Destination Imagination St. Michaels Receives Grant from Bryan Brothers Foundation

Bryan Brothers Foundation, Inc. is proud to announce Destination Imagination St. Michaels as a 2018 grant recipient.

Destination Imagination, Inc. is a leading educational organization dedicated to teaching students the skills needed to succeed in school, their careers and beyond. They develop project-based learning programs that blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship.

Destination Imagination St. Michaels had a record number five teams qualify for the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee this May.  Participants learned patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and the collaborative problem-solving process.

“It is pretty incredible to have that many kids qualify from such a small school.” Says Allen M. Bryan, Jr, director of the Bryan Brothers Foundation. “We very were excited for the opportunity to support this program.”

The Bryan Brothers “Building Dreams for Youth” Foundation’s mission is to help ensure that all children on the Mid-Shore have the opportunity to experience personal growth through participation in youth sports, recreation and development programs. Since its inception in 2003, the Bryan Brothers Foundation has provided over $1,100,000 in grants to support Shore Kids. The Foundation provides donors with the opportunity to support a broad range of worthwhile youth programs with their contributions. For more information, please call 410-819-3780 or call www.shorekids.org.

Rep. Andy Harris Opens Application for Military Service Academy Nominations

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Military Service Academies nomination application is now available for students wishing to join the class of 2023. Congressman Harris will nominate some of the finest students from Maryland’s First Congressional District for appointments to the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, and Merchant Marine Academies. The Coast Guard Academy does not require a Congressional nomination, though Congressman Harris will recommend interested applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Admission to the service academies is based on SAT/ACT scores, class rank, physical aptitude scores, extracurricular activities, athletic abilities, medical examinations, and a panel interview. Academies accept applications on a rolling basis beginning in September. Final acceptance is also contingent upon receiving a nomination from an authorized source such as one’s Congressman or Senator.

The deadline to apply for a nomination from Congressman Harris is October 22, 2018. All qualified residents of Maryland’s First District are encouraged to apply. Interviews will be conducted in the fall by Congressman Harris’ Military Academy Review Board, which is made up of veterans and reservists of the United States military. The Service Academies will be notified of Congressman Harris’ nominations by December 31, 2018.

Students can download the nomination application at https://harris.house.gov/services/military-academy-nominations. Completed applications should be submitted to Congressman Harris’ Kent Island District office at 100 Olde Point Village, Suite 101, Chester, MD 21619. For questions, please call the Kent Island District Office at 410-643-5425.

Ride the Bus For Free In St. Michaels

This spring, Delmarva Community Transit began operating a circulating bus service throughout the town of St. Michaels in an effort to provide an affordable option for residents to access local businesses and connect with bus service to Easton.

“Not everyone is familiar with riding a bus”, said Mary Handley, Mobility Manager for Delmarva Community Transit.  “We, in conjunction with the city and county thought it would be a great idea to have  a “Ride the Bus for Free Day”, to give folks an opportunity to try the service out and have a little bit of fun in the process, Handley said.

Saturday, July 7, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, anyone may hop on and off of the circulator without paying a fare.  Anyone riding can put their name in to win prizes presented at 12 noon.  Also riders will   receive vouchers which when used to ride the bus any day after the 7th, will act as a discount coupon for local businesses.

Local participating businesses include Sunnyside Shop – 10% discount; Carpenter St. Saloon- one free coffee; Grauls – 5% off grocery purchase and a reusable shopping bag; Treasure Cove Thrift Store- $5 off purchase and more!

Other businesses have contributed toward gift basket prizes including breakfast for two at the Carpenter St. Saloon.

Travel Trainers will be located throughout the town to assist people with directions and helpful information about riding the bus.

“We are so grateful to the city and county for working to provide transit service for the residents”, Handley said.  “Now it is up to us to make sure everyone has an opportunity to try the service out, ask questions and hopefully continue to ride”.

For more information about the “Free Ride the Bus Day” in St. Michaels, or about transportation services in general, please call the Delmarva Community Transit One Stop at 410-822-7472.

Upcoming Programming at the Library July 16 to 20

Dr. Diane K. Stoecker

Children to Read with a Certified Therapy Dog at Easton Library

On Monday, July 16, at 11:00 a.m., the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library invites children 5 and older to bring in their favorite book or choose one from the library’s shelves to read with Janet Dickey and her dog, Latte.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to participate in this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Laura Powell, telephone: 410-822-1626

Easton Library Group to Discuss “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance

On Monday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m., in the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library, the Easton book group will discuss the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy” by J. D. Vance.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this discussion.  For more information, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Bill Peak, telephone: 410-822-1626

Easton Library to Host Presentation on Mixotrophs by Horn Point Scientist

On Monday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m., in the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library, Horn Point Lab’s Dr. Diane K. Stoecker will give a PowerPoint presentation with dramatic photographs of “mixotrophs”—plankton that play both sides of the Animal-Plant divide, living off sunlight and using elaborate methods to hunt and subdue their prey.  Mixotrophs are a mixed blessing, improving the Bay’s productivity while also, occasionally, causing toxic blooms.

Uncle Devin

Stoecker received her Ph.D. from the Program in Ecology & Evolution at State University of New York at Stony Brook.  She was a Post-Doctoral Scholar and then Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  Since 1991 she has been at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory, where she is currently Professor emerita.  She has conducted research on plankton in environments ranging from the Equatorial Pacific to polar waters and from estuaries to the open ocean.  Her research has focused on the biology, physiology and ecology of single-celled organisms (protists) at the base of planktonic food webs.

All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this discussion.  For more information, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Bill Peak, telephone: 410-822-1626

St. Michaels Library to Screen Free Film

On Monday, July 16, at noon, the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library will show a free film on the library’s big, professional screen.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this film.  For more information (including the name of the movie, which we cannot publicize here due to distribution requirements), please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Shauna Beulah, telephone: 410-822-1626

Easton Library to Host Uncle Devin’s World of Percussion

On Wednesday, July 18, at 10:30 a.m., the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library invites children of all ages to come in to hear, see, and play different percussion instruments, while exploring their musical creativity.  This program is sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to participate in this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Laura Powell, telephone: 410-822-1626

Tim Young

Learn How to Draw Monsters, Aliens, & Weird Creatures at the Easton Library

On Thursday, July 19, at 2:30 p.m., in the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library, author and illustrator Tim Young will present “Creatures Rock! A Drawing Program” for ages 6 – 16.  Young will teach participants different techniques for creating their own special characters.  All library programs are free and open to the public, but patrons do need to pre-register to participate in this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Laura Powell, telephone: 410-822-1626

Easton Library to Screen Free Film

On Friday, July 20, at 2:30 p.m., the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library will show a free film on the library’s big, professional screen.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this film.  For more information (including the name of the movie, which we cannot publicize here due to distribution requirements), please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Laura Powell, telephone: 410-822-1626

CBMM Hosts Bosnian Exchange Students

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., recently hosted Bosnian students from the University of Sarajevo. The students are participants in the Saving What Matters international exchange program, an effort facilitated by former CBMM shipwright Mike Vlahovich and funded through the nonprofit World Learning’s Communities Connecting Heritage Program. Through the program, students from Maryland’s Goucher College and the University of Sarajevo work together to explore the value of storytelling in heritage preservation, culminating in the students visiting each other’s countries. The Bosnian students are spending a few weeks on the Eastern Shore with Vlahovich’s Coastal Heritage Alliance, several of which were spent at CBMM learning about boatbuilding, museum practices, and educational programming. To learn more, visit cbmm.org.

Facing a Finite Future, Smith Islanders put Their Faith in Jetties and God By Jeremy Cox

Only in a place like Smith Island would someone get choked up about a jetty, a man-made wall of stones that functions like a bulwark against waves and water currents.

Eddie Somers, a civic activist and native of the island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, delivered remarks at a recent press conference called by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mark a milestone in the construction of two jetties off its western flank. He was close to finishing when he suddenly stopped, holding back tears — tears of joy.

“Those barrier islands were in danger of breaching in a couple places, and when that happens, you’re one hurricane away from losing your home,” he said when asked later about the moment. “So, for a lot of people, it’s emotional — not just me.”


Two men in a small boat motor toward the community of Ewell, on the north end of Smith Island. (Jeremy Cox)

On Smith Island, Maryland’s only inhabited island with no bridge connection to the mainland, residents prize self-reliance. But for more than two decades, Somers and his neighbors had been pushing for outside help to save their low-lying island properties from slipping away into the surrounding Bay.

Now, they’ve gotten it. Since 2015, federal, state and local sources have invested about $18.3 million in three separate projects on and around Smith Island, adding about two miles of reconstructed shoreline, several acres of newly planted salt marshes and hundreds of feet of jetties.

That money may buy a lot of jetty stones and sprigs of cordgrass, but all it can really buy is time, according to climate researchers and Army Corps officials.

As seas rise and erosion takes its toll — and the population shrinks — some homes have been abandoned on low-lying Smith Island, including this two-story house in the community of Rhodes Point. (Jeremy Cox)

Smith Island is an archipelago, with a population spread across three small communities: Ewell, Rhodes Point and Tylerton. Since 1850, erosion and rising sea levels have put about one-third of the islands underwater. By 2100, the Bay is expected to rise by at least 3 more feet – bad news for a land that’s mostly less than 3 feet above current sea level.

Clad in fatigues, Col. Ed Chamberlayne, head of the Army Corps’ Baltimore District office, boarded the Maryland Department of Natural Resources research boat, Kerhin, after the press conference to tour the new jetties with an entourage of state and local officials. He described the $6.9 million project, which also includes dredging a boat channel and using the fill to restore about 5 acres of nearby wetlands, as a temporary fix.

“How long this will last is an obvious question,” Chamberlayne said. “As far as what this does to Smith Island long-term, this is not a cure-all.”

Col. Ed Chamberlayne, Baltimore district commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, speaks with Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton on a ferry ride to Smith Island June 21 to view the completed jetties. (Jeremy Cox)

Nor are any of the other projects. So, with each inch of sea level rise and dollar spent fighting it, an old question gains more urgency: To what lengths should society go to defend Smith Island and other places believed to be highly vulnerable to climate change? Facing land losses of their own, coastal communities in Alaska and Louisiana are getting ready to relocate to new homes farther inland.

A similar debate hit Tangier Island, about 10 miles south of Smith Island in Virginia waters, after a 2015 Army Corps study declared that its residents may be among the first “climate refugees” in the continental United States. In the wake of a CNN report about the shrinking island last year, President Donald Trump, who has referred to global warming as a “hoax,” called its mayor to assure him he has nothing to worry about.

In a view shared by many on the boat, State Sen. Jim Mathias expressed confidence that the island would be around for a long while. “It’s man’s hand intervening,” said Mathias, a Democrat who represents the lower Eastern Shore. “We have the top engineers working for us. We’ll figure it out.”

When the final phase of the jetty project is completed this fall — channel dredging and marsh restoration remain — it will mark the end of a chapter in the community’s history that started with, as some residents interpreted it, its proposed destruction.

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy walloped the New Jersey coast and flooded lower Manhattan in New York City, and in Maryland caused extensive flooding in Crisfield and along the Bay shore in Somerset County. Smith Island suffered relatively little damage by comparison.

Still, state officials, conscious of the long-term threat to Smith posed by rising seas, set aside $2 million in federal relief money to buy out voluntary sellers. Plans called for homes or businesses acquired by the state to be torn down and future development to be banned on the properties.

“The people didn’t want to be bought out, and they were sort of insulted by it,” said Randy Laird, president of the Board of County Commissioners in Somerset County, which includes Smith island. “They felt like they (state officials) were trying to close down the island.”
The buyouts would have created a domino effect, Mathias said.

“Once it starts, it doesn’t stop,” he said. “It goes from one parcel to another parcel. And another family falls on hard times, and the state shows up with a check.”

Enter Smith Island United

The archipelago has lost nearly half its population since 2000. Among the fewer than 200 who remain, one-third are age 65 or older. Most young people leave after finishing high school for lack of jobs on the island. “We didn’t really have a voice in government,” Somers said.

To push back against the buyouts, residents formed a civic group and began hosting regular community meetings. Those talks turned into Smith Island United. Somers, a part-time resident and captain of a state icebreaker boat, was installed as its president.

Soon, the organization persuaded the state to drop its buyout offer in favor of a “visioning” study. The report, finalized in 2016, outlined several possible actions for reversing the downward course, ranging from creating a seafood industry apprenticeship program to providing more public restrooms for island visitors.

That same year, Maryland named Smith Island a “sustainable community,” giving the community access to a suite of revitalization initiatives from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and grant programs. The island received a $25,000 grant last year to fix store facades because of the program.

In the meantime, long-stalled plans to shore up Smith Island’s marshy coastline began to materialize. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service built a $9 million “living shoreline” in the Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge, a marshy island that protects Smith’s north side from erosion. Then came a $4.5 million county project, completed in late 2017, that created another living shoreline on the island’s west side near Rhodes Point, the smallest of the island’s three communities and its most endangered spot.

The Army Corps complemented that work with the construction of two jetties earlier this year, one on either side of an inlet called Sheep Pen Gut. Workers are expected to return in the fall to dredge the channel, deepening it from 3 feet to 6 feet. That will restore vessel passage through the island, eliminating the circuitous, gas-wasting journey to the open Bay that some watermen have had to take since the inlet became too shallow.

Everett Landon caught a glimpse of the construction while standing on the second-floor balcony of a home still under construction. “It looks very good,” said Landon, a Rhodes Point native who last year took over as pastor of the island’s three churches. “With the erosion we’ve been facing, people have been wondering how long until it makes them move away.”

The Rhodes Point jetty project had been on the books at the Army Corps since the mid-1990s. Some residents had all but given up hope that it would ever get built. “You get a community that struggles a lot, and you get a project like this — it puts the wind in your sails. It just shows persistence,” Landon said.

He added that the help is especially welcome in Rhodes Point, where the 40 or so remaining residents live on an ever-shrinking strip of high ground. For his part, Landon measures that loss in the gradual disappearance of a beach once visible — high and dry — beyond the marsh that fringes Rhodes Point. “My grandmother told me that when she was younger, she could sit on the second floor of her home and all she could see was sand,” he said. “When I was growing up, it was just a narrow strip and then marsh. When my kids came along, it was just gone.”

Most Smith Island residents have incomes tied to the seafood industry, from the crabs they catch or pick or the oysters they dredge. Support for Trump was near-unanimous on the island in 2016, and most share his skepticism toward human-caused climate change. They concede that their island is vanishing, but they prefer to speak of it in terms of erosion instead of sea level rise.

Marianna Wehnes moved to Smith Island in 2011 to live with her boyfriend, and she quickly fell in love – with the island. After her relationship with the man ended, Wehnes moved back to the mainland on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but soon returned. She missed the community’s tranquil way of life and knowing her neighbors. She now works in one of Ewell’s gift shops, where it is considered a busy day if eight customers walk through the door.

The new jetties and restored marsh will help keep the island above water for a while, Wehnes agreed. Beyond that, she added, Smith Island’s fate will be up to a higher power. “It’s been here 400 years, and it’s going to be here for 400 years. The only reason it won’t be is if the good Lord tells it to go.”

Jeremy Cox is a Bay Journal staff writer and a communications instructor at Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD, where he is based.

Upcoming Programming at St. Michaels Library July 9 to 13

Monday Movie Matinee @ the St. Michaels Library

On Monday, July 9, at noon, the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library will show an animated film rated PG on its big, professional screen.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this film.  For more information (including the name of the movie, which, due to licensing requirements, cannot be published here), please call the library at 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Shauna Beulah, telephone: 410-745-5877

St. Michaels Library to Host Bay Hundred Chess

On Wednesdays, July 11 & 25 and August 8 & 22, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library invites patrons to come in to learn and play the strategic game of chess.  Beginners are welcome, as are all ages.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to attend this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Shauna Beulah, telephone: 410-745=5877

St. Michaels Library to Offer Memoir Writing Program

On Thursdays, July 12 & 26 and August 9 & 23, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library invites patrons to record and share their memories of life and family with a group of friendly, like-minded people.  Participants may bring their lunch.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to participate in this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Shauna Beulah, telephone: 410-745-5877

St. Michaels Library to Offer Story Time

On Wednesdays, June 13 & 27, July 25, and August 8 & 22, at 10:30 a.m., the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library will offer a story time program for children 5 and under accompanied by an adult.  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Patrons do not need to pre-register to participate in this program.  For more information, please call the library at 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Contact: Diana Hastings, telephone: 410-745-5877, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Walking Tours Offered by St. Michaels Museum

Once again, the board of the St. Michaels Museum is pleased to offer its popular walking tours.  Every Saturday morning, docents lead tours beginning at 10:00 am.  The tours start at the Museum, at the corner of E. Chestnut and St. Mary’s Square. Two tours are offered, on consecutive Saturdays.

On the first and third Saturday, the tour topic is “Historic St. Michaels: Its People, Places and Events”. This tour is given on the 1st Saturday as a ninety-minute walking tour and in a shortened version with minimal walking on the 3rd and 5th Saturdays. The tour highlights life in St. Michaels during the 19th Century. Stories will be told by viewing many restored structures from that era and describing the life of famous and typical residents of these times including Frederic Douglass.

On the second and fourth Saturdays, the tour topic is “Frederic Douglass, a slave, in St. Michaels, 1833-1836”. This tour is given in a shortened version with minimal walking on the 2nd Saturday. On the 4th Saturday the tour is expanded to a ninety- minute walking tour and gives a view of the early life of St. Michaels’ most famous 19th century resident and the most important African American Abolitionist in the Civil War.

Cost of each tour is $10 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 6-17). The tour departs from St. Michaels Museum. Tours are also available upon request for groups of five or more. For more information, please call 410-745-9561 or visit www.stmichaelsmuseum.org.  Regular hours for the museum are Friday, 1:00 to 4:00, Saturday, 10:00 to 4:00 and Sunday 1:00 to 4:00. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for youth (ages 6-17). All other times by appointment.  The museum entrance is ADA accessible.

Talbot Mentors: Improving the Long, Hot Summer

School ends and gleeful students tumble out of school.  After a few days, however, “I’m bored”  becomes a common refrain.  We said it ourselves when we were kids.  Some of us might remember being home alone while the adult(s) in the family were at work.

There are 17 children of all ages in Talbot County who are on the waiting list to be matched with an adult mentor. Many are home most days in the summer while adults work.  Some live with elderly grandparents struggling to raise them, and still others could just use a little extra adult TLC in their lives.

What a great way to relive the fun parts of childhood while giving back to a child!  You won’t say, “I’m bored.” The rewards are endless…smiles, laughter, photos, new experiences, memories, fun!

To find out about mentoring, attend one of the Talbot Mentors Infosessions.  The next  sessions are: July 11 and September 12 @ 4:30 at Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 S. Washington St., Easton.

For more information: https://talbotmentors.org/ or (410) 770-5999.

Talbot County Council Election Results

In addition to the highly contested primary election for the Democratic nominee to take on Rep. Andy Harris this fall, there were other local election results to report.