Easton Velocity Plans System Upgrade

Easton Utilities received approval Monday evening to expend up to $12.5 million to upgrade its existing Velocity system utilized to deliver cable television, internet and voice services to the residents in the Town of Easton and surrounding communities. The plan includes constructing an extensive fiber optic network to provide gigabit capacity to all customers.

“As technology continues to improve and bandwidth consumption continues to increase, we must deliver fast and reliable service to our customers,” said Ted L. Book, Director of Cable and Communications for Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities. The plant replacement design will enhance reliability and improve the ongoing maintenance of the system. This project is expected to be a multi-year endeavor with portions of the system completed as early as 2019.

The current system has been in service for 18 years and requires significant resources of both manpower and financial investments. In addition, the need to increase speeds to support growing customer demand requires upgrading to newer technologies. An upgrade of these existing facilities will provide capacity for gigabit speeds to residential customers. “We want to provide our customers with the same experience they can obtain in larger metropolitan areas, and this upgrade combined with our exceptional customer service will help to meet their expectations,” added Book. Gigabit speeds are currently available through special contract agreements.

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is committed to keeping our community connected and current with a variety of service offerings designed to meet the needs of both residential and commercial customers. Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Please visit www.eastonvelocity.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Delmarva Power Expands Incentives for Electric Vehicle Shoppers

Nissan and BMW are offering Delmarva Power customers special incentives that can save them thousands of dollars on the cost of certain all-electric vehicle (EV) models. In addition to the manufacturer incentives, customers could also qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, as well of thousands of dollars in state rebates and tax incentives.

These offerings are part of Delmarva Power’s broader efforts to provide new and innovative services and options for customers across the company’s service area.

“We are seeing a growing interest from our customers in electric vehicles, clean technology and innovative transportation solutions,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “As the electric company responsible for managing the energy grid across most of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we play a critical role in supporting the growth of these new technologies to meet our customers’ evolving needs. These rebates and incentives are another step forward as we work with partners across the region to expand needed charging infrastructure, provide affordable energy services for electric vehicles, and position Delaware and Maryland as leaders in this rapidly growing market.”

Nissan is offering Delmarva Power customers a $3,000 rebate off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2018 LEAF. This offer is available from Nissan North America Inc., through June 30, 2018, or while supplies last. To qualify for the savings, customers must bring a copy of this flyer and show their Delmarva Power bill to participating Nissan dealerships.

BMW is offering Delmarva Power customers $10,000 off the best negotiated purchase price of a new all-electric BMW i3 or BMW i3s through July 31, 2018. To redeem the offer, customers should bring their Delmarva Power bill and a completed Delmarva Power customer information form to their local dealership.

Delmarva Power is actively working to advance EV technology across Delaware and Maryland. In Delaware, the energy company has proposed an innovative program to the Delaware Public Service Commission that will help prepare Delaware for the growth of EVs and provide customers with reduced electric rates, credits, rebates, and other incentives to buy and own EVs.

In Maryland, Delmarva Power partnered with its Exelon sister companies Baltimore Gas and Electric and Pepco, as well as other energy companies and stakeholders, to file a proposal that would create the second largest EV charging network in the U.S. If approved, it would help energy companies meet customers’ needs in the state, where, according to a recent survey released this week by the Edison Electric Institute, an overwhelming majority of residents support expanding EV charging infrastructure.

Customers can learn more about EVs, available incentives, and the company’s ongoing efforts to support the growing interest in EVs here.

Maryland 3.0: A New Kind of Garage for the Car Lovers of the Mid-Shore

One relatively recent trend on the Mid-Shore that sometimes goes unnoticed in comparison to the region’s passion for such things as sailing and art, is the remarkable growth in historic cars and the collection of specialty automobiles. From the annual Ridgely Car Show to the fancier Concours d’Elegance, and more recently, the opening of the Classic Motor Museum in St. Michaels, the Shore is booming with car collectors.

To date, some 2,000 vehicles in the five-county area are considered “historic” by the Maryland DMV, and one can easily doubles that number if including the hundreds of performance and other rare cars that are not old enough for that designation.

The challenge for all those car owners is where to safely keep their pride and joys.

For the very wealthy, the answer is an easy one; simply build more garage space. And perhaps for those on the lower end of the scale, its simply replacing the family sedan with one’s beloved 1970 Volkswagen convertible for example.

But for a significant number of Mid-Shore car enthusiasts, there were very few options in-between for secure storage facilitates that would not only keep these unique museum quality automobiles safe but also well maintained.

That was until now.

Just a few months ago, Mike Kealy, owner of Bay Hundred Auto in St. Michaels which specializes in the maintenance and repair of rare cars, partnered with a customer and friend to solve this gap. Their solution is now open for business in the back of a nondescript commercial warehouse with the appropriate name of Prestige Auto Vault.

The concept is simple enough. Customers park their cars there until they feel the urge to drive them. But unlike many other storage facilities, the Vault takes a few extra steps to ensures the autos are not only secure but also frequently maintained.

Every month, each car in the Vault has a service check. All fluids are inspected, tires are properly inflated, batteries charged, all for the sake of making sure that the vintage car actually works when the client does have the impulse for a Sunday drive in a thirty or forty-year-old car.

The Spy talked to Mike last week to understand more about this entrepreneurial experiment.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Prestige Auto Vault please go here.

Habitat Choptank and Lowe’s to Host National Women Build Week

Next week, Habitat Choptank and Lowe’s will host the annual National Women Build Week from May 5-13 where women volunteers and Habitat homeowners will unite nationwide to build up their communities and gain skills in home construction.

National Women Build Week encourages women nationwide to devote at least one day to help build decent and affordable housing in our local communities. Women have the strength and determination necessary to build Habitat houses, addressing the problem of affordable housing in a concrete way so that families can achieve stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable homes.

Habitat Choptank will be offering the following build days for volunteers to get involved for a full day or a half day.  The build days will be hosted at one of the following locations in Talbot and Dorchester County: Tuesday, May 8th or Wednesday, May 9th in Cambridge; Friday, May 11th or Saturday May 12th in Easton; or Friday, May 11th or Saturday, May 12th in Hurlock.

“Since 2012, Habitat for Humanity Choptank has been uniting strong women volunteers of all experience levels in our Talbot and Dorchester Counties to build or repair homes alongside our hardworking, empowered Habitat homeowners,” said Habitat Choptank Executive Director JoAnn Hansen. “We would like to thank our local Lowe’s for partnering with us to educate, inspire and empower women to build up their communities.”

In fact, according to a 2018 national study by Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity, more than nine-in-10 American women believe providing and advocating for access to affordable housing for women can benefit society. The survey also found:

• Nearly all women (98 percent) agree access to affordable housing helps women heads of household thrive.
• Having a safe, stable home is a source of pride (96 percent) that makes women feel more confident (98 percent) and independent (97 percent).
• Three-in-five (62 percent) women say they cannot afford to purchase a home that meets their family’s needs in the neighborhood where they want to live.

“Lowe’s is proud to sponsor National Women Build Week to educate, inspire and empower women to volunteer alongside other women in their community to address the critical issue of affordable housing. We know women working together are an unstoppable force for creating meaningful change in our communities,” said Colleen B. Penhall, Lowe’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “At Lowe’s, we believe that a safe, stable home is an important source of strength, pride and security for families. Together with Habitat, our Lowe’s Heroes volunteers and women nationwide, National Women Build Week will provide valuable support to advance accessible housing in the communities where we all live and work.”

Lowe’s and Habitat Choptank share the vision that every woman, man and child have a decent place to lay their heads at night. Far too often, low-income families are faced with choosing between paying their housing costs and buying basic necessities like food and medical care to provide for their family. National Women Build Week recruits, educates and inspires women to build, and advocate for decent and affordable houses in their communities alongside their future neighbors—making a difference in their community, one nail at a time.

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 and has brought together more than 117,000 all-women construction volunteers to build or repair homes with nearly 5,000 families over the past 10 years. This year, Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat for Humanity to support the 2018 National Women Build Week, and provides how-to clinics at stores to help equip women volunteers for the builds. Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed over $30 million to Habitat for Humanity International and helped more than 6,500 Habitat families improve their living conditions.

Both women and men of all experience levels can participate by signing up to volunteer or by joining the conversation online. As part of National Women Build Week, Lowe’s and Habitat are activating a social movement to generate conversation about building one another up and sharing the message of women empowerment, positivity and action by using #BuildHer and #WomenBuild. To volunteer or to find out specific job site locations, please call Nora Skiver, Volunteer Coordinator at Habitat Choptank, at 410-476-3204.

About Habitat for Humanity Choptank

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made home ownership possible for 76 families and currently partners with 15 local home buyers. Income qualifying individuals and families are offered access to affordable mortgage financing in order to purchase a new construction or rehabbed home from the nonprofit’s inventory of durable and energy efficient houses.  After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre-homeownership classes, and meeting debt reduction and savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume the full responsibilities of home ownership including maintaining their home, paying property taxes and repaying their mortgage over 30 to 33 years. Habitat accepts applications for its home ownership program throughout the year.  For more information, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 60-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. In the past decade, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $300 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. For the latest news, visit Newsroom.Lowes.com or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

Qlarant Expands National Presence Opening 3 Locations

Qlarant, Inc., a national leader in quality improvement and the fight against fraud, waste, and abuse is pleased to announce an expansion of its national presence with the opening of three new regional offices.

Following the recent Unified Program Integrity Contractor (UPIC) awards for the Southwestern and Western Jurisdictions, Qlarant has expanded its footprint coast to coast to a total of twelve cities. By creating a new Cerritos, California regional hub and relocating its Houston, Texas and Tampa, Florida offices into improved spaces, Qlarant has accommodated the increased workforce and improved on already award winning services.

Jaysen Eisengrein – Sr. VP Qlarant (left) and Scott Ward – Sr. VP Qlarant

“Our new office here in Cerritos puts us in an accessible, visible area that is ideal for working with our existing clients and creating relationships with new customers,” said Jaysen Eisengrein, Qlarant’s Sr. Vice President for the UPIC Western Jurisdiction. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead our experienced team into new areas.”

Workforce expansion and increased customer demand have also necessitated a new office location for Qlarant’s existing Houston staff. With offices also in Dallas and McAllen, Texas, Qlarant’s presence in the Lone Star state continues to grow.

“We’ve called Texas home for nearly a decade and I’m proud that we are continuing our relationship with the State,” said Scott Ward, Qlarant’s Sr. Vice for the UPIC Southwestern Jurisdiction. “The new offices will allow us to grow and continue to improve on the important work we do every day.”

Qlarant’s new offices are part of a long term plan to expand the brand across the entire country. The recent UPIC awards have afforded the company the ability to hire many new associates. For more information on open positions visit www.qlarant.com/careers.

About Qlarant

Qlarant is a not-for-profit nationally respected leader in fighting fraud, waste & abuse, improving program quality, and optimizing performance.  The company uses subject matter experts and innovative data science and technology to help organizations see risks, solve problems, and seize opportunities. Solutions are customized for health and human services organizations, government agencies, and financial and insurance companies. Qlarant employs nearly 500 people and has a 45-year record of accomplishment improving the performance of some of the Nation’s most important programs. www.qlarant.com

Shore United Bank Welcomes Kerry Nagle, Branch Manager

Shore United Bank, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Kerry Nagle has joined the company as Branch Manager at our location in Stevensville, Maryland. Kerry joins Shore United Bank with several years of banking experience.

“We are thrilled to have Kerry on our team. Her knowledge of community banking will allow for her branch to excel under her leadership,” said Jennifer Joseph, Chief Retail Banking Officer of Shore United Bank.

“I am greatly looking forward to working in the community and assisting our customers with any financial needs they may have,” said Ms. Nagle.

Kerry is a volunteer for Junior Achievement, attends Centreville United Methodist Church and is a prior member of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce. Kerry resides in Church Hill, Maryland with her husband, Ralph and their two children, Kendall and Conlan.

For more information about Shore United Bank, visit ShoreUnitedBank.com

Easton Utilities Moves to Tobacco Free Campus

Beginning April 5, 2018, Easton Utilities’ Customer Service Center shifted to a 100% smoke, tobacco and vape free campus. This encompasses the building and its immediate campus, the inside of all other facilities, inside company vehicles including aerial buckets and all drivable equipment, and while on residential or commercial customer’s property. “We fully support a healthy work environment and continue to work with our employees to establish safe, positive behaviors,” stated Vicki L. Petro, Director of Human Resources for Easton Utilities.

In addition, Easton Utilities offers a Cessation Program for employees and their spouses who wish to stop using tobacco products as one of the numerous wellness benefits the company provides. Several Easton Utilities employees have reaped the benefits of health coaching, group classes, phone counseling, and nicotine replacement therapy to eliminate tobacco from their lives. “We are impressed by the involvement of many team members who currently use tobacco products who helped establish these policies as they realize it is in their best interest,” Petro added.

Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Visit www.eastonutilities.com for more information.

Qlarant Management Team Support Habitat Choptank Efforts in Cambridge

Qlarant employees from across the nation were among more than 90 volunteers to join Habitat Choptank on Tuesday, April 24 in an effort to help revitalize a Cambridge neighborhood.  Mayor Victoria Stanley helped to kick off the afternoon addressing Habitat and Qlarant volunteers and staff present with words of welcome and gratitude and an overview of the City of Cambridge’s partnership with the State and Habitat to revitalize a specific neighborhood in Cambridge.  She was joined by Senator Addie Eckardt, Delegate Johnny Mautz, and Commissioner Cannon.

In addition to Habitat’s traditional home ownership program, Habitat Choptank offers low-income homeowners, in and around the neighborhoods where it builds, an array of housing services that include new builds, weatherization services, and critical home repairs through its Neighborhood Revitalization program.  Neighborhood Revitalization involves partnering with local residents, public officials, housing leaders, community groups and businesses to transform neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life in communities.  “On a community level, the Neighborhood Revitalization program addresses real needs and strengthens connections within the community,” says Rhodana Fields, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager of Habitat Choptank.

Mayor Victoria Stanley (front left)

With support from and in partnership with ShoreRivers, teams of volunteers worked together to clear invasive species and trash from vacant lots on High Street following a presentation by ShoreRivers on the importance of water quality and how all of these efforts make a difference in the positive improvement seen in the Choptank River.  Groups of volunteers, with Supervision from Habitat volunteers and staff, also helped build Habitat sheds for homes that are being built, insulate the foundation of a new home, rebuild garden beds and community composts at the Community Garden at Waugh Chapel, and assist with repairs to a resident’s fire damaged property.  Volunteers were also invited to tour a neighboring Habitat-built house to see the level of quality and efficiency in the homes built by Habitat Choptank.

Qlarant Chief Executive Officer, Ron Forsythe presented Habitat for Humanity Choptank with a $2,500 check to support Habitat in serving even more families.

“We are so grateful to have Qlarant here today supporting our mission,” says JoAnn Hansen, Executive Director of Habitat Choptank. “Our mission is much more than just building houses, it is about bringing people together to build communities and hope.”

About Habitat Choptank

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made home ownership possible for 76 families and currently partners with 15 local home buyers. Income qualifying individuals and families are offered access to affordable mortgage financing in order to purchase a new construction or rehabbed home from the nonprofit’s inventory of durable and energy efficient houses.  After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre-homeownership classes, and meeting debt reduction and savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume the full responsibilities of home ownership including maintaining their home, paying property taxes and repaying their mortgage over 30 to 33 years. Habitat accepts applications for its home ownership program throughout the year.  For more information, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.  For more information about Habitat Choptank, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency Supports Academy Art Museum

Ginny Biondi (right) of Avon-Dixon Agency and Ben Simons (left) of Academy Art Museum.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, recently donated to the Academy Art Museum of Easton, MD. Their donation is to help with costs associated with putting on events for the museum. “The Academy Art Museum has been a staple within the community for as long as I can remember, and we are proud to be able to support such an important local organization,” says Biondi, Agent for Avon-Dixon. Accepting the donation is Ben Simons, Executive Director of the museum. The Academy Art Museum is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.

For more information about Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, visit AvonDixon.com

WC Marketing and Communications Lands Five Awards in International Competition

Washington College’s Communications and Marketing team swept up five honors—three platinum and two gold—in the 2018 Hermes Creative Awards, showcasing its work across multiple disciplines and platforms, from the Washington College Magazine to the innovative BuzzFeed campaign to generate college awareness and support enrollment efforts.

Going up against some 6,000 entries in 195 categories from the U.S. and internationally, from sources including marketing and communications departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, and production companies, the College’s CRM team won:

• Platinum (scores of 90-100) for the College’s strategic co-branded content BuzzFeed campaign, for electronic media, social media, and interactive media in content campaigns;
• Platinum for the spring 2018 issue of the Washington College Magazine, “Like a Boss,” in print media and publications for magazines;
• Platinum for the customized yield piece for enrollment, “Read This, We Dare You,” for print media, marketing, and collateral branding;
• Gold (scores of 80-89) for the video “Washington College: You’ll Love This Place,” in electronic media, social media, and interactive media for recruitment,used during the BuzzFeed campaign;
• Gold for the River and Field Campus video “Washington College: The Year of the Bird,” for electronic media, social media, and interactive media for videography.

“This competition put our creative team in CRM up against some noteworthy agencies and industry giants with big budgets, names like AARP, Hilton, PepsiCo,UPS, Deloitte, Harvard Business School, the University of Maryland, Penn State, and the University of Pittsburgh,” says CRM Vice President Rolando Irizarry. “I am so proud of the work we have produced for Washington College. This team possesses that perfect strategic and creative balance necessary for successful marketing and communications tactics. All this while working on tight deadlines for constituencies across the College campus. They are true professionals and these awards just confirm that.”

The Hermes Creative Awards, administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), honor creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. According to a media release, judges “are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.”

The College’s co-branded content BuzzFeed campaign came in for special strategic recognition early on in the awards cycle, when it earned a “2018 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight.” In a blog post on “this year’s most noteworthy Hermes Creative Award entries,” the AMCP noted the collaborative WC-BuzzFeed campaign’s “overwhelming success” of gathering more than 82 million impressions across various social media and web platforms—including BuzzFeed, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram—that reached a targeted audience of prospective college students now in high school.

The Hermes Awards come on the heels of another award for the CRM team this spring, a Communitas Award for a story, video,and local and regional media coverage about the College’s Food Recovery Network project, led by the Student Environmental Alliance (SEA). The organization stated that, “Our judges found that your nominee clearly exhibits the spirit of communitas, a Latin word that means people coming together for the good of a community. Communitas winners are recognized for specific programs involving volunteerism, philanthropy and ethical, sustainable business practices.”

Here are some of the award-winning entries:
BuzzFeed:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/washingtoncollege
You’ll Love This Place: https://youtu.be/JfFvbF9BjyU
Year of the Bird: https://youtu.be/L2EDSsyII6Q
Like a Boss:
Food Recovery Network: https://www.washcoll.edu/live/news/10629-good-eats

For more on the Hermes Creative Awards, visit https://hermesawards.com/

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.