Spy Eye: Fired Up! Academy Art Museum’s Crafts Show Opens on Friday

Your first minutes at this weekend’s vibrant 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up will give you even more proof of the delightful revitalization of the Shore’s own Academy Art Museum.  This regional jewel is becoming a ‘destination museum’ because of its exhibits, its creativity and its first-class events like the prestigious, juried, annual Craft Show happening October 20-22 in Easton.

Half the 70 artists are ‘new to this show’ for 2017. “That keeps us so fresh,” says Holly Fine, Museum Board member, artist, and 2017 Craft Show Chair. “The entire Shore should be proud,” she adds, “that so many nationally recognized artists ask to be invited into our show.”  This year, the applicant pool was twice as large as the show itself.  The large pool results from outreach by Fine and her team to high-caliber artists, aided by the Show’s growing reputation that now – apparently – travels alone and can sometimes get there first: “A number of artists,” Fine says, “are now finding us.”

The Academy Craft Show has grown in significance in its 20 years:  The 2017 show has more total artists than ever, more exhibits than ever, more artists-new-to-the-show than ever and more artists applying than ever and even a larger wait-list than ever.  And the Show’s public Raffle of artworks donated by show artists has more high-end artworks to win, than ever.

A teapot by ceramicist Lucy Dierks.

The 2017 artists hail from 18 states, coast to coast, including Maryland.  “So many,” Holly Fine says, “are at the top of their game, and certainly give us the ‘WOW factor’.”

The word “honored” signals they are talking about internationally celebrated ceramicist Bennett Bean who returns with his wisdom and quick humor to be the 2017 Academy Craft Show Honorary Chair and Visionary

Artist for all three days.  The phrase “real legend” signals that they are talking about the return of Mary Jackson herself, the MacArthur Fellow who preserved the Gullah tradition of weaving exquisite sweet-grass baskets.  And they say “thrilled” rightfully about so many other artists invited again, like J.J. Reichert who imagines and makes one-of-a-kind handbags that other people just, can’t.

And “exciting” is the word for every ‘new-to-show’ artist: Vermont goldsmith Jacob Albee combines gems and slices of meteorite – yes, meteorite – into pins, rings, wearable things men and women will happily attach to themselves.  Geoffrey Roth of Sedona styles ‘statement watches’ for men and women, timepieces of such immaculate precision that his work is deemed “watch engineering.”  Laurie Olefson makes sure you can actually use her “Optical Art,” her playful, pretty, eyeglass frames, through connections with actual Opticians.

Paul Willsea blows swirling colored luminous glass forms that will own the wall on which they will hang.  Designer Andrea Geer’s unique clothing gracefully floats on you while being completely cutting-edge.  Lucy Dierks’ ceramics mimic nature, hoping you’ll hear the clay birds perched on her teapots and vases.  Maryland’s Mea Rhee turns her clay vessels into the sweet bell-shape of Korean traditional dress and also turns an endearing pottery-salute to Asia’s elephants. 

Glass by glass blower Paul Willsea.

And this year, Shore businesses and neighbors set records as more than ever stepped up to sponsor the Craft Show and through it, the Museum; dozens of Shore businesses, starting with Easton Utilities, Ameriprise International and PURE Insurance.  “These businesses do not have to do this,” Fine says, “but they genuinely understand the critical role of art in a community’s overall health.” Fine also says the public should thank them: “We put every one of the sponsor names on the Craft Show website and encourage the public to take a look and learn who the good guys are.” However, she adds, “Support is never a spectator sport: Everyone can support the arts, this time while having real fun with the Craft Show.” “Every purchase of one Party ticket,” says Fine, “and one Show admission ticket, every Raffle ticket, helps the arts and yes, it matters.”

All 70 artists will be at all events on all three days at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.  The Preview Party with the Artists is Friday, October 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. “The party is elegant and fun,” says Fine. “There will be artists, oysters, libation stations, all to the music of Kentavius Jones.”

Raffle items this year are worth more than $75 each; most are worth many times that.  Yet Raffle tickets are only $5 each, and five tickets bundle for $20. They can be bought online at AcademyCraftShow.com.

Check out one more “first-ever,” AcademyCraftShow.com, the new, information-packed website.  Every 2017 artist is there, illustrated, profiled, and linked.  The donated Raffle artworks are there.  So are the names of the business and citizen sponsors who deserve public thanks.  And the links are active for everyone to buy their Admission, Raffle and Preview Party tickets online.

To be there, go here for all information and online ticket sales: AcademyCraftShow.com.BOX

The 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up! The Academy Art Museum, 106 South Street, in Easton, Maryland

Preview Party with the Artists, Friday, October 20, 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets: $100 each and include complimentary show admission ticket and Raffle TicketShow Admission tickets for Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 22 from 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m.  Tickets: Museum members $10 each; Non-members $12 each. To celebrate the Show’s 20th year: ONE ADMISSION TICKET IS GOOD FOR BOTH DAYS OF THE SHOW! Academy Craft Show Raffle TicketsTickets: $5 per ticket OR Five-ticket bundle for $20. No limit on ticket purchases.


Lifting Hearts and Lives in Tilghman by Amy Steward

Since For All Seasons has been providing treatment for people with mental health and substance use disorders on Tilghman Island, hearts are being lifted there. Michael Flaherty, PhD, who lives part-time on Tilghman Island and attends the Tilghman Island United Methodist Church wanted to help with some of the issues he was seeing as a resident. Flaherty, a psychologist who practices in Pennsylvania and has national expertise in addiction and mental health issues, thought it would be nice if the church could provide healthy mind, body and spirit outreach in the Tilghman community.

Pictured left to right are Ed Langrell, Marcia Gilliam, Ricky Vitanovec, Jane Copple, Katie Cox, Beth Anne Langrell, and Zack Schlag who performed a Heart and Music fundraising concert on Tilghman Island

Pastor Everett Landon of Tilghman Island UMC agreed and the two decided to approach For All Seasons about getting services there. Flaherty recalls, “We decided to do something about the problem and For All Seasons and Beth Anne Langrell, their Executive Director, came right on board. We wanted to bring services to the Island so people didn’t have to travel ‘up the road’ to be seen. Many just couldn’t.”

Within months, For All Seasons counselors opened shop in the pastor’s office at the church and began seeing clients. To date, more than 20 have used the services of For All Seasons and a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that was launched at the church. Flaherty adds, “We are trying to make inroads through education, counseling and peer support. We did a needs assessment of the community and have identified a need for wellness programs, healthy cooking classes, and exercise programs. In June, the church hosted an Overdose Prevention Night with its partners Talbot County Health Department, For All Seasons, Corsica River, the Talbot County Sheriff’s Department. The goal of the event, which drew over 50 people, was to help residents identify and prevent overdoses. Forty participants received doses of Narcan.

Efforts are now underway to provide a peer support network in the community, as the third part of the program, which has been focused on counseling and community education.
According to Beth Anne Langrell, Executive Director of For All Seasons, “There was an obvious need for services on Tilghman Island. This has been a healthy partnership between the Tilghman community and our agency. We hope to see it grow even more.”

TUMC and Tilghman Island residents have supported the efforts there, donating $25,000 to the church to help start programs and pay for the services for those who do not have insurance or a means to pay. For All Seasons’ recent Heart & Music fundraiser also raised funds. To support For All Seasons work on Tilghman Island, contact Executive Director Beth Anne Langrell at 410-822-1018.

In the future, “Healthy Tilghman” will be partnering with the school and with Project Purple, a substance abuse awareness program to engage our community and youth to stand up against substance abuse.

For All Seasons offers individual and group therapy, general, child and adolescent therapy, marriage and couples counseling, grief counseling, school-based mental health therapy, urgent care services, Rape Crisis Response, Rape Crisis Counseling and Support, 24-Hour English and Spanish Hotlines, and education and outreach programming.

For further information about For All Seasons, call 410-822-1018. For the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, call Toll-Free: 800-310-7273.

Debunking the Myths About Foster Parenting in Talbot County

Pictured back row are Jayden Carter and her foster and adoptive parent Glenda Dawson. Seated front row are her other adopted children, left to right, Jeremiah and Jayla Carter.

Talbot County does not have enough foster parent resource homes to accommodate the number of children in need of emergency placement due to unexpected family circumstances. Often, people think there are too many roadblocks to becoming a foster parent and don’t pursue the training and screening necessary to be licensed. Some of the myths surrounding becoming a foster parent are that you need to be married or be a two-parent family; you need to own your own home; you need to have a high income; and you need to have separate bedrooms in your home.

Brandon and Susan Angell with their son Nicholas Angell, along with Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator with the Talbot County Department of Social Services.

According to Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator with the Talbot County Department of Social Services, “Many of these myths keep people from coming to our information sessions to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent. We have foster parents of all races and ethnicities, all religious beliefs, and all sexual orientations. They live in million dollar homes and they live in subsidized housing.”

Glenda Dawson of Easton has been a foster parent for 12 years with the Talbot County Department of Social Services. After raising her own family of four children as a single parent, working two jobs to pay her rent, she discovered Habitat for Humanity and was able to finally purchase her own home. Dawson, who had more love to give, was then licensed as a foster mother to care for her two great nieces and one great nephew. Eventually, through a kinship adoption, she was able to adopt all three children. She continues to provide respite and foster care for the children of Talbot County.

She recalls, “I did this for the love of family and the importance of keeping these children all together as a family.”

She adds, “You just go step by step. If it’s something you really want to do, you go for it. I am proud of what I have accomplished with these children in providing them with a safe and stable home.”

According to Dawson, the support of her extended family and the Department of Social Services has enabled her to manage her second family while continuing to work. Family members help with respite care when she needs a break and the Department helps provide what Dawson needs for the children when things come up. They are also a resource to her for advice and encouragement.

On July 25, 2017 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Talbot County Department of Social Services will be hosting an open house for anyone interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent at its location at 301 Bay Street Unit #5 Easton MD 21601. For further information, call the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371.


Families Still Face Struggles of Homelessness After Mid-Shore Shelter Season Ends

His cane, whittled from an old tree limb, is a reminder of his recent struggles. Carl, a guest at Havens Ministries Cold Weather Emergency Shelter at Kent Island Methodist Church in Chester, found the limb while living as a homeless man in Queen Anne’s County this past fall.

Carl, comments, “I was living outdoors for several months before I went to Haven Ministries shelter in December. They are helping me now with temporary housing until I can get a place of my own again.”

Although Haven Ministries Cold Weather Emergency Shelter at Kent Island Methodist Church in Chester has closed for the season, the needs of the homeless individuals and families in Queen Anne’s County will continue to cry out to be met over the next seven months of this off-season for many rural shelters.

Sandi Wiscott, Director of Operations and Case Management at Haven Ministries works diligently throughout the shelter season, which runs from December 1through April each year, to connect each guest to jobs and community programs. Many guests are able to move on to safe and affordable housing.  If necessary, Haven Ministries continues to work with clients after the shelter closes for the season.

Wiscott adds, “In Carl’s case, we are trying to find housing for him, but affordable housing is limited in the county.  We sometimes need to manage other issues in our clients’ lives, like Social Security, medical issues, and transportation.”

Haven Ministries Street outreach is ongoing throughout the off-season. An average of 20 individuals and families are helped monthly through the Street Outreach Program. One client comments, “(Haven Ministries) Case Manager helped me access their case management services without judging me.”

This was the case for Carl who once was had a steady job as a mechanic and truck driver. After difficulties with his family, Carl found himself homeless and broken.  He states, “I never thought this would happen to me. I always made good money and had nice things.”

Carl spent nearly four months without the comforts of home – sometimes living in makeshift cardboard shelters, sleeping under pine trees, and eventually finding a lean-to on a property in the county. The nights were cold. He would get a shower once a week if he could at a local truck stop for $7.

Carl reflects, “I was wary of going to a shelter. I always thought of it as a place you didn’t want to be – keeping your boots on your chest and everything in your pockets.” He adds, “If it hadn’t been for Sandi Wiscott, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you. They saved my life – they clothed me and fed me. I have gained about 35 pounds. She has helped me deal with my medical issues and helped me get eye glasses.  I hadn’t been to a doctor in 20 or more years. Now I realize my health is more important than anything.”

Carl suffers from circulation issues, COPD, skin cancer and has retina issues with his eyes. He needs transportation to get to doctor appointments and even needed someone to change dressings following his skin cancer surgeries. Sandi never walked away from him. He adds, “I have never met anyone like Sandi.”

In addition to finding solace at the shelter, Carl made friends with others there, referring to them now as his new family.

Between December 2015 and April 2016, 23 men, women, and children were served at the shelter. Over 140 dinners were prepared for every guest and volunteer who donated their time. To date, there are over 336 shelter volunteers who help at Haven Ministries.

In addition to providing food, shelter and clothing, Haven Ministries helps to heal the broken who come through its doors. For Carl, Haven Ministries gave him back his faith. He states, “They asked me if I would like to go to church. I said yes, realizing I had missed it. Being at the shelter brought my belief back. I was not a holy man and hadn’t talked to the Lord in 30 years. Now, I talk to him every day.”

Haven Ministries is currently diligently working towards establishing a permanent shelter location for year-round services and a home to be used for transitional housing.

On Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m. Haven Ministries will sponsor a Luncheon Tea at Christ Church, 830 Romancoke Road in Stevensville. The cost is $35 per ticket. To purchase a ticket or for more information about the shelter and Haven Ministries Emergency Food Pantry or Daily Thread Thrift Store, visit haven-ministries.org or call Executive Director Krista Pettit at 410-739-4363.

Love is in the Air at Londonderry on the Tred Avon

What do pilots and flight attendants have to do with Valentine’s Day? Plenty, if you are a resident at Londonderry on the Tred Avon. Love is “in the air,” literally, at this retirement community, where a number of residents are remembering their years as pilots, and some as flight attendants. Two residents, Clint “Bus” Brown and Margie Blood recently reminisced about their time in the air and independently some of the romance that ensued.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 9.17.55 AMMargie Blood, age 87, was destined to fly. Her father, a World War I pilot, said his youngest daughter was going to be a pilot and sure enough, at age 21 Margie got her pilot’s license. She began, however, as a flight attendant, then known as a “stewardess” with TWA as that was the only option for women at the time.  Margie recalls, “To be a stewardess, the airline required you be under five feet four inches tall, weigh no more than 110 pounds, be over 20 years of age, have a college degree or RN, wear no glasses, not be married, pass a physical and eye examination, be attractive and have a good figure.”

She added that the stewardesses also had eight weeks of training in deportment, waitressing, psychology of relating to strangers, first aid, emergency procedures, physical exercises and body and arm movements that exemplified femininity.  And of course, they had to learn how to make a perfect martini, pop champagne corks and serve caviar – haven’t times changed!

One night in 1948 while working as a first year stewardess on a flight from Kansas City to Pittsburgh, Margie began talking to one of the male passengers on the flight. She states, “He asked me to ask the pilot to make a three-point landing and I told him that was impossible as we were flying a DC-3 and that a three-point landing could not be done. He was impressed with my knowledge and I share with him my father’s love of flying and that someday I would get my pilot’s license.”

She then learned he was a World War II test pilot who was on active reserve at the McKeesport Airport and was just trying to stump her. The next day after Margie landed she went to be reviewed on her takeoffs and landings in a Piper Cub air craft. The review would count towards her pilot’s license. The man from the plane the night before surprised her and had arranged after his flight to be her reviewing flight instructor. Margie comments, “It was such a shock when I introduced myself and found out that he was the man who would be reviewing me.  I knew at that instant I was in love with him!”

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 9.18.01 AMThe feeling was mutual and Bill Blood and Margie Blood were married in 1949. Because stewardesses could not be married, Margie could no longer keep her job. She did, however, complete her pilot’s license – something both Bill and her father shared pride in. The couple was married for 45 years, having five accomplished children, one of whom works as a “check stewardess” for United Airlines, validating a new flight attendant’s performance on his or her first international flight. She has spent 33 years with United Airlines and her experience has included working on government flights transporting soldiers to combat areas and then returning them home to the United States.

When asked about the secret to a happy marriage, Margie comments, “The essence of a good marriage is that we affirmed each other and shared a sense of humor. It got us through the hard times.”

For Clint “Bus” Brown, flying was his life. At age five, his father took him and his brother to the airport to kill time while their mother was delivering their sister. As a child, he also remembers American Airlines flying over his school near Niagara Falls, NY. He recalls, “I was fascinated with what was in the air.” At age 19, while World War II was going on, Bus jointed the Navy with the desire to get his wings. He succeeded in doing that in Pensacola, FL in 1945. By this time, the war was winding down and he and a buddy found out that decisions were being made about whether they would become flight instructors or actually get to fly in the war efforts. Both were adamant about seeing “action” and sent a bottle of champagne to each of the Navy WAVES who would be making the decision about their futures.  Bus quips, “It must have worked because we both got to fly in the war!” Bus was assigned to an aircraft carrier which did anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. He flew Grumman Avengers, which had originally been torpedo bombers in the Pacific Ocean.

Bus didn’t marry a Navy WAVE, but ended up marrying Jane, “the girl next door,” after returning home to New York after the war. He went on to have a career in the roofing manufacturing industry and specialty paint business. He and Jane have been married 64 years and have four children.

Several residents of Londonderry on the Tred Avon not only watched the changes in the airline industry, but participated in its development. Many served in positions related to flying, both in World War II and in the Korean War – serving as pilots and bombardiers, as well as testing aircraft and working as air traffic controllers and in research and development for manufacturers. Recently, these residents enjoyed reminiscing about their experiences, many commenting that air travel today isn’t like it used to be. They remembered flying in Boeing 247 airlines that could accommodate only 10 passengers, as well as the luxury of Boeing 747s, which could accommodate 450 passengers – to having real cream served in small silver pitchers with their coffee and cocktail stirrers shaped like bright red propellers in their drinks.

Margie Blood, who has “b17” in her email address, concludes, “It was an exciting time to be involved with air travel.”


Profiles of the Mid-Shore’s Homeless: Providing Hope in Queen Anne’s County

Editor’s note: These profiles by Easton-based author Amy Steward spotlight four unique cases of homelessness on the Mid-Shore that have turned out positively with the Haven Ministries in Stevensville, MD. This faith-based nonprofit has served Queen Anne’s County for eleven years providing quality programs that address housing, hunger and clothing for those who have become shipwrecked in a sea storm of economic recession and bad luck.  


When Marie, a 63-year old woman of Queen Anne’s County, lost her job in April 2012, it didn’t seem like things could possibly get any worse. But, they did. She soon fell behind in her rent, facing eviction. In October 2012, the unthinkable happened and she was involved in a single car accident, sending her to Shock Trauma. She was both physically and emotionally broken. Suffering from an injured vertebrae and a radial fracture, she struggled to move in a body and boot cast. A friend took her in after she got out of Shock Trauma to help care for her. A few weeks later, while recuperating, she learned from a routine Pap smear that she had uterine and cervical cancer.

Marie was discharged from the hospital, following her cancer surgery, with no insurance to pay for a rehabilitation placement, no family to care for her, and ultimately, no place to go since her eviction notice had arrived. A hospital social worker referred her to a shelter in her community, Haven Ministries in Stevensville, MD, where Marie could go following her surgery – a place that turned Marie’s life around.

In January 2013, Haven Ministries took Marie in, initially in their overnight shelter at Kent Island Methodist Church. For the month, she stayed at the shelter overnight at the church and during the day attended Stevensville Senior Center. On weekends when the shelter was closed, Haven Ministries found her a safe place to stay, as she was still weak and using a walker from her car accident. Marie recalls, “I had nothing but the hospital clothes I left in. My things had been placed in storage when I was evicted and I had no way of getting anything while in the hospital. Haven Ministries provided me with clothes from their Thrift Shop when I arrived and a safe place to stay. They looked after me. It took a lot of their time to help me. I am so thankful for what they did.”

Haven Ministries Case Manager, Sandi Wiscott, was with Marie every step of the way, making sure she got to her chemotherapy and radiation appointments, doctor appointments, and even helped her get her Social Security Disability so that she could eventually find her own housing.

Marie adds, “Sandi helped me a lot. Everything had crashed in on me. At one point, I was depressed and suicidal. I believe if it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be here today.

Things began to get better for Marie. After finishing her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she moved into Haven Ministries’ transitional house where she stayed until November 2013. Marie made use of Haven Ministries Food Pantry and began to regain her strength. During these months, Sandi helped Marie get her life together and to eventually secure senior disability housing in Centreville. Haven Ministries even helped her with the furniture she needed for her new apartment.

Today, Marie is two years cancer free. She is in fairly good health, living in her apartment in Centreville. She is still active in the Stevensville Senior Center and also the Grasonville Senior Center, where she calls Bingo. She comments, “I am thankful to God and all the people he put in my life to guide me and get me through all of this.”


Six months ago, Heidi, age 34 from Queen Anne’s County, fell behind with her car and rent
payments and almost lost everything. Her partner and the father of her children had gotten involved with the wrong crowd and made some poor choices, leaving Heidi alone to care for her three children who were under the age of 10.

While in Haven Ministries Thrift Shop in Stevensville, MD, Heidi learned that she could get assistance during this difficult time. Heidi recalls, “Haven Ministries really showed me the light. Their case manager, Sandi Wiscott, helped me access their case management services without judging me. They helped to support me so that I could still be a mom to my children.”

Heidi used Haven Ministries Food Pantry, which provided her family with fresh produce, donated by local farmers – something that surprised and delighted her. Sandi helped her contact different churches in Queen Anne’s County to help her with her back rent, as well as to provide gas money, diapers, toiletries, and cleaning supplies until she could get on her feet.

She comments, “It warmed my heart to see how much Haven Ministries is helping everyone. I didn’t expect that strangers cared enough to understand my story and would help me in the ways that they did. I can’t put into words how this has made my personal faith grow. The Lord really does carry you when you are alone. I am so thankful.”

Because of Haven Ministries, Heidi was also able to get information to support her in parenting her children. She is now ready to pursue a career that will enable her to support her family. She comments, “I knew going through this that I needed to help myself. They helped me gain insight into myself, to set goals, and to take my own initiative in setting my future path. I am currently working on finding some career training.”

She adds, “Taking care of my children motivates me to look toward the future again.”


Like most of us, Mary, age 56 of Centreville, had a good job as an instructional assistant in the schools. She got hurt on the job in 2002 and could no longer work. This led to her becoming disabled and requiring assistance to just make ends meet. She recalls using Haven Ministries Food Pantry soon after they opened and has been using it ever since to help feed the two adults who live with her, along with her 10-year old grandchild. She even has extra to share with her housebound 81-year old mother.

Mary comments, “It has been a blessing to me and my family to have the Food Pantry.”
Since the Food Pantry receives fresh fruits and vegetables seasonally from area farmers, the quality of the food has offered Mary and her family healthy choices. She used the cabbages, potatoes and onions in the winter months and now is getting corn, watermelon and cantaloupe – items which wouldn’t be affordable for her on her disability check. She adds, “You have choices at the Food Pantry. They have staples like tea bags and ketchup, as well as poultry and ham, drinks and even freeze pops for the kids.”

Mary explains that she was raised with both parents working full-time and never thought she would need assistance from a food pantry. She states, “A lot of people have pride and won’t seek out assistance like this. I had to do this and it has been a blessing to me both financially and spiritually. The people at Haven Ministries don’t look down on you or judge you. They have deep love for the people they serve.”

Mary equates the love she receives from Haven Ministries with the love she felt for the kids she worked with in the schools. She adds, “The people are so nice at Haven Ministries. They are concerned about us like I was concerned about the kids who I cared for. We leave their every time with a smile on our faces.”

Facing hip surgery in the near future, Mary has had to give up volunteering for the Food Pantry, something she enjoyed. She hopes after her recovery to work in Haven Ministries Thrift Shop, which has helped her as well. The Thrift Shop offers household items, like sheets and towels, and even slightly-used appliances. Mary states, “I want to give back because they have been so good to me and my family.”


Three years ago, Barry, age 57 and disabled, sold everything he had to move to Florida from Maryland to be with his partner. When things didn’t work out in Florida, he returned to his family in Queen Anne’s County, broke and unable to care for himself. Living from couch to couch at the homes of friends and family, he found himself homeless with nowhere to turn in November 2014. At that point, he had even lost his lifelong companion, his dog. Through the recommendation of a church in Centreville, Barry sought out help from Haven Ministries.
He recalls, “The weather was turning colder and I could no longer stay with friends or family. Haven Ministries provided me with a warm place to stay and good food to eat. They truly cared for me.”

Barry was able to stay at the shelter through April 2015. During this time, he received case management services to help him start saving money for a vehicle and look for affordable housing options in the county. He comments, “While living on the street, I couldn’t save money to get a vehicle or a place to live. I couldn’t seem to get on my feet again.”

In addition to the assistance staff provided, Barry found the shelter was more than just a roof over his head. He enjoyed the camaraderie of the other residents and the staff. He even learned to play dominoes while he was there – something he had never learned before. He adds, “The staff was so nice. They treated me well and I felt like I had a family again. I realized while living with the other people in the shelter that anyone can become homeless and fall on hard times. No one is immune to it.”

Today, Barry has been able to buy a vehicle and is living on a boat. He is on a waiting list for affordable housing, which he hopes will work out soon. He concludes, “Coming to Haven Ministries was the best thing I could have done to get my life back together. Because it is still hard to make ends meet, I am still using Haven Ministries Food Pantry and Thrift Store. That has really helped me. Everything is good now.”

For more information please go to Haven Ministries

Kirsh Sculpture Selected for MD Art at College Park Exhibition

Jan Kirsh, Artichoke, Bonded marble with hand-painted acrylic, 10” x 14.5” x 10” (Photo Credit: Stephen Cherry)

Jan Kirsh, Artichoke, Bonded marble with hand-painted acrylic, 10” x 14.5” x 10” (Photo Credit: Stephen Cherry)

Jan Kirsh’s Artichoke has been selected for inclusion in a national juried exhibition opening June 25, 2014 at The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park. The show, organized by Maryland Federation of Art (MFA), features 2- and 3-dimensional art by Maryland residents and MFA members. Kirsh was one of 107 artists selected out of nearly 700 applicants.

Kirsh, whose art made its debut in 2008, is also known for her work as a landscape designer. Her sculptures feature vibrant fruits and vegetables which can be displayed indoors or out. Kirsh notes, “My work provides opportunities for me to pay homage to nature and to appreciate the beauty of familiar forms. It also reminds me to not take life too seriously, to enjoy the whimsy in the day to day.”

MD Art @ College Park runs June 25 to August 2, 2014. A reception will be held July 11, from 6 to 8 PM, with awards presented at 7 PM. The Art Gallery is open 12 to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday (closed July 2 through July 5). The gallery is located at 1202 Art Sociology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, 20742. Ann Shafer, Curator of the Baltimore Museum of Art, will serve as juror for the show.

Artist Jan Kirsh. (Photo Credit: Stephen Cherry)

Artist Jan Kirsh. (Photo Credit: Stephen Cherry)


Local Writer and Renowned Structural Engineer Write New Book

Renowned structural engineer, educator, and mentor Charles H. Thornton, PhD PE of Easton and local writer Amy Blades Steward of Easton recently co-authored a new book that was released this month entitled, Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions.

Pictured is the cover of the new book, Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions, which is now available through Amazon. The book was written by renowned structural engineer Charles H. Thornton and local writer Amy Blades Steward. The book cover was designed by local ACE Mentor Program participant Conner Dorbin of Easton and graphic designer Deirdre Devlin Kelly of Easton.

Pictured is the cover of the new book, Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions, which is now available through Amazon. The book was written by renowned structural engineer Charles H. Thornton and local writer Amy Blades Steward. The book cover was designed by local ACE Mentor Program participant Conner Dorbin of Easton and graphic designer Deirdre Devlin Kelly of Easton.

Dr. Thornton was a founding principal and former chairman of the structural engineering company Thornton Tomasetti. Over the last 30 years, he has engineered some the world’s tallest and most innovative structures through “disruptive innovation.” He has been an adjunct professor at The Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, Manhattan College, Princeton University, and Catholic University. He founded the ACE Mentor Program, a nationwide non-profit organization offering guidance and training in architecture, construction and engineering to more than 40,000 inner city high school students in 106 cities across the United States. Talbot County high school students participate in the program.

He comments, “After being featured by Jane Pauley on the monthly NBC TODAY Show, “Your Life Calling” for the ACE Mentor Program and reading Jane’s own autobiography, entitled Skywriting: a Life Out of the Blue, I realized it was time to write my memoir.”

The next step was to find a writer to help Thornton get his words on paper. Steward, who in 2007 founded Steward Writing and Communications, a public relations firm in Easton, MD, has written non-fiction articles for national, regional, and local publications for over 30 years. Thornton comments about Steward, a lifelong storyteller, “Amy was the stimulus who got me revved up to start my book. She took the time to really interest herself in my life and has made the production of this book her ‘Elegant Solution.’”

The memoir about Thornton’s life is a guide for professionals seeking to succeed in business, young engineers moving up the company ladder, graduate students facing a master’s or PhD thesis, college students coping with the rigors of an engineering program, and high school students looking toward college and a career. His 15-Steps to Success help business owners to plan and reach higher goals. His mantra – “Passion, Persistence, and Flexibility” – has transcended all aspects of his career and personal life. His story inspires others to pursue their life’s passion and seek their own elegant solutions to the challenges life presents – and to have fun along the way.

The memoir’s cover features an image of Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one of the world’s tallest buildings designed by Thornton and completed in 1996, and includes an image of Thornton with a group of ACE students. It was designed by graphic designer Deirdre Devlin Kelly of Easton and Conner Dorbin of Easton, Amy’s son and a 12th grader at Easton High School in the school’s graphic arts completer program and a participant in the ACE Mentor Program.

Proceeds from the book will go to the ACE Mentor Program to grow its scholarships for high school students. To date, ACE has awarded more than $14 million in scholarships to students nationwide.

Thornton lives in Easton with his wife Carolyn. Steward lives in Easton with her husband, Eric, and children Conner and Andrew. Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions is available through Amazon at alifeofelegantsolutions.com.

Thornton and Steward are holding book signings at Vintage Books on Dover Street in Easton, MD on Friday, May 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. and at The News Center in Easton, MD on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Friday, May 30 at 7 p.m., they will lecture about the book and hold a book signing at the Academy Art Museum. For further information, contact Amy Steward at 410-829-0436.


The Inspire Fatherhood Re-Entry Group Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Talbot County’s unique Re-Entry Support Group, “Inspire Fatherhood,” (IF), recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Seven men, Douglas (Chip) Ewing, Jason Gilliece, DeWayne Camper, Kevin Leonard, James Carter and Allen Deibel, and Vincent Bratcher, were honored for achieving milestones with the group. At the recognition event at the Talbot County Department of Corrections, each of the men wearing their IF shirts and jackets, introduced themselves, shared a bit of their past, their present, and their hopes for the future with a small group of men currently incarcerated at the facility.

The IF Re-Entry Support Group is an extension of the Inside Out Dad Program and was created through collaboration between The Talbot County Department of Social Services (DSS) Young Fathers/Non-Custodial Parents Employment Program and the Talbot County Department of Corrections. The group supports fathers leaving the correctional facility, providing additional support in their journeys back to their families and the community.

According to Tom Wardrop, Outreach Facilitator and Mentor, Talbot County Department of Social Services, the Inside Out DAD’s Curriculum at Talbot County Department of Corrections and the launch of the IF Group a year ago has brought into focus reducing recidivism and celebrating milestones for these men. Certificates and pins are awarded at critical levels following their release into the community at three, six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, thirty and thirty-six months. Emily D. Joiner, Program Coordinator for the Young Fathers/NPEP Program, presented Vincent Bratcher and Kevin Leonard with their 30-month recognitions. DeWayne Camper, President of the IF Group, shared statistics from a class project he presented at Chesapeake College regarding recidivism and the adverse effect on children of incarcerated fathers.

Captain Leone Tillman, Chief of Support Services at the Talbot County Department of Corrections, commented, “Collectively these men verbalized that they all have children who didn’t ask to be put on this earth, nor should their children have to ask to be cared for. As fathers, these men have realized it is their responsibility to help raise these children.”

Doug Devenyns, Director, Talbot County Department of Corrections, added, “The programs we are offering, like the Inside Out Dad Curriculum, help inmates find the prime motivator for them to be successful. I think programs like this one are having a positive effect on our incarceration numbers in Talbot County. Right now, Talbot County is at 50 percent capacity at the Talbot County Department of Corrections.”

“While these men still continue to struggle, they are determined that their future will not include a return to the bad decisions that had them returning to jail in the past,” concluded Dawn Coleman, Child Support Supervisor, Talbot County Department of Social Services.

For further information about the Talbot County Child Support Program or Young Father’s/Non-Custodial Parent Employment Program, contact Dawn Coleman, Child Support Supervisor, Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-770-4848.