Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Announces 2019 Youth Turkey Hunt

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (refuge) in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation will once again conduct a spring youth turkey hunt on the refuge for ages 12 to 16 years old.

The Youth Turkey Hunt will include two Saturdays: April 13th and April 20th, 2019.

Request applications by email at easternneck@fws.gov or print applications from https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Eastern_Neck/visit/visitor_activities.html

The refuge will be closed to the public until noon on April 13th and April 20th, 2019 for the Youth Turkey Hunts.

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, is a 2,285 acre island which supports a wide variety of habitats including brackish marsh, natural ponds, upland forest, and grasslands for a diversity of wildlife. The refuge holds the designation of Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Eastern_Neck/.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Unitarians to Discuss “White Fragility” on March 27

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Why does racism persist in the United States?  Why is it so difficult for even well-meaning white people to discuss the issue with blacks?  According to academic Robin DiAngelo, part of our dilemma is that “whiteness” is the “default setting .  . . .We have a pattern of whiteness never being named or acknowledged, at the same time as we name the race of people who are not white. So we grant white people the individuality that we don’t afford people of color.”

Dr. DiAngelo has written a book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, to explore this continuing problem in our society.  On Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m., the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Drive in Chestertown, will convene a discussion of the book and its implications. The public is invited to attend, free of charge.

The Book Plate, 112 S. Cross St., Chestertown, has copies of the book for sale at a modest price.

Journalist Nosheen Iqbal recently interviewed DiAngelo for the British publication The Guardian. During the conversation DiAngelo states, “We have to stop thinking about racism simply as someone who says the N-word. This book is centered on the white western colonial context and in that context white people hold institutional power.” In her article about the interview Iqbal explains further, “This means understanding that racism is a system rather than just a slur; it is prejudice plus power.  And in Britain and the US at least, it is designed to benefit and privilege whiteness by every economic and social measure. Everyone has racial bias, but, as DiAngelo is determined to establish, ‘when you back a group’s collective bias with lingering authority and institutional control, it is transformed.’”

As a part of its new Strategic Plan, UUCR has committed to undertake a church-wide focus and community activism regarding racism and racial equity.  In January the group held two public discussions of the book Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life, by Dr. David Billings.

For questions or more information please contact Lynn Dolinger, lynn.thirdwish@gmail.com.

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Helps Those Struggling with Legal Issues

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Mid-Shore Pro Bono has identified the top three civil legal issues facing young people and families of the Eastern Shore based on their work with clients during the first quarter of 2019. These issues involve advocating for children, caring for elderly loved ones, and student loan debt.

“While not unique to the Eastern Shore, these civil legal issues are dominating our caseloads so far in 2019,” said Sandy Brown, Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director. “Demand for services in these areas is on the rise, and our team is working hard to develop and expand programs and services to meet these specific needs in our community.”

The rise of incarceration and deaths of parents associated with the opioid crisis has resulted in an 82% increase in third-party custody cases brought to Mid-Shore Pro Bono. When a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or other family member seeks to gain custody of a minor child whose parents are unable to care for them, they need legal support. In response, The Child Advocacy Project was created to provide the legal services needed to give these vulnerable children a safe and stable environment so that they can thrive while their parents, if still living, can receive the help they need.

The Eastern Shore has a large aging population and adult guardianship cases have increased, especially in situations where an individual does not have the proper estate planning, powers of attorney and advance medical directives in place. When aging adults become unable to make sound financial and health decisions, they need a trusted person to become their legal guardian to make those decisions on their behalf. Adult guardianship cases are particularly complex as they can threaten an older adult’s dignity and agency.  Many of these cases are preventable by ensuring that all adults have the proper documents in place while they are still of sound mind. Through its Elder Law Project, Mid-Shore Pro Bono works with clients through clinics and one-on-one sessions with a volunteer attorney to develop these documents, and also assists with those more serious situations that have escalated to an adult guardianship case.

Student loan debt is another growing challenge to many on the Eastern Shore. Even when young adults are employed post-college, large student loan payments are damaging their financial health and making it hard to cover rent and medical expenses. Unfortunately, the Eastern Shore’s challenging job market further exacerbates this issue in our communities. Many in this situation do not understand that student loan debt is a civil legal matter and that there are remedies. Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Economic Stability Project works with these young adults through clinics and individualized legal assistance to help them delay or restructure their student loans payments into an amount that is more manageable. In the most severe cases, Mid-Shore Pro Bono will also connect clients with a volunteer attorney that will seek remedies through the courts.

“The key to many of these issues is early intervention,” said Brown. “We aim to reach potential clients before a situation escalates to the most extreme scenario. Thanks to the work of our project teams and volunteer attorneys, we have been largely successful, but we do still see cases that require intensive assistance. We encourage anyone who may be facing one of these issues to contact us so we can connect them with the help they need.”

About Mid-Shore Pro Bono
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Mid-Shore Pro Bono connects low-income individuals and families who need civil legal services with volunteer attorneys and community resources. The organization serves citizens across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. For more information or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.

Unitarians to Learn How to “Learn from the Journey”

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On Sunday, Mar 17, at 10 a.m., Rev. Sue Browning will deliver a sermon titled “Learning from the Journey” to the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Dr., Chestertown. Has your life ever included a transformative journey? Was it physical travel, or maybe a lifestyle change? When on a pilgrimage we intentionally leave ordinary patterns of life with a destination in mind. At this service with Rev. Sue Browning we’ll reflect on the ways we are changed as we move toward our destination and further changed in our return to the ordinary.

Religious Exploration for youngsters and youth and childcare for infants and toddlers will be available during the service. All are welcome! Call 410-778-3440 for more information.

Joe Trippi, Democratic Campaign Strategist, at Washington College March 28

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Master political strategist and MSNBC commentator Joe Trippi will visit Washington College on Thursday, March 28, 2019 for an open discussion/Q&A on politics and current events. Heralded on the cover of The New Republic as the person who “reinvented campaigning,” Trippi has been at the forefront of progressive politics for nearly 30 years.

The event, sponsored by Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience as part of the Harwood Series in American Journalism, is free and open to the public. It begins at 4:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. A conversational format will permit audience members to join a lively discussion with Trippi, covering everything from ongoing investigations of the Trump administration, to the fast-developing field of contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Trippi is best known for his work on the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates, including Barack Obama, Howard Dean, and Edward Kennedy, as well as in Senate and congressional races, including Alabama senator Doug Jones’s dramatic upset of Republican candidate Roy Moore. According to The Atlantic, Trippi’s influence on Democratic Party politics has been profound and lasting, especially his strategy of pursuing small-dollar online donations: “Every single campaign uses Trippi-patented tactics to raise money.” He frequently appears as a commentator on MSNBC, CBS, and Fox News, and has over 800,000 Twitter followers.

Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. Speakers in the series have included many leading figures in politics and the press. Additional cosponsorship assistance comes from the Department of Political Science, the Washington College Democrats, and the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. The Starr Center, established at Washington College in 2000, explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history.

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 39 states and territories and 25 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.

Community Conversation with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings March 21

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Maryland Democratic Party Chair, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings invites you to our Community Conversation. March 21, 2019 at The Kitchen at the Imperial Hotel, 208 High Street, Chestertown, MD.

After more than two decades operating at the nexus of politics, policy and government, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings was elected Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party in December 2018. Prior to leading the party, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings spent her career advising and working foe organizations fighting for social justice. She has worked for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the national Urban League, Congressman Charles Rangel, and the House Ways and Means Committee. Her clients have included the Alliance for Excellent Education, Unidos US, the National Academy of Social Insurance, the National council of Negro Women, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National League of Cities. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings’ leadership in the areas of health, education, economic security, and technology have been recognized by leading businesses and organizations, including Google, the Aspen Institute, and Running Start. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings lives in Baltimore City with her husband, Elijah, and she is the President and founder of Global Policy Solutions, a political consulting firm.

Doors open at 5:30 pm for socializing and dinner. 5:30-6:45 – Social and dinner hour
6:45 – Short Club meeting. 7:00 – Featured speaker Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.

RSVP to rsvp@mddems.org.

Council Approves Update to Critical Areas Ordinance

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The Chestertown Council at its March 4 meeting: (L-R) Councilmen Ellsworth Tolliver and Marty Stetson, Mayor Chris Cerino, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll, Councilwoman Linda Kuiper, and Councilman David Foster.

The Chestertown council, at its meeting March 4, unanimously adopted an ordinance updating the 2007-08 Critical Areas section of the town’s zoning ordinance. Regular revision of the ordinance is a requirement of the state’s Critical Areas Commission. The new ordinance becomes effective March 25; a complete copy is available at the town office.

Town Manager Bill Ingersoll explained that the ordinance is designed to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. He said the update has no effect on the vast majority of property owners. The 2019 map, he said, differs from earlier versions primarily in having greater accuracy and detail for things like wetlands delineation, thanks to computer-aided mapping. No property has its designation changed by the new map, he said.  According to Maryland.gov “A Critical Area includes all land within 1, 000 feet of tidal waters and wetlands in Maryland – as well as the waters of Maryland s Chesapeake Bay and coastal bay area.”

Ingersoll also gave some history on the Critical Areas ordinance, noting that most of the town is considered an “intensely developed area,” within an official Critical Area because most of the town lies within 1,000 feet of the Chester River or Radcliffe Creek. He said that several parts of town were developed after the initial ordinance, including the property that is now occupied by Heron Point and Stepney farm. Both were specifically approved for “intense development” under the county’s growth allocation in 1987. “A lot of the town was built before 1900, so those things don’t change,” he said.

The town is not likely to see much additional waterfront development unless it annexes new territory, said Ingersoll. He cited the Chestertown Armory as “probably the last example.” For most property owners, the only time they would need to consider the Critical Area rules would be for trimming or removing trees within the buffer zone – primarily dead or diseased trees, or those considered dangerous. He said the property owners should contact him for the forms necessary.

Councilman Marty Stetson asked whether any additional waterfront property could be annexed by the town. Ingersoll said it was theoretically possible that areas along the river to the north could be annexed, but that the town has no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future. Stetson said property owners south of town near the country club might request annexation. Ingersoll said the town made overtures in that direction in the past, but the property owners were not interested.

The council voted to submit letters of support for three projects applying for grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the deadline for which was midnight of the day of the meeting. One, by Sultana Education Foundation, would convert an 8.5-acre tract of the Stepney property to a wetlands preserve for educational purposes; Cerino recused himself from that vote, as he is employed by Sultana. The letter will be signed by the other four council members.

In addition, the council sent letters of support for the Chesapeake Heartland Project, a collaboration between the Starr Center at Washington College and the National Museum of African American History to create a digital archive of African-American history and culture in Kent County. Part of the project would be a specially equipped truck to go to rural areas to record the memories of residents who lack transportation. In addition to the MHAA, a letter of support went to the Mellon Foundation. Councilman David Foster recused himself because his wife is on the board of Sumner Hall, one of the supporting organizations.

The council also sent a letter of support for an application by the Historical Society of Kent County for approximately $23,000 as a capital grant for repairs to its headquarters in the Bordley Center. Barbara Jorgenson, a board member of the society, told the council that the back of the building is starting to come apart due to deteriorating basement supports. Quoting from the letter of support, Cerino called the Bordley Center “crucial to Chestertown’s continuing success.”

Also at the meeting, Queen Street resident Mary Celeste Alexander complained about the condition of the road surface on the 100 block, between High Street and Maple Avenue. She said the street is getting worse on a daily basis. She said she’s been asking for repairs for five years, with no results. “Could we have a date, please?” she asked. She added that residents have taken to calling one large area that regularly floods “Ingersoll’s Pond.”

Foster said the block is one of the first priorities for repair work when the town has funds available. Mayor Chris Cerino said the block is in the budget for paving this spring.

Alexander said the problem is not as much paving as that previous repairs have raised the street level to the point that the curbs are too low to keep water off the sidewalk. She said the curb at her house is about 1.5 inches above the road surface. “I know it’s going to be expensive, and I know you’re going to hear a lot of complaints” about being unable to park on the street during repairs, she said. But residents are willing to put up with the inconvenience if it results in repairs, she said.

Ingersoll said the town would replace the curbs when the work is done. He said the town attempted last year to get federal grants for general street repairs, but the funding went to larger projects on the western shore. “I guarantee that your block will be the first block done,” he said. “You deserve it, you really do.” He said the town could begin work as soon as the asphalt plant opens for the season.

Funding from the Maryland Highway User Fund, which had been taken away by the General Assembly for several years, is being returned to local municipalities, Ingersoll said. He said it could make significant street repairs possible. That the town’s recent tax increase could also help generate funding for the work, he added.

In a bid opening for upgrades at Louisa Carpenter Park in the Washington Park subdivision, David A. Bramble was the low bidder at $136,700 and was awarded the bid. Unity Landscape submitted the only other bid on the project, at $166,538. Ingersoll said the town was very happy with the bids, and that the grant funding for the project would be sufficient to cover the work.

At the end of the meeting, Laura Johnson, Washington College’s Vice President of Finance, announced that the college is planning to sell several properties that have become surplus. Among the properties is the large vacant lot at the junction of Washington Ave. and the Morgnec Road bypass, popularly known as the Lamotte property. The property is zoned “Professional office,” and covers some 13 acres. The college purchased it for $1.5 million in 2006, from Kent County government.

Also for sale are a large dwelling at 301 Washington Ave., which the college also acquired in 2006, for $530,000, and several residential properties on Prospect Street, near the campus just off College Avenue. She said the college “is not liquidating,” but that it has identified the properties being sold as not contributory to its strategic plan.

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Modern Board Games for Adults & Teens at KCPL March 27

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Strategy! Hilarity! Meeples! That’s right, it’s another board game night at Kent County Public Library.

If Monopoly and Scrabble are what come to mind when you think about board games, this program is an excellent opportunity to experience the landscape of modern board games. Whether you enjoy storytelling, multi-layered strategy, collaborative problem-solving, or fast-paced competition, there’s a game for everyone!

Gamers of all experience levels are welcome to try out the newest games in KCPL’s collection, including Sushi Go!, Topiary, The Fox and the Forest, Azul, and Love Letter, at this casual evening of board games.

Can’t make it to the program? You can use your library card to borrow board games to play at home.

For more information about this and other upcoming programs, visit kentcountylibrary.org or call 410-778-3636.

Wednesday, March 27 | 6-8pm
Kent County Public Library | Chestertown Branch

MDOT MVA to Address REAL ID Customer Needs

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With the October 1, 2020, deadline to get federally-required REAL ID driver’s licenses or ID cards, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has added more than 2,700 extra appointments a week. MDOT MVA has permanently added more than 1,900 appointments to its weekly schedule to address the needs of customers statewide. In addition, on March 6, eight branches that handle a high volume of driver’s license transactions added more than 800 appointments during extended hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays through May 4. Customers with appointments are guaranteed to be seen within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.

“MDOT MVA is committed to providing premier customer service to the citizens of Maryland,” said Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “During high-volume periods, an appointment is a great way to ensure that you can complete your transaction quickly.  We understand how valuable our customers’ time is and our goal is to make your visit to MDOT MVA as simple as possible.”

Statewide, 1,915 appointments a week have been permanently added during extended hours on Thursdays when branches are open until 6:30 p.m. and during traditional hours Monday through Friday.

At the eight high-volume branches ­– Annapolis, Bel Air, Columbia, Glen Burnie, Largo, Parkville, Waldorf and Walnut Hill – 806 appointments a week have been added through May 4. These extra appointments are during extended hours on Tuesdays, when the branches will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and extended hours on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

MDOT MVA has a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate for the professionalism, friendliness and helpfulness of employees. The agency is in the process of hiring up to 100 additional staff to ensure these high standards remain in place.

To make a REAL ID visit to MDOT MVA simple, customers are encouraged to visit the REAL ID webpage at www.mva.maryland.gov/realid.  In addition to a guide that allows customers to go through a checklist of common documents acceptable for REAL ID, the website contains a toolkit with videos, sample communication and more to help prepare family, friends, employees, constituents, students and many other groups for the October 1, 2020, REAL ID deadline. The website also walks people through making an online appointment. In another customer service effort, MDOT MVA recently began calling customers to remind them of their appointments and ensure they are well prepared for a REAL ID visit.

MDOT MVA is committed to communicating about REAL ID to all Marylanders. As part of this outreach effort, MDOT MVA is partnering with BWI Marshall Airport to advertise REAL ID at information kiosks, flight departure boards, baggage claim areas and more.

The federal REAL ID Act, created post 9/11, creates a security standard for driver’s licenses and identification cards nationwide. The federal REAL ID Act requires Maryland residents to bring in documentation of age and identity, social security, and two documents proving a Maryland residential address to meet federal security standards for state-issued licenses and identification cards. Effective October 1, 2020, Marylanders must have all official documents on file and be REAL ID compliant in order to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane or visit federal government facilities.

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