Delmarva Power Joins Energy Companies in Fight Against Scammers

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Delmarva Power is joining more than 100 energy companies across the United States and Canada in the effort to protect customers from scams targeting customers of electric, natural gas, water, and other utilities. Delmarva Power and its sister Exelon companies, Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, PECO, and Pepco, are committed to educating customers and putting a stop to scamming.

Collaborating energy companies have joined together for a third year and designated Nov. 14 as “Utilities United Against Scams Day.” This day is supported by a week-long campaign, including social media and online content, focused on exposing the tricks scammers use to steal money from customers, and how customers can protect themselves. The effort, which includes industry member organizations such as Edison Electric Institute and American Gas Association, encourages companies to share these messages to help guard against scam and imposter activity.

“This type of coordinated teamwork is vital for the safety and well-being of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Mike Poncia, vice president of Customer Operations for Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “We can help provide our customers with the tools they need to guard against scammers and imposters who may be on the other end of the line or other side of the door by sharing these essential tips and information throughout the region.”

When being scammed, a customer typically receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a company representative. The scammer warns that the customer’s service will be shut off if they fail to make a payment – usually within a short timeframe through a prepaid debit card.

Scammers have even duplicated the upfront Interactive Voice Response system of some companies, so when customers call the number provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate business. Some scammers also use caller ID “spoofing” to replicate a utility’s phone number.

Red flags for scam activity

– The scammer often becomes angry and tells a customer his or her account is past due and service will be shut off if a large payment isn’t made – usually within less than an hour.
– The scammer instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card – widely available at most retail stores – then call him or her back to make a payment.
– The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the funds loaded to the card.

How to protect yourself

– Utility representatives will never ask or require a customer with a past due balance to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
– Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank withdrawal, mail, or in person.
– Customers with a past due balance will receive multiple shut off notifications – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
– If a customer ever questions the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call Delmarva Power at 1-800-375-7117.

Don’t Get Scammed: Customers can avoid being scammed by taking a few precautions:

– Never provide your social security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact with you claiming to be a utility representative or requesting you to send money to another person or entity other than your local utility providers.
– Always ask to see a company photo ID before allowing any utility worker into your home or business.
– Never make a payment for services to anyone coming to your door.

Any Delmarva Power customer who believes he or she has been a target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call the company immediately at 1-800-375-7117 to report the situation.

To learn more about Delmarva Power, visit The Source, Delmarva Power’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting delmarva.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at twitter.com/delmarvaconnect. Delmarva Power’s mobile app is available at delmarva.com/mobileapp.

About Delmarva Power: Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 520,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 132,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.

Front Porch Orchestra to Perform Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

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Dreading another season of canned Christmas music? Fear not. Inspired by genre-bending artists like Chris Thile and The Piano Guys; Front Porch Orchestra is giving six Delmarva-area performances of their crown jewel: 17 movements of Pytor Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet played bar-for-bar on banjo, violin, viola, two guitars, string bass and percussion. In lieu of dancers, the music is accompanied by a frumpy narrator telling a satirical rendition of the ETA Hoffman story in bits between each movement.

This concert is unlike any other performance of classical music. The arrangements retain the dynamics, countermelodies and nuance that make it a brilliant composition, while framing it in a way that keeps the average music-listener tuned in. Studio recordings can be streamed via frontporchorchestra.bandcamp.com.

Front Porch Orchestra formed in early 2017 in Easton, Md. After refining their sound for almost two years and giving successful local concerts, they will for the first time share their music outside of Maryland’s mid-shore.

Bluegrass Nutcracker performance dates:

12/1 @ 2pm: Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md
12/8 @ 2pm: Milton Theatre in Milton, De
12/14 @ 8pm: Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn, Md
12/15 @ 2pm: Church Hill Theater in Church Hill, Md
12/16 @ 2pm: Jammin Java in Vienna, Va
12/21 @ 8pm: The 447 in Cambridge, Md

For all inquiries, contact Ray via RayRemesch@gmail.com

Facebook.com/frontporchorchestra

Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship Applications Due April 5, 2019

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Graduating seniors attending high school in Talbot County and expecting to major in horticulture, landscape architecture or design, botany, environmental science, agriculture or a related field may be eligible for a scholarship of up to $4,500.00 from the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES). Scholarship applications are available from guidance counselors in all Talbot County high schools. They may also be obtained by calling Dorothy Whitcomb at 443-385-0486. Applications are due back to the guidance counselors’ offices by the close of school on April 5, 2019.

The GCES Scholarship is merit based. Outstanding academic achievement along with volunteer or work experience, which shows a strong work ethic and a commitment to excellence, will be considered when evaluating applications.

GCES President Jill Meyerhoff says: “The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore has awarded 16 scholarships to Talbot County students since 1999. We are committed to helping talented young people achieve their educational goals and are proud of previous recipients who have gone on to become teachers, researchers, landscape architects and designers, and environmental educators. They are all making important contributions both here on the Shore and in other parts of the country.”

The GCES is focused on promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and providing educational programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. In addition to awarding its scholarship for the past 16 years, GCES spearheaded the restoration of Easton’s Thompson Park, which along with the garden at the Academy Art Museum, it also maintains.

For information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 443-385-0486.

Setting the Holiday Spirit with Song

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Come hear your Chester River Chorale give its 20th annual Holiday Concert at 7 p.m. Friday November 30th or 4 p.m. Saturday December 1st at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. Artistic Director Douglas Cox has put together a program spanning the ages to celebrate the season. The 95-member Chorale will be joined again by the Chester River Youth Choir. The suggested donation is $15. Keep up with the Chorale on Facebook and at www.chesterriverchorale.org.

Compass Regional Hospice to Offer Vigil Volunteer Training Nov. 29

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Sharon Loving

The core of hospice work is providing end-of-life care to patients and their families. Courtney Williams, manager of volunteer and professional services at Compass Regional Hospice, said vigil volunteers help to provide a crucial service to patients facing the last few days of life, as well as the families and caregivers who are with them in those last days and moments.

Compass Regional Hospice will offer a vigil volunteer training session at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the home of its Grief Support Services, The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville.

The course will be facilitated by Support Services Supervisor and social worker Sharon Loving.

“The intention of our vigil program is to provide a soothing, serene energy and a space for the dying to transition peacefully,” Williams said. “Just letting our patients and their families know they are safe, they are surrounded by love, and they are never alone is often the greatest gift we can give you.”

A gift offered wherever a patient calls home or in Compass Regional Hospice’s residential care facilities, vigil volunteers can be there to reiterate or remind families of what medical personnel have communicated, suggest comfort care for the patient, sit with the patient while a caregiver has a chance to rest, and reassure caregivers they are doing a good job.

A vigil volunteer is similar to a birth doula, who helps families welcome new life into the world, except the role’s responsibility is to provide comfort and peace while a patient transitions and prepares to leave the world.

Vigil volunteers create a calm and peaceful space through music, aromatherapy, soft lighting, closing doors to reduce noise, turning off televisions and electronic devices, and possibly sitting bedside while silently praying or meditating.

“Some volunteers feel a pull toward this type of work. It’s sometimes called different things, but it’s all about being a steward to help a person transition peacefully,” Williams said. “The common thread in each of our vigil volunteers is that they tend to have a very tranquil, soothing energy and nature about them that emanates and creates a sense of peace.”

Bente Cooney of Grasonville began volunteering with Compass Regional Hospice in 2014. Her goal is to normalize the dying process through volunteering with Compass as a vigil volunteer.

Bente Cooney and Courtney Williams

“I’m comfortable with the end-of-life process. Death is a natural part of life and we all deserve the best possible departure we can have,” Cooney said. “Sitting vigil is more about being than doing most of the time. The vigil volunteer’s job is to be a stable, calm presence and to help create a sacred space while staying alert to any changes. We stay in tune with what the patient needs as they transition.”

She said the hospice movement of the early 1980s was a welcome addition to the health care landscape.

“Hospice is a very healthy and beautiful addition to the care we offer in this country,” Cooney said.

Williams said vigil volunteers must be comfortable having frank conversations about end-of-life issues, need to be comfortable with the dying process and must be able remain calm in the face of change.

“Providing a vigil and being with someone as they are passing is the core of hospice work. Mildred Barnette, former Hospice of Queen Anne’s executive director and one of its founders, would say that we’ve had vigil volunteers since 1985, and we’ve called them different things as the program has evolved, but ultimately, vigil volunteers have always been at the core of Compass Regional Hospice’s offerings as a hospice provider,” Williams said.

For more information about becoming a vigil volunteer, contact Williams at 443-262-4112 or cwilliams@compassregionalhospice.org.

Compass Regional Hospice – Care on your terms

Compass Regional Hospice is a fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization certified by Medicare and the state of Maryland and accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1985, Compass Regional Hospice has been dedicated to supporting people of all ages through the challenge of living with a life-limiting illness and learning to live following the death of a loved one. Today, the organization is a regional provider of hospice care and grief support in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. “Care on your terms” is the promise that guides staff and volunteers as they care for patients in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the residential hospice centers in Centreville and Chestertown. Grief support services are offered to children, adults and families of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the loss of a loved one, through The Hope and Healing Center. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

Santa to Arrive in Chestertown Nov. 23, with Holiday Parade Nov. 24

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Chestertown’s holiday season officially kicks off on Friday, Nov. 23 as the Mayor turns on the holiday lights in Fountain Park and members of the Kent County Community Marching Band herald Santa’s arrival by fire truck.  The lighting ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m.

Santa is scheduled to arrive at 7:00 pm and then visit with children in his house until 8:00 pm. Boy Scout Troop 130 will take pictures of children with Santa (donation encouraged), and sell hot chocolate in the park.

Santa presides over the Annual Kent County Christmas Parade the following day, Saturday, Nov. 24, beginning at 10:00 am (rain, snow or shine). This popular holiday event features marching bands, classic automobiles, various floats, and familiar characters such as Rudolph, Olaf, and the Grinch.  Parade judges will award cash prizes to entrants in each category. Participation in the parade is open to everyone. If you are interested in entering a float or group, please call Kristen at 410-778-1600.

Santa will be in his Fountain Park house seeing children after the parade, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and on the following three Saturdays: December 1, 8 and 15, also from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Children will receive gift bags from Santa courtesy of Twigs and Teacups.

Also on Saturday, Nov. 24, the community can celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping in Downtown Chestertown. This nationwide event spotlighting local, independently owned shops and businesses provides an opportunity to reinvest your holiday shopping dollars in your local community and find some unique gifts, too. This year to celebrate Small Business Saturday, members of the Downtown Chestertown Association are offering shoppers the opportunity to win raffle baskets, and all community members are invited to participate in an Elf on the Shelf selfie promotion with prizes. Visit the DCA Facebook Page or ask local shops for information.

For more information about holiday activities, visit the Main Street Chestertown Facebook page, email Manager@mainstreetchestertown.org, or call 410-778-2991.

Enjoy the Sights and Sounds of Fall at Blackwater NWR

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Come experience the changing of the seasons at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by participating in one of our remaining Guided Birding tours in the fall of 2018.  You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy identifying and learning about the many species of plants and animals that inhabit the refuge.

Fall birding tours at Blackwater highlight the returning migratory waterfowl, and you will not want to miss the opportunity to observe and identify our diverse array of feathered friends, from warblers and wading birds to numerous species of waterfowl and raptors, including the bald eagle.  The three remaining dates for Guided Birding are: Sunday, November 18, led by Harry Armistead; Sunday, November 25, led by Dave Palmer; and Sunday, December 2, led by Terry Allen.  Participants will meet at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. for each bird walk, which may last 3 to 4 hours.  The birding party usually car pools, stopping at various points around the refuge’s Wildlife Drive.

Binoculars and field guides are highly recommended for an enjoyable experience, and be sure to dress for the weather!  There is no fee or advanced registration for these activities.  For further information, please call the Blackwater Visitor Center at 410-228-2677.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwoods and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or follow us on Facebook @BlackwaterNWR.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership to host National Apprenticeship Week

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In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week (November 12-18), the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP) is hosting a special presentation at Dixon Valve in Chestertown, Md. to honor the steering committee, trainers and participants in the hose coupling manufacturer’s CNC (computer numeric controlled) Machinist apprenticeship program. On November 15 at 11:30 a.m., Dixon’s apprenticeship team will be presented with awards and have the opportunity to speak about their experience in the program.

Special guests at the presentation will include Kelly Schulz, secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Michael Kelleher, executive director of MD MEP, Bob Grace, president of Dixon Valve, and Chip Williams and Dan Lessard, assistant vice presidents, Human Resources, Dixon Valve.

National Apprenticeship Week is presented by the United States Department of Labor to highlight the benefits of apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.

Dixon Valve partnered with MD MEP to help bolster its apprenticeship program, as the 102-year-old manufacturer was finding it difficult to recruit talent with the automation and technical skills needed in today’s modern plant. By implementing its own CNC Machinist apprenticeship program, Dixon is now able to grow its workforce from within and has structure in place to select qualified candidates and guide them through a competency-based training program. Dixon’s current class of CNC Machinist apprentices recently completed the first level of the program.

Media are invited to attend and interviews with representatives of MD MEP and Dixon Valve will be available before and after the program.

Event overview:

Who:                Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP) and Dixon Valve

What:               National Apprentice Week presentation

When:              Thursday, November 15; 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where:            Dixon Innovation Center, 153 Dixon Drive, Chestertown, Md. 21620

Contact:          Lindsay Hebert, Devaney & Associates, 443-471-5103, lhebert@devaney.net

About the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP)
The Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP) is a non-profit organization funded by industry and the State of Maryland that is focused on growing and strengthening Maryland manufacturers. Serving mostly small- and mid-size manufacturers (500 employees or less) across all industries, MD MEP provides an array of programs and services to help these local companies operate more efficiently, grow profitability and create more jobs and opportunities in Maryland. MD MEP is part of the MEP National Network™ and has served more than 400 manufacturers across the state, generating more than $165 million in economic impact and more than 900 jobs. For more information, please call 443-343-0085 or visit mdmep.org.

Talbot Special Riders to Host Fall Horse Show

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Talbot Special Riders will host its second show of the Jaime Lee Hutchison Memorial Horse Show series on Saturday, November 17, 2018 starting at 9 a.m. at Timber Grove Farm, 6292 Statum Road in Preston, Maryland.

The series is held in loving memory of Jaime Hutchison who tragically lost her battle with cancer in 2017. “She was truly one of our special riders,” said Kim Hopkins, Executive Director of Talbot Special Riders. “She taught everyone how to live and love in the moment.”

Talbot Special Riders has been serving Shore area children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional needs since 1981. Over thirty of its program riders are expected to compete in a trail class and a barrel race. A rider recognition ceremony will be held at noon.

The public is invited to attend free of charge. Donations are welcomed and appreciated. Food will be available for purchase on site.

About Talbot Special Riders
Talbot Special Riders is a registered nonprofit organization and a member of PATH. Its mission is to build confidence, self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment for individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional needs by utilizing equine assisted activities and therapies. Talbot Special Riders has been providing this service to residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne and Talbot counties for more than 37 years. Learn more at www.talbotspecialriders.org.