Sukkot Celebration Matched with Concern for the Environment by Rabbi Peter Hyman

Starting Sunday night, September 23rd, at sundown, the Jewish community in Easton will join Jewish communities around the world in celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. We will moving our meals outside, to a temporary dwelling called a Sukkah. Spending time in the Sukkah, with a roof of branches open to the sky, invites us to be more aware of the changing seasons, our environment and more mindful of our place in the natural world.

Like faith communities everywhere, congregants at Temple B’nai Israel, have become increasingly concerned about the impact we are having on our environment. We’re mindful that our burning fossil fuels for electricity is pouring heat-trapping climate pollution into the atmosphere, damaging our climate and hurting our neighbors, close to home and around the world.

As warmer temperatures at the poles melt land-based ice, our seas are rising. Our own Eastern Shore communities are among the most vulnerable to rising seas. The subsidence of the Delmarva Peninsula and the slowing of the Gulf Stream will only exacerbate the harm caused by rising waters. Right here in our region, farmers, fishermen, and other residents are contending with wetter springs, hotter summers, and chronic flooding from coastal storms.

As we conclude the Sukkot holiday, the holiday in the Jewish calendar that focuses us environmental stewardship and ecological responsibility, we will reinsert into our daily liturgy a few seasonal words. We will praise God “Who causes wind to blow and rain to fall.” Here on the Eastern Shore, we can particularly appreciate this blessing and promise of the wind blowing across our coastal waters.

Recently, I along with other faith leaders, signed a letter to Congressman Andy Harris, speaking out proudly that our communities have an opportunity to show national leadership by hosting the Skipjack and U.S. Wind offshore wind projects. We called on Rep. Harris to oppose any expansion of oil and gas development and exploration in the Atlantic.

To address these problems, here in Easton and beyond, we’ll need to come together. Sukkot is a holiday for warmly welcoming guests! So we invite the entire Easton community to join us at Temple B’nai Israel this Thursday evening, September 27th at 7 pm for a free screening of the film “Reinventing Power,” and to gather in the Sukkah afterwards for a conversation about the promise of clean energy for our region. It’s a joyous time of year, please join us.

Rabbi Peter Hyman is the rabbi of Congregation Temple B’nai Israel, The Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore in Easton. The film screening, hosted by Interfaith Power & Light and Temple B’nai Israel, will take place Thursday, September 27th at 7 pm at 7199 Tristan Drive in Easton.

Mid-Shore Goes Purple: Bayleigh Chase offers presentation on Medication Safety this Friday

The greater community is invited to Integrace Bayleigh Chase on Friday, September 21 at 1p.m. for a special presentation from Beth Williams, Talbot County Coordinator for the Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP). Williams will be speaking about medication safety and the proper disposal of medications.

This presentation is being offered in support of Talbot Goes Purple, the substance abuse awareness initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Admission to Beth Williams’ presentation at Integrace Bayleigh Chase is free. For more information or to RSVP, guests may call 410-763-7167.

Event Overview:

What:              “Medication Safety and Proper Disposal of Medications,” presented by Beth Williams, Talbot County OMPP Coordinator

When:             Friday, September 21, 2018; 1pm

Where:            Taylor Auditorium at Integrace Bayleigh Chase, 501 Dutchman’s Lane, Easton, Md. 21601

Cost:               Free

RSVP:             410-763-7167

A Republican’s View of Jesse Colvin and His Candidate For Congress by Philip Webster

I am a lifelong Republican, as was my father before me, but I am now working hard to elect Jesse Colvin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District of Maryland.

I have decided it is time to place Country before Party in the First District race. For nearly eight years, I have been baffled and disillusioned by the policy positions, votes, behavior and affiliations of Rep. Harris. The list is endless: His membership in the Freedom Caucus that has been obstructionist rather than helpful; his support for foreign leaders who are not America’s friends; his positions and statements on the Bay, the environment, healthcare reform, the truthfulness of the media, trade, immigration, aid for natural catastrophes and gun violence; his lack of leadership in the Congress, where he is held in such lack of regard that no one has made him a Committee leader; and his lack of any major legislative initiative during his entire tenure.

I am bothered by Rep. Harris’ invisibility to his constituents, either in person or in communications. He seems scared of us. I have met, seen or spoken to eight American presidents – Democrats and Republicans – in my public affairs career. But I never see Rep. Harris, who seems almost never to leave his office, particularly to visit the Eastern Shore. And his communications to his constituents is either non-existent or baffling.

So I have now decided it is time to put Country before Party as far as my Congressman is concerned. I have also decided it is time to begin to vote for individuals who are committed to public service, rather than their own self-interest, regardless of what race, gender, background and political party they belong to.

Which brings me to Jesse Colvin, with whom I have spent several hours, in person, in give and take sessions with his future constituents, and on the telephone chatting about policy and issues. I like what I see.

First, I like Jesse’s background. He graduated from a top and tough school – Duke University – which is a very competitive place in which to succeed. He decided not to chase the big corporate dollars and did what few Duke graduates do, entering the U.S. Army and a life of service to his country, doing four tours in

Afghanistan as an Army Ranger officer fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban. He returned to Columbia University to learn how policies are made, and then investigated fraud and other illegal activity on Wall Street.

Second, I like Jesse’s innate and engrained leadership traits and his sense of service. As an Army veteran, I understand what serving with others from all backgrounds in sometimes dangerous situations is like. It is a transforming experience that builds leaders. We need more young veterans in Congress. They have “the right stuff”.

Third, I like Jesse’s attributes. He is modest with self-deprecating humor. He is smart as a whip, incisive in his thinking. He listens to you before he talks. He cares about your problems and issues. He is a moderate person, as are most of my Republican, Democratic and Independent friends in the First District. He believes in compromise and getting things done. While he is running as a Democrat, he is really running as a non-partisan American.

Fourth, I like Jesse’s values. He has learned to run at the problem, not away from it. He is action- and results-oriented. He is not focused on criticism or ideology, but on finding solutions that help his constituents and help his country. He will lead with strength and compassion, something you learn when you are at war. He is honest and truthful. He is a family man, smart enough to marry a Republican woman who is a leader in her own right, and now a young father, with a big stake in assuring the next generation enjoys America’s freedoms and opportunities.

I am finding many disenchanted Republicans and Independents, who are joining me in supporting Jesse Colvin, a candidate many have called a Servant Leader, one who will serve his constituents and his country through enlightened non-partisan leadership, not self-interest. I encourage my First District neighbors to join us.

Philip J. Webster of St. Michaels has been the Eastern Shore Chairman, Trustee or Committee Chair of the Avalon Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, Aspen Wye Fellows, Christ Church – St. Michaels, Aspen Institute Wye River Campus, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Miles River Yacht Club Foundation, Chesapeake Music and ShoreRivers. He was an officer of three New York Stock Exchange-listed companies and two international consulting firms.

Mid-Shore Goes Purple: Going Deeper on How to Change Treatment for Opioid Addiction

With the Mid-Shore now in the middle of its Purple public awareness campaign of the horrors of opioid addiction, there is a logical question to ask if there are any new breakthroughs in the actual treatment of those that suffer this terrible fate.

That is why the Spy was interested in a article on Axios over the weekend that addressed that question.  Here is some of recommendations:

Get People into the System

People with opioid use disorder frequently end up in a hospital, or in the criminal justice system, but those institutions often just handle the crisis in front of them and move on. They should act as a pipelines to help get people into treatment programs, experts said.

  • “It’s not as if people with opioid use disorder aren’t involved in the health care system, it’s that their addiction goes under the radar,” said John Hopkins’ Caleb Alexander.
  • A recent study found that only 30% of people revived by an EMT or in an emergency room after an overdose received medication to help treat their underlying addiction.

The solutions: The justice system could offer or require addiction treatment more often, and doctors could be better trained to recognize and respond to addiction.

  • “Right now we have silos of care outside of medicine. Methadone and [buprenorphine] clinics should be right next to emergency rooms,” said Stanford’s Anna Lembke.

Make the most effective treatments available

Experts agree that medication-assisted treatment works — and that it works even better when paired with psychotherapy and long-term care. But those services aren’t always accessible.

  • “Any of the major leaders in this movement will tell you that 50% of the providers out there do not practice the evidence-based medicine,” said Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman who is now a mental health advocate.
  • Many doctors aren’t prepared for patients with opioid use disorder, and few medical schools teach addiction medicine, the New York Times recently reported.

The solutions“Increasing the oversight to ensure that all folks get access to MAT + evidence based psychosocial treatment as a condition of insurance reimbursement, especially with Medicaid, would be a good first step,” said Jay Unick of the University of Maryland.

  • Congress’ opioid bills would let doctors prescribe MAT to more patients at the same time, and would provide loan repayment as an incentive for providers to work in facilities that treat substance use disorder.
  • Expanding telemedicine would also increase access to treatment for people who don’t live near a qualified provider.

Dispense at pharmacies and syringe exchanges. Make it free. These medications should be cheaper and easier to access than heroin. Not the other way round,” said Leo Beletsky, a Northeastern University law professor.

Make Treatment More Affordable

Insurance often doesn’t cover addiction treatment, and even if it does, it doesn’t cover it long-term. Federal law requires insurers to provide the same coverage for mental health services as they do for physical health, but those rules are often poorly enforced.

  • “Until there is real parity and doctors and/or hospitals are incentivized to provide this treatment, they will continue to prescribe pills and do procedures and surgeries, because that is what pays,” Lembke said.

The solutions: Experts suggested more stringent enforcement of state and federal mental health parity laws, which should lead to better-designed insurance plans.

  • “The barriers are inadequate networks of addiction medicine, pain medicine and related mental health and cognitive behavioral health services,” said Jack Deutsch of the American Medical Association.

Medicaid plays a big role here, too. Medicaid paid for more addiction treatment than all private insurers combined in 2014.

  • More states should adopt the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, experts said.
  • The House’s opioids bill would also roll back a federal ban on Medicaid funding for treatment facilities that have more than 16 beds.

Read the full article here

Cellist Denise Nathanson to Perform in Oxford September 16

Denise Nathanson, cellist, will be presenting an afternoon of delightful cello music Sunday afternoon, September 16, 2018, at 4 p.m. The Church of the Holy Trinity (Oxford) is excited to have our friend, colleague, and community member share her amazing talents and vivacious personality with us.

Two friends have been playing together on sultry summer afternoons at Holy Trinity. This concert evolved from our time of music making, talking, and laughing – a few of our favorite pieces! You are certain to enjoy an all British program featuring beautiful, light pieces from composers, such as William Lloyd Webber (father of Andrew Lloyd Webber). Included are the stunning cello pieces by Paradis, Faure, and Schubert, featured at Prince Harry’s recent wedding.

This is a wonderful and rare opportunity to experience Denise Nathanson in concert.

Being part of a musical family, Denise began her cello studies at the age of 8. She furthered her studies at Florida State University and The Catholic University of America (DC). Ms. Nathanson went on to serve as a Principal with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and Associate Principal for the Annapolis and Roanoke (VA) Symphony Orchestras. She was a professor at Anne Arundel Community College and Frederick Community College, where she performed numerous concerts with the Hood College Chamber Players. Ms. Nathanson has performed chamber music in many venues: Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and in numerous local concert series in Talbot and Anne Arundel Counties.

Ms. Nathanson also served as a Music Program Director for Academy Art Museum in Easton. As an educator, she has been active in developing and performing in outreach programs through the State of Maryland. She currently maintains a private studio in Key West Florida.

Presently Ms. Nathanson resides most of the year in Key West, where she is the Music Director for the Key West Community Orchestra. In December 2016, she formed The Key West Duo with violinist Irie Monte. They offer elegant chamber music for all occasions. Ms. Nathanson is an RTY-200 hour yoga instructor, teaching at Shakti Yoga (Key West) and locally when she is in Oxford. In her free time, Denise enjoys needlepoint and can be found teaching classes and helping fellow stitchers.

For further information, please contact The Church of the Holy Trinity, 502 S. Morris St, Oxford. Our phone number is 410-226-5134. An offering will be taken for artist expenses. Please bring a friend and join us!

Op-Ed: The Talbot County Council Voted the Wrong Way on Chapter 190 of the County Code by Naomi Hyman

The Talbot County Comprehensive Plan’s stated goal is “to promote a high quality of life, to preserve the rural character of County and to protect the health, safety and well-being of its citizens in a resilient community.”

The Next Step 190 website notes that the County Council decided to update Chapter 190 of the County Code (the official document that regulates growth, development and preservation within Talbot County) “specifically to ensure that the Comprehensive Plan is implemented in an efficient manner.”

So how did we end up with a Code revision that permits more development, more and louder amplified outdoor music and unlimited short-term rentals—even after an extraordinary level of public comment that overwhelming rejected those changes?

Why were amendments to limit new event venues with amplified outdoor music, maintain our current 55db noise level, limit or otherwise control short-term rentals, and curtail development rejected without serious consideration?

I can only speculate as to the reasons why a consistent majority of the current council chose to vote as they did. But the end result is legislation that is inconsistent with the stated goals of the Comprehensive Plan, the objective of the Chapter 190 code revision and the overwhelming majority of those who attempted to have a voice in the future of our County.

While I don’t always agree with Ms. Price and Mr. Bartlett, as it pertains to 190, I want to commend them for their efforts to serve their constituents and the stated goals of this process in the face of unrelenting opposition.

The opportunity to influence the outcome of these deliberations is over, but there is one more option for public comment, and that is on Election Day. If this is not the future you seek for Talbot County, make your wishes known at the ballot box on November 6th.

Naomi Hyman is a candidate for Talbot County Council and lives in Easton.

Letter to the Editor: Councilwoman Price’s Hypocrisy Knows no Bounds

U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon with distinction and in a non – partisan manner; once noted “everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts”.

Good advice to those who have been reading the never-ending deluge of letters to the editor in various local media from individuals who have expressed their own opinions without facts to back up them up. The only fact that can be verified is an intense dislike of the following members of the Talbot County Council – Jennifer Williams, Corey Pack and Chuck Callahan. This fact was especially apparent in comments made on one issue currently before the County Council.

That issue is the vote on Next Step 190; a vote on the full revision of the zoning code which is almost 300 pages in length. As is the case with virtually every relatively complex and controversial land use and development matter, the public is always best served with thoughtful consideration. Unfortunately, opinions have been expressed that Council members Williams, Pack and Callahan have taken unprecedented steps to delay decisions on this matter. This simply isn’t true.

It is and has been the policy of Council to defer a vote until the next meeting upon the request of ANY Council member. Up until the August 28, 2018 Council meeting, every Council member had respectfully agreed to observe that long standing practice. That all changed when Councilwoman Laura Price decided unilaterally to disregard that policy and publicly denounced fellow Council member Chuck Callahan for not being ready to vote.

Her lack of respect for and civility to a colleague was disturbing, particularly since she herself has made use of this policy in the past when every other Council member but Councilwoman Price was ready and wanted to vote on an issue. In this respect, Councilwoman Price’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. This hypocrisy rivals what we are witnessing in the halls of Congress where disrespect and the advancement of one’s own political interests come before time honored and useful rules of engagement.

Is this really the type of person we need on the Talbot County Council?

Sears Wheeler
Easton

Letter to the Editor: County before Party

I am a registered Republican. I always vote for the best candidate in any election, Republican or Democrat. This is particularly important in local elections. In Talbot County, Republican Laura Price and Democrat Pete Lesher will get my vote in the November 6 election. There is no question that they are both intelligent, thoughtful and committed to maintaining the rural countryside that makes Talbot County such a desirable place in which to live. Laura (along with retiring Councilman, Dirck Bartlett) has been most diligent recently in making sure sewer lines in the County do not promote unwanted growth in the County.

In her eight years on the County Council Laura has also been exceptionally thorough in studying the County budget, promoting reasonable, balanced proposals. Pete has done an outstanding job on the Easton Town Council for 12 years as part of a team that continues to make Easton a great place to live. County before party should be the thought process in deciding what candidates are best for Talbot County.

Jane Bollman
Easton

Letter to the Editor: Panic Attack? Here’s The Story

Yesterday the Spy published a fascinating letter from Mr. Leon Sheer, husband of the Chairwoman of the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, entitled “Vote Against Laura Price” and expressing outrage against her, a fellow Republican. Given the identity of the author, I believe most would reasonably interpret that letter as virtually an official manifesto from the GOP Central Committee.

Mr. Sheer claimed that Ms. Price “has decided to attack fellow Council members” (all of whom are other Republicans); he accused her of disloyalty “to the Republican Party;” and he urged Republicans to vote for Jennifer Williams and all other republican candidates and “anybody else except Price.” Referring to “those attacks,” he asserts that they are “dirty politics and should not be tolerated in our County.” Wow.

Here is why Mr. Sheer’s vitriolic attack on Ms. Price is not just wrong, but 180 degrees wrong.

BACKSTORY:

I am the person who brought to the County Council meeting on Tuesday evening five (5) clipboards, each with a sign-up sheet announcing a “Coalition to Unseat Jennifer Williams and her allies, Pack and Callahan,” and inviting people who were interested to sign up. (See photo attached.) I warrant to all that neither Laura Price nor any other living soul (my wife included) knew anything about this–either the “coalition effort” or the actual sign-up sheets. For better or worse, I acted on my own initiative consulting no one else—certainly not Ms. Price, who in all likelihood would have tried to dissuade me. And I took these clipboards to the Council meeting for somewhat the same reason Willie Sutton hung around banks.

For many reasons (to be discussed in coming weeks), I believe Ms. Williams and her constant allies are pursuing many policies detrimental to Talbot County and its citizens in the long term. And I believe the only responsible action in this democracy is to take positive action to un-elect them. Isn’t that so? I think Jennifer and Corey and Chuck would acknowledge that it is not personal–in the sense of being motivated by any antipathy to them as individuals—but it is serious and motivated by different viewpoints about substantive issues local to Talbot County.

Incidentally, the infamous clipboards were not distributed in a surreptitious manner. The purpose could not have been more clearly labeled, and they were intended to get to everyone in the room—knowing some (most) would be interested in linking up and a few would not. I had my name and phone number on the boards–so that they might work there way back to me…and all did. (Indeed, a majority in the room signed on.)

One of those who did not agree was the Executive Director of the Mid Shore Board of Realtors, who took a quick snapshot of the sign-up sheet. That snapshot promptly went to the overseers of the local party, leading to yesterday’s screed. Irresponsibly, though my name and number was on the material, no one from the republican central committee contacted me to make any inquiry prior to blasting Ms. Price. I would be surprised if they asked her about it either.

IT’S NOT ABOUT PARTY:

And that takes me to the “republican” thing. This effort to defeat Ms. Williams and others has nothing to do with party. Nothing. The Council’s issues are all local issues, with Jennifer leading in the wrong direction (IMHO), Chuck and Corey in support. Do the Sheers really think the people angry with this Council are all Democrats? Registered republicans, trying to enjoy an evening on the deck, do they not hear noise at 65 decibels? Are there no republicans who live along our County roads where sewer lines will soon be run….or is it that such republicans favor new subdivisions, while only their democrat neighbors don’t? And STRs? Maybe putting a commercial use in the middle of a neighborhood only irritates registered democrats, and only devalues homes owned by D’s. Talbot’s Comprehensive Plan which Ms. Williams and allies try to undercut whenever possible, was the product 2 years of hard work by engaged citizens of both parties, and many independents too.

Unlike the Sheers, I believe the people of Talbot County recognize that this Council election is not about ideology or party issues, but practical problems demanding thoughtful pragmatic solutions reflecting the input and opinions of citizens and a fidelity to the Comp Plan. If the republicans put up 5 candidates committed to that, then bully for them—vote for those candidates! Same with the Dems. But fact is, Williams, Callahan and Pack  have demonstrated an indifference if not opposition to the principles of the Comp Plan, and a single-minded intention to ignore the opinions and input of engaged citizens. So the effort to unseat them is altogether bipartisan, and no one in this coalition cares who is and R and who is a D or and Independent. We just want to protect our County and have it grow and prosper in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

THE PARTY’S ATTACK ON LAURA PRICE:

All that said, look again at the bitter attack made by Mr. Sheer on Laura Price:

It was not Ms. Price who “decided to attack fellow Council members.” Apparently it never occurred to the party bosses that mere citizens could think of taking action–even though the meeting room was once again filled to capacity with angry citizens whose opinions were acknowledged by Laura Price and ignored by Williams and her constant allies.

How is it that Ms. Price was disloyal “to the Republican Party?” Had the republican central committee put out some sort of directive as to how to vote on Bill 1401, including the noise and STR amendments which went against most citizens’ positions?
And “dirty tricks that should not be tolerated in our County?” What can a thinking person even say?

Finally, appreciate the irony that the husband of the Chairwoman of the Republican Central Committee, without inquiring fully about the events in question, would launch a vehement and unqualified attack on a particular Republican council person alleging disloyalty based on a misunderstood attack that Ms. Price hadn’t even known about. Some demonstration of loyalty, eh? Almost Shakespearean.

Dan Watson
Talbot County

PS–I’ve heard second hand that some readers, on the basis of yesterday’s attack piece, have sent nasty emails to Ms. Price, and at least one supporter requested that their contribution to her campaign be refunded. In fairness, I do hope the information above might trigger some reconsideration.

Letter to the Editor: Laura Price Must Be Re-elected

A response to the highly partisan, nasty, and untrue letter written by Leon Sheer is required. I recognize that his approach is “Republicans above all else”, and he apparently believes Laura Price has not been towing the line, and therefore she should be defeated.

First, if Ms. Price has strayed from the Republican Party line, then the Republicans of Talbot County have strayed from what’s important to the residents of Talbot County. Second, Ms. Price hasn’t attacked her fellow Council Members. Those of us who have attended a number of Council meetings have been dismayed by how rudely and dismissively both Councilwoman Price and Councilman Bartlett have been treated by Council President Williams. Councilwoman Price is usually the ONLY Council member who takes notes, demonstrates a deep understanding of the budget, and other “in the weeds” details of the Comprehensive Plan as well as the specific issues that were under consideration in the Step 190 process.

Councilwoman Price has been the leader in offering innovative, practical, and needed ideas, bills and amendments. Her ideas are often shut out by Jennifer Williams and her supporters Corey Pack and Chuck Callahan. We need Councilmembers who listen to and support the views of County residents.

Local government should not be about political parties. There are talented members in both major political parties. Talbot County has thousands of unaffiliated voters. They are watching and listening to what has transpired in this Council session. The election should be about choosing the candidates who are the most appropriate representatives of Talbot County’s residents, regardless of their political affiliation. We need to be able to function in a bipartisan way that will represent a range of views. We all live in this wonderful County and should focus on all the best candidates, regardless of party when we go to the polls in November. Spreading hate, mistrust , and untrue allegations is not useful.

Laura Price must be re-elected. She is the only Council member running for re-election who has studied the issues, offered substantive and needed amendments, and has withstood disrespectful treatment from her Council colleagues without losing her focus and professionalism. She listens to all constituents and acts appropriately as our representative.

There are strong Democratic candidates who will round out the new Council and represent Talbot County residents on both sides of the aisle who want to keep it rural, preserve our critical areas, and keep our residents safe. Your vote counts!

Julie Susman
Royal Oak