In Memoriam: Dr. Bernard Finneson


Bernard Finneson, MD, of Chestertown, Maryland died on May 18, 2019 at Heron Point, Chestertown, MD.  He was 94.

Born on April 23, 1925 in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Herman and Katherine Lieberman Fineson.

He graduated from Central High School with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, class of 1942.

He attended The University of Pennsylvania from 1942 to 1944, and graduated from Hahnemann Medical School of Philadelphia with a Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1948.

Dr. Finneson completed an internship at Mt. Sinai Hospital in South Philadelphia in 1949. He served a residency at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, VA Hospital Welfare Island, and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center all in New York City,  (1950-1956). He specialized in Neurosurgery.

His residency was interrupted by 2 years in the U.S. Army. 1 year in a MASH Unit in Korea.  As the war ended, he became the private physician to the 4 Star General, John Hull, commander of the Far East (1950, 1951).

Dr. Finneson started his private practice in Neurosurgery in July 1956 in Philadelphia, PA.  Later he became Chief of Neurosurgery at Taylor Hospital, Ridley Park, PA; Sacred Heart Hospital, Chester Hospital, Chester PA; and Crozer Hospital, Upland PA. In 1970 he developed The Low Back Pain Clinic at Crozer Chester Medical Center and became the director of that clinic. He continued his practice until he retired in 1985.

He was a member of the American Medical Association, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, The Harrison Society of the University of Pennsylvania and The International Society for the study of the Lumbar Spine of which he became president (1983-1984).

He was listed in Who’s Who in America in 1963.

In August of 1975 he had an audience with Pope Paul VI in recognition for his medial service to an employee of the Vatican.

Dr. Finneson was medical chairman of the March of Dimes of Delaware County, PA during the 1970’s.

In 1985 he retired to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake with his wife.  He enjoyed sailing, running, and writing novels. In 2006 he and his wife moved to Heron Point where he enjoyed joining various interest groups.

He precedes his wife Barbara, son John (Janette) of West Seattle, Washington: daughter Katherine Myers (John) of Worton, Maryland and two grandsons.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 1:00 PM at Wesley Hall Heron Point in Chestertown, MD.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Kent County Humane Society or A charity of your choice.

Arrangements by: Fellows Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, 130 Speer Rd, Chestertown, Maryland.

Online Condolences may be sent to the family at

The Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble Offers “Elements of Nature” on May 19


The Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble concludes its 2018-2019 season with a Sunday, May 19, concert entitled “Elements of Nature.” Music Director Charles Thai will conduct this free, hour-long band concert at 4 p.m. in Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Cross and High streets in downtown Chestertown. The church is handicapped-accessible, via the ramp and automatic doors on the courthouse-green side of the building.

“Among the Clouds” by Brian Balmages, “With Every Sunrise” by Robert Sheldon, and “Rain” by Brian Balmages capture the essence of natural events. “Keeper of the Fire” and “Raiders of the High Seas” both by Erik Morales, “Appalachian Tapestry” arranged by Douglas E. Wagner, and “By the Rivers of Babylon” by Ed Huckeby deal with human interaction with nature. Lastly, “My Neighbor Totoro” by Joe Hisaishi contains themes of supernatural creatures from the cult Japanese animated film of the same name.

The Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble is an all-ages community concert band. It was formed in 2001 to offer area wind and percussion musicians the opportunity to continue or return to the pleasures of playing quality music in a large ensemble. New members are always welcome, without audition, fee, or section limits.

Rehearsals for next season will begin in early September. They start promptly at 7:00 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. in the Washington College band room in Gibson Center for the Arts. For further information, call 410-778-2829, email to, or go to The ensemble is supported by community contributors and the Kent County Arts Council.

Harris Applauds Trump Announcement of Conscience Protection Rule


On Thursday, May 2, President Donald Trump announced a finalization of a rule on conscience protection in a statement during the National Day of Prayer. In his remarks, the president stated, “Just today, we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students, and faith-based charities. Together, we are building a culture that cherishes the dignity and worth of human life. Every child – born and unborn – is a sacred gift from God.”

Today, Health and Human Services is enforcing its authority on previous conscience protection policies by implementing a rule titled, “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority.” This rule enhances the authority of 25 pre-existing laws that protect the longstanding conscience rights of Americans in healthcare funded by HHS.

Congressman Andy Harris introduced H.R. 2014, the Conscience Protection Act, on April 1, 2019, with 80 additional Members of Congress co-sponsoring the bill. The Conscience Protection Act would take the next step in protecting the rights of conscience for medical providers by guaranteeing a private right of action for individuals whose conscience rights have been violated and supporting Americans in having freedom of religion and conscience in healthcare.

Rep. Harris made the following statement supporting the president’s remarks:

“I support President Trump in his remarks today and in his efforts to protect the conscience of Americans who provide health care. Just last month, I led 80 Members of Congress in introducing the Conscience Protection Act, H.R. 2014, which amends the Public Health Service Act to prevent any federal, state, or local government from penalizing or discriminating against a health care provider if the provider does not participate in highly controversial abortion practices. As a physician and lawmaker, I support conscience protection because I strongly believe that health care providers should not be forced to violate their conscience when providing care for patients, and I applaud President Trump and his administration in their efforts to support conscience protection for all Americans.”

Tragedy on the Mid-Shore: 7 Bald Eagles & Great-Horned Owl Fatally Poisoned


WJC is reporting that that U.S. and Maryland officials are looking for information after seven bald eagles and a great-horned owl died due to poisonings in the Kent and Talbot counties.

The first reported poisoning happened on March 1 near Route 445 and Swan Creek Road in Chestertown. Six bald eagles and a great-horned owl died and several other eagles were significantly injured. On April 3, police were called to a farm in Talbot County near Lewistown Road and Colby Road in Cordova.

To read the full story please go here

John Dillon Resigns From UM Shore Regional Health Board Of Directors


John Dillon, chairman of the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Board of Directors, has announced his resignation from the Board, effective immediately.

Dillon, whose tenure on the Board was set to end on June 30, 2019, notified the Board of his resignationApril 9, citing his belief that leaving the Board at this time is in the best interest of UM Shore Regional Health to minimize the distraction caused by current discussions regarding University of Maryland Medical System Board relationships.

“With regret, the Board of Directors has accepted John Dillon’s resignation, effective immediately,” says Board Vice Chairman Richard Loeffler. “ We are grateful to John for his years of service to UM Shore Regional Health and appreciate that his decision to step down is in an effort to allow the organization’s Board and leadership to remain singularly focused on our mission to create healthier communities together.”

Richard Loeffler, UM SRH Vice Chair, of Cambridge, will serve as Acting UM SRH Board Chair until July 1, 2019 when new officers are confirmed.


Kent County High’s Ronald Parker Becomes New Student Ambassador


Ronald Parker III, a ninth grader at Kent County High School, was chosen by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) to represent his district of Kent County in the non-profit organization’s new Student Ambassador Program. The Chestertown resident is one of several students selected who demonstrates a desire to improve his school and community by making his voice heard in discussions related to education policy.

“I applied to become a Student Ambassador because I want to help my fellow classmates and help my school become a better place, and this is my opportunity to do so,” says Parker. “Successful leaders have to be bold, open-minded and good with people. I love being a student leader.”

Parker currently holds a 3.89 GPA, is acting treasurer in the Student Government Association, a center and power forward for the high school basketball team and a drummer in the school band. Outside of school, he works part-time at Beverly’s restaurant and participates in the Horizon’s summer program. He also participates in the Next Generation Scholars program, which provides personal attention, guidance and education about opportunities that can help shape the future for students who come from families with a demonstrated financial need. After high school, Parker wants to attend college and pursue a degree in psychology.

“We are so pleased to have Ronald as a member of our 2018–2019 inaugural class,” says Nona Carroll, chief strategy officer for MBRT. “A natural leader and effective communicator, Ronald also exhibits empathy, which is a core competency in building leadership skills. He is in a prime position to use his voice to represent his district.”

MBRT’s Student Ambassador program provides students with the opportunity to learn and develop leadership skills that will help them succeed throughout their academic journey and in the professional world. Ambassadors gain confidence in their skills to lead and communicate effectively as well as how to interact with professionals and manage their time.

As Parker and the rest of the Student Ambassadors step into leadership roles, they will provide feedback on MBRT programming and resources as well as communicate their views on issues such as state education policy. Student insight will help inform MBRT’s development of and involvement in innovative ways to ensure every student has a future and every business is a success.


Joint Chestertown Lions & Rotary Club Valentine’s Day Dinner


Lions Club President Dave Dunham and Rotary Club President John Murray.

Approximately seventy Chestertown Lions and Rotary Clubs’ members, wives, and significant others met for the second consecutive year at the Chester River Yacht & Country Club the day before Valentine’s Day. This is the second time now the two largest service clubs in Kent County have met jointly to share stories of service to the community.

The meeting started with a social hour with background music provided by a string trio from Washington College. After dinner, the trio provided the group with a series of romantic melodies.

Lions Club President Dave Dunham shared the highpoints of the services the Lions Club provides to Kent County followed by a short video highlighting all the Club’s activities over the past year. Rotary President John Murray presented his Club’s highlights followed by a video displaying their Memorial Day Celebration for Kent County veterans.

This annual dinner meeting was an opportunity for Lions members whose motto is “We Serve” and Rotary members whose similar motto is “Service above Self” to exchange their ideas in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.

The evening ended with recitations of the Rotary Four-Way Test and the Lions Club Toast and a pledge to meet again next year.


Letter to Editor: Tragedy Of The Soft Shell And Razor Clam


I read Tragedy of the Commons many times in my undergraduate career. We are all familiar with the premise: overuse of a common resource for personal benefit ultimately eliminates that resource, spoiling it for everyone. To ensure that our common resources do not become depleted in Maryland or the Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works to “preserve, protect, restore, and enhance our environment for this and future generations.” Specifically, DNR strives to create balance between our economy and our environment, which we at ShoreRivers commend and support.

Consider the eastern oyster, for example, a filter feeder that improves water quality and habitat, and is an iconic menu item for locals and tourists alike. A DNR Fishery Management Plan is needed for this species to ensure that we continue to see both ecological and economic benefits for generations to come. This is an example of a state agency regulating a natural resource so that all can benefit.

Two lesser known bivalve species in the Bay provide similar ecological value. Soft shell clams and razor clams filter the same volume of gallons in one day as the oyster. Numerous studies have found that these species once played an integral role in the Chesapeake’s food web, as a primary food source for multiple predators. Unfortunately, also similar to the eastern oyster, these clam species are on the brink of extinction in the Chesapeake Bay.

The soft shell clam fishery has been “boom and bust” since the invention of the hydraulic dredge in the 1950’s. “Boom” times with high harvest rates and high numbers of clamming licenses are followed by “bust” times with significant drops in clam populations, which result in lower harvest rates and fewer licenses.

Considering the high ecological value these species provide and their current low populations, ShoreRivers believes they are in need of conservation. Without a DNR Fishery Management Plan, there is currently no balance between the economic and ecological value of these clams. To ensure this balance is established and that there are clams in our Maryland waterways in the future, ShoreRivers fought for a Fishery Management Plan for the clam fishery during the 2019 Maryland Legislative General Assembly. This bill would have initiated relatively low-cost studies of current clam populations and habitats, impacts to the population from climate change, and economic and ecological values of clams.

Unfortunately, the Department of Natural Resources was not supportive of this bill and was unwilling to compromise. DNR’s main argument was that these species are too transient and difficult to study. However, considering that there have been studies of these species in the past (although none that inform regulation), and the fact that these species continue to be harvested, we feel that this decision clearly states that DNR is supportive of the economic value of these species, more so than the ecological value. If we are unable to study a species, consider the ecological value, or make regulation recommendations that promote sustainability, then we should not have that commercial fishery.

Yes, we are all familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons, but it seems as though our current administration is choosing to ignore the warning signs of resource depletion. To be clear, I am in support of sustainable fisheries – fisheries that provide economic value, support our local watermen, and ensure that species continue to provide ecological benefits to our ecosystems.

However, if, according to DNR, it is not possible to find balance between economy and ecology, then which side should we choose? What repercussions might we see if we lose the soft shell and razor clams? As Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, I have the privilege of giving a voice to the river; I have no doubt the river would choose the side of ecological benefits.

Elle Bassett
Miles-Wye Riverkeeper

Letter to Editor: Sen. Hershey’s Chestertown Hospital Bill is just what the Doctor Ordered


Whether you’re convinced that our community will win or lose the fight to Save Our Hospital, we have great news.

Sen. Steve Hershey, the state senator who represents our district, has introduced a bill designed to put the state in the driver’s seat of the Chestertown hospital.  

If the bill becomes law, UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown will become a Maryland Department of Health rural Pilot Program on October 1 of this year, with as many as 25 inpatient beds and lots of state attention, expertise and resources.    

The bill that could transform our hospital has an un-catchy name, clearly the handiwork of lawyers instead of poets:  The Chestertown Rural Health Care Delivery Innovations Pilot Program. The bill number is SB 1018.

UMMS’ Shore Regional Health System will, the bill makes it clear, likely continue to own and operate the hospital under state direction, so Shore would receive state funding and resources for physician recruitment and expanded services.  

It is, in many ways, exactly what Shore Health President and CEO Ken Kozel has said he would welcome.  

The bill says the purpose of the Department of Health Pilot Project is to find innovative solutions for sustaining inpatient hospital care in Maryland’s rural communities, and it appears against the backdrop of a national crisis.  Since 2010, 98 rural hospitals have closed in the U.S., and in Chestertown, where the community depends on the hospital for economic stability as well as medical care, Shore Regional Health has been cutting services since 2015.

If SB 1018 dies in Annapolis, Shore Health will almost certainly convert the hospital into a “Freestanding Medical Facility” after March of 2022.  It will have an Emergency Room, diagnostics (MRI, CT-Scan, X-Ray, Mammogram equipment, for instance), as well as outpatient surgery, lab, chemotherapy and rehab facilities.  Without inpatient beds, it will no longer be a hospital, and patients who need inpatient care will be transferred to Easton or hospitals that are an hour or more away.

If Sen. Hershey’s bill becomes law, however, the state Pilot Program will operate our hospital for two five-year periods; the Department of Health could open a Center of Excellence at the hospital during the second five-year period, perhaps for the study of rural health or gerontology, or some other medical concern that’s relevant in this area.  

And after 10 years, the bill decrees, the Maryland Department of Health will recommend whether the Pilot Program should become a “permanent program.”  

Permanent!  What a beautiful word.

You’re welcome to come to a Save the Hospital meeting tonight—7:30 on the second floor of Chestertown’s Town Hall–when we set out plans for our campaign to win passage of SB 1018.  If you can’t attend the meeting, watch for more media articles, and follow my posts on Facebook’s Chestertown Life page.

The General Assembly session is moving fast, so plan to get on board.  

Margie Elsburg
Communications Coordinator for “Save the Hospital”

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