Community Garden Meeting Jan. 24


Would you like to start a garden but don’t have the space to do it? A community garden just might be the answer to your dreams — and there’s one starting up near you!

The seed catalogues have been delivered. Memories of past weed and pest problems have faded. And even though we are in a deep freeze, it’s time to plan your garden! This year, Pam and John Vogel will open up their farm on Round Top Road for a community garden. Pam has been gardening for years and shares a lot of her produce with neighbors and at a local food bank. She is a believer in having a diverse selection of flowers and vegetables in order to attract many types of beneficial bugs and birds. Bird houses are all around their 15-acre property, and they even have a bat house on their barn. She also loves to seed save the heirloom varieties she grows. John grows hops, beans, peanuts, and tends their 6 bee hives.

Their vision is that area residents will have access to fertile and sunny ground to plant flowers and vegetables. John planted a cover crop of clover a large space and will till it in the early spring so Gardeners can start their early cool weather seeds by mid-March. Gardeners must be willing to use organic practices. There will be straw and composted manure available. A limited amount of tools will be available to share as well.

There will be a planning meeting on January 24th at 7 p.m. at 218 Round Top Road. A seed swap will happen on February 21st at 7 p.m. as well. You can get more information through under the Chestertown Organic Gardeners and Farmers. Or contact Pam by email at


First Friday: Artists’ Gallery Spotlight on Linda Hall



“Jug of Sunflowers”, watercolor by Linda Hall

On First Friday, The Artists’ Gallery would like to invite everyone to celebrate the new year with them!  Along with their well wishes, the partners of The Artists’ Gallery are offering a discount of 15% off each of their original works of art during the first two weeks of January.  The partners of the gallery are Bonnie Foster Howell, Sally Clark, Nancy R. Thomas, Barbara Zuehlke and Evie Baskin.  For more information about the partners and the work that they do, please see the gallery website.

In addition, The Artists’ Gallery will extend a discount of 15% on paintings by Linda Hall.  Based in Betterton, Linda Hall’s work in watercolor is well known on the Eastern Shore and beyond.  She has participated in numerous juried art shows, both nationally and internationally, winning over fifty awards.  Linda is a signature member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and the Northeast Watercolor society and an exhibitor with The Artists’ Gallery, and a member of River Arts and the Working Artists Forum in Easton.

A reception for the public will be held at The Artists’ Gallery on January 5, 2018, from 5-8 pm.  Located at 239 High Street in Chestertown, The Artists’ Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10-5 and on Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30.

“Getting Dinner”, watercolor Barbara Zuehlke

“Fringed Edge”, oil by Bonnie Howell



“Koi Fish Frolicking”, mixed media by Sally Clark


Country Road”, oil by Nancy R. Thomas

“Good Friends”, oil by Evie Baskin

Unitarians Contemplate the Meaning of “Namaste”


Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, Church in Chestertown

On Sunday, Dec 31, 10 a.m., Dr. John Turner will give a sermon titled “Namaste” for the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., ChestertownJohn explains, “‘Namaste’ is the traditional greeting all over India. Although it really doesn’t translate into English, I prefer to think of it as saying, ‘The divine within me smiles upon the divine within you.’ I believe this fits the form of a blessing and that it can truly challenge how we think about others and about ourselves. And maybe give us a boost into the New Year.”
Religious exploration for youngsters and childcare for infants and toddlers will be available during the service. All are Welcome!

Brevities: Driving in Kent County Before the Solstice


Photo by Spy Agent 7 — 00 Section

Shelley and I drove north the morning of the day before the shortest day. We rolled through Kent County, commenting on its agreeable flatness, and the winter crops turning the brown fields green. We watched the sunrise orange through the trees, flickering by as it developed its full size. It rose through a gap at the horizon and colored the rest of the heavily clouded sky with a pearl gray.

Shelley first noticed the dark lines low on the horizon. As we approached, it became clear it was thousands and thousands of geese in plumps of a couple hundred. As we got nearer, they appeared to be more overhead, and we could easily see the white bodies and black wing tips of snow geese in their asymmetric vees – none on the ground, all in the air.

The line of geese stretched for miles to the right and left, flickering randomly as the wings rose and fell. An occasional single goose or three or four of them were flying against the flow in search of friends or cousins.

We had to stop for a moment for road construction, and when we rolled the window down, we heard them honking in their hundreds, directly overhead, white against the low gray sky.

Then­ we and the geese went our way.

By Ed Minch



Estate of Rev. William L. English Donates $892,000 to Chesapeake College for Nursing Scholarships


Rev. William L. English, Episcopal priest from Dorchester County

Wye Mills, Maryland – The Chesapeake College Foundation has received the largest planned gift in its history from the estate of Rev. William L. English, an Episcopal priest from Dorchester County.

As stipulated by the estate, an $892,000 endowment has been established to fund W.L. English Nursing Scholarships for Chesapeake students.  Preference is given to Dorchester County residents pursuing a nursing degree.

“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift that makes it possible for students to attend Chesapeake College, earn a degree and pursue a rewarding career in nursing,” said Lucie Hughes, the college’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the school’s foundation.  “As one who ministered to others, Father English understood the power of compassionate care and appreciated the collaborative education and training provided by Chesapeake College and Shore Health to bring along our next generation of nursing professionals.”

Rev. English was a patient at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester where the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing team treated him on several occasions in 2015.

According to Pat and Richard Gauen, close friends from East New Market, he often spoke of the excellent nursing care provided during those hospital stays.

“He said they treated him like a king, but they didn’t know he was going to make this donation,” Pat said.  I never heard him complain that he received bad care in the hospital…not one time.”

Bill Shertenlieb, a registered nurse from Cambridge and graduate of the Chesapeake College nursing program, was one of Rev. English’s regular ICU caregivers.

“He was very easy to take care of and had the ability to bring out creativity and kindness in the care you delivered,” Schertenlieb said. “He made you happy to be a nurse.”

Nursing is a family profession in the Shertenlieb household. His wife Wendy also graduated from the Chesapeake program and became a nurse in 2013. While she was in school and caring for their children, Bill worked three nursing jobs to support the family.

“Father English and I discussed how hard it was, but I didn’t have the slightest clue about the donation,” he said. “I was stunned. Sometimes you get surprises like this…you don’t always know whose day you’ve made.”

Shertenlieb is now a critical care transport nurse with Shore Health Maryland Express Care. Wendy works for Coastal Hospice in Dorchester County.

Nursing care is a critical need in the Mid-Shore region according to Jon Longest, Chesapeake College Health Professions Chair.

“We are in the midst of a significant nursing shortage in the United States that is even more pronounced in rural areas like the Eastern Shore,” Longest said.  “The English scholarship makes a nursing career more accessible to young adults and even older students who are making a career change or looking to advance within the profession.”

Hughes said the number of annual awards given by the English scholarship fund will depend on need and other financial aid students receive. Initial awards range from $350 to $2,000.  She estimates that as many as 25 students a year could receive grants in the future.

Students interested in the nursing scholarships should complete Chesapeake’s general scholarship application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both are accessible at

(L to R) Nurse Bill Shertenlieb with Pat and Richard Gauen outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Father English’s former church in East New Market

Donors interested in discussing a planned gift with the college can contact Hughes at 410-827-5879. Online donations can be made at

Rev. English was born at Dorchester General Hospital in 1936 and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1954. He was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1965 by the Bishop of Easton and from 1965-1966, he was the rector for three Mid-Shore parishes:  St. Stephen’s, East New Market; St. Andrew’s, Hurlock; and the Chapel of the Epiphany, Preston.

Following 32 years of ministry on Staten Island in New York City, he retired to Cambridge where he lived in his childhood home on Radiance Drive until his death in 2015.


UUs Celebrate “Eve of the Eve” – Sat. Dec. 23


Join the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown, on Saturday, December 23 at 7 p.m. for a traditional evening of carols and story in our annual “Eve of the Eve” service.

Rev. Sue Browning will lead us as we take time to pause and sense the moment “just before” and the wonder of new life.

All are welcome! Please call 410-778-3440 or visit the website for more information.

Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, Chestertown, church building

Community Sing-Along Fills Park With Joy


Fountain Park was full of smiling faces and singing voices Sunday, Dec. 16 as the Chester Valley Ministers’ Association presented a sing-along. Christmas Carols and Holiday songs were the order of the day.

The Rev. James Van de Wal stands at the podium as members of sponsoring groups lead the singing

The Rev. James Van de Wal, president of the CVMA, acted as master of ceremonies. Pianist Phil Dutton provided accompaniment, and representatives of sponsoring organizations came to the stage to lead singing. Sponsors included The Chestertown Spy, The Peoples Bank, Kent County Arts Council, Tidewater Trader, The Kent County News, WCTR Radio, Kent Printing, the Town of Chestertown and JBK Hardware.

While there was a touch of snow still on the ground from Friday, the weather was comfortably warm. The organizers provided colorful booklets with words and music to songs. In addition to Christmas favorites, the book included songs for Hannukah and Kwanza.

Van de Wal, in a letter of thanks to the Chestertown Spy, said the CVMA received donations at the event and additional pledges sufficient to cover expenses and to make a generous addition to the organization’s Good Neighbor Fund, which provides one-time payments to residents in need of help with rent, bills, and other emergency financial assistance.

Caroling around the fountain

Cantor Gary Schiff leads the crowd in “I Have a Little, Dreidel,” a Hanukkah song.

Come Sing! Community Caroling in Fountain Park Sunday, Dec. 17


 Enjoy singing songs of the season? Do you love Christmas Carols? Come join your neighbors in a community sing-along, sponsored by the Chester Valley Ministers Association, at 3 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 17, in Fountain Park in Chestertown. In the event of inclement weather, the sing-along will take place in Christ Methodist Church, 401 High St.  Songs will include traditional Christmas carols along with other seasonal and holiday songs.

Individuals or groups — all are welcome!  Musical groups that would like to perform and choirs to help lead the singing are invited.  Song books will be provided. Phil Dutton will provide keyboard accompaniment, and the choir of Emmanuel Episcopal Church will be leading some of the singing.

Donations are welcome; all proceeds after expenses will benefit the CVMA Good Neighbor Fund, a volunteer organization that provides emergency funds for shelter when other help is unavailable, and provides funds for utilities, rent and medical supplies for qualifying community members in critical need.  The Good Neighbor Fund is always in need of volunteers willing to commit to two hours a month in Chestertown.

The Chester Valley Ministers’ Association is a group of local ministers and lay people whose mission is to promote, sponsor and support a range of initiatives that help the needy in Kent and Northern Queen Anne’s counties.


















Chester River Bridge Work Monday, Dec 18, May Cause Delays or Brief Closures


The Chester River Bridge at Chestertown on Rt 213. 

The Maryland  State Highway Administration, as part of the State’s Bridge Preservation Program, will have a contractor performing routine maintenance operations on the Route 213 drawbridge over the Chester River on Monday, December 18.

According to an email from Bob Rager, SHA District Community Liaison, work will be done from 9  a.m. to 3 p.m. and may include test openings of the draw section of the bridge that should last no longer than those needed for an average vessel’s passage. Travelers between Kent and Queen Anne’s counties should allow for possible delays or plan alternate routes.

Traffic should be able to cross during the maintenance work except for short intervals when the draw-bridge is being tested.  Closures of one lane are also possible.

  Work will be performed by Covington Machine and Welding, Inc. of Annapolis, Rager said.