Spy Moment: Singing to Support the National Immigration Law Center


There is no secret that the Spy loves the Pam Ortiz Band. So when we were sent a short video of their last performance to support the National Immigration Law Center by Spy friend Jeff Weber, we thought our readers would enjoy it as much as we did.

BTW, A concert to highlight climate change & clean energy with special guests Meredith Davies Hadaway, Celtic harp, poetry Andrew McCown, outdoor educator & storyteller Robert Earl Price, and poet Jeff Davis is now set for Friday, March 3 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m.

To reserve tickets for these concerts: Visit http://www.pamortizband.com/

Senior Nation: House as Biography with Londonderry’s Manor House


While it is true that almost every retirement community has something very special going for it, whether it be a golf course, location, or excellent cuisine, Londonderry on the Tred Avon is one of the very few that has a historically significant house on its grounds.

Nestled among Londonderry’s many cottages along the Tred Avon stands the Manor House which was built in 1867. Designed by the 19th-century architect Richard Upjohn, whose credits included Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, the gate designs of the Boston Commons, and more locally, the Parish House at Christ Church in Easton and Oxford’s own Trinity Church, the Manor House not only reflects the exceptional design of the time but also is one of the Mid-Shore’s most important reference points for the history of region with such familiar Eastern Shore names as Armstrong and Pinckney.

Now under the stewardship of volunteers who live in the Londonderry community, the house is not only used as a guesthouse for visitors of the residents who live there but is now open to the public during the day for meetings, weddings, and other special occasions.

The Spy talked to Manor House volunteers Susan Andrews and Pat Lewers a few weeks ago about some of its history, architectural features, and the remarkable charm of a very special home which has withstood the tests of time, a civil war, and two fires.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Londonderry and the Manor House please go here

Spy Eye: Mr. Roberts at the Garfield


The Spy is always interested in military operations taking place in Chestertown and quickly assigned an agent to cover the dress rehearsal of the WW II-era production of Mr. Roberts at the Garfield. This was the report we received this morning.






“Mister Roberts” opens Friday and runs through February 19th. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 military/seniors and $10 for students. Tickets are available online at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling 410-810-2060.”

Good Stuff: Pam Ortiz Band Raises $3,000 for NAACP Voting Rights Fund


The Spy would like to note that the Pam Ortiz Band had a full house last weekend of the Robert Ortiz Studios last weekend with some fols standing throughout both sets. They raised $1,866 at the door and two anonymous donors agreed to supplement “the door” so that a total of $ 3,000 was raised for the NAACP Voting Rights defense fund.

Here’s a photo from the evening.


Looking Back at the Russians on Pioneer Point: Pizza In Our Time by Douglass Cater

Editor’s Note: Given the closing of Russia’s retreat outside of Centreville a few days ago, we have elected to republish this piece from the Chestertown Spy in November of 2010. 
Ed. Note: Douglass Cater, who served as President of Washington College from 1982 to 1990, had this originally published this essay in the New York Times in December of 1984.  It is re-republished here with permission by his wife, Libby Cater Halaby. At the time of writing, The State Department had decided to limit the range of travel of the Soviets from their Centreville-based retreat center on Pioneer Point which denied access to Chestertown’s Pizza Hut, a favorite of the then current Russian Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. 

Having tried privately and failed to persuade Secretary Shultz to take a small step in the new negotiations with the Soviets, my friend and I have decided to go public. My friend is James Symington, former ambassador, Congressmen and lately a Washington lawyer not unskilled in diplomatic maneuver. I am a former journalist, assistant in the LBJ White House, and, more recently, head of a small liberal arts college on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. My involvement in this episode arises from a keen desire to educate my students in world affairs. Alas, I little reckoned the difficulties.

Anatoly Dobrynin

Anatoly Dobrynin

It began nearly two years ago at a dinner in Symington’s home attended by the venerable Soviet ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin. During a quiet moment, I informed the ambassador that I was now living and working not far from the Soviet weekend dacha. I live in Kent County; the Soviet estate, formerly belonging to tycoon Jacob Raskob, is in Queen Anne’s, across the Chester River.

“I know Washington College well,” Dobrynin replied with his customary ebullience.”  “My granddaughter and I pass the campus almost every Sunday night on our way to the Pizza Hut. She has a great passion for pizza.” Though chastened that my school now entering its third century should have served as landmark for an eatery, I invited the ambassador to drop by and sample our culinary offerings. Students and faculty, I urged, would love to engage him on the issues of war and peace. He replied somewhat noncommittally. Soon afterward, the Korean airliner was shot down by Soviet MIG’s and Dobrynin returned to Moscow for a spell.

Then, during the autumn of 1983, the US State Department posted a revised listing of localities in America where Soviet emissaries would be denied travel. Kent County, home to both Washington College and the Pizza Hut, was added to the forbidden territory. I was confounded. We are the smallest, and probably least populated part of the Delmarva Peninsula.Our largest commercial enterprise is a branch plant of the Campbell Soup Company, where chicken parts are boiled down. An old SAM site, relic of earlier strategies, is now available for sale or rental.

Why were we thus singled out? The College is exclusively devoted to undergraduate education. One of our chemistry professors, currently on leave, is expert in pyrotechnics but conducts his research elsewhere. No, I concluded, not Washington College but the Pizza Hut had provoked the embargo. In the Machiavellian game of tit for tat that engages U.S./Soviet relationships, the Sunday night forays of the Ambassador and his granddaughter must have caught the attention of a Foggy Bottom bureaucrat. Someone had moved with vengeance to cut off the Dobrynins’ pizza.

Douglass Cater (Center) with LBJ and guest

Douglass Cater (Center) with LBJ and guest

What was to be done? There was idle talk of establishing a half-way house in Queen Anne’s County to which Sunday night nourishment could be ferried. But our real objective was to nourish our students and, perhaps, to convince our government that an open society gains little by aping Iron Curtain behavior.

These were the arguments my friend Symington included in a letter to Secretary Schultz. Time passed and a routine reply came from someone bearing a long subsidiary title. Making no mention of Kent County, the letter merely reiterated that the United States engages in travel reciprocity with the Soviet Union. No hint that the loosening of travel bans might offer a topic for fresh beginnings.

I do not wish to grow obsessive. Even if Kent Count should be reopened to Soviet traffic, Dobrynin has made no promises to Washington College. And the Pizza Hut is doing quite nicely without him or his granddaughter.

Yet the thought lurks that when Schultz and Andrei A. Gromyko meet in Geneva this January, they will be hard pressed to find the tiny steps for tiny feet that can lead out of the current impasse. What can anyone propose that has not been haggled and rehaggled? Just suppose Mr. Schultz were to announce as Mr. Gromyko’s habitual gloom begins to darken that we have an offer to lay on the table. Unilaterally, without ifs, buts, or maybes. Henceforth, in Kent County on Maryland’s lovely Eastern Shore, we will forsake all claims or reciprocity or weekly visual verification. Let the pundits proclaim that this constitute a bold new policy of pizza in our time.

Lethal Confrontation: Queen Anne’s County Deputy Critically Wounded, One Man Dead


The Baltimore Sun is reporting a 52-year-old man was killed and a Queen Anne’s County sheriff’s deputy was critically injured early Thursday in an exchange of gunfire after a domestic dispute on the Queen Anne’s side of Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, authorities said.

Police sirens shrieked through the night as local police sped to the scene of a lethal confrontation between a Queen Anne’s County resident and a county deputy sheriff, leaving Deputy Sheriff Warren Scott Hogan critically wounded and James L. Rich, II, dead.

Hogan is currently at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center recovering from surgery but remains in critical condition.

Read the Baltimore Sun article here.


Spy Moment: Nutcracker in a Nutshell


“Ballet with Becky” presented “Nutcracker in a Nutshell” on December  6, 2016 at The Garfield Center for The Arts at The Prince Theatre. This wonderful performance opportunity was open to all “Ballet with Becky” students who  worked on the dances this fall during class time.

The Spy pulled together a few of these images to share with the community.

Dancers include: Claire Dean  Molly Depp, Susie Fordi, Emily Godfrey,Averie Hitzges, Emelia Karlik, Lily May, Christina Menapace, Katherine Pagano. Mark Pagano, Maggy Ross, Suzanne Thuecks, Lydia Sensenig,  Samantha Walbert and Lisa Webb

This video is approximately minutes in length. Photos by Jan Ross

Spy Notes: Can a Model for Chestertown and Washington College be Found in Kentucky Coal Country?


With a headline reading, “This Tiny College Town is the Epicenter of a Food Revolution…,” it didn’t take long for the Spy to check out a recent article of Fast Company on the remarkable story of Berea College and its bold investment in local Food.  We recommend Chestertown take note.

“On a bright August morning in Berea, Kentucky, Herb & Willow, a tranquil coffee shop and local arts market, is sunny and quiet. From behind the counter, Senora Childers, 25, chats with Jesse Fowler, 22, who sits drinking cold brew and bopping his baby nephew on his knee. The shop is delightfully crammed with for-sale pottery, tinctures, jewelry, and other handcrafted creations. Owner and ceramics artist Tricia Taylor, 24, opened the space in December to promote the work of her and her friends, a younger crowd that didn’t feel at home in Berea’s longstanding traditional folk-art scene.

Taylor, who developed her business through a local artist-specific business accelerator, was also passionate about serving local food and drinks: From the croissants and scones by nearby Clementine’s Bake Shop to the Ale-8-One soda (aka “Kentucky swamp water”) that’s been bottled in the state since 1926, Herb & Willow is a testament to how easy it can be to eat and drink locally in Appalachia these days.”

For the rest of the story, please go here

Downtown Connectivity Help on the Way According to Ward 3’s Sam Shoge


There could be some splendid news for those long-suffering mobile phone users in downtown Chestertown. While the vast majority of the country has been covered with highly dependable 4G cellular and internet coverage for close to a decade now, poor Chestertown, and particularly those who use Verizon Wireless as their provider, have not enjoyed the same level of connectivity, or even close to it.

For many in the historic downtown, every day is greeted with less than one bar showing for simple phone calls, and only 3G signals for internet access. This is not only a major inconvenience for residents, but for those coming to the area to do business, this cone of silence hurts their bottom line.

According to Town Council Ward 3 member Sam Shoge, who has headed up the town’s task force on information technology over the last year, that is about to change. Working with Washington College, Kent County, and the Town of Chestertown, it looks like FTS Fiber, who is tasked with providing fiber optic services to the area, will be closing this downtown gap as well.

The Spy sat down with Sam on Tuesday talk about connectivity issues and his confidence that within the next 12 months, Chestertown will have caught up with the rest of the country.

This video is approximately five minutes in length