ES Writers Assoc. To Hold Workshops Three Saturdays

In an ambitious effort to expand its educational mandate, the Eastern Shore Writers Association will hold creative writing workshops on three consecutive Saturdays on May 24May 31 and June 7 in Easton. The first two will be held at Trinity Cathedral Parish Hall and the final one will be held in conjunction with Evergreen: A Center for Balanced Living. Each workshop runs from 9am – 11:30. The public is invited.

May 24 (Saturday) —Bay-to-Ocean favorite Lynn Schwartz’s Workshop on “Creating Complex Characters” at Trinity Cathedral in Easton. An extraordinary teacher with an in-depth view of literature, Lynn will conduct a half-day creative writing session from 9-11:30. She will answer the question: What do your characters yearn for? Ms. Schwartz teaches writing at St John’s College in Annapolis. Register at  or call (410) 476-3917. Fee is $25 for ESWA members ($35 for non-members).

May 31 (Saturday) — “Building a Platform that Will Help You Sell Books” is the title of Ally Machate’s workshop at Trinity in Easton. The all-morning interactive workshop will give authors a simple five-step roadmap to self-publishing success. Ms. Machate worked in publishing in New York including three years with Simon and Schuster. Register at or call (410) 476-3917. ($25 for ESWA members ($35 for non-members).

June 7 (Saturday) – Creative writing teacher Joan D. Cooper will conduct a workshop titled “Setting as the Genesis of Motif” at Evergreen in Easton from 9-11:30am.  Establishing the right setting in fiction has become an increasingly significant force in a writer’s work. This session is designed to help writers create a natural space from the world of their imagination. Ms. Cooper teaches creative writing in Salisbury. Register at or call (410) 819-3395. ($25 for Evergreen and ESWA members; $35 for non-members).

These inexpensive workshops are designed to introduce local writers to regionally-acclaimed creative writing teachers and to introduce non-members to ESWA, a group of 250 writers across Delmarva, who meet monthly.  The June 14 meeting will be held at Scossa’s Restaurant in Easton at 11am and feature Mindie Burgoyne speaking about literary research. The public is invited. Optional lunch is $20.


Today’s F.C.C. Proposal Might Fracture Net Neutrality

One of the best explanations about Net Neutrality, this New York Time article by Edward Wyatt is a clear window into what’s at stake. If you don’t know about it, how it works and how it could be altered irrevocably by an FCC proposal today, you should.

“Speculation about what is in the net neutrality proposal drafted by Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is to come to an end on Thursday, when Mr. Wheeler is expected to release his outline for protecting an open Internet.” from Edward Wyatt, NYT

Continue reading here.

Letter to the Editor: Fairness for All Marylanders Act

During this past legislative session in Annapolis the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of
2014 was passed with large majorities in both chambers. This civil rights bill prohibits discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing and public places such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and sports venues. The bill’s purpose is to address problems facing transgender people living throughout Maryland including the Eastern Shore counties. Yes, believe it or not, there are transgender people married and single, with parents, siblings and children living in Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and all of our Eastern Shore counties! These families need basic support and protections just like the rest of our citizens. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act is designed to help these families!

The Republican Party led by Del. Parrott and House Minority Whip Kathy Szleiga announced that they are beginning a drive to force a November referendum on Maryland’s new (yet unsigned by Gov. O’Malley) “Fairness For All Marylanders Act of 2014.” During the conference they stated that they oppose SB 212 which they have called the “Bathroom bill” saying it “opens bathrooms to predators, not necessarily transsexuals.” They are using an image of a man peering over the top of a bathroom stall looking down onto a woman to launch their recall drive. This type of behavior (of a male peering over the top of a toilet stall) is fully prosecutable under existing laws and has nothing to do with the Fairness to all Marylanders Act. Please be reassured that transgender people have been using bathrooms that match their gender for hundreds years with out incident!

One of the stumbling blocks of the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960’s was
the bathroom issue. Back in those dark ages some thought it was abhorrent that African Americans would use the same bathrooms as white people. This same tired old argument is being used again by the Republicans as they continue to instill unjustified fear among the citizens. It seems that Del. Parrott and the Minority Whip will preach “Liberty and Justice for all” but are unable to practice what they preach and will use gutter toilet tactics to defeat protections for groups they don’t approve of. This is really pure hate, fear mongering and the abuse of the people’s trust. Please DO NOT SIGN this petition and please ask your friends not to sign it either. If you see these petition people out and about, make it clear to them that thoughtful Marylanders and the people of the Eastern Shore know better than to stoop this low and expect a more civilized tone of debate.

The PFLAG Chapter of Chestertown (Parents, Families and Friends of the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Communities) offers education, support and advocacy services. We are chartered to serve the mid and upper Eastern Shore.

For more information please visit or our partners at Equality Maryland.

Kendall Ruffatto, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter, President
Linda Dutton, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter Secretary
Jonathan Chace, PFLAG Chestertown Chapter Treasurer

Recovery Site of the Week: Dri-Dock

Each week we will offer a new Recovery related link. They will reflect local resources for people in recovery, personal Recovery blogs and national addiction and recovery websites. While we do not endorse one pathway to recovery over another, we believe that education and awareness is the key to ending the stigma of addiction.

This week’s link is Dri-Dock. Dri-Dock is offered by the Dorchester Recovery Initiative (DRI) in conjunction with Chesapeake Voyagers Wellness and Recovery Center in Easton.

Go to Dri-Dock here.

“The Anonymous People” Changing Addiction Dialogue

The movie “Anonymous People” is revolutionizing the way we talk about addiction. Daryl Kahn’s article in Juvenile  Justice Information Exchange tells how the movie was received in East Hartford, Connecticut.

“This movie revolutionized my city,” she (Kimberly Beauregard) wrote. “The city commissioners came to see it and are now working on possibly getting us a treatment center..”

Read more here.








Bush Pilot and Author Offers Presentations in St. Michaels and Easton, April 22, 23

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 5.44.20 PMBush Pilot and Best-selling Author Dr. George Erickson will make two different presentations this week, the first in St. Michaels and the second in Easton.

Dr. Erickson details four decades of adventure in Canada and Alaska with his presentation “True North: Exploring the Great wilderness by Bush Plane” at the Talbot County Free Library – St. Michael’s Branch, April 22nd at 7 PM. The presentation is based on his best-selling book ‘True North: Exploring the Great Wilderness by Bush Plane’ and its sequel, Back to the Barrens: On the Wing with da Vinci & Friends.

Erickson will recount the amazing events and people he’s encountered. Flying solo in his Tundra Cub, he has dipped a wing to polar bears, landed in the midst of musk ox and caribou herds, and searched the tundra for clues to the disappearance of a long-missing priest. He’s flown beneath flaring northern lights, over forest fires and dealt with a dying engine.

He will also present “Thorium Nuclear Power: Climate Change Killer for the 21st Century” at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 23rd.

Dr. Erickson will urge that because of climate change we must drastically reduce our use of carbon-based fuels and (despite Fukushima), switch to modern, safe, highly efficient nuclear power, a Thorium Reactor, which creates no carbon dioxide. He will argue that nuclear power has a safety record 4000 times better than oil. He will also describe the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) and the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), as well as comment on the pluses and minuses of alternatives like solar and wind.

Dr. Erickson is a member of the Thorium Energy Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, and is a former Vice President of the American Humanist Association.  His website is


Six Tips for Startup CEOs Pitching to Investors

How might startup CEOs best pitch their ideas to prospective investors? Dr. Lisa Beth Ferstenberg is well equipped to answer that question.

Ferstenberg is a serial biotech entrepreneur and was the founding CEO of Cellective Therapeutics, a Gaithersburg, Maryland biotech company, which raised $28 million in startup capital. She was the lead instructor for the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship’s inaugural Pitch Camp last week.

How can CEO’s improve their pitch to prospective investors? Ferstenberg offers recommendations here.


Press Release: Comptroller, Legislators, Sheriffs Urge Passage of Statewide Tax Refund-Warrant Intercept Bill

Annapolis, Md. (February 25, 2014) – Against a backdrop of uniformed sheriffs from Allegany to Wicomico counties, Comptroller Peter Franchot today urged the Maryland House of Delegates to pass House Bill 610, legislation sponsored by Delegate Anne Kaiser and aimed at expanding the successful warrant intercept program piloted in Anne Arundel County. The program would allow the Comptroller’s Office to withhold tax refunds to Maryland residents who have outstanding warrants.

“This initiative complements my guiding principle of rewarding those taxpayers who abide by the law and aggressively pursuing those who do not. Law enforcement officers and the public they are sworn to protect will benefit — as their counterparts in Anne Arundel County currently do — from this additional public safety tool. This legislation embodies our shared commitment to using all available resources to enforce the law and protect Marylanders” said Comptroller Franchot.

The proposed program mirrors the highly successful Anne Arundel County Warrant Intercept Program which passed into law two years ago and became permanent in 2013. As of February 24, nearly $470,000 in refunds has been withheld from more than 600 individuals with outstanding warrants. Anne Arundel County officials have cleared 480 warrants as a result of this program.

 “This law screams efficiency and safety for all involved.  It is by far the most fiscally responsible way to reduce the number of outstanding warrants. I’m glad the entire state is embracing this concept,” said Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ronald Bateman.   

The initiative is strongly supported by law enforcement throughout the state and has garnered the support of the Maryland Sheriff’s Association.  

“Maryland Sheriff’s Offices and other law enforcement agencies need innovative techniques to reduce the pending criminal arrest warrant backlog while maintaining fiscal accountability. The Maryland Sheriff’s Association believes that this legislation will assist in achieving our goal of reducing outstanding warrants in an efficient and effective manner,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Darren M. Popkin, who serves as current president of the Maryland Sheriffs Association.

The Comptroller provided support for Senate Bill 653, the cross file of House Bill 610, sponsored by Senator John Astle. SB 653 recently was heard in the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Delegate Kaiser, Senator Astle and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention echo the efficiency and increased safety of the warrant program.

“A warrant intercept program is a simple, efficient way to reduce the number of outstanding warrants in the state,” said Delegate Kaiser. “With the implementation of a tax refund withholding program, the state will be able to drastically reduce the number of outstanding warrants, allowing law enforcement agencies to focus on more pressing issues. This bill will help to keep more Marylanders safe by allowing law enforcement personnel to do what they do best: keep the public safe,” said Delegate Kaiser.

“This is a program that started as a pilot in Anne Arundel County which has worked extremely well in lowering the number of warrants held by the Sheriff’s Office,” said Senator Astle.

“The statewide program would be an expansion of the initiative implemented in Anne Arundel County with great success,” said Tammy Brown, executive director for the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. “This initiative decreases the level of danger for members of law enforcement who would otherwise need to serve these warrants in person.”


Christine Feldmann, 410-260-6346 (office), 443-336-0215 (cell)

Letter To St. Michaels Residents From 4 Former Commissioners

Dear St. Michaels residents:

In 2010 the Maryland House and Senate unanimously (138-0 and 46-0) passed legislation requiring that Counties’ and Towns’ Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure provisions for elected local officials and School Board members be equivalent to or exceed State provisions, beginning in 2011.  (The State Ethics Commission provided model ordinances for larger and smaller municipalities as guidelines).

The legislation provided for exemptions from the law for smaller municipalities using criteria such as population, number of employees, size of police force, services offered to residents and total budget.  As a result, smaller upper eastern shore Towns such as Oxford, Trappe and Queen Anne were granted exemptions.  Exemptions were denied to Ridgely, Hurlock, Denton and Greensboro, as well as St. Michaels.

(It should be noted that these guidelines for financial disclosure and conflicts of interest also apply to all State employees earning in excess of $42,000 who are employed in policy-making and enforcement agencies and have for years.)

Every municipality in the State of Maryland not granted an exemption has now submitted qualifying legislation.  Only three are not totally in compliance and they are currently under final review and will be compliant soon.

After being denied an exemption twice, on September 11, 2013 the Commissioners of St. Michaels adopted Ordnance 429, a new Ethics Ordinance that is in compliance with the State Model B for small municipalities.  It was effective October 2, 2013 and has been approved by the State Ethics Commission.

Certain residents, who objected to the Town’s compliance out of fear that the Town would not be able to find qualified candidates for election, successfully mounted a petition to reject the new ordinance (with 20% the Town’s residents saying “Yes”), which has forced a referendum and will put the decision in the Voters’ hands, as allowed by the Town Charter.  That referendum is scheduled for February 3rd.  (Incidentally, when asked, the State Ethics Commission knew of no town that has had difficulty-finding candidates because of these laws.)

A “Yes” vote on the referendum supports replacing the old Ethics Ordinance with the new one, Ordinance 429, which is in compliance with State Law and has already been approved by the Commissioners and the State Ethics Commission.

A “No” vote requires that the Commissioners repeal the new compliant law.

Repealing the new Ordinance will put the Town in the position of violating State Law, since the Law still requires that the Ethics Laws of all Counties and Towns be compliant with State provisions if they do not have an exemption.  St. Michaels will then either have to sue the State Ethics Commission for relief or request another exemption, which the State has already denied twice.  This will result in additional legal fees, siphoning Town money from other needs.

As former Town Commissioners, we urge you to vote “Yes” on February 3d.

Phil Dinkel                     Barry Gillman

Ted Doyle                       Donna Hunt


Brookings Expert Bruce Riedel will Speak at ESWA Meeting

Brookings Expert Bruce Riedel will speak at the February ESWA meeting February 8, 2014 at 11:00 a.m., at Scossa’s Restaurant and Lounge located in Easton, MD. This event is free and open to the public.

Bruce Riedel, one of the most popular speakers to appear before the Eastern Shore Writers Association, will make an encore appearance at their next meeting in Easton. The 30-year CIA career officer will speak at Scossa’s at 11 am on Saturday February 8. The meeting is free and open to the public with an optional lunch to follow.

Riedel is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and is the Director there of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. He has been a senior advisor to the last four presidents on South Asia and MIddle East policy, working as a senior member of the National Security Council. In the 1990’s Riedel served as Assistant Secretary of Defense. In addition, he was a member of President Clinton’s Camp David peace negotiations team and has been advising President Obama on American policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 9.36.20 AMThe Eastern Shore Writers Association, founded in 1985, is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supporting 225 writers across the Delmarva Peninsula. ESWA ( manages the Bay-to-Ocean Writers Conference which will be held onFebruary 22nd at Chesapeake College and annually publishes theDelmarva Review, a literary journal. Information is available at (410) 476-3917.