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Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, December 11, 2010

Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, December 11, 2010

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Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, December 11, 2010
Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, December 11, 2010

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Published by: The AFRO-American Newspapers on Dec 09, 2010
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December 11, 2010 - December 11, 2010, The Afro-American
By Shernay Williams
 AFRO Staf Writer 
When Hattie Peartree of Pikesvillereceived a call from the law ofceof Mark H. Klein last July, shethought she had found relief forher high mortgage payments. Therepresentative told Peartree he wouldreduce her home loan if she paid$3,000.“I told the person I didn’t have it,”she said. “And he indicated ‘well wecan make a payment plan’.”Since August, Peartree saysshe paid more than $2,000 to theFlorida-based company and per theiradvice, stopped making her mortgagepayments.She said she “felt good” about theplan until she received noticationfrom her lender threateningforeclosure. She realized the MarkKlein ofce was fraudulent inOctober, when she learned mostlegitimate modication companiesoffer free services.Her tale echoes the experiencesof many homeowners acrossthe nation, who, blind-sided byseemingly opportune deals to reducetheir mortgages, fall victim toscammers. The Federal TradeCommission has brought morethan 30 cases against suchcompanies.In response to the swarm of mortgage swindlers, the FTC willenact new regulations for mortgagemodication companies January2011.U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummingshosted a news conference, Dec. 6,informing the public of these criticalmeasures to protect residents “alreadyin danger of losing everything.”“There are many unscrupulouspeople out there who are preyingon the vulnerability of thosehomeowners,” he said at the newsconference. “While we cannot preventevery foreclosure and eviction, wemust try to protect those who arefacing these troubling times frombeing ripped off by unscrupulouspeople who seek to prot on themisery of others.”Since the recession began in Dec.2007, Americans experienced morethan 2.5 million home foreclosures.Another 3.3 million homes areexpected to face foreclosure in thenext four years, Cummings said.It is already illegal in Marylandfor loan modication companies tocharge up-front fees for services,
By Talibah Chikwendu
 AFRO Executive Editor 
The ongoing recession hashit families hard and frommany sides. From losingwork hours or losing jobs,to the end of unemploymentinsurance payments, evictionsand foreclosures, families arestruggling to stay aoat. Throwin the rising costs of food, energyand medical services and peoplenot traditionally thought to bedealing with poverty are nowtrying to nd ways to weatherthis storm, which at ground level,is not projected to end before thefall of 2012.William Spriggs, U.S.Department of Labor’s assistantsecretary for policy, saidthis recession is on record asthe most severe, citing howthe across- the -board dropin consumption – includinggroceries – was devastating tolocal communities, increasing
www.afro.comVolume 119 No. 18DECEMBER 11, 2010 - DECEMBER 17, 2010
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Listen to “First Edition”
 Join Host Sean YoesSunday @ 8 p.m. on88.9 WEAA FM, theVoice of the Community.
Copyright © 2010 by the Afro-American Company
Join the
onTwitter and Facebook 
Continued on A6 
Protecting Our Homes
Continued on A6 Continued on A4
Dunbar Wins StateChampionship
The ‘Next Three Days’Interview
Cummings Promotes NewForeclosure Scam Protections
Taking a Lookat Poverty in 2010
 AFRO File Photo/Rob Roberts
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummingscontinues to fght or homeownersin trouble by supportinglegislation that protects themrom scams.By Shernay Williams
 AFRO Staf Writer 
City grocers urged Baltimoreofcials to repeal the 2 cent bottletax last week, saying the charge drivecash-strapped shoppers to county businesses. At a press conferenceDec. 2, retailers said city stores hadseen a 4-7 percent decrease in salessince the tax was enacted last July.Sandy Vary, co-owner of Bel-Garden Bi-Rite Supermarket inGardenville, said her store’s beveragesales are down 7 percent and overallsales by 5 percent. She had to lay off ve of her 90 employees because of slow business, she added. The latestcame last month. “If the goal is todrive small businesses out, they areright on track,” she said at the pressconference.Vary said grocers are not allowedto post signage informing customersabout the “hidden” tax. Those awareof the measure are vocal against it,she said, or choose to shop outside of the city’s borders.“When I have to raise a coupleof pennies that is a reason to gosomewhere else,” she said. “We knowcustomers that make the trip out of the city ... Our margins are basedstrictly on food ... We can’t make itup on other items like Wal-Mart; wehave a smaller footprint. We have togive them a real reason to shop in our stores.”To ease strains on customers,some grocers, like Rob Santoni, haveresorted to absorbing the tax andkeeping prices at for customers.But he says beverage sales at hissupermarket in Highlandtown stilllag by 4.8 percent, and
compared tolast year, 2-3 percent fewer customersenter his store.“Those [customers] that knowthe tax went into effect; they aren’teven giving me a chance,” he toldreporters. “They aren’t shopping inthe city ... It’s hard when people seeso much irresponsible spending inlocal government ... who ignored theoutcries of business leaders to not pass it.”Ofcials say the tax is necessaryto shave down the city’s $121 milliondecit and sustain the city’s generalfund, which supports police, reofcials and public education. “The bottle tax revenues are on target,”Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakerecently told reporters. “We’ve got$5 million in the city’s coffers for essential services. And when we took this issue to the public, they were verycomfortable with two cents.”Rawlings-Blake proposed a four-cent beverage tax last spring, but adivided City Council compromisedwith a 2 cent tariff July 25. Retailersand bottlers, including Santoni and
City Retailers: RepealBeverage Tax
 AFRO File Photo
By Shernay Williams
 AFRO Staf Writer 
Congregants of a local church held a protest for the second time Dec. 6,for what they call their landlord’s deliberate violation of state law.Pastor Mario Ogans and others from God’s Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ on Bel Air Road are outraged because their landlord authorizeda liquor shop to open in a storefront directly below them.They say Maryland law prohibits liquor stores within 300 feet of churches.Steven Fogleman, chairman of the city Liquor Board, told reporters afterthe church’s rst protest Dec. 3 that Garden Liquors was approved for themove two-weeks before the church.Pastor Ogans contends he has documents proving his church was therst legal tenant. God’s Kingdom signed their lease in June 2009 and werescheduled to move in October 2009, he said, but slow construction didn’tallow physical relocation until February 2010.The liquor store received approval for their liquor license Jan. 14.In an interview with the
, Fogleman said the landlord—LuisBnrich—did not mention the church when his board approved the liquorstore in January.“We didn’t receive any testimony, letters…there was no evidence that achurch was there and the landlord didn’t say there was.”After complaints from church members last summer, the board launchedan investigation and discovered the church.
Local Church ProtestsLiquor Store Opening
Photo by Bill Tabron
Pastor Mario Ogans o God’s Kingdom Builders Church o JesusChrist, center, and members o his congregation protest the liquorstore authorized to operate next door to the church.
Continued on A6 
Baltimoremerchants haverenewed theirobjection to thetwo cent bottletax.
The Afro-American, December 11, 2010 - December 17, 2010
Your History • Your Community • Your News
The Afro-American Newspapers
Baltimore Ofce • Corporate Headquarters2519 N. Charles StreetBaltimore, Maryland 21218-4602410-554-8200 • Fax: 1-877-570-9297
Founded by John Henry Murphy Sr., August 13, 1892Washington Publisher Emerita -
 Frances L. Murphy II 
Chairman of the Board/Publisher -
 John J. Oliver, Jr.
Executive Assistant -
Takiea Hinton
- 410-554-8222
Receptionist -
Wanda Pearson
- 410-554-8200Director of Advertising/Sponsorship Development & Sales
Susan Gould -
Advertising Manager -
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410-554-8246Sr. Advertising Account Executive -
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410-554-8235Advertising Account Executive
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410-554-8274Director of Finance
- Jack Leister -
- John Gartrell -
410-554-8265Community & Public Relations Manager
Diane W. Hocker -
410-554-8243EditorialExecutive Editor -
Talibah ChikwenduE-mail: editor@afro.com
Managing Editor
- Kristin Gray -
Washington Bureau Chief -
Zenitha Prince -
202-332-0080, ext. 119
E-mail: dceditor@afro.com
Global Markets
Director -
Benjamin M. Phillips IV
- 410-554-8220
Washington Circulation/Distribution Manager
Edgar Brookins -
202-332-0080, ext. 116Baltimore Circulation/Distribution Manager
Sammy Graham -
410-554-8266Production Department
- 410-554-8288
Washington Ofce
1917 Benning Road, N.E. • Washington, D.C. 20002-4723202-332-0080 Fax: 1-877-570-9297
General Manager
Edgar Brookins -
ext. 116Ofce Administrator
- Mia Hayes-Hawkins -
ext. 112
Customer Service, Home Delivery and Subscriptions:
410-554-8234Customer Service@afro.comBilling Inquiries: 410-554-8226Nights and Weekends: 410-554-8282
AFRO National Briefs
Alicia Keys, Other Celebs ‘Kill’ Social Media Identities forHIV/AIDS Charity
Alicia Keys and two dozen other celebrities began aninnovative HIV campaign this World AIDS Day by “killing” theirsocial media identities for charity.To support Keys’ Keep a Child Alive charity, the stars signedoff of social media sites such asTwitter and Facebook. While thosesites remain active with informationon how to donate, the starsthemselves will refrain from postingpersonal updates or new informationto their social media proles whilethe campaign is underway.Supporters can donate $5 or $10through text messages or through theKeep a Child Alive website. Once thecharity’s $1 million goal is reached,the stars will resume posting on thesites.Charity leaders are also urgingeveryday people to similarly sacricetheir social media lives for the cause,which supports African and Indianfamilies affected by HIV/AIDS.Six days after the campaign’sDec. 1 launch, fans had contributedmore than $420,500 to bring theirfavorites back to “life.” Nearly 3,700non-celebrities had also sacricedtheir web presences, according toThe Keep a Child Alive website,which logs all “deaths” by the minute.“We’re trying to sort of make theremark: Why do we care so much about the death of one celebrityas opposed to millions and millions of people dying in the placethat we’re all from,” said Leigh Blake, president and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive.The campaign—which also includes Usher, Lady Gaga,Jennifer Hudson, Serena Williams, Lenny Kravitz and Keys’husband Swiss Beats—advertised celebrities photographed incofns to symbolize their “digital deaths.”The campaign hopes that the Web absence of these celebs,who have tremendous presences online, will entice fans to donate.Keys has more than 2.6 million followers on Twitter and almost8 million fans on Facebook. Lady Gaga may top the fans’ list, assome 24 million people “like” her on Facebook and 7.2 millionfollow the pop star on Twitter.“This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a littlesarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention,” Keystold
The Associated Press
.Only one participating celebrity has broken their digital silenceso far. R&B singer Usher caught heat for tweeting on Dec. 5:“Twit fam, I’m whack for being late, I need your help. Twit HappyBirthday Rico Love!!! He is the man that wrote you ‘There goesmy baby’.”
NAACP Alleges School Re-segregation
Jim Crow is rearing its head again, eroding the gains of education parity in school rooms across the nation, according tothe nation’s largest civil rights group.The NAACP recently held its annual Daisy Bates EducationSummit in Raleigh, N.C., and pointed to the county’s troublesover school diversity as an example of the retrenchment from theequity standards established by the seminal case
 Brown v. Board of  Education
.“Ending bussing to integrate schools and dwindling fundingfor public schools is the newest form of re-segregation,” statedNAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, who joinedNorth Carolina State Conference President William Barber, FloridaState Conference President Adora Obi-Nweze and other NAACPofcials in a press conference to discuss the current state of schools in the state.“All children of all backgrounds, of all races, colors and creedsdeserve an accessible, high quality public education. Schoolboards across this country are rolling the clock back to the timebefore Brown vs. The Board of Education and the NAACP will notcontinue to let this happen.”Wake County, where Raleigh is located, gained nationalattention when its school board voted to end a 10-year policyof busing to foster socioeconomic balance in public schools.Advocates say the move is aligned with a 2007 Supreme Courtdecision, which found that school districts cannot use students’race as basis for integration policies. And that’s what busing fordiversity amounts to, according to Roger Clegg, president of theFalls Church, Va.-based Center for Equal Opportunity.““Even if you think there’s something desirable about havinga politically correct racial and ethnic mix, it doesn’t justify theenormous costs of engaging in racial discrimination,” he wasquoted as saying in an
 Associated Press
S.C. Teens Batter Toddler
A Charleston, S.C. mother and three teens have been chargedin the beating of a toddler that has left the 18-month-old in criticalcondition.According to police investigators, Shakera Suncelaree Wright,the victim’s mother, told the Department of Social Services thatshe and her son were visiting her friend Tyrek Varnes, 16, at hishome. Wright said Varnes and his 14- and 15-year-old friendswere “play wrestling” with the victim, Louis, when they beganpummeling him in the chest and stomach while he hung upsidedown from his ankles in a closet.The next morning Wright said she checked on Louis—whoslept in Varnes’ room—and said he looked “like he wanted to die.”By the time the toddler arrived at the hospital he was in respiratorydistress, and he was immediately taken to an intensive care unit.A CAT scan revealed ve rib fractures, air and blood in histhorax, multiple lacerations of his liver, spleen and pancreas. Louiswas in shock, and the scan also showed that he had suffered a skullfracture at some undetermined point.The results prompted physicians to call the police and DSS.Varnes confessed to everyone’s role in the abuse and he, Wrightand the other two youths have been charged with iniction orallowing iniction of great bodily injury to a child. If convicted onthe felony charge, the defendants face a 20-year sentence.
Courtesy Photos
Alicia KeysUsher
Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the Office of Minority Health at HHS, administers the seasonal flu vaccine to Tom Joyner.
“I I’m the hardest working man in radio,
I can’t miss any time rom work or with my loved ones
.I bet you can’t either.
That’s why I got my flu vaccine
and I urge you to get yours.”
—Tom Joyner 
Protect yourself and those around you
Get a fu vaccine
T f . :
The Afro-American, December 11, 2010 - December 11, 2010
. . , . .
Identification Statements
 Baltimore Afro-American
(USPS 040-800)is published weekly by The
 Afro-American Newspapers
,2519 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4602.
Subscription Rate:
Baltimore - 1 Year - $30.00 (Price includes tax.) Checks for subscriptions should be madepayable to: The
 Afro-American Newspaper Company,
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Send addresses changes to
 Afro-American Newspaper Company,
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December 11, 2010 - December 17, 2010, The Afro-American
Prince George’s Inauguration Ushers in New Day
By George Barnette
 AFRO Staf Writer 
Before the real work inPrince George’s Countybegins, the newly electedofcials had their day in thesun as inauguration ofciallyushered in a new era in thecounty’s politics.“Today, as we journeydown the path to greatness,remember that we willstart together and wewill nish together,” saidPrince George’s CountyExecutive Rushern Baker.“In one unied voice, wesay to people of this state,this region: We are PrinceGeorge’s County.”One of the big questionsof the day was answeredwith little controversyas Councilwoman LeslieJohnson, D.-Dist. 6, tookher oath to one of the largerovations of the day. Johnson,along with her husband,former Prince George’sCounty Executive JackJohnson, was arrested lastmonth on federal corruptioncharges. After the ceremony,Johnson said, “The votershave spoken,” in responseto why she felt comfortabletaking her oath.The inaugurationtook place in blisteringcold conditions on theoutside deck of the CountyAdministration Buildingin Upper Marlboro. Theluminaries were greatRep. Donna Edwards(D-Dist.4), MarylandAttorney General DougGansler (D), Washington,D.C. Councilman MarionBarry (D-Ward 8), DistrictMayor-elect Vincent Gray(D), former Prince George’sCounty Executives WayneCurry and Paris Glendeningand various members of thestate legislature.The Surrattsville HighSchool Marching Bandprovided pre-inaugurationentertainment followed bythe Prince George’s PoliceBag Pipe band. FormerPrince George’s CountyCouncilwoman Dorothy F.Bailey presided over theproceedings.The nine Prince George’sCouncil members, fourreturning and ve new,were sworn in by formerCouncilwoman and currentClerk of the Circuit CourtMarilyn Bland. Blandremarked that it was abittersweet day because she’sno longer working on thecouncil yet she still gets totake part in the special dayfor the nine council members.Councilwoman AndreaHarrison, D.-Dist. 5, madecomments on behalf of theentire council as she entersher second term. In herspeech, Harrison copiedBaker’s campaign motto,“making a good county great”and took it to another level.“Well, Mr. Baker, I seeyour message and I raise youeven higher,” Harrison said.“We’re going to make a greatcounty even greater.”Baker then took his oathfollowed by a speech to thecrowd. In his speech, hespoke about restoring trust inthe County’s government inthe wake of the controversysurrounding the Johnsons.“I’m going to start byworking to restore condencein our county government,”Baker said to a murmuringcrowd. “Overall, I believewe have good people workingfor our government who arecommitted to serving you andI believe that they are criticalto the success of this countyand your quality of life.“I will remind them thatthey must be good stewardsof your tax dollars beingever mindful that you paytheir salaries and fund thisgovernment,” he continued.Baker immediately madehis rst ofcial decisions aswell. Baker named severalnew interim heads of PrinceGeorge’s County agenciesincluding the replacement forPolice Chief Roberto Hylton,Mark Magaw, a 27-yearveteran of the department.Later that night, the moodrelaxed as people migratedto the Potomac Room atthe Gaylord National atthe National Harbor for theInaugural Ball.Many of the sameluminaries came decked outin their best as the Counciland Baker got in one lastnight of celebration beforetheir rst workday began.Curry and “Good Times”star, Bern Nadette Stanis,hosted the ball. Abby Koyaperformed an opera songwith the special performancesby Grammy-award winningR&B singer Regina Belle andXPD Band.The night ended withdancing as Prince George’snow begins anew.
Photo by Rob Roberts
Prince George’s County Executive-elect Rushern Baker,center, was sworn in on Dec. 6 on the outside deck of theCounty Administration Building in the blistering cold.

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