By the Way: Chestertown Paving to Start August 27

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The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will pave 2.5 miles of MD 213 (Maple Avenue/Washington Avenue) through Chestertown in Kent County beginning Sunday night, August 27.

Work will extend from the bridge over Chester River to MD 297 (Worton Road) and include milling/grinding, patching, paving and new pavement markings. MD 291 (Morgnec Road) will also be resurfaced from MD 213 to the Washington College entrance.

Crews are permitted to work overnight 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.Sunday night through Friday morning. These hours may be adjusted in response to traffic conditions. Drivers should also allow a few extra minutes for travel through Chestertown during late evening and overnight hours as single lane closures and flagging occur.

Chestertown is the county seat of Kent County and home of Washington College. Nearly 15,000 vehicles travel MD 213 through the downtown area each day. Travelers are reminded to walk, cycle and drive with extra caution while work is underway. All work should be completed by the end of September.  David A. Bramble of Chestertown is the contractor for this project, valued at $900,000.

The e-Road Ready 2017 electronic construction brochure is available by clicking here. The e-brochure highlights major road construction and maintenance projects in each of the State Highway Administration’s seven engineering districts.

Drivers  should stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands. Maryland drivers can also know before they go by calling 511 or visiting www.md511.org for live traffic updates, including construction delays and lane closures.

 

Kent County Public Library Bids Fond Farewell to Assistant Director

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Chris Roseberry

With great appreciation for her many years of service to the community, Kent County Public Library announces that Chris Roseberry will be retiring from her position as assistant director.

Starting in 1980, Roseberry began her career at Kent County Public Library as a graphic artist creating promotional materials for the library.  During her tenure at KCPL, she has worn many hats as she has risen to her current position of Assistant Director.  Over the years, she has been involved in a wide variety of initiatives that include the expansion of library services, several library renovation projects, and the development of the library’s collection.  She has consistently played an integral role in ensuring that Kent County residents have access to library services that have evolved to meet current needs while never losing sight of the importance of keeping patrons at the heart of all the library does.

To celebrate Roseberry’’s accomplishments and wish her well in her retirement, please visit the Chestertown Branch over the next few weeks where a small display showcasing several of her accomplishments and roles at KCPL will be exhibited for the next few weeks.  Ms. Roseberry’s last day will be Friday, September 8..

 

 

Opposition Grows to Seismic Testing For Offshore Oil Reserves

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Scientists are worried that an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year that seeks to open large portions of the mid-Atlantic and other coastal areas to oil and gas exploration would harm the endangered North Atlantic right whale and other species that occasionally visit the Chesapeake Bay.

Trump’s order, issued April 28, would reverse a 2016 policy from the Obama administration that outlawed drilling in federal waters off portions of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. The order also instructed federal agencies to streamline the permitting process to speed approval of seismic testing to locate oil and gas reserves in those areas.

But the action is increasingly unpopular with many elected officials along the East Coast. In July, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced his opposition to further offshore exploration. And the attorneys general from nine East Coast jurisdictions — including those from Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Delaware — submitted comments opposing additional surveys.

“The proposed seismic tests are themselves disruptive and harmful,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement. “Worse, they are the precursors to offshore drilling that would put the Chesapeake Bay at risk to drilling-related contamination. That contamination would have catastrophic impacts on fragile ecosystems and important economies. This is a foolish gamble with our precious natural resources.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia is the lone Southeastern governor supporting marine oil exploration, saying he “never had a problem” with seismic testing. While 127 municipalities have passed resolutions against the tests, only five are in Virginia.

But coastal Virginians’ unease with seismic tests appears to be growing. In July, the city council of Norfolk passed a unanimous resolution opposing both offshore drilling and seismic testing, citing threats to marine life, local fisheries and wetlands that offer vital protection from rising seas. The previous month, the city council of Virginia Beach also voted to oppose offshore drilling.

The seismic testing has raised particular concern because of its potential impact on marine life. The tests are conducted by firing seismic air guns from ships “every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, at a noise level that would rupture a human eardrum,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that was among 10 organizations that filed suit May 3 over the executive order. Among the plaintiffs’ contentions is that seismic blasts “could deafen and even kill whales, dolphins and other animals.”

The University of Rhode Island, in partnership with NOAA, has created a website called “sound in the sea,” through which visitors can click to hear what seismic air guns actually sound like when heard several thousand kilometers away underwater.

Cetaceans — whales and their relatives — use specialized echolocation for almost all of their activities, including hunting, migration, courtship and communication, but they are extremely sensitive to underwater sound vibrations, scientists say. Right whales, whose population is thought to number only around 500, could be at particular risk, they say.

Last spring, 28 top marine mammal scientists specializing in right whales signed a statement declaring unequivocally that for this species, already facing a “desperate level of endangerment,” widespread seismic surveys may well represent a tipping point toward extinction.

To locate new sources of undersea oil, companies employ compressed-air guns that blast powerful acoustic waves through the water and into the seafloor. Each seismic test can affect an area of more than 2,500 square nautical miles, raising background noise levels to 260 decibels, approximately equaling the epicenter of a grenade blast. This can go on continuously for weeks or even months, according to a 2013 report released by the international body carrying out the United Nations sponsored Convention on Biodiversity.

Scientists say potential harm is not limited to large marine mammals. The testing could also harm zooplankton — microscopic invertebrates that constitute the core of the marine food chain for everything from shrimp to baleen whales. In a June 2017 study published in the journal Nature, a team of marine ecologists found that their air gun tests decreased zooplankton abundance and caused a two–to threefold increase in dead adult and larval zooplankton. The study concluded that there was significant potential for negative impacts on the ocean ecosystem’s functions and productivity.

In May, 133 environmental and civic organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, asking him not to proceed with the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling and related seismic testing, citing “unacceptable risks” to ocean wildlife and ecosystems as well as human populations on the coast.

But Zinke followed up on the president’s executive order with an order of his own on May 11, setting the seismic testing in motion. “Seismic surveying helps a variety of federal and state partners better understand our nation’s offshore areas, including locating offshore hazards, siting of wind turbines, as well as offshore energy development,” Zinke said in a statement. “Allowing this scientific pursuit enables us to safely identify and evaluate resources that belong to the American people.”

The National Marine Fisheries Service has also proposed authorizing more than 90,000 miles of active seismic blasting which, based on the results of the Nature report, would constitute “approximately 135,000 square miles,” according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.

Reflection seismology, as the geophysical exploratory process is called, uses concussive compressed air to send a sudden shock of sound beneath the ocean surface. Oil deposits can be detected by a geological interpretation of sounds, or reflections, that bounce back. Reflections are gathered and collated by floating hydrophones, also called towed arrays or streamers.

“When a mammal is exposed to an audible sound of high intensity and long duration,” said Maria Morell, a specialist in marine mammal acoustics in the University of British Columbia’s zoology. “The sensory cells of the inner ear can suffer mechanical and metabolical fatigue.” This can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss, she said.

The seismic testing, she said, just adds to the cacophony that Atlantic’s marine mammals endure every day, including everything from ship engine noise and military activities to acoustic deterrent and harassment devices.

Ingrid Biedron, a marine biologist with the conservation group Oceana, said that Trump’s call for offshore drilling may be difficult to enact under federal law. “Current proposals conflict with the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” she said. “They also conflict with the Endangered Species Act because several endangered whale species use the area proposed for seismic air gun blasting.” Citing a federal study, she said that as many as 138,000 whales and dolphins could be harmed and up to 13 million disturbed if the seismic testing is allowed.

The recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Noise Roadmap recognizes that “sound is a fundamental component of the physical and biological habitat that many aquatic animals and ecosystems have evolved to rely on over millions of years.”

By William H. Funk

William H. (Bill) Funk is a freelance environmental journalist whose work for the Bay Journal centers on wildlife, forestry, rivers, farming and other land use issues in the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.

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.

Coldwell Banker Chesapeake and the Humane Society Sponsor “Home For Dogs” Weekend

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Coldwell Banker Chesapeake and the Humane Society of Kent County are joining forces for the national “Homes for Dogs” adoption weekend September 9-10, 2017.

The nationwide adoption weekend is part of the “homes for dogs” project, a three-year campaign launched by Coldwell Banker real estate LLC and
Adopt-a- Pet.Com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website.

Join the fun at Coldwell’s office located at 114b Cross Street in Chestertown to kick off the event on first Friday, September 1 from 5 – 8 pm. Meet some of the pups available for adoption and support us in our fundraising efforts. On Saturday, September 9,  the program will be in Fountain Park with pets available for adoption. There will also be a photographer on hand so bring your pet and get a photo taken. The proceeds will benefit the Humane Society.

Vigil to Honor Heather Heyer Set for Wednesday at 6 pm in Fountain Park

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Heather Heyer, age 32, killed in car attack in Charlottesville, VA, August 12, 2017

A vigil is planned to honor Heather Heyer who gave her life for what she believed in.  Heather, 32, was killed in the car attack that injured at least 19 others in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday, Aug 12, 2017.

According to an email from the Kent and Queen Anne’s County chapter of Indivisible:

“This week, on Wednesday (Aug. 16), we will gather in Fountain Park at 6 p.m. for a vigil to honor the lives of those who were killed or injured this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA, as they stood up for equality and civil rights and acted against hate in their community and in our nation. Please spread the word. Invite friends, family, neighbors, co-workers. We’re all in this together. Let’s stand together. Hate has no home in our communities, in our state, in our country.”

For more information, see Kent & Queen Anne’s Indivisible’s website and FaceBook.

Callin’ All Cars!

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Have a car you love and want to show people? Bring it to Fountain Park in Chestertown the third Thursday of every month, between 6 and 8 p.m. (weather permitting) and meet other car owners who share your enthusiasm for classic, antique or other special cars!

Jon and Barbara Slocum of Chestertown have joined forces with Chestertown’s Main Street program to bring this special event to town. This Thursday, Aug. 17, will be the first of what they hope will become a regular series of meet-and-share occasions for everyone who appreciates a fine car of any make or vintage. Come on down and see what it’s all about!

A Few Simple Rules to Abide By.

☞ No burnouts, loud engine revving or display of speed

☞ Being courteous to all other driver and pedestrians

☞ Respect each other’s property/space

Where You Can Park.
Parking starts at the Fountain Park and wraps around to the parking in the adjacent lots in front of, to the side of, and onto High Street. Just looking? Parking Up on High Street or on the side streets is a great alternative. This is definitely not the place to take up more than one space per vehicle. Parking can fill up quickly; please be aware that the earlier you arrive, the more likely you will be to get a parking spot.

Be Safe. Be Respectful.
The roadways in and around High Street are not a part of a mislabeled “Autobahn” – they are our community roads that connect neighborhoods. Please treat them as such. Noise complaints, disrespectful behavior, engine revving and burnouts and similar acts do nothing positive for the local car community and typically result in only the car meet’s suffering while the offending parties drive away unscathed. Please respect not only the communities in the area, the roads there and the dedicated police officers patrolling the area, but also respect your fellow car enthusiasts by doing your best to dissuade others who may engage in behavior that can and will result in the closure of this gathering.

Sponsored by Chestertown’s Main Street Program.

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Soroptimists – Opportunity for Young Women

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Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award

It’s What You Do That Counts!

Are you a young woman between the ages of 14 and 18 who volunteers in your community or school? Do you see challenges instead of obstacles? Hope instead of despair? If you are a young woman who believes in the power of volunteer action, then you may be eligible to win a Violet Richardson Award.

This award recognizes young women who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts such as: fighting drugs, crime and violence; cleaning up the environment; and working to end discrimination and poverty. Volunteer actions that benefit women or girls are particularly encouraged.

Winners are eligible to receive cash awards for themselves and the charitable organizations of
their choice.

For information about applying to the Violet Richardson Award program, please contact:

Soroptimist International of: Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties

Name:   Dominique       or     Debbie
Email:   nails701@aol.com    debconner@verizon.net
Phone:   410-708-2730         410-708-0704
Club Application Deadline:   November 15, 2017
Amount of Club Award:         $500.00