Spy Tip: Talbot’s Hannah Gill at the Avalon this Weekend

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The Spy’s favorite local singer, Hannah Gill, is back at the Stoltz stage this weekend for two performances on Saturday night. Best to get a reservation now.

After getting rave reviews as the result of her last performance, including the Talbot Spy, the St. Michaels High School student is gaining considerable tracking here and in New York City where she has periodically performing over the last year.

Though still in her teens, Hannah is already recognized (both here on the Shore and beyond) for her rich, mature vocals that draw comparisons to Beth Orton, Katie Melua, and Adele (to name a few).

As one critic notes, “The beauty and soul in her voice place her in a category that few vocalists, young or seasoned, could ever even dream of being in.”

Hannah Gill Band
Avalon Theatre
Saturday, March 28, 2015 Two Shows!
Doors: 7 p.m.; Show: 7:30 p.m.
Doors: 9 p.m.; Show: 9:30 p.m.
Stoltz Listening Room $10

Mid-Shore Lives: Nick Panuzio


If there is one thing that comes with being a Republican mayor of a large Northeastern city when it is losing its industrial base and jobs, it’s what is now called “street cred.” With a growing minority community and serious economic problems, Nick Panuzio got his own street cred when he served as mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

With his city facing financial disasters left and right, Panuzio cut budgets and walked to halls of the US Congress and federal agencies during the Nixon and Ford administrations for earmarks and federal grants to keep Bridgeport going. In fact, Panuzio’s greatest ally was none other than Spiro Agnew, who had admired Panuzio’s political skills in winning a mayoral election. He later ran for governor in Connecticut and eventually joined the Ford administration after winning re-election in 1973 and dropping out of the gubernatorial race.

In his interview with the Spy, Easton resident and current chair of the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, Nick Panuzio recalls a different time in American politics, the challenges of being a mayor, including when a member of the Black Panthers shot two police officers during his watch. Nick also talks about what worked in those days, and how hard it is to find common ground now.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length

SpyCam Moment: Africa Arrives at the Academy Art Museum

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The Academy Art Museum decided to shake it up and move outside their traditional exploration of western art as 2015 enters Springtime. In this case, the theme is Africa in cooperation with the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

As AAM curator, Anke Van Wagenberg explains in her brief introduction to the exhibition, these works, all of which were donated to the international development bank, are from the Sub-Saharan region of the African continent.

Out and About (Sort Of): Two Women by Howard Freedlander

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Three weeks ago I was invited to attend the re-election and swearing in of Treasurer Nancy Kopp, my former boss. It was a joyful experience.

Maryland is one of four states where the treasurer is elected by the state legislature. In an almost archaic process, 188 members of the Maryland General Assembly—47 senators and 141 delegates—vote by secret ballot, followed by the public recording of each vote by a legislative clerk.

Up to 1845, Maryland had two treasurers, one from the Eastern Shore and one from the Western Shore. The last treasurer from the Eastern Shore was John H. Harris, a Talbot County farmer who owned 300 acres on the Choptank River and Bolingbroke Creek.

Treasurer Kopp, a Bethesda resident, was re-elected to her fourth term by a large margin. As a deputy treasurer in her office for nearly eight years, I had a front-row seat watching one of the best public servants in Annapolis perform her duties in a calm, level-headed and policy-driven way.

Along with the governor and comptroller, she sits on the powerful Board of Public Works, where I served as her liaison and adviser. Her questions and comments were always on point, asked in her typically low-key, considerate and perceptive manner.

Following Nancy Kopp’s election and swearing-in, I enjoyed talking with Del. Johnny Mautz and Sen. Addie Eckardt. I had spoken prior to the election with Del. Chris Adams. as he awaited a school group from Wicomico County. All three represent District 37.

In her post-election remarks, Treasurer Kopp waxed nostalgic about her days as a rookie delegate on the House Appropriations Committee, then headed by a powerful delegate from Caroline County, John Hargreaves. As an editor once upon a time of The County Record in Denton, I knew Del. Hargreaves and spent a day with him in Annapolis during the legislature session. He was liked and feared.

An announcement last week by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski that she was retiring at the end of her term in 2016 surprised citizens and politicians alike. She will be tough to replace.

Media reaction to the impending retirement seemed to focus on her small size and huge political prowess and impact. She was described as tenacious, determined, savvy, and, yes, parochial when it came to bringing federal money and agencies to Maryland.

While “earmarks” have become a dirty word—and maybe an obsolete concept– in our Nation’s capitol, I believe that U.S. senators and representatives can and should be judged on ensuring their states are the recipients of federal largesse. Good government advocates may disagree, and that’s okay too.

Sen. Mikulski knows the process in Washington. She is exceptionally skilled at working effectively within the system to attract federal funds to our state, thus bringing jobs and, in the case, for example, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), money for scientific research related to cancer and serious diseases.

When I think about Barbara Mikulski, I think first about her Baltimore roots in East Baltimore and her love of neighborhoods and social services. Then, when I consider what she has done in supporting Maryland businesses like Northrop Grumman and the seafood industry in Dorchester County, I realize how lucky we have been in Maryland to be represented by someone as capable –and tough-minded—as Sen. Mikulski.

The scramble in both political parties to replace Sen. Mikulski began immediately after her announcement. As I wrote at the outset, she will be a difficult act to replicate.

Avalon Spy Chats: Livingston Taylor


It’s impossible to document the first time Livingston Taylor performed on the Eastern Shore.  Most think it was at the Church Hill Theater in the mid-1970s, others think it was in the early 1980s. It doesn’t really matter — he’s done it a lot after forty-five years on the road.

And he came back last Friday night once again to perform at the Avalon where the Spy caught up with him after he had completed his sound check for the evening’s performance.

In his interview, Livingston talks about his life growing up as a Yankee in North Carolina in the 1960s, his passion for music, and a few words about young artists like Taylor Swift and the exceptionalism and luck it takes to be at the top of the food chain  in music these days. He ends with his impressions on the Eastern Shore and Maryland’s similarity to his own state of Massachusetts.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

Out and About (Sort Of): Good for Grumbles on Conowingo by Howard Freedlander

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Last week, appearing before the Eastern Shore delegation, the then acting secretary of the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), Ben Grumbles, clarified a controversy that has raged the past few years ever since Maryland established Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to meet federal guidelines for the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

While acknowledging that the sediment trapped behind the Conowingo Dam in northeast Maryland and deposited in the Bay during heavy storms is a concern, Mr. Grumbles said it is not the only one.

And I would say not the most serious one facing the fragile state of the Bay’s health.

Mr. Grumbles simply said this: many different sources, point and non-point, inject nitrogen and phosphorous within Maryland and require close attention, unpolluted by the noise produced by some that Conowingo Dam is the main culprit behind the Bay’s poor water quality.

Since the Conowingo Dam sediment became a rallying call for claims it was the principal cause of Bay pollution, I always thought this opinion was flawed, if not rather simplistic. I wondered how other sources of damaging particles could be ignored, or at least considered secondary.

Mr. Grumbles, now confirmed as MDE secretary, provided a large dose of common sense.

A study called the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment (LSRWA) produced in November 2014 in large part by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found that the sediment behind the dam is not causing most of the Bay’s pollution. It’s the nutrients attached to the sediment particles that pose the most severe challenge.

Science-based facts gathered independently speak loudly and convincingly.

While the Susquehanna Dam has reduced ability to trap sediment—and that is concerning—the bulk of sediment and nutrient pollution to the Chesapeake Bay from the Susquehanna River, even during hurricane conditions, emanates from several upstream sources, according to an official with the Corps of Engineers. These sources include agriculture, urban and suburban run-off, floodplains and erosion caused by uncontrolled stormwater runoff.

While the Conowingo Dam has become a touchstone for animated debate, all of us who love the Bay should take a deep breath and follow the science. The Bay’s health depends on rational research and rational actions.

That’s what Ben Grumbles said in so many words. My take: don’t be distracted by a controversy that detracts from a diagnosis that demands analysis of the nutrients and phosphorus entering our Bay from many sources.

A two-year study already undertaken by Horn Point Lab in Cambridge will build on the Corps of Engineers’ investigation of the impact of the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed. It is designed to help policymakers select best management options to reduce the onslaught of sediment and nutrients during heavy storms
According to Horn Point Lab, part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, “research will measure how much phosphorous and nitrogen is attached to sediment particles that go over the dams and determine the fate of these sediments and associated nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay.”

The results will be telling.

Profile: Stuart Clarke and Town Creek Foundation’s Beautiful Sunset


Any private foundation with $50 million worth of assets generates a considerable amount of attention on the Eastern Shore, but when that foundation decides to “sunset,” or, in other words, spend down their entire endowment and close their doors by 2021, that interest becomes all the more intense.

That seems to be the case with the Town Creek Foundation, based in Easton. The environmental grant-making institution, created by local philanthropists Jennifer and the late Ted Stanley in 1981, not only decided to spend down its capital, but they also make the strategic decision that the best use of those funds would be in the state of Maryland.

The board brought in Stuart Clake in 2004 to lead the foundation, and has been managing the sunsetting process since 2011, when the trustees made the decision to make the change. A graduate of Lafayette and Yale, and a native New Yorker, Stuart had previously worked at Ted Turner’s private foundation as well as the Southern Partners Fund.

In his interview with the Spy, Stuart talks about the sunsetting process, and its growing popularity with foundations to have more immediate impact on the issues that most concern them. He also talks about the Foundation’s work in Maryland, and his interest in having the foundation to play a catalytic role for Maryland’s environmental organizations to work closer on major issues.

Stuart also talks frankly about the new Hogan administration, his concerns about government’s ability to respond to the climate change crisis quickly enough, and his growing anticipation of officially closing the doors of the foundation in the next six years.

Spy on the Fly: A Minute with Chuck Mangold, Jr. on the United Fund

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Real estate executive Chuck Mangold stopped by Bullitt House yesterday morning to give the Spy a quick update on the United Fund of Talbot County’s campaign. for 2014-15. As President of the United Fund,  this year, Chuck makes the case for the United Fund and the community’s need to support the twenty organizations that receive direct funding from the annual drive.

With a goal of $400,000, with about two-thirds of that already in hand, Mangold is very optimistic about making goal by the end of June. One  contributing factor for his prediction has been the general economic recovery for the region.

This video is approximately one minute in length

The Phosphorous Dialogues: Alan Girard and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation


It would be easy to assume that Chesapeake Bay Foundation‘s Eastern Shore Director, Alan Girard, would be a messenger of doom now that Maryland has elected a Republican governor. Larry Hogan, committed to fighting burdensome environmental regulations, such as the state’s phosphorous management tool, has just been inaugurated. In fact, within hours of Governor Hogan’s decision to place a hold on implementing the PMT, the Foundation was the first conservation organization to publicly condemn the policy shift.

And yet Girard, someone that has spent most of his career working on Chesapeake Bay issues, insists in his interview with the Spy that he has never been more optimistic about the Bay’s future. While he clearly disagrees with Governor Hogan’s decision to pull back on critical regulation to protect the Chesapeake, he notes that more people are paying attention to the Bay’s health than any other time in the last twenty years.

Girard also talks candidly about the motives behind CBF’s commitment to a strong regulatory response to improve the Bay’s water quality. He also makes clear his organization’s interest in free-market solutions such as nutrient trading.

This video is approximately eleven minutes in length 

Spy Profile: The Academy Art Museum’s New Director Dennis McFadden


During his several decades in the museum world, including the highly regarded Wellesley College’s Davis Museum and Carnegie Museum of Art, Dennis McFadden has always been drawn to the smaller institutions of art. Part of this is due to the unique intimacy they create in their modest galleries, but also for their intellectual nimbleness. Those are some of the reasons there seems to be a perfect fit with the Academy Art Museum‘s aspirations and Mr. McFadden’s commitment to art education.

In his first interview with the Spy, the new AAM director talks about his background, opinions on small museums, and his hopes for AAM over the next few years.

The new director is a native of Bethlehem, Pa. He received his undergraduate education at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. and earned a Master of Architecture degree and completed additional graduate study in Art History at Columbia University.

Mr. McFadden is married to Judith Hull, an architectural historian who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in architectural history. Her areas of specialization include modern and American architecture, architecture in the Nordic countries, landscape design, and women in the design professions.