Get Ready! Winter Storm Watch for Monday & Tuesday

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Get ready. The National Weather Service is reporting that one of the largest snowstorms of the winter have a good chance of impacting Eastern Shore Monday into Tuesday this week. While there is still uncertainty as to the track and ferocity of the developing Nor’easter late Monday, there is little doubt that snow will affect travel Monday in much of the area.Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 8.32.27 AM

Stay tuned.

Chesapeake Bank & Trust Selects New CEO

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Michael Macielag, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Bancorp and Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company, today announced that the Company has hired Glenn L. Wilson as President and CEO of both the Bank and the Bank Holding Company. He will replace Richard L. Coffman, who has served the Bank for nearly 20 years as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Coffman has also served as Acting President & Chief Executive Officer for the last six months. He will begin his long-awaited retirement following Mr. Wilson’s arrival.

Wilson_Glenn_7508“I am very excited about our success in recruiting a new President,” said Mr. Macielag.  “I do believe we have hit the proverbial ‘home run’ in persuading Glenn Wilson to join us as CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company.” Glenn will officially join the Bank on January 12, 2015. Glenn has spent a lifetime in banking in Maryland and has run banks ten times the size of Chesapeake. More importantly, he has run high-performance banks such as Citizens National ofLaurel which was one of the top performers in Maryland prior to the acquisition of its parent, Mercantile Bankshares, by PNC some years ago. Glenn’s office (for a short period of time) was in the Chestertown Bank of Maryland building, just down the street from Chesapeake’s main office. Glenn stayed at PNC for over two years as its Senior Credit Officer overseeing most of Maryland. But since he enjoys being a Community Banker, he moved to Western Pennsylvania where for the past 5+ years he has been President & CEO of a financial institution which includes a $1 billion Community Bank and a $1.8 billion Trust Company. He began his banking career at Maryland National Bank.

Highlights of Glenn’s banking career include: past National Chairman of the Risk Management Association, with over 3,000 member banks; Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association and a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s CommunityInstitutions Advisory Council. His community involvement includes: Chair of local United Way Board and being on the Boards of several civic, economic development, and educational organizations.

Glenn, and his wife Diana, have been weekend residents of Chestertown for the last 6 years, with a condo in Chester River Landing. They are members of Sacred Heart Church and the Sultana Captain’s Table. They have two sons, who live in Miami and Atlanta. Glenn is a graduate of Towson University with a B.S. in Finance. It is their love of Chestertown that had Glenn and Diana consider the possibility of locating here permanently and him joining Chesapeake.

Glenn commented: “I am excited to become Chesapeake’s President and CEO and the opportunity to help build on its success in helping this fine community. Diana and I are thrilled to be moving to Chestertown on a full-time basis, to more fully enjoy this great area, its people, and all it has to offer.”

“Chesapeake is very proud of the fact that our history of high performance and our culture of commitment to excellence helped persuade Glenn that Chesapeake was the right opportunity. He was also very impressed with the degree of employee ownership through our KSOP. We are very unique in that regard.” Mr. Macielag added that he and Mr. Wilson had talked about the fact that every time the Bank takes on a new person it is more like recruiting a partner than an employee. “He will be our newest partner. I fully expect that he will benefit from joining our partnership, and I fully expect that our clients, employees, and shareholders will benefit from his experience and knowledge.”

Spy Report: New Molly Mason’s an Unexpectedly Upscale Hit in Kennedyville

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Chestertown’s emerging restaurant scene is simmering nicely on the front burner this year.

The Kitchen at the Imperial Hotel, Café Sado in the former Brooks Tavern, the Black Burro Taco truck, Luisa’s new, upgraded location are now joined by a newly minted Molly Mason’s—and it’s attracting some well-deserved attention.

Now under the direction of young impresario in chef Matt Whitehair, Molly Mason’s, on Rt. 213 near Kennedyville, is steering the restaurant from “down home” to seriously upscale cuisine.

But don’t let the term scare you. While the meals are gourmet prepared—with sides like sweet potato gnocchi and beurre noir—and artistically presented over whispy swashes of pureed vegetables and delicious sauces, this reboot of Molly’s offers regional favorites like duck, venison, filet mignon, and crab cakes.

Matt Whitehair

Matt Whitehair

Take for instance Whitehair’s Small Plate offering of Duck Confit with pickled cherry and walnut hummus or a Large Plate special salmon with sweet potato gnocchi, arugula, house cured bacon and pearl onions—it shouldn’t take more than a bite to convince you that these dishes have been crafted with care and creative flair.

One recent sampling offered pan-seared scallops with an herb emulsion and petals of Jerusalem artichoke, a sweet and spicy apricot glazed octopus, pan-seared duck breast on a carrot emulsion and black vinegar and venison osso bucco with tomato jus on a splash of parmesan polenta.

These meal descriptions might have you believe that Whitehair just arrived from the Le Cordon Bleu, but in fact the young chef is home grown and first discovered his love for cooking while attending Kent County High School.

“I took a class in Home Ec taught by John Keller and got hooked,” Whitehair says. “John pointed me in the right direction and I started working locally in kitchens at Riley’s on the River (before Fish Whistle), Osprey Point Inn and the Imperial Hotel before I went up to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.”

Originally Whitehair had been thinking about law school as a goal. “But one day— in the middle of Poly-Sci I jotted down an idea of a recipe and I knew right then that my path had changed.”

Square Root Escabeche (beet, carrot, parsnip) with alive oil powder.

Square Root Escabeche (beet, carrot, parsnip) with olive oil powder.

Whitehair said that he’d discussed the possibility of working at Molly Mason’s with owner Scott Mason but until last summer the timing hadn’t been right for either of them. When an opportunity opened, Whitehair decided to take the plunge and move back to his hometown.

“It’s been exciting for sure. I love what I’m doing and I like being back in my community to do it. A lot of my peers have understandably moved to the excitement and possibilities that a city has to offer, but I really wanted to come back and share my love for cuisine with the community that inspired me,” he says.

Some of the excitement hasn’t been all that comfortable for the 24-year old chef, however. He completely overhauled the kitchen to meet his standards and changed the menu to showcase his specialties.

Ash-cured quail with texture of carrot.

Ash-cured quail with texture of carrot.

“I changed the menu in August and the whole world freaked out,” he says. “One fellow said ‘somebody’s done gone and broke my Molly Mason’s’ after finding out that he couldn’t get his usual hot turkey sandwich.”

Whitehair finds that sort of reaction ironic. “Like a lot of my clientele, I’m an avid hunter and fisher and was raised doing both here in Kent County, spent a good part of my time wearing camo and getting to know the local terrain—I just want to inspire people to try an exciting variation of the food they already love,” he says.

Whitehair is confident that people who appreciate thoughtful cuisine will continue to discover Molly’s. Each week new diners arrive to try out the menu. Already, word of mouth has brought in new patrons.

“I look at the menu choices as core regional fundamentals and many of these meals are prepared the way they were generations ago. It’s also important for me also to have everything as absolutely fresh as possible. For instance, I don’t buy fillets, I buy the whole fish so that I absolutely know how fresh it is. And it’s all local.”

The chef entrepreneur also finds time to cater events at Crow Farm and Vineyard. One event, last Friday 17th, billed as a “Winter Wine Dinner Series I: Eastern Shore Bounty” showcases Whitehair’s expertise. He is also known to cater private gatherings and looks to the future for cultivating that part of his business.

”I’m really lucky. I get to do what I love to do every day. I have a crew I wouldn’t trade for the world, and together we make food happen.”

The Spy wishes them well.

 

A menu for a recent event at Crow Farm and Vineyard.

A menu for a recent event at Crow Farm and Vineyard.

 

 

Hours: 11am-9pm Monday through Thursday
7am-9pm Friday and Saturday
7am-8pm Sunday
12503 Austine Herman Hwy (Rt. 213)Kennedyville

410-348-2430

 

 

Spy Profile: Bill Peak Has a Literary Moment

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Sometimes, but ever so infrequently, middle-aged writers, after years of rejection from book publishers, finally do get their reward of having their work in print. This kind of rare victory was most recently celebrated in the brilliant new biography of author Penelope Fitzgerald, which recounts the writer’s remarkable literary rise to fame at the unlikely age of sixty.

And perhaps that same kind of epic, against all odds, tale of authentication is starting to unfold for Talbot County Free Library’s communications manager Bill Peak. After decades of countless hours of writing and research before and after his regular job, first with the National Association of Broadcasters, and more recently as the County’s “Library Guy” for programming, Bill Peak is starting to get his own due after the publication last month of The Oblate’s Confession by Eastern Shore-based Secant Publishing. Including positive reviews in such highly regarded literary journals as the Kirkus Reviews, which has called it “spellbinding.”

In his Spy interview, Bill talks about the roots of his novel, the challenges of writing about the 7th century from his 21st century Mid-Shore home, and his unique breakthrough after a short piece of his appeared in the Delmarva Review, and coping with the sometimes surreal experience of finally becoming a published writer.

This video is approximately five minutes in length.  A humorous outtake can be found at the end of the video. 

Mr. Peak’s novel is available at the News Center in Easton and the Bookplate in Chestertown or through the decidedly non-local Amazon website

 

Profiles in Recovery: Talley Wilford

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Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions about the process of recovery is that it is reserved exclusively for only those who directly suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, that somehow only the individual afflicted needs to heal and find a way forward in the aftermath of this cruel and chronic disease.

But, in fact, those pathways are used by an entire social ecosystem of family and friends who also must find ways to recover from the disease.

That is the case for friends of Matt Schilling, who lost his life to a drug overdose last year. They have teamed up to write and produce an independent film, based in part on Matt’s experience, as part of the process to move forward. One of those friends, Talley Wilford, sat down with the Spy to talk about the process of recovering from the loss of a childhood friend and how film can be a powerful healing tool.

Those wishing to support the project through Kickstarter are asked to visit their site here for online contributions.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length. The Spy apologizes in advance for the video quality of this interview.

Remembering Mike Forney by Robert Day

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mike-forney

It was 1970, and more than half way through an early autumn night when I first met Mike Forney. Rebel, a Labrador retriever of mine, had been missing for two days and returned home in bad shape. Rebel was a male and probably in rut, Mike said later.

I was new in Chestertown, having just taken a teaching job “up to the college,” as my landlord Charlie Stokes at Fair Hope Farm put it. The yellow pages listed the Chestertown Animal Hospital, with an emergency number that turned out to be Mike’s home on Quaker Neck Road—not far from where I lived off Wilkins Lane. I had caught him just as he’d been awakened by another call: a barn near Still Pond had fallen on a horse; Mike said he’d stop by after looking at the horse.

All of you who knew him can see Mike now: He has driven his white vet truck to the Still Pond farm, getting out to greet the farmer and taking stock of the matter. Indeed, the barn has collapsed on the horse that is trapped under it. The farmer has a flashlight. Mike peers into the wreck, spots the horse, and then goes back to his truck for supplies. Making his way through the timbers and splinters of I-beams and broken trusses, he crawls up close. He is a man gentle with horses, lame or strong. Gentle with dogs in rut.

Watching Mike, as the farmer might have been doing that night, we see him go to the horse’s head. He lays his hand on its neck, talks to it and, as the farmer passes the light along the flanks and belly and haunches, sees what scrapes and wounds need tending. My guess is he gave the horse a shot to tranquilize it. The farmer has his tractor ready to clear away the rubble. Be careful, says Mike, backing out to help pull away the debris.

In the dark the two men wait for the tranquilizer to wear off. Finally, the horse lifts and shakes his head, then pulling itself together with Mike holding the halter, stands up, front legs first as they do. Mike uses a can of yellow spray antiseptic (that he would later use on Rebel) to treat the wounds, checking the condition of the legs and hoofs as well. He should be fine, says Mike. I’ve got to go on another call. I’ll stop back by.

Mike Forney was to me what he was to most of you who knew him only, with a few exceptions, maybe more so. Maybe not. He was learned (not only in veterinarian medicine, but in matters of music, literature, and general science). He was quick-witted, curious, had an affection for words, and told jokes and stories with glee. Along with Buddy Moffett (the three of us shared a blind in Morgnec Creek), we’d laugh our way through an afternoon’s shoot. Our jokes—even to the last years of Mike’s life—would now land us in a Political Correct Rehab Clinic. Yet he was neither a racist nor a chauvinist.

I remember his story of an African American couple who had returned late one summer night from Atlantic City to find Baby, their pet rabbit, dead. But maybe not. They drove to Mike’s home off Big Woods Road and, turning their headlights off and on, finally brought Mike to the window, asking what was the matter: I think Baby is dead, says the woman. But she still twitches, says the man.

Mike gets dressed and comes down to examine the rabbit. It is indeed dead, its twitching means that it has not been dead very long. Mike is sorry. Would you like me to dispose of her for you? He asks.   No, but thank you, says the man.   We want to bury her at the house, says the woman, taking Baby from Mike. But we don’t have a shovel, says the man to the woman. Mike lends them a shovel and off they go. We’ll bring the shovel to the office tomorrow, says the woman. No hurry, says Mike. What beautiful folks, Mike would say as a coda every time I’d hear him tell that story.

And so it was, and so Mike Forney was, for nearly fifty years of taking care of what he called “his people”—white or black or Hispanic, rich or poor, or somewhere in between. “His people” were any and all of us who had cats or dogs or horses or milk cows (or once I knew of a pet snake, and of many more than once, badly shot deer or geese or ducks brought in by non-hunters) that needed care. Because he understood his clients were human as well as the broken-legged 18-year old cat that my wife took to him to be put down, he treated both with respect. It was the kind of compassion that calls for emulation.

How we became friends (how any of us become friends) is part luck, part coincidence, part who we are, each of us, to the other. Thus in this combination, Mike and I became friends that first night with a tailgate examination of Rebel. I found a blanket and a flashlight. Mike got medical supplies, a stethoscope, bandage wraps, sutures. Rebel was bruised and battered, but no bones were broken. Mike put the dog under with a shot so he could work. Two gashes, one on the neck, the other on hip, needed cleaning, and then stitches (Mike could tie a surgeon’s knot with one hand.). I brought the flashlight to bear on the procedures.   An hour later, Mike was finished and I took Rebel into the house. He slept through dawn and then twenty-four hours more.

A few days later, Mike stopped to check on Rebel (he was doing fine) and to bring me a bag of fresh “calf fries” from working bull calves that morning. He had somehow learned I came from Kansas and so thought (as anyone naturally would) that a man from Kansas likes “calf fries.” I did indeed, saying that in my country they were called Prairie Oysters, and that further west in Colorado they were Mountain Oysters. In trade, Mike would, over the next few years, teach me the language of the Eastern Shore: “Neck,” “cove,” “bite,” “line” (not “rope),” “… get up and down with you.” He was William Warner before Beautiful Swimmers. “Bob, you need to know the lexicon of the Shore,” he told me: “Bug-eye,” “sook,” “doublers,” “trout lining,” “she-crab,” “bateaux.”

My lessons of Eastern Shore life and language were “peripatetic” (yes, Mike knew the word), but instead of me walking behind Aristotle, I rode in his truck while he drove from one farm to another. In those days, he didn’t much like the office so he took every outdoor call that came. If I was free (especially at night), I could ride along. On one trip I met a dairyman with a 19th-century chandelier in his milking parlor to give it… a touch of class, he said. He milked his twenty cows by hand; I had in Kansas milked one and when I bragged on it, the dairyman asked if I might like to do the afternoon milking: The dog will bring them up, he said. It was the dog that needed care; a cow had kicked it bad. Mike said it would live.

On other trips I got to know a treasured crab-picking woman in Rock Hall (sick parrot), who taught me the Crisfield-crab-ladies method. Also in Rock Hall, I was introduced to Paddles Orr; and later to Termite Coleman who, as folklore would have it, could eat a bushel of crabs at one sitting. Mike pointed out a hut at the end of a pier where I could get up and down with a man who sold soft shell crabs: Ask for the hotel size, Mike advised.

In this way we drove off and on, for years.   Fixing dogs, tending to lame horses, putting cats under, and once pulling a calf (I had done that in Kansas and was of decent help with the calf puller, tying it to a gate post in proper style.)

One night as we were driving Mike asked what English Professors do. He wasn’t being coy, just curious. I said I taught my students the lexicon of literature, using examples: Poetry, novels, short stories, drama. These were genres, and they had their general definitions. More precise definitions came as my students advanced: English sonnets, Italian sonnets. Then into the interiors of these forms: dramatic irony, first person narration (and the rules), point of view, the language of prosody. Monologue as opposed to dramatic monologue. Villanelles as a form of poetry.

What’s the difference between an elegy and a eulogy? Mike asked. We had just put down a horse for a man who, knowing I was an English teacher, wanted something to say as it was dying. Go gentle into that good night, I said. Go gentle into that good night, the man said. Thank you.

An elegy is a poem that honors the memory of the dead, I said. A eulogy honors that memory in prose.

Bob Day

 

Sadness in Chestertown: Native and Journalist Gil Watson has Died at 70

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One of Chestertown’s most notable native sons, Gilbert Watson, Jr., known to friends as “Gibby,” lost his battle against pulmonary fibrosis on Saturday at Shore Medical Center in Chestertown at the age of 70.  Watson was a longtime metro editor of the Baltimore Sun.

Read the full obituary here.

 

SpyCam Moment: Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes on Martin Luther King’s Legacy

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At a moment when the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. is being severely tested with recent events in New York, Ferguson, and Cleveland, the Lower Shore’s Sheree Sample-Hughes’ extraordinary ascendancy to become the first African-American woman elected to serve in the Maryland House of Delegates from the Eastern Shore in November serves as is a positive counterpoint to these latest setbacks.

In her Spy interview at the Cambridge Hyatt during a break at the Maryland Associations of Counties gathering last week, delegate-elect Sample-Hughes talks frankly about the relevance of Dr. King, as well as the need to move beyond gestures of remembrance to measurements of success.

Ms. Sample-Hughes will be the guest speaker at Martin Luther King Jr. Observance and Breakfast at the Rock Hall Vol. Fire Dept on Monday, January 19t starting at 7 am. The event is sponsored by Chester Valley Ministers Association.  For tickets call 410-348-5306 or cbgerbrooks@gmail.com.

Spy Reconnaissance: The Dixon House with Linda Elben

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The one thing the Mid-Shore had a surplus of in the early 1900s was a disproportion number of widows. While men dying before their spouses was, and still is, a well-known fact, there were significant challenges in those days for those who had survived the death of husbands, who had made the family living as farmers or teachers, and the loss of income and assets that came with those tragedies.

Of course, these were Eastern Shore women, possessing a high degree of intelligence and common sense.  And some of these ladies, drawing from the Mid-Shore counties of Talbot, Kent and Queen Anne’s, organized an extraordinary solution – collective living in downtown Easton.

With a land donation from Talbot’s generous Dixon family, a core group of women gave up most of their worldly possessions to fund the construction of a twenty room living center on North Street. And from this new home, which opened in 1903, residents would cook together, eat together, wash clothes together, for the remainder of their years.

As Linda Elben, Dixon’s executive director,  highlights in her interview with the Spy, the nonprofit assisted living facility has changed considerably since those early years.

With a staff of twenty-seven full and part time help, and eighteen full-time residents, aging from 83 (the baby) to 105 years old, it holds its own in quality with much more expensive options in the area. Nonetheless, Dixon House remains in many ways the same, intimate community (now co-ed) when Mid-Shore women first started placing rockers out on its famous front porch and watch the world walk by.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

The Dixon House