NEWS IN BRIEF
Tubman award salutes Mikulski's contributions
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski received the 2012 Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award, March 9, in conjunction with the African American Tourism Council (AATC) of Maryland's observance of Harriet Ross Tubman Day of Remembrance, March 10. Gov. Martin O'Malley, with Sen. Ben Cardin and Louis Fields (AATC president), presented the award at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.
Mikulski was recognized for her commitment to honoring the legacy of Harriet Tubman a Maryland native known for helping people escape enslavement during the mid-19th century. The senator secured nearly $1 million in federal funds for the design and construction of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Historical Park Visitor Center on the Eastern Shore. She also co-sponsored legislation that would establish the venue as a national park.
Mikulski is the first non-African-American to receive the award. Recent winners include: Clara Small (2011), professor of history at Salisbury University; Adrienne Jones (2010), Maryland delegate, Baltimore County; Bette McLeod (2009), educator, Prince George's County; Verna Day Jones (2008), actress, Baltimore; and Louise Webb (2008), historian, Charles County. Jones and Webb were co-winners.
U.S. Mint begins sale of Star-Spangled Banner coins
Gov. Martin O'Malley joined Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. John Sarbanes, and officials of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Mint, and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine at Fort McHenry's Education and Visitor Center, March 5, to launch the Mint's sale of the new 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins.
The Mint reported purchases of more than 81,000 coins during the first week of sales. Coins will be available for purchase through mid-December this year. President Obama, in 2010, had signed into law a measure — co-sponsored by Sen. Cardin and Rep. Ruppersberger — that authorized the Mint to issue the coins in commemoration of the upcoming 200-year anniversary of the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner.
The law allows the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to receive up to $8.5 million in surcharges (built into the price of the coins) from the Mint to help support bicentennial activities and educational outreach, and preserve sites and structures with War of 1812 significance.
The Mint will issue up to 100,000 $5 gold coins and 500,000 $1 silver coins. Collectors can obtain both the gold and silver coins in "proof" and "uncirculated" condition. A "proof" silver dollar is $54.95, with an introductory price of $49.95 available through April 5. The "uncirculated" silver dollar is $49.95, or $44.95 through April 5.
Costs of the "proof" and "uncirculated" gold coins, and the two-coin (gold and silver) set, are based on the Mint's pricing structure for numismatic commemorative products containing gold, which can be viewed online. For more information about purchasing the coins, visit the U.S. Mint online; or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468); TTY: 1-888-321-MINT (6468).
For additional coverage, see related articles in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.
New film production in state brings economic boost
Filming of Jamesy Boy — an independent feature co-written and directed by Maryland native Tim White — has begun this month in Baltimore. The filming, expected to take five weeks, could have a $5 million economic impact for the state, estimates the Maryland Film Office, while creating 400 jobs for crew, actors and extras.
"Our state has long been a location for many outstanding independent films," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, "and we look forward to working with this production."
Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames and James Woods headline the cast. Newcomer Spencer Lofranco has the title role. The film depicts the real-life story of James Burns, a teenaged suburban gang member who lands in a maximum-security prison, where a convicted murderer helps to push the troubled teen's life in a more positive direction.
"I am thrilled to be back in my home state to make Jamesy Boy," White said. "The Maryland Film Office could not have been more supportive and accommodating, and we truly feel like there isn't a better place to be making this film."
Maryland's Film Production Employment Act of 2011 — which provides a partial tax credit for local production expenditures and encourages producers to use local film crews — was instrumental in securing the film.
Early-spring getaways offer escape from winter
March is a transition into a season of renewal, a time to revive body and spirit. Emerge from the doldrums of winter, says the Maryland Office of Tourism, and experience new adventures this month.
"It's a great time to plan a Maryland getaway — especially one that reflects a desire to try something out of the ordinary," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. "Indulge in an overnight visit to a spa, plan a golfing outing in a part of the state where you've never been, or enjoy local scenery as you follow one of Maryland's wine trails."
The tourism office further points out that local restaurant weeks are a good way to "dine at places where you've never been, but always wanted to try." Talbot (County) Restaurant Week is March 25-31, and a one-day event, Taste of Solomons (Calvert County), is March 31.
View a list of a dozen destinations (a sampling of what's available) across Maryland that can provide an early-spring getaway.
Blackwater gets U.S. funding for additional acreage
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved $505,000 in funding for the conservation of 112 acres at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, announced Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski.
An agency of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the commission uses funds from sales of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp — known as the Federal Duck Stamp — to establish waterfowl refuges. The Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the 112-acre tract on the east side of the refuge from a private party.
Out of every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, says the Fish and Wildlife Service, 98 cents goes directly to purchase habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The stamps are used on federal hunting licenses for migratory waterfowl and entrance passes for national wildlife refuges. They are also collector's items.
"The Blackwater Refuge is one of the Eastern Shore's unique treasures," Sen. Mikulski said. "Investment in our environment is an investment in the future of our state. It helps with jobs in the tourism industry by providing an engaging environment for residents and visitors, and it helps with the environment by providing a complex habitat for many species."
Baltimore Sun salutes Office of Tourism's Pinterest site
"Nothing will make you want to take a vacation in your own state like the 'Maryland in Photographs' board built by the Maryland Office of Tourism, reports the Baltimore Sun in a survey of notable Maryland web sites on Pinterest. A high-traffic online site, Pinterest promotes social bookmarking and media-sharing among users. The Maryland page offers photo collections of famous Marylanders, destinations, food and drinks, outdoor events, history and icons.
Senate resolution honors 1812 bicentennial
On March 1, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that commemorates the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812 — a day after Sen. Ben Cardin introduced the measure. The resolution, which received unanimous consent, also pays tribute to the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner and the heroism displayed by American forces during the war. Senators John Kerry (D-Ma.), Carl Levin (D-Mi.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) co-sponsored the resolution.
Workshops address African-American preservation grants
Two more sessions in a series of workshops that offer insight into the African American Heritage Preservation Program will be held this month. One is March 19 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore. The other is March 21 at the Prince Frederick Library in Calvert County. Grants in this program range from $10,000 to $100,000. The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) are joint administrators of the program.
Call or e-mail Kathy Monday at MHT, 410-514-7627, for details. For assistance in development of project, call or e-mail Joni Jones, MCAAHC, 410-216-6190. And, for assistance with capital project and technical preservation issues, call or e-mail Ann Raines, MHT, 410-514-7634. Grant applications must be postmarked by July 15.
Maryland Day marks 378th anniversary of state
In Anne Arundel County, Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town & South County observes Maryland Day with a weekend of activities, March 23-25, at area museums and other participating sites. Historic St. Mary's City — site of Maryland's first settlement — hosts its annual Maryland Day celebration, Saturday, March 24. Event includes speeches, music and the Ceremony of the Flags in which fourth-graders parade with the colors of the state's jurisdictions. And, on March 25, St. Clement's Island Museum at Colton's Point — where the first settlers landed — commemorates the occasion with guest speakers and a wreath ceremony.
Roasted oysters, burning socks signal spring in Annapolis
Annapolis Maritime Museum presents its second annual Annapolis Oyster Roast and Sock Burning, Saturday, March 24, noon to 4 p.m. In addition to oysters — raw, steamed, fried and roasted — event includes live music, oyster shucking and cooking demos. In tribute to local tradition, participants burn their winter socks as they look toward a new boating season. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for teens, ages 13 to 18, and free for kids 12 and under. VIP tickets, $40, include commemorative t-shirt and tastings from competing area restaurants.
African cinema takes spotlight at BMA
Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents nine short- and feature-length films at the African Film Festival Traveling Series, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, March 24-25. The films, with English subtitles, are from Algeria, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Niger. A single-day pass is $10 (free for BMA members) and $5 for students. Tickets are available online, at the BMA box office, or by phone at 1-800-919-6272. For more information, call 443-573-1701. BMA's Joshua Johnson Council is sponsoring the program.
Cycle Maryland offers grants for bike plans
Funding is available through the Maryland Bikeways Program for projects that create and improve bicycle connections in the state. Projects involving rail transit stations, sustainable communities, Main Streets, central business districts, major institution campuses, low-income areas and missing links in the Maryland Department of Transportation Trails Plan receive priority investment. Applications will be accepted until May 4. Access applications and view more information online.