Crossroads Community Receives Support For Mental Health Initiatives

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Queen Anne’s County residents accessing Crossroads Community’s network of mental health recovery resources will benefit from grants awarded by the Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Committee (QACMHC). Two 2015 grants will fund several initiatives supporting clinic and residential services offered by Crossroads Community and its clinic, Corsica River Mental Health Services.

“Serving the uninsured and underinsured is a challenge to any organization whose mission is to provide service regardless of the ability to pay,” according to Crossroads Community Executive Director John Plaskon. Corsica River Mental Health Services clinics offer a sliding-fee scale to the uninsured, based on income and family size. One QACMHC grant will assist up to six individuals with various therapeutic needs.

Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Committee board members recently presented a check to Crossroads Community representatives as a grant in support of Crossroads’ mental health services to Queen Anne’s County residents. Left to right, Corsica River Mental Health Services Board President Roger Harrell; QACMHC Board Members Debbie Dean, Marybeth Downes, Amy Brice and Linda Carroll; and Crossroads Community Executive Director John Plaskon and Board President Dan Rosendale.

Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Committee board members recently presented a check to Crossroads Community representatives as a grant in support of Crossroads’ mental health services to Queen Anne’s County residents. Left to right, Corsica River Mental Health Services Board President Roger Harrell; QACMHC Board Members Debbie Dean, Marybeth Downes, Amy Brice and Linda Carroll; and Crossroads Community Executive Director John Plaskon and Board President Dan Rosendale.

The same grant will benefit children in the clinic’s school-based program. Funding mobile computing systems for clinicians who work with children in the schools and off site in summer programs will promote efficiency and accuracy through real-time documentation of services.

A second grant awarded to Crossroads Community by QACMHC will benefit the organization’s Adopt-A-House in Queen Anne’s County initiative.

About thirty Queen Anne’s County residents live in facilities and apartments with various levels of independence through the help of Crossroads Community. Plaskon noted that a significant component in the mental health recovery process is the living environment, where pride in one’s residence, however transitional for the client, is important to self-esteem.

Over the years, funding for the residences has been targeted primarily to renovations, maintenance and safety issues. The quality of the furnishings was a lesser priority, which could unintentionally make residents feel unworthy of anything better.

Last year, with support from QACMHC, Crossroads Community began the Adopt-A-House program, with a plan to provide all its houses in Queen Anne’s County with new furnishings over a five-year period. This latest grant continues QACMHC’s support for the program and will completely furnish one of the residences.

Plaskon expressed his appreciation to Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Committee for its continued support for Crossroads Community and its clients. “Recovery from mental illness is a journey,” he said. “We can offer help along that journey, but cannot do it alone. Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Committee, and our other donors and funders, are critical to our being able to provide the support our clients need to become independent, productive members of the community. We are grateful for that support.”

Crossroads Community offers access to mental health recovery resources to residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. Its Corsica River Mental Health Services clinics are located in Centreville, Cambridge and St. Michaels. For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, contact Crossroads Community at 410-758-3050 or visit its website,

Health: Controversial Involuntary Treatment For Mentally Ill Proposed


Meredith Cohn at the Baltimore Sun writes, “The O’Malley administration proposed a law Wednesday that would force some mentally ill people onto medications to control their illness outside of hospitals.

Administration officials say their aim is to help the mentally ill live productive lives in their communities. But the approach, known as “outpatient civil commitment,” has divided the mental health community.”

Continue reading here.

Hometown Heroes Barbershop Supports Hospice


Hometown Heroes Barbershop in Centreville is sponsoring a fundraiser for Compass Regional Hospice. Shop owners Lisa and Gary Smith will donate one dollar to Compass Regional Hospice for every haircut stylist and shop manager Connie Kimbles Dill gives now through February.

Lisa Smith says “We challenge local businesses to join us in supporting Compass Regional Hospice. Donations for each haircut in any amount are welcome. We thank State Farm agents Frank Divilio and Richard Phillips for being the first business owners to take this fundraising challenge.”

Hometown Heroes Barbershop is located at 202 N. Commerce Street in Centreville. Lisa explains, “The building has a history of housing a barbershop as far back as the 1920s, when Mears Barbershop operated here. We are proud and honored to keep the legacy of a barbershop alive. We have maintained the warm and classic feel of a place for the male clientele. Connie uses updated equipment so that every gentleman leaves looking his best.”

Hometown Heroes Barbershop is open Monday and Thursday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Tuesday and Friday, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, and Saturday, 7:00 am to noon. No appointment is needed. Stay up to date on Hometown Heroes Barbershop news on their Facebook page.

Businesses that want to take the Hometown Heroes Barbershop fundraising challenge to support Compass Regional Hospice should call Lisa Smith at 410-829-6064.

Hometown Heroes Barbershop stylist and manager Connie Kimbles Dill (far left) is pictured giving co-owner Gary Smith a trim. Looking on are (left to right) State Farm agent Richard Phillips, shop co-owner Lisa Smith, State Farm agent Frank Divilio and Compass Regional Hospice Development Officer Kenda Leager.

Hometown Heroes Barbershop stylist and manager Connie Kimbles Dill (far left) is pictured giving co-owner Gary Smith a trim. Looking on are (left to right) State Farm agent Richard Phillips, shop co-owner Lisa Smith, State Farm agent Frank Divilio and Compass Regional Hospice Development Officer Kenda Leager.

Solar Lane Holds Ribbon Cutting and Open House

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Solar Lane of Easton, MD recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house at the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce in Easton, MD. The company was founded to provide businesses and nonprofits in Maryland with lower-cost electricity. Solar Lane is in partnership with Paradise Energy Solutions, a solar engineering and operating company located in Salisbury, MD, to install its Solar Generating Facilities. To date, the partnership has installed over 100 solar electric generating facilities on the Eastern Shore. Their latest installation, just completed this month, is for the Federalsburg Volunteer Fire Company, Federalsburg, MD.

Solar Lane is using local investors to fund solar projects on the Eastern Shore and is looking to find other local businesses and nonprofits which are interested in reducing their energy costs. For further information about what the benefits of solar electricity might mean to your nonprofit or business and to receive a free solar assessment, contact Scott Kane at 240-478-7672 or email

Pictured front row, left to right, at the recent ribbon cutting for Solar Lane are Solar Tom Duncan (Edward Jones Investments), Talbot Chamber President Al Silverstein, Sabine Simonson (Talbot County Free Library), Ron Lee (Armistead, Griswold, Lee & Rust), Solar Lane President Scott Kane, Susan Schauer John (SpiderWeb Connection), Courtney Kane (Solar Lane), Amy Steward (Steward Writing & Communications), David Gill and Lena Gill.

Pictured front row, left to right, at the recent ribbon cutting for Solar Lane are Solar Tom Duncan (Edward Jones Investments), Talbot Chamber President Al Silverstein, Sabine Simonson (Talbot County Free Library), Ron Lee (Armistead, Griswold, Lee & Rust), Solar Lane President Scott Kane, Susan Schauer John (SpiderWeb Connection), Courtney Kane (Solar Lane), Amy Steward (Steward Writing & Communications), David Gill and Lena Gill.

Benchworks Acquires Safe Chain Solutions

Thad Bench, CEO; Pat Boyd, Executive Director/Partner; Charles Boyd, President
Thad Bench, CEO; Pat Boyd, Executive Director/Partner; Charles Boyd, President

Thad Bench, CEO; Pat Boyd, Executive Director/Partner; Charles Boyd, President

Benchworks is pleased to announce that it has acquired Safe Chain Solutions, a rapidly growing pharmaceutical drug wholesaler serving hospital pharmacies nationwide, with a combination of cash and stock. Safe Chain Solutions has a pharmaceutical distribution facility in Cambridge, Maryland, a sales office in Miami, Florida, and a digital development office in Nagpur, India. Safe Chain Solutions also has a vibrant Third Party Logistics (3PL) business serving a wide variety of clients in the beverage, apparel, and manufacturing sectors.

“The acquisition of Safe Chain Solutions demonstrates our continued commitment to the life science industry,” said Benchworks CEO Thad Bench. “The pharmaceutical division at Safe Chain which is currently engaged in supplying hospital pharmacies will eventually be able to produce patient starter kits and support Rx sample programs for our existing and new pharmaceutical clients upon regulatory approval. This is a significant step in growing our revenues and adding strategic capacity to our family of companies.”

President of Safe Chain Solutions Charles Boyd commented, saying, “We are excited to be aligned with Benchworks and look forward to continuing our rapid growth and expanding our service offering. We could tell almost immediately that Benchworks’ and Safe Chain’s cultures meshed very well.”

Benchworks, a comprehensive marketing services firm headquartered in Chestertown, Maryland, was founded in 1991. The company specializes in the design, production, and launch of complete marketing and branding services. Clients include a wide variety of companies in the pharmaceutical, beverage, manufacturing, and education industries in North America and Europe. Additional Benchworks operating units include Benchworks Consulting and a licensed products division. For additional information, please visit or call 800-536-4670.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Nov. 22


Join with a community of suicide loss survivors around the world on this special day. Held from 10am-2pm on Saturday, November 22, at Chesapeake Community College.


Chesapeake College , Cadby Theatre
1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, MD 21679
For more Information, contact: Patricia Kotzen
or 410-643-7674
To register to attend, contact: Mary Sites
or 443-827-6504

(There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited.
Please register In advance to reserve a seat.)

Download poster for details.


Letters: Aging in Place Hosts Forum on a “Village for Talbot County”

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The local chapter of the National Aging In Place Council (NAIPC) requests your presence at an informational meeting regarding the development of a Village for Talbot County. Villages offer a supportive approach which allows seniors to safely age in their own homes.

The Village movement began in 2001 with the Beacon Hill Village in Boston, MA. Since that time Villages have been developing all over the country. There are currently more than 140 villages that have been established in the United States and 100 more are in the development stages. There are several active Villages in Maryland with the most recent
being The Village in Howard (Howard County).

The aim of the Village movement is to help senior citizens remain in their own homes as they age. Villages recruit volunteers to provide a range of services and activities that seniors may need from changing a lightbulb to transportation to a doctor’s appointment. A Village does not take the place of other, already established services, however acts as a resource and referral service and a complement to other services. Businesses can be vetted and may even offer discounts to individuals that are members of the Village.

If you are interested in learning more about Villages prior to the meeting please visit the Village to Village website at: and the following links to videos about existing Villages:

Please join us on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at Scossa Restaurant and Lounge for a discussion about how Villages can improve the aging process in Talbot County and about how you can help with this movement. Refreshments will be available following the meeting. Scossa is located at 8 North Washington Street in Easton (directly across from the Court House). Please RSVP by November 14, 2014 to Lee Lynch Newcomb at 410-770-8741 or

We hope to see you on November 18, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at Scossa Restaurant and Lounge.


J. Burgess Kegan, Chairman NAIPC Eastern Shore
Representatives of the National Aging In Place Council
Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity andThe Talbot County Commission on Aging
Tom Duncan, Kevin Kinsey, Ed Miller and Lee Lynch Newcomb

Classic Cars on Parade in St. Michaels November 22

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Local owners of classic vehicles are invited to parade on Talbot Street through the town of St. Michaels on November 22nd. The parade is sponsored by the Classic Motor Museum of St. Michaels, a local nonprofit that is building a Classic Motor Museum on E. Marengo St. near the Old Mill.

The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 22nd at Perry Cabin Park. The parade will end at the Museum site on Marengo, where owners will be invited to park their cars for public viewing. The Mill Boys band will entertain the crowd, and refreshments will be served.

Classic vehicle owners are invited to join in the parade by calling 410-745-5032 or contacting

Work on the museum began this year, with a groundbreaking in September. The town’s historic Pinckett House has been resurrected from its site on Cherry Street and will serve as the museum’s office. Work on the Pinckett House is underway.

For updates on the parade and the museum, visit the Classic Motor Museum’s facebook page here.

Oxford: Holy Trinity Ready for Christmas with Annual Bazaar

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The annual Christmas Bazaar is Saturday December 6th from 9:00 am to noon in the Parish Hall, 502 South Morris Street, Oxford, MD. The theme this year is Let There Be Light.

Shopping for that unique and perfect gift? Or looking for some charming home decorations or food for the holidays? The Bazaar will feature tables with wreaths and greens, potted paper whites, small decorated trees, parishioner’s handcrafted and artistic works, scarfs, hand-made Christmas ornaments, vintage decorations, and some silent auction items.Food tables will include frozen soups and appetizers, cookies and other baked goods, jams and pickles, the men’s table and more. The raffle this year will be abundantly filled, theme gift baskets including a Bringing up Baby Basket ( great baby shower gift), a Tea for Two Basket, a Holiday Morning Basket with delicious breakfast items, and It’s a Wonderful Life…in Oxford Basket, with many locally-made items, gift certificates and more.

Raffle tickets are $2.00 each or 6 tickets for $10.00. They are being sold by members of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of the Church of the Holy Trinity and also will be sold at the Bazaar. Complimentary coffee, cider and sweets will be available to welcome visitors.

All proceeds are for the charitable projects and mission work of the Church’s ECW.

Contact information: Church of the Holy Trinity, 410-226-5134.

Whither the Blue Crab? By John Lang


Are the blue crabs of the Chesapeake going the way of the oysters, the shad and the herring? Once Maryland could joke if there were any more crabs in the bay they’d have to be smaller. And now where are they?

No one can say exactly how many of the bottom-crawling crustaceans there are surviving down there in the murk and the muck. What’s become evident to everybody trying to pull them up, though, is how many there aren’t.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” says Capt. Andy McCown of the Echo Hill Outdoor School. McCown points to a pound-netter on the Chester River who could haul up to six bushels of crabs in good times but caught less than two dozen the other day. He cites a crabber on Eastern Bay who set five lines and by day’s end had snagged just two crabs. Because of scarcity crab prices have soared. By late summer, the cost of a bushel of No. 1s had peaked at $240.

In July, outdoors writers for both The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun called for an immediate bay-wide moratorium on commercial and recreational crabbing. The Sun’s Dan Rodricks noted the estimated crab population of under 300 million is close to 1995’s, which was termed “perilously close to collapse,” and to 2008’s when, at the urging of the governor, the crab fishery was declared a federal disaster. Rodricks observed that last year’s harvest of 19 million pounds was the lowest on record. Angus Phillips of the Post noted that Canada geese, rockfish and yellow perch all made dramatic comebacks after moratoriums – “and the time has come to stop pussyfooting around and shut down crabbing for a few years.”

Their demands went down like two journalists in a bar full of watermen.


Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 4.43.02 PMAs fall came on there was no clamor for a moratorium – not from the state, not by biologists studying the bay, certainly not by Maryland’s huge hardshell industry. After all it was only two springs ago that Gov. Martin O’Malley stood on a dock, behind a full bushel of steamed crabs and in front of a full catch of cameras,  declaring crab populations at a 19-year high and urging everyone to eat more of  them.

Then the very next winter survey showed crab numbers plunging 60 percent – from  an estimated 765 million to 300 million. “But there’s no reason to panic,” said John Bull of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, because, he explained, female crabs had increased from 95 million to 147 million. But uh-oh. Only 69 million female crabs turned up on the very next survey done this past winter. That’s below the number science has determined necessary to sustain the population. And crabbers on the upper bay haven’t been finding juveniles, either. McCown, who takes school children on expeditions aboard Echo Hill’s skipjack The Elsworth, reports, “A couple years ago little crabs were there in numbers I’ve not seen. Then, just gone.”

Estimates are only that and sometimes miss the mark. But an empty pot is indisputable. Many causes are suspected. It’s overharvesting. It’s die-offs from severe winters. It’s pollution, agricultural runoff, municipal discharges, algae blooms. It’s red drum, and it’s rockfish gobbling up baby crabs and the females as soon as they shed. It’s the state overprotecting the too-many and insatiable stripers.

This summer two studies made waves up and down the bay. At the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, professor Jeff Shields reported on a parasite called Hematodinium that infects crabs in high salinity waters and kills them all within 40 days.  He found up to 80 percent of juveniles are infected.

While Hematodinium is found only in salty southern waters of the Chesapeake, a virus known as RLV is turning up wherever scientists look. First identified in the 1970s, RLV popped up again, reported Eric Schott of University of Maryland Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 4.47.14 PMCenter for Environmental Science, “when we began investigating an unexplained mortality in soft shells.” Scientists then found the virus in many crabs dying in research hatcheries and labs.  Next they began looking for it in the wild and discovered RLV in about 20 percent of crabs taken along the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Virginia. “In captivity if they have the virus they die. But in the wild there are different stresses, a very different environment,” Schott explains. Researchers cannot monitor a crab life-long at the bottom of the bay – so they can suspect RLV of causing die-offs in the wild but can’t state it as scientific fact.

Where scientists will equivocate, watermen won’t. They know what they’re seeing, no doubts about it.

On the Chester

It’s the last day of July and the last pound-netter to work the middle reaches of the Chester pilots his workboat upriver from his anchorage at Quaker Neck Landing. It’s a day everybody’d want to be a waterman: temperature in the 70s, low humidity, steady breeze making sparkles far as eyes can see, the sky going blue as lost love. Dickie Manning Jr., has been doing this for 30 years, grew up on the river in fact, watched it change and never for better. “No grasses in the Chester. If there’s no place for crabs to hide, something will eat them. Everything eats crab.” He nods his head toward the landing: “I was a boy, I took swimming lessons there, in a patch of water where the grasses had been cut out. And you couldn’t swim out of it because the grasses all around it were so thick. There’s no grasses now.”

As his Margaret Ann chugs past Southeast Creek, Manning observes, “No lily pads either.” It used to be, he explains, that tributaries to the Chester had lily pads growing densely along the banks, leaving only a channel of open water. He remembers the Chester had beds of them. “Crabs hid in the lily pads. There’s no hiding places now.”

Manning’s sure of what killed the grasses and lily pads: pollution from agricultural runoff and municipal sewage lagoons, which he ticks off one by one: “Millington, Crumpton, Kennedyville, Chestertown, Church Hill, Centreville, Rock Hall, Grasonville and Kent Island.” Later, Chestertown zoning administrator Kees de Mooy counters that the town’s nutrient removal system installed in 2007 cut nitrogen and phosphorus discharges down to a level of what went into the river in the 1700s, when the town’s population was 400. Manning doesn’t dispute the improvements in filtering, just that, “I count nine lagoons discharging into the Chester. That’s a lot of lagoons for a little river.”

Manning’s older son Ryan started this season trot-lining but caught so few crabs he gave it up and went to work the pound nets with his dad. This morning he tried to go back to his lines but found his workboat’s hydraulics leaking and lost the day getting it fixed. Manning has his younger boy Logan helping him today. Pound nets – the Mannings work a dozen of them from above the mouth of the Chester to just below the Chester River Yacht & Country Club – consist of a single file of poles reaching out from shore, holding a net perpendicular to the current. This net directs fish to deeper water and to another net where they are trapped. By tugging lines running beneath this net, the Mannings lift the fish up close to the Margaret Ann.

To a waterman, the catch is as pretty as a mound of money. Again and again, Logan plunges a big dipper into the living glop and swings about 30 pounds of it onboard,  where his father sorts and discards. Yellow perch are flipped into this box, mud shad to that box, catfish in another, stripers go into a cooler, crabs to a basket. Eels, carp, undersized rockfish and dead and diseased horrors are scraped overboard to sink, drift on or swim away. By 10:30, the workboat is back at Quaker Neck Landing with a fair day’s haul of fish. But there’s just a bushel and a half of crabs, which Manning says is “about average” nowadays.


Times sure changed. Waterman Clay Larrimore, who takes out crabbing charters, says, “The crabbing is the worst I’ve seen in my life.” Twenty-five years ago Larrimore trot-lined for crabs on the Chester and says he averaged 15 to 20 bushels a day. Today, on his charters, he limits his parties to two bushels and never keeps the females. “I think they definitely have to cut back on taking female crabs,” Larrimore says. “If you want more deer, stop shooting does. We have to put a moratorium on female crabs.”

A moratorium on crabbing would have enormous economic and political consequences, pinching not only watermen, but also buyers, pickers, restaurateurs, chefs, waiters, busboys, bankers, Realtors, really almost everyone who lives and works in communities around the bay.

That’s a key point made by DNR’s Glenn Davis, “the blue crab statistics guru,” in an interview with The Sun’s Dan Rodricks. Davis argues the short lifespan of crabs means a moratorium for them wouldn’t work as it did for the longer-lived rockfish. He says colder-than-average winters typically result in mortalities of up to 50 percent in adult crabs. He says their natural mortality increases when crabs become more dense, because they are more available to predators and also cannibalistic. And, Davis notes that crabs are key to the $600 million Maryland seafood industry, so “the potential benefit of a moratorium, which is not guaranteed, simply does not offset the detrimental impact of a complete ban on harvest.”

Up to this year, the dockside dollar value of crabs has ranged between $50 million and $60 million annually – and that comprises two-thirds of the worth of all the fish caught. With oysters down to one percent of historic populations, the beautiful swimmers are the iconic species of Maryland – crabs on license plates, crabs on decals colored like the state flag. To impose a moratorium would puncture the marketed myth of the Maryland Crab – although in truth that one has been leaking a long time.

“Sorry, Marylanders, Your Crab Is a Lie” taunted the headline last September in Slate online magazine. Writer Matthew Yglesias described watching truck after truck being loaded with crabs on the Gulf Coast for convoy to Maryland. “Crabs get shipped from far and wide to the Chesapeake area precisely because the Chesapeake has had crabs in it,” Yglesias wrote. He argued that the historically plentiful nature of Chesapeake crabs meant that, “over time, as the region’s population has grown, ferocious demand for crab has outstripped the local ecosystem’s sustainable level of crabbing.”

Moratorium or not, chances are high nowadays that the soft shell plated in a bayside crab shack is actually a sweetie bred and born in the Carolinas. And, anymore, the usual suspect in Maryland crab soup is some bottom-feeding lowlife dragged out of   a coastal bayou down in Louisiana.

And so it goes. Laissez les bon temps rouler, Hon.

Chestertown writer John Lang has reported for The Associated Press, Scripps Howard News Service, New York Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. A former journalism instructor at Washington College, he edited two anthologies of essays, “Here on the Chester” and “Athey’s Field” by Literary House Press. He was also the founding managing editor of The Chestertown Spy. 

This article first appeared in Currents, the annual journal of Chester River Association, and is reprinted with permission.