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September is Suicide Prevention Month: Speak up, reach out and know you are not alone

Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month, a month dedicated to highlighting all the services available to use for anyone experiencing any kind of mental health issues.

Hogan also announced that Maryland has joined the nationwide Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.

“Each and every life taken by suicide is a devastating loss for our state, and this tragedy strikes far too often among Maryland’s community of military service members, veterans, and their family members,” said Governor Hogan.

“If you or someone you know may be at risk, I urge you to speak up, reach out, and know that you are not alone.”

The State of Maryland is supporting the implementation of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), which aims to prevent suicide — among not just Veterans but all Americans. By adopting a holistic public health approach, PREVENTS is acting on the knowledge that suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and that by working together, locally and nationally, we can prevent suicide.

PREVENTS is building on the critical successes of suicide prevention pioneers and agencies working with service members and Veterans. The PREVENTS task force is partnering with stakeholders from multiple sectors, including nonprofits, state and local organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and government leaders, to implement best practices to improve health and prevent suicide.

Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs invited Maryland to participate in the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. These federal initiatives complement the objectives of Senate Bill 521, signed into law by Governor Hogan last year to create a comprehensive state action plan to prevent veteran suicide.

Over the past year, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs have convened an interagency team comprised of more than 30 public, private, non-profit, and military leaders to develop an evidence-based plan to prevent suicide among members of the military community.

The plan, which emphasizes screening, connectedness, lethal means safety, and peer-to-peer services, will be submitted to SAMHSA in the coming weeks. Partners include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Legion, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the University of Maryland, the Maryland National Guard, Holy Cross Hospital, and five state agencies.

To view all of the state’s resource guides on suicide prevention, visit

Baltimore County also has resources available for people to use in order to seek mental health help and to prevent suicides. By calling 410-931-2214, people can be connected to the county’s emergency mental health hotline. A county health representative can then connect people to a 24-hour operations center, mobile crisis teams, an in-home intervention team, an urgent care clinic, non-mental health emergency housing, and a critical incident stress management team.

Baltimore County also has several services dedicated to psychiatric medication assistance. These agencies and programs that offer funding for medication on a limited and long-term basis:

Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program

Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program provides similar services as Medical Assistance to certain individuals who are working and have a disability. Coverage includes certain mental health and physical health care as well as prescription coverage.

Call 866-373-9651 to request an application.

Bureau of Behavioral Health

Bureau of Behavioral Health and Core Service Agency offers one-time assistance for persons meeting eligibility requirements who have exhausted other options to obtain funding for psychotropic medication. Persons must have a case manager, therapist or physician to apply on their behalf for assistance. The application can be found at

Pharmacy Access Hotline

The Maryland Medicaid Pharmacy Program offers a Pharmacy Access Hotline for recipients who are having problems obtaining needed medications or experiencing other pharmacy related issues.

Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Pharmacy Access Hotline can be reached by calling 410-767-5800 or 800-492-5231 toll free and selecting option number three.

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State association clarifies road map to start high school sports

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) last week updated its “Roadmap for the Return of Interscholastic Athletics.”

It mainly reinforces what Baltimore County had been telling athletes and their parents the week before: all three sports seasons playing abbreviated schedules when the second semester starts at the beginning of February and lasting until June 19.

The winter season (basketball, wrestling, indoor track) will begin practices on Feb. 1 through Feb. 21, with competition starting on Feb. 22 and ending March 27.

Practices for the fall season (football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, badminton and cross country) are from March 15 through April 4, with competition beginning on April 5 and ending May 8.

Spring sports (track and field, baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse) will practice April 26 to May 16, and compete from May 17 to June 19.

That gives each season about three weeks for practice and re-conditioning, followed by five weeks of competition.

No decision has yet been made on state tournaments.

According to the MPSSAA document, “the highest risk, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is increased participation opportunities that include statewide competitions among different geographic areas.

“The MPSSAA will look for creative ways regarding these types of events and make decisions as we get closer to the second semester.”

The MPSSAA also warns the Roadmap “is intended to be fluid and will be modified as needed based on guidance from the” State Department of Education, Department of Health and the Public School Superintendent Association of Maryland.

Since Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced last month the state is now in Stage 3 of the Maryland Roadmap to Recovery, that means schools may fully resume in-person activities, but must comply with ant state and/or local restrictions in place.

The Baltimore County School Board decided last month the county would use remote learning for the entire first semester, which ends on Jan. 31.

With the state in Stage 3, the possibility was left open by the county school board of re-evaluating the decision at the end of the first quarter.

The MPSSAA will allow local school systems to conduct the following sports-related activities in the first semester: virtual practices or in-person conditioning; skill-building sessions; sport-specific practices, intramurals and scrimmages with other schools as allowed by factors identified by local health departments.

Baltimore County also requires all athletes interested in playing sports in the second semester must register in the first semester, complete their physicals and engage in activities with their teams.

(The MPSSAA does state teams competing during the second semester may not be “established” during the first semester; tryouts and team selection must take place during the three weeks given for preseason practice and re-conditioning.)

During the five-week “seasons,” the amount of games played will be determined by the MPSSAA’s defined weekly and seasonal contest limitations per sport.

Which means no more than five football games.

Baseball, softball, golf and tennis can play up to three games/matches a week, according to MPSSAA rules; badminton, basketball, field hockey, golf, cross country, lacrosse, indoor and outdoor track, volleyball and wrestling may not have more than two games/matches/meets a week.

There are exceptions: badminton, basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball may schedule three games/match in one week twice during the season, while track and cross country may schedule three meets in a week once during the season.

Football: one game a week. No exceptions.

Baseball and softball could play as many as 15 games during the abbreviated seasons, while basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball and soccer can each schedule 12 contests.

If the MPSSAA determines state tournaments are not possible, then local school systems will have the option to conduct postseason tournaments to determine county, city or conference championships.

Royals second baseman lloyd Fox prepares to throw to first to complete a double play after forcing the Cardinals' Brian marvin out at second.

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Planning a wedding? Find some inspiration from these historic Baltimore County wedding photos!

Take a break from your Pintrist bridal pages and look to the past to plan for your wedding day!

Big, extravagant weddings that cost thousands of dollars have become the norm in the 21st century. However, many bridal couples have found themselves cutting down their guest list and planning simpler weddings this year due to the Coronavirus—which has reverted many weddings back to a more simpler time when brides wore their best Sunday clothes instead of a big white gown and family members prepared the food themselves instead of hiring a catering company.

Weddings back in the day, no matter how simple they may seem to us now, were still filled with joy by both the bridal couple and family members and can act as a great example for couples who are seeking ways to plan for a smaller, more simple wedding. So, take a look at these historic Baltimore County wedding photos, courtesy of the Historic Society of Baltimore County (HSBC) to see if these weddings from the past help you plan for your wedding in the future!

Having a smaller wedding party doesn’t mean you need to compromise fashion

kkulich / Photo Courtesy of HSBC 

Wedding of Elizabeth Zimmerer and Michael Kahl, January 14, 1920, at St. Josephs in Fullerton, Md. From left to right, Marty Zimmerer (twin sister, maid of honor), Elizabeth Zimmerer Kahl, Michael Kahl, and John Tremper. Gift of Charles Rutkowski.

The Coronavirus pandemic may cause bridal couples to opt for a smaller guest list, which may also mean having a smaller bridal party. Instead of having a dozen bridal party members, Elizabeth Zimmerer and Michael Kahl, seen in the picture provided, only had a maid of honor and a best man.

Although their party was small, they were decked out in their finest clothes, had elaborate bouquets and boutonnieres and were provided an elegant setup and background for their portrait.

Being frugal while still having a gorgeous gown

kkulich / PhotoS courtesy of HSBC 

Navy blue velvet wedding dress; lace trimmed at neckline; circular insert at bottom of front part of skirt. Worn by donor at wedding in St. James Church, Monkton in 1929. Gift of Mrs. Robert Pearce.

COVID-19 has also impacted families financially this year, causing some brides to reconsider how much they are willing to spend on their wedding gown. This navy blue wedding gown, which can be viewed at The Historical Society of Baltimore County, may not be the conventional, white wedding dress, but it is elegant, for its time, nonetheless. Finding a bargain gown and doing your own alterations, or finding a family friend who can alter your dress for a discounted price, is a great way to save some dough while still looking your best while you walk down the aisle.

Self-designed and handwritten invitations add a unique, personal touch

Another way to cut down your wedding expenses is by self-designing and/or handwriting your own invitations and thank you cards. There are several free or low-cost designing platforms, like Canva, Shutterfly, or even Microsoft Word, that allow you to pick and choose how you want your invites to look without having to pay a designer.

Your DIY invites don’t need to cost you an arm and a leg to look beautiful—just take a look at how simplistic Mary Virginia and Mattew Sloan’s invitation was back in 1890! ( See picture at

kkulich / Photo Courtesy of HSBC 

Their invitation reads:

“Mr & Mrs. Dixon Connolly/request your presence/at the marriage ceremony of their daughter/Mary Virginia/to/Mr. Matthew H. Sloan,/Wednesday afternoon, October Fifteenth,/at three o’clock,/eighteen hundred and ninety,/Trinity Church,/Long Green, Md.”

You can go even a step further and handwrite your invitations by brushing up on your cursive and finding a nice-quality pen that can allow you to showcase your calligraphy skills!

Honeymooning close to home

kkulich / Photo courtesy of HSBC 

Charles T. Neepier and Lydia Pamela Baker Neepier on their honeymoon to Niagara Falls, ca. 1885.

Just because COVID-19 has restricted where and how people travel doesn’t mean you can’t have a honeymoon! Take the Neepier couple for example—they didn’t travel too far for their honeymoon in 1885 when they went to Niagra Falls.( See picture at Although U.S. citizens may not be able to cross into Canada, you can still have a great honeymoon traveling to a destination within the U.S. or even in Maryland. Ocean City is still open for business, with certain COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, and can be a great way to have a beach honeymoon without having to go to an airport and hop on a plane.

Wax floral arrangements last a lifetime and can save you money

kkulich / Photo courtesy of HSBC 

Pair of wax, paper and wire flower sprigs. Worn by Emma Hyde Baldwin at her marriage to James Henry Quinby on October 21, 1891.

Pair of wax, paper and wire flower sprigs. Worn by Emma Hyde Baldwin at her marriage to James Henry Quinby on October 21, 1891.

Another way to cut the cost of your overall wedding expenses is by using fake flowers and floral arrangements instead of real flowers—like Emma Hyde who used a pair of fake flowers sprigs made out of wax, paper and wire as a wedding wreath that she wore atop her head for her wedding day in 1891.( See picture at

Follow CDC Guidelines and Cut Costs with Micro Weddings

kkulich / Photo Courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Wedding Magazine 

Chesapeake Bay Wedding Magazine’s latest edition featured a couple who had a micro wedding in classic Maryland fashion—on a boat!

Micro weddings, where only a few guests attend the ceremony and reception, have been a great way for couples to still have elements of a traditional wedding while following the Center for Diese Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines. Micro weddings can also be a more intimate experience that can allow you and your partner to really savor the day and not get too overwhelmed with the responsibilities of hosting a large party.

Although there is no documentation of 19th or 20th-century micro weddings at the Historical Society of Baltimore County, Chesapeake Bay Wedding Magazine’s latest edition featured a couple who had a micro wedding in classic Maryland fashion—on a boat! ( See picture at only was their wedding a unique experience that followed CDC COVID-19 guidelines, but it also gave them the opportunity to feature Maryland’s most cherished, natural treasure.

No matter how many elements of DIY are incorporated into your wedding, or how many people attend your ceremony and reception, may you and your partner have a life full of happiness, joy and love!

Has COVID-19 caused you to alter your wedding plans? Let us know of any advice you have for bridal couples!