Feeling the Love

When Dan Collier and Lou Kurraru were invited by a friend to participate in Cupid’s Undie Run this year, the two Hanover residents anticipated a full day of fun as they ran through the streets of Baltimore in their underwear to raise money to fight neurofibromatosis.

It turned into a solemn occasion instead.

Two weeks before the Valentine’s Day event, their friend and decorated participant Megan Rowe died from complications with neurofibromatosis.

“We are here in memory of our friend Megan,” Collier said. “She loved this event and passed away two weeks ago.”

Rowe had been running in the race since she learned about it in 2013.

Her 72-year-old father, Mike Rowe, gave a brief speech at the event to commemorate his daughter’s courage. And all three – Rowe, Collier and Kurraru – said they handled the race the only way Megan would have wanted them to: celebrating despite below freezing temperatures.

“It’s an intriguing event and participating gives them a sense of cancer research on a lot of levels,” Mike Rowe said.

Every February, thousands of people dress down to their underwear and take part in cupid’s runs all across the United States to raise awareness and money for NF. At this year’s event in Baltimore, an estimated 150 people showed up for the one-mile long run on a day when wind chills made the air feel like two degrees.

“I didn’t think everyone would be so naked,” said Makayla Mazza, a bartender at Luckies Tavern who was experiencing her first Cupid’s Undie Run.

This year Baltimore’s run raised $80,000 – $5,000 more than last year. Internationally, the races raised $3.5 million in 2016..

All proceeds go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), a non-profit organization based in New York that funds research and treatments for neurofibromatosis. Participants run in their underwear to symbolize that clothes can’t provide comfort for people suffering from NF.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow throughout one’s nervous systems.  Those battling the disease typically have pale or brown patches on their skin above or near the affected nerve. It can cause learning disabilities, chronic pain, blindness, deafness, paralysis and death.

The Baltimore race was organized three years ago by Kate Gibson, the associate production  manager at Center Stage in Baltimore, and Christine Barnanic, the chief operating officer of Brand Builders in Washington.

The two were interested in organizing a Cupid’s Undie Run in Baltimore because they believed young people would enjoy the mix of partying and philanthropy that comes with the event.

The first Cupid’s Undie Run was held in Washington in 2010, when an estimated 650 runners weathered cold temperatures and six feet of snow. Since then, Cupid’s Undie Run has donated $8 million to the CTF and is now held in 36 cities around the country as well as the Australian cities of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

“At the end of Cupid’s Undie Run six years ago in Washington, D.C., I met the founders and suggested that they host one in Baltimore,” Gibson said. “Instead they asked if I was interested in organizing it.”

The founders of the DC race – Chad Leather, Brendan Hanrahan and Bobby Gill – paired Gibson up with Barnanic and the two began planning the first Baltimore event, which was held in 2013.

Cupid’s Undie Run has been hosted by Luckie’s Tavern at 10 Market Place in Baltimore for the past three years. Matthew Kyle, the bar manager at Luckie’s, said he loves the whole experience.

“Last year I saw a middle-aged man dance on the bar in a Speedo as people preceded to stuff it with cash,” Kyle said.

Cupid’s Undie Run was sponsored by 98Rock – 97.9 FM in Baltimore.

Kirk McEwen, the radio station’s afternoon host and Ravens’ game day play-by-play man, said he was happy to help raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation because he grew up with a nonverbal, autistic brother.

This was Patrick Prada and Lindsey Moritz’s first Cupid’s Undie Run. Prada said his father was recently diagnosed with cancer, and for the past few weeks he has been searching for a charity to join and for an unconventional Valentine’s Day date.

“We were happy to find out that this helps kids with cancer,” Prada said. “We aren’t the mushiest couple in the world, and Lindsey and I were looking for a different way to celebrate the Valentine’s weekend.”

Rowe said he was pleased with the outcome while Collier and Kurraru said they were happy to have had the experience. The three didn’t imagine that were going to have so much fun despite their recent loss.

“We will definitely return next year,” Rowe said.


Their Shire: Deep Creek Lake Maryland is a rustic escape for many

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Maryland is J. R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth in miniature. A realm of: mystery, discovery, fantasy, adventure and escape. Experiencing Deep Creek can ebb and flow like the wind; explore the area through adventures with companions or live as humbly as a hobbit in the Shire.

Like Rivendell, the elvish sanctuary in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Deep Creek, retains its promise of peace and reclusiveness although accessible. Deep Creek clings to a simpler time however prospers. Deep Creek is in a state of transition, but residents recognize how lucky they are to call Deep Creek home. Patty Wells owner of Animal-Cracker: Pet Grooming appreciates the serenity. Marta Schroyer of Deep Creek Times believes that Deep Creek has been a wonderful place to raise her family.

“I’m blessed to live in such a great place,” said Schroyer

Deep Creek offers amusement for all. Thrills and bliss depends on the season. Schroyer looks forward to winter’s Deep Creek Dump. Every February volunteers plunge into the frigid lake to raise money for the Special Olympics. Patty Wells takes dance classes, ranging from ballroom to ceremonial Native American, at Garrett College. The Art and Wine Festival has become increasingly popular.

Wells and Schroyer, can’t wait for the 48th annual Autumn Glory Festival. Two large parades, concerts, competitions, art and craft exhibits, delicious food, fireworks, antique shows, and more are squeezed into a five-day celebration. It will be held from October 7-11, 2015. It is fun for everyone.

Wells and Schroyer walk their dogs daily in Deep Creek or Muddy Creek state parks. It doesn’t take long for a Tolkien fan to imagine that they are wandering through the thicket of an ever-green Fangorn Forest on the outskirts of Rohan. Or the Crimson, bronze and gold Mirkwood Forest of the High Elves.

Wells enjoys visiting Herrington Manor in Garrett State Forest. It was erected in the 1930s. A 53-acre lake was formed by damming Herrington Creek, and 10 cabins were constructed on a wooden knoll above the lake. Herrington Manor was designated as a state park in 1964 and encompasses 365 acres. She suggests: swimming, canoeing, playing tennis or volleyball, kayaking or picnicking.

Wells implores tourists to look at the Native American and Early Settler exhibits on display at surrounding state parks. Take a tour at the Deer Park Water headquarters and plant in Arbutus, Maryland. Or watch a glass blowing demo and workshop at the Simon-Pearce Factory and Outlets in Mountain Lake, Maryland.

Deep Creek is a mecca for extreme sports and outdoors-men. It is home to a thriving year round fishing, water and action sport industry. There are also designated hunting grounds. During the spring and summer. Schroyer enjoys kayaking and boating on Deep Creek Lake. Braver souls indulge jet-skiing and wake-boarding at the local Aquatic Center on the lake.

Schroyer recommends riding Mountain Coaster at WISP Resort. WISP Resort renowned for its winter amenities, introduced the Mountain Coaster. It’s an alpine slide-roller-coaster that zips in and out of the mountain via gravity, passengers can control their speed with hand-brakes. The ride is pricey but worth it, a single ride is $14 and a double ride is $19.

Visit WISP on the right day, during the right season and its artificial snow trails, in McHenry, Maryland resemble the Misty Mountains; a mountain range that splits Tolkien’s fantasy world east and west. WISP has expanded its changes to suit a variety of guests. It now includes: golf courses, obstacle courses, log cabins and reserved sections of Deep Creek Lake. WISP has introduced a circulating white-water rafting course off of the banks of the Youghiogheny River. WISP even hosts weddings and corporate conferences.

Deep Creek hosts the annual world-famous triathlon, the Savage-Man Festival. The Savage-Man Festival occurred from September 19-20, 2015. It is also the greatest tour of Garrett County venturing through: Amish and Mennonite communities, farmland and back to Deep Creek: competitors must swim Deep Creek Lake, trek Deep Creek State Park and circumnavigate Garrett County.

Deep Creek residents are proud of their small business. Such as the Alley, simply a bowling alley and arcade in McHenry or the Garrett 8 Cinemas off of Garrett Highway in Oakland. It brings authenticity to their quaint, rustic existence and small-town vibe.

“The only franchise that holds a monopoly on Deep Creek is a Wal-Mart,” said Schroyer.

Tourists, seasonal residents and locals celebrated Deep Creek’s 90th anniversary. The Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Company started the Deep Creek Project in the 1920s across the Youghiogheny River. Construction began in 1923 and completed in 1925. The dam became operational at 4p.m. on May 6, 1925.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Pennsylvania Electric Company a license to own Deep Creek Lake in 1968. The dam was bought from Penelec. in 1991 and the lease was renewed by Deep Creek in 2011. Deep Creek Lake is the largest man-made lake in Maryland. It has 3900-acre surface area with a 35 mile shoreline stretching across McHenry and Oakland, Maryland.

Albert Einstein, former presidents, celebrates, foreign dignitaries, Pittsburg’s and Washington D.C.’s elite have found tranquility in Deep Creek, devoid of any drama of their frantic lives out side the cozy blanket of Western Maryland. Patty fears that Deep Creek’s reticence is dissolving as its remote location disappears.

“The atmosphere has changed,” said Wells.

I used to be able to hear a creek near my house trickle downstream, instead it’s muffled by increasing traffic” said Wells.

Schroyer has a different opinion. She is convinced that without the growing tourism Deep Creek wouldn’t have the infrastructure they have recently obtained. Second home owner property tax, specifically, has made much it possible. Schroyer believes that the growth has dissipated.

“People can’t wait for the weekend to get away from it all,” said Schroyer.

Settle-in or dash outside at your own pace Deep Creek isn’t going anywhere. The charm of the town, the harmony with nature and the exciting adventures leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime. Deep Creek has so much to offer that the experience extends unto trips somewhere in the future.

Poised Grit

The United States Marine Corps slogan should not be taken for granted or mistaken as a joke. They issue an open challenge to everyone; the Few, the Proud, the Marines. If you are confident in your abilities to accept their challenge then they introduce you to a sour taste of reality; freedom isn’t free. You embark on a grueling ten week journey, and it is not just for anyone.

Prove to be exceptional and you have the opportunity to complete Officer Cadence School (OCS). Constantly accompanied by your “bud”; he or she is literally always beside you. If you have to use the restroom he or she goes with you. Some have snapped under the immense pressure and succeeded in committing suicide. Your buddy, might literally be the difference between life and death.

Those who have trekked the path to regain their freedom; molded by the heat, fire and ash of experience have endured one of the biggest euphonies, life, will ever throw at them. Some are frightened by what they witnessed and endured, others move through life content with their choices. Few return to the forge with the privilege to educate and train the next generation of liberty defenders.

Calm, cool, collected, persistent, resilient and loyal; Kevin Heine is a 20 year-old sophomore and social sciences major from Fredrick Maryland attending Towson University with aspirations to graduate as a commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He has wanted to be a Marine since his freshman year of high school. Kevin was intrigued by the Marine’s promise of physical, mental, emotional growth and challenge.

Kevin is the descendant of a military service legacy. His grandfather served in the Navy, his grandfather’s brothers served in the Army, and his great uncles stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day during World War II. Although he surpasses his heritage; Kevin will proudly be his family’s first commissioned officer and Marine. Kevin hopes to make an everlasting impression via the tools and skills provided by the Marine Corps.

All he wanted was to enlist right after graduation hoping to join the revered 1/8th Marine Scout Snipers.

K.H: “But my parents wouldn’t let me” said Kevin

Kevin spent his freshman year of college as a member of the Marine Corps ROTC program at NY-Maritime in New York City’s South Bronx, N.Y. He eventually made the decision to transfer to a school closer to home.

Dithering between the University of Maryland and Towson University, either school would have been a great fit. Towson was the more affordable option, closer to home, provided better opportunities for his major; social sciences, and he loves the Baltimore/Towson area. Ironically the social sciences are necessary if he is to pursue a career in the FBI or CIA.

Satisfied with his choice, Kevin has found another band of brothers among his teammates on the TU Club Rugby team. He was approached by a rugby player in Towson’s gym, Burdick Hall, and asked if he had ever played rugby? Naturally curious, Kevin watched them practice later that day, and instantly found comradery with the coaches and players. He knew he found where he belonged.

Kevin is on the far left from your perspective.

Scrum Squad: Kevin is on the far left from your perspective.

According to Kevin his comrades in the Marines and teammates on the Rugby team share unique dispositions.

 K.H: “ I think the toughness, certainly, and kind of reckless mindset; they are definitely a risk-taking crowd.

That same discreteness and toughness is what carries Kevin through Officer Cadence School (OCS). He has prospered thus far, but he is a changed man. Kevin has been humbled by the accounts his combat tested drill sergeants shared with him.

Kevin and Friend

Kevin and friend celebrating their success at Officer Cadence School (OCS) in Quantico, VA. Kevin is on your right

After college Kevin will venture towards military occupation code (MOS), 0203, formally known as intelligence reconnaissance but fondly dubbed (intel recon). Before he introduces himself to the FBI or CIA he desires to collect a befitting set of skills to defend his country. Kevin boldly weathers any storm and stays true to his words. He is among the Few, the Proud, the Marines.

Link to video: 

Eco Friendly Tiger Town

A tiger is not at home unless it has a lush jungle to prowl in. Now mold a jungle into a second home for a pride of 22,000 tigers. One would hope for a clean, healthy environment that supports prosperity.

That is exactly the challenge that Rose Brusaferro has accepted as Towson University’s Graduate Assistant to Administration and General Services for Environmental Initiatives under Towson’s Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership. Rose has held the position for 9 months or since last August, 2014. The position compliments her environmental science major well.

Rose strives for excellence throughout the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership. She advises the student groups that devote themselves to eco-friendly and sustainability programs. Rose coordinates environmentally focused events, but she has acknowledged that the environmental consciousness  could use a boost in community response. Rose believes their presence on campus and in the community must be noticed.

Despite Towson University’s reputation to “go green” staff and students seem to remain oblivious to exactly what eco-friendly and sustainability initiatives and organizations the campus has to offer. I asked Anna Hiser a resident of Barton House in Towson University’s West Village what she thought of Towson’s environmental consciousness.

Tiger Lillies

A Student Perspective: Anna Hiser:

A.Z. Please state your class standing and major?

A.H.Junior, Deaf Studies and English.”

A.Z. Are you aware of any environmental initiatives on Towson University’s campus?

A.H.Vaguely aware.”

A.Z. Do you recycle?

A.H. “Yes.”

A.Z. Are there any eco-friendly initiatives you would like to see employed on campus?

A.H. “Composting in the dining halls to keep food from being wasted.”

A.Z. Do you know who or what department facilitates Towson’s sustainability?

A.H. “Do not.”

A.Z. What do you think the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership needs to do to make their presence on campus and in the community more prominent?

A.H. “Flyers, posters, send out an email from time to time.”

A.Z. Is that what you would do if you were their student coordinator?

A.H. “Yeah, probably, maybe organize an event.”

Rose was right to acknowledge that the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership needs to put more effort into promoting their neat environmental initiatives. You can find the Department of Civic Engagement and Leadership on the second floor of the Administration building. It appears that students like Anna are to open to participating in eco-friendly projects on campus and in the community; they just need a better way to be informed.

Patrick Young: Serving His Nation and His Community

Patrick Young is sitting and talking to his associate Brandon Haight.

Patrick Young is sitting and talking to his associate Brandon Haight.

Patrick Young’s journey is filled with trials and tribulations. Patrick’s commitment to serving his nation and community has never extinguished . Patrick has shown: valor, courage, dedication and loyalty in the face of adversity and sacrifice. As a Marine, as a former Towson University student and as the Towson University Veterans Coordinator. Now Patrick represents District 44B of Annapolis as Maryland’s new state delegate.