Archives for August 2011

Serious Offshore Wind Power a Step Closer to Reality

According to E-The Environmental Magazine, a new plan to create a transition backbone off the Atlantic coast harnessing offshore wind should create capacity for some two million homes from Virginia all the way to New York City. The Atlantic Wind Connection hopes to get the plan in operation by 2016.

Obama administration launched the “Smart from the Start” initiative in November 2010 to identify wind priority areas and speed up permitting, with the goal of allowing projects to be approved in late 2011 and 2012. Other wind farms are being planned in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and elsewhere along the east coast.

read the article here

Wye Financial & Trust Sponsors Concours d’Elegance Dinner to Benefit CBMM

Wye Financial & Trust is sponsoring the September 24 fundraising dinner of the Fifth Annual St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance (SMCDE), to be held at the Harbourtowne Golf and Conference Center in St. Michaels, MD. The dinner is part of a weekend of

Pictured from left: Wye Financial & Trust Senior Vice President James M. Vermilye; SMCDE Committee member Florence Jackson; CBMM President Langley Shook; SMCDE Co-Chair David J. North; and SMCDE Co-Chair Jack Brown.

activities, which culminates at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) for a public event on Sunday, September 25. All proceeds benefit the museum.

This year’s event features coach built automobiles, along with other significant award-winning motorcars from the 1900-1942 Golden Age of Motoring. New for 2011 is a unique collection of automobiles from the post-war sports and racing era through 1960. The St. Michaels Concours will also feature a display of classic wooden speedboats from the same era, all shown on the waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum overlooking the scenic Miles River and Chesapeake Bay.

Wye Financial & Trust is a division of CNB, and a member of Shore Bancshares family of companies, with offices located in Easton and Centreville. They are the exclusive sponsor of the September 24 fundraising dinner for the museum. “We have a long tradition of supporting the community in which we live and do business,” said Wye Financial & Trust Senior Vice President James M. Vermilye, CFP, CTFA. “We are excited to be part of this classic event and to support the important mission of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.”

Beginning at 6pm on September 24 at Harbourtowne, event entrants and sponsors will enjoy a waterfront cocktail party, an elegant buffet dinner, and a sneak preview of some of the rare classic motor cars that will be on display Sunday at the museum. The event also features a guest speaker and a brief live auction.

The Fifth Annual St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, September 25, with rare automobiles and vintage boats on display along the museum’s 18-acre waterfront campus. For more information about the event, visit

Women & Girls Fund Sponsors Michelle Singletary

Thursday, September 15,   the Women and Girls Fund will sponsor, “A conversation with Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary” at the  Avalon Theatre, in Easton, MD.

Michelle Singletary

This is  the fifth in a popular series of appearances by nationally known speakers. Michelle Singletary gives well-grounded advice and understandable explanations relating to personal financial dilemmas. Proceeds benefit The Women & Girls Fund, which makes annual grants to non-profits in all five Mid-Shore counties. For reservations, see or call 410-770-8347.

7:00 pm, Avalon Theatre, Easton

Newport vs. Easton Jazz by Al Sikes

Having just gotten back from the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, I am reminded of the pleasures ahead of me this weekend at Easton’s Monty Alexander Jazz Festival. Newport is, at least in my mind, Versailles. It is beautifully framed and

Monty Alexander

has presented jazz’s royalty now for 57 years. But, as with any long running success, intimacy gives way to big crowds and large venues. And, jazz is best, after all, when presented in an intimate atmosphere. Easton’s Avalon Theater is just right.

Jazz Festivals have a personality. Festivals like the one at Newport spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attract the headliners. Wynton Marsalis and Michael Feinstein opened this year’s festival in Newport. Other festivals are decidedly regional and some even reflect the more experimental side of jazz. The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake, a program of Chesapeake Chamber Music, reflects both its artistic director’s preference for the joyous side of jazz and Easton’s intimate venue.

The Jazz Festival that begins this Friday will feature straight ahead jazz with melodic influences that, in the case of Monty Alexander, will blend the sounds of his Jamaican beginnings. And the Festival will necessarily and proudly present several of today’s rapidly emerging stars. Grace Kelly, Dominick Farinacci, Aaron Diehl and Jason Palmer are stars of today and especially tomorrow.

And the celebration will not stop there. Easton’s Festival will also salute Charlie Byrd who lived and played in Annapolis and DC and around the world. Nate Najar and Chuck Redd will lead the Salute.

Early ticket sales have been brisk and encouragingly The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is beginning to be recognized far beyond the Chesapeake. Early orders of Festival passes came from New York. While reserved seats for Monty Alexander’s concert on Saturday night are sold out there are still good tickets available for his concert and both Friday’s emerging star night and Saturday afternoon’s Salute to Charlie Byrd.

Some might regard any comparison with Newport as audacious and I guess it is. Our Festival is 56 years younger; however, the intimate setting at the Avalon in historic Easton and the world class artists that will entertain us are not bad contrasts and comparisons.

Al Sikes is Chairman of the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Committee

CBMM Announces Free Fall Educational Workshops

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD has recently announced four upcoming, educational workshops that are offered free of charge to the general public, with advanced registration required.

CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher, right, talks with museum visitor Joe Sanborn from Hockessin, DE, left, about the restoration of the skipjack Rosie Parks, seen in the background.

On Tuesday, September 20 from 10am to 12noon, CBMM’s Chief Curator Pete Lesher will be at the museum’s Small Boat Shed to talk about the history and significance of the museum’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. Part of the presentation will take place in the museum’s boat shop, with Lesher and Rosie Parks Project Manager Marc Barto discussing the restoration process and the plans for the future of Rosie Parks at CBMM.

From 10am to 12noon on Tuesday, October 11, CBMM’s Director of Education Kate Livie will be at the museum’s Small Boat Shed to discuss the museum’s new loaned vessel, the John Smith shallop. Livie will explore the history of John Smith’s 1608 Chesapeake adventures, the development of the John Smith 400 Project, and the building of the recreated shallop, as well as the stories of the brave reenactment crew that sailed and rowed the shallop throughout the Chesapeake in the summer of 2008.

On Thursday, October 20 from 1 to 3pm, Echo Hill Outdoor School Director Andrew McCown will be at the museum’s Van Lennep Auditorium to discuss his career as a Chesapeake educational innovator and his experiences teaching, working, and inspiring stewardship on the bay. McCown will demonstrate his teaching strategy through hands-on activities and animal observation, and discuss tips and tricks for Chesapeake educators of all ages to use in the classroom or out in the field.

From 10am to 12noon on Tuesday, November 1 and Tuesday, November 22 at the museum’s Small Boat Shed, Horn Point Laboratory will offer a two-part workshop series based on their popular “Bay 101” classes. In these introductory sessions, participants will learn “Chesapeake science for non-scientists,” which includes studying the bay’s unique ecology—from water quality and conditions to flora and fauna. These sessions will be a great way to build up a general Chesapeake environmental ‘toolkit.’ The workshops will be moved to the Bay History building if weather prohibits use of the Small Boat Shed.

To register or for more information, email Helen Van Fleet at or call at 410-745-4941. For more information about the museum, visit the waterfront campus in St. Michaels or online at .

Best Bets This Week

If your Labor Day Weekend is anything like ours, you’re probably anticipating a full house and are concerned about keeping everyone entertained. The younger generation arriving Friday night should check out the up and coming Spring Standards at the NightCat Cafe. Saturday after breakfast, (or for breakfast), send them to the Easton Farmers’ Market, a sure bet for all ages, winner of the “What’s Up Eastern Shore” magazine best Shore Market two years in a row. Jazz aficionados should not miss the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival at the Avalon Theatre this Friday and Saturday- with a special tribute to Charlie Byrd Saturday afternoon.

Spring Standards

Friday, September 2-8pm: The Spring Standards at the NightCat Cafe Three part harmonies, rock and roll with a hint of country.
Tickets $15   5 Goldsborough St., Easton MD  21601

Saturday, September 3 – 8am to 1pm:  Easton Farmers’ Market In the town parking lot on N. Harrison Street, with ample free parking in the area. Farm produce andproducts, as well as a wide variety of finely crafted items for sale. Support your local economy! Live music 10:30am – 12:30pm with the old school stomp & boogie band Swamp Candy, special guests Talbot Hospice Fashion Show.

Friday, September 2 – 7pm  & Saturday, September 3 – 4pm and 8pm: Monty Alexander Jazz Festival at the Avalon Theatre.  See the whole schedule here.

Monty Alexander


CBMM Admission Free to Delmarva Residents Sept 6-9

Free admission to the 18-acre waterfront campus and new exhibits of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD, is being offered to Delmarva residents during the Museum’s September 6-9 Delmarva Days recognition.

During the four days, free admission will be given to residents showing their Delmarva address on a piece of identification or mail. The Delmarva region includes the entire state of Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. General admission is otherwise free for museum members and kids under 6, or $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children 6-17. Free admission is also offered to active military individuals.

The museum features new art and decoy exhibits as well as a floating fleet of historic vessels, the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, and many hands-on exhibits that share the stories of how people live, work, and play along the entire Chesapeake Bay. The museum is open 9am to 5pm seven days a week, with picnics and dogs welcome. For more information, visit the museum in St. Michaels, online at, or call 410-745-2916.

MD Ag Secretary Reports on Crop Damage Caused By Irene

Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance issued a preliminary report yesterday on agricultural damage caused by Irene.

“High winds and excessive rain caused loss of power, flooding, and tree and limb damage across most of the state. Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore, however, sustained most of the damage, primarily on drought-stricken corn fields where wind flattened the crop in many places, making it difficult to harvest. The remaining sweet corn was severely blown over and may not be recoverable, but we believe this will impact a small amount as most has been harvested.

“Overall Maryland livestock fared well with no significant loss. For the poultry industry, one company reported that the storm killed about 30,000 birds in Maryland. There were no other reports of bird loss or significant structural damage.

“Soybeans fared well and the moisture will help the crop. About 100 acres of watermelon were destroyed and another 100 acres sustained damage severe enough to be reported as a loss. About 600 acres of string beans may be unharvestable. There was no impact from the storm west of Frederick.

“USDA’s Farm Service Agency will further assess damages to agriculture – crops, livestock, conservation – and we should have a better indication of those estimates later this week.

“Farmers who experienced hurricane damage are reminded to stay in close contact with their crop insurance agents. A written notice of crop loss must be given to your crop insurance agent: within 72 hours of discovering the damage or loss; 15 days before harvesting begins; within 15 days after harvesting is completes but not later than October 20 for corn insured as tonnage for silage; and December 10 for grain corn and soybeans. Maryland farmers have 6,458 crop insurance policies in place, covering crops valued at $390.5 million.”

Election 2012: Kratovil Ponders Future in Face of Extremism

The Internet has been abuzz with speculation that Former MD Congressman Frank Kratovil’s decision to work for the Prince George’s County DA is a tell-tale sign he won’t mount a challenge to Andy Harris (R-MD1), who won Kratovil’s seat in a bitter 2010 campaign that gave rise to Tea Party candidates.

That’s all news to Kratovil.

“I have not ruled out running, I’m still considering it,” Kratovil said in an interview with the Spy last night. “In the last three weeks I’ve had a number of people calling–urging me to run…simply because I’m taking a job doesn’t mean I’ve ruled out running.”

Kratovil expressed concern about the politics of division in the nation- blaming a minority of extremists in both parties for stalling progress for the majority of average Americans.

“I feel we’ve been taken over by the far-right now, the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other,” Kratovil lamented. “I feel that Wayne [Gilchrest] and I always tried to find that middle ground, and I think we’ve lost that in this country.”

Kratovil seemed calmly infuriated about what he perceives is a policy gap that favors corporations at the expense of seniors and the middle class.

Former 1st District Congressman Frank Kratovil

“I see what’s happening, we’re cutting benefits for special needs children and considering medical vouchers for seniors to try to save money–while at the same time corporations aren’t paying any taxes…not only are they not paying taxes, they’re getting refunds. One of the things we have to recognize as a nation is that we have extremists controlling the debate, and one of the things a leader has to do is to try and find that middle ground to make some progress, there has to be a balance…we need to find some way to get there…because the middle class is getting crushed.”

Kratovil made a case for the success of compromise using his experience as prosecutor.

“I had plenty of cases when I knew someone was guilty [of a first degree offense], but for whatever reason the evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict–or evidence was suppressed, so I would convict on the second degree [offense], and that is better than… going to trial and losing, because if you lose, you get nothing. Those are tough decisions based on the facts and circumstances at the time,” Kratovil explained. “In dealing truthfully with issue of the deficit, every neutral source, including the Bi-Partisan Deficit Commission, many economists, and S&P said we could not deal with the deficit issue without a balanced approach, but Harris and others on the far right insisted these [neutral sources] were focused on cuts in spending, which was not the case. They were calling for a balanced approach and they criticized the fact that there were no discussions of revenue in the last budget deal.”

The vote against the new healthcare law brought Kratovil much criticism from the far left in 2010, but Kratovil explains that there were a lot of good policies in the law, which he tried to protect in voting against repeal of the healthcare law seven months later. Kratovil insists that the biggest issue facing America over the last few years is high unemployment, which he felt would have been made worse with legal mandates to small business to provide healthcare coverage to workers.

“The number one issue still is jobs. Every issue you deal with at the Congressional level has to be viewed recognizing the issue of jobs,” Kratovil said. “I was concerned the [healthcare requirements to small business] would have a negative effect on job growth, but I was also asked during the 2010 campaign whether I would vote for blanket repeal, and I said ‘no’ because I thought the federal exchanges were a good thing, [as well as] allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance [until age 26], and I thought closing the donut hole was also a good thing.”

Kratovil also explained his voted against repealing the individual insurance requirement in the healthcare law.

“You can’t get rid of the ‘pre-existing exclusion’ and also go without requiring everyone to get insurance, you can’t do both, so I voted against repeal,” Kratovil said. “You can’t require insurance companies to provide appropriate insurance benefits when you are only requiring the sick to get insurance.”

Garden Reclamation

Post-Irene Apple tree can’t be saved

Irene’s gone and good riddance. She dropped about 10 inches of rain here, which was no particular favor despite July’s drought, and then she blew, just to see if the roots and everything would hold.  Rude.

Some people had much more damage than others, but none of us got away scot-free. Virtually every yard and garden needs attention — there’s a chain saw brrring away on the sad old dogwood (Cornus florida) as I write this, and tomorrow it will be the apple tree even though it’s the only one that still produces. Some of the caged and staked tomato plants have been half-pulled out, too, as the cages were blown over, but they can be gently mashed back into place for a few more weeks of production. The petunias, which have petals as lush and soft as cotton, collapsed, the Caryopteris is halved and broken and there are downed limbs everywhere.

It’s discouraging and little daunting, but not everything that looks bedraggled now is a gonner. The question is, where to start?

First, assess damage, a step that by now has probably taken place for most of us. But in assessing, be sure you look UP. There may be branches still hanging precariously that need dealing with. Also, consider what you can do yourself and what needs professional attention. Some things are obvious. Others are borderline. Think carefully before you tackle something that may be too much of a stretch for your experience, tools or skills.

“Use caution if you have downed limbs or if branches are hanging from trees way up there, “ says Mary Broadhurst, nursery manager at Unity Church Hill Nursery.  “You don’t want to do it yourself unless you have someone who really knows what they’re doing, and then be sure you have a second person right there to be sure you’re safe.”

Blown down caged tomato plant

For the smaller, more doable stuff, haul out the garden tools.

“If it’s broken, cut it off,” says Cindy King, horticulturist at Kingstown Farm Home and Garden.

A clean cut back to live wood will help prevent disease and more injury, and will probably encourage new growth. If a tree or shrub, particularly a young one, is pulled out of its root set, but not is completely out, you may be able to do some orthodonture rather than an extraction.

“Stake something that has blown down, but don’t stake it incredibly hard,” says King. “Work it back slowly, and make sure the staking stays there about a year.”

Broadhurst has a very loose willow oak in a small piece of ground in front of the house between the sidewalk and the road that she plans to try to save.

Caged tomato mashed back into place

“I’m going stake it for about a year to stabilize it and see if it will put out sufficient feeder roots to keep going,” she says.

Since soil around the willow has been washed away, Broadhurst plans to add more, but not immediately. Another gulleywasher would wash it again, exposing tender new feeder roots. Additionally, mechanical edgers can inadvertently whip away new loose soil, damaging tentative roots.

“I may wait until December to put down more soil,” she says, “when the ground will be a little frozen and it will hold better.”

If trees – like our poor apple – are not salvageable, taking them out will help the rest of the landscape and possibly provide you with firewood for next winter. (The wood will need a year to cure.).  Of course, the next consideration will be how the tree’s absence will change the sun/shade equation in that area.

“You’re gonna either come up with another tree or maybe a pergola or something [to restore the shade] or you may realize that you need to change the garden,” says King.

You may need to relocate some shade lovers that won’t tolerate the amount of sun they will get from now on. For those with some sun tolerance, a little more attention to their water needs for a few years may be in order.

“You may need to watch them more closely, and give them more water than you had been,” says King.

For sodden, damaged, or drowned perennials, both advise patience.

“Don’t be too quick to give up on them,” says King. “If the plant has been flooded, the top growth will drop or die off in all likelihood, but that doesn’t mean they are finished. Plants will go off-color, but if you see new growth, it will probably survive. Give them some fertilizer in late February or early March next year and see what happens. If they don’t come back by then, it’s time to replace them.”

But annuals, which are a single season deal, may need replacing.

“Once you’ve cleaned up any twigs, leaves and branches, you can then start looking for holes,” says Broadhurst.  “Petunias I would probably rip out because the flowers wilt in the rain, but you can fill in a lot of holes with annuals for now.”