A Conversation with St. Michaels Commissioners President William Boos

As a result of feedback from Spy readers over the last few months, we begin today a series of interviews over the next year with Talbot County and town council presidents. By providing a platform to highlight particular issues and opportunities through these conversations, it is hoped this new format will encourage more civic engagement.

We start this new series with a discussion with William Boos, president of the Town of St Michaels Commissioners. While the Spy and Bill talked of many subjects related to St Michaels during our first interview, it was the Spy’s editorial choice to highlight Bill’s comments about the town’s plans, and some serious misunderstandings, on its intention to build a new town hall in the foreseeable future at Fremont and Canton Streets.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about the Town of St. Michaels please go here.


Talbot County Unboxed: Londonderryopoly

The hot game in Easton everyone is talking about might not be Pickleball anymore. It’s a variation of a board game that almost everyone is familiar with, and it’s called Londonderryopoly.

Londonderryopoly, modeled after the classic Monopoly board game, was created by the Londonderry team as its 2018 holiday gift. The game board features images of Londonderry and the amenities. The property squares are named after the cottages and apartment floor plans located in Londonderry, names such as Waverly, Neavitt and Tred Avon.

The game pieces feature symbols of the Eastern Shore like a duck and sailboat. The entire game experience is uniquely “Londonderry” and has received rave reviews from residents, community and business partners.

The Spy received its own copy and decided to unbox it as a community service.

This video is approximately one minute  in length. For more information about Londonderry, please go here.

Elvis is in the Building: TAP Presents Four Weddings and an Elvis

For TAP director John Norton, Four Weddings and an Elvis had so many things going for it to make it the kick off of the 2019 Tred Avon Players season.

The first, of course, was Elvis. The second was that it was funny, and finally, despite great reviews, rarely been performed since Nancy Frick wrote it in 2010. All of which made it a perfect production for TAP and its loyal audience.

But that is only part of the reason that director Norton is excited about the TAP Elvis production. In his short Spy interview, John has added a special twist to each performance with a raffle of a lifesize Elvis to take home with the lucky winner.

The Spy caught up with John at Bullit House last week to talk about the play and the fun that comes when Elvis is in the building.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information and tickets please go here



Two Friends Talking “Gratitude”

Welcome back to the Talbot Spy’s third effort in using the podcast model as one of our many tools in telling stories. While we welcome our readers to watch these broadcasts, they have been created with listening in mind, without significant editing, and to be enjoyed as a long-form presentation.

And that is undoubtedly the intention here as the Spy starts a new series entitled “Two Friends Talking.” Knowing of the joy, humor, and a good bit of wisdom that comes when two close friends sit over coffee and chat about a serious subject, the Spy was eager to find some way to share the remarkably educational moments that come with that exchange. Beyond the hard talk of local politics or neighborhood chatter, these conversations can unexpectedly drift from the mundane to the intellectually-demanding task of understanding the meaning of words like faith, compassion, death, kindness or forgiveness.

While many nationally-broadcast programs bring well-known personalities together for such dialogues, the Spy wanted to bring this kind of exchange to the local level; respectfully listening to, and learning from, the heart-to-heart talks of those in Talbot County known in the community as being both wise and candidly self-aware.

Two of those that truly fit that bill are Amy Haines (founder and owner of Out of the Fire) and her friend of many years, artist and educator Sue Stockman. And with the Spy’s eternal gratitude, these fearless two have agreed to be part of this experiment.

Once a month, Amy and Sue will randomly select a word out of a large bowl filled with dozens of words that the two agreed in advance on as worthy of a conversation. All of which was to take place one Sunday every month in Amy’s cozy basement.

Beginning each program with the aromatherapeutic benefit of burning a bit of palo santo, Amy and Sue plop down on the sofa with that one word for thirty minutes for thought-provoking, humorous, and sometimes touching moments of reflection.

This month: gratitude.

Offered to our Spy readers with minimal editing, we hope you will enjoy as much as the Spy does, of these two friends talking.

This podcast is approximately thirty-five minutes in length.

Mid-Shore Habitat: A Quick Look at Atelier 11 Architecture

To those who have a keen eye for architecture, it is no secret that Easton-based Atelier 11 has had a significant impact on how Talbot County looks these days. From their earliest projects on Aurora Street, when Lauren Dianich and her partner/husband, Jon Braithwaite, were just beginning their practice, to such well known new buildings like the new Clubhouse at Londonderry, the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, Brookletts Place Senior Center, Talbot Hospice, and some extraordinary private residences in the area.

In fact, one of the few places where one can’t find Atelier 11’s fingerprints might be at their new office at 1 East Dover. After more than a decade working from their studio on Aurora, the firm decided to relocate into an historic building on the corner of Dover and Washington Street.

The Spy caught up with Lauren, and her colleague Tom Batchelor, last month to talk briefly about a few of their local projects and how they developed the reputation of not only timeless designs but projects that stay on budget.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about  Atelier 11 Architecture please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: Composer and Singer Barbara Parker on Being the New Kid on the Block

It is hard to think of another community where such a shockingly large number of people who live here can name at least five of the most outstanding female vocalists in the area. Remarkably different in their gifts and generous in their support, these professional artists have set a high bar for any newcomer.

That is what visual artist and writer Barbara Parker realized when she decided to take her love of words and combine them with music around 2005. That may seem like a long time ago, but in her Spy chat, she still feels she is still just catching up to these masters who she has admired since arriving in Kent County in 1982.

Collaborating with pianist Joe Holt, another great Kent County master, Barbara has started to perfect her performance style. Using a repertoire of her compositions which were developed with Joe’s arrangements, the twosome has steadily grown a following on the Mid-Shore. Many of whom will no doubt be there when the twosome headline a reception and concert at the Brampton Inn on January 19.

In her Spy interview, she talks about her love of lyrics and music, the awe she has the local talent this small rural community has to offer, and how grateful she has been for their influence and guidance.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. Additional video generously provided by Steve Payne.  Tickets and information about the Brampton Inn concert can be found here.


Mid-Shore Arts: The Case for Entering Plein Air with Diane DuBois Mullaly

This is a particularly intense time for painters deciding whether to enter into the Plein Air competition that takes place every year on the Mid-Shore and sponsored by the Avalon Foundation. That’s because they only have a few weeks to decide before registration closes on January 25.

Entering this event is not a decision to be taken lightly. Artists are signing up for a very demanding international competition, which all takes place, rain or shine, in some of the Eastern Shore’s hottest conditions in July. It also requires painters to do their work in only five days with a minimum of two finished pieces to be presented for review.

And yet, artists like the accomplished Diane DuBois Mullaly make the argument that without those unique demands, they would not have produced some of their best work. To decide locations and paint quickly, is all part of the challenge for Diane.

To help those local artists that haven’t made up their mind yet, the Spy sat down with Diane to talk about why she loves Plein Art, the fun of pushing one’s self, and the great joy of socializing and learning from her fellow painters each summer.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. To enter Plein Air Easton – 2019 please go here.



Another Kind of Financial Crisis: Junior Achievement Combats Shore Student Financial Illiteracy

Little did Junior Achievement know when it started nearly one hundred years ago that the financial education organization would be as timely in 2018 as it was when founded in 1919. J.A., as it’s known to millions of students and volunteers, continues a tradition of engaging young people in the fundamental basics of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship at a time when those skill sets are in extremely high demand.

It should be a relief to many on the Mid-Shore that the J.A. has played an educational leadership role in the school districts of Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot County for decades now, as close to 450 volunteers descend on Eastern Shore public schools each year to teach its students such essential life skills as opening a bank account, balancing a checkbook, applying for loans, the dangers of credit card debt,  the importance of savings, or understanding what stocks and bonds are.

With the internet and smartphones now allowing a new generation to simply push a button or scan a thumbprint to almost instantaneously bring anything to one’s door, children of all ages are faced with unprecedented consumer choices, dishonest lenders, and scam artists as they plot their way into adulthood.

Given this under the radar crisis, the Spy sat down with Jayme Hayes, Jim Malena, and Talli Oxnam, three local leaders of Junior Achievement, to catch up on these very real challenges facing the youth in our community and what J.A. is doing locally to address them.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information on Junior Achievement on the Eastern Shore please go here.

Remembering George H. W. Bush: Talbot’s Craig Fuller on the Hill Network

Talbot County resident and Spy columnist drove over the bridge to be part of a panel discussion of the life and legacy of his former boss, George H.W. Bush on The Hill’s Rising program yesterday. The Spy was able to grab a link for our viewer’s interest.


First Night Talbot Turns 25 Years Old

It almost seems like ancient history when and where the first First Night in the country took place, but for the record, it was in Boston in 1975. And within a decade or so, the number of communities hosting such events grew to be 160 cities and towns. That’s the good news. The bad news is that by 2014, only 45 municipalities were continuing this remarkable tradition of celebrating local arts and culture.

Thankfully, one of the last remaining First Nights has been alive and well in Talbot County since 1993. For 25 years, First Night Talbot has been one of the regional highlights of the year, with young families arriving for “Crab Drop” at 9 pm while the adults can stick around for the formal drop at midnight, with another unique programming to go alongside.

The Spy spent some time with longtime First Night volunteer Marie U’Ren and Ross Benincasa of the Easton Business Alliance to recall some of the past and highlight the event’s 25th-anniversary activities this year.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about First Night Talbot please go here 



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