Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum selected to build Maryland Dove

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has officially been selected to build a new Maryland Dove, a representation of the late 17th-century trading ship that accompanied the first European settlers to what is now Maryland. Maryland Dove is owned by the state of Maryland and operated and maintained by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission.

“HSMC and CBMM are natural partners in this project,” said Regina Faden, Executive Director at Historic St. Mary’s City. “It fulfills both our missions and delivers a new Dove to tell the story of (early) Maryland.”

Maryland Dove is Historic St. Mary’s City’s floating ambassador and one of its most popular exhibits. The goal of the new ship design is to be as close to the 1634 original as possible, including features that were not known when Maryland Dove was built in 1978.

Ship design work will commence in January 2019, and construction is anticipated to begin at CBMM by mid-year. The launch of the new Maryland Dove is targeted for 2021. All work will be done in full public view, allowing the public to experience every stage of the project.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected to build a new Maryland Dove,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “Over the course of the next few years, our shipwrights and apprentices will build a historically accurate replacement to the existing ship, and we welcome guests to be a part of the construction and education experience.”

Talbot County Prepares for Winter Snow Storms

We haven’t gotten hit yet with a big snow storm, but Talbot County Roads Department is ready with material in the Salt Barn for when it happens. Talbot County has over 374 miles of roads which need to be cared for throughout the year. This includes programmed and routine maintenance, paving, ditching, tree removal, and culvert replacements. But it is winter, that is especially a busy time when the county’s 24 employees cover 13 snow routes, pre-treating, salting, sanding, and removing snow until the event is over and all the roads are clear.

Caption: The 24 employees of the Talbot County Roads Department are ready to care for over 374 miles of roads when Talbot County gets its first major snow storm of the season. Pictured front row, left to right, are: Matthew Dunn, Efrem Murray, Kevin Wilson, Milton Cornish, Ray Kinsey, Michael Potter, Warren Edwards, Superintendent for Talbot County Roads Department, Dwight Warrick, Brandon Brewer, and Autumn Finch. Pictured back row, left to right, are: Taylor Lowery, Michael Steenken, Dean Samuel, Arthur Kellum, John Bechtel, Ben Cannon, Michael Dulin, Tim Holland, John Asche, John McNair, and Jerry Butler. Absent from the photo are employees Lois MacDonald, Office Manager, Richard Harmon, and Michael Carroll.

According to Warren Edwards, Superintendent for Talbot County Roads Department, “My biggest advice when bad weather hits, is to be patient, don’t tailgate our equipment, and try and stay off the roads if you possibly can, so we can get the roads cleared.”

Edwards, who has over 38 years of experience with road construction, has been with the county for four years. Each of the county’s 13 routes has at least one truck, and sometimes two to three trucks depending on the route. Talbot County Roads Department has 14 trucks and has hired three additional trucks with plows and salt spreaders to meet the needs of the county snow removal. Private contractors are hired for designated routes based on need.

He adds, “With snow storms, Talbot County offers assistance to all municipalities in the county, as they do us, as well as to the State Highway Administration.”

But it’s the dedication of the county’s 24 employees that often goes unnoticed. More than half of the staff of the Roads Department have over 20 years of experience. For a storm which puts down three inches of snow, it can take eight to 10 hours to complete the snow removal and 12 inches of snow can take up to 30 hours to remove.

Edwards comments, “Our employees are experienced, diligent and seasoned employees. They know their jobs and they do them well. We work straight through these storms, staying in radio contact with drivers every four hours to be sure everything is alright on the routes. They work until the event is over.”

The Roads Department is in contact with Talbot County Operations Center throughout weather events to clear roads for ambulances and fire equipment. The agency also reaches out to each of the towns in the county to offer help. In the case of a whiteout, snow removal trucks are stationed at the local fire departments throughout the county to work with them in opening roads in the case of emergencies.

“The roads are a necessity that people tend to forget,” Edwards adds.

Edwards points out that customer service is the most important thing in his business. He points to more and more weather seasons where there are drainage issues affecting the roads and where infrastructures are failing. Talbot County Roads Department employees are on call from 3 hours to 35 hours a week all years long handling the effects of wind, hurricanes, storms and culvert failures throughout the county.

Talbot County Roads Department gets between 110 and 160 road complaints a month, in addition to routine maintenance issues. Every complaint is logged into a card system so that the department can address all citizen concerns. Edwards comments, “We have to prioritize the complaints based on the need, but we want citizens to report their concerns so that we can get ahead of issues that do occur.”

The number to call at the Talbot County Roads Department for concerns is 410-770-8150.

 

Mentoring: Changing Lives One Child at a Time by Val Cavalheri

January is National Mentoring Month. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the positive effects that mentoring can have on our youth. Talbot Mentors is proud to be an active advocate to Talbot County kids to ensure that they have the opportunity to mature into engaged and productive members of their communities. Last year, mentees attended summer camps and pizza parties, took trips to the zoo and museums, went bowling and ice skating, and participated in programs that were made possible through the contributions of corporate partners, foundations, and individual donations.

Although these programs are essential and expose a child to experiences they may not always have the opportunity to, it is what happens when a mentor and a child spend time together that is life-changing. Sometimes for both of them.

We want to highlight two Talbot Mentor stars from the over 100 mentors currently matched with a child in need.

Harriett Downes-Slaughter with Anna

Harriett Downes-Slaughter had been an Elementary school teacher who, together with her husband, also ran Attractions magazine. After her husband’s death a year and a half ago, the self-described ‘busy, busy, busy’ person found herself with a lot of free time. In July of this year she attended a Talbot Mentors Infosession, filled out the necessary paperwork and within a month was matched to 10-year-old Anna.

“My grandkids don’t need me to do silly things with them anymore,” says Harriett. “Anna, however, is a prime age for some of the fun things I like to do on weekends, such as going to carnivals and Talbot County Fair.” However, what Harriett enjoys most is doing things that Anna, growing up with a single mom with two jobs, has never done before. Simple things like baking cookies, making applesauce, carving a pumpkin, going to Michael’s Craft Stores, or having chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A.

In the process, Harriett also gets to put her skills to work. “I wanted to make a difference,” Harriett says. “Since I’ve been a teacher for so long, I feel I can make a connection with younger children and I really find that with Anna. She’s a sweet girl and very quiet.” When they went to the Water Fowl Festival (another first for Anna), Harriett was able to give her a lesson in conservation, art, and even future life plans.

Which is precisely what Anna’s mom wants for her daughter. On the form that parents fill out for Talbot Mentors, she said she wanted Anna to know that there is more to life than what she could show her. Luckily, this is something Harriett can give her mentee.

Besides the recommended hour per week, the pair also gets together for special events and to work on interesting projects, like when they painted rocks recently and hid them for others to find. They have fun, and it’s no wonder that Anna feels that the time they spend together is not long enough. They’ve only known each other since August, yet Harriett believes that her mentee has been incorporated into her family, and she into theirs. So much so, that Anna’s mom has invited her to Anna’s quinceañera party (celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday), which also happens to be five years in the future.

That feeling of family is very evident when Harriett describes how she always hugs her mentee after their time together. “She expects that now,” says Harriett, “She gets out of the car and waits for me to come around and give her a hug.”

It was meant to be, Harriett feels. Anna’s birthday, after all, is on the same day as her late husbands’. Bets are on that this new pairing will last a long time.

Gary Pearce and Jaylen

If we’re talking about time spent with a mentee, Gary Pearce comes to mind. He speaks with 16 years of mentoring experience. His first mentee, Dale, was in 4th grade when they met years ago. Dale is now married, with a child, and living in Seaford, MD. They still keep in touch. After they parted and after spending a couple of years on Talbot Mentors’ Board of Directors, Gary was paired with 14-year-old Jaylen three years ago.

What made him decide to take on another child? Gary explains it this way: “I used to travel a lot, and wasn’t as involved in my kid’s sports programs or after school activities as I wanted to. Having a mentee allows me to do things I used to do or want to do with my own kids that I wouldn’t otherwise.” Besides, Gary has always been interested in youth programs including Talbot Optimist Club, Talbot Partnership, Echo Hill, and others.

There is an easy familiarity when Gary speaks about his mentees. Jaylen, he said, is in 8th grade, and a confident young man who last year was class president. He’s into theater, acts in all the school plays. They go to the movies, plays, and Gary takes him to rehearsals. Sometimes when they go out to dinner, Jaylen is like a ‘social butterfly,’ going from table to table greeting people he knows. The Talbot Mentors program, Gary says, is good for him. It helps him to continue to develop his personality. Together they cook a lot, making desserts and baking things. After all, Gary says, “What 14-year-old doesn’t like to eat?”

Dale, in contrast, came from a difficult situation, living with his grandmother until she passed away in 10th grade. “When we first got together he was very shy and through the years came out of it,” says Gary. “He was a small skinny kid, and I got him involved in working out at the Y. He loved it. In the summer of his junior year, he would run miles from his home to the YMCA, 2-3 mornings a week and lift/work out for a couple of hours, and run back home. He got involved and was very active in MMA (mixed martial arts) You can see his confidence grow as his chest expanded. He wasn’t the skinny kid we started with. He didn’t abuse his situation; he just grew in confidence.” Together they attended various sports games—Oriels, Shorebirds, even the Jets in NYC.

When asked about the time spent with his mentees, Gary says it fluctuates. “We commit to one hour a week, but sometimes it’s 2-3 times a week. It depends on the projects they’ve got going and varies week to week.” Nowadays, Gary and his wife spend January in Florida, so he doesn’t see Jaylen at all during that time. It all works out, though, for both of them.

Gary is grateful for the support he receives from Talbot Mentors, saying: “They provide you with what you need. Having been a mentor for this long, I don’t need the same amount of support that I did when I started, but there are times when you run into situations you’re not quite sure how to handle, and the staff is always there for you.”

The influence that mentors have on children can’t be understated. Less is said about the impact these children have on those who volunteer their time. Perhaps, the experience of mentoring can best be summed up by Ali and John Strickland, both of who are Talbot County Public Schools administrators and mentors to siblings Tabius and Taylan Wilson. At a recent dinner celebrating Talbot Mentors 21st year, Tabius and Taylan gave a speech about the influence the Stricklands had on their success. What follows is the Stricklands’ response:

“We are always proud of you, Taylan and Tabius.

Tabius said many kind things about John Strickland and me, but the one thing he didn’t mention is what they have done for us. These two amazing young adults have been there for our family during the ups and downs. They were two of the first visitors in the hospital when Bradley (their child) was born. We can’t imagine our lives and our family without them. They have made us better parents, better educators, better for each other, and better people.”

——–

Wondering how you can help?

• Become a mentor to a child who would benefit from a positive role model.
• Donate and help achieve the goal of offering every mentee a camp experience.
• Volunteer to teach the children your special talent or hobby.

Still unsure? Attend a Talbot Mentor Infosession on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, @ 4:30-5:15 at Talbot Mentors office on 108 Maryland Ave. Suite #102 in Easton.  For additional information contact (410) 770-5999 or talbotmentors.org

Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.

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.

A Talbot Interfaith Shelter Success Story

In the early months of 2015, the Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) received a call from a woman named Dina who was living in her car with her two young children. She and her husband were having some marital problems. TIS Executive Director Julie Lowe and Operations Manager Fran Doran brought her in for an interview and invited her stay at Easton’s Promise. She had a minimum wage job and her children were in day care.

While at Easton’s Promise, she wanted to work on her marriage so her husband was invited to stay at the shelter facility. He lived with the single men until they could find some common ground. He did all that was asked of him and was eventually able to live together with his family. In November of 2015, the family moved into one of TIS’ transitional apartments. They were both working and had saved enough funding to pay the security deposit and half a months’ rent. As with any family, they still have some problems but work through them. They now pay the full rent, and both kids are in school and doing well.

In August, Dina came to Ms. Doran with tears in her eyes. She said, “You know Ms. Fran, when I first met you I told you that my dream was to be a nurse. Well, I have been accepted to Chesapeake College School of Nursing and on a full scholarship. My orientation is tonight.”

She left smiling and excited. She later told Fran, “The day I walked into that shelter was the worst because I was homeless and you guys were my last hope, and also best day of my life because my life has gotten so much better. I’m nowhere near where I was and I’m finally going to fulfill my dream career. I thank you guys every single chance I get, and I truly love y’all.”

TIS is very proud of Dina’s achievements and all of the hard work she has done to earn this opportunity. She is an incredible woman, wife, and mother, and her success is so well-deserved. Her win is also a win for our community, which has consistently offered time, money, fellowship, and compassion to TIS’ guests. This support is integral to enabling our guests, not only to survive, but to thrive.

Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is a 501(c)3 organization based in Easton and serving Talbot County and the surrounding areas. The organization has developed a program that they call S4 (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), which is designed to give guests access to a stable homelike environment, services, and tools that can help them break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and regain their independence. Once guests are accepted into Easton’s Promise, they receive case management as they move through an individualized plan, eventually transitioning into one of the shelter’s eight subsidized off-site apartments, where they incrementally take over expenses until they are fully self-sufficient.

Their vision is that no one in Talbot County will ever have to spend a night on the streets, in a car or in the woods because he or she cannot find housing. To learn more about how you can help, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316 or julielowe@atlanticbb.net.

Masculinity, Sexual Violence and Young Men

If there is one thing Beth Anne Langrell knows in her role of director of For All Seasons, Inc. on the Mid-Shore, if you want to have men, and particularly young men, listen to someone about uncomfortable topics like sexual violence and masculinity, it doesn’t get any better than to have a former quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles lead the charge.

And that is precisely what Langrell did the other day when she recruited former professional football player Don McPherson to speak to those men from Chestertown to Easton on those very subjects last week. Blessed with having special “street cred” given his remarkable career, Don speaks candidly of the dangers to our society, and especially women, as boys develop into men without understanding their masculinity.

The Spy sat down with Don McPherson at the Bullitt House for a chat on the challenges of men in a society that continues to embrace false and unrealistic concepts of what a Man” is in our culture while avoiding the topic of sex and intimacy. The results of which can lead to anger or criminal behavior.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about For All Seasons and their efforts to end sexual violence on the Mid-Shore please go here.

St. Vincent de Paul is Growing and That’s Not a Good Thing: Checking in with SVdP President Alex Handy

Perhaps one of the most disappointing parts of Alex Handy’s job as president of Easton’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul is that his organization is still growing. Each year its customers, those seeking food assistance to feed themselves and their families, goes up, not down.

In fact, according to Alex, this has been the trend line since the region started to feel the impact of the recession in 2009. All of which has dramatically changed the size and scope of the Society’s mission since it opened its doors in 1979. That’s just one reason why their annual dining card campaign is so important this year.

The Spy sat down the Alex last week for a check in and to understand more fully the special needs in our community.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about St. Vincent de Paul please go here

Exit Interview: County Council’s Dirck Bartlett Does Not Go Quietly into that Good Night

For many years now, the Spy has tried to catch up with those leaving important positions in Talbot County for what we call an “exit interview.” The phrase comes from the world of human resources departments, eager to have candid insights from departing employees on how their organizations can run better.

In most cases, these Spy interviews have been helpful for the same reason.  Be it an art museum, college, or local government; these conversations allow our subject, free from the restrictions of a formal role, to highlight their institution’s successes and potential challenges in the future. It is also an excellent time to take a modest victory lap in recalling their most meaningful moments in those leadership positions.

In the case of Dirck Bartlett, however, who is concluding his twelve years on the Talbot County Council, his exit interview with the Spy was much more than just a casual word of concern of certain things. Most of his time was spent on talking about the forces at work in Talbot County who are attempting to systematically undo Talbot’s long-standing commitment for land protection and conservation. These same agents, he believes, showed their influence over a majority of his fellow Republican council members in 2018 in such matters as zoning, community noise management, and short-term vacation rental regulations.

Bartlett also does not hold his fire in talking about his views on the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, the fraud committed by those who created “Sears Wheeler,” who was exposed by the Star-Democrat as a fictitious writer of letters to the editor of that newspaper and on the Talbot Spy; the power and influence of developer Jeanie Bryan and the poor judgment of fellow council member Chuck Callahan for accepting a campaign donation from her; and, finally, the deceptive practices of the newly created Common Sense Talbot political action committee.

This video is approximately twenty-four minutes in length.

County Council President Jennifer Williams Responds to Coalition Grievances

County Council President Jennifer Williams might have expected a tough fight this election season, but it would have been tough to predict that she would be the primary target of a local coalition attempting to unseat her. And yet that is indeed the sole purpose of the Bipartisan Coalition For New Council Leadership, chaired by Talbot resident Dan Watson, which includes four locally-based grassroots organizations; they want her out of office.

The Coalition has taken to the web and local media to outline a series of grievances against Ms. Williams in the four years since she won election to the County Council. Specifically, these fall into three categories; the first being zoning and land use
, the second on short-term vacation rentals, and the third is the Council’s recent vote on noise limits in the county. The Coalition also argues that Williams has operated with the support of special interests tied to Talbot County real estate concerns and has had undue influence on the voting of her Republican colleagues, Chuck Callahan, and Corey Pack.

Mr. Watson recently presented the Coalition’s case in a Talbot Spy interview last week, and we immediately reached out to Ms. Williams to offer equal time to respond to their claims. In her interview, she provides a vigorous defense of the Council’s recent actions on zoning, noise levels, and short-term rentals. She also categorically denies being influenced by special interests and coordinating a majority of the Council to advance a pro-growth agenda in the county.

This video is approximately nineteen minutes in length 

 

Talbot County Council Race: A Conversation with Rose Potter

Every election year, the Talbot Spy attempts to use the power of multimedia to introduce candidates for local office in a way that is far less traditional than the typical community forum or debate. Rather than be limited by a set amount of time to state policy views or answer questions, the Spy has used the video interview format to understand more fully a candidate’s points of view as well as their personalities. We continue this practice again this year but with a special partner in tow. The Avalon Foundation’s MCTV, with their wonderful downtown studio and video equipment, has teamed up with the Talbot Spy for a one-on-one with each one of the ten candidates running for office. While we have departed from our usual practice of editing our interviews for the sake of economy, we believe these “gavel to gavel” conversations will prove to be extremely useful as Talbot County voters go to the polls on November 6.

We continue our series with Democrat Rose Potter.  A two-term member of the Town of Trappe Town Council, Potter, graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School and Salisbury University and had worked for the Maryland Higher Education Commission before retiring in 2002.

This video is approximately twenty minutes in length.