Buyboats to Rally in Chestertown


A fleet of 14 Buyboats, the fabled wooden big rigs of Chesapeake commerce for nearly a century, will call at the port of Chestertown the weekend of July 27. Privately, it is reunion weekend for the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association, but the public is invited to events both Saturday and Sunday.

Depending on the captains’ schedules, the group plans to assemble downriver from town mid- to late afternoon Friday, July 26, and then parade along the waterfront and around the harbor before docking at the town marina.

The boats will be open for public tours Saturday 10-4 and again Sunday 11-3. Saturday at 6 p.m., the fleet hosts music at the foot of High Street, featurning Betty and The Bullet. The fleet departs Monday morning to continue a cruise to ports of call up and down the Bay.

During the tours, members of the public are encouraged to chat with the captains about the history of these unique craft, each offering a rich slice of Chesapeake history and lore.
Among the notable vessels are the OLD POINT and the F.D. CROCKET, the only remaining Buyboats built of logs, like the famed racing canoes. Those visiting Chestertown range in size from the NELLIE CROCKETT at 67 feet to the diminutive 37-foot EMMETT H.

From the early 1900s through the 1980s, Buyboats – at one time numbering in the thousands — covered the Bay, mostly buying, shipping and selling oysters from tongers to shucking houses. Off season, they carried lumber from sawmills, tomatoes to packing plants, pigs to Smithfield, and watermelons from as far as Elizabeth City, where the sweetest varieties were grown, to Baltimore.

As highways, bridges and faster trucks took away their freighting duties, the boats turned to crab and oyster dredging. A number of these vessels were active into the 1990s. Today, only about 30 survive.

The mission of the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association is to bring an understanding of these historic vessels to ports where they were once numerous but often now forgotten. Visiting the communities where generations of watermen once plied the tributaries of the Chesapeake, the owners, at their own expense, open the boats to visitors so that future generations can celebrate their long heritage and continued existence.

Photo of the Day: A Rainbow Over the Chester River


Photo by Joanne Tobriner

Chestertown “Music in the Park” Concert – Chesapeake Brass Band- Saturday, July 6


Chesapeake Brass Band

Come on down to Fountain Park this Saturday, July 6, for the next in Chestertown’s Music in the Park summer concert series, featuring the Chesapeake Brass Band. The music will begin at 7:00 pm and lasts approximately 90 minutes, with one short intermission. Bring something to sit on as only limited seating is available. Admission is free. In case of weather problems (rain or extreme heat), the concert will move to nearby Jane’s UME Church where it is dry and there is air conditioning! Look for a sign on the stage or announcement here in the Spy on the day of the concert for any changes due to weather.

The 35-member band performs a varied repertoire of contemporary and traditional brass band music throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The concert at Chestertown will feature popular marches such as “Moorside Suite” and “The Champions,” along with compositions by John Philip Sousa. There will be a trombone feature on “Stardust” featuring Dave Aument, as well as jazz tunes such as “Caravan” and “Miller Magic”.  Other tunes include “Fantasy on British Sea Songs” and Broadway tunes from My Fair Lady.

Formed in 1996, the Chesapeake Brass Band is made up of amateur and professional musicians from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Following the brass banding tradition, it is an all-volunteer organization.

The band has won numerous awards over the years, including placing first in their division at the North American Brass Band Association Competition in 2013. In 2018, the band was Runner Up in their division at the Dublin Festival of Brass in Dublin, Ohio.

Dr. Russell Murray, Musical Director of the Chesapeake Brass Band

The band’s musical director is Russell Murray. Dr. Murray earned his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Texas. He has taught music history and directed early music ensembles at the University of North Texas, Texas Wesleyan University, and Rice University. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of Delaware, where he is the director of the Collegium Musicum and is also on the Core Faculty of the Women’s Studies program. He has been at the University of Delaware since 1991.

For more information, see their website at

If you yourself are, or you know, an accomplished brass player or percussionist looking for a new challenge, the Chesapeake Brass Band has openings. Contact the band at or call 302-530-2915.

In case of rain or high temperatures, the concert will be moved a block away to Janes Church at the corner of Cross and Cannon streets. Information will be sent to the email list and listed on a sign on the stage in the park on the day of the concert.

These free programs are sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown to Music in the Park, Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Chesapeake Brass Band


Opinion: Theodore Roosevelt on the 4th of July


Leave it to historian David McCullough, author of “Mornings on Horseback,” to share remarks made by a very young Theodore Roosevelt in 1886, when he was a young rancher in the Dakota Badlands, about the importance of the 4th of July:

“I am peculiarly glad to have an opportunity of addressing you, my fellow citizens of Dakota, on the Fourth of July, because it always seems to me that those who dwell in a new territory, and whose actions, therefore, are peculiarly fruitful, for good and for bad alike, in shaping the future, have in consequence peculiar responsibilities. . . . Much has been given to us, and so, much will be expected of us; and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to our care.

The Declaration of Independence derived its peculiar importance, not on account of what America was, but because of what she was to become; she shared with other nations the present, and she yielded to them the past, but it was felt in return that to her, and to her especially, belonged the future. It is the same with us here. We, grangers and cowboys alike, have opened a new land; and we are the pioneers, and as we shape the course of the stream near its head, our efforts have infinitely more effect, in bending it in any given direction . . . In other words, the first comers in a land can, by their individual efforts, do far more to channel out the course in which its history is to run than can those who come after them; and their labors, whether exercised on the side of evil or on the side of good, are far more effective than if they had remained in old settled communities.

So it is peculiarly incumbent on us here today so to act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage, for which we will receive their blessing and not their curse. . . . If you fail to work in public life, as well as in private, for honesty and uprightness and virtue, if you condone vice because the vicious man is smart, or if you in any other way cast your weight into the scales in favor of evil, you are just so far corrupting and making less valuable the birthright of your children. . . .

“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.

I do not undervalue for a moment our material prosperity; like all Americans, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads—and herds of cattle, too— big factories, steamboats, and everything else. But we must keep steadily in mind that no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue. It is of more importance that we should show ourselves honest, brave, truthful, and intelligent, than that we should own all the railways and grain elevators in the world. We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune. Here we are not ruled over by others, as in the case of Europe; we rule ourselves. All American citizens, whether born here or elsewhere, whether of one creed or another, stand on the same footing; we welcome every honest immigrant no matter from what country he comes, provided only that he leaves off his former nationality, and remains neither Celt nor Saxon, neither Frenchman nor German, but becomes an American, desirous of fulfilling in good faith the duties of American citizenship”

“When we thus rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects. We must never exercise our rights either wickedly or thoughtlessly; we can continue to preserve them in but one possible way, by making the proper use of them. In a new portion of the country, especially here in the Far West, it is peculiarly important to do so; and on this day of all others we ought soberly to realize the weight of the responsibility that rests upon us. I am, myself, at heart as much a Westerner as an Easterner; I am proud, indeed, to be considered one of yourselves, and I address you in this rather solemn strain today, only because of my pride in you, and because your welfare, moral as well as material, is so near my heart.”

Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909. Excerpt From: Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by Simon & Schuster.


Op-Ed: The Moon Landings – Faked? by Bob Moores


I’ve seen opinion polls which reveal that up to 20% of Americans, 25% of Britons, and 28% of Russians believe that the moon landings were fabricated. In 2001 the Fox TV documentary Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? claimed NASA, in order to win the “Space Race” against the Soviet Union, faked the first moon landing in 1969.

I don’t know whether to be upset or amused? I’ll explain.

The Soviet Union launched the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik, on 4 October 1957. America followed with its own satellite, Explorer 1, four months later. The Space Race was on!

On 25 May 1961 President Kennedy proposed in a speech to Congress that we land a man on the moon, and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade. Project Apollo began.

In July 1962 I was hired by Black & Decker as a test technician in Product Development. In order to follow our space program more closely I began subscribing to Aviation Week, a magazine later becoming Aviation Week and Space Technology. For the next eleven years, as I worked on my mechanical engineering degree at JHU Evening College, I followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs with intense interest.

In 1966 Martin-Marietta won a contract by NASA to provide a drill for retrieving rock cores from the moon. Martin-Marietta subcontracted to Black & Decker the design and production of the power-head portion of the drill. Yardley battery company provided the battery; Chicago-Latrobe provided the drill-string.

On 21 July 1969, Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11, became the first human being to set foot on another world.

The first Apollo Lunar Surface Drill (ALSD) flew on Apollo 13, but as you may know, that mission did not result in a lunar landing. The first time the ALSD was used (by Commander David Scott) was on the Apollo 15 mission. The ALSD also retrieved core samples during the last two lunar missions, Apollo 16 and 17. 

The ALSD looked like this:

From: National Air & Space Museum, Wash. D.C.

The box on top contained the battery. The thing with the wire cage around it is the powerhead which contained the motor, gearbox, and hammering mechanism. The drill string is the tubular drill bit with the spiral flutes.

The powerhead was unlike any rotary hammer B&D had ever produced:

Since there is no air on the moon, the motor could not blow cooling air through its housing. Instead, the motor housing was sealed air-tight and filled with nitrogen. The motor fan circulated that gas to transfer heat to the housing which then radiated the heat to space. While drilling, the housing got very hot – hence the wire cage to protect the astronaut from burns.

Because of an airless moon, we could not use the favored “air-spring” hammering mechanism standard with all power tool makers. Instead we designed a mechanism that would work efficiently in a vacuum and in one-sixth Earth gravity. 

Because of strict weight limits we had to go to extraordinary lengths to reduce the weight of the powerhead. We used thin-walled magnesium housings instead of aluminum (plastic was out of the question because of poor heat transfer). The steel shaft of the motor’s armature (the part that spins) was hollow. Minimal grease was used in the gearbox and around the hammering mechanism. All gears had hollowed sides. You would not believe the level of documentation NASA required for tracking the fabrication of every component of the drill.

It was not entirely a joke when we said that if the powerhead, which NASA required to have a run-time of five hours, lived more than five-and-a-quarter hours it was over designed!

B&D Product Development had about forty engineers, designers, and drafters working on this project at one time or another. My job was to draw, using the project engineer’s layout, two of the three magnesium housings. I also had to calculate the center of gravity of the assembled powerhead. The center of gravity of the lunar lander (LM), and therefore the sum of all its components, had to be known precisely.

B&D, in delivering ten powerheads to NASA, lost money on this project, but making money was not our goal. Our management committed to this project for company prestige and advancement of cordless tool technology.

My role in the Apollo project was miniscule. But considering that there were probably upwards of a half-million people who contributed, some of whom risked their lives in the project, ignorant people who perpetrate the conspiracy hoax are mildly perturbing.

Whether or not you value the Apollo project, my broader point is this:

In an age short on real heroes and endeavors which may unite us, let’s recognize what we could accomplish, the difficult problems we Earthlings could solve if we applied our resources to common goals. Think about medical science, world poverty, and keeping our beautiful planet viable for its inhabitants into the distant future.

Bob Moores retired from Black & Decker/DeWalt in 1999 after 36 years. He was the Director of Cordless Product Development at the time. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University. He now lives in Kent County, MD. 

My Bucket List by Nancy Mugele


As we are speaking I am headed to Paradise Valley, Montana for a family vacation. I seriously cannot remember the last time just the five of us were away together and I could not be more excited. And, although we are converging in James’ neck of the woods, I hope it will feel like we are worlds away. Our plan is to fly fish (of course!), hike, and visit Yellowstone. Will definitely write about our trip, but for now, that is another story.

Taking a vacation in Montana was on my sister-in-law Ann’s bucket list, and happily, she accomplished it by visiting James last summer. My cousin Karen, who lives in Arizona, checked a bucket list item off her list last weekend when she took a hot air balloon ride. The term bucket list has intrigued me for years. Where did it come from? Surely, it was in existence before it was popularized in the 2007 film The Bucket List.

The phrase “kick the bucket” has been in use at least since 1785 when it first appeared in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue with its meaning, to die. There are a few suppositions about its origin, such as when a hangman literally kicks a bucket out from underneath a person who will die by hanging, but, to me, the most plausible definition regarding its use in hanging is, “in 16th Century England, bucket had an additional meaning, that is, a beam or yoke used to hang or carry items. The term may have been introduced into English from the French trébuchet – meaning a balance, or buque, or yoke. That meaning of bucket was referred to in Peter Levins’ Manipulus Vocabulorum. A Dictionarie of English and Latine Wordes, 1570: a bucket or beam, and was used by Shakespeare in Henry IV Part II, 1597: Swifter than he that gibbets on the Brewers Bucket.” (To gibbet meant to hang). (

But when did we start saying that a number of experiences or goals that a person hopes to have or accomplish during his or her lifetime is a bucket list. June Thomas wrote in 2011, in her blog When Did People Start Saying “Bucket List” that:

“In 2004, the term was used—perhaps for the first time—in the context of things to do before one kicks the bucket in the book Unfair & Unbalanced: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky, by Patrick M. Carlisle. That work includes the sentences, ‘So, anyway, a Great Man, in his querulous twilight years, who doesn’t want to go gently into that blacky black night. He wants to cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge, pry the lid off his bucket list!’”

So there it is, a list of things you’d like to do before you die, a modern day phrase we all take for granted as having been around forever – which perhaps has only been in use for 15 years.

Whether you are an experienced world traveler or a dreamer with wanderlust, creating a bucket list for travel in one’s lifetime seems like the thing to do. Mark Twain wrote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Many people think of a bucket list as a travel guide. I do have a few places I would like to visit but I am going to combine them with a quest for something else I desire – first editions of the following novels I have loved in my lifetime bought in the cities or places where they are set.

My Top Ten Bucket List

Travel to England and find:

  1. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, London, England

  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Northern England

  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, East Midlands of England

  4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, London, England, and Paris, France

  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, London, England

Travel to Russia and find:

     6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Russian Countryside

     7. War and Peace by Leo Tolstory, St. Petersburg

Travel in the U.S. and find:

     8. Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, Kansas

     9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, New England and possibly Concord, MA

    10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Long Island and New York City

You all know I believe that books are a way to travel, so as Twain said, I will explore, dream, discover from the porch – unless I am browsing in The Bookplate or on a bucket-list trip searching for a rare book!

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown, a member of the Board of the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools, a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, a member of the Board of Chesapeake Charities, and a member of the Education Committee of Sultana Education Foundation.

Letter to Editor: Harris Says Nay on Community-Based Healthcare and Spousal Impoverishment Protections


1st District Representative, Andy Harris, voted against the bi-partisan, healthcare bill H.R. 3253 (5 Republicans and 4 Democrat co-sponsors). This bill — the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 — would extend a number of provisions within the Medicaid program that serve to make the program more effective.

This bill would extend the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration (MFP), which helps states rebalance their Medicaid long-term care systems by transitioning people with chronic conditions and disabilities into community-based care, through FY 2024. In addition, this bill would clarify that state Medicaid fraud and abuse control units are authorized to investigate abuse and neglect of Medicaid patients in board and care facilities, as well as patients receiving Medicaid-funded care in non-institutional settings.

Additionally, this bill would extend spousal impoverishment protections for seniors who receive long-term care in their homes or community settings through March 31, 2024.
Finally, this bill would; extend the Community Mental Health Services Demonstration Program thru 2021, fund the Medicaid Improvement Fund, and prohibit drug manufacturers from blending drug prices, a practice which lowers rebates to consumers.

The vote was 371 YEA, and 46 NAY. Harris voted NAY.

For more information on H.R. 3253 go here

Christopher Koch

Reflections on a Month in New Orleans by Phil Dutton


I have always thought that ours is a friendly community. Folks from other places seem to think that we are, also. My wife and I recently returned from a four week stay in New Orleans. We have visited New Orleans many times and love the city, but we wanted to get a feel for what it is like to live there. No, we aren’t considering a permanent move. The summers are too long and too hot. Living anywhere that is six feet below sea level is rolling the dice these days. Besides, we love making our home on the Eastern Shore.

The NOLA trait that made the biggest impression upon me was the engaging friendliness of the people. It didn’t matter where we were in the city. We rented a house in the Bayou St. John neighborhood which is about halfway between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. As we would meet people walking through the neighborhood, overwhelmingly we would be greeted with eye contact and a “Hello,” “How you doin’,” or “Good morning.” Everyone did it: Kids in their school uniforms walking home, older folks walking their dogs, people hustling off to work, street vendors, streetcar drivers. This happened in Mid-City, the CBD, the Garden District and Uptown. It even happened in the French Quarter which you might think would be jaded by all the obnoxious drunks from Bourbon Street. We were trying to take a selfie under the Felix’s Oyster House sign when a woman stopped and offered to take our photo. She asked us where we were from and I asked her back thinking she was a tourist, also. Cheerily, she said, “I’m from here. Just on my way to work.”

Is it just Southern Hospitality? I don’t think so. We have traveled all over the south. It is different in New Orleans. I have a theory that it comes from a sense of vulnerability as a result of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans and its rich culture of music, food, history, architecture and tradition could have been permanently lost after Katrina. I think the people of New Orleans were determined to not let that happen. They love their unique culture and the ‘vibe’ you feel there that is different than any other American city. They came back and rebuilt, determined not to lose their place.

Tourism is the lifeblood of New Orleans. I think the residents know that their future depends upon the unique vibe that brings millions of people to her every year. (And yes, the locals refer to New Orleans as “Her.”) I think they are genuinely proud of their city and want all who visit there to understand her and love her as they do.

Maybe I was more friendly as a visitor in New Orleans and open to accepting greetings. I don’t know. It didn’t feel that way. Our wonderful community relies heavily upon tourism, also. I am going to make it a point to make eye contact and greet people with a genuine and grateful greeting.  Not just tourists, but everyone. I look forward to seeing you along the way.

Phil Dutton is the co-founder of Chester Gras and leads the musical band Philip Dutton and the Alligators


Letter to Editor: Should He be Impeached?


If you strike the king, you must kill him.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1843; also attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli

There can be no doubt that Donald J. Trump is unqualified by character and temperament to be President of the United States. There is little doubt, based on his words and actions in public – at rallies, on television, on twitter and elsewhere – that he has committed offenses that might properly be defined as “high crimes and misdemeanors” – a quaint constitutional phrase that has no precise definition.  The report of the Special Counsel, Robert S. Mueller, has documented these words and actions in excruciatingly painful detail.

Many of his 2016 campaign staff and members of his administration have been indicted and some have been convicted of various felonies, including   perjury, violations of campaign finance laws, receiving and using information stolen from US intelligence agencies by foreign operatives, and meeting with agents of foreign, perhaps hostile, governments. Investigations continue into his personal and corporate finances and it is possible that additional evidence of serious crimes may be disclosed when this financial information becomes available.  Congress should continue vigorously to pursue these investigations.

What shall be done? The Department of Justice has a policy of long-standing, to which Robert Mueller adhered, that a President cannot be indicted or tried for a federal crime. This policy does not have a basis in federal law nor has it been tested in a court, but it remains the policy. It might be tested. But according to this policy the only constitutional remedy for a felonious President is impeachment. The twenty-fifth amendment provides a different remedy for a President who is judged, by his or her own administration, to be incompetent due to physical, mental or emotional disability.

The founders wisely made impeachment an extremely difficult and therefore rarely attempted process. They clearly did not want the President to be removed for “mal-administration” – i.e. disagreement by Congress with his or her governmental policies

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a few months ago that impeachment should be based on overwhelming evidence, irrefutable facts, and bipartisan consensus. I agree with her.  In the current circumstances that would imply a large, bipartisan, majority in the House of Representatives and a necessarily bi-partisan 2/3 majority in the Senate. A partisan vote of impeachment in the House followed by a partisan acquittal in the Senate would not remove the President, it would result in further rancorous division in the country, and it would enable the President and his supporters to claim – without cause – that he had been “vindicated.”  

Twice in our nation’s history the House of Representatives has impeached the President and a trial has been conducted in the Senate. In 1867 President Andrew Johnson was acquitted by one vote, decisively cast by Senator Edmund G. Ross of Kansas who believed that the President should not be removed for purely political disagreement. Ross gained a place in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage for that vote. In 1998 President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House on a narrowly partisan vote; the vote in the Senate to convict – again, narrowly partisan – failed to attain even a simple majority. In 1974 President Richard Nixon, sensing that there was a bipartisan consensus for his impeachment, resigned from the Presidency rather than face impeachment.  

In the current situation, the bipartisan consensus that impeachment requires may be attained as investigations continue. In the meantime, the majority in the House of Representatives is not helpless. There are several proposals – short of a vote of impeachment – that have been suggested. They should be explored and debated. But in my opinion impeachment by the House of Representatives should await a bipartisan consensus – or be postponed until the people’s vote in November, 2020.

If you strike the king, you must kill him.

John T. Ames


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