Bountiful Announces Grand Opening Celebration at Its New Building

The Bountiful Interiors family of brands has announced the date of the grand opening celebration for its new building at the “Gateway to Easton.” The event is open to the public and will take place Friday, September 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. In addition to celebrating its new location, Bountiful will be marking its 20th anniversary in Easton. The event will also be a fundraiser to support Channel Marker, Inc. with 20% of the evening’s sales being donated to the organization.

The new building will be home to the company’s complete family of brands, including Bountiful Home, Bountiful Flooring, and Jamie Merida Interiors. Bountiful acquired the 16,000 square foot building in 2018 and has undertaken extensive renovations to convert it to a retail store and design studio.

“Thanks to the incredible support of the local community, Bountiful keeps growing year-over-year and we were in desperate need of a bigger space,” said Jamie Merida, owner of Bountiful. “After 20 years, we thought it was time to make an investment in our own property that we can fully customize to meet our needs. We are absolutely thrilled to see that vision come to fruition.”

Merida also said he was excited about partnering with Channel Marker, Inc. for the grand opening event. “We always like to leverage our events to support the community, and this is our first time working with Channel Marker. They do such important work to help individuals with mental illness lead more fulfilling and independent lives, and we’re so pleased to help support their mission.”

In addition to housing the Bountiful brands, the property will be home to Turnbridge Talbot, the new bakery and café by owners Rob Griffith and Chef Steve Konopelski. Konopelski is a pastry chef who has earned a strong local following through his flagship bakery Turnbridge Point in Denton and his many appearances on Food Network. Turnbridge Talbot will open later in October, but the space will be available for tours during Bountiful’s grand opening event.

The public is invited to attend the grand opening, which will feature hors d’oeuvres by Turnbridge Talbot and a ribbon cutting with the Talbot Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place Friday September 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 803 Goldsborough Street in Easton. The Country School has generously provided parking for the event.

Additional information about the event can be found at JamieMerida.com, on the company’s Facebook page, or by calling 410.819.8666.

About Bountiful: The Bountiful family of brands includes Bountiful Home, an award-winning retailer of furnishings, home accents, gifts, and one-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted items; Bountiful Flooring, a retail store offering flooring, carpet, stone and tile, and Hunter Douglas window treatments; and Jamie Merida Interiors, the region’s premier interior design firm. Located in Easton, Maryland, Bountiful is known for its “traditional made modern” aesthetic. The Jamie Merida Interiors design studio serves clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The studio’s work has been featured in leading publications, such as Southern Home, Romantic Homes, Home & Design, Chesapeake Views, The Cottage Journal, and House Beautiful. Owner Jamie Merida designs a furniture and home accents collection under the brand Jamie Merida Collection for Chelsea House. For more information, please visit jamiemerida.com.

About Channel Marker:Founded in 1982, Channel Marker provides mental health and wellness support for adults and youth with severe mental illness in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot counties. Through a wide range of on-site, residential and community-based services specifically tailored to the needs of each client, more than 55 clinical and mental health services staff serve an average of 400 clients each year. Funding for our work primarily comes from Medicaid with support from generous members of the community, the State of Maryland, and private foundations. To learn more, please visit channelmarker.org or call 410.822.4619.

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Welcomes Meredith Girard as New Managing Attorney

Mid-Shore Pro Bono (MSPB) is proud to announce Meredith Lathbury Girard, Esq. has joined their team as the organization’s first-ever Managing Attorney.

Meredith Lathbury Girard, Esq.

In this role, Girard will oversee and manage all of MSPB’s legal projects, including the Economic Stability Project, Elder Law Project, Family Law Project, and Vulnerable Populations Assistance Project. This newly-created position is critical to expanding MSPB’s capacity to serve the community’s legal needs.

In addition to overseeing legal programs, Girard will also help educate and empower MSPB’s volunteer attorney network, cultivate community partnerships and help raise funds to support programs and organizational sustainability.

“We are thrilled to welcome Meredith to this new role on our team,” said Sandy Brown, Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director. “As a volunteer attorney since 2017, Meredith has been immersed in our work and has first-hand experience with our clients and their challenges. This position is crucial for MSPB to raise the level of service to our community, and Meredith is perfect for this position. She brings her legal expertise in environmental land use, real property and elder law as well as a deep understanding of non-profit services, especially on the Eastern Shore.”

Girard comes to MSPB following nearly eight years with the Town Creek Foundation where she served as the Senior Program Officer and led over $30 million in grant making to restore the Chesapeake Bay and reform the region’s food and agriculture system through policy advocacy, legal enforcement and communications. Prior to her work with the Town Creek Foundation, she was the Director of Land Acquisition and Planning with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources where she led Maryland’s nationally-recognized Program Open Space.

Girard’s land-use and environmental background also includes her roles as the Director of Land Protection with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Vice President of Conservation and General Counsel for the Potomac Conservancy, and a Natural Resources Planner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She was the 2008 winner of the Aileen Hughes Award for Outstanding Leadership in Land Conservation.

Girard is a graduate of the Vermont Law School and Penn State University and is a member of the Maryland and Federal Bars.

Girard is active member of the community. She currently serves as co-leader of Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay’s Troop 855, and has served on the Rural Maryland Council’s Grants Review Board, Steering Team of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, as well as co-chair of Washington Regional Food Funders and Chesapeake Bay Funders Network.

Girard lives in Easton with her husband, Alan Girard, and three children. She enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and sailing with her family.

About Mid-Shore Pro Bono
Mid-Shore Pro Bono connects low-income individuals and families who need civil legal services with volunteer attorneys and community resources across the Eastern Shore. Founded in 2005, Mid-Shore Pro Bono is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our dedicated staff and volunteers work to eliminate barriers and provide access to justice for all Eastern Shore residents. For more information or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.

Industrial Hemp Comes to the Shore

Industrial hemp is getting traction as federal and state legislation loosens regulatory strangleholds on production. Industrial hemp was widely used in the United States for broad application of industrial uses including shipping ropes and lines, paper, linen, oils and fuels, livestock feed, and food additives up in the 1930s when powerful chemical and paper interests put an end to hemp production overnight in the name of drug interdiction, a theory now discredited.

Claas Xerion 4000 VC from DunAgro, a Dutch manufacturer, separates protein-rich foliage from the stem and collects it in a bunker on the back of the machine for cattle feed.

Shawn Landgraf, CEO of Universal Hemp, headquartered in Cambridge, Maryland, is working with his team to bring industrial hemp back, hopefully in the Eastern Shore’s climate and growing conditions. The company has adopted a vertically integrated concept of controlling hemp production by partnering with farmers and controlling the processing and distribution.

The company is working to meet industrial hemp CBD (Cannabidiol) demand, the industrial cousin of the more potent pharmaceutical grade CBD grown and processed in controlled environments and free from pesticide and herbicide exposure and sold only in medical cannabis dispensaries. Industrial hemp is grown in fields in the proximity of other crops.

“We are engaged in the research to develop the genetics and best management practices for industrial hemp production,” Landgraf said. He went on to explain that Maryland has lifted hemp production restrictions and he is actively engaged in recruiting farmers.

“Hemp can be used to make any manufactured better,” Taylor Martin, director of Universal Hemp’s national production. Hemp seeds and other by-products are exempt from federal criminal laws, as opposed to medical cannabis. It has no psychoactive effect. Martin described the broad use of hemp, including paper, cloth, concrete inputs, industrial oils, fuels and lubricants. “Hemp is a great food protein source, Martin continued, citing such outputs as hemp seeds, flour and milk, all currently available in U.S. grocery stores.

Martin touched on the period prior to the 1937 prohibition on marijuana and hemp production, when hemp CBD was part of livestock feed and found in the American diet in many forms. “We were a much healthier country,” Martin noted.

Jude Desiderio, Universal Hemp’s director of sales, remarked that the company is looking at a “full spectrum of uses.” He remarked that the upside for farmers was substantial. Comparing inputs and yields for traditional row crops, Desiderio explained the return on investment per acre is as high as $25,000-$35,000 per acre.

Easton Utilities Announces Promotion of Steven Ochse

Steven Ochse

Easton Utilities has promoted Steven “Steve” Ochse to Senior Vice President of Finance and CFO. Steve’s responsibility includes oversight of all financial activities by providing strategic financial leadership for long-range planning. “Steve has been instrumental to our success over the past four years and this promotion reflects his ability to oversee our fiscal management practices and strategic financial planning,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities.

The role of Senior Vice President of Finance and CEO is an executive level position focused on developing, implementing and enforcing policies in a challenging financial and regulatory environment. Steve works closely with the executive team and nine department heads, with particular emphasis on costs controls, energy procurement, risk management, financial initiatives, and customer experience.

Steve is an alumnus of Leadership Maryland, Class of 2018 and Shore Leadership, Class of 2009. He is active in the community and has volunteered with several organizations to include Rotary Club of Easton, UMMS Shore Regional Health Foundation, Chesapeake College, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA. Steve has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Baltimore and is a CPA. Steve resides in Easton with his wife and has two sons and a daughter. When he is not working, he enjoys playing basketball at the Easton YMCA, golfing and spending time with the family. “Steve is a natural born leader with a positive demeanor which is enjoyed by all,” added Grunden.

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 eastonutilities.com for more information.

Delmarva Power Customers Can Receive Cash Grants to Help Pay Energy Bills

Delmarva Power customers can now apply for energy bill assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Customers in Delaware and Maryland can receive more than $1,000 in grant support toward their energy bill by applying through the program in their state.

“We are committed to providing our customers with affordable energy service,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “Each year, LIHEAP provides a crucial resource for customers that need financial support and our teams work extremely hard, hand in hand with local community organizations, to make sure customers are aware of this vital funding. It is important for customers to apply as early as possibly to ensure they receive the assistance they need.”

Grant eligibility differs by state and is based on a customer’s annual household income and size. A customer’s annual household income cannot exceed 175 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Maryland or 200 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines in Delaware. Homeowners, renters, roomers, and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible. Customers do not have to be behind on their bills to receive a grant.

Maryland’s eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $21,858 – One-person household
– $29,593 – Two-person household
– $37,328 – Three-person household
– $45,063 – Four-person household

Delaware’s eligibility requirements are as follows:

– $24,288 – One-person household
– $32,928 – Two-person household
– $41,568 – Three-person household
– $50,208 – Four-person household

In Maryland, customers can apply for LIHEAP energy assistance through the Department of Human Services website, by visiting a Local Administering Agency, or by calling the Office of Home Energy Programs at 800-332-6347. In Delaware, customers can apply for LIHEAP energy assistance by visiting the Department of Health and Services website or by calling 302-644-9295 in New Castle County, 302-674-1782 in Kent County, or 302-856-6310 in Sussex County.

In 2018, Delmarva Power’s customer advocate team connected 17,000 customers with more than $5.3 million in energy assistance. In addition to LIHEAP, Delmarva Power provides customers several ways to save money and manage energy costs. My Account provides a web-based interactive tool, giving customers a detailed analysis of personal electric use and offers helpful ways to save. Customers can visit delmarva.com to learn more about available energy assistance programs and tips to save money and energy.

Delmarva Power works with customers who may have difficulty paying their energy bill. Through payment options such as flexible payment arrangements that offer individually tailored payment installment plans or budget billing. This program averages payments over a 12-month period to help customers manage their monthly electricity costs. Customers who may be struggling to make a payment should contact Delmarva Power as soon as possible at 800-375-7117.

To learn more about Delmarva Power, visit The Source, Delmarva Power’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting delmarva.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/delmarvapower and on Twitter at twitter.com/delmarvaconnect. Delmarva Power’s mobile app is available at delmarva.com/mobileapp.

Delmarva Power is a unit of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. Delmarva Power provides safe and reliable energy service to approximately 527,000 electric customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 134,000 natural gas customers in northern Delaware.

Just Sayin’: Cambridge Named a Top Place to visit by Smithsonian

Smithsonian Magazine identified Cambridge, Maryland as one of its top 15 cities to visit in 2019.  The magazine ranked Cambridge as a place to visit with other major tourist destinations including Avalon, California (Catalina Island); Williams, Arizona (Gateway to the Grand Canyon); and Medora, North Dakota (home of Theodore Roosevelt National Park).  Cambridge is one of the nation’s oldest cities, dating back to 1684, and has a long history as a tourist destination. The city is located on the banks of the Choptank River, near the Chesapeake Bay, and is well known for its seafood. Cambridge provided the inspiration for author James Michener’s novel “Chesapeake”, and murals depicting scenes from his work can be found throughout the City and County.  

Cambridge is a popular destination for travelers of all ages.  Outdoor enthusiasts have an endless supply of scenic stretches to walk or bike and endless waterways to kayak or canoe.  Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located south of town. History enthusiasts will appreciate the Harriet Tubman visitors center, the Harriet Tubman Museum, the Richardson Maritime Museum, and the Dorchester County Historical Society Museum. 

Romantics will enjoy the waterfront parks, Choptank Lighthouse, historic Pine Street, and the boutique shops, pubs, and restaurants in the historic downtown. Some visitors may want to experience life as a waterman by taking a trip out on the Choptank River to dredge for oysters onboard the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester.  All visitors will want to view Cambridge’s latest mural of Harriet Tubman extending her hand to a slave seeking freedom.  The mural has attracted worldwide interest on both social and traditional media outlets. The community accommodations include chain hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and the Hyatt’s Chesapeake Bay Resort & Spa, all located within the city limits.   

The community is hosting a media event in celebration of this noteworthy recognition.  The event is scheduled for Friday, August 16th at 12:00 p.m. at Long Wharf Park, located at the end of Historic High Street.  You are invited to send representatives to cover the event and see first-hand why Cambridge made the list as one of the top places in America to visit.  

Leadership Maryland Now Accepting Applications for Class of 2020

Leadership Maryland, the professional development program dedicated to building a better Maryland by harnessing the strength of its local business and community leaders, is now accepting applications for the Class of 2020. Leadership Maryland’s selection committee will choose 52 applicants to complete an eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues.

Applications are open to senior-level executives with significant achievements in their careers and/or their communities. Ideal Leadership Maryland applicants will have a desire to learn more about Maryland’s most critical issues and a personal commitment to be a force for positive change in their organizations, their communities, and their state. The chosen class will reflect a cross-section of the state by including diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity, age and gender.

“Leadership Maryland offers an eye-opening, hands-on learning program that many of our alumni consider to be one of the most rewarding experiences of their careers,” said Renée Winsky, ’05, president and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Maryland. “We are searching for the next cohort of our state’s most impassioned and motivated leaders. Our Class of 2020 will gain knowledge of Maryland’s challenges, insight into their own personal influence and leadership ability, and lifelong access to an incredible network of the state’s most influential leaders.”

To be considered for the Class of 2020, application packages must include:

– Completed application, available online only at www.LeadershipMD.org;
– Paid non-refundable application fee of $250;
– Two references;
– One letter of recommendation;
– Authorizing official statement from applicant’s supervisor or CEO (unless applicant is self-employed or are their own supervisor);
– Professional color photo

Completed application packages and registration fees must be received by Leadership Maryland (134 Holiday Court, Suite 318, Annapolis, Md. 21401) by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 31, 2019. Upon acceptance of the application, candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview with members of the Leadership Maryland selection committee. The selected Class of 2020 will be announced in early February 2020.

Before applying, candidates should know they will be able to attend Class of 2020 sessions on the following dates:

– March 23 (evening reception)
– April 23 & 24 (mandatory)
– May 14 & 15
– June 18 & 19
– July 16 & 17
– September 24 & 25
– October 22 & 23
– November 13
– December 8

Full information regarding Leadership Maryland’s application instructions, selection process, tuition and financial assistance, 2020 program dates and locations, and attendance policy are available at www.LeadershipMD.org. Anyone with questions may contact Leadership Maryland at 410-841-2101 or Info@LeadershipMD.org.

About Leadership Maryland
Leadership Maryland is a professional development program dedicated to building a better Maryland by harnessing the strength of its local business and community leaders. Each year, as many as 52 diverse and accomplished executives from Maryland’s public and private sectors are selected to come together as a class for an eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues. The first Leadership Maryland class graduated in 1993, and the organization’s alumni network now consists of more than 1,100 leaders from all industries and regions of the state. To learn more, please call Leadership Maryland at 410-841-2101 or visit www.LeadershipMD.org.

Philanthropy: Foundation for Community Development Created

The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. is proud to announce its grand opening after being formally recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 public charitable organization on June 29th, 2019. The Foundation will support local communities with a broad range of charitable giving opportunities.

Through its mission to create thriving and sustainable communities, the foundation will serve as a conduit for charitable giving; connecting donors with local worthwhile causes. The foundation will also support aspiring non-profits by providing smart growth strategies and guidance. And finally, the foundation will seek federal and state funding to bring additional economic growth opportunities to rural communities.

“We really feel the foundation will serve a large need in our area.” Says Charles “Josh” Poore, current Co-Founder and Board Member of The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. “Our goal is the help other charitable organizations, seek funding for economic and infrastructure projects and connect donors will local community-based organizations.”

A key aspect of the foundation, according to Poore, is its incubator model to help nurture charitable ideas into structured organizations. “We want to support community members who have great charitable ideas but may not know how to turn them into businesses or operating non-profits.” Poore continues, ” Our model helps put process and infrastructure in place so as charitable ideas grow, the administrative operation can grow with it.” The model assists with startup applications, tax filings, management, technology and marketing.

Co-Founder and Board Member Matt Albers goes on to say, “Importantly, we recognize that charities and charitable ideas are snowflakes, each is unique. With that in mind, we developed a robust cafeteria plan of services rather than the one size fits all methodology. Our members will never be required to waste valuable resources on things that don’t further their mission.“

The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. is headquartered in Easton, Maryland at 8859 Mistletoe Drive, Suite A and seek development opportunities in Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia and surrounding states. Anyone with inquiries is encouraged to email the foundation at info@tffcd.org or contact them directly at 443.496.3003

Maria Reichart Celebrates 20 Years with Shore United Bank

Maria Reichart

Shore United Bank is proud to recognize Maria Reichart for 20 years of service. Maria began her career with the bank in 1999 where she has held several positions in the loan department. Currently, Maria is the Loan Administration Officer and is responsible for overseeing loan operations, consumer documentation and credit administration. Ms. Reichart is a graduate of the Maryland Banking School in 2008 and Shore Leadership in 2017.

“Maria is instrumental to the success of the loan and administrative support departments. She fosters team collaboration and embraces technology to help us reach our goals,” says Charlie Ruch, Chief Credit Officer for Shore United Bank.

Maria resides in Greensboro, Maryland with her husband, Kevin and their three children Larry, Mark and Morgan. She enjoys reading and being on the beach. Ms. Reichart is the treasurer at Bethel Wesleyan Church, an Executive Committee Member for Shore Leadership and is heavily involved with Thirty-One Gifts. Maria also facilitates a financial literacy and life skills course at His Hope Haven Ministries, a homeless shelter in Denton, MD.

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

Easton named Maryland’s newest Arts & Entertainment District

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz recently announced Easton as one of two new Arts and Entertainment Districts in Maryland. Easton will join 26 existing Districts in the state in offering marketing and tax-related incentives to help current and prospective artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises, incentives that are aimed at developing and promoting community involvement, tourism, and revitalization. 

“Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts serve an important role in revitalizing communities across the state,” Secretary Schultz said. “This designation helps attract artists and creative businesses and gives counties and municipalities the ability to develop unique arts experiences that engage residents and attract visitors.”

Easton, Maryland, one of the State’s preeminent arts destinations, has long been known for its vibrant mix of fine art galleries, performance venues, museums and artists’ studios, as well as a burgeoning artisan scene. Now, the town hopes to build upon its already longstanding history with more opportunities for artists and arts organizations within the town’s borders. 

“I think the destination of Easton as an Arts and Entertainment District further adds to our reputation as a center for a variety of art projects,” Easton Mayor Robert Willey said. “I would hope that people will take advantage of the opportunities that the designation provides and help to build on an already familiar label.”

The Easton Arts District will encompass over 110 acres including Easton’s Historic District, East End Neighborhood, and outlying residential and commercial neighborhoods. Within this district, developers and arts organizations will benefit from a property tax abatement for artistic-related improvements to their structures, and qualified residing artists will receive an income tax subtraction from the State of Maryland for all art created and sold within an Arts and Entertainment District. 

In addition to the tax incentives, the newly-designated district will feature existing and new arts-related events, from the world-class Waterfowl Festival and Plein Air Easton, to the new Easton Arts District Culture Crossing, a monthly artisans market along the Easton Rails-to-Trails beginning July 13. 

Spearheaded by Discover Easton, the Easton Arts District has been discussed over the years as an integral part of growing the arts economy in and around downtown Easton.

“The Easton arts community is one of the most robust in Maryland, and becoming a designated Arts and Entertainment District will allow us to continue to promote growth in one of the most successful industries in Talbot County,” Discover Easton Executive Director Ross Benincasa said. “This collaborative effort among our office, the Town of Easton, Talbot County and the Talbot County Arts Council will ensure that the arts do not stagnate in Easton, but instead continue to flourish and expand with new offerings and events.”

To learn more about the Easton Arts District and arts-related events in Easton, head to www.artsineaston.com.

About Discover Easton: Discover Easton is a marketing, promotion and events 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating as a member of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.  The mission of Discover Easton is to enhance, promote and preserve the vitality of Easton’s business owners, residents and visitors; and to bring awareness to the Town’s historical roots and lifestyles.

For more information regarding Discover Easton and its events, please visit www.discovereaston.com or email welcome@discovereaston.com.

Image:  A Plein Air artist paints at the corner of Harrison and Dover Sts. in downtown Easton.
PDF: The newly-accredited Easton Arts District boundaries overlaid with the Historic District.
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