Nearly 500 Use Local SoberRide® Program Over Winter Holidays
DC area’s DUI prevention effort removes potential drunk driver from area roadways every 75-seconds on NYE alone
By PRESS OFFICER
Washington (Jan. 6, 2022)—While unquestionably impacted by the resurging COVID-19 pandemic including the Omicron variant, 461 persons in the Washington-metropolitan area still used the free safe ride service, SoberRide®, over the recent winter holidays. A total of 285 persons (included in the aforementioned ridership figure) used the local SoberRide® program during New Year’s, alone.
“For its hours of operation just on New Year’s, this level of ridership translates into SoberRide removing a potential drunk driver from Greater Washington’s roadways every 75-seconds,” said Kurt Erickson, President of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program, the organization conducting the region’s SoberRide® effort.
WRAP’s 2021 Holiday SoberRide® campaign began at 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 and operated until 4 a.m. each night through Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 as a way to keep local roads safe from potentially impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday. Each evening during this 15-night period, area residents celebrating with alcohol could download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter a SoberRide® code (posted on www.Sober
Ride.com) in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. SoberRide® was available to both new and existing Lyft users.
Lyft provided SoberRide® trips throughout the Washington-metropolitan area to local residents age 21 and older who otherwise may have attempted to drive home after drinking.
SoberRide® was offered throughout Lyft’s Washington D.C. coverage area which includes all or parts of: the District of Columbia; the Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George’s and towns therein plus the cities of Bowie, College Park, District Heights, Gaithersburg. Glenarden, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Laurel, Mount Ranier, New Carrollton, Rockville, Seat Pleasant and Takoma Park; and the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William and towns therein plus the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.
Sponsors of WRAP’s 2021 Holiday SoberRide® campaign included the 395 Express Lanes, Anheuser-Busch, Beer Institute, Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands, District of Columbia Association of Beverage Alcohol Wholesalers, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Giant Food, Glory Days Grill, Heineken, Kendall-Jackson, Lyft, Molson Coors Beverage Company, New Belgium Brewing, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association.
Since 1991, WRAP’s SoberRide® program has provided 81,645 free safe rides home to would-be drunk drivers in the Greater Washington area.
Founded in 1982, the nonprofit [501(c)(3)] Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is a coalition of diverse interests using effective education, innovative programs and targeted advocacy to end alcohol-impaired driving and underage drinking in the Washington, DC metro area. Through public education, innovative health education programs and advocacy, WRAP is credited with keeping the metro-Washington area’s alcohol-related traffic deaths historically lower than the national average.
For more information, visit WRAP’s web site at www.wrap.org
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Trio of Bulldogs Recognized on D2Football.com Elite 100
By JOLISA WILLIAMS
Bowie State University Athletics
BOWIE, Md. (Jan. 6, 2022)— Bowie State football had three Bulldogs selected to the D2Football.com Elite 100 list announced by the staff of D2Football.com in conjunction with coaches, scouts, media and sports information directors across the nation.
Bowie State’s sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Ross (Waldorf, MD) earned All-America First Team honors for the Bulldogs, maintaining his status as a consensus First Team All-American selection after being named the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) Super Region II Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
Additionally, Bowie State had two D2Football All-America Second Team honorees in junior Joshua Pryor (Baltimore, MD) and senior offensive lineman Mark Murphy (Seat Pleasant, MD), both earned All-Conference honors. Furthermore, Pryor was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Second Team All-American while Murphy was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year award also this past fall.
Together, the three All-America standouts helped the Bulldogs to the school’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals this fall. Bowie State finished the year with a 12-2 record, hosting and winning two playoff games to get to the quarterfinals. BSU also claimed its third consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship this year and stretched its regular-season winning streak to nine consecutive games and counting, in addition to 18-straight conference wins and counting.
For the most up-to-date information on Bowie State University Athletics and its 13 varsity sports teams, please visit www.bsubulldogs.com
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Governor Hogan Announces Opening of Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund
Will Support Mortgage Relief Programs, Housing-Related Services
By PRESS OFFICER
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Jan. 5, 2022)— Governor Larry Hogan today announced the launch of the $248 million Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund, which will be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to support mortgage relief, home repairs, housing counseling, and legal services.
“Across Maryland, there are homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments due to the financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “The programs we are announcing today through the Homeowner Assistance Fund will help keep Marylanders in their homes and support our state’s economic recovery.”
Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund. The State of Maryland will be distributing $248 million through the fund in the following targeted amounts:
• Approximately $171 million to provide loans to assist homeowners who have experienced financial hardship with their mortgages and $34 million to provide grants to assist with property tax, homeowner association, and other types of delinquencies
• $10 million for the WholeHome program to help homeowners with necessary repairs and energy efficiency improvements
• $8 million for housing counseling agencies and $3 million for legal services providers to help homeowners navigate the foreclosure process
• $22 million for program case management, administration, and marketing and outreach to ensure eligible homeowners, including minority populations and those in especially hard-hit areas, are aware of the relief
“Maryland was one of the first three states whose plans were approved by the U.S. Treasury in late November,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Our team has been working diligently to ensure we are one of the first states to deploy this assistance to those who need it most.”
Be Informed. Marylanders currently experiencing issues with their mortgage should contact their mortgage servicer—the company that processes their monthly payment—to inquire about forbearance and loss mitigation options. To be connected to housing counseling and legal services, call 1-877-462-7555. DHCD is awarding $4.4M in Fiscal Year 2022 to 29 housing counseling and legal services agencies that can help Marylanders access Homeowner Assistance Fund relief.
Program Portal. The Homeowner Assistance Fund will assist applicants who were unemployed or underemployed on or after Jan. 21, 2020, resulting in mortgage delinquency or forbearance and other types of homeowner delinquencies. Marylanders can determine their eligibility and apply by visiting homeownerassistance.maryland.gov and clicking on “Check Eligibility” under “Get Started.” For assistance in applying or navigating the application portal, call 833-676-0119, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Emergency Home Repairs. The Homeowner Assistance Fund WholeHome Grant will help Maryland homeowners who have an emergency repair in their primary residence that they are unable to address because of the financial impact of COVID-19. Without addressing these repairs, it will cause the homeowner to be “involuntarily displaced” from the property. The grant will be capped at $10,000 and will be used to address any emergency repairs, including mold remediation, asbestos and lead paint removal, no heat or no air, electrical repairs, plumbing and septic repairs, and other structural and maintenance issues. For more information and to apply visit dhcd.maryland.gov/wholehome or call 877-568-6105.
Mortgage Servicer Help. The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation (OCFR) within the Maryland Department of Labor is responsible for regulating the mortgage service industry in Maryland. If a homeowner feels that their servicer is not properly participating in the Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund, they may report their concern to OCFR by calling 410-230-6077 or by visiting labor.maryland.gov/finance/consumers to submit a complaint.
Visit homeownerassistance.maryland.gov for additional program details, including eligibility information, a document checklist, and answers to frequently asked questions.
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MPT’s State Circle Celebrates 40 Years of Shining a Light on Maryland Government and Politics
By PRESS OFFICER
Maryland Public Television
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (Jan. 3, 2022)—State Circle, Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) long-running public affairs program dedicated to Maryland government and politics, celebrates its 40th anniversary this month. The show made its debut on MPT on January 8, 1982.
The Friday, January 7 edition of State Circle include[d] a segment looking back at the program’s history and highlighting stories it has covered over four decades. The show airs at 7 p.m. both on MPT-HD and the network’s livestream.
State Circle was originally anchored by local newscaster Ron Canada and aired on Friday evenings during the annual legislative session. The program concept was to give viewers across the state a review of the action taking place on bills that might become law during the Maryland General Assembly session and to talk with the people who were impacting the prospective legislation. Following Canada, anchor duties were handled by Joe Krebs and then by Dave Durian.
In 1993, State Circle reporter Jeff Salkin assumed the anchor chair. Salkin continues in that role as the program enters a new season ahead of the start of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly.
The original Maryland General Assembly wrap-up program became a year-round weekly public affairs series on the statewide public TV network in 2003.
Since State Circle's inception, the show's team of reporters have covered the work of six Maryland governors, five speakers of the house, and four senate presidents. Over time, nearly two dozen broadcast journalists—among them John Aubuchon, Brad Bell, Lou Davis, Annette Gibbs-Davis, Nate Howard, Jim Nash, Liz O’Neill, John Rydell, and Yolanda Vazquez—have attended and reported on 40 General Assembly sessions for the benefit of Maryland citizens.
The series’ current lineup consists of Salkin and reporters Sue Kopen, Charles Robinson, and Nancy Yamada.
“The service MPT provides, in producing in-depth and impartial reporting on issues of importance to all Marylanders, has never been more valuable,” explains Salkin. “Our whole team is thankful for the consistent backing of MPT’s leadership along with our dedicated viewers and supporters.”
In addition to its regular Friday evening broadcasts, members of the State Circle team recap and dissect annual gubernatorial State of the State addresses, participate as hosts and panelists in candidate debates, and host special editions on important topics.
Among the most notable of its specials was perhaps the out-of-this-world interview with Baltimore-born NASA astronaut G. Reid Wiseman when he was aboard the International Space Station in 2014.
Maryland Public Television (MPT) is a statewide, public-supported TV network and Public Broadcasting Service member offering entertaining, educational, and inspiring content delivered by traditional broadcasting and streaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices. A state agency, it operates under the auspices of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission. MPT creates local, regional, and national content and is a frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards. MPT’s commitment to educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through instructional events and Thinkport.org. MPT’s year-round community engagement activities connect viewers with resources on a wide range of topics. For more information visit www.mpt.org
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