Sneak Preview: Get Ready for Four Hands on One Piano in Easton

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Get ready for four hands on one piano,poerty by Robert Frost, and music by Brahms when the the Easton Choral Arts Artistic Director Wes Lockfaw conducts Johannes Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes on April 28 and 29. Joining regular accompanist Rebecca Zinser on the four-hand piano accompaniment will be University of Maryland professor, Veronica Tomanek. Also on the program is Frostiana, a choral work based on the text of seven Robert Frost poems set to music by American composer, Randall Thompson. Fern Hill, a poem in three parts by Dylan Thomas with music by John Corigliano and Rene Clausen’s arrangement of Black is the Color of My True Love’s’ Hair will conclude the performance.

The concert will be held at Christ Church, Easton on Friday, April 28 and Sunday, April 30, 2017. Tickets are $25 general admission in advance, or $30 at the door. Students are admitted free (reservations required). Purchase tickets at EastonChoralArts.org. 410-200-0498.

The State of New Immigrants on the Mid-Shore

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Ever since there’s been a new administration in charge in Washington, the issue of legal and illegal immigration has once again become a complicated issue for not only the country but small communities like Easton and Chestertown on the Mid-Shore. And no one is perhaps in a better position to comment on this current environment then Matthew Peters, director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center. Since the Center was formed in 2012, Matt and his colleagues have been on the frontline working with individuals and families to acclimate and adjust to a new country under tough circumstances.

Given the potential for significant changes in immigration laws under the Trump administration, we wanted to check in with Matt about the currents state of affairs.

This video is approximately twelve minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center please go here

Kent and Talbot County Move Forward with Bay Rapid Transit Project

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When President Donald Trump encouraged states and municipalities last month to quickly forward ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects to be included in his $1 trillion “Make America Great Again’ road, rail, and bridge funding bill, it was very hard to imagine how quickly Kent County and Talbot County responded to the new president’s request.

What was quickly approved by the Kent County Commissioners and Talbot County Council, without, it should be noted, any significant citizen input, was a radical and extremely expensive plan to implement a rapid transit master plan for the entire Mid-Shore with an estimated cost of $3 billion over the next 15 years.

The five-county transportation project will have extensive route systems in Kent and Talbot County in the first phase starting next year, and ultimately be expanded to Caroline and Dorchester Counties in 2019. Queen Anne’s Board of County Commissioners has repeatedly rejected the initiative but has allowed the plan to move forward with the construction of a Centreville stop as a compromise. In total, 25 new transit centers to accommodate the new trams line.

Worried that public hearings would delay or even stop construction of what is now being called the Chesapeake Bay Area Rapid Transit or CBART, lawmakers took the unprecedented steps to quickly approve the public transportation system last Thursday night at an undisclosed location near Chesapeake College. And it was during those same secret talks that elected officials made the environmentally friendly but costly decision to make the system almost entirely underground.

While news coverage of the creation of CBART has nearly nonexistent, details of the multi-county agreement have already started to cause alarm. In addition to using local bond measures to partially cover the initial costs of construction, tolls roads on Route 33, Route 50, and Route 213 will be used to collect the additional revenue needed for long term operations. While the cost of using those roads have not been made public, it is estimated that a typical car trip from Rock Hall to Chestertown will be in the range of $8 one way while it may take up to $22 from Tilghman Island to the Easton Airport during peak commuting hours.

It also remains clear that not every town will have its own subway stop. The town of Millington, who just recently lost its only remaining public school in Kent County through the districts’ consolidation plan, lost out in having a downtown stop which many observers suggest will only intensify that community’s isolation and pull down their economic development strategies.

Another loser will be the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton even though the complex’s landlord, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, had quietly developed and secretly lobbied for the CBART program for many years. While the reason given for this exclusion was the anticipated move of the Easton Hospital to a location near the airport off of Route 50, sources indicate that the move was a political calculation to deemphasize ESLC’s secretive role in passing the CBART plan.

In addition t0 the construction of CBART starting next year, Spy columnist Howard Freedlander, a former high ranking state official, reports that Annapolis has started to move forward to plans to operate a tunnel between the Bay Bridge Western Shore toll plaza and Claiborne. If true, this would once again bring the small Talbot County hamlet back to its orginal role of being a transportation hub.

To date, neither Kent or Talbot County government has indicated groundbreaking events.

Editor’s Note: For our less observant readers, it is important to note that this is an example of what fake news looks like. Happy April Fools Day. 

 

 

 

Highlights from Congressman Andy Harris’ Town Hall Meeting

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While 1st District Congressman Andy Harris has hosted dozens of town hall meetings since he took office in 2011, it is unlikely that he has ever experienced anything like what took place at Chesapeake College Friday evening. With a standing room only crowd over 900 in size, the Congressman attempted to respond to a number of pre written questions on health care, the Trump administration, immigration reform, and the health of the Chesapeake Bay to a generally hostile crowd of Mid-Shore residents.

Here are a few highlights from this evening’s event.

This video is approximately fourteen minutes in length. A broadcast of the entire meeting will air on the Avalon Foundation’s MCTV in Talbot County Monday at 3pm and 9pm. 

Recovery: Lindsey Newcomb on Talbot County’s Upcoming Conference on Opioid Epidemic

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Did you know over the past three years that 272 Mid-Shore opioid overdoses were reported by Shore Regional Health-Memorial Hospital at Easton? That’s according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

That number has been on the mind of Lindsay Newcomb, the Parent Education Coordinator for Talbot County Department of Social Services as well as the challenge of educating kids and their parents that have not been impacted yet by the opioid epidemic in the region.

To help address the problem, she is helping to host a major free  conference on the subject  on April 8, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” which will feature nationally-known guest speaker Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. The day-long event will be held at the Talbot County Community Center, Easton, MD. Parents, teens, teachers, coaches, medical providers and anyone dealing with youth in our community are encouraged to attend. Some of the conference topics will include safe disposal of prescription drugs, drug abuse trends and prevention strategies, the use of NARCAN, available resources, and personal stories by local residents.

We sat down with Lindsey to talk more about the program and the importance of Tony Hoffman’s message to young people.

 “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” on April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Talbot Community Center. The conference is sponsored by the Talbot County Department of Social Services and is free to the public. Space is limited and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017. Space is limited for the free conference and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017. Call 410-770-5750 or email Lindsay.newcomb1@maryland.gov.

Spy Moment: Academy Art Museum Welcomes Mid-Shore Student Exhibition

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The Academy Art Museum is hosting its annual Mid-Shore Student Art Exhibition which highlights the artistic talents of students in grades Kindergarten through 12 from Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Kent counties. As in past years, visitors can expect a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. The Mid-Shore Student Art Exhibition has been a Museum tradition for over 25 years and are the largest and most prestigious student art exhibition on the Eastern Shore.

The Spy took a few minutes the other day to talk to Constance Del Nero, AAM’s Director of Community Programs, to talk about the joy and challenges of hanging over 1,000 pieces of art for the student art show.

This video is approximately one minute in length.  The Mid-Shore Art Exhibition will be on display through April 2. For additional information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call 410-822-2787.

Mid-Shore Arts: A Spy Minute with Photographer Cal Jackson

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It was only after a professional life in accounting, including being an auditor for the U.S. Army, that Cal found himself becoming passionate about photography. With a family to feed, he had little time to take on any extracurricular activities until he arrived on the Mid-Shore for his retirement a few years ago. And for reasons that he concedes are perhaps unknown to him, he found himself becoming increasingly drawn to the art of photography.

In this Spy Minute, we talk to Cal about his photography and his work documenting life on the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately one minute in length. Cal Jackson’s work is currently on display at the Todd Center for the Performing Arts at Chesapeake College, Le Hatchery Galleria in Easton, and Candleberry Gallery in St. Michaels this month. 

Recovery: Barriers discourage Doctors from providing Suboxone to Opioid Addicts

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The Spy took note of a report a few days ago from Maine highlighting a number of state doctor groups having little effect in convincing physicians to become Suboxone providers.

“Boosting the low supply of doctors who prescribe Suboxone is a crucial piece of the puzzle that if solved would help to meet the treatment demand for the thousands of Mainers in the throes of an opioid addiction.

Those efforts haven’t worked yet. Among the barriers are cultural stigmas to treating patients with addictions, financial disincentives, bureaucratic red tape and doctors believing that opening their doors for drug treatment would overwhelm their practices”

Barriers discourage Maine doctors from providing Suboxone to opioid addicts

Bay Conservationists and Legislators Attempt to Find Common Ground at ESCC Town Hall Meeting

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There could not be a better example how useful the new Eastern Shore Conservation Center is for the Mid-Shore than last night’s Town Hall meeting between the Eastern Shore’s leading conservation organizations and members of the State of Maryland’s Senate and General Assembly.

While it was hard to say there was a breakthrough for the State’s conservation agenda, the fact that so many diverse parties could gather together under the same roof to share ideas on how best to protect the Chesapeake Bay was an encouraging signal that progress could be made over the next twelve months in Annapolis.

During the two-hour program, representatives from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, The MidShore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Preservation Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters highlighted their top legislative priorities for 2017. And in response, Maryland State Senators Adelaide Eckardt and James Mathias, Jr. along with Delegates Chris Adams and Johnny Mautz, summarized where they saw common ground as well as a few differences in priorities and long-term strategies.

The Spy was there to capture some of the highlights.

This video is approximately thirty-five minutes in length