Cambridge’s 1880 Bank to Merge with Easton Bank & Trust

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The Baltimore Sun is reporting today that the parent of Cambridge-based 1880 Bank has announced a plan to buy the Easton Bank & Trust Company for $8 million cash.

Parent Delmarva Bancshares expects to close on the deal later this year, after the approval of banking regulators and the shareholders of Easton Bank. 1880 Bank, which was known as National Bank of Cambridge until it was renamed in October, serves the Eastern Shore and has about $192 million in assets and $166 million in deposits.

Read the full story here

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Make Address at Washington College

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Over the past month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has been making almost daily headlines with his agency’s groundbreaking policy on net neutrality. Wheeler, who stands at the center of a stormy dialogue on the issue, recently announced a set of strong, sustainable rules to protect the open Internet as a platform for innovation, free expression and economic growth. In the face of opposition from Republican lawmakers and some business leaders, Wheeler argued that the open Internet was at risk without federal regulations to ensure that America’s broadband networks will remain open, fast, and fair.

Wheeler will appear at Washington College on Thursday, April 2, for the Spring 2015 Richard Harwood Lecture in American Journalism, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. His talk, “On the Front Lines of the Digital Revolution,” will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. Cosponsored by the Department of Business Management and the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the program is free and open to the general public.

“We’re exceptionally honored to welcome Tom Wheeler as a lecturer in the Harwood Series at such a historic moment,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director, who will lead an onstage conversation with Wheeler following the speaker’s formal remarks. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear from a leading policymaker right in the midst of the most critical chapter of his public life. Moreover, Wheeler is a distinguished historian who will also offer the ‘long view’ of how the ongoing digital revolution relates to past moments of epochal change in how human beings communicate.”

After the FCC’s vote on February 25, the Los Angeles Times called it “a landmark decision for the future of the Internet,” while the New York Times hailed “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history, one that the little guys appear to have won.” Meanwhile, telecommunications giant Verizon issued a statement – in Morse code, no less – accusing Wheeler of trying to roll back telecommunications to the 1930s.

Appointed FCC chairman in 2013 by President Barack Obama, Wheeler brings to his position vast experience in the fast-paced and ever-evolving communications field. For more than three decades he has been one of the nation’s leading communications policy experts, advocates and entrepreneurs in both the public and private sector, and has been hailed as a top ten innovator in the history of wireless communications.

In addition his role in Washington at the helm of the agency tasked with communications law, regulation and technological innovation, Wheeler is also a historian of technology. His books, Take Command: Leadership Lessons of the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000) and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006), connect the current Digital Revolution to past eras of technological upheaval. Wheeler’s commentaries have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and other publications. Wheeler has also served as a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Foundation for the National Archives, and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. Speakers in the series have included many leading figures in politics and the press. The journalistic tradition has also continued in Harwood’s own family; his son, John Harwood, has had a distinguished career as a political correspondent and columnist for CNBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

CNB Continues to Grow in Delaware

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CNB, headquartered in Centreville, MD and a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, was joined by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce on March 12th in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new branch location at 800 S. Governors Avenue, Dover DE. Employees, customers, friends and local dignitaries and supporters came out to celebrate with the CNB staff.

“We are very excited to now have a branch location in Dover“, says Teresa Swartz, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager. “We look forward to serving the Dover community and surrounding areas for many years to come. CNB is truly a community bank and we can offer the products and personal service that will make an impact on both your personal and business goals. We plan to be actively engaged in this community and will continually look for opportunities to support our customers and to help improve their lives.”

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Established in 1876, with 12 convenient locations in Maryland and Delaware, CNB serves the local needs of our customers and our community through personalized banking services and products, convenient operations and secure and reliable banking solutions. Stop in to see how banking with CNB can benefit you. You may also visit cnb-bank.com or call 410-758-1600 for the main Centreville branch and 302-734-2860 for the new Dover branch.

A Spy Introduction: New Chesapeake Bank CEO Glenn Wilson

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Glenn Wilson and his family never really debated where they wanted to live in retirement. The former Citizens National of Laurel executive and then CEO of AmeriServ Financial in Pennsylvania and his wife invested early in Chester River Landing to stake out a place for weekend visits and long -term retirement over ten years ago. In the meantime, he assumed his work life would continue until that golden age of sixty-six

But that was before a bank executive recruiter called him one day last year to suggest Glenn consider becoming heading up a small community bank called the Chesapeake Bank and Trust on the Eastern Shore in a town called Chestertown. Had he heard of the town, inquired the clueless headhunter? The rest, as they say, is history.

In his Spy interview, the new CEO of Chesapeake, who now facing a 75 second commute from his home to work every morning, talks about his background, the local banking climate, his confidence in the Eastern Shore’s economy.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

SpiderWeb Connections Spreads Its Web

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SpiderWeb Connections, a digital marketing agency, recently opened a new office at 125 N. Washington Street in Easton. The firm was founded in 2010 by Susan Schauer John and specializes in web design and development, graphic design and branding, and social media and content management.

Pictured left to right are Susan Schauer John, creative and practical owner of SpiderWeb Connections, a social media marketing firm, with team members Cat Redman and Ashleigh Chadwick.  The firm recently moved to its new location at 125 N. Washington Street in Easton.

Pictured left to right are Susan Schauer John, creative and practical owner of SpiderWeb Connections, a social media marketing firm, with team members Cat Redman and Ashleigh Chadwick. The firm recently moved to its new location at 125 N. Washington Street in Easton.

Susan Schauer John comments, “The world of marketing in the Internet age is changing rapidly. We help businesses get found online.” She adds, “It is not enough to simply but up a website. It needs to be a living, breathing, selling document that productively communicates your business message.”

John has a deep background in art, most recently founding Shore Good Greetings, a greeting card company. Prior to that she owned and operated New Leaf Turnings LLC, where she created wood sculptures for over 10 years. She received a Double Major Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology from Denison University and did graduate studies in Neuroscience at Princeton University.

She states that her firm prides itself on its project management system and seamless team communication. Also working with her at SpiderWeb Connections are Cat Redman and Ashleigh Chadwick. Redman attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Visuals Arts with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Her work experience includes book design, as well as brand development, for various companies. Ashleigh Chadwick graduated from Bridgewater College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design and Photography. She has been professionally designing and coding websites for 10 years.

According to John, her customers range from small businesses and nonprofits, restaurants, and retailers to sports figures, financial institutions, and realtors on Maryland’s western and Eastern Shore. She also specializes in teaching businesses the tricks of social media, offering classes in how businesses can use Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs to raise awareness about their brand.

SpiderWeb Connections provides a range of services, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), custom website design, hosting and email, customized ongoing social media campaigns, reputation management, logos and graphic design, branding packages, CMS (Content Management Systems), E-Commerce solutions both large and small, and complete site back-up systems, editorial and copywriting services, professional video production and more.

For further information, contact Susan Schauer John at 443-595-7746 or visit spiderwebconnections.com.

Real Estate Report for Eastern Shore Shows Signs of Recovery

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Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate just released January 2015 monthly real estate market data for the Eastern Shore Of Maryland – including Caroline, Talbot Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Kent, and Cecil Counties.

Highlights include:

Sold Dollar Volume: Sellers on the Upper Eastern Shore closed $61,386,729 in real estate sales in January– up 13.95% from the $53,873,985 closed in January last year. This is a positive sign for recovery. Another good sign are the 140 new pending contracts booked in January 2015, a 29.63% improvement over the previous year. Taken together these two metrics bode well for a stronger 2015 in all Eastern Shore real estate markets.

Our Guidance: there has never been a better time to buy. We have the bottom of the market in our rearview mirror and demand is starting to strengthen. Long –term mortgage rates are under 4% and the national economy is heating up. Our agents look for this trend to slowly accelerate in 2015 and thereafter as national economic fundamentals and consumer confidence continues to improve and waterfront buyers return to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Average Sold Price: The average sold price of an Eastern Shore residential property in January 2015 was $290,932 – down from $297, 646 achieved in January 2014 down marginally (- 2.26%) year-over-year. The low average sold price illustrates the continued absence of luxury and waterfront buyers from the Eastern Shore markets but the marginal decline points to stabilizing prices. Look for this number to increase as we go into the spring. The average sold price is sensitive to periodic outliers in individual markets.

Median Sold Price – The median sold price in January 2015 of $185,000 continues to hover near the bottom of its 10-yr range and is a decline of 7.5% from January 2014. This reflects the continued high number of foreclosures and short sales in the market and the previously mentioned absence of luxury buyers. The median Sold Price will improve in 2015 and thereafter as the inventory of foreclosures declines and luxury buyers return to the market.

Absorption Rate – The inventory of properties on the market on the Eastern Shore (2,696 properties) at the end of January 2015 is at the bottom of its five-year range. In January 2015, 221 properties were SOLD up 11.8% from the 181 closed in January of 2014. This absorption rate suggests a 10.5 month inventory of properties, still well above the 6 month inventory considered to be a market in equilibrium but well below the 5 year average of 13.2 months. This inventory will continue to decline to healthier levels as spring progresses. Look for this trend to continue as gas prices continue to fall in 2015 and the Washington/Baltimore metroplex becomes more congested and expensive for first-time and first move-up buyers

Average Days On Market – the average of 172 Days On Market (DOM) for all sold listings in January 2015 is an improvement of 1.15% over the January 2014 (174 DOM). Look for this trend to continue in 2015 as value conscious buyers recognize the good values to be found in most Eastern Shore markets. A rising interest-rate environment will also prompt buyers to jump off the fence in 2015.

Average List Price For Solds – The average list price for solds in January 2015 of $322,306 is 8.43% below the $351,969 noted in January 2014. This metric has experienced considerable downwards pressure from short sellers and sellers will to make significant concessions to achieve timely sales for lifestyle reasons. Look for this trend to continue through 2015 as excess and shadow inventory continues to be absorbed.

Chesapeake Charities Offers Grant Workshop Series

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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.

Shore Bancshares Changes to “Living Wage” Base for Employees

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Easton, Maryland. Shore Bancshares, Inc. announced to its employees in December that they will be adopting a living wage increase beginning January 1, 2015. In April of 2014, Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill to increase the minimum wage in Maryland from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2018. “To provide employees with a sufficient salary that will help meet the basic needs of our employees and their families, we went a step above the minimum wage to a living wage increase in 2015”, says President & CEO Scott Beatty. The living wage is the minimum hourly wage that is sufficient to meet the basic living needs of a single employee working full-time. The living wage is not required by the state unless a company has a working contract with a local government agency or if they receive subsidies from them. Because taxes and expenses vary from county to county and state to state so does the living wage.

Although the minimum wage increase of $10.10 for the state of Maryland does not go into effect until 2018, Shore Bancshares made the increase to base salaries in January 2015. “In all cases our employee’s hourly wage is well above the minimum wage”, says PJ Dill, Chief Human Resources Officer of Shore Bancshares, Inc. “As part of our annual compensation review, we have made a conscious decision to set our base wage to above the average of the two highest counties (Talbot and Queen Anne’s) at $11.06”, says Scott Beatty President and Chief Executive Officer of Shore Bancshares, Inc. At Shore Bancshares, we believe it is important to not only support our employees who are our most valuable asset but to also support the growth in our communities where we live and work.

Shore Bancshares, Inc. is a $1.1 billion asset financial holding company headquartered in Easton Maryland who employs over 300 employees. It is the largest independent financial services company on the Delmarva Peninsula that offers banking, insurance and wealth management services through its community of companies. Two full service community banks, The Talbot Bank of Easton MD and CNB, headquartered in Centreville MD. Wye Financial & Trust a division of CNB located in Easton, MD who offers wealth management and trust services and personal, business, benefits, trucking and marine insurance solutions through Avon-Dixon Agency, Elliott Wilson Insurance, Freestate & Son, located in Easton and Centreville, MD and Jack Martin & Associates, headquartered in Annapolis, MD.

Avon Dixon Employee is Raising a Puppy for Guiding Eyes for the Blind

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While the buzz around Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and the rest of the Today Show team is certainly contagious and generating a collective “Awwww” all around the country, Marilyn Evey, a Commercial Lines Supervisor at the Avon Dixon Insurance Agency, a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies in Easton, and her husband, Scott will smile as they watch Today’s Guiding Eyes puppy, Wrangler begin his journey to become a guide dog for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. They can relate! Guiding Eyes for the Blind pup, Casper came into their lives last July as an adorable little yellow lab fur-ball, who now tips the scale at 80+ pounds!

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 6.38.31 AMCasper is such a lucky dog, as he has been able to go to work with Marilyn since arriving in Delmarva. He is one smart boy and the experiences that he has had as part of the Avon Dixon team are invaluable in preparing him for his future work as a guide dog for a blind or visually impaired person. “We have tried to get him settled into a daily routine at work. Typically, in the morning he will go around the office with me while I complete my morning duties. Then, it is back to my desk to settle down for a bit and maybe a good nap for him. Lunch time is full of different visits around Easton to provide Casper with new experiences. Then, we head back to the office for an afternoon meeting or he follows me as I complete additional tasks and then settles as I work,” said Marilyn Evey. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support from Avon Dixon and my co-workers. Accompanying me at work provides a variety of socialization experiences essential for building a future guide dog’s reference library – and will ultimately help the puppy make a profound difference in someone’s life.”

As puppy raisers, Marilyn and Scott Evey are providing a safe and loving home environment for Casper and they work really hard to instill good house manners and to socialize him to all the kinds of things that Casper will need to be comfortable with when he is a guide dog. That includes city and highway traffic, blowing fans/hair dryers/vacuum cleaners and the like. They also attend weekly puppy training classes on Tuesday evenings with other puppy raisers to fine tune Casper’s skills and to ensure that he will be successful when he returns to Guiding Eyes at around 16-18 months to begin his formal harness training. Casper also has regular socialization outings to area businesses and big box stores where he is building his confidence around loud noises, crowds of people, strange under footings, shopping carts, etc. Casper and Marilyn also meet up with other local Guiding Eyes pups and raisers to practice working in the presence of dog distractions. As puppy raiser Marilyn says, “it really does take a village to raise a guide dog pup. This time around other Guiding Eyes pups is invaluable. It teaches them proper dog etiquette which they must have when performing as a Guide dog.”

Guiding Eyes is one of the world’s leading guide dog schools, providing thousands of blind and visually impaired people with specially bred and trained dogs that grant them dignity, freedom and independence since they were founded in 1954. The organization’s volunteer puppy raisers are critical to ensuring that Guiding Eyes is able to carry on this mission. The Guiding Eyes for the Blind Delmarva Region is actively looking for new puppy raisers in the Mid-Shore area to give a Guiding Eyes pup the start that he or she will need to become a guide dog. “Knowing that you are raising a puppy for a person you have not even met yet, and that puppy will give the person independence and open up doors they may have never thought to go through, is priceless and heartwarming,” said Marilyn. Orientation classes for new raisers will be held late March through mid-April. To learn more contact Ellen Higgins at ellenqhiggins@gmail.com or 410 991-5662 or visit guidingeyes.org.

Spy Profile: John Evans and Graul’s of St. Michaels

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At last count, not including the proposed Harris Teeter going up in Easton later this year, there are seven national food store chains that compete with Graul’s Market in St. Michaels for food shoppers. And those are just a few of the challenges for the last remaining family-owned food store in Talbot County.

But as John Evans, owner of Graul’s and the grandson of the original grocer, Harold Graul, notes in his interview with the Spy, every store does something great. And in the case of Graul’s, what they do better than anyone in the region is knowing what their customers wants.

Along with discussing the history of the St. Michaels store, and his and his wife Paige’s decision to take it over eleven years ago, John talks candidly about competition and his efforts to preserve not only a family business but a retail buying experience that increasingly is growing more rare every day.

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