Old Oysters, New Corn


Environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy currently on the lawn outside the KCAC Buliding across the street from the Post Office.  Photo credit: Peter Heck

Howard and Mary McCoy, Queen Anne’s County artists, were at the Town Arts Building in Chestertown, Sunday, Oct. 15, to install their environmental art piece, “Old Oysters, New Corn.”

Sited on the lawn next to the building, across the street from the post office, the piece is constructed of centuries-old oyster shells from a Native American midden and newly harvested corn, both from their farm near Centreville.

Twelve stakes form a circle around an interior circle filled with old oyster shells.    Photo credit: Peter Heck

The artists began by sketching out two circles on the lawn; the inner circle was filled with the oyster shells, then 12 stakes were set in the outer circle for attaching the corn stalks. They began with the four cardinal compass points – North, South, East and West, then went around the circle clockwise beginning at the north.

The corn stalks, a modern variety genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup, still have ripe ears of corn on them. “The squirrels are going to love this sculpture,” said Howard.

The sculpture, Mary told us, while reminiscent of ancient harvest customs, is not based on any particular tradition.  Rather, it is “a meditation on the bounty of this fertile region and the ever-changing ways humans have used its resources.”

The sculpture will remain in place through the end of the month for the RiverArts studio tours, which take place on two weekends,  Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29, at sites throughout the area. The large exhibition space in the Town Arts Building will also host exhibits by several artists who wanted to take part but couldn’t make their actual studios available. The McCoys will have an exhibit along the wall overlooking the lawn where their sculpture stands.

Artists Howard and Mary McCoy, with Kent County Arts Council Director John Schratwieser (center) Old Oysters, New Corn” environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy. Photo credit: Jane Jewell

The Kent County Arts Council, which owns the Town Arts Building, obtained permission to install the sculpture on the lawn adjacent to its building from the Chestertown Mayor and Council. The property belongs to the town, which received it in a gift a number of years ago.

Old Oysters, New Corn” environmental art installation by Howard and Mary McCoy. Photo credit: Peter Heck

The installation’s sign notes, “Oysters were an important food for Native Americans. Over the centuries, the shells they discarded built up in layers several feet deep, but because of their small population, this food source remained sustainable. More recently, due to disease, pollution and over-harvesting, oyster populations have plummeted.

“For nearly two decades, the corn grown in this area has come from seed genetically modified to withstand spraying with the herbicide glyphosate, also called Roundup. Promoting efficient weed control, this farming practice helps boost harvest yields but is controversial in terms of the safety of genetic modification, as well as glyphosate’s possible hazards to human, plant and animal health.”

Howard, Mary and John play “scrarecrow” by the corn field.

Howard and Mary McCoy are collaborative artists. Much of their work is created directly in the landscape and is based on archetypal motifs concerned with the earth and how people have approached their own relationship with the earth through the centuries. Made primarily of natural materials, their work aims at honing viewers’ awareness of particular environments.

In addition to their ongoing site-specific installations created as Artists in Resident at Adkins Arboretum, their installations have been shown in the U.S., Ireland, Wales and New Zealand.

Howard McCoy has a B.A. in art from Georgetown College and an M.F.A. in painting from George Washington University.

Mary McCoy

Mary McCoy has a B.S. in studio art from Skidmore College and has written on art for several publications, including The Washington Post. She also writes for The Chestertown Spy.

“Old Oysters, New Corn” is part of RiverArts’ upcoming Studio Tour weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, Oct 21- 22 & 28-29, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine. This free self-guided tour on the picturesque Eastern Shore of Maryland includes close to 50 artists, many of them nationally-known, who will invite you into their studios to talk about their art, demonstrate their techniques and offer original art for sale at studio prices.



Kent County 4-H’ers – State Stars!


L-R: Parker Welch, coach, Henry Myers, Dylan Hill, Ethan Miller, and Cassie Plummer, coach. Dairy Judging team placing 3rd overall. Dylan placed 1st in placings, 2nd Individual, Ethan 7th individual and Henry 17th individual

Oct. 1 to 7 is 4-H Week in Maryland, and it’s a good time to look at one of the most valuable youth programs in our community.The local 4-H club members have just returned from the Maryland State Fair with many ribbons for their efforts. The fair lasted 10 days, covering two weekends, Aug. 24 to Sept. 4 in Timonium.  The complete list of the state fair results is included below.

The local clubs had multiple entries in about every category; they showed horses, cattle, dogs, and rabbits.They displayed insect collections, garden vegetables, canned goods, new fashions.   But most importantly, they had a good time and learned a lot – skills that they can use throughout their lives.

Cassie Plummer (2nd from right) with the Best Bred and Owned Ayrshire heifer

For most 4-H members, the State Fair is the culmination of year-long projects.  Those entering animals must be present to show their animals for the judging.  They also need to be there to feed the animals, clean up after them, and to provide a friendly, familiar face.  Some of the animals, Elizabeth Hill, Principal Agent Associate, 4-H Youth Development for Kent County, said that many of the animals enjoy the fair.  They get special attention, special food, and even seem to like being shown in the ring for the judges and hold their heads up high.  Some get a little nervous and like to have their owners nearby.  Some like to get belly rubs, which calms them down.  Each animal is different.

Puppy Pals 4-H Dog Club 2nd place 4-H Promotional Booth

Kent County’s 4-H is a program of the University of Maryland Extension, a partnership among the U. S. Department of Agriculture, land-grant universities and local governments in each state. Faculty and staff of University of Maryland Extension provide research-based information, educational programs and services on a variety of subjects. In addition to the 4-H youth program, these include Agriculture, Nutrient Management, Family and Consumer Science, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Animal Science, and Horticulture.

Dog Show – Emily Norris and her Pomeranian Creme Brulee

The Extension office describes 4-H youth as “a living breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right here in Kent County. This takes uncommon commitment and that is exactly what our youth have!”

Mitch Debnam in Holstein Showmanship, presenting his heifer to the judge in the 16 year old class.

Kent County youth can take part in 4-H activities that currently include more than 125 young people in after-school clubs  and over 400 more through in-school and other community 4-H programs and activities throughout Kent County. That is over 550 youth in our county committed to community service. In 2012, 4-H Volunteers provided a volunteer value of $66,154.44 for their service to our community. Youth Volunteers provided an additional $3,161 of volunteer service through the annual 4-H Toy Drive, Adopt-a-Highway pick-ups, Kent Ag Center and Worton Park projects and more.

Megan Moore’s 1st place Green tomatoes Megan  (obviously had turned during the stay at the fair). 

Among the activities sponsored by 4-H, agricultural pursuits – raising animals and crops – are probably best known. But 4-H youth also have the opportunity to learn shooting sports, science projects like entomology, cooking, fashion design, public speaking, and other skills that will serve them well in adult life. They get the opportunity to display their skills at the county 4-H fair every July, at other nearby county fairs, and at the Maryland State Fair – not to mention national-level events.

Kent’s Senior Dairy Judging team getting ready for a long day of competition. L-R: Henry Myers, Ethan Miller and Dylan Hill, Coaches Cassie Plummer (still a 4-H’er) and 4-H alumn, Kyle Plummer. Coach Parker Welch was not in the picture.

Aubrey Baker’s 2nd place dress. She is a 1st year Junior 4-H’er.


Complete Maryland State Fair – Kent County 4-H Youth Results

23 4-H’ers + Puppy Pals 4-H Club Exhibited

Aubrey Baker (Junior)

Clothing – Dress with jacket-2nd,

State Fashion Revue Junior Demonstration

Mitch Debnam (Senior)

Dairy- Senior (16 Yr) Holstein Showmanship-3rd,

Spring Calf-7th, Spring Yearling-6th,

Welding-2nd/Reserve Champion

Tractor Drive-2nd

Dylan Hill (Senior)

Dairy – Senior (15 yr) Holstein Showmanship – 2nd,

Holstein Spring Calf-6th,

Red & White Holstein Senior 3 Yr Cow-2nd

Dairy Judging – 1st in Placings,

2nd Overall Individual,

Team Placed 3rd.

Earned spot on MD 4-H Dairy Judging “B” Team going to North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY, November 4-6, 2017

Farm Crops – Wheat-1st, Soybeans-1st/Champion, Corn-3rd,

Timothy Hay-3rd, Wheat Straw-4th

Photography – B/W Maryland-1st, Color Plants-4th, Color Person-Participation

Samantha Jayne’s Junior 1st Place and reserve champion Jalepeno peppers

Samantha Jayne (Junior)

Art – Water Color-2nd

Crafts – Tie-dye-4th, Glass Craft-1st,

Food Preservation – Applesauce-1st, Tomato Juice-1st/Champion, B&B Pickles-1st, Dill Pickles-1st, 1st, Salsa-1st

Home Environment – Table Covering-4th, Needlework-1st, Pillows-1st,2nd, Fleece Blanket-1st, Quilt-2nd

Photography – 1st Year Photographer-3rd, Color Experimental-1st, B/W Animal-7th, B/W Misc-1st

Vegetables- Green Beans-2nd, Egg Plant-1st/Champion, Canteloupe-1st, Banana Peppers-1st, Jalapeño Peppers-1st/Reserve Champion, Oblong Watermelon-1st, Sugar Baby Watermelon-1st

Samantha Jayne’s Junior 1st place watermelon

Rachel Jones (Intermediate)

Art – Acrylic-Participation

Craft – String Art-Participation

Photography – Color Maryland-2nd, Color Misc-6th, B/W Building-6th, B/W Plant-2nd

Alexandra Miller (Intermediate)

Dairy – Ayrshire Intermediate Showmanship-2nd, Fall Yearling-1st; Jersey Senior 2 Yr Cow-3rd

Ethan Miller (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey Senior 2 Yr Cow-1st; Brown Swiss Winter Yearling-3rd;

Red & White Holstein Senior 2 Yr.Cow-3rd;

Guernsey Senior Best Bred and Owned Champion

Dairy Judging – Placed 7th Overall Individual, Team-3rd.

Earned spot on MD 4-H Dairy Judging “A” Team going to All American Dairy Show, Harrisburg PA, September 16-18 and World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI, October 7-9, 2017

Paige Miller (Junior)

Dairy – Ayrshire Junior Showmanship-2nd, Winter Yearling-3rd; Brown Swiss Spring Calf 3rd

Parker Miller (Intermediate)

Dairy – Brown Swiss Intermediate Showmanship-1st,

Fall Yearling-1st,

Junior 3 Yr Cow-1st/Honorable Mention

Megan Moore (Intermediate)

Art – Pastel-9th, Mixed Media-3rd

Food Preservation – Tomato juice-4th, Salsa-5th,

Home Environment – Fleece Blanket-2nd

 Photography – Color Story-2nd, Color Person-4th, B/W Seascape-1st, B/W Misc-4th

Vegetables – Green Tomatoes-1st, Red Tomatoes-1st, Cherry Tomatoes-2nd, 3rd, Oblong Watermelon-2nd,

Sugar Baby Watermelon-1st

Henry Myers (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey 4 Yr Cow-4th

Farm Crops – Corn-1st/Reserve Champion

Photography – B/W Animal-8th

Paul Myers placing 2nd in Guernsey Senior Showmanship

Paul Myers (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey Senior Showmanship-2nd,

Junior 2 Yr Cow-1st

Entomology – 4th Year+ Insect Collection-1st/Reserve Champion

Farm Crops – Corn-5th

Photography – Color Landscape, Color Animal, Color Seascape – Participation

Emily Norris (Junior)

Dog (Pomeranian) – Showmanship-1st/Champion, Obedience-2nd, Rally-6th

Claire Parker (Intermediate)

Art – Acrylic-2nd

Food Preservation – Blackberry Jam-2nd, Raspberry Jam-2nd, Strawberry Jam-7th, Blueberry Jam-2nd, Peach Jam-2nd, Other Jam-6th

Sarah Parker (Senior)

Clothing – Purse-2nd, PJ’s-4th, Sundress-6th

Crafts – Holiday Craft-2nd, Ornament-2nd, Jewelry-9th,

Home Environment – Desk Accessories-5th, Wall Hanging-2nd, Pillow-1st, Knitted Scarf-3rd

Food Preservation – Blackberry Jam-2nd, Raspberry Jam-3rd, Strawberry Jam-5th, Blueberry Jam-3rd, Peach Jam- 6th, Other Jam-5th

Anna Phillips (Intermediate)

Home Environment – Wreath-6th

Dustin Phillips (Senior)

Home Environment – Wreath-3rd

Brianna Pinder (Senior)

Photography – Color Maryland-2nd, Color Animal, Color Seascape, B/W Flower-Participation


Derrick Troyer’s 2nd place electric lamp

Cassie Plummer (Senior)

Dairy – Red & White Holstein Senior Showmanship-1st, Summer Yearling-3rd, Fall Yearling-1st

Ayrshire Spring Calf-6th, Junior 2 Yr Cow-1st/Senior & Reserve Grand Champion, Senior Best Bred and Owed

Derrick Troyer (Intermediate)

Craft – Recycled-9th

Electricity – Lamp-2nd

Food Preservation – Tomatoes-4th, Salsa-8th

Photography – Color Plant-6th, Color People-7th, B/W People-4th, Color Building-Participation

Gracie Troyer (Junior)

Clothing – Skirt-3rd, Pj’s-1st, Sundress-3rd

Craft – Recycled-Participation

Food Preservation – Tomatoes-1st, Salsa-4th

Home Environment – Scrapbook-3rd

Photography – Color Landscape-4th, Color Plant-Participation

Gracie Troyer’s 1st place pajamas. Yes, they are for a doll!


Casey Turner (Intermediate)

Dog (Golden Retriever) – Showmanship-1st/Champion, Obedience-1st/Grand Champion, Rally-8th

Madisyn Yiannakis (Intermediate)

Dairy – Red & White Holstein Spring Calf-4th,

Rabbit – 1 rabbit

Puppy Pals 4-H Dog Club – Club Booth-2nd


In Memoriam: Community Leader Alexander H. Hoon


Alexander H. Hoon (Sandy) passed away from natural causes on May 14, 2017 at Heron Point, Chestertown, MD.

Sandy was born in Pittsburgh, PA on December 1, 1928 to Marian Holliday Hoon and Dr. Merle Russell Hoon.

Sandy was married to Ann Wilmer Hoon on March 17, 1951 in Chestertown, MD. He was the son-in-law of Isabel Perry Wilmer and Chestertown Mayor Philip G. Wilmer.

Sandy was predeceased by Ann in August, 2016, and their third son David McGill Hoon who died in June, 2011. He is survived by two other sons: Dr. Alexander Holliday Hoon, Jr. (Cindy) who resides in Ellicott City, MD; and Philip W. Hoon, Esq. (Lisa) who resides in Chestertown; as well as 7 grandchildren, 3 daughters-in-law and one great grandchild. Sandy’s sisters Margaret Hoon Baker (Larry, dec’d) and Nancy Hoon Powell (Bill) survive him, as does his very dear friend/cousin Richard Carter Holliday.

Sandy attended Shady Side Academy (Pittsburgh) and graduated from Williams College in 1950. He served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed as a First Lieutenant in Korea on April 1, 1951. He was on active duty until January, 1953.
Sandy began his successful career with Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation in 1952. He retired as a J&L executive in Pittsburgh in 1979. While there he enjoyed Oakmont Country Club, the Duquesne Club and Fox Chapel Country Club.

Ann and Sandy moved to Chestertown in 1979 and restored their family home “Thornton”. They lived there for 25 years and then moved to Heron Point in Chestertown. During that period, Sandy was the founder and principal of Chesapeake Land Company, and also managed family farms.

In the 1980s, Sandy was a co-founder of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and served as a Director for many years. He was also a co-founder of the 1782 Society of Washington College.

Sandy served on the Board of Directors of the Kent County Public Library, Magnolia Hall and The Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company. He was a member of the Chester River Yacht & Country Club, a founding member of The River Club and The Sons of The American Revolution.

In addition to his family and farms, Sandy loved people from all walks of life. He left this world in peace, a good man with a life well lived.

There will be a Memorial Service for Sandy on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 2 o’clock at Emmanuel Church, Chestertown. Interment will be private. Contributions in Sandy’s memory can be made to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy – www.eslc.org.

Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland to Speak on “Democracy at a Crossroads”


Democracy at a Crossroads: What’s Broken, and Hope for Reform

On Thursday, May 18, Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland, will speak about the core issues triggering the dysfunction in Congress and the reforms that Common Cause is advancing to fight back.  Issues will include money in politics, voting rights, and redistricting reform – with a focus on the state and local policies that can restore equality in our system.  The program will include a review of actions taken (or not taken) on these issues by the 2017 Maryland General Assembly.  Sponsored by the Democratic Club of Kent County.

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director, Common Cause of Maryland

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel has been with Common Cause of Maryland since 2013.  According to the organization’s websiteJennifer has spearheaded several significant reforms, including establishing the first local public funding program in the state, modernizing the state’s public information laws, and advancing key voting reforms.

“Jennifer came to Common Cause with a strong background in advocacy at the state and local levels, having worked for 1000 Friends of Maryland and other environmental organizations on a variety of land use and clean water reforms.

“She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Law.”

The meeting takes place at O’Connor’s Pub, 844 High St., Chestertown.  Doors open 5:30 pm for social time, meal — brief business meeting 6:45 — main program 7:00 pm

First Friday – Bookplate Hosts Author Barbara Feinman Todd



What’s a ghost writer? How does one become a ghostwriter? Go behind the scenes of Washington with the ghostwriter who worked with Hillary Clinton, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Ben Bradlee on their bestselling books — and lived to tell the tale of how she found her own voice.  Author Barbara Feinman Todd will be at the Bookplate this Friday, May 5, to talk about her new book, “Pretend I’m Not Here: How I Worked With Three Newspaper Icons, One Powerful First Lady, and Still Managed to Dig Myself Out of the Washington Swamp.”

Come to the back room at the Bookplate bookstore at 112 S. Cross St in Chestertown – just across the street from Twigs and Teacups and up the street from Jane’s Church.

Barbara Feinman Todd teaches in Georgetown University’s English Department where she is also the director of Journalism. She has been involved in several high-profile books over her career – variously as ghostwriter, researcher, or editor.  These include Bob Woodward’s VEIL (1987), Carl Bernstein’s Loyalties (1989); former Washington Post Executive Editor Benjamin Bradlee’s A Good Life (1994); Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi’s This Side of Peace (1995); former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s It Takes A Village (1995); and former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey’s When I Was A Young Man (2002).  Now she has written her own book about these and other experiences as a writer.

The event will take place during First Friday, 5 May 2017, at 6:00 pm.

The Bookplate, 112 S. Cross St. Chestertown, MD.(410) 778-4167  www.bookplate.biz/Home.html , Tom Martin, owner.

Community Alert: Do or Die Time for the Marina Project; Residents Told to Rally Support


The Chestertown Waterfront Coalition received word from professional advisors in Annapolis yesterday that the Town’s request for the Marina is in the mix for funding but might be among those that could be “on the bubble.”

Community leaders have been told  that those interested in seeing the Town get funding for the Marina should call or directly write to Governor Hogan as soon as possible  to let him know that they support the project by December 9.

As a result, the Chestertown Waterfront Coalition is making a big final push with residents to contact the Governor’s office two ways:

1. Call the Governor’s office at 410-974-3901 or 1-800-811-8336 and let the Governor know you support funding for Chestertown’s Waterfront. An assistant will answer the phone and all you need to do is tell them your name and that you are calling in support of the Town of Chestertown’s Capital Budget Request for the Marina.

2. Send a letter of support (or a copy of your previous letter of support) directly to the Governor’s office at: Governor Larry Hogan, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401 Its important the Governor knows you letter comes from a real person. Handwriting your envelope and signature helps as well.

The Governor is expected to make a decision near the end of the month.


Dates Set for Red Devil Moon Performances in New York City


The venue and dates for Red Devil Moon at the New York Fringe Festival have been announced.

The venue for the Chestertown created musical will be  the Flamboyan Theater at The Clemente Center, 107 Suffolk Street, New York,, which is between Rivington & Delancey Streets.

Performance dates and times are:

Red Devil Moon FRI 8/12 7:15 – 8:45
Red Devil Moon SUN 8/14 1:00 – 2:30+
Red Devil Moon MON 8/15 7:30 – 9:00
Red Devil Moon THU 8/18 4:30 – 6:00*
Red Devil Moon SAT 8/20 2:45 – 4:15

Please note the (+) sign on the 8/14 performance means a special party to attend after the show. The festival hosts a party for our show and our audience after this performance. The party may be at our venue or another location. The (*) after the show on 8/18 means that it will have a talk back after the show. This is the Fringe High  show and 20 of the tickets will be going to NYC youth organizations. The whole audience is invited to stay for the talk back.

Kent County art lovers are asked to make tax deductible contribution toward the production of Red Devil Moon. Please scroll down to find donation information. The cast had two wonderful fundraisers this week, but still have some work to do to finance the production.



Donate here

Kent School Students and Faculty in Boating Incident; No Serious Injuries Reported


Yesterday, June 1, Kent School faculty, fourth grade students and parent chaperones were involved in an on-water boating incident while on a field trip. The group was on a Chesapeake Bay Foundation vessel in Dorchester County. This annual field trip is culminating experience of Kent School’s Lower School Bay Studies science curriculum.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.33.06 AMAll members of the Kent School group were transported to either Dorchester General Hospital or Easton Memorial Hospital. There were no serious injuries. Everyone was released no later than 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President William C. Baker issued this statement following an accident involving a CBF boat with Kent School fourth-grade students and parents on board. “At approximately 5:30 this afternoon a Chesapeake Bay Foundation boat apparently struck a submerged object west of Bloodsworth Island. There were 23 students, parents, teachers, and staff on board, and there are no life threatening injuries. It looks like all will be discharged from the hospitals tonight.

“CBF will conduct an investigation into the incident, and cooperate with the Natural Resources Police and Coast Guard, to better understand the cause of today’s accident.”

For more information on this incident, please go here


Washington College Highly Critical of Planned Bridge Closings


In a strongly worded public statement, Washington College’s President, Sheila Bair, made it clear that the proposed Chester River Bridge closing would highly disruptive for her institituion and its students. Citing the potential for gridlock, longer drives to local regional hospitals, as well as the impact on the College’s Washington Avenue campus, Bair suggests that “chaos” will result.


Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 9.58.30 AM