Mid-Shore Arts: Elvis is in the Building with TAP and Four Weddings and an Elvis


For TAP director John Norton, Four Weddings and an Elvis had so many things going for it to make it the kick off of the 2019 Tred Avon Players season.

The first, of course, was Elvis. The second was that it was funny, and finally, despite great reviews, rarely been performed since Nancy Frick wrote it in 2010. All of which made it a perfect production for TAP and its loyal audience.

But that is only part of the reason that director Norton is excited about the TAP Elvis production. In his short Spy interview, John has added a special twist to each performance with a raffle of a lifesize Elvis to take home with the lucky winner.

The Spy caught up with John at Bullit House last week to talk about the play and the fun that comes when Elvis is in the building.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information and tickets please go here



Mid-Shore Habitat: A Quick Look at Atelier 11 Architecture


To those who have a keen eye for architecture, it is no secret that Easton-based Atelier 11 has had a significant impact on how Talbot County looks these days. From their earliest projects on Aurora Street, when Lauren Dianich and her partner/husband, Jon Braithwaite, were just beginning their practice, to such well known new buildings like the new Clubhouse at Londonderry, the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, Brookletts Place Senior Center, Talbot Hospice, and some extraordinary private residences in the area.

In fact, one of the few places where one can’t find Atelier 11’s fingerprints might be at their new office at 1 East Dover. After more than a decade working from their studio on Aurora, the firm decided to relocate into an historic building on the corner of Dover and Washington Street.

The Spy caught up with Lauren, and her colleague Tom Batchelor, last month to talk briefly about a few of their local projects and how they developed the reputation of not only timeless designs but projects that stay on budget.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about  Atelier 11 Architecture please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: The Case for Entering Plein Air with Diane DuBois Mullaly


This is a particularly intense time for painters deciding whether to enter into the Plein Air competition that takes place every year on the Mid-Shore and sponsored by the Avalon Foundation. That’s because they only have a few weeks to decide before registration closes on January 25.

Entering this event is not a decision to be taken lightly. Artists are signing up for a very demanding international competition, which all takes place, rain or shine, in some of the Eastern Shore’s hottest conditions in July. It also requires painters to do their work in only five days with a minimum of two finished pieces to be presented for review.

And yet, artists like the accomplished Diane DuBois Mullaly make the argument that without those unique demands, they would not have produced some of their best work. To decide locations and paint quickly, is all part of the challenge for Diane.

To help those local artists that haven’t made up their mind yet, the Spy sat down with Diane to talk about why she loves Plein Art, the fun of pushing one’s self, and the great joy of socializing and learning from her fellow painters each summer.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. To enter Plein Air Easton – 2019 please go here.



Another Kind of Financial Crisis: Junior Achievement Combats Shore Student Financial Illiteracy


Little did Junior Achievement know when it started nearly one hundred years ago that the financial education organization would be as timely in 2018 as it was when founded in 1919. J.A., as it’s known to millions of students and volunteers, continues a tradition of engaging young people in the fundamental basics of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship at a time when those skill sets are in extremely high demand.

It should be a relief to many on the Mid-Shore that the J.A. has played an educational leadership role in the school districts of Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot County for decades now, as close to 450 volunteers descend on Eastern Shore public schools each year to teach its students such essential life skills as opening a bank account, balancing a checkbook, applying for loans, the dangers of credit card debt,  the importance of savings, or understanding what stocks and bonds are.

With the internet and smartphones now allowing a new generation to simply push a button or scan a thumbprint to almost instantaneously bring anything to one’s door, children of all ages are faced with unprecedented consumer choices, dishonest lenders, and scam artists as they plot their way into adulthood.

Given this under the radar crisis, the Spy sat down with Jayme Hayes, Jim Malena, and Talli Oxnam, three local leaders of Junior Achievement, to catch up on these very real challenges facing the youth in our community and what J.A. is doing locally to address them.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information on Junior Achievement on the Eastern Shore please go here.

Spy Maryland Journal: 50 Years of Running for the Byrons at the JFK Challenge


Editor’s note: Even the Spy knows it can be a healthy thing to leave the Eastern Shore once in awhile to understand the unique character and personalities of the entire State of Maryland. We’ll therefore be periodically driving over the Bay Bridge to do just that to see what’s happening on the other side.

In many ways, Kimball Byron’s attempt last weekend to complete his 50th year running all 50 miles in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Challenge had very little to do with winning or finishing one of this country’s most grueling competitions. While that might have been his desired outcome, the passion for this run, named after the former president’s physical fitness challenge to complete a 50 mile trip in less than 12 hours, the real reason the Washington College graduate, and now a commercial airline pilot, makes run each year is all about honoring his family.

Starting in 1967, when his father Goodloe, then a Maryland State Senator, first ran the race, the Byron family has made the JFK Run a family tradition. This ritual began in 1968 when the father and son started running the race in 1968 when Kimball was only twelve years old.

Sadly, Goodloe Byron, then a US Congressman for Maryland’s 6th District, was the victim of a massive heart attack in 1978 at the age of 49 years old. The continuation of the racing tradition only grew stronger with his son over the next forty years, even to the point of getting special leave for a few days during the first Gulf War, where he was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.

And over the years, Kimball also encouraged his own two sons (with wife Hannah serving as the support team) to join him on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail, and the oldest, Phillip, joined his father last week in Western Maryland to run with him for the 5oth anniversary.

The Spy talked to Kimball a month before the November race on running the punishing race as a boy, the challenges of JFK Run, and the subtle pride he has in keeping the Byrons in the Race.

This video is approximately four minutes in length.

Mid-Shore Health: The Goal of Control at the End of Life


There is little doubt that one of the paramount issues for those facing the last phase of their lives is one of control. From such things as pain management to document the end of life wishes with family members, the patient is eager to control as much of the process as possible.

And one of their primary allies in maintaining that control is working with their local hospice as early as possible. That is the central message we received when talking to Talbot Hospice’s medical director, Mary DeShields, and its executive director, Vivian Dodge when talking to the Spy the other day.

With the national average hospice care period lasting only two to three weeks, the options and time for solid planning are minimal. That is why Mary and Vivian are strong advocates for patients and families to enter into hospice care almost immediately after a terminal diagnosis, which allows up to six months for them to prepare appropriately and guarantee the most comfortable end of life strategies possible.

This long-range approach also applies to palliative care which takes of those between acute care and end of life care. This stage for those with a chronic illness this is likely to result in death also requires a multidisciplinary management approach that, like hospice, is directed around the wishes of the patient and dramatically improve their day-to-day quality of life.

That is the primary reason that Talbot Hospice has been taking steps this year to strengthen their palliative care role with a new initiative to work more closely with community physicians and their patients.  By adding the local hospice team, both doctors and those under their care can greatly benefit patients with symptoms, and the emotional side of these serious chronic conditions.

The Spy sat down with Mary and Vivian at Talbot Hospice last week for a brief discussion of these issues.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about Talbot Hospice please go here

Mid-Shore Careers: Mental Health Careers Found at Channel Marker


While the demand on the Mid-Shore to fill skilled job openings has never been higher, especially in such fields as cyber-security, healthcare, or a range of traditional trades from welding to culinary management, it was interesting for the Spy to note that there are still career openings for what is known as generalists. These well-educated, “jacks of all trades, masters of none” young people have demonstrated their ability to achieve in their coursework in education, but sometimes not with a clear vocation in mind when it’s completed.

But one option open to many that fall into this category is in the growing field of mental health, and that is indeed the case with Channel Marker, Inc. which serves the Mid-Shore region helping those suffering from a variety of these conditions.

The Spy sat down with two of Channel Marker’s staff who have found themselves in a profession they have not only grown to love but offers significant opportunities for career advancement. Heather Chance, a residential coordinator with the organization, and Kelly Holden, its HR and training director, to talk about their rewarding careers helping those with these afflictions navigate back into being productive citizens in the community, their professional growth, and the opportunities that await other to follow in their footsteps.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Channel Marker and review the list of job openings go here


Mid-Shore Arts: Troika Gallery’s Laura Era on Starting Anew


The common Russian definition of the word “troika” refers to three horses abreast pulling a sleigh. That seemed to be the perfect name for Laura Era, her mother Dorothy, and their artist friend, Jennifer Heyd Wharton, when the trio opened their gallery in Talbottown twenty-one years ago. Since that time, the Troika Galley has become one of the great success stories of downtown Easton with their remarkable display of fine art from some of the country’s leading artists.

But like all things in life, let alone in the art gallery world, things do change, and the Troika Gallery was not spared that fate when Laura Era had to work through the almost simultaneous death of her mother and Jennifer’s decision to give up her share in the gallery since retiring to South Carolina. Within the span of less than two weeks, Troika had actually become a one-horse tarantass or a single horse-drawn carriage in Russian.

Nonetheless, with store manager Peg Fitzgerald at her side, Laura decided to keep Troika Gallery’s doors open. And, as she notes in our recent Spy interview, it was not a hard decision given what the three partners had achieved; a space of unique serenity, a remarkable collection of artists, and a gathering space for collectors and art lovers alike.

The Spy sat down with Laura this week to get an update.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. Troika will have a special anniversary group show opening and reception on November 9. For more information please go here


LVW Forum: Colvin vs. Harris vs. Martin


There was only standing room only at the Talbot County Free Library auditorium Sunday afternoon as the League of Women Voters hosted a lively forum with the major candidates in the 1st Congressional District race. Democrat Jesse Colvin, incumbent Andy Harris, and libertarian Party Jenica Martin gathered in Easton for the second face-off sponsored by the nonpartisan voter education organization.

The Spy was there to capture the complete answers to LWV questions as well as submitted questions from audience members. As with all LWV forums, there were time limitations placed on all candidate answers and participants were asked in advance to restrict their remarks to those questions rather than address/attack their opponents.

This video is approximately one hour and three minutes in length

We're glad you're enjoying The Chestertown Spy.

Sign up for the the free email blast to see what's new in the Spy. It's delivered right to your inbox at 3PM sharp.

Sign up here.