Chesapeake Charities Seeks Nominations of the Best in Philanthropy


Chesapeake Charities is calling for nominations for the following prestigious awards: Philanthropist of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. The awards will be presented at its annual Celebration of Charity luncheon on November 14, 2019 at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, August 23, 2019.

“Since this is our 15th anniversary, we want to honor truly exceptional individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to improve the communities we serve.  This is our opportunity to recognize and celebrate the very best in philanthropy,” commented Linda Kohler, Executive Director.

Chesapeake Charities is asking the community-at-large to submit nominations. Philanthropist of the Year will recognize an individual who has demonstrated outstanding generosity and community leadership. Volunteer of the Year will honor someone who has gone above and beyond in fulfilling their service role. Nonprofit of the Year will be presented to an organization that has consistently provided vital support to the community they serve. The Governor Larry Hogan Scholarship for cancer research will also be presented at the event.

Kim Umberger and Governor Hogan received awards from Linda Kohler at the 2016 Celebration of Charity luncheon.

The Celebration of Charity awards luncheon has become a hallmark for recognizing those who give in extraordinary measure.  In 2016, Governor Hogan was honored for the courage and leadership he displayed while waging a personal battle against cancer during his first year in office. In 2017, those on the front lines of the opioid crisis were recognized for their efforts to educate the public about opioid misuse and rehabilitate individuals recovering from addiction.  The 2017 honorees included Talbot Goes Purple, Farming for Hunger and the Samaritan House.  Last year, the event recognized The Wills Group, Mark Freestate, and the Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center for their efforts to lift Maryland families out of poverty.

The deadline to submit nominations is August 23, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.  Nomination forms can be obtained online at or by calling Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020.  Nominees must be from one of the eight counties served by Chesapeake Charities: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot.

Chesapeake Charities is a community foundation located in Stevensville, Maryland that supports over
90 nonprofit funds that impact a range of charitable causes including animal welfare, arts, education, health and human services, and the environment. To date they have generated more than $25 million in investment and grant funding for charitable projects in eight counties: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot. For more information, contact Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020 or, or visit Chesapeake Charities is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

The Greater Chestertown Initiative – Open for Business Loan Program


Chestertown is a great place to open a new business or expand an existing one.  The Greater Chestertown Initiative is pleased to announce the newest recipients of an Open for Business Loan – the Pallares brothers – Enrique & Felipe, owners of Casa Carmen Winery and their newly opened venture – The Wine House.

The Casa Carmen Wine House is located at 312 Cannon Street in downtown Chestertown. The renovated 600 sq. ft. space provides a winery tasting room that includes a bar, 26 indoor seats and 16 outdoor seats. Conceived in the spirit of traditional Spanish and South American bodegas, The Wine House offers tapas, and wine on tap as well as by the bottle and the glass.

The Wine House is open Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 10 pm.

L-R: Kay MacIntosh, Enrique Pallares, Carla Massoni and Felipe Pallares at Casa Carmen Wine House.

Casa Carmen’s carefully crafted old-world style dry wines pair perfectly with their creative menu based on premium Iberian tin fish, Spanish meats and cheeses, and the best local produce. Their tantalizing assortment of tapas and pintxos offer something for the most sophisticated palate or for those eager for a welcoming place to meet-up with friends throughout the day and into the night.  They are a welcome addition to ever expanding culinary community.  Eat, drink and celebrate Chestertown.

The Greater Chestertown Initiative (GCI) Open for Business Loan Program was established by the GCI and the SFW Foundation to aid economic development in Chestertown.  Carla Massoni currently serves as its chairman.  The program seeks to foster economic development in Chestertown by providing financial assistance through matching funds and interest-free loans to eligible individuals/businesses looking to start a new business, expand or relocate operations to Chestertown. Residency in the town is not required of the business owner(s); however, the business must be physically located in Chestertown.

Kay MacIntosh, the Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator for Chestertown, is actively engaged in supporting Chestertown entrepreneurs through the Arts & Entertainment District and Main Street Chestertown.  There are numerous funding opportunities available to local businesses through these programs.

For more about information about opportunities in Chestertown visit   For an  Open for Business online application, visit:

Mount Harmon Hosts Lotus Blossom Art & Nature Festival


Bring friends and family to come enjoy our annual Mount Harmon Lotus Blossom Art & Nature Festival, Saturday, August 10th from 10am – 4pm.  This will be a great day to visit Mount Harmon ~ an historic Tidewater plantation and 200-acre nature preserve, and enjoy nature-inspired artisans, crafts, and activities for all ages!  Visitors will enjoy a wide array of local Fine Artisan & Craft Vendors, Nature & Environmental Exhibitors, Live Blue Grass Music, Local Food & Beverage Vendors, Craft Activities for Kids, Plantation Wagon Rides to see the American Lotus Water Lilies, Colonial Re-enactors & Living History Demonstrations, Manor House Tours, and much more!

Local Food Trucks Crave and Maryland in a Can with Crab Cakes, Burgers & BBQ, Woodside Ice Cream, Crow Winery, Bayheads Brewing Company, and Live Bluegrass Music featuring High Lonesome & Blue, and the Mayo Family Band, plus the Scottish Highland Brigade, Hessian Tavern, and the National Park Service Chesapeake Roving Ranger & others. Contact for more information and to request press credentials. Proceeds benefit Mount Harmon, a scenic and historic treasure.

Admission: $5

FOMH Members & Children under 12: Free

Advance tickets or purchase upon entry.   410-275-8819

Mount Harmon, 600 Mount Harmon Road, Earleville, MD 21919

Mount Harmon Plantation, a scenic and historic treasure.

Visitor Spending at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Boosts Local Economy


A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examined the economic impact of 162 national wildlife refuges to their local economies, including Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Blackwater NWR had an economic impact of $7.8 million, including $667,000 in total tax revenue, 63 jobs, and $2.3 million in employment income to Dorchester and Wicomico counties.  Visitor expenditures for 2017 were $5.8 million, with non-residents accounting for 95% of the total.

Nationwide, 53.6 million people visited national wildlife refuges in 2017, with an economic impact of $3.2 billion on local communities and supporting more than 41,000 jobs.  The figures come from a new economic report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service titled Banking on Nature 2017: The Economic Contributions of National Wildlife Refuge Recreational Visitation to Local CommunitiesThe report is the sixth in a series of studies since 1997 that measure the economic contributions of national wildlife refuge recreational visits to local economies.

“Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a local and national treasure for visitors from next door to across the country.  Our 223,000 annual visitors enjoy activities such as wildlife watching year round, deer hunting September through January, and spectacular waterfowl photography in the winter,” said Marcia Pradines, the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader. “But the impacts go beyond the easy to measure economic outputs.  For instance, all of the county’s fourth and sixth graders participate in environmental education activities, and the habitats provide valuable ecological services such as flood buffers, and nurseries for fish.”

National wildlife refuges generate many individual and societal benefits, including fish and wildlife conservation, open space, science and education, water quality improvement and flood resilience. The thriving fish and wildlife populations of the Refuge System also attract millions of recreational users. Some visitors take part in heritage sports, such as hunting and fishing, where those activities are compatible with refuge management goals and other recreational activities. Others enjoy hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing or nature photography.

Wildlife-related recreation fuels the economy throughout the nation. The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years by the Service, informs the Banking on Nature report. The most recent survey found that more than 103 million Americans, or 40 percent of the United States population age 16 and older, pursued wildlife-related outdoor recreation in 2016 and spent nearly $156.9 billion.

The Banking on Nature study also found:

– National wildlife refuges are seen widely as travel-worthy destinations: 83 percent of refuge spending was done by visitors from outside the local area — an increase of 9 percent from the 2011 study. At Blackwater NWR, 95% is from non-residents.

– More than 41,000 jobs (up 18 percent from 2011) and $1.1 billion in employment income (up 22 percent) were generated.

– The combined economic contribution to communities nationwide is more than six times the $483.9 million appropriated by Congress to the Refuge System in FY 2017.

The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 567 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Blackwater NWR is within a two hour’s drive of both Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitats for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education.

For more details and a full listing of each refuge’s economic impact, read the Banking on Nature report and explore the visual data online.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at 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

Easton Utilities Announces Promotion of Steven Ochse


Steven Ochse

Easton Utilities has promoted Steven “Steve” Ochse to Senior Vice President of Finance and CFO. Steve’s responsibility includes oversight of all financial activities by providing strategic financial leadership for long-range planning. “Steve has been instrumental to our success over the past four years and this promotion reflects his ability to oversee our fiscal management practices and strategic financial planning,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities.

The role of Senior Vice President of Finance and CEO is an executive level position focused on developing, implementing and enforcing policies in a challenging financial and regulatory environment. Steve works closely with the executive team and nine department heads, with particular emphasis on costs controls, energy procurement, risk management, financial initiatives, and customer experience.

Steve is an alumnus of Leadership Maryland, Class of 2018 and Shore Leadership, Class of 2009. He is active in the community and has volunteered with several organizations to include Rotary Club of Easton, UMMS Shore Regional Health Foundation, Chesapeake College, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA. Steve has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Baltimore and is a CPA. Steve resides in Easton with his wife and has two sons and a daughter. When he is not working, he enjoys playing basketball at the Easton YMCA, golfing and spending time with the family. “Steve is a natural born leader with a positive demeanor which is enjoyed by all,” added Grunden.

Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Visit for more information.

Recovery Event “Breaking the Chains” at Chestertown Fire Hall


It’s that time of year again!  On Saturday, August 3rd please join us at Chestertown Fire Hall: 211 Maple Ave, Chestertown, Md 21620 from 10am-2pm for our recovery event, Breaking the Chains.  This event is designed to bring the community together to show support and raise awareness for recovering addicts. This event will be raising money for, Mid-Shore Restoring Hope in Women.

The event will have various activities for everyone including: a bounce house, arts & crafts, face painting, silent auction, gift basket raffle, child gift basket raffle, door prizes, and a 50/50 cash raffle. In addition a fire truck will be on display.  Food will be available for purchase from “Aretha’s Creative Touch.”

Breaking the Chains will also include guest speakers Joseph Short, Jennifer Edwards, Katie Arrabal, and Jewell Bedwell. They will be speaking on recovery related topics, with the hopes of opening the eyes of struggling addicts and their loved ones. New to the event this year is a training on Narcan.

This year we have launched sales of  recovery awareness T-shirts “Breaking the chains”. The shirt made their first appearance at the March event. All proceeds  from shirt sales benefit Mid-Shore Restoring Hope in Women.

We would like to thank all the local businesses who support our event, as well as our mission. We would also like to thank all of you, the people of our communities. Without your support and encouragement, none of this would be possible. Addiction touches all of us in different forms. Many of us have loved someone who is/was struggling with addiction. Our mission is to break these chains of addiction and it is our belief that community driven events and education are leading us in the right direction. Thank you!

Brewer’s Art and Orchard Point Oyster Teamed Up to Create Tasty Brew


The Brewer’s Art of Baltimore, MD, and Orchard Point Oyster Company of Stevensville, MD, have teamed up to produce a light, oyster beer that’s drinkable all year long – “Bugeye: Oyster S’Light”. The beer is brewed using local Orchard Point oyster shells and a new RoastOat™ malt donated by Briess Malt of Wisconsin. A portion of the proceeds will benefit healthy waterways across the Eastern Shore through the work of ShoreRivers. Bugeye drinks like a full, rich stout, but is a gorgeous hazy golden color, with lovely fruit notes and a dense rocky head of lacy white foam. Smooth as silk, brilliant as a golden sunset – it’s like nothing you’ve tasted this summer.

The Brewer’s Art has brewed craft beer in Baltimore since 1996. It has produced many award-winning beers and its brewpub restaurant is consistently ranked as one the city’s best restaurants. Named the Best Beer Bar in America by Esquire Magazine in 2008, the Brewer’s Art supports clean water via partnerships with organizations such as ShoreRivers.

Orchard Point Oyster Company has been raising premium half-shell oysters since 2015. Originating in Rock Hall, it has expanded to operate in Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot county waters. Through its sustainable modern aquaculture practices, it continuously improves water quality via filtration and provides ecological services to the Bay ecosystem. Each adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. Orchard Point’s farming practices are recognized by the EPA and State of Maryland as a Best Management Practice (BMP) in meeting mandatory Bay nutrient reduction goals. The shells are a representation of these efforts and lend the beer essential minerals.

Briess is a global leader in malt and brewing ingredients. Stemming from Czech roots, they currently produce more styles of malt than any other malting company in the world. The malt used in this beer is a brand-new hull-less, lightly roasted oat variety: “Blonde RoastOat™ Malt.” The malt produces a unique beer with a mild sweetness and blonde hue. A velvet mouthfeel and aroma are balanced by calcium and chloride additions from the oyster shells.

ShoreRivers is a local non-profit dedicated to improving water quality on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. With six major shore tributaries under their purview, ShoreRivers works to improve the health of our waterways through science based advocacy, restoration, and education initiatives. It is the organization when it comes to understanding our rivers’ health and implementing projects that have a direct effect on improving it.

We are excited to announce the release of Bugeye. Each Bugeye brewed and consumed, will directly contribute to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Bringing together industry leaders and clean-water advocates can certainly yield delicious results. Please support this effort by asking for a Bugeye, wherever fine beer is served on tap!

August 2019 Sky-Watch


Arguably the best meteor shower of the year occurs each August when the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks. Named because these meteors seem to radiate from the center of the constellation Perseus, the Perseids peak this year on the morning of August 13th. We should look to the northeast skies between 1 and 4 am, when Perseus has risen nearly two-thirds of the way to the zenith (the top of the sky).

Unfortunately this year, the nearly Full Moon, which does not set until 4 am in the southwest sky, will hinder the number of meteors we will be able to see; which under dark, moonless skies approaches 100 per hour.

To increase seeing more meteors we should look on August 11th and 12th, because the Moon is less Full and sets earlier, or find your darkest site and put yourself in a place where a building or house is to your back to block the Moon. The Moon will be low in the southwest and we will be facing northeast to look for meteors. We should still be able to spot 20 or more fast moving meteors per hour.

After sunset Jupiter will draw our attention looking south It will be close to the reddish star Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius. Even though Antares is one of the skies top 10 brightest stars, Jupiter will outshine by 20 times! Binocular’s reveal Jupiter’s disk and its 4 brightest Moons, and telescopes allow us to see its 4 brightest Moons and the colored cloud bands of its upper atmosphere. Look for the gibbous Moon just above Jupiter on the night of August 9th.

Some 30 degrees east(left) of Jupiter we will see Saturn at its best for 2019, but not nearly as bright as Jupiter, because it is twice as far away from Earth. Saturn is brighter than any of the stars of Sagittarius that surround it now. Telescopes will reveal its wonderful rings, its moons, and its own colored cloud bands.

Mercury makes a brief appearance in our morning skies before dawn in the East. Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury will appear 8 to 10 degrees (about the height of a clenched fist held at arm’s length against the sky) on the morning of August 9th. Mercury will be just below Gemini’s 2 brightest stars, Castor and Pollux then —– but will outshine both. Mercury will stay in about the same place for about a week and brighten slightly, before its orbit makes it appear to descend toward the Sun and disappear after the 17th.

Both Mars and Venus are invisible this month; they are both to close to the Sun. But both return for sky-watchers to see in October. Venus will be seen then at dusk in the west; and Mars will be found in the east before dawn.

Lesley Giles is Featured Artist at the Trippe Gallery thru August


Lesley Giles is an English artist. She lived and painted in London most of her life until she moved to Florida in 2003 with her American husband to follow his career. They re-located north to Cambridge Md. in 2012 to be near to Washington DC and Baltimore yet continue to be surrounded by water. Lesley paints in her studio overlooking the beautiful Choptank River. She is fascinated by the poetic, solitary beauty of the world around us: water, derelict huts, floating osprey. She works with traditional media to focus on contemporary issues like the effect of development on our landscapes and how the “ordinary” prevails. Saatchi International have sold three of her Eastern Shore paintings to collectors in California, Delaware and Switzerland.

“… The boldness of her colour is matched by a strength of design that is all too rare in contemporary art. Here is an artist with a down-to-earth sureness of vision that is immensely beguiling”

Andrew Lambirth, Art Historian, London

In 2019 her painting “Hurricane, Sundance Realty” received “Honorable Mention” in the national juried exhibition “Signs of the Times” at Gallery Clarendon, Washington. In 2018 she was commissioned by Blackwater Bakery, Cambridge, to paint a five-foot coffee cup for their restaurant. She exhibited in a new gallery, Kyo Gallery, in Old Town Alexandria and her painting “The Hill”, celebrating Ironman Maryland, was chosen by the Maryland Federation of Art to hang in the House of Representatives in Annapolis for three months.

“Lesley Giles blurs the line between traditional notions of landscape and graphic arts ….. Giles’s exaggerated colors and stylized patterns, as seen in her striped skies, separate her from earlier artists”.
Ryan Grover, Curator, Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware, 2014

Lesley is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, (MFA) and Goldsmiths’ College, London University (BFA). She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums in the UK, Europe, USA and also in China following a Visiting Painter invitation to Urumqi, Xinjiang in 1996. Her work has been published by Harper Collins in “Watercolour Masterclass” and “The Challenge of Landscape” as well as being featured in several magazines.

“Giles has also traveled to western England to paint the island of “St Michael’s Mount”. In Giles’s image the Mount is a cold, shadowy blue on the horizon, cemented to the strong black rocks”

Joseph Ruzicka “TODAY’S MASTERS” Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, May/June 2016

Recent series include “Eastern Shore – History Reflected through the Puddles of Time”, “Acid Sky Washing Lines” an exploration of the coast around England and “Oceanshore Boulevard” a linear journey along the Florida coast. She continues to be fascinated by water and fabrics in the landscape like washing lines floating in the wind or tarps binding unknown objects. Her style is formalized and post-cubist. Important influences are John Sel Cotman, Edward Hopper and fellow alumnus David Hockney.

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