Willow Construction Launches New Website

Willow Construction is inviting visitors to explore its new, improved and redesigned website at www.willowconstruction.com. The new website provides enhanced navigation and user experience, and aims at showcasing the company’s best practices, completed projects, and value-added services.

Willow Construction’s new website is designed with all stakeholders in mind, including architects, engineers, developers, and the communities we serve. Visitors seeking to find the best in construction solutions can now quickly locate information with ease of access to project delivery methods, types of construction services, completed projects in the region, as well as stay up-to-date with the latest news, press releases, and upcoming events. Willow Construction’s primary objective is to be an online resource center for customers and prospects looking to learn more about the industries advantages and best practices when considering a construction project.

About Willow Construction:

Willow Construction is one of the largest and most trusted commercial construction firms and residential builders on Delmarva. Headquartered in Easton, Maryland, we’ve completed hundreds of projects throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia, and the state of Delaware. Willow construction delivers quality construction and trusted services.

Hair O’ The Dog Supports CBMM Restoration Efforts

Hair O’ The Dog Wine and Spirits of Easton, Md., recently made a generous donation to support the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s restoration of 1889 bugeye Edna Lockwood. Through her re-launch at OysterFest on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, $3 of every bottle of Boatman Red Blend wine sold at Hair O’ The Dog will go directly to CBMM. To learn about the Edna Lockwood restoration, visit ednalockwood.org. For more on CBMM, visit cbmm.org. Pictured in front of Edna Lockwood, from left, are CBMM’s Director of Development Liz LaCorte and Shipyard Manager Michael Gorman, and Hair O’ The Dog Wine Buyer Devon Harvey and Owner Joe Petro.

Shore Leadership Class of 2017 Graduates 23 Participants

The 23 participants of the 2017 Shore Leadership Class completed their nine -month program with a final Graduation Dinner on November 28th at Suicide Bridge Restaurant.  The class members were from Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Wicomico and Dorchester Counties and represented education, non-profits, financial services, government, agriculture and business.

Members of the 2017 graduating class are: Leisl Ashby, Kathy Clark, Paul Hagood, Tom Hutchinson, Robert Kelly, Michael Kiko, Denise Lovelady, Kim Magaha, Beth Mathis, Gretchen Messick, Robin O’Brien, David Plotts, Maria Reichart, Candice Schroepfer,  Same Shoge, Lee Ann Shortall, Derek Simmons, Renee’ Stephens, Owen Sutherland, Sara Visintainer, Bob Weber, Tami Weber and Derek White.

During the nine month program the class learned and practiced a variety of leadership skills and visited different counties on the shore learning about agriculture, education, tourism, manufacturing, opioid epidemic and rural health, environment and legacy, and technology and workforce development.

Shore Leadership Chair, Debra Rich of Shore Bancshares, welcomed everyone to the graduation and stressed the importance of keeping in touch with fellow class members and connecting with other alumni.  In coming Chair, Jim Crowley of Easton Utilities, gave a toast to the class, congratulating them on their accomplishments and encouraging them to stay engaged with Shore Leadership by participating in alumni events.

Derek White made a presentation on behalf of the class, to highlight what each class member learned throughout the program and the impact that each of the sessions had made on their personal or professional growth.  Dr. Joe Thomas, Leadership Facilitator, gave the graduation address highlighting the lessons reviewed during the year.

Program Sponsors this past year included:  University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Ms. Sue Simmons, Shore Bancshares, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, F3 Tech and Bob Rich, Advisor at SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate, Easton.

Upcoming Shore Leadership events include the Annual Breakfast Meeting on January 17th at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center and LEADS (leadership development training) at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore on March 28, 2018.

For more information about Shore Leadership or to apply to the Class of 2018 visit www.shoreleadership.org or contact info@shoreleadership.org.

The Caroline Foundation Awards Grants

The Board of Directors for the Caroline Foundation: Terry Mead, Bob Jarrell, Berl Lovelace, JoAnn Staples, Becky Loukides, Harry Cole, Richard Wheatley, Charlie Davis, Wayne Cole, Glen Plutschak, Michele Wayman, Miki Phillips, Jerry Garey and Tony Gianninoto and Mid-Shore Community Foundation President, Buck Duncan presented $564,570 in grant funding to the following organizations.

Caroline County Emergency Services – Response Services and Automated External Defibrillators, Caroline County Family YMCA – Open Doors Program,Caroline County Health Department – Addiction Treatment, Caroline County Public Schools – LifeSkills Training Program, Caroline County Public Schools – Weekend Food Program, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office – Drug Dog, Caroline Hospice Foundation – Patient Services, Caroline Medical Adult Day Care – Financial Aid, Channel Marker – Transportation Improvements, For All Seasons – Patient Services, His Hope Haven – Homeless Shelter, Partners in Care – Outreach Coordinator, Rebuilding Together Caroline County – Home Repair Services, St. Martin’s Ministries – Healthy Seniors Program, Upper Shore Aging – Patient Services.

The Caroline Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide medical and/or health-related services to residents of Caroline County.  The Mid-Shore Community Foundation provides administrative services and manages the grantmaking process on behalf of the Caroline Foundation.  Grant applications are available online at mscf.org/caroline-foundation and the deadline for submission is July 1, 2018.  Contributions to the Caroline Foundations are tax-deductible and should be directed to the Caroline Foundation, P.O. Box 607, Denton, MD.  Planned giving options are available.  For additional information, visit https://www.mscf.org/.

Easton Velocity Commencing Negotiations with Broadcasters

Easton Velocity is currently in negotiations with various broadcasters for the right to carry or “re-transmit” several television station signals.  Easton Velocity’s goal is to negotiate the lowest costs for programming and to provide customers with better service options; however, the fees to ensure access to popular channels like ours are only getting more expensive. “Easton Velocity is committed to signing deals for the programming our customers want at reasonable monthly fees and to avoid a situation where corporate broadcasters temporarily remove popular programs,” said Ted L. Book, Easton Velocity’s Director of Cable and Communications. “We negotiate in good faith, but this process has gotten harder over the years.”

This process, which occurs across the country, pits local cable businesses against national corporate conglomerates. Historically, broadcasters were locally owned businesses that worked side-by-side with cable companies in the communities where they operate. But as the broadcast industry has consolidated, local cable operators are forced to negotiate with regional and national entities whose owners and employees are outside the community.

Retransmission fees are projected to cost U.S. consumers and satellite and cable operators $11.6 billion annually by 2022, a 51 percent increase from 2016, according to SNL Kagan. Because broadcast retransmission fees are a growing source of income for corporations at a time when other revenue streams are shrinking, negotiations can sometimes be contentious making it more difficult to reach an agreement. “While broadcasters demand a sharp increase in fees and then potentially pull their channels from the air until their demands are met, Easton Velocity will be fighting on behalf of our customers to keep rates down and maintain uninterrupted programming,” added Book.

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is committed to keeping our community connected and current with a variety of service offerings designed to meet the needs of both residential and commercial customers. Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area.

 Please visit www.eastonutilities.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Willow Construction, LLC Welcomes New Employees

Dave Marsden

Willow Construction, LLC is pleased to welcome the following new employees to our team:

Sibil Holder joined Willow earlier this year as a Project Engineer. Her current projects at Willow include RE Michel in Easton, St. Michaels YMCA, Mid Atlantic Surgical, and the Point Pool Bar and Grill at Bayside in Selbyville, Delaware. Prior to joining Willow, Sibil served as a MEP Designer and Marketing Coordinator with MS Engineers in Columbia, Maryland. Sibil holds degrees in Construction Management and  Computer Drafting and Design.

Dave Marsden, CHC joined the team in October as a Project Manager.  Dave graduated from University of Maryland with a Masters of Engineering and Construction Management, and from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  He brings with him 19 years of Commercial Construction Management experience and will provide overall administration and coordination for the construction of the new Shore Regional Health Medical Pavilion, two story office building located in Denton, Maryland.

Ahmed Eissa has also joined our team in October as a Project Engineer.  Ahmed is a graduate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a Bachelor of Construction Management degree and has nine years’ experience in the construction field.  He will be providing overall administrative and technical support to the Project Management Team on the new Denton Medical Pavilion.

Myra McAdory has joined Willow as our Administrative Assistant. Myra is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she studied Anthropology. Myra’s past experiences include serving as a Marketing Representative for Crow Farm and Vineyard and as a Sales Project Manager for CDF Services in Chestertown, Maryland.

Easton Utilities Employees Mark Career Milestones

(Front row left), Kenneth Marks (10 yrs), Ted Book (20 yrs), Samantha Jeter (10 yrs), Lynn Kline (30 yrs), Hugh Grunden, President & CEO, and Paul Moffett (10 yrs). (Back row left) Bryan Wilkins (10 yrs), Ron Haun (30 yrs), Allan Blessing (30 yrs) and Jeff Starkey (10 yrs). Not pictured Larry Smith (10 yrs).

Easton Utilities recently celebrated ten, twenty and thirty year service milestones achieved by ten staff members.  Allan Blessing, Operations & Maintenance Coordinator; Ron Haun, Operator; and Lynn Kline, Administrative Support, celebrated 30-year anniversaries during the past year.  Ted Book, Director of Cable & Communications, marked his 20-year anniversary. Samantha Jeter, Customer Service Representative; Kenneth Marks, Senior Water & Wastewater Operator; Paul Moffett, Engineering/Water & Wastewater Manager; Larry Smith, Assistant Operator; Jeff Starkey, Vehicle Maintenance; and Bryan Wilkins, Water Distribution & Wastewater Collection Operator, marked 10-year anniversaries with the company.

“These dedicated individuals have talent and experience which makes them an invaluable asset to our organization and our customers,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities.

Maryland 3.0: As Medical Cannabis Nears, Bill could boost Minorities’ Stake

After a four-year wait to provide medical cannabis to patients, the drug could be available to Marylanders as early as this month, according to industry stakeholders.

“I think we could see product in November, with increase in December and a steady flow from all operators in the new year,” said Wendy Bronfein, the marketing director for Curio Wellness, a company in Lutherville, Maryland, awarded two licenses to cultivate and process medical marijuana.

However, racial diversity in the state’s medical marijuana industry is wanting, and some lawmakers said they are planning to introduce a bill early next session to grant licenses to African-American business owners.

A disparity study ordered by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in April and due in December focuses on whether minorities who sought a license in the cannabis industry were at a disadvantage.

The study was prompted after the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus raised concerns about the lack of African-American involvement in the industry.

Of the 321 business owners granted preliminary licenses to grow, distribute or process the drug, 208 were white men or women and the remaining 113 identified as a member of a minority group or as multiracial. Of these, 55 — about 17 percent — were black men and women, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

“It’s shameful in a state like Maryland where we have one-third of the population of the state, one-third is African American,” said Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore, chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

As the General Assembly’s January session approaches, members of the Black Caucus told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service they have begun drafting a bill that would award 10 new licenses for growers and processors specifically targeted at African-Americans interested in the industry.

They will move forward with their legislation regardless of the outcome of a Hogan’s disparity study, Glenn said.

“I will bank on it that we’ll come away from the table with five new licenses for growers and five new licenses for processors that will be awarded based on the results of the disparity study. What does that mean? That means these licenses will go to, in large part, African Americans,” said Glenn.

A weighted scoring system will give businesses an advantage of being awarded a particular license if they have a certain percentage of African-American ownership, Glenn said.

A “compassionate use fund” will be part of the legislation in order to make medical marijuana affordable for patients in Maryland. The fund will be financed based on the fees that licensees in the industry must pay, Glenn said.

“Marijuana is still an illegal drug, according to the federal government. Your insurance will not pay for marijuana even though it is medical marijuana. So what does that mean? That means it becomes a rich man’s struggle. We’re not gonna have that,” said Glenn, whose mother died of cancer and is the commission’s namesake.

Marylanders who are insured through the state’s Medicare and Medicaid programs will not be covered for medical cannabis, said Brittany Fowler, spokeswoman for the Maryland health department.

The legislation has been numbered Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 2, and should gain initial approval as an emergency bill during a joint hearing by the House and the Senate during the first weeks of the session — which is scheduled to start Jan. 10 — Glenn said.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus said they intend to use the upcoming election as leverage for the bill.

“Next year is election year … so timing is everything … I am very, very sure that this is going to be taken care of,” Glenn said.

Cannabis companies have said that the drug is likely to be available to patients this month.

ForwardGro Inc., the first licensed medical marijuana grower, successfully passed the state’s cannabis assessment this year, said Darrell Carrington, the medical cannabis director of Greenwill Consulting Group LLC.

Patients will be able to get cannabis in a variety of forms such as lotion, pills and transdermal patches, said Michael Klein, the chief operating officer of Wellness Solutions in Frederick, Maryland.

The industry has been projected to open toward the end of the year, according to Brian Lopez, the chairman of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

“The industry is starting to move forward,” Lopez said late last month. “We hope we are going to have another 20 to 30 dispensaries by the end of the year and at that point we will have an industry that is starting to receive product consistently around the state. But with that we are going to also, I’m sure, see some growing pains.”

Maryland still faces a wide range of challenges as the industry starts up. The commission has not decided how to regulate how dispensaries will serve out-of-state patients, deal with the green waste from the cannabis, or address fraudulent activity within the industry, said Lopez.

“I’m sure we are going to hit road blocks, but we plan to work through them in a very consistent manner and with diligence,” Lopez said.

Maryland is considered to have one of the slowest medical cannabis rollouts in the nation, hampered by several delays that arose during the four-year process since it was legalized.

Stakeholders in the industry have pointed to the lack of funding of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission in its beginning stages, and to lawsuits filed against the commission, as major stumbling blocks.

In 2016, GTI — Green Thumb Industries — a Bethesda, Maryland-based company that was originally awarded pre-approved licenses as a grower, filed a lawsuit against the commission for retracting its licenses in order to create geographical diversity.

The commission, which as of mid-2017 had 10 new members, made the decision to retract the license from GTI after the Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh stated in 2016 that the commission must ensure geographical diversity when choosing applicants.

GTI attempted to work with the Black Caucus to reverse the decision during the 2017 General Assembly session through legislation, which would have awarded them a license, said Delegate Pamela Queen D-Montgomery, financial secretary for the Black Caucus.

The legislation failed in the last 90 minutes of the session and there were no additional medical marijuana growing licenses given to any companies owned by minorities, Queen said.

The Legislative Black Caucus earlier this year asked Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, and Speaker of the House Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, to reconvene the General Assembly to Annapolis for a one-day session to pass a law expanding the medical marijuana industry. However, the request was denied.

In another lawsuit against the commission, filed in October 2016 by Alternative Medicine Maryland, a predominately African-American owned business, Judge Barry Williams ruled in May that if he finds that the commission unlawfully disregarded racial diversity during the application process for licenses he reserves the right to revoke the licenses of those who were pre-approved.

This could ultimately shut down the industry, according to John Pica, a lobbyist and attorney representing Alternative Medicine Maryland.

Frosh also had said it would be unlawful to seek racial diversity in the application process without there being a history of racial disparities in the nascent cannabis industry.

“While it is still too soon to say for certain when we can expect a final analysis, we are encouraged and grateful to collaborate with these offices as we pursue this important work,” said Medical Cannabis Commission Executive Director Patrick Jameson, who announced his resignation from the commission on Thursday.

Queen said she thinks that a major issue that negatively affected the industry was the poor funding the commission initially received from the state.

When the panel was created as the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission in 2013, its purpose was to oversee academic medical intuitions in distributing medical marijuana. However, the institutions were unwilling to distribute the drug because it is illegal under federal law.

In 2015, when the commission was recreated as the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, they were given a greater responsibility to evaluate and certify businesses to grow, process and distribute the drug.

The commission received $140,795 in fiscal year 2015 and $2,540,331 in fiscal year 2017. The increase of funding over time was used to hire more employees, contractual labor, office spaces that can support the growing staff, travel expenses and to pay Towson University for scoring license applications for the industry, according to Maryland Department of Budget and Management.

By Oluwatomike Adeboyejo

 

Byrnes joins Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Steven Byrnes, of Easton, Md., has joined the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. as Vice President of Operations. In this position, Byrnes serves on the senior management team and is responsible for oversight, implementation, and management of CBMM’s strategies for its guest services, marina, Museum Store, charity boat donation program, and boatyard operations.

Byrnes has more than 33 years’ experience in operations management, most recently serving as Senior Director of Capgemini America, a leading global consulting firm. Byrnes brings international experience to the position, from business and IT strategy development, through to the operational transformation necessary to achieve those strategies.

“I’m an avid boater and CBMM member who loves getting out on the Bay,” said Byrnes. “This is a great opportunity to join the CBMM team, and make a difference in a meaningful way.”

Byrnes grew up on Long Island and spent many hours boating and clamming on the Great South Bay. He views returning from the Chicago area to the Chesapeake Bay region like ‘coming home.’

“We are delighted to have Steve working with us,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “His management experience and collaborative work with all departments will be key in helping CBMM achieve high standards of excellence in all our operations.”

Byrnes holds an MBA in banking and finance from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y. He served on the board of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, and is a past member of the Auto Finance Council and the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association’s International Committee. He has published more than 25 articles on operations and technology topics, and has served as a speaker at numerous industry events, including the ELFA annual convention, CFO roundtable, and a Global Strategies webinar.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Charitable gifts to the museum’s annual fund enable CBMM to educate and inspire the next generation of Chesapeake Bay stewards, and can be made online at cbmm.org/donate.

Shore Leadership Visits the NASA Wallops Flight Facility

The 2018 Shore Leadership Class toured the NASA Wallops Flight Facility as part of their two-day leadership training in October.  Mr. Keith Koehler, News Chief for the Office of Communications at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, led the class on a “behind the gates tour” of the facility.  During the visit the class visited the control room and launch pad to understand the many facets of the NASA facility.

Later that afternoon, the class visited the NASA Wallops Education Center where Dr. Joyce Winterton, Senior Advisor for Education and Leadership Development, and Linda Sherman, Educational Directorate, shared information about the educational programs and student internships available through NASA.  Dr. Winterton then took the group through a Decision-Making Exercise to simulate NASA launches allowing them to make decisions about each mission.

Immediately following the tour, Dr. Memo Diriker, Executive Director and founder of BEACON (Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University), Dan McDermott, Executive Director of the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board, and Mike Pennington, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council for the Lower Shore of Maryland, discussed the current and future workforce development and training needs for the Eastern Shore.  Concerns were raised about the expanded use of robotics and the need for services to assist the aging population. The discussion was a great overview of the issues impacting the Shore and more importantly the need for regional collaboration and communication.

Day-two of the program session focused on Leadership Development led by Facilitator, Carol Graser where the class created and then discussed their Personal Mission Statements.

The final Shore Leadership Session will be held in Kent County on November 15th where the program session will focus on Manufacturing.

For more information on Shore Leadership or to apply to join the 2018 Shore Leadership Class, go to www.shoreleadership.or or email info@shoreleadership.org.  The 2018 Shore Leadership Class begins with a two- day retreat on April 25-26, a $200 discount will be applied to applicants who apply by November 15, 2017.  Tuition assistance is also available upon request and approval.