Grand Opening of Kent County Arts Council’s New Gallery Space

Join us on Friday, November 3rd – during Downtown Chestertown First Friday – for the opening of the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery of the Kent County Arts Council (KCAC). We are christening our new space with artwork from The Arts & The Military ART/ifacts Collection and from The Joe Bonham Project. Our inaugural show – War Front / Home Front: Through the Eyes of Our Military – is created in partnership with curator Tara Tappert, Founder and Principal of The Arts & The Military and Michael D. Fay, Founder of The Joe Bonham Project. It is funded, in part, by The Institute for Integrative Health.

The ART/ifacts Collection is the tangible legacy of art-making as activism, and the nature of the work allows for the exploration of military culture, and the history of war, and its costs. Themes include patriotism, nationalism, and perceptions of duty, suffering, heroism, and loyalty. Several grassroots veteran-art groups are represented in the Collection – Button Field Paper, Combat Paper Project, Peace Paper Project, Veterans in the Arts, as well as the work of individual veteran-artists. The Joe Bonham Project is named after the fictional, limbless, faceless protagonist of the 1939 anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo. The project’s purpose is to show the real face of war and the aftermath of war with artwork that portrays the realities and human consequences of combat. The project distances itself from politics, preferring instead to be seen as apolitical “witness art.”

There will be three special events during the run of the show. All are free and everyone is welcome.
1) Grand Opening – First Friday, November 3rd, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
2) Poetry Reading – Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor’s Poetry of War, Frederick Foote, M.D. (CAPT, MC, USN, ret.) – Sunday, November 12, 2:00 p.m.
3) Illustrated Lecture – Beyond Stereotypes: War, Warriors, and the Creative Arts, by Tara Tappert, Founder and Principal, The Arts & The Military; and, Michael D. Fay, (CW02, USMC, ret.) Retired Combat Artist, and Founder, The Joe Bonham Project, Sunday, November 19, 2:00 p.m.

Military Working Dog (for Dave Nevis)
by Patrick Sargent (United States Air Force), silkscreen on paper made from pulped military uniforms, 2015

Wed – Fri: Noon – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Kent County Arts Council, 101 Spring Avenue / PO Box 330 Chestertown, MD 21620

Op-Ed: In Trying Times, We Can Rely on Us by Robbie Gill

One of the most enjoyable parts of working at the YMCA of the Chesapeake is the opportunity to interact with so many different members of our community every day. Regardless of where people grew up or what they are doing today, just about everyone has a “Y story.” Each one is a little different (including learning to swim; camps and youth sports; afterschool programs; serving as volunteers and mentors; finding ways to get healthy as a family, and much more), but at its core, all experiences are reminders of the Y’s place in our community. In short, the Y understands that our collective success is rooted in our communities and our mission is to bring us together, to make us better as individuals, communities and as a nation.

It often feels like we live in a time that defines us by our differences; but the ties that bind us together—while frayed—are not broken. Our community is more diverse than you might think—whether it be age, gender, race, religion, ability or something else—and many of us have different backgrounds and experiences that help form our worldview. What we don’t realize (or we sometimes forget) is that understanding different points and experiences helps make us all stronger.

Our Y plays a huge role in strengthening communities across the Eastern Shore, but also reinforces the positive, collective change we can make happen when we put aside our differences and work together for the greater good.

Regardless of where or how you’re involved, I challenge all members of our community to find something you care about and make it better. If you don’t know where to start, give me call and we’ll connect you to some incredible opportunities. We’re a charity driven to bring people together through a lens of love, compassion and acceptance all in the name of making a better you, a better me and a better us!

Robbie Gill is the Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of the Chesapeake.

Letter to Editor: Concerns over Darby Farm Future in Royal Oak

I am writing on  a matter that carries potentially grave consequences to the neighborhood in which I live. I refer specifically to the village boundaries plan, the subsequent zoning and potential development on the Darby Farm property in Royal Oak.

The potential for substantial development of the 35 – 40 acres of property, if not more, in question is truly a game changing prospect for our community. You have undoubtedly heard all of the cogent arguments and I will not reiterate all of the details of each of them in this correspondence. But I will say that it would be incredibly unwise to set the stage for the development of that particular property for a number of critical reasons:

Edge Creek has been determined to be the most polluted creek in the County, with fishing restrictions already in place. Unless the County is willing to simply write off this beautiful waterway, the last thing it needs is significant development just yards from the Creek’s headwaters, further threatening its very survivability. People in our neighborhood are already asking questions like “Should we not be eating crabs caught off of our dock”, “Why is our Creek so polluted”, and “Isn’t there something we can do to improve the condition of the Creek?” And we are seriously considering setting the stage for potentially major development so close to its banks? We need to be focused instead on getting those still on septic to convert their systems, eliminate the run-off from Darby Farm and other properties along the banks, and otherwise seeking to save the Creek rather than further degrade it.

And safety of residents and visitors remains a huge issue. With single lane roads and compromised (or no) shoulders throughout the continuous area, the eventual development being considered will seriously increase the risk of more serious accidents in the area, especially for bikers and pedestrians.

The quality of life for those residing in and around the Village is the third concern I wish to highlight. Some have questioned the “right” of current residents to restrict development after “they” arrived in Royal Oak. To that I say that we welcome others to our neighborhood; it is the type of development and density that is being considered by some that concerns us. I understand that the boundaries plan itself is actually favorable in this regard; it is the potential future development at 4:1 on that certain portion of the property that concerns us. I can’t even imagine the level of our angst if more than the 35 – 40 acres could be zoned at 4:1.

In conclusion, allow me to request that you not recommend or support any plans that are likely to set the stage for the catastrophe of converting Royal Oak into everything it is NOT today. I do so on behalf of so many other residents that are less vocal, but no less outraged by the prospect of the life changing developments being considered by some for the future of Royal Oak.

Thank you so much for your patience and consideration in reading this lengthy email, and for your dedicated and ongoing service to our beloved County and community.

Len Wolf

Artists Tackle Immigration Horrors at Brookletts Building in October

An artists’ reception Saturday, October 7th, 2-6 pm, will highlight THE MEDITERRANEAN, a benefit exhibition for migrant relief at the old industrial Brookletts Building in Easton, Maryland.  Painters Amare Selfu and Carol Minarick join forces to focus on the humanitarian crisis occurring in the Mediterranean.  This year alone more than 132,000 migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have crossed the sea from North Africa to Europe.

All works sold at the exhibit will benefit Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee as they continue to help the thousands of refugees in this ongoing emergency.

More than 3,200 have drowned in the harrowing exodus as overloaded boats capsize, and international rescue efforts are overwhelmed.  Even before they reach the sea Sub-Saharan migrants are the most vulnerable simply because of their skin color. They face exploitation, confinement and rape by smugglers and traffickers.

Both artists have personal connections with the region. Amare Selfu, on the faculties of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Goucher College, is an immigrant from Africa.  He has exhibited extensively in his native Ethiopia and observes that many lost in the Mediterranean are fleeing conditions in East Africa.  Amare’s work is concerned with the “physicality and non-physicality of borders,” a theme of his recent exhibition at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.  

Carol Minarick is reprising the benefit exhibit for refugee relief she shared with local artists two years ago at her studio.  She studied at the American University of Beirut and continues to support that vital institution in the Middle East.  Her paintings are about peril at sea, including the plight of those fleeing Syria.  A resident of Easton, she has had more than 30 solo exhibitions, in the United States and Canada, including a 2015 installation at the Academy Art Museum.

The Artists’ Reception is 2 – 6 pm Saturday, October 7th.  Exhibition hours are:  Friday – Sunday, 2 – 6 pm, October 6-8, and by appointment.  For further information please call 443-803-6433.

The Brookletts Building, Studio 204
404 Brookletts Avenue
Easton, MD  21601

Sarah Kesty, Advocate for the Disabled, to Speak September 16

In celebration of CMT Awareness Month, the Easton, MD, Branch of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Association will host California educator, author and speaker Sarah Kesty on Saturday, September 16, 10 AM-Noon.n celebration of CMT Awareness Month, the Easton, MD, Branch of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Association will host California educator, author and speaker Sarah Kesty on Saturday, September 16, 10 AM-Noon.

Sarah’s visit is an award from the CMTA to the Easton group for raising in excess of $10,000 in 2016 for CMT research. Sarah is the author of two helpful books: Everyone Has Something, Together We Can and Does a Bully Have Something?  Sarah Kesty Everyone Has Something… celebrates the journey we all take when faced with a struggle. She believes that the frustration or sadness one may feel can be replaced with strength and compassion as one grows through the difficulty.  Her stories illustrate how important it is for one to be compassionate when considering what others are going through. She also believes that bullying can be eradicated by empathy.

Kesty is a member of CARS+, the organization for special educators, CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD), and a member of the CMT Advisory Board. Her “something” is CMT and that has inspired her to reach out to others. We also look forward to being joined by county and state representatives, presenting proclamations commemorating September as CMT Awareness Month in Maryland and Talbot County. Join us for a fascinating morning filled with understanding, compassion and celebration.  For more information please call Missy Warfield, group leader, at 410-820-0576.

Nice: Bayleigh Chase Completes 3rd School Supply Drive

Bayleigh Chase, a forward-thinking life plan community based in Easton, recently completed its third annual school supply drive.

Community residents, colleagues and families collected school supplies throughout the month of August. The donated items were delivered to Easton Elementary School – Moton on September 6. Pictured (left to right): Pam Kunz, Bayleigh Chase Residency Counselor; Anne Ryan Neary, Bayleigh Chase Resident; Students of Easton Elementary – Moton; Sherry Bowen, Principal at Easton Elementary – Moton; Sherri Brown, Bayleigh Chase Director of Sales & Marketing.

From South of Left Field: Weather or Not by Jimmie Galbreath

A lifelong love of science in all forms can cause problems. As a child, it fascinated me and sadly resulted in a great deal of bullying from the other students in the rural schools I attended through junior high school. What strikes me as ridiculous and a bit confusing is that while traveling along that path I also got the idea that America as a whole respected science.

At 14 I was given a job working at Uncle Eugene’s Texaco station in Port Gibson, MS. Between time spent pumping gas, washing windshields and checking oil I began trying to total up how much gas I pumped in a day. That was the price of boredom I guess. Little did I realize the trap I was walking into.

As time progressed, my totals weren’t enough. I wondered how much the station pumped in a day or week, followed by how much was pumped in all of Port Gibson, then how much in the state? As the years rolled by into college, those questions led me to wonder how much crude oil was being produced (I was studying Petroleum Engineering toward the end), how many cubic miles was removed and on and on. Why revisit this repeatedly over the years? The driving question was how much were we doing and how big the impact because of it. I was curious.

There were other things I noticed during this same span of years. It seemed the weather was changing. As a child winter had plenty of cold days and a dusting of snow was not too uncommon. The start of school required flannel shirts with long pants. Slowly as the years rolled by, it seemed that flannel wasn’t necessary for the start of school and I still recall the profound sense of shock as first Thanksgiving then later Christmas rolled by with short sleeve weather. The first frosts came later and later over the years and snow became less frequent. Being a contrary child who from birth loved cold weather, rain, snow and fog I noticed this. Everyone else seemed fine without it.

It was geology (part of the Petroleum Engineering curriculum) that began to connect these two threads for me. Much to my surprise many of the theories of changing climate were born long ago. The earliest theory of people changing local environment is attributed to Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle! Weather plays a big part in forming geology, and my personal side interest in weather went there too. Having bored the reader to tears, it is time to cut to the chase and declare two firmly held beliefs. The climate is changing and we humans are driving it. The more years of interest and reading the pros and cons, the more it scares the bejesus out of me.

It is no wonder so many folks want to turn away from accepting this. What sold me on all this was the combination of personal experience and hard science. The hard part to arriving at a place like this is the internal struggle that is created. An awareness that rears its head nearly every time I drive my car or take out the trash and pokes at me saying ‘look what you are causing.’ It is so much easier to say the science is wrong or I can’t change the whole world.

So how do I handle this? First off, ‘I’ am not all that. Neither are you. If I dropped dead today the science says the changes would not stop so ‘I’ alone cannot stop it nor am I causing this. What I am doing is contributing and that I can change to reduce my impact. Being aware and caring causes me to make small changes. Living with awareness is the same as sharing awareness through actions and occasional words. Like so many unpopular endeavors climate change may be best shown in this way to those with closed attitudes toward the science.

In my new home in Maryland when I get a chance to talk to those with life long experience here I often hear similar observations. The fall and spring is warmer and shorter than decades ago. These changes span the globe and can be seen in photographs, graphs, and satellite pictures.

Does it really matter if we believe in human driven climate change? Well, the science, the weather, and the earth itself don’t care what we think about it. Opinion does not change the inevitable march of nature and there will be a reckoning for the changes we are making. There are measurable changes on land, sea and in the air whose ultimate consequences we can only guess. Every time I listen to the remake of ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Disturbed this entire issue comes to mind.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way, he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served three years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Labor Day Cheat Sheet: The History behind the Holiday

One of our Spies was able to locate this recent online interview with Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor’s historian, provided us with some answers about the history of Labor Day.

Q: What’s the history of Labor Day? How did it all begin?

A: The Labor Day holiday is interesting because it evolved over a period of years. In 19th century America, there was already a tradition of having parades, picnics and various other celebrations in support of labor issues, such as shorter hours or to rally strikers. But most historians emphasize one specific event in the development of today’s modern Labor Day. That pivotal event was the parade of unions and a massive picnic that took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882.

At that time, the labor movement was growing stronger. Many of the unions in New York prospered by joining together into one Central Labor Union made up of members from many local unions. On May 14, 1882, a proposal was made at the Central Labor Union meeting that all workers should join together for a “monster labor festival” in early September. A committee of five people was appointed to find a park for the celebration. They chose Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue, the largest park in New York City at that time; the date was set for Tuesday, September 5. By June, they had sold 20,000 tickets with the proceeds going to each local union selling them. In August, the Central Labor Union passed a resolution “that the 5th of September be proclaimed a general holiday for the workingmen in this city.”

At first they were afraid that the celebration was going to be a failure. Many of the workers in the parade had to lose a day’s pay in order to participate. When the parade began only a handful of workers were in it, while hundreds of people stood on the sidewalk jeering at them. But then slowly they came – 200 workers and a band from the Jewelers’ Union showed up and joined the parade. Then came a group of bricklayers with another band. By the time they reached the park, it was estimated that there were 10,000 marchers in the parade in support of workers.

The park was decorated with flags of many nations. Everyone picnicked, drank beer and listened to speeches from the union leadership. In the evening, even more people came to the park to watch fireworks and dance. The newspapers of the day declared it a huge success and “a day of the people.”

After that major event in New York City, other localities began to pick up the idea for a fall festival of parades and picnics celebrating workers.

Q: Can you clear up some confusion: who is the father of Labor Day?

A: When studying the history of Labor Day, two names stand out, and the funny thing is that they sound just alike. One is Peter J. McGuire, a leading official in the American Federation of Labor and organizer of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. The other is Matthew Maguire, a machinist from the Knights of Labor. The problem with declaring a single “founder” of Labor Day is that, at the time, no one realized that a new national holiday was being born. It was only after the fact that people tried to pinpoint a single founding father.

Seven years after that first New York Labor Day parade, the union journal for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters published an article claiming that their union brother, McGuire, made the original proposal to have the Labor Day event in New York and called for one day a year to be set aside as Labor Day. This article was reprinted yearly, and it became the common assumption that these were the facts.

However, in 1967, a retired machinist from Maguire’s union stepped up and claimed that his union brother was, in fact, the true originator of the movement for a national Labor Day. He pointed to an old newspaper article written nine years after the New York Labor Day parade titled “Labor Day: Its History and Development in the Land.” This article claimed that the first Secretary of the Central Labor Union, Maguire, was the one who arranged the parade. This claim was supported six years later when the grand marshal of the New York parade of 1882 himself reminisced about how Maguire from the Knights of Labor had first suggested that the Central Labor Union call upon the unions of New York City to join together in a labor parade.

So the historical conundrum seems to hinge on the fact that the two names sound alike and were probably mixed up in the common consciousness. Toss in the years of bitter rivalry between the American Federation of Labor and the Knights of Labor and, of course, you’re going to have multiple heroes emerging in the legend of Labor Day.

I don’t really know if there is only one true parent of Labor Day. But when former Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz spoke at the convention of the International Association of Machinists in 1968, he said: “My decision…is that there is no question as to who is the father of Labor Day in this country. Officially, as of this moment, insofar as the Department of Labor is concerned, it is Matt Maguire, machinist!” So in the question of McGuire versus Maguire, I don’t really know. But my money backs Bill Wirtz every time!

Q: When did it become a national holiday and why?

A: Labor Day as a national, legal holiday had an interesting evolution. The legalized celebration of Labor Day began as individual state celebrations. In 1887, New York, New Jersey and Colorado were among the first states to approve state legal holidays. Then other states joined in to create their own state Labor Days. Finally, in response to a groundswell of support for a national holiday celebrating the nation’s workers, Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to the 53rd Congress to make Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of September each year. It was approved on June 28, 1894.

Senior Nation: Bayleigh Chase Hosts Memory Cafe Program

Bayleigh Chase co-sponsors monthly Memory Cafes with the Alzheimer’s Association The goal is to enhance the lives of individuals living with memory loss and their care partners.

The Memory Cafe offers a safe and relaxed place where people with early-stage dementia and their families and friends come together for a unique blend of social engagement and support. It is a forum where people can share experiences and talk about dementia. Anyone affected by early-stage dementia is welcome to attend. Attendance is free and light fare is provided.

Speaker: Heather Stalling, Home Health Consultant with Hill’s Home Health

Topic: In-Home Safety and supportive senior care products
When: September 13, 2017 2nd Wednesday of every month 11:30 a.m.
Where: Bayleigh Chase 545 Cynwood Drive, Easton, MD 21601
Please RSVP by September 11 to Tina Saddler 410-820-5000 or Space is limited.

Consumer Advocacy Group Protests CareFirst Rate Hikes

Many Marylanders face sharp rate increases for health insurance after the Maryland Insurance Agency (MIA) approved requests by CareFirst, the state’s largest insurer.

The MIA on Aug. 29 approved increases averaging 34.5 percent for CareFirst’s HMO plans and 49.9 percent for its Preferred Provider plans for the individual market for 2018. The increases granted were pared back from CareFirst’s original request for more than 50 percent increases in its rates.

Other insurance companies also requested increases. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which accounts for nearly a third of the statewide market, requested increases averaging 25.1 percent across its plans. Uncertainty over what Congress may do to reform or possibly repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was largely to blame for the requested rate increases, according to a July report in the Baltimore Sun.

Leaders of Consumer Health First, the statewide consumer policy and advocacy organization, expressed deep concern about the effects of such a high rate increase on Marylanders and the stability of the state’s insurance marketplace.

The state’s decision will have devastating consequences for consumers and the long-term sustainability of the individual market,” said Leni Preston, president of Consumer Health First. “These rate increases are inconsistent with CareFirst’s statutorily mandated mission to provide affordable and accessible health insurance to its members.”

The premium hikes will especially harm Marylanders who do not qualify for a federal subsidy and could further destabilize the marketplace as healthier CareFirst customers either find a different carrier or drop coverage completely, Consumer Health First said in a news release Tuesday.

Beth Sammis, former acting commissioner of the MIA and a Consumer Health First board member, said, “It is time to hold CareFirst accountable for its performance in the individual market. CareFirst needs to demonstrate it is doing all it can to build a partnership with health care providers and consumers in the individual market to improve health and lower costs.”

Sammis called on the president and Congress “to take the steps necessary to guarantee the federal government will pay insurers the amount due for subsidies.” She said, “Failure to make these payments will result in even higher rate increases.” 

We also urge Governor Hogan and our elected officials to move forward with state programs to stabilize the individual market, such as a state reinsurance program, and to require the Commissioner to consider CareFirst’s statutory mission when reviewing rate filings in the future,” added Sammis.  

A previous analysis by Consumer Health First raised a number of concerns about CareFirst’s justification for its proposed hikes to premiums. It said that CareFirst remains on solid financial footing, with a surplus far exceeding what is required by law for a health insurer, despite its losses on the individual market since 2014.