Archives for June 2015

Mariah’s Mission Fund Creates Support Group for Families Affected By Substance Abuse

Through the generosity of its many sponsors and community members, Mariah’s Mission Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation will realize its first goal, to create support groups for families affected by substance abuse.  Valerie Albee, founder of the charity, along with her co-organizer, Ann Youngblood, state, “We are thankful that the healing process can begin for others and that our vision of being a positive force in the community will be a reality.”

The first support group, “Together…Positive Approaches,” will help family members who are currently struggling with a loved one engaged in substance abuse. The group will begin meeting in July at the Ouvert Gallery in St. Michaels.  Techniques of positive reinforcement to promote recovery of the individual will be stressed.

The second support group, “Together…Silent No More,” will help individuals grieving the loss of a loved one due to substance abuse. It will begin in September. Final details are not complete at this time but inquiries should be emailed to

Jennifer Wagner and Mike Campbell, co-owners of the Ouvert Gallery in St. Michaels and producers of Talleywags Productions/Flashlight Tag are donating the use of their attractive and welcoming space for the evening gatherings. Wagner comments, “We are happy to be part of this effort which provides families with this support network. We envision the support group’s location as part of our outreach for the movie, “Flashlight Tag,” created by Talleywags Productions, which depicts the life of a local young adult and his struggles with substance abuse.”

The initial group, “Together…Positive Approaches,” will meet on Wednesdays starting July 29, followed by meetings on August 12 and 26 at 6 p.m. at the Ouvert Galley at 207 Talbot Avenue in St Michaels. The gallery will be closed to the public during the meetings. There is no charge for attendance.   Additional information can be obtained at


Out and About (Sort Of): Medical Journey By Howard Freedlander

I began an unplanned medical journey two months ago. Consequently, I joined a men’s club, to which I had no intention of applying.

On April 30, I received a diagnosis of prostate cancer. By June 16, I underwent robotic-assisted surgery to remove my prostate. As I write this column, I am recovering well and quickly.

On June 24, I learned from my Hopkins Hospital doctor that the surgery successfully extracted all the cancer. I am cancer-free.

I thought long and hard about whether to share this information on a public stage like The Talbot Spy. I’m doing so because fortunately I suffered a form of cancer more common than I ever knew among men—and considered mostly curable.

My description so far betrays none of the fear and anxiety I felt—and obsessed about on a daily basis—beginning with the brief phone conversation with an Annapolis urologist, who told me the awful truth. The difficulty continued as I told family members and close friends. Even as I sat two weeks ago in the hectic pre-operation area, I worried about life after major surgery.

Cancer no longer was someone else’s problem.

As if studying for final exams in college, I read exhaustively about prostate cancer. I spoke with survivors, not only in Talbot County but throughout the country. I realized the membership of this club was larger than I ever imagined. While comforted to some extent by the survival rate, at least measured anecdotally, I could think of nothing else.

I learned that fighting cancer—or any other life-threatening disease—generates a level of self-absorption and self-centeredness that I typically abhor. I talked of little else. I felt distracted, prone to mistakes.

And I found out, as do others, I’m sure, the grace and comfort willingly offered by family and friends.

Despite the option of radiation, I chose surgery because it suited me personally; I simply wanted to rid myself of cancer as quickly and effectively as I could. Through a referral from an Easton doctor,

I found a physician at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, well-experienced and well-respected in conducting robotic-assisted surgery. He not only was highly skilled, but just as importantly, a person with a nice human touch and incredible responsiveness to my questions and concerns.


I alluded to the inestimable value of support, both professional and friend/family-based. You expect the medical professionals to respond with expertise and compassion, and that generally happened. You lean on your family, and again I was the beneficiary of tremendous care and concern. My wife Liz was a great nurse and wonderful friend.

Everyone deals differently with personal calamity. I like to do personal research. And so I spoke with people to whom friends referred me, people whom I did not know, such as an attorney in Chicago and a real estate developer in Washington, DC; they unselfishly spent time explaining their experience with prostate cancer. Also, I constantly sought counsel and comfort from an Easton friend who had undergone prostate surgery in 1999 at Hopkins.

So, what do I do now that my two-month medical odyssey is over?

I will find another subject of conversation that excludes personal medical problems. I will continue retirement activities that have no connection to the medical system. Life as a patient is grueling.

And, finally, I will be ever thankful for a dose of good luck, renewal of good health and the ability to continue praying for those who endure life-threatening medical situations far more complex than early-detected prostate cancer.

Life looks brighter now. It’s time to move on. It’s time to laugh again.



hotDesks Profiles New Start-Up Water Monitoring Company

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC, has over 12 years of leadership experience managing public works departments and facilities—specifically in area of water and wastewater treatment.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Lee was the Operator in Charge of the Cortlandt Manor Consolidated Water Department in New York and the Wicomico County Public Works Department on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

His experience inspired him to launch O-P-S LLC with the creation of WaterOPS, a suite of cloud-based water monitoring software that helps municipalities meet and exceed water quality standards—and avoid potential costly violations.

His operational experience leading major public works projects has been crucial in the architecture of the compliance engine in WaterOPS that helps municipalities and facility managers meet the needs of engineers and licensed inspectors in the field.

“WaterOPS empowers facilities managers and municipalities with assurance and confidence when reporting to regulators,” Lee says.

Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Delaware and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wilmington University. He is currently serving on the executive board for the County Engineers Association of Maryland and is a Staff Sergeant in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Lee credits the mentorship and programs offered at hotDesks for accelerating the development of his startup business.

“Membership in the coworking space at hotDesks is absolutely helping us launch our products and services way ahead of schedule,” he said.

He also said the hotDesks accelerator program moved at the pace of his days at Army bootcamp—where he was prepared “to meet major challenges in a relatively short period of time.”

Lee completed hotDesks’ first 6-week accelerator program in April and his company recently won a grant from the Shore Hatchery Entrepreneurship Competition at Salisbury University. The money will go to continue research and development of WaterOPS.

The company is seeking investors at this time, Lee says.



Shore Regional Health Plans Ribbon Cutting for new Pavilion Tuesday

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health will host a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Event at University of Maryland Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton on Tuesday, June 30 at 5 p.m.

The new Pavilion, which opened its doors to patients on May 12, offers residents of the five- county region greater access to multiple health care specialties and services.

Located at 490 Cadmus Lane, UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Easton provides more than 24,000 square feet of newly renovated, leased space for medical specialties including Ear, Nose and Throat; Neurology and Sleep Medicine; Neurosurgery; Urology; Continence and Pelvic Health and Women’s Care. Plans are underway for Family Practice to take up residence in the new space within the next several months.

Additional specialties will move to the Pavilion after the second phase of the project, totaling another 50,000 square feet, is completed, which is anticipated within the next 12 months. Those medical specialties will include pediatrics, cardiology, surgical care, wound care and pulmonary care.

Please contact Christina Wingate-Spence, communications and marketing specialist, Corporate Communications and Marketing, to confirm your attendance at the Grand Opening Event by calling 410-822-1000, ext. 5732.

St. Michaels Celebrates Plein Air

St. Michaels Events is excited to be working with the Avalon Foundation in welcoming the Plein Air Competition Artists from around the world to paint in beautiful St. Michaels and surrounding areas. “Celebrate Plein Air in St. Michaels”, will take place on July 13th & 14th, with a special children’s workshop on Sat. July 11th, prior to the two day event.

Saturday, July 11, 2015: Kids Art Workshop hosted by St. Michaels Community Center. A St. Michaels Children’s Flag will be made by children. This class is free and all children, local and tourists, are invited to help make this patchwork flag depicting what St. Michaels means to them. This flag will be on display for Plein Air Easton and hung in various places for all to see.

Monday July 13, 2015: Twilight Pre-Competition Paint Out. Invitational evening event celebrating the Arts at Aida’s Victoriana Inn, at which nationally-recognized painters will compete. A $500 Artists’ Choice Award for the painting that best depicts life in St. Michaels will be awarded.

Tuesday July 14, 2015: A full day of events begins at 11:30a.m. to be held in Muskrat Park.

Pre-registration can be made by contacting Local Port of Art at 443-205-2760 or emailing The registration fee is $5.00 in advance or $10 at the park that day

• Plein Air Kids Paint Out. Registration opens 11:30a.m. till 2p.m.

• 12-3p.m. Children’s Painting competition and Sensory Art Program.

• 1-2p.m. Lunch served for the participants.

• 3:30p.m. Awards Ceremony. Activities throughout the day: Face Painting, Art of Balloon Making, Puppet Show, Storytelling, and Music by Helen Fegan, Emma Myers, Grace Coughlan, & Kelsey Abbot.

• 5p.m. Starving Artists’ Dinner. Jon Mason of the Town Dock Food & Spirits (125 Mulberry St. St. Michaels MD) will be hosting the dinner. This event is open to the public at $30 per person,(drinks not included) and reservations are recommended.

St. Michaels Events thanks the Commissioners of St. Michaels and our partners SMCC, CBMM, YMCA, St. Luke’s Methodist Church School, Talbot County Library St. Michaels Branch & Michaels Rotary for their participation.

This event is partially supported by the Talbot County Arts Council, with funds provided by the Talbot County Council and the Towns of Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels.

Of Skipjacks, Flyboys and Sailors with Author Dick Cooper

While the Eastern Shore’s history has received special attention from a host of gifted writers over last few centuries, it is still pretty unique to have a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist spending three intense years tracking down both the well-known and the not so well-known stories of the Shore.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 1.32.24 PMThat is exactly what Dick Cooper, a former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has been doing, with the results recently published as a collection of 23 essays entitled, “East of the Chesapeake: Skipjacks, Flyboys and Sailors True Tales of the Eastern Shore.” Cooper introduces readers to the special places of the Eastern Shore and the people who call them home, the boats they sail and the traditions that make them and the region uniquely American.

In his interview with the Spy, the author talks about his exhaustive documentation of the building and restoration of the famed skipjack Rosie Parks at the Chesapeake Bay Martine Museum, the first plans for the C&D Canal, the curious tale of Two Johns, Maryland, and an overview of some other stories in his recent collection.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.  Currently, the book is only available as an e-book via Amazon. Readers can purchase it here


Op-Ed: Striking the Confederate Battle Flag by Roger Burt

We should be asking why it has taken so long to finally strike the Confederate Battle Flag. Excuses often include claims that it represents a matter of pride about the southern heritage. Such a curious claim.

The flag was raised to defend the institution of slavery. It represented the right of the plantation owners to hold people against their will, murder them if they chose, beat them and rape them without consequence. That is hardly a heritage to be proud of.

And the people who benefited from the institution were only an elite class. My father’s family lived in the deep South, especially Mississippi, for many generations. They owned no slaves and worked hard to maintain themselves, often in a climate of deep poverty.

My father gave me an assessment of the meaning of the war to his family told to him by his grandfathers both of whom fought in the Confederate army. Going to war was not their choice. In effect they were impressed and had to leave their families behind to tend the farms as best they could. In a real sense it was not their war. The results of the war only deepened poverty.

Is this a proud heritage? Certainly there are things the people of the South can be proud of but slavery is not one of them.

The question remains why it has taken so long for us to question the display of this flag. Were the nine people murdered in Charleston really the cause for a collective reassessment? The lynchings, bombings, murder and violence have been going on for a long time. And politicians have wantonly defended this flag.

At this time we are discussing the need to gain control of racial hatred. Nowhere in the discussion have I heard a realistic discussion or debate. In fact a major part of the reason for the existence of racism is our social nature. We cleave to our social group and its culture. In so doing we put up a barrier of attitude and feeling to the “others”. What we have to do is recognize our tendencies and separate them from distorted or excessive attitudes. Being social in nature is generally a benefit but not when unexamined attitudes yield consequences that are routinely negative.It takes awareness and understanding of a very human attribute to derive the benefits and to live productively with the other people in our society.

The Confederate Flag, in fact, represents an attitude in regard to the “other” and it is time to recognize it for what it is and that it fuels counterproductive and ugly tendencies. Let’s hope that we have a productive national discussion and bring about the needed changes in how we view and treat each other.

It appears to be time for the discussion. Something significant is happening in our country. We have a major wave of immigrants taking up their place among us, LGBT rights are suddenly being supported, gay marriage is taking its rightful place, we are facing the failure of the second prohibition (marijuana) and now in a matter of days there is a movement to face the issue of the Confederate flag. Altogether it points the way to the fact that suddenly there is a marked maturation process underway in our national culture. And in that context it behooves us to ask why now and what do these events mean.

Green Phoenix Gallery Features Plein Air Works by Mullaly

Plein Air Easton is upon us, and The Green Phoenix gallery is celebrating with an exhibit of new plein air works by resident oil painter Diane DuBois Mullaly. There is a buzz of excitement in the gallery this year because Mullaly has been juried into the 2015 Plein Air Easton event as a competition artist, where she will be painting side-by-side with nationally known painters who travel from across the country to participate.

Plein Air Easton is the largest and most prestigious juried plein air painting competition in the United States. In its 11th year, it is held annually in Easton, Maryland, each July. Plein air painters produce art from life (as opposed to in the studio). Artists from all over the United States and beyond apply to this competition. There will be 58 competing artists that will paint throughout Talbot County, Maryland, the week of July 11-19th, 2015.

Gallery owner Andi Tassencourt invites the public to The Green Phoenix on First Friday, July 3, from 5 to 8 pm, to meet Mullaly, take a first look at her newest plein air works, and to enjoy some wine, yummy finger foods, good company and conversation. Says Tassencourt, “By layering the inspiring qualities of fine art, as embodied by Diane’s paintings, into our eclectic mix of fine, artisanal crafts by local artists, and Fair Trade gifts from around the world, we offer an environment with a full range of creative arts for the community to enjoy!

“And don’t miss Mullaly’s demo at The Green Phoenix during Plein Air week on Friday, July 17 at 1:30 pm; where she will show and explain how she paints with a palette knife.”

The Green Phoenix is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5:30pm, and Sunday 11am-4 pm. 31 N. Harrison Street, Easton, Maryland. 410-822-7554, and

Spy Eye: Perfect Celebration for Special St. Michaels Artist

With well over 100 of her paintings on display, Local Port of Art, St. Michaels community non-profit art gallery, located at 210 South Talbot Street, held a gala on Thursday, June 26th, for M. Joyce Zeigler to celebrate and share her renowned artwork. Ms. Zeigler, who is 81 years young, is a member of The Traveling Brushes, a group of six career artists making painting trips together, inspiring each other, and showing worldwide.

“Painting is my passion,” recounted Ms. Zeigler, “I love to be in gardens, at seashores, marshes and other country settings to paint views of nature as I travel with my sable brushes, tubes of oils and tripod easel.”

The top floor of the Local Port of Art is filled with Joyce’s paintings of waterfowl, birds, animals, flower gardens, country scenes and other views of nature as observed all her life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Painting plein air whenever possible, her art is vibrant and rich and infused with charm and straightforwardness.

During the very well attended reception, a presentation was made by Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, former Delegate from District 37B, and current Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the State of Maryland. Ms. Haddaway gave Joyce citations from the House of Delegates and the Senate, as well as a resolution from the Governor’s office honoring the more than 50 years of service both as an artist, and lifelong activist for the arts and humanities in the state.

The exhibit of Ms. Zeigler’s works continues through the end of August.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.30.16 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.30.00 AM














Local Port of Art owners Aida Trissell & Marianne Stallsmith with Joyce Zeigler

Local Port of Art owners Aida Trissell & Marianne Stallsmith with Joyce Zeigler
















Jeannie Haddaway and Julie Imirie

Jeannie Haddaway and Julie Imirie









Helen Fegan

Helen Fegan


What Didn’t Happen July 4, 1776 by George Merrill

If you have a scattered mind as I do, always managing several ideas at once, you know there’s a price to pay. Being clear about things can be difficult: certain times get confused, particulars of some incidents get transposed onto others and important details are frequently omitted. In short it’s easy for people like me to become befuddled.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 7.27.50 AMI thought it appropriate to write something about our signature national holiday. Although embarrassing to admit, I wasn’t sure just exactly what did happen on July 4th 1776 other than we became independent of Britain. Knowing myself as I do, I thought I’d better check on details so I wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot. I googled “What happened on the 4th of July?”

When I went onto the site, I felt vindicated, as if I wasn’t so flakey after all. Maybe I didn’t know exactly what happened but I discovered that many Americans didn’t either. According to The Washington Post most Americans think we declared our independence when the continental congress met on that Fourth of July in Philadelphia. Not so. Nor did the members of the Continental Congress sign the declaration that day. Actually the Continental Congress declared our independence on July 2nd and Jefferson thought this date would be “solemnized with pomp and parade . . . games, sports, guns [and] bells . . . from this time forward forever more.” It was comforting to know that even Jefferson didn’t get it right.

According to The Washington Post what actually happened on July 4th, 1776 – if Jefferson couldn’t get it straight I wonder why the Post thinks it can- our Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence that Jefferson had written with this caveat; subject to edits by a five-man team. Jefferson wrote the final draft, completing it in the third week of that June.

To further confuse our ingrained ideas of the fourth, Americans didn’t celebrate the first Independence Day until July 8th with a big party in Philadelphia, including a parade and shooting off lots of guns. Even George Washington who was in New York didn’t get the word until the ninth, ironically the last one to be told, save the British who finally heard about it on August 30th. They found the declaration seditious, didn’t consider it an occasion to celebrate at all, and kept on shooting at us anyway.

If we had cell phones, or even walkie-talkies, General Washington, could have been kept abreast of events and enjoyed a timely celebration with everyone else. Heaven knows he deserved it.

the finalizing in declaring our nation’s birthday went from July 2nd to July 8th. This is six days. Are we dishonoring our founding father’s efforts by just having a one day celebration or if the date falls right, only a long weekend? Might we not celebrate our nation’s birth by octaves, eight-day observances as some religions do? On second thought that may be a scatterbrained idea. As exuberant as most Yankees are about having parties, an eight-day cookout with a daily diet of beans, potato chips, franks, hot dogs, beer and hamburgers, nightly fireworks with all your kin constantly under your nose day and night may be over the top. A long weekend is probably best.
Happy Birthday, America.