Archives for March 2016

Chesapeake Film Festival Hosts Conversation on Legacy of Film Director Alice Guy Blaché April 19

The Chesapeake Film Festival inaugural event for the year takes the form of a new talk & screening series that is free to the community, and features as guest speaker Catherine Wyler of the Women’s Film Preservation Fund, and as moderator, Chesapeake Film Festival’s own Kimberly Skyrme, casting director for House of Cards, among many other film and television productions. The evening promises to be an enlightening discovery of little-known motion picture history.

Festivities begin with a reception and presentation at 6:00 at The Talbot County Free Library at 100 West Dover Street in Easton on April 19. Discussion and Q&A follows a screening of the 1911 comedy short, “Mixed Pets,” directed by Alice Guy Blaché.

“Part of the new vision for Chesapeake Film Festival is to serve our community with programming that reflects the area’s interest in heritage and history,” said Joan Leanos, newly elected Board President of Chesapeake Film Festival. “We’re thrilled to have two of the most accomplished women in today’s movie industry bringing us fascinating historical insight and entertainment.”

The earliest days of moviemaking saw many varieties of experimentation, but Alice Guy Blaché may well have been the very first to actually craft stories on film, fundamentally shaping what it meant to be a director as the role is defined today. From 1896 to 1906 Alice Guy was almost certainly the only woman filmmaker in the world. Barbra Streisand has suggested that Alice Guy Blaché was indeed the inventor of the film director’s job.

Visit for more details on Alice Guy Blaché and the screening.

Londonderry on the Tred Avon Residents and Staff Care for Community Cats

For Londonderry on the Tred Avon resident, Sheila Wheeler, caring for animals is just in her nature. When she retired to the Londonderry community eight years ago, she noticed that there were between 30 and 40 feral cats living in a vacant lot across from Londonderry on Port Street in Easton.

Londonderry Cats 0316

Pictured left to right are Londonderry on the Tred Avon resident Sheila Wheeler with Londonderry employee Gail Graham. The two women have been committed to caring for a feral cat population on Port Street in Easton.

Sheila comments, “A couple of the cats were living in the drainage ditch on Port Street and when it rained and flooded the cats had nowhere to go. I approached a local resident who lived nearby about beginning to feed the cats on his property. I soon realized that the cats really needed to be neutered and better cared for.”

Wheeler contacted TomCat Solutions to have the cats and kittens trapped and neutered. TomCat Solutions is a group of experienced Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) volunteers who have made a commitment to curb cat overpopulation by providing continued TNR and adoption to good homes and barns on the Upper Eastern Shore. According to Sheila it took three days to get all of the cats trapped. Ursula Dicks of TomCat Solutions was instrumental in getting the cats trapped and taking them to be neutered. Many of the kittens that were trapped and neutered later were adopted through the organization. Seven of the cats went to the Good Shepherd Cat Sanctuary in Delmar, MD.

Because the organization was not able to find homes for all of the cats, some of the cats came back to their home on Port Street. TomCat Solutions provided cat houses and straw bedding for the animals to live comfortably. Another cat lover, Londonderry employee Gail Graham of Easton, noticed Wheeler feeding the cats on Port Street and offered to help out. When Wheeler broke her hip four years ago, Graham stepped in and began feeding the cats full time. Today, there are five cats remaining in the vacant lot, which are cared for by Wheeler and Graham. Wheeler donates five large bags of cat food each month and Graham feeds the cats.

Some of the cats, known as Blackie, Silver, and Shy Cat, have gotten familiar with Graham and come up to her when she fills their bowls each morning. Graham, who never misses a day caring for the cats, comments, “When it snows, I shovel a path to their feeding area and make sure they are doing alright. I always report to Ms. Wheeler how they are doing.”

This is one of the many volunteer services Londonderry residents provide to the community throughout the year. For information about living the active life at Londonderry on the Tred Avon, contact Rachel Smith at 410-820-8732 or visit

Talbot Special Riders to Hold 4th Annual TSR Spring Classic Bike Tour, April 9

On Saturday April 9 cycling enthusiasts will once again converge on scenic Talbot County for the TSR Spring Classic, Talbot Special Riders Fourth Annual Spring Classic Bike Tour.

Last year’s Classic was a huge success with more than 325 cyclists. This April TSR anticipates 400 enthusiasts coming primarily from Maryland, Virginia, DC and Delaware, but also from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and even South Dakota.

TSR’s Bike Committee has been hard at work fine tuning the fully supported 50 mile half-century recreational bicycle ride along some of the most scenic routes on Talbot County’s Eastern Shore. A 62 mile metric-century and a 25 mile ride are also offered. The TSR Spring Classic starts and ends at Easton Middle School, Peach Blossom Road, Easton, MD 21601, rain or shine. Packet Pick Up is at 7 am. There are three rest stops, and a complimentary lunch is served at the end of the ride at the Middle School.

Besides the beautiful routes through Talbot County’s Eastern Shore, the TSR Spring classic is known for its friendly and helpful volunteers, the home baked cookies and the cream of crab soup served at lunch! The cookies have been a highlight every year, as evidenced by one of the many comments received at the end of the ride: “What a great ride! Thanks to all of the volunteers and fellow riders and to everyone who made cookies! I wanted to go back to each rest stop for more! Thank You!”

All proceeds from the ride will benefit Talbot Special Rider’s scholarship program. Every rider receives a 50% scholarship, keeping the cost of therapy sessions to a minimum, far below those of similar programs in Maryland. No-one is turned away because of inability to pay.

Since 1981 Talbot Special Riders equine therapy program has been enhancing the lives of children and adults with special needs, the only program of its kind in Talbot County. The program uses horses to promote each rider’s physical strength, emotional growth and mastery of new skills. TSR brings new meaning to the old adage “There is nothing better for the inside of a person than the outside of a horse.”

We work on coordination and spatial relationships as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. The goal is not to turn out great equestrians, but to build confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment by increasing a rider’s attention span while focusing on each one’s ability to take, understand and follow directions. Helping TSR accomplish its mission is the ongoing support from the United Fund of Talbot County.

For more information about the TSR Spring Classic Bike Tour please contact Registration is now open on

Nonprofit Journal: Making it Work at Fairlee Manor

As the pressure grows for nonprofit organizations to look at new ways to generate revenue as competition increases for philanthropic support, Fairlee Manor, the home of the Eastern Shore’s Easter Seals camp for those with autism and other disabilities, didn’t need to look further than the front door of their 250 sprawling acres on Fairlee Creek to add some needed cash flow to the 90 year old organization.

While from Mid-June to Mid-August is fully committed to serving their traditional clients and their families with Fairlee Camp, Easter Seals has recently made significant capital improvements to the campus to allow it to rent out the estate for weddings, family reunions and corporate retreats when the camp is not in session.

In this Spy interview, Ford Waggoner, who heads up the marketing for Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore, talks about this new approach to monetizing this historic property to fulfill better its real mission.

This video is approximately four minutes in length 

Oxford Community Center Announces April Events

The Oxford Community Center has a diverse range of April programs to help bring in spring this year. From classic movies, to a talk about the Oxford Bellevue Ferry, to a presentation to the storied Rosenfeld Photography Collection at Mystic Seaport, and the spring play from the Tred Avon Players, there are programs for all ages and interests at OCC.

On Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. OCC kicks off its Spring Movie Series with “Little Big Man.” Starring Dustin Hoffman, this American western is a picaresque comedy about a white male child raised by the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century. Jack Crabb (Hoffman) is 121 years old and looks back on his life being raised by Native Americans and fighting with General Custer. The movie is free and open to the public, beer and wine are available for purchase.

Learn about the venerable Oxford Bellevue Ferry with a “Town Talk,” by Captains Tom and Judy Bixler on Wednesday, April 6 at 12 noon. Established in 1683, the ferry is believed to be the nation’s oldest privately operated ferry service. Bring your lunch and listen to stories about running this historic Oxford icon. This Town Talk is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m., Margaret Andersen Rosenfeld will talk about Mystic Seaport’s Rosenfeld Photography Collection and her book, “On Land and On Sea: A Century of Women in the Rosenfeld Collection.” The book is based on images from the Rosenfeld Collection, an extraordinary collection of maritime photography by renowned photographers Morris and Stanley Rosenfeld. The collection, is best known for its images of yachting over the course of the 20th century. As the daughter-in-law of Stanley Rosenfeld and an expert in Women’s Studies, Andersen Rosenfeld has complied a photographic and narrative essay on images of women in the Rosenfeld Collection. She will be discussing the book and how she culled through a collection that holds close to one million photographic images. The book will be available for purchase with all proceeds going to the Rosenfeld Collection at Mystic Seaport Museum. The program is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 23, is Oxford Day, and OCC will be in the town park serving coffee and light breakfast. For $5, you can choose from a variety of breakfast items to carry with you as you take in the town and the parade. The OCC breakfast tent in the Oxford Park will be open from 9 to 11 a.m.

OCC’s Annual Meeting will be on Monday, April 25 at 5 p.m. Come meet the OCC Board of Trustees, volunteers, and staff, and hear about recent programs and future plans, while enjoying light refreshments, wine, and beer. The annual meeting is free and open to the community.

The Tred Avon Players open their spring show, “Light Up the Sky,” on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m., This hilarious backstage comedy was written by Moss Hart and is directed by Pat Murphy Sheehy. The play takes place in the luxurious hotel room of a Broadway actress prior to the out-of-town opening of a brand new play. As chaos reigns, “Light Up the Sky” follows an ensemble cast of outrageous characters, including the grandly temperamental leading lady and her sarcastic, gin-rummy playing mother, the flamboyant director, and the lowbrow producer and his smart-aleck wife.

Sheehy is artistic director emeritus of the Source Theatre Company in Washington, where she directed, produced or performed in more than 100 plays over an 11-year stint with the renowned nonprofit group. The show stars (in alphabetical order) Craig Brittingham, Maggie Garey, Leigh Marquess, Nicole Millett, Ira Nelson, Joe Opalski, Lynn Sanchez, Rob Sanchez, Tim Weigand, and Art Wolfe. For full show dates and more information, or to reserve your tickets, please call 410-226-0061 or visit the TAP website at

For more information, or to sign up for programs, please contact the Oxford Community Center at 410-226-5904, e-mail, or visit their Facebook page at Oxford Community Center, Inc.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Hosts Riparian Buffer Tree Planting April 2

Spring has arrived on the Eastern Shore! Spring peepers are peeping, daffodils are blooming, and we’re all jumping at the chance to spend time outdoors in the warmer weather. What better way to celebrate the season than by getting outside to make a difference for clean water!

Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) on a Dorchester County farm at 9:00 a.m. April 2 to learn about the importance of forested streamside buffers (a.k.a. “riparian buffers”), soak in the sunshine, and help plant over 1,200 native trees. This farm stewardship project will complete the restoration of an 11 acre buffer that filters harmful polluted runoff before it reaches the Chicamacomico River.

CBF is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help provide wildlife habitat, filter runoff, and enhance forests and salt marshes on a farm that is permanently protected from development. The property connects the river to the Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area, and is critical habitat for the Delmarva fox squirrel and coastal-dependent birds, including saltmarsh sparrows and American black ducks.

No tree planting experience is necessary and all materials and supplies are provided. Families and children welcome, although children must be accompanied by an adult. Free and open to the public!

Please register at If you have questions, contact Hilary Gibson, CBF’s Eastern Shore Grassroots Field Specialist, by email at or by phone at 410/543-1999.

Join Photographer Josh Taylor for Understanding Your Camera at Adkins Arboretum

Learn to get the best possible images from your camera when professional garden photographer and Canon camera instructor Josh Taylor leads Understanding Your Camera on Sun., April 17 from noon to 4 p.m. at Adkins Arboretum.

This afternoon program starts in the classroom, where you’ll learn or get reacquainted with your camera’s settings and features, including ISO, histogram, exposure compensation, shooting mods and white balance. You’ll spend the second half of the workshop outdoors with your camera and the instructor, practicing your skills and photographing the Arboretum’s spring landscape.

Understanding Your Camera is designed for increasing both participants’ photography skills and their joy of using the camera. The workshop focuses on DSLR cameras, but other camera types are welcome.

The program is $45 for members and $60 for non-members. Advance registration is required at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Maryland General Assembly Passes $42 Billion Operating Budget With Little Controversy

Though the relationship between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly has been contentious this legislative session, the animosity may have subsided for what legislators are calling the easiest budget negotiation process in years.

Both chambers of the General Assembly voted Tuesday to pass a final version of Hogan’s operating budget with relatively little fuss, cutting $68 million of the $42.3 billion budget.

The budget unanimously passed in the Senate by a vote of 45-0, and passed in the House by a vote of 130-7.

“It’s been the best, easiest in terms of levels of stress and differences,” Senate Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chair, Edward Kasemeyer, D-Baltimore County, said of negotiations. “Everybody was very accommodating.”

Hogan’s budget fully funded several Democratic legislative priorities — like public K-12 education and higher education — which removed a lot of tension, Kasemeyer said.

The biggest sticking point, which Kasemeyer said wasn’t all that contentious, was the issue of proposed aid to nonpublic schools. Hogan proposed $5 million for grants to private schools to match contributions from businesses, but the General Assembly modified that proposal, turning it into a scholarship program for the state’s neediest students to attend private schools.

“It is especially exciting to see that both the Senate and House are backing our fight to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend nonpublic schools,” Hogan said in a statement, despite the fact that that the governor’s plan was eschewed for the student aid.

This year’s relatively smooth budget process stands in stark contrast to last year’s budget battle.

In his first term, Hogan tried to cut spending and taxes while the Democratic legislature fought to secure funding for their legislative priorities, including education spending, state employee pay raises and subsidies for physicians who accept Medicaid.

“A fiscally responsible budget is our number one priority and it is the most important bill that the General Assembly will pass,” Hogan said in a statement. “Its completion weeks before the end of the legislative session sends a strong message to Marylanders that the executive and legislative branches work better when they work together.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, said the conference negotiations went smoothly, as there were “very few differences” between the House and Senate versions of the budget.

The final budget passed Tuesday is also very similar to the budget Gov. Hogan originally proposed, she said. In Maryland, the governor sets the budget and the legislature can cut money, but it can’t add. If legislators want to add money for a program, they can cut that money from the budget and “fence” it off.

“The governor came in with a budget that fully funded education, healthcare and our priorities, and so there was little to argue with there,” McIntosh said Tuesday.

After introducing his initial budget proposal on Jan. 20, Gov. Hogan submitted three supplemental budgets to fund the construction of a new Prince George’s Regional Medical Center, address blight in Baltimore, and provide additional funding for K-12 education, University System of Maryland construction projects and heroin addiction prevention and treatment programs.

McIntosh said the budgetary conference committee, which met Monday night, was “very pleased” with the budget’s fiscal responsibility.

The budget leaves Maryland with a $400 million balance and $1 billion in the rainy day fund.

For education, the budget allocates more than $6.3 billion to public schools, according to a conference committee report.

“The budget also includes $19.4 million for five school systems that have lost enrollment and aid in recent years,” the report said. Funding for Maryland colleges and universities increases about 6 percent, while undergraduate tuition rates will increase by 2 percent, according to the report.

Under the budget, total funding for Medicaid approaches $10 billion, and spending on substance abuse disorders increases by $12.1 million, including $5.4 million for new and expanded services and treatments, the report said.

State legislative analyst David Juppe said substantively, the legislature is passing a very similar budget to the one Hogan originally proposed. Hogan originally allocated $53 million for transportation aid funding, which the General Assembly cut to $23 million, with $19 million going to municipalities and $4 million going to local jurisdictions.

“I personally think the local jurisdictions came out on the losing end in this one,” said Delegate Wendell Beitzel, R-Garrett and Allegany.

The ease of negotiations may also be due to Maryland’s economic standing, which Juppe said has significantly improved since the recession of 2008.

When Hogan took office in 2015, he inherited an $800 million general fund shortfall, which he fixed in part by cancelling pay increases for state employees and cutting 2 percent from state agencies across the board.

“Right now, things are pretty good, and when things are pretty good, there’s not a need to make significant cuts,” Juppe said.

Though many Republicans were pleased with the smooth process overall, their largest concern — mandated spending — still remains unresolved.

“It’s a good compromise,” Sen. Adelaide Eckardt, R-Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico, who sits on the Budget and Taxation Committee, said of the budget deal. “The issue now is going to be the package we’re talking about on the floor today with the mandates.”

By Rachel Bluth and Lexie Schapitl

CNS Correspondent Connor Glowacki contributed to this report.

Organist Christoph Bull to Perform at Christ Church Easton

This Sunday, April 3 at 4:00 p.m., the Christ Church Concert Series is pleased to present one of the most vibrant and fascinating organists today, Christoph Bull. Born in Mannheim, Germany, the renowned organist has performed and recorded around the world, including France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Russia, India, Taiwan and El Salvador, at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Lincoln Center in New York City, Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, the Cathedrals of Moscow, Saint-Denis and Salzburg as well as rock clubs like The Viper Room, The Roxy and The Whisky in Los Angeles. Additionally, he’s collaborated with leading orchestras, conductors, choirs and ensembles including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, James Conlon, Carl St.Clair, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony and Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 8.21.55 AMNow based in Los Angeles, Bull is the university organist and professor of organ at UCLA and is organist-in-residence at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles where he plays the largest church pipe organ in the world. His music has been broadcast on television and public radio including NPR’s flagship station in Southern California, KCRW, on classical KUSC, and the Minnesota based public radio program, Pipedreams. Equally versed in classical and popular music, he is considered one of the most versatile and unique organists of our times. In his concerts, he presents the multicolored sounds, styles and collaborative aspects of the organ in a new light and excites wide audiences.

Christoph Bull improvised his first melodies on the piano at the age of five and gave his first organ recitals and rock concerts with a band at the age of twelve. He concertized with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and was the subject of a longtime study about highly gifted musicians together with other artists such as pianist Lars Vogt. Following his graduation at Karl-Friedrich-Gymnasium Mannheim and organ studies at University of Church Music in Heidelberg and Musikhochschule Freiburg, he earned degrees at Berklee College of Music (majoring in Songwriting, graduating summa cum laude), University of Southern California (majoring in Organ) and American Conservatory of Music (majoring in Organ and Sacred Music) on multiple scholarships. His organ teachers were Cherry Rhodes, Hermann Schäffer, Ludwig Dörr, Samuel Swartz, Christoph Schöner and Paul Jordan. He also participated in master courses with Marie-Claire Alain, Guy Bovet, Craig Cramer and Rudi Lutz. He won prizes in numerous organ and composition competitions, including “Jugend musiziert”, Michael Masser Competition, Berklee College of Music Songwriting Competition and International Organ Competition Marcello Galanti.

Sunday’s concert, rescheduled from September 2015 due to the renovations at Christ Church, was originally intended to be the premier performance of the state-of-the-art Rodgers Infinity 484 Organ at the church. The concert is open to the public and a free will offering will be received. The performance is partially underwritten by the Talbot County and Maryland State Arts Councils. The church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in Easton. For information call 410-822-2677 or visit

Op-Ed: Governor Hogan Does Well By Fletcher Hall

The success of Governor Hogan and his acceptability by the voters of Maryland has been somewhat amazing. Actually elected as an “accidental” governor, due to low Democratic voter turnout and a Democratic candidate who had to carry the baggage of a term-limited governor, played significant roles in the election of Larry Hogan as governor of Maryland.

His popularity within the electorate and the amount of Marylanders who believe the state is moving in the right direction is phenomenal. This fact has left the president of the State Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates, both Democrats, frustrated, especially State Senate President Mike Miller. He appears to be quite angry and most frustrated by having a popular Republican governor sitting on the second floor of the State House in Annapolis.  Even though the Democrats were, by the sheer weight of numbers in the 2015 legislature, able to override several bills vetoed by the governor, Governor Hogan remains undeterred in presenting his legislative agenda and achieving positive results which benefit the citizens of Maryland. This factor helps tremendously with the popularity rating of the governor.

Governor Hogan, in spite of personal health challenges and family tragedy, has continued to expound a positive message and reasonable set of initiatives in this session of the General Assembly. As the 2016 session of the legislature rapidly draws to a close, Governor Hogan continues to realize success and appeal to the majority of Maryland voters. His business approach to the legislative agenda and operating Maryland government have been a breath of new political fresh air in Annapolis.

The passage of the governor’s $42 million budget, relatively earlier than usual, indicates that the governor has a good rapport with the General Assembly. The new budget actually projects a $1.4 million surplus. And, this is only the second year of the Hogan administration. The governor is keeping campaign promises; this fact has been significantly recognized by the Maryland electorate.  A recent poll indicated Governor Hogan has an approximate 70 percent popularity rating and a majority of Maryland citizens believe the state is moving in the right direction. This is from a governor who had never held public office and has a career in the private sector.

The existing situation in Annapolis has been difficult for the Democratic leadership of the General Assembly to accept and understand. While many members of the legislature heard the voice of Maryland voters in the 2014 statewide election, their Democratic leaders have been left to snipe at the governor over mostly trivial issues. This leadership has used some delegations to initiate criticism of the governor. Yet, the various jurisdictions of the state, including Baltimore City, will benefit from the spending proposals of the governor and other programs funded by the state of Maryland. Given the fiscal realities in the state when the governor took office, such criticisms appear to have been premature and ill conceived. Using “Ready, Fire, Aim” strategies that can be divisive and non-constructive, within the state legislature and the Maryland public at large, have proven ineffective.

The leadership emanating from the   governor’s office in Annapolis has been quite refreshing and quite a different atmosphere from the tax and spend history of the previous administration. The voters of Maryland got it right two years ago in electing Hogan. We can only wonder when the leadership and some of the legislators in the state capital will see the light and be more cooperative and less partisan in their dealings with the Hogan administration.