Bloomberg BusinessWeek Names U of MD Biz School in Top 20 in the World


The executive MBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is ranked #17 in the world byBloomberg BusinessWeek. The BusinessWeek rankings are based on surveys completed by recent alumni and EMBA program directors across the world. The Smith School received the following grades: Entrepreneurship A; Finance A; International Business C; Marketing A+; Strategy A+; and Sustainability A.To see the full rankings, click here.

“We are honored to be recognized in this influential ranking,” saidGreg Hanifee, assistant dean of executive programs at the Smith School. “The Smith School boasts the highest ranked program in the Baltimore-Washington region and the ranking is a true testament to the design of our program and the strength of the school’s faculty in delivering real-world leadership development, and their ability to translate research into practical application in the classroom.”

Read more at Citybizlist

Will Raising the Bottle Tax (Again) Save Baltimore Schools?


Seventy percent of Baltimore schools are in poor condition, and fixing them up is a $2.8 billion project. The city doesn’t have $2.8 billion. So what’s to be done?

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a plan this week to increase the city’s bottle tax from two to five cents; that would provide a projected $155 million in bonds. Add in funds from the yet-to-materialize slots casino, and the city is still far from the amount necessary… but, hey, it’s better than nothing.

It’s not likely to happen without a fight. When the mayor proposed an initial two-cent tax last year, grocery store owners and beverage lobbyists put up a fierce fight because they didn’t want business to b pushed into the county. More than doubling that initial tax is sure to raise hackles even more.

But city schools are undeniably in bad shape, and the undecided City Council members are sure to feel pressure from the mayor to support her cause. As it stands now, six of the fifteen councilmembers support the plan; the others are either undecided or in opposition. Our bet is that we can all look forward to a protracted battle over the issue.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Baltimore Dialect


Everyone makes fond fun of the Baltimore accent (excuse me, Bawlmer accent), but if you’ve ever been curious about how it came about — or the difference between any American English dialect, for that matter, you will probably enjoy this intense and detailed website — consider it an accent-opedia, perhaps, complete with clips of exemplary accents (thanks, Barbara Mikulski, for ours.)

What I learned:  Baltimore’s accent is part of the Atlantic Midland subset of the larger Midland category. North of Philly, “on” rhymes with “Don”; down here, it rhymes with “Dawn.” (Personally, I can’t tell the difference — but maybe that’s because I grew up in Richmond, a “Lowland South” region.) Furthermore:  “hoarse” = “horse”; “mourning” = “morning”; “four” = “for.” And, in a strange bit of accent fact, unlike people from DC or Richmond or Pittsburgh, Baltimoreans pronounce “bad” as though it doesn’t rhyme with “had,” the same way that New Yorkers do.

If you’re an accent nerd, you can spend all morning with this map, created by an enthusiastic accent hobbyist with too much time on his hands. Ever wondered why people native to Assateague speak so distinctly? Well, the Chesapeake Islands are an “anomalous peripheral area that resisted the Southern shift.” Ah yes, of course. And (who knew!?) the San Francisco Bay turns out to be our accent neighbors (“except that ‘bad’ rhymes with ‘had'” over there — wait, it doesn’t here?). Learn more about “The Unique Position of Nebraska,” “Where do they speak without an accent?”, and “The Pin-Pen Merger, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Texas Cattle Drives.”

Miracle of the Loaves and the Side Dishes at MD Food Bank (How to Help without Leaving the House)


With Thanksgiving a week away, amid contemplating how to cram sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and cheesy scalloped potatoes in the same tiny oven at the same time, we found ourselves remembering that many Marylanders have far more serious problems concerning food, like not enough of it. That got us thinking about the amazing Maryland Food Bank, which procures food and distributes meals to 600 small and large partners, like emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries — including the CARES Food Pantry in Govans and the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore.

The Food Bank feeds thousands upon thousands of people, not just on Turkey Day, but every single day of the year!

“More than 460,000 Maryland residents are ‘hungry,’ in our service area, which is the entire state except Prince Georges and Montgomery County,” explains Amanda Knittle, interim communications manager at the MD Food Bank. “Unique to Maryland: 45 percent deemed hungry are not eligible for federal food assistance programs; their incomes are considered too high.”

While your first generous thought might be to bag up canned goods for the organization, that’s actually not the most efficient approach. The Food Bank receives regular donations in bulk, from the M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park, Oakcrest and Charlestown retirement communities — the latter donate 400 pounds of food weekly. Capital Grille shares 100 pounds of food twice a week. The organization also receives good grub from McCormick and Schmick’s.

“Our drivers go out and pick up these donated items,” Knittle explains. “To make it worth the investment of drivers and gas, it’s more efficient to have a larger donation.”

Ongoing support is essential! You can enhance the Food Banks phenomenal efforts this Thanksgiving season and beyond by merely going online to give.

“Our business is to procure food — we have people who are food sourcers. They find the best food at the best prices. Somebody’s dollar can go much further through us,” Knittle says.

So, check out the virtual food drive.

Give money. Every dollar means serious nourishment.

Are you a Ravens’ fan? For every $10 worth of food that you donate through the Ravens Online Food Drive, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to a Ravens vs. Colts home game in December.  $10 = one entry, $20 = two entries, $100 = 10 entries! Deadline for entry is November 20.

You can even help on Thanksgiving weekend, when Mr. Rain’s Funhouse the restaurant at the AVAM will collect funds to benefit the MD Food Bank.

Heartwarming end note: More than 9600 Thanksgiving “End Hunger” holiday boxes have already been assembled, through the MD Food Bank, containing kale, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, and pumpkin pie fixings. Each feeds 10. They will be distributed with a turkey, too. (Orioles’ wives sponsored a fundraiser this summer. Other donors include: C&S, Shoprite, Giant, WYPR/Eddie’s.)

Go online and help the Maryland Food Bank multiply modest money into miraculously nourishing meals. You’ll have a happier holiday for it!

Life with Mom: My Hero, My Heroin Addict


It’s odd having been raised by a mother who remembered being at Woodstock, but who didn’t remember where her six-week-old son was that weekend. However, odd barely begins to explain my childhood and my mother.

Miriam Esther Figueroa, my mother, left home when she was 15. The story Mom told me was that her mother had caught her kissing a man on the fire escape during her birthday party. She dragged my mother by her hair, through the window, back into the party, and proceeded to beat her in front of her guests. When the man who she’d kissed, her first, offered to take her away from her abusive mother, my mom jumped at the chance.

She didn’t know this man. She didn’t know he was much older than she was or what he even did for a living. She definitely didn’t know he was a heroin addict. One evening, enticing her with the idea that it would make sex more interesting, he injected mom with a dose. Not very long after that, my mom found out she was expecting a child. The man soon abandoned my mother, pregnant, addicted to heroin.

She struggled during her pregnancy, eating at diners in New York and sneaking out when it came time to pay the bill, doing whatever it took to survive and maintain her habit. Carlos, my older brother, was born addicted to heroin and had to go through detox. My mother, frustrated that her child didn’t even have a crib—he slept in the bottom drawer of a dresser stuffed with a blanket—finally went to her mother, pleading with her to take her back. My grandmother turned her away, but offered to take Carlos. Having little choice, mom obliged.

I was not born addicted to heroin. When I came along, in the summer of 1969, my mother was happily married and clean. However, her criminal past caught up with her. I was an infant when my parents’ apartment was raided. The cops claimed to have found illegal drugs in the medicine cabinet. My father came home just as they were about to arrest Mom and I was about to be carted off by Child Protective Services. She was pregnant with my younger sister. My dad claimed the drugs were his and let them arrest him, instead.

This sent my mother into a dark spiral. She began using again. Kyra was also born addicted to heroin.

As you might imagine, mine was not the easiest of childhoods. I was a fairly aware child, and it didn’t take me long to realize there was something wrong with Mom. Everything came into focus, though, during fifth grade. We had a unit about illegal drugs. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had the all the information I needed to understand Mom, to help her.

I could hardly contain my excitement on my way home. I’d barely stepped through the door of our apartment in Hoboken when I started telling Mom everything I’d learned, and that I finally understood what was wrong, and that I could help her stay off drugs. She looked at me, unmoved, and said, “What do you know? You don’t know [crap]! You kids are the reason I use drugs.”

I never mentioned her habit again, unprompted.

It wasn’t always bad. My mother was actually a very loving woman. She had an open door policy, willing to help anyone she could with their problems. After we moved to Baltimore in 1984, she did a lot of work helping to establish Baltimore’s Hispanic community. She helped families who arrived here find housing, employment and social services — whatever they needed to help make Baltimore home. She even translated for them and helped them get into English classes.

She was a strict mother, sometimes too strict. She put an emphasis on education and expected her children to achieve their potential, and she didn’t accept excuses. Most importantly, she believed in us. Mom always told us to believe in ourselves.  She supported my desire to be a writer from a very early age, making me promise only that I would one day tell her story. But she also taught us that it didn’t matter what we became. “Fernando,” she told me once, “I don’t care if you’re a garbageman, as long as you’re a happy garbageman. As long as that’s what you want to do with your life, I’ll be proud of you.”

That’s perhaps what was oddest about my mother, that she could have such a profound understanding of life, but had to struggle so mightily to shake an addiction that wasn’t even really her choice. She did, eventually. Then, in 1989, she went through some training programs and got her first job working for the Census Bureau. We worked there together, in an office in Towson. For the first time in my memory, I got to see my mother walk through life as if on a feather. She had purpose. She had drive.

Sadly, that all stopped when she was diagnosed with AIDS. She’d unknowingly had it for some time, and it was already at an advanced stage. She died of AIDS-related complications in 1991. She was 41 years old. AIDS would also take the life of her brother, Andres, whom she deeply regretted introducing to heroin. Uncle Andy, as I knew him, was the closest thing I had to a consistent father figure growing up. My little brother, Joe, who was not quite 16 when mom passed away, would end up in his own vicious struggle with addiction. He eventually contracted AIDS, as well. We lost him on the day after Christmas, 2006.

It was an odd feeling when I made it to my 42nd birthday this past Fourth of July. I was happy to have made it, but outliving my own mother bothered me. She had warned us that she didn’t expect to reach old age. Mom constantly told me the story of how, after Woodstock, she’d brought Janis Joplin over to our place, how Janice had cuddled and fed me. My mother was shocked to hear of her death, just a little over a year later. She also realized that, considering they shared the same habit, she might not be too far behind.

When my sons each turned 13, I took them out for a fancy dinner. We discussed girls over appetizers. They each proclaimed to know much; I reinforced the need to treat women with respect, and to protect against starting a family before being ready, something my mother and I had both failed at. Over dinner, we discussed the perils of alcoholism and addiction. I told them my mother’s story, the grandmother they met only as infants, and I was honest about my own struggles with alcohol during my early teens. Over dessert, I let them know that they could become anything they dreamed of. But I also let them know that I’d always be proud of them, even if they became garbagemen, as long as they were happy doing it.

Managing the Homework Load


I heard this loud thump in the middle of the night last night.  Really late – like 2:30 a.m.  Turned on the light, heard it again, and went upstairs to see if my daughter’s bed had fallen apart or something!  It was nothing like that – she was just throwing text books onto the floor next to her bed.  Normal, right?  Except that it was at TWO-THIRTY IN THE MORNING!  Homework in high school has gotten out of hand.  Grace is up in the wee hours pretty regularly finishing up her nightly tasks – assignments given by her high school teachers, with the expectation that they will be completed, and in some cases graded, for the next class.  She might have (if you believe her) 6, 7, even 8 hours of homework on any given evening.  That’s too much, if you ask me.

I don’t remember having this much homework in high school, so I called a friend of mine who is an administrator at a nearby high school to see what light she could shed.  Is this a recent trend?  Are our kids getting a better education than we did?  Are our schools tearing a page out of the Tiger Mother’s hand book?  Her answers, as always, were thoughtful and balanced, and in the end, comforting.  Basically, she said what wise people say all the time:  “The truth is somewhere in the middle.”

In my friend’s experience, high-school aged kids are unreliable self-reporters.  As a gross generalization, girls will exaggerate how much time and effort they have put into something, and boys will barely acknowledge that they are aware the assignment was made.  So, when asked about how long they studied for a test, a typical girl might tell you “I was up until 3 in the morning cramming for that test!” and her male counterpart might reply “Do we have a test today?”  They probably think they are being truthful, but their reporting likely does not reflect reality.  

She points to motivation as another root cause for differing perceptions:  kids view homework as something done for someone else (the teacher), whereas other activities that consume kids’ time (e.g., drivers ed, Facebook, sports) are done for themselves.  One is a chore and the other a pleasure.  So the old adage holds true again:  time flies when you are having fun.  They may think they are spending four hours on homework, but it’s really probably more like 2.5, that just drags on.

The truth is, homework is important.  For classes like math, it is an opportunity to practice skills just learned.  For classes like history, it is the time to read material that will be discussed the following day.  As my friend says, the challenge of a heavy workload can really be a teaching and learning opportunity.  We need to help our kids learn how to make good choices, conduct cost-benefit analysis with day to day decisions.  If the choice is to stay up until 3 a.m. finishing a paper, or losing three points turning it in late, the kids need to develop the judgment to determine what will be a better outcome. (GET SOME SLEEP!)

Our kids are burdened by talent, my friend reminds me.  They are ambitious, and want to please us.  So it is easy for them to get caught up in the frenzy of do-it-all-be-it-all-have-it-all.  As their parents, and teachers, we can guide them to a healthier, more mature conclusion.  We can help them learn to be honest with themselves about what really needs to be done, and what they are capable of.  And we can help them learn when they have done enough.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving


Amy Langrehr lives in Hampden and is a home cook, food photographer and city chicken keeper who supports local farms and food producers. She writes charmcitycook and is a new contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl. 

Cooking. Relaxing. Friends and family. Great food. I love Thanksgiving.

When I was a kid, my parents would host all of our aunts, uncles and cousins for Thanksgiving dinner at our house in Kingsville. It was so fun…laughing, catching up, hearing old stories from our parents, watching football and the best part…eating! We had a traditional meal of roast turkey and sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sauerkraut (you have to have it, no questions), gravy, soft dinner rolls and butter. Old school. So many great memories. I loved every minute of it. 

Over the years we got together as a big family less often, cousins moved south, my brothers had their own families and in-laws, etc. So, during much of my adult life, I’ve celebrated the holiday with different groups of friends and family and it’s actually been lots of fun. Once I went to the home of a vegetarian friend and had tofurkey — not bad at all, but I kinda missed the real bird. One year, my friends and I made pizzas using ingredients from Baltimore’s amazing Italian grocery, Trinacria. Wow, that was a Thanksgiving I will never forget!

While I do miss the old daysit’s also fun to mix it up and also to start new traditions, too. The last few years, I’ve hosted my mom at my house in Hampden. As the youngest of six kids, it’s pretty neat to get to be in charge! I do the turkey, a few sides and a sweet potato or pumpkin pie and mom brings a few sides, too. Last year, we just roasted a turkey breast and a couple of legs…and that was great for the two of us. But this year, I want lots of leftovers, so I ordered a whole local, organic bird from Andy and Woolsey Farm at the Waverly Market. Thanksgiving is the one time of the year when I actually love leftovers. Nothing like hanging out in your jammies the day after Thanksgiving (you will never ever catch me shopping on Black Friday) enjoying a plate of leftovers for lunch. Heaven.

These days, thanks to Tyler Florence, I butterfly the turkey. I happened to catch him on the Today show last year and he showed how to easily split it in two right down the back. He said that this way, the turkey only takes an hour and a half to cook, stays very juicy and the skin is nice and crispy. I thought…I can do that (you need a good, solid sharp chef’s knife or kitchen shears.) and, I did it. It was delicious.

Read more at charmcitycook

Better Than a Dorm Room: Students Rent McMansions in California


The St. Mary students who were temporarily moved to a cruise ship while their dorm rooms were cleared of mold probably think they have it pretty good. Just don’t tell them about what’s going on at the University of California, Merced — where students are living in mansions, complete with chandeliers and jacuzzis. And it’s actually cheaper than living on campus.

It’s a recession-era story if we’ve ever heard one — the area was overbuilt during the real estate boom, and now dozens (if not hundreds) of McMansions sit empty in overdeveloped subdivisions. At the same time, the school grew more quickly than dorm space did; UC Merced has 5200 students, but dorm space for only 1600. Enterprising students looked at these two facts and figured… why not? And so these days five students renting a swanky five-bedroom house pay around $200 to $350 each for the privilege of enjoying pool tables and granite countertops.

Which, of course, irks the neighbors who bought full-price houses, expecting “an edge-of-town, Desperate Housewifey community,” and instead found themselves underwater on their mortgages — and living next to the new Kappa Kappa Gamma party house.

Eight Over 80


Part three of our series on 80-year-olds who still live life to the fullest.  Look for the final installment on Thursday, November 17. The Eds.

In the case of eight Baltimoreans, age 80 seems to be the new 64. These eight men and women remain active in work and in Baltimore.  Although official retirees, they could hardly be considered “retired.”  

While Americans are often labeled workaholics, these eight fall into another category. They are still following their passions, passions born sometimes in childhood, others at mid-career. All have received numerous awards for their achievements, some honorary doctorates. While they say they have slowed down physically, all push themselves with regular exercise. All are fully engaged mentally.

Most, in the course of their lives, have had to overcome discrimination because of race, creed or gender. One of these giants said of his peers, “We were fortunate. The world changed so much in our lifetime.”

Three are over 90 and were alive during World War I. All lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the civil rights movement. These eight have experienced the proliferation of the automobile, air travel and computers. They are connected to a world and to times that most of us alive today have not known. Our Baltimore is different because of their work in the past and their work today.


Martin Laurence Millspaugh 

D.O.B: December 16, 1925, Columbus, Ohio

Education: Gilman School ’43, Princeton ’47, (Phi Beta Kappa) 

Military Service: U.S. Air Force, 1944-1945

Career, Present and Past:
At 85, Martin Millspaugh, has returned to his roots as a writer. After becoming “sidetracked for four years” making the television documentary Global Harbors, he’s on chapter 13 of a 16-chapter book, whose working title is A New City in Town, a History of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Millspaugh’s first career as a journalist began at The Richmond News Leader. Later, his writing at The Evening Sun turned him into an expert on the then-new concept of urban renewal. As the Baltimore City Hall reporter he covered urban planning issues and was the author and editor of “The Human Side of Urban Renewal.” The combined expertise lead him to become the Assistant Commissioner of the newly created U.S. Urban Renewal Administration under Eisenhower, even as an unwavering Democrat. 

In 1965 he began a 20-year career for which he is known internationally. As founder, president and CEO of Charles Center – Inner Harbor Management, Millspaugh “watched every brick go into place in Charles Center and the Inner Harbor… [and] had more to do with it than anyone else…” noted The Baltimore Sun on his retirement. During his tenure, Charles Center and the Inner Harbor received 44 national and international awards and was deemed by the American Institute of Architects as “One of the supreme achievements of large-scale urban design and development in U.S. history.”

Millspaugh’s second 20-year career, as executive vice president, president and vice chair of the Enterprise Development Company, focused on taking Baltimore’s revolutionary Inner Harbor development worldwide, either as a developer or as consultant. 

Now in an immaculately organized office at Roland Park Place, Millspaugh writes the history of the greater Inner Harbor on his computer. “It’s fun reliving those days,” he says.

Key to longevity of engagement: “If I have any talent, it’s being able to take in information and synthesize it, use it to create a plan and to implement what is necessary. It’s the problem-solving process that I like best.”

Current Challenge: “Getting it down while I still have time.  It’s a huge volume of information.” Plus 3,000 photos to cull through and select for the book, whose publisher is still undetermined. “I love to play golf, but I like this better.”


Iris Kahn Rosenblatt

D.O.B.: November 15, 1930, Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Forest Park High School ‘47; Goucher College ’50, University of Maryland School of Law ‘59

Career, Present and Past:
After finishing chemotherapy and radiation in June for a second bout of lung cancer, Iris Rosenblatt completed in September the Swim Across America one-mile benefit swim for a second time. A lifelong recreational swimmer, she swam to benefit the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Research Center. At 81 Rosenblatt has had emphysema, melanoma, and previous cancer in the other lung. “I swam because it’s a good cause. They need more research.  When I see 40-year old people dying of cancer, it’s heartbreaking that they can’t be saved.”

Last winter, as Rosenblatt was headed with fellow senior swimmers to Arizona for the over-80 division, a routine x-ray revealed lung cancer in the opposite lung. “I didn’t need all of this,” she says, but undaunted, she underwent treatment, swam, worked out and did Pilates when she could. 

As soon as her treatment concluded, she returned to her normal, daily routine of driving to Meadowbrook Aquatic Center and swimming every morning at 7 a.m. “I used to play to tennis. When I couldn’t play anymore [because of emphysema] I concentrated on swimming.” 

Cancer is just one challenge Rosenblatt has faced in her lifetime. One of a handful of women in her law school class, she married, had three children and a private practice specializing in real estate and criminal trials. “‘Little lady’ they’d call me. ‘Come see HER,’ they’d say,” when she tried criminal cases. 

After getting divorced at 33, she worked as an Assistant City Solicitor involved in litigation and opinion-writing, later at the Highway Acquisition Division of the City Department of Public Works and as a closing attorney in the Baltimore Area Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

While training for this year’s benefit swim, someone suggested she didn’t have to finish.  “I will not quit,” she says. “If you say you’re going to swim a mile, you swim a mile.”

Key to Longevity of Engagement: “I was born this way. I’ve always felt: enjoy life, do good. People don’t realize we’re not going to be here forever…I like to laugh and make everyone feel good,” she says passing cookies she just baked. These are not just any cookies; they are made from scratch and are anatomically correct men and women, “My nude cookies, or Adams and Eves, my neighbors call them.”

Current Challenge: “To stay healthy. To get some energy. After Swim Across America I’m getting in shape for the next. Hopefully it [cancer] won’t come back…Every day is a gift.”


Click here to see stories on Clinton Bamberger and Beatrice Levi.

Click here to see stories on Marion Bascom and Sue Baker.