Tasty Creations on View at Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party

Unlike Hansel and Gretel, you won’t have to follow a trail of crumbs through the woods to discover magical gingerbread houses this holiday season. Multiple examples of the 200 year old culinary art form will be on display at the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels during the Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party, December 2nd from 5-7 PM.

The Gingerbread House competition is open to all, with no entry fee. There are separate categories and cash prizes for master chefs, non-profits, adults and children. Party goers will get the first peak at the creations while savoring holiday food and drink. Many of the entries can be purchased during a silent auction during the party for festive home decorations or gifts. All proceeds support the 2017 Christmas in St. Michaels beneficiaries.

To enter the Gingerbread House competition, bakers simply bring their creations to the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels on St. Mary’s Square. Registration is between 10 AM and 4 PM on Friday, December 1, or between 9 AM and noon on Saturday, December 2nd. All entries must be made of gingerbread, and all decorations must be edible. No lights or plastic or other wrapping are permitted. Complete rules, including size requirements, are available at www.christmasinstmichaels.org.

Judging will take place on Saturday, December 2nd, with awards to be announced at the Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party that evening. Entries will be on public display during Christmas in St. Michaels festivities from December 8-10th.

Tickets for the Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party are available for purchase until November 24th and are $50 with $25 tax deductible. To purchase tickets visit www.christmasinstmichaels.org or mail a check to Christmas in St. Michaels, P.O. Box 873, St. Michaels, MD 21663. For more information, call 410-745-0745.

Remembering Bill Cummings at Tilghman Watermen’s Museum

Well known artist, Marc Castelli, has created a very unique print exclusively for the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum.  When Tilghman artist Bill Cummings passed away in September of 2014 he was working on another painting. Marc and Bill had become very good friends and in light of their friendship, Mr. Cummings’ daughter asked Marc if he would do a painting based on Bill’s last sketch.  The result is “Remembering Bill, Remembering Fishing” painted by Marc in December, 2014. Marc has worked with Museum to issue 25 limited edition prints with the remarque of Bill’s sketch attached. The 25 prints produced will be named, numbered and signed by Marc Castelli. The cost of each unframed print will be $800.  All proceeds benefit the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum  which is dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the history, traditions, heritage and culture of Tilghman Island.

St. Michaels Harvest Community Supper Is Back by Popular Demand

After a successful first year the St. Michaels Museum will hold its second Harvest Supper on Saturday, October 21, at 4pm at the Union United Methodist Church Hall next to the church on Fremont Street in St. Michaels.

Chef and Spirit Grower, Jena Paice, will again provide a hearty autumnal soup, and Chef Jeannie Butler will provide fresh baked breads. Other volunteers will round out the meal with homemade salads and desserts.

Advertising and Folk Art on a building in St Michel in early 1900s.

This celebration of St. Michael’s past emphasizes the early 1900s.  There will be a collection of the museum’s historic photos of St. Michaels on display.  After the meal there will be a presentation that continues on the theme “St. Michaels, a Watermen’s Village”, delivered by local historian Betty Seymour and museum curator, Kate Fones.  Topics presented will include early maps of St. Michaels, town streetscapes, churches, schools, businesses, plus photos of early homes.

This event will be a wonderful way to learn more about St. Michaels lively history and to enjoy a gathering of old friends and new.

You can make reservations through our email address: stmichaelsmuseum@atlanticbb.net or by calling 410-745-0530.  Tickets are $25 per person and should be sent to:  St. Michaels Museum, Box 714, St. Michaels, MD 21663.  To become a sponsor of this event and receive two tickets, send $75.  Your contribution helps support the many programs of the museum.

Quality Health Foundation Announces Request for Grant Proposals

Quality Health Foundation (QHF) announces a call for proposals for the 2018-19 grant period. QHF will award grants to eligible organizations that work to improve health care to underserved communities.

QHF will fund healthcare projects, focusing on the uninsured and underinsured patient. Selected projects should include well-defined goals with measureable outcomes.  Acceptance of applications for grants will be from December 1, 2017 through 5:00 p.m. EST on January 17, 2018. Notification of award status will be announced in June 2018. Applicants must be from Maryland or the District of Columbia.

“We are embarking on a new era in healthcare accessibility. The projects we have funded in the past have been varied in scope, innovative in design, and had a positive impact health quality in ways that meet the new patient-centered model of care,” said Molly Burgoyne, MD, Chair of QHF’s Board of Directors. “We are particularly interested in non-profit organizations committed to improving communication, education, measurable outcomes, and chronic disease prevention. Programs dedicated to high standards of care are a priority.”

Quality Health Foundation focuses programs that demonstrate improved health care quality with clear goals and measurable outcomes.  Priority areas include programs that:

– Improve access to health care services to the unserved and under-served

– Improve understanding of health issues

– Demonstrate improvement through measureable outcomes of stated goals

About Quality Health Foundation. QHF is the mission arm of Quality Health Strategies (QHS), a national not-for-profit organization committed to Creating Solutions to Transform Health. QHS formed the Quality Health Foundation in 2003 in an effort to improve health care in local communities across Maryland and the District of Columbia. Since 2006, the Foundation has awarded approximately $4.5 million to over 65 different organizations.

For more information or to apply visit www.qualityhealthfoundation.org.

The St. Michaels Rotary Club Announces Mustang Winner

Promptly at 9:00 am in the lot at the intersection of Talbot Street and Railroad Avenue, members of the St. Michaels Rotary Club gathered to draw the winning Mustang raffle ticket. The winning ticket was drawn by St. Michaels Police Department Officer Ben Taylor with Chief Tony Smith presiding. The lucky winner is Adam Stark of Easton, MD.

This year, the raffle winner had a choice between keeping the 1965 Mustang convertible or taking twenty thousand dollars in cash. Adam and his wife Heidi Stark have opted to take the vintage Mustang.

This year’s prize was a cherry red 1965 Ford Mustang convertible fitted with a 289 “A Code” V8 engine that packs 225 horsepower. Its matching red interior is accented by a wood grain steering wheel and topped with a white soft convertible roof. Power steering, fog lamps, power front disk brakes, a rally pack, and an automatic transmission complete this truly exceptional car.

Bill Shrieves, Co-Chair, pointed out that this year the club added raffle ticket sales online and it worked. “The online sales totaled over Five Thousand Dollars and the total sales increased by 16% even with a rainy summer.”

The St. Michaels Rotary Club is one of 34,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide and has been actively serving the St. Michaels and greater Bay Hundred community for 77 years. All proceeds from the Mustang raffle benefit the Club’s charitable programs, namely its College Scholarship Fund for graduates of St. Michaels High School. For more pictures and information visit www.rotarystm.org.

Affordable Care Act: One Young Cancer Patient in Maryland

Presents sat unopened in her family’s Davidsonville house in April, while at Johns Hopkins Hospital her parents told her she had Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancerous tumor growing in her stomach. The disease is so rare that only about 225 children in the United States are diagnosed each year.

Ella Edwards, 9, holds the opening page of a story she is writing about her fight with cancer. Ella was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma on her birthday. Capital News Service photo by Aaron Rosa.

The Edwards family entered a new reality of oncologists and treatments.

“It was crazy fast,” Jen Edwards said. “We were taken up to oncology, and I was thinking, what are we doing here? There are kids with cancer here.

“At that point we weren’t even thinking of insurance.”

The Edwards family hadn’t been following the congressional debates over the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” But now they, like millions of other Americans, would have to deal with a pre-existing condition — which before the Affordable Care Act meant companies could refuse insurance.

Though Congress and the Trump Administration have tried — and failed — to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, these patients remain worried about their future.

“The ACA was something I never paid attention to,” Jen Edwards said. “You just assume your child is never going to get sick and be healthy all their lives.”

Brian Edwards runs Hague Quality Water, a water treatment company, owned by his father, that has been in his family over 20 years. He purchased health insurance for his children, which, he said, cost less than what he would have to pay through work.

A week before Ella’s birthday, a stomach flu hit the family, but Ella did not respond to the usual medications.

Ella Edwards walks into the room where she will receive the third of six proton radiotherapy treatments. Capital News Service photo by Aaron Rosa.

Doctors at Anne Arundel Medical Center found a grapefruit-sized tumor pressing against her bladder and transferred her immediately to Johns Hopkins University for further testing.

There, the doctors diagnosed the cancer. And two days after her parents took her to the hospital for what they thought was a stomach bug, Ella began receiving chemotherapy.

At Hopkins, Jen Edwards recalls, hospital administrators made a crucial discovery: Ella had been admitted through the emergency room. If Ella was discharged, Johns Hopkins would not readmit her because, though the emergency visit was covered, Hopkins did not accept her insurance for continuing treatment, a staff member confirmed.

They stopped the family from leaving. The administrators recommended that Brian Edwards purchase a new plan, under “Obamacare,” that would cover Ella’s future treatment — avoiding a bill of $80,000.

In a stroke of luck, Hague Quality Water was in a two-week period where the business could choose a new insurance provider for their employees. Brian Edwards switched his company’s coverage to Evergreen Health, a plan on the state health exchange that offered in-state health insurance for Ella’s condition.

Ella’s newly diagnosed cancer is included on a list of declinable conditions that would have caused her application for insurance to be automatically denied in all but five states before the health care law, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Evergreen Health’s monthly premium is $1,900, nearly 30 times the $66 premium he previously paid for insurance covering all his children — the policy from a company that Johns Hopkins would not accept.

“Even if you can’t pay the bills in that moment, you’re still going to do the treatment,” Jen Edwards said.

She leafed through a thick, worn binder filled with letters from doctors, scraps of paper with hastily jotted notes, and bills — dozens of bills.

Ella’s initial seven-day hospitalization topped $41,000, including $17,000 for room and board, and $20,000 for her first round of chemotherapy.

Four months of cancer treatments, visits with specialists, and hospitalizations racked up over $200,000. All but their $1,500 deductible was paid by their insurance company.

Before the Obama health care law, those costs led many families to bankruptcy.

A study conducted by Harvard University and published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that from 2001 to 2007, bankruptcies attributable to medical problems increased by 50 percent and comprised 67 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States.

Cost of life, a metric used to quantify one year of life with cancer treatment, rose from $54,100 in 1995, to $207,000 in 2013. This statistic does not include expenses like surgery or home care, nor does it account for the loss of income resulting from a chronic illness.

Brian and Jen Edwards held a different view of the health care law before Ella’s diagnosis. Back then, they viewed “Obamacare” as socialization of health care.

“For me, Ella’s cancer changed my perspective about the Affordable Care Act,” Jen Edwards said.

“Knowing some of these children that are also at Hopkins, I know their families can’t afford it,” she trails off. “Every child should get care.”

Jen Edwards has quit her job at a local church to care for Ella.

Brian Edwards supplements his work-provided policy with an additional policy to cover the more expensive drugs not covered by Evergreen.

The additional policy is income-based. With five children and a single income, the Edwards family qualifies for its insurance. But if Jen Edwards were to resume working and the family income increased, they would be ineligible.

But even with government subsidies, the Edwards family’s health insurance policies cost him over $2,500 a month.

“It’s overwhelming,” Brian Edwards said. “I don’t know how people do it without insurance.”

Ewing’s sarcoma has a good prognosis if it has not spread. Ella’s has spread to her lungs.

Ella has completed nine of 14 rounds of chemotherapy and is undergoing an eight-week proton radiotherapy treatment plan in lieu of a surgery that would have removed two of her vertebrae.

The family’s life is now shaped by cancer.

Ella and her siblings manned a lemonade stand on the side of a nearby road this summer to raise money for Ewing’s sarcoma research. The family visited Hershey Park. And Ella attended a special week-long camp sponsored by Johns Hopkins University Hospital and staffed by medical personnel.

What they did not do this summer was watch the healthcare debate on television.

Brian Edwards canceled their cable TV subscription. The Edwards children watch cartoons on Netflix.

“Nothing good comes from watching the news,” Brian Edwards said.
But the next wave of bad news didn’t come through the television. It came in the mail.

As a non-profit, Evergreen could no longer cover the costs of its clients, and in a final desperate measure, converted to a for-profit model and sought an outside investor.

Investors dropped out of the Evergreen acquisition deal this summer. In August, the Edwards family received a letter from Evergreen Health announcing that it would be going out of business, honoring existing contracts but closing its doors for good in 2018.

“We’ve been lucky to have coverage so far,” Brian Edwards said softly. “But with Evergreen going out of business, next year is going to be very different.”

Brian Edwards again switched his company’s insurance from Evergreen to Maryland Blue Cross Blue Shield.

His monthly premium increased by $400.

By Aaron Rosa

Habitat Choptank Celebrates Three Mortgage Burnings

Habitat for Humanity Choptank marked a major milestone at its annual volunteer appreciation dinner with a mortgage burning celebration.  Three home owners, having made the final loan payments on their homes during the last year, joined with Habitat volunteers, staff, and future home buyers for the ceremony. This milestone coincides with Habitat Choptank’s 25th anniversary.  The first mortgage burning was celebrated in 2014 and every year since at least one home owner has paid off.

Reverend Dartanyon Hines, of Scotts United Methodist Church in Trappe, led a special service to commemorate the occasion. One by one Glenda Dawson of Easton, Lillie Mae Mundy of Bellevue, and Mickey Hynson and Rasheme Chester of St. Michaels stepped forward for the ceremonial lighting of a copy of their original note.

The feeling of joy is evident for Lillie Mae Mundy as she burns a copy of her mortgage. Photo By: Jill Jasuta

While many will recognize Habitat for building and rehabbing homes, it is often less well known that Habitat affiliates serve as the primary lender for their home sales. In 2015 and following the lead of other rural Habitat affiliates, Habitat Choptank expanded its financing program to include the 502 Direct Loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in addition to traditional Habitat mortgages. Of the 75 homes that Habitat Choptank has completed since 1992, 71 were purchased with a zero-percent interest Habitat mortgage while four have been financed by USDA.

The use of no-interest or zero-equivalent low-interest loans is central to Habitat’s work of making home ownership affordable for individuals and families who cannot qualify for conventional financing. It is worth noting that while most Habitat home buyers are generally first-time and even first generation home buyers, the nonprofit continues to maintain a less than 2% foreclosure rate with only one foreclosure over its 25 year history.

However their loan is financed, Habitat home buyers assume the full responsibilities of home ownership: making monthly mortgage payments, paying home owner’s insurance and property taxes, and maintaining their homes. While the dream of home ownership has been made complete for the Dawson, Mundy and Hynson-Chester families with their final payments, their responsibilities as home owners continue.  Education and support are core components of Habitat’s housing program.  Volunteers from the Mortgage Servicing Committee have developed an educational workshop to help these and the other home owners who will be paying off their notes in the coming years to make sound financial and home maintenance plans for the future.

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has empowered 75 working individuals and families from Talbot and Dorchester counties to build strength, stability and self-reliance through home ownership. Each buyer today contributes 300-400 hours of “sweat equity” in building houses in lieu of a down payment, attends education classes, eliminates any outstanding collectible debt, and saves $4,500 for costs at settlement.  Currently, ten buyers are working through Habitat’s partnership program toward the goal of becoming successful home owners.  Applications for home ownership are accepted throughout the year. For information about home ownership, to volunteer with Habitat Choptank or to make a donation, visit www.habitatchoptank.org or call 410-476-3204.

Education Program is Big Winner at St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance

The Classic Motor Museum’s education program is running on all cylinders, thanks to the recent St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance. The classic automobile showcase event over the weekend of September 22nd provided a high octane boost to First Gear, the museum’s education program for the young people of Talbot County.

The museum is renovating the old work shed on its property to provide classroom space and a home for its extensive library. That effort has been jump started thanks to the generosity of the exhibitors and supporters of the Concours d’Elegance. They chipped in over $100,000 during a fundraising auction at the Saturday night gala. Bidders pledged money to various elements of the classroom project, including the plumbing, electrical work and dry wall installation.

Best in Show: 2017 St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance

Museum president Tad duPont says, “That generosity is going to allow us to start immediately on the building renovations. We feel like it’s our responsibility to get it moving as fast as possible.”

Concours Chairman, Luke Phipps, says he’s not surprised at how the donors have opened their hearts to First Gear. He says, “It was great to see the collectors and other supporters prove once again that they are generous and welcoming people. They reached out to those young men to show they really care.”

First Gear students working on chasis of 1938 Alvis

Phipps and duPont both give credit to four young men who’ve been participating in First Gear for over a year now. High school Juniors Chazier Allen, Matt Dunn, and Noah Fountain and middle schooler Cooper Gowe attended the fundraiser, and impressed the audience with their dedication to learning the fine art of automobile restoration. Over the summer they tackled the job of restoring the chasis of a 1938 Alvis convertible, and proudly displayed it at the Concours.

In June, First Gear and a group of generous donors provided scholarships for the high school boys to attend automobile restoration summer camp at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. The Classic Motor Museum of St. Michaels has also reached out to the Talbot County School District to collaborate on future educational opportunities for any interested high school student.

Classic car collectors took home coveted trophies at the 2017 Concours d’Elegance. But the young people of Talbot County are the big winners.

The privately funded, non-profit Classic Motor Museum, at 102 E. Marengo St., opened its doors to the public on August 11th. You can visit and show your support from 11:00AM to 5:00PM Friday and Saturday, and from 11:00Am to 4:00PM on Sundays. Admission is $10, and free for children under 6. Find out more at Classicmotormuseum.org.

Talbot Humane’s Bark in the Park Year 8!

If you can believe it, we are in the 8th year of Talbot Humane’s Bark in the Park. The years have brought a great deal of fun and fellowship to the community and raised more than $350,000 to support the animals and services of Talbot Humane!   The free family festival takes place rain or shine on Saturday, October 14th from 8AM-noon at Idlewild Park in Easton.

Bark in the Park starts early for runners and walkers who can enter our dog-friendly UNLEASHED 5K timed fun run/walk.   The Annual Homecoming Pawrade (dog walk) Sponsored by Hair O The Dog kicks off at 9A.  The Fun Dog Show returns for the 8th year with competitions in ten categories and Best in Show.  Registration fees apply for the 5K, Dog Walk, and Dog Show. The Dog Walk is preceded by the national anthem, moment of howl, and blessing of the animals.  Registration for all 3 events opens at 7:15A.  Preregistration is available until October 12th at www.talbothumane.org .

The day’s fun includes The Doggie Spa sponsored by Kevertin Pet Resort- have your dog’s nails, teeth and coat spruced up while enjoying the day!   The Bark in the Park Boutique presented by St. Michaels Pet Supplies has the must have items for every pet lover.  Local nonprofit organizations, artisans and local business vendors are signing up daily to attend this year’s festivities.   We are looking forward to honoring our local veterinary heroes who give countless hours and services to the animals in our care each year.  Included this year are the Doggie Kissing Booth, Live music, local food vendors, and a kid’s corner sponsored by Talbot Humane’s youth group Humane Hands which will include face painting and crafts.

With all the festival fun, Talbot Humane’s mission in support of the animals is still the primary focus of Bark in the Park. Local veterinarians conduct mini-workshops on pet care topics. Area shelters and rescue organizations will once again present a PAWrade of Adoptable Dogs to encourage visitors to make one of these homeless pups a part of their family.

Talbot Humane has close to 200 animals in its care waiting for adoption. To support the expense for the care of these animals, Talbot Humane has goal of $50,000 for this year’s Bark in the Park fundraiser.

Sponsors play an important role in community events. Talbot Humane’s team wishes to thank businesses and organizations that are supporting Bark in the Park and Talbot Humane this year. Hair O’ The Dog, Easton Utilities, Kevertin Pet Resort and WCEI are this year’s major sponsors with others currently committed including The Star Democrat, TriCycle and Run, Chris Wilke, Foxy’s Harbor Grille, Doc’s Downtown and Sunset Grilles and Preston Auto Group among others.

Ultimately, however, Patty Crankshaw-Quimby, Talbot Humane’s executive director emphasizes that it is the families who come out and enjoy Bark in the Park and all it has to offer who make the event a success for Talbot Humane, the animals, and the community. “This is such a fun event for the whole family,” she said. “Bring the dog and the kids, and come out and show your support for all we do for the animals of the Midshore.”

The 37th Annual Firemen’s Auction October 15th

Thirty-seven years ago, an idea was born to raise money for the St. Michaels Fire Department.  What was a small event with a few fun donations held at Carpenter Street Saloon, has grown into the largest fundraiser for the Bay Hundred area’s first responders.  This year’s event hopes to surpass all past events and raise more money than ever.

The auction organizing committee

What many people don’t know is that the firefighters and EMS personnel that serve St. Michaels and Tilghman are volunteers.  Yes, you may see shiny firetrucks and state-of-the-art equipment, but these men and women donate their time and talents to save lives and property.  Your survival depends on their survival.

The event will take place Sunday, October 15th at Awful Arthur’s Restaurant at 402 S. Talbot St. in St. Michaels.  It works like this:  you can pre-purchase a seat that includes a bid paddle, or you can purchase just a paddle for standing room only.  Tickets for seats are $55 each, and paddles are $5, if you choose a paddle only.  Seating begins at 1 pm, and the auction starts at 1:30.Items such as fishing charters, spa services, vacation getaways, bicycles and other sports equipment, gift baskets, gift certificates – there is something for everyone.   Even if you are not interested in bidding on an item, the public is encouraged to make a donation – large or small – to help provide essential support for the people that keep us safe.

To purchase seats, call Arthur Webb at 410-463-0531.