Archives for 2011

New Security for Maryland Bridges

The Baltimore Sun reports that security is being increased on five toll bridges, including the Bay Bridge. Click here to read the story.

Two Men Injured in Two-Car Crash

Two motorist were injured about 1:30 p.m. Friday in a crash on Matthewstown Road near Swann Haven Road east of Easton, State Police reported today. Troopers reported that a vehicle driven by  Gene W. Blades Sr., 72, of Trappe, was stopped in the southbound lane of Matthewstown Road attempting to make a left turn in the George’s Green Thumb Market when it was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by Thomas A. Zepp, 50, also from Trappe. The men were taken to Easton Memorial Hospital for treatment, Troopers reported.  Zepp was charged with failing to control his vehicle to avoid a collision, Trooper reported.

SLR Presents Singer/Songwriter, Fiddle & Mandolin Player Carrie Rodriguez-Jan 6

Carrie Rodriguez

Mark your calendars – the Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon Theatre will host multi-talented Carrie Rodriguez on Friday, January 6.

Rodriguez is one of those Americana/roots performers who can do it all. Not only is she an acclaimed singer whose strong, seductive voice glides easily from blues to alt-country to gospel, she also writes and performs her own catchy songs, covers classics with a refreshing originality, and plays a mean fiddle, tenor guitar, and electric mandolin…and all within one electrifying show.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Rodriguez was discovered by veteran songwriter Chip Taylor, with whom she released three critically acclaimed Americana/country albums.


“Yes, Miss. Rodriguez is a fiddle player, having gravitated toward the instrument since age 5. Nevertheless, ‘She Ain’t Me’ presents a number of additional identities that suit her well, from songwriter to guitarist, singer and mandolin player. Try to pigeonhole or label such an artist – an unclassifiable musician who, in less than 10 years, has packed more change into her career than someone twice her age – and there’s only one appropriate response: It ain’t over.” Andrew Leahy – The Washington Times

Carrie Rodriguez

Friday, January 6th, 2012
8pm $20

Avalon Theatre
40 E Dover St
Easton, MD  21601

410 822 7299

First Night Talbot Events Start in Easton at 6 p.m., The Crab Drop is Featured in the Wall Street Journal

For a list of all of the events tonight in Downtown Easton, click here. The Crab Drop is featured today in the online edition of the WSJ. Read it here.

Sgt. Roland Chase Retires After 36 Years

From Left, Dfc. Marlene Gieraltowski, Sgt. J.R. Dobson, Lt. John Bollinger, Dfc. Kevin Parks, Sgt. Chase, Dfc. Cheyenne Chase, Dfc. Mike McDonough

EASTON –  A retirement celebration for Sergeant Roland Chase of the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office was recently held that recognized his 36 years of public service to Talbot County.  Over the term of his service, Sgt. Chase was noted for his case investigations, crime solving abilities, and his leadership and management of a number of critical public safety programs that he was responsible for.  The career accomplishments and acclaim of Sgt. Chase were noted through the presentation of citations from the Maryland House, Senate, and the Talbot County Council.  Over 100 friends, family, and professional associates from across the state were part of this event.

Gina’s café opens in St. Michaels

Gina Parchman, owner of Gina's in St. Michaels

In a tiny, 1,000-square-foot building at the corner of Talbot Street and East Chew, Gina Parchman opened Gina’s café last evening, to the delight of many who have been watching the café for signs of life since last summer. A chalkboard in front announced “I’m open!,” and spying the dancing flames of the gas fireplace and warm interior, locals wandered in.

Gina’s will be open this evening, but not at all this Saturday or Sunday during the New Year’s holiday weekend.
Starting next week, it will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

At present, Gina’s menu is limited to beer and wine, chips and three kinds of dips and salsa.

Gina anticipates expanding her menu and expects to be fully open by spring, with a menu much like her Millersville Gina’s Cantina, which she opened  seven years ago. The renovated patio will offer additional seating in the warm season.

Until then, Gina’s is a place to stop for snacks and drinks. With a very casual, yet comfortable space, Gina’s is a welcome addition to the St. Michaels food scene.

You can find out more about Gina’s on facebook.

Some Local Restaurants Close or Reduce Hours for the Winter, Update: 208 Talbot Closing


Sign of the season in Key Lime's window.

At 208 Talbot Thursday night, the staff was getting ready for the last weekend of service. The restaurant has been a culinary anchor on the north end of St. Michaels but it is closing for good Jan. 1. The current management, which also owns Brasserie Brightwell in Easton, ran the restaurant for six years. Previous owners ran it for 10.

The “closed” sign on the front door of the Key Lime Restaurant on North Talbot Street in St. Michaels is yet another indication that winter is upon us. Key Lime plans to reopen in March.

The Bistro in the center of town has closed and its future is uncertain. The upscale eatery was a pioneer on the St. Michaels food front, but its telephone is no longer in service and its menu board is empty.

The St. Michaels Crab and Steak House is taking its usual winter break and neighboring Town Dock has cutback from its seven-day-a-week schedule. Its winter hours will feature lunch and dinner served Wednesdays through Sundays. Look for the “Open Today” sign at the entrance to the parking lot off Mulberry Street.

Mark Chew, owner of Marco’s on Talbot Street says his restaurant will be open seven days as week through the winter from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. He said that in March he is planning to rename the eatery Markaritaville to work better with his outdoor deck seating. “We are also going to have a new menu in March that will have everything under $20,” he says.

Theo’s will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, opening at 5 p.m. and Akai across the street will be open Thursdays through Mondays.

Ava’s Pizzeria, Character’s Cafe and the Big Pickle will remain open seven days a week through the winter. Character’s will be closing at 8 p.m. on Sundays and the Big Pickle will close at 4 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays until spring. At the Carpenter Street Saloon, no decision has been made yet on winter hours.[slideshow id=68]



O’Malley says gas and flush tax hikes may be part of 2013 budget

Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters Thursday that “yes, perhaps” tax hikes would be part of next year’s proposed budget as part of a “balanced approach,” but he declined to be more specific.O’Malley said that any increase in the $30 annual flush tax that funds cleanup of waste water flowing into the Chesapeake needs to be done “in a more progressive way that recognizes consumption and allows for some relief for someone that uses less.” 

He said it was unfair that a senior citizen living in an impoverished area of Baltimore should pay the same as someone “living in a giant McMansion.”

Meanwhile, he said some sort of increase in the gas tax might be necessary since the flat 23 cents per gallon has been in effect for 20 years. He tied the gas tax hike to plans to spend more on highway and transit construction to create construction jobs.

Enhanced job creation “will be a product the art of the possible in the arena of political compromise,” O’Malley said, “where the legislature certainly understands and feels the pain that people feel from this recession, but also appreciates that a better tomorrow requires investments.” In other words, legislators might be reluctant to pass tax increases.

“Ever since this recession hit, we have been relying almost exclusively, with some exceptions, on cuts,” O’Malley said. “That’s why we racked up almost $6.8 billion in cuts.”

In past years, the O’Malley administration has sometimes referred to this as reductions in increased spending. The overall state budget has actually grown since O’Malley took office in 2007 from $28.7 billion to $34.2 billion in fiscal 2012, a 19% increase. But in order to balance the budget each year as required by the constitution, the governor has had to ask the legislature to cut mandated and automatic increases in spending or entitlements by a cumulative $6.8 billion.

O’Malley’s unusual roundtable with reporters covered a wide range of issues in a PowerPoint presentation focusing on the administration’s performance toward meeting its 15 major goals.

Governor defends audits

O’Malley also defended the administration’s response to a wide range of legislative audits in the past year finding millions in misspent funds, failure to collect federal dollars or identify fraud in a number of departments, especially involving the Medicaid program.

Perhaps anticipating questions about the audits, the StateStat office, which reviews the audits findings, produced a slide (not available online) showing that the number of critical findings by legislative auditors declined from 1,045 in 2007 to 844 this year. Repeat findings showing the same financial or performance problems “have steadily fallen from 45% in 2005 to 26% in 2011,” O’Malley said. “In other words, when they tell us once, they don’t have to tell us twice, or at least not as frequently.”

O’Malley said there were a number of specialized firms that “help us identify fraud and waste” with sophisticated technology, and “help us increase our recovering” of incorrect reimbursements.

Another problem is “very, very old legacy [IT] systems throughout state government,” that don’t keep track of payouts efficiently.

When he took office in 2007, “one of the biggest surprises for our team was how much further behind state government was behind city government,” said O’Malley, the former mayor of Baltimore.

“There’s still plenty of room for improvement in Medicaid and Medicaid recovery,” O’Malley said,” and a lot involves these legacy systems.”

Beth Bluer, head of the StateStat performance measuring office, said “the eligibility for Medicaid is one of the most antiquated systems we have in state government.”

O’Malley Chief of Staff Matt Gallagher said there were major appropriations in the coming budget proposal to improve Medicaid IT systems. – Len Lazarick


Food Friday: Toasting the New Year

We will not be ringing the New Year in, as we will have gone to bed at a sensible hour, much to the disgust of our children. But we will try our hands at a few flashy little cocktails before having dinner with friends. And when we wake up in 2012 it will be time for a whole new regime: healthy, wealthy and wise. Less alcohol, more exercise, frugality and reading more books! Hear, hear!

Until then, it is still 2011, and we should enjoy our divine decadence. Here are a few formulae for our favorite cocktails.

French 75s

“Hits with remarkable precision.”
Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book

2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 spoonful extra fine sugar

Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice until chilled and well-mixed and then pour into tall glass containing cracked ice and fill up the glass with Champagne. This clever cocktail was said to have been devised during WWI, the kick from the alcohol combo being described as powerful as the French 75mm howitzer gun. Some substitute cognac for the Champagne, but not us, the soon-to-be-reformed purists.

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”
Winston Churchill

Not Just for Cocktail Hour Bourbon Slush

This is from our Gentle Reader Joan Fry Cummings, Chestertown High School Class of 1964, along with her classmates Shari Herr Keen ’63, Chris Brace Barron ’64 and Anne Vansant ’64.

“This is not my original recipe. In 2009 when we created a fabulous cookbook from our hometown high school alumni, a former teacher shared this recipe with us. Chestertown High School closed its doors in 1971 and four of us decided to create a treasury of recipes, memories and history in honor of our special years at CHS with all proceeds going into the Alumni Association’s scholarship fund. The results of our efforts were overwhelming! We have a hardback cookbook with custom dividers full of memorabilia and old pictures lifted from a gazillion yearbooks. There are 628 recipes (our goal was 300) including one from the Class of 1928. Mrs. Lois Wood, from Rock Hall, was our 8th grade English teacher (way back then…) and she wrote a front piece for the cookbook in addition to sending the recipe below.”

1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 generous cup bourbon (or vodka)
6 cups water
¾ cup sugar

This one is so easy and so refreshing. Mix ingredients together and freeze. Serve with a dash of soda or ginger ale and a spoon (a must!). Always keep a goodly supply on hand. Ready for guests or you at any time.

“Codeine… bourbon.”

-Tallulah Bankhead’s last words

Champagne Cocktail á la Bob

In a Champagne glass add a teaspoon of sugar and enough Angostura bitters to melt the sugar. Add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or cognac and mix in with the sugar, bitters mix. Add a “fine” quality Champagne and stir. Float a slice of thin orange on top. This is what Ilsa and Victor Laszlo sipped in Casablanca.

“A cause may be inconvenient, but it’s magnificent. It’s like Champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it.”

-Arnold Bennett

As always, our festive friends at Food52 have some delightful ideas for nibbles to help soak up some of the bubbly we are sure to be drinking on New Year’s Eve.

“New Year’s Day – Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

-Mark Twain



NightCat Features Two Nights of Comedy

Anyone who has seen any of Mickey Cucchiella’s shows at the NightCat in Easton knows that he isn’t just a morning DJ trying his hand at stand-up; on the contrary he is one of the region’s BEST comedians.  Cucciella  returns for a two night gig on Friday, January 6 and Saturday, January 7.  His sometimes angry, stream of consciousness delivery, superimposed over his Catholic schoolboy persona, is winning over every audience he faces. Mickey’s unique style is hard to pinpoint, although some have said he’s an interesting cross between Sam Kinison, Dennis Leary, and Billy Idol.

Never allowing one show to sound like the next, Mickey leaves every audience wondering what he’ll have in store at future appearances. After many attempts by hecklers and idiots to bring him down, Mickey still remains undefeated. His brazen approach to comedy allows him to do things in front of a live audience you would not believe.

Mickey Cucchiella

5 Goldsborough St
Easton, Md 21601

January 6th and 7th, 2012
$20, 8 P.M each night