Op-Ed: What Zero-Tolerance Policy on Immigrant Families Means on the Mid-Shore by Steve Parks

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The plight of children separated from their undocumented immigrant parents along the southwest border is epitomized by a pair of 1-year-olds. A girl, recently reunited with her mother after 85 days in detention, was covered in lice and encrusted dirt. She now clings to her mother’s legs and cries whenever Mama tries to move. The other 1-year-old drank milk from a bottle as an embarrassed judge asked, as required, if the boy understood his immigration status. What’s your mother’s name, son? Mama.

It’s not known where the parents of that child or hundreds of others, many under the age of 5, are being detained after their children were taken from them. It could be in one of four adult detention centers in Maryland, including one in Snow Hill.

 “This keeps us safe?” asks Matthew Peters, director of the Chesapeake Multi-Cultural Resource Center on Bay Street, just behind the former Safeway supermarket in Easton. Since the policy announced in April by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigrant clients seeking help from the center rose to four a week on average, up from one a week. Seventy percent live in Talbot County, 20 percent in Caroline, with others scattered about the region.

A plurality is from Guatemala, where Peters, then of the Peace Corps, built a school and applied his forestry skills in creating a park. A 36-year civil war prevented most immigrants from that impoverished Central American nation and those to the south from reaching the U.S.-Mexican border until about 20 years ago. A residential and commercial building boom in Easton starting in 2001 drew immigrants to Talbot where they work not only in construction, but also in restaurants, agriculture, landscaping, crab-picking and house-cleaning.

Typically, they send much of their earnings back home. Some spend thousands of dollars to bring relatives here on tourist or seasonal work visas. Now the federal government is cracking down on such visas for immigrants south of the border, which makes it harder to find workers for these jobs. Canadians, who don’t even need a visa to enter the U.S., are not subjected to the same scrutiny.

The brother of an immigrant living in Easton returned time and again on work visas. But this spring he was detained at the border, accompanied by his 8-year-old son. The boy has been detained separately for more than a month at a Bethany Christian Services facility charging the government $700 per diem per child. (Betsy DeVos, U.S. Education Secretary, reportedly has had financial ties to Bethany.) Peters is handling the case, filing paperwork for the 8-year-old’s release. “But there’s always one more thing,” he says, dragging the process out. “Most of my clients are illiterate.” Misspellings and other errors abound. If the case is “won” and the child is found eligible for release into the custody of a family member—usually not the parent apprehended at the border and deported—there’s the matter of vetting the relative and paying for the child’s transportation.

A Marydel client was told it would cost $3,100 to fly her 10-year-old daughter from a detention center near the border. Peters found a ticket for $375. But there’s the cost of flying someone to accompany the minor and paying for that person’s lodging. “Now they want to charge her for fingerprinting and an inspection of her home,” he says. The tab is now $1,500 and counting.

The brother of another Marydel woman was detained at the border with his 2-year-old son. The brother is being held in Seattle. His sister asked Peters to represent her family. The 2-year-old was put on the phone with Peters and the aunt, who the toddler has never met.  “The boy was just wailing the whole time,” Peters says. “All we’re achieving with this policy is hurting these families—people who’ve already gone through all kinds of hell.”

About 200, many of them fathers, are detained in Snow Hill. Will they ever see their kids again?

Absent other factors, such as previous illegal entries, crossing the border without documentation is a misdemeanor.

Steve Parks is a retired journalist who worked for Newsday on Long Island and for the Baltimore Sun and once interned for the Star-Democrat.   

  

Remembering Owen McCoy

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Owen McCoy – in June 2018

Owen Stanton McCoy, manager of the Chestertown farmers market, died July 5 after suffering a series of strokes. He was in home hospice, surrounded by family.

Owen was a familiar figure not just at the farmers market, which he had managed since its reorganization in the 1980s, but at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, where he could be found taking tickets for almost every concert. He was a parishioner of Old St. Paul’s church, where he served on the vestry and sang in the choir for more than 25 years. And he was one of the many volunteers with Kent County 4-H, where he was a 4-H leader for more than 20 years, teaching aspiring farmers the ins and outs of raising goats.

Born Nov. 2, 1946, Owen grew up in Primos, Pa., the son of John and Mary McCoy. After graduating from the Haverford School, where he played on the football team, he attended Cornell University. He graduated in 1969 with a degree in horticulture and entered the Peace Corps, spending several years in the village of Hojancha, Costa Rica, where he taught agricultural techniques and took part in a program to collect and hatch sea turtle eggs to help increase the numbers of the endangered turtles.

He returned to Costa Rica many times in later life, visiting friends he made during his Peace Corps service, taking family members to see this country and meet the people that meant so much to him. His daughter said he adopted the Costa Rican slogan, “pura vida,” meaning to live life to its fullest, a “pure life”.  As anyone who knew him will attest, he lived up to this slogan, a life well and fully lived.  His loss leaves a large hole in the community.

Owen began coming to Kent County to visit his married sister, Cindy Bankhead.  Then he bought land here in 1976 and had completely moved to Kent County by the early 1980s. He owned a farm outside Rock Hall, raising goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, chicken, ducks, geese and turkeys — and a horse. He had a large orchard of various fruit trees.  He grew figs and persimmons and was known as “the fig man” to many farmers market patrons where he sold his farm’s produce. He took pride in cooking with ingredients from the farm.  He often brought his special home-made goat-milk fudge to parties and meetings. In addition to farming, he worked as a landscaper.

The McCoy family in October 2016- David Benton (son-in-law), Danya Benton (daughter), Owen McCoy, Josh Tyer (grandson), Grady Dierker (grandson, in arms), Kaia McCoy (daughter), David Dierker (son-in-law)

Friends remember his ready laugh and the twinkle in his eye, as well as his lifelong dedication to Philadelphia sports teams. In the latter capacity, he took his family to countless Phillies games — and was thrilled to see his Phillies win a World Series and the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.

At a game, Owen, with daughters Kaia & Danya

Owen loved music.  He had a fine tenor voice and enjoyed singing – particularly Irish songs. He had a special fondness for what he called “hanged outlaw ballads,” such as “Roddy McCorley.” He also had a rich stock of Irish jokes, and his Irish heritage inspired him to learn to play the bagpipes.

He was for many years a member of Col. Leonard’s Irregulars, a band named for the road his farm was located on. Owen sang and played guitar in the group which performed regularly at the Chestertown Tea Party, and also appeared at the Mainstay, as well as performing St. Patrick’s Day concerts at Heron Point, Andy’s Bar, the Imperial Hotel, and other venues. It also formed the nucleus for a musical revue, “The Great War and the Lost Generation,” featuring songs of World War I and the Roaring 20s. The show was produced at the Prince Theater, Heron Point, and the Mainstay in the early 2000s.

Owen McCoy singing at the Imperial Hotel on St. Patrick’s Day ca 2014

Owen appeared in several productions at Church Hill Theater, playing the lead in “Damn Yankees” and adding his strong voice to other musicals including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” and “Once Upon This Island.

He was also one of the founders of the “Natural Living Exchange” potluck dinner, which he attended regularly for more than 30 years — including the most recent dinner at the end of April just days before his first stroke, when many of his friends saw him for the last time.

Owen McCoy – Manager of the Chestertown Farmers’ Market since the early 1980s

He is survived by his daughters Danya Benton (David Benton) of Chestertown and Kailee McCoy (David Dierker) of Rock Hall; grandchildren Joshuah Tyer, Grady Dierker, and his sister Celinda Bankhead.  A new baby sister for Grady and first granddaughter for Owen is expected any day now. 

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 in St. Paul’s. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Kent County 4-H or to Compass Regional Hospice.

Photo Gallery byFamily and Friends

Owen McCoy in Phillies shirt and crown – June 2018

Can you find young Owen? Answer at bottom of Photo Gallery – Primos, PA Elementary School, 5th grade 1957-58

Peter Heck & Owen McCoy play at Chestertown Tea Party 2015 – photo from Owen’s FaceBook page, photo credit Steve Atkinson

Owen McCoy with his grandson Josh Tyer in 2015

An incredibly young Owen McCoy with baby Danya in early 1980s

Owen McCoy on a visit with fellow musicians to the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA, several years ago.

Owen McCoy at Chestertown Farmers Market

Owen McCoy at home on his Kent County farm – happy as a pig!

Primos Elementary School picture above – Owen McCoy 2nd row, 3rd from left in a striped shirt between two girls.

 

 

 

 

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Reading Water by Nancy Mugele

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I have been looking for my dog-eared copy of Upstream by Mary Oliver for months. I am inspired by this collection in which Oliver illustrates the importance of creativity, her insatiable curiosity for the natural world and the great responsibility she feels, handed to her by writers before her, to observe thoughtfully and record her passions. She encourages us to keep moving upstream – to lose ourselves in the beauty of nature and to find time for the creativity that lives inside each of us. “I could not be a poet without the natural world,” she said, “someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.”

I found the book last week in an unexpected place, but one which I should have assumed. Jim surprised me with a short trip to Montana, after a few days in LA for Jim’s business and a little time for me to visit family and a dear friend.The dog-leg to Montana was the perfect end to a week on the West Coast (not to be confused with the Western Shore). I was so happy to see, for the first time, James’ new home, visit Sweetwater Fly Shop, meet the store’s owner and James’ fellow team members, and of course, hug Boh, James’ black lab. Yes, my book was in James’ bedroom sitting casually at the top of an opened, but not entirely unpacked, moving box.

I learned a lot about fly fishing in a few short days as we spent time on Mill Creek and the Yellowstone River. To me, James is clearly one-third fisherman, one-third entomologist and one-third, like Mary Oliver, a joyful nature enthusiast. The 19th Century British chemist Sir Humphry Davy, who invented the miner’s safety lamp, described fly fishing rods as “a fly at one end and a philosopher at the other.” I can attest that this is true.

James told me fly fishing is all about “reading water,” recognizing how the slightest breeze or even the movement of a cloud across the sky changes everything; noticing the dark, slow pool next to the faster water where fish may be lurking. The more time he spends observing and understanding a river, the more success he will have as an angler. Jim caught his first cutthroat trout on a fly on this trip with the help of his personal expert guide!

James also needs to know the bugs that the fish eat and how they perform on the water so that he can tie flies that replicate actual insects. We saw a lot of mayflies on the river. James thinks these are the prettiest bugs; I think they are romantic. Mayflies are aquatic insects and spend all their lives underwater. Then, one day, they leave the water to dance with each other in large groups over the riffles (the rocky or shallow part of a river with rough water – Merriam Webster), lay their eggs, and die. Fly fishermen make use of mayfly hatches by tying, or choosing, flies that resemble these flighty bugs. Tying flies is most definitely an art and a science.

Our Montana river adventure took us through Pray one afternoon and I took note of the town’s name. (You know I am thinking about Kent School and what word I should select for next year’s theme, but that is another story.) Pray, Montana was founded in 1907 on the Yellowstone River and is 30 miles from the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Pray graced us with breathtaking views of the Absaroka mountains in the Gallatin National Forest. It was a spiritual experience for me, and I left the state believing that James is just where he should be, albeit very far from our Chester River.

To me, reading water is literally to read works such as Upstream and poems by others who share their thoughts about the power and mystery of water. This beauty is from Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison which sits in my office on my coffee table. Enjoy!

Only today

I heard

the river

within the river.

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.

Letter to the Editor:Trump’s Deplorables

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“Basket of Deplorables” cartoon by Clay Jones of Claytoonz.com

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton coined “Deplorables” during the 2016 presidential campaign, her signal attempt to mark out Donald Trump’s core voters, now estimated to be 40 percent of the GOP.

But a little history’s in order. In our hyper-partisan era, we can’t forget that Trump’s Deplorables had their genesis within—and were a shameful bastion of—the Democratic Party, constituting the party’s “Solid South” and tolerated by Al Smith, FDR, and Harry Truman.

Then in 1948, Hubert Humphrey proposed modest civil rights planks for his party’s platform and punctured the dike. Southern Democrats were offended and, as Strom Thurmond’s “Dixiecrats,” they stomped out of the convention.

The Dixiecrats’ exit was followed over the next half-century by the civil rights movement painfully winning battle after battle, LBJ signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Richard Nixon concocting his (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) “Southern Strategy,” Ronald Reagan perfecting it, and Newt Gingrich baiting and demonizing Democrats.

Before they became Trump’s Deplorables, they were Jim Crow segs and lynchers. Before that, Confederate slave-owners and traitors. And before that, Know-Nothings.

Die-hard racists, union busters, religious bigots, misogynists, America-Firsters, states-righters, self-appointed posses comitatus, oath-keepers, and neo-fascists—collectively, the Deplorables—are no longer welcome in the Democratic Party, and few, if any, remain. They’ve all migrated to the GOP, and to Trump.

As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Grenville B. Whitman

Rock Hall

 

DCA Plans Changes in “Crazy Days,” First Friday

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Jennifer Laucik Baker, president of the Downtown Chestertown Association, tells the town council about plans for the annual sidewalk sale.    

The Downtown Chestertown Association has decided its annual “Crazy Days” sidewalk sale needs a new look. The answer – add wine and music!

At the July 2 meeting of the Mayor and Council, Jennifer Laucik Baker, president of the DCA, said this year’s sidewalk sale will feature several regional wineries and a distillery offering their wares on Friday evening, July 27. She requested a waiver of the town’s open container ordinance for Friday evening. In addition to the wineries, the evening will feature four or five local music groups performing at various locations throughout the downtown shopping district between 5 and 9 p.m. The name of the event will also be changed from “Crazy Days” to “Chestertown Sidewalk Sale.”

Baker said the idea was to make the annual sidewalk sale, scheduled for July 27 and 28, “a more vibrant event” in hopes of bringing more people into the community. “The event needs to evolve a bit,” she said, and to reflect the changing demographics of the business community. The addition of music and wine tasting should offer “more experiential-based opportunities in addition to retail opportunities during the event itself,” she said, with multiple events to engage a younger crowd. The evening will end at Bad Alfred’s Distillery with events to bring attendees inside.

The DCA also requested that Park Row be closed to traffic for part of the afternoon and evening Friday. An ice cream vendor, some food trucks and live music would be on the block. Baker said there are three new businesses on Park Row, and the idea was to attract attendees to that section of the town, which is separated from the rest of the shopping district by Fountain Park. Other music will be near Figg’s Ordinary, the former J.R.’s bar, and Skippy’s – again, with the intention of drawing people to parts of the shopping district they might not normally visit.

The event will continue on Saturday, but without the vineyards and with no street closing. Baker said there would be some live music Saturday.

Town Manager Bill Ingersoll recommended that the council approve the permits, describing the event as “First Friday on steroids.” The council approved the permit without dissent.

Baker also said the DCA is working in conjunction with the Kent County Arts Council and the Arts and Entertainment District to make a few changes in the First Friday format in coming months. She said the goal was to foster “a more arts-based event,” increasing live music and arts. She said First Fridays are already an important occasion for the town’s various galleries and arts-oriented businesses. “The next big First Friday we’re planning is September, which will be ‘Welcome back WAC’ for the Washington College crowd,” she said. The DCA is partnering with the college for events coordinated with orientation for new students, with the goal of making it an annual September experience.

Chestertown Mayor and Council — from left, Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, Mayor Chris Cerino, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll, Councilwoman Linda Kuiper and Councilman David Foster     

Ingersoll told the council that residents of the Haacke Drive neighborhood have requested traffic calming along the street, in the form of two speed humps. Ingersoll said he thought the best locations for the humps would be near the intersection of Morgnec Road, near Magnolia Hall, and near the actual residential project which borders on Scheeler Road. He said the town has had “varying success” with speed bumps in town, citing the ones in front of the two schools as the most successful. In other neighborhoods, “they come and go,” he said. The broader humps cost $2,000 to $3,000, compared to the “more abrupt” speed bumps seen elsewhere, which cost $700 to $800, he said.

Ingersoll said he had spoken to Cerino about the issue of putting in the humps on a road that leads to the KRM business park now under construction at the north end of Haacke. He said a fair amount of traffic to the park would be using Haacke. He said he thought the town needs to talk to the builder before committing to the humps, but his recommendation would be to install them.

Councilwoman Linda Kuiper said there had been accidents at the four-way stop at the corner of Haacke and Scheeler. She said she hoped the four-way stop would not be taken out.

Ingersoll said he thought there would eventually be a light at that intersection, but until then the four-way stop is “an absolute necessity.” He said the density of zoning in the area meant that Haacke Drive would be “a little more traveled” than other town streets.

Cerrino said that the neighborhood had done everything the town asked for as far as gathering signatures on petitions and contacting the council. He said expected that the developer of the business campus “isn’t going to like it,” but that the residents of the neighborhood have a legitimate safety concern.

The council voted to authorize the bumps pending consultation with the neighborhood and the developer of the business campus.

Also, Ingersoll requested the council to authorize Mayor Chris Cerino to sign any papers relevant to a federal grant application that could result in the town receiving several million dollars for street repairs. The deadline for the application is July 19. Ingersoll said the grant will be very competitive, but he hopes the town could get $2 million to $2.5 million to repair the streets that have deteriorated the most. The grants, which focus on rural transportation, fall under the American Recovery Act. “This is a tremendous opportunity; it’ll take some work, but I believe it’s worth it,” he said. “We have to try to grab this ring while we can.”

The council approved the appointment of Dinah Hicks and Harold Somerville to the town Recreation Commission, pending completion of background checks.

Kuiper, in her ward report, called attention to the Kent County Historical Society, located in the Bordley Building at the corner of High and Cross Streets. She said the society is dedicated to preserving and commemorating the history and heritage of the county, with exhibits, lectures, and a research collection. She said it should not be confused, as some residents do, with the town’s Historic District Commission, which rules on building and construction in the historic district. She said that the Historical Society gets many phone calls from residents assuming it is responsible for enforcing the historic district regulations, and she wanted to clarify the difference between the two bodies.

At the end of the meeting, Cerino announced that the town hall bocce team had finished in second place in the town bocce tournament, losing the final match 17-13 after leading by as many as five points. He proudly displayed the trophy, promising a stronger finish in the future.

Mayor Chris Cerino displays the trophy for the town hall team’s second-place finish in the town bocce league.    

Chestertown to Get Map of Water System

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Chestertown Utilities Manager Bob Sipes (R) tells Mayor Chris Cerino about bids for mapping the town’s water system.

Chestertown will be getting a new, state-of-the-art digital map of its water system.

Town Utilities Director Bob Sipes reported the results of a bid opening for creating the map at the July Utilities Commission meeting, at the beginning of the Monday council meeting.

“We got a large number of proposals for the mapping,” Sipes told the council. He said he had looked at the four lowest bidders as possible contractors for the map, which would include a graphic information systems computerized map showing all mains, hydrants, and valves, plus other necessary information to allow workers to maintain and perform repairs on the system. The contractor would also train town employees to edit the map and add features, so it wouldn’t be necessary to call in the contractor if the town added a development or annexation.

The town already has an up-to-date map of the wastewater system, which the new map would supplement. He has said he wants a complete map of the system to be available to any future utilities manager, both on paper and in electronic form. Sipes joked about putting the file on a thumb drive and putting it in a safe so it could be recovered if town hall was destroyed in a hurricane.

Earth Data, Inc., of Centreville, was fourth lowest bidder at $42,000. “I’m thinking because they’re local, they would be better suited to build the system and tend the system,” Sipes said. He recommended them over three lower bidders, all of whose proposals were in some way flawed. He said the prices for the license, at $7,000 for a perpetual license and $3,000 for a term license, were “the same for everybody.” He recommended having the work done all in a single year, to ensure consistency. If the town did it in three installments, “you don’t know if it’s going to be the same guy back, or that he can remember his processes” from one year to the next.

Earth Data is an environmental consulting firm that specializes in groundwater, geospatial, planning, watershed restoration and other environmental projects. The firm has done a number of local projects, including monitoring test wells on the grounds of the Chestertown hospital for oil leakage into the groundwater.

Sipes said the lowest bidder, at $33,500, did not cover the entire system. Another bidder’s proposal “looked good,” but when Sipes called their references, they didn’t recognize the name. He said the bidder told him they were a subcontractor on those bids, which he said should have been noted in the bid. A third bidder came in low, but didn’t include the software – which left them room to “jack up the contract,” Sipes said. He said some of the bidders went as high as $210,000 for the project.

The council unanimously authorized Sipes to accept the Earth Data bid.

Also in Sipes’ report, he said the town had received two bids for maintenance on the water towers. However, he said, he wasn’t satisfied with the responses and would like to rebid the project.

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Chesapeake Brass Band in Fountain Park July 7

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The Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band in 2016 on their 20th Anniversary.

Come on down to Fountain Park this Saturday, July 7, for the second in Chestertown’s Music in the Park summer concert series, featuring the Chesapeake Brass Band. The music will begin at 7:00 pm and last approximately 90 minutes. Bring something to sit on as only limited seating is available. Admission is free.

Formed in 1996, the Chesapeake Brass Band is comprised of amateur and professional musicians from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Following the brass banding tradition, it is an all-volunteer organization.

The Chesapeake Brass Band was the National American Brass Band Association champion in their division in 2013.

The band has won numerous awards over the years, including placing first in their division at the North American Brass Band Association Competition in 2013. This year the band was Runner Up in their division at the Dublin Festival of Brass in Dublin, Ohio.

The band performs a varied repertoire of contemporary and traditional brass band music throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The concert at Chestertown will feature music from stage, screen, TV, and the circus. Among the tunes will be a “Salute to the Armed Forces”, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue”, “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as Barnum and Bailey’s favorite march. Cornet and Euphonium solos will also be part of the evening’s program.

Dr. Russell Murray -Musical Director of the Chesapeake Brass Band

The band’s musical director is Russell Murray. Dr.Murray earned his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Texas. He has taught music history and directed early music ensembles at the University of North Texas, Texas Wesleyan University, and Rice University. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of Delaware, where he is the director of the Collegium Musicum and is also on the Core Faculty of the Women’s Studies program. He has been at the University of Delaware since 1991.

For more information, see their website.

If you are an accomplished brass player or percussionist looking for a new challenge, the Chesapeake Brass Band has openings. Contact the band at chesapeakebrass@aol.com or call 302-530-2915.

In case of rain, a concert may be rescheduled or a rain location may be sent to the email list and listed on a sign on the stage in the park on the day of the concert. These free programs are sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown to Music in the Park, Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

The Chesapeake Brass Band in concert.

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Looking to George Washington for Inspiration by Craig Fuller

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Our uniquely American July 4th holiday provides an opportunity to reflect on our freedoms and liberties. However, I must confess that this year I feel kind of a bittersweet sensation as families and friends take time to celebrate the freedoms secured by individuals who left their native countries to find a better life here in America. It is appropriate to commemorate those who saw the courage to pursue their dreams that became America, yet how ironic we celebrate while policies of our government separate children from families and detain them for mustering that same kind of courage in pursuit of a dream for a better life.

While no easy answer is likely to present itself, perhaps the words of American children to those being held that “we are a better country” and “you are not alone” will be sufficient to move our elected officials to find a more compassionate and, yes, a more American approach to immigration than what we have in place today.

Thinking about this Fourth of July, I searched for an inspiring topic and found one in an unusual place, The Washington Post.

Now, I don’t mean to be critical of the newspaper, but it’s just not a place where a lot of inspiring ideas come from these days. However, a piece caught my eye about how our first President had lived by 110 Rules of Civility and Decency. It caused me to pause and wonder what better way to reflect on our freedoms and liberties this July 4th than to turn to one of our founding fathers for inspiration.

Rather than just use the Rules selected by the Post’s writer, I decided to look at the entire list and check out the story…kind of a “trust but verify” moment.

It turns out that a young George Washington actually wrote out all 110 Rules as a handwriting lesson. The rules he copied were based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.

“Fake News,” you say….well, maybe. But, a close reading of the story doesn’t say Washington composed the rules, only that he wrote them down and lived by them. Hard to fact check that one.

Regardless, I think the fact that people thought enough about civility and decency in the late 1500s to write out 110 Rules might be something to pay attention to today.

So, as we celebrate our freedom and liberty this week, let’s reflect on how we might all benefit from a good deal more civility and decency in the world today….and, let’s hope our first President might inspire other leaders just a bit!

You will find the list of 110 Rules in their entirety by clicking on RULES. The list is provided by the Foundations Magazine.

The following is a sampling offered in modern day English:

Treat everyone with respect.

Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others.

Don’t draw attention to yourself.

When you speak, be concise.

Do not argue with your superior. Submit your ideas with humility.

When a person does their best and fails, do not criticize him.

When you must give advice or criticism, consider the timing, whether it should be given in public or private, the manner and above all be gentle.

If you are corrected, take it without argument. If you were wrongly judged, correct it later.

Do not make fun of anything important to others.

If you criticize someone else of something, make sure you are not guilty of it yourself.

Actions speak louder than words.

 

Wishing you a very safe and happy July 4th!

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Six Weeks of Happiness, and Hope by Nancy Mugele

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Horizons’ six-week summer program returned to Kent School this week and I could not be happier. Since 1995, when Horizons first opened its doors at Kent School, the academic enrichment program has served hundreds of Kent and Queen Anne’s County children from economically disadvantaged families, as part of a national initiative to improve or maintain their scholastic skills during the summer months.

The summer program in Kent County serves 110 students in PK – Grade 8. There is also a high school mentoring program for graduating 8th graders. This June all five of the high school seniors who remained in the program graduated from Kent County High School. Four of the graduates are planning to attend community college and one plans to enlist in the Army. It is heartwarming that one of the graduates is a Horizons intern at Kent School this summer, giving back to an organization that proved transformative.

And, it most definitely fills me with great hope for the future when programs like Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s – one of 51 national affiliates – serve and support vulnerable students on their educational journey. Statistics show that students from low income families are six times more likely to drop out of high school and have a 50% chance of being unemployed. Congratulations to the Horizons graduates! We are very proud of your accomplishments.

Hope abounds during Horizons’ Six Weeks of Happiness. It is simply wonderful to host dedicated educators and mentors, families who value education, and students filled with intellectual curiosity on our campus to brighten our classrooms in the summertime. Many of our teacher desks were transformed into jeeps for an immersion in animals on safari this summer led by creative teacher/drivers! I cannot wait to watch it all unfold over the next few weeks.

While I greatly miss the joyful noise of laughter and fun when Kent School students are away for summer vacation, hosting Horizons brings a palpable, new energy to campus. I am also grateful that the YMCA of the Chesapeake uses our campus for programming in the summer and that we are the site of Victory Field Hockey Camp. Busy school campuses in summer provide six weeks (or more!) of happiness for administrators and twelve-month employees who work tirelessly, in skeletal crews, from June through August to complete and close one academic year and prepare to open the next.

Happiness and hope are two impactful words with powerful emotions attached to them. Every time I drive across Hope Road on Route 301N as I head home from the Western Shore, I smile to myself and breathe in Eastern Shore contentment. You can feel hope in the air. Merriam Webster defines hope as a verb “to cherish a desire with anticipation or to want something to happen or be true” but I prefer to think about hope as poet Emily Dickinson describes in the first stanza of “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops—at all

Hope is the one true thing that allows us to stay positive even in the face of defeat, sadness or anger. Hope compels us to discover our shared humanity, and to believe that a better world is always possible. Hope for our collective future, mirrored in the faces of all teachers and all learners, is nourishment for the soul. Hope is our fuel.

I bet you are wondering if Happiness or Hope will be the word for Kent School in the 2018 – 2019 50th Anniversary academic year. That is another story which I will share later this summer. These words may, or may not, be on my short list! Happy Summer!

To learn more about Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s visit http://horizonskentqueenannes.org

Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.

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