Archives for July 2015

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Getting a View of the Miles River Regatta

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.27.11 AMMiles River Yacht Club circa 1930s. Look at all of those boats and the many cars in the parking lot! Obviously the Miles River Regatta! Wonder what the white rectangle shaped area is that’s next to the parking lot? Maybe a tennis court was were the pool is now?? The MRYC website states the Yacht Club in St. Michael’s was founded in 1920 and this land on Long Haul Creek was purchased in 1930.

Photo from the H. Robins Hollyday Collection at the Talbot Historical Society. Contact: Cathy to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!


Registration Open: Kayak Rally to Benefit Tilghman Youth

On August 30th the Tilghman Area Youth Association (TAYA) is hosting a Kayak Rally to benefit local youth. The Rally starts at 11:00 and is open to kayaks, stand up paddle boards and canoes. Starting from Tilghman On Chesapeake Yacht Club (TOC) and proceeding to the Black Walnut Point Inn for lunch, the rally has paddling distances for everyone.

The 2.5 mile route to the Inn provides opportunities for leisurely bird and nature watching. Once at the inn, volunteers are available to provide complimentary transportation back to your car. In the 5.0 mile option paddlers go to the Inn and return to the starting point by water.

For the adventurous there is the challenge of circumnavigating the island. Paddlers continue on from the Inn through Knapps Narrows and then under the Bridge and back to TOC, a distance of 8.5 miles.


Regardless of the route, once at the Inn everyone has a chance to enjoy a healthy lunch of wraps, homemade side dishes, and an assortment of desserts and refreshments served under a large marquee tent. Paddlers can rest a while, stroll through the Inn’s grounds, and enjoy the panoramic views on the low cliffs overlooking the Bay.

Black Walnut Point Inn is a private facility made open for this event by generosity of Inn Keepers Tracey and Bob.

“The Tilghman Community is amazing, in their support of our youth,” says Ginny Cornwell Executive Director of the TAYA, “and we really appreciate Bob and Tracey’s support for the Kayak Rally, as well as the support of the Tilghman Island Marina who are making rental kayaks available. Because of this support the rally participants will have a unique experience while having the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of others”.

The proceeds from the Kayak rally will be used towards TAYA’s after school programs, which include: math tutoring, summer camp, free year books, cultural arts assemblies, family friendly community events, and college scholarships.

More details about TAYA and the Kayak Rally can be found at The website will also publish event updates.

Cost for advanced registration is $30 for paddlers or $12 for lunch only. Registration on the day of the rally is available at an extra charge. Registration forms can be found at the Tilghman Post Office, St. Michaels YMCA , Easton Cycle and Sport or can be printed online from Rental kayaks are available with an advanced reservation at $25 for a single or $40 for a tandem. Participants must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.

For more information contact Debra Brookhouser at 410-886-2881 or


Preparations Made for August 9 Watermen’s Day

Members of the Talbot Watermen’s Association’s new leadership team recently met with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum staff members to make plans for the 6th Annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day, which takes place along the museum’s 18-acre waterfront campus in St. Michaels, Md. on Sunday, August 9. In addition to steamed crabs, live music, and celebrity appearances, this year’s event brings a new location for the boat docking contest, which will move from CBMM’s Watermen’s Wharf docks to the area in front of the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, as shown here.


Pictured from left: CBMM Director of Events and Volunteer Program Melissa Spielman; TWA Board Member Greg Kemp; CBMM Facilities Manager John Ford; TWA Member & Boat Docking Volunteer Rennie Gay; TWA Member & Boat Docking Volunteer Alvin Richardson; TWA Member & Boat Docking Chairman Barney Kastel; CBMM President Kristen Greenaway; TWA Member & Sponsor Chairman Jason Schmidt; and TWA President Bunky Chance.

Event tickets will be available the day of the event, at the museum.

For more information, visit,, or call 410-745-2916.


The Talbot Boys Conversation: NAACP & County Council Begin the Dialogue

With civility and calm voices, the leadership of the NAACP of Talbot County met with four out of five Talbot County Council members late yesterday afternoon to discuss the future of the Talbot Boys statue. The memorial on the County’s courthouse lawn commemorates local Confederate soldiers who had lost their lives during the Civil War.

While mutual respect was observed throughout the meeting, there were a few tense moments as the conversation turned to the role played by the statue of Frederick Douglass, the famed native son of Talbot County and abolitionist, located less than a hundred feet from the Talbot Boys display.

Given the depth and complexity of this issue, the Spy has shared most of the meeting’s highlights of the lengthy discussion. The public conversation will be continued with a open community meeting on September 9th. The Spy will publish venue and time when it becomes available.

This video is approximately 35 minutes in length 

The Story of Anna, A Brooklyn Junkie

From time to time the Spy discovers stories about addiction and recovery. They can be heartbreaking, encouraging, insightful and powerfully moving.

The story of Anna in “My Life as a Brooklyn Junkie” as told to Max Delay at is is a saga with positive ending. In his forward, Delay writes “The dead can’t talk. The stories of those who die of heroin overdoses are largely confined to the dustbin. But when those who have been teetering on the precipice of death manage to haul themselves back, they become expert witnesses of an extreme existence.”

As we face the growing use of opioids in our Eastern Shore communities stories like these are needed. They are visceral and spark our awareness.

You can read it here.

Image from Max Delay,


The Scientific Method for Homeschoolers Begins Sept. 15 at Adkins Arboretum

Uncover the fascinating origins of modern science with a glimpse into the past when Adkins Arboretum offers The Scientific Method for Homeschoolers, an eight-week program beginning Sept. 15.

In this series, homeschool students ages 7 to 14 will journey from the birth of science in ancient Mesopotamia to science in the 21st century, with stops along the way in ancient Greece, the Middle Ages, the Scientific Revolution and The Age of Reason. Delving into the components of the scientific method, students will learn key scientific vocabulary and conduct experiments.  They will use their newfound knowledge in the field, working in teams to create and test hypotheses related to the Arboretum’s forest, wetland, meadow and stream habitats. The program will culminate in a science fair showcasing team projects. Reading activities will be part of each class. Classes will meet on Tuesdays from1 to 2:30 p.m., Sept. 15 to Nov. 3.

The series is $55 for members and $70 for non-members. Advance registration is required at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Talbot Mentors Welcomes New Executive Director

Natalie Costanzo is bringing a fresh accent to Talbot Mentors. The organization’s board of directors recently selected the Australian native as its new executive director.

Talbot Mentor’s new Executive Director, Natalie Costanzo, with her husband Simon and children Ben and Lily. Photo by Katie Pegher.

Talbot Mentor’s new Executive Director, Natalie Costanzo, with her husband Simon and children Ben and Lily. Photo by Katie Pegher.

Married with two children, Costanzo and her family moved to the United States from Brisbane in 2011, settling in Easton when her husband, Simon, began working as a water quality scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point. Her own background is in environmental science and education, having worked with various conservation organizations in Australia.

Prior to joining Talbot Mentors, Costanzo served for three years as Director of Outreach and Development for the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, but found herself wanting to work more directly with youth.

With several friends who are mentors and career experience matching Talbot Mentors’ needs, she described the opportunity as “almost meant to be.”

Fifteen years of working with nonprofit organizations has provided her with fundraising, event and project-management skills, along with more unusual talents. “I once spent a month working at an orangutan rehabilitation center in Malaysia,” she said. “It was like working with 36 toddlers, only each with four hands.”

While there were no orangutans to deal with during her first weeks with Talbot Mentors, Costanzo appreciates the support and welcome she received from the board, staff, mentors and children. “This board understands the day-to-day running of the organization,” she said. “Everyone is so supportive, it makes my job easier.”

Board member Jim Reed offered to assemble her new office desk, and used it as an opportunity to share an activity with his mentee, Jayden Taylor. “I was able to see how the program works, with something as simple as that,” said Costanzo.

Easily stepping into her new role, she urged more men and women to volunteer as mentors like Reed. “The school year is about to begin,” she added, “and we will be getting another ten or more students referred to us. We don’t want to leave those children waiting for volunteers.”

She met for the first time with many of the current mentees, their families and their mentors at a Family Fun Night at the YMCA. With her own family invited to the event, Costanzo said it was a wonderful way to be introduced to everyone and see what the organization does for the community.

She is most excited about the opportunity to link Talbot Mentors with other organizations in the area. “Talbot County is such a generous county,” she said. “There is so much already here, I want to take advantage of what other great organizations have to offer our mentors and children.”

Talbot Mentors Board President Gordon Fronk welcomed Costanzo to the leadership position, saying, “We could not have found a more perfect fit; Natalie is the ‘energizer bunny’ on steroids, ready to lead a very talented and committed staff and Board of Directors. We are excited for all those children of Talbot County whose lives will be enriched by our program under Natalie’s leadership.”

For more information, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mentor, call Talbot Mentors at 410-770-5999 or visit


The Talbot Bank Celebrates 130 Years of Service

Brenda Wooden (center), The Talbot Bank Tred Avon Branch Manager, presents the 130th Anniversary winners, Dayne Nelson (left) and Justin Pokrywka (right), with new Apple iPad Air Tablets.

Brenda Wooden (center), The Talbot Bank Tred Avon Branch Manager, presents the 130th Anniversary winners, Dayne Nelson (left) and Justin Pokrywka (right), with new Apple iPad Air Tablets.

The Talbot Bank, a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, recently celebrated its 130th Anniversary. The Talbot Bank was founded by Jerome Bennett in 1885. The state charter was granted on June 4, 1885 and the bank opened for business on July 1, 1885 at the Dover Street location which still operates as the main headquarters. Six branches were added from 1977 to 2008, the first in Easton at the Tred Avon Square Shopping Center, then St. Michaels, Elliott Road in Easton, Cambridge and finally Tilghman.

The Talbot Bank anniversary was celebrated from June 4th to June 13th with special drawings and promotions along with free giveaways at each of its six branches. Dayne Nelson was the winner of a new Apple iPad Air Tablet when he entered the New Regular Checking Account Drawing. Justin Pokrywka also won a new Apple iPad Air Tablet after entering the Customer Appreciation drawing. Three local newlywed couples qualified for the Lucky Brides promotion when they were married during the celebration week of June 4-13, 2015. Each couple received $130 deposited into their Talbot Bank joint checking account.

The Talbot Bank along with its affiliates throughout the Shore Bancshares community of companies is poised to help clients with their banking, investments and insurance for the next 130 years.


Life Decisions: The Changing Face of Funerals with Kirk Helfenbein

Like the industry he is part of, Kirk Helfenbein is a remarkable example of the dramatic change that is taking place in the funeral business these days. A young husband and father, former windsurfer, and now a kiteboarding aficionado, Helfenbein not only represents a remarkable contrast to the stereotypical image of the somber and grim funeral director of the past, but also of a new era in how society celebrates death.

Starting first in his career by helping his father run the family business, Kirk now leads Fellows, Helfenbein & Newman Funeral Homes as president, working side by side with his three brothers and John Merceron in Easton, Chestertown, Kent Island, Millington and Centreville. And during his twenty years in the business, Kirk has seen dramatic changes in customer expectations, desire for more options, and a surge in preplanning and prepaying for services to protect the deceased wishes well in advance of judgement day.

In his Spy interview, Kirk also talks about the changing demands on those in the funeral industry, from conducting more secular programs to providing grief services, the use of social media and technology, as well as dealing more openly about the occupational hazards that come with the profoundly emotional issues of grief and human loss.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length

Good Heavens: Washington College Raised $18 Million in Last Fiscal Year

As it prepared to welcome former FDIC chair Sheila Bair as its 28th president, historic Washington College reported that fiscal year 2014-15 turned out to be its most successful fundraising year on record. Fueled by strong support from members of the Board of Visitors and Governors and foundation gifts aimed at the Center for Environment & Society and its sustainability projects, the College raised more than $18.5 million in the year ending June 30, 2015. That’s double the previous year’s total of $9.1 million.

In addition to alumni giving that totaled $8.4 million, the donations included $2.75 million from The Hodson Trust, the College’s most generous long-term benefactor. Other foundations—including the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, the Town Creek Foundation, the Middendorf Foundation, and the Thawley Trust—together contributed close to $3.3 million. Parents and friends of the College donated another $2.4 million.

Interim President Jay Griswold said the record giving is the best possible welcome for President-elect Bair, who starts her new job on August 3. “She is coming on at a time of great momentum,” he said. “Donors are engaged and believe in our mission and our future. We have a Strategic Plan that calls for growth and includes increased commitment to our environmental programming. We are building a new dorm and a new academic building. And we recruited a Class of 2019 that is the most diverse and academically strongest new class in our history. Like many people who care so deeply about Washington College, I think we’re poised to reach exciting new heights under Sheila’s leadership.”