Spy Chat: Bagels, Elks, and Veterans with Joe Landgraf

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While Joe Landgraf is mildly frustrated at times that a few folks can’t seem to get the full name of “Joe’s Bagel Cafe,” right — including a county sports team he sponsors getting it wrong on their jerseys  — it seems that no one in town is at a loss of where to find Joe’s. Each morning, and now during lunch, a good number of community leaders, civic groups, and assorted coffee clutchers find their way to Easton Plaza Shopping Center for their bagel fix and local chatter.

In his interview with the Spy, Joe talks about his long history with the food scene in Easton, including co-owning The Chambers in downtown, his service with the Elks, his support of war veterans, and the trials and rewards of running your own business.

This video is approximately five minutes in length

Spy Chat: Kristen Greenaway on Taking the Helm at CBMM

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Very few nonprofit leadership roles in Talbot County can match the extraordinary duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. And very few of these institutions have had more curiosity about their new leader coming to town than CBMM’s newly-appointed Kristen Greenaway.

The Spy found out pretty quickly during our chat last week in Ms. Greenaway’s office why this kiwi buzz was circulating through the Mid-Shore.

A native New Zealander, Kristen Greenaway comes to the Eastern Shore in an almost story book way. With nonprofit executive positions with the likes of Cambridge University, the Sally Ride Foundation, and Duke University, CBMM’s new leader found exceptional executive opportunities in remarkably different landscapes in the world, but the glue keeping this sojourn together was her love and passion for boats.

In her first Spy interview, Kristen links the past with her recent appointment at the museum, and offers a “hit the ground running” priority list that seems like a locomotive leaving the station.

Spy Columnist and CBMM Board Member Howard Freedlander agreed to make the introduction:

In a matter of slightly more than three months, Kristen Greenaway, the new president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM), has brought tremendous enthusiasm, intelligence and vision to the leadership of one of the Eastern Shore’s preeminent cultural and historical institutions.

Do I sound maybe a bit too impressed with this New Zealand-born museum professional? If so, I plead guilty.

I served on the search committee that had the wisdom to select Kristen as the museum president to succeed Langley Shook. An emeritus member of the board of governors, I also have served on a transition committee to provide the means for Kristen to meet a diverse group of people. She has exceeded our expectations in her ability to connect easily and comfortably with so many people in our community, enabling them to renew their ties to CBMM.

As the maritime museum plans its 50th drive, Kristen Greenaway has established a detailed, business-like plan to upgrade a museum already considered one of the best of its genre. She is dead set on strengthening exhibits, programs, marketing, visitor experience and the financial underpinning. She has created an unmistakable excitement.

Kristen Greenaway formerly was deputy director of external affairs at Duke University’s well-respected Nasher Museum. She left a first-class university to bring her skills and talent to another top-flight institution. We are very fortunate.

Election 2014: Talbot County Council Candidates Make their Case (Part Two)

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Even with the Baltimore Ravens playing at the same time, The League of Women Voters of the Mid-Shore bravely soldiered on with their forum for Talbot County Council candidates Sunday afternoon at the Friends Meeting House in Easton. In front of a packed audience, the seven candidates running for the five open seats responded to a series of questions from the LWVMS and the audience for the next two hours.

The Spy was able to record the candidate responses to five of those questions to share with our viewers.

Candidates running for the five open seats are:

Dirck Bartlett, Incumbent (Republican)
Chuck Callahan (Republican)
Eric Lowery (Democrat)
Corey Pack, Incumbent (Republican)
Laura Price, Incumbent (Republican)
Hilary Spence (Democrat)
Jennifer Williams (Republican)

Part Two

Question 4: What is the Council’s position on contributing to the resources needed to reduce drug abuse in Talbot County?

Question 5: Please list the three civic issues that are your priorities and how are you going to pay for those?

The election will be held Tuesday, November 4, with early voting at the Easton Fire House between Thursday, October 23 and Thursday, October 30.

Election 2014: Talbot County Council Candidates Make their Case (Part One)

SchoolBoardTC1

Even with the Baltimore Ravens playing, The League of Women Voters of the Mid-Shore bravely soldiered on with their forum for Talbot County Council candidates Sunday afternoon at the Friends Meeting House in Easton. In front of a packed audience, the seven candidates running for the five open seats responded to a series of questions from the LWVMS and the audience for the next two hours.

The Spy was able to record the candidate responses to five of those questions to share with our viewers.

Candidates running for the five open seats are:

Dirck Bartlett, Incumbent (Republican)
Chuck Callahan (Republican)
Eric Lowery (Democrat)
Corey Pack, Incumbent (Republican)
Laura Price, Incumbent (Republican)
Hilary Spence (Democrat)
Jennifer Williams (Republican)

Question 1: What is your stance of the ballot amendment to increase Council Salaries*

* Mr. Corey wants to correct a statement he made regarding the Proposed Council compensation. The increase is 14%.

Question 2: What ideas do you have for balancing the needs of the agricultural community with the needs of the Chesapeake Bay?

Question 3: With the increasing concerns about natural disasters, civil unrest, and acts of aggression against governments, schools, and other high profile events, what measures should Talbot County take to ensure that emergency services, law enforcement agencies, schools have plans, training, equipment, and facilities to respond to an event in the County or the region?

The election will be held Tuesday, November 4, with early voting at the Easton Fire House between Thursday, October 23 and Thursday, October 30.

To follow on Tuesday, Part Two

Question 4: What is the council’s position on contributing to the resources needed to reduce drug abuse in our county

Question 5: Please list the three civic issues that are your priorities and how are you going to pay for it.

 

 

 

 

Habitat Choptank ReStore Celebrating Fourth Anniversary

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The Habitat Choptank ReStore will celebrate its 4th anniversary on Saturday, November 8th. The day will feature special discounts and an announcement about the store’s upcoming relocation.

The Habitat Choptank ReStore will celebrate its 4th anniversary on Saturday, November 8th. The day will feature special discounts and an announcement about the store’s upcoming relocation.

The Habitat for Humanity Choptank ReStore, located at 8648 Commerce Drive in Easton, just off the bypass near Target, is preparing to celebrate its fourth anniversary with an open house on Saturday, November 8th from 8 am to 4pm. Shoppers and donors will enjoy food, special discounts, and a wide variety of merchandise. At 10:30am, store volunteers and staff will gather to reveal the total proceeds that have been generated to date to support Habitat’s affordable home ownership program. A special addition to this year’s event will be an announcement about the store’s upcoming move to a larger location.

“We always look forward to our anniversary celebration but the 2014 event will be extra special as we prepare to move,” says ReStore manager Chris Smith. “The community has been wonderful to us donating quality used and even new home improvement items and furniture.” At times, the inventory is overflowing out our doors with new donations received every day the store is open.

The now-familiar ReStore truck makes 20 pick-ups per week on average, collecting goods every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from individuals, retailers and builders all over the Mid-Shore. Hundreds more items are brought right to the ReStore by donors every month. Drive-up donors are greeted by a crew of dedicated volunteers who prepare a receipt that can be used for tax purposes.

“We work with a lot of commercial donors as well as receive donations from the general public,” Walls says. “Our single biggest department in terms of sales is furniture, which comes almost entirely from individual donors.”

Chris Tom cabinets

Manager Chris Smith and volunteer Tom Monaghan reorganize the display of used cabinetry at the Habitat Choptank ReStore store in order to make room for new donations.

Special promotions will be posted around the store starting on November 8th in order to help staff and volunteers get ready for the move later this year. While the task of moving the store and its contents will be no small project, with over 750 other ReStores around the United States, the crew at the Habitat Choptank ReStore can learn from their peers. Each ReStore is operated by and benefits its local Habitat affiliate.

“Our current facility has served us well,” Smith notes. “We’ve been fortunate to have a great landlord and friendly neighbors in a spot were donors and customers could find us.” Now, with four years of successful operations, it’s time to relocate to a space where the store can continue to grow with more square footage.

The net proceeds from the ReStore are invested into Habitat Choptank’s self-help home ownership program. Since its founding in 1992, the nonprofit home builder has made home ownership possible for 63 qualifying home buyers. Five homes are currently under construction with plans to start at least four more over the coming year. Qualifying partners are offered a “hand up” to improve their housing situation. After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre-homeownership classes, and meeting savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume responsibility for repaying a no profit interest-free Habitat mortgage or low interest equivalent.

For more information about the ReStore, to shop, donate or volunteer, call 410-820-6186. Information about Habitat Choptank’s ReStore, its affordable home ownership program, and other volunteer opportunities, can be found at www.HabitatChoptank.org.

 

Upward Bound 50 Years Later with Eastern Shore’s Stan Salett

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A few months ago, in a large conference room at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., there was a small celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the federal government’s most popular and productive social programs. Conceived during President Lyndon Johnson’s epic war on poverty in 1964, the Upward Bound program has since then provided critical support for over 2 million students coming from low-income families throughout the United States.

Partnering with institutions of higher education, Upward Bound provides critical pre-college preparation in math, science, literature, and foreign languages through tutoring, mentoring, work-study programs, and counseling services to kids (and now war veterans) to help them not only get into college but graduate as well.

It is also one of the few programs where there remains extraordinary bipartisan support for a federal education program. A rare accomplishment in Washington these days.

Upward Bound was the brainchild of education expert and Eastern Shore weekender Stan Salett. A mid-level appointee brought into the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Salett was asked to conceptualize a program that would directly involve colleges and universities in reducing long-term poverty through education opportunity. Salett’s memorandum was quickly embraced by Sargent Shriver, LBJ’s War on Poverty director, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Spy caught up with Stan last week in his kitchen to reminisce about the origins of Upward Bound and the necessity of continuing to give a critical leg up to those who seek an education.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

Spy Spotlight: Easton Business Alliance’s Julie Corson

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Over the years there has been a few organizations dedicated to supporting businesses and retail operations for the town of Easton. But for some it has been a bit confusing on which group is helping which part of town. That seemed to be a challenge for the leaders of the Easton Downtown Partnership a few years ago. So much so that the organization renamed itself the Easton Business Alliance recently to emphasize their commitment to the entire town as well as their traditional mission in keeping downtown Easton vibrant.

And once there was consensus on how to reorganize, they turned to local native Julie Corson to take on the role as the organization’s their new staff member.

In her interview with the Talbot Spy, Julie talks about Easton’s post-recession commerce and the increasingly effective role that events and special weekends play in the town’s retail and hospitality businesses.  She also highlights the importance of having  a “think and buy local” message for the community.

The video is approximately three minutes in length

Stranded Boaters Avoid High Costs with Tow Insurance

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Sea Tow Annapolis’s 29-foot long Sea-Cure boasts 900 feet of rope, two water pumps, fuel cans, buoys and life preserves to assist in whatever situation arises on September 24 at the Watergate Village docks in Annapolis, Maryland. Capital News Service photo by Dylan Moroses

Sea Tow Annapolis’s 29-foot long Sea-Cure boasts 900 feet of rope, two water pumps, fuel cans, buoys and life preserves to assist in whatever situation arises on September 24 at the Watergate Village docks in Annapolis, Maryland. Capital News Service photo by Dylan Moroses

Boats will always break down for one reason or another, but finding a friendly tow to shore is not a certainty.

Maryland autumn weather harbors spells of unpredictable storms and winds that cause people on the water worry at the end of boating season, more so than in the summer months when the conditions are more consistent, said BoatUS Annapolis Capt. Ham Gale.

“With the weather picking up now, there’s increased apprehension when boaters are left out on the water; people want service faster,” Gale said. “People who would wait four hours for their friend to tow them back to shore in the summer now start to worry if they are waiting for two hours.”

Some emergencies – like a sinking ship – require the U.S. Coast Guard or local maritime authorities, but other incidents where the boat and passengers are safe are often taken care of by the two biggest names in boat towing, Sea Tow and BoatUS.

Boaters could be looking at monstrous costs if they are stranded safely on their boat without a tow service membership, said Adam Wheeler, vice president and director of towing for BoatUS, a corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, that provides boat safety services, including boat insurance and tow service.

“The average tow length is about three to four hours,” Wheeler said. “If you’re not a member of a service like ours, then you would get charged at what is called the ‘public rate,’ which ranges from anywhere between $200 to $300 per hour.”

The most popular tow service memberships are available for less than $200 annually from BoatUS or Sea Tow, and cover any incidents for the year, similar to AAA’s Roadside Assistance service.

Capt. Dave DuVall owns Sea Tow’s Central Chesapeake Maryland franchise in Annapolis, the longest-running location nationally for that boat service corporation, which is based in Southold, New York.

“Instantaneously, yes, it’s more financially rewarding to tow a non-member,” DuVall said. “In the long run, I get paid to provide a service to my members in advance. So if I don’t provide that service to members, suddenly the word gets out and all of a sudden the membership falls. If the membership falls, I lose money that way.”

Capt. Dave Duvall checks his GPS systems and listens in on a potential call for service in the pilothouse of the Sea-Cure at the Watergate Village docks in Annapolis, Maryland, on September 24. Capital News Service photo by Dylan Moroses

Capt. Dave Duvall checks his GPS systems and listens in on a potential call for service in the pilothouse of the Sea-Cure at the Watergate Village docks in Annapolis, Maryland, on September 24. Capital News Service photo by Dylan Moroses

Unfortunately for non-members, tow services like Sea Tow and their rival company, BoatUS, are required to give preference to their paying customers, which means they can divert from assisting a non-member in the middle of travel to help someone who subscribes to their service, leaving them stranded at sea for longer, DuVall said.

These corporations developed a network for the near coastal waters, providing tow service to boaters in distress and helping the U.S. Coast Guard, state and local maritime authorities in certain emergency situations.

DuVall equipped his fleet to respond to most emergencies and will assist the Coast Guard in certain situations, but describes it as a non-emergency tow service that responds to calls commonly dealing with some type of engine failure on recreational vessels.

“It truly is an on-call business,” DuVall said. “You seldom know until you answer the phone what you got, and even then, you may not know until you actually see it.”

Most of Sea Tow’s six Annapolis boat captains live within a mile of their dock behind the Watergate Village, and someone is always at the boats, ready to respond.

Duvall and Gale, along with other boat service operators in the Bay area, took a course to become certified in proper search and rescue procedures, so that “the Coast Guard can actually believe what we’re telling them,” DuVall said.

Sea Tow assisted the Coast Guard getting their fleet into shallow waters until about three years ago, when they received their new 45-foot utility boats, which draw less water than the old 41-foot vessels, DuVall said.

Gale helped the Coast Guard in September 2013 when a vessel carrying about a dozen people hit a rock pile by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and began to sink. The Coast Guard rescued the people, but could not get a pump on the sinking boat and resorted to Gale’s resources to save the vessel. BoatUS Annapolis was able to salvage the boat and is still waiting on payment from the government for the job, Gale said.

The U.S. Coast Guard used to direct boaters without rescue memberships to tow companies on a rotating basis, but the policy changed in 1983.

They now send out a broadcast specifying the incident, providing tow companies a first-come, first-serve call for service – an unbiased, but inefficient system. Tow captains in the Chesapeake Bay area decided to develop their own system, said DuVall.

“In this area, tow captains got together years ago and formed The Maritime Towing and Assistance Association to figure out a way to handle the new Coast Guard policy, which we didn’t like,” DuVall said. “We came up with a way to work within the guidelines of the policy, but instead of everyone running on one job, we’d figure out who would provide the closest and best response, and probably the cheapest, depending on the situation.”

Sea Tow does not have as many members in the Chesapeake Bay area as BoatUS, therefore making it easier and faster for Sea Tow to respond to subscribers and non-members, DuVall said. BoatUS has about 500,000 members nationally, and Sea Tow did not provide membership numbers.

Sea Tow and BoatUS have dispatchers all over the country that utilize every means of communication possible, from VHF radio to cell phone, to ensure immediate response at any time, said Scott Croft, BoatUS Director of Public Relations.

DuVall once rescued a non-member in a vessel who was grounded in soft mud, requiring 2,500 feet of rope from a second boat and a kayak for the last 150 feet to save the person in distress. “I told him, ‘Don’t even think about getting out of that kayak, because you’ll be up to your waist in there and we’ll be pulling you out,’” DuVall said.

Boaters that believe they have coverage for towing through their boat insurance company could be misinformed when they return to the dock. “I’ve seen instances where a guy thinks he has all this coverage, and then he’s only got about $150,” DuVall said. “That doesn’t even pay for us to get out of the slip.”

While BoatUS and Sea Tow are corporate competitors, the local towboat captains from each service are aware of wasting resources and coordinate to avoid doing so, even at the expense of a potential customer.

“One of the worst things you can do is call both companies at the same time if you’re not a member and need service,” DuVall said. “We listen to each other, so if I hear them dispatching on the same call I’m dispatching my guys on, I call the other company and we both stand down. We can’t afford to send out two boats to one guy, especially if we’re busy on a weekend.”

By Dylan Moroses
Capital News Service

Eastern Shore: The New Wine Country

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Wine Country and Eastern Shore of Maryland are yet to be synonymous phrases.

That could change as new vineyards are established across the Shore from Berlin to Rising Sun—and both new and older vineyards collect prestigious awards along the way.

Of the more than 60 wineries in Maryland—with $30 million annually in sales according to recent studies— 14 of them are part of the developing Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore.

Six wine trails now lace Maryland’s countryside and the Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore is poised to play a significant part in the new Vintage Atlantic Wine Region, along with Delaware, Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey.

At the September 18 launch party for the new wine region, held at Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel, Delaware, winery owner Chuck Nunan expressed his enthusiasm saying, “This is a really an exciting time for wine growing on the Eastern Shore. 55 wineries and vineyards are coming together to create tourist destinations points. We’re at the place Napa Valley was in the 60’s, and each of these wineries directly benefits their local communities. One out of 18 jobs in this country is related to tourism.”

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Lotte Bowie and her husband Walter took an early interest in Chesapeake region wineries. Connecting with the wine industry through their Loblolly Productions, a design and marketing firm in Still Pond, Maryland, they have become instrumental with branding and marketing Eastern Shore wineries and vineyards. Their online information portal, www.shorevines.com, showcases the growth and potential of vineyards and wineries on the Eastern Shore and offers detailed articles and in-depth video interviews about how to start and manage a winery.

“There are five wineries within 20 minutes of Chestertown: Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville, Salisa Winery and Clovelly Vineyards in Chestertown, Cassinelli Winery and Vineyards in Church Hill and Tilmon’s Island Winery in Sudlersville. We want locals to know about this group also because it is becoming an important part of our local economic health,” Bowie says.

Doris Mason, Executive Director of Upper Shore Regional Council, sees the Wine Trail and Chesapeake Wine County concept as a vibrant economic force. The USRC, charged with fostering economic and social development of Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, supports the shoreVines initiative

“Not only is there an economic impact through employment, but also there are other arteries that go with supporting vineyards and wineries—restaurants, bed and breakfasts, hotels, even conversations about upcoming distilleries and breweries—that all play into networking and developing a larger tourist industry,” Mason says.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

And the wine? People are taking notice.

Wine enthusiasts and judges are giving a hearty thumbs-up and handing out top-flight awards to Shore wineries.

Bordeleau Vineyards, near Salisbury, just won the Shore’s 1st Governor’s Cup Best in Show for their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Amarone and many other Eastern Shore wineries  have won accolades as well, including Crow Vineyard and Winery Best in Class for their 2012 Barbera Rosé and gold for their 2012 Vidal Blanc, and Clovelly Vineyard’s silver for their 2013 Rosé and Vidal Blanc.

So much for the “Eastern Shore can’t make quality wine theory.”

“Our wines are phenomenal and the impact on the community is immense. It’s only just begun,” Chuck Nunan said at the Harvest Ridge ceremony for the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region.

In the following video, Lotte Bowie and Doris Mason talk about wineries and vineyards, the growth of the industry on the Eastern Shore, and the bright outlook for the Eastern Shore of Maryland as… Wine Country.

 

 

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Map and Crow Vineyard photo by Lotte Bowie, loblolly.biz

Links:

Vintage Atlantic Wine Region

ShoreVines

Maryland Wine

Chesapeake Wine Country

Meet Easton’s Gluten Free Bakery Girl

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glutenfreebakerygirlTucked inside the very first stall of Easton Market Square on Washington Street you’ll find professional pastry chef, Tricia King. There, in a tidy little kitchen, she creates cookies, muffins, pies, cakes, specialty pastries and more, all with a special twist. They’re completely gluten-free.

“Gluten-free isn’t a fad, it is definitely here to stay” said King, owner of the business Gluten Free Bakery Girl. “My customers are people with celiac disease, but also people with gluten intolerance, or any type of inflammation – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease, or many other autoimmune disorders. Even parents of children with autism say that a gluten free diet without sugar or dairy makes a difference.”

What is gluten? It’s simply a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with celiac disease can’t digest it and become very ill, and people with gluten intolerance feel achy, tired and sore after eating it. King’s experience was that she’d feel lethargic for days after eating gluten. And in our industrial food system, gluten can be found in the most unlikely places – in sour cream and yogurt, for instance, black olives, and anything labeled “modified food starch.”

Confused? You’re not alone. But it’s becoming easier to access gluten-free products and more information is widely known about the disorders. Tricia King offers consulting services to people who have recently been identified as gluten intolerant. As a personal chef for over ten years, she has the skills and experience to help people modify their kitchens and diets to keep themselves well. She can help anyone pick safe foods, read food labels to identify hidden dangers, and feel good about a gluten-free lifestyle.

Soon her operation will be certified as gluten-free by the FDA – a lengthy process in which all of her handmade flour mixes will be laboratory tested to ensure that there are less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This certification will allow customers to be sure that every single item made in King’s kitchen is completely safe for gluten intolerant eaters.  King also makes paleo items, as well as sugar-free baked goods using coconut palm sugar.

With an expanding wholesale business, Gluten Free Bakery Girl products can now be found in Annapolis and beyond. Locally, you’ll find Tricia King at Easton Market Square from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm W-F, and 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, her busiest day of the week. Call ahead 48 hours for special orders, from birthday cakes to breakfast pastries, cookie trays or specialties for holiday parties.

“If people have questions, they should come see me. I’m here for anybody with gluten intolerance” she said. For more information, call (801)792-3700, see her website here, or stop in and visit her at Easton Market Square at 137 N. Harrison St in Easton.