Archives for November 2012

Bay Hundred Hurricane Relief Report Continued

We are on our way (don’t tell anyone but the truck ran out of gas at the 322 intersect..gas gas didn’t work….didn’t get out of here until 12:30—truck broke down on the way back…left it along the road.

Unloaded truck in Bonnie’s garage!


We did it!


Debe,  one of our great volunteers at the Center.


Inez…a single mom with a 7yr old son who had 10 ft. of water in her house. She was physically demolishing the walls with her 18 yr. old brother when Gregg knocked on her door. After talking to her and finding out that she received some FEMA money that a crooked contractor took most of to put in her heating and hot water heater (the price was outrageous) he and his crew jumped in to finish the job. There is a crew going in this weekend to sheet rock and get it ready for paint. She is one of the lucky one’s as her mother lives in an area that wasn’t damaged so she is living with her until her house is finished. It was truly amazing how positive she was. The power was just turned back on Monday and the heat went on Thursday.

Keith was hauling things out of the house that belonged to a friend of his. She too had 10’ of water and lost several cats. They
got the basement cleaned out but she is having a really hard time dealing and Keith said she won’t let him take out anything except for the carpet on the first floor.




New Maryland Same Sex Marriage Licenses Available January 1

An opinion released Thursday by the attorney general’s office said that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses as soon as Gov. Martin O’Malley “formally proclaims” the results of this month’s election, which he is expected to do on or about Dec. 6.

The law, and therefore the licenses, will not be effective until Jan. 1. Attorney General Douglas Gansler answered other questions about the implementation of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in the 19-page opinion.

Gansler and Chief Counsel Adam Snyder found that postdating the licenses’ effective date doesn’t impose an unconstitutional waiting period on same-sex couples because it’s the ceremony, not the license which validates the marriage.

The attorney general’s opinion came in response to questions from circuit court clerks from around the state in the wake of this month’s voter approval of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage was passed by the legislature during this year’s session, but opponents petitioned the law to a referendum.

Voters also approved same-sex marriage in Maine and Washington, and rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia also issue same-sex marriage licenses.

The opinion left the wording of same-sex marriage vows, including the traditional “man and wife” pronouncement, to the discretion of the administrative judge. It recommended, however, that judges defer to the couples themselves as to how they’ll be referred to in their vows.

The opinion also addressed the gray area civil unions –– especially those performed in states which grant all the same rights and responsibilities of marriage –– creates.

Vanessa Bowling with Equality Maryland — a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization — said they have been receiving a lot of questions about out-of-state and out-of-country marriage licenses.

Even if one or both parties is engaged in a civil union in another state, with each other or a different person, they can still be issued a license in Maryland, said Alan Brody, deputy communications director for the attorney general’s office.

While the courts may rule differently later, the opinion deals solely with the issue of licensing.


Tidewater-Easton Rotary Club Hosts “Grow a Tree” Fundraiser

Tidewater-Easton Rotary Club Hosts “Grow a Tree” Fundraiser
Proceeds to benefit community service initiatives on the MidShore.

November 29, 2012 – The Rotary Club of Tidewater-Easton is sponsoring the inaugural “Grow a Tree” Fundraiser now through December 31st.  Building on Rotary International’s initiative to plant a tree for every Rotarian worldwide, the Tidewater-Easton Club will be selling and planting trees across the MidShore region.

 Trees available include Black Gum, Dogwood, Fringe Trees, Hackberry, Sycamore and Yoshino Cherry. Each tree is priced at $50.00, which includes delivery and planting by Rotary club members. Participants have the option to purchase a tree for their own property or have their tree planted on pre-determined non-profit organization or public grounds. Details about each species and their ideal growing conditions along with purchasing information can be found online at

Proceeds from the sale will benefit the community service work of the Tidewater-Easton Club, which has included support of Easton Elementary Care-Packs Program, Page Turners, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Camp Fairlee Manor, and Pennies for Polio in the past year.

“Our club is excited to launch this new fundraiser that supports green space in our area and also raises funds allowing us to continue making an impact on our community,” comments Brian Gearhart, Club Fundraising Chair. “These trees can also be used to meet state critical area requirements and also replace those lost in recent storms.”

“We look forward to this new initiative and engaging the community in the work of Rotary,” said Harry Rieck, the club’s president.

Trees will be sold and planted through December 31st.  Trees can be purchased online at and additional questions may be directed to Sandy Hale at 410-714-1005.

About the Tidewater – Easton Rotary Club

Founded and chartered in 2011, The Tidewater – Easton Rotary Club is the newest Rotary Club on the Eastern Shore and is comprised of professional men and women committed to the Rotary Motto “Service Above Self.”  They are part of a global network of more than 1.2 million volunteers that are changing lives in their own communities and around the world. The Tidewater-Easton club meets on Thursdays at 7:15am at the Comfort Inn in Easton. All are welcome. For more information about the Tidewater Club, please visit or e-mail To learn more about other area Rotary clubs and their meeting schedules, visit


Bay Hundred Keeps On Giving

One month after Hurricane Sandy trashed the northeast coast, tens of thousands of people are still without power, waiting for electricians and contractors to help them put their homes back into working order. And Bay Hundred residents have continued to give generously – from food to tools, coats and cash donations.

The Bay Hundred Hurricane Sandy Relief Team loaded up their fourth truck on Thursday, for a third trip to deliver relief supplies to hurricane victims. This time, they’re meeting up with a grassroots group called Helping Hands, formed by two families who are dedicated to filling in the gap between large agencies and families in need. One of them is a building contractor, who is putting together teams of volunteers and laborers to go in and replace insulation and sheetrock in homes.

For most of us, Hurricane Sandy is over, something that happened way back in October. But for the core group of Bay Hundred neighbors dedicated to helping hurricane victims, the need is as great today as it was weeks ago .

Marianne Stallsmith can’t stop thinking about the people she met in NJ, especially the elderly. “Picture this – she’s 85 years old and she has no insurance. FEMA gave her $21,000 to rebuild, but her entire home is in shambles”,  she said. As she talked, she packed donated tools – rakes, brooms, large trash cans, saws and more.

Stallsmith still has daily phone conversations with Miro, the college professor who continues to take relief supplies to the Rockaways, every chance he can. The other day, he took hot food to a senior center, where one elderly woman took him by the arm and said “thank you. We haven’t had any hot food for over a week.”

The Bay Hundred group will continue to collect support for hurricane victims, and expects to provide direct support to some individual families. Marianne Stallsmith and Aida Khalil took a load to New Jersey on Thursday – stay tuned for their report.

To contribute to the Bay Hundred Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund you can send a check to The St. Michaels Community Center and reference Hurricane Relief Fund on the check. Send to PNC, P. O. Box 70, St. Michaels, MD 21663.





Food Friday: Holiday Latkes

We love potatoes. I imagine most quasi-normal people do. It is my life’s goal to find the world’s best French fries. Long ago I read a Calvin Trillin book about his travels in Italy one summer with Alice, where they wandered from village to village and market to market, sampling many foods, but primarily experiencing pommes frites and gelato. What bliss. Then I spent months trying to create the perfect pommes frites, as idealized by reading an entertaining book about travel and eating. I don’t know if I chose the wrong potatoes, or lacked basic deep fat frying skills, but nothing ever seemed to capture the delight in eating fresh, blazingly hot, crispy double-fried frites as described in the book. Perhaps I should give up the food preparation and focus on some world travel of my own. We did have some pretty delicious chips in London this summer…

I have also tried for years to re-create Buffalo Chips, the deep-fried, British-style, thick slices of potato, that we had years ago at the Spring Garden Bar and Grill in Greensboro, North Carolina. The chips were the perfect side dish with their incredibly memorable Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. That’s another dish I have never been able to repeat at home. I use a mandoline now for slicing the potatoes, so they are thinner and a little more uniform, and pleasant to look at, but they are never quite crispy and plumped-up as the ones we had years ago. (I have just visited the website, and find the steak sandwich is still on the menu, but no mention of the Buffalo Chips. This could be tragic news. If any of our Gentle Readers venture to Greensboro, please stop by and do some vital research for us… Perhaps the Buffalo Chips will be my madeleines…

We prepared vats of mashed potatoes last week for Thanksgiving, because it is the American thing to do, and because they can be repurposed for a few more days: as a significant component of  the legendary Pilgrim Sandwich, as potato pancakes for a nice, leisurely breakfast to have with the Sunday paper, and they make a nice pie crust topping for the inevitable turkey pot pie. We are actually planning ahead when we boil up a bunch of extra taters for the holidays.

With Hanukkah starting next week, we threw ourselves into exhaustive research for latkes, which are a more forgiving variation on crispy, fried potatoes. (Perhaps my skills lie in the frying pan and not a Fryalator.) It is easy to fry up extras, and then freeze them for future use. That way, if you have company for a Hanukkah meal, you are not stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is enjoying your light touch and handiwork. Or, you can keep a stack or two in a warm oven, if you want to prepare them ahead of time and serve them in one fell swoop. French fries would never stand for that.

I appreciated the extra hint this time around to wring the grated potatoes in a dish cloth, twice, before mixing them with the egg, onion and the flour. That step made for lighter latkes. And I do not have a food processor, which I think would have reduced the time spent preparing the potatoes – but I did have a willing assistant who manfully grated the potatoes on the box grater, and managed to do it without scraping his own knuckles. There is nothing like holiday ritual meal for bringing everyone into the kitchen. This is a good recipe for the gluten-free folks.

Happy Hanukkah!

“What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
-A.A. Milne


Kent Approves $25,000 to Join Coalition Against Bay Cleanup Plan

The Kent County Commissioners joined with six other counties and the law firm of Funk & Bolton to challenge Maryland’s federally mandated pollution reduction plan for the Chesapeake Bay–on the grounds it does not adequately address a chronic history of nutrient and sediment discharges from the Conowingo Dam.

“I don’t know how we could continue to…ignore something that caused so many problems to Kent County,” Fithian said, shortly before a 2-1 vote to pay Funk & Bolton $25,000 in legal fees to challenge the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan. He said Kent’s seafood industry has probably suffered more than any other county because of its proximity to the Conowingo Dam.

Maryland’s WIP plan was the result of a lawsuit won by Chesapeake Bay Foundation in 2010 that compelled the EPA to enforce the 1972 Clean Water Act.  Under a consent decree, states in the Chesapeake Watershed, from New York to Virginia, were required to submit a WIP plan to the EPA that brought the Bay into compliance with the Clean Water Act by 2020.

Maryland was unique in drafting its WIP by requiring all the counties to enact their own plan to reduce local nutrient runoff into the Bay, also referred to as Total Maximum Daily Load.

In the video below, Fithian reaffirms his commitment to the environment before voting to join the TMDL Coalition.

The bottom-up approach centered around the idea that local communities have a better understanding of their impaired rivers and streams and know best how to mitigate nutrient runoff.

All the counties submitted TMDL plans that were adopted by the state and written into the WIP plan that was submitted to the EPA this spring.

“Maryland knew that involving local communities at the county level in developing the state’s clean water blueprint was important because local communities play such an important role in implementing the plan,” said CBF Eastern Shore Director Alan Girard in an email just a few hours before the vote. “Counties usually know what’s best for them and the blueprint is responsive to that.”

CBF, along with other environmental groups and local river keepers, fear that problems at the Conowing Dam could be used as a distraction to delay local funding of TMDL plans. They worry that a rebellion could spread throughout the watershed because of the sticker shock associated with the plan.

In the video below Chester River Keeper David Foster says joining the coalition could be a distraction from meeting TMDL goals and a waste of money.

Speaking before the commissioners Tuesday, Chester River Keeper David Foster said he hoped Kent’s decision to join the new TMDL Coalition was not an attempt to undercut the local responsibility for TMDL reductions–and he questioned the motives of counties in the coalition that are not impacted by the Conowingo.

In the video below, Chester River Keeper David Foster discusses Commissioners decision to join TMDL Coalition.

“As you go through the list of counties that have signed on…these are not places that are impacted directly by the Conowingo Dam,” Foster told the commissioners, referring to Allegany, Frederick, and Carroll counties. “I hope if you sign onto this that you use your influence to make sure this is really focused on the problems of the Conowingo Dam and not something that will undercut the TMDL process, which all of us are counting on to hold Pennsylvania and New York responsible.”

Foster restated his commitment to work with the Kent Commissioners and recognized the high cost of implementing the TMDL plan.

“We look forward to working with the TMDL and WIP teams and doing everything possible to reduce the cost of reducing pollution,” Foster said.

Fithian assured Foster and members of the audience on several occasions that he was not backing away from implementing local TMDL plans.

“I’m not in this to turn my back on all the things we’ve done,” Fithian said. “[But] if we’re really sincere about cleaning up the Bay, then we have to address it from every angle. I think we’ve proven that we’re trying to do the right thing for the environment.”

Fithian pointed to a recent agreement to connect Georgetown to the municipal water system in Galena and Kent’s lead in solar field development as testaments to the commissioners’ commitment to the environment.

“I think our track record shows that we are mindful of the environment,” Fithian said. “This is in no way a time where I’m going to turn my back on the environment and use the Conowing Dam as a scapegoat.”

But Chip Macleod, lead attorney for Funk & Bolton representing the TMDL Coalition, said the state WIP plan requires huge local expenditures without adequately addressing what is already documented about the Conowing Dam.

“The pollution coming from the Susquehanna through the Conowingo Dam is the largest source of [nutrient and sediment] loading into the Chesapeake Bay…that’s a fact,” Macleod said in a phone interview with the Spy on Wednesday. “The purpose of the coalition is to ensure that local governments commit taxpayer money to water quality programs that are prudent and fiscally responsible.”

“The coalition believes that the TMDL programs are flawed because they do not accurately take into account the nutrient loading from the Susquehanna River through the Conowingo,” Macleod said. “Attention needs to be brought to that before we commit local tax dollars.”

But a recent statement from CBF disputed Macleod’s assertions that the Conowingo Dam was not adequately addressed in the state’s TMDL plan.

“The EPA explicitly included the dam and pollution removal capacity in the TMDL and considered it throughout TMDL’s development,” said a recent fact sheet published by CBF to specifically dispute Macleod’s claims.

The CBF fact sheet also said the dam has acted as a safety net for most of the sediment coming from the Susquehanna River.

“The dam is not the largest contribution source, the Susquehanna River is. The dam historically has been the Bay’s best management practice, removing what would have flowed down stream, particularly phosphorus and sediment.”

Girard wrote in late October that nutrient discharges from the Conowingo were significant but did not flow up into the tributaries of the Eastern Shore where a significant amount of nutrient runoff originates.

“While the Susquehanna discharges significant pollution into the central stem of the Bay, virtually no pollution flows up into the tidal tributaries of the Eastern Shore,” Girard said in a statement published on Oct. 24. “Our local creeks and rivers are polluted almost entirely by local sources—farms, sewage plants, and other sources.”

Foster agreed that nutrient pollution comes from local sources and must be tackled at the local level.

The dissenting vote on the measure came from Commissioner William Pickrum, who voiced concerns over the agenda of the newly formed coalition.

“I am really bothered by what the charter for this coalition states,” Pickrum said. “I am adamant in my opposition from stopping the TMDL process period. If Kent County joins this coalition, I cannot…be assured the coalition won’t proceed in a direction that will be detrimental to all of us.”

But in his opposition to joining the coalition, Pickrum said he understood Fithian’s holistic approach to addressing every source of pollution.

“Yes the dam has been there since 1918 and no one has done…a damn thing about it,” Pickrum said.

Fithian said he would make his feelings clear to Funk & Bolton that Kent did not want to go in the direction of stopping local TMDL plans.

“We’re not just looking at one direction of pollution,” Fithian said. “We want to attack this thing from many different angles, and we should relay that message to Funk & Bolton and the coalition. And if we see it going in the wrong direction, we’ll have to make an adjustment.”

Girard said in an email before the vote that threatening the progress of the state’s WIP program could cost coalitions a lot more than $25,000.

“The choice to use taxpayer money to challenge the blueprint really puts the state in a bind,” Girard said. “Maryland must demonstrate progress is being made or face consequences of reduced federal funding and permitting that most Maryland communities depend on. Choosing to point fingers at Pennsylvania and other pollution sources, rather than taking local action, could really make things worse at the local level in the long run.”




State Considers a Pollution Trade and Fee System for Developers

The state is considering plans to allow developers to pay for enhanced pollution controls on other land as a way to permit them to build in areas that might be off limits under new sustainable growth rules, environment officials told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Environment Secretary Bob Summers was briefing House and Senate committees on the current state of the proposed sustainable growth regulations requiring developers to offset additional nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads from their new projects.

Senate Bill 236 calls for the Department of the Environment to propose regulations for nutrient offset requirements to account residential growth in just tier III areas (large lot developments) by the end of the month. Summers said a proposal for statewide regulations would not be finalized until next September.

Trading more pollution controls for development

The proposal establishes a market so that developers building in large lot development areas can offset nutrient loads through a credit and trading system and pay for offsets in rural and farming areas. Developers could earn credits by paying for capacity in a wastewater treatment plant, for instance, Summers said.

Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers

“One of the more controversial areas, growth in urban areas, could potentially be offset by paying for extra pollution control on our farms,” Summers said. “Once a farmer has achieved what is needed for his or her share of the [total maximum daily load], anything over and above that can be sold to a developer on a trading market to offset that load.”

Tier III large lot developers would calculate the post-development load of their project and secure credits to offset 100% of their nutrient load. Summers said that the market would be guided by state policy and regulations and would also comply with federal permits.

“We wanted to allow trading to offset the post development load,” Summers said. “We are expected add an estimated 478,000 households by 2035 which is more than two million pounds per year in additional pollution to the [Chesapeake] Bay. If we don’t address this our restoration efforts will not succeed.”

The benefit to trading is that it can drive innovation and lower costs, Summers said.

Exemptions for redevelopment

Summers said there will be some exemptions. Redevelopment projects would not have to offset pollution elsewhere because they would be replacing a load. No offset would be needed for discharge from a wastewater treatment plant that is operating below capacity.

There are additional elements that Summers said are needed if the state is going to be successful in attaining its bay restoration goals. These include smart growth development, using the best available technology on septic systems, and using enhanced nutrient removal at wastewater treatment plants. A requirement to use best available technology (BAT) for new and replacement septic systems has raised strong objections in rural counties.

Some counties are not cooperating

Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, stressed the importance of the cooperation from the counties.  The environmental group 1000 Friends of Maryland complained this week that 23 counties have “skirted” the current sustainable growth legislation by taking advantage localities ability to designate tier designations, Tim Wheeler of the The Baltimore Sun reported.

“A lot of the initial maps that we have seen from staff level throughout the state have, often times, matched the local planning, zoning and preservation goals, said Jason Dubow from the Department of Planning. “In some counties, some kept it as is. Other counties [seem] uncomfortable with a strict interpretation of the law and in some cases have gone to the complete opposite end that the law was seeking. “

Del. Dana Stein, D- Baltimore County, asked why there could be a payment arrangement when the original proposal did not include that type of provision. Summers said that the original thought was that the state didn’t have the mechanisms to handle that type of funding.

“But upon further thought and the comments that we have in, that is one area where we do have room to make some compromise and have some kind of reasonable fee-in-lieu system,” Summers said.

Fee levels still being developed

Del. Marvin Holmes, D- Prince George’s, asked how Maryland’s pricing formula compared to competing states Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Summers said that, like Maryland, those states are also in the beginning stages of figuring out accurate pricing formulas for fees and that pricing will depend heavily on the economic situations in the states.

Although the proposal still has issues left unanswered, a work group from stakeholder agencies such as the the departments of Planning, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture is being established that will make recommendations.

House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell said that representatives from the Department of Business and Economic Development should also participate in the work group.

By Sam Smith 


Franchot Says Shop Locally During the Holidays

State Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging Marylanders to step away from their computers and shop locally this holiday season.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot shows a deficiency in his shoe to Terry Fortuna, owner of Fortuna’s, in Bethesda Thursday. The comptroller urged Marylanders to shop locally this holiday season, and said he would be back to the 74-year-old business with his jacket and shoe.
Capital News Service photo by Chris Leyden

“If you live in Maryland, get off the Internet, come down, and patronize these wonderful local businesses,” said Franchot.

The comptroller visited three businesses: The Blue House, a gift and decor store; Fortuna’s, a shoe and luggage repair business; and Creative Parties Ltd., a stationary shop. Franchot did his best to help the local economy, purchasing items at two of the shops and making plans to return to the third.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot shows a deficiency in his shoe to Terry Fortuna, owner of Fortuna’s, in Bethesda Thursday. The comptroller urged Marylanders to shop locally this holiday season, and said he would be back to the 74-year-old business with his jacket and shoe.

Franchot acknowledged these local businesses are competing with online retailers that may offer better prices, but he stressed how important it is to help the local economy.

The comptroller will make multiple stops throughout the state, continuing a tradition from past years. This year’s visits may have a little more meaning, because Franchot is considering running for governor in 2014. When asked about this, he said he has not made up his mind, yet.

“We’re doing some polling, we’re doing some fundraising and I’ll make a decision sooner rather than later,” said Franchot, who would not define “sooner” in days, weeks or months.

Franchot may have won some votes as a man of the people, when he removed his shoe at Fortuna’s and placed it on the counter to show owner Terry Fortuna a deficiency near the lace. The small corner store has been open since 1938, and had a steady stream of customers during and after the comptroller’s visit.

Dipankar Chakravarti, a professor of marketing at the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, agreed with Franchot that spending locally is important, and noted that it can also be beneficial to the shopper.

Positives include keeping dollars locally, allowing users to inspect goods, and giving a sense of security to buyers that when they pay for an item it is instantly in their hands, Chakravarti said. The big negative to counterbalance this, Chakravarti said, is that it is much easier to find the lowest price online.

“I think the price difference is one of those things that affects your pocket directly, but the local economy affects your pocket indirectly,” said Chakravarti.

Sometimes consumers are a little too nearsighted when it comes to shopping, Chakravarti said, and see the instant benefits of a lower price being more important than a thriving local economy.

“I think it’s a little myopic to sort of, you know, to sort of abandon your local economy in search of the last quarter that you can save in price,” he said. “On the other hand, one can’t really argue against the immediate benefits of sort of seeing a significantly lower price when you click on or something like that.”

The small business owners have mixed opinions about how government helps them compete against larger businesses and online retailers.

“The Internet is both my best friend and my worst enemy,” said Tracy Bloom Schwartz, owner of Creative Parties Ltd.  She said while the 45-year-old shop generates much of its business from people who find it online, the Internet’s seemingly infinite stationary designs dwarf her shop’s approximately 1,000.

When asked if the state does enough to help small businesses, Bloom Schwartz said “absolutely not,” and pointed to the tax concessions and benefits large-scale projects get. “We don’t get that,” she said.

At The Blue House the story is very different, as the shop’s unique items help it avoid big box or online competition.

“We don’t carry anything that you would ever find at a Target,” said Jill Godfrey, manager of the 23-year-old business, the past 10 of which have been in Bethesda.

“People come here to see and touch and smell. Until they can do that online we’re not going to have a problem,” added Kathryn Hayes, a part-time employee.

All levels of government have been very helpful, Godfrey said, whose only complaint was that parking is too strictly enforced in front of the store.

Businesses in the area Franchot visited saw an increase in traffic the weekend after Thanksgiving, when the American-Express-sponsored Small Business Saturday pushed shoppers to support local economies.

While Bloom Schwartz heaped praise on the job American Express has done, she would like to see more efforts made to send shoppers to small businesses.

“I don’t think enough really is done to promote a shop-local, be-local, sort-of attitude,” said Bloom Schwartz.  “It’s sad to me that a majority of the world (is) more concerned with the price than … experience or quality of service.”


History: Who Was Washington College’s Clifton Miller?

Recently, Washington College re-dedicated the Miller Library on the college campus.

Often colleges dedicate and re-dedicate edifices on their campuses and use the name of a benefactor or past college president to identify the name of the structure.

Miller Library was originally built in 1971. Some of us alumni remember when the library was in Bunting Hall; and before that in the basement of William Smith Hall.

Clifton Miller was not of Eastern Shore origin. He was born in Montana and attended Stanford University, where he received his LLB degree in 1916. He was admitted into the California Bar Association in the same year.

With WW-1 raging, he served in the Army Air Corp in Europe. In 1920 Mr. Miller joined the investment industry, moved to New York City, and took a job with the firm of Dillon, Read and Company. This firm was founded by the late U. S. Secretary of Treasury, Douglas Dillon. In 1930 he became a partner in the firm of White, Weld and Company. He remained with this firm until he retired in 1935 and moved to Kent County.

Mr. Miller became a member of the Board of Visitors and Governors in 1951. He served as Chairman of the Board from 1961 to 1967. During his tenure as Board Chairman he would bring to fruition and successful conclusion the Heritage Campaign, which raised $12 million dollars for the college. Several campus facilities: the Miller Library, Hodson Hall, Cain Athletic Center, and the Gibson Fine Arts Building benefited from the money raised for the Heritage Fund, in which Mr. Miller was instrumental. Mr. Miller passed away in 1967.

The renovated Miller Library now enjoys many new components which will substantially enhance this academic epicenter of the college. One such component is the Washington College archives. The archival documents and artifacts are significant for research purposes and contain documents dating back to the early 18th century.

The library will contain new study spaces on the second floor, a new cafe and many infrastructure transformations, including a new geothermal system for climate control. Also, the renovation added an improved network for wireless internet connectivity, and new ceilings and floors throughout the library building. The new study spaces and the café will be most welcome by the student body. Mr. Miller would be proud.

There are many other buildings on the Washington College campus where the names bearing college leaders and patrons have grown misty and forgotten with the passage of time. Some of these include William Smith Hall, Minta Martin Hall, Bunting Hall, Reid Hall, Cain Athletic Center and Hodson Hall, to name a few.

The renovated Miller library is a welcome upgrade, in both form and function, for the Washington College campus. It fits well, looks well and will surely bolster its use along with campus pride.

The newly completed renovation calls attention to the needs of both the present and future. New names will appear on college facilities in the future. These names and the background of their patrons will become a part of college lore and history. It is important to recognize this contribution and perpetuate the memory of those who cared enough to give so much.

So, who was Minta Martin?


Spy Review: Christopher Tilghman’s The Right-Hand Shore by David Bruce Smith

Sixteen years ago, Christopher Tilghman’s debut novel, Mason’s Retreat, appeared to a plethora of praise. It depicted the story of Edward Mason, a pre-World War II businessman, who moved his wife and children from England to re-claim his family’s nearly ruined ancestral home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Now, the author has written a prequel, The Right-Hand Shore. It continues the Mason lore, retroactively, from their slave owning days of the 1850s, to 1920–the year of Mary Bayly’s cancer. She is Mistress of the Retreat–as the Estate is known–a Mason granddaughter, and Dairy entrepreneur of the region.

As her death edges up, Mary’s wish is to locate a direct descendant to manage—and hold–her beloved 1,000-acre property. When Edward shows, he surmises their visit will be perfunctory—brief enough to bewitch Mary, return to Baltimore for lunch with a new inheritance–possibly–and sail for Europe.

Tilghman’s prose is so beautiful that it enraptures the reader in much the same way the employees’ recollections captivate Edward. In a nine-hour interval, the Retreat accrues mental momentum for him, and by the end, it is a place he—appreciates.

Edward learns of Mary’s grandfather, “Duke”, who squeezed out a bargain to sell all his field slaves at “…what might have seemed thirty cents on the dollar…the weasel-faced man from Virginia just couldn’t stop himself from panting with pleasure, cackling as he counted out the money…”

For “Duke” Mason, the deadpan deal was only “…a windfall…pure profit…” without contemplating the consequences to the persons-to-be-sold: splitting up families—for keeps. Mary’s mother, Ophelia, who witnessed it “…was fifteen years old…and she was crying. She knew these people…” and because of it, carried a permanent shame. Home is transformed into place to escape.

When Mary wed the Lincolnesque Wyatt Bayly, he intended to rub out those memories, by re-tilling the soil into a huge peach orchard. But, after Mary and Thomas were born—during which the arc of his success was at its highest–Ophelia bolted to Paris, and enrolled Mary in a fancy Catholic school, while she hop scotched among the Society Soirees between Paris and Baltimore.

Their son, Thomas, was left behind, with little company except for a distracted father, a coterie of ex-house slaves, Randall, the son of the Head Orchardist, and his beautiful, lonely, sister, Beal, who Thomas revered.

It was an unsupervised life for Thomas, but through Tilghman’s magnifying glass, this protracted circumstance enlarged the possibilities for the Thomas-Beal relationship—from a tantalizing taboo, to a forbidden marriage.

Tilghman writes about racial tension, powerfully. And, while Ophelia thought she could dodge it, her chronic absences from the Retreat fired an emotionally vacuous profile that bifurcated her progeny; among Randall Terrell’s relations, the after effects came—irrevocably—with Randall’s murder, the Thomas-Beal union, and their Mason déjà vu “return” to France—as exiles.

The Right-Hand Shore
By Christopher Tilghman

358pp. Farrar, Straus and Giroux $27.00