Sumner Hall: Last Two Weeks for Exhibit of Black Civil War Soldiers’ Portraits



Portraits of 17 men from the 25th US Colored Troops – portraits with accompanying book by Shayne Davidson

Sumner Hall has had the privilege of hosting a special exhibition of portraits of Black Civil War soldiers.  The portraits, all by artist Shayne Davidson, show seventeen members of the 25th US Colored Troops.  Drawn from tiny “gem”  (locket-sized)  photographs, the portraits gleam with life and vitality–so life-like that you can easily imagine these soldiers stepping down out of their frames.

The pictures will be on display until at least the end of November.  That means there are just two more weekends that you can be sure of getting to see them.  Sumner Hall is open every Saturday from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.  You can also contact the museum to arrange a visit.  You can even take a chance of just dropping by.  If someone is there working on one of the many projects, they can often let visitors in for a little while. To arrange a guided tour, please contact Sumner Hall by phone at 443.282.0023 or by email at  The museum is located at 206 S. Queen St. in Chestertown, MD.

Davidson is a professional artist, medical illustrator, and genealogist.  in 2012, she was shown a tiny album of Black soldiers from the Civil War.

The tiny originals were locket-sized, not even 2 inches tall.

According to Shayne’s artist’s statement, on Sumner Hall’s website, “after she examined the locket-sized photographs of these American heroes, she felt compelled to learn more about the individuals featured in the collection. Captain William A. Prickitt, the white commander of the 25th United States Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops, Company G, had noted the names of the men and Davidson used this information to study military and census records, birth, death and marriage licenses, as well as news articles to compose family trees. By the time she had immersed herself in their individual stories, she wanted to share them with others. In her words, it was a privilege to bring this exhibition to life and she hopes that “the Civil War Soldiers” Project conveys part of the story of a group of men who bravely participated in a pivotal event in our nation’s history.”

The Tin Type album held 18 photos of 17 men. It had been saved for over 150 by the Captain Prickett’s family.

The American Civil War was one of the first conflicts that was extensively photographed.  Yet among the thousands of photos of battles, soldiers, military scenes and equipment, there were very few photos of Black soldiers.  This photo album has turned out to be a veritable treasure-trove for Civil War historians.

Private James Tall – 1845-1932 (aged 87) from Tennessee

Private James Henry Hovington (1829-1907) from Kent County, Delaware

Captain Prickett and his wife. Prickett was the white officer in charge of the 25th Colored Troops, Co. G. During the Civil War, all the Colored Troops had white commanding officers though there were lower-rank black officers.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the  Seventeen Men of 25th United States Colored Troops while the exhibit is still here in Chestertown at Sumner Hall.  The original, two-inch high tin-type album with the photos has been donated to the Museum of African American History in Washington, DC.  But this is the only place that you can really see the men come alive in the color -pencil renditions by Shayne Davidson.









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


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

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

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

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


Mid-Shore Commerce: Engineer and Developer Bob Rauch on Almost Everything


It is pretty rare for a Spy interview to stray too far from a specific topic but that was virtually impossible when we talked to Bob Rauch the other day.

While our intention was to have a short chat about Bob’s engineering firm at their new office on Harrison Street, it didn’t stop there. In fact, it covered an almost endless range of subjects, including his roots in Talbot County, a passion for sound and creative design, his investment in developing long-term careers for young professionals on the Mid-Shore, the challenges and benefits of working in a rural environment with a family business, his ties to the Easton Club, his plans for housing in Trappe, a “tiny house development” in Federalsburg,  revolutionary chicken waste management projects in Princess Anne’s, and, oh yes, the likelihood of working on two new projects with Tesla in Nevada.

In short, it was impossible for the Spy to edit this conversation to any significant degree since almost everything Bob said, and how he said it, was too rich and enjoyable to cut.  Instead, we offer this extended interview which gives our readers a unique opportunity to hear from one of the Eastern Shore’s great entrepreneurs but also from one of its finest people.

This video is approximately seventeen minutes in length. For more information about RAUCH, Inc. please go here

Inaugural SED Talks: Shore Economic Development Conference


SVN Miller, KRM Development, and Bob Rauch, RAUCH inc. are pleased to announce the inaugural SED Talks – Shore Economic Development conference to be headlined by Secretary Mike Gill, Maryland Department of Commerce, during Maryland Economic Development Week. The event will be held at Chesapeake College Todd Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 26th. Continental Breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the program to follow at 9-11:30 a.m.

SED Talks will focus on economic development on the Eastern Shore and will feature interesting, dynamic speakers offering insights, trends, success stories and business strategies in “TED” Talks style format. Speakers and topics include: Secretary Mike Gill, Growing Maryland’s Economy; Ken Kozel, President & CEO, UMD Shore Regional Health, New Regional Health Care Facility Impacts; Chad Nagel, Nagel Farm Service, Agricultural Sector Impacts; Brett Summers, NOVO Development Corporation, Cambridge Success Stories; Sam Shog, Talbot County Economic Development, The Millennial Influence; Robert Caret, Chancellor, University System of Maryland, Higher Education Impacts on the Local Economy; and Bob Greenlee, SVN, Miller, The Chesapeake Triangle.

The public is invited and there is no cost for the event. Attendees are encouraged to invite colleagues, clients or others who may be interested. Please RSVP to Liz Connelly at Rauch Engineering, 410-770-9081 or

The Movies Are Back!


Ribbon cutting at the Grand Opening of Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Linda Kuiper, Billy Short, Bill Ingersoll, Rebecca Murphy, Ira Miller, Chris Cerino, Ron Fithian, Mike Klein, Marty Stetson, Ellsworth Tolliver, Kay MacIntosh – Photo by Jane Jewell

The Chesapeake 5 movie theater held its grand opening Friday, Oct. 12, and a good crowd was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the lobby.

On hand to wield the scissors was Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino, accompanied by council members Linda Kuiper, Marty Stetson, and Ellsworth Tolliver, along with county commissioners Ron Fithian and Billy Short. The economic development directors for the town and county, Kay MacIntosh and Jamie Williams, were also present; both took significant roles in helping bring the theater back to town.

Movies playing the first weekend at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown through Thursday, Oct 18.  Starting Friday, Oct. 19, will be “A Star is Born” and “Halloween 2018”- Photo by Jane Jewell

Mike Klein, Ira Miller, and Bob Weinholdt, principals of Chesapeake Movies, were also on hand for the opening – as well as a good crowd of interested locals.

Cerino, in opening remarks, described the process of returning the theater to town as“a long haul,” and he thanked the owners for sticking it out. He also thanked the county commissioners for their part in extending a $75,000 loan to the theater to allow them to complete renovations. The loan will be repaid from proceeds of the town’s entertainment tax.

Trying out the new recliners at the Grand Opening. – In front are Rebecca Murphy, Community Liaison for Chesapeake Theaters, and Chris Cerino, mayor of Chestertown. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Weinholdt, who performed much of the renovation needed before the reopening, described the local people he met while working at the theater, as some of “the nicest people I’ve ever met.” He said the theater had used as many local contractors as possible, as well as hiring locally.

Mike Klein and Ira Miller, the other two principals of Chesapeake Movies along with Weinholdt, spoke eloquently about how much movies had meant to them growing up and how they hoped to bring back that small town movie theater experience where families go to movies together and young people go on their first dates.  You make memories as well as seeing movies, they said.

The theater was open for tours, with visitors invited to check out the new recliner seats and the other amenities, including snacks and drinks.

Erin Jedlanek, Mike Klein, co-owner of Chesapeake Movies, and Elise Davis. Jedlanek and Davis have both worked with Klein at his other movie locations and are now helping get Chestertown’s theater up and running. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Your Spy reporters returned Friday evening to check on attendance to the first night’s shows. Not surprisingly, plenty of movie-goers made it to the opening night. The biggest draws were “Venom” and “First Man,” according to box office personnel.  “The House with a Clock” and “Night School” will be shown through Thursday, Oct 18.  The other three movies, “Venom”, “First Man”, and “Venom” will continue for at least another week with “A Star is Born” and “Halloween 2018” opening on Friday, Oct. 19.

Almost all the recliners, which patrons can reserve by phone or online, were sold out.  Patrons can reserve recliners days or even weeks in advance and pay for them online at the theater’s website.  General admission tickets after 4:00 pm are $9.00 for adults with $7.00 for children 12 or under and seniors 62 or over. Recliners are $2 more in each category.  Matinees before 4:00 pm are a dollar off for adults.  See seating chart below or online.

The rocker chairs up front in general admission have cup holders while the recliners do not. But there are new eating areas just outside each theater door where patrons can sit at small tables with their food and beverages while waiting for their movie to start.  In addition to popcorn ($4.50 small, $6 medium, $7 large), the theater has cheese pizza for $7 ($7.50 with pepperoni) and chicken tenders with french fries for $7.50.  Hot dogs are $3.50.  Sodas run $3 for small, $4 medium, and $5 for large.  But refills are free!

Employees at Grand Opening on Oct 12 at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Front row – Rachel Kruger, Jordan Payne, Alan Yang, Jillian Thomas, Back row – Becca Darwin, Emily Kruger (sister of Rachel), Justin Gunter, Eric Ireland – Photo by Jane Jewell

Two or three experienced employees from one of the owners’ other theaters were on hand during each shift to help the new employees learn the ropes.  Almost all of the new employees are local hires from Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties.  Quite a few are Kent County High School grads. Two– Jillian Thomas and Alan Yang– are current students at Queen Anne’s High School.

The ticket office and concessions stand workers – about a dozen, all told — were almost as excited as the patrons, who were pleased to see movies returning to town after a nearly 18-month hiatus. With Saturday and Sunday matinees, discounted prices on Tuesdays, free drink refills, and a points system in which regular customers can get rewards for their ticket and concession purchases, their patience appears to be amply rewarded.

You can see current and upcoming movies and sign up for the theater’s weekly email and rewards program at the website,   If you sign up online before your first movie, your ticket price will go toward reward points.  Just be sure to give your email to the box office or at the concession stand.

Welcome to Chestertown, Chesapeake Movies!

Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck

Seating plan for Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown. Blue indicates three rows of recliners in back. Orange is general admission rocker chairs in front three rows. – Photo by Peter Heck

Anne Charles relaxes in recliner B3 Friday afternoon just after the noon ribbon cutting at the Chesapeake Movies Grand Opening. Just four more hours till the first movie! – Photo by Jane Jewell

Jamie Williams, Kent County Economic Development Director, enjoys a coke at the grand opening. Refills are free!


A new eating area outside theater door. Note sign giving the title, time and rating of the currently playing movie in that theater. Jana Carter, Gay Slagle, & Kate Houbowicz

Joyce Luff, on left, and Linda Kuiper, on right, town council for 2nd district in Chestertown,  in the new recliners at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown 

Concession stand at new Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Photo by Jane Jewell



Mimi’s Closet Celebrates 10 Years in Chestertown


Mimi’s Closet at 304 High Street, Chestertown, MD – Photo by Peter Heck

Mimi’s Closet celebrates its 10th anniversary from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10, with an open reception at the High Street store. Owner Marjorie Adams said the event will also be a benefit for Breast Cancer month, with pink wine, pink ice cream, and a pink bath bomb with a surprise inside. And there will be music and oysters. “This will be a thank-you to all our friends and customers for patronizing our store and supporting my business through ten long, arduous years at three locations,” she said with a laugh. “This one’s the charm, though.”

Margery Adams, better known as Mimi to the granddaughter who gave her the nickname and to her loyal customers at Mimi’s Closet.

Admas grew up in New York and Connecticut.  She graduated with a specialty in fabric design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the premier college in the field.  One of her early–and most fun–jobs, she said, was decorating the windows at Macy’s Department Store in New York City.  Over her career, she has also been the marketing director for a Baltimore firm and the American representative for Ehrman’s Tapestry as well as owning a retail store in Easton for several years.

She is married to Walter Adams and they have two sons and four grandchildren. They fell in love with Chestertown after visiting for an anniversary.  They bought a second home locally in 1998 and moved here full-time in 2001.

Adams said, “I started my business in the worst year possible – 2008 – as a popup store which maybe should have been in existence only six weeks, and now has turned out to be ten years.”

But our store has changed considerably – not only the location but what we carry, because we’re a small town and we try to address every price point and every type of customer – every age group, every body type. We specialize in women’s clothing and accessories – we don’t do children or men. We have a small area where we sell shoes. It’s just sort of an all-around boutique – jewelry, handbags and shoes, dresses – and we try to change things up so often that you’re seeing something new every time you come in here.”

We try to be sensitive to everybody’s budget,” she said. “We encourage our customers to come in, even with something they own and have it updated or made to look better.” She added that this isn’t a question of alterations, but of finding ways to accessorize or complement it to give it a more contemporary look. She said she likes to offer things from small boutique designers that you might not find in online venues or department stores. And she offers a lot from American designers. Also, she tries not to duplicate lines available in other stores in town. “We try to be very sensitive to that – it’s a small universe here for shoppers.”

Smart fall outfits with a wealth of hats and other accessories are displayed against a colorful wall hanging on the brick wall in Mimi’s Closet, 304 High St., Chestertown, MD  –  Photo by Jane Jewell

She also buys small quantities, she said – “We try to buy one size run, so you don’t see yourself coming and going. If you’re going to a special event, you want to have something that’s unique and different.” She said she regularly goes to Fashion Week in New York and other industry shows to find new lines and distinctive items for the shore.

Adams’ first store in Chestertown was in a small space adjacent to the Imperial Hotel. She said in an email forwarded to the Spy by Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown, that she stayed there “until the building repairs and food odors from the hotel prep kitchen made me crazy! I moved to a very nice space on Cannon Street and thought that customers would follow. I was wrong! The building was the former home of the Chester River Knitting Company and was a great space but did not have display windows to showcase my inventory, and too many people thought that the shopping area ended on Cross Street and they did not venture further.” She added, “It did not help that we were in a recession.”

When the High Street space formerly occupied by Scottie’s Shoe Store became available, she recognized it as the opportunity she had been looking for – a prime space on the town’s main shopping street. She said, “Renovation to this space—the old Scottie’s space — was critical; nothing had been done to improve it for many years. The building owner, Bob Ramsey, was committed to a full renovation and hired my husband to do the work. We moved into the new space and it was as if I had just started a brand new business.” Its success allowed her to close a store in Easton and concentrate on Chestertown.

Debbie Yoder, an assistant at Mimi’s Closet, displays a beautiful brown suede jacket just in for the fall season. – Photo by Jane Jewell

As you can see, this was quite a journey over the past ten years,” she said. “I have had to adjust to the fact that we are not a major metropolitan shopping area but are a small and very special destination. The key was to have both a local and visitor customer base that would show up more often looking for a unique experience. I focus on lots of personal interaction that makes the customer know that their business is valued.”

The name of the store comes from Adams’ granddaughter, now 18 years old, who, as a small child, nicknamed her “Mimi.”  Now everyone knows her as Mimi!

Adams, whose background is in textiles, said she is very aware of the quality of the fabric used in the merchandise she sells, as well as the quality of construction and the fit. “I don’t think it’s necessary always to go to the top price point, but you’ve got to find the quality in the fabric and the way a garment is made and the way it fits.”

Colorful, classic kimonos are available as well as sporty, outdoors styles. — Photo by Jane Jewell

MacIntosh said of Adams, “She gets involved in community causes and events.  She has held fashion show fundraisers for the College’s Women’s League, the Soroptimists, and breast cancer research. She organizes and runs the wildly popular teas during the HP Fest and has helped in other areas such as sponsorships. She organizes and runs the High Tea for the Dickens Weekend. She is active in the Downtown Chestertown Association, which she now serves as VP.”

Whether you’re a regular customer or visiting the store for the first time, come by Mimi’s Closet at 307 High St. Wednesday, Oct 10, from 6-8 pm and help celebrate a successful downtown Chestertown business.

And be sure to check out her webpage and FaceBook.   Send an email to to join the Mimi’s Closet mailing list or just to ask a question.  The phone number is 443-282-0225.


Maryland 3.0: Sprout Moves to the City


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’s Qlarant Named a Top Predictive Analytics Solution Provider


Easton’s Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been named a Top Ten predictive analytics solution provider for 2018.  CIO Applications Magazine interviewed 3 executives from Qlarant:  Dr. Ron Forsythe, Jr. CEO; Sandy Love, President; and Holly Pu, VP of Product Development.   The article provides insight into the culture of Qlarant, and highlights the predictive modeling capabilities the company provides to some of the nation’s most important organizations.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Holly Pu, VP of Product Development for Qlarant. “Predictive Analytics provide an important role in fighting fraud and saves the nation millions of dollars each year. Being recognized as one of the best in the industry means we did what we set out to do. “

CIO Applications magazine provides a network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions.  It also enables IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.  Qlarant’s PLATO™ program is a powerful self-learning analytics engine that is able to sift through billions of pieces of data to detect aberrant trends.   Qlarant also offers RIViR, which provides risk identification, risk visualization and risk resolution services.

“We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award demonstrates those facets of our business,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO.

Maryland 3.0: The Long View from Main Street Cambridge


From a variety of perspectives, the growing awareness on the Mid-Shore that Cambridge has become a hot foodie destination should make anyone involved in improving town’s economic development pretty happy.

From the urban sophistication of Poplar Bistro to chef Patrick Fleming’s growing collection of eateries, Cambridge’s downtown is slowly but surely working its way out of the dark days of economic recession.

That change of events has undoubtedly made many in that town feel a sense of optimism that a robust and thriving downtown is just around the corner for a community that has taken some pretty hard knocks for many years.

But as Katie Clendaniel, director of Downtown Cambridge noted in her interview with the Spy at Bullitt House a few weeks ago, the road back to full recovery is a long and complex one.

While the hospitality sector is a critical factor in making that happen, the less noticeable work of improving walkability, adding traffic calming infrastructure and the expansion of high-quality residential housing all are part of a much larger plan that may take many more years to achieve the maximum impact of the economic life of downtown Cambridge.

For Clendaniel, who was part of the original team of Easton’s successful Main Street program several years ago, this kind of incremental change is the reality of almost any serious revitalization program. While frustrating for those seeking easy and quick answers, this slow process requires equal amounts of long-range strategic planning and the collective patience of the community.

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