Fourth of July Fireworks 2017 and Activities

Whether you are at home or at the Maryland/Delaware beaches, information for 2017 Fourth of July fireworks and activities follow.

Delmarva and  Maryland  Fourth of July 2017 Fireworks 

Maryland

The Ultimate List Of 4th Of July Fireworks Displays In Maryland

Delmarva

http://www.wmdt.com/content/2017-delmarva-fireworks-list/567183971

 Maryland and Delmarva Fourth of July Activities

Maryland

http://www.visitmaryland.org/article/4th-of-july-celebrations

Delmarva

http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/2017/06/30/4-fun-things-fourth-july-delaware-and-maryland/404879001/

Enjoy your Fourth of July celebration.

Jet Blue Gives Away A Free Roundtrip Flight

Employees at the Jet Blue ticket counter handed passengers purple and green Mardi Gras beads upon check in. Of course we selected purple! Purple iced donuts and coffee were available at the gate. It was a great start.

The vice president of operations for Jet Blue, his wife and 6 1/2-year-old son were on our flight to New Orleans. The vice president said that in the beginning of the season, he told his son that if the Baltimore Ravens made it to the Super Bowl he would take him. He thanked the passengers for flying Jet Blue and said that he wanted to give away a free-round-trip ticket.

He asked the passengers to search their bags and pockets for the oldest penny they had. A passenger with a 1946 penny won the tickets. He took a picture of the passengers on the flight cheering. It has been quite an experience already.

Go Ravens!!!

Safeway in Towson, MD — Not Enough Scheduled Staff

I visited Safeway in Towson at noon today. It is convenient, but I hesitate before shopping in this store, because they don’t seem to schedule enough employees.

One lady sliced meat and cheese behind the deli counter that extended around the corner into the prepared food area.

Safeway in Towson Deli

Safeway in Towson Deli

The deli lady was the high point of my visit because she was efficient and pleasant. As she waited on the customer in front of me, I thought that if someone wanted to place a prepared food order (from the other end of the deli), the customer would have to find an employee to wait on them. I wonder how much business Safeway has lost because their counters are not always staffed.

At the checkout, there was one large-order register, a few self-service and two express lanes open.

No Service at Deli and Hot Food Counter

No Service at Deli and Hot Food Counter

A line formed in the large-order lane and a customer asked a customer service employee if it was possible to open another large-order register. The employee immediately opened a new register, but why didn’t he think of that in the first place?

I don’t understand why Safeway in Towson lacks scheduled employees. When I shop at other Safeway locations or competitive stores, I don’t have this problem. Why is this store different?

What is your experience with grocery store customer service?

The War of 1812 Soldiers

Baltimore Book Festival

The War of 1812 Soldiers

The War of 1812 Soldiers

I dragged my husband to the Baltimore Book Festival in Mount Vernon Place which ran from Sept. 28-30. Author signings, cooking demonstrations, workshops, lectures, music, tours and poetry readings were among the featured events. Centerstage participated with an open house for tours, demonstrations, performances and more.

We went to Mount Vernon on Sunday and the weather was clear and warm with a slight autumn breeze. It was a perfect day to people watch and enjoy the outdoors.

There were book swaps and great bargains. My husband purchased four books (which included two hardbacks) for $12. It was a great day and I think that he was glad that he went.

Book Sign

Garden
Garden

Radical Books
Radical Books

Edgar Allan Poe Shirt
Edgar Allan Poe Shirt

Baltimore Review/Washington Writers' Publishing House

Baltimore Review/Washington Writers’ Publishing House

Mount Vernon Place

Mount Vernon Place

Radical Pavilion

Radical Pavilion

Mime

Mime

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Lady Baltimore Hardwood Floors, Finksburg, MD — Beautiful Floors, Great Customer Service

OLD STAINED HARDWOOD FLOOR AND NEW STAINED HARDWOOD FLOOR

OLD STAINED HARDWOOD FLOOR AND NEW STAINED HARDWOOD FLOOR

Lady Baltimore Hardwood Floors in Finksburg, MD installed a new hardwood floor next to my existing 12-year-old hardwood floor.  Tim Dipaula, the owner,  matched the old floor almost perfectly.

Lady Baltimore recommends three polyurethane coats while other companies suggest two poly coats or a water base. (I learned, from experience, that three  polyurethane coats make a big difference in preventing wear.) The installer placed a walnut strip between the two floors to  separate the old and new floor.  I am very happy with their quality, professionalism and customer service.

 It is a messy process. They remove all the furniture from the room. They install the floors on day one and sand and stain them on the following day. They hang protective plastic in the work area to contain as much dust as possible.  They follow with three coats of polyurethane. The job lasted five days.  We could not use the floor until the sixth day.     

PRE-FINISHED HARDWOOD FLOOR

PRE-FINISHED HARDWOOD FLOOR

OLD STAINED FLOOR ON RIGHT AND NEW PRE-FINISHED FLOOR

OLD STAINED FLOOR ON RIGHT AND NEW PRE-FINISHED FLOOR

I chose pre-finished hardwood floors for my bedrooms. Lady Baltimore laid the  pre-finished floor next to the old finished floor.  They matched those floors almost exactly too.  I chose  pre-finished for the bedrooms because it took two men four days to install it versus 12 days for unfinished floors.  Also, they shifted the furniture from one side of the room to the other instead of removing it.  For me, it was worth it.  

If you plan to add hardwood floors, call Lady Baltimore.  They are a family business with an Angies’s List “A” rating.

 

Gary Cress Cleans Window Treatments in Your Home

GARY CRESS

Gary Cress cleans window treatments where they hang in your home. He serves the Maryland and Washington, DC region.

His phone  number is 410-876-6605. He has an Angie’s List “A” rating, and I highly recommend him.

 He cleans bolted-in top treatments, jabots, swags, balloons, valances, fabric shades and more.  He also cleans upholstery and lampshades. 

 I used Gary several years ago to clean my window treatments.  He was

GARY CRESS MADE THEM LOOK LIKE THEY ARE NEW

thorough and professional. Recently, Lady Baltimore Floors installed hardwood floors in my home.  I had dust throughout my home from the sanding process. The hardwood floors are beautiful and it was worth it.

 I was concerned that I had to replace my window treatments because they were 11 years old and very dirty.  Gary made them look new.  Furthermore, he cleaned my sofa and did a great job.

Gary’s wife, Lydia, also makes house calls. She makes custom window treatments. Her work was shown in the Baltimore Symphony Show House at The Ritz Carlton Residences in Baltimore.  Gary and Lydia are a great team.

 Give them a call!

 

Extraordinary Event in My Ordinary Life: I Won a Car

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle (Photo credit: Karen Roe)

When I was 16, I had worked at a women’s retail shop, that offered bumper stickers to promote the rock radio station WKTK in Baltimore.  I had placed  a bumper sticker on my father’s Chevrolet station wagon, that I drove daily.

The bumper stickers were part of a contest that had employees from WKTK drive around the Baltimore area writing down license plate  numbers from cars that displayed the WKTK sticker. I didn’t pay much attention to the contest, because I knew that I wouldnt win. During the summer of 1973, they had selected one license number per week and announced it over the radio. If the owner of that license number called in, they won a stereo or other music related prize. I never listened for my license number.

In the fall of 1973, WKTK awarded the grand prize by drawing a name at an Elton John concert. They drew my father’s name. 

WKTK contacted him the next day, and my father called me at school and told me that I had won a car.

The car was bright orange with WKTK and yellow beetles and butterflies painted on the hood, sides and back. You couldn’t miss it! 

However, I had  been driving a Pontiac Firebird, that I loved, that my parents had purchased for me early in the summer, and I was working to pay for a windshield wiper a week. 

The Volkswagon was worth about $2,800.00., and after driving it for a few months, I suggested that my parents sell it.  I asked them to keep the money, but they had to tell everyone that I paid for my Firebird. It was a win-win!

Core in Timonium, MD and Debbie Schultz

I drag myself out of my car and stumble into Core to exercise with DebbieSchultz once or twice per week.  After my workout, I sprint to my car like an Olympic athlete.  (Okay, I leave Core with more energy.)

 I work out at home regularly, but I am likely to exercise more often when I 

Debbie Schultz

Debbie Schultz

have a weekly commitment with Deb.  I also work harder than if I exercise alone. She encourages me to try new exercises and movements.

  I see a difference in my balance and muscle tone. I am stronger.  If I listened to all of her suggestions, (and didn’t drink wine and eat sweets) I would be very fit. I selectively follow her suggestions as long as they don’t interfere with my lifestyle. (I can’t give up everything.)

 Exercising with Deb is fun and challenging.  She adjusts my routine to work different muscle groups. She watches my form with each exercise to ensure that I do it correctly to prevent injury or death from lack of coordination. She also tells me which part of my body benefits from a particular exercise. This information makes the difficult exercises seem a little easier.

  After I warm up, we usually start with a plank. Often she asks me to do a backward lunge with a step platform livepage.apple.com (My platform is much lower than the previous video, and I use lighter weights.)  This is one of the more difficult exercises,  it increases my heart rate and it  tones the hamstrings and glutes.  Another exercise that I do is the wood chop,  livepage.apple.com which tones the abs and obliques.  I use the stability ball to do a bridge leg curl in which tightens the abs, glutes and legs and the dumbbell press which works my chest and arms. These are just a few of Deb’s tortures, I mean exercises.

 I also work harder if I am conditioning with a small group.  I go that extra mile because I don’t want to be the one taking a nap while the other ladies are sweating.  I burn extra calories by attempting to keep up with the group.  I attempt to look coordinated and not stumble.  Oh well, one can only try!

 Deb mixes my routine to make it fun and effective. Most of the exercises work several muscle groups at once, therefore it takes less time to get the most benefit.

 I dislike large gyms where members are concerned about their social life, attire, make up and coiffed hair. I like Core because it is never too crowded and the clients are there to exercise then leave, like me. 

Greetings and Readings, Hunt Valley, MD — Great Customer Service

We had a great experience ordering custom printing materials from Stephanie at Greetings and Readings . Greetings and Readings is located in the Hunt Valley Towne Centre in Hunt Valley, MD.

 The store is packed with unique merchandise. They stock cards, books, movies, music, toys, games, collectibles, candles, jewelry and numerous other items.  They even sell Ravens, Terps, and O’s gear.  They stock several name brands including Vera Bradley, Brighton and Swarovski Crystal (to name a few).  It is difficult to decide where to look first. If you want something new or need a wedding, shower, engagement, baby or birthday gift, you will find it at Greetings and Readings.

 My friend and I met with Stephanie in custom printing to discuss a print order for an upcoming event.  Of course, we needed the print order yesterday. (So what else is new?) We perused catalogs and selected our card stock.  Stephanie made printing suggestions. We proofread the material and placed an order. We hoped to receive our order within a week.

 I called Stephanie to follow up on the arrival time for our order.  She called the company (where we ordered the cards) and asked them to rush the print order.  I believe that she contacted them several times. We received the order earlier than expected without paying extra postage. 

 We appreciated Stephanie’s professionalism and follow through. She was also fun to work with! (Hopefully, we were too.)

Best Buy Timonium, MD, “One Stop Shopping” Failed

Best Buy in Timonium, MD

My husband, Doug, purchased a television and installation services from Best Buy in Timonium, MD. The install date was Thursday, January 19, 2012.

After the purchase, the salesperson took my husband to the Comcast -in- house center to purchase a HD box from Bob. Bob indicated that he had just given the last HD box away, but he told Doug that others should arrive soon.

Bob took Doug’s phone number and told him that he would call when a HD box arrived. He also gave him a Comcast phone number into the Best Buy store.

Doug did not receive any calls on January 16, 17, or 18. He called the Comcast in- store number about 10 times, there was no answer machine and no one answered the phone.

My husband called the store and waited on hold for about 25 minutes while a kind saleswoman tracked Bob down.

Bob told my husband that they did not have any HD boxes. He added that Comcast would not pay for an answer machine.

On January 18, my husband spoke to a woman from Best Buy who confirmed delivery for January 19, between 8a.m. and 12 p.m.

On January 19, I had a question about the cable, and I called Best Buy. During the call I learned that we were not scheduled for delivery that day.  I changed plans to ensure that I was home. They told me to call dispatch. Don’t you think that it was their job to resolve the problem?

I eventually spoke to the Best Buy assistant manager Dave. He set up delivery for nine days later.

On the second delivery date, we never received a call to confirm our delivery schedule. We were skeptical. My husband called Best Buy and spoke to Becca. She told him that the store manager Mark would return his call to confirm delivery. He never called.

We eventually received the television, however, Best Buy’s “One Stop Shopping” failed.

Has anyone had a similar experience at Best Buy?

How do the Occupy Baltimore Protesters Occupy Themselves?

Tom Kiefaber Former Senator Theatre Owner

Some of the occupants have jobs and others are homeless.  Many of them want change.

Tom Kiefaber, the former owner of the Senator Theatre, wore a sign that said,  “I am Revolting.”   Kiefaber recently lost the Senator Theatre in foreclosure.   He said that he is revolting because Baltimore is “one of the most corrupt cities in America. They took my job, they took my professional and personal reputation and they took my real estate all through manipulating the media.” Kiefaber’s “revolting sign” is an opening to discuss his opinions about Baltimore politics, the Senator Theatre, the media and the “Occupy Baltimore” movement.

Holly Brown is unemployed and on disability.   Holly said that she is part of an international group called “Women in Black” who “stand vigil” to promote peace and justice.  According to Holly, she stands  at Light and Pratt streets while holding the Arabic peace sign, salam.  She  has participated in anti-was marches in Washington, D.C., said Holly.

Elise Heroux  works in an organic grocery store and she said that she has spent every night at McKeldin Square for three weeks.  According to Elise, she has attended the “Occupy Baltimore General Assembly.”  She said that it is a “participatory democracy” and they don’t make decisions without a majority.  For example, she said that The Department of Parks and Recreation gave the “occupiers” a list of rules.  The occupiers told The Department of Parks and Recreation that any item they couldn’t agree on,  “they would not do,” Heroux said.

Heroux said that some occupants participate in knitting workshops, but she has participated in the “De-escalation Workshop.”  She said that the De-escalation Workshop teaches the occupiers to let their bodies “go limp” if police ask them to leave. She said that their body language is saying, “If you want me to move, move me.” She said that many times the police will pick you up and throw you in the street, but if you let your body become limp it will prevent a resisting – arrest charge.

William Lipscomb is homeless and has stayed at McKeldin Square from the start. “I cook, I clean and I do all kinds of other stuff so I am just trying to get everything figured out,” said Lipscomb.  He said that four years ago he had a job washing cars and has looked for work at McDonalds’s, restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.

Charles Ballweg stayed at McKeldin Square for three nights.  He said that he cleans up the trash and cigarette butts. “I stay busy,” Ballweg said.

Some of the occupants carry 99 percent signs to protest the 1 percent top- income earners. Occupiers told me, they represent the 99 percent and the banks and wealthy are the 1 percent.

Two protesters carried a 99 percent sign while holding their Tibetan Mastiff dog. The Tibetan Mastiff is the most expensive dog breed in the world.

 


Sheilah Kast Lecture about Journalism and Social Media

The Washington Star Building (2893479361)

Image via Wikipedia The Washington Star Building

Public radio reporter Sheilah Kast said she is hopeful about the future of American journalism, even as the profession is changing dramatically in the digital age.

Kast, the host of National Public Radio’s Maryland Morning show, said the Internet’s power to open a two-way conversation between journalists and the public has the potential to make the news gathering process more transparent and accessible.

But she said the Internet also worries her as websites do more aggregating and less original reporting. She said she is also concerned that news organization may be determining which stories to publish based on page views rather than traditional news judgment.

“To an old school journalist like me, social media, blogs, Facebook, Twitter is at a minimum sort of a pain and actually pretty scary,” Kast said during a speech at Loyola University.

In her speech, Kast touched on the highlights of her long career, which she began as a “dictationist” at the Washington Star in 1971.

“I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the newsroom. I fell in love with the adrenaline,” Kast said.

Kast said that when the Washington Star folded in 1981, few reporters realized that the newspaper industry was about to undergo a major shift.

“We saw it as a sort of circulation problem, not as the beginning of a huge generation of changes in journalism that would really change the fundamentals of the newspaper and journalism in general,” Kast said.

Kast said she became a broadcaster for ABC News.  As a broadcaster, she learned that “the most important piece of technology is the channel changer. What scares my bosses most is that someone will pick up the channel changer and change the channel.”

Kast said that sound bites were shrinking because audience attention spans were shorter.  In 1968, for example, she said political candidates spoke for almost 43 seconds. By 1992 they spoke for 7.6 seconds.

“If I wrote a script in which someone was speaking for 15 seconds, my producers were pulling their hair out,” she said.

Kast said that television news was expected to turn a profit, adding that executives worried about audience size because they needed advertising revenues to pay the bills.

“Every judgment about what to put on the air was made in terms of what will hold the interest of enough viewers,” she said. This meant high emotion stories that kept viewers tuned in, she said.

Kasts said that as a broadcaster they had big networks, big teams and big investments which depended on a large audience. With the internet “a lot of that model started to crumble,” Kast said.

Kast said the Internet has fragmented the audience. Newspaper readership and revenues kept shrinking, news organizations faced layoffs and executives expected news organizations to do the same work with a smaller staff.

Kast said the Internet has made international news much more accessible to the public. She said it is also easier for young journalists to enter the field. However, she noted that one reason newspapers have suffered so badly is because they lost the lucrative classified advertising market to Craig’s List.

Kast said that social media honors the individual, adding that there are now many voices in journalism. She said that this could make journalists more in tuned to what individuals need.

Kast said that there is a lot wrong with the system but that she is “hopeful.”


Harry and David, Towson Town Center – Great Customer Service

Towson Town Center from Dulaney Valley Road

I needed a hostess gift for a special luncheon. I thought about flowers, guest soap, and wine. I stopped in Harry and David in Towson Town Center, that sells gift items like fruit, cheese, chips, salsa, crackers, dips, smoked salmon, candy, and more. I browsed and searched for something that could be enjoyed during cocktail hour.

The sales staff gave me some gift basket ideas. Tabitha made suggestions, and Christine added her ideas.  I could not have asked for better service.

They assembled and wrapped my unique gift basket that contained flax seed – tortilla chips, salsa, organic – water crackers, and bruschetta spread.  I will return because the staff was pleasant and provided excellent customer service.

Hurricane Irene, Power Outages and BGE

Hurricane Irene knocked out power at our home on Saturday, August 2, about 11:00 p.m. Today is September 1, and we still do not have electricity.

The most frustrating issue is, we were given 2 specific times when power would be restored. (My neighbor had a side bet on these times.) Tuesday, September 30 by 11:00 p.m. was the first date that I received from the BGE hot line. The second date was Wednesday September 31 by 11:00 p.m. I owe my neighbor dinner because he bet against these dates. I wish BGE would have been honest and definitive. I think that they should pay for this dinner, don’t you?

I had a positive experience today. I saw a Baltimore Gas & Electric  truck about a mile from my home. I told  the men my street name. I asked them to please check into the problem. Twenty minutes later they drove down my street and found my home because they saw my car. They drove into my driveway to give me an update. They found the issue and believed that it was a quick fix. They called the location into BGE. I appreciated their follow-through.

 We are without power, and there is no sign of any BGE trucks. There was something positive that resulted from losing electricity.  We spent quality time with our wonderful neighbors Cheryl, Jeff, Ruth, Charlie and Trevor. We shared delicious grilled meals, wine  and humorous stories. That was a blessing.