Facilitated Discussion Group to Explore ‘The Blessings of Our Lives’

sarah-and-georgeA new offering, The Blessings of Our Lives: An Adventure in Discovery, facilitated by Sarah Sadler and George Merrill will meet for six consecutive weeks beginning October 12th, from 10:30 am to noon at the Evergreen Center for Balanced Living, 770 Port Street in Easton.

Being full of years, a biblical metaphor of aging, suggests that our years abound with treasures. They’re easily forgotten and sometimes unrecognized in the scramble of daily activities. Exploring the long trajectory of our lives together in a small group presents exciting opportunities for discovering in our own stories what, at first, may seem old and familiar to us, something new and of great value.

The course is an exercise in deepening our understanding of our own history and the spiritual mysteries that are woven into the common humanity we share. Our task is to enjoy getting to know each other by sharing stories while learning and growing together.

As this is a guided discussion group, it would help if interested participants signing up had schedules that allowed them to attend the majority of sessions.

Topics will include: Those with whom we began our journey, the friends, acquaintances who influenced and shaped us, how we now view our work history, chosen vocations, achievements, the turning points that changed and altered our path, our views of mortality and personal spirituality.

Sarah and George look forward to being with you on this journey of exploration.

Contribution for six-week course: $40. For questions please call: 410-310-9219

To register online:

To register by phone: 410-819-3395

Letter to Editor: Bring High Speed Internet to All of Rural Talbot, by Frederick Wyman II

Bringing high speed internet and cable to residents of rural Talbot County is long overdue. Not only would this benefit all residents of the County who so far have been deprived of this basic necessity it would allow school children to have access to the tools that will make them contributing citizens in the future, enhance property values and stimulate economic development on the Eastern Shore.

It can not be emphasized enough how important affordable high speed broadband is to the education of the Counties student population as education is, as we all know, the largest component of our local communities budget and depriving our young people of this valuable tool will preclude them from reaching their full potential in our ever more technological world.

Recently the County Council had a work session to explore potential avenues to bring high speed internet and cable to rural areas in the County. They listened to a presentation from an ad-hoc committee who has been studying the options available as well as a potential supplier of “dark cable” explaining a possible process that was recently adopted in Kent County after a long study. The County Council as you know directed Mr. Mark Cohoon to prepare an RFD for the Council to consider when requesting proposals to wire the County for these essential services.

As someone who does not have access to these basic essentials of modern life, I wholeheartedly support the County Council’s efforts to bring our County into the 21st Century. I was therefore surprised, when it came to my attention that Easton Utilities who had let their franchise to provide cable and internet to Talbot County lapse in 2006, that the Council was entertaining and negotiating with Easton Utilities over granting them a new easement to provide these services in the County. Particularly bewildering is that this was discussed on the same day as the work session on broadband and no mention of this was made at the time of the work session.

As I understand it, Easton Utilities has been negotiating with two communities in Talbot County to provide cable and internet services to these areas exclusively and in order to do so they need to receive County permission to run their cables along County owned property and rights of way. It is troubling to me that the County Council on the verge of issuing an RFP, to provide high speed internet and cable throughout the County to all rural residents, would entertain a proposal from Easton Utilities to cherry pick specific areas where understandably they would make a profit and not require that Easton Utilities provide these same services to other rural areas.

While I am empathetic to the residents of these communities who presumably have been negotiating with Easton Utilities for a long time and undoubtedly being required to contribute to the capital cost of this undertaking and being required to sign long term contracts for this service that the County is not insisting Easton Utilities provide services in other areas of the County.

It was evident at the Council work session on Broadband that for this undertaking to be economically feasible Talbot County would need to contribute to the cost of the installation of the so called “dark fiber.” In addition it was suggested that Talbot County would also avail themselves of this new service for a fee for many worthy municipal programs including emergency services, government offices and schools. It is clear to almost anyone that for this project to be successful the entire community including the Town of Easton and Easton Utilities needs to work together to ensure a greater community good.

The County Council should consider the overall goal of delivering Broadband to all the residents of Talbot County in conjunction with any agreement with Easton Utilities. I will try to attend all meetings that the County Council has regarding Broadband as well as Easton Utilities pending agreement with the County to the extent that my schedule allows. Since I will be traveling in the near future I respectfully ask that my letter be read into the record so that all residents of Talbot County who may be interested in the subject are aware of the significance of the potentially precipitous actions the County Council is considering before entering into an agreement with Easton Utilities.

Frederick Wyman II

Profiles in Recovery: Bruce Strazza

For those of you who missed the “Recovery Happiness—A Message of Hope” event at Christ Church in Easton on September 17, you also missed Bruce Strazza’s powerful testimony about his personal recovery from addiction.

In this well-produced video, Strazza, describes the arc of his addiction and the personal tumult he had to overcome to succeed in his recovery while offering a message of hope for anyone facing life-threatening addiction.

The recovery event was sponsored by Recovery for Shore, Christ Church in Easton, Chesapeake Treatment Services, Earth Data, Inc., Mariah’s Mission Fund of the Mid Shore Community Foundation, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Maryland (NCADD-MD), Queen Anne’s County Health Department, Shore Behavioral Health and Warwick Manor.

Vintage Automobile Enthusiasts will Love Gravely’s Recent Find

The A.M. Gravely Gallery, located at 408 S. Talbot Street in St. Michaels, has obtained over a dozen original vintage auto advertisements from a 1936 Fortune Magazine.

The advertisements are about 12×14 inches and in mint condition. Included are DeSoto, Cadillac, Nash, Olds, Buick, Studebaker and more.

The gallery is selling them for $50 each.

A.M. Gravely Gallery is open:
Friday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm
Sunday from 10am to 3pm


Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary

It is a familiar white church on the country roads of Talbot County. Its artistic steeple, housing a traditional church bell in its belfry, rises above the tree tops to welcome its members, its neighbors, and the community at large. On Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 3 p.m., the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a Homecoming Celebration Service and welcomes the community to share in its celebration of its vibrant tradition of service to the community.

Pictured are the youth of the Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1920.

Pictured are the youth of the Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1920.

Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church (ROCUMC) has been served by Pastor Chris Pettit for the past eight years while he pursued his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. The church has experienced a resurgence in recent years with several families and young adults participating in the life of the church. Pettit has enjoyed the help of retired Pastor Emeritis Garry Parker who himself served the church as Elder from 1981 to 1984. Pettit comments, “It has been wonderful to draw upon Garry’s wisdom and experience as I have worked with our leadership in developing outreach to the community and opportunities for discipleship within the church.”

Today, as a multigenerational church, the church has over 100 active members who are making an impact on the greater Eastern Shore community in significant ways. Pastor Pettit states, “Our vision is to be a healthy, growing and dynamic church engaged in the whole community and serving to witness what God has for all people.”

The church’s mission, “To live, love, and serve as disciples of Jesus Christ,” has the church’s tentacles reaching out through a variety of missions. JR Burkhardt, a lay leader and Chairman of Family Ministries, along with Robyn Allen, Youth Pastor, have worked to grow the church’s participation in the area of youth mission over the past five years. The church is offering a program called “Open Doors,” collaborating with other Talbot County churches to utilize professional inspirational speakers to talk to youth about making good decisions. In 2016, Open Doors welcomed popular youth speaker Reggie Dabbs who spoke to every grade at each of the county’s public schools.

Pictured are the youth of the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church today. On Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 3 p.m., the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a Homecoming Celebration Service.

Pictured are the youth of the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church today. On Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 3 p.m., the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a Homecoming Celebration Service.

The ROCUMC youth group has 30 to 40 youth who want to serve the church and the community. According to Allen, the “Bug Club,” includes elementary school students who meet once a month on Friday nights to learn about the bible and share activities. The club also utilizes older children in the church to help with babysitting services which allows parents in the church to go out to dinner or to a movie once a month. Allen adds, “The youth also volunteer at the Chesapeake Center, Baleigh Chase, Genesis The Pines, Haven Ministries, the Talbot Interfaith Shelter and Habitat for Humanity throughout the year. These mission projects have helped them put their faith in practice.”

The church also supports global mission projects, including support of a program called “Lunches for Learning,” which helps children in Honduras stay in school through grade six. The congregation also participates in Operation Christmas, which provides shoeboxes to needy children across the globe during the holidays. In addition to its global missions, the church offers a community Thanksgiving dinner each year.

Burkhardt, whose two children are 5th generation members of the church, adds, “Our church was established for the Royal Oak Community and now it has expanded beyond Royal Oak with members from all over Talbot County. Our worship has adapted with the times and we offer a blended traditional and contemporary service for our multigenerational membership, blending the technology of today with the church’s past traditions.”

The church’s history began in the spring of 1866, after the end of the Civil War. The Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church, known originally as the Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church South, was organized at this time under the leadership of Rev. Francis A. Mercer and a number of laymen. In the fall of 1866, a revival occurred in the church and the church began to grow. Through the efforts of Rev. Mercer and others, churches were established that year in Trappe and Hillsboro and the group of churches became known as the Talbot Circuit. The village was also served by the Royal Oak Methodist Church North during this period, and by 1891, a Methodist church was also built in Tilghman. At this point, the name given to the circuit including Royal Oak, Trappe and Tilghman was the Royal Oak – Tilghman Charge.

In 1940, the Royal Oak Methodist Church North and the Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church South merged and the new church became known as the Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church (ROCUMC). The Royal Oak Methodist Church South’s building was chosen as the new church home. Beginning in 1970, under the leadership of Rev. Carlton Harris, the church became a one-church charge and major improvements were made to the property, including renovations to the church school area, improvements in the parking area, and renovation of the kitchen. In 1990, improvements were made to the sanctuary and belfry and in 1991, the present Fellowship Hall was completed. The last major improvement was made in 2004 when a new parsonage was built next door.

While the church’s history is significant in the growth of Methodism on the Eastern Shore, its roots have always been in service to its community. Pastor Petitt, adds, “We have evolved into an inclusive church that is truly serving our community. Our mission focus creates a broader view of the world. We are joining God where he is already at work in our community and abroad. It is really transforming our congregation.”

The Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church is located at 6968 Bellevue Road in Royal Oak, MD. The October 2 event will include a cover dish dinner directly after the service in the church’s Fellowship Hall. For further information, contact JR Burkhardt, Chairman of the 150th Anniversary Celebration, at 410-829-5832.

Court of Special Appeals Finds In Favor of Talbot Interfaith Shelter

On Thursday, September 15,  the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (COSA) upheld the Talbot County Board of Zoning decision to grant a special exception permit for Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) to operate a shelter at 107 Goldsborough Street (Easton’s Promise) in Easton. The original permit was awarded on July 29, 2014, and was appealed to Talbot County Circuit Court and subsequently upheld on April 16, 2015.

Undeterred, TIS opened its doors at Easton’s Promise on November 30, 2014. With overwhelming community support, the shelter has served over 100 individuals, including 16 families and 30 children, many of whom have made the transition back to independent living.

Following the COSA decision, TIS plans to move forward with the purchase of Easton’s Promise so that they can continue the work they have started.

“The court’s decision is a victory for compassion and a time for gratitude,” says TIS Executive Director Julie Lowe. “We are grateful to Michael J. Kopen of Kopen and Collison, LLP for ensuring that TIS would have the right to provide services to the homeless. We are thankful that we have been able to provide shelter and services to our guests while our permit was under appeal. Most of all, we are thankful for the generosity and compassion of our many donors and volunteers who make TIS possible.”

Board President Jack Harrald adds, “We hope that this decision will put an end to the legal proceedings, and that we will be able to move forward with our neighbors, and use our time, energy, and money to fight the growing problem of poverty and homelessness in our community, rather than to fight one another.”

If you would like to learn more about Talbot Interfaith Shelter and how you can help, visit their website at, or call Executive Director Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316.

October at Le Hatchery Galleria

Easton, MD., This Fall will bring many festive events at Le Hatchery Galleria.

In August and September, our “Friends of Calico Gallery at Le Hatchery” were the “Wednesday Morning Artists” (WMA) group – a wonderful, talented and very friendly group of artists mainly out of Dorchester County.    In October, our Friends will be the “Tidewater Camera Club”.  From still life to action, this group of artists is why photography is truly an art form.  The Tidewater Camera Club will be displaying their works in the main lobby of Le Hatchery Galleria and the Hatch Gallery.

October will have a lot of fun and excitement starting with Saturday, October 1st when we will start our monthly “1st Saturday Art Fest” where you can check out our resident artists and friends to see what they have made, or can make, for you.  There will also be “Art Fest” events schedule on Saturday November 5, and Saturday December 5th.  What a way to kick off your Holiday shopping season.  Don’t worry… we will continue “Art Fest” throughout the winter on every “1st Saturday”.

Refreshments will be available for your enjoyment.

Calico Gallery is very proud to announce one of our resident artisans, Janette Jones, has just launched her new line beautiful fused glass jewelry.  Her first sales were made at our “Artisans Festival” August 20th.  These individually unique creations are a must gift for yourself or someone you care about.  Janette’s creations are exclusively available at Le Hatchery Galleria, 125 Kemp Lane in Easton, Md.

le hatcheryOn Saturday October 8th the fantastic “Fishmobile” will be visiting the Le Hatchery Galleria while we host Phillips Wharf Environmental Center.  Bring the whole family and have fun. Touch or hold Horseshoe Crabs and Diamondback Terrapins. Learn how an oyster reef is created, what else lives there, how oysters help the Bay. Explore the watershed: learn properties of water, water cycles, river names, and play “Who Polluted the Bay.” Discover distributions, migration, and adaptations of fish.  To see how much the children learned, they will be able to sit down and draw a fish, a crab, or whatever they think of.

Art supplies will be supplied by Calico Gallery from their large inventory of children’s art supplies that are always available for your purchase.

A couple Artisan studio work spaces are still available in the “Brooder Gallery”.  These spaces are calling for your creativity.

For the remainder of the year and into 2017 check our Facebook page and website for dates classes are being planned.

Do you need a meeting space?  Or, a space to hold a class? Call us and ask about our meeting and class facility in our “Brooder Gallery” – at Le Hatchery Galleria.

Calico Gallery custom framing will extend it’s 20% discount on their highest quality custom framing through November.  Based on many requests, we are offering you the opportunity to own an attractive – one of a kind – art enhance NOAA map.  You choose what you want painted, and either you or one of our artist will create the images on a pre mounted map.  The framing of the map will add the final touch.  In addition, we can transfer photo images of your boat or other Chesapeake icons we own onto any NOAA map.

As always, Calico Gallery at Le Hatchery Galleria provides the highest quality custom framing service at the best price anywhere.

For current information and other happenings at Le Hatchery Galleria, please check out our Facebook page:, and our website

And as always, Le Hatchery Galleria has plenty of free off street parking.

Health Spending for Opioid Treatment Increases 1,375 Percent Since 2011

A recent article in Kaiser Health News observes that health spending related to opioid treatment has risen 1,375 percent from 2011 to 2015, underscoring the dramatic increase of opioid abuse and addiction.

Read the study here:

Study: Health Spending Related To Opioid Treatment Rose More Than 1,300 Percent

Review: Monty Alexander Jazz Festival 2016 by John Malin

“We come here to uplift you” said Monty Alexander, as he opened the seventh Jazz festival in his name, at the beautiful Art Deco Avalon Theatre in Easton this Labor Day weekend.

Attending any of the 5 concerts over the weekend, you came away uplifted if not delirious with joy.

The starter concert on the Friday evening was a tribute to George Gershwin led by pianist Ted Rosenthal with Chuck Redd the “local lad” and vibraphone virtuoso supported by Martin Wind on bass and Tim Horner on drums. A selection of iconic Gershwin numbers included a moving and powerful rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue” from Rosenthal’s charts topping 2013 CD. In the festival tradition of introducing new and exciting new musicians, Ted brought on two Juilliard students the Anderson twins, Peter and Will, playing brilliant clarinet and tenor sax with the memorable “The Man I Love”. The second set included a wonderfully melodic and soulful arrangement of “I Love You Porgy” featuring a Rosenthal and Redd duo, culminating in a storming finale of “I Got Rhythm” with the full ensemble of musicians.

The clouds and rain of Saturday morning were blown away by a massive wall of sound from the magnificent US Army Jazz Ambassadors led by Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Wood. This 19-member ensemble, formed in 1969 has some of the most talented jazz musicians in uniform. They played a full spectrum of Jazz classics including a section of traditional “Dixieland” Jazz. Master Sergeant Martha Lewis was the vocal jewel in the bands crown, indeed the whole festival, singing memorable numbers including the Sinatra classic “Birth of the Blues”.

For those who enjoyed brunch at the Tidewater Inn there was a musical feast of Jazz from the local Amber Quartet led by bassist Max Murray with Jeff Antonik , Alan Blackman and Frank Russo playing great classics like Ellington’s “Take the A Train”.

Dominick Farinacci

Dominick Farinacci

Dominick Farinacci the young internationally celebrated trumpet player and his band starred in the Saturday afternoon Avalon concert with Kevin Bales on piano, Jerome Jennings on drums and Jonathan Mitchell on bass. Mathias Kunzly produced highly innovative percussion work using a multitude of instruments from African drums to car keys and bicycle parts. Farinacci played an eclectic selection from Armstrong and Garner to the Gypsy Kings. But the Tom Waites number “Soldiers Things” proved the most evocative and haunting number, with a slow and soulful delivery that highlighted his world class mastery of the trumpet.

Monty Alexander walked onstage with his famous lime green Melodica to a rapturous reception on Saturday evening for his signature headliner concert. With obvious affection he introduced his long serving bassist, Hassan Shakur and drummer Obed Calvaire before launching into a medley of classics from Ellington to Basie which received a thunderous applause. Monty reminisced about his Jazz career and paid special reference to the legendary vibraphone playing of Milt Jackson before introducing Chuck Redd, the local Maryland drum and Vibes virtuoso who then played several numbers including the classic Jackson “Bags Groove” with such style and skill it prompted Alexander to say “I closed my eyes and could hear Milt playing again”. The second set was described by Monty as a “Swinging blow-up session” and in typical Alexander inclusive style he invited on stage Dominick Farinacci on trumpet, Ron Blake and Sharel Cassity on sax and Jason Brown on drums. This ensemble jammed into a stream of favorite tunes including a version of Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. One spare mike stood on stage literally at a height of about 7 feet until yet another surprise was sprung …

Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Chestnut

Monty introduced the legendary trumpet player Jon Faddis. The imposing physical presence of Faddis walked onstage looking as cool as a cucumber and looked at the players as if to say “ok what you got”. Faddis started a solo on Ellington’s C Jam Blues and the volume, pitch and purity was truly spectacular as he blew high notes never designed for a trumpet, while Farinacci looked on in awe and appreciation.

The amazing 3 hour concert finished with the full ensemble plus Cyrus Chestnut the highly acclaimed Baltimore gospel pianist playing a duet on piano with Monty, a perfect finale to a very memorable concert which drew a standing ovation lasting several minutes.

The final Sunday afternoon concert kicked off with Howard Universities premier vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue. The 8 piece mixed a cappella group covered a wide range of genres from Marvin Gaye to Charlie Chaplin with complex and exquisite harmonies and towering solos…this was truly an orchestra of voices.

Cyrus Chestnut concluded the weekend festival with a masterful classical, jazz, blues and gospel piano concert ranging from an adaption of Chopin’s Prelude Opus 28 in C minor to a thunderous rendition of the Gospel Classic “Jericho”. Assisted by bassist Herman Burney and drummer Neal Smith and Afro Blue in the final number “New Day”,

Chestnut rocked the 2016 Monty Alexander Easton Jazz festival into the jazz concert history books.

Monty Alexander is a great showman with an acute vision of what makes a good jazz festival GREAT. His ability to field an eclectic group of world class performers is why this festival is attracting more fans and more diverse attendees every year. Easton continues to deliver yet another annual jewel with this Jazz Festival.


Letter to Editor: Thinking Big Does Not Necessarily Include Another Bay Bridge, by Rob Etgen

While it is admirable to hear the Governor’s concerns about traffic at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, an announcement focusing on a shiny new bridge lacks any real discussion about cost, impact on communities, and the understanding that a sprawling flood of people, traffic, and pavement can detract from rural Maryland.

There is a large and growing body of evidence and near consensus that our conventional approach of solving traffic congestion by increasing roadway capacity is ineffective over the long term. The most immediate example that comes to my mind is Route 1 in Delaware – an expensive, new north south highway in Delaware that was over capacity starting with the day it opened. Concurrent with the highway construction was massive amounts of sprawl housing in southern New Castle County, which immediately overwhelmed the new infrastructure.

We are long overdue for a more modern approach to transportation planning – one that emphasizes mass transit and other forward thinking measures that make the most out of the infrastructure we have, and emphasizes land use decisions that decrease auto dependence and increase transportation choices. What about expanded bus services with a stronger backbone service from Baltimore and Washington to Ocean City, stopping in key population centers and complementary service from rural areas to the backbone stops? Or public-private partnerships such as a high-speed ferry option? And should an eventual new Bridge be built, what about revisiting passenger rail (which used to exist on the Shore)?

With declining gas tax revenues, changing living preferences for millennials, and a warming planet caused in part by our poor transportation habits, the time is now for fresh thinking.

Fresh thinking on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge situation could also include ideas such as setting up telecommuting centers in our Eastern Shore small towns, and work policies such that State and Federal employees could work from the Shore on peak traffic days or even more often, in turn saving fuel, pollution, and traffic while also stimulating the vibrancy of our towns. Implementing new tolling technologies and policies which do away with the toll booths, increasing rates during peak use periods and decreasing rates for high occupancy vehicles is yet another direction that could be explored for considerably less money.

These ideas and many others can be done now and for very little cost relative to a new Bay Bridge.

Spending $5 million to study the environmental impacts of a new Bay Bridge feels like fiddling while Rome burns. Let’s talk about the things we can do today to relieve congestion immediately, then think about what might be needed to manage cross Bay travel demand over the long term, and only thereafter consider whether a new bridge is worth its considerable financial and environmental cost.

Rob Etgen
Executive Director
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is a regional nonprofit organization that has worked to advance strategic land conservation and sound land use planning on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.