The Sounds of Racism by Fran White

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The sounds of Racism resound in the image above and if we add lyrics to this depiction of rage and racism, the following words from the production, SOUTH PACIFIC, could accompany the horrific concerto that was heard:

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught as sung by Ensign Cable in his role as the conflicted lover of a young Polynesian girl in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production; You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year.”

These very enraged people in the photo, members of the KKK and other supporters of racism have been carefully taught to hate and fear others of different races, facial features, religion and sexual orientation. They are demonstrating a legacy passed onto them from their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on in the family tree.

Racism cannot be eradicated by legislation, nor the destruction of Confederate statues and monuments since these beliefs are so ingrained into the soul and collective unconscious of these racists. Only through their awareness of such destructive beliefs and the motivation, on the part of the racist, can this cancerous, destructive and hateful legacy be finally destroyed. This is a daunting and, perhaps, an unrealistic expectation since racist are so conditioned to believe and follow the expectations of generations of their families who have rewarded their behavior with love and encouragement.

Perhaps, if some of those photographed racists would be aware of the destruction of lives impacted by their irrational behavior and subsequently take ownership of the death of that beautiful young woman in Virginia who was attempting to peacefully change their generational beliefs, their hate, and fears. This quest to eradicate this embedded cancer of racism appears to be almost impossible since this evil has been with us since the beginning of time when human enslavement did accompany racist ideology, and this identical evil was exhibited in the concerto of rage orchestrated in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The cure for this social cancer is for each one of us to attempt to peacefully and cleverly teach, one racist at a time, one despicable deed at a time, not to fear and hate. Yes, this is a monumental task to “unteach” generational ideology and emotionally imbedded beliefs. We must first examine our own beliefs, words, and actions that may reflect unconscious suggestions of racism inherited from our own family of origin. Next, we must target those in our social or professional circles and gently open the channels of awareness within these observed and identified racists.

Change in behavior will never occur unless one is aware of that action or belief and is sincerely motivated to eradicate such offensive and destructive actions. The motivation to change that behavior which deeply offends you is dependent on the value that racist places on your friendship or professional association. Indeed, this is a daunting, overwhelming and highly time-consuming task but street demonstrations and protesting is risky and does not effectively change one racist at a time for a cumulative elimination of racism.

Dr. Fran White is a psychologist and marriage and family therapist who has been in private practice for over three decades. She was a columnist for her regional newspaper and has written about human behavior and problem-solving. Fran resides on the Eastern Shore with her husband, Tom, and is a grandmother of nine grandchildren.

 

Insight Meditation Community Offers Introductory Class 

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The Insight Meditation Community of Chestertown is offering a 6-week Introduction to Insight Meditation class on Sunday afternoons from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. beginning September 10, 2017. At the heart of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness, the cultivation of clear, stable and non-judgmental awareness. Anne Briggs, the group’s leader, and Wendy Morrison, a mindfulness and yoga teacher, will be teaching the classes, which will be held at the Chester River Friends Meeting House, 124 Philosophers Terrace, Chestertown. There is a $25.00 registration fee, which can be mailed to Anne Briggs at 220 N. Kent Street, Chestertown, Md. 21620. Checks should be made payable to IMC – Chestertown and accompanied by your e-mail address and telephone number.

The Insight Meditation Community’s website states that “The purpose of the Insight Meditation Community of Chestertown is to provide instruction and support for the practices of insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation, and to foster understanding of the Buddha’s teachings (the Dharma). Our teachings and practices come from the Western “Insight Meditation” branch of the Theravadan lineage of Buddhism, as taught by Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and many others. We also welcome teachers and teachings from other lineages of Buddhism.”

For further information, please get in touch with Anne Briggs by telephone at 410-778-1746, or by e-mail at info@imc-chestertown.org, or consult the group’s web site.

Delmarva Review Selects Cover For Tenth Anniversary

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Regional photographer Calvin “Cal” Jackson’s color image “Recycle” was selected for the tenth anniversary cover of the Delmarva Review, to be published on November 1.

“We’re excited to feature cover art from the strong work of regional artists, including photography and paintings,” said Emily Rich, editor of the review. “The richness of regional art provides a compelling folio for the quality of stories and poetry we publish annually.”

Cal Jackson’s cover image “Recycle” shows shucked oyster shells, in rustic bushels, to be spread on bay oyster beds, providing a solid hold for oyster larvae to grow into the future.

The photographer, from Easton, is exhibiting at the BWI Airport gallery, by the International Terminal, and in a Maryland Federation of the Arts “Global Perspectives” online collection during August. His photos are among exhibits at galleries in Easton, Cambridge and Chestertown, Maryland, as well as Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Jackson is a retired accountant and former audit manager for information technology with the U.S. Army.

A Letter to the Kent School Family

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Editor’s note: Nancy Mugele, Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown, forwarded the following letter she sent to members of the school community,  We offer it to our readers for its relevance to recent events in our country.

Dear Members of the Kent School Community,

In light of the recent events in Charlottesville this past weekend, I have been reflecting upon the Kent School mission and the role of education in our society. I firmly believe that our School mission is more relevant today than it was even last week. In our community of teaching and learning at Kent School moral integrity, kindness and respect for others are values we cherish, nurture, and teach deliberately. I wish all children in our country could receive an education combining excellence in academics, the arts and athletics, with moral excellence.

It is unbelievable to me that in 2017 hate groups and domestic terrorists continue their centuries-old campaigns of racism, discrimination and evil in this country. Sadly, their ideas are not new, even as new misguided members enter their ranks. As an educator, this deeply troubles me on many levels.

Children are not born to hate. In fact, the complete opposite is true. Most children form deep, loving bonds with their parents starting before they can verbally express themselves, according to Lawrence Cohen, PhD, author of Playful Parenting (Ballantine). Even newborns feel attachment from the moment they are born. Thus hate, racism, and discrimination are all taught and learned behaviors.

Education holds the key. Defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life (Dictionary.com), education is the only way forward, but it must be a rich, liberal arts education that includes character education at its heart.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

At Kent School we strive to live our mission each day and our faculty members are steadfast in their efforts to foster the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world. I look forward to the day when Kent School students will lead our communities, our regions, our states and our country, for I know they will lead with their minds and their hearts.

With kindest regards,

Nancy Mugele

Head of School

 

 

 

 

Where the Sun Is Shining on Solar in Kent County by Janet Christensen-Lewis

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The proposed Urban Grid solar farm site on Morgnec Road near Chestertown. Photo Credit: Tyler Campbell

A pattern is emerging for several utility-scale renewable energy projects that are moving forward, or not, in Kent County.  The reason for the forward momentum or stall in all three seems to be the same: the willingness of the energy developers to cooperate with local laws and plans.  The score so far:  one positive, that is, project moving forwards3, one mediocre, and one negative.

Positive: OneEnergy’s Blue Star Solar LLC solar project in Massey is set to move forward after receiving final site plan approval from the Planning Commission. The project is located in a zone where utility scale solar energy generation is allowed. Washington College is currently negotiating to buy some of the energy produced. OneEnergy plans to install native plantings for increased water quality and has agreed to comply with Kent County’s Forest Conservation Ordinance (FCO). (This after the Public Service Commission (PSC) upheld the Public Utility Law Judge’s ruling on appeal that the company needed to meet the Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) condition of afforestation and compliance with the county’s FCO. The FCO is based on the state’s mandate under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) requiring anyone needing a major site plan (approximately 1 acre) to contribute to the reforesting of Maryland, regardless of whether trees are removed on-site.  The application of the FCA has benefits for the environment and Chesapeake Bay. OneEnergy’s project will have other direct benefits within the County while being in compliance with all local laws.

Two other projects proposed for Kent County have sought repeated suspensions of their applications for Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) with the  PSC, a necessary part of the process OneEnergy has achieved long since.

Mediocre: Community Solar, Massey Solar LLC, is also located in Massey within a zone where their project is an approved use. That’s a positive. Yet, this corporation has asked the PSC for another CPCN delay in its quest for exemption from compliance with Kent’s FCO, which the state’s PPRP has made a condition for receiving the CPCN. Instead of paying lawyers to carry on their battle to relitigate the PPRP’s condition, Community Solar should just decide to comply, get their site plan approved by the Planning Commission, their CPCN from the PSC, and start construction.

Negative: The other stalled applicant, Urban Grid, Morgnec Road Solar LLC, has plans for solar development on Kent County property zoned Rural Residential and Community Residential in the designated growth zone for Chestertown (with accessible water and sewer hook-up paid for by taxpayers). Urban Grid has proceeded despite opposition from Kent County, Chestertown, and Kent Conservation, all of whom have filed as interveners in the PSC case. The basis for opposition is simple. The project is direct violation of County zoning and it is not in compliance with either the county’s or the town’s comprehensive plan – the same reasons that Apex’s solar project in Chesterville was denied a CPCN by the PSC last January (as was a similar project in Allegany in February).  Maryland’s General Assembly has since added language to the PSC’s enabling law directing the PSC to give “due consideration” to “consistency of the application with the Comprehensive Plan and zoning,” buttressing existing language requiring consideration of the opinions of local government.

Urban Grid’s requested delay for another 90 days in order to dress up its project with another redesigned landscape plan (we note that Urban Grid hired a Virginia-based company for their plan, not a Maryland firm, much less a local one) does nothing to explain how the fundamental issue is to be resolved, namely that industrial, utility-scale solar at this location does not comply with local plans and zoning.

We can now also report that the myth of job creation post-construction by renewable energy projects in Kent County can be put to rest. In a report on Urban Grid’s similarly sized project in Queen Anne’s County, the company stated, “no fulltime employees would be required in its operation.”

Meanwhile 143 rooftop and on-farm solar projects have been registered in the PJM GATs (Generation Attribute Tracking System) since Massey Solar, LLC first filed their application in November 2015. PJM is a regional electric power system based in Pennsylvania and serving 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Janet Christensen-Lewis

Chair, Board of Directors

Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance

Commissioners Should Archive Meeting Videos

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I am a parent of school age kids, a small business owner and an active PTA member. Juggling responsibilities makes it difficult to attend as many government meetings as I would like. Even making the time to watch the live feed from the comfort of home is not always possible. I am not alone. With the school year starting soon my time and the time of most young families in our county will be taken up by afterschool activities, sports and family.

Providing opportunities for residents to be more engaged and better informed is a good thing. It should be a goal of all of our government leaders.  Since the reduction in the number of County Commissioner meetings it can take up to two weeks for minutes to be approved and posted. The latest minutes posted online are from July 18.

On August 10th I started a petition requesting the following –

Currently the Kent County website has a live feed of the County Commissioner meetings but no video archive is available. You have to watch the feed while the meeting is happening. The County Commissioners and IT Department should provide a video archive that is available on the Kent County website. With the recent reduction of monthly County Commissioner meetings it would seem that it would not be an additional workload to continue to provide written minutes of these meetings in addition to a video archive.

Rock Hall provides a live stream and video archive. Their fee is $150 per month. Chestertown has a consultant record and post meetings on YouTube. I believe the consultant’s fee runs around $100 per month. Kent County is currently paying around $200 per month for just live streaming.

What was once considered a courtesy is becoming the standard.  More than half of all Maryland counties provide written minutes as well as a video archive or link to a YouTube channel on their websites – Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Harford, Allegheny, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore, Montgomery, Washington, Calvert, Wicomico.  And two counties in Maryland provide written minutes as well as audio archive on their websites – Cecil and Garrett.

Last night I made my request in person at the County Commissioners meeting. They said they would consider it. If you would like to join me in my request please sign the petition at https://goo.gl/4fxybJ

Francoise Sullivan
Kent County

Coldwell Banker Chesapeake and the Humane Society Sponsor “Home For Dogs” Weekend

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Coldwell Banker Chesapeake and the Humane Society of Kent County are joining forces for the national “Homes for Dogs” adoption weekend September 9-10, 2017.

The nationwide adoption weekend is part of the “homes for dogs” project, a three-year campaign launched by Coldwell Banker real estate LLC and
Adopt-a- Pet.Com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website.

Join the fun at Coldwell’s office located at 114b Cross Street in Chestertown to kick off the event on first Friday, September 1 from 5 – 8 pm. Meet some of the pups available for adoption and support us in our fundraising efforts. On Saturday, September 9,  the program will be in Fountain Park with pets available for adoption. There will also be a photographer on hand so bring your pet and get a photo taken. The proceeds will benefit the Humane Society.

Save Our Hospital Group Responds to Workgroup Report

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Leaders of the Save Our Hospital group and other concerned citizens have sent a letter about recommendations of the Maryland Rural Health Workgroup’s in the draft report on the future of the Chestertown hospital. The letter cites a number of potential problems with the report, especially as its recommendations would affect Kent County residents. Signers include a number of doctors, the mayor of Chestertown and two town council members, the president of Washington College, the director of Heron Point and board members of the hospital foundation along with other business and community leaders.

The hospital,  a branch of University of Maryland Medical System, has been the focus of community concerns since UMMS acquired it in 2007. While the UM Shore Regional Health board, the immediate parent facility, has committed to keeping the hospital open through 2022, its future beyond that date remains uncertain, Many community members interpret recent staff cuts and other reductions in services as preliminaries to downsizing the facility with an eye to closing it shortly after 2022.

The Rural Health Workgroup is in the final stages of writing its report, which the legislators will then turn into law.  The final report will be presented at the last full workgroup meeting, Sept. 28 in Annapolis.

Here is the Save Our Hospital letter as submitted.

To:        Members of the Rural Health Workgroup and staff of the Maryland Health Care Commission

From: Leadership, Save Our Hospital physicians and citizens group

Date:    August 10, 2017

Re:        Concerns about the draft recommendations  

Dear Workgroup Members and Staff:

As members of the physician-led Kent and northern Queen Anne’s community volunteer group Save Our Hospital, we write to share our reaction to the draft recommendations discussed at the July 25 meeting of the Rural Health Workgroup.

We are grateful to the Health Care Commission staff and the Workgroup members, especially chairs Deborah Mizeur and Joseph Ciatola, for the time and thought they have dedicated to the process of rethinking and redesigning a health-care delivery plan that works for rural communities like ours.

We wholeheartedly endorse the majority of the recommendations, which concern greater coordination and clustering of health-related services, providing in-home or close-to-home care for patients, incentives for attracting and retaining physicians and other health-care professionals, reducing re-admission rates, avoiding unnecessary visits to emergency rooms, and exploiting the power of telemedicine and other innovations to increase timely access to the highest quality diagnostic and treatment expertise.

But we have serious concerns.

Since our original 2015 meetings (which sparked Maryland’s General Assembly and the State Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to create your Workgroup), the Save the Hospital citizens group has continued to focus on the viability and vitality of the acute care hospital in Chestertown, now part of University of Maryland Medical System’s Shore Regional Health System. Most of our concerns for the Workgroup recommendations therefore revolve around the concept of the special Rural Community Hospital. That designation is outlined on page 11 of the draft recommendations under item 10: “Create a special hospital designation for Rural Communities.”

While we applaud the creation of a new category of hospital if it will help ensure the continued financial success of our county’s second largest employer, we have specific concerns about the defining characteristics and longevity outlined in the draft recommendations:

Item 10. b. states that the hospital must be “located 35 miles or more from the nearest general acute care hospital.” While we understand that the mileage figure comes from the federal designation for a Critical Access Hospital, it is not a safe measure for rural Maryland communities such as Kent County.  The current hospital in Chestertown is approximately 34 miles from the site of the proposed Easton medical center on Route 50 near the Easton Airport. Thousands of residents, tourists, beach-goers, boaters, students, campers and staffers from marinas, summer camps and environmental education programs in remote parts of Kent County, notably Rock Hall, Betterton, Still Pond Neck and Galena, are 45 to 50 miles or more from the Easton site.

To use the 35-mile figure would be cruel, cynical and dangerous.

We believe a safer criterion would be one based not on mileage but on travel time. That would allow for considerations such as beach traffic on Route 50 and other seasonal issues that lengthen the trip to another hospital.

Item 10. f.  states, “The program would last for five years and would be renewable by agreement of HSCRC and the hospital.” By leaving the renewal option solely up to the hospital board and executives, this clause threatens to put the Chestertown hospital (and any designated Rural Community hospital) right back into the untenable situation that first sparked community outrage and led to the creation of the Rural Health Workgroup in the first place.

A hospital is too important to the health, economy and social wellbeing of a community to be redefined and converted into a lesser facility without vigorous community and legislative debate and input.  The State must require a review process that ensures public discussion and input from the affected hospital’s medical staff and guarantees that the hospital decision makers are hearing and acting on community and physician concerns.  The procedure for altering a Rural Community Hospital’s status should be similar in scope and as rigorous as Maryland’s existing Certificate of Need process for building or significantly altering health-care facilities.

Need for a local hospital board. Another concern is the continued lack of a truly local board to serve as a liaison, watchdog and advocate for our hospital. While the Workgroup’s deliberations and recommendations have invested in the concept of regional and system-wide collaboratives and oversight, we strongly endorse the idea of a community-based board for any rural community hospital or health complex.

Yes, there is a board of directors for the regional health system (in our case, UMMS Shore Regional Health System), but board members from smaller communities will never have a decisive voice on a regional board.  It is, after all, the almost total disregard for our community’s interests and the diminished status of our hospital by the Easton-based regional board that led us to appeal to the General Assembly for respect and attention. Residents will always be more closely connected to, loyal to, and more likely to donate to, a hospital with its own board drawn entirely from neighbors, friends and civic leaders they know and trust.

(Such a local board would give voice to community concerns about hospital policies such as Shore Regional Health’s “white paper” proposal to eliminate the ICU unit and to reduce inpatient beds based on projected rather than recent  patient data.)

“Put some teeth in it.” Given the severity of the physician shortage in rural areas and the pressure and cost of outspending competitors to attract top medical staff, our group suggests building significant incentives and disincentives into any recommendations that will encourage University of Maryland Medical School to develop more family physicians and general practitioners who will train and eventually practice in Kent County and other rural communities. This was a promise—broken immediately and never fulfilled—that UMMS made nine years ago when it was a suitor seeking ownership of the hospital in Chestertown.

Thank you for giving our concerns your serious consideration. The Kent and northern Queen Anne’s community will remain engaged. We are eager to support Senators Middleton and Hershey and Delegates Jacobs, Ghrist and Arentz as they shepherd the Workgroup report through the halls of the General Assembly and into law.  We know that, despite the long road that brought us to this point, we still have a long way to go to ensure that our future includes a robust hospital at the center of a healthy, equitable, prosperous community.

Sincerely,

Save the Hospital Leadership

Dr. Jerry O’Connor

Dr. Wayne Benjamin

Dr. Michael Peimer

Dr. Ona Kareiva

Dr. Susan Ross

Margie Elsberg, SOH Coordinator, past president of Chester River Health Foundation

Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College

Chris Cerino, Mayor, Town of Chestertown

Garrett Falcone, executive director, Heron Point CCRC

Glenn Wilson, President and CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust, President of United Way     of Kent County

Kay MacIntosh, economic development coordinator, Town of Chestertown

And the following citizens in attendance at the August 10 meeting:

(professional or community affiliations provided as known)

Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver, community leader

Marty Stetson, Chestertown Town Council

Linda Kuiper, Chestertown Town Council

Fred Harmon, representing the residents of Heron Point

Leon Irish

Bill Mohan

Shelby Strudwick

Jim Twohy

Charles Lerner, board member, Chester River Health Foundation

Sandra Bjork, board member, Chester River Health Foundation

David Foster, former Chester River Riverkeeper

Nancy Carter

Zane Carter

Beryl Kemp

Michael McDonnell

Stuart Elsberg, past president, For All Seasons

 

 

 

Vigil to Honor Heather Heyer Set for Wednesday at 6 pm in Fountain Park

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Heather Heyer, age 32, killed in car attack in Charlottesville, VA, August 12, 2017

A vigil is planned to honor Heather Heyer who gave her life for what she believed in.  Heather, 32, was killed in the car attack that injured at least 19 others in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017.

According to an email from the Kent and Queen Anne’s County chapter of Indivisible:

“This week, on Wednesday (Aug. 16), we will gather in Fountain Park at 6 p.m. for a vigil to honor the lives of those who were killed or injured this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA, as they stood up for equality and civil rights and acted against hate in their community and in our nation. Please spread the word. Invite friends, family, neighbors, co-workers. We’re all in this together. Let’s stand together. Hate has no home in our communities, in our state, in our country.”

For more information, see Kent & Queen Anne’s Indivisible’s website and FaceBook.