Letter to the Editor: Hospital’s Emergency Room is Top Notch

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Last week my cousin, who must use a walker to get around, broke her wrist. Our wonderful Rescue Squad (thank you Maurice) took her to the Emergency Room at the Hospital in Chestertown. As there was not an available bed in the hospital, and due to unexpected circumstances, she stayed in the ER for two days. During her stay in the ER, I was there a great deal of the time and I cannot say enough complimentary things about her treatment. The ER was extremely busy but the staff was very attentive and a doctor saw her within a reasonable time. Under the circumstances it was a very positive experience.

We are very fortunate to have our Hospital and it must stay open not only as an ER but also as an “in-bed” operation.

Mackey Metcalfe Dutton
Chestertown

Letter to the Editor: Protect the Chesapeake Bay on Election Day

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While Andy Harris should be commended for his recent vote in support of cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, the League of Women Voters rates his overall stand on environmental issues at 3 percent. A sudden change of heart on our representative’s part – probably not.

The Chesapeake Bay is such an important part of my life and has been for years. I’ve played in it and on it for years and I followed my parents to the Eastern Shore when my husband and I retired here nearly 20 years ago. It has changed so much since I was a young and could grab oysters from under my parents dock or chicken neck for crabs for dinner. Now the oysters are gone and I can’t see into the water to net the crabs.

Fortunately, the Bay is also a recognized in general as a national and regional treasure, providing not only enjoyment but significant economic benefits for the region. Despite our representative’s voting record, Congress and our previous presidents have recognized this importance and have committed to restoring the health of the Bay. After a 15 year and $19 billion dollar cleanup effort the Chesapeake Bay health is slowly but steadily improving earning a C in the latest report card.

Let’s put someone in office who recognizes and values the Chesapeake Bay. Jesse Colvin, who is running against Andy Harris in the upcoming election, wants to add one million oysters to the Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps if that happens my grandson and I will eventually be able to see the crabs and I can pass on the wonderful art of “chicken-necking” to his generation.

Ellyn Vail
Worton, MD

Letter to the Editor: Welcome to American Socialism! by Grenville Whitman

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As he runs for re-election, GOP Gov. Larry Hogan is labeling his Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous, a “socialist.” As a conservative Republican, it’s likely that Mr. Hogan believes that “socialist” is a pejorative term (much like his misleading “rain tax” label), but this just shows his failure to understand what socialism is.

Welcome to American socialism, Brother Hogan! Here’s an expanded version of a Facebook posting explaining that you’re a socialist if:

  • Your drinking water’s from a public system;
  • You value clean air;
  • Your home connects to a public wastewater plant;
  • You drive safely on a public highway, and your car is safe, too;
  • Your home is safe ‘cause it was inspected through and through;
  • Your municipality plows you out;
  • You get accurate weather reports;
  • You can sue someone in court;
  • Your children attend public school or use the public library;
  • You call the cops for assistance, and they show up;
  • Your children attend a public college or university;
  • You’re enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid;
  • You qualify for food stamps, rent assistance, WIN, and CHIP;
  • The feds test your medications to make them safe and effective;
  • Ditto the food you feed your family;
  • You decide which foods to buy based on info on container labels;
  • Your kid’s toys are safe;
  • You enjoy a park (municipal, county, state, or federal);
  • You rely on public transportation;
  • Your plane lands safely;
  • You have a safe trip by train or bus or taxi or subway;
  • You found your dog in a municipal shelter.

Grenville B. Whitman

Rock Hall

Letter to the Editor: Tariffs Explained by Bob Moores

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There is a small island far far out in the ocean. On the island are two villages, Unbrellina and Chairica. Unbrellina was so-named because it is home to renowned maker of beach umbrellas, Joseph Umbrellaman. Chairica was named for Samuel Chairman, whose business of making quality beach chairs is legendary in oceanic lore.

Both Unbrellina and Chairica use the same currency, the Nemodollar.

Unbrellaman sells his umbrellas for $10, both locally and for export to Chairica.

Chairman sells his chairs for $10, both locally and for export to Umbrellina.

Chairica has a local manufacturer of umbrellas, Sydney’s Umbrellas, but since Sydney’s is not efficient, its price for umbrellas is $15. Value-minded Chairicans therefore buy most of their beach umbrellas from Umbrellina.

Similarly, Umbrellina has a local manufacturer of beach chairs, but because of a shortage of chair-stuff he has to price his chairs at $15. Consequently, Umbrellinians buy most of their chairs from Chairica.

One day, the Chief of Chairica, in order to help his friend Sydney, slaps a 100% tax (a.k.a. tariff) on umbrellas from Umbrellina. Umbrellas from Umbrellina now cost Chairicans $20 instead of $10. Naturally, value-minded Chairicans stop buying imported umbrellas and begin buying $15 umbrellas from Sydney.

The Chief of Umbrellina is not happy with the new tariff on his main export. He retaliates tit-for-tat. He slaps a 100% tax on chairs from Chairica, imported chairs now costing $20. Value-minded Umbrellinians stop buying imported chairs, and begin buying $15 locally-made chairs.

Who wins and who loses from these events?

Sydney of Chairica is happy because his umbrella business is more profitable. The two additional employees he hires are happy to be employed.

Umbrellica’s local supplier of chairs is happy because of increased sales of his chairs. The two additional employees he hires are happy to be employed.

But the 1000 consumers in Chairica must pay 50% more for every umbrella they buy. And the 1000 consumers of Umbrellica must pay 50% more for every chair they buy.

The consumers of both villages lose. It’s called “inflation.”

Bob Moores
Chestertown

 

The Save Our Hospital: Our Worries and Hopes by Margie Elsberg

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The standing-room audience at Save the Hospital’s meeting last Thursday of doctors, nurses, first responders and citizens asked hard questions and offered powerful indictments of how Shore Regional Health manipulates the inpatient count in Chestertown today, and decried plans to eliminate the Intensive Care Unit after 2022. Our doctors insisted that the need for ICU care is non-negotiable while 911-responders and hospital nurses told Shore president and CEO Ken Kozel they believe that Easton physicians sometimes transfer patients to Easton to reduce the number of inpatients in Chestertown.

They say unnecessary transfers take ambulances and 911 responders out of the county and patients far from home. They explained that Chestertown nurses are sent home when they report for work because there are so few patients, leaving them to choose whether to lose income for the day or accept pay allocated for a vacation or personal leave day. So many nurses have been sent home multiple times, we learned, that they have no paid leave left, and five long-time Chestertown nurses have just resigned to accept secure jobs elsewhere.

Another concern was the aging, reduced workload and retirement of local primary physicians. Six of our 13 primary doctors are now 64 to 70-plus, a situation Shore Health has always known could be avoided by recruitment efforts. Nonetheless, until Scott Burleson became Chestertown’s Executive Director, Shore made NO attempt to recruit primary doctors to Chestertown.

In less than two years, until his retirement in March, Burleson brought Dr. Julia Belanger and Dr. Beth Reetz to Chestertown and recruited Dr. Matthew Reetz (Beth’s husband) to start practicing in December, 2017. Inexplicably, Shore has delayed Matt Reetz’ arrival until January, 2019. Notably, Burleson’s part-time replacement, Kathy Elliott, the highly-respected Nursing Director in both Chestertown and Grasonville, has no experience recruiting physicians.

Meanwhile, Save the Hospital and Shore are suddenly allies (politics makes strange bedfellows), seeking legislation that will literally save our hospital beyond 2022. We both want Maryland to designate our hospital as a “Rural Access Community Hospital,” a change that will save inpatient care and direct the state to provide support to offset the reality that rural care costs more to deliver than urban care.

We will need huge community support to win this legislation, so please stay tuned. For now, please use the hospital and donate to the Chester River Health Foundation to equip our excellent hospital with state-of-the-art technology.

On behalf of Save the Hospital,

Margie Elsberg

Letter to the Editor: Kent County Arts Council Awarded $100,000 and other Good News

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The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) has received a Maryland Heritage Areas Authority “Stories of the Chesapeake” capital grant for $100,000 toward the renovation of theVincent and Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building in Chestertown.

“The significance of this grant cannot be understated,” said Arts Council President Clark Bjorke. “To be recognized by a division of the Maryland Historic Trust for renovation of an historic anchor building for Chestertown’s Main Street and Arts & Entertainment District, is quite exciting. What better way to tell more of the stories of our region than through the arts.”

The grant brings total capital funding to nearly $300,000 toward a $1 million goal, in just 12 months, according to John Schratwieser, Director of the KCAC.

“Thanks to the generosity of so many, we have purchased this historic building, fully replaced the roof, and now, thanks to Stories of the Chesapeake, we can stabilize the structure and begin the process of renovating the inside to create a real ‘home’ for the arts in Kent County,” he added. Already, the Raimond Arts Building has hosted two major KCAC exhibitions, and has been used free of charge by Chestertown RiverArts, National Music Festival, Poetry Out Loud, Kent County Public Schools, Maryland State Arts Council, the County Arts Agencies of Maryland, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, Music in the Park, and more.

“We can’t wait for it to be renovated and to increase its use as a service to the residents of Kent County,” Schratwieser said.

Invest

In keeping with its mission to invest, infuse, and inspire the arts for all in Kent County, the KCAC is also announcing the opening dates for its FY19 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) grant cycles. On Aug. 7, it will open its General Operating Support grant applications.

These grants are specifically for the annual operations and programming of nonprofit arts organizations, whose primary mission is to deliver arts services and programs to the community. In fiscal year 2018, the KCAC awarded more than $30,000 in this category supporting Chestertown RiverArts, The Garfield Center for the Arts, The Mainstay, National Music Festival, Chester River Chorale, Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble, Kent County Community Marching Band, The Chestertown Spy and the Chester River Youth Chorale. For FY19 nearly $40,000, an increase of over 30%, will be available. The Board of the Arts Council is finalizing new guidelines and a new process for FY19.

In FY18, Project Grants were awarded to nearly 20 community organizations including: Legacy Day, Chestertown Tea Party, Rock Hall Fall Fest, Sultana Downrigging, Dickens of a Christmas, Chester Valley Ministers Association, Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, Vincent Hynson Scholarships, ChesterGras, Kent County High School Mural, Whitsitt Center Mural, and Janes United Methodist Church’s Gospel Celebration, among others. For FY19, $20,000 has been committed to this category — a 25% increase over last year. Project Grants are available on a rolling bases throughout the year and are typically between $500 and $1,000.

Kent County High School students and teachers work with guest artist Sue Stockman on KCHS Mural

Infuse

The KCAC, working with local nonprofit consultant Darran Tilghman, hosts “Infusion Sessions” for arts administrators in the County. This year, KCAC is coordinating opportunities for directors of the general operating grant recipients to meet with and learn from veteran administrators in their field, working in organizations throughout Maryland. The KCAC will provide a stipend to cover travel and food for a one-day visit as follows: Chestertown River Arts with The Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, MD; The Garfield Center for the Arts with Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD; The Mainstay with Strathmore Hall and its related AMP venue in Bethesda, MD; National Music Festival with the University of Maryland College Park’s National Orchestra Institute, College Park, MD; Sumner Hall with the Prince George’s African American Museum in Hyattsville, MD and KCAC has even reached across the Chester to connect Church Hill Theatre with Everyman Theater in Baltimore, MD. “These professional development meetings are fantastic opportunities to enhance and expand upon the great work our local arts and culture administrators are already doing,” Schratwieser said.

The Kent County Arts Council will also continue to grow the popular ARTS IN MOTION Program created by Tom McHugh in collaboration with the Kent County Public Schools. As such, we will host a second annual Professional Development Day for Kent County Public School teachers, working in tandem with KCPS’s Gina Jachimowicz and Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch to support Kent County fine arts teachers, and to share examples of arts integration with faculty from all subjects. The First “PD” day, held in January 2018, focused on introducing our 11 fine arts teachers to artists and arts organizations in the County who stand ready, willing, and able to support our teachers and their students through the arts. This program is funded in part by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust.

Inspire

The Kent County Arts Council has a role to play in providing inspiring opportunities for artists and residents alike. The Arts Council continues to celebrate the success of last year’s “WarFront/HomeFront” and “Heroin & Healing” exhibitions, both of which reached deep in to the community to raise the level of understanding of the use of the arts to transform lives and communities, and to provide a vehicle for empathy and understanding. Our mission — to Inspire — continues this fall with two major works.

First, in partnership with Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Festival, Oct. 26–28, the KCAC will produce a new short play written by Kent County playwright and poet, Robert Earl Price, called “UNLADING”. This poem-turned-dramatic work will feature six to eight actors embodying the voices of the first 23 enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, VA almost 400 years ago, in August 1619. The production will be performed in the sanctuary of historic Janes United Methodist Church in Chestertown.

Second, in collaboration with The Philips Collection in Washington, D.C., the KCAC will partner with Kent County High School, the Garfield Center for the Arts and Chestertown RiverArts on a multi-faceted program called “Migration: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence” in September, October and November 2018 that will culminate with four evenings of theater, Nov. 1–4 at the Garfield and an exhibit of student “Migration” themed art work at RiverArts Nov. 1 – 11.

KCAC has engaged playwright and producer Jacqueline Lawton, assistant professor of Theater at UNC Chapel Hill, to bring five new plays to Kent County. Commissioned by the Philips Collection in 2015, each is based on one of the 60 “Great Migration Series” panels painted by renowned African-American artist Jacob Lawrence. Michele Volansky, Washington College chair of Theater and Dance, will direct the plays, which will be presented as the first act of a two-act evening. The second act will be a revival of Kent County’s own “migration” story — “Red Devil Moon” by Pam Ortiz and Robert Earl Price.

As part of the Arts Council’s work to increase access to the arts for KCPS students, 40 students from Kent County High School and four KCPS art teachers will have the opportunity to visit the Philips Collection in September. The students and teachers will see some of Lawrence’s Great Migration Series panels up close and get a full workshop on the panels and other great works at the art museum.

Following this field trip, the high school students will work with their teachers to create their own works, interpreting the Migration Series panels, and elementary school art teachers will also work with their students to create work related to Lawrence.

Finally, to further solidify the student’s connection to the Great Migration, the KCAC and The Garfield will partner to bus students from all over Kent County to a day-time performance of “Red Devil Moon” at The Garfield on Thursday, October 18, as part of this comprehensive program.

KCAC is grateful to the Indian Point Foundation, The Philanthropic Network, and the Hedgelawn Foundation for their generous support of our programming. The Kent County Arts Council is funded in large part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council with investment from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Kent County Commissioners and the people of Kent County, Maryland.

John Schratwieser
Executive Director
Kent County Arts Council

 

Letter to the Editor: Chestertown Cancer Patients Need Your Help

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I would like to bring attention to a volunteer opportunity with the American Cancer Society, that may interest people in the Chestertown area.  The Road to Recovery program provides rides for patients in need, to any cancer related medical appointment or treatment.  Because we currently have only four drivers in the Chestertown area, many patients that need to go to Easton for treatment must be turned down.  As we all know, if one cannot get to treatment, cancer is literally a matter of life or death.
I drive for this program because I enjoy meeting and talking to new people; I enjoy driving; and the trip to Easton, while 45-50 minutes, is fairly easy and traffic free.  I drive when it fits my schedule, as driving schedules are flexible.  I also get great satisfaction knowing I am making a tremendous difference in someone’s life.  In the years I have driven, I have met so many nice people from all walks of life, all of whom are so very grateful for what I do.
If you think this is something that may interest you, please call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345, or go to www.cancer.org/drive.  Please consider helping.  You will be glad you did!
Diana Wilson

Letter to the Editor: Trump’s No Collusion Illusion

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Trump said it again at his press conference with Putin, “just to say it one time again and I say it all the time, there was no collusion.” The sing song goes on.  You can’t miss the lyric to nearly every Mueller indictment, every Congressional committee report, every witness, however insignificant.

“See, no collusion, no collusion.”  The beat goes on. The repetition designed to create it’s own truth. But there has been collusion and the latest indictment will lead to more and even more examples.

NPR and others have reported that Diana Denman, a Republican delegate to the 2016 Convention who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, said that Trump aide J.D. Gordon was directed to weaken that position in the official platform. Gordon has denied that he was directed but has since been under investigation by Mueller and the latest indictment lays more groundwork to cite this as an early signal to Putin that their clandestine work on behalf of Trump would pay off.

We now know that Trump campaign officials were communicating with Guccifer 2.0 — a Russian front part of Russian intelligence. The only question now is not whether there was collusion between Russian intelligence and members of the Trump campaign and organization, clearly there was, but whether it was witting or unwitting. In other words did the Trumpistas know with whom they were in contact with and why.

As the Mueller investigation closes in to reveal a pattern of collusion. We see Trump drawing desperately to his new best friend, willing to sacrifice core American interests in the process.

Today, we saw President Trump sell his country down the Volga River. We have only yet to learn the price of the sale.

Stan Salett
Chestertown

Stan Salett had offices in Moscow and Tbilisi, Georgia in the early 1990’s and has been a policy advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton.

Letter to the Editor:Trump’s Deplorables

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“Basket of Deplorables” cartoon by Clay Jones of Claytoonz.com

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton coined “Deplorables” during the 2016 presidential campaign, her signal attempt to mark out Donald Trump’s core voters, now estimated to be 40 percent of the GOP.

But a little history’s in order. In our hyper-partisan era, we can’t forget that Trump’s Deplorables had their genesis within—and were a shameful bastion of—the Democratic Party, constituting the party’s “Solid South” and tolerated by Al Smith, FDR, and Harry Truman.

Then in 1948, Hubert Humphrey proposed modest civil rights planks for his party’s platform and punctured the dike. Southern Democrats were offended and, as Strom Thurmond’s “Dixiecrats,” they stomped out of the convention.

The Dixiecrats’ exit was followed over the next half-century by the civil rights movement painfully winning battle after battle, LBJ signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Richard Nixon concocting his (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) “Southern Strategy,” Ronald Reagan perfecting it, and Newt Gingrich baiting and demonizing Democrats.

Before they became Trump’s Deplorables, they were Jim Crow segs and lynchers. Before that, Confederate slave-owners and traitors. And before that, Know-Nothings.

Die-hard racists, union busters, religious bigots, misogynists, America-Firsters, states-righters, self-appointed posses comitatus, oath-keepers, and neo-fascists—collectively, the Deplorables—are no longer welcome in the Democratic Party, and few, if any, remain. They’ve all migrated to the GOP, and to Trump.

As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Grenville B. Whitman

Rock Hall