Really Good Stuff: Washington College, Faculty and Staff Donates $28,000 to Local United Way

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Washington College is donating $28,000 to United Way of Kent County, after 82 faculty and staff responded to President Kurt Landgraf’s pledge to match whatever they contributed.

“I am just so proud of the Washington College community, and I appreciate the generosity and caring of this faculty and staff,” Landgraf says. “This United Way campaign result is yet another indication that we take our mission seriously—they’re not just words on a document, but a living action statement to support our community.”

In late fall, Landgraf asked College employees to consider signing up for a payroll deduction to United Way of Kent County, pledging that he would match whatever they raised. Last year, eight employees gave through the payroll deduction for a total of $1,248. As of December 14, 82 employees had signed up for a total donation of $13,944. Landgraf matched this with $14,000.

“Many members of our Washington College community, including students, staff, and faculty, have had close associations with United Way agencies in a number of capacities,” says Sarah Feyerherm, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and a member of United Way of Kent County’s Board of Directors. “But this recent financial commitment is emblematic of a recognition that we are all partners in improving the lives of Kent County residents. Kurt’s leadership and generosity was just contagious, and the response from our employees was heartwarming. My hope is that this is just the start of a sustained partnership between the College and the United Way of Kent County.”

United Way of Kent County raises and distributes funding to multiple organizations, with a focus on improving the health, education, and financial stability of Kent County residents. In addition to the College’s donations through the workplace campaign, the College has directly supported or provided resources for many United Way member organizations including Character Counts! Kent County, the Kent Center, St. Martin’s Ministries, the Community Food Pantry, Camp Fairlee/Easter Seals, Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council, Kent Forward, For All Seasons, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence.

Early in his tenure as Washington College President, Landgraf made United Way of Kent County a priority as a way for the College to do more to support the surrounding community.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I grew up an orphan. I know what it’s like to seriously need the help of others,” Landgraf says. “This is one of the reasons that I have always been a big supporter of the United Way, and why, as soon as I came to Washington College, I got involved in United Way of Kent County. I know how much good this organization can do. And I want to make sure that everybody at our College knows how much good it can do, how it can lift up whole segments of our community’s population that need help the most.”

The Face of Suicide in All Seasons with Beth Anne Langrell and Lesa Lee

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For the record, there is no such thing as a “Suicide Season.” While it may be tempting to think of these long dark days of winter as a critical time for those contemplating ending their lives, this has shown to be statistically not the case.

In fact, the risk of suicide is a four-season phenomenon which makes it all the more understandable that our Mid-Shore’s suicide crisis and prevention center is called For All Seasons. A mental health agency tasked with being the community’s front line to save those suffering from these impulses, For All Seasons have significantly invested resources and public education programming over the years to provide a safe and caring place for those at risk and their families.

The Spy recently sat down with For All Seasons director Beth Anne Langrell and its clinical director, Lesa Lee, to talk about the ongoing threat of suicide in the region and their views of how best to attack this cry for help from loved ones.

As part of that interview, the Spy wanted to match some of Beth Anne and Lesa’s comments to the real and recent faces of suicide in our country that were found online.  Young and old, male or female, white or black, over one million Americans are trying to end their lives each year. Those images say so much more about these avoidable tragedies.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about For All Seasons please click here 

Delightful Debut for “Dickens of a Christmas”

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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

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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.

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

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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 DickensChestertown.org 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 DickensChestertown.org.

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 DickensChestertown.org.

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 MainStreetChestertown.org.

Cerino Gives Update on Marina

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The Chestertown Marina during Downrigging weekend, 2017. Drone photo courtesy of Short Studios, by Sam Shoge

Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino, at the Nov. 20 council meeting, gave a progress report on renovations to the town-owned marina.

Using illustrations created from spectacular drone photos taken by Councilman Sam Shoge, Cerino showed both completed work and work planned for the next phases of the renovations, scheduled to take place over the next couple of years.  He also outlined the budgetary picture for the work, which is largely being funded by government grants. A complication with that source, Cerino noted, is that getting additional grant money is unlikely until the town has used up the funds currently on hand. Also, because the town is using state funds, it is expected to adhere to the state’s specifications for the work being done.

The town is “still plugging away” on Phase I of the project, which involves repairs to the bulkheads and walkways.. The bulkheads and walkways along the south side of the marina have been replaced, and are about two feet higher than the old ones. The new height is in response to the chronic flooding problems with the old marina. Cerino said the town decided on the new elevation after observing the Sultana pier, which is flooded only in extreme weather conditions such as major hurricanes. Funds from the Washington College donation at the time it acquired the Armory were used as the match for the state funds for this part of the work. New bulkheads and walkways were also installed at the Scott’s Point Marina, which shares a boat basin with the town marina.

Workers carve grooves in the concrete for the enlarged boat ramp at the marina.

Also upgraded in the process was the boat ramp, which has been doubled in width and given a new concrete foundation. Old finger piers along the bulkhead near the ramp have been removed. They will be replaced with six new piers, three of which will be floating piers that allow easier boarding and unboarding no matter what the level of the tide.  The piers will be far enough from the ramp to allow adequate freeway for boats using the ramp.

For this work, Cerino said the town was using a $100,000 private donation from Michael Lawrence of Grassymeade Farm near Comegys’ Bight on Quaker Neck. A small plaza suitable for musical performances, to be sited where the current marina store is located, will be named “Grassymeade Plaza” in his honor. Cerino encouraged other donors to come forward, and indicated there would be naming opportunities for generous gifts.

Phase II will take on the replacement of the bulkheads and walkways along the river side of the Fish Whistle restaurant. At the same time, the three piers along that side of the marina will be removed and the basin dredged to a depth of six feet, Cerino said. Silting has reduced the depth of the boat basin to two feet, making it impossible for larger boats to use many of the slips. The return to full depth should make the marina a more attractive destination for boaters who were previously unable to dock there. This part of the work can  be completely funded with a Maryland Department of Natural Resources grant the town already has in hand.

The long-range plan would remove two of the three piers on the river side of the restaurant, replacing them with one longer pier. The Cannon Street pier would also be extended, which would allow even larger boats to dock there. Ideally, Cerino said, this part of the project will be completed in time for Downrigging in 2018. He estimated the cost of this phase at between $350,000 and $450,000. The improved piers, extending into deeper water, would make it possible for more tall ships to take part in the annual Downrigging festival.

Architect’s drawing of the new marina store and interpretive center.

At the same time, a new marina store, combined with an interpretive center, is to be built on the site of the large empty building which was removed over the last summer. Budget constraints led to downsizing the new building, originally planned for two stories, to a single story. Yerkes Construction is the contractor on the revamped project. Cerino said the current plan is to build the foundation and shell, and try to raise about $500,000 to complete the building.  Completion of the building is a key to the economic development aspect of the marina, Cerino said. The interpretive center will include brochures and other information on the attractions in the nearby town, letting visiting boaters know about sightseeing, eateries, shops and other attractions within an easy walk from the docks.

This phase will also involve the removal of the existing marina shed and fuel tank. Both will be relocated to the rear of the property. The fuel pier will be moved slightly upriver from the current location. The town will need to sell off all the old fuel under supervision of the Maryland Department of  Environment, Cerino said.

Architect’s drawing of the planned new marina dock, with the Fish Whistle restaurant in the background and a new plaza replacing the current marina store.

Finally, Phase III will involve raising the parking lot level around the marina store and the Fish Whistle from one-and-a-half to two feet. This will also involve improvements in stormwater management for the entire property, as well as water and wastwater lines. The town will need to work closely with the Fish Whistle during this phase.

On the whole, Cerino and the council sounded optimistic about the progress of the renovations, which were one of the key issues the mayor took on during his first term in office.

 

 

 

College Asks for Safety Measures at Campus Ave. Intersection

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Washington College is concerned about pedestrian safety at a major intersection used by students.

Jerry Roderick, the college’s Director of Public Safety, came to the Chestertown Mayor and Council Monday, Nov. 20, to outline problems at the intersection of Washington Ave. and Campus Ave. Displaying images of the busy intersection from all four directions, Roderick outlined the problems at the crosswalks and suggested ways it could be made safer.

While there is a traffic signal at the intersection, Roderick said, there is no left turn signal in any direction, requiring cars to wait for a gap in the often-heavy traffic to make a turn; this could cause them to overlook pedestrians in the crosswalk, who would be crossing with the light. Also, southbound traffic approaching the intersection for a right turn has poor visibility because of a large electrical box on the corner, partially shielded by bushes. This means pedestrians crossing from campus to the alumni house may not be visible before the car is making the turn. Also, given the flow of traffic, pedestrians sometimes “wait for a break, then dart across.”

There are approximately 225 students, faculty, and staff who use the intersection on a daily basis, Roderick said, many of them to attend classes in Cromwell Hall on the east side of Washington Ave, A fair number of Kent County Middle School students also cross at that point in the morning and mid-afternoon, going to and from school. And as one of the main routes through town, the road is heavily traveled, with a considerable number of trucks going through town.

Roderick suggested three measures to improve pedestrian safety at the crossing.  A separate left turn signal for traffic would unclog the intersection and reduce the number of vehicles trying to beat the light. Also, signs prohibiting right turns on red would reduce the number of times pedestrians crossing with the light have to deal with turning traffic. Finally, he suggested, a four-way stop signal allowing pedestrians to cross in all directions would improve safety, especially when large numbers of students need to cross for classes in Cromwell.

Several council members agreed that the intersection presents problems. Councilwoman Linda Kuiper said the lack of a left turn signal often makes her wait several changes of the light before she can turn.

Councilwoman Liz Gross agreed there are problems, but she pointed out that Washington Ave. is a state road, so any changes will require the State Highway Administration to act. She said any study by the SHA should be conducted while there are students on campus so the agency can see the nature of the problem.

Councilman Marty Stetson said the majority of accidents involving cars and pedestrians are the pedestrian’s fault, but he added that the college students he had observed seem particularly aware of safety and use appropriate caution crossing the street. He said there was a study by SHA several years ago, but nothing came of it.

Mayor Chris Cerino said the best approach would be for the college to send the council a letter outlining its concerns and proposed remedies for the council to endorse and forward to SHA. Roderick said he would follow up with a letter and appreciated the town’s cooperation in trying to solve the problems.

The 1st District: Introducing Candidate Jesse Colvin

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It’s too bad that one of Jesse Colvin’s most compelling examples of his character is pretty much reserved for those who know something about college basketball.

A candidate in the Democratic primary for the Congressional 1st District seat now, and with four active tours of duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Ranger behind him, Jesse still has a hint of horror in his voice when he recalled before our formal Spy interview of being a freshman reporter on Duke University’s student newspaper and asking the famed Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) why he had ‘screwed up’ after a critical match against the University of Maryland.

The crowded press room fell silent as Jesse’s basketball heroes started to awkwardly shuffle their feet as Duke’s only living god, who is referred to on the Duke campus as “GOAT,” as in “Greatest of All Time,” came down on the cub reporter in a rage of fury that would crush a typical nineteen years old. But that might be the point; Jesse Colvin is not your ordinary anything.

A gifted student with a bright future in the field of international relations, Colvin instead signed up to not only serve in the military but sought out and earned a position in the 75th Ranger Regiment, perhaps the most elite fighting force in the world.

With all that in mind, it doesn’t seem so shocking then to see someone of Jesse’s age, with no significant political background, decide that he has what it takes to win what is turning out to be a hotly contested Democratic primary contest in June of next year and then defeat Representative Andy Harris in November.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. We have included Jesse Colvin’s “Coach K” story after the credits. For more information the Jesse Colvin for Congress campaign please go here

College Donates $10,000 to Chestertown Firefighters

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Washington College has donated $10,000 the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC) to underscore its appreciation for the fire company’s devotion to the safety and well-being of the college’s campus community and neighbors.

“As the president of Washington College, my first obligation is to the students, faculty, and staff here, and we are glad to have a reliable, committed, and well-equipped fire department as a neighbor,” President Kurt Landgraf told CVFC’s president, David Eason Sr. “We are grateful for the service that is rendered by the members of the fire company to Washington College and to the greater Chestertown community.”

Located only a few blocks from the Washington College campus, the CVFC is one of seven emergency organizations in Kent County. It can deploy three engines, one tower ladder, one heavy rescue, one tanker, one brush unit, one chief’s unit and a spill support trailer, according to the company’s website. The all-volunteer company responds to over 700 emergencies annually.

In recent years, the College has donated $2,000 a year to the fire department. Landgraf, who became Washington College’s president in July, says that in addition to this year’s monetary contribution, he will work closely with the town on more growth opportunities, as well as supporting a vibrant partnership with United Way to help all Kent County residents.