April BAAM Festival to Feature Mama Jama

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.14.58 AM
Pictured is Baltimore/Washington-based reggae-funk group Mama Jama, who will perform at BAAM Fest on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Idlewild Park in Easton, MD.

Pictured is Baltimore/Washington-based reggae-funk group Mama Jama, who will perform at BAAM Fest on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Idlewild Park in Easton, MD.

Building African American Minds (BAAM) Inc. celebrated its 10th year anniversary this past year. The organization will host a BAAM Fest on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Idlewild Park in Easton, MD. The Fest will celebrate the partners BAAM has collaborated with in helping African American males become productive, confident citizens through positive academic, social, emotional, and spiritual experiences as children and young men.

Partners who will take part in the Fest include Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, the Neighborhood Service Center, Easton Utilities, the Department of Social Services, the Talbot County Health Department, Talbot County Free Library, Talbot County Sheriff’s Department, the Easton Police Department, YMCA of the Chesapeake, Academy Art Museum, Freedom Rowers, and the Town of Easton. There will be informational booths, musical entertainment by the Baltimore/Washington-based reggae dance group Mama Jama and DJ Randy, dancing by Easton Elementary School Hot Tigerz, giveaways and door prizes, face painting, a clown show, fitness activities, a basketball tournament, and a rap contest.  Free food and drinks will be provided by Frase’s Meat Shop of Preston, offering hot dogs, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and side dishes.

According to BAAM’s executive director Debbi Short, “In addition to celebrating our partners, we hope that the BAAM Fest will help the community to get to know us better as an organization – to  learn about the programs we are offering African American boys in Talbot County and to celebrate our successes.”

BAAM is supported by many generous donors and by the United Fund of Talbot County. Pepsi Bottling Ventures, LLC, is helping to support the refreshments for the BAAM Fest.   For further information, contact Debbi Short at 410-714-3838 or visit BAAM’s Facebook page.

Tilghman’s Island Starts Concert Series

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.55.06 PM

This celebration of the distinctive and varied music of Tilghman’s Island starts on March 28th at 6:00PM and opens with the “Fathers and Sons” gospel quartet.

Southern Gospel music was an early musical movement on the Eastern Shore.  Grass-roots groups flourished from the 1960s through the 1980s, with quartets traveling between churches from Delaware to Virginia.  This music was so popular that at one time there were five Southern Gospel groups on Tilghman’s Island alone.  In our first Concert of the Series we celebrate this rich heritage.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.55.12 PMThe “Fathers and Sons” traces their roots back to the early gospel tradition.  David “Bunky” Miller began performing gospel music in the 1960s when he sang with the “Miller Family.”  Later, Bunky and Larry Gowe sang with the “New Creations,” which was started by Larry Gowe and Carol Lowery.  This popular gospel group toured throughout the East Coast, appearing on TV and radio, and opening for such groups as Sonny James and Barbara Mandrell.  Completing the quartet are Bunky’s son, David Miller, and Tyde Mowers.

For this concert, the “Fathers and Sons” are joined by Pat Donahue on bass, Patrick Donahue Jr. on drums, and Isaiah Embert on piano. Isaiah, now in the 11th grade at Easton Christian Academy, is a talented Southern Gospel pianist who has played in local churches his whole life.  His talent and exuberant style have earned him a following and this summer he returns to the Stamps-Baxter School of Music in Nashville TN where he is a scholarship student.

Please join us at 6:00 PM on March 28, 2015 at the Tilghman United Methodist Church for this free concert.  This concert series is funded and organized by the Tilghman United Methodist Church and partially sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council with funds provided by the Talbot County Council and the Towns of Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels.

Other programs in the TUMC Concert Series

May 9:   A Mothers Day Concert by the vocal ensemble “Heart & Music” playing songs and music to inspire you to sing, dance and smile.

July 11:  Brazilian ‘Choro’ Music, by multi-talented instrumentalists Susan and Bob Jones

September 12:  Country Blues  by singer & guitarist Jeff Jones  Christian Country Music by singer Lawrence Tyler

December 6December 6:  A Capella Chamber Group and Local Soloists   by the Easton High School Chamber Singers and various local artists.

For more information contact Debra Brookhouser at 410-886-2881 or email at dbrookhouser@gmail.com


William and Mary Choir Comes to St. Michaels

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.28.17 PM

The Choir of the College of William and Mary will be making a stop at Christ Church in St. Michaels March 21 on their spring tour this year.

The program will feature Brahms’ motet Schaffe in mir, Gott as well as two premiers: one of a Baroque choral masterwork and the other of a newly composed setting of an Irish folk song.  Gregor Werner, Joseph Haydn’s predecessor at the Esterházy Court, composed his Missa Contrapunctata in 1756 for the liturgies of Lent and Advent. This choral masterwork received its modern premier, the first since the 18th century, in Hungary recently; the W&M Choir will give the American premier of this work.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.28.17 PMThe Choir will also give the premier of an arrangement of The Londonderry Air by William and Mary composer Robert LaRose ’16. Works by Barrie Cabena, Lukas Foss, Christopher Hoh, Richard Jackson, Giuseppe Pitoni, and Richard Strauss will complete the program. Admission is free and open to the public.

Celebrating 92 years since its founding, the Choir of the College of William & Mary continues to appear regularly both in the United States and abroad.  The Choir has had the honor of performing twice for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II—most recently in 2007—and was one of four choirs invited to perform in concert with the United States Marine Band at the 1997 Presidential Inaugural on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C.  In February 2012, the Choir sang for the investiture of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as William and Mary’s new chancellor.


William and Mary Choir
7 PM
Saturday, March 21
Christ Church
301 S. Talbot Street
St. Michaels


Local Fundraiser for TalleyWags Film at Easton’s Bowling Center February 23


Monday, February 23 at 5:00pm the Easton Bowling Center hosts a fundraiser Bowling Night to benefit the film YOU CAN STAY OR YOU CAN GO written and directed by Talley Wilford, produced by Jennifer Wagner for TalleyWags Films. The film explores a childhood friendship wracked by the pain addiction inflicts upon those who love them.  Easton Bowling Center reduced the price to bowl to $2 shoes and $2 per game!  TalleyWags Films will get 50% of shoe/game sales.

TalleyWags Films recently announced the success of their initial fundraising “kickstarter” campaign. Monies from that campaign went towards professional grade camera, audio, and editing equipment. The continued fundraising is imperative to complete the budget and secure the completion of the film up to industry standard. Much of the budget is spent in post-production with color and audio layering as well as song clearances and final digitizing.

The TalleyWags crew is available to answer any questions and is offering the opportunity to join the production and see your name on the screen.  Currently the film is in pre-production which includes casting, storyboarding, creating shooting schedule, selecting music for the project and many more tasks.  The production company intends for the film to be done with the professional qualifications to enter the international festival circuit. The filmmakers want to create a film that speaks to families across the nation who may have been touched by the story of young adults coming of age afflicted with the draw of drugs. The story is not unique to our local town, but the filmmakers are our own.  This is a great time to find out more about them.

Enjoy a night out with pizza, beer, snacks and soft drinks for the kids, while supporting the filmmakers goals to spread awareness about addiction and the ripple effect it creates.

Chesapeake Charities Offers Grant Workshop Series

Linda Kohler, Chesapeake Charities Executive Director and Mary Ann Gleason, Grants and Evaluation Specialist, prepare agenda for February 24 grant training workshop.

Linda Kohler, Chesapeake Charities Executive Director and Mary Ann Gleason, Grants and Evaluation Specialist, prepare agenda for February 24 grant training workshop.

Chesapeake Charities announced a series of training workshops to be held in 2015. The first workshop, “Identifying Grant Opportunities and Aligning Your Program for Grant Success,” will take place on Tuesday, February 24 at Chesapeake Charities’ Stevensville location from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Participants are invited to bring grant applications that they are working on and time will be set aside for one-on-one consultation following the program.

The two-hour program will be led by Linda Kohler, Chesapeake Charities Executive Director, and Mary Ann Gleason, Chesapeake Charities’ Grants and Evaluation Specialist. Kohler has been with Chesapeake Charities since its inception and is a Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant, one of only seven on the Eastern Shore. Gleason has been writing and sourcing grants for nonprofits on the Eastern Shore for more than a decade.

“Many of the nonprofit organizations under our umbrella are poised for significant growth and the fund advisors are eager to gain the knowledge they will need to move ahead,” said Kohler. “We’re excited about the workshop series because this information will give small nonprofits in this area a real advantage, especially when writing and applying for grants.”

Future workshops will cover social media marketing (April 28) and managing databases (May 20.). All programs will be held at Chesapeake Business Park, 101 Log Canoe Circle in Stevensville, Maryland in Suite N on the 2ndfloor. Seating is limited and you must RSVP by February 17 to reserve a spot.

Chesapeake Charities is a community foundation that supports a wide range of charitable causes including education, health and human services, animal welfare, and the environment in the Mid-Shore area and beyond. All of its 73 funds have a common cause – a passion for making a difference in their communities. Together they have invested more than $6.5 million in the Chesapeake Bay region since 2005.

For more information about the workshops, contact Chesapeake Charities at (410) 643-4020 or meg@chesapeakcharities.org. Chesapeake Charities is accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

Health Notes:Mental Illness is Not a Crime

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 2.15.11 PM

In Disney’s “Lion King,” three hyenas are depicted as emotionally out of control.  They roll their eyes and laugh hysterically. It is obvious that hyenas occupy the lowest level in the animal kingdom, unpredictable and to be feared.

To every child in the audience the message is clear: Those suffering from brain disorders are dangerous and violent.  They are laughable. They are different; they should be avoided.  The movies and other public media are among our most potent tools of socialization, and reinforcement of what is inaccurate and untrue about psychiatric issues stigmatizes those who suffer, alienating them from others

Recent events have focused on the mentally ill in our communities, and local news outlets have covered the issue with sensitivity and accuracy.  But as thoughtful as the coverage is, depictions in the press can portray those with brain disorders as dangerous.  If they hadn’t been involved in some monstrous act – a suicide/murder for example – they wouldn’t make the news in the first place. When someone is labeled bi-polar on the front page, even if the diagnosis is accurate, those who peaceably suffer in silence do so in even greater isolation.

One fact has been proven over and over by crime statistics: Those with psychiatric challenges are much more likely to be victims of crime than criminals. A 1999 study concluded that those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis are 2 ½ times more likely to be assaulted than those who are spared from those disorders. Yet public surveys reveal that two-thirds of Americans believe the mentally ill to be violent and unstable.

It isn’t just violence that is inaccurately pinned on those with psychosocial disabilities. Think of Otis Campbell, the fictional “town drunk” on the Andy Griffith Show.  Even in 1960s America, everyone in front of their black-and-white Admirals who struggled with addiction must have cringed to see the abuse that Otis suffered.

Science has taught us a great deal about the brain, addiction, and psychological issues since Andy hung up his badge in 1968.  We know that many disorders have their roots in genetics or in diagnosable, treatable, viral or bacterial infections.  Programs like the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s “In Our Own Voice,” by bringing people into contact with those who suffer from psychiatric problems, have taught us that those around us who are mental health care clients are in the most meaningful ways no different than everyone.

Above all, be aware that everything that is on the screen, in a novel, or in your favorite magazine, has the potential to alienate someone around you.  It is estimated that at any given time one in four of us is facing a psychological crisis.  Further isolating them from those who can help by stigmatizing them exacts an enormous cost to society.  The cure could start with you.

MENTAL HEALTH: KNOW THE FACTS, NO STIGMA is a year-long campaign sponsored by a dedicated group of partners on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore:

The Worcester County Health Department
The Somerset County CORE Services Agency
The Wicomico County Health Department
Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services
The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, Inc.
Atlantic General Hospital
Salisbury University
Worcester County Department of Social Services
The Life Crisis Center
Go-Getters, Inc.
The Maryland Association of CORE Services Agencies
The Worcester County Drug and Alcohol Council

MENTAL HEALTH: KNOW THE FACTS, NO STIGMA culminates with a March 19, 2015 conference in Ocean City, Maryland..  For more information about the campaign and conference, and t register for conference attendance, visit www.know-the-facts-no-stigma.org.

Like MENTAL HEALTH: KNOW THE FACTS, NO STIGMA on Facebook, and share the Facebook page with your friends and colleagues.

Ron Pilling

Jesse Klump Memorial Fund

Eastern Shore’s Hershey Selected as Minority Whip in Maryland Senate

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.43.52 AM

Maryland State Senate Republicans announced Sen. Steve Hershey (R-36-Upper Shore) as the Senate’s Minority Whip on Thursday. The vacancy in the leadership position arose with the resignation of Sen. Chris Shank (R-2-Washington County.) Governor Larry Hogan tapped Shank to serve in his administration as Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Upon the announcement, Hershey said, “I am humbled that my Republican Senate colleagues have entrusted me to help lead the caucus at this critical time in Maryland’s history. The caucus will work diligently to advance Governor Hogan’s agenda and change Maryland for the better. “

Knowing that Shank would leave the Senate after the Governor’s inauguration, Republican senators held elections to decide upon whom would join Minority Leader Sen. J.B. Jennings (R-7-Baltimore and Harford) as the chamber’s Minority Whip and chose Hershey, who formally took on the roll Thursday.

Jennings said, “Senator Hershey brings a crucial mix of private sector and public sector experience to the roll of Whip. The chamber benefits from an Eastern Shore perspective in a leadership position. I eagerly look forward to partnering with him to lead the Republican caucus.”

The newly elected Minority Whip added, “The role requires working closely with colleagues and Goverrnor Hogan to shepherd his agenda through the Senate chamber. That works for me, the people of the Upper Shore voted overwhelmingly for Larry Hogan. They want to see his policies implemented. Senator Jennings, I, and our Republican colleagues won’t stop until we see that done. “

Temple B’nai Israel to Host Lecture Series

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 9.37.19 AM

Temple B’nai Israel, 101 W. Earle Avenue, Easton 410-822-0553 will host the 2015 Lecture Series entitled “The Rise of Anti-Semitism and our Response” Wednesday evenings from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  February 4, Mark B. Levin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry; February 11 Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; February 18 Oren Marmorstein, Head of Regional Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. and February 25 a representative from the Anti-Defamation League.  Lectures are open to the public and free of charge.


Remarks: Governor Larry Hogan’s Inaugural Address

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.25.39 PM

Governor Christie, thank you for being here, thanks for your tremendous support, and for that very kind introduction.

To my wife, Yumi, my daughters and my entire family, please know that it is because of your incredible love and support that I am able to stand here today.

I am privileged and proud to have Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford by my side. He has been more than a running mate. He is a friend. I am honored to serve with him.

Governor O’Malley, thank you for your gracious cooperation during the transition and for your years of public service.

Lt. Governor Brown, thank you for your service, not only to the state, but to our nation.

To my good friends Governor Ehrlich and Lt. Governor Steele, thank you for your leadership. It was an honor to serve in your administration.

Governor Hughes and Governor Mandel, thank you for all you have done for Maryland.

Senate President Miller, Speaker Busch, and members of the Maryland General Assembly, we have great challenges ahead of us, but I look forward to working together with each and every one of you.

Comptroller Franchot, Treasurer Kopp, and Attorney General Frosh, Chief Judge Barbera and the other members of the judiciary, Senators Mikulski and Cardin and members of our Congressional Delegation, and all the local elected officials and other dignitaries, thank you all for being here for this historic occasion.

Most importantly, I want to thank the citizens from all across our state, who put aside party politics and who came together and voted to change Maryland for the better.

I’m grateful, because I know something about putting aside partisanship in order to do the right thing.

Forty years ago, a Maryland Congressman, a Republican, sat on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, and the entire world was watching.

Would this man be willing to buck his own party, his own president, to do what he thought was right for the country?

Despite tremendous pressure, this statesman put aside partisanship and made the tough decision, and became the first Republican to come out for the impeachment of President Nixon.

That man was my dad, former Congressman Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr., who is here with us today.

He put aside party politics and his own personal considerations in order to do the right thing for the nation.

He taught me more about integrity in one day than most men learn in a lifetime, and I am so proud to be his son.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, we are gathered in front of our beautiful state house, which has been in service since 1772.

A few steps from where I’m standing is where General George Washington resigned his commission.

Two hundred and thirty one years ago, the Revolutionary War ended right here, inside this state house, with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris in 1784.

And just a few miles away from here, when the future of a fledgling nation was in doubt, Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner during the War of 1812.

For Maryland, and for our nation, this is a place where great things begin, and where great things are accomplished.

Today, against this historic and majestic backdrop, Maryland once again starts a new chapter in our long, proud history.

Today’s inauguration marks a new beginning for Maryland, and the limitless possibilities before us.

I am a lifelong Marylander who loves this state. Every great experience, every great memory, every great moment I have ever had in my life, has happened right here, in Maryland.

It is such an incredible honor to be standing before you today as the 62nd governor of the great state of Maryland.

I am truly humbled and deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve my fellow Marylanders, and I vow to work tirelessly every single day to prove worthy of this great honor that you have granted me.

Today, we celebrate a new beginning for Maryland, remembering our past, while striving for a better and more promising future.

The question isn’t whether Maryland is a great state. The question is: What will we do, all of us, to reinvigorate this great state that we all love? What will we do to ensure that our future is better than our present or our past?

I believe that the time has come to cast aside the status quo, and to come together to build a better future for our state and all our citizens.

We must set the bar higher, and create a bolder vision of the future.

Let’s create a Maryland that is thriving, growing, innovating, and is responsive to the needs of all its citizens. Let’s strive to make Maryland the best place in America to work, raise a family, start a business, and even to retire.

Let us renew our sense of optimism, and make Maryland a place of unlimited promise.

Together, let’s make Maryland a place that we can all be proud of again.

Today, I am reminded of those brave Marylanders who first came to this land seeking freedom and opportunity when they landed in St. Mary’s City in 1634.

While the challenges facing us today are different, I know that the courage and the spirit of Marylanders is the same.

We seek the freedom to compete without the undue burden of high taxes and bureaucratic regulations, which make us less competitive. We seek opportunities to build better communities, better businesses, and better lives for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children. And most of all, we cherish both the freedom and opportunity to decide our future.

And today, we celebrate that freedom and opportunity.

What I envision for Maryland is not just an economic and fiscal recovery, but a rebirth of our spirit, and a renewed commitment to our common purpose.

The citizens of Maryland expect great things from us, and they deserve great things from us.

Too often, we see wedge politics and petty rhetoric used to belittle our adversaries and inflame partisan divisions. But I believe that Maryland is better than this. Our history proves that we are better than this.

It is only when the partisan shouting stops that we can hear each other’s voices and concerns.

I am prepared to create an environment of trust and cooperation, where the best ideas rise to the top based upon their merit, regardless of which side of the political debate they come from.

No problem faces us that hard work, honesty, and courage cannot solve if we work together.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can improve the tone in Annapolis, and we will. And we can move toward a common-sense, solutions-based government. The problems we face are great, but so is our resolve to fix them.

President Kennedy once said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.”

In that spirit, let us sit down together and come up with real, bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us. That’s what the people of Maryland voted for, it’s what they want, and it’s what they deserve.

The history of our great state is rich and deep, and our commitment to freedom and justice has always been our strength.

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, one of the first laws that granted different faiths the right to freely worship, was enacted. Since then, over the many years, Maryland has blossomed into a state wonderfully defined by our vibrant culture of racial, ethnic, and religious diversity.

In our hearts, Marylanders are hard-wired for inclusiveness. It’s who we are, it’s our founding principle, it’s part of our identity, and it is our greatest strength.

Our culture of tolerance and mutual respect must also extend to those with whom we happen to differ on politics.

Today is not the beginning of an era of divided government. Today is the beginning of a new spirit of bipartisan cooperation in Annapolis.

There is so much that unites us: a love of our state, a commitment to fairness, and a desire to be economically strong and successful.

And to those who would divide us, or drive us to the extremes of either political party, I remind you that Maryland has been called “a state of middle temperament.” Our politics need that middle temperament as well.

The politics that have divided our nation need not divide our state.

In the days ahead, I ask all Marylanders to seek that middle ground, where we can all stand together.

I recognize that the events of 2014 stirred strong feelings throughout the nation. But in keeping with the moderate tradition of Maryland, we expressed our passions in a positive, open, respectful, and civil way, as concerned neighbors.

It’s one of the many reasons I am proud to be a Marylander.

Our greatest challenge has always been reaching the high expectations set for us by our founders. That is why we will always keep trying, always keep growing, and why we shall never fail.

In the end, it isn’t about politics; it’s about citizenship, and the ability to understand the difference – that is what it means to be a Marylander.

Maryland’s greatness is in her goodness. Partisanship should never denigrate the unique legacy entrusted to us by our founders.

To all my friends across the aisle, I assure you that partisanship will never play a role in my decision-making. Everything we do will be guided by four common-sense principles.

First: Fiscal responsibility.

Our state government must provide essential services, yet still live within its means. We must run our state government more efficiently and more cost effectively.

Second: Economic growth.

Maryland has an educated workforce, world-class universities and colleges, great community colleges, and public schools.

We have our beautiful Chesapeake Bay, the Port of Baltimore, and a great location in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region. We must leverage these amazing assets to transform Maryland into a place where businesses can flourish and create more jobs and opportunities for our citizens.

Starting today let me say loudly and clearly: Maryland is open for business.

Third: Reform.

We must improve our state government’s ability to be more responsive to, and to better serve and represent all of our citizens.

Fourth: Fairness.

We must restore a sense of fairness and balance for Maryland’s hardworking and beleaguered taxpayers, in order to rebuild our forgotten middle class.

We must get the state government off our backs, and out of our pockets, so that we can grow the private sector, put people back to work, and turn our economy around.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can accomplish these things, and together we will.

This is our chance to build a government that works for the people, and not the other way around.

To accomplish these objectives will require leadership. I’m not talking about any one leader. It will take many, all of us, working together, rolling up our sleeves, acting with mutual respect, and doing our jobs for the people of Maryland.

It will require listening, education, and bold actions. And it will take the courage to do things differently.

A commitment to doing things differently will be challenging. But it will be worth it. We’re worth it. And more importantly, Maryland is worth it.

One hundred years from now, I want Marylanders to say, “This was when Maryland’s renaissance began.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today, full of hope, hope for our great state, hope for our people, and hope for our future.

I want Maryland’s future, to be brighter than it’s present, and brighter than it’s past.

It can be, and it will be.

Before my father cast his vote on the impeachment committee, 40 years ago, he quoted President Lincoln, who said, “We cannot escape history.”

And, we cannot escape our future – it’s out there, waiting for us.

Let us show our fellow Marylanders that government can work, that we can work together, that change is possible, and that Maryland can live up to the promise of our founders.

Let us always act worthy of the great task entrusted to us, to renew and advance our great state.

Let us appeal to the better angels of our nature so that we can achieve the great and shining promise of Maryland.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can change Maryland for the better. And together, we will.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the great state of Maryland.

Op-Ed: Stop Industrial Pollution On The Shore by Dan Watson

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 7.32.28 AM

Poultry production is a manufacturing process. Think Sparrows Point. Think Detroit. But instead of rolls of steel or lines of autos, a few Delmarva industrialists—Allen Foods, Perdue, Mountainair–push out hundreds of millions of processed chickens annually. According to Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. these industrialists shipped some 565 million chickens in 2013, or around 3 billion pounds. As that trade organization proudly reports: “Each week about 1,000 refrigerated truckloads of chicken are shipped from the Delmarva Peninsula to wholesale, retail, and food service outlets throughout the eastern part of the United States and around the world.” Think about it: a thousand truckloads per week! That is great thing to say for our local economy, and for the thousands it employs.

But as with all industrial processes, there are residual materials, waste that must be dealt with. No one today would say its OK for Bethlehem Steel to dump its waste into the adjacent rivers, or for GM to discharge PCBs, even though they did so for years in the past, and even though they also employed thousands. And no one would excuse them for poisoning of our water because to do otherwise would cost Bethlehem Steel a penny a pound or GM $25 per vehicle. Nor would we tolerate highly profitable industrialists hiding behind the skirts of “family steelworkers” or “family assemblymen”.

Chicken manure is unquestionably a waste product. But we know that it is not inherently a poison; it’s a rich organic resource of value in the right situation. (Predictably, Perdue AgriRecycle LLC is dedicated to making serious money on that waste product.) But on those fields already saturated from decades of spreading this phosphorus-containing waste, the material indeed has become a poison to our rivers.

Oh, but the chicken-industrialists are nowhere to be seen in the nutrient discussion. It’s all about the decimation of the Shore’s “family farmers”. People are not stupid: everyone knows the broiler industry escapes its responsibility through documents its lawyers devised decades ago, to “contract out” the manure-making phase of its manufacturing to “poultry producers” (most of whom work the chicken house only part time, as they primarily farm corn and beans—bought by the chicken-industrialists to process into precisely specified chicken feed those same producers are required to feed to the chicken-industrialists’ chickens).

No insult is intended in observing that “family farmers” holding legal title to chickens and tending them, in very strict accordance to the dictates of the chicken-industrialists while the birds put on pounds–and not incidentally produce tons of manure–are indeed industrial workers in that role, maybe like your granddaddy (a good family man too, no doubt) who might have worked down at the Point.

To couch this as a fight between environmentalists and the “family farmer” is a sad charade. Sure, some small farmers are partly responsible, as they signed the Faustian contracts that leave them with the manure problem.

But the people we must really engage to change the system, to fix the Shore’s nutrient problem, are men like Hong Kuk Kim, Chairman of Allen Foods, and owners of the four privately held poultry manufacturers. We all know, but for some reason ignore, the fact that these are the guys in power, the guys hiding shamelessly behind their “family farmers.” These are the people who seem to care more about another penny-a-pound of profit (on 3 billion pounds of product) than about the Chesapeake dead zone.

Experienced businessman that he is, I’m sure Governor-elect Hogan “gets it”, as do all but the dimmest of our legislators. Time to stop playing charades in Annapolis: engage with the chicken-industrialists and fix the problem.

Dan Watson