Archives for August 2016

Ruth Starr Rose is Back on the Eastern Shore in Salisbury this Fall

The Spy was able to determine that the Ruth Starr Rose art exhibition, which was one of Mid-Shore’s major art events in Easton a few months ago, is now on display at the Salisbury University Galleries.

Ruth Starr Rose (1887-1965) was a prolific painter, printmaker, and draughtswoman active on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. A white artist, she is best known for her thoughtful and honest visual interpretations of African American people in her local community. Rose’s works include scenes of Eastern Shore life and labor, visual depictions of “Negro” spirituals, and images of military heroes. This exhibition also includes archival material highlighting Rose’s correspondence with 20th century artists such as Paul Robeson, DuBose Heyward, and Mabel Dwight.

Ruth Starr Rose, Moaney Boy on the Stairs, 1930, copyright 2015 the Estate o

The life of Ruth Starr Rose provides an interesting backstory to the exhibition. Her artistic achievements, which are largely unrecognized, include significant work as the creator of the largest visual representation of African American spirituals as noted in 1956 by How ard University Art Professor James A. Porter. Rose traveled the world and documented daily life and religious festivals of Native Americans in New Mexico and Florida. She was comfortable living among diverse people and created similar works with local populations of Mexico and Haiti. She left an important legacy of hand-written notes describing the people whom she portrayed, along with a collection of studies illustrating her creative process in lithography. Rose’s work has remained in obscurity because she was unjustly dismissed as an amateur, and misunderstood as a socialite out of touch with the local community. Rose struggled with her vulnerability in an isolated, male-dominated world and found peace with the African American community. The subjects of Rose’s work are recorded with a familiarity and intimacy seldom seen in early 20th century America.

August 29-October 29 Fulton Hall, University Gallery
August 29-December 2 Guerrieri Academic Commons, Nabb Center, Thompson Gallery
Salisbury University

Downtown Campus
212 West Main Street
Thur & Fri: 2pm to 7pm
all other times by appointment

University Gallery
Fulton Hall 109
Mon – Thurs: 10am to 5pm
Fri – Sat: 12pm to 4pm
all other times by appointment

Checking in with the Easton Town Council: Ward 2’s Pete Lesher

Editor’s note: As Talbot County moves into the slow summer days of August, the Spy thought it would be a good time to catch up with the members of the Easton Town Council on the year so far. Over the next five weeks, we will be presenting these informal conversations where Council members talk about growth, development, annexation, and other quality of life issues that impact the city and the people they represent.

For those who have met and worked with Easton Town Council member Pete Lesher (Ward 2), it will come as no surprise that in his youth he was not only an active Boy Scout but an Eagle Scout. Ramrod straight, and yet unfailingly polite and courteous, Pete, like many former scouts, has taken the important life lessons of scouting and applied them to his adult life. The most important being public service.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s curator and historian have spent almost two decades participating in local civic affairs. Starting with serving on the Easton and St. Michaels Historic District Commissions, and later winning elective office as Easton’s Ward 2 representative on the Town Council, Pete has been able to combine his love of local history with his legislative responsibilities.

In his Spy interview, Pete talks about how this passion for the past has served him well in talking about zoning, annexation, and the Talbot Boys monument controversy. He also discusses plans to revitalize Port Street, the importance of public parks in Easton, and the uniqueness of Ward 2.

This video is approximately twelve minutes in length

21st Century Land Ethic by Al Sikes

In 2002, my wife Marty and I spent a month on the South Island of New Zealand. Most interestingly, we did a lot of exploring. The scenery was often dramatic; we discovered Marlborough wines, and I enjoyed an occasional apricot embellished meal. Apricot orchards are numerous and the fresh fruit enjoyable even to a traveler who never eats apricots at home.

One especially interesting characteristic of many of the orchards was the presence of bee hives. The orchardist was keeping his pollinators, not renting them seasonally. I was impressed and ultimately inspired. I am now an apiarist; not, I should quickly add, a very good one.

Also, the fruit markets in New Zealand featured a full range of apiarist products that ranged from the medicinal to the decorative and, of course, the delectable.

I have no idea how many farmers in either New Zealand or the United States keep bees to pollinate their crops. It is my guess that few farmers, if any, who sell tons of commodity crops keep bees. Or, for that matter, give much thought to them. They have substantial investments in land, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and equipment and to get a return on their investment must produce huge quantities of seeds and beans.

Mostly over the years I have been impressed by the land ethic of farmers. My grandfather owned a farm and on the marginal acres, he did not till. I hunted the resulting flora that provided refuge to quail and rabbits. But, that was decades ago; today markets and government policies encourage, as a former Secretary of Agriculture urged, “plant fence row to fence row.”

Until my wife and I started beekeeping, I spent no time thinking about pollinators as part of the land ethic. Mostly my concerns stopped at erosion and the run-off of excess fertilizers and sediment. Our hives, however, have taken me beyond the abstract.

Bees are marvelous creatures and the dynamics of their hives offer telling insights. As long as we don’t overreach in our use of their habitat and protect them from potential infestations, they provide us an enormous return in pollination and honey. Yet today, the most frequent question I hear when people learn about my hobby is, “why are bee colonies collapsing.” There is not a simple answer, but there is an overarching problem.

In many areas of the country, we have overreached. We till everywhere a tractor can reach. We make excessive use of pesticides. After all, we want our fruit without blemishes, while the farmer wants to protect against any marginal decrease in crop production that might be caused by bugs or weeds (often wildflowers). Yet, it is without argument that Big Ag has brought prices down and that our family budget, often under stress, has benefited. But at what cost?

If farmers and their suppliers were to develop a land ethic similar to the doctors Hippocratic Oath “first, do no harm,” pollinators would undoubtedly be considered. It seems to me that when government officials bring together those who impact farmland, an apiarist should be at the table. If bees are unrepresented, hive collapse will increase.

There are many companies that benefit from what is called Big Ag. If you are management and the object is to sell tractors, farm equipment, seed, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, your first question on Monday morning is not about pollinators. But, we would all benefit, and ultimately none more than people who grow things, if bees are considered. We need a 21st Century land ethic that is informed by what we learned in the preceding one.

Now, one other thought. As I was writing, the oft-used phrase “canary in a coal mine” echoed. We should update this metaphorical environmental test of survival. What about “bees in the meadow?” Unfortunately, today we have to start with “what meadows?”

This spring I had gone to Lowes to buy something I couldn’t get at the local hardware store and, while there, I asked a clerk in the garden section if they had any clover seed. She was incredulous and to quote her, “We sell things that kill clover.” Clover happens to be an immensely important source of pollen and nectar and is always in the meadow. Indeed, it mingles with the grass in my front yard.

Back to the question: “How are the bees in the meadow?” Not good is the answer.

Apiarists do not have a strong lobby. Perhaps those who lobby for the bees should first lobby the Natural Resources Defense Council, Audubon, The Sierra Club, and other of the environmental heavyweights. When fighting the commodity lobbies, the bees will need a lot of help.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

Shaw Bay Raft-Up Concert with the Eastport Oyster Boys on September 10

EOBMidshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and the Eastport Oyster Boys (EOB) will host the end of summer Shaw Bay Raft-up on Saturday, September 10 from 4-6:30 p.m. This annual on-the-water benefit concert is a must for cruisers of all persuasions. Bring your dingy, paddle board, kayak, sailboat, boat and join the floating “slosh pit” behind the EOB Mother Raft.This free concert will be held in the lovely Shaw Bay on the Wye River.Donations are kindly accepted.

All donations from the concert go toward the operation of MRC’s new pumpout boat based at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. Since May 2016, the pumpout boat has already pumped out 7,000 gallons of waste that would have otherwise polluted the Miles and Wye Rivers. The pumpout boat operates Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as on holidays through October 16. Pumpouts may be scheduled on VHF Channel 9 or by calling 410.829.4352.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds.

For updates about the Shaw Bay concert, visit the Eastport Oyster Boys and MRC Facebook pages. Or contact Sarah at or 443.385.0511.

Out and About (Sort of): Route 50 Imposes Severe Restraints by Howard Freedlander

A letter to the editor of The Baltimore Sun, dated Aug. 25, 2016 and entitled “Prisoners of Kent Island,” really struck a raw nerve for me. And I suspect for many others who live in Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties and must cope with the traffic-ridden lanes of Route 50, not just during the summer beach season but year-round.

Dorotheann S. Sandusky, a Chester resident on Kent Island, wrote about the onslaught of motorists:

“Its impact, which was once only during the beach season, is now a year-round issue resulting in what can only be compared to a mandated sentence of home-arrest for Kent Islanders. In effect, citizens of this wonderful island are relegated to their communities not only because of the amount of traffic on Route 50, but travelers’ ability to use their GPS systems to find back roads and alternate routes, all of this leading to gridlock. Going any direction for church, groceries, pharmacy and to Annapolis is more than a challenge and requires vacation-like planning.”

Ms. Sandusky is absolutely right. Kent Islanders face a miserable existence, particularly during the summer beach season. In many ways, Kent Island residents submit without recourse to the impatient, vacation-hungry motorists who care little about the beleaguered residents of this spit of land.

Why should they? They occupy the island for only as long as it takes to cross the Kent Narrows Bridge and visualize the sandy beaches of Ocean City, MD or Rehoboth Beach, DE.

I feel for the Kent Islanders. I really do. Though the traffic mess is not as bad on the Talbot County stretch of Route 50, I too feel imprisoned to some degree. With two daughters and families, including four grandchildren in Annapolis, the back-up caused by the constant caravan of cars crossing Bay Bridge from late May until early September is a gnawing irritant.

I spend a lot of time trying to “game” the Bay Bridge. The past two Saturdays, my wife and I crossed the bridge for family gatherings. There was no problem going west on a late Saturday morning. I can’t say the same for returning Saturday afternoon. On one of the Saturdays, the back-up was notable. My patience was limited.

Ms. Sandusky alludes to another reality that I’ve experienced during the past 10 years. Traffic has increased going eastward over the Bay Bridge throughout the year, as more and more people commute from the Shore to jobs in Annapolis, Bowie, Washington, DC and Baltimore, and folks with second homes on the Eastern Shore flock to their abodes throughout the year.

The problem with writing a column about this subject is suggesting a solution. That becomes even more complicated for me, because I am on record for recommending a third span across the Chesapeake Bay—to handle the increasing traffic!

Ms. Sandusky’s letter compels me to think about the impact of more and more motorists happily leaving the potentially expanded Bay Bridge and traveling across Kent Island, oblivious to the impact on residents of Stevensville, Chester and Grasonville.

What, if anything, can public officials in Annapolis do for Kent Islanders feeling under “home-arrest” as Route 50 and the roads in their communities are invaded by well-meaning people seeking to enjoy the Eastern Shore?

I was interested to read Ms. Sandusky’s complaint about the lowering of Bay Bridge tolls, an action she believes reduced funding for “long overdue road improvements for our community.”

Understanding little about traffic engineering, I wonder what improvements would be helpful. More overpasses? Better service roads on either side of Route 50? Maybe a locals-only use of Route 50 and the Bay Bridge for a few hours on each weekend during the summer rush to reach the beach?

Of course, I realize the last idea is completely ridiculous. Do Kent Islanders and those of us in Talbot County simply suck it up and suffer the angst of aggravating back-ups, or just stay in our homes and curse the vacationers?

Ms. Sandusky asked at the end of her letter: “When can we expect to be released from this captivity?”

Can anybody out there answer that question? I’m stumped.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.


Spy Tip: It’s Dominick Farinacci on Saturday Afternoon

The Spy inbox has been filled every day this summer with performance announcements and their accompanying press releases for some fantastic musicians coming through town, but we have found it rare to see the genuine enthusiasm associated with Dominick Farinacci’s afternoon concert set for this Saturday at the Avalon.

The buzz, well expressed with this one minute Youtube clip, is that once again the The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival has brought to the Mid-Shore the very best of up-and-comers in New York City’s competitive Jazz world.

The Spy suggests getting those tickets now.

Lethal Counterfeit Drugs Hitting US Streets

“Street Lethal” is a term I’m coining for the plethora of counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl—drug that can be 1000 times more potent than heroin,—currently hitting American streets.

As Salon reports, we are still behind the curve of getting the word out and it should concern all of us.

Read here.

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On Getting On by Jamie Kirkpatrick

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I vividly remember the first time I successfully tied my shoes. I was in the back seat of my parents’ Buick at the corner of Fifth and Penn when all of a sudden the bow just happened. I’m guessing I was only four or five at the time but I felt like such a grown-up. I was on my way!

Now my feet seem very far away. It’s not because I’m tall; it’s because it’s getting harder and harder to bend over. Stiffening joints, inflexibility, widening girth, little aches and pains: the signposts are hard to miss. I’m getting older. Maybe I’m already there.

A few months ago, I attended my 50th high school reunion. It was a glorious spring weekend in Connecticut and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many of my former classmates back on campus. I even recognized a few; thankfully, name tags helped me remember the others. We reminisced, introduced our spouses, and brought each other up-to-date on the hits and misses of our lives in the fifty intervening years since graduation. It felt good to be back in the fold.

Of course, the irony of the situation was not lost on us. We remembered our student days and seeing old alums coming back to get all misty and nostalgic about their days at “our” school. “We’ll never be like that,” we said. Oh yeah? Well guess what: now we were the geezers and I thought I heard snickering from the current crop of teenagers. Be careful, young ones: the wasp of karma sure can sting.

As the sage guru once said, aging sucks. Things we used to take for granted now seem like miracles. Wasn’t it just yesterday when I could throw a full batting practice and run the Boston Marathon? Or party like a rock star and wake up the next morning not feeling like I had been run over by a dump truck? Or jump over parking meters? (I used that one a lot when I wanted to impress a new girlfriend; now I squint at the app on my mobile phone trying to figure out how to feed the damn things.) These days, I celebrate smaller victories like staying awake until ten, or remembering where I left the car keys, or the satisfying feeling of certain bodily functions that are not for publication in an online family newspaper.

Graceful aging; what a concept! The trick, of course, is not to succumb to the advancing years, but that’s easier said than done. Yoga would definitely help but the outfits would be a problem, let alone the physical demands of even the most basic positions. My daughter-in-law who is a highly respected nutritionist suggested a healthier diet. Fine with me—as long as I can have fries with that and another glass of wine with dessert. “Come on, let’s go for a bike ride,” my wife says. “Be right there,” I respond, “soon as I finish this nap.” Fighting the good fight sounds so right but feels so wrong, kind of like the pants in my closet that mysteriously shrink each time I put them on.

Oh: I just remembered that I began this Musing with a story about the first time I tied my shoes. Now I choose footwear that don’t require any tying. In fact, I’m barefoot as I write this. Makes me feel like a kid again!

Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. “A Place to Stand,” a book of his photographs, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015. He is currently working on a collection of stories called “Musing Right Along.”

Nurse Practitioners Join UM Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology

Faustino Macuha, MD, medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at UM Shore Regional Health has been joined by two new providers, Bobbi Atkinson, CRNP and Anna Antwi, CRNP.

“We are very excited to have Bobbi and Anna on board with us,” comments Trish Rosenberry, manager, Outpatient Services for UM Shore Regional Health. “With Dr. Macuha, they are seeing patients at the Center in Shore Medical Center at Easton and one day per week in the Multispecialty Clinic at Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. Their presence and their holistic approach to patient care will enable us to treat a larger number of patients and to provide quality care on a more timely basis.”

C4D&E providers

Faustino Macuha, MD (standing), medical director of the UM Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, is shown with new providers Bobbi Atkinson, CRNP (left) and Anna Antwi, CRNP (right)

Macuha, Atkinson and Antwi are affiliated with University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG), a multi-hospital, multi-specialty network of UM Medical System providers serving the people of Maryland.

For Atkinson, who joined the Center last April, working for UM Shore Regional Health is a return engagement. “I worked at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester for 20 years before going to Nanticoke Health Services, and the return experience has felt like coming home,” she says. “It’s exciting for me to be a part of a growing team helping people manage a chronic disease that is very prevalent here on the Shore,” she explains.

Antwi arrived in mid-August from York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, where she developed her interest in working with patients with diabetes and other endocrine disorders. As she explains, “Diabetes is a very challenging disease to treat, because those who have it, especially early on, cannot feel the damage it is doing to many aspects of their health. And once they understand the damage, it still is hard for them to give up certain misconceptions about what is healthy for them and to make changes in lifelong habits. As a provider, it is important to offer positive reinforcement to patients — to be something of a cheerleader — as well as to educate them about the potential complications of diabetes and why they have to exercise, keep up with their eye exams and dental visits, and so on.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 623,000 people in Maryland – over 12 percent of the population –have diabetes. Of these, an estimated 156,000 are undiagnosed and therefore untreated, greatly increasing their risk for heart disease, stroke, amputation and end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death. Nationally, the rate of diabetes among adults over age 65 is estimated at 26.9 percent.

For information about Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology services, diabetes management classes in Easton and Chestertown, and monthly support group meetings in Cambridge, Chestertown, Denton and Easton, visit or call 410-822-1000, ext. 5757.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.