Habitat: Waterfront Living Through the Eyes of Critical Areas by Robert Rauch

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The Chesapeake Bay and all of its tributaries have over 11,000 miles of waterfront. The highly coveted waterfront has been sought after by residential developers for years. Residential lots with waterfront views and access to the Bay command high premiums and attractive profits for developers and land owners. Subdividing farms with extensive waterfronts into one and two acre lots was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Many farmers quickly recognized that their waterfront could be subdivided into lots and they could still retain much of the property to continue farming. There were other incentives to waterfront property land owners to subdivide the waterfront. Large waterfront properties, with unprotected shorelines, can lose acres of valuable real estate every year. Revenue from waterfront subdivision was often the only financially feasible way for a family, that had owned their farms for many years, to protect the shoreline. The high-priced waterfront with the potential for subdivision also became many farm owner’s valuable retirement plans.

Waterfront lot purchasers would typically clear the shorelines of brush and trees for a clear view and access to the water. Stone or timber shoreline protection and a pier with boat slips generally followed.  Many owners would construct their house as close to the water as possible to maximize the waterfront living experience. In 1984 all of that changed for Maryland waterfront property owners. The Maryland Critical Areas law was adopted and statewide development standards were enforced to limit the impact of new waterfront development activities on the quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Concerns over water quality and increasing nutrient loads from runoff inspired rigid standards for the development and use of tidal waterfront property. Regulated use of activities within 1,000 feet of the shoreline was determined to be critical for protection of the Bay. Special attention and more ridged control of a 100-foot buffer further limited a property owner’s right to improve the shoreline. The State of Maryland developed a set of standard rules and regulations for towns and counties to adopt and enforce. The local jurisdictions also had the right to adopt stricter standards for development in the Critical Area.

With the adoption of the Maryland Critical Areas Law, current and future owners of undeveloped Maryland waterfront property must now consider the development of their property with consideration given to State and local Critical Areas regulations. Restrictive buffer standards, increased setbacks, limitations on the amount of rooftop area and other non-porous surfaces and designed stormwater management improvements must n

ow be addressed in every Critical Areas development plan. Site design and approvals are also more complicated, expensive and time consuming. Development standards are slightly less restrictive for lots that were developed prior to the adoption of the Critical Areas program.

Maintenance of an undisturbed buffer is expected to filter and reduce the runoff of damaging pollutants. Heavy undergrowth and a continuous tree line are expected to provide valuable habitat for a variety of wildlife. Unfortunately, these environmental and wildlife considerations are not necessarily compatible with the enjoyable use of a residential waterfront property. Tree lines and unmaintained grasses and shrubs can obstruct views and access. Homeowners are however, allowed limited access to docks and other permitted water dependent uses. View lines may also be created, but any related disturbance to the buffer must be permitted as part of an approved buffer management plan. Shoreline protection is allowed with State and local permits. Passive or living shorelines are preferred to structural improvements. Limited dredging may be allowed in association with the permitting of a dock or pier. Lot coverage and landscaping outside of the buffer must take into account the incorporation of stormwater management improvements that conform to recently adopted enhanced nutrient removal standards that incorporate treatment measures suitable for residential lots.

Every lot and every development project will have unique conditions that a homeowner must address. Depending on the date that a lot was recorded, the buffer will range from 100’ to 200’. If you want to remove a dead tree in the buffer you must plant a new tree. Disturbance of the buffer to construct a walk or trail to gain access to a dock will require mitigation of the disturbance at a rate of 2:1. Buffer disturbance for erosion control requires mitigation of the disturbance at a rate of 1:1. Lawns may not be extended into the buffer as a form of mitigation. In certain circumstances, natural reestablishment of the buffer may be permitted. If the shoreline buffer on an existing lot is not fully established with approved vegetation, a homeowner is required to fully establish the buffer as part of the site development requirements for the project. Essentially, unobstructed views and non-restricted access to the rivers and Bay are no longer possible for waterfront property owners; that is not to say that a well-designed Critical Areas compliant buffer cannot be an aesthetically pleasing landscape feature. A healthy and vibrant shoreline brings diverse wildlife and unique wetland vegetation to your backyard, beautiful in their own right.

 

The design, approval and permitting associated with the development of a waterfront home, in Maryland’s Critical Area, will require the assistance of an engineering firm familiar with local development standards and process, Critical Areas design standards, and current stormwater management design requirements. An environmental scientist should be employed to assist in the verification of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and design and approval of a septic system and well. A landscape architect is an important member of the design team. Stormwater management practices should be designed into the overall landscape design for the property. An Architect familiar with restrictions imposed on waterfront property will provide valuable assistance in the design of a home that meets the owners needs and preferences and reduces Critical Areas impacts. Finally, a qualified real estate attorney will be required if any variances are desired to the standard Critical Areas development standards. Permitting will include approval of a site plan, buffer management plan, stormwater management plan, building plans, pier design, and septic and well plans. Sufficient time should be given to a development schedule to complete design and obtain all permits and approvals. With the right development team and an understanding of the applicable waterfront development standards, beautiful, functional and enjoyable waterfront lots can be designed and developed for your dream home.

 

Robert Rauch, P.E. is the President of RAUCH inc., a civil engineering, survey, architectural and construction management firm based in Easton, Md.  Bob is a Registered Professional Engineer in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.  He serves on the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland, the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland Medical System, and The Board of Visitors of University of Maryland, A. J. Clark School of Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering.  In 2016 RAUCH inc. was recognized as Talbot County’s Small Business of the Year. Bob was also recognized in 2017 as Talbot County’s Businessman of the Year.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources has made available the following resources to assist property owners to understand the many complicated rules and regulations that apply to planning, designing and construction on a lot or parcel located in Maryland’s Critical Area:

Building in the Critical Area

The Green Book for the Buffer – An Illustrated Guidebook for Planting at the Shoreline

Critical Area Buffer Resources Guide

http://dnr.maryland

 

Save the ACA

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes called Obamacare, is legislation designed to help people who cannot get health insurance through their employers buy affordable health care.

It requires companies to cover pre-existing conditions which had made insurance unavailable at any price to many people.  It also eliminates lifetime caps on coverage that in the past forced people with serious illness into bankruptcy. Finally, it requires companies to cover essential services necessary to maintain good health and recover from illness or accidents. Those services include outpatient, emergency and rehabilitative services; hospitalization; maternity/newborn care; mental health, substance abuse services; prescription drugs; laboratory services; preventive and chronic disease management; and pediatric care. Even if you are healthy and don’t expect to need any of those services, you are covered if you do. With preventive care covered, people stay healthier and serious conditions can be caught earlier when they are easier and cheaper to treat.

The ACA also requires insurers to cover women at the same cost as men. It limits premiums for older people to 3 times that for younger people. It allows young people to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, giving them more time to establish careers and afford their own insurance.

What does the ACA mean for Maryland?  In Maryland, only 54% are covered by employer-based insurance. Those who are self-employed, working for small organizations, between jobs or who lose a job find themselves without insurance. The ACA solves this problem by helping people who cannot get health insurance through their employers.

Thanks to the ACA, 309,202 more people in Maryland have health insurance now than before the law was implemented. The ACA accomplished this by using federal funds through subsidies and tax credits to help those who could not afford insurance plans.

Though it has been controversial, and has some problems that need resolving, the ACA has enjoyed popular support. An October 13 Kaiser poll found that 71% of those polled wanted legislators to keep the ACA and fix the problems rather than adopting proposals designed to make it fail. Despite the fact that a majority of people would rather keep the ACA and resolve its problems, it has been under attack since the 2016 election, with several failed attempts to “repeal and replace” it.

With Congress unwilling to repeal the ACA, President Trump has now tried to undermine it using executive actions that do not require congressional approval. Last week, he signed two such orders that will undermine the ACA and make it more likely to fail.

The first executive order promotes small group insurance plans to be sold with no essential services required.  So while the premiums might be cheap, the policies would not cover services most people need, and insurance companies could exclude pre-existing conditions or charge sky-high rates to cover them. These policies might be attractive to healthy people, but they are useless if those people get sick. They could also exclude older, sicker people or charge them so much that they would be forced to go without. Trump’s proposal returns health insurance to the scatter-shot coverage the ACA was designed to correct.

We’ve been here before. Prior to the ACA, insurers could sell bare-bones plans many people bought because premiums were lower. Those plans were popular with younger, healthy people, but they were useless to people who got sick or were injured because they did not cover many services. That’s why they were so cheap! That’s also why so many people found themselves with serious medical debt or unable to obtain affordable healthcare.

The second executive order immediately ends federal subsidies to insurance companies that had helped insurers offer affordable plans to lower-income people. Under the ACA, insurance companies used that funding to subsidize the costs of deductibles and out of pocket expenses for people who otherwise could not afford insurance.  Without that federal funding, insurance companies still have to cover lower-income people but they will have less money to do so.  That means that they will have to raise rates for everyone, making health insurance costs out of reach for many people.  Their alternative is to stop offering plans on the individual market. If many insurers stop offering plans, that leaves fewer plans from which consumers can choose, making rate increases even more likely.

The ACA is under attack, but the fight to save it is not over. The are several bi-partisan proposals being discussed in the Senate, including one by Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray, that would keep the features of the ACA most people want while finding solutions for the problems.  If you or someone you love depends on the ACA for health care, or if you believe that everyone ought to have access to affordable health care, contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to find a way to keep the benefits of the ACA while resolving the problems:

Senator Ben Cardin:   www.cardin.senate.gov or call: (202) 224-4524

Senator Chris Van Hollen: www.vanhollen.senate.gov  or call: (202) 224-4654

Representative Andy Harris: www.harris.house.gov or call: (202) 225-5311

Linda Cades

Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible

Mid-Shore Arts: Marc Castelli’s ‘Swinging the Lantern’ at Massoni Gallery Begins October 20

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For nearly a quarter of a century, Marc Castelli has been exhibiting his stunning watercolors of the workboats, watermen, historic log canoes and sporting events of the Chesapeake at the Carla Massoni Gallery in Chestertown, Maryland.  Swinging the Lantern, his annual one –man exhibition opens on October 20 and continues through December 2.  Collectors and friends will have the opportunity to visit with Castelli and attend the Collector’s Reception on Friday, October 20, from 6-8 pm.

The festivities continue the following week with the Sultana Education Foundation’s annual Downrigging Weekend from October 27-29.  Massoniart is proud to have been an event sponsor of this premier tall ship and wooden boat festival since its inception.  The Gallery is hosting a reception for the opening of Downrigging on Friday, October 27, 5-7:30 pm where they will welcome the return of the Kent County Watermen’s Association to shuck oysters out on the sidewalk followed by Sultana’s Fireworks at the foot of High Street.  During the weekend we sponsor an Open House on Saturday from 10-7 pm and Sunday From 11-3 pm.  But wait – there’s still more – plan to stay in the party mood through Chestertown’s First Friday Celebrations November 3, 5-8 pm and December 1, 5-8 pm.

During Downrigging, Marc Castelli will be honored with a special exhibition, Building Sultana – A Selection of Marc Castelli Paintings, at the Sultana Education Foundation’s new center. Between 1997 and 2001, Castelli captured the construction of the schooner SULTANA in more than 50 vibrant watercolor paintings. Taken together, these works represent one of the finest and most complete artistic surveys of the construction of a traditional wooden schooner produced over the last half century. Most of Castelli’s paintings of Sultana’s construction were rapidly acquired by private collectors, and haven’t been seen by the public for almost 20 years.  With the assistance of Marc Castelli, MASSONIART, and multiple private collectors, the Sultana Education Foundation is assembling a selection of these paintings for a special Downrigging Weekend exhibit. Also of note, Castelli’s “Building Sultana” exhibit shares its name with a new limited-edition book of his pen and ink drawings of the construction of Sultana that will be released during a special event at 6:00pm on Saturday, October 28 at Sultana’s Holt Center.

Castelli is considered a master of his genre.  He is on the water over 100 days a year gathering material to paint. Forty years of crewing on racing sailboats, and over twenty years actively participating on workboats has enabled him to get past the spectator view that represents the majority of marine and regional art.

The potential for abstraction, still life, figurative, atmospherics and sharp focus vignette, may exist in all the subject areas he explores but for Marc it is the strongest when on the water. It is the light, as it moves on and in water and is then reflected back on the watermen and their boats, that pulls at him.  Wherever he trains his focus, from the Sultana to the simplest of skiffs, he brings to the viewer a deeper understanding of the magic of the Chesapeake.

This year his annual exhibition, Swinging the Lantern, features over forty new watercolor paintings with a full range of subjects guaranteed to delight both collectors and those new to his work.

For additional information please contact Carla Massoni at 410-778-7330 or visitwww.massoniart.com. To learn more about Sultana Downrigging Weekend visitwww.sultanaeducation.org

Love Quilting! At Kent Center, Oct. 28-29

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Geese Among the Lilies is the Olde Kent Quilters Guild 2017 raffle quilt. Based on a pattern by Minick & Simpson, the quilt is a tribute to the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region. Proceeds benefit the guild’s community outreach programs, Deborah’s Angels and Hands of Time. Tickets for the raffle will be on sale, six for $5 or $1 each, at the guild’s upcoming Shore Love Quilting! Show & Market at the Kent Center.

The Olde Kent Quilters Guild will present their bi-annual Shore Love Quilting! Show & Market on Saturday, October 28, and Sunday, October 29, at the Kent Center, 215 Scheeler Road, Chestertown. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8, children 12 and under free.

The guild’s members have spent the last two years lovingly and skillfully creating more than 80 quilts that exemplify both the art and the craft of quilting through a variety of styles and techniques, including work by each of the guild’s four “bees” or special interest groups. “We’re really looking forward to having our show at the Kent Center for the first time,” guild president Gail Newman noted. “Its light-filled banquet hall should really show off our quilts beautifully. Plus, there’s plenty of parking!”

Sisters Jean Anthony and Barbara “Bobbi” Pippin are this year’s featured quilters. Among their showcased quilts are several they both worked on as gifts to celebrate various family members’ milestones.

Community outreach is an important part of the guild’s programs throughout the year. Visitors to the show can learn more about both Deborah’s Angels, which has donated more than 2500 small quilts to sick and needy children since its inception in 2004, and Hands of Time, a partnership with the Kent County Detention Center begun in 2016. These programs are supported in large part by the proceeds from the guild’s annual raffle quilt. This year’s quilt, Geese Among the Lilies, is the guild’s interpretation of the Coastal Lilies pattern by Minick & Simpson. Tickets for the raffle will be on sale at the show, six for $5 or $1 each. There are second and third prizes as well, so each ticket has three chances to win. The winners’ names will be drawn at the guild’s final meeting of the year on November 8.

The Market is the perfect opportunity for the show’s visitors to start their holiday shopping, offering unique handcrafted items ranging from lap, throw and baby quilts to zip pouches, purses, table runners, and other small items. Visiting quilters will also find a rich assortment of books, patterns, fabrics and tools for sale.

On Sunday, Bob’s Sharpening Service will be on-site in the parking lot to provide on-the-spot sharpening for scissors, knives and pruners. The Smoke, Rattle & Roll food truck will also be there, offering a variety of delicious barbeque meals.

The Olde Kent Quilters Guild, founded in 1995, meets monthly from January through November at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. The guild’s activities include monthly programs and workshops with local, regional and nationally known speakers, special interest bees, community outreach programs, an annual exhibit of smaller quilts and a bi-annual show, road trips and shop hops, and two annual retreats. Quilters of all skill levels, including beginners, are welcome. For more information, contact Gail Newman at 410.490.7102.

 

Finishing Touch to Get Clean Energy Funding

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The Finishing Touch on High Street in downtown Chestertown

Maryland PACE, a statewide partnership anchored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center to promote the finance of energy saving projects for commercial properties, announced today that the first C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) financed project in Kent County has been approved.  State-wide, the approval marks the third in the nascent program’s history and the first for a ‘main street’ retail business.

The Finishing Touch, a custom frame and print boutique in downtown Chestertown, owned by Robert Ramsey, will utilize the commercial PACE (C-PACE) program to finance $134,438 in energy savings improvements including new windows and a full HVAC system upgrade.

The program is not a grant as private capital is provided, in this instance by Greenworks Lending, a specialty C-PACE lender. Rather than a traditional working capital loan or cash-out from a commercial mortgage refinance, Ramsey will repay his investment in reduced operating expenses via a special tax assessment with a term of 20 years.

“One of the key advantages of the MD-PACE program is that it allows the commercial property owner to match the financing term to the useful life of the investment,” said Gerard Neely, MD-PACE program manager. “For The Finishing Touch and Robert Ramsey, this gives them the ability make a long-term investment in energy savings, comfort and efficiency while realizing positive cash flow from the onset.”

The project at 309 and 311 High St. in Chestertown will replace air conditioners and windows that date back to 1978. Pinder and Blue Heron Contracting, top providers of energy efficiency projects on the Eastern Shore, will develop and install the upgrades.  The HVAC upgrades are projected to save $6,420/year in energy expenses while more than 1,000 sq.ft. of low R-value glass will be replaced, improving the building’s overall energy efficiency year-round.

“ We are so pleased to see the MDPACE program at work, especially since with this project, it is being used to finance a project on the main street in a classic Maryland small town,” said Kathy Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “This financing model makes it so much more workable for a variety of small and large scale businesses to fund energy measures and free up their own operating capital in a very advantageous way.”

“This project is a perfect fit for the MD C-PACE program.  The property is in a Maryland designated Arts & Entertainment District, a Historical District, and on a Maryland Main Street.  Mr. Ramsey, a Downtown Chestertown business owner for almost 40 years, will be able to upgrade his commercial property and take immediate advantage of decreased operating costs, while increasing energy efficiency”, said Kent County Commissioner William Short.  “The work is being done by local contractors and adds to the enthusiasm of the project.  Kent County has been hard at work identifying, implementing, and promoting incentives for businesses to grow, locate, and prosper here.  The expertise and professionalism provided by the Maryland Commercial PACE team have been a great asset to economic development in our community.”

MD C-PACE is an innovative and affordable way for commercial, industrial and nonprofit building owners to pay for green energy upgrades. The program provides 100% up front financing that is repaid over long terms (often 20+ years) via a property-tax surcharge. The structure allows owners to replace end-of-life equipment with no upfront capital outlay and to see immediate net operating income (NOI) improvement when upgrading a wide variety of equipment including HVAC, lighting, roof, envelope, solar, and cogeneration.

Maryland passed policy enabling C-PACE in May 2014 and Kent County passed an ordinance establishing its program in September 2016. Kent County became one of the first counties on the Eastern Shore to enable C-PACE financing for its business community.

MD-PACE is a statewide partnership between PACE Financial Servicing and the Maryland Clean Energy Center to build a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.

 

Veterans Misperceived by Howard Freedlander

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This is a story about a questionable narrative about veterans’ mental health in our modern-day America, told in an unusujal 70-minute musical drama. The impact is powerful. The message is mind-changing.

Jaymes Poling, who spent three tours as part of the elite 82nd Airborne Division, returned to his country having to cope with public perceptions that he and his fellow veterans were damaged goods suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known by its ubiquitous acronym, PTSD. He was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He retired as a 26-year-old staff sergeant.

Jaynes Poling and Dominick Farinacci

When Poling returned home, seeking help from the Veterans Administration (VA) to adapt to civilian life after serving three separate years as an infantryman in Afghanistan, he immediately received a diagnosis as a victim of PTSD. Medications followed as dispensed by the well-meaning but misdirected VA.

Two fortuitous things happened to Poling: he met a woman in Cleveland and decided to return to school, and he crossed paths with Dominick Farinacci, a world-class trumpeter and music composer. Along the way, Poling decided that PTSD was misapplied in his case. Instead, he had a more positive self-diagnosis: post-traumatic growth.

Collaborating with Farinacci on an autobiographical music drama, Poling realized that veterans not just of his era but throughout history bring special skills to the civilian world. They had learned about leadership, responsibility for themselves and their fellow soldiers and compassion for the men and women with whom they served in combat.

Through the “Modern Warrior Live, which will come to the Avalon in Easton on Saturday, Nov. 18, Farinacci and Poling hope not only to change perceptions about veterans but develop a connection to the civilian world by telling a dramatic story, backed by gripping music. Perhaps, just perhaps, the public will view veterans as having special talents; the “goods” they carry are in their hearts and minds first-rate value and deserve respect.

To better understand the unusual performance, with my admittedly favorable opinion of veterans and the life-threatening experiences they encountered in combat, I spoke with Poling and Farinacci after talking with Richard Marks and Al Sikes–who not only are financial supporters of the Avalon performance but also two gentlemen known as superb volunteers and leaders in the community.

Farinacci said that during his collaboration with Jaymes Poling he saw “the power of music to build bridges, to develop a pathway to empathy, to change perceptions and create a dialogue between the military and civilians.” He repeatedly characterized poling as “authentic.”

During the production of the show, Poling said, “Sometimes the music didn’t feel right. I had to reevaluate times of my life. I had to sort out my feelings. It was not the fault of the music. The artistic musical interactions helped me hone my thoughts.”

As he discussed his life in combat and on civilian turf, Poling said he was careful. “I don’t want to tell stories that don’t belong to me,” he said. While he mentioned the name of a friend and fellow soldier killed in battle, he had checked with the friend’s mother beforehand.

Both Farinacci and Poling agreed that the message of healing and post-traumatic growth had universal implications. It applies to personal tragedy. Poling pointed to people dealing with cancer. “Why assign labels to the survivors? They have issues that provide them with a different filter on life—and a viewpoint that says ‘root for me,’ Poling said.

In summing up his appraisal of “Modern Warrior Live,” Farinacci said, “It was a 100 percent creative development. It stayed true to Jaymes’ story, with magical moments. There is absolutely no substitute for a person who went through it (war), Jaymes allows us to connect to veterans, to find out ‘what did you do?’’ His voice is authentic.”

By the time that the show comes to Easton, it will have played in New York City and Chicago.

Echoing the sentiment expressed by Poling and a videotaped cameo appearance by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Richard Marks said, “The country has to get there, understanding that PTSD is being treated in the wrong way. The show is cathartic and emotional. The veterans are not damaged goods.”

Marks, who served on submarines in the US. Navy, said he learned “the value of dependence on others and a level of camaraderie.” These lessons learned are applicable to civilian life.

A jazz enthusiastic, Al Sikes spoke about Dominic Farinacci’s “lyrical trumpet’ and the emotion it spawns. “You can tell stories with the horn,” he said. He referred to Poling’s powerful narrative.” He too spoke about the retired staff sergeant’s authenticity.

Though he never served in the military. Sikes said he gained a new appreciation for military members after the September 11, 2001 attacks on our American homeland.

I applaud Marks and Sikes for helping to provide the financial support for a music drama intent on changing the image of a military veteran and bridging the gap between combat soldiers and a civilian world drawn to misconceptions about hardened veterans. Memories of combat and death do not vanish; nor are they necessarily personal aspects that should consign veterans to life with a label. While painful at times, heart-wrenching experiences can and do strengthen a person.

Dominick Farinacci and Jaynes Poling have combined their particular skills and experiences into a production embodying creative energy, musical excellence and pure, personal testimony. The result should capture rapt attention and change misconceptions.

Chesapeake Music Presents Modern Warrior Live on Saturday, November 19 at the Avalon starting at 8:00 pm. For more information on tickets please go here.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia. 

A Trust Has Been Broken

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As U.S. citizens, we know that we are not alone in feeling a deep sense of betrayal.

We believe that a trust, treasured, and defended by generation after generation, is being steadily broken.  This sense of betrayal has escalated during the current Trump administration.

We were always taught, and still passionately think, that citizens have a dual responsibility in life: first, to look out for ourselves, individually; and second, to look out for our fellow human beings, and the environment, as one United States — E Pluribus Unum.

We can still be free to act, as long as we don’t diminish someone else’s freedom.  In turn, others can be free to act, provided they don’t dilute our freedom.

Among others, the Biblical writers, Socrates, modern philosophers, and democratic statesmen, have asserted the concept of the “social contract.”  This bedrock idea has been the foundation upon which our people have joined together, and created an orderly society which, while honoring the individual, also preserves the collective.

Either by overt or tacit agreement, citizens hold certain expectations of one another, the larger community and its government.  By the consent of the majority, rules, laws and social norms govern how individuals and groups treat each other. This shared contract is based on the trust that all will respect rights given equally to all..

For example, In the Pledge of Allegiance, we acknowledge that we are one nation, under God.  A trust has been broken when a religious group of our citizens, Jews or Muslims, don’t receive the same deference or respect as Christians.

In the Pledge of Allegiance, we declare that liberty and justice are for all.  A trust has been broken when black people, brown people, immigrant people, gay people, lesbian people, transgender people, and Indigenous people, do not enjoy justice and liberty, fairly and equally.

The United States Constitution proclaims that each citizen is entitled to speak freely about their beliefs.   But a trust has been broken when a sports figure is called a, “son of a bitch,” by his president, and terrorized on social media for kneeling, as his way of exercising his freedom of speech.

A trust has been broken when both members of a couple have to work at not just one, but two or even three jobs each, yet still cannot earn enough to provide the basic American Dream of housing, health, and education for a family.

A fundamental trust has been broken when partisan politicians seek to maintain their power by gerrymandering districts and deliberately suppressing the votes of those not in power.

We could write a whole book of betrayals.  Here is the point.  Those who have broken trust with the social contract must be called to account.  Citizens must speak out and act.

Contract-breakers, especially among the Republican Party do not deserve your vote on Election Day.  Contract-breakers of any political persuasion do not deserve your business.  Contract-breakers must not be allowed to silence us by relentless stoking of fear, and hate.

Citizens:  wake up, stand up, and speak up, for what is right.

Rev. Thomas G. Sinnott

Kitty Maynard

Linda Cades

Erin Anderson

Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties, Maryland, Indivisible

October 9, 2017

For more information contact:  Thomas Sinnott  410-699-0064

Meet Jim Shea, Candidate for Governor

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Jim Shea

Saturday, October 21 Jim Shea, a candidate for Maryland Governor, will meet with interested voters at the Kent County Democratic headquarters, 347 High St., Chestertown from noon to 2 p.m.

Jim Shea is a native of Baltimore, and has lived in Baltimore County for the last 40 years with his wife, Barbara, and their family. After graduating from University of Virginia law school in 1977, Jim was a federal law clerk before entering private practice. Shortly after that he served as a Maryland Assistant Attorney General. He then went to work for the law firm of Venable LLP in 1983. For 22 years beginning in 1994, he served as Venable’s managing partner and its chairman, making it Maryland’s largest law firm.

Shea’s civic involvement has included serving as chairs of the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland, the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. He has also served on the Equal Justice Council Of the Maryland legal aid bureau, the board of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the board of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of the Board of the Hippodrome Theater.

A Family Plan by Nancy Mugele

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My iPhone ringer has been on 24-7 on its loudest setting for nearly two months and I have no intention of turning it down anytime soon. I thought as an empty-nester I would not need to have my phone near me at all times of day and night but I have since changed my mind. Adult children living in places near and far, or travelling to places near and far, feel secure knowing that the red roof inn is monitoring their whereabouts.

On August 11, my youngest left on a trip out west on a quest to find the best trout fishing in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and now, British Columbia. You can read about his adventures with his black lab Boh on his blog at thefishwhistler.com. My temporarily jobless, homeless son, who says he has never been happier writing and fishing, has been communicating more than normal – which I love – but it is always in the midnight to 2 a.m. time frame when his day out west is winding down and I am in bed. He told me he has been “finding out how much you really need, versus what you think you need.” An idealist and a realist all in one.

Last week my oldest, who believes in the power of experiences, used some vacation time from her job at UnderArmour to travel to Paris for sightseeing, Munich for Oktoberfest and Iceland for a day at the Blue Lagoon. Texts started at 4 a.m. Chestertown time as she began each day’s new adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I loved receiving the photos and messages, but coupled with a few 7:45 a.m. Kent School meetings, I have been especially exhausted for the past two weeks. Luckily, my middle daughter in Nashville is only an hour behind us and since she works at a school like me, she cannot travel in September, although she did get back on Eastern Standard Time this summer for a trip to Florida and two friends’ weddings. But, seriously, I can’t keep track of all the time zones my children are in!

Turn off your phone, you may say, but raising children post-9/11 required a different set of parenting skills than pre-9/11. Communication became the name of the game. We bought our oldest, whose birthday is 9/11 (and who was celebrating her “golden” birthday, turning 11 on 9/11), a cell phone immediately. As parents of a 6th grader in 2001, my husband and I would not have even thought about giving her a cell phone until the day the world stopped and that changed everything for us as parents. Suddenly, I had this intense need to be able to be in communication with my children at all times – especially as they traveled to other schools, towns, playing fields and ice rinks for athletics, or social events.

Parents in constant communication with their children got a bad rap as helicopter parents but truly I think it was purely about the communication – not the control. Parents need to hear their children’s voices especially when they are away from home, and especially in the world we live in which, all too often, it seems, experiences tragedies like terrorist attacks, the Las Vegas shootings, and natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquake in Mexico. My heart aches for all those affected by all of the worst in nature and humanity these past few months.

And, while I don’t think that we should stop living our lives for fear of an attack or natural disaster, I believe we need to be intentional about two things – vigilance and communication. Any of my children could have been at the Jason Aldean concert – and in fact we all just saw him in Nashville at CMAFest. A co-worker just told me she is going to tell her older children to wear comfortable shoes when travelling or gathering in large groups of people so “you can be ready to run.” I am going to say this to mine as well. How sad that this is the world we now live in.

It seems to me that communication, above all else, is critical to our mental state. We have a primal need to let our loved ones know we are safe and to learn that they, too, are safe.  Now as our children live their lives in other parts of the country from home base, I greatly appreciate the cellphones we all carry. I know we constantly say that people are obsessed with their devices and social media, and we urge our friends to put their phone away. But I believe that being on our devices for connection to family and friends is important today for building and maintaining human relationships.

Yes, we still have a family plan with our cell provider and two of our three pay us monthly. (The fisherman has only a few more months with free cell service!) As well, the five of us have a family group text and at least once a day someone makes me smile and LOL across the miles. I will not turn off my phone and miss any of it!

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.