Spy Poll Results: Chestertown Overwhelmingly Likes Idea of Nonstop Public Transportation to Easton

The results of a Spy poll on public transportation is in, and the conclusions might surprise a few people.

In short, Residents of Kent County overwhelmingly support some form of public transportation to downtown Easton, based on an hourly schedule, with an average cost around $15 per ticket, departing every hour, and would be willing to do so more often if offered special discounts by restaurants or performance venues.

Over 170 Spy readers responded to the Spy poll posted last week asking Chestertownians if they would use a non-stop shuttle service between downtown Chestertown and downtown Easton for either work or pleasure. A summary of the survey is shown below.

1.  Would you use an nonstop bus shuttle from Chestertown to Easton?

2.   What would be a fair round trip fee for such a trip?

3.  Ideally, what schedule would you prefer if a service was offered?

4.  Would your employer help you cover some these costs?

5.  If traveling for entertainment or dining, would you be more likely to use the service if there were special discounts rates offered by restaurants or performance venues?

Op-Ed: What Zero-Tolerance Policy on Immigrant Families Means on the Mid-Shore by Steve Parks

The plight of children separated from their undocumented immigrant parents along the southwest border is epitomized by a pair of 1-year-olds. A girl, recently reunited with her mother after 85 days in detention, was covered in lice and encrusted dirt. She now clings to her mother’s legs and cries whenever Mama tries to move. The other 1-year-old drank milk from a bottle as an embarrassed judge asked, as required, if the boy understood his immigration status. What’s your mother’s name, son? Mama.

It’s not known where the parents of that child or hundreds of others, many under the age of 5, are being detained after their children were taken from them. It could be in one of four adult detention centers in Maryland, including one in Snow Hill.

 “This keeps us safe?” asks Matthew Peters, director of the Chesapeake Multi-Cultural Resource Center on Bay Street, just behind the former Safeway supermarket in Easton. Since the policy announced in April by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigrant clients seeking help from the center rose to four a week on average, up from one a week. Seventy percent live in Talbot County, 20 percent in Caroline, with others scattered about the region.

A plurality is from Guatemala, where Peters, then of the Peace Corps, built a school and applied his forestry skills in creating a park. A 36-year civil war prevented most immigrants from that impoverished Central American nation and those to the south from reaching the U.S.-Mexican border until about 20 years ago. A residential and commercial building boom in Easton starting in 2001 drew immigrants to Talbot where they work not only in construction, but also in restaurants, agriculture, landscaping, crab-picking and house-cleaning.

Typically, they send much of their earnings back home. Some spend thousands of dollars to bring relatives here on tourist or seasonal work visas. Now the federal government is cracking down on such visas for immigrants south of the border, which makes it harder to find workers for these jobs. Canadians, who don’t even need a visa to enter the U.S., are not subjected to the same scrutiny.

The brother of an immigrant living in Easton returned time and again on work visas. But this spring he was detained at the border, accompanied by his 8-year-old son. The boy has been detained separately for more than a month at a Bethany Christian Services facility charging the government $700 per diem per child. (Betsy DeVos, U.S. Education Secretary, reportedly has had financial ties to Bethany.) Peters is handling the case, filing paperwork for the 8-year-old’s release. “But there’s always one more thing,” he says, dragging the process out. “Most of my clients are illiterate.” Misspellings and other errors abound. If the case is “won” and the child is found eligible for release into the custody of a family member—usually not the parent apprehended at the border and deported—there’s the matter of vetting the relative and paying for the child’s transportation.

A Marydel client was told it would cost $3,100 to fly her 10-year-old daughter from a detention center near the border. Peters found a ticket for $375. But there’s the cost of flying someone to accompany the minor and paying for that person’s lodging. “Now they want to charge her for fingerprinting and an inspection of her home,” he says. The tab is now $1,500 and counting.

The brother of another Marydel woman was detained at the border with his 2-year-old son. The brother is being held in Seattle. His sister asked Peters to represent her family. The 2-year-old was put on the phone with Peters and the aunt, who the toddler has never met.  “The boy was just wailing the whole time,” Peters says. “All we’re achieving with this policy is hurting these families—people who’ve already gone through all kinds of hell.”

About 200, many of them fathers, are detained in Snow Hill. Will they ever see their kids again?

Absent other factors, such as previous illegal entries, crossing the border without documentation is a misdemeanor.

Steve Parks is a retired journalist who worked for Newsday on Long Island and for the Baltimore Sun and once interned for the Star-Democrat.   

  

Awaiting an Apology from Andy Harris by Michael H.C. McDowell

I am seeking a full and contrite apology from Congressman Andy Harris, over a verbal attack at a League of Women Voters Republican primary election forum on Sunday, June 10, 2018, at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

After a no-show by the other Republican primary candidates, the League cancelled the forum. Mr. Harris, however, agreed to take questions from the audience out in the lobby around 1:45 p.m. I joined a group of about eight voters gathered around Mr. Harris, half of whom I knew from Chestertown, where I live.

Mr. Harris first answered a question on health care and pre-existing conditions. After listening to the end of this particular exchange, I asked Mr. Harris a question on his environmental record. I got about 20 seconds into my question when, suddenly, Mr. Harris interrupted me in an aggressive, accusing tone: “I know who you are. I met you in Chestertown. You threatened violence and to kill one of my campaign workers. If you don’t step away, I will call a state trooper.”

I was absolutely stunned. I responded that this was complete nonsense and demanded he explain and retract his wrongful accusations. He persisted in ignoring my response and once again warned me he would call a state trooper if I further engaged with him.

I was shaken and angered by this utter lie. I took a few moments away from the lobby, to try and understand what had just happened. At no time have I ever threatened violence against anyone, and certainly no one connected with Mr. Harris’s campaign, and I never suggested I might “kill” one of his staffers. Where could this truly shocking accusation of Mr. Harris have come from?

The next morning, I spoke to Mr. Harris’s press secretary, Jacque Clark, and on her specific advice, emailed his campaign manager, Nicole Beus, and followed up two further times. Mr. Harris or his staff never responded.

Minutes after the June 10 attack, I recalled a posting on May 8, from a man who occasionally posts on Mr. Harris’s campaign Facebook site and supports Mr. Harris. I made a comment about this posting and received a threatening message to me and other critics of Mr. Harris from this individual. This person said he had a weapon and could shoot us!

I saw from this man’s personal Facebook page that he seemed to have been in the military, or was possibly still in the military, and his photo on the page shows him wearing military fatigues and brandishing military grade weapons. I responded to his post, saying that his comments were way out of line and possibly illegal and perhaps in breach of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He replied back suggesting I didn’t know what I was talking about. I let him know that I am on the advisory board of an historic military college, and know a number of flag officers, judge advocates-general, and other senior officers. This individual mocked my knowing “big shots,” and I didn’t bother responding further.

Later that day (May 8), I had a text and voicemail message from Mr. Harris’s press staff, which were friendly in tone, saying they were deleting this man’s threatening posts and, because I had responded to those posts, my posts would therefore also disappear and they wanted to explain why. I had no problem with that. I responded to the press staff within minutes, suggesting that this man be unfriended and/or blocked from Mr. Harris’s page and that this person should be reported to law officials. That is the last I heard on that issue.

Jacque Clark told me on the phone on June 11 that she indeed remembered that message to me from Mr. Harris’s staff.

Did Mr. Harris somehow mistakenly connect this man’s threat to the Harris staff with me? Did he completely wrongly attribute the threat to me, on account of this Facebook exchange? I want to know on what basis Mr. Harris justified his outrageous and false allegations about me at a public event.

I felt humiliated, angered, and shaken by Mr. Harris’s behavior towards me on June 10. About 10 minutes after this hostile attack, I showed a male member of Mr. Harris’s campaign staff (a burly bearded man with a Hogan campaign sticker on his shirt) the May 8 text I had received from Mr. Harris’s Capitol Hill staff, about the removal of the threatening post on the Harris Facebook page. The staff person suggested I take up the matter the next day. Did this fellow inform Mr. Harris about the clear evidence which I offered?

Mr. Harris verbally attacked me without any factual basis for his claims, refused to allow me to respond to his false accusations, and threatened several times to call a state trooper.

There are at least four witnesses to this appalling and totally unsubstantiated attack. I have spoken to four of them, three of them in person, one on the phone, and have their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They completely confirm my account of what Mr. Harris said about me in front of them, to their shock and disapproval.

To repeat, I want a full and contrite apology and full explanation from Mr. Harris. Mr. Harris works for us, the voters, of whom I am one. The voters, and this voter, certainly don’t work for him.

As an elected public servant, Mr. Harris cannot be allowed to make such disparagements of a voter seeking information on his campaign platform.

Mr. Harris has had more than a month to act. He has done nothing. Shame on him. The voters of District 1 deserve better than the bullying, arrogant and offensive Andy Harris.

Michael H.C. McDowell writes from Chestertown.

Easton’s Qlarant Named a Top Predictive Analytics Solution Provider

Easton’s Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been named a Top Ten predictive analytics solution provider for 2018.  CIO Applications Magazine interviewed 3 executives from Qlarant:  Dr. Ron Forsythe, Jr. CEO; Sandy Love, President; and Holly Pu, VP of Product Development.   The article provides insight into the culture of Qlarant, and highlights the predictive modeling capabilities the company provides to some of the nation’s most important organizations.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Holly Pu, VP of Product Development for Qlarant. “Predictive Analytics provide an important role in fighting fraud and saves the nation millions of dollars each year. Being recognized as one of the best in the industry means we did what we set out to do. “

CIO Applications magazine provides a network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions.  It also enables IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.  Qlarant’s PLATO™ program is a powerful self-learning analytics engine that is able to sift through billions of pieces of data to detect aberrant trends.   Qlarant also offers RIViR, which provides risk identification, risk visualization and risk resolution services.

“We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award demonstrates those facets of our business,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO.

Opinion: Theodore Roosevelt on the 4th of July

Leave it to historian David McCullough, author of “Mornings on Horseback,” to share remarks made by a very young Theodore Roosevelt in 1886, when he was a young rancher in the Dakota Badlands, about the importance of the 4th of July:

“I am peculiarly glad to have an opportunity of addressing you, my fellow citizens of Dakota, on the Fourth of July, because it always seems to me that those who dwell in a new territory, and whose actions, therefore, are peculiarly fruitful, for good and for bad alike, in shaping the future, have in consequence peculiar responsibilities. . . . Much has been given to us, and so, much will be expected of us; and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to our care.

The Declaration of Independence derived its peculiar importance, not on account of what America was, but because of what she was to become; she shared with other nations the present, and she yielded to them the past, but it was felt in return that to her, and to her especially, belonged the future. It is the same with us here. We, grangers and cowboys alike, have opened a new land; and we are the pioneers, and as we shape the course of the stream near its head, our efforts have infinitely more effect, in bending it in any given direction . . . In other words, the first comers in a land can, by their individual efforts, do far more to channel out the course in which its history is to run than can those who come after them; and their labors, whether exercised on the side of evil or on the side of good, are far more effective than if they had remained in old settled communities.

So it is peculiarly incumbent on us here today so to act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage, for which we will receive their blessing and not their curse. . . . If you fail to work in public life, as well as in private, for honesty and uprightness and virtue, if you condone vice because the vicious man is smart, or if you in any other way cast your weight into the scales in favor of evil, you are just so far corrupting and making less valuable the birthright of your children. . . .

“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.

I do not undervalue for a moment our material prosperity; like all Americans, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads—and herds of cattle, too— big factories, steamboats, and everything else. But we must keep steadily in mind that no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue. It is of more importance that we should show ourselves honest, brave, truthful, and intelligent, than that we should own all the railways and grain elevators in the world. We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune. Here we are not ruled over by others, as in the case of Europe; we rule ourselves. All American citizens, whether born here or elsewhere, whether of one creed or another, stand on the same footing; we welcome every honest immigrant no matter from what country he comes, provided only that he leaves off his former nationality, and remains neither Celt nor Saxon, neither Frenchman nor German, but becomes an American, desirous of fulfilling in good faith the duties of American citizenship”

“When we thus rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects. We must never exercise our rights either wickedly or thoughtlessly; we can continue to preserve them in but one possible way, by making the proper use of them. In a new portion of the country, especially here in the Far West, it is peculiarly important to do so; and on this day of all others we ought soberly to realize the weight of the responsibility that rests upon us. I am, myself, at heart as much a Westerner as an Easterner; I am proud, indeed, to be considered one of yourselves, and I address you in this rather solemn strain today, only because of my pride in you, and because your welfare, moral as well as material, is so near my heart.”

Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909. Excerpt From: Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by Simon & Schuster.

 

Letter to the Editor: Thoughts on the Democratic Primary

Amid all the acrimony and tribalism, we should take a moment to celebrate our democracy. Five candidates vied for the chance to unseat Andy Harris. How extraordinary that Jesse Colvin won that right.

When Jesse entered the race he probably did not know a hundred people in the First District. He was newly married and expecting his first child. He had no personal money to finance a Congressional campaign. What he did have were leadership skills honed from his Army Ranger experience, conviction that the First District was poorly represented by a Freedom Caucus member, and tremendous energy for the contest.

Jesse won by running toward the problem, driving up and down our expansive First District for six months and speaking softly, but with conviction, to hundreds of small groups of citizens. Time and again I witnessed people listen to him and then enlist in his cause.

What a great country where a young citizen without prior political experience or buckets of money, can by the force of his character, good humor and effort win a Congressional primary. This alone is worth celebrating. And now Republicans and Independents will have the opportunity to meet Jesse Colvin.

Andy Harris should be concerned.

Warren Davis
Oxford

Poodlenomics by Carl Widell

What has happened to our champion of free trade, Andy Harris? He and his beloved Americans for Prosperity have long supported free trade and low tariffs. But now that President Trump is leveling tariffs against everyone under the sun, even Canada, Andy Harris has rolled over. “Anything you say, Mr. President.” Principles forgotten, Harris has become Trump’s poodle. Welcome to ‘Poodlenomics.’

When President Trump announced tariffs against our largest trading partner, the European Union, Andy Harris did not object. When Trump proposed steel and aluminum tariffs against our allies, Harris let out not a whimper. Even when Trump introduced tariffs against Canada, which makes no sense whatsoever (we have a trade surplus with Canada), Harris didn’t even bark.

It’s not that others are not speaking out. Every other Congressman in the Maryland delegation has spoken out against Trump’s trade policies. Other Republicans, such as John McCain and Jeff Flake, have spoken out. The ultra-conservative Americans for Prosperity, of which Harris is a member, which has long maintained that free trade is the path to American economic success, has spoken out. It has called upon President Trump too, “ lift recent tariffs on aluminum and steel imports as well as the proposed tariffs on other imports from China,” (see Freedom Partner webpage: https://freedompartners.org).

Even the US Chamber of Congress, which Harris has long supported, has spoken out. On its website, the Chamber quotes Martin Feldstein, President Reagan’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, who argues that “foreign import barriers (i.e., tariffs) … are not the reason for the U.S. trade deficit. The real reason is that Americans are spending more than they produce…. The policies of foreign governments affect only how that deficit is divided among America’s trading partners.” (See https://www.uschamber.com/series/above-the-fold/trade-deficit-truths.)

Congressman Harris must know the basics of foreign trade accounting, but he chooses to go along with President Trump’s ill-conceived policies. Party over principle – that’s Poodlenomics.

What we need is a Congressman with backbone, with common sense policies, willing to reach across the aisle, who has served in Afghanistan four times and is willing to stand up to the President when necessary. Someone who is not a poodle. Have you looked at Jesse Colvin lately?

Carl Widell Widell is the chief financial officer and a director of Network Technologies International. He also served on the Talbot County Board of Education in 2008. 

On a Rare Occasion You Know When You Have Changed the Life of a Child by Liz Freedlander

In the universe of adults whose work careers (or volunteer time) is focused on improving the lives of children – teachers, social workers, non-profit staffs – it is rare to know if you’ve really made a difference.

But occasionally, a young adult comes back and identifies you as the mentor whose dedication, professional skills and ideas changed his or her life.

Rashaan Rhoden was a Dorchester County student who was referred to Channel Marker’s youth program. His disruptive behavior indicated a need for redirecting his impulses, learning coping skills and receiving positive reinforcement for his good qualities.

Rashaan, now 20, wrote a letter to Arville Johns, his Channel Marker case worker, and read it aloud to him at a recent staff meeting. Tears flowed. It was quite a moment!

While letters like this are few and far between, there are surely many young adults who share Rashaan’s sentiments about the people who changed their lives only they never told you.

June 2018                                                                                   

Dear Mr. Arville,

I’m writing this letter to you to express how much I appreciate you and how thankful I am for you being a part of my life, especially during my teenage years. The bottom line is that you mean the world to me and I love you to death. Channel Marker was a great “safe zone” for me in high school and I’m glad I stuck through it, even though I felt as though I did not need it. My mother knew I did. I can’t speak for all of the Channel Marker county locations, but the one in Dorchester County is the best one and you Mr. Arville are a big reason for that.

Looking back at it, I miss our times together. From the rides to Ocean City to the basketball games at Sandy Hill, there was never a dull moment when I was around you. Whenever my mother and I got into it, I always wished you could just come get me because you knew how to calm me down. It seems as though you just have that effect on kids. Our times together weren’t always dandelions and roses. We didn’t have the perfect relationship, but I can 100% say that we had and still have a quality relationship.

You taught me life lessons and skills that will make me succeed, not only as a person but as a professional such as yourself. Just watching the way you talk to other adults and professionals impressed me. Even watching you handle other disruptive kids impressed me. I admit that patience is an important skill to adapt and I feel as though I improved tremendously with that skill because of you. Other skills I learned from being in Channel Marker are: opening up more in a group setting, being an active leader, and ways to take and give constructive criticism. All of these skills/attributes (and much more) are why I am so successful today.

This upcoming Fall, I will be moving to Orlando, Florida to attend the University of Central Florida’s Graduate Program for Hospitality & Tourism Management. This is HUGE for me. Not only did I get accepted into graduate school, but I got accepted to my #1 college choice! It’s easy for me to thank my advisors and teachers at Frostburg, but I would never have even thought about college if it wasn’t for you. You were my role model in high school. You went to college and you always talked about it to me. So, I decided to focus on college instead of working or joining the military.

  I want to end this letter by again saying thank you for caring for me. Obviously, you’ve done more than what I mentioned in this letter, but I just want you to know that I am successful because of you and Channel Marker. This may sound corny but YOU ARE Channel Marker. God did not put you in my life for the money you earned to do a job.  You proved that to me numerous times. I love you Mr. Arville (like my own father) and keep up the good work.

Love,

Your Son, Rashaan

 

An Open Letter to Representative Andy Harris on Immigration Policy

Dear Dr. Harris,

On the evening of Thursday, June 21, groups of your constituents gathered at your branch offices in Chester, Salisbury, and Bel Air to protest the Trump administration’s policies on immigration.

Seventy-five of us came together at your office in Chester. As concerned citizens of the United States, we are deeply troubled by the treatment toward peaceful asylum seekers that has been perpetrated by the President and his administration and condoned by members of Congress. We ask that, as our representative in the Maryland’s First Congressional District, you represent instead our values and the founding values of our nation, which owes it strength to the ingenuity and hard work of generations of immigrants.

As a physician, you swore the Hippocratic Oath, which begins with the statement, “First, do no harm.” Yet, the immigration policies you and the President support unquestionably cause harm. To respect your oath, you must ensure the following:

First, that the children and parents separated at the border be reunited immediately.
Second, that you investigate and punish those who perpetrated this policy of family separation and child abuse.
Third, that you work to reverse the inhumane so-called “zero tolerance” policies of the current administration. These policies have led to the current crisis and do not represent an acceptable and humane path forward.
Fourth, that you censure the President’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric about immigrants. Such rhetoric leads our country down a dangerous path by dehumanizing human beings in need.
Fifth, that you fight for a reversal of the new H-2B visa lottery system which has led to the current crisis in the crabbing industry on the Eastern Shore.

Thus far, our concerns have been unanswered. Your staff has been unable to answer our queries about how you plan to act on this issue, and one staff member even suggested that the media’s reporting of family separation was inaccurate and that constituents are overreacting when we call to express our horror at seeing children torn from their parents.

What’s more, your public response to the family separation crisis, a statement that more detention centers should be created to hold families together, is no solution. Asylum seekers should not be treated as criminals, and families should not be held indefinitely in internment camps while the U.S. government tries to figure out how to implement its own ineffective and cruel policies.

We are watching and waiting. We sincerely hope that you will act immediately to solve the humanitarian crisis created by this administration in a way that privileges tolerance and respect for human life over cruelty and small-mindedness.

Sincerely,

Kitty Maynard, Administrative Team member, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible
Dorotheann Sandusky, President, Democratic Club of Queen Anne’s County
Denice Lombard, Co-chair, Talbot Rising

On behalf of 75 concerned constituents

Denice Lombard
Tilghman Island

 

Thank You Talbot County

Thank you, Talbot County

It takes a lot of work to make democracy work, and everyone who participated in Tuesday’s primary election deserves our thanks.

So here’s a shout out to the Talbot County Election Board members and staff, the election judges and all of the others who spent a very long day making it possible for voters to vote. And let’s not forget the folks who safely and securely stored the equipment and then transported it to and from a dozen polling places located all over the county. Or to the churches, schools and firehouses that opened their doors to us.

And here’s to every candidate in every race, regardless of party. It’s hard work to run for office. It takes perseverance and stamina as well as a thick skin and stout heart. You have my respect and gratitude for stepping forward.

Let’s not forget all of the campaign volunteers who make phone calls, place signs, manage data, go door-to-door, staff offices, lick envelopes, and set up for and clean up from events, and so much more. They deserve our gratitude no matter which campaign or party they support.

And last but not least, the biggest shout out of all to the voters! You came early, and you came late. You came with kids in tow and in wheelchairs. You came in work trucks and sports cars, on bicycles and on foot. You showed up when so many others stayed home, and you deserve our thanks for your commitment to democracy.

I’ve worked the polls in many roles over the years, and I am always deeply moved by the process. Casting a vote—or making it possible for others to safely cast an informed vote—is profoundly important to our community and our country.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for showing up.

Naomi Hyman
Easton