Letter to Editor: Solidarity of Faith Leaders in Talbot County to Protect Free Worship

As leaders of the diverse set of faiths and faith communities in Talbot County, we are committed to keeping all congregations and religious organizations and institutions safe places for worship and community activities. At this time, we write in particular to express our solidarity with the Jewish and Muslim communities who have recently faced widespread threats in our country. While explicit threats have not occurred locally, and we are grateful for this, This is not acceptable. In this spirit, we stand together in solidarity ready to affirm the inherent worth, dignity and safety of all. boundaries.

We aspire for our community to embrace and live out a vision of compassion and mutual respect We welcome and invite every person in Talbot County to join us, committed to supporting and living into this shared vision.

Rabbi Donald R Berlin

Davis B. Bobrow

Molly Burgoyne Brian, Clerk, Third Haven Friends Meeting

Rev. Dr. Shirlyn Henry Brown

Rev. Sue Browning, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton

The Rev. Bill Chilton

Fr. Kevin M. Cross, The Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford

Pastor Rusty Curling, Interim Pastor, Easton Church of the Brethren

Reverend Jody E. Gunn

Michelle Hammond

John Harrald, President, Board of Directors Talbot Interfaith Shelter

Rev. Dartanyon L. Hines

Rabbi Naomi Hyman

Rabbi Peter E. Hyman

Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

The Right Reverend Joel Marcus Johnson

Walter Johnson, Member,Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity

M. Walid Kamsheh, M.D. Islamic Center of Easton

Rev. John F. Keydel, Jr., Interim Rector Christ Church St. Michaels

Rev. Karen E. Larson Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church

Rev. Gary L. Moore United Methodist, Retired

Vy. Rev. James Nash, V.F. SS Peter and Paul Catholic Parish

Matthew R. Peters, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center

Deacon Edward R. Potter Union Baptist Church

Richard M. Potter, Jr., President NAACP, Talbot County Branch

The Very Rev. Gregory L. Powell Dean, Trinity Cathedral

Rev. Missy Rekitzke, St. Mark’s UMC, Easton

Rev. Nancy Sajda, Interfaith Minister President, P.E.A.C.E.

Pastor Tony Short, Trilife Christian Center

Rev. Flavia Skilbred, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Wm. T. Wallace, Sr.

Letter to Editor: 1st District Voters Must Read Andy Harris Sponsored Bill H.R. 637

There is a new bill in the House of Representatives called H.R. 637, sponsored by our 1st District Representative, Dr. Andy Harris. This broad, sweeping bill seeks to reclassify several chemicals so that they would no longer be regulated nor considered, “air pollutants,”

Dr. Harris’s bill says these are no longer air pollutants: methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, carbon dioxide. I researched these chemicals, and I can’t find any reason why we would want these chemicals in our air, unregulated. These chemicals are gasses that contribute to air pollution. If they go into our air, they will impact our crops, livestock, seafood, soil and waters that are the bounty of our Chesapeake Bay region, not to mention our lungs! Remember smog, acid rain, greenhouse gasses?  The polluted Potomac River? Let’s work together in a bipartisan way to protect our Bay Region. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Our God given air, soils, and water, need our good stewardship. This bill can be found online here. It is a very short, easy read, yet disastrous for our Bay Region. Our representatives work hard and deserve our respect. Often they may not know how we feel about certain bills.

Let’s make sure Mr. Harris knows that this bill is not in the best interest of a healthy 1st District Baltimore, Eastern Shore, and Chesapeake Bay Region. Dr.. Harris’ local office can be reached here . I encourage you to make your concerned, red and blue voices heard.

Chris Koch

Miles River Yacht Club’s SOS Sink or Swim Forms New Organization to Teach Children to Swim

The Miles River Yacht Club Foundation’s highly-successful SOS Sink or Swim program that sponsors free swimming lessons for area children is being spun off on its own to ensure its continued and sustained growth. Over the last three years, SOS has funded lessons for 1,400 children at two Talbot County pools.

“The MRYC Foundation identified a need in the community and began funding swimming lessons for local children in 2014. The response to SOS has been so enthusiastic that we realized it was time to form a new entity that would focus solely on the mission of teaching all our children how to swim and be safe in the water,” said Elizabeth C. Moose, the Foundation’s chairman.

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.51.36 PMTo help achieve that goal, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has agreed to be the Fiscal Sponsor for SOS. This agreement will allow SOS to focus on its core mission, while CBMM will provide much needed technical and administrative resources.

“We welcome SOS and share its commitment to serving the youth of our region,” CBMM President Kristen L. Greenaway said. “We are dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation of Chesapeake Bay stewards and working with SOS fits perfectly into that mission.”

MRYC Foundation Board Members, under the direction of then-chairman Dr. Sherry Manning, started SOS in 2014 as a way of countering accidental drowning in a region surrounded by water. The members were moved by the deaths of three area children who drowned after slipping into a creek so they decided to take action. The first goal was to raise enough money to pay for swimming lessons for 100 children at the Bay Hundred Pool in St. Michaels.

The Foundation partnered with the St. Michaels Community Center’s Bay Hundred Swim Kids program to administer SOS. Before that first summer was over, the Foundation funded lessons for 275 children. Board members immediately realized they had found a greater need than anticipated.

Fundraisers have been held and generous supporters have contributed donations as the program has expanded. In 2015, another 500 local children were taught how to swim. In 2016, with the help of the Talbot County Parks and Recreation Department, the program was expanded to the George Murphy Pool in Easton and instructors taught another 900 Talbot County children how to swim. The 2017 season will again be held at the two community pools. Registration will begin in May and the goal is to raise at least $50,000 to teach 1,000 more children.

It costs just $50 to teach a child the life-saving skill of swimming.

New General Manager of Inn at Perry Cabin Appointed

Reginald Archambault has been appointed General Manager of Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond.

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.48.00 PMMr. Archambault brings more than 20 years of diversified management experience in the luxury hospitality sector. Most recently, he was General Manager of the famous Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. Earlier in his career, he managed the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, both in Los Angeles, and held leadership positions with Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“We are thrilled to have Reginald join us to take the helm at Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond,” said Belmond Chief Operating Officer Phillippe Cassis. “His long-time experience in all aspects of luxury hotel management will be a tremendous asset to Belmond, and we are confident that under his leadership the resort will shine as the gem of St. Michaels.”

“My wife Michelle, son Thomas, trusty black lab Shea and myself are all very excited to move to St. Michaels and become a part of its vibrant community,” said Archambault. “Wherever we live, we try to immerse ourselves in the community and hope to do the same here. We want to become contributing members of this town.”

Letter to Editor: Talbot Mentors to Depart United Fund of Talbot County Support with Thanks

Talbot Mentors has benefitted from the support of Talbot County residents through the generosity of The United Fund of Talbot County (UFTC) for the past 15 years. While our needs are ongoing especially as we gear up to hit our goal of pairing 120 mentor/mentee pairs by the end of 2017, at a recent board meeting the decision was made to “graduate” from receiving UFTC financial support at the end of the 2016-17 United Fund campaign year. This will make room for other worthwhile organizations to benefit from the same support as Talbot Mentors has enjoyed.

The mission of Talbot Mentors is to work to ensure that all young people in Talbot County have the opportunity to mature into engaged and productive members of their communities. Through consistent support, guidance, coaching and role modeling, our volunteer mentors will strive to instill values and standards, and help these young people prepare for success in their personal and professional lives.

On behalf of the board of directors, staff, mentors and most importantly the kids who have benefitted from the support of UFTC, Talbot Mentors extends our sincere thanks and appreciation.

Natalie Costanzo
Executive Director
Talbot Mentors

Letter to Editor: Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Notes Sad Passing of Beth Schucker

The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival and Chesapeake Music lost one of its Frontline Players on February 8th with the sad passing of Beth Schucker. Beth was a true lover of music of all genres, but she had a special passion for jazz which she shared with her late husband Ray, himself a talented jazz pianist.

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Monty Alexander on left followed by Beth, Sally Heckman and Nancy Farinacci

Beth had many talents, including a keen musical ear and a great literary gift that produced many memorable articles on the jazz festival over the eight years of its history. She was one of the key supporters of the festival founded by the vision of Al and Marty Sikes and became one of its most loyal ambassadors introducing so many of us new comers to the Easton jazz scene. Beth had a wonderful journalistic approach to her writing…this excerpt from her autumn 2014 article in Chesapeake Music’s quarterly publication “Interlude” captures her skill perfectly as she interviewed Monty Alexander:

“Absolutely not,” says Monty Alexander, with a hint of indignation. I had asked him if he raised an eyebrow when Al Sikes invited him in 2010 to perform a one-nighter, in a small theater, in a small town on the Eastern Shore. I thought the question relevant: after all, Monty, the namesake and Artistic Director of The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, claims the world as his stage. Monty finishes his thought, “I had no formal music training. I learned piano by playing. So I played anywhere. I never raised an eyebrow. After sixty some years, I’m still learning, playing anywhere and not raising an eyebrow.”

Beth, with Lee Philips her partner and performer in music, was one of those “extraordinary/ordinary” people with a passion for jazz, a love of life and a dear friend to so many from the Eastern Shore to New Zealand and back. She will be dearly missed, but her memory will live on in those wonderful articles in the Chesapeake Music archives.

John Malin

Op-Ed: Death with Dignity Debate by Robert Bjork

In a recent Spy op-ed, Michael Collins suggested that we need to debate this issue because the proponents of the bill provide personal stories (he calls them tales) that rely on raw emotion to promote these acts and should make us pause before enacting them. In his article he then goes on an emotional journey of his own by using loaded words suicide, killing, and euthanasia to describe this bill and with his own tales of abuse in the Netherlands.

His first sentence in an attempt to explain this act contains the following “….to obtain lethal doses of drugs with which to kill themselves”. A person in this position is not killing themselves they are already going to die very soon. They are choosing to end their lives when, where, and with whom they love. Throughout his article he continuously refers to death with dignity as suicide and even euthanasia.

Medical aid in dying is fundamentally different from suicide:

A person seeking medical aid in dying wants to live but not with the physical or emotional pain that living would require. The person considering suicide has no terminal illness buts want to die.

A person seeking medical aid in dying, is suffering life-ending illness and understand that further treatment is inappropriate and there is no hope for a better outcome. Those considering suicide see no hope but do not recognize their problems are treatable.

People seeking medical aid in dying are deliberate in their request and will often include family in their discussions with their physicians. The act of suicide is secretive and often impulsive without involvement of family, friends, and healthcare professionals.

Equating medical aid in dying with euthanasia is hypocritical. Euthanasia is commonly a lethal injection given by a third party. It is frequently done without the consent or approval of the patient. The bill in the Maryland General Assembly does not allow euthanasia.

Mr. Collins also talks about Doctors violating the Hippocratic Oath. I assume he means the often quoted “do no harm”. Are Doctors doing no harm when they make decisions about treatment based on their expertise alone followed by pushing patients into dangerous treatments that have no hope of improving a person’s life or even prolonging their life? I believe doctors need to obtain a sense of the patients own priorities before discussing treatment options.

Doctors should not be the final arbitrator in this decision it should be up to the person to make that choice.

One of the major components of this bill is that before a Doctor can prescribe a lethal dose of medicine the Doctor must provide the patient with a complete picture of all their end of life options including pain and symptom management, hospice, Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, declining or stopping life-sustaining treatment, palliative sedation, as well as medical aid in dying.

I don’t disagree with Mr. Collins in that the end of life medical treatment provided in this country needs to be fully debated and thought about. This includes reexamining what medical professionals are taught in medical school.

Mr. Collins should look at Oregon and not the Netherlands for understanding how this law works. This law has been in effect in Oregon since 1997 and in that time End-Of-Life care has improved due in large due to the dialogue encouraged by the law between people and their doctors. Hospice use is high as is other use of palliative care. Some hospice programs reported a 20% increase in referrals since the law went into effect. The in-hospital death rates are the lowest in the nation, in-home death rates are the highest, and violent suicide among hospice patients has virtually disappeared.

Letter to Editor: The Bay Needs Oyster Sanctuaries

The Bay needs oyster sanctuaries, and the sanctuaries need our help to protect them from efforts to reduce their size and keep them free from harvest. Oyster sanctuaries are our best hope to restore the health and productivity of the Chesapeake Bay. On February 13, the Oyster Advisory Commission considered proposed changes to sanctuary management that would reduce the size of oyster sanctuaries by 11 percent and open up nearly 1,000 acres of the remaining sanctuaries to rotational harvesting. If adopted, the proposal would be a major setback to Chesapeake restoration efforts and should be rejected.

The Oyster Advisory Commission was established in 2007 to advise the Department of Natural Resources on strategies for rebuilding and managing oyster populations. The current oyster management plan was adopted in 2010 to meet these objectives, including the establishment of several sanctuary areas. Of the 36,000 acres of productive oyster bottom remaining in Maryland’s portion of the Bay, 24 percent (approximately 9,000 acres) was placed in sanctuary, with the remaining 76 percent left open as public shellfish fishery areas.

It was clear during Monday’s meeting that there is no scientific justification for a reduction in the size of oyster sanctuaries. The draft 2016 status report indicates that all current objectives for sanctuary management are being met, which means there is no scientific reason to reduce sanctuaries or damage them with rotational harvesting.

Sanctuaries need to be kept free from harvest to allow oysters to continue to reproduce in a manner to establish oyster reefs. Oysters have the incredible ability to filter water – up to 50 gallons of water per day for each oyster. Furthermore, when left to their own devices oysters have the ability to build vertical reefs in the Bay that create critical habitat for other aquatic species. These reefs also help mix Bay water as a result of tidal action, reducing “dead zones” that typically occur during warm weather months. Rotational harvesting would break up the reefs and destroys these vertical structures, sacrificing long-term efforts to restore the Bay for a small and temporary increase in harvest levels.

There is hope. Recently, State Representative James Gilchrist introduced House Bill 924 to prohibit any changes to oyster sanctuaries until the Department of Natural Resources developed a science-based plan that would justify any changes. Under this bill, the Department would consult with University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science to carry out peer-reviewed science that would guide future action, with a final report due December 2018. This approach would ensure that science, and not short term political interests, would govern management of the oyster sanctuaries. Oysters belong in the Bay, and the Bay belongs to all of us.

Ron Ketter

1st District Health Care Town Hall Meetings to be Held Without Rep. Andy Harris

Constituents in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District are growing increasingly concerned about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and are looking to their elected officials to help address those concerns. Many calls, letters, and emails to Representative Andy Harris’s office have gone unanswered, or answered without addressing specific concerns. Constituent requests for Representative Harris to hold an in-person town hall meeting have not been successful.

Citizens for Health Care, a local grassroots organization, has heard these concerns and will host a series of citizens town hall meetings entitled “Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Town Hall Meetings” intended to inform and educate constituents about the ACA and what it’s repeal could mean to them and their families and to consider methods to improve the ACA.

These town hall meetings will feature speakers from the professional healthcare community for an information session, as well as an open-panel question and answer session for public attendees. Representative Harris and other local elected officials have been invited to attend, in hopes of opening the lines of communication with their constituents and allowing for a discussion of what might come next. Hundreds of constituents have indicated they are interested in attending.

“At Citizens for Health Care, we understand that the subjects of health care and the ACA are not partisan issues: they are human issues,” said DeLane Lewis, one of the founders of Citizens for Health Care. “Congress is facing a dilemma at this moment, arguing whether to repeal or repair parts of the ACA. However, any decision they make will have a real, lasting impact on all U.S. citizens. It is our mission to keep the public informed and aware as to how these proposed changes could affect them.”

One of the major aims of the town hall meetings will be to answer the many questions that citizens currently have, including: What will be the impact on employer based plans? While all current and proposed plans, would continue to offer insurance for pre-existing conditions, under the ACA insurance companies are not allowed to charge higher premiums for pre-existing conditions. Will that be true under any new plan? In Maryland alone, almost 500,000 people are enrolled in health care coverage through the ACA. What will be the impact on the State of Maryland financially? On jobs?

Proposed plans that would eliminate current provisions of the ACA for federal financial assistance and Medicaid expansion are also of significant concern. According to research by the Urban Institute, eliminating individual and employer mandated, federal financial assistance and Medicaid expansion would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22.5 million. The group estimates that an additional 7.3 million Americans would lose their insurance due to anear collapse of the non group insurance market.

Speakers at the citizens town hall plan to review and compare coverage options and statistics from pre-ACA, versus current options, as well as the various policy aspects of proposed changes or replacements. Health care professionals will also be available to discuss the implications for addiction treatment and mental health care in the community, as the ACA has greatly expanded coverage in both of these areas. Additionally, the financial costs of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will be discussed to get a clear picture of the impact on the average healthcare consumer’s wallet.

The town hall meetings will be held as follows:

Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 pm, Harford Community College, Darlington Hall, Room 202, Bel Air
Thursday, February 23, 6 pm, Queen Anne’s County Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville
Friday, February 24, 6 pm, Salvation Army, 429 N Lake Drive, Salisbury
Thursday, March 2, 6 pm, St Paul’s UCC, 17 Bond Street, Westminster

Current guest speakers scheduled to appear include:

– Sue Ehlenberger, Maryland Health Connection-Seedco
– Mark Romaninsky, Maryland Health Connection-Seedco
– Jeananne Sciabarra, Consumer Health First
– Scot Hurley, Ashley Addiction Treatment
– Katia Callan, MSW, LCSW-C, Insight Wellness of Maryland
– Dr. James Burdick, author of Talking About Single Payer: Health Care Equality for America
– Dr. Margaret Flowers, Healthcare is a Human Right
– Kaylie Potter, Door to Healthcare

About Citizens for Health Care: Citizens for Health Care, located in Bel Air, Md., is a grassroots organization dedicated to providing education and information regarding the Affordable Care Act and proposed changes to the bill. For more information, please visithttps://www.facebook.com/CitizensforHealthCare/


Senior Nation: Workshop on Legal Challenges of Aging Loved Ones February 18

Good news: there is no need to fear legal documents for aging loved ones moving into assisted living.

HeartFields Assisted Living at Easton invites you to participate in a free seminar conducted by Mid-Shore attorney Charles Capute. He will walk through a discussion on legal issues one might have in paying for care and protecting elderly parents and themselves both legally and financially. Issues such as powers of attorney, estate planning, and health care powers will be covered followed by a question and answer period.

The Seminar will be held this coming Saturday, February 18th, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM at HeartFields Assisted Living at Easton located at 700 Port Street in Easton, Maryland. Seating is limited, so call 410-820-4400 to reserve your slot.

The lecture and seminar series is part of the HeartFields Lifestyle 360 Programing developed by Five Star Senior Living that centers on the Five Dimensions of Wellness. Heartfields goal is to make life meaningful and fun while giving residents the opportunity to discover new interests and pursuing new friendships. The Five Dimensions support intellect, physical, spiritual, emotional and social growth.

HeartFields Chef Gordon will present a “Five Star” breakfast, using signature items from his daily menus, following the seminar.

For more information of this program please go here