Double Devotion by Nancy Mugele


A poem comes looking for me rather than I hunting after it. ~Richard Wilbur

Last week several concurrent events made me think a lot about one of my favorite subjects – you guessed it. Poetry. Richard Wilbur, poet laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet known for lyrical elegance written in classical form, died. He was 96. One of the preeminent poets of the past century, his work maintained traditionalism in an expressive genre where he was sometimes criticized for his formalism. “Richard Wilbur reminded us of the enduring power of tradition: that poems about the natural world and about love, written in classical, traditional rhyme and meter, would continue to matter going forward into the future,” said Robert Casper, who leads the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center.

In my humble opinion, no one does poems about the natural world better than Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, whose new collection, Devotions, was published last week. Devotions is her personal selection of her best work spanning more than five decades. I could not wait to purchase it and I am still pouring over its pages. Don’t tell Jim but I bought two copies, one for my office so I can read it during DEARS (Drop Everything And Read Silently) time at Kent School and one for evenings and weekends at home. Maybe I will gift one copy eventually but for now, I love having it at my fingertips wherever I am!

I believe that when Mary Oliver wrote pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. She was speaking to me. She also noted attention is the beginning of devotion. Mary Oliver’s collection with its inspiring book title and Richard Wilbur’s loyalty to traditionalism, have made me reflect on my devotions this week. Defined as love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause (, I am sure you know already that my family is, first and foremost, my single most important devotion.  Yet, this past year, through my attention, I have discovered that Kent School is a close second. I am so fortunate that my life’s work has brought me to this incredible learning community in Chestertown where I am fortunate to have realized double devotion. And, when I can combine my two devotions – family and Kent School, it is truly poetic for me.

Sunday, I did just that. I had the privilege to watch poetry in motion at Kent School’s Osprey Triathlon. Individual racers and teams participated in biking, kayaking (under less than optimal conditions – I believe there was a small craft advisory!) and running. I was so proud of my husband and daughter who each placed third in their age groups in their very first triathlon, but I was even more grateful that they came out to support me and my School. At each event, perseverance and resiliency were exhibited by the racers and I stood in awe of the physical strength of their bodies as well as their hearts and minds, all moving gracefully with keen focus. The participants believed in themselves and believed in supporting Kent School. It was humbling and inspiring.

Throughout the morning I kept thinking about the first two lines of Mary Oliver’s poem Don’t Hesitate:

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,

don’t hesitate. Give in to it.

The Osprey Triathlon was joyful and none of the participants hesitated for a second – especially if they had a good transition team! Not sure I qualified as that for Team Mugele but you will have to ask Jim and Jenna.

In my constant role as resident cheerleader and encourager, I am feeling empowered this week by poets everywhere, and especially Mary Oliver, to take time to observe the world around me in its purest details, wonder about its magnificence and its significance, and write it down. And also, to celebrate, wholeheartedly, my double devotion.

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

Trick-or-Treaters Welcome at Hynson-Ringgold House for Halloween Goodies



Hynson-Ringgold will be a spooky place for Halloween

What could be better to young ghouls and goblins than a big, brick, potentially spooky house to visit for Halloween? Washington College’s Hynson-Ringgold House at 106 S. Water St. will be all decked out to welcome local trick-or-treaters on Halloween, so they can check out for themselves whether the president’s residence is spooky enough.

The house will be open for trick-or-treaters from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31. Members of the Campus Events staff and the Student Government Association will be in costume and happy to provide treats and warm beverages.

Schools Strategic Planning Meeting Oct. 26


The Kent County Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee is holding a special meeting for the purpose of discussing long-term facilities planning. 

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, October 26, at Kent County High School, 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton.

Bull and Oyster Roast by Heritage Area Teams with Kennard Alumni


Heritage Area Teams with Kennard Alumni to Host Bull and Oyster Roast

Experience Eastern Shore tradition at a Bull and Oyster Roast from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 21 at the Kennard High School Cultural Heritage Center, located at 410 Little Kidwell Avenue in Centreville .

The event is sponsored by the Kennard Alumni Association and Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. Oyster roasts and fish fries are a long-standing tradition that celebrates the bounty of the Chesapeake region.

Guests will feast on pit beef by Paul Gunther, fried oysters from Harris’s Crab House, and fish fried by local fry master Melvin Shorter — all while supporting programs to preserve, promote, and interpret the Eastern Shore’s cultural, natural, and historic resources. Oysters on the half shell from Harris’s and a local dessert bar will also be available.

Tickets cost $40 if bought before October 17 and can be purchased online. The price rises to $45 after October 17.

All proceeds benefit the programs of Stories of the Chesapeake and Kennard Alumni. For more information, call 410-827-8684 or visit


Kent School to Host Visiting Writer



Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair

On Wednesday, November 8, Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair will give a lecture on her book The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relations in the Digital Age. Her lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kent School Library located at 6788 Wilkins Lane. This event is free and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Steiner-Adair is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist and school consultant in addition to being an award-winning author. In her book, according to her website, “Dr. Steiner-Adair examines ways in which the wonders of technology and media also change how children learn and grow, and shows parents and educators how to reap the benefits of tech while reducing the risks it poses at every stage of child development. In The Big Disconnect (cited as a Wall Street Journal TOP 10 Best Non-Fiction 2013) and in her work internationally as a speaker and consultant, Dr. Steiner-Adair identifies digital age challenges for parents and educators, and ways to strengthen children’s social and emotional development to help them grow to be responsible, resilient, confident, and capable young adults. In her book, as in her keynote presentations, Dr. Steiner-Adair shares real-life stories from her clinical practice and her work with educators, experts, parents, and children, including extensive interviews with students from preschool through high school and beyond.”

“The focus of family has turned to the glow of the screen—children constantly playing on devices, texting their friends while going online to do homework, and parents working online or using social media around the clock—everyday life is undergoing a massive transformation. Dr. Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice that help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they engage with the tech revolution unfolding in their living rooms. Easy access to the internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect children and Dr. Steiner-Adair helps her audiences to understand the psychological fallout that children are experiencing, often with their parents unaware.”

Nancy Mugele, Head of School at Kent School said, “It is an absolute honor to welcome Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair to Kent School. We have invited her in direct response to our parents’ request for guidance as they help their children navigate the unchartered and quickly changing territory of personal technology and social media. Our students are learning about technology faster than most of their parents and new social media platforms are being introduced all the time. Dr. Steiner-Adair will help us all better understand the role technology should and should not play in our family lives.”

Part of Steiner-Adair’s visit to Kent School will include an afternoon assembly with Middle School students as well as a faculty professional development workshop. As a school consultant, Steiner-Adair helps schools meet the challenges of educating 21st Century students to be smart, culturally savvy and compassionate global citizens. Mugele continued, “Dr. Steiner-Adair’s work as a school consultant ties directly with Kent School’s mission to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence in a family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment which fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and diverse world.”

Following her evening lecture, copies of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age will be available for sale and signing. Steiner-Adair’s visit is made possible by the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment. Kent School is located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown. For more information, visit the school website www.or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110.

“Growing into Community” at Unitarian Church Sunday

On Sunday, October 22, at 1-0 AM Rosemary Ramsey will give a sermon on “Growing into Community” for the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Drive (Crestview), Chestertown. Rebecca Solnit writes of a future that is unknown, dark, with an enveloping sense of possibility and communion. Martin Luther King Jr. considered “agape,” or love in action, as going to any length to restore community and heal that which divides us. Rosemary will share ideas of what building intentional community means to her, and how uncomfortable that can be.
Special music for this service will be performed by Fredy Granillo.
Childcare will be available during the service.
All are welcome to our service. For more information, call 410-778-3440.

“Most Important Fish in the Bay” Film at Library Oct. 23


Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Monday, October 23, 6 p.m. at the Kent County Public Library (Yellow Building) in downtown Chestertown for an evening of all things menhaden. CBF is screening the short film Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay, followed by a discussion of the current state of the fishery in the Chesapeake. CBF’s Maryland Senior Scientist Doug Myers will describe the critical role that menhaden play in the Bay’s food web and answer questions from the audience.

Menhaden face potential new threats along the Atlantic coast. Right now, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is responding by considering revisions to its fishery management plan. One proposed amendment to the plan could help keep more fish in the water by including important guidelines—called “ecological reference points.” These will help fishery managers ensure that enough of these essential fish remain in the water, serving their role as a vital food source for rockfish, osprey, and countless other Bay critters.

Any threat to this critical fish is also a threat to the numerous animals that rely on it. Learn more about the current state of this fishery and what you can do to help on October 23rd. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Hilary Gibson at or call 410/543-1999 with questions.

If you can’t make the event, you can still make your voice heard. Written comments on ASMFC’s Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden will be accepted through Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Comments can be sent to (Subject line: Draft Amd. 3). More information on menhaden and what you can do is at


Winter is Coming: Got Your Flu Shot?


by Peter Heck and Jane Jewell

Have you had your flu shot yet?

The beginning of flu season is rapidly approaching, and now’s the time to get this year’s flu shot. I got mine last Thursday at the Kent County Health Department at 125 South Lynchburg Street in Chestertown. It was fast, about a five-minute wait with only one person ahead of me. There was only virtually no hassle, just one quick form to fill out.  Bring your insurance or Medicare/Medicaid cards and the cost is covered with no co-pay, in most cases.  So it’s basically free and the vaccine gives me a good chance of getting through the upcoming flu season without any of the all-too-familiar symptoms of the virus.

But does a flu shot really help?  Many people say that they got the shot one year but still got the flu. Yes, that happens.  But the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does a study each year to determine how effective that year’s flu vaccine was and how it compares to previous years.  What they have found is that, while it varies from year to year, vaccination reduces the chance of catching the flu by between 40% and 60%.  Thus there’s no guarantee that you won’t get the flu but you have a much better chance of resisting it than those who don’t get the flu shot.  For every one hundred unprotected persons who get the flu, only 40-60 vaccinated persons come down with it.  So with the vaccine, you have a decent chance of avoiding the flu.  Without it, you may be sniffling and missing work for one to two weeks – or more.  So, yes, the flu shot helps.

The flu hits suddenly, no gradual buildup of symptoms like the common cold often has. You don’t wonder if you might be coming down with something; you know when it hits.  Fortunately, the severe symptoms usually last no more than 2-3 days.  However, other symptoms such an intermittent low fever, cough, weakness, and fatigue may last a week or more. Sometimes, there is a lingering dry cough that lasts or returns again and again over the course of a few months.  Catching the flu can end up with you not feeling up to par for the whole winter. So avoiding the flu is really a good thing!  And the flu shot improves your chances.

Peter Heck, your intrepid Spy reporter, receives his lollipop from  Rita Kulley, RN, program manage of the Flu Clinic, after she gave him his flu shot. (As proof, note the band-aid on upper arm.) 

The Kent County Health Department is holding walk-in flu clinics every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon through the end of December.  No appointments necessary. Tell ’em the Spy sent you.

Regular flu shots cost $30; while high-dosage shots for seniors are $50. But in most cases, it’s free, no money changes hands. Medicare and Medicaid pick up the entire cost while most insurance companies pay all or most of the cost. The clinic accepts Medicare and MCOs for payment, as well as cash, checks and credit cards.  MCOs are the Managed Care Organizations that provide services to Medicaid recipients.

The strains of flu virus in circulation change each season, so last year’s inoculation is unlikely to be effective against this year’s bugs, which the current vaccine is tailored to protect you from. October and early November are the best times to get your vaccination. That way your immune system can develop antibodies before the flu season kicks in around Thanksgiving. Good idea to develop immunity before those big family gatherings followed by the frenetic shopping and festive parties of December. There’s no better time to visit a qualified health care provider and get your shots updated than now.

In addition to the Health Department, flu shots are available at many local pharmacies. No appointments are needed, just walk-in.  Usually there is no or very little wait.

Rite Aid Pharmacy in Chestertown offers the shots Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Sat 9 to 6, Sun 10 to 9.

Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Chestertown offers the shots from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 to 6 Saturdays and 10 to 6 Sundays.

Edwards Pharmacy at 102 S. Commerce St. near the Centreville courthouse, offers the shots from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. weekdays, 8 to 2 Saturdays.

Edwards has just opened a pharmacy in Chestertown but they are not yet geared up to offer flu shots. Next year, they said, Edwards Pharmacy Chestertown will have flu vaccines.

Prices tend to be similar to the Health Department; most insurance plans pick up the entire cost. For those without insurance, the standard shot is around $30, and $50 to $60 for the high-dose senior shot. Bring your insurance cards when you go for the shot.

Rite aid Pharmacy in Kent Plaza shopping center in Chestertown at the intersection of Washington Ave. (Rt 213) and Morgnec Rd. (Rt. 291) Flu shots available M-F from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat 10:00 am-6:00 pm. Sun.

Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Chestertown at the corner of Washington Ave. (Rt 213) and Morgnec Rd. (Rt. 291)

It’s also possible your family doctor can give you the inoculation. But the point is to get it. It takes about two weeks after the injection for the vaccine to become fully effective, so getting your shot before the flu season begins is important.

In fact, everyone older than six months should get a shot, unless they have a life-threatening allergy to the vaccine or one of its ingredients. A flu shot doesn’t just protect you — it also helps protect the community as a whole, a phenomenon called herd immunity. The more people who have immunity to this year’s virus, the less likely it is that a dangerous pandemic can get a foothold.

And make no mistake — flu can be a killer, especially to those in vulnerable segments of the population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this group includes children under 5 years and adults over 50 years old; anyone with chronic pulmonary or cardiovascular disorders; pregnant women; residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; American Indians; and anyone who is extremely obese. Family members and caregivers of those in the vulnerable categories should also be sure to get immunized so they don’t expose someone at high risk for complications to the disease.

Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu are helpful in mitigating flu symptoms once a patient is infected with the virus, but they are not a substitute for the vaccination. Nor do they prevent the infected person from spreading the virus to others around them.

Kent County Health Department at 125 South Lynchburg Street in Chestertown.  Walk-in flu shot clinic on Thursday mornings 9-noon.

The Kent County Health Department also has numerous other services for individuals.  They have informational pamphlets in both English and Spanish on almost every health issue.

Flu clinic forms are available at the Health Department website or at the clinic. Call 410-778-1350 ext. 3 for more information.


Wind Ensemble Concert Celebrates Fall



Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble in rehearsal

The Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble celebrates autumn in its first concert of the season, “Festive Fall.” Music Director Keith Wharton will conduct this free concert, beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 29, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Cross and High streets, Chestertown. The church is handicapped-accessible, via the ramp and automatic doors on the courthouse-green side of the building.

Two works on the program were written in memoriam. “Almost Autumn,” by Gary P. Gilroy, is a loving tribute and celebration in memory of a well-loved, respected, and successful colleague. “In These Last Days of Autumn,” by Randall D. Standridge, was written in memory of a young, aspiring rock musician.

On a lighter note, “Dance of the Trolls,” by Mike Forbes, is a fun and colorful work that depicts the mysterious trolls of Mount Horeb, upon which Moses received the Ten Commandments. “Cut to the Chase” has melodic fragments that dart around the band as if every instrument is being chased or is chasing something.

Beautiful melodies are represented by an arrangement of the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves,” by Joseph Kosma, and by “Highlights from Wicked,” the blockbuster Broadway hit with songs “No One Mourns the Wicked,” “I’m Not That Girl,” “Defying Gravity,” “No Good Deed,” and “For Good.”

“Celebration Overture,” by Darren W. Jenkins, is a musical celebration of life and the wonderful, positive events we experience. At the other end of the spectrum, “Echoes in the Woods” is a piece that reflects the quiet beauty of Wisconsin forest and lakes after the passing of logging camps. In a more dramatic vein, “Music from Carmina Burana,” by Carl Orff, denotes primal forces and the whims of Fortuna, the goddess of luck.

The Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble is an all-ages community concert band. It was formed in 2001 to offer area wind and percussion musicians the opportunity to continue or return to the pleasures of playing quality music in a large ensemble. New members are always welcome, without audition or fee.

Rehearsals start promptly at 7 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. in the Washington College band room (no. 116) in Gibson Center for the Arts. For further information, call 410-778-2829, send a message to, or go to The ensemble is partially supported by a grant from the Kent County Arts Council.