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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The Caroline Foundation Awards Grants

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The Board of Directors for the Caroline Foundation: Terry Mead, Bob Jarrell, Berl Lovelace, JoAnn Staples, Becky Loukides, Harry Cole, Richard Wheatley, Charlie Davis, Wayne Cole, Glen Plutschak, Michele Wayman, Miki Phillips, Jerry Garey and Tony Gianninoto and Mid-Shore Community Foundation President, Buck Duncan presented $564,570 in grant funding to the following organizations.

Caroline County Emergency Services – Response Services and Automated External Defibrillators, Caroline County Family YMCA – Open Doors Program,Caroline County Health Department – Addiction Treatment, Caroline County Public Schools – LifeSkills Training Program, Caroline County Public Schools – Weekend Food Program, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office – Drug Dog, Caroline Hospice Foundation – Patient Services, Caroline Medical Adult Day Care – Financial Aid, Channel Marker – Transportation Improvements, For All Seasons – Patient Services, His Hope Haven – Homeless Shelter, Partners in Care – Outreach Coordinator, Rebuilding Together Caroline County – Home Repair Services, St. Martin’s Ministries – Healthy Seniors Program, Upper Shore Aging – Patient Services.

The Caroline Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide medical and/or health-related services to residents of Caroline County.  The Mid-Shore Community Foundation provides administrative services and manages the grantmaking process on behalf of the Caroline Foundation.  Grant applications are available online at mscf.org/caroline-foundation and the deadline for submission is July 1, 2018.  Contributions to the Caroline Foundations are tax-deductible and should be directed to the Caroline Foundation, P.O. Box 607, Denton, MD.  Planned giving options are available.  For additional information, visit https://www.mscf.org/.

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Receives $10,000 Grant to Support Debtor Assistance Programs

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Mid-Shore Pro Bono is pleased to announce the award of a $10,000 grant from the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation to support their Debtor Assistance Project (DAP).  Since 2010, the DAP has provided free legal advice to more than 700 individuals and families facing bankruptcy or other consumer debt issues on the Eastern Shore.

This grant will fund Mid-Shore Pro-Bono’s monthly DAP clinics providing debtors with opportunities to meet with specially trained volunteer attorneys for cost-free half-hour consultations. Clinics are hosted in Easton and Centreville with plans to expand to other counties in 2018. Mid-Shore Pro Bono sustains this program independently with the support of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court who established this program.

In addition, the grant will support outreach efforts to reach potential clients facing consumer debt.

“The continued support of the American College of Bankruptcy will allow us to reach individuals and families struggling with consumer debt,” said Sandy Brown, Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director. “The earlier we can reach clients and begin working with them, the easier it is to keep them in their homes and avoid bankruptcy. Many clients don’t know their rights and are reluctant to confront these issues, but we can help.”

Monthly DAP clinics are held in the Mid-Shore Pro Bono offices in Centreville at 108 Broadway and Easton at 8 South West Street. For more information about the DAP program, please call the office at 410-690-8128.

About Mid-Shore Pro Bono
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Mid-Shore Pro Bono connects low-income individuals and families who need civil legal services with volunteer attorneys and community resources. The organization serves citizens of Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties. For more information or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.

“Golden Ticket” Raffle at the Garfield Center”: Your Chance to Win – and Help the Garfield!

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Enter the Garfield Center’s “Golden Ticket” Raffle for a chance to win a theatre weekend in Philadelphia! Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online at or in the theatre’s box office. This raffle serves as a fundraiser for the Garfield Center, with the winning ticket being drawn on February 16th during opening night of the theatre’s first play of 2018, The Little Prince. The winner will receive an exclusive weekend in the “City of Brotherly Love”, which includes:

 

Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown, MD

Two tickets to the historic Walnut Street Theatre

Dinner for two at the unique and romantic “M” Restaurant

Overnight lodging at the boutique style Morris House Hotel

Drink and snack at Six Feet Under – Washington Square’s newest           gastropub

The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown, MD.

 

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Shop Local on Small Business Saturday!

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High Street in Chestertown – She, She apparel and gift shop

The Holiday and Christmas Season begins this weekend in downtown Chestertown — and it’s a great chance to find a special gift while supporting your local small businesses and enjoying the holiday spirit.  This Saturday, November 25, is national Small Business Day, when people are asked to support their local communities by buying local.  It’s a perfect follow-up — and a nice contrast to — the day before, Black Friday, when all the national chains and big box stores have their first big holiday sales.

Arrival of Santa Claus and Elves in the 2016 Chestertown Christmas Parade.

Here in Chestertown, the season kicks off Friday night with Santa’s arrival at Fountain Park, where he will greet visitors in his house throughout the season. The Kent County Community Marching Band, Rudolph, Olaf the Snowman, even the Grinch will be there to welcome Santa! The marching band will perform holiday favorites beginning at 6:30 p.m., and Mayor Chris Cerino will turn on the lights in the Historic Downtown district.  The Chestertown Volunteer Fire Department will deliver Santa to town in style. A favorite event for kids of all ages!

Saturday begins with another great tradition, the annual Christmas parade at 10 a.m. on High Street, featuring marching bands, fire trucks, classic cars, floats, and of course, Santa! Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday tradition. The parade begins at Dixon Drive and follows High Street to Queen Street, a block past Fountain Park.

After the parade, you can get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support local independent businesses. Many of the member businesses of the Downtown Chestertown Association have invested in the community through volunteerism, community events, and charitable giving. When you shop in these independently owned boutiques, galleries, and stores, you’ll find unique gifts, generous sales, and genuine appreciation for your business.

For more shopping fun – be sure to pick up a local “shopping passport” created by local businesses and filled with special offers. Then get your Passport stamped at each participating merchant that you visit.  Submit the stamped passport for a chance to win fantastic prizes.

Another option for gifts with a local slant is the “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card from Chesapeake Bank and Trust. The bank has partnered with about 50 local businesses to create a “local” gift card. Available in any amount from $25 up, the card can be used at any business that accepts Discover Card. Glenn L. Wilson, President of the bank, said on Wednesday that since the program began in 2011, more than 3,000 cards have been purchased, with total sales of nearly $100,000 — with most of that staying in the local community, supporting the merchants of Chestertown and Kent County.

Glenn Wilson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Bank, and Russell Gertsch hold a copy of the bank’s local gift card, good for around 50 local businesses plus any store that accepts Discover Card.

Wilson said that the program, created by Chesapapeake employee, Kristen Owen, is one of the ways the bank can give back to the community.  It’s not a money-maker for us, Wilson said.  But it’s something that the bank can do to help make the community stronger, and that, of course, helps everybody. Among the local businesses in the program are Aqua Fit, Twigs and Teacups, Hegland Glass, and the Garfield Center for the Arts.  The list covers almost every category of business from apparel — Dockside Emporium, Empty Hangers Consignment, and Mimi’s Closet — to home construction and repair — JBK Hardware, Chestertown Lumber, and Rock Hall Lumber. Restaurants and groceries  are also on the list , including Evergrain Bread Company, Chestertown River Wine & Cheese, Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, JR’s Past time Pub, the Fish Whistle, and Bayside Foods in Rock Hall. A complete list of participating merchants is on the bank’s website.

To purchase the “Spend Local, Stay Local” card, call 410-778-16– or email spendlocal@chesapeaketrust.com or just come into the bank.  There is no fee for gift cards $50 and over.  For cards under $50, there is a $1.00 processing fee.

However you do it, please remember to support your neighbors, your community, and your local economy by shopping locally when possible.

Ladies’ Shopping Night Nov. 16

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Expanded Holiday Store Hours in Downtown Chestertown

A popular shopping tradition continues this year in Downtown Chestertown. On Thursday, November 16, several local businesses are keeping their doors open until 8 p.m. for shoppers to get a head start on their holiday lists before the rush begins during Thanksgiving weekend. Many will offer in-store specials, discounts or prizes, along with refreshments. With more than 10 businesses participating, this will be a great opportunity to explore the variety of gifts and goods available in Downtown Chestertown, including clothing, books, home decor, children’s items, and one-of-a-kind local art and crafts.

In addition, many businesses will offer extended shopping hours the week before Christmas, beginning Monday, December 18. Most locations will stay open until 7 p.m. for added convenience, with business owners available to help you find the perfect gifts (and wrap them beautifully, too).

“We are proud of the quality and selection of merchandise available in Downtown Chestertown, and strive to create more opportunities for local residents to get to know what we have to offer,” said Kristen Owen, President of Downtown Chestertown Association. “Our local merchants enjoy getting to know their patrons and tailoring shopping experiences to meet their needs.”

Details about Ladies’ Night promotions and specific extended holiday shopping hours can be found on the Downtown Chestertown Facebook page  and at individual store locations.

Maryland 3.0: As Medical Cannabis Nears, Bill could boost Minorities’ Stake

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After a four-year wait to provide medical cannabis to patients, the drug could be available to Marylanders as early as this month, according to industry stakeholders.

“I think we could see product in November, with increase in December and a steady flow from all operators in the new year,” said Wendy Bronfein, the marketing director for Curio Wellness, a company in Lutherville, Maryland, awarded two licenses to cultivate and process medical marijuana.

However, racial diversity in the state’s medical marijuana industry is wanting, and some lawmakers said they are planning to introduce a bill early next session to grant licenses to African-American business owners.

A disparity study ordered by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in April and due in December focuses on whether minorities who sought a license in the cannabis industry were at a disadvantage.

The study was prompted after the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus raised concerns about the lack of African-American involvement in the industry.

Of the 321 business owners granted preliminary licenses to grow, distribute or process the drug, 208 were white men or women and the remaining 113 identified as a member of a minority group or as multiracial. Of these, 55 — about 17 percent — were black men and women, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

“It’s shameful in a state like Maryland where we have one-third of the population of the state, one-third is African American,” said Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore, chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

As the General Assembly’s January session approaches, members of the Black Caucus told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service they have begun drafting a bill that would award 10 new licenses for growers and processors specifically targeted at African-Americans interested in the industry.

They will move forward with their legislation regardless of the outcome of a Hogan’s disparity study, Glenn said.

“I will bank on it that we’ll come away from the table with five new licenses for growers and five new licenses for processors that will be awarded based on the results of the disparity study. What does that mean? That means these licenses will go to, in large part, African Americans,” said Glenn.

A weighted scoring system will give businesses an advantage of being awarded a particular license if they have a certain percentage of African-American ownership, Glenn said.

A “compassionate use fund” will be part of the legislation in order to make medical marijuana affordable for patients in Maryland. The fund will be financed based on the fees that licensees in the industry must pay, Glenn said.

“Marijuana is still an illegal drug, according to the federal government. Your insurance will not pay for marijuana even though it is medical marijuana. So what does that mean? That means it becomes a rich man’s struggle. We’re not gonna have that,” said Glenn, whose mother died of cancer and is the commission’s namesake.

Marylanders who are insured through the state’s Medicare and Medicaid programs will not be covered for medical cannabis, said Brittany Fowler, spokeswoman for the Maryland health department.

The legislation has been numbered Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 2, and should gain initial approval as an emergency bill during a joint hearing by the House and the Senate during the first weeks of the session — which is scheduled to start Jan. 10 — Glenn said.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus said they intend to use the upcoming election as leverage for the bill.

“Next year is election year … so timing is everything … I am very, very sure that this is going to be taken care of,” Glenn said.

Cannabis companies have said that the drug is likely to be available to patients this month.

ForwardGro Inc., the first licensed medical marijuana grower, successfully passed the state’s cannabis assessment this year, said Darrell Carrington, the medical cannabis director of Greenwill Consulting Group LLC.

Patients will be able to get cannabis in a variety of forms such as lotion, pills and transdermal patches, said Michael Klein, the chief operating officer of Wellness Solutions in Frederick, Maryland.

The industry has been projected to open toward the end of the year, according to Brian Lopez, the chairman of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

“The industry is starting to move forward,” Lopez said late last month. “We hope we are going to have another 20 to 30 dispensaries by the end of the year and at that point we will have an industry that is starting to receive product consistently around the state. But with that we are going to also, I’m sure, see some growing pains.”

Maryland still faces a wide range of challenges as the industry starts up. The commission has not decided how to regulate how dispensaries will serve out-of-state patients, deal with the green waste from the cannabis, or address fraudulent activity within the industry, said Lopez.

“I’m sure we are going to hit road blocks, but we plan to work through them in a very consistent manner and with diligence,” Lopez said.

Maryland is considered to have one of the slowest medical cannabis rollouts in the nation, hampered by several delays that arose during the four-year process since it was legalized.

Stakeholders in the industry have pointed to the lack of funding of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission in its beginning stages, and to lawsuits filed against the commission, as major stumbling blocks.

In 2016, GTI — Green Thumb Industries — a Bethesda, Maryland-based company that was originally awarded pre-approved licenses as a grower, filed a lawsuit against the commission for retracting its licenses in order to create geographical diversity.

The commission, which as of mid-2017 had 10 new members, made the decision to retract the license from GTI after the Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh stated in 2016 that the commission must ensure geographical diversity when choosing applicants.

GTI attempted to work with the Black Caucus to reverse the decision during the 2017 General Assembly session through legislation, which would have awarded them a license, said Delegate Pamela Queen D-Montgomery, financial secretary for the Black Caucus.

The legislation failed in the last 90 minutes of the session and there were no additional medical marijuana growing licenses given to any companies owned by minorities, Queen said.

The Legislative Black Caucus earlier this year asked Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, and Speaker of the House Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, to reconvene the General Assembly to Annapolis for a one-day session to pass a law expanding the medical marijuana industry. However, the request was denied.

In another lawsuit against the commission, filed in October 2016 by Alternative Medicine Maryland, a predominately African-American owned business, Judge Barry Williams ruled in May that if he finds that the commission unlawfully disregarded racial diversity during the application process for licenses he reserves the right to revoke the licenses of those who were pre-approved.

This could ultimately shut down the industry, according to John Pica, a lobbyist and attorney representing Alternative Medicine Maryland.

Frosh also had said it would be unlawful to seek racial diversity in the application process without there being a history of racial disparities in the nascent cannabis industry.

“While it is still too soon to say for certain when we can expect a final analysis, we are encouraged and grateful to collaborate with these offices as we pursue this important work,” said Medical Cannabis Commission Executive Director Patrick Jameson, who announced his resignation from the commission on Thursday.

Queen said she thinks that a major issue that negatively affected the industry was the poor funding the commission initially received from the state.

When the panel was created as the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission in 2013, its purpose was to oversee academic medical intuitions in distributing medical marijuana. However, the institutions were unwilling to distribute the drug because it is illegal under federal law.

In 2015, when the commission was recreated as the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, they were given a greater responsibility to evaluate and certify businesses to grow, process and distribute the drug.

The commission received $140,795 in fiscal year 2015 and $2,540,331 in fiscal year 2017. The increase of funding over time was used to hire more employees, contractual labor, office spaces that can support the growing staff, travel expenses and to pay Towson University for scoring license applications for the industry, according to Maryland Department of Budget and Management.

By Oluwatomike Adeboyejo

 

Benchworks Sponsors Baltimore Metro Business Development Event

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On November 7 at Delta Hunt Valley, the networking group Baltimore Metro Business Development (BMBD) will host a panel discussion with local women business leaders. The panel is sponsored by Benchworks, a full-service marketing firm and moderated by Melissa Johnston, President of Benchworks. Other speakers include Cindy Carson, President of Enradius, a company specializing in geo-targeted digital campaigns; Kara DiPietro, President and CEO of HMC Inc., a full-service design, manufacturing and construction firm specializing in food service design and custom manufacturing; Natalia Luis, Chairman and COO, M Luis Construction, a Maryland-based, woman and minority-owned road construction company; and Jennifer Meyer, CEO of Betamore, an award-winning coworking space, incubator, and campus for technology and entrepreneurship.

The event is BMBD’s third of the year, with previous 2017 events in January and May featuring keynote addresses from Donald Fry (President & CEO, Greater Baltimore Committee), and Tom Geddes (CEO, Plank Industries). The audience will be comprised of approximately 125 executives from numerous companies and industries across the metro area.

“We are excited to sponsor the event and facilitate the discussion with these impressive female leaders.  As we expand our services into the local community, we want to get to know the issues and needs of the greater Baltimore area. We are looking forward to meeting the companies and organizations that will be represented Tuesday evening. It’s a great reminder of the amazing talent and promise existing in this area,” said Benchworks CEO Thad Bench, Sr.

“There are numerous local networking groups and events. If you are going to ask people to take the time from their schedule to join you, it’s important to provide value. We’re anticipating high-level discussion and could not be more appreciative of the support provided by Benchworks, allowing this event to occur,” said BMBD Founder Chris Stoner.

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director to Receive William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award

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Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive, Director, Sandy Brown, is a 2017 recipient of the William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award from the Maryland Legal Services Corporation. The annual award is presented to a “non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service representing the civil legal needs of low-income Marylanders or by expanding access to justice.”

“I am honored and deeply touched to have been selected for this award,” Brown said. “It is a reflection of the progress our staff, volunteer attorney network and community partners are making to improve access to justice for the most vulnerable populations of the Eastern Shore. Mid-Shore Pro Bono is often overlooked simply because we aren’t in the mainstream. I feel the most important part of my job is to be an advocate for residents of this great community.”

Brown has served as the Executive Director of Mid-Shore Pro-Bono since 2008, and has grown the organization and its impact during her tenure. Under her leadership, Mid-Shore Pro Bono was awarded Non-Profit of the Year in 2014 by the Talbot County Chamber Commerce, and in 2015 received the same recognition by the Caroline County Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Fellows Program. Brown has been nationally recognized by the American Bar Association and serves as a trainer to assist new Legal Services Pro Bono Program Managers for Rural Areas.

Brown will receive the award on Monday, December 4th at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Md. For more information about the award and the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, visit www.mlsc.org. 

About Mid-Shore Pro Bono

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Mid-Shore Pro Bono connects low-income individuals and families who need civil legal services with volunteer attorneys and community resources. The organization serves citizens across 2,000 square miles in Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties. For more information or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.