Free Consumer Debt Clinic Dates for February


Do you need legal advice about Bankruptcy or Consumer Debt? If so, contact Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Debtor Assistance Project.

The Debtor Assistance Project (“DAP”) is a clinic, originally located at the U.S. Courthouses in Maryland, which provides debtors with an opportunity to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a free half-hour consultation. The DAP is designed to help individuals without an attorney to answer legal questions about bankruptcy and general consumer debt issues. The DAP cannot provide an attorney to complete your paperwork for you or represent you.

Call 410-690-8128 to schedule your appointment.

Queen Anne’s County District Courthouse, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Office, 8 S. West Street, Easton, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

How to Schedule an Appointment?
Contact the Mid-Shore Pro Bono at, or 410-690-8128 to pre-schedule your DAP appointment.

Do I Need to Arrive Early? Yes, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the DAP’s intake form.

What do I need to Prepare/Bring with Me? If you have already filed for bankruptcy, please bring your case number and copies of any documents you wish to ask questions about.

The DAP can only provide you with a brief half-hour consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. If you need assistance beyond that period, you should contact an attorney.

The DAP is the result of collaboration between the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Maryland State Bar Association Consumer Bankruptcy Section, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, the Standing Chapter 13 Trustees, Civil Justice, Inc., Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, the Montgomery County Pro Bono Program, the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. For more information, visit

Adkins Arboretum Names New Trustees


Adkins Arboretum announces the appointment of four members to its Board of Trustees. Joyce Anderson, Mikaela Boley, Margot McConnel and Kate Rattie joined the Arboretum Board for its January meeting.

Anderson, of Centreville, is a retired therapist. She has served as a volunteer with the Arboretum’s youth programs and is an enthusiastic ambassador for its conservation mission. She also trained as a Maryland Master Naturalist through the Arboretum’s partnership with Pickering Creek Audubon Center and Phillips Wharf Environmental Center.

Adkins board

Adkins Arboretum recently added four new members to its Board of Trustees. Margot McConnel, Joyce Anderson, Kate Rattie and Mikayla Boley (L-R) joined the Board for its January meeting.

Boley works as a senior agent associate and urban horticulture/Master Gardener coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension Service in Talbot County. She holds a degree in environmental horticulture from the University of Minnesota and interned at the Arboretum before moving to Easton from her home state of Wisconsin.

McConnel, of Easton, earned a degree in landscape design from Temple University and is a longtime volunteer for the Arboretum and numerous organizations on the Mid-Shore. She has served as president of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore.

Rattie, of Ridgely, has held fundraising, marketing and communications management positions with Chester River Health System, Shore Health System, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Adkins Arboretum. She currently serves as associate director of the Benedictine Foundation. Rattie is a 2014 graduate of Shore Leadership and currently serves as president of the board of directors of the Caroline County Humane Society.

Located adjacent to Tuckahoe State Park in Caroline County, Adkins Arboretum is a private partnership between the nonprofit Adkins Arboretum and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The facilities are owned by the state but are operated and financed by the Arboretum under a 50-year lease. The Arboretum serves residents and travelers in the region with leadership provided by a 13-member Board of Trustees representing Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Mid-Shore Arts: Carla Massoni’s “Little Demons” in Chestertown


Carla Massoni is the first to credit her friend and artist Kenneth Schiano for the title of a new art show at Massoni’s gallery on High Street in Chestertown starting this month called “Little Demons.” It was Ken’s way of describing those nagging and relentless self-reminders coming from within that he needs to push harder with his art.  

And while that might sound like rather negative, Schiano was using the term with its original Greek meaning in mind, which is closer to divine inspiration or a form of happiness rather than a fallen angel. In Ken’s world, his demons motivate him to produce more challenging art. 

Carla saw that these demons could be seen with a number of artists she has worked with at certain points in their careers, and she therefore called upon Schiano and gallery artists Karen Hubacher, Claire McArdle, Zemma Mastin White, Leigh Wen, Katherine K. Allen, Anne Leighton Massoni and Deborah Weiss to be part of this winter show.  She also recruited other artists she has admired to participate like the multi-talented Joe Karlik,  Raphael Sassi and Sara Bakken.

The Spy spoke to Carla at her gallery a few days ago to get a better sense how constructive “Little Demons” in the process of creating art.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about “Little Demons” please go here


The Business of Mentoring: Chesapeake Bank and Chesapeake Investment Advisors Join Forces


While it is true there is no binding contract or plans to merge two of Chestertown’s most active financial advisor practices; the Spy was nonetheless intrigued by a partnership recently announced between Kristen Owen at Chesapeake Bank and Trust and Marty Knight of Chesapeake Investment Advisors the other day.

In the great tradition of mentoring, it established an informal link between Kristen, a relative newcomer to the world of financial advice services after playing several other roles in her eleven years with Chesapeake Bank, and Marty, the seasoned professional, who took over Chesapeake Investment Advisors on Spring Street from Robert and Joanne Gearheart several years ago after he retired from his first career in law enforcement with the Maryland State Police.

In this short Spy interview, Kristen and Marty talk about the role of mentoring in the sensitive but rewarding field of individual financial portfolio management as they start to consult almost every day on the best investment vehicles for their growing list of clients.

This video is approximately three minutes in length

Dreaming a Business: J.R. Alfree has Plans to Renovate High Street Building


Local restaurateur and entrepreneur J. R. Alfree has a dream, and he’s serious about making it happen.

Faced with sky-high costs for maintenance, patchwork repairs, and upgrades, Alfree wants to completely renovate his 27,000 sg ft building on High St. and turn it into a multi-use venue for wedding receptions, six B and B type apartments, and a cake, candy and ice cream shop.

Alfree bought the building, home to the popular Lemon Leaf Café and JR’s Past-Time Pub, two years ago, after moving from his start-up restaurant on Cross Street.

“All that space is empty, so what do I do? Instead of saying the building is falling apart, I say the building has so much potential.”

While considering his options, he was introduced to architect Peter Allen, Peter Allen Construction Management, who knows the High Street building and has been involved with other Chestertown renovation work including Widehall on Water Street. A third, commercial architect Joseph Skinner, Skinner Associates, joined in the conversation and who also recognized the potential in overhauling the structure to take advantage of the rest of the building.

“Within a few minutes, we formed a team that wants to take this building to the next level. I think it’s something that Chestertown needs. I think there’s a need for places for people to stay, and a venue space for wedding receptions, banquets, and live music.”

The three worked together to design a basic structural plan to accommodate the overhaul and expansion.

“We’d try to finish the work in phases to try not to disrupt the current businesses,” Allen says. “It’s a big commercial project. The roof, for example, would have to be completely replaced along with the structural rebuilding. Even then, the group foresees only a day or two of closures during the construction.

Alfree understands a community’s sensitivity to change. For decades, like Andy’s, the back room was Chestertown’s iconic hotspot and venue for professional musicians.

“Some might look at this change as the wrong thing to do with this room—it has a lot of history—but it’s the only right thing to do to save the entire building. You have to understand we’re trying to protect the emotional connection, but it does have to be altered in the long run.”

Despite projected costs of up to a million dollars for the project, Alfree has researched and connected with a list of available loans.

“The thing that I want to say about Kent County is the six years I’ve been here is that there are more resources to help you grow your business than ever before. When I first moved here from Cross Street, I received funding from the Greater Chestertown Initiative, an amazing program,” he says.

Afree points out that various loan opportunities also exist from programs like PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing available for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations, along with casino money used to reinvest in local communities.

“The investment group visited Chestertown, fell in love with it, and read our business plan and we’ve developed a great dialogue with them,” Alfree said.

Some might call it risk taking,  but Alfree is quick to recite the history of Dixon Valve’s founder, HW Goodall who at 15 in 1887 quit school to become an errand boy for a company in Philadelphia. Goodall began to design hose couplings but was fired for being too ambitious. Rather than seeing the job loss as a setback, the young man started his own company.

“He saw an opportunity after weighing the needs in his industry. Am I taking a risk? I don’t think so, but every achievement holds a risk,” Alfree says.

The Spy talked with J.R. last Friday.

This video is approximately 6 minutes long.

Wye Financial & Trust Welcomes Colin Pryor, Client Relationship Manager


ColinPryor_2016_cropWye Financial & Trust, a division of Shore United Bank and a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Colin Pryor has joined the company as their Client Relationship Manager.

Colin will be responsible for working with clients to strategize toward the preservation and continued growth of assets and introducing clients to a broad range of investment management opportunities.

Mr. Pryor is a graduate of the University of Delaware and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

Prior to joining Wye Financial & Trust, Mr. Pryor worked with Wilmington Trust, in the advisory services industry focusing on personal trusts; and four years with Bank of Oklahoma Financial managing retirement and investment accounts for local businesses.

“Colin is a welcome addition to our Wealth Management team.  He brings personal trust and corporate asset management experience that will benefit our clients,” said Wye Financial & Trust Manager, Talli Oxnam.

“I enjoy helping clients work towards their financial goals and to be working with a company that cares about its clients and communities,” said Mr. Pryor.

Mr. Pryor resides in Eden, Maryland with his wife Meghan. He actively volunteers with Junior Achievement in Salisbury.

Benchworks Names Jake King as Creative Director


Jake-King_400x500Benchworks is pleased to announce the recent hire of Jake King. He joins the company as Vice President, Group Creative Director. In this role, King will lead the company’s creative team, develop concept strategies and oversee creative execution for integrated marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining Benchworks, King was Creative Director at CorasCloud and Associate Creative Director at Wunderman DC. He has experience as the creative leader on a variety of accounts including Pfizer and Merck. At Benchworks, King will oversee the creative efforts in the Chestertown and Philadelphia locations.

Benchworks President Melissa Johnston commented on the position saying, “I am very excited to have Jake join the Benchworks team. His role as Creative Director is a central role in the organization and I am looking forward to collaborating with him. Jake will be responsible for developing and implementing the vision for all of the agency’s creative projects. I am confident that he will provide insightful strategic guidance for our clients and the agency. His extensive and wide-ranging experience will be extremely beneficial as he strives to create marketing campaigns that will inspire the target audience and deliver results.”

Regarding his new position, Jake King said, “I am thrilled to join Benchworks and to contribute to our clients’ success. This is a vibrant, thriving company and I am honored to work with the very talented people on the creative team.”

Benchworks, a comprehensive marketing services agency headquartered in Chestertown, Maryland, was founded in 1991. With offices in Philadelphia and Boston, the company specializes in the design, production and launch of complete marketing and branding services. Clients include a wide variety of companies in the life science, pharmaceutical, beverage, manufacturing and education industries in North America and Europe. For additional information, visit or call 800-536-4670.

Greenaway and Viniar to Speak at Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable


All nonprofit Board leaders – Chairs & Presidents – are invited to join the conversation on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Talbot Hospice offices, 586 Cynwood Drive in Easton when Kristen L. Greenaway, President of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum joins Barbara Viniar, Ed.D, President of Chesapeake College to share their insights and expertise about strategic planning.

This facilitated discussion will begin with a brief networking reception at 5:00 pm and will conclude at 7:00 pm. Diane Rohman, President of Talbot Hospice Board of Directors will host the Roundtable; Teri Bordenave, founder of the Board Chair Roundtable, will facilitate this session. Diane says, “The Roundtable is a wonderful forum to exchange ideas, questions and concerns amongst local nonprofit board leaders regarding the challenges that we all face in trying to better serve our community. A huge thanks to Teri for facilitating this effort which brings together some of the very talented people we have in our area so we can benefit from their knowledge and experience.”

The nonprofit sector has always faced challenges; those challenges have increased in recent years thereby putting more pressure on the governing bodies of these organizations. Effective Board leadership is essential to sustaining successful, viable nonprofit businesses. The Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable offers an opportunity to strengthen governance leadership skills and knowledge, to develop a peer learning network, and to provide support for these key volunteer leaders.

The Roundtable, which has been meeting since the spring of 2010, was initiated and is facilitated by Teri Bordenave of The Thalia Group LLC. Since that time, Teri has continued to offer her services to this effort pro bono. Teri has more than 25 years experience in the nonprofit sector as a CEO, Trustee, and governance consultant. Topics for these lively sessions are driven by Roundtable participants. The Roundtable meets quarterly around the Mid-Shore region.

There is no cost to participate, participation is limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Teri Bordenave at 443.249.3268 or

LaCorte joins CBMM as Director of Development


LaCorteLiz LaCorte of Cordova, Md. has joined the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. as Director of Development. LaCorte is responsible for helping to further CBMM’s mission through management of CBMM’s membership and various giving programs.

LaCorte brings more than fifteen years’ experience working for private foundations and other non-profits to CBMM, with a focus on major gifts, along with planned and annual giving. LaCorte most recently served as Director of Development at Wye River Upper School in Centreville, Md. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director at the Key Biscayne Community Foundation and in multiple positions at the American Cancer Society in Florida, among others. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“We are very excited to welcome Liz on board,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “All of the great achievements of CBMM are made possible through our generous supporters. With Liz on board, we’ll be able to match donors and grantors with programs that fulfill their philanthropic goals while forwarding our mission in very meaningful ways.”

LaCorte’s connection to the Chesapeake Bay began with visiting extended family in Annapolis more than a decade ago, moving to the area with her husband five years ago. They are members of the Miles River Yacht Club, with plans for their sons to learn to sail–they have already participated in the Sink or Swim program.

“I am thrilled to join the team at CBMM,” LaCorte said. “This place has been part of my family’s introduction to Eastern Shore life, and one we truly enjoy. I love the idea of helping CBMM continue to impact our community through our educational programs and the philanthropy of our generous donors.”

LaCorte’s volunteer work includes serving on the boards of Talbot Mentors and Temple B’nai Israel, and as a previous grant reader for the Women and Girls Fund. She is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Maryland, a year-long program for state leaders that presents and discusses the current issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the state and its diverse regions.

Through donor support, CBMM provides affordable or free educational programming for K-12 school children, college students, and adults, including CBMM’s curriculum-based Crab Cakes program and Rising Tide after-school youth boatbuilding program.