Santa’s Open Charity Golf Tournament Raises $8,600 for Big Brother/Big Sister of Eastern Shore



Santa’s Open Charity Golf Tournament Event Founder & Certified PGA Professional, Bob Baldassari; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore Executive Director, Jessica Mimms and Ocean Pines PGA Director of Golf, John Malinowski

The event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, raised over $8,600 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore and collected a variety of gifts for area children in need. This year marks the fifth consecutive year the Santa’s Open has been held at Ocean Pines.

Ocean Pines Golf Club PGA Director of Golf John Malinowski was instrumental in bringing the annual tournament to the course. “I had worked with the Santa’s Open for several years prior to my coming to Ocean Pines and was excited to bring the event to this course,” Malinowski said. “I’m proud of how the Ocean Pines community has rallied around the tournament and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore year after year.”

Presented by title sponsor Delmarva Power, this year’s event saw close to 90 golfers and numerous area business participants. Four-person teams competed for first-, second- and third-place low gross; first-, second- and third-place low net and closest to the pin. Awards were presented at a reception ceremony at the Tern Grille at Ocean Pines Golf Club following the tournament.

The team of Ray Wankmiller, Mike Wankmiller, Tim McMahon and Daryl Griffith won first-place gross. Bobby Goroy, Brian Patey, David Bledsoe and Jimmy Sweet won second-place gross and Bill Mears, Jamie Neal, Randy Mears and Zeke Prygocki won third-place gross.

First-place net was won by Jay Graybill, Kenny Reed, Linwood Harmon and Matt Reed. Bryan Clark, George Vogelslang, Joe Sheehy and Neil Baker won second-place net. Third-place net was won by John Allen, Jr., Brandon Phillips, John Petito and Stan Botts.

The closest-to-the-pin contest was won by Steve Lennon, Ray Wankmiller, Tony Hughes and Stan Botts.

Participants in the 25th Annual Santa’s Open Golf Tournament with Santa at Ocean Pines Golf Club. Dec 2, 2017

Tee sign sponsors for the event included Ayres, Jenkins, Gordy & Almand, PA; Canada Dry; The Delmarva Shorebirds; iHeart Radio; the Bank of Delmarva; Eastern Shore Golf Magazine; Pepsi and Sonya Whited.

Other sponsors included breakfast sponsor, PNC Bank, reception sponsor, Real HVAC Services and cheer sponsor Mid-Atlantic Heating & Air Conditioning.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore provide children facing adversity with enrichment and a strong, professionally supported one-to-one relationship that will change his or her life for the better, forever.  Programs inspire children to stay in school, avoid drugs and other risky behaviors while giving them the tools necessary to succeed and pave a better and brighter future.

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore, visit their website or send email to or call 410-543-2447.

For more information about the Ocean Pines community, contact Denise Sawyer, director of marketing and public relations for the Ocean Pines Association, at 410-641-7717 or


Delightful Debut for “Dickens of a Christmas”


Kay MacIntosh (in hat) joins a group of ladies in period costume on High Street, Saturday.

Chalk up Chestertown’s first “Dickens of a Christmas” festival as a success. With warm weather, good crowds, and enjoyable events, the new event has to be considered the best new thing on Chestertown’s calendar since the Harry Potter festival came to town.

The fun began Friday night on the 300 block of High Street, which was closed to traffic to allow fire pits to be set up for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs. A series of readers told seasonal stories, and the Kent School Carolers provided musical selections. In keeping with the First Friday tradition, shops, restaurants and galleries were open, as was the Historical Society, many of them adopting seasonally-appropriate themes. Chestertown Councilman Marty Stetson said he had never seen so many shoppers on a First Friday.

The Pyroxotic Fire Dance troupe in action

A special highlight was a dazzling performance by the Pyroxotic Fire Dancers from Washington, D.C., who twirled batons, torches and other fiery items as part of an acrobatic dance performance. Free carriage rides through the historic district were also available, and many attendees took advantage of that opportunity.

Saturday, the festival moved to the 200 block of High Street, with vendors lining the street on both sides and a tent for musical performances at the corner of Lawyer’s Row. Musical groups including Tom McHugh and the Chester River Beggars, Bells of the Bay, the Washington College Brass Ensemble, Dovetail and Jigs and Reels played seasonal offerings. There were also a number of strolling performers, and the Kent County High School Jazz band offered a set of Christmas tunes on the corner of Cross and Cannon.

Dovetail — Nevin Dawson, viola, Jodie Littleton, vocals, Pres Harding, guitar

The Kent School carolers









The first floor of the KRM building, the former PNC Bank, was transformed into the Dickens Welcome Center and Main Street Millinery Shoppe. Costumed volunteers offered programs and information for the festival, while a selection of Victorian hats for both ladies and gentlemen was available. Also available were tickets for the historical house tours, organized by Main Street Chesgtertown, that were taking place the same day, which drew sell-out attendance.

Morgana Alba of Circus Siren Entertainment dressed as a walking Christmas Tree.  Festival-goers could decorate the tree with ornaments by making a donation to the Community Food Pantry.

Local restaurants offered a variety of taste delights, from a ploughman’s lunch at Chester River Wine and Cheese to meat pies and gin punch at Bad Alfred’s and pan-seared quail at Lemon Leaf Cafe. There was also plenty of food available from vendors on the 200 block of High, including raw Orchard Point oysters, scones, fish & chips, and a high tea at the Hynson-Ringgold house. For those with a sweet tooth, People’s Bank tranformed its lobby into a Victorian Sweet Shop, with a display of hand-made gingerbread houses and a barrel of jelly beans!

Riding a “penny-farthing” bike by Stam Hall

A fireplace in the “People’s Sweet Shoppe”

For those of a literary bent, the Bookplate presented two talks on the story that started it all, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

The weekend concluded Sunday morning with the “Run Like the Dickens” 5K race and the “Dickens Dash” for young runners.

Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown, which organized the event, said she couldn’t be more pleased with the initial event in what promoters hope will become an annual event. She said the restaurants and shops all did very well, and while she said there are no real attendance figures, she thought the First Friday turnout may have been “a record-breaker.” The community “put on a good show,” she said, getting into the spirit of the event and striking up conversations with the out-of-town visitors. While there were inevitably a few behind-the scenes glitches, “we learned a lot for next year,” she said.

It looks as if Chestertown has a good start on another great holiday tradition!

Cerino, Landgraf Give Waterfront Updates


The winded boat ramp and new floating dock at the Chestertown marina

At a meeting of the Greater Chestertown Initiative, Nov. 29, Mayor Chris Cerino and Washington College President Kurt Landgraf gave updates of plans for Chestertown’s waterfront.

Cerino’s talk was largely a recapitulation of a report he gave the town council at its Nov. 20 meeting. The mayor emphasized the reasons for the town’s purchase of the marina several years ago, including the need to preserve access to the river for residents and the town’s ability to get grant funds unavailable to a private owner. The potential of a fully-updated marina to enhance the town’s economic development has been a key reason for the work, the said.

Cerino showed photos of the work already done, primarily the bulkheads, walkways and boat ramp on the downriver side

The new floating dock awaits installation

of the marina. The boat ramp has been widened to about twice its original size, while the bulkheads and walkways have been raised roughly two feet above their previous level. A floating dock – just delivered on Monday – and six finger piers will be installed over the next few months.


Also, an old boat shed on the property has been demolished and the foundation for a new marina store and interpretive center has been laid. The interpretive center was originally planned to be a two-story building, but it has been downsized to one story in view of higher-than-expected costs.  The town has grant funds totaling roughly half the $1 million the project is expected to cost. Cerino said the town would be happy to accept private donations to complete the building. The existing marina store will be demolished and an open plaza created in its place.

The next phase involves refurbishing the river-side bulkheads and replacing two of the docks currently in place with one longer dock. The basin will also be dredged to a depth of six feet to allow larger boats to use the slips closer to shore. The Cannon Street dock, where schooner Sultana usually berths, will remain in place but be extended farther into the river.

Foundation of the new marina store and interpretive center

The final phase of the work will involve filling in the parking lot, shared with the Fish Whistle restaurant, and raising the level about two feet to inhibit flooding which has become a chronic problem on the site. This will also require replacing water and sewer connections to the restaurant. Cerino said the owners of the restaurant are on-board with the project, and the town expects to work closely with them in scheduling the work to minimize disruption of the restaurant’s business.

Landgraf began by observing that the town and college have had a relationship since 1782, when the college was founded. He said the two are at their best when they work together – and their waterfront projects are one of the best examples.

Washington College is a member of the Centennial Conference, he said, and that sets a high bar for its athletic facilities. The old boathouse was an embarrassment to the college and the town, but its replacement will be “world class,” he said, with a LEED platinum environmental rating. The Chester River rowing club will continue to be welcome to use the college’s facilities, he said.

Still on the horizon is the new environmental studies center, to be build on college-owned land between the boathouse and the armory. Landgraf said ground-breaking for the new building will take place after the boathouse is completed.

Also to be determined is the long-range fate of the armory, which Landgraf characterized as “an eyesore” but also “an

Washington College President Kurt Landgra

underutilized resource.” He said the college is looking at a number of ideas for putting it to use, including the possibilities of a B&B or hotel. A barrier to any major changes in the building is its status as a national historic site.

Landgraf then turned to several other subjects the community has asked him about. The most common question, he said, was why the college bought the Blue Heron restaurant, which is slated to become the “Eastern Shore food lab.” In fact, the college did not buy the building; the buyer was Larry Culp, who sits on the board of visitors and governors, and who will be leasing the property to the college for the food lab. And because the owner is a private individual, the property will remain on the tax rolls.  He gave a brief description of the kind of work Prof. William Schindler is doing to explore unconventional food sources, such as insects.

Other subjects Landgraf touched on were the college’s efforts to improve education in the county, including a reinvigoration of Kent Forward and the expansion of the college’s dual enrollment program, in which high school students take college courses for credit. He said better schools will make the community more attractive to prospective faculty members at the college. He praised Dr. Karen Couch, the county superintendent of education, for her openness to working with the college to improve the quality of the school system.

He also mentioned the college’s $10,000 donation to the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, which he noted responded to a serious fire on college property a couple of years ago. “I want the college to be part of the community,” he said, including a stronger commitment to the United Fund of Kent County. Landgraf said he had increased the number of contributors from the college from four to 75, with contributions totaling $20,000. And he praised the efforts of the Save Our Hospital group.

The floor was then open to questions. One of the first, directed to Cerino, was about how the closure of the Blue Heron and the rumored closure of other restaurants would affect the town’s dependence on tourist business. Cerino said the town government has limited resources as far as recruiting new businesses, which he finds “a bit frustrating.” He said the Main Street Chestertown program, which has taken on economic revitalization efforts, may be able to have more impact.

Gallery owner Carla Massoni said one difficulty is the condition of many downtown properties, which need renovation but must stay within historic district guidelines. She said the Main Street program was trying to find ways to address the problem.

Landgraf said the college dining halls are open to the general public, and offer “really good” food. He said he eats there every day.

Another audience member asked whether the marina parking lot would be repaved with pervious material. Cerino said the town wanted to do so, but the cost was prohibitive. He said there would be pervious areas to manage stormwater runoff as well as several green areas.

Linda Dutton asked whether the marina work could be a vehicle to employ low-income local residents. Cerino said the work was subject to a bidding process, and that the contractors would make the ultimate decisions on employment. Dutton said the town might include such a requirement in its bid specs.

Landgraf was asked why the college doesn’t have a presence in the downtown shopping district, where college-related clothing or souvenirs are generally absent. He said the college has a contract with Barnes & Noble, which runs its bookstore. He said he thought it was a good idea to have a college presence in town, and that discussions with the bookstore could explore ways to achieve that goal.



Proposed MD Legislation Aims to Stop Online Sex Trafficking


Last year, Maryland had the 13th-most sex trafficking cases in the country with 161, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

This year, the hotline reported 61 sex trafficking cases in this the state as of June 30. Half of the incidents involved a minor, and about 84 percent included a female victim.

A House Energy and Commerce hearing Thursday examined legislation that would close loopholes in federal law that critics fear has allowed pervasive online sex trafficking.

Under current law, the Communications Decency Act does not hold online services liable for content that secondary users publish. Sites such as Reddit, Facebook and YouTube are not responsible for vile material that its commenters post in a thread or comment section.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, introduced the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” earlier this year to make it easier for states to prosecute websites that facilitate sex trafficking. The measure also would give victims the right to sue such sites.

The bipartisan measure has 171 House co-sponsors, including Maryland Reps. Andy Harris, R- Cockeysville, and Anthony Brown, D-Largo.

A member of the committee, Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson, said in a statement that human trafficking inside and beyond the United States “is a scourge on society that preys on our most vulnerable. We must do everything we can to curb trafficking in all its forms, including sex trafficking online.”

“If Congress establishes a real tool to ensure that businesses cannot commit crimes online that they could never commit offline, fewer businesses will enter the sex trade, and fewer victims will ever be sold and raped,” Wagner said in her testimony.

Yiota Souras, senior vice president for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that over the past five years, 88 percent of the center’s reports concerned online sex trafficking. He said roughly 74 percent of the center’s reports came from, a website that offers advertisements for dating, services and jobs, among other resources.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania, citing a Senate report, asserted that Backpage’s owners were aware of the sex trafficking taking place, and even encouraged sex-trafficking advertisers to falsify their postings to hide their true intentions.

Souras added that children online may be seeking attention that they are not receiving at home, and are vulnerable to false promises made by predators online.

“That’s probably how they are lured, they’re seeking the smallest remnant of kindness from someone,” Souras said. Online predators are manipulative and know how to extend that branch of kindness to their victims, she added.

Still, Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, said in his testimony that Wagner’s measure would “reinstate the moderator’s dilemma,” which forces websites to decide whether to exercise full editorial discretion, or none at all.

Goldman added that leaving this discretion to websites could inadvertently increase online sex trafficking because it may be more favorable to leave users’ content entirely unchecked.

Goldman also expressed concern that punishing these sites differently at the federal and state levels could damage the integrity of the Communications Decency Act, which he dubbed “one of the most important policy achievements of the past quarter-century.”

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, said he saw firsthand the lasting impact sex trafficking can have on victims.

While in South Africa, his daughter was rushed by three men – one of whom brandished a pistol – but she was saved when one of the men yanked her backpack from her shoulder instead of grabbing her, he said.

The congressman’s voice quivered as he recounted her experience.

Although she escaped, Olson said, she “has not been the same.”

“(Sex traffickers) are devils, absolute evil devils,” he added. “This has to stop.”

Even if the law is changed, Souras said she knows that an online marketplace for sex trafficking will likely remain. But she said she believes that the issue is rectifiable.

“It’s important that there be a professional approach to this,” Souras said. “Sex trafficking is a multifaceted problem, it requires a multifaceted solution.”


By Conner Hoyt And Michael Brice-Saddler


“Dickens of a Christmas” Brings Victorian Fun Dec. 1-3


Horse carriages will offer rides through the Historic District Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Photograph by Michael Wootton.

Chestertown’s first “Dickens of a Christmas” event will bring the excitement of Victorian London and the spirit of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale A Christmas Carol to the downtown district Dec. 1-3, 2017.  Sponsored by the nonprofit Main Street Chestertown organization, the weekend promises themed entertainment, food and music, along with spirits tastings and talks by Dickens experts.

Visit for schedule updates and to purchase reservations for ticketed events.

First Friday Fun. The weekend officially kicks off with an extra-festive First Friday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 8 pm. Horse carriage rides will clip clop up Cross Street and through the historic district. The 300 block of High Street will be closed to traffic, and — weather permitting — fire pits will be set up so guests can cook hot dogs and roast marshmallows for S’mores. From 5 to 7 p.m., local talents including Andrew McCown, Melissa McGlynn, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Marcia Gilliam, Jake Swane, and Michele Volansky will share “Stories and Songs by the Fire.“

Fire Dancers! At 7 pm, two professional fire dancers from the D.C.-based Pyroxotic troupe will perform a sizzling hot show on the street.

A full Saturday of activities starts with a Victorian version of the award-winning farmers market in Fountain Park and extends through the day with live performances, food vendors, and ticketed events including a historic house tour, Victorian high tea, a Sweet Shop and gingerbread house display, sherry and whiskey tastings, and “beer and bonfires” party.   Throughout downtown, restaurants are offering special Dickens-themed menus with items such as Beef Wellington and Yorkshire Pudding, oyster pot pie, sticky toffee pudding, and ploughman’s lunches. Find more information on food options at

Minstrel Jerry Brown and his monkey Django will entertain all ages

Open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Dickens Welcome Center, in the former Chestertown Bank Building, 211 High Street, will orient guests, hand out official programs and sell tickets to special events (as available). It also will house the Main Street Millinery Shoppe, where guests can buy bonnets, top hats and other Victorian headgear.

Other Saturday highlights:

The Peoples Bank Sweet Shop, in the Spring Street lobby, will be lavishly decorated and will feature gingerbread houses made by staff, family and friends.

Minstrel Jerry Brown and his monkey Django will perform throughout the day, with two longer shows at 11 am at Peoples Bank and 2 pm in the Welcome Center.

 A full day of live music will include Dovetail, Tom McHugh and the Chester River Beggars, Bells of the Bay, Jigs and Reels, the Kent County High School jazz ensemble, and several strolling artists.

RiverArts Clay Studio is offering ornament workshops from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  $15 for two ornaments. (Also available Friday night.)

Author Paul Mast will read from his novel, A Cratchit Family Christmas, at The Bookplate at 11 a.m.

Strolling musicians will include washboard artist Dr. Jim Porter.

Washington College professor Katie Charles will talk about Charles Dickens and the angst the success of A Christmas Carol created for him.  The Bookplate, 1 p.m.

A 10-foot-tall walking Christmas tree will promenade around town, and for a donation to the Food Pantry you can hang a bell ornament on her branches.

The Wheelmen antique bicycle club will pedal up and down High Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holiday House Tour offers ticketed entry to seven homes in the Historic District. Info and tickets, $20 in advance, $30 same-day at the Welcome Center.

Victorian High Tea welcomes guests to Hynson Ringgold House from 3 to 4:30. Reservations required, $35.

Spirits expert Neyah White has organized two tastings:  The Sherry Salon, a guided tasting of six styles of sherry, will take place in the future home of the Washington College Food Lab, 236 Cannon Street, 4 p.m., reservations required, $40.

The Chester River Nightcap aboard the Chester River Packet will be a tasting event of fine Glenlivet pours and a quality smoke from Ashton Cigars. Reservations, $40 in advance, $50 at the door.

The Kent County Young Professionals are hosting a Beers and Bonfires event Saturday night from 7 to 9 at the foot of High Street.  No tickets required. Craft beers, $5 a glass.

Also on Saturday, the 200 block of High Street will be closed to traffic, and vendors will sell food and gifts with a Victorian flare.  Participating food purveyors include Barbara’s on the Bay, Kirchmayr Chocolatier, FishWhistle (fish and chips), Happy Chicken Bakery, Gluten-Free Girl Bakery, and Apotheosis Teas.  Orchard Point will shuck raw oysters in front of the White Swan Tavern, where craft beer and wine will also be available.

            On Sunday morning, ages 12 and older can compete in the Chestertown “Run Like the Dickens” foot race. Starting at 8 a.m. at High and Cross streets, the route takes runners up High Street, into the Chester Cemetery, back downtown via the Rail Trail into Stepne Farm and around Wilmer Park before returning to High Street and the finish line near the White Swan Tavern.  Younger runners can compete in the “Dickens Dash” at 9 a.m.  Find registration information ($30 per runner) at

Main Street Chestertown, organizer of the event, is a 501(c)(3) whose volunteers work to support an engaging and prosperous downtown. It is part of a national network of historic downtowns created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and follows the Trust’s tested model for revitalization.  For information, visit

Earthquake Off Delaware Coast


The area in red where the November 30, 2017, earthquake was felt.

Did you feel anything odd just before 5:00 pm yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 30?  Some shaking? A bump or jolt while driving?  Did anything fall or break in your house?  If so, you might have experienced the 4.1 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday at 4:47 pm off the Delaware coast about 6 miles northeast of Dover, Delaware.

A 4.1 earthquake is considered strong enough to cause moderate to considerable damage. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is trying to determine the extent and severity of the quake.  If you felt the quake, MEMA would like to hear from you. The full message from MEMA–with a link to report where you were and what you felt–is at the end of this article on the Dover earthquake, along with a copy of the earthquake survey questions. MEMA needs help from residents to make a “shaking intensity map” of the affected areas.

Earthquakes are rare in the Mid-Atlantic area. In fact, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes are rare east of the Rockies Mountains. The last tremor felt in Delaware was in 2011–that from the 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia that was felt all up and down the East Coast and, in DC, caused cracks in both the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.  Thursday’s quake was felt as far inland as the I-95 corridor in Maryland, Delaware, and southeastern Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and New York to the north.  It was felt over 90 miles away in Washington, DC, in Baltimore, in Philadelphia, and 125 miles north in New York City. However, many in these areas said they didn’t notice anything. The USGS said that light shaking was felt as far south as Virginia and as far north as Poughkeepsie, New York and Connecticut.  The quake registered at a depth of five miles, which is considered a shallow quake and that shallowness causes the quake to be amplified and felt over a larger area. Earth tremors on the East Coast tend to cause shaking in a wider area than those in western states due to the type of quake, the depth of the quake, and to the type of bedrock.

Partial map of Eastern Shore of Maryland showing epicenter –starred– of the Thursday, Nov. 30, 4.1 magnitude earthquake. The quake’s epicenter at the wildlife refuge is roughly 36 miles from Chestertown.

Closer to the quake’s center in Dover, houses shook, windows and loose items rattled, and many people reported a boom and a sound like a train that was loud but only lasted a second or two.   In Dover, the ground shook for 10-20 seconds, sending people pouring out of buildings and into the streets where others were already gathering for the Dover Capitol Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting ceremony. The celebration, which was scheduled for 5 -8:00 pm., continued despite the disruption of the earthquake.

The quake was originally reported at a magnitude of 5.1 then shortly afterward downgraded to 4.4.  After examining readings from multiple monitoring stations, the tremor was downgraded to a probably final magnitude of 4.1.

No aftershocks have been reported so far.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency believes the epicenter was in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. No injuries, major damage, or interruption of services were reported in the first few hours after the quake. The wildlife refuge is roughly 36 miles from Chestertown.

The Delaware earthquake was one of five earthquakes registered on Thursday in the US’s lower 48 states. But it was the strongest.  It was not just the strongest quake on Thursday, Nov. 30, but also the strongest in the US for the month of November.  Just 30 minutes after the 4.1 quake in Delaware, there was a tremor–magnitude 3.6–near Salida, Colorado.

Here are the questions on the earthquake survey form from MEMA.  To record your experience click on the “jump” link below then click on the 3rd box in the first row with the title “Felt Report–Tell Us!”

Jump to Navigation

  Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake – 10km ENE of Dover, Delaware

Felt Report – Tell Us!   Expires 05/31/2018

Your location when the earthquake occurred

Choose Location

Did you feel it?

  • Yes

  • No

The remainder of this form is optional.

Help make a shaking intensity map by telling us about the shaking at your location.

What was your situation during the earthquake?

  • Not specified

  • Inside a building

  • Outside a building

  • In a stopped vehicle

  • In a moving vehicle

  • Other

Were you asleep?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Slept through it

  • Woke up

Did others nearby feel it?

  • Not specified

  • No others felt it

  • Some felt it, most did not

  • Most felt it

  • Everyone/almost everyone felt it

How would you describe the shaking?

  • Not specified

  • Not felt

  • Weak

  • Mild

  • Moderate

  • Strong

  • Violent

How did you react?

  • Not specified

  • No reaction/not felt

  • Very little reaction

  • Excitement

  • Somewhat frightened

  • Very frightened

  • Extremely frightened

How did you respond?

  • Not specified

  • Took no action

  • Moved to doorway

  • Dropped and covered

  • Ran outside

  • Other

Was it difficult to stand and/or walk?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes

Did you notice any swinging of doors or other free-hanging objects?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes, slight swinging

  • Yes, violent swinging

Did you hear creaking or other noises?

  • Not specified

  • Yes, slight noise

  • Yes, loud noise

Did objects rattle, topple over, or fall off shelves?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Rattled slightly

  • Rattled loudly

  • A few toppled or fell off

  • Many fell off

  • Nearly everything fell off

Did pictures on walls move or get knocked askew?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes, but did not fall

  • Yes, and some fell

Did any furniture or appliances slide, topple over, or become displaced?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes

Was a heavy appliance (refrigerator or range) affected?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes, some contents fell out

  • Yes, shifted by inches

  • Yes, shifted by a foot or more

  • Yes, overturned

Were free-standing walls or fences damaged?

  • Not specified

  • No

  • Yes, some were cracked

  • Yes, some partially fell

  • Yes, some fell completely

Was there any damage to the building?

  • No Damage

  • Hairline cracks in walls

  • A few large cracks in walls

  • Many large cracks in walls

  • Ceiling tiles or lighting fixtures fell

  • Cracks in chimney

  • One or several cracked windows

  • Many windows cracked or some broken out

  • Masonry fell from block or brick wall(s)

  • Old chimney, major damage or fell down

  • Modern chimney, major damage or fell down

  • Outside wall(s) tilted over or collapsed completely

  • Separation of porch, balcony, or other addition from building

  • Building permanently shifted over foundation

Additional Comments

Contact Information (optional)




Submit Cancel

New Jersey is also surveying their residents to discover the range of Thursday’s quake.  Their site has an interactive map and totals per town of those who felt the quake.

Official Message from Maryland Emergency Management Agency Monitoring After Earthquake Near Delaware Coast

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (November 30, 2017) — In the wake of the earthquake that hit off the coast of Delaware this afternoon, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is monitoring for any reports of damage.

The quake, which the United States Geological Survey currently lists as a 4.1 magnitude, hit just before 4:50 p.m. off the Delaware coast, about 6 miles east/northeast of Dover. Reports say it was felt as far east as the I-95 corridor in central Maryland.

The United States Geological Survey asks anyone who may have felt the quake to report it on their website.

While earthquakes are not common in this region, they do happen. In August of 2011, most of Maryland felt a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that was centered near Mineral, Va.

For more information about earthquakes in Maryland, please visit the MEMA website.

For more general information about earthquake preparedness, visit the federal government’s earthquake website.

End Official Mema press release


4-H’ers Conduct 18th Annual Toy Drive


The Kent County 4-H Toy Drive Planning Committee in Fountain Park, Saturday (L to R): Rachel Jones, Stephen Quinn, Cassie Plummer, Paul Myers, Dylan Hill and Megan Moore. 

After winning first prize for their float in the Chestertown Christmas Parade, the 4-H Toy Drive Planning Committee also manned a booth in Fountain Park from 9 a.m. to noon. They will be there again this Saturday at the same time, collecting toys and monetary donations. Please bring new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children age newborn through 18 years old. 4-H requests that toy donations do not portray or encourage violence.

Monetary donations are accepted at the University of Maryland Extension office, 709 Morgnec Road, Chestertown. Checks should be made out to Kent County EAC, with “4-H Toy Drive” in the memo line. The drive continues through Dec. 15.

Kent County 4-H’ers with their winning float in the Chestertown Christmas Parade

The 4-H’ers are partnering with the Chestertown Lions Club, Kent County Public Schools, and Kent County Social Services to collect gifts to include in the Lions’ annual Christmas Basket program. Last year, the 4-H Toy Drive collected $1904.66. Combining that with funds left over from 2015, they purchased toys and gifts for some 400 children in the county.

In addition to the Fountain Park booth, there are drop-off sites in Galena, Kennedyville, Millington, Rock Hall and Worton. Call the 4-H office at 410-778-1661 or click here for more information.

Bay’s Oyster Aquaculture Harvest Closing in on Wild Fishery


More than a century after the first oysters were planted on a Virginia bar, aquaculture has firmly taken hold in the Chesapeake Bay. The value of Virginia’s oyster farms production has eclipsed the public fishery, and many oyster experts believe Maryland is heading in the same direction.

As of last year, 173 Maryland oyster farmers have leased more than 6,000 acres of the Bay and its tributaries, all of which are actively producing oysters. Harvest from those leases yielded almost 65,000 bushels in 2016 — an increase of 1,000 percent since 2012. In the meantime, Maryland’s public oyster harvest, suffering from mediocre to poor reproduction since 2010, saw its harvest drop 42 percent in 2016 to about 224,000 bushels.

“Each year for the past five, lease numbers and acreage have risen along with aquaculture harvest, while public harvest numbers declined,” said Donald Webster, a University of Maryland aquaculture specialist. “This year and next will be very difficult for the public fishery and, frankly, I doubt it will ever recover to amount to anything again.”

Oyster aquaculture in Maryland wasn’t always destined for success. Jon Farrington has been growing oysters in Southern Maryland for about 10 years and has experienced changes in the state’s permitting process, as well as methods for oyster production, that have moved the state’s aquaculture industry past its rocky start.

Farrington left his aerospace engineering job in 2006 to try growing oysters in a Calvert County cove. One of only six oyster farmers in the state at that time, Farrington was battle-tested with the various bureaucracies that needed to sign off on permits to grow shellfish. When the state changed its laws in 2009 to allow oyster farming in every county, Farrington was first in line to apply for his second lease. He was hoping the new law would mean quicker approvals, more encouragement for watermen to enter the field and less resistance from shoreline property owners who don’t want cages and floats disrupting their view.

The law helped, and so have changes in the oyster farming process. But those changes took years. Now, nearly a decade later, Maryland has a $5 million aquaculture industry that has created close to 500 jobs in coastal areas, according to state figures, and shows little signs of slowing down.

Oyster aquaculture in Virginia is still far ahead, with $18.5 million in oyster sales in 2016. But Maryland aquaculture has definitely gotten its sea legs.

“I kind of thought maybe it would happen a little bit faster than it has,” said Farrington, who sells his oysters directly to restaurants. He also has a hatchery operation, selling “seed” oysters to fellow farmers. “On the other hand, the market has developed a lot more strongly than I had probably expected back then. All in all, I’d say, Maryland’s done a pretty good job.”

Several factors propelled aquaculture forward in Maryland after more than a century of resistance to the idea. First, more oyster farmers are raising “triploids,” sterile oysters bred from the Bay’s native species, Crassostrea virginica. Because they don’t expend energy on reproduction, triploids can grow to market size twice as fast as wild oysters — 18 months in Maryland waters, as opposed to three years for traditional oysters. In Virginia’s saltier water, they grow even faster.

Also, new techniques and equipment have made it more efficient: floating up-weller systems, which help seed oysters feed on plankton and grow more quickly, and a pulley system from Australia that rotates cages to reduce fouling and labor.

Many oyster farmers also find themselves in the equipment business; they can’t locate a cage or float that works in their location, so they make their own, and then other farmers want it. For years, Farrington sold a device called the Revelation that rotated oysters. Another oyster farmer, Johnny Shockley in Dorchester County, sells systems for cleaning and shaping oysters.

The state tackled bureaucratic hurdles for lease applicants. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources now coordinates the review process, sparing applicants the complexities of what used to be a multi-agency gamut.

At the federal level, oyster farmers complained that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which required a separate permit, put them through duplicative reviews, so there too the processed was streamlined. Leases generally take six months to be issued now, instead of a year or more, said Karl Roscher, the DNR’s aquaculture manager.

Roscher’s office has added staff to speed application processing, which is helpful, as his office has received more than 50 new applications in recent months. Also crucial, according to fisheries director David Blazer, is an online mapping tool that allows an oyster farmer to see if there are potential obstacles to getting a lease in a particular location. For example, if the proposed lease is on top of a public oyster bar or a well-worked clamming area, the state won’t approve it.

Money and training have helped, too. About 80 percent of the leases are worked by a spat-on-shell method, where watermen let larvae set on natural oyster shell and reach a certain size before moving them to bags or containers on the bottom. Webster, with help from University of Maryland Sea Grant, has been training watermen how to set oysters. The number of prospective oyster farmers seeking training has grown from six in 2011 to 45 last year.

Since 2011, the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corp. has approved $3 million in shellfish aquaculture loans to help growers acquire the needed equipment. The fund, known as MARBIDCO, originally prioritized loans to traditional watermen who were new to aquaculture. But MARBIDCO has since helped plenty of non-watermen, like Farrington and fellow Southern Maryland oyster farmer Patrick Hudson. The loans are low-interest and, if the borrower makes all of the payments, MARBIDCO forgives 25 percent of the principal.

Hudson, who was on his way to law school when he made a U-turn into the oyster business, said the MARBIDCO loan was critical. Banks, he said, aren’t inclined to lend tens of thousands of dollars for a start-up oyster enterprise.

“You have to buy cages and oysters before you sell anything. You need at least a million seed. And then you sit on it for a year and a half,” Hudson said. “Being able to pay just a couple hundred dollars a month was critical. Otherwise, you’re just leaving oyster aquaculture to the really rich people.”

For decades, that’s what watermen feared: that large seafood companies would gobble the leases, while the workers struggled. That has not come to pass. In several cases, watermen have become equity partners in oyster farms. Eric Wisner, a waterman, has about 500 acres under lease in the Nanticoke River. Ted Cooney, who owns Madhouse Oysters on Hoopers Island, has two watermen partners.

Cooney, who came to oyster farming after a career in healthcare financial services, said he’s pleased that the state is encouraging aquaculture. But the process still has problems. Almost three years ago, he applied for two leases in the Honga River; the state recently told him he couldn’t have one because it’s too close to a hunting blind.

“I was out of the swing of the gun, as far as I could tell, [but] two and a half years later, they tell me no. They should have told me 60 days after I applied,” he said. “In that time, I could have applied and already gotten another lease.”

Roscher said the goose blind didn’t show up on the state’s siting tool, so staff had to take measurements in the field.

Tension still occurs between user groups. While public oyster areas are generally established, clam beds and pound net locations are more intermittent. A few years ago, an Eastern Shore delegate introduced a bill in the legislature that would have made farming in clamming areas more difficult; the bill didn’t pass, so clammers and oyster farmers compromised, and the state promised to delineate clamming areas so farmers could avoid them.

Some influential property owners are still flexing their muscles, but Roscher noted that many of those efforts fail. Dialogue, he said, is far preferable to long lawsuits or boutique legislation. Last year, influential property owners in St. Mary’s County persuaded a state delegate to introduce a bill restricting oyster farms at historic sites; that bill, which was specific to the viewshed at Sotterley Plantation and Historic St. Mary’s City, died.

Roscher said that the public relations and bureaucratic problems are surmountable. What worries him is a shell shortage. The state and University of Maryland have grown oysters on alternative substrates built from granite and concrete, but they’re much harder to harvest from.

“There are a lot of different ways to grow an oyster,” Farrington said. “People are still trying to figure out what works best for their application, but as they do, we’re really going to see some production grow in the next couple of years. It’s still a relatively young industry, and people are really dialed in.”

Bay Journal staff writer Rona Kobell is a former Baltimore Sun reporter.

Photo Gallery — Chestertown Christmas Parade



Santa greets the crowd after riding in the Chestertown Christmas parade

Chestertown held its annual Christmas parade Saturday, Nov. 25 – and whoever ordered up the weather deserves a prize!

With clear skies and comfortable temperatures – especially for the end of November – a large crowd was on hand to view the marching units, floats, band — and of course the star of the season, Santa, who rode in style on the back of one of the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company’s biggest trucks.

Here’s a Spy photo gallery of some of the highlights.


Elves from the Downtown Chestertown Association lead off the parade

Even the Grinch is popular at the Christmas parade!

The judge’s choices for parade winners:

Kristin Owen of Downtown CFhetertown Association briefs Councilwomen L:iz Gross,and Linda Kuiper and Mayor Chris Cerino (standing), the parade judges, while announcer Tom Yeager, at left, warms up the crowd.

Marching Band:


1st – Kent County Community Marching Band

2nd – Kent County High School Marching Band


Marching Unit:

1st – Chestertown Christian Academy Cheerleaders

2nd – Rough Riders

3rd – Garfield Center for the Arts (Cast of Miracle on 34th Street)

Other winners —


1st – University of Maryland Extension Kent County 4-H Program

2nd – Main Street Chestertown “Dickens of a Christmas”

3rd – E.L.B. Incorporated

Classic Car:

1st – Jeff Maguire ’67 Mustang

2nd – Rick George ’65 Ford Falcon Futura

3rd – Mike Fisher ’53 Chevy Pickup

Congratulations to all the winners — and thanks to the Downtown Chestertown Association for sponsoring another enjoyable holiday event.