Maryland 3.0: Sprout Moves to the City

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The Spy has been watching, documenting, and eating Sprout food almost for two years now. Almost from the moment Emily and Ryan Groll started cooking in their trailer kitchen just outside of Trappe and home delivering local food freshly prepared to Talbot County, we knew this was one of the startups on the Eastern Shore worth watching.

And they have not disappointed. Since those early days,  the Grolls have taken seriously their mission to give their customers a convenient way to buy and eat healthy, locally-sourced meals. After locking in almost 400 clients on the Mid-Shore for home delivery, Sprout quickly invented the concept of Spoutletts; small, self-contained pickup stations at wine stores, office buildings, and gyms where those not able to use home delivery can pick up their meals using the honor system when it fits their schedule.

Now, Sprout has moved into a new flagship store and kitchen on Aurora Street in Easton for an entirely new phase of their business plan. Open every day, with new offerings like homemade bread, a creative partnership with Night Kitchen Coffee from Denton, and simple “grab and go” floor plan, Sprout is now taking another innovative step in this remarkable home-grown business.

The Spy chatted with Ryan last week about Sprout’s new home.

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

Easton Utilities Promotes Bilingual Customer Service

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Easton Utilities is committed to providing exceptional service to all customers and is pleased to announce a new option for enhanced bilingual customer service. Easton Utilities is extending their reach to a growing population of customers through several communication methods, including a bilingual customer service representative, a secondary phone interpretation service, and a Spanish translation of our website and other communications material.“We strive to provide the same level of excellent service to every customer and this is just one example of how we can meet the specific needs of some customers,” stated Tracie A. Thomas, Controller and Manager of the Customer Service Department for Easton Utilities.

During Easton Utilities’ strategic planning process, employee input reinforced the need for raising awareness of cultural and language differences in the community and implementing better solutions to serve all customers as an essential priority. After performing some initial research and establishing partnerships with several local organizations, an internal committee formed. The committee worked to determine the best path forward to engage and share information with customers who do not speak or read English, primarily focusing on the Spanish-speaking community.

An important first step was announcing the role of a key bilingual customer service rep,Anderson Watson. In addition, the committee implemented a phone interpretation service, which can be used by anyone in the organization including lineman, service installers, tech support, and the control room operators. Going forward, the committee continues to translate important communications along with the website and is working to track language preferences for each customer. “We are always seeking additional opportunities to connect with our customers and welcome input,” added Thomas.  Remaining true to their mission to enhance the quality of life in our community, Easton Utilities will continue to identify initiatives focused on our increasingly diversified community with regard to superior customer service.

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 www.eastonutilities.com for more information.

Brenda L. Wooden Celebrates 30 Years with Shore United Bank

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Shore United Bank, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is proud to recognize Brenda Wooden for her 30 years of dedicated service. Ms. Wooden began her career in 1988 as a bookkeeper for The Talbot Bank and has held various other positions as a customer service representative, assistant branch manager and branch manager. Currently, Ms. Wooden is an Assistant Vice President, Floating Manager offering assistance to branches who need additional support.

With the goal to continue her education, Brenda is a graduate of Maryland Bankers School in 2005 and Shore Leadership in 2014.

“Brenda is a great role model to our team. Her knowledge of the systems, processes and procedures combined with the passion to serve her coworkers and customers is remarkable. Brenda encourages and inspires the best from everyone.” says Jennifer Joseph, Chief Retail Banking Officer of Shore United Bank.

Ms. Wooden resides in Easton, MD and consistently gives back to her local community. She is a board member of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, a member of Soroptimist International of Talbot County and Talbot Special Riders, Inc. She enjoys reading, volunteering in the community and spending time with her daughter, Brianna and her grandson, Keegan.

For more information about Shore United Bank, visit ShoreUnitedBank.com

Delmarva Power Reminds Customers of Available Energy Assistance

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Delmarva Power reminds customers of important energy assistance available through the federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help meet their energy needs. Up to $1,000 in grant support per customer is available, depending on a household’s income, size and type of fuel, with no pay back required.

“We are committed to helping our customers manage their energy needs,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “Every day, our employees are in the communities we serve raising awareness about these important energy assistance opportunities and providing customers with the tips and resources they need to save money and energy. Over the last 12 months, these efforts have helped more than 35,000 customers secure nearly $17 million in energy assistance.”

Delmarva Power customers in Delaware can take advantage of LIHEAP until March 31, 2019, by applying through their local Catholic Charities office or online at the Division of Health and Social Services website.

In Maryland, customers can apply for LIHEAP energy assistance until June 30, 2019, through the Department of Human Services website, by visiting a Local Energy Assistance Office, or by calling the Office of Home Energy Programs at 1-800-332-6347.

Each state has determined eligibility guidelines based on household size and income. To be eligible for a grant, a customer’s annual household income cannot exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Delaware or 175 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Maryland. Homeowners, renters, roomers and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible for the program. Customers do not have to be behind on their bills to receive a grant.

Delaware’s maximum monthly household income eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $2,028 – One-person household
– $2,750 – Two-person household
– $3,471 – Three-person household
– $4,193 – Four-person household

Maryland’s maximum monthly household income eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $1,770 – One-person household
– $2,400 – Two-person household
– $3,030 – Three-person household
– $3,660 – Four-person household

In addition to LIHEAP, there are many other programs and tips available to help Delmarva Power customers save money and manage their energy service. Customers can sign up for My Account, which contains tools and detailed energy usage information. By tracking their energy use, comparing usage trends, and discovering the results of energy-saving practices, customers can manage their energy more efficiently. Customers can visit delmarva.com to learn more about My Account, available energy assistance programs, and other ways to save money and energy.

Delmarva Power will work with customers who may have difficulty paying their energy bill. The company offers payment options, like budget billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly energy bill, or flexible payment arrangements that offer individually tailored payment installment plans. Customers who may be struggling to make a payment should contact Delmarva Power as soon as possible at 1-800-375-7117.

To learn more about Delmarva Power, visit The Source, Delmarva Power’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting delmarva.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at twitter.com/delmarvaconnect. Delmarva Power’s mobile app is available at delmarva.com/mobileapp.

About Delmarva Power: Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 520,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 132,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.

National Bohemian Kicks Off Summer “Tabs for Crabs” Program

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National Bohemian Beer Company today announced the rollout of its second annual summer Tabs for Crabs program, in which of-age consumers across the Mid-Atlantic can collect and return their National Bohemian beer tabs for a cause. For each red,crab-etched can tab that is collected and returned before October 1, National Bohemian will donate 10 cents to The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s® local blue crab research and habitat restoration efforts, with a total maximum donation goal of $10,000.

The National Bohemian Tabs for Crabs program is underway in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. Consumers are encouraged to save their red etched tabs found on 12oz. and 16oz. National Bohemian beer cans throughout the summer, or to start a community collection at their favorite local establishment where Natty Boh is sold. Collected tabs can be mailed or dropped off locally to National Bohemian Tabs for Crabs, 3600 O’Donnell Street, Suite 185, Baltimore, MD 21122 by October 1.

“The response we received from the 2017 inaugural Tabs for Crabs program was truly a testament to the importance of our Bay lifestyle,” said C-Mo Molloy, National Bohemian brand manager and Baltimore native. “We knew this would be a great partnership, but what blew us away was the overwhelming response of 85,000 Tabs for Crabs collected in the first year. We generated a whirlwind of buzz this spring around the launch of our new beer, National Bohemian Crab Shack Shandy, so we are hoping to harness that excitement to drive increased awareness and continue to give back to this beautiful place we call home,” added Molloy.

“Given the importance of a healthy Chesapeake Bay to our environment and regional economy, we are grateful that National Bohemian has stepped up as a leader in the community,” said Taryn Dwan of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation®. “Partnerships such as this allow us to promote our common mission and work to engage new audiences in the fight to Save the Bay.”

For more information, please visit NationalBohemian.com.

About National Bohemian Beer Company

National Bohemian Beer was first brewed in Baltimore, MD in 1885. Known by locals as “Natty Boh” this crisp, refreshing, & easy-to-drink American Lager inspires a lifestyle of true happiness when we choose to Live Pleasantly. Mr. Boh, the one-eyed, mustachioed face of the brand is recognized as the affable icon of fun & simple moments of joy around the Chesapeake Bay region. Supporting hometown sports and numerous local non-profits, Natty Boh is a staple of the local community in the Mid-Atlantic. Most recently, National Bohemian successfully launched its first new beer in over 30 years, a summer seasonal called Crab Shack Shandy that garnered 16M impressions during its first 14 weeks in market. To learn more, please visit NationalBohemian.com.

About Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay. Serving as a watchdog, CBF fights for effective, science-based solutions to the pollution degrading the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. To learn more, please visit cbf.org.

Kent County Partners with Figg’s Ordinary for MACo Conference

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Kent County is proud to announce a partnership with Figg’s Ordinary for the Taste of Maryland event, Thursday August 16, 2018 from 4:30pm-6:30pm at the 2018 Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Summer Conference in Ocean City, Maryland. Each year the County partners with local businesses to showcase the talent in Kent County and Figg’s Ordinary is an excellent example of delicious local cuisine.

Figg’s Ordinary specializes in gluten-free baked goods. The entirely vegetarian menu changes on a weekly and seasonal basis to utilize locally grown foods and contains plenty of vegan options as well.  It features delicacies such as parfait, quiche, spinach-ricotta tarts, avo toast, and Mediterranean salad. Figg’s takes pride in prioritizing health, working with the community, and follows sustainable business practices. Nearly all food scraps are composted, and the company is working towards operating as a zero-waste business. Patrons are also welcome to bring their own containers in the spirit of sustainability.

Ingrid Hansen, owner, and CEO was inspired to create the hotspot from her own life experiences, which she believes have prepared her to take on this role.The unique name has also caught the community’s attention; while “Figg” was the name of her beloved pet, “ordinaries” were colonial resting places for travelers and townspeople to share a meal together. Hansen was inspired by the rich history of Chestertown, which was founded in 1706.

Figg’s Ordinary received the 2017 ‘Best New Business of the Year’ award from the Kent County Chamber of Commerce and are partners with another local business, Cross Street Food & Garden, who offer their granola, power crackers, and turmeric cashews in the dry goods section.

Sarah Schut Attains Certified Financial Planner™ Designation

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Sarah Schut, CFP®, RICP®, Investment Advisor with Radcliffe Financial in Chestertown, MD has been authorized by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) to use the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® certification marks in accordance with CFP Board certification and renewal requirements. Ms. Schut has worked with Radcliffe Financial since 2015, as an investment advisor and specialist in retirement income planning.  Schut also holds the Retirement Income Certified Professional® designation, and a Graduate Certificate from Iowa State University in Family Financial Planning.

The CFP® marks identify those individuals who have met the rigorous experience and ethical requirements of the CFP Board, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas:  the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning.  CFP® professionals also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

CFP Board is a nonprofit certification organization with a mission to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.  CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and federally registered CFP (with plaque design) and CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 80,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.  For more about CFP Board, visit www.CFP.net.

Schut plans to conduct workshops in Chestertown through the summer covering topics on retirement income planning and behavioral finance.  Events will be held at The Seed House at 870 High Street in Chestertown.  Please, call for dates and information:  410-810-2475.

Schut is an investment advisor representative with Cetera Investment Advisers LLC and a member of Radcliffe Financial, a financial advisory firm associated with Radcliffe Corporate Services, Certified Public Accountants.  She offers securities through Cetera Financial Specialists, FINRA / SIPC.  For over 15 years, Radcliffe has been providing investment advisory services.  Schut can be reached at 870 high Street, Suite 1, Chestertown, MD  21620 or by phone at 410.778.1099.  www.radcliffefinancial.com

WC and Dixon Valve Send Furniture to Veterans in Need

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Washington College has teamed up with Dixon Valve and Coupling to donate 44 bedroom sets—bed, chest of drawers, chair, and desk—to help military veterans transition from homelessness into new housing. The furniture, which in mid-July moved from the campus to the Veterans Multi-Service Center Thrift Store in Philadelphia thanks to a donated tractor-trailer from Dixon Valve, will be used for the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.

“This is sustainability as it’s supposed to be: a triple-bottom-line project that simultaneously addresses environmental, social-justice, and financial outcomes,” says Greg Farley, the College’s director of sustainability, who helped organize the donation. “We’re reducing waste and stress on landfills, providing a benefit to a population in need, which has, itself, directly served our nation, and helping reduce our costs and costs to the federal government for veterans’ support. I also love the fact that it’s a joint effort between the College and Dixon Valve, a community partner with a long history of cooperation with Washington College.”

Farley credits the impetus for the donation to Lea Carter, auxiliary services leader in the College’s Office of Buildings and Grounds, who has been successfully working with local businesses and non-profits to manage similar donations for several years. Carter says that the College has donated blankets and linens from summer conferences and camps to organizations including the Salvation Army, local homeless shelters, the Kent County Human Society, and the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington. Furniture being cycled out of residential halls has gone to Serenity Place in Dover and Future Focus Recovery House for Women in Cambridge, among other area organizations that help people emerging from alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness, and other difficulties.

Photo: (L to R) Bryan Matthews and Buddy Hitchens of Dixon Valve, and Lea Carter, Antone Black, and Jeff Mullikinof WC Buildings and Grounds, helped organize and make the furniture donation. Not pictured who helped in the move are Greg Farley and Logan Fracassi of WC and Calvin Shelter and Jeff Conner of Dixon Valve.

“Last year, Bob Greenwald from East Coast Storage donated a truck, fuel, and drove 27 sets of furniture to The Home of the Brave in Milford,” Carter says. The Delaware facility helps veterans in transition find housing, food, stability, and support. “It’s a collaborative effort of different people here in Chestertown, and employees here from the College who are making it happen.”

Farley says that this year, with such a large quantity of furniture, he contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs to see where there was a need. According to Rosemarie McGee, program manager at the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) Thrift Store in Philadelphia, the furniture will be stored there until it is needed by the HUD-VASH program to help furnish a new home for a veteran. According to the HUD website, the HUD-VASH program combines rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VMC Thrift Store itself is a jobs program to help transitional veterans move to permanent, full-time positions, McGee says.

“While training at the VMC they help other transitional veterans move to their new homes and/or deliver their furniture from the Thrift Store,” she says. “Trainees are responsible for picking up, processing, displaying, then delivering furniture, household items, and linens. We have a very good success rate with our program, with 83 percent moving on to better positions.”

The bedroom sets came from the Cecil and Dorchester residential buildings—part of what’s known as the Quad buildings—which will receive newer furniture from the Cullen building, which comprises Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset. The Cullen building is undergoing a yearlong renovation, and it will get new furniture as part of that project, Farley says.

The collaboration with Dixon Valve helped reduce shipping costs, Farley says, while recycling the furniture itself—rather than simply taking it to a dump—saved the College at least $2,300 in hauling fees. This latest donation comes on the heels of a donation in early July of four bedroom sets to the New Life Recovery House in Kingstown, which was furnishing a new home for people who were overcoming addiction.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC’s College Relations and Marketing Wins Big For Campaign With BuzzFeed

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The College Relations and Marketing team at Washington College has earned yet another top-tier award for its marketing collaboration with BuzzFeed, this time from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Going up against international heavy hitters including Yamaha, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon, Washington College won the category for native advertising/sponsored content as part of a content marketing program, and was a finalist in the category of best content marketing program in education.

“This is a significant achievement for our team as it relates to our content strategy,” says Rolando Irizarry, vice president for College Relations and Marketing (CRM). “Our peers have recognized the success we are having communicating the values of Washington College to our target audience in a language they can relate to, which has generated awareness.”

The annual Content Marketing Awards (CMA), sponsored by CMI, are the largest and longest-running international content marketing program in the world. This year’s panel of judges reviewed more than 1,100 entries to choose the best of the best in content marketing excellence, recognizing all aspects, from strategy to distribution, and from editorial to design. CMI is the leading global content marketing education and training organization, teaching enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multichannel storytelling.

“I’m wowed by the quality of entries in this year’s Content Marketing Awards,” says Stephanie Stahl, CMI’s general manager. “The level of innovation and creativity is truly inspiring. We’re excited to recognize the achievements of all the winners and finalists for what they are doing to not only advance the practice of content marketing but to help their organizations and clients be successful.”

The strategic campaign with BuzzFeed, a leading independent digital media company known to capture the 13- to 17-year-old market through its powerful distribution channels on social media, represents the first time the College has attempted to generate awareness on this scale, Irizarry says.The goal was to reach high school students on their phones and on social media, creating strategically designed and easily shareable content that speaks to the unique nature and values of Washington College and life on the Eastern Shore.

The four-month campaign resulted in 83 million impressions, with close to one million viewers who clicked on the BuzzFeed posts. As a result, compared to the same period last year, the College’s Facebook page saw a 77 percent page view increase, the College website’s homepage views increased 94 percent, and overall page views increased 32 percent site-wide.

This latest award joins multiple honors for CRM this year. The team also won two Awards of Distinction in the 24th Annual Communicator Awards, judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), as well as five honors—three platinum and two gold—in the 2018 Hermes Creative Awards. The team also this spring won a Communitas Award for a story, video,and local and regional media coverage about the College’s Food Recovery Network project, led by the Student Environmental Alliance. And, competing with the likes of ESPN, Condé Nast, and HBO, CRM also won a bronze medal from The Telly Awards in the category social video/general education/discovery for “Washington College: Year of the Bird.”

The CMA winners will be announced and celebrated at a live awards ceremony during Content Marketing World, September 5, 2018, in Cleveland, Ohio, where Tina Fey will be a featured speaker. You can see a full list of the 2018 winners and finalists in all 92 categories on the Content Marketing Awards website: https://www.contentmarketingawards.com/2018-winners/

Click here to view the award-winning Washington College BuzzFeed page: www.buzzfeed.com/washingtoncollege

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.