August 2018 Sky-Watch


August always brings us the most watched meteor shower of the year, the Perseids, which peak on the night of August 12/13. They are the most watched because the weather is comfortable in August. This year the Moon is New at this time, so there will be no interference from it when viewing the meteors. Best views will be before dawn (between 2 and 5 am) on August 13th, when Perseus, the constellation from which the meteors appear to come, is highest in the north-eastern sky. We can expect to see as many as 60 to 120 meteors per hour (1 or 2 every minute).

The mid to late summer evening nights of August provide plenty of dazzling views of planets for sky-watchers this year, whether we look with the unaided eye or through a telescope or binoculars. Looking west as dusk settles, one can’t miss Venus which brightens fro –4.3 to –4.6 this month. The only drawback will be that Venus will have lost the altitude it had earlier this summer as its orbit starts to take it now between us and the Sun. Venus will only be 10 degrees high on August 1st, so it will set only an hour or so after full darkness. The waxing crescent Moon will be 10 degrees to the right of Venus on August 13th, and 7 degrees above the planet on August 14th.

Look back east —- that is left of Venus —— to find Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in that order. Jupiter lies among the stars of Libra near its brightest star, Zubenelgenubi (I just love that name!). At magnitude –2.0, Jupiter is 100 times brighter than this 2nd magnitude star. Jupiter will be seen best in the southwestern sky at the end of twilight when it will be highest in the sky. On the 17th, the Moon will pass just 5 degrees above the giant planet.

About 50 degrees east (left) of Jupiter is Saturn, the ringed planet, at magnitude +0.3 in Sagittarius. Through binoculars or telescope, Saturn will shine in yellowish light, and will then be seen among the many nebulae and star clusters of the summer Milky Way found in this part of the sky. The star-studded area of the sky is marvelous to scan with binoculars, as we look toward the center of our galaxy.

Mars gets top-billing as the planet of the month, especially during August’s first two weeks. Mars reached opposition in late July, and is at its maximum brightness and size on August 1st. So look at it early in the month, for by the 31st, it will have dropped to –2.1 magnitude and appear 15% smaller. But even those month-end view will be impressive; Mars has not been so close to us since 2003. Through a telescope at 100 power magnification, Mars will look as big as a Full Moon looks in the sky with the unaided eye on August 1st!

Mars unfortunately is low in the southern sky, between Sagittarius and Capricornus, and its greatest altitude on August 1st is not reached until around 1 am. It reaches that altitude by 10:30 pm on August 31st, but by then, it will have dimmed. This highest altitude point is about 25 degrees above the southern horizon.

Do not miss this opportunity to view Mars this August. It will not be this close again for another 15 years.

Mercury pops up for sky-watchers before dawn, 18 degrees west of (in front of) the Sun on August 26th. This will place it 5 to 10 degrees above the eastern horizon 45 minutes before sun-up.

There is lots to see this month in our skies and with warm summer nights it is comfortable to get out and look, even though we miss a partial solar eclipse, which may be seen by sky-watchers only in northern Canada and Europe; and in much of Asia, on August 11th. Full Moon is on the 26th. Keep looking up!

ShoreRivers Adds Three to Staff


ShoreRivers is pleased to announce three new additions to its staff.

Josh Biddle is ShoreRivers’s new Agricultural Specialist. Biddle is an Eastern Shore native who grew up on a farm between Denton and Ridgely, where for the last 15 years, he has worked in his family’s greenhouses growing flowers. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Salisbury University. For the past two years, he has been employed as a Soil Conservation Technician at the Talbot County Soil Conservation District working with a number of state and federal conservation programs, and assisting in the planning, design, and installation of a variety of best management practices throughout the county. Biddle will be working with state, federal, academic, and farm partners to apply agricultural conservation projects within Eastern Shore watersheds. Along with Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen and Restoration Specialist Josh Thompson, Biddle will assist in ShoreRivers’ expanding agricultural project work, including conducting outreach within the agricultural community to promote conservation programs and encourage responsible and river-friendly farming all across the Eastern Shore.

Julia Erbe has joined ShoreRivers as Development and Events Coordinator. A lifelong Marylander, Erbe attended Washington College and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Goucher College. “Ever since my time studying at Washington College, the Eastern Shore has been my place of solitude and comfort,” she says. “It makes perfect sense that I would find myself back here, working for such an amazing organization that I respect so highly. I am honored to join this passionate, hard-working group of like-minded individuals, and I am eager to contribute to their important work.”

Josh Biddle, Agricultural Specialist; Julia Erbe, Development and Events Coordinator; Rachel Plescha, 2018-2019 Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Erbe will be working on many events throughout the region to help educate local communities and raise funds to support ShoreRivers’ programs and mission. Her local ties, environmental background, and experience will bring tremendous help to support the organization’s mission throughout the region.

Rachel Plescha is the new 2018-2019 ShoreRivers Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) Volunteer. A native of Oviedo, Florida, she recently graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Environmental Policy with a minor in Economics. She will take the place of the 2017-2018 CCC Volunteer, Rebecca Murphy, who is staying on with ShoreRivers as Education and Outreach Coordinator.

ShoreRivers has participated in the CCC program since 2012, hosting 11 volunteers, several of whom have become permanent staff members. The CCC program is funded through the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Plescha made ShoreRivers her first choice from over 70 other competing nonprofits in the Bay area. She explains, “I am looking forward to learning about how the community plays a role in shaping positive outcomes for environmental health. I am most excited to work with the agricultural and community outreach programs. I have always been interested in the connection between the food we eat and our environment, so much so that I even worked on an organic farm for a few months! I am excited to meet new people and help them realize their connection to the land around them. I cannot wait to move to the Eastern Shore and experience the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay in person!”

ShoreRivers Executive Director Jeff Horstman says, “With ShoreRivers’ expanding role and growth, these talented and passionate young people will bring energy and enthusiasm to our efforts toward healthy waterways across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We are happy to welcome Josh, Julia, and Rachel to our team!”

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

Qlarant Hosts Annual Grant Awards Event


Qlarant Foundation, the philanthropic arm of nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, Qlarant, has awarded charitable grants to fourteen Maryland and District of Columbia organizations seeking to improve health equity. Members of the Board of Directors for Qlarant Foundation held a reception for the 2018 Qlarant Grant Awards.

“Giving out these grants is so gratifying,” said Dr. Molly Burgoyne-Brian, Board Chair for Qlarant Foundation. “This is the 11th year that we have provided these grants to the community and each year it gets better. This year we’ve added four new grantees to the list of organizations that have received funds from Qlarant Foundation. We’ve now given over four and a half million dollars to fantastic organizations like these since 2007.”

Photo: Qlarant Foundation presented $385k to fourteen organizations: (left to right) front row: Brenda Crabbs (Qlarant Foundation Board Member), Sen. Addie Eckardt, Dr. Molly Burgoyne-Brian (Qlarant Foundation Board Chair), Deb Keller (VP Qlarant), back row: Robert Valenti (Qlarant Foundation Board Member), Amanda Neal (Qlarant Foundation Board Member).

This year’s grant recipients include previous grantees Access Carroll, Inc., Breast Care for Washington, D.C., Channel Marker, Inc., Community Ministries of Rockville, Help and Outreach Point of Entry, Inc., La Clinica del Pueblo, Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, Miriam’s Kitchen, Mission of Mercy, and University of Maryland Medical Center’s Breathmobile. All of these organizations are dedicated to providing health and human services to underserved populations. First time grantees included Eastern Shore Wellness Solutions, University Legal Services, Inc., as well as Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center, Inc. and Girls in the Game; the latter two were honored for their commitment to women and young girls. Also attending the ceremony were Delegate Johnny Mautz and Senator Addie Eckardt. Sen. Eckardt presented citations to the organizations in her district.

During the luncheon, catered by Blue Heron Catering, the grantees were given the opportunity to present a summary of their organizations’ work and successes followed by workshops focused on partnership and networking.

“Our Foundation Grants Event is one of our favorite parts of what we do at Qlarant,” said Deb Keller, Qlarant Vice President. “Our ability to do the good work that we do and provide support for even more positive impacts to the community is what makes Qlarant so special.

About Qlarant Foundation

Qlarant Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Qlarant, a not-for-profit nationally respected leader in fighting fraud, waste & abuse, improving program quality, and optimizing performance. The organization was founded more than 45 years ago to improve health care and human services for all. Qlarant Foundation is focused on reinvesting in our people and resources to better support our clients’ missions.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Glennda Moragne El at 410.872.9632 or email at

ShoreRivers Awarded 2.2 Million Dollar Grant


At the end of June, ShoreRivers was awarded a $2.2 million dollar grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support ShoreRivers’ regional agricultural restoration work. The grant will fund projects in the watersheds of the Bohemia, Sassafras, Wye, and Choptank Rivers. Together these projects will prevent over 14,200 lbs. of nitrogen, 740 lbs. of phosphorus, and almost 270 tons of sediment from entering Eastern Shore waterways.

A treatment wetlands system helps maximizes nutrient removal.

The new grant funds will pay the construction costs for:

• An ecologically engineered design that will stabilize excessive gully erosion that has resulted in a ravine adjacent to Kings Creek in Talbot County; it will create a wetland and grassed buffers, and restore 1380 linear feet of stream and agricultural ditch.

• A treatment wetland system and stormwater retention ponds at the bottom of four agricultural drainages and above a natural stream. The project is designed to maximize nutrient removal at the top of the watershed of Little Bohemia Creek in Cecil County and it will create almost six acres of wetland and three acres of stormwater ponds.

• Stormwater ponds and over eight acres of lined treatment wetland to treat 33 acres of dairy farm operations and several hundred acres of row crop land that is irrigated with lagoon effluent from a Kent County dairy in the Sassafras watershed.

• Completing restoration of a 1,000-linear-foot traditional agricultural ditch into a two-stage ditch with wetland benches on a grain farm on the Wye River in Talbot County.

This grant signals the effectiveness of ShoreRivers’ new combined capacity to implement regional projects on a large scale throughout the Delmarva peninsula. ShoreRivers is a certified Technical Service Provider for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is engineering and implementing innovative pollution reduction projects cooperatively with the agricultural sector to restore and protect Eastern Shore rivers.

ShoreRivers is honored that the Department of Natural Resources supports the pollution- reducing projects that ShoreRivers is implementing in communities across the Eastern Shore. Other traditional bay funders and strong community support enables ShoreRivers to attract this type of significant outside grant funding for clean water.

For more information, visit or contact Director of Agriculture & Restoration Tim Rosen at 443.385.0511 or

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

Rep. Andy Harris Opens Application for Military Service Academy Nominations


Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Military Service Academies nomination application is now available for students wishing to join the class of 2023. Congressman Harris will nominate some of the finest students from Maryland’s First Congressional District for appointments to the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, and Merchant Marine Academies. The Coast Guard Academy does not require a Congressional nomination, though Congressman Harris will recommend interested applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Admission to the service academies is based on SAT/ACT scores, class rank, physical aptitude scores, extracurricular activities, athletic abilities, medical examinations, and a panel interview. Academies accept applications on a rolling basis beginning in September. Final acceptance is also contingent upon receiving a nomination from an authorized source such as one’s Congressman or Senator.

The deadline to apply for a nomination from Congressman Harris is October 22, 2018. All qualified residents of Maryland’s First District are encouraged to apply. Interviews will be conducted in the fall by Congressman Harris’ Military Academy Review Board, which is made up of veterans and reservists of the United States military. The Service Academies will be notified of Congressman Harris’ nominations by December 31, 2018.

Students can download the nomination application at Completed applications should be submitted to Congressman Harris’ Kent Island District office at 100 Olde Point Village, Suite 101, Chester, MD 21619. For questions, please call the Kent Island District Office at 410-643-5425.

Karen Merkin Opens as Featured Artist with The Artists’ Gallery


“Large Gala,” oil by Karen Merkin

On First Friday July 6, 2018, The Artists’ Gallery will feature a new series of oil paintings by Karen Merkin in “Ordinary to Extraordinary.” Karen’s photo-realistic style takes ordinary objects such as apples and tomatoes and incorporates such extraordinary detail that the images look real. She is also known for her classic “car portraits.” Each classic car has its own unique beauty, design, and character that is impacted by the reflections of the surrounding environment, especially the chrome and glass surfaces.

As a resident of Rockville, Maryland, the Eastern Shore has become a favorite getaway for Karen and her husband. Karen Merkin is juried member of the Working Artists Forum, an exhibitor with The Artists’ Gallery, and participates in workshops and local shows in Chestertown, Easton, St. Michaels and Tilghman Island.

The public is invited to visit The Artists’ Gallery on First Friday, July 6th from 5-8 p.m. for light refreshments and to meet the artist. Work by Karen Merkin will be featured throughout the month of July. The Artists’ Gallery is located at 239 High Street in Chestertown is is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 12:30-4:30. For more information, please visit or call the gallery at 410-778-2425.

Compass Regional Hospice’s Calendar of Events, July through September



Volunteer Training for Camp New Dawn — Tuesday, July 10, 6 to 9 p.m., at The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. Camp New Dawn is a four-day, three-night grief retreat summer camp for children, teens and families, and is a program of Compass Regional Hospice. Camp New Dawn would not be possible without the support of Compass Regional Hospice’s specially trained volunteers. More than 100 volunteers help to make sure the camp is fun and full of friendship and learning. For more information, contact Courtney Williams at 443-262-4112 or

Estate Treasures Warehouse Sale — Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 106 Log Canoe Circle, Chesapeake Business Park, Stevensville. Come find deeply discounted furniture, tools, sports equipment, small appliances, lawn and garden items, silver pieces, precious moments figures, children’s items, art, area rugs, clothing and more. Proceeds will benefit Compass Regional Hospice. For more information, call Estate Treasures, an affiliation of Compass Regional Hospice, at 410-643-7360.

Volunteer Training for Camp New Dawn — Monday, July 30, 6 to 9 p.m., at The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. Camp New Dawn is a four-day, three-night grief retreat summer camp for children, teens and families, and is a program of Compass Regional Hospice. Camp New Dawn would not be possible without the support of Compass Regional Hospice’s specially trained volunteers. More than 100 volunteers help to make sure the camp is fun and full of friendship and learning. For more information, contact Courtney Williams at 443-262-4112 or


Camp New Dawn — Saturday, Aug. 18, through Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Camp Pecometh, 136 Bookers Wharf Road, Centreville. A four-day, three-night grief retreat summer camp for children, teens and families, through Compass Regional Hospice. For more information or to register, contact Rhonda Knotts at 443-262-4109 or For more information about volunteering, contact Courtney Williams at 443-262-4112 or


Volunteer Training Session — An online/classroom hybrid where volunteers can complete their online classes before joining Compass Regional Hospice for the classroom segment. We will be meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays; Sept. 11, 18 and 25, at the Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. Registration is required, and completing the entire class is necessary for volunteers who would like to work with patients and families. For more information about volunteering, contact Courtney Williams at 443-262-4112 or

Estate Treasures Art Auction — Saturday, Sept. 22, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Cascia Vineyards, 1200 Thompson Creek Road, Stevensville. Featuring silent and live auctions, including a variety of art, some created and signed by local artists whose work reflects scenes from the Eastern Shore. Enjoy light refreshments and a complimentary glass of Cascia Vineyards wine. Tickets are limited for this exclusive event and are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. All proceeds will benefit Compass Regional Hospice. Estate Treasures is an affiliate of Compass Regional Hospice. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Kenda Leager, at 443-262-4106 or


Bereaved Parent Grief Support Group — First Monday of each month; July 2, Aug. 6 and Sept. 3. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. A drop-in group for individuals, 18 and older, dealing with the loss of a child. For more information, contact Rhonda Knotts at 443-262-4109 or

HALOS-Healing After a Loved One’s Suicide Grief Support Group — Second Wednesday of each month; July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. A drop-in group for individuals, 18 and older, dealing with the loss of a loved one from suicide. For more information, contact Rhonda Knotts at 443-262-4109 or, or Wayne Larrimore at 443-262-4108 or

Drug Overdose Grief Support Group — Third Thursday of each month; July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 20. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Hope and Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville.  A drop-in group for individuals, 18 and older, dealing with the loss of a loved one from drug overdose. For more information, contact Rhonda Knotts at 443-262-4109 or, or Linda Turner at 443-262-4120 or

All Losses Grief Support Group — Fourth Tuesday of each month; July 24, Aug. 28 and Sept. 25. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Caroline County Public Library, Federalsburg branch, 123 Morris Ave., Federalsburg. A drop-in group for individuals, 18 and older, who have experienced any type of loss. Please bring a lunch. For more information, contact Wayne Larrimore at 443-262-4108 or

Jill Koski Receives Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship


Jill Koski, a 2018 graduate of St. Peter & St. Paul High School, is the recipient of the 18th Annual Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES) Scholarship. The $4,500.00 merit scholarship was awarded to Koski in recognition of her outstanding academic record, strong work ethic, and commitment to environmental science and sustainable agriculture.

Koski will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall, where she will major in biology and minor in environmental studies.

“In a field of outstanding candidates, Jill stood out because of her stellar academic record, maturity, and commitment to agricultural advocacy,” Dr. Virginia Blatchley, scholarship committee co-chair says. “We were particularly impressed with the amount of time and effort she has already put into learning about the issues that effect farmers and meeting with Maryland state legislators and the governor to discuss the importance of protecting the state’s agricultural industry.”

The GCES offers a scholarship annually to graduating seniors from Talbot County public and independent high schools. Students being home schooled are also eligible. The scholarship is available to students with outstanding academic records, who are also considering careers in botany, horticulture, agriculture, landscape architecture or design, environmental science, or related fields.

The GCES is committed to promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and to providing programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. It spearheaded the extensive restoration of Easton’s Thompson Park. It also maintains several gardens in the community including those at Thompson Park and the Academy Art Museum in Easton.

“In addition to our other community involvement, our annual scholarship has the full support of every member of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, “Jill Meyerhoff, GCES President says. “I personally believe that this investment in the future of the talented,hardworking young people in our county is the most important thing that we do as a group.”

For additional information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-385-0486.

Children’s Author Lynn W. Peters at Twigs & Teacups July 6


Children’s author Lynn W. Peters will be signing copies of her book BROWNIE AND BO AT THE BIG WOOD DINER outside of Twigs & Teacups for July First Friday. The story is the tale of two hungry trout and the adventures that they have. Peters will also talk to children about the basics of fly fishing and the importance of keeping our rivers clean to maintain good habitat for fish.

A part time Chestertown resident, Peters also spends time in the mountains of Idaho where the story is set.

There will be some fish themed activities for children as well. Even adults may enjoy the beautiful watercolors in the book done by illustrator Zack D. Brown.