Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February 2018 Newsletter

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

December 2017 Newsletter

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November 2017 Newsletter

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Traffic calming: City invites public comments on proposed changes to 29th and Howard

Proposed traffic calming at Howard Street and W. 29th Street.
By Craig Bettenhausen

At the intersection of W. 29th street and Howard street, in response to pressure by GRIA, the City's Department of Transportation Traffic Division has designed a plan that they think will improve conditions for pedestrians in two ways.

- It will force motorists who make turns quickly today to turn much more slowly.
- It will shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians as they cross both streets.

In addition, reducing the effective width of the roadway usually causes traffic to slow down, which could be a safety improvement, especially in a location as prone to speeding as this intersection.

A drawing of the proposed changes is shown above; larger versions are available on GRIA's website. GRIA's board of directors and its Land Use Committee have endorsed the plan, which will be presented to the community at the community association's Sept. 20th general meeting (7 pm at Kromer Hall, 335 W. 27th Street). 

The biggest change would be narrowing the portion of the roadway used by cars by extending the curbs. This would be accomplished, similar to what is currently in place on Remington Avenue at W. 28th and W. 29th, using flexposts. In the drawing above, the dark lines with dots on them show where the flexposts would go. 

Emergency services vehicles are able to drive right over flexposts without even slowing down, but the barriers deter casual drivers from doing the same. 

Remington ave and W. 28th. A flexpost can withstand being run over roughly 50 times.
Roughly one parking spot, on the Southern end of Wyman Parkway, would be lost. The northbound side of Howard street would be constricted to one through lane, though the second lane would still be available north of the flexposts.

The plan would also re-stripe some of the pedestrian crosswalks and extend the eastern point of the island on the Northeast corner of the intersection. 

To provide feedback on the plan, please contact Kwame Rose or Jeffrey Fleming at 443-984-4095.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Camp out in the Wyman Park Dell, Sept. 9

Pack Your Tents and Flashlights, We're Going Camping!

The Friends of Wyman Park Dell (FWPD) invite you to camp out in the park the night of Saturday, September 9, 2017!

Join us for a cookout dinner, then kicking back for some music, stargazing, games, and more!

We will be camping in the lower Dell, and well break camp Sunday morning around 9:00 am.

Campers of all ages are welcome. One adult must attend for every three children registered. Sorry, no pets!

Make sure to purchase your tickets soon, and check the Facebook event page for updates!

*Proceeds from ticket sales benefit FWPD.
Posted on behalf of Friends of Wyman Park Dell, a nonprofit organization that engages the community in the preservation, protection, and promotion of this distinctive, historic Olmsted Park, the Wyman Park Dell.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Business Showcase: B.Willow

By Erin Colligan

The corner of W. 27th and Crestmont Avenue got a little greener when B.Willow opened its storefront earlier this year with a selection of plants and other natural products. Owner and operator Liz Vayda started the business in 2013 with the mission “to do work that would bring more nature into peoples’ everyday life.”

Vayda, who was born in Carroll County and grew up in Baltimore, earned her Masters in Environmental Science & Policy from Johns Hopkins. She studied methods to “incorporate more green in a concrete landscape.” She then took a job helping an interior landscaper and learned the art of
interior plantscaping, which she realized is a service that interested many homeowners.

B. Willow started as an outlet for antiquing and thrifting repurposed material for plants. Trohv started carrying their products in 2014, followed by various pop-up shops. In 2015, Vayda expanded the enterprise to offer workshops in bars and cafes. They had a spot in R. House, where they still manage the plantscaping, when it opened in 2016. Their new home base in Remington is exciting to Vayda because the neighborhood doesn’t have much retail other than bars or restaurants and she had opportunity to offer “something meaningful for people”.

B.Willow is far more than a plant store, Vayda says. It is a “community-centered space” that features more than 30 local vendors selling a range of natural products from food to body care. They continue to offer workshops and collaborate with dozens of other vendors to cross-promote services and products. On the 22nd of each month, B.Willow hosts an “Earth Day” open to the public. Vayda prides herself in a staff that will walk you through the process of selecting a plant that’s suited to you, based on your personality, style, and the lighting, drafts, and humidty in your house. She explains, “What I love about plants is the joy I get out of more observation of them” as they grow and change through the seasons. She is also attracted to the “wellness component” of plants and how they can be mentally restorative. Vayda notes “there’s something huge we’ve taken out of our life” and she hopes B. Willow can help people reconnect with nature without having to leave their homes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Eleven good years

A well-earned nap

An editorial by Craig Bettenhausen

I guess you can blame it on America’s Next Top Model.

The roommates I had in Massachusetts and I used to gather every Wednesday to watch the show, but that night it was a rerun so I started surfing the internet instead. I discovered that the graduate programs in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University and at Georgetown University had no application fee. So, why not? I applied.

To my surprise, both schools accepted me. I learned then that most PhD programs in the US and Europe pay you to go to grad school. It’s not a lot, but at JHU it was enough that I could afford to buy a house in a quiet neighborhood adjacent to campus called Remington. The academic aspirations eventually went down in flames, but that’s another story entirely.

With help from my parents, I bought a shell of a house on Huntingdon Avenue. The house sort of had two bathrooms, but you had to use the john in one and walk down the hall to wash your hands in the other. Instead of glass, the windows upstairs were black plastic trash bags. Every time the wind changed, they rang like five bass drums. I slept on an old futon mattress on an area rug that also held a dorm fridge, a microwave, and an alarm clock.

That summer and during the first few months of grad school, I got to do something that is on many folks’ bucket list: I (re)built a house with my parents.

Eleven years later, a few things still haven’t gotten done, but it’s been a great place to live. Not just the house, but the neighborhood.

At first, I was involved with the RNA. At one meeting, a speaker came to propose a streetcar running up Charles Street and we listened politely to the presentation. When they left, a member of the group’s leadership started the discussion with the ways he’d already thought of to oppose the project. When I asked if we were going to discuss whether or not we should oppose it, the stares ranged from disgust to confusion to pity.

Shortly thereafter, I was wandering around the neighborhood and came upon a street party at Guardian Angel. Among the groups with tables was GRIA, and Betsy Childs signed me up for their email list. I found them to be serious about advocating for the needs of residents, but open to new ideas and viewpoints. I soon found myself on the board, where I’ve served for most of the past nine years. It’s been an honor working alongside them and even helping shape what that group is and does.

It’s beyond dispute that Remington has changed since 2006. Then, one out three houses on my block were vacant. Now there is only one.

Many longtime residents have left—the punk rocker community in Remington is a tiny fraction of what it was—and many new people have woven into the fabric of our community. Individuals and companies have invested millions of dollars renovating and rebuilding. Three community gardens have bloomed from empty lots.

The commercial uses were mostly automotive in 2006. Now restaurants, retail, services, arts, and nonprofit offices have those spots. It’s harder to get cheap tires, but the greater variety of stores has made it possible to do most errands and much entertainment on foot or bicycle and diversified the people who are able to walk to work in Remington.

In June, my family and I moved out of Remington. We tried to find a place here that would fit the needs of our growing family while also fitting into our budget. What we found instead is six blocks away, in Harwood. Don’t expect to be rid of us entirely; six blocks isn’t far. We’ll continue to be active through Guardian Angel and other connections.

The coming years are going to be an amazing period for Remington. It won’t all be roses. I leave you facing interesting times. But every one of you has the opportunity to be a part of deciding what this neighborhood in flux will become. And decisions will be made. Sit in idle, grumpy, or bashful silence and they’ll be made without you.

Thank you. Remington is the first place that I’ve ever really felt at home. You welcomed me and mine, calling us neighbors and calling us friends.

Thank you for saying "hi" as we passed on the street. Thank you for keeping me humble. Thank you for looking out for my children. Thank you for telling me your stories and thank you for letting me retell some of them here in this newsletter. Thank you for laughing, mourning, working, singing, planting, hauling, cleaning, dancing, eating, drinking, making, breaking, praying, biking, walking, and reposing with me in the warm and common air of our community.

Friday, July 28, 2017

JHU Start-up incubator comes to R. House

JHU labs and offices join the top-floor tenants at R. House

By JHTV staff 

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) has spent the better part of a year renovating the second floor of R. House to transform it into our newest FastForward innovation hub. With our grand opening right around the corner, we wanted to share who we are and how we hope to fit into and contribute to the community.

JHTV is the commercialization arm of Johns Hopkins University. We work with researchers to translate their technologies and discoveries into marketable solutions that address today’s greatest challenges. Much of our effort involves supporting entrepreneurs who want to build businesses based on these technologies through our FastForward program.

FastForward empowers start-ups—both those founded at Johns Hopkins and others unaffiliated with the institution—by providing them affordable space, services, mentorship and funding opportunities. The most visible manifestation of this is our three Baltimore City innovation hubs.

These hubs are the launching pads for start-ups developing manufacturing technologies, telemedicine platforms, therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices, and other technologies.

In 2013, Johns Hopkins opened its first FastForward innovation hub in the Stieff Silver building, but this summer, FastForward R. House will replace it. The 9,000-square-foot FastForward space on R. House’s second floor will feature co-working, office and conference space, laboratories, and a maker space with a 3-D printer for building prototypes. Up to 10 start-ups at any given time will lease space there.

The R. House facility will not be the only space supporting innovation in Remington. In the coming year, we plan to open an innovation hub dedicated to Johns Hopkins’ student entrepreneurs in the Gray Ghost building. In the past few years, our student entrepreneurs have built start-ups creating an array of solutions from cloud-based pathology platforms and custom manufacturing technologies to fashionable backpacks for photographers and online recruiting platforms.

We’re proud of the many accomplishments of our FastForward start-ups, and we’re hungry for more. JHTV is on a mission not just to create the next Gatorade, Genentech, or Facebook—all amazing companies that emerged from a university—but to ensure that successful FastForward companies stay in Baltimore, add jobs to our economy, and contribute to the revitalization of the city.

Baltimore has a number of tangible advantages for start-ups, including its proximity to major East Coast markets, federal agencies, and renowned academic institutions. However, Baltimore’s intangibles—its grit, its dogged support of homegrown businesses and its charm and neighborhood quirks—are what make our city a tremendous place to live, work and play and are an important part of convincing promising start-ups to stay.

We believe that Remington, with its up-and-coming food scene, unique history, and diverse culture, will play a role in helping us convince people that Baltimore is a great place to set roots. This will strengthen the city and the neighborhoods that we all love so much. We look forward to being a part of this great community.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Job Posting: GRIA is hiring a Community Organizer

Community Organizer
Greater Remington Improvement Association - Baltimore, MD 21211
$35,000 - $40,000 a year

Start date: by October 2nd, 2017, This position is grant-funded for one year, with the expectation of raising additional funds to continue.

GRIA is an independent, resident-based neighborhood association that provides an open forum for discussion of Remington community issues, facilitates resident-led initiatives, connects residents to local resources, conducts advocacy on neighborhood issues, organizes and provides neighborhood cleaning and greening initiatives, and directly supports our neighbors in need through housing services. Through these efforts, GRIA hopes to retain Remington’s diversity, vibrancy, and community connectedness.
The successful candidate for this position will be required to collaborate well with internal resources and employees, and external resources including board members, funders, partners, and community members. Daily interaction with stakeholders in the community is expected. The Community Organizer will spearhead many existing projects and programs and explore areas of growth outlined in the Remington Neighborhood Master Plan and GRIA Strategic Plan.
  • Further the community objectives set forth in the Remington Neighborhood Master Plan and GRIA Three Year Strategic Plan.
  • Conduct door-to-door outreach throughout Remington to connect with residents regarding GRIA community initiatives, events, job opportunities with neighborhood businesses, and opportunities for involvement.
  • Represent GRIA at City meetings to advocate for neighborhood priorities (City Council hearings, Planning Commission, Liquor Board, BMZA, etc.).
  • Serves as organization’s main point of contact for all community-based organization partners, including attending meetings when appropriate. 2-5 evening meetings per month may be required.
  • Write copy for press releases, newsletters, website content, e-mail blasts, and social networking websites.
  • Assist Board in day-to-day operations of the organization including but not limited to; fundraising for staff positions and activities, coordinate/fulfill tasks associated with awarded grants, general accounting, document and record maintenance, responding to communications from neighbors, and reporting to Board, funders, and government entities.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Board President.
  • Experience in community-based not-for-profit work; passion for community work.
  • Professional presentation and speaking skills.
  • Grant administration experience.
  • Collaborative experience with multiple partners.
  • Basic computer proficiency.
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively in a flexible, low-supervision environment.
  • Strong cross-cultural and interpersonal awareness.
  • Understanding of Baltimore’s history and City agencies is crucial; experience with Remington community preferred. Strong preference given to current residents of Remington.
Stipend provided for health insurance. Holidays and two weeks paid time off per year.
Job Type: Full-time
Salary: $35,000.00 to $40,000.00 /year

Contact jobs@griaonline.org for more information.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Big names performing at BIG's improv comedy festival July 31st to Aug 6th

Come see improv luminaries including Magnet Theater and the Upright Citizen's Brigade, right here in Baltiomre!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Short Reunion

Actor Paul Diem leads a crowd down Howard Street in The Therapist, one of 10 short plays recently staged in Remington.
By Ben Kleymeyer, season 10 fellow

Hi! I’m Ben, one of the Tour Guides from Single Carrot Theatre’s A Short Reunion.

You may have seen me in a bright orange shirt with a cartoon sign leading groups of people around in the last two weekends of April. Here’s what that was all about. From April 20th–30th, Single Carrot Theatre (SCT), based at 2600 N Howard Street, brought 10 new short plays to locations around the neighborhood. To create a wholly original theatrical experience, to showcase how much we love Remington, and show people how walkable it is, we took patrons into local business, homes, and community centers.

Locations included Charmington’s, Sweet 27, Brick & Board, Church of the Guardian Angel, Ryan Flanigan’s house, Old Market Barbers, Miller’s Court, Parts & Labor, Young Audiences of Maryland, B. Willow, and Allovue.

One of the plays, Ben Hoover’s Walking and Talking, took place all around the neighborhood. This piece was what you witnessed, as it consisted of “Tour Guides” leading the groups from location to location. They told stories—both real and fabricated—about SCT and Remington to keep the audience engaged throughout their journey and more than a mile of walking over the course of the performance.

We Guides embodied the charisma of Willy Wonka with stories, which evoked a childhood playfulness, culminating in a parade up Howard from Brick & Board to the theatre. This parade encouraged the audience to let their inner child loose, jump around, and sing along with their Tour Guide.

We had a great time exploring our neighborhood, sharing our favorite stories and places with our audience, and meeting people around Remington. It was a meaningful experience for us to bring our work right to the figurative—and sometimes literal—doorsteps of our neighbors.

Thank you, Remington, and all of our local partners for allowing us to bring this crazy show to town. We hope Single Carrot Theatre and Remington can continue working and playing together in the future.

Next up in our season is Promenade: Baltimore, a collaboration with Hungarian theatre company STEREO Akt. The show will bring audiences aboard a bus that traverses the city, passing through neighborhoods familiar and unknown. Audiences watch through the windows as actors on the street present poetic expressions of everyday life in Baltimore, complimented by a live-mixed soundscape of music, narration, and the stories of neighborhood residents. As the scenes outside weave together, mystery seeps into what seemed simple, the foreign becomes familiar, and every corner of the city teems with potential for the unexpected.

Promenade: Baltimore will run June 2–June 25, Thursdays & Fridays at 6:30pm; Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00pm & 6:30pm. For more information, go to singlecarrot.com,
e-mail boxoffice@singlecarrot.com, or call 443-844-9253. Community and Rush Tickets are available.

Kleymeyer in Brick & Board as part of The Therapist.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

GRIA Elects New President, Molly McCullagh

In April, GRIA’s membership voted in a new slate of board members and officers. Miles Avenue resident Molly McCullagh was elected GRIA president. She has been the community association’s vice president for the past year.

Tell us a little about yourself.
This time of year, most mornings you might see me wandering to check on the flowers and veggies I’ve planted in garden plots and tree pits around the neighborhood. I’ve been a
Remington resident since 2012, when I moved to Baltimore after finishing my master’s degrees in urban planning and food policy. I was introduced to neighborhood politics when I got involved with the corner store commercial rezoning and was recruited to join GRIA one day when I was out picking up trash with kids from my block.

Over the past two years almost all of my free time has been spent renovating my house, room by room. I’m super thankful for my neighbors, who have lent me tools, taught me how to skim-coat plaster, and let me use their showers.

What's your favorite thing about Remington?
I’ve lived in many places, but never felt rooted the way I do in Remington. This neighborhood truly feels like a community—in all of the best, and sometimes most complicated, ways.

What are your top priorities for GRIA?
GRIA has an active board, so my role is to direct their energy towards the goals of the Neighborhood Master Plan and GRIA’s three-year strategic plan. I’m personally dedicated to GRIA’s goal of maintaining Remington as an economically and culturally diverse neighborhood. I’ll be working closely with the Housing Workgroup to address housing

Why did you decide to run for GRIA president?
Is “I was volun-told” an acceptable answer?