Letter to Editor: Say No to Trump Military Budget Increase

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Given its $597.5 billion military budget, the United States already spends more for war and defense than the next 10 nations combined ($579.8 billion).

It’s idiotic for the president and Congress to propose a 10 percent increase for the Pentagon while also threatening to slash funds for schools, health services, education, research, breathable air, drinkable/fishable water, edible food, safe medicines, feeding and nutrition programs, affordable housing, non-injurious toys, music, museums, parks, public broadcasting, and highways and other necessary infrastructure, and all the while ignoring global warming and rising seas.

With little of worth left to defend, why spend more on the military?

Gren Whitman
Rock Hall

 

Save the Date: Rep. Andy Harris to Host Town Hall Meeting at Wye Mills March 31

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After reaching his constituents through last month’s “tele-town” hall meetings, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) will now be hosting in person a brick-and-mortar town hall on the Mid-Shore on Friday, March 31 to discuss Congress’ new plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

In the congressman’s most recent “Happenings” email, Dr. Harris has indicated his preliminary support of the AHCA. A copy of the current bill can be found here.

Date: March 31, 2017
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Todd Performing Arts Center
Chesapeake College,
1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, MD, 21679

Good Stuff: Yoga Helps YMCA in QAC

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Every Body Yoga will be offering a weekend of donation-based yoga classes March 17 – 19 at its Centreville Studio, 205 E. Water Street. All donations go to the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA’s summer camp fund. Participants are asked to give whatever amount they feel is right.

Summer has many iconic associations: long, sticky days; catching fireflies at dusk; sunburns sitting poolside. Time at a summer camp ranks as one of the most memorable events of the three or so month hiatus from school. Camp provides a safe space for kids to experiment—to try out new things that are not in their comfort zone, under the supervision of a caring mentor—they make new friends, camp aids in helping them build social skills through teamwork based activities, it helps prepare them to lead brighter more focused lives as they grow.

This experience isn’t guaranteed to all kids. Many families are financially unable to send their children to camp. The Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA is stepping in to make sure kids who want to go to camp have that opportunity. In 2016, one out of four kids who attended their camps required financial assistance.

Located at The Gunston School, the Queen Anne’s County YMCA’s summer camp offers a wide array of activities from field and water sports to arts, academics, environmental and cultural experiences. The YMCA, as a whole, has a philosophy that they don’t turn anyone away. With this idea in mind, Every Body Yoga, has decided to try and help raise some funds for this important program.

The weekend kicks off with Foundations of Yoga, on Friday, March 17 at 6:30 PM. Saturday offers three classes Chakra Opening at 9:00 AM, Yoga Flow at 10:30 and Chair Yoga at 1 PM. Rise-n-Shine yoga class will take place at 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. Each class will be an hour long and will be taught by one of Every Body Yoga’s Teacher Trainees.

Every Body Yoga offers group and private instruction, stress management and wellness workshops as well as a Yoga Teacher Training Program(RYT). It is the only Registered Yoga School on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Instruction is provided by Yoga Teacher Trainer, Phyllis Johnston M.Ed, E-RYT. Ms. Johnston has 30 years of yoga experience and Every Body Yoga has been serving the mid-shore since January 2000. More information available at www.everybodyyoga.biz or contact Phyllis Johnston at info@everybodyyoga.biz or 410-310-6803.

Chesapeake Bank and Trust Hires New Lender

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Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company has announced its newest Lender, Justin Varga to the bank.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 10.39.01 AM“Given our success in helping clients and growing market share, we’re glad to add a great local guy like Justin to our team,” said Glenn L. Wilson, President & CEO.

Justin Varga brings nine years of professional financial experience from J.P. Morgan Chase Private Bank to us. Beginning as an account officer, Justin progressed assuming roles as Portfolio Manager, before becoming a Senior Account Officer in 2013.

A graduate of University of Delaware, with a B.S. in Finance, Varga is a Kent County resident residing in Galena, MD. With a true passion for helping the community, Varga’s experience with relationship management and financial strategy, will further complement Chesapeake Bank and Trust’s exceptional lending department.

“Justin’s relationship banking experience will help us assist those in our community who have borrowing needs, particularly those in northern Kent County and Southern Cecil County'” said Rob Thompson, Senior Lender at the Bank.

Founded in 1986, Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company, Chestertown’s Truly Local Banking Experience, has roots in Kent County dating back more than 100 years. Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company is a well-known pillar in the community, helping residents and businesses with their banking and investments needs. For more information please visit www.chesapeaketrust.com or call (410) 778-1600.

Tea Bags Project to Support Chestertown Famed Tea Party Festival

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The Main Street Chestertown program invites artists and creative spirits of all ages to participate in a new project in conjunction with the annual Tea Party Festival: transforming burlap bags into oversized art-infused “tea bags.” The painted and embellished bags will be displayed throughout town in the weeks before and during the Festival weekend, May 26-28.

The Main Street Program will supply participants with these basic materials:

· A burlap bag, in one of three sizes: 22 by 24, 24 x 36, or 34 by 40 inches.

· A length of cotton rope/cording to serve as the tea-bag “string.”

· And a corrugated plastic “tag,” with the pre-printed message: “CHESTERTOWN: Steeped in History. Stirred by Art”

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 7.48.12 PMParticipants can create their art directly on the burlap, or use another material to create the art and then glue or stitch it onto the burlap. They will fill the bag with their choice of material (Styrofoam, bubble wrap, wood shavings, etc.; weatherproof and recycled items preferred) before folding the top over like a tea bag and attaching the string and tag.

The “tea bags” will be displayed inside participating store windows or outdoors in the streetscape throughout downtown. Creators may choose to sell their work to benefit the work of the Main Street Chestertown organization and the Chestertown Arts & Entertainment District; if so, they will mark the sales price on the tag. Main Street will accept payments at its booth during the Tea Party Festival. All unsold bags will be returned to the artists or retained by the Main Street A&E Committee for possible reuse, whichever the artist prefers.

Anyone interested in participating in the Tea Party Tea Bags project should contact Kay MacIntosh, Manager of the Main Street Chestertown program and Arts & Entertainment District, to get more information and reserve or pick up materials (kay.chestertown@gmail, 410-778-2991). The complete “tea bag” kits will be available for pick-up at Chestertown’s Town Hall beginning March 17. The burlap bags are already available for pick up for those who want to get started earlier.

Senior Nation: Survey Shows Two-Thirds of Seniors Have Been Scammed Online

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Financial and online fraud against aging adults are now considered the “crimes of the century” by the National Council on Aging. Scammers often target seniors because of perceived accumulated wealth, and feel that seniors are less likely to report crimes due to fear of embarrassment.

In fact, a new survey[i] by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network of franchised businesses that provide in-home care services to seniors, found that two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. seniors have been the victim or target of at least one common online scam or hack. In addition, more than a third (38 percent) report that someone has tried to scam them online, and 28 percent of surveyed seniors have mistakenly downloaded a computer virus.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, explains that encouraging seniors to protect themselves online can go a long way in protecting sensitive identity and financial information. “Cybersecurity is about risk reduction. It’s difficult to achieve perfect security. But you can help older adults work to make themselves a more difficult target,” Kaiser said.

To help seniors understand their risks online and take steps to protect themselves, the Home Instead Senior Care network collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to launch a new public education program, Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com. The new program offers free resources and tips to help seniors understand how scammers operate, familiarize themselves with the most common senior scams and provides proactive steps seniors and caregivers can take to protect sensitive information. The resources include the online “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” quiz to test seniors’ cyber security knowledge.

“For seniors, this is a time in their lives when they should be able to trust that their life’s earnings are protected,” said Jennifer Marchi, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Kent and Caroline counties. “Unfortunately, we know there are people who violate this trust. That’s why we are committed to helping seniors understand the ways they are at risk online and how to protect their information to reduce their chances of being scammed.”

Research shows that more and more seniors are going online – and putting themselves at risk. According to Home Instead’s survey, 97 percent of aging adults use the internet at least once a week. They most commonly use the internet for email, with 94 percent of seniors doing so weekly. Seniors also use the internet to manage finances, with 41 percent banking online and over a quarter (26 percent) paying bills online. Seniors are also active on social media, with 51 percent using Facebook or Twitter at least once a week. All that time online – coupled with what scammers view as perceived financial security and a trusting nature – can make seniors a primary target for scammers.

Seniors are encouraged to take the following precautions, compiled from the National Cyber Security Alliance, Stop Think and Connect and the Home Instead Senior Care network, to protect themselves online:

1. Create passwords and make them strong. Lock all internet-enabled devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, with secure passwords – at least 12 characters long and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
2. Secure access to accounts, with two-step verification. Many online services, including apps and websites, offer free options to help protect personal information. Learn more at LockDownYourLogin.com.
3. Think before you act. Emails or messages that create a sense of urgency – like a problem with a bank account or taxes – are likely a scam. Reach out to companies by phone to determine if emails are legitimate.
4. When in doubt, throw it out. If an email looks unusual, delete it. Clicking on links in email is often how scammers access personal information. Turn on spam filters to filter suspicious messages.
5. Share with care. Be aware of what you share publicly on social media and adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information.
6. Use security software, including updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
7. Adjust browser safety settings for optimum security.
8. Use your computer’s default firewall security protection on your computer.
9. Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you’re finished using them. Leaving them open on your computer or smartphone could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
10. Consider support. Seniors who live alone or spend a lot of time by themselves may want to consider a trusted source, such as adult family members, computer-savvy grandchildren, or professional caregivers, to serve as a second set of eyes and ears when conducting activities online.

“Our hope is that by highlighting the ways scammers can gather sensitive information, and providing seniors with cybersecurity strategies they can implement themselves, we can help ensure their personal information, financial security and independence stay protected,” explains Marchi.

Seniors can test their cybersecurity skills at “Can You Spot an Online Scam?” and view other program resources and tips at ProtectSeniorsOnline.com. Or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office for additional resources and to learn how their professional CAREGiversSM may be able to assist. Find an office near you by visiting www.homeinstead.com/state/.

Senior Nation: Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit

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Beat the Nighttime Eating Habit: Five Washington Post staffers reported, in a recent tabloid section, how they embarked on a 30-day diet by cutting back on their late nighttime eating habits.

They found that timing itself is a major issue. Our bodies metabolize foods differently at different times of the day. Eating more calories at night, as opposed to earlier in the day, is linked t obesity, increased inflammation and great risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The good news is that the Post staffers also found that the late night eating is a habit one has the power to change.

Here are some strategies they used to reset their eating patterns:

Eat Regular Meals: Not eating enough throughout the day sets the stage for nighttime binging. Give yourself a fighting chance for success after sundown by eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Also planning and even preparing them ahead helps so that you are not caught scrambling when you are busy. You don’t have to go with three square meals. It can be two or three meals and a couple of snacks or several small meals. The idea is to find a pattern that works for you and fits into your schedule.

Pick a Cutoff Time: Draw a line in the sand, picking a cutoff time to stop eating in the evening. About 8 or 9 p.m. seems to work for most people, but you can choose what works best for you. Ideally, it should be about three hours before your bedtime, giving enough time to digest your dinner, but not so long that you are likely to get hungry again before going to sleep.

Wait and Reevaluate: If you are craving food at night, instead of impulsively raiding the refrigerator take a 15-minute break. Check in with how you are feeling and ask yourself whether you are really hungry or whether, perhaps there is another way to find satisfaction. Perhaps a relaxing bath, brisk walk or a cup of tea might do the trick if it’s stress that is driving you to eat. In that 5-minute window, the craving might just pass, you might find yourself happily distracted by another activity or you might ultimately decide to eat something after all. Regardless, waiting a bit and reevaluating how you feel will allow for a mindful decision.

Planning an Evening Snack: If you tend to eat dinner early or your evening meal is on the light side and you regularly find yourself hungry at night, plan a small, healthy snack to eat between dinner and bedtime – some fruit and yogurt, a cup of soup or avocado toast, for example. The idea is to strategically snack to manage your hungry rather than let your appetite leave you vulnerable to random munching.

Set Some Ground Rules: It’s practically a national pastime – eating out of a bag or carton while sitting on the sofa watching TV — but it’s scene that creates a perfect storm for mindless overeating. To break that unhealthy habit, set some new ground rules. When you choose to eat something, any time of day but especially at night, put a portion into a bowl or onto a plate and put the rest away. Sit at a table away from the television and fully enjoy your food. When you are done, you can return to your regularly scheduled programming, better off than before.

Radcliffe Corporate Services Celebrates 30th Year

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Radcliffe Corporate Services,  a full service Certified Public Accounting firm, located in Chestertown at 870 High Street, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in business.  Founder and President, Randall (Randy) Cooper, CPA, started the firm in 1987. Before launching Radcliffe, Cooper was a Vice-President for Mellon Bank and then Bank of America, working in the U.S. and abroad.  At that time in his life, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay was a haven for him.  When he founded Radcliffe, Cooper envisioned a small firm in a beautiful place with serious quality of life.    Thirty years later Cooper remains enchanted by the beauty of the Eastern Shore and the opportunity to live near the Chesapeake but also muses, “I’ve never worked so hard, and I haven’t been sailing in ages.”  

In 2008, the firm undertook a major renovation of the Radcliffe Mill building complex in Chestertown.  “It was a huge financial, personal and business commitment to preserving a Kent County landmark,” explained Cooper.  The property, which is on the National Register of Historic Properties, is a well-known landmark off the High Street circle.  It has added value to the community not only for unique office space it houses but also as the location of two locally prized restaurants:  first Brooks Tavern and currently the popular Café Sado.  Soon the Seed House, another building in the complex, will open as a wellness center, adding another chapter to the Mill restoration story.  “I’m proud that we made this investment, but the project was far more involved than any of us could have imagined,” says Cooper.

Over the years Radcliffe Corporate Services has gained respect regionally for its accounting expertise and now employs 20 professionals working in four distinct business units.  Myles Loller, CPA and Partner, has been with the firm for over 20 years.  Loller, who was born and raised in Kent County has developed strong relationships with businesses and individuals across the region and nationally.  “The great thing about a firm like Radcliffe is that we work closely with clients to help them understand tax situations to make sound decisions.”  

Maureen Karns, CPA, and Larissa Davidson, CPA, oversee the attestation and auditing services for the firm, as well as providing tax and accounting for individuals and businesses.  Karns notes, “There is no other firm in Kent County certified to perform the auditing services we do.”  Larissa Davidson, CPA, works with Karns in the auditing department.  Karns and Davidson share a special interest in working with regional non-profit organizations.  “It is especially satisfying to use our skills working with local organizations providing services to the community,” said Davidson.

In 2002, Radcliffe launched a financial services department offering financial planning and investment advisory services.  “Investments are one of my areas of special interest that bring into play tax planning, investment and portfolio analysis.” says Cooper.  In 2015, Sarah Schut, investment advisor representative, joined the firm to expand the financial services department.  Schut highlights that Radcliffe’s commitment to providing unbiased tax and financial planning.  Radcliffe works with Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, Radcliffe’s independent broker/dealer firm.  Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC.  Cetera entities are under separate ownership from any other named entity.  

One of Radcliffe’s major divisions provides financial management and CFO services a large behavioral health organization that provides mental health services in four states.  Recently, Radcliffe has been engaged to manage Kent Center Inc., which provides residential and day program services for adults with intellectual and developmental disability, adding to the firm’s broad spectrum of services.

“I couldn’t have imagined the scope of Radcliffe when I started it,” says Cooper.  In the coming year, Radcliffe plans to host several events celebrating the anniversary, including a talk about the historic significance of the mill building and the restoration process.  

 

Recovery: Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict, on Opioids April 8

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Did you know over the past 3 years that 272 Mid-Shore opioid overdoses were reported by Shore Regional Health-Memorial Hospital at Easton.

Mid-Shore communities are increasingly facing new risks from marijuana, heroin, and prescription drug abuse.  The report adds that prescription drugs have become established as significant substances of abuse, alongside illicit drugs among young adults, with prescription opioids being the second most commonly misused illegal drug after marijuana among persons aged 16 to 25 years old in Talbot County. Between 2010 and 2014 clients in Talbot County reported heroin as their drug of choice has grown 927%. Users cut across all income levels, but for Talbot County, most of the users are young.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 9.31.50 AM

Pictured is Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict

On April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Talbot County Department of Social Services will host a free conference, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” featuring nationally-known guest speaker Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. The day-long event will be held at the Talbot County Community Center, Easton, MD. Parents, teens, teachers, coaches, medical providers and anyone dealing with youth in our community are encouraged to attend.  Some of the conference topics will include safe disposal of prescription drugs, drug abuse trends and prevention strategies, the use of NARCAN, available resources, and personal stories by local residents.

Tony Hoffman’s story is full of redemption as he has seen some of the highest highs, and the lowest lows.  His BMX career started in high school, as he was a top-ranked BMX amateur with multiple endorsements. As a native of Clovis, CA, where he attended Clovis High School, Hoffman started drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin by his senior year. His life took a turn for the worse as he became addicted at such a young age, losing everything. In 2004 he committed a home invasion armed robbery, and was ultimately sent to prison for two years in 2007.  Hoffman began rebuilding his life’s purpose while he spent two years in prison.

Hoffman has dedicated his life, to bringing awareness around the country, describing how dangerous prescription pill and heroin abuse are, as well as advocating a shift in thinking towards current addiction-recovery processes. He has been sober since May 17th, 2007 and is the Founder and Director of The Freewheel Project, a non-profit organization that mentors thousands of youth through action sports: BMX, skateboarding and after-school programs. The Freewheel Project focuses on teaching kids leadership skills, and making healthy life choices, including substance abuse prevention, each year. In 2016 he also began writing his first book, titled, “Coming Clean.” He is a Former BMX Elite Pro and is currently ranked #2 in Masters Pro class, coaching in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with Women’s BMX PRO, Brooke Crain, in his lineup.

Space is limited for the free conference and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017. Call 410-770-5750 or email Lindsay.newcomb1@maryland.gov.