Come Sing! Community Caroling in Fountain Park Sunday, Dec. 17

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 Enjoy singing songs of the season? Do you love Christmas Carols? Come join your neighbors in a community sing-along, sponsored by the Chester Valley Ministers Association, at 3 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 17, in Fountain Park in Chestertown. In the event of inclement weather, the sing-along will take place in Christ Methodist Church, 401 High St.  Songs will include traditional Christmas carols along with other seasonal and holiday songs.

Individuals or groups — all are welcome!  Musical groups that would like to perform and choirs to help lead the singing are invited.  Song books will be provided. Phil Dutton will provide keyboard accompaniment, and the choir of Emmanuel Episcopal Church will be leading some of the singing.

Donations are welcome; all proceeds after expenses will benefit the CVMA Good Neighbor Fund, a volunteer organization that provides emergency funds for shelter when other help is unavailable, and provides funds for utilities, rent and medical supplies for qualifying community members in critical need.  The Good Neighbor Fund is always in need of volunteers willing to commit to two hours a month in Chestertown.

The Chester Valley Ministers’ Association is a group of local ministers and lay people whose mission is to promote, sponsor and support a range of initiatives that help the needy in Kent and Northern Queen Anne’s counties.

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Christmas Feast Returns to First Methodist Church

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All are welcome at the annual Feast of Love i,held each Christmas at First United Methodist Church in Chestertown

The community is invited to the annual “Feast of Love” dinner at First United Methodist Church on Christmas afternoon, Monday, Dec. 25, at 1 p.m. Any and all that wish to feel the warmth of the season and the best sense of our community are welcome.

First organized in 1984 by Yvonne Arrowood, the feast brings the folks at First Methodist and a score of neighbors from throughout the county to open their doors and hearts on a winter’s day to provide nourishment for body and soul. Assuring that on a day of celebration, no-one need feel alone.  For more than three decades now, it has been a special tradition both for those that come to the meal and for the volunteers to enjoy the fellowship of their neighbors and friends.

Dinner includes roast turkey, vegetables with all the trimmings and enough pies and desserts, (even a birthday cake for the special occasion),  to make the celebration complete. Singing and festive cheer abound as is an honest chance to witness that Chestertown isn’t just a small town but really one big family.

Reservations are not required, but anyone interested in coming please call (410)778-2977, so the organizers know how many to expect. (Additionally, if you know anyone that needs to be personally invited or picked up, the church can try to make transportation available for them with advance notice.)  The church is located at High & Mill Street in downtown Chestertown and the entrance for the dinner is on the Mill Street side of the church.

If you would like to volunteer, you can email feastoflovedinner@gmail.com or sign up at here with the hostname: “arrowood” and log in: “1225”.

Thanks in advance to the Fish Whistle, Dixon Valve & Coupling, Theresa Smith, Janet Sigler and Lapp Family Bakeries for their help with the meal.

Santa’s Open Charity Golf Tournament Raises $8,600 for Big Brother/Big Sister of Eastern Shore

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Santa’s Open Charity Golf Tournament Event Founder & Certified PGA Professional, Bob Baldassari; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore Executive Director, Jessica Mimms and Ocean Pines PGA Director of Golf, John Malinowski

The event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, raised over $8,600 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore and collected a variety of gifts for area children in need. This year marks the fifth consecutive year the Santa’s Open has been held at Ocean Pines.

Ocean Pines Golf Club PGA Director of Golf John Malinowski was instrumental in bringing the annual tournament to the course. “I had worked with the Santa’s Open for several years prior to my coming to Ocean Pines and was excited to bring the event to this course,” Malinowski said. “I’m proud of how the Ocean Pines community has rallied around the tournament and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore year after year.”

Presented by title sponsor Delmarva Power, this year’s event saw close to 90 golfers and numerous area business participants. Four-person teams competed for first-, second- and third-place low gross; first-, second- and third-place low net and closest to the pin. Awards were presented at a reception ceremony at the Tern Grille at Ocean Pines Golf Club following the tournament.

The team of Ray Wankmiller, Mike Wankmiller, Tim McMahon and Daryl Griffith won first-place gross. Bobby Goroy, Brian Patey, David Bledsoe and Jimmy Sweet won second-place gross and Bill Mears, Jamie Neal, Randy Mears and Zeke Prygocki won third-place gross.

First-place net was won by Jay Graybill, Kenny Reed, Linwood Harmon and Matt Reed. Bryan Clark, George Vogelslang, Joe Sheehy and Neil Baker won second-place net. Third-place net was won by John Allen, Jr., Brandon Phillips, John Petito and Stan Botts.

The closest-to-the-pin contest was won by Steve Lennon, Ray Wankmiller, Tony Hughes and Stan Botts.

Participants in the 25th Annual Santa’s Open Golf Tournament with Santa at Ocean Pines Golf Club. Dec 2, 2017

Tee sign sponsors for the event included Ayres, Jenkins, Gordy & Almand, PA; Canada Dry; The Delmarva Shorebirds; iHeart Radio; the Bank of Delmarva; Eastern Shore Golf Magazine; Pepsi and Sonya Whited.

Other sponsors included breakfast sponsor, PNC Bank, reception sponsor, Real HVAC Services and cheer sponsor Mid-Atlantic Heating & Air Conditioning.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore provide children facing adversity with enrichment and a strong, professionally supported one-to-one relationship that will change his or her life for the better, forever.  Programs inspire children to stay in school, avoid drugs and other risky behaviors while giving them the tools necessary to succeed and pave a better and brighter future.

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore, visit their website or send email to info@shorebiglittle.org or call 410-543-2447.

For more information about the Ocean Pines community, contact Denise Sawyer, director of marketing and public relations for the Ocean Pines Association, at 410-641-7717 or dsawyer@oceanpines.org.

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Chesapeake Bank “Spend Local, Stay Local” Gift Card Boosts Local Economy

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Glenn Wilson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Bank, and Russell Gertsch, Executive Assistant to the President, hold a copy of the bank’s local gift card, good for numerous local businesses plus any store that accepts Discover Card.

Chestertown, MD, December 8, 2017– In 2010, Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company introduced the innovative “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card program. Since the program’s inception, over 3,000 gift cards have been issued, totaling nearly $100,000. These gift cards are targeted towards our local shops, restaurants, and businesses. The program highlights the wide variety of businesses that are located right in our backyard. Current participating retailers include hardware stores, coffee shops, bookstores, salons, gift shops and more. An up-to-date list of participating retailers is maintained on the program’s website.

“We are proud to offer this card, not to profit the Bank, but to support our community’s businesses.” – Glenn L. Wilson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company During this Holiday Season, consider supporting our local economy by giving the “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card to friends, family and loved ones. Businesses may want to give them to their employees and customers.

Gift cards may be purchased at Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company’s High Street location. If you would like to accept the gift card in your business, buy a gift card, or learn more about the program, visit the website or send an email to spendlocal@chesapeaketrust.com or call 410-778- 1600.

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Chester River Bridge Work Monday, Dec 18, May Cause Delays or Brief Closures

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The Chester River Bridge at Chestertown on Rt 213. 

The Maryland  State Highway Administration, as part of the State’s Bridge Preservation Program, will have a contractor performing routine maintenance operations on the Route 213 drawbridge over the Chester River on Monday, December 18.

According to an email from Bob Rager, SHA District Community Liaison, work will be done from 9  a.m. to 3 p.m. and may include test openings of the draw section of the bridge that should last no longer than those needed for an average vessel’s passage. Travelers between Kent and Queen Anne’s counties should allow for possible delays or plan alternate routes.

Traffic should be able to cross during the maintenance work except for short intervals when the draw-bridge is being tested.  Closures of one lane are also possible.

  Work will be performed by Covington Machine and Welding, Inc. of Annapolis, Rager said.

Chesapeake Charities Awards Luncheon Spotlights Opioid Crisis

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Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble receives Chesapeake Charities Volunteer of the Year award from Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, with wife Mary Gamble and son, Josh Gamble.

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford recognized the outstanding work being done to combat the heroin, opioid and fentanyl crisis, including that of Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, at Chesapeake Charities’ packed awards luncheon last month in Stevensville.

Sheriff Gamble was honored as Volunteer of the Year for his tireless commitment to prevention and education efforts in Talbot County. Accepting the award, Gamble talked about the shock of learning that high school students he had once coached had become heroin addicts, and the desperate parents who asked him for help. Realizing the need for prevention, he inspired his community to take action, starting the “Talbot Goes Purple” campaign with Talbot Rotary to raise awareness in the schools about the dangers of prescription opioids. “Every business, every family that we approached for help has been impacted by this epidemic,” Gamble said.

Joe Gamble talks about “Talbot Goes Purple” at Celebration of Charity awards luncheon.

More than 190 people from the Eastern Shore, Anne Arundel and Calvert counties listened to stories of heartbreak and hope in the heroin and opioid epidemic. “This crisis is on everyone’s mind,” said Chesapeake Charities Executive Director Linda Kohler. “We thought it made sense to use our annual event as a kind of forum for the community to focus on solutions and share a message of encouragement and inspiration.” This was the 2nd annual Celebration of Charity event hosted by Chesapeake Charities.

The event program also included tributes to Bernie Fowler, Jr., founder of Farming4Hunger, as Philanthropist of the Year, and Samaritan House of Annapolis as Nonprofit of the Year. Fowler, who employs and trains former addicts and inmates to grow food and feed the hungry, was inspired to do something because of his painful experience with his daughter’s heroin addiction.

Mike Goldfaden, Executive Director of Samaritan House, heads up the men’s 25-bed long term residential recovery program. Goldfaden said there is at least a 30-day waiting list to get into Samaritan House and talked about their plans for doubling the size of the facility in 2018.

Keynote speaker Lisa Hillman told the story of her family’s experience with her son’s drug addiction and recovery. She advised families of addicts to tell someone about the problem and consider joining Al-Anon. Hillman pointed out critical areas for change: longer treatment times for addicts, more transitional housing to move addicts back into society, earlier education about addiction at the 5th, 6th and 7th grade levels

Chesapeake Charities Board Chair Audrey Scott announced that Chesapeake Charities has established The First Responders Fund to support heroin and opioid emergency response efforts for local fire, police, emergency and medical personnel. Provisions will include equipment, supplies and training needed to protect first responders. For more information about the fund or to apply for funding, contact info@chesapeakecharities.org.

A community foundation located in Stevensville, Chesapeake Charities supports a wide range of charitable causes including arts, education, health and human services, animal welfare, and the environment. All of its 85 component funds have a common cause – a passion for making a difference in their communities. Chesapeake Charities serves organizations in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. They have invested more than $9 million in the Chesapeake Bay region since 2005.

For more information, contact Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020 or info@chesapeakecharities.org, or visit their website. Chesapeake Charities is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

(Photo credits: Executive Office of the Governor, Joe Andrucyk)

Gale Rasin Joins Maryland Humanities Board of Directors

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Gale Rasin

Maryland Humanities has added five new members, including Gale Rasin of Chestertown, to the organization’s Board of Directors. They join 22 additional volunteers in service on the Board, led by newly elected Chair Cynthia Raposo. Anyone interested in discussing board service may contact Executive Director Phoebe Stein at (410) 685-0095.

“We are delighted to welcome such accomplished individuals to our Board,” said Stein. “They bring a wealth of professional and personal experiences and a deep commitment to our mission to provide impactful and accessible lifelong learning experiences to communities throughout Maryland.”

Gale Rasin served as a judge on Baltimore City’s trial courts for more than twenty years until she retired in 2012 from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Rasin created a felony mental health docket in the Circuit Court that supervises criminal defendants who suffer from serious mental illness. She continues to preside over it as a senior judge. In 2013, Rasin was honored by the Metropolitan Baltimore Chapter of NAMI with its Opening Minds Award. She has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore Law School and has taught ethics in the Johns Hopkins University MBA program. (Kent County)

Douglas Greenberg is a Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Rutgers, where he also served as Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he was Professor of History at the University of Southern California and Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, which was founded by Steven Spielberg.  Earlier in his career, Greenberg was President and Director of the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum) and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University. In 2009, he received Phi Beta Kappa’s Triennial Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities. (Baltimore City)

Mark Irwin served as Deputy Chief Marketing Officer and then Acting Chief Marketing Officer for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from October 2015 to February 2017. Early in his career, Irwin led video productions in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan for retail and advertising clients and the Federal Government. In the 1990s, he created communication and training products for Fortune 200 companies including Microsoft, Mayo Clinic, Ford, FedEx, and Thomson-Reuters. Beginning in 1999, Irwin developed branding strategies for Animal Planet, Discovery Health, and other networks for nine years. (Montgomery County)

Heather Mitchell is a seasoned litigator with Venable LLP with extensive experience representing businesses in complex commercial litigation, including contract disputes, healthcare matters, and more. She served as a law clerk to Judge Benson E. Legg, then Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. She has also represented clients in matters before federal courts and Maryland state courts.  A life-long Marylander, Mitchell serves as President of the Board of Directors of Baltimore County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA). She is also on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Curriculum Project. (Baltimore County)

Guffrie M. Smith, Jr. is a retired educator with a diverse career including almost 34 years with Calvert County Public Schools and 6-1/2 years with the Maryland State Department of Education. In Calvert County, he served as principal, vice principal, teacher, and more. With the State, his titles included Specialist in Migrant Education and Migrant Branch Chief. Smith has also served on regional and statewide boards and committees including the Multicultural Education Task Force. He is active with the Calvert County Historical Society, Calvert Crusade for Children, and other organizations. In 2009, The Maryland State Teachers Association granted him their Martin Luther King Community Award. (Calvert County)

Maryland Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. Click here for more information. Maryland Humanities is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individual donors.

From South of Left Field: Trajectory – Be the Message by Jimmie Galbreath

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Life, governments, societies, and organizations are all moving constantly along a trajectory. People have trajectories too. Since the only constant is change, we have no choice but to follow some kind of evolving path. Like the shark, we must remain in motion to live.

Much has been made of voting to ‘send a message.’ I have a question for the reader. Given a choice would you rather cast a single vote as a message or actually be the message yourself every day?

Not marching all over the place carrying signs, not writing innumerable emails and letters, not making phone calls or canvassing. Make yourself the message around the clock by making occasional single acts which combined with many others can become an irresistible force in politics. No worries about tear gas, police violence or arrest. It doesn’t take much time out of your life and calls for only a slight effort on voting day and a little attention in between. Write only when you wish and march only if inspired.

This path has not been followed in over one hundred years. It is a new experience, and it would scare the bejesus out of Washington and all the lap dogs that populate it. It isn’t illegal, in fact, it is what the Founding Fathers envisioned so long ago.

I am tired of living on the political treadmill that has been created by the politicians to wear us out and divert us. The very fact that so many of us want to be heard and yet feel that we aren’t important is telling us something. Stop thinking about it and just listen to your gut reactions. If you share my feelings of despair, anger, and disgust and find yourselves seized by a sense of helplessness, then we are together.

Our government is made of two parties that, like the laws they vote on, have so woven the turds with the tulips that it seems nothing generally desirable ever makes it into law. The issues thrown out by these parties are an artful balance that keeps us focused on just one thing because we have been conditioned to believe that only one thing can ever be done at a time. Since when are we so mentally deficient that we can’t see a larger picture? Why would any of us choose to believe that? Are we really completely satisfied with a sound bite or a meme? Have we been trained that well? I don’t believe it!

The growing anger and activism by both ends of the imaginary line the politicians play on reflect the gut sense that we are being betrayed. Let me say again, the IMAGINARY line. Right wing and left wing. Who decided this? The desire to have a path for going up the ladder isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘left’ anything. The desire to have a way to support our children going to college or training a marketable skill isn’t a right or left thing. Improving our safety by replacing desperation with hope isn’t a right or left thing. Who else feels manipulated? Who actually trusts a politician? I stepped outside my world for a moment and realized that I didn’t trust them, yet I listened to them and voted for them. I felt foolish.

How many of you have ever picked a candidate before they appeared in front of you in a primary? Who picked them? Why were they picked?

Our political system like our stock market is rigged to favor the elite class and restrain us. We can play at them but the game is rigged to favor the upper class. Occasionally someone breaks the ceiling, but it happens less and less. Does this image ring true to you? If these words paint a picture that feels true then what do we do with it? How can it be changed?

The laws and actions that fill the news can be changed. Every tax, every law, every regulation can be changed or reserved by those who have votes in Congress. Even the way the weaving of turds and tulips is done can be prevented by new laws. Our problem as common citizens is that we don’t have an organization free of control by the upper class to listen to us. The biggest problem is that we have been taught to wait on ‘the party’ to put up a candidate. We have been taught to wait on a leader to step forward. Don’t look to any other organizations outside the Republican or Democratic parties to respond to us no matter how they actually don’t respond to us. Do you feel they respond to you?

A new trajectory requires a new organization. Both parties today are dealing with ‘progressive’ movements that garnered the support of people screaming for something new. Both groups of ‘new’ voters rose like a newly formed and young army, and both are bleeding out their energy and focus by assaulting the existing organizations head-on. I don’t believe reforming these parties will yield results. They belong to the upper class, they are supported by the upper class, and they have a long, long history of going against the common voter on behalf of the upper class. It is sad to say we can’t outvote them with dollars. Income inequality is making sure of that. We can however out vote them. It is our only real power.

We need to deny these parties the only thing we have that they cannot do without. Votes. Find another party and join it. Join it in large numbers and use your votes within the party to select the new leaders that will step forward. Organize where the elite class has not established itself, then deny them entry. Don’t be put off by the quality of the old candidates because they can be replaced by new leaders who will follow the votes or arise from the new organization.

Find a party and be the message by not belonging to the old parties. Be dedicated to the new and don’t support the old. Remain firm in the new party and vote for it wherever you can. A large shift in registration and voting will drive change. Courage and focus by us all can shake Washington to the very ground. Don’t allow yourselves to be limited by just one issue. Hold a wider vision and reject anyone who says you can’t get more than one thing at a time. Be the message. Be the change.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served 3 years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Twas the Day Before Dickens: Friday and Saturday Specials at Chester River Wine & Cheese

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Twas the Day Before Dickens…

…and all through the town, the creatures are stirring, and merry is the sound. Join us Saturday from 11-2 for a Ploughman’s Lunch in the garden entrance behind Chester River Wine & Cheese along Cannon St. We’re excited to partner with Chestertown’s well-loved award-winning restaurant, Luisa’s.

Warm up with us before strolling the shops and fun along High St. We’re serving a traditional farmer’s lunch of English Cheddar, Wensleydale, pickles, bread, and meat.  Luisa’s has prepared a ham and navy bean soup to warm your belly. As you eat you’ll be treated to the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages as they leave from our neighbors at Cross St. Realtors. The full lunch is priced at $12 (including tax and beverage).

During the Ploughman’s Lunch, we’re also hosting our Saturday morning wine tasting.  In addition to our wines, we’re also serving a house made Lemonade and Lockbriar Farm’s Apple Cider. Wines we’re sampling include:

  • Clara C Prosecco Brut – Fresh, delicate, balanced on the palate and light in alcohol with a long fruity finish. Perfect as an aperitif, ideal with fish, it goes extremely well with hors-d’oeuvres and light first courses.
  • Les Trois Couronne Cotes du Rhone – Another nice wine from a terrific vintage.  A round wine with aromas of black fruits, spices, and licorice. This is a full-bodied wine with rounded elegant tannins and a long finish with notes of fruits and spices.
  • JH Andresen White Port – Highly aromatic and complex, blending notes of dried apricot, pound cake, hazelnut, but with a freshness and vivacity. That freshness continues on the palate, with a beautiful acidity and creaminess, resulting in a stylish and distinctive wine.

Join us for First Friday this evening. We’re offering a half-case special on our wines and 15% off select bottles. In Welcome Home we’re offering 10% off plush bathrobes by Pine Cone Hill.