Sukkot Celebration Matched with Concern for the Environment by Rabbi Peter Hyman

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Starting Sunday night, September 23rd, at sundown, the Jewish community in Easton will join Jewish communities around the world in celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. We will moving our meals outside, to a temporary dwelling called a Sukkah. Spending time in the Sukkah, with a roof of branches open to the sky, invites us to be more aware of the changing seasons, our environment and more mindful of our place in the natural world.

Like faith communities everywhere, congregants at Temple B’nai Israel, have become increasingly concerned about the impact we are having on our environment. We’re mindful that our burning fossil fuels for electricity is pouring heat-trapping climate pollution into the atmosphere, damaging our climate and hurting our neighbors, close to home and around the world.

As warmer temperatures at the poles melt land-based ice, our seas are rising. Our own Eastern Shore communities are among the most vulnerable to rising seas. The subsidence of the Delmarva Peninsula and the slowing of the Gulf Stream will only exacerbate the harm caused by rising waters. Right here in our region, farmers, fishermen, and other residents are contending with wetter springs, hotter summers, and chronic flooding from coastal storms.

As we conclude the Sukkot holiday, the holiday in the Jewish calendar that focuses us environmental stewardship and ecological responsibility, we will reinsert into our daily liturgy a few seasonal words. We will praise God “Who causes wind to blow and rain to fall.” Here on the Eastern Shore, we can particularly appreciate this blessing and promise of the wind blowing across our coastal waters.

Recently, I along with other faith leaders, signed a letter to Congressman Andy Harris, speaking out proudly that our communities have an opportunity to show national leadership by hosting the Skipjack and U.S. Wind offshore wind projects. We called on Rep. Harris to oppose any expansion of oil and gas development and exploration in the Atlantic.

To address these problems, here in Easton and beyond, we’ll need to come together. Sukkot is a holiday for warmly welcoming guests! So we invite the entire Easton community to join us at Temple B’nai Israel this Thursday evening, September 27th at 7 pm for a free screening of the film “Reinventing Power,” and to gather in the Sukkah afterwards for a conversation about the promise of clean energy for our region. It’s a joyous time of year, please join us.

Rabbi Peter Hyman is the rabbi of Congregation Temple B’nai Israel, The Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore in Easton. The film screening, hosted by Interfaith Power & Light and Temple B’nai Israel, will take place Thursday, September 27th at 7 pm at 7199 Tristan Drive in Easton.

Palmer Amaranth ID Field Walk Workshop Sept. 26

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The University of Maryland Kent County Extension Office will be hosting a workshop on Palmer Amaranth. The workshop will be on September 26, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m, at 709 Morgnec Road, Suite 202, Chestertown. All are welcome. We will meet at the Kent Extension office for coffee and doughnuts and then we’ll head down the road to a field where there has been a positive identification of Palmer Amaranth. We will discuss identification techniques and management of this herbicide resistant weed.

Hosts: Nate Richards, Jenny Rhodes, Jim Lewis and Matt Morris

RSVP preferred to Nate — nrichard@umd.edu or call 4107781661

The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Offers Equal Access Programs.

Kent County Historical Society 48th Annual Historic House Tour

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The 48th Annual Historic House Tour by Kent County Historical Society is scheduled on Saturday, October 6, 2018, 1-5 P.M

Chestertown, MD, designated in 1706 as an official Port of Entry, has ever been defined by both the rich farm lands and the namesake river which engendered its wealth and survival.

This year’s House Tour reflects this by featuring some of the town’s earliest structures including: a 1730’s tavern which served merchants, soldiers and sailors alike, homes of modest merchants and three of its grandest houses.  Also on tour will be historic African American locations, Janes Church and Sumner Hall, one of only two remaining black Union Army Veterans’ G.A.R. halls in the U.S.

Along the way, we will provide a look at the life of a Revolutionary Era patriot who went bankrupt serving as Kent County’s Commissary Officer supplying Washington’s troops. We will examine the lives of 18th and 19th century African American business men and women, and provide the story of the evolution of a middle class African American neighborhood surrounding the elegant Geddes Piper House. 

And down by the Chester River, behind the 1746 Custom House, visitors will experience the restored Betterton fishing Ark and the Log Canoe “Mary Julia Hall” both examples of historic fishing vessels, while gazing at our revitalizing marina, the Chester River Packet, Schooner “Sultana”, skipjack “Ellsworth” and bugeye Boat “Annie.”

Our Tour ends at the venerable White Swan Tavern where ticket holding tour participants may enjoy a special tea while viewing the mini museum of artifacts found during restoration in 1975. (A surprise gift is included.)

Our goal is to provide our guests with a richer experience of an ancient town…come and enjoy!

For more information please call the Historical Society at 410-778-3499 or visit www.kentcountyhistory.org

Unitarians Contemplate “The Next Greatest Generation”

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On Sunday, Sept 23 at 10 a.m., Dr. Bob Clegg will give a sermon entitled “The Next Greatest Generation” to the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown. This sermon examines the responses of civic-minded, “hero” generations throughout history — generations that came of age in times of unraveling, uncertainty, and crisis. According to some historical analysts, we are now due for another “hero” generation. The good news that this sermon argues for is that the millennial generation that is coming of age today bears the hallmarks of prior hero generations that put things back together just when all seemed lost.

Religious Exploration for youngsters and childcare for infants and toddlers will be available during the service.

All are welcome — call 410-778-3440 for more information.

Tax Preparation Volunteers Sought

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AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest volunteer-run tax preparation service, is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season.

Tax-Aide, celebrating its 50th year, offers free in-person preparation and assistance to anyone, especially those 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. Volunteers make a difference in their communities by assisting many older, lower-income taxpayers and their families, who might otherwise miss out on the tax credits and deductions they’ve earned. Tax-Aide is offered in coordination with the IRS.

In 2018 taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received $1.3 billion in income tax refunds and more than $213 million in Earned Income Tax Credits. Taxpayers do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use Tax-Aide.

In Chestertown, the Tax-Aide program needs volunteer tax preparers and client facilitators, who greet clients and help them complete initial forms. Every level of experience is welcome. Volunteers complete tax preparation training in December and January and earn IRS certification.

Local Tax-Aide volunteers prepare tax returns at the Kent County Public Library on Thursdays during tax season (February 1 to April 15) from 9 am to 3 pm and at the Amy Ferris Senior Center on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.

“This work is challenging,” said one Chestertown volunteer, “but there’s tremendous satisfaction in knowing that you’ve helped someone in our community receive every benefit the tax system affords.”

If you think you may be interested in volunteering as a tax preparer or a client facilitator, please visit aarpfoundation.org/taxaide or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). In Chestertown, you can call John Vail on (410) 778-1470.

Kick-Off Event Planned for “The Murals of Rock Hall”

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The Rock Hall Main Street Committee is pleased to announce an open house, scheduled for Saturday, September 22 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Main Street, to launch “The Murals of Rock Hall” project.  This event is sponsored through the generosity of the Kent County Arts Council.

The purpose of the mural project is not only to bring new life to Rock Hall’s deteriorating murals, but also to involve a broad segment of the community in re-envisioning, re-designing and re-painting these works of art for future enjoyment.   Participants in this project, which is planned to be completed within the next 9 – 10-months, will include students, teachers, artists and other interested community members, all of whose input will be welcomed and encouraged.

At the open house, transportation will be provided to the three downtown murals (on the Main Street side of Bayside Foods, at the back entrance to the Mainstay, along the back wall of Java Rock), and the Clam House mural.  The rockfish art on one of the Town water towers, visible from Sharp and Liberty Streets, will also be included in the tour.  Docents will be stationed at each mural to give background information and answer questions. We will also pay tribute to and recognize the contributions of the original mural designers and painters, many of whom were school children at the time and still live in the community.

This event will include refreshments and live music, and we welcome all to join us to celebrate the launch of this exciting project.

Benedictine’s Charity Golf Classic Set for Oct.19

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Benedictine’s charity golf tournament returns to the Eastern Shore on Friday, Oct. 19 for the 30th Annual Charity Golf Classic at Hog Neck Golf Course in Easton.

The tournament raises funds in support of Benedictine’s mission to help children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential. Funds raised directly support programs and services that provide community-based opportunities for over 200 adults as well as support academic programs for over 60 students.

Hog Neck Golf Course is both an active community partner with Benedictine’s Adult Services program and an employer of individuals with disabilities.

The tournament will feature a seafood and raw bar, live auction, as well as lunch and dinner buffet. Tournament entry fee is $175 per person or $700 for a team of four which includes: green fees, cart, refreshments, hole-in-one prize, and team prizes. Each golfer will take home a custom Maryland themed gift bag provided by presenting sponsors PNC Bank and the Mason Family. Register by Oct. 1 at www.benschool.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Providing opportunities to live meaningful, productive lives in communities of choice, Benedictine helps children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their greatest potential without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, or age.

Commander Charles and Dr. Roberta Stephens MSCF Memorial Fund

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The Mid-Shore Community Foundation was established in 1992 with a $236,000 bequest from Colonel and Mrs. Edgar Linthicum to the United Fund of Talbot County. Over the next 25 years it has become one of the most significant foundations, public or private, in the state of Maryland, with over $70 million in assets.  That figure is expanding further thanks to the generous planned gifts recently received from the estates of Commander Charles and Dr. Roberta Stephens for a memorial fund in their names.  With nearly $9 million in assets, the Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will be one of the largest funds at MSCF.  It will be used to benefit Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Joppa, MD, Sandhills College Foundation, in Pinehurst, NC, and the Old Wye Church of Wye Mills, Maryland.  In addition, the Talbot Hospice Foundation Fund at MSCF received $68,000 from a Stephens charitable gift annuity.

Commander Stephens was born in Joppa, MD, and after high school worked as a tree trimmer before enlisting in the Navy in 1942. He served tours with Bombing Squadron-153 (VB-153), flying the Curtis Helldiver, and with Attack Squadron (VA-25), flying the Douglas AD-Skyraider. He served tours in the Mediterranean aboard the U.S. Midway, in Port Lyautey, Morocco, with Air Transport Squadron-24, and aboard the U.S.S. Cabot (CVL-) at Pensacola, FL. He also served tours with the Operations Department of the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, MD.

In 1948, he married Dr. Roberta Hall who was born in Freemansburg, WV, graduated from West Virginia University and earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia.  After practicing medicine for some years and moving around the world because of her husband’s naval career, she received a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins. She and Charles moved to Centreville in 1966, and she worked as the County Health Officer in Queen Anne’s and Caroline Counties. Shortly after her retirement in 1981, they moved to Pinehurst, NC, but moved to Londonderry Retirement Community, in Easton, in 2002.

Commander Stephens was very active in volunteer work. He served as chairman of the Board for Londonderry, Junior Warden at Old Wye Episcopal Church, chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Parks and Recreation Department, secretary of the Centreville Rotary, and treasurer of the Queen Anne’s County Red Cross.  He was also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Fair Board, the Library Board, and Queen Anne’s County 4-H.

The couple was married for 65 years and, before Roberta’s death, in 2013, she and Charles made plans for the memorial fund. Charles died earlier this year and it was then that the magnitude of their gift was revealed. “They were generous supporters and friends of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and of every community in which they lived, as reflected in their legacy gifts,” said Buck Duncan, MSCF President. “The Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will serve as a perpetual reminder of their commitment to community and we are honored to be the stewards of their legacy.”

The Humane Society of Kent County Announces Changes in Leadership

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The Humane Society of Kent County, Maryland has announced changes in leadership for its next phase of development and growth.  The responsibilities of Executive Director, a position previously held by Jane Welsh, have been divided.  Jane has assumed a new position, Executive Vice President, focused on strategic planning for a new or improved shelter facility; fund-raising, including grants, events, and campaigns; community outreach; and advocacy for laws to improve the treatment of animals.  Jay Alexander, new to the Shelter, has assumed the position of Executive Director and has primary responsibility for the operation of the shelter, including supervision of Shelter and Animal Control personnel and maintenance of HSKC facilities.  Both positions report to the Board of Directors.

Jane Welsh began as a volunteer at the Shelter in 2009 and was President of the Board from 2012 to 2014 when she took the position of Executive Director.  Prior to that position she was Business Manager for Kent Youth, Inc., and has a background in accounting.

Jay Alexander recently returned to Chestertown from New York City.  He has extensive government and nonprofit management experience and previously worked as a Senior Manager for the Virginia Division of Risk Management.   He also served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Kent County, the Advisory Board for Main Street Historic Chestertown, and as a volunteer consultant for Sumner Hall.

Board President Richard Keaveney, in announcing the changes, commented that “Jay and Jane, together with the Board of Directors are sure to  make significant progress in realizing the next phase of shelter growth and development.”