Digging In: Dixon Valve Expands Its Footprint

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One of the most promising economic development projects to come to Kent County took a step forward Tuesday as Dixon Valve and Coupling broke ground for its new distribution center on the north side of Chestertown, on land that includes the plot previously owned by WalMart. KRM, the real estate division of Dixon Valve, put the project together and will oversee its development.

Dick Goodall, CEO of Dixon Valve, describes the new business complex the company is building in Chestertown before the groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new warehouse.

Dixon’s CEO Dick Goodall opened the proceedings by recognizing those who made the project possible, beginning with the company’s employees who helped build business to the point where the expansion is needed. He also recognized government officials on the state, county and local levels who assisted with the permitting for the project and who smoothed annexation of the 80-acre property off Scheeler Road on which the warehouse and a surrounding  business campus are to be sited. Construction will be performed by local contractors, including Bramble and DMS, he said. Groundbreaking on the apartment complex is tentatively scheduled in the next few months, Goodall said.

Goodall also gave a brief history of Dixon’s 40-year tenure in Chestertown, noting that the company came to town with 15 employees – a number that has grown to some 340, most of them hired from the local community. He showed a copy of the company’s first catalog, some 20 pages long — it has since grown to more than 90 pages. The company’s payroll is more than $30 million, he said – and if the new business campus proves a success, Goodall said, he hopes to double its contribution to the county’s economy.

Dixon Valve was co-founded by Goodall’s grandfather in 1916. The company moved to Chestertown after a deal for a site near Philadelphia fell through, Goodall said.

In addition to the Dixon distribution center, plans for the property include an apartment complex, which Goodall said would be a necessary attraction to new employees considering a move to the community. Also in the plans, a little farther down the road, are a new headquarters building for the company, a large health club, and spaces for retail and offices. KRM will build the necessary infrastructure for the Chestertown Business Campus, including water and sewer lines and roads, which will then be turned over to the town of Chestertown.

After Goodall’s comments, he and several senior staffers at the company took to the shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking. There were also drinks and refreshments including pastries and fresh fruit for attendees.

Among those in attendance were state Senator Steve Hershey, Chestertown Councilwoman Linda Kuiper, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll, and Economic Development Coordinator Kay MacIntosh, Kent County Economic Development Coordinator Jamie Williams, Jim Luff, chairman of the county Economic Development Commission and Loretta Lodge, executive director of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce.

MacIntosh said the presence of a business park with new development will be a strong asset for the town in marketing itself to potential new businesses considering moving here.

Music & Magic – A Vibrant Weekend in Chestertown!

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The Honey Dewdrops, Kagey Parrish & Laura Wortman, sang songs of America and played clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and guitar, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

What a weekend in Chestertown!  It started Thursday night.  At 6:30 pm, Washington College’s free Riverfront Concert series kicked off with folk music by The Honey Dewdrops.  It was a lovely evening – a little hot but with a breeze off the river.   The concerts take place beside the Chester River at the foot of  High Street, on the lawn behind the Custom House, home of Washington College’s  Starr Center for the American Experience.  Just shy of a hundred people were there, sitting on the grass, leaning against the trees, or relaxing in the folding canvas chairs they brought with them.  There were quite a few kids dancing on the lawn.  You could watch the river flow gently by.  The only glitch was the humidity causing the PA system to short out.  After a couple of tries, the performers invited everyone to come up closer and then they played unamplified.  That actually made the concert feel more intimate.  Wortman’s voice rang clear on both originals and well-known folk songs.   There are two more in the Riverfront Concerts.

Listeners relax in lawn chairs for the Starr Center concert

The schooner Martha White made a scenic background for the Custom House concert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the Riverfront Concert was just the beginning of the music and magic.  On Friday, June 23, you had your choice of indoor theater or outdoor theater. At the Garfield Center for the Arts on High Street, it was opening night for Short Attention Span Theatre , in which eight short plays, each about ten minutes long, were performed. The idea is that if you don’t like one, if this play loses your attention, well, the next one will be along in under ten minutes!

While Short Attention Span was just opening it’s three-week run indoors at the Garfield, over at Wilmer Park, Shore Shakespeare was celebrating the end of their triumphant tour of the Eastern Shore with a magical production of  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, full of fairies, enchantments, love triangles, and noble passions.  The weather cooperated beautifully with nearly 200 in attendance at each of the weekend’s performances, Friday and Sunday.  The tour took A Midsummer Night’s Dream to six locations on the Eastern Shore, finishing up this past weekend with two free performances at Wilmer Park in Chestertown.

Puck (Avra Sullivan) enchants Bottom the weaver (Patrick Fee) in Shore Shakespeare’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  Another fairy (Jane Terebey) watches from behind a tree in the magical woods near Athens.

On Saturday, there was a ribbon-cutting for the re-naming of the neighborhood park in the Washington Park area of Chestertown.  Formerly just referred to as “Washington Park” – which would make it redundantly “Washington Park” Park – it is now officially the “Louise D. Carpenter Park”. Councilman Sam Shoge was on hand to help cut the ribbon along with community members who had worked hard to upgrade the facilities.  There is a basketball court, new benches, and a large swing and climbing set. In its own way, it was a magical moment for community members who helped bring it about.

Council members Sam Shoge, Liz Gross, and Marty Stetson join Washington Park residents and members of the town Recreation Commission for the ribbon-cutting at newly-named Louisa D. Carpenter Park

Children swinging and climbing on playground equipment in refurbished and renamed Louisa D. Carpenter Park in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chestertown.

Later on Saturday morning, the Fort Delaware Coronet Band, dressed in authentic Civil War uniforms, joined the Kent County Community Marching Band and local re-enactors in a short parade, followed by a ceremony recognizing the veterans of America’s Civil War.  Thomas Hayman, who organized the event, laid flowers at the 1917 Civil War Monument and the more recent 1999 monument to the USCT, United States Colored Troops from Kent County.  Then the Fort Delaware band played songs from the Civil War Era on period instruments.  Nearby was a “living history” exhibit with uniforms, guns, items for camping and cooking, and other items, all originals or authentic reproductions from the era.

The Fort Delaware Cornet Band played music of the Civil War Era on period instruments

 

The Kent County Community Marching Band plays “Maryland, My Maryland” before the wreath-laying at the Civil War monuments.

 

Civil War re-enactors stand at attention as three wreaths are laid at the monuments honoring those who fought in that conflict.

If that wasn’t enough music for you, not to worry.  At 7 p.m., the inaugural concert for the 2017 summer season of Music in the Park started with The Andovers Trio presenting “A Half Century of Hits.”  It was a lively evening of good old rock-n-roll plus a few country tunes!

John Barrett and Aaron Maloney of the Andovers Trio played for Music in the Park on Saturday evening.

 

Juanita Wieczoreck gives a heart-felt eulogy for Rosa the cat in the “Hey, Wait a Minute” series of one-minute plays.

The Short Attention Span Theater 10-minute play festival at the Garfield is a perennial favorite with local theater-goers, with plays “just long enough.”  And if your attention span is even shorter, why the one-minute plays in the lobby of the Garfield might be just your thing!  Hey, Wait a Minute was a set of five “One-Minute” plays in the lobby for the audience to enjoy while waiting for the doors to open for the main attraction. Short Attention Span Theatre has two more weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings with 3:00 pm matinees on Sunday.

Yes, the weekend in Chestertown, Thursday through Sunday, June 22-25, was a wondrous one – full or music and magic for everyone.

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Rock Hall a Finalist for “Nicest Place in America”

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Rock Hall is a finalist in a Reader’s Digest competition to find the Nicest Place in America. The 10 finalists, nominated by readers of the magazine, include sites from all over the United States. Two are from Maryland: Rock Hall and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The winner, chosen by popular vote, will be featured on the cover of the magazine’s November issue.

Durding’s ice cream is one of the must-visit attractions in Rock Hall

Brian Jones, mayor of Rock Hall, in an email to the Chestertown Spy, asked readers to tag Reader’s Digest on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #NicestPlaceinAmerica “and let them know you support Rock Hall.” Jones wrote, “We’re nice, but we also want to win! And thank each of you for helping to make Rock Hall a place where nice people live.”

Rock Hall’s mayor and council ride in a parade along Main Street

Jones also provided a link to the Reader’s Digest website http://www.rd.com/nicest-places-contest/ with full information on the contest. The website says, “We’ve found the 10 Nicest Places in America and now we need your help to choose which one is No. 1! See our 10 finalists for Nicest Place in America and vote for your favorite below. Come back each day to see which ones are leading the pack. Up to one vote per day will be counted, so check back frequently!”

 

According to the contest rules, votes will be counted “until on or about July 7, 2017 at 12:01 p.m. Eastern Time,” subject to change in case of technical difficulties. Also, according to the rules, “Reader’s Digest editors will consider the voting tally and other factors they deem relevant, including but not limited to embodiment of the spirit of niceness and the kindness of the people in the place, in determining the winner.”

A statue of an oyster tonger graces Rock Hall’s waterfront

Jones wrote, “To win this contest, it will take the entire Kent County Community. Please post a link on your company or business website, share on your social media pages and remember – vote each and every day! You can only vote once a day; if you try to vote more than once, they will disqualify your vote. Make sure you enter your email to vote, if you use more than one email, vote with each email. A special thank you to Kathi Donegan and Jamie and Allie Elburn for completing the nomination process!”

Here’s a chance to put a Kent County town on the national map – and quite possibly to bring in visitors from all over the country, with obvious benefits to Rock Hall and the whole surrounding area. So vote early and vote often – and may the nicest place win!

 

 

New Physician Assistant Rotations in Progress at UM Shore Regional Health

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UM Shore Regional Health has welcomed five physician assistant students for clinical rotations with UM SRH physician preceptors, William Huffner, MD, senior vice president, Medical Affairs and chief medical officer, has announced.

The students — Rhavi Dholokia, Emmy Estrada, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Kulvinder Singh and Emily Tull — began their first of eight, five-week rotations on May 22, 2017. The physician preceptors and their specialties are: Eric Anderson, MD, Psychiatry; Walter Atha, MD, Emergency Medicine; Kim Herman, MD, Family Medicine; Mark Langfitt, MD, Pediatrics; Andrew Pelczar, MD, Surgery; Aisha Siddiqui, MD, OB/GYN; Myron Szczukowski, Jr., MD, Orthopedics (offered as an elective); and Elena Tilly, MD, Internal Medicine.

UM SRH has welcomed five physician assistant students for nine-month clinical rotations. Shown are (back row, L-R): Emily Tull, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Ravi Dholokia, Kulvinder Singh and Emmy Estrada; and (front row, L-R) William Huffner, MD, UM SRH chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs, Kim Billingslea, regional director, Medical Staff Services, and Jennifer Kaminskas, executive assistant, Medical Affairs.

“We are delighted to host this second group of students from the Physician Assistant program offered jointly by Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland at Baltimore,” says Huffner. “According to reports from our physician preceptors and from the seven PA students who were with us during the past year, the first round of rotations was highly successful. In fact, a few of those students, who graduated in May, have indicated that UM Shore Regional Health is their first choice for employment once they pass their PA licensing exams. We could not have asked for a better outcome and we are hoping this new group will have an equally good experience with our physicians and their practices, and in our hospitals and outpatient services.”

Mary Jo Bondy, administrative program director of the M.S. in Health Science/Physician Assistant Porgram, shares Dr. Huffner’s enthusiasm. “We are so very grateful to the physicians and hospital leaders at Shore who have welcomed our PA students,” Bondy says. “The first group of students, who are now graduates studying for state licensure, greatly appreciated the opportunity to become embedded in the local community and to work with one physician practice at a time, which enabled them to really focus on their learning. I also was very glad to hear from some of the physician preceptors how much growth they observed in the students over the course of the rotations.”

According to Bondy, most of the students accepted into the AACC/UMB PA program have some work experience, very often in the field of health care. “We find that candidates with a bit of work history and life experience are most likely to succeed in the program, which is very demanding,” she says.

The demand for certified physician assistants continues to grow, especially in rural communities. PAs work in virtually every area of medicine and surgery in the full array of health care settings — hospitals, private and employed physician practices, outpatient services, and long-term care and rehabilitation facilities. PA duties include taking histories and conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing and implementing treatment plans, and assisting in or even performing surgery.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members, and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

AAM and THS Sponsors Lecture on Maryland’s Black Soldiers During the Civil War

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On Tuesday June 27 at 6 p.m., the Academy Art Museum and the Talbot Historical Society will host a lecture, “Forgotten Warriors: Maryland’s Black Soldiers During the Civil War,” by noted Maryland historian Daniel Carroll Toomey.

During the Civil War 186,000 Black men served in the Union Army. The small state of Maryland, divided in its loyalties, contributed six regiments or about 9,000 men to the Union war effort. An additional regiment was organized in Norfolk, Virginia, but composed mostly of men from the lower Chesapeake Bay region and those who served in the United States Navy. Approximately half of these men were free when they entered the service, the other half slaves who gained their freedom as a condition of enlistment.

Segregated into regiments known as United States Colored Troops and commanded by White officers, these Marylanders of Color forged combat records equal to any units formed after the Emaciation Proclamations took effect. Of the 16 Black soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War, seven were Marylanders. Toomey will explain the evolution of these men from slave to soldier and recount their many accomplishments both as soldiers on the battlefield and veterans after the war.

Daniel Carroll Toomey is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the author or co-author of over a dozen books including “The Civil War in Maryland” and “Baltimore During the Civil War.” He has lectured for a number of historical organizations and colleges including the Smithsonian Institution and Johns Hopkins University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information and to register, visit academyartmuseum.org.

Indivisible to Host a Protest Artwork Event in Chestertown

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 “A Mile In Our Shoes” installation artwork responds to the American Healthcare Act.  The event will be held Thursday, July 6, at 7:00 PM in Fountain Park in Chestertown.

KQA Indivisible is partnering with other groups in the region to have a public installation artwork highlighting the human cost of the AHCA.

The organization has a goal to collect 900 pairs of shoes for this installation, representing the roughly 900 individuals projected to lose health care coverage in Kent County alone under the American Health Care Act. Nationally, around 24 million people are estimated to lose health care coverage. After the event, the collection of shoes will be donated to charity organizations.

The event will begin with opening remarks from KQA Indivisible and testimonials regarding health care from community members followed by a candlelight vigil.

The event is open to the public.

Shoes can be donated at drop-off boxes located at the Democratic Club table at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings or by mailing via the US Postal Service to 104 Spring Ave. PO Box # 781, Chestertown, MD, 21620

About KQA Indivisible – The Indivisible Movement is a national movement organizing to demand accountability from congressional representatives and prevent the Trump administration from dismantling American democracy.

Indivisible of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties strives to build a movement of inclusion, equity and justice, and will further this mission with four goals in mind:

  • Maintain elected Representative vigilance. We demand that the actions of our local and state Representatives are fact-based, science-based and data-driven. We demand that our Representatives vote in the people’s best interests, not for special interests.
  • To be a resource in our community to inform, organize and support the people of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. We seek to do this by providing fact checked information and legislative developments, coordinating acts of resistance, and increasing voter participation.
  • To build relationships and alliances in our community across lines of race, class, gender identity, generation, faith, citizenship status or political party, utilizing our collective power to work for liberty and justice for all.
  • Work to seat progressive candidates in the Maryland 1st congressional district and in other local and regional elections.A Mile In Our Shoes” installation artwork in protest of the Republican “American Healthcare Act”Thursday, July 6, at 7:00 PM in Fountain Park in Chestertown.  All are welcome.  For more information see Kent & Queen Anne Indivisible website or Indivisible’s FaceBook page.  Email to KQAIndivisible@gmail.com.  

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Mid-Shore Pro Bono Celebrates New Maryland Bar Foundation Fellows

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Mid-Shore Pro Bono and other Mid-Shore legal professionals were proud to celebrate with Andie Ross and Maureen Keough as they became Fellows of the Maryland Bar Foundation at the organization’s annual meeting in Ocean City. This honor recognizes legal professionals for their outstanding dedication and contribution to maintaining the honor and integrity of the legal profession, the improvement and facilitation of the administration of justice, and the work of the organized Bar of Maryland and civic leadership. Just 2.5 percent of the membership of the Maryland Bar Foundation are welcomed as fellows. Pictured are Cappy Callahan, Christine duFour Esq., Sandy Brown, Maureen Keogh Esq., Andie Ross Esq., Judge Karen Murphy Jensen, Connie Kratovil Lavelle Esq., Robin Henley Esq. and Tom Yeager Esq..

The YMCA of the Chesapeake “The Best Summer Ever”

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Over 200 counselors from across the Shore, some returning and some new, gathered at the Richard A. Henson Family YMCA for extensive training to skillfully serve 1,000 kids a day this summer at YMCA of the Chesapeake locations. Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of the Chesapeake, opened camp training and welcomed staff to the #bestsummerever. As CEO, a parent and a former camp counselor he understands the experience everyone is looking for with camp whether you are a camper, parent or staff. He addressed the assembled group.

“We get moments in our lives where the opportunity to give back and make a difference appear before us. This is one of those moments. As much as we all would love to be a camp counselor for the next 20 years, that’s just not how life works out. But, here you are, a camp counselor, this summer, with an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact in the lives of children every day. Make the most of this opportunity. There will be kids who are so excited to meet you; they can’t sleep the night before camp starts. Let’s be ready every day, to make this the best summer ever. Your best summer ever, the Y’s best summer ever and the kids we’re blessed enough to serve, let’s make it their best summer ever.”

We are ready and waiting for your children to come to camp. Every child deserves to just be a kid during the summer. Here are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:   

1.    ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of new experiences and exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. Visit www.ymcachesapeake.org for details.

2.    HEALTHY FUN: Day and resident camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits. 

3.    PERSONAL GROWTH: While in the welcoming environment of camp, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.

4.    FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The bonds formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.

5.    MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!

And, to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, the YMCA of the Chesapeake offers financial assistance to those in need. If you’re interested in helping send kids to camp this summer, you can donate to the Y at ymcachesapeake.org or contact your local branch of the YMCA of the Chesapeake.

The “best summer ever” is right around the corner and the YMCA of the Chesapeake is offering a variety of camp to make sure kids and teens on the Eastern Shore are adventurous, active and healthy this summer. YMCA camp programs offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. The Y has Traditional, Specialty, Sports and Outdoor camps. There truly is something for everyone. We have ten different locations that, when combined, offer over 400 different camps. Come and register for camp at your local YMCA of the Chesapeake branch. Make this the best summer ever!

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

“Art in Stone” A Summer Solistice Cemetery Tour at Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

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Old St. Paul’s cemetery

Old St. Paul’s is celebrating its fourth Solstice program at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, June 18, 2017.  This year’s theme, “Art in Stone,” highlights a selection of the amazing collection of memorial stones throughout the venerable church’s cemetery.

The self-guided tour starts at the 1766 Vestry House, located a few steps from the church, and focuses on the considerable changes in materials, styles, designs, and messages that have taken place over the more than 300 years of history that have passed since the church was established.  At the Vestry House, visitors will receive a pamphlet with information on the various memorial stones in the cemetery.  This is a self-guided, go-at-your -own pace tour.  The hospitality committee will be on hand to serve refreshments and hand out the guides.

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer.  This year the solstice falls on Wed, June 21.  On Sunday, June 18, the day of the tour, sunrise is at 5:34 am with sunset at 8:34 pm.  That makes for an almost 15 hour-long day – 14 hours, 53 minutes and seven seconds – to be precise.Traditionally, people have gathered at Sonehenge in England to mark the summer solstice.  But here in Kent County, you can tour the stones of Old St. Paul’s instead.  This is an excellent opportunity for all genealogists and family historians.

All are welcome.  There is no charge.  Refreshments will be served. Please wear walking shoes as some of the ground is uneven.

St. Paul’s Parish, Kent is located at 7579 Sandy Bottom Road, Chestertown, MD  21620

For more information please call the Church Office at 410-778-1540 or check Old St. Paul’s website

Old St. Paul Cemetery