Spy Poll: Would You Use a Scheduled Shuttle Bus between Chestertown and Easton?

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Every day, from the crack of dawn until the last show at the Avalon lets out in the late evening, hundreds of people and their cars move back and forth between Chestertown and Easton. Some work here or there, others commute for doctor appointments, while others seek out a new restaurant, an art show at the Academy, or merely wanting a unique shopping experience, but one thing seems clear, the axis between the two towns is very real.

Does this certain reality open the door for a new form of transportation to meet this need? Would a regularly scheduled service using high-quality Sprinter vans work for these two small towns? How much would people pay to use the service?

There are many unknowns to these questions, but the Spy thought it would be worth asking our readers what they thought of an alternative to the car to get from downtown Chestertown to downtown Easton nonstop.

Please take our most recent poll here.

Looking at Chestertown from the West: The Sun Reports on Miserable Train Service

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Editor’s note: This is a new Spy series that will be sharing historic news clippings on Chestertown from the perspective of the newspapers of Washington, D.C. Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. While the Shore’s local newspapers have faithfully recorded Chestertown’s life and times since 1791, when this small town periodically finds itself being the subject of a major daily story, it’s always been greeted, like any small community, with extreme interest. For when those occasions occur, now or in the past,  it gives the community a rare opportunity to see how the rest of the world may view it. And thanks to such powerful databases as newspapers.com, we can now able to share some of that coverage from the West of Chestertown. 

The Spy was conversing with one of our agents on Queen Street this morning on the matter of public transportation, or the lack of it in Kent County. It’s one of the top four concerns raised by a recent United Way-sponsored report, and so it was interesting to discover this clipping from a Baltimore Sun article reporting on the dreadful train service Chestertown almost one hundred years ago.

The Baltimore Sun
November 25, 1910

 

And the Winners Are… The Boccelaureates

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From left: Brooke Harwood, Trish Harwood, Nancy Low, Andrew Wierda, Nancy Swanson, Dick Swanson, Sally Sweetser, Joe Fick, Margie Fick, Bill Low, Fick grandchildren Sofia and Yumi Hammond. Missing from photo – Peter Sweetser, Zsuzsa Wierda.

Forget about the World Cup, the one thing that matters in Chestertown is who has won in the Ye Olde Towne Bocce League. We found out this weekend when the Boccelaureates took the title.

Spy Minute: After Seven Years, Mainstay is Having Another Party

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Usually, it’s not really news that some local organization is having a party but when it’s the Mainstay the Spy sought to investigate the rumor. Of course, one could easily say that almost every night there’s a party at the locally beloved music venue, but truth be told, they haven’t gathered as a group in years; 2011 to be precise.

Group, in this case, means not only people that attend Mainstay concerts but the dozens of board members, volunteers, and staff that make up the Mainstay family. And that number is so big that they can’t even have it at the Mainstay so Washington College’s Hudson Hall, which offers curbside valet service, it the perfect size for guests and the Conservatory Classic Jazz Band, singer Lena Seikaly and host Tom McHugh.

The funds collected that evening also is a driving force. Once again, the Mainstay wants to provide an educational scholarship for a young promising musician from Kent, Queen Anne’s or Cecil Counties to follow their passion for music when they attend college.

The Spy tracked down Mainstay’s managing director Carol Colgate in downtown Lynch last week to get the lowdown.

 

The Mainstay, Kent County’s Home of Musical Magic
Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:00 to 10:00
Hodson Hall Commons, Washington College 
Tickets can purchased here

 

Spy Food: Germaine’s Opens it Doors on High Street

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FRONT ROW: Jesse Colvin-MD-1 Dem. Candidate, Cathy Perry-Germaine’s staff, 3rd Ward Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, Germaine Lanaux – Proprietor, Jenn Donisi-Germaine’s staff, Stuart Seitz – Kent County Chamber of Commerce president; SECOND ROW: Rob Thompson-Chesapeake Bank & Trust, Melissa Kelly, Senator Chris Van Hollen’s office, Steve Meehan, Andy Meehan-Kent State’s Attorney candidate, unknown (obscured), Bernadette Bowman-Kent County Economic Development and Tourism, unknown. (Photo: Christopher Neiman).

Germaine Lanaux celebrated the grand opening of Germaine’s, a carryout with a New Orleans twist, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and serving complimentary beans and rice and corn muffins on Friday, June 15.

Germaine grew up in New Orleans, daughter of a Creole native and Baltimore transplant. She spent her childhood and youth moving between in the French Quarter of New Orleans and her father’s Tongue Oil orchard, all the time exposed to the fascinating cuisine of the Bayou and Bourbon Street.

Germaine’s is open Monday-Friday, 10-6, and serves carryout lunches and dinners from a menu that runs from her renowned gumbo to crepes.

The Public Schools Funding Challenge: What did Talbot County Do?

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As many of our readers know, the Spy goes out of its way to cover public affairs through the lens of a hyperlocal perspective. While our articles of the arts and regional culture frequently are shared in both the Chestertown Spy and Talbot Spy, when it comes to local government coverage, we have kept Kent County and Talbot County issues separated in our online publications to best serve the needs of these uniquely different communities.

But periodically, both counties must face the same challenges in how they collect revenue and support local priorities. And this is undoubtedly the case when it comes to not only covering the annual budget expense of their respective public schools through Maryland’s “maintenance of effort”(MOE) requirement, the bare minimum a county must provide for their school districts, but more frequently these days, must find funding well beyond that number to keep their schools competitive.

Last week, the Kent County Commissioners and residents found themselves in a heated discussion as Kent County faces this kind of challenge in the next fiscal year budget. And this conversation comes at a time when the Talbot County Council has had to face a similar issue and recently approved a substantial increase over the required MOE, despite the fact that all five members were fiscally conservative Republicans.

Without commentary, the Spy shares below an outtake of a recent GOP forum where four out of the five council members discuss their decision to raise taxes to fund the Talbot County Public Schools in the new budget year. Starting with Jennifer Williams, president of the Talbot County Council, and following by Council members Cory Pack, Chuck Callahan and Laura Price, discuss their rationale in voting for the substantial increase.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.

The Wall Comes to the Mid-Shore

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When it was first announced a few months ago that the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall would be exhibited in Easton this spring, there was a some doubt that it could ever match the power of the original monument designed by American architect Maya Lin on the Washington Mall.

That apprehension turned out to be completely unwarranted for those that visited the site at the VFW on Glebe Road yesterday. Dozens and dozens of veterans and their families made the trip to visit the memorial and the names of the fallen with the same kind of overwhelming emotion and quiet reverence that the original wall has so movingly inspired for the last thirty six years.

The Spy was there to capture a few special moments of this remarkable testimony to patriotism, sacrifice and courage.

This video is approximately one minute in length. The exhibit’s last day is June 6.

WC and Chestertown Rotary Raise the Flags for Vets

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For the third year in a row this Memorial Day, the Rotary Club of Chestertown will be raising support for a number of local veteran organizations by placing close to 200 American Flags at the intersection of 291 and Washington Avenue. And for the same three years, Washington College’s Rotaract Club members will be there to help them do that.

In a remarkable partnership with students, many of them from as far away places like Florida and Texas, to unite the campus and community to honor local heroes collectively. It also is a rare chance for the Washington College community to work side-by-side with Kent County residents on a common goal.

The Spy was intrigued enough with this extraordinary partnership to talk briefly with three of those Washington College students, as well as Rotary president Andrew Meehan, to understand the particular meaning of the Flags for Heroes project for those that participate.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. To make a donation to the Flags for Heroes project please go here

 

Mid-Shore Music: William Thomas and his Ten Years with Tidewater Singers

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While William Thomas was professionally trained as an organist when he joined the Talbot County Public Schools District in 1986, his assignment to direct choirs and music theatre at Easton High School led him to a love affair with choral work and the challenges and delights that come with leading large groups of gifted singers.

That passion didn’t go away when he decided to move to Chesapeake College in 2008 to become an associate professor of music. The difficulty came with the realization that the community college did not have an active choral group at that time. He, therefore, reached out to the Tidewater Singers based in Talbot County to rekindle his love affair with cappella and major choral works.

And for the last ten years he has been the Tidewater Singers director, guiding the twenty-five person volunteer choral group through the classic repertoire starting from the 16th Century to the most recent hits from Broadway.

The Spy spent some time with the St. Michaels resident in his classroom at Chesapeake College to talk about this remarkable decade of enjoyment as he describes the joy that comes with using the human voice as its own musical instrument and remarkable fellowship that comes with music.

The Tidewater Singers will be offering their Spring Concert May 11, 12 and 13 this year in both Talbot and Queen Anne’s County with the time of “Love Songs Through the Ages.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Tidewater Singers please visit their website here