Monthly Archives: May 2014

Call your Elected Officials now and the Media.

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As the Prince George’s county in the State of Maryland falls short of $62.5millions, the county officials pictured below and others who are currently squandering more than $18 million from the children reserve fund are crying wolf.  This is unacceptable and it should not be overlooked. These officials and others involved in the scam must be held to account for this unethical practice.  Fighting corruption is a global concern because this is a crime that affects both rich and poor countries. However, it also harms people disproportionately, causing major damage precisely to those who are the most vulnerable. Everyone can be a victim of corruption. We all pay its price. Here in Prince George’s County, we must say no to this practice irrespective of the players involved in the practice.

As discussed before in our blog post,  Corruption is the abuse of power. The person with the power then uses his influence for benefit of himself or some special persons. This is one type of corruption which has become a cycle here in Prince George’s County and continues todate. Corruption flourishes when someone has monopoly power over a good or service; has the discretion to decide how much you get or whether you get any at all, and where transparency and accountability are weak. So, to fight corruption we must reduce monopoly, reduce discretion, and increase transparency in many ways. The most common cause of corruption is believed to be a combination of discretion and accountability. Governments with enormous discretionary power and low accountability are most corrupt than those with less discretion and more accountability.

On this note, the world’s highest-performing school systems are built on the ideas of American education professionals ranging from John Dewey to Linda Darling-Hammond and others, ideas that recognize school improvement is not an individual race, but a team sport based on proper feedback of the stake holders. Yet, our own elected officials starting with our own County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker have been ignoring our own considered ideas and opinions in favor of teacher-bashing, privatized choice, fly-by-night fast-track teacher licensing and over-reliance on testing, mismanagement of scarce funds — ideas that have not improved school systems in any nation that has tried them.

Those of us who know better must lift our voices to persuade the residents of Prince George’s County to reject these backward ideas and to oust the politicians who peddle them for their own selfish motives as we move to June 24, 2014 (Early Voting for the Primary Election). We gave Mr. Baker and the new Board of Education Top priorities of which they ignored. We must work together to build our own system-wide improvement effort. The future of public education here in Prince George’s County is at stake more than ever before, and the future of Prince George’s children is at risk. We must lift our voices and be heard. Otherwise we demand a regime change ASAP.

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James Fisher

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George H. Margolies

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Shani K. Whisonant

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Mr. Rushern Baker –The all powerful current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter. He makes promises he cannot keep and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell. (Read more Major scandal Developing in Upper Marlboro). On this note, Mr. Baker needs to take responsibility and resign!

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Ms. Monica Goldson  Public Enemy Number 1 – Chief Operating Officer for Prince George’s County controls millions of dollars on behalf of  other conspirators. She is the Architect of mismanagement involving public funds currently underway in Prince George’s county Public schools which is facilitated by ASASP Union (the union)  fueling the fire.  

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Dr. Segun Eubanks (Courtesy of the National Education Association)…is brother – in -Law to Mr. Rushern Baker. Talent usually runs in families but this one takes the cake. If this is a sample of Top Executive team that Mr. Baker has assembled for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), then GOD HELP US. Only a miracle can rescue us from this mess. Dr. Segun is identified with weak financial controls within Prince George’s county school District and has been smiling all the way to the Bank for the last nine (9) months. (Read more)

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Dr. Kevin Maxwell got a hefty $90,000 hand shake on the way out from Anne Arundel County Public Schools and $1 million sign up with guess whose pot cash bonuses?  – PGCPS. What does this guy promise to do for us? Is this performance based appointment? Even wall street sets performance goals. The last time we checked with our school performances, we cannot surely in this economy blow cash on these willy nilly appointments for sure.  Dr. Maxwell was indirectly a subject of the Maryland legislature in the last session for the $90,000 he took with him. (Read more)

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Read more >> Why Leaders lose their way

Read more>> Let us demand an end to this fraud!

Read more >>>Major Corruption underway in PGCPS.

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BUT WHAT IS CORRUPTION?

Corruption involves the injection of additional but improper transactions aimed at changing the normal course of events and altering judgments and positions of trust. It consists in the doers’ and receivers’ use of informal, extra-legal or illegal acts to facilitate matters. The concept can also be described as the wanton craze for illegal, unethical and often criminal acquisition of wealth or benefits by individuals whose main motive is ego bossing and self-aggrandizement with its attendant negative consequences on the rest of the society. Put differently, corruption is a general concept describing any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose (Aiyegbayo, 2007; Otite, 1986). As it were, there are myriad forms of corruption and these include: political corruption, bureaucratic corruption (misappropriation of public funds), money laundering (such as looted funds and wealth kept secretly abroad), gratification (which involves monetary, pecuniary, material or physical favors as a condition or reward for performing official duty), and nepotism which confers undeserved favors and advantages without receiving or giving gratification except that of primordial identity (Onimode, 2001). Of all these, political corruption is rated higher in many societies. This is because it induces other forms of corruption.

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Gorilla.

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Gorillas are the largest members of the primate family and are closely related to humans, with 98% of their DNA identical to that of humans. Unlike other primates they are terrestrial, meaning they do not climb trees and are land dwelling, inhabiting the tropical rainforests of central Africa. Historically the gorilla has been portrayed as a vicious killer; however they are shy gentle creatures that would not attack humans unless provoked.

Gorillas are classified as mammals, which is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as a ‘Warm-blooded vertebrate animal that has hair or fur, secretes milk, and (typically) bears live young’ (0ED 2010). Upon their discovery gorillas were classified as one species, however they are now separated into two species and four sub species according to geographical location and physical characteristics. They live in groups called a troop lead by a dominant silverback male, and are highly sociable animals, maintaining strong bonds between group members.

In the wild their only predators are leopards, which can attack vulnerable youngsters and the biggest threat to gorillas is man. In recent decades gorilla populations have been affected by habitat loss, disease and poaching. Subsequently all gorilla species are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Due to the vast dense areas in which they live it is difficult to monitor and protect gorilla populations and therefore difficult to implement successful conservation techniques. However conservation efforts persist and several governmental and non-governmental organizations named 2009 the ‘Year of the Gorilla’ with the aim of working together to further improve gorilla conservation.

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Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)

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There are four subspecies of gorillas: the eastern lowland or Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri); the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei); the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla); and the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehl).

Like all great apes, gorillas have arms that are longer than their legs and tend to walk on all four limbs at certain times – a movement that is called knuckle walking. Adult males are known as ‘silverbacks’ due to the distinctive silver-colored hair on their backs.

Gorillas’ appearances can vary based on sub-species, but for the most part, the western subspecies tend to be brownish gray in color, while the eastern and mountain gorillas tend to have a more blackish coat. Mountain gorillas also have longer and thicker fur which is adapted to their colder mountainous habitat. The three lowland subspecies of gorillas sport short, fine hair. Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest of the four subspecies.

Diet

Gorillas are herbivores and eat leaves, shoots, roots, vines and fruits.

Population

Eastern lowland gorilla numbers have rapidly declined to below 5,000 today. Critically endangered, there are fewer than 300 Cross River gorillas. Mountain gorillas, another endangered subspecies, number at around 700. A recent survey has shown that there are around 150,000-200,000 western lowland gorillas.

Range

Eastern lowland gorillas are found in part of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda, while mountain gorillas are only found within the Virunga mountain region straddling the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda borders, as well as the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Western lowland gorillas inhabit Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, eastern DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola. Cross River gorillas are confined to a small region in Nigeria and Cameroon.

Behavior

Gorillas are ground-dwelling and live in groups of 6-12 with the oldest and largest silverback leading a family of females, their young and younger males called blackbacks. The silverback makes the decisions on when his group wakes up, eats, moves and rests for the night. Because he must protect his family at all times, the silverback tends to be the most aggressive. In such situations, he will beat his chest and charge at the perceived threat.

Gorillas are shy animals that are most active during the day. At dusk, each gorilla constructs a ‘nest’ of leaves and plant material in which it will sleep. Mothers usually share their nests with nursing infants.

Young males may leave their family groups as they become older and either live as solitary silverbacks or create their own family groups. The silverback has the exclusive rights to mate with the females in his group.

Reproduction Mating Season: Throughout the year. Gestation: 8.5 months. Litter size: 1 baby. Gorilla infants are helpless at birth and weigh about 3-4 lbs. They learn to crawl at about 2 months and are walking by the time they are around 8 or 9 months. Mother gorillas nurse their babies for about 3 years, following which the young become more independent.

Threats

As indicated above, Gorillas are threatened by habitat loss due to increasing human populations, poaching for the bush meat trade and diseases like ebola. Species that live in higher elevations, like mountain gorillas, are also affected by climate change, which has the potential to impact gorillas directly by altering their habitat, and indirectly by affecting agriculture yields in nearby communities, which in turn puts more pressure on remaining habitat.

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Gorilla distribution map world wide.

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Prince George’s County facing $62.5M budget shortfall for fiscal 2014.

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Mr. Baker.

Prince George’s County is facing a $62.5 million budget shortfall with six weeks left in the fiscal year, officials said.

The deficit was driven primarily by higher-than-projected overtime pay for public safety officials, workers compensation payments and snow-removal operations during an unusually snowy winter.

If county government leaders cannot decide on a strategy to close the gap, the deficits could carry into the next fiscal year, officials said, resulting in possible hiring ­freezes, furloughs and agency budget cuts.

“The problem is, we’re literally at the end of doing the budget for next year, and this came down,” said County Council member William A. Campos (D-Hyattsville). “We are juggling two monumental things.”

Normally, holes in projected revenue are plugged during the budget process. But for the first time in several years, the revenue collected in fiscal 2014 did not cover actual operating expenses for the year, said Thomas Himler, deputy chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration.

The largest chunk of the deficit – 75 percent – went to public safety expenses. Overtime payments to police, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, paramedics and firefighters accounted for $17 million. The Prince George’s County Police Department exceeded its budget by about $21 million, a little more than a third of the total deficit.

Officials said some of the unbudgeted overtime stems from County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s initiative to station extra officers in troubled communities in an effort to lower crime rates.

The county also needed more money than expected to fund new classes of recruits and their fringe benefits, including retirement and health care, according to a budget update presented to the council this month.

“Overtime has been a problem for some time,” said council member Mary A. Lehman (D-Laurel). “A certain amount of overtime is unavoidable because there aren’t enough officers and firefighters to staff all the stations and apparatus safely.”

Changes in the overtime rules under Baker (D) have contributed to the enormous expenses, she said.

Of the total shortfall, about $10 million went to one-time costs such as snow removal. The shortfall also includes a $7 million liability payout by the Prince George’s County Housing Authority after an independent auditor found that housing choice voucher funds were used inappropriately.

Income tax revenue was lower than expected in Prince George’s, in part because of federal government furloughs and cost-cutting as part of last year’s sequester. But that shortfall was made up by an increase in property taxes as the housing market recovers, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Baker’s administration proposed this week bridging the shortfall by taking $42 million out of the fund balance, or reserve fund, and cutting $20 million in agency operating budgets.

The plan would have to be approved by the council.

Depleting the reserve fund would leave the county vulnerable as it begins the next fiscal year. The county is supposed to safeguard about 7 percent of operating revenue in the fund balance. Council members said they are concerned that depleting those reserves could affect the county’s triple A bond rating.

If the deficit carries over into next fiscal year, Prince George’s may have to impose hiring ­freezes and, possibly, furloughs — something some council members said they are unwilling to do.

The deficit debate could delay the council’s adoption of the 2015 budget next week. >>> Read more Washington post

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Teacher in Prince George’s County charged with sexual abuse of student.

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Andre Brown.

PALMER PARK, Md. –

The Prince George’s County Police Department arrested a Suitland man in connection with the sexual abuse of a then 17-year-old girl at a high school in Beltsville. The suspect is identified as 32-year-old Andre Brown of the 3500 block of Silver Park Drive.

Brown is a teacher and former coach at High Point High School in Beltsville. The then 17-year-old student says that during the 2013 – 2014 school year, Brown sexually abused her one time on school grounds. The victim came forward on her own and reported the incident to police.

Detectives arrested Brown on May 22, 2014. He admitted his involvement in the incident. He is charged with sex abuse of a minor. Brown remains in custody at the Department of Corrections.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Children and Vulnerable Adult Unit at 301-772-4930. Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to http://www.pgpolice.org and submit a tip online.

For more information, please contact the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Media Relations Division at 301-772-4710.

Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/25594990/teacher-in-prince-georges-county-charged-with-sexual-abuse-of-student#ixzz32W0D7Lh

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The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta).

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Found only in the southern part of Madagascar in the dry forest and bush, the ring-tailed lemur is a large, vocal primate with brownish-gray fur and a distinctive tail with alternating black and white rings.

Male and female ring-tailed lemurs are similar physically. They are roughly the same size, measuring about 42.5 cm (1.4 ft.) from head to rump and weighing roughly 2.25 kg (5 lb.).

Highly social creatures, ring-tailed lemurs live in groups averaging 17 members. Their society is female-dominant, and a group will often contain multiple breeding females. Females reproduce starting at 3 years of age, generally giving birth to one baby a year.

When born, a ring-tailed lemur baby weighs less than 100 g (3 oz.). The newborn is carried on its mother’s chest for 1-2 weeks and then is carried on her back. At 2 weeks, the baby starts eating solid food and begins venturing out on its own. But the juvenile is not fully weaned until 5 months of age.

Although they are capable climbers, ring-tailed lemurs spend a third of their time on the ground foraging for food. They range far to find leaves, flowers, bark, sap, and small invertebrates to eat. When the lemurs travel over ground, they keep their tails in the air to ensure everyone in the group is in sight and stays together.

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 Aside from using visual cues, ring-tailed lemurs also communicate via scent and vocalizations. They mark their territory by scent. A male lemur will also engage in stink fights during mating seasons, wiping his tail with the scent glands on his wrists and waving it at another male while staring menacingly. Eventually one male will back down and run away.

Vocally, ring-tailed lemurs have several different alarms calls that alert members to danger. They have several predators, including fossas (mammals related to the mongoose), Madagascar Harrier-hawks, Madagascar buzzards, Madagascar ground boas, civets, and domestic cats and dogs.

Conservation Status
Ring-tailed lemurs are a near-threatened species. The main threat to their population is habitat destruction. Much of their habitat is being converted to farmland or burned for the production of charcoal. However, the ring-tailed lemur is popular in zoos, and they do comparatively well in captivity and reproduce regularly. In captivity, ring-tailed lemurs can live for nearly 30 years, compared to up to 20 in the wild.

What You Can Do to Help
You can help ring-tailed lemurs by contributing to the Lemur Conservation Foundation through volunteer work or donations. The WWF also provides the opportunity to adopt a lemur. The money donated goes to help establish and manage parks and protected areas in Madagascar.

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The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) distribution map world wide.

60 years after Brown v. Board of Ed, pockets of segregation remain in Md. schools.

One-tenth of schools, mostly in city and Prince George’s, are highly segregated; suburbs mostly have diverse schools60

At 16, Dorant Wells has experienced the complexities of what Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school desegregation ruling, has wrought: He attended a middle school full of students of different colors and nationalities, but one where he sometimes felt there were lower expectations for black students.

Now at his nearly all African-American high school, Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore County, he sees value in the special character of the school, while acknowledging he may be less prepared to enter a diverse world. “It keeps us united. We may not agree on everything, but we have each other,” said Dorant.

Sixty years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in 21 states was unconstitutional, diversity is not guaranteed in Maryland’s schools. Ten percent of the schools in Maryland have a high percentage of black students, nearly all of them in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis. And no political or education leaders are recommending a consolidation of suburban and urban districts that experts say would be needed to truly address an imbalance driven largely byneighborhood demographics.

Instead, the struggle for racial integration and educational equality is taking place in the suburbs, where students are learning in increasingly diverse schools.

Students in these more integrated middle and high schools say they relish the multicultural environments. And while they say there are still daily struggles over issues of race and diversity, such conflicts have made them stronger, more resilient and more socially adept.

“I take diversity very seriously,” said Destiny Battle, an African-American eighth-grader at Lansdowne Middle, one of the most diverse schools in Baltimore County. “I like the different races in the classes.”

Students learn, the 14-year-old said, that no race is better than another. In her classes she hears viewpoints that are far different from her own and that sometimes make her reconsider the norms in her own culture.

Maryland has the fifth-largest percentage of black enrollment in the nation, according to the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. On top of that, a stream of Asians, Hispanics and immigrants from across the world has entered Maryland’s public schools in the past decade, and now the majority of students in the state’s schools are a member of a minority race. Whites account for 42 percent of enrollment; blacks are at 35 percent.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-ci-brown-v-board-20140511,0,1291092.story#ixzz32ABGrXmy

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Congratulations Class of 2014 Graduates.

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To Graduates of Class of 2014,

Congratulations to our proud graduates! Our warmest greetings to our school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents who have helped and guided our graduates attain this significant milestone in their lives.

Through the many challenging moments you have endured, many of you were tempted to give up; but an American heart refuses to be broken by calamities. We see the ray of hope in the faith and joy we share with you even in the most trying of circumstances. You may be battered but definitely never defeated. As you go to the next chapter of life. Remember that, we are very proud of you. You have overcome obstacles and begun to make your dreams a reality. Continue to be life long learners and remember, on your way to the “top” don’t forget to look back and help someone else to make the journey.

We wish you the very best of success in all your future endeavors. Thank you for your persistence, your perseverance and your determination. As you go out there, try to make the world a better place. Help fight corruption and discrimination wherever you are, wherever you go. Refuse to give up!

 

Reform Sasscer Movement secretariat for Prince George’s County.
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grad 2014 banner

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