Letter to Editor Get Ready for Oxford’s Cardboard Boat Race

The Cardboard Boat Race, as it has in the past 30 years, will commence on the Saturday after Fathers Day in June. This year that date falls on June 22th. The race is held at the beach at the end of the Strand in Oxford Maryland. Boat registration will be starting at nine am. Most boats tend to wait till race day to register. Some years there are as many as 50 boats participating in the various races. The Battle of the Brave or Iron person race is the longest and is in Memory of Police Chief Wally Jones who was a founding member of the races and it is in his honor the proceeds go to Special Olympics of Maryland and the Tred Avon Players a community Non-profit Theater group operating out of the Oxford Community Center.

To start the races the dunking of the politicians will commence the start. This event is where the political inspired walk out into the river to see if the can lose sight of their sneakers and when they accomplish that feat the measurement taken will give some indication as to the health of the Bay. The river keepers can explain it better but that is the reason all materials used to make a boat be water solvent.

This year races will start at 11:00 and there will be the Battle of the Brave or Iron Man the longest of the races then the Fast Race and the Corporate Challenge in Honor of Tom Kleppinger, The funny race the Children’s race those 15 and under and the Senior Survivors for those over 60. All races are starting and ending on the Beach at the north end of the Strand. There is no spectator fee but attendees are encouraged to purchase ice cream from Highland Creamery or the food cooked by the upper Shore chapter of Special Olympics Maryland.

This being a “fun raiser” for two nonprofit organizations there is no fee for those who wish to watch the race can do so at any vantage point along the shore line. Those who wish to enter a race may do so at the fee of $25.00. If they wish to rent a boat and decorate it as they wish the fee for a limited fleet boat is $100.00 per boat and if the desire is to own their own boat that too can be arranged for a fee of $400.00. All checks are to be made out to Special Olympics Maryland or Tred Avon Players. All boats that enter must have the proper survival gear onboard.

The web site is http://give.classy.org/2019cardboardboatrace . As always we are also looking for volunteers to participate or build or repair the Boats. If you wish to find out more please contact Skipper@exitlathamrealty.com or skipper3212@gmail.com unless you have the need to hear a real human voice then try 410-924-3212. This year after the cardboard races the Smith Island Crab Skiffs will be having their Doug Hanks/Col.Martin memorial race. The crab skiffs are motorized and will circle the fleet of anchored boats that have come to see the races like Indians around a wagon train. Some of these boats will be at the far end of the beach for viewing as they are marvels of boat building and Oxford has Built the Slippery Eel to partake in these races.

William Skipper Marquess


Letter to the Editor: Conversations With Charity and Civility

Dave Wheelan, founder and publisher of The Talbot and Chestertown Spy was criticized this week on social media for publishing a piece by David Montgomery, the contents of which offended many people, including us. Rather than respond to Montgomery directly through The Spy’s comments section, some contributors vilified Dave Wheelan publicly. We find such action highly questionable. Challenging Montgomery is reasonable, in fact appropriate, but castigating the publisher of a sound publication which provides a forum for news and opinions is misguided. Social media provides a welcome opportunity for all of us to express our opinions protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but it is not a substitute for good journalism. We support The Spy publications, the founder and publisher and the exercise of rights to free speech.

Charity and civility go hand in hand. In today’s caustic and fractionated environment when words are weaponized through all forms of media, it’s particularly important for us to be mindful and gracious. In the face of opinions we oppose and even find offensive or hurtful, we can still be charitable. We can also choose not to engage, but if we choose discourse over silence, let us be respectful and civil with a tone that engenders positive feelings, not one driven by fear and antagonism.

Richard Marks and Amy Haines

Letter to the Spy Publisher: A Response from David Montgomery

Dear David,

I had no idea that you would have such an emotional reaction to my POV on the Colorado shootings, and had I known I would without hesitation have chosen a different topic. But having written it without such knowledge, I stand behind what I wrote, and I have added links to studies supporting my views. Perhaps your feelings have prevented you from reading what I actually wrote, and led you to paraphrase my article in a misleading way. You claim I stated “that one of the murderers, who had been questioning his gender identity at the time of the crime, was the result of our society ‘brainwashing teens into gender dysphoria.’” Only the last 5 words are mine.

If you are implying that I think all teens confused about their gender are potential mass murderers, I am offended more by your lack of respect for my intelligence than anything else. Having expressed my outrage more than once at suggestions that all “white nationalists” are mass murderers, I am not likely to make the same mistake in causality myself.

Do I think that the massive propaganda machine legitimizing the desire to change sex is harmful, and that it added to the impulses that made this boy and girl into killers? Indeed, I do. Capable researchers have published studies that reveal a link between peer and social media pressure and gender dysphoria. That is a matter of fact to be discussed not suppressed.

You clearly disagree with me that great harm is done by teaching that changing one’s physical sex is healthy and therapeutic. That is no reason to prevent me from offering my opinion, which has its own scientific support, any more than you would prevent me from stating my opinion that the scientific basis for claims of imminent climate catastrophe is weak.

Moreover, I never said or thought that the shooters were themselves evil, for their gender confusion or for their murderous intentions. That is not for me to judge.

What I actually wrote is: “The clear evil is in the politicians, “educators,” fashionable psychologists and institutions that are brainwashing teens into gender dysphoria. Teenagers, confused by hormones, immaturity and no doubt family and social pain, are being told that their all too common emotional distress comes from being the wrong sex and that they can solve their problems by changing their dress, bathroom access or biology. It doesn’t work, and creates the even worse problems seen in this event.” By deleting my column, you made it impossible for readers to judge my meaning for themselves.

What I identified as evil are the institutions telling teens that their wishes to have been born with a different biology are healthy and need to be fulfilled. I am convinced that adding the suggestion that “you are the wrong sex” to the sometimes overwhelming stress of puberty and the mismatched timing of hormonal and intellectual development can make life more than a teen can handle. Some choose suicide, many suffer impaired mental health, and in this case two chose mass murder. Perhaps if I had written that rather than the shorter “creates the even worse problems seen in this event” you would have understood me better.

What I find most strange is where you draw the line on what is permissible speech. I’m sorry, this is not even close to “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” In Canada or the Netherlands, I realize, I could be put in jail for “hate speech” for writing this column. That is one reason why I am so thankful to live in the USA.

You say that my words were doing harm. In my opinion, being silent on the tragic consequences of driving our youth into confusion about gender also does immense harm. The question is not what is comfortable but what is true. Though truth may be one, agreement on what is true only comes from listening to statements that cause discomfort. Your and some readers’ attacks on me certainly hurt my feelings, but the reassurance of others that my column was reasonable comforted me.

Your standard seems to be the same “safe space” guarantee that has become notorious on campuses. Perhaps you should add a “trigger warning” to my Points of View. I have become accustomed to prejudice based on my race, gender and age, to insults directed at my religion, and to lies about what I have said and done. I did not and do not expect protection from any of this. Why do we accept the idea that some are so privileged that they should hear nothing but praise?

I am also distressed and puzzled, not for myself but for the readers of the Spy, by your statements about what the Spy supports. Do you mean to say that after suggesting I write about candidate Buttigieg’s appeal to Christianity to support his homosexual lifestyle, you would censor me if I stated my belief that marriage is an institution (or sacrament) ordained by God to unite a man and a woman for life? That is what is said in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and was the universal teaching of Christian churches for almost two thousand years, but it is also termed hate speech in many venues. You should clarify where censorship starts in the Spy.

Unless you do intend to silence all views but your own on these issues and to leave standing the regrettable charge that I am a purveyor of hate speech, I hope you will publish this response to your attacks on me in full.


David Montgomery

Letter to Editor: Jay Jacobs Got it Right with “War on the Shore” Report Description

Del. Jay Jacobs did set the record straight with regard to his War on Shore report description. He couldn’t have said it better. Some background is necessary. The Oyster Futures Workgroup was assembled from diverse cultural stakeholders. To which Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) was a participant. The OFG reviewed scientific models and made policy recommendations to the MDDNR with regard to the Choptank River complex. MDDNR accepted those recommendations.

This past legislature session saw CBF sponsoring a bill HB-298 that cut the knees off this groups time consuming hard work and rendered their time-consuming hard work useless. As a member of the Oyster Advisory Commission (OAC) CBF sponsored legislation each of the last 3 years that went behind the back of this culturally diverse group. Simply put, CBF felt it can act on its own, because it does not have control this multi stakeholder group created to advise on complex oyster issues.

The oyster mega-sanctuary network was sold to the seafood industry as a cure all. These sanctuaries would act as breeder reactors, naturally producing vast number of larvae that would spill over repopulate the oyster bars throughout the bay. Ten years later we have not seen any hard-scientific evidence of a signal or trigger that this phenomenon ever took place.

If CBF really wants to support Maryland’s oyster harvesting heritage then they should stop engaging in activities that promote the singling out of a culture and class of people for perpetual persecution.

Jim Mullin
Maryland Oystermen’s Association

Letter to Editor: Harris’ Vote Weakens Pre-Existing Condition Protection

1st District Representative, Andy Harris, voted against H.R. 986, a bill which would have repealed an executive action by President Trump that weakened health insurance requirements designed to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Harris has been consistent in his desire to strip pre-existing conditions protection from health insurance policies, a position which can be catastrophic for those citizens with pre-existing health conditions. Harris’ solution, as he has repeatedly voiced in the past, is to place all patients with pre-existing conditions into a high risk pool of insured, thereby allowing them to be charged higher premiums. T

his position fails to understand that insurance works best when the insured pool is large and diverse and all share in the risks of being ill. What senior citizen does NOT or WILL NOT have a pre-existing condition? One republican friend, nearing retirement, told me “Just try hang on until you reach 65 and then Medicare will kick in” That my friends is not a sound health care policy.

Let’s face it, the only group that Harris’ plan protects is the insurance industry.

Harris voted with his republican minority in the House by voting NAY. Fortunately, the bill passed with 230 (228 democrats and 2 republicans) voting YEA and 183 (all republican) voting NAY, mostly along party lines. A Nay vote was a vote to further weaken health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

What is House Bill H.R. 986?

This bill would repeal an October 2018 guidance issued by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) related to “State Relief and Empowerment Waivers” under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The guidance loosened restrictions of Section 1332 state innovation waivers, which became available to states in January 2017 under the ACA, by expanding the definition of coverage to include short-term plans and allowing existing state legislation about enforcing Obamacare satisfied the waiver requirement.” www.countable.us

For more information on this Bill go here

Chris Koch
Talbot County 

Letter to Editor: Harris Votes Correctly to Potentially Lower Future Generic Drug Prices

Voting with the majority, 1st District representative, Andy Harris, voted twice with the entire House of Representatives to advance House Bill H.R. 1520 and H.R 1503. The first Bill passed the House with 420 Yeas and 0 Nays. The second Bill passed with 422 Yeas and 0 Nays.

What is House Bill H.R. 1520?

This bill — the Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019 — would require that the FDA proactively determine the reference product exclusivity for each licensed biological product (or biosimilar) listed in the Purple Book. It also would direct the FDA to solicit public comments regarding the type of information that should be contained in the Purple Book and transmit a report to the Congress within three years after the date of enactment.

This bill would also impose a private-sector mandate requiring biological product manufacturers to provide the FDA with certain patent information when that information is shared with biosimilar product manufacturers.

Finally, this bill would specify that the Purple Book should be published to the FDA’s website and updated regularly.

For more information on this click here.

What is House Bill H.R. 1503?

This bill — the Orange Book Transparency Act of 2019 —  would increase access to lower-cost generic drugs and bolster competition within the generic drug marketplace to help reduce drug costs by ensuring that patents listed in the Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations Publication (aka the Orange Book) are valid and relevant to the approved product. It’d also strengthen requirements surrounding the removal of invalidated patents from the Orange Book.

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Clarify the types of patents listed in the Orange Book (and require the removal of invalidated patents);
  • Require a list of applicable exclusivities for listed drugs;

  • Create a private-sector mandate requiring drug manufacturers to promptly submit a patent withdrawal or removal to the FDA for patents found invalid by the Patent Trial and Appeals Board or another court; and

  • Empower the FDA to: 1) add additional patents to the Orange Book if necessary, 2) promptly remove patents from the Orange Book which are found to be invalid, and 3) reconsider the types of patents listed in the Orange Book within one year of enactment.

For more information click here.

Christopher A. Koch

Letter to Editor: Trust the Chesapeake Bay Foundation? Not!

Trust the Chesapeake Bay Foundation? Not!

I received an email from CBF inviting me to comment on what is now the “Busch Legacy Oyster Bill”. Remember it is the bill THAT Governor Hogan tried to veto while asking for a less political and more inclusive alternative.

While the space provided was to be hopefully used to favor the bill, it did not prohibit an anti-bill comment. I looked at the opportunity to comment about the hysterical tactics and falsehoods used by the foundation to push their bill through the legislature.  

So, I used the opportunity to inform the foundation of mine and the industry’s anti-bill stance. I submitted it and went on my way in the belief that once my comment was read at the foundation it would obviously not be used in the pro-bill letter the foundation would send out to all legislators.

Fool that I am. Not only did the foundation not bother to read my comments but lifted my name and placed it on the list of those supporting the bill.

My delegate’s office sent me an email concerned that my name appeared in support. Shocked and insulted I immediately informed the delegate of my actions and my dismay at the possible fraud in using my name to further the CBF cause. I asked my delegate to ask for my comments from the CBF. The foundation has not complied. This begs the question. If they did this to me then, just how many other people has CBF done this too?

If you are among the supporters who pay their dues and walk away thinking the foundation can be trusted in all actions to do the right thing, think again. Your “activism” is merely that of a slacktivist.  Educate yourselves with information from as many sources you can find. Beware the comfort zone of shared opinions provided by “well” meaning foundations and associations.

Marc Castelli
Kent County


Letter to Editor: Harris Votes Against Interest of Seniors

Reportedly, older Americans lose approximately $36.5 billion a year to financial scams and abuse; and those numbers are increasing as technology makes it easier for scammers to target older Americans. I know my home phone rings ceaselessly with junk phone calls from marketers trying to fool me and my wife into some unscrupulous scam.

In 2016, a survey by the Investor Protection Trust found that nearly one in five seniors — approximately seven million Americans — have reported being victims of exploitation. In 2018, U.S. banks reported a record 24,454 cases of suspected elder financial abuse to the Treasury Department — more than double the number of suspected cases five years earlier.

Congress attempted to bring some help to seniors with a new bill titled “The Senior Security Act of 2019”. Our 1st District Representative, Harris, voted against it. A vote against H.R. 1867 was a vote against added financial protection for seniors in our district.

The vote was 392 voting YEA, 20 voting NAY. Harris voted NAY.

What is House Bill H.R. 1876?

This bill — the Senior Security Act of 2019 — would create a Senior Investor Taskforce at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would examine and identify challenges facing senior investors. This interdivisional task force would be comprised of staff from the Division of Enforcement, Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations, and Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. The task force, in consultation with other SEC offices, state securities and law enforcement authorities, state insurance regulators, and federal agencies, would report its findings to Congress every two years and recommend any regulatory or statutory changes.

Further, within one year of this bill’s enactment, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to study and report on the economic costs of the financial exploitation of senior citizens.  For more information please go here.

Christopher A. Koch
Bristol Realty Corporation


Letter to Editor: Power Poles In the Wrong Places in St. Michaels

Residents of St. Michaels and area visitors have found their path to walk or bike on the St. Michaels walking trail blocked by caution tape over the past few weeks as workers from Delmarva Power have been busy upgrading power lines as part of their multi-year Reliability Project.

Beyond removing trees and cutting shrubs, that project leapt to new heights – literally – this week with the installation of an industrial size power tower next to St. Michaels’ iconic covered bridge. Apparently, Delmarva need not concern itself with historic preservation or local town appearances.  Moreover, joggers and bikers will now need to detour around the enormous pole and its foundation which were relocated to new spot in the center of the walking trail.

One would think that along the Chesapeake one might aim for fewer, less obtrusive power poles, not one that’s related to an industrial smokestack. It’s unclear who approved such monstrosities, especially when this appears to be the only one of its kind for miles around.

John J. O’Connor
St. Michaels

Letter to Editor: Reconciling Tragedy and Hope in New Zealand – are there Lessons for Others?

Last Friday it was just 3 weeks since 50 people died in an attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A week earlier tens of thousands of New Zealanders stopped for 2 minutes silence at the call to prayers. At about the same time I briefly met a Muslim woman in Easton heading to her workplace. No-one had said a word to her about these events and the impact they must have had on her and her friends. Does anyone out there really care?

In a few horrific minutes NZ lost her innocence and maybe changed forever. A country far away from most on the globe – a people who mostly have a reputation for kindness and who are perennially happy – a country completely of immigrants. NZ is no utopia but it does do some things well.

This tragedy was about losing part of our family. The victims were NZ Muslims (just as some of us happen to be Christian, Jewish or of other religions) going about their normal lives. Most importantly though they were our brothers and sisters who were either born in or chose to live in NZ.

We New Zealanders adore the All Black’s rugby team, the America’s Cup sailors and Peter Jackson’s movies. But this is different and goes to our DNA. We care for people; it matters little where we came from, who we are or what we believe in. Our politicians, community and religious leaders, the police and other first responders appear to have behaved par excellence both in the moment and beyond – good for them. Then they responded quickly with changed legislation.

We are privileged to live in the US. It is a country that often displays the best of good things and at times the exact opposite. Personal freedoms and rights seem absolute. Unfortunately sometimes they seem to override the greater good. Gun control is not a panacea to righting the wrongs of our world but the wrong guns in the hands of the wrong people cannot be condoned in my view. The Eastern Shore is full of guns…almost all used responsibly for recreational purposes.  New Zealand acted within a few days to ban semi-automatic weapons. Are we too numb to consider similar measures here?

Think first of the people…does anyone really care?

I personally will try harder.

Kia Kaha NZ (Forever Strong)

Michael Levy
Talbot County

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