Harmony on High Street – Legacy Day 2017

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1923 Model T was the oldest car in Legacy Day 2017 parade.

Now in its fourth year, Legacy Day in Chestertown has become one of the town’s signature events. Organized by the Historical Society of Kent County with numerous local sponsors, this year’s Legacy Day honored African-American teachers and celebrated Kent County’s African-American history and culture.

Soulfied Village provided the music.

Saturday night, August 19, the block of High Street facing Fountain Park was closed to traffic – and open to dancing to the sounds of Soulfied Village, a nine-member Centreville-based band, and to records spun by DJ Stansbury.

Across the street from the park, the Kent County Historical Society’s Bordley Center was open for visitors to view displays honoring the African-American teachers and educators in the county’s schools during the segregation era. The exhibit will remain open for several weeks.  The window display alone is worth stopping by for.  Some thirty of the teachers and family members featured in the exhibit were in attendance – some from as far away as Georgia.

Retired music teacher Mary Clark (in yellow) sways with the music.

Saturday’s events began with a genealogy workshop, led by Jeanette Sherbondy and Amanda Tuttle-Smith of the Historical Society, at Kent County Public Library. A  luncheon for the teachers took place at Janes United Methodist Church, followed by a public concert by the men’s choir of Janes Church.

The evening’s Legacy Day celebration began with a parade down High Street. Lauretta Freeman, the Legacy Day Grand Marshal, led the parade in a vintage Buick convertible. The remainder of the teachers, appropriately riding in a school bus, followed close behind. They dismounted to take their place of honor opposite the bandstand.

Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver greets Grand Marshal Lauretta Freeman. Alan Johnson driving.

Tolliver, himself a former teacher, announced each teacher’s name and subject or grade taught.  And each name was received with applause and cheers from the audience, many of whom remembered these teachers from their own school days.

As the rest of the parade rolled by, Tolliver introduced the various entries – from classic cars to marching units to dancing groups – with wit and style. And then Soulfied Village took over and the evening’s festivities began in earnest.

A number of service organizations were on hand to provide food and drinks for the large crowd.  Offerings included barbecue ribs, fried fish, hot dogs and hamburgers. The Historical Society teamed up with the Garfield Center for beer and wine sales.The Garfield Center for the Arts and the Kent County Democrats each had a booth.

Other venders were set up in Fountain Park, interspersed with families picnicking and enjoying the seasonable weather. The Kent County Democrats had a voter registration booth, and artists Alan Johnson and Samuel Moore had a joint exhibit. Other venders offered toys, jewelry, clothing – even cupcakes.

As with previous Legacy Day celebrations, the atmosphere was congenial and celebratory, which, a week after Charlottesville, gives hope for the future.   There were no disturbances.  The crowd, estimated at over a thousand, was diverse in all aspects – all races, all ages – from infants to grandparents, from all walks of life, some in jeans and t-shirts, some dressed up, all having a good time, dancing, talking, eating, and just enjoying the evening.

The festivities continued till 10 p.m., when the band concluded its last set and packed up just before a brief shower moved in.

Legacy Day 2017 was sponsored by the Historical Society of Kent County, in partnership with the Hedgelawn Foundation, Garfield Center for the Arts, C. V. Starr Center, Kent County Arts Council, and Music in the Park, a program of the Town of Chestertown, along with a host of other contributors.  Now we look forward to Legacy Day 2018!

Photo Gallery below.  Photography by Peter Heck and Jane Jewell

The school bus arrives carrying the teacher honorees, representatives, and family members.

The Parade

Buffalo Soldiers

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Insight Meditation Community Offers Introductory Class 

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

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

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

Pink Polar Bear Golf Tourney Raises $2,550 for the Women’s Center

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Pink Polar Bear Tournament participants paused for a group photo after coming in from the links at Chestertown Yacht and Country Club.

The sixth annual Pink Polar Bear Golf Tournament, held August 6 at the Chester River Yacht & Country Club, raised $2,550 to benefit patient care in the Eleanor & Ethel Leh Women’s Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.

According to tournament co-chair Gwinn Derricott, who also is a hospital volunteer, 66 members and guests of the club, which is located just outside Chestertown, participated in this year’s event. “Everyone says that this is the most fun tournament they play in because of the format and the camaraderie,” Derricott said. “We’ve come a long way from a group of nine and 18-hole lady golfers and we’re looking forward to many more tournaments.”

Jane Hukill, tournament co-chair and also a hospital volunteer said, “We call it the Pink Polar Bear tournament because early on, it was explained to us that finding breast cancer can be like trying to find a polar bear in a blizzard.  When we saw the capabilities of the tomosynthesis in mammography, we had to do our part to support the continued availability of this technology in Chestertown.”

Kelly Bottomley, regional manager, Imaging, for UM Shore Regional Health, said that mammography is the medical “gold standard” to identify breast cancer. The Eleanor & Ethel Leh Women’s Center, which opened in October 2013, was the first facility on the Delmarva Peninsula to offer 3-D digital mammography with tomosynthesis, which can identify breast cancer at the earliest possible stage; in 2016, the Center performed 2,643 mammograms.

“On behalf of both the staff of the Leh Women’s Center and the patients who come to us for treatment, I am humbled to thank everyone who helped make the Pink Polar Bear tournament such a great success this year as in the past – in fact, their support grows larger every year. Their generosity and commitment is making a positive difference for women’s health here in Kent County and beyond, and we are proud to have them as part of our family of care,” Bottomley stated.

The Leh Center also offers bone density testing. A plastic surgeon is on site at the Center two days a week for breast surgery, reconstruction, consultation and other services.

Kent County Public Library Exhibit on Anniversary of ADA

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Kent County Public Library front entrance – Chestertown Branch

In celebration of the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) has been hosting a traveling disAbility History Tour throughout Maryland.  The tour wraps up with a final exhibit at Kent County Public Library’s Chestertown Branch August 22-26.

Advocacy: A History of People Speaking Up for Themselves is on loan from the Museum of disAbility History, which is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance, and independence of people with disabilities. The Advocacy display traces the advocacy movement from early educational facilities to the development of organizations established for and by individuals with disabilities. In addition to the loaned panels, the MDOD will add a fifth display designed by the Maryland Association of Centers for Independent Living outlining disability history in Maryland.

On Wednesday, August 23, the public is invited to a reception and resource fair at Kent County Public Library where they can view the exhibit, learn about local organizations that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and enjoy light snacks, including cookies provided by Kent House Kitchen.  The reception begins at 5:30 pm and will be followed by a special film showing at 6:45 pm.

For more information about the event, visit the Kent County Library website or call 410-778-3636.

For more information about the exhibit or to view images of the panels, ASL translation, audio files, text only, text image descriptions, and large print versions of the displays, visit the Maryland Department of Disabilities website ADA 27 event page.

Washington College President & Faculty Condemn Violence and Hate in Charlottesville

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Casey Academic Center at Washington College, Chestertown, MD.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College President Kurt Landgraf and the College’s Faculty Council today condemned the violence and hate that led to three deaths last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, reaffirming the College’s foundational commitment to supporting an education and campus community premised on thoughtful dialogue and moral courage.

“For centuries, race and intolerance have been complicated elements in defining who we are as a nation. Now, the world has witnessed the events in Charlottesville, and it’s time for all of us to speak out, loud and clear: ‘This is not who we are,’” Landgraf said.

“I am disgusted by the violence and hate that we have seen and continue to endure. There is no place for this in our country. No matter your political views, all of us could agree that these actions threaten the foundational values of this great country and who we are as a people. Our history demonstrates there is power behind nonviolence, progress in rational dialogue, and mutual understanding in compassion.

President Kurt M. Landgraf of Washington College with students.

“Washington College will not tolerate this movement of anger and hate—on campus or in the community. As the first college in a new nation, we have an important role to play in educating our students that their future role as thoughtful citizens and leaders of this country requires courage and a moral compass. We can begin by making clear that today, silence is not an option when faced with intolerance, racism, hate, and violence.”

The Faculty Council, chaired by Clayton Black, associate professor of history, said: “In light of the incidents at the University of Virginia on August 10-12, 2017, we, the faculty of Washington College, reaffirm our adherence to the values of integrity, determination, curiosity, civility, leadership, and moral courage expressed in our Mission Statement. We condemn all efforts to masquerade bigotry and prejudice as merely expressions of ‘free speech’ and commit ourselves and our institution to acting as a force for securing and furthering the equality of all peoples, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, physical ability, or class.

“As scholars, we accept that the free and open exchange of ideas from multiple perspectives is the surest means of achieving truthful propositions.  Tolerance of alternative views is a precondition for such an exchange, and Washington College will always be a place where ideas are challenged and debated.  We affirm the equality of all peoples; but we reject the equality of all ideas or ideologies as simply different-but-equal ‘points of view’ when they promote discrimination, exclusivity, or intolerance. Obscurantism and appeals to prejudice are not welcome at Washington College.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at the Washington College website.

A Letter to the Kent School Family

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

Dear Members of the Kent School Community,

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

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

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

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

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

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

With kindest regards,

Nancy Mugele

Head of School

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Christensen-Lewis

Chair, Board of Directors

Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance

United Way Adds Two New Directors

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New United Way Board members Ed Silver and Thad Bench II

United Way of Kent County is delighted to welcome two new board members in 2017.

Ed Silver, a Kent County resident and educator for 27 years, has worked as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator for Kent County Public Schools.  In 1996, he was named the Maryland Teacher of the Year and in 1997 a National Milken Educator.  He was principal of four Kent County schools before moving to the central office. He spent two years as Supervisor of Educational Services, then moved to his current position in Human Resources in 2013.  A graduate of Penn State University in Community Development, Ed earned a Master’s in Education from East Stroudsburg University and has completed his doctoral classes at Wilmington University.  Ed and his wife Patty have raised five daughters in Kent County. Ed says, “As a 28 year educator in Kent County, I have been amazed by the number of agencies doing great work serving the residents of the county.  I wanted to serve on the United Way board to help highlight and encourage the many tremendous ways neighbors are caring for neighbors in Kent County.”

Thad Bench II holds a business development role at Benchworks with a focus on both pharmaceutical and middle market accounts.  Prior to joining Benchworks, Thad enjoyed a successful stint in commercial real estate while at Hyatt Commercial in Annapolis, MD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and was part of the nationally ranked St. Mary’s sailing team.  He is a lifelong resident of Kent County, newlywed, and father of a baby girl.

United Way Board President Glenn Wilson commented, “Our Board is delighted to have Ed and Thad join us. They bring important perspectives to the good work that we do for our Community.”

United Way of Kent County identifies the human services needs of the community, promotes Member Agency programs to increase public understanding and financial and volunteer support, solicits funds for these agencies by conducting an annual fund-raising campaign, and allocates these funds, giving emphasis to those agency programs prioritized by the Board of Directors.  For more information on the work of United Way, or to donate or volunteer, call 410-778-3195 or go to the United Way website.

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Fountain Park Vigil Honors Charlottesville Victims

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An estimated 300 residents gathered in Chestertown’s Fountain Park Wednesday evening in a vigil to remember victims of violence in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend. The vigil drew residents of all ages, from a nine-month-old baby to retirees, ministers and Washington College students and professors, and others from all over the county.

Called together by Indivisible of Kent and Queen Anne’s County, attendees sang, lit candles, and heard excerpts from the writings of Heather Heyer, Rep, Kamala Harris of California, and others. Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured when a car slammed into a crowd gathered to protest white supremacist marchers who came to the city. A young man from Ohio, identified as the driver of the car, has been charged with second-degree murder. He was allegedly one of the so-called “alt-right” marchers who came to Charlottesville to protest removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

The vigil began at 6 p.m when Erin Anderson, one of the leaders of the local Indivisible group, gave a brief description of the group’s origins and purpose. She said the purpose of the groups is to oppose hate and violence. She quoted Hayer’s mother who said, “They tried to kill Heather to shut her up, but they just magnified her.”

Speakers read inspirational selections from several authors.

Kitty Maynard, another of the Indivisible leaders, asked attendees to look around the crowd and greet someone they didn’t know. This  acted as an icebreaker and there was a short buzz of conversation and laughter as people introduced themselves to each other.  She said that Indivisible will not tolerate white supremacy, Nazis or other hate groups. “Hate has no  home here,” she said.  “Love wins; mutual respect wins; democracy wins.”

After a short series of readings, Indivisible members passed out candles which attendees lit and passed along. Members of the Chester River Chorale then led the singing of “America the Beautiful,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

The vigil was peaceful and low-key with no disturbances. There was no visible uniformed police presence. Only one sign was displayed.  While there were a few occasional on-lookers, there was no organized opposition.  As the organizers said, this was a vigil in honor of the victims of violence and in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville.

A long moment of silence concluded the scheduled ceremonies, after which Maynard invited participants to stay and converse.   Most of the crowd did so; the last participants left at around 7:30.