Come Sing! Community Caroling in Fountain Park Sunday, Dec. 17

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 Enjoy singing songs of the season? Do you love Christmas Carols? Come join your neighbors in a community sing-along, sponsored by the Chester Valley Ministers Association, at 3 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 17, in Fountain Park in Chestertown. In the event of inclement weather, the sing-along will take place in Christ Methodist Church, 401 High St.  Songs will include traditional Christmas carols along with other seasonal and holiday songs.

Individuals or groups — all are welcome!  Musical groups that would like to perform and choirs to help lead the singing are invited.  Song books will be provided. Phil Dutton will provide keyboard accompaniment, and the choir of Emmanuel Episcopal Church will be leading some of the singing.

Donations are welcome; all proceeds after expenses will benefit the CVMA Good Neighbor Fund, a volunteer organization that provides emergency funds for shelter when other help is unavailable, and provides funds for utilities, rent and medical supplies for qualifying community members in critical need.  The Good Neighbor Fund is always in need of volunteers willing to commit to two hours a month in Chestertown.

The Chester Valley Ministers’ Association is a group of local ministers and lay people whose mission is to promote, sponsor and support a range of initiatives that help the needy in Kent and Northern Queen Anne’s counties.

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Chester River Bridge Work Monday, Dec 18, May Cause Delays or Brief Closures

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The Chester River Bridge at Chestertown on Rt 213. 

The Maryland  State Highway Administration, as part of the State’s Bridge Preservation Program, will have a contractor performing routine maintenance operations on the Route 213 drawbridge over the Chester River on Monday, December 18.

According to an email from Bob Rager, SHA District Community Liaison, work will be done from 9  a.m. to 3 p.m. and may include test openings of the draw section of the bridge that should last no longer than those needed for an average vessel’s passage. Travelers between Kent and Queen Anne’s counties should allow for possible delays or plan alternate routes.

Traffic should be able to cross during the maintenance work except for short intervals when the draw-bridge is being tested.  Closures of one lane are also possible.

  Work will be performed by Covington Machine and Welding, Inc. of Annapolis, Rager said.

Unitarian Universalists: “To Seek a Minor Sun: Letting Go and Fighting On” 

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Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, Church in Chestertown

On  SundayDec. 10, at 10 a.m., Rev. Diana Davies will give a sermon titled “To Seek a Minor Sun: Letting Go and Fighting On” to the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown. A great naturalist writer once observed a spider spinning a web on a warm street light, in defiance of the winter cold, leading him to the conclusion: “In the days of the frost seek a minor sun.”  But when is it important to hold onto that glowing orb of hope and when is it time to let go?

Special music for this service will be performed by Shannon and Mike Buccino.

About our speaker: Diana Davies completed her studies at Meadville Lombard Theological School, was entered into preliminary fellowship and was ordained as a UU minister. She has recently served as a student minister at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore and is currently supporting the Unitarian Universalists of Charlestown (in Catonsville MD). Before entering seminary, Diana had a long career as a teacher of Russian and an international educator, most recently serving as Vice Provost for International Initiatives at Princeton University. She is bringing her international experience into her ministry through her work as an international education consultant for Meadville Lombard.

 Religious Exploration and childcare will be available during the service.

 All are welcome – please call 410-778-3440 for more information.

Childcare will be available during the service. All are welcome!   Please call 410-778-3440or visit the website for more information.

 

Farewell to Colchester Farm CSA

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A sample of Colchester Farm produce from the CFCSA website

Colchester Farm CSA has ended operations after 15 years of serving Kent County residents locally grown produce. The community supported farm, located near Galena, provided vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits to some 200 shareholders as well as to customers at the Chestertown and Lewes, Delaware farmers markets.

In a letter to shareholders Sept. 17, Colchester board president Marcia Landskroener wrote, “A ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances has compelled the board of directors of Colchester Farm CSA to dissolve the organization at the end of this year.” She said the two key issues were a decision by farm manager Theresa Mycek to pursue other opportunities and a decision by the new farm owner to move his family to the farm.

Theresa Mycek

Landskroener’s letter praised Mycek’s “sheer will and determination” for making Colchester a success despite the hard work and vicissitudes of running an organic farm. She was ”the face of Colchester Farm, staffing our stand at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market with a ready smile and encouragement to try that unusual vegetable.” Landskroener wrote.

Owen McCoy, manager of the Chestertown farmers market, said he heard the property had changed hands about five years ago. The new owner had been willing to allow Colchester to continue farming its portion of the larger property, about 15 acres, but the agreement was on a year-to-year basis. Finally, this year, the owner decided to move his family to one of the buildings on the property, contributing to the termination of the agreement.

As the farm’s website states, Colchester Farm CSA began some 15 years ago, when Charlotte Staelin, who then owned Colchester Farm, and Andy Andrews of the American Farmland Trust spoke casually about how a community supported agriculture project would be great for Kent County. Without much planning, they asked some 29 friends or relatives, to contribute $100 each in return for pesticide-free vegetables, giving them a share of what came up every week all summer long. Colchester Farm Community Supported Agriculture was set up on a 10-acre plot carved out of the larger Colchester Farm.

The operation grew more rapidly than expected, and by 2006 Colchester Farm CSA had a full Board of Directors and began accepting tax-deductible donations for its educational work. Also in that year, Theresa Mycek took over the management of CFCSA from Andy Andrews; and the farm built an unheated greenhouse, to extend its growing season.

With its non-profit status, CFCSA was also able to secure small grants from both the Maryland Environmental Trust and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, one for designing educational materials and one for collecting and printing oral histories of Colchester Farm and its surrounding neighbors in Georgetown. The last several years, CFCSA operated with a staff of one full-time year-round manager and four seasonal interns.

Landskroener, in her letter to sponsors, said the farm would donate its remaining assets to Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, “This non-profit organization is a wonderful resource for young farmers just starting out, providing education, networking, and advocacy to help build a sustainable Chesapeake foodshed,” she wrote. Also, Colchester donated proceeds of its final Oktoberfest, held at the end of September, to the Victory Garden at Chestertown Middle School, Kent County High School’s Culinary Arts Program, and the Sassafras Environmental Education Program.

 

 

 

 

In Memoriam — Frank Bonass

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Frank and Betty Bonass behind the bar at O’Connor’s

Frank Bonass of Kennedyville. owner of O’Connor’s Irish Pub, died Nov. 27 after a battle with cancer.

Bonass was a native of Dublin, Ireland, where he and his wife Betty owned several stores before moving to the U.S. in 1990, originally settling in Ardmore, Pa. After several other business ventures, they opened their first restaurant, Dublin Dock, in Betterton in 1997, featuring traditional Irish food, which Frank enjoyed preparing. Four years later, they opened a pub in Chestertown, naming it O’Connor’s after Betty’s maiden name.

O’Connor’s became a popular bar and restaurant, with a menu featuring fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Frank’s corned beef and cabbage as well as Maryland-baed items such as their award-winning crab bisque – and what many called the best pint of Guinness in the region. The restaurant’s cream of crab soup was again judged the best in the county this year in the Chestertown Rotary Club’s “Soup and Sip” competition.

Frank and Betty Bonass of O’Connor’s Pub – winners of Best Cream of Crab Soup 2017

St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in style, with a countdown clock on the wall recording the days, hours and minutes til the next celebration. O’Connor’s was also a strong supporter of Democratic candidates, hosting fundraisers for former Gov. Martin O’Malley (donating Guiness) and election night parties for the Kent County Democrats. He and his son Frankie also did an annual coat drive for the needy – they were working on it together before he went into the hospital. The restaurant was also active in the Chestertown Bloomsday Festival, a celebration of Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses. The bar was popular with both locals and Washington College students.

Bonass is remembered as a kind, generous man who enjoyed long conversations with his customers, many of whom have posted their memories on Facebook.

When information on services is available we will provide an update..

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“Project Protein” Completes First Year with St. Martin’s Food Pantry

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Sara McGill and Hunter Hague, employees at Harborview Farms, make a Project Protein delivery at Saint Martin’s. Since its inception last year, the program has provided more than18,000 pounds of bulk chicken from Mountaire Farms, thanks to the generosity of 12 business sponsors.

RIDGELY, MD –When you live in a rural community surrounded by farms that grow food, the idea that there are families right in your community who need food seems illogical. So when Trey Hill of Harborview Farms of Rock Hall learned that Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) of Ridgley was having a hard time keeping up with the demand for food in its pantry he brought together his team and people he knew in the agricultural community to create Project Protein, which is completing its first year.

Now Saint Martin’s Ministries says “thanks” to local volunteers and donors as the local agricultural community unites to complete the first year of Project Protein!

Project Protein is a monthly sponsorship program that has provided more than 250 Caroline County families with over 18,000 pounds of bulk chicken from Mountaire Farms. The way it works is that a business commits to a donation to SMM to cover the cost of purchasing the chicken. Hill and his team pick up the chicken from Mountaire Farms and deliver it to SMM food pantry for distribution to their clients.

For Hill, it is very much a united effort with the local agricultural community. “I am in a very fortunate position that I work with and do business with great people who were all alarmed by the fact that we live in an area that grows an abundance of food and yet we have people who are going hungry,” he says.

“When I mentioned this dilemma to my immediate Harborview team, I received a positive response and their support to use our agricultural connections to help these families in need. I then called twelve of the business partners that I work with and had each of them “sponsor” a month of chicken. Currently, the demand is just over 2,000 pounds per month and has been quite manageable given the great teamwork that exists within the community,” he adds.

In addition to Project Protein, the program has branched out to provide Thanksgiving dinner to 250 families with vegetables, fruit, bread and whole 6-pound roasters. Mountaire has agreed to provide Christmas dinner for 250 families as well.

For SMM the project is a great example of generous community response to a need. “Saint Martin’s is the place where the families who are struggling can go when they need help and hope,” says Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, executive director at SMM. “While we celebrate this season of giving, we want to say thank you to those who support Saint Martin’s 365 days of the year. Our volunteers, donors, and people like Trey Hill, his team at Harborview Farms, and the 12 businesses that committed to Project Protein are helping us make a difference in the community,” she adds.

Harborview Farms employee Gene Leonzio loads boxes of chicken into the Saint Martin’s freezer during a Project Protein delivery.

Project Protein has already received commitments for sponsors for 2018.  Hill is encouraged by the positive response. “The support from everyone has been overwhelming. I am very proud to be surrounded by such a compassionate and generous group of people,” he adds.

            The 2017 sponsors include Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit of Chestertown, Willard’s Argi-Service of Worton, Air-Ag, LLC of Laurel, DE, AET of North East, Binkley & Hurst of Seaford, DE, Joe Hickman Farm Management of Chestertown, FAM & M Insurance of Chestertown, Crop Production Services, Inc. of Centreville, William Loller Farm of Rock Hall, Atlantic Tractor with a combined effort for their stores in Cecilton, Queen Anne, Chestertown, and Clayton, DE, Pioneer Seed of Rock Hall and Hoober of Middletown, DE.

Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) of Ridgely, MD, is a non-profit organization that has provided a safety net for individuals and families living in poverty for more than three decades. SMM’s mission is to help meet basic human needs for impoverished people on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to respect and affirm their dignity, and to address the root problems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. SMM provides an array of services through a single point of entry, with a dignified case management approach, to address immediate and long-term needs. Its four assistance programs are its Food Pantry, Homelessness Prevention, Transitional Shelter and Thrift Store.

To learn more about Project Protein, please contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at (410) 634-2537 x 102 or by email at DHVornbrock@StMartinsMinistries.org. You can also visit StMartinsMinistries online or connect with them on Facebook (St. Martin’s Ministries).

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Gary Schiff to Address Unitarians

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Dr. Gary Schiff

On Sunday Nov 26, at 10 a.m. Dr. Gary Schiff will give a sermon entitled “Are the Jews the Last True UUs? An Exploration into the Meaning of Monotheism in Our Day” to the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown.

In his talk, Dr. Schiff, Cantor and Religious Leader of the Chestertown Havurah, will be raising the question of why most Unitarian Universalists today focus on the latter half of their name and its broad humanitarian mission, and much less on the fundamental theological issue of Unitarianism (monotheism) per se.  He draws upon Judaism as the original source for both of those impulses, being strictly monotheistic in its beliefs, which in turn affects the nature of its long-standing commitment to social issues as well.

Special music for this service will be performed by Meredith Hadaway and Rebekah Hardy Hock.

Childcare will be available during the service. All are welcome!

 

Free Thanksgiving Dinner at The Kitchen

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What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Not everyone has nearby family to visit — or they may find the idea of getting on the road on the most crowded travel day of the year unappealing. If  you’re in one of those categories, the Kitchen at The Imperial Hotel has come up with what might be your perfect Thanksgiving dinner plan. Best of all, it’s free!

For the past several years, chef Steve has opened his dining room for a Thanksgiving fellowship feast as a way of giving back to the community that’s supported him. From 1 to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, the Kitchen will be serving a sumptuous feast, with a carving station offering roast leg of lamb, house cured and smoked ham, and roast turkey breast. For side dishes, take your pick of glazed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, roasted asparagus, herbed stuffing, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls. To complete the feast, the dessert offerings are pumpkin pie and chocolate bread pudding. Yum!

Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 410-778-5000 extension 1 to reserve your place.

 

 

“Run Like the Dickens 5K” Dec. 3

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Main Street Chestertown invites runners to sprint through the historic district during the “Run Like the Dickens 5K” on Sunday morning, Dec 3.  The race will start at 8 a.m. at the intersection of Cross and High Streets as the final event of the Dickens of a Christmas Weekend organized by Main Street Chestertown. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

The race will take runners on a new route through charming downtown Chestertown. In keeping with the theme of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, the course makes a lap through the historic Chester Cemetery, where participants might well spy a Christmas ghost or two from Dickens beloved novella.

There also will be a Dickens Dash for the Tiny Tim set—children age 12 and under—at 9 a.m., starting on High Street near Court Street (Lawyers Row).

Proceeds from the race will be donated to the Kent County Community Food Bank. Advance registration is $30.  Race Day registration is $35.  To register go to www.runsignup.com/ChestertownRunLikeTheDickens.  Race day registration opens at 7 a.m. at High and Cross Streets.

The race will start at the intersection of High and Cross Streets and proceed up High Street to the cemetery, continue onto the rail trail, cut through the parking lot at Stepne Station and do one lap up and back to historic Stepne Farm, across to Wilmer Park, exiting onto Water Street and back to High Street to finish in front of the White Swan Inn.  The course will be clearly marked, with police directing traffic for safety and will have water stops at the start/finish and at the halfway point. Residents are encouraged to be out on the sidewalks along the route to cheer on the runners and help Main Street Chestertown create a fun and festive new holiday tradition.

TCR Event Management group has verified the course and is timing and scoring the event.  There will be awards for men and women for various age categories.

Basic Information:

Chestertown Run Like the Dickens 5K

Sunday, December 3, at 8 a.m.

Through Downtown Chestertown

Registration 7 a.m. at High and Court Streets

Dickens Dash for Kids 12 and under

9 a.m., High and Court Streets

Benefitting: Main Street Chestertown

Click here to register.

 Price:  $30, Race Day $35

The “Dickens of a Christmas” weekend is made possible largely through the support of our local sponsors, including our top level “Scrooge” sponsors: The Kent County Arts Council, The Peoples Bank/FAM&M, Cross Street Realtors, Radcliffe Corporate Services, and Price Rentals.  Other sponsors include “Marley” level donor Kent School, five “Fezziwig” sponsors (Chesapeake Bank & Trust, Chester River Packet/Occasions Catering, Mimi’s Closet, and Todd’s Body Shop), and“Cratchit” level sponsors that include Gillespie & Son, Pam Duke Law, Dixon, LaMotte Company, Bad Alfred’s Distillery, David A. Bramble Inc., and Gunther McClary Real Estate.