE overhead, underground lines and natural gas field personnel, contractors and support staff worked tirelessly in Hurricane Sandy-related restoration work for nearly two weeks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Overhead linemen worked alongside their counterparts from BGE’s sister utility, PECO, assisting with restoration activities in the Philadelphia suburbs. As restoration work in Pennsylvania completed, these crews and their vehicles, including BGE’s mobile command center, traveled to join Long Island Power Authority to assist customers who remained without power. A team of more than 20 underground lines specialists joined ConEdison in its efforts throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Additionally, a team of 12 BGE natural gas mechanics and support staff were deployed to New Jersey Natural Gas to assist with natural gas restoration to customers left without service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In total, BGE crews and contractors assisted six utility companies in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
EEI award recipients are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. EEI has more than 65 international electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.
Mobile Eye Care
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind’s new Mobile Eye Care van, is on the road and ready to provide vision care services to underserved communities in the Washington, DC Region. The Mobile Eye Care van has state of the art technology to conduct routine eye screenings, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma screenings, extensive low vision assessments, process eyeglass prescriptions, and demonstrate low vision aids such as high-powered portable magnifiers. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working age adults. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 0.7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.
“The Mobile Eye Care van will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the Greater Washington, DC Region, particularly for persons who are unaware that they have Diabetic Retinopathy or other eye diseases. CLB will provide people with vision services designed to help them remain independent.” says Anthony J. Cancelosi, K.M., President and CEO.
For more information about Mobile Eye Care, call (202) 454-6422.
Slam Alexandria – hosted by Shelly Bell
with a special performance by The Noctonals
Admission to event is free Enter the Poetry Slam for just $10
Join us for a night of live music, open mic, and slam poetry! Sign up for the open mic and share your original work as part of the poetry slam or simply sit back and enjoy. Sign up for the poetry slam for only $10 and you could win a cash prize! Slam Alexandria is hosted by Shelly Bell and co-sponsored by the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association and Shelly B. Arts.
The evening kicks off at 7:00 pm with a performance by The Noctonals, an all a capella group with a contemporary repertoire of songs, including hits by Adele, Mumford & Sons, Carrie Underwood, and more.
Spoken Word Poetry events begin at 8:00 pm. Attendees are invited to sign up for the open mic to share original work, participate in the poetry slam, or simply sit back and enjoy.
Spoken word poetry is the art of bringing written works to life through performance. Spoken word artists create a poetic theatrical experience that engages audiences of non-poetry and poetry lovers alike. The works are valued for their brutal honesty; non-traditional use of poetic conventions, words, and sounds; and fresh creativity. HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and Brave New Voices have increased the mainstream popularity of spoken word.
“Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine: Two Kids from Brooklyn”
Exhibition Opens at Library of Congress on Feb. 14
Danny Kaye was a versatile American actor and comedian, who enthralled audiences in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s with his lively singing and dancing—on stage, on television and in films such as “White Christmas” and “Hans Christian Andersen.” His wife, Sylvia Fine, played a major role in his success, writing the music and lyrics for his songs and artfully managing and producing his engagements.
Their careers will be celebrated in a Library of Congress exhibition “Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine: Two Kids from Brooklyn,” which opens Thursday, Feb. 14 in the Performing Arts Reading Room Gallery on the first floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington D.C.
The exhibition is free and open to the public from 8:30 a .m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It will be on view through July 27.
On March 19, the Library of Congress will launch a website featuring 2,000 items from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection, which is housed in the Library’s Music Division. The Library acquired the collection in 1992.
On Saturday, March 23, the Library will hold events focusing on Danny Kaye—film screenings, lectures and displays from the Kaye/Fine Collection. Further details will be announced in February.
The Library’s exhibition and events mark the 100th anniversary of the couple’s birthdays. Kaye claimed 1913 as the year of his birth, although his official birth date is Jan. 18, 1911, and Fine was born on Aug. 29, 1913.
The 56-item exhibition will feature a broad range of materials, including music holographs, typed lyric sheets, performance materials, scripts, correspondence, business papers, photographs, programs, recordings, videos and more. The items are drawn from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection and the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.
The exhibition’s video station will display clips from “The Danny Kaye Show,” “An Evening with Danny Kaye and the New York Philharmonic,” the UNICEF film “Assignment Children” and a scene from Fine’s documentary “Musical Comedy Tonight II” that includes Kaye’s show-stopping number “Tchaikovsky” from “Lady in the Dark,” in which he rattles off the names of some 50 Russian composers in 39 seconds.
In addition to their success in the entertainment industry, Kaye and Fine were dedicated humanitarians, who spent much of their free time promoting charities. Most notably, in 1954 Kaye became the first goodwill ambassador to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), a position he held the rest of his life.
Born in Brooklyn, Kaye started in show business as a teenager at the resorts in the Catskill Mountains. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in a short-lived show, “The Straw Hat Revue,” where he met Fine, who was the lyricist and composer. They married in 1940.
In 1941 Kaye appeared in the hit Broadway musical comedy “Lady in the Dark.” His performance in the show rocked the theater world and propelled him to fame. In 1942, on Broadway, he starred in Cole Porter’s musical “Let’s Face It!” He became a standing-room-only draw at the largest and most prestigious venues, from the Roxy Theater in New York to the London Palladium. He made 17 films, including “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1947) and “The Court Jester” (1956). His gifts as an actor led him to many different projects beyond film and stage, including recordings of popular songs, hosting his own television show and conducting major symphony orchestras across the world.
Fine, also born in Brooklyn, was a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she studied music. She evolved into the consummate show-biz professional, mastering every aspect of behind-the-scenes work from writing scripts and songs to organizing and producing performances. She wrote more than 100 songs for Kaye during their 40-year collaboration. Fine also took her knowledge of theater to the academic world by teaching classes on the history of musical comedy at the University of Southern California and Yale University. Later, she created three PBS specials on the subject, “Musical Comedy Tonight.”
Governor O’Malley Announces $25 Million for Rental Housing Works
Investment supports 1,900 jobs and addresses critical shortage of affordable rental housing for Maryland families
Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Maryland Department of Housing Secretary Raymond A. Skinner, affordable housing advocates, and other officials, announced $25 million in the Administration’s proposed FY2014 capital budget for Rental Housing Works, an initiative launched last year to create jobs and address Maryland’s critical shortage of affordable rental housing for working families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs. This year’s investment will preserve over 1,100 new affordable rental housing units and support 1,900 jobs.
The FY2014 budget will continue the Administration’s commitment to job creation, rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, building state-of-the-art classrooms, and contributing to Maryland’s communities. Over the past six years, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has made more cuts than any administration in state history, but through a balanced approach, continues to make strategic investments in priorities that matter to Maryland families like job creation and affordable housing.
“There is no more powerful place in our State than a family’s home, and there is nothing more important for protecting that home than a job,” said Governor O’Malley. “Over these past six years, even as we’ve made record cuts to State spending, together with the people of our State, we’ve chosen to invest in priorities that matter to middle class families. That’s why today, we’re announcing $25 million for Rental Housing Works, an investment that will support 1,900 jobs and preserve over 1,100 affordable housing units in our State.”
The Governor made the announcement at the construction site for the Obery Court apartments near downtown Annapolis where last year, during Phase II of the project, the Administration first launched the Rental Housing Works Program. Since then, 63 rental units have been completed of 174 units planned in three phases.
“All over Maryland, we have helped finance the production of attractive, desirable new homes such as we see here at Obery Court,” Secretary Skinner said. “These are projects that create jobs, strengthen communities and provide first-class places to live for families, senior citizens and disabled individuals.”
Trudy McFall, president of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, said the Rental Housing Works initiative has been a top priority for her advocacy group.“We are extremely grateful to the governor for his decision to include this in his budget for a second year. The Rental Housing Works initiative creates high quality private sector jobs and will provide badly needed rental housing,” she said.
Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, even in the toughest of times, Maryland has continued to support affordable lending programs for families. To date, the Administration has helped preserve more than 13,196 rental units in 145 projects.