Archives for May 2011

Toussaint L’Ouverture Series Featured at Academy

The Academy Art Museum’s Atrium and Calvert Galleries are featuring an exhibition of 15 Jacob Lawrence prints, on display

Strategy, 1994, by Jacob Lawrence

June 3 through 12, generously lent from DC Moore Gallery in New York. These prints are based on 41 paintings from a series also entitled Toussaint L’Ouverture, which was completed in 1938 and currently in the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.

From 1986–1997, Lawrence reworked and distilled the series while translating them to silkscreen, disseminating the remarkable story of Haitian leader Toussaint L’Ouverture in a succinct, but dramatic fashion.

Admission to the Museum is $3 for non–members, children under 12 admitted free.


The Museum is open Monday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The First Friday of each month, the Museum is open until 7 p.m.
The Museum is located at 106 South St., Easton, MD, 21601.
For general Museum information, call 410-822-ARTS (2787) or visit:

Children’s Interactive Musical Show@Academy June 4

The Academy Art Museum in Easton presents Goin’ Monkey, Saturday, June 4 at 10 11 am.

The show is a fun interactive musical experience for children of all ages through ten. Dance and play along to songs that encourage movement and learning about all kinds of musical concepts such as musical ensembles, harmony and melody, body percussion and much more. For children through age 10 (all children must be accompanied by an adult).


Goin’ Monkey – Saturday, June 4, 2011, 10 and 11 a.m.
The Museum is located at 106 South St., Easton, MD, 21601. For general Museum information, call 410-822-ARTS (2787) or visit:

Sustainable Business Practices on the Increase

Sustainable business stats according to Inc Magazine’s June 2011 Edition:

59% of businesses increased their investment in basic sustainable business practices such as reducing water and energy use in 2010

9% of SMALL BUSINESS have “Aggressive” sustainable business practices in place

34% of BIG BUSINESSES have “Aggressive” sustainable business practices in place

Food Pyramid to Be Dumped

Whatever you do, don’t call it a pie chart.

The Obama administration is about to ditch the food pyramid, that symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. In its place officials are dishing up a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.

The circular plate, which will be unveiled Thursday, is meant to give consumers a fast, easily grasped reminder of the basics of a healthy diet. It consists of four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, according to several people who have been briefed on the change. Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.

Few nutritionists will mourn the passing of the pyramid, which, while instantly recognized by millions of American school kids, parents and consumers, was derided by nutritionists as too confusing and deeply flawed because it did not distinguish clearly between healthy foods like whole grains and fish and less healthy choices like white bread and bacon. A version of the pyramid currently appearing on cereal boxes, frozen dinners and other foods has been so streamlined and stripped of information that many people have no idea what it represents.

“It’s going to be hard not to do better than the current pyramid, which basically conveys no useful information,” said Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Willett said he had not seen the new logo.

To read full article, go to:


UMD Talbot Master Gardeners Grant to Help Save Bay

In Talbot County, there are more than 600 miles of shoreline. In order to provide a healthier Bay for our future generations to enjoy, we must all take action to make little changes that will help improve Bay water quality and therefore quality of life in and around it.

Through a grant funding provided by Maryland’s Coastal and Atlantic Bays Trust Fund and Maryland DNR, the University of Maryland is excited to launch an education and demonstration campaign to “Preserve the Tred Avon Watershed.” Talbot County Public Works and the Talbot County Extension Office were granted funds from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund’s Local Implementation Grant for the Tred Avon River. This Trust Fund was created to provide a dedicated source of funding to accelerate Bay restoration by focusing financial resources on effective and innovative non-point source pollution control projects. This grant was made available through the Department of Natural Resources’ Local Implementation Grants program and will be carried forward between November 2010 and June 2012.

As residents, we all play a very important role in the preservation of the Tred Avon River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. It is our goal to educate residents of simple ways to improve the health of the watershed. Some of the great opportunities for residents include:

♦          Free soil testing and Urban Nutrient Management Plans

♦         Free Bay-Wise Consultations with Teams of Trained Master Gardeners

♦          Free Bay-Wise Property Certifications

♦          Free Monthly Bay-Wise Gardening Workshops

♦         An Art Contest for Youth Grades 3-12

♦          Opportunity for Residents to Win a Free Rain Garden Design and Installation

♦          Demonstration Gardens in the Community

♦          Stay Tuned With Us at for Upcoming Events.

For more information contact Heather Buritsch, UMD Master Gardener Coordinator

University of Maryland Extension Talbot County 28577 Mary’s Court, Suite 1 Easton, Maryland 21601 410-822-1244


Tomatoes as Competitive Sport

Gardeners are as competitive as any creatures on the planet. Especially when it comes to tomatoes. Biggest, earliest, tastiest, prettiest is what we all strive for whether we admit it or not.  Around here, the real contest is to have at least one of our own ripe tomatoes by Fourth of July, which means you need to get the plants – and a fairly early-producing variety at that – into the ground by Mother’s Day, the rule-of-thumb tomato-planting day here in Kent County.

Pineapple Heirloom Tomatoes

But this year, gardeners haven’t been competing with each other so much as with Mother Nature, and it’s been like dealing with schizophrenic Mommy Dearest – yo-yo temperatures, drought then deluge, cool, cloudy days followed by even cooler nights that retard (at best) warmth and sun-loving Solanum lycopersicm. Mother’s Day was still chilly and damp, a recipe for fungal diseases and pest attack. The rest of May was not much better.  If you didn’t get your tomatoes into the ground over last weekend  — and who can blame you with so much going on — we’re now up against several days of near-100 degree temps and wind that blows all the damp out of the ground. So. Here we are. June and behind already.

A lot of the tomato plants still on offer at garden centers are anemic-looking and root-bound if they’re still in their original flats (in part thanks to our collective insistence on demanding them in our garden centers before it’s really time to plant them, which is another whole conversation). There may be blossoms or even little green tomatoes on them, an untimely drain on their energies.

Not to worry. Tomato plants are pretty tough.  They really wanna live. If there are blossoms or little fruits, some people recommend removing them to give the plant a chance to concentrate on growing rather than producing fruit right away.  That works well and you will see them green up sooner rather than later. I don’t do it because I’m greedy for fresh tomatoes and usually they pull through anyhow unless the plant is in really rough shape.

However, I suggest you put off planting for a couple more days unless you’re prepared to water like mad – twice or three times a day even. Hot, dry, breezy is hard on even the toughest plants – to say nothing of us — since plants respire a lot of moisture through their leaves. (Piped corn leaves illustrate a plant’s efforts to conserve water loss in respiration.).  Better to keep the tomato plants another day or two in the dappled sun and out of the breeze and water them morning and evening. Wait until you get home from work tomorrow evening and shove a couple in the ground when the sun’s a little lower and the temperatures are moderating a bit. (The weatherman’s promised.).  You don’t have to put in all five or ten or whatever plants in one day, either. Spaced planting helps space out production.

To plant tomatoes: dig a good-sized hole – deeper than the plant’s root ball. Tomatoes grow roots all long their stems, so if you plant them fairly deep – right up to the first set of leaves – it will encourage a lot of fast root growth, which will help the plants to pull themselves together, green up, bulk up and produce.

Throw in some tomato plant food, which has calcium to help prevent blossom end rot or even add a little lime for calcum, and about 2 cups or more of water. Before putting the plant into the hole, dig your fingers into the bottom of the root ball and open it up a little, especially if it’s root-bound.  Stick the plant in the hole, fill in the soil and pat it firmly but ‘so the roots know who’s boss,’ as my mother used to say, but not so the soil’s too compacted.

Stake the plant, or put in place a cage or some kind of support right then. If you wait, you could jab the support into the growing roots and break off blossom-filled stems.  Supporting the plant keeps the fruit off the ground, which helps prevent critter damage and makes them easier to pick.

Mulch the plants to cut down on weeds and mitigate soil temperature swings.  Red plastic mulch has been shown to increase tomato yields, but you need to run a drip hose beneath it to make sure plants get at least an inch of water a week. Blossom end rot, the dark depression that sometimes develops at the bottom of a tomato is also caused by uneven water.

It’s unlikely many of us will compete in the tomato-by-Fourth of July contest this year, but it doesn’t really matter.  We’ll find other ways –the first cucumber, the biggest melon, the very best BLT whenever the tomatoes do come in.


Troup’s Corner: These Bridge Tollbooths Aren’t Phantom

Recent editions have taken us down the path to Washington.  In the meantime, plenty of shenanigans have taken place a few dozen miles east on US 50.  Then again, I suppose I should not be too quick to call them shenanigans.

A reader recently referred to my scribble as “visceral over the State of Maryland.”  This type of reader response would probably be glossed over in a National publication.  Not everyone can be pleased all the time; however, in a close-knit community, it is important to try.

What this reader may have been referring to was part two of “my electronic journey for answers.”  The thesis was that we are all subjected to “tangled web governance,” a system of government bailing out government for which we all wind up footing the bill.  The conclusion was a series of ideas that could be implemented at the State level to provide Eastern Shore counties with a level of autonomy.  Within the context of a standard op-ed piece, I suppose those ideas could be dismissed as instinct over intellect.

Over the next few weeks we will explore these ideas in greater detail.  While our skeptical readers may not agree with these ideas, I hope that they are viewed as worthy of conversation.  For now, I hope that our skeptical readers can allow me the following indulgence.

I hope our readers have long attention spans.  During the last election cycle, Governor O’Malley peppered the airwaves with ads that decried former Governor Ehrlich’s use of fees to fund State projects.  This strategy was recycled from the 2006 election.  Suddenly fee increases have become necessary (Kind of slots, yes?).  I’m guessing this occurred on November 3rd.

Troup’s Corner is actually in favor of user-based government funding.  Maryland is an economically and geographically diverse State.  The counties of Western Maryland should not be subjected to one size fits all taxation to pay for tolled roads and facilities.  User-based funding also adheres to the matching principle of accounting.

So it would seem that this week’s edition should end at this point, correct?  Not so fast, my friend!  Operating costs for the toll system are expected to rise from $217m this year to $294m in 2014, or 35%. Debt service will go from $35m this year to $144m in 2014, a 410% increase.  The toll increases are being used for the primary purpose of debt servicing.  These debts have been incurred to build MD-200 (aka the ICC) and I-95 express lanes north of Baltimore.  Shouldn’t the revenues realized from these projects be applied to the expenses?

Currently, the toll is $.31 per mile on the Bay Bridge.  When the 2013 rate takes effect, the Bay Bridge toll will effectively be a dollar per mile (round trip).  The gripe that the Eastern Shore seems to have about Annapolis is that the region is viewed as drive-by country for the purposes of reaching the beach.  If this criticism has validity, then a dollar per mile to reach the beach is likely viewed as no big deal by its supporters.  There’s always a downside.

The downside is the effect on the commuter.  The Bay Bridge’s current $1 commuter toll will go to $1.50 in October and $2.80 in 2013.  The I-95 80 cent commuter rate will rise to $1.80 in October and then to $2.80 in 2013.  Relative to the regular price, the current I-95 commuter rate is far friendlier than the Bay Bridge rate.  One point of concession, Maryland rates have been lower than other rates across the Nation.  That said, this point screams of Government martyrdom.  “Look at the break we cut you all these years.”  As stewards of the public trust, this is what they should seek to accomplish in their ordinary course of business.

While Eastern Shore commuters should pay for their use of the bridge, the burden should be the same versus the burden placed on commuters at other sites.  As we often find out in the reader reaction portion, issues can intersect.  Perhaps new questions should be asked.  Instead of parsing out the details of toll A versus toll B and who’s getting shafted, perhaps it should be asked, “What can be done to eliminate the need for this commute?”  Over the next few weeks, we will explore several options to increase the economic viability of the Eastern Shore.

Troup’s Corner Non-Sequitur: Overheard at the ticket window at Oriole Park with respect to Chick-Fil-A no longer sponsoring the Junior Orioles Dugout Club.  “You really should announce have announced that.”  It seems I’m always behind these people.  Let me respond on behalf of the Orioles.  “So what you’re saying is – the club should purchase ad space to announce that a company is NOT going to be a sponsor of a team promotion.  Come on people, think!”


Best Bets This Week

Friday, June 3:    The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference commences at Chesapeake College in Cambridge.
Keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl LaRoche. Workshops on historical topics will be held throughout the afternoon.

Saturday, June 4:   Stock up at the Easton Farmer’s Market, N Harrison St
open 8am to 1pm – named “Best of Eastern Shore Farmers Markets 2011”
by What’s Up Eastern Shore magazine… 2nd year in a row
Listen to live music by blues/roots band, SwampCandy

Sunday, June  5:   Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival’s
Organ & Trumpet Recital
5:30pm at St. Mark’s UM Church, Easton

Youth Fishing Derby at Eastern Neck Refuge – June 11

In partnership with the Friends of Eastern Neck and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge will host their annual Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 11, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Youths 15 and under may participate in this free event. A parent or adult must accompany all participants. Food, drinks, prizes and bait will be provided. Kids are encouraged to bring their own rod and reel but a limited number of rods and reels will also be available for kids to use during the event.

The derby will be held at the Headquarters Pond, located on the road to the Bayview Butterfly Trail on Eastern Neck NWR. For more information, please contact Eastern Neck NWR at 410-639-7056.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Boater Safety Course at CBMM June 7 & 8

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels is offering a two-day Boater Safety Course on June 7 & 8. The course will be held from 6 to 10 pm each day on the Museum’s campus.

Any Maryland boater born after July 1, 1972, is required to have a Certificate of Boating Safety Education, in order to operate a vessel.

Those under 16 who are operating a motorized boat 11 feet or more and do not have a valid Certificate of Boating Safety Education must be supervised by someone at least 18.

The certificate is obtained by passing a Department of Natural Resources approved boating safety course, and once obtained; the Certificate is valid for life. Participants completing the course and passing the test will receive this Certificate. The course is also recommended for anyone looking to become a safer, more experienced boater.

The cost is $25 with advanced registration needed. For more information or to register, call Helen Van Fleet at 410-745-4941.