Archives for September 2017

Easton Sidewalks: Best Wine Dispenser on Federal Street

Already providing one of the most pleasant luncheon choices in Easton, Sunflowers and Greens has added an Italian wine dispenser got the Spy’s attention the other day. As impressive as the WineEmotion device is, the selection of wines ranging from good value to extraordinary selections now makes it possible to have a really fine glass of wine with your meal.

The wine is dispensed in 2, 4, and 8 ounce quantities, so it’s possible to taste a selection or settle in on something you really want to try without going for a bottle. The Spy opted for a glass of 2013 Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Batard-Montrachet and enjoyed a delightful outdoor lunch even more than usual!

Sunflowers and Greens information can be found here

Not Learning from Experience: The Dangerous Path for Tax Reform by Rob Ketcham

Are we going to witness the Republicans mounting another policy blitzkrieg, only to fall on their face as they ignore lessons that should have been learned?

As I write this, national attention is being directed by the President and Congressional leaders about a “tax overhaul”, a proposal for a sweeping rewrite of the tax code to reduce tax rates for corporations and individuals and eliminate some popular deductions.

The last major federal tax upgrade was enacted in 1986 and was years in the making. The process followed the path of what is referred to as “regular order”; legislative activities that involve the tax writing committees in the House and Senate, hearings, gathering information on impacts of the propositions being proposed, debating the propositions in the committees, ultimately reaching agreement on a legislative proposition to take to the floor where it may be debated further and amended, passage in both chambers and then, finally, a Conference Committee to settle the differences before the final agreement can be voted on in order to become law.

This process is almost never easy or speedy. A legislative history I am intimately familiar with, The Space Act, was signed into law on July 29, 1958, eight months after the Soviet launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957. The Select Committee formed to write the bill was said to have “performed its tasks with both amazing speed and skill.” Players included the House Majority Leader John McCormack, Senate Majority leader Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, a future President, and Les Arends, the Republican Whip. The give and take between the Democratic Congress and the Republican Administration (which had its own strongly held ideas about what the Space Act should look like) became a healthy exchange involving Bryce Harlow, Deputy Assistant for Congressional Affairs, and Ed McCabe, Administrative Assistant to President Eisenhower. This arrangement evolved into a daily exchange under “…the stress of time requirements and pride of authorship”so that everyone was kept in the loop, White House, House, and Senate. In other words, everyone worked together.

I wonder if today’s elected Republican leaders truly understand the enormous legislative effort they have pledged to take on this September. It is, in a word, daunting. The simple facts are that this is: (1) a new Administration which came to power rather unexpectedly, and (2) a Congress with a Republican Majority that has not legislated in the tax area for more than twenty years, I’d guess that very few Republican members have ever served as an advocate for any such a massive legislative undertaking— their chosen role for most of their careers has been to be opposed to whatever proposition was being forwarded for their consideration. As a further complication: the key players, the President, and legislative neophytes Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Chief Economic Adviser Cohn are not familiar with the give and take involved in the legislative process, and continue to behave as though the Congress is a forum to make demands and power through until the other side caves.

The Administration’s tax overhaul proposal contains very little detail about the impact of the legislation on anticipated revenues gained and lost and the impact on the deficit in the short and long term. But facts still matter, and when taxes are being discussed and changes being made that affect most everyone in the country, individuals and businesses alike, legislative changes must be made in a fiscally responsible way based on the best information and analysis available.

The current lack of information and specificity appears to be an attempt at obfuscation and is drawing much commentary in the media. It is true that looking at something such as the tax overhaul proposal which has such potential large economic consequences does offer the real possibility to come to different conclusions based on the assumptions being made. A debate in the tax committees, hearings and testimony would help the legislators. For example, today’s news about inflation and the interest rate and the Federal Reserve Governors differing views illustrates this.

If the Republican Congress and the White House try to come up with a rewrite of the tax code and then attempt to ram through their proposition without consensus it is doomed to failure. Probably even more than with health care, everyone is affected in their pocket or on their ledger, from the highly paid Washington lobbyist to the tax payer just barely making ends meet, and every business in the economy, from Goldman Sachs executives to the small businessmen and women who are aware of how every tax affects their bottom line.

So, to close a loophole for one person is to create an additional tax liability for someone else. If the mortgage deduction is reduced, as an example, then the individual deduction would, all things being equal, be raised proportionally. Lowering statutory tax rates on businesses requires closing “loopholes” which means that someone who presently has the loophole will lose. Since tax cuts must be offset by revenue-raising measures, it matters greatly how the tax cut is paid for. Merely holding the line on increasing a deficit could mean there would be cuts in basic programs such as those for low and middle-income wage earners.

Two sacred cows that bring in considerable revenue are marked for extinction: the A.M.T. (alternative minimum tax) and the Estate Tax. Both proposals give more than a hint of who the beneficiaries will be. It was reported by the NYT on Sept 28, 2017, that the alternative minimum tax forced Mr. Trump to pay $31 million in additional taxes in 2005. The Estate Tax affects only the wealthy these days— estates worth more than $5.49 million ($10.98 million for a couple). Proposals for these sacred cows, if agreed to be eliminated, loom large because of the lost revenue which must then be made up in some other way. In other words, to benefit a few of the wealthy, there is a real possibility that the middle class and the poor would lose as the balance is tilted against them.

The dearth of information at this beginning stage about the effect of the tax reduction proposal could be deliberate, or it could reflect a lack of appreciation of how to propose legislation. For example: tax policy in America has contained an unwritten principle as reflected in the present code; progressivity—which means that the lowest tax rate which is for lower-income workers ranges from 10 percent, to the highest bracket for the very wealthy which is presently 39.6 percent. Nothing I have read so far pays any lip service or provides helpful information on this important point.

At some point in the legislative process, in order for a bill is taken seriously, the Congressional Budget Office undertakes the task of scoring the proposal, which simply means it is charged to put numbers to the proposal so the legislators will know the financial impact of what is being proposed, such as revenue gains or revenue losses. Doing the scoring came up during the health care debate and seemed an anathema to the Senate Majority Leader at least during its consideration.

All persons who are following the proposed rewrite of the tax code will need to be quite vigilant that the estimates are made by those reliable to make them. Trying to skirt this requirement and projecting positive economics because of the old saw that reducing revenue to business expands economic output just should not be allowed to happen. A good example follows of some of the hype used by proponents in the recent past. In an article in the NYTimes of 9/27/17 entitled Will Tax Holiday Generate Jobs? It Didn’t take a Decade Ago, Eduardo Porter writes that the tax break approved by a bipartisan majority in Congress in order to repatriate billions of dollars stashed overseas at 5.25 percent (instead of the corporate rate of 35 percent) was supposed to create more than 500,000 jobs in the US over the next two years. In point of fact, the jobs did not come in. The corporations who took advantage of the tax break did flow $299 billion in corporate earnings back, “but it did not result in an increase in domestic investment, domestic employment or R&D” the article states. “Promises, promises… ”

And just a word on bipartisanship. President Trump had dinner recently with “Chuck and Nancy” (the Senate and House Minority Leaders) at a time when things were unraveling over the debt ceiling: surprise! The President and Chuck and Nancy reached a deal that got everyone past the immediate crisis. As I write this there is news that a bipartisan group of legislators in the Senate who serve on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee have held hearings on stabilizing Obamacare insurance marketplaces, and have gathered input from some of their colleagues and are bargaining over the outlines of a deal which could stabilize the insurance marketplaces. Some reforms are being discussed, states would be given more freedom design and experiment, and even a lower level “copper” health insurance plan is being talked about. These events give me some hope—since if I learned one thing on the Hill it is when the members finally decide to do something and work together they find a way to do it.

I can only hope that today the Joint Committee on Taxation is as professional and competent as it was when I served on the Hill. At that time the committee had a deep bench of very able non-partisan staff headed by a Staff Director of impeccable credentials. Such experience and institutional memory are invaluable when taking on a task like tax reform or overhaul.

It seems almost inconceivable to me that the Republican Congressional leaders and the Administration would try yet again to legislate on a partisan basis. While I am very much in favor of improving the tax code and think it is long overdue, I just hate to think that so much effort could just be squandered by a group of Congressmen and the White House who appear not to have learned anything from their past failures, and who have not yet assumed the mantle of true leadership which requires working with everyone in order to achieve a result worthy of everyone’s best efforts.


Bob Ketcham served as the chief of staff of the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology and staff director of the Fossil and Nuclear Energy Subcommittee during the 1980s and 1990s. Prior to those positions, he was Special Counsel to the House Select Committee on Committees chaired by Richard Bolling (D-MO).  He holds a BA and JD from Washington and Lee University as well as a SG from Harvard University’s Senior Managers in Government Program. He has lived on the Eastern Shore since 1999 with his wife, Caroline.

Spy Habitat Price Points: What $400,000 to $700,000 Buys You in Talbot County

This week’s feature is a property listed for $469, 500 at 28867 Jasper Lane in Easton.

The Galloways Townhomes in the Cooke’s Hope neighborhood is conveniently located between Easton and Oxford. Although I am not fond of front loading garages, adding the two car garage to the ground floor gave this unit extra width and created space behind it for a spacious master suite with views to the garden.

This desirable end unit’s front elevation has great curb appeal with its craftsman decorative elements. I liked how the garage doors were painted a darker shade than the walls instead of the trim color to blend in and unify the elevation. The rear elevation has two projections that gives the terrace privacy for relaxing and enjoying the broad views to the meadow beyond.

I like houses to have a sense of entry and this townhome has an entrance hall with a dormer window so daylight can penetrate into the space. The hall opens up to a large living space with defined sitting, dining and kitchen areas. Daylight from the rear windows and another dormer in the vaulted ceiling give the space architectural character. Two other bedrooms, each with its own bath, a bonus room and large storage are on the second floor.


 

For more information about this property contact Janet Larson with Benson and Mangold at 410-310-1797 or jlarson@bensonandmangold.com.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Ride for Clean Rivers Tops $60,000

On Sunday, September 18, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) hosted hundreds of cyclists from across the region who converged at Chesapeake College to experience firsthand the Midshore’s natural beauty during the 13th Annual Ride for Clean Rivers.

Close to 400 riders took to the backroads of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, exploring rural countryside, and visiting Tuckahoe State Park, the small town of Queen Anne, and Kingston Landing. It was a day filled with fun, friends, and fitness. MRC would like to thank everyone who cycled, volunteered, sponsored, and cheered throughout the day. With such strong support, MRC raised well over $60,000 toward protecting and restoring Midshore rivers.

MRC staff (L-R) Matt Pluta, Meta Boyd, Rebecca Murphy, Suzanne Sullivan, Elle O’Brien, Jeff Horstman, Ann Frock, and Kristin Junkin.

Thank you to Dock Street Foundation, KELLY Benefit Strategies, Chesapeake College, Agency of Record, Bay Imprint, Bay Pediatric Center, Bike Doctor, Bicycling magazine, Blessings Environmental Concepts, The Brewer’s Art, C-Jam Yacht Sales, Diamondback Bikes, Dr. Computer, S.E.W Friel, The Orthopedic Center, Solar Energy Services, and Sweetwater Brewing for sponsoring this year’s ride. Thank you to rest stop sponsors—Adkins Arboretum, 4-H Chesapeake Bay Club, and Sprout—and the SAG (support and gear) crew that helped keep riders safe and energized. Bike racks were provided by Cambridge Multi-Sport, food was catered by BBQ Joint and Chesapeake College, and the band was Edgemere. And finally, thank you for the support of all riders and rider sponsors. Congratulations to the top fundraisers, Bob Eisinger, Hutch Smith, Debi McKibben, and Tom Fauquier. McKibben was the winner of a Century 2 bike, generously donated by Diamondback.

All proceeds from Ride for Clean Rivers support MRC’s education, restoration, and water quality monitoring programs.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds. For more information, visit midshoreriverkeeper.org, email kdroter@midshoreriverkeeper.org, or phone 443.385.0511.

Compass Regional Hospice Now Offers Pet Loss Grief Support

Compass Regional Hospice is expanding the Hope & Healing Center’s grief support services to include counseling and therapeutic workshops for those who are dealing with the loss of a pet.

Join us for the first time offering of a therapeutic pet loss workshop on Saturday, October 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Hope & Healing Center, 255 Comet Drive in Centreville.

This therapeutic workshop will be facilitated by Linda Turner, MS, bereavement counselor for Compass Regional Hospice. This workshop is open to the public.  There is a $10 registration fee. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

“When someone close to us dies, our loss is usually met with sympathy, comfort, and offerings of sincere condolences and yet many pet owners are not met with the same support and are often left to grieve alone,” says bereavement counselor Linda Turner.  “We recognize that pets become a part of our family and the loss of their unconditional love can be very difficult to cope with.”

This therapeutic workshop is designed to provide a supportive environment for individuals to find hope and healing after losing their furry loved ones with others dealing with similar experiences. With facilitation from the group leader, participants may share memories of their pet, discuss new ways to cope with their grief and complete a special remembrance activity.

For more information about the grief support services offered through the Hope & Healing Center, contact Compass Regional Hospice, 443-262-4100www.compassregionalhospice.org/hopeandhealing.

About the Hope & Healing Center

The Hope & Healing Center is a collection of programs and services available for the family of patients who died under Compass Regional Hospice’s care and members of the community who are grieving the death of a loved one. The menu of services offered through the Hope & Healing Center have a common focus‐ rekindling hope and facilitating healing following a significant loss. Services include individual and family grief counseling, specialized grief support groups, school‐based grief counseling, non‐ denominations spiritual counseling, remembrance events and therapeutic workshops. One of the popular grief support programs is Camp New Dawn, an annual summer camp for children, teens and families. Since most grief support programs are offered free of charge, Compass Regional Hospice depends on donations to cover the cost of operating the Hope & Healing Center.

Adkins Arboretum’s Enchanted Fairyfest is Oct. 14

Bring your wings and wands for a day of magic at Adkins Arboretum! The Arboretum’s second annual Fairyfest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 14, celebrates fancy, fantasy and fun in the forest. Follow a trail of fairy houses along enchanted forest paths, and join in a meadow maypole dance. Search for gnomes in the Funshine Garden, craft magical treasures to take home, and wave to the Billy Goats Gruff from atop a hay wagon.

The event includes live entertainment throughout the day in the woodland theatre, shimmering fairy face painting, rainbow bubbles, archery and fairytale games. Unicorn rides provided by Snapdragon Stables and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Kicking off the fun, Master Naturalist Beth Lawton will offer a special Fairy Makers crafting program for ages 12 and up on Fri., Oct. 13. Crafted of felt, silk flowers, wooden beads and seed pods, the tiny acorn fairies made in the workshop will delight fairy lovers of all age. Each participant will create a one-of-a-kind fairy to take home. The workshop is $10 for members and $15 for non-members; spots are limited, and advance registration is required at adkinsarboretum.org.

Admission to Fairyfest is $10 for adults and children ages 3 and up. Children ages 2 and under are admitted free.

Fairyfest is sponsored in part by Garden Treasures of Easton and Soistman Family Dentistry. For more information, call 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or visit adkinsarboretum.org.

Talbot Hospice to Host a Free Seminar for the Community

Talbot Hospice will be hosting “Wills and Probate and Planned Giving 101: What You Need to Know” on Saturday, October 14 from 8:30 am – 10:30 am in the Clark-Guthrie Center at Hospice House, located at 586 Cynwood Drive, Easton.

Guest presenters at the seminar include Charles Capute, Esquire and Elizabeth Spurry, CFP, CFTA.  Mr. Capute is an attorney practicing principally in the area of trusts and estates.  In 2002 he became the founding member and partner of Charles T. Capute LLC.  He has worked with trusts and estates for more than 35 years, and has served in many leadership capacities in the community, including his current position as a member of the board of directors of Shore Regional Health.

Charles Capute (right) and Elizabeth Spurry

Elizabeth Spurry of Trappe is President of Tred Avon Family Wealth in Easton, which offers boutique family office services to help individuals and families preserve and manage family wealth.  She is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner.  She is currently active on the boards of The Harbor Club, The May Foundation, and the Sultana Education Foundation.

In Mr. Capute’s presentation he will discuss the probate process: what it is, how it works, and whether it is wise for you to plan around it.  Ms. Spurry will discuss Planned Giving: What it is, overview of the kinds of planned gifts, and what you need to consider as you begin to plan.

The event includes a continental breakfast beginning at 8:30 am.  Presentations will be made from 9 am – 10:30 am with time for questions and answers.

Seating is limited and registration is required either by visiting talbothospice.org/events or by contacting Kate Cox, kcox@talbothospice.org, 410-822-6681 x15.

Food Friday: End of the Summer

Fall is here, although it doesn’t feel like it. Hurricanes are churning their ways up the coast from Florida. It is still sub-tropically warm and damp. And yet I am anticipating cooler weather and warmer foods. I know, come February, I will be pining away for summertime treats. Sometimes I feel like Milo in The Phantom Tollbooth, always longing for the next experience. I should be like the cat, happily napping in pools of warm buttery sunlight, but in truth I just flipped through the L.L. Bean winter outdoor clothing catalogue with relish!

Cooler weather means I will return to the kitchen and will rummage about for the big stew pots, the loaf pans, the Crock Pot and the recipes that will stick-to-our-ribs. And, I fear, enlarging our expanding waistlines… Stews, chilies, spaghetti sauces, meatloaves, lasagnes, breads, brownies and pot pies. Spices swirling in the air. Baking. Anticipating Thanksgiving. I’m dreaming of a change from the hot, all-too-familiar sameness of this stinking hot old summer. And then there are the sugar plums that arrive in December! Plus having to figure out what to do for the Christmas card this year!

I love trailing through food halls, peering through shop windows and admiring perfectly arranged still lives of fruits, vegetables and meats, getting ideas and inspirations. In London at Selfridge’s palatial food hall a couple of years ago I marveled at the goose eggs, duck eggs and quail eggs artfully displayed in small packages in a case that also included tubs of duck fat. Interesting. Perplexing. Nearby there were the picture perfect piles of roasted meats and strings of sausages, and acres of fish and pretty shiny red lobsters, too. Much easier culinary concepts for my addled tourist brain to absorb.

Closer to home we have a butcher shop where all manner of imported specialities are stacked on every surface, and they are fascinating to contemplate while standing in line for my two pounds of Italian sausage; one hot, one sweet. Perched on counters and shelves and under the counter are day-glow pink pickled eggs in Jeroboam-sized jars, capers galore, an abundance of olive varieties, huge cafeteria-sized tins of La Bella San Marzano Italian Plum Tomatoes, gallons of imported light, plain, virgin and extra virgin olive oils in varying-shaped bottles and vessels, dusty packages of pastas, trays of fresh mozzarella, and I could continue the inventory all day. I always feel humbled when confronted by all the ingredients of what must be the potential for many feasts, when all I want is some sausage.

We do not ease our way back inside from the summer spent cooking on the grill. It is done abruptly. Labor Day has come and gone. The white shoes have been banished (except for sneakers). Football games occupy the weekends. I’d prefer to have my sausage and chicken cooked on the grill, but the grill is in semi-retirement. It will only cook steaks and hamburgers until the spring rolls around again, or if our Connecticut friend comes to visit and we prepare Big Love Pizza as a threesome. It is back to the kitchen for me – the summer holiday is over.

The End of Summer
Chicken, Sausage and Peppers

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 large bell peppers, cut into strips (We like the sweeter tasting red or yellow peppers)
• 2 medium onions, sliced (I like Vidalia or any sweet onion)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pound hot Italian sausage
• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
• 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cubed
• A generous sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, garlic and sauté 10 minutes. Cook until tender, about 5 -10 minutes. I like to singe the edges of the vegetables.

Cook sausages in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Ditto with the chicken cubes. Scoop the peppers and onions onto a platter and pile the meat on top. Add a salad, a crusty loaf of bread, a tall glass of wine and candles.

This is a good meal to make on the weekend, because you can toss the leftover sausage and chicken with pasta or rice, and voilà! Dinner is made for a dreary Monday, when no one (least of all me!) wants to cook.
Summer is almost a dream again.

http://food52.com/recipes/15846-healthy-sausage-peppers

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/open-face-sausage-and-peppers-sandwiches

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Takes a Letter

This is how typing class in Talbot County looked back in the 1950’s! Do schools still have a typing class? Computers are so much better, smaller, and forgiving when a mistake is made! Can you help us identify these students? This Talbot Historical Society Laird Wise Collection negative was probably taken at the Oxford Road Easton High School.

Contact: Cathy Hill cvhill@atlanricbb.net to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!

Proud Moments by Craig Fuller

I think we all have them. Some are widely shared. Some are very unique.

I’m fully prepared to acknowledge that in the unique category are those proud moments that occur in public service at the White House. And, mind you, I said “unique” not better or more important.

They are unique because of the roughly 326 million people now living in the United States, only a tiny percentage have an inclination to serve in the White House and only a fraction of those ever receive the opportunity.

Several days ago, I confess to spending a good deal of time in reflection about proud moments shared with President George H.W. Bush. The occasion was a meeting of the Bush Library Foundation Board of Trustees. I was asked to serve in the 1990s as the former chief of staff to Vice President Bush. The group hadn’t actually met in a number of years and out of the blue came an invitation to Kennebunkport, Maine for a meeting and a reception with President and Mrs. Bush.

Perhaps because I have not visited their wonderful home in Kennebunkport for a few years; or, perhaps due to the tribulations in Washington that seem almost debilitating; but, whatever it was, the occasion brought some of the best of times rushing back.

We’d traveled to over 60 countries together. And, we managed to build a campaign effort that proved successful with his election in November 1988.

It wasn’t so much a sense that somehow we’d changed history…of course, we certainly made some. And, there wasn’t some focus on big decisions. It really was more a sense of pride in time spent helping a person in whom I believed so much become President. Along that path there were many proud moments.

I came away from the weekend mindful of how important it is not to take for granted the proud moments all of us experience in whatever circumstance they may arrive. Family certainly provides many. Professional opportunities provide them. Helping others brings a sense of pride and self-worth that has been the focus of many a study.

Wherever you may be and whatever the activities in which you engage, do take the time to pause and appreciate the proud moments in life.

If there was any downside to these proud moment reflections, it went to the notion that in this White House so many must be working so hard; yet, I can’t help but think they will be denied the proud moments the many who have gone before them experienced. That is a shame. But, maybe the message here is that proud moments are too important to endanger with adverse circumstances. Paying attention to the environment in which one places themselves and the available opportunities for taking pride in one’s achievements is important; and, a paucity of proud moments is not to be taken for granted – at least that’s what I’d tell anyone currently working at The White House should they ask.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.