NCCU Jazz Ensemble
North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Ensemble, led by Dr Ira Wiggins, wowed the Lincoln Center crowd in New York City as they competed in the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship. Only 10 colleges were represented in the two-day invitational, and NCCU was the lone HBCU (Historically Black College/University). The swinging jazz ensemble garnered awards for Outstanding Trombone Section and Outstanding Alto Saxophone (Sam King). Enjoy their performance below (go to 1:51:11).
Girl Scout Cookies app
It’s Girl Scout cookie time! Many of our houses of worship host scout troops, but it’s not always easy to figure out which ones. And sometimes Girl Scout troops sell cookies at the malls and even downtown on occasion. If you download the Cookie Finder app, you can read a description of the cookies and find out where you can buy cookies. You can search by location, date and can view the locations on a map. The troop number and hours are also listed; you can also say whether you want the app to search within a 1-, 5-, 10-mile (or more) radius. The Cookie Finder app is available for both iOs and Android. If you prefer to use your laptop or desktop computer, click here.
Cool US Post Office app
The United States Postal Service has an app called Informed Delivery. It’s not the coolest name, but it’s definitely a cool app that works with iOs and Android phones. Every morning, you can check Informed Delivery and know what’s coming in the mail before it arrives. As your mail goes through scanners at the post office, images of the envelopes are sent to the app so you can see the names of the senders and be on the lookout for letters or cards you’re looking forward to receiving. (This is really wonderful for people who receive checks in the mail.) Every now and then, though, you’ll see a notice that the scanner missed/couldn’t quite catch the image, but you’ll at least know that you’re getting something. There’s also a box for every letter that you can check off if “I didn’t receive this mailpiece.” The folks at the post office can look for it (or you can ask family members if they “happened to see it”).
You’ll also be alerted to packages that are coming in the mail. If you check Informed Delivery early enough, you’ll be able to leave specific delivery instructions, which should put a real damper on package theft. This is a free app; download it from wherever you get your smartphone apps.
Let’s help our neighbors
Many of our neighbors are suffering quietly, and for the most part, we don’t even know about it. Fortunately, crowdfunding has become a great way to ask for help and to help others conveniently and without fanfare.
Here are some neighbors who are definitely deserving of whatever assistance we can give:
The first GoFundMe campaign is for helping musician Tony Melendez get a specially outfitted vehicle (the gifted singer-guitarist was born without arms). Click here to go to his crowdfunding page.
The second GoFundMe campaign is to help Gregg Grose, who has ALS, to continue receiving loving care at home. Click here to go to the family’s crowdfunding page.
Big grant for the Criminal Justice Resource Center
The US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance for Improving Reentry for Adults with Co-occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness has awarded a $749,000 grant to Durham’s Criminal Justice Resource Center (326 E Main St). A 3-year program will be set up to provide standardized screening and assessment, to work in partnership with local organizations to provide collaborative comprehensive case management, and to work with individuals both before and after release from prison to help guide them toward a successful life and away from crime, substance abuse, and despair. Click here to learn more about the CJRC and its programs and services.
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Here’s the latest episode from my new podcast, “Nitty Gritty from the Bull City.” It’s on Anchor, a free app that works with both iOs and Android.