Last-Minute Shopping List for Christmas

first_imgYou’re down to the last few days before Christmas. You’re looking for that meaningful, special gift for a family member, special friend, or co-worker. Buy a gift that keeps on giving—by saving energy! Below, is my top-10 list of energy-saving holiday gifts.Compact-fluorescent lamps (CFLs). This is a no-brainer for those who still rely mostly on incandescent light bulbs. They use a quarter to a third as much electricity as standard bulbs, last five to ten times as long and, compared with CFLs from a few years ago, are more compact and perform better. Look for CFLs that carry an Energy Star label, which indicates that they meet certain durability standards as well as energy performance requirements. Cost: $1-2 apiece; look for offers that include efficiency rebates.Low-flow showerhead. High-quality, low-flow showerheads use as little as 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) yet deliver a strong, invigorating spray of water. Expect to pay a pretty high price for a top-quality showerhead. Among my favorites is the Delta H20 kinetic product line, which is available in various styles. American Standard also just introduced a FloWise showerhead that has a standard flow of 1.5 gpm, but can be boosted to 2.0. Water-saving showerheads save energy by reducing hot water consumption. Cost $25-50.Kill-a-Watt meter. The Kill-a-Watt meter, made by P3 International, provides an easy way to measure electricity usage from any standard-voltage, plug-in device or appliance. I’m using one at home to measure the electricity use of an electric space heater I have next to the water heater for a garage apartment that I don’t want to freeze. I’ve also used it to see how much electricity my battery-powered electric lawnmower uses (not too much), to figure out if I should buy a new fridge (not yet), and determine the stand-by draw of my cable-modem and wireless router (pretty significant!). Cost about $25 online.Gift certificate for an energy audit. I don’t know if area weatherization companies are set up to provide gift certificates, but this would be a great present for someone special. Exciting, no; highly useful, yes. A comprehensive energy audit for a typical house will cost about $500.Programmable thermostat. For someone who takes the time to learn how to use it, a programmable thermostat can save a lot of energy. The installation is fairly easy, though you may want to have your heating contractor do it. Cost: $40-100, not including installation.Electroluminescent night light. Good stocking stuffer. I’ve used a number of the LimeLite products ten or fifteen years without any problems or apparent loss in light output. Electricity consumption is miniscule—just a few cents’ worth per year—and a photocell turns it on only at night. Cost: $2-4 apiece.Faucet aerators. These simple screw-in filter-like gadgets significantly reduce water use of faucets. A 0.5 to 1.0 gpm aerator should be fine for most bathroom taps—substantially less than the 2.2 gpm federal standard and far less than that of many older faucets. In the kitchen, you probably want a higher flow rate to fill pots quickly. One downside of reducing the flow is that it will take longer for hot water to get to the faucet. Really old faucets won’t accept screw-in aerators. Cost: $1-4 piece.Copy of Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings. There are lots of good books on saving energy, but this is the only one I wrote. It’s published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (a great nonprofit organization advancing energy efficiency) and New Society Publishing. The 9th edition came out in 2007 and was significantly revised from previous editions. Cost: $19.95. Buy it locally!Indoor clothes drying rack. Drying clothes inside in the winter months, when the indoor air tends to be dry, is a good way both to save energy and to introduce humidity to your house. Cost: $15-80, depending on size, materials, and quality.Sno Wovel. I admit that I haven’t yet tried one of these babies, but they look awesome! It a wheeled snow shovel (with a large, single wheel) that provides leverage, letting you push down to lift snow, rather than lifting it directly. It saves gasoline if you use it instead of a snowblower or plowing; otherwise it only saves your energy—though there might be some additional fuel savings if this keeps you from being rushed to the hospital for a back injury! Check out the video. Cost: $120. (If you see my wife, let her know that this might make a nice gift for the primary snow shoveler in her life; I’ve dropped some hints but I’m not sure they’ve taken!)That’s my list. What would be on yours?I invite you to share your comments on this blog. You can also follow my musings on Twitter.last_img read more

Sport soft and pretty skin

first_imgI have severe cracks on my heels. Even regular pedicures don’t help. What’s the cause and what can I do? -Deepa, HyderabadCracked heels are a problem for those who have naturally dry skin. The thickened dry skin around the heel that we call callus usually cracks due to mechanical factors that put increased pressure on that area (eg. the way you walk).Other factors include: prolonged standing; being overweight; open sole shoes; medical conditions like autonomic neuropathy (in diabetics). Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema also cause dryness. To get rid of the ugly cracks, wash feet with warm water and soap, twice a day. Scrub the heels and soles with a gentle scrubber or pumice stone after lathering up with soap. Massage with moisturising cream after washing your feet just before hitting the bed and wear socks.I am 24 years old and have dry skin. Can face washes dry out my skin further? Should I use cleansing milk instead? -Chandra, KolkataDry skin tends to be thinner and more susceptible to rashes, especially from harsh cleansers. It’s important to find a cleanser that removes dirt and make-up thoroughly. Cleansing milks are modified moisturiser formulations without surfactants-the active cleaning ingredients of soaps and face washes-which remove dust and grime effectively.You need to use cleansing milk if you are exposed to pollution, dust, etc., for more than half an hour every day and also use make-up. The best way is to put cleanser on a soft facial tissue and clean your skin thoroughly. Finish by washing your face with warm water and a gentle face wash. Try: Toleriane Fluid, Toleriane by La Roche-Posay, Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion and Uriage Crme Lavante.advertisementDr Rekha Sheth is a leading cosmetic dermatologist. She is founder-president, Cosmetology Society (India) and also runs Yuva, a successful chain of skin clinics. Write to her at rekha.s@preventionindia.comlast_img read more

TCI among nations challenged to improve accessibility in Tourism

first_img Related Items:tci needs to improve accessible tourism for all, wheelchair beach access needed Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, September 28, 2016 – Turks and Caicos should be able to welcome in any kind of traveler and destination marketing should promote that fact, but before we get to promoting, we have to get to actually ensuring that we are an accessible destination.  Tourism Minister, Hon Porsha Smith in a statement delivered on September 27, which was World Tourism Day said these islands should be able to provide a full experience for anyone visiting, including those who are wheelchair bound.It was a very serious theme for World Tourism Day this year – “Tourism for All. Promoting Universal Accessibility” – calling on destinations to make sure there is accessibility so that any traveler is able to enjoy their travel experience.TCI now has to step back and ask, ‘can a person in a wheelchair or an older person with a walking stick, for example, access our water sports, our beaches, our shops and shopping centers, can they easily maneuver in our restaurants and does our infrastructure support those who are physically hampered in any way?’  UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said ‘no,’ in his remarks of yesterday; that many nations have still not sufficiently addressed the issue of true accessibility.“…while almost 1.2 billion people are travelling aboard each year, close to one billion persons with disability, along with young children, older persons and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing the most basic travel needs such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.”The Tourism Minister expressed that she believes the TCI can get there though, her comments in that national address expressed this:   “The Turks and Caicos Islands is a part of the global tourism move, as such, tourism should be attainable to all irrespective of a person’s physical limitation, disability or age, travel is for all to experience and embrace on an equal basis.  It is therefore incumbent upon the Turks and Caicos Islands as one of the top travel destinations in the region to build upon, and improve on accessible tourism products and services; which will only place our country in an even better position as it relates to marketing.  I am confident in the hospitality of our people, and as a country proud to welcome and engage visitors from all walks of life.”Secretary General of Tourism for the United Nations, Taleb Rifai explained that the nations which take the time to enhance accessibility will become the dominant destinations, “… travelling has become a major part in many lives and with the world’s population ageing, everyone sooner or later will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism.”last_img read more

New York Media Uses Real Time Analytics to Gain 10 Million Uniques

first_imgAfter more targeted content is created, Tesser says, “We’re watching the numbers to see if we’re increasing the number of new visitors who are converted to return visitors, which is our holy grail.” As well as creating content based on user behavior, Tesser says the analysis also lends itself to targeted content creation based on outside sources.He says, “We’ll see that Google news is about to provide a story with a big hit; I’ll send something out to our editorial team right away. They’ll try to optimize the links that are getting the big hit from the Huffington Post or another source, and they’ll provide related links.” As digital properties look to grow user rates, more and more often companies are relying on additional tools to monitor audiences and create user relationships. New York Media has utilized the Adobe Online Marketing Suite, powered by Omniture, to do just that.New York Media began to use the Adobe Suite in 2007 for real time analytical tracking. In October 2010, New York Media saw three million unique users visit after relaunching in September 2010. Currently, the digital properties which include, blogs Daily Intel and The Cut, and, as well as, see up to 10 million uniques a month. The blog links are on’s home page, and are listed on a drop down menu under “Blogs” in the top left of’s home screen. Grub Street can also be found on the home page of MenuPages.Jon Tesser, manager of audience analytics with New York Media, explains that the Adobe Suite has allowed NY Media “to segment the audience in ways we haven’t been able to do before.” Tesser is able to see regular visitors and what they are clicking on, as well as to identify where new visitors are entering NY Media’s sites from (be it a Google search, a social media share or elsewhere) and what they’re doing. Tesser says, “By understanding that, we can create more content from what they’re looking at.”center_img Reporting time has also been reduced by 98 percent, due to an Adobe Suite feature called the Report Builder. By changing two dynamic data fields in the Omniture system and clicking “refresh”, the system will update a report without having to enter a new set of numbers. Meanwhile, has seen bounce rates reduced by 56 percent and traffic rates to the site double.last_img read more

LIBRARY LINEUP Story Time With Peaches The Mini Horse on October 16

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below is a list of FREE upcoming programs for adults, teens and kids at the Wilmington Memorial Library.Registration begins 30 days prior to the event. Please register online using our Calendar of Events at or by calling (978) 694-2099 (for Adult) or (978) 694-2098 (for Children/Teen). Please note we request registration for programs that are marked *RR. Thank you to the Friends of the Library for funding support for library programs!Adult ProgramsCemetery Walk *RRSaturday, October13, 10 amThis year’s Stroll will focus on newer (post 1900) parts of the cemetery.  In honor of Italian Heritage Month, we will also point out the graves of a few of the Town’s more well-known Italian residents.  There’s a lot of Wilmington history to be found at the cemetery and we will share information along the way. Wear your walking shoes and bring your curiosity!”Staying Positive in the Job Search *RRMonday, October 15, 10 am. Charlie applied to hundreds of positions online and not a single bite! Sidney got to the final interview stage for several career opportunities and consistently struck out. Clarke simply gave up because nothing worked. Does this sound like you? We can help you avoid job search pitfalls like depression, anxiety and negativity. Join other job seekers who are in the trenches with you. Immediately put into practice stay-calm strategies so you can focus. Together, we will learn and comprehend the steps to staying positive in the job search. Taught by MassHire staff.Fall Wreath Workshop *RRMonday, October 15, 1 pm-3pm, $20Registration begins Monday, September 16 at the main deskNew season, new wreath! Decorate and take home a festive fall wreath to brighten your door or wall.  Wilmington resident and experienced crafter Dianna DiGregorio will lend her expertise and experienced eye in helping all create a beautiful arrangement.  All supplies provided including base, ribbon, and flora.Welcome to Wilmington Open House *RRMonday, October 15, drop in anytime between 6 pm-8 pmAre you new to Wilmington or have you lived here for a while and wish to know more about the community? Then please come to the Welcome to Wilmington Reception. Representatives from Town Departments, community groups, and local businesses will be on hand to welcome you and answer questions. This program is in collaboration with the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce.Coffee with a Cop *RRWednesday, October 17, 10 amDrop in, grab a tea or coffee, and chat with a police officer. Learn about the rights of the public as well as the roles and responsibilities of Police and Community in a relaxed and open setting. All questions welcome.Strictly Sinatra *RRThursday, October 18, 2:30 pmTake a walk down memory lane with Mel Simons as he presents an entertaining video show of ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. Mel Simons has been a regular on WBZ Radio for decades with his trivia show “The Audio Clip Trivia Quiz”.English Conversation Group (third Thursday) *RRThursday, October 18, 7pm-8pmPractice speaking English with fellow English language learners in a relaxed environment.  Open to all ability levels.  Led by ESL Teacher and Program Coordinator Susan MacDonald.Italian Genealogy *RRSaturday, October 20, 2:30 pmLearn practical and proven strategies for researching your Italian family history. The focus of the workshop will be on Italian emigration to the U. S. Learn how to trace Italian town of origin, how to locate records, how to research them in the US, and how to get started writing to Italy (for those whose records aren’t in the US). Led by Jenny Tonks, who held an Accredited Genealogist ® credential for Italian research for two decades. She is fluent in Italian and holds a BA in Family History-Genealogy from Brigham Young.Kids & Teen EventsBaby Laptime *RRMonday, October 15, 9:30 amJoin us for a morning of songs, tickles, bounces, and rhymes perfect for little pre-walking babies and their caregivers.  Infants-15 monthsMinecraft Mondays *RRMonday, October 15, 3:45 pmCome play Minecraft with other enthusiasts.  Grades 1-5.Special Mini Horse StorytimeTuesday, October 16, 10 amJoin Peaches the therapy mini horse for a fun horse themed storytime! We’ll read some horse stories, make a fun craft, and get to know Peaches the therapy horse! Ages 3-6Trivia Tuesdays *RR Tuesday, October 16, 6:30 pmShow us your smarts at pub-style trivia! Play against your friends, putting your pop culture knowledge to the test. The winning team walks off with prizes (and bragging rights!). Snacks provided. Grades 6-12Kindergarten Book Club *RRWednesday, October 17, 3:45This book club is for Kindergarteners who miss storytime or those who love to be read to. We will read and discuss a few books together, then do a fun activity.  KindergartenNot a Fright in SightWednesday, October 17, 6:30 pmJeannie Mack performs songs, rhymes, and stories about pumpkins, trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, tickly spiders, and silly witches! Ages 3+First Look Book Group *RR Thursday, October 18, 2:30 pmWant to discover the next big thing in YA lit? First Look is for you! Hang out with other teen fiction aficionados and read books hot off the presses. Take home a book to keep after every meeting. Grades 6-123D Design and PrintFriday, October 19, 3:45pmJoin Technology Librarian Brad McKenna to design a file using TinkerCad that will be printed on our 3D printer. Grades 4-8Not-So-Scary Mini Movie Marathon *RRSaturday, October 20, 1-4:30 pmWatch two campy Halloween classics, conjure a spooky craft, and test your taste buds in an Oreo Identification Challenge! Grades 6-12Library NewsEnglish Conservation GroupA new English Conversation Group started this fall.  It meets the third Thursday of the month at 7 pm and is led by Wilmington Public School ESL Teacher and Program Coordinator Susan MacDonald. All who want to practice their English speaking skills are welcome.Book Store Next Door VolunteersThe Book Store Next Door is looking for adult volunteers to work as cashiers. Shifts are scheduled for either 9 am to 1 pm or 1 pm to 4 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Two volunteers are assigned to work together during these shifts. For more information and a volunteer application go to These weekly listings are submitted by the Wilmington Memorial Library.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedLIBRARY LINEUP: Library To Host 6-Week Great Decisions Series On Foreign Policy TopicsIn “Community”LIBRARY LINEUP: Storytime at Farmers Market on Aug. 4; Revere Beach Memories on Aug. 5In “Community”LIBRARY LINEUP: FREE Bach, Beethoven, & Brahams Concert On Sept. 12In “Community”last_img read more

Roku goes mobile to take on Amazon Prime Videos paid channels

first_imgPremium channel subscriptions are Roku’s latest way to broaden itself. Roku Roku, the set-top streaming box maker, is breaking out of the living room for the first time with a service that offers paid premium channels like Showtime and Starz that you can also watch on your phone.  On Wednesday, Roku unveiled Premium Subscriptions, which will launch late this month in a phased rollout. The idea is similar to Amazon Prime Video Channels — a place where you can buy add-on video subscriptions that let you cobble together a sort of personal bundle of internet-delivered TV with one-click purchases. Downsides to Roku’s version? It has fewer channels to choose from at a launch. (HBO is notably absent.) And subscribing via Roku won’t unlock your channels’ dedicated apps. So don’t expect to watch shows and movies in the Starz app via Roku even if you pay for Starz through Roku. The Roku Channel is the only place you can watch them.  Mentioned Above Roku SD Player $239 3:20 Now playing: Watch this: Preview • Roku Player – First Take Share your voice Which Roku player should you buy? See it Commentcenter_img Mobile Digital Media TV and Movies CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags Still, this marks Roku’s addition of mobile viewing for the first time, after its lifetime locked in the living room. Roku’s iOS and Android apps will be able to stream shows and movies for the first time. Until now, the Roku app served mostly as a second remote when paired to a powered-on Roku streaming device. But soon the Roku Channel, including any of your subscriptions, will be available on its mobile app in the US. Users will also be able to start a video on a Roku player or Roku TV and pick up from where they left off while on the go. 04-roku-premiere-plusRoku’s Premiere Plus is one of seven streaming devices in the company’s lineup.  Sarah Tew/CNET It’s Roku’s latest expansion beyond set-top boxes. Though the company’s bread-and-butter business is its popular streaming devices, Roku has been reaching into other businesses. It’s booking more advertising revenue through services like the Roku Channel with its ad-supported movies, news and sports, for example. The Amazon video channels model is a ripe target. Amazon is quiet about how the program is faring because Amazon is quiet about everything, but one analyst estimates Amazon is one of the main ways that cordcutters are signing up for paid video subscriptions. Nearly half of Starz’s direct-to-consumer subscribers may be coming from Amazon, according to BMO analyst Daniel Salmon, and HBO and Showtime may be sourcing about a third of their digital subscribers there. (Editors’ note: Showtime is owned by CBS, the parent company of CNET.)Roku versus AmazonThere are significant differences between Roku’s new offering and Amazon’s video channels. For one, you won’t be able to unlock the dedicated apps of services that you subscribe to via Roku, a function known as authentication. Amazon added the ability to authenticate into some of those dedicated apps last year. roku-express-plus-06.jpgUntil this year, Roku’s mobile app mostly functioned as a second remote for its streaming devices.  Sarah Tew/CNET The selection of channels is also slimmer. At launch, Roku is offering more than 25 subscriptions, while Amazon has accumulated more than 100. And Roku didn’t list some high-profile options, like HBO or PBS Kids, among the options it will have at launch. (Neither Amazon nor Roku offer Netflix, the most popular streaming network in the world.)It’s also unclear just how “one click” Roku signups will be. Amazon Prime Video Channels is based on the premise that you’re already a paying Amazon Prime member, so the company has your credit card details all set up. Roku has credit cards details for the majority of its accounts but not all, Rob Holmes, Roku’s vice president of programming and engagement, said in an interview last month. (Roku declined to further clarify the proportion of its monthly active accounts that have credit cards on file.) That leaves a portion of Roku users facing the hassle of tapping in new payment information in order to sign up for subscriptions they can get elsewhere. But like Amazon Prime Video Channels, Roku’s new Premium Subscriptions give you a one-stop hub for your subscriptions paid for with a single monthly bill. People can sign up for seven-day free trials (or longer) using their existing Roku account information. With Premium subscriptions, Roku users will be able to browse their channel’s entire catalogs. Search within the Roku Channel will be expanded, allowing people to search for keywords within the channel. Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.Netflix’s 137M subscribers evaporate fears: Blowout quarter? It’s the kind of formulaic plot Netflix loves. 1 Review • Roku Player Roku Player Amazon Prime Showtime Amazon Rokulast_img read more

Will Gujarat results force Modi govt to shelve controversial FRDI Bill for

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi speaking to media persons at the start of Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 17, 2017.PIBThe central government is unlikely to table the controversial Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) bill in Parliament during the Budget session, as the house gives the joint committee an extension for submitting its report.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan stated that the upper house has extended time granted to the joint panel “up to the last day of Budget Session, 2018,” news agency PTI reported.This development comes when many have been raising concerns about some of the clauses of the bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year.Why economists and Indian middle class feared the FRDI bill in the current? The clause 52 of the draft legislation. The proposed law puts a “bail-in” provision under clause 52 which would give legal powers to a specially mandated authority called the ‘Resolution Corporation’ to invoke the bail-in clause, which can modify the deposit if the bank in question is on the threshold of becoming commercially unviable.The joint committee has sought an extension to submit its report before the parliament as it thinks the report won’t be ready for presentation by December 15.”As the House was adjourned after making obituary references. Hence, I have on behalf of the House, granted extension of time,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said during the zero hour of Lok Sabha.The bill aims to place a framework for overseeing financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial services (NBFC) companies and stock exchanges in case of insolvency, reported the agency.Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the bill “Draconian” and wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting the immediate withdrawal of the FRDI Bill. In a letter, she said people will lose faith in the banking system if the Bill is not withdrawn.”I will like to sincerely appeal to the Centre to desist from enacting this Draconian law and withdraw the bill to ensure that the common people in the country are saved from financial ruin,” Mamata wrote in her letter.Market experts also believe that the “bail-in” clause in the draft legislation could bring in potential harm to deposits of common people.Currently, all deposits up to Rs 1 lakh are protected under the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, which is sought to be repealed by the proposed bill.However, union finance minister Aurn Jaitley, lask week said that the government would fully protect public deposits in financial institutions.last_img read more

AlJazeera slams unjustified closure of Saudi office

first_imgQatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s decision to shut its office in the kingdom as part of the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf was “unjustified”.In a statement, the global news channel condemned Riyadh’s move and called on Saudi Arabia to allow its journalists to continue to work “free of intimidation and threats”.“We firmly believe these are unjustified measure(s) by the authorities in the kingdom against the network and its operations,” the statement said.“In spite of restriction(s) imposed on the network, Al-Jazeera will continue to cover the news and current affairs from the region and beyond (in a) balanced objective manner”.As well as closing the office, Saudi Arabia withdrew the channel’s licence needed to broadcast.It also accused Al-Jazeera of promoting “terrorist groups” and supporting rebels in Yemen.The move came as Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar.Separately, beIn Sports, a subsidiary satellite network of Al-Jazeera, went offline in the United Arab Emirates, which was also among those to cut relations with Qatar.Al-Jazeera, one of the largest news organisations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbours, who accuse the broadcaster of bias and fomenting trouble in the region.Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which it blames for violence after Egypt’s military ousted the movement from power in 2013.Three Al-Jazeera journalists, including a Canadian and an Australian, were detained in Egypt between 2013 and 2015, triggering international protests.last_img read more

Minor twin sisters drown

first_img.A pair of minor twin sisters drowned in a pond in Farakkabad area in sadar upazial on Saturday noon.The deceased are Adifa Akhter and Sadia Akhter, both aged one and half years and daughters of Manik Mizi of the same area.Victim’s uncle Sohag Mizi said the victims were playing in the yard around 12:30 pm and unfortunately one slipped into the pond.In a bid to save her, another sister jumped off and both of them drowned in the pond.Later, the family members found them floating in the pond and took them to Chandpur General Hospital where doctor Nur-e-Alam declared them dead around 3:00pm.last_img read more

Community Associations Are Gems in the Midst of Misery

first_imgBy Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, syoes@afro.comAfter torrential rains — the remnant of what was deadly Hurricane Florence — deluged Baltimore the morning of Sept. 18, the sun broke out just in time for members of the Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association to have their monthly meeting on the second Tuesday in September.I was honored when Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, the long-time civil rights leader and the group’s hard charging president invited me to speak to his members and share my book, Baltimore After Freddie Gray, at Matthew A. Henson Elementary School in the heart of Sandtown-Winchester, the community where Gray lived and died.Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)Although the sun shone brightly on that afternoon, the misery was manifest within that proud, yet besieged, neighborhood in West Baltimore. As Cheatham walked from his car to greet me outside of the school he announced, “We had a homicide this morning.”He revealed the grisly details that have become far too familiar to our communities; another young Black man was dead. This time it was a 25-year old, shot in the face at approximately 10:57 a.m., the ninth murder in Sandtown-Winchester this year according to Cheatham, one homicide a month.As we entered the immaculately kept elementary school, the jugs of water neatly stacked along the walls reminded me our babies can’t drink from the poisonous water fountains, because they are laced with lead.As the members of the Henson Neighborhood Association began to trickle in, the essential paradox of Black Baltimore, and specifically neighborhoods like Sandtown-Winchester emerged. Cheatham explained to the group assembled — a mix of retired elders, middle-aged working class residents, Asian businessmen, elementary and high school students — not only was a young man gunned down that morning, but just a few hours after his murder the corner where he died was occupied by drug dealers operating with impunity.Despite the madness, the long-time pillars of Sandtown-Winchester press forward in the face of pervasive violence, poverty and blight, which seems to encroach more and more on their neighborhoods and way of life every day.As Cheatham conducted the meeting with his signature mix of outrage over the plight of their community, and jovial pragmatism, politicians aspiring to local office in the upcoming midterms mingled with residents while quietly lobbying for votes. Their presence was an acknowledgement of the group’s influence and the individual members represented a pool of some of the most reliable voters in the city.To be clear, the Henson Neighborhood Association is one of the best organized, led by one of the most resilient presidents in the city, but it is not an anomaly. Dozens of these groups dot the city, the glue bonding infirm, yet undaunted, communities West to East. They have been in the trenches for decades, grassroots soldiers fighting block by block, sometimes house by house for the ability to live decently in the city they love.These neighborhood associations and the people who power them are rich resources of wisdom, who are most invested in this city; they aren’t going anywhere. The city’s leaders ignore them at the peril of the rest of us. Indeed, instead of ignore them City Hall should empower them and seek their guidance at every level.During our conversation that evening we delved into the Black community’s rich history, one of a vanguard civil rights community. Many of those assembled personally experienced that history and they cling to it as a road map that may lead their community to better days. Those better days often seem like they exist upon a distant star given the current plight of many of Baltimore’s mostly Black, mostly poor neighborhoods. Yet, the members of the Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association persist.As I left the elementary school, an elderly gentleman who told me earlier in the evening that he missed the AFRO First Edition radio show I once hosted on WEAA, said with resignation in his voice, “We’ll keep on fighting.”Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.last_img read more