kramer

Bob Kramer has a unique way of writing and self expression.  It is a bit tricky and convoluted, but within has deep thought, ideas for change while keeping the best of the past, and bringing needed efficiency to local government.  His blog makes for good reading and his in-person talk with Kent CBG participants ranged far and wide over the future of Kent County with a focus also on Chestertown as a unique place to live as well as a venue for events.  Inevitably, some change is coming, but can we make changes that improve the schools, strengthen the local economy, and not spend in an inefficient or wasteful way?  Kramer attends many of the local governmental meetings.  He has seen the inner workings of our representatives.  His insights were worth the time spent with him to see what a person can do to become knowledgeable about what is going on in Kent and Chestertown.

 

 

WIlson

Glenn Wilson, the current president-chairman of the Kent County United Way, spoke to us today on the benefits the United Way, both nationally and locally, brought to the many charities that are supported.  Locally, there are 27 charities in Kent County that rely on United Way for major funding.  They are well aware of the dire transportation needs of the poor and handicapped.  They are also well away of poverty and it’s associated issues.  A lot of smart people who want good, long term solutions are working to make things better.  The problems are not easy to solve, but good people are at work making progress in this regard.

Give to the United Way.  Al funds received go to our local charities.

 

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The Kent County Food Pantry which operates in Chestertown is one of several food pantries for people in Kent County who need some occasional assistance with getting enough food.  There are many reasons why folks end up needing such help and our local food pantry is doing a great job with non-judgmental distribution of such needed aid.  Rather than create a bureaucracy, the Pantry makes sure it has food for those who ask for it and allows them to keep their dignity and privacy.  It is a balancing act, but it seems an efficient way to distribute a necessity to those who need it.  Likely as not, there are many more folks in the area who could use such assistance, but who have yet to make the connection.

With all the wealth of our County, there is an underlying large body of citizens who just are not living well.  The reasons are many and diverse, but the outcome of being in poverty cuts across all the reasons.  We can supply such essentials to citizens easier than giving them a hard time about it.  A small minority of these folks might benefit greatly from counseling, eduction, and job training, but most are stuck in circumstances that the affluent can’t and won’t envision.  The Kent County Food Pantry and its many volunteers are simply making a big difference for the better.  It is good news to hear about the smooth operation of their program in times where so many organizations talk a lot, but don’t accomplish a whole lot.

Looking for a good cause?  Make a donation of food, money or volunteer time.  You gift will be effective and not lost in the process.

 

 

Tess Hogans of the Garfield Center 6-14-2018

On June 14, 2018, in Uncategorized, by David Atlas

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Tess is a young whirlwind of energy and organizational skill presiding over coordination of the activities going on at the Garfield Center.  As she spoke on the many programs and opportunities being offered, one can only imagine the network of volunteers in the background who make each and every event happen.  The energy and level of enthusiasm found there is likely unrivaled anywhere else in our county or region.  Funding is always a huge issue since Tess told us that only 25% of the expenses of the Center are met by ticket revenue.  Thankfully, the events and activities are popular.  It would be a huge loss to find such a great place unable to meet the required funding levels.  Contributors of money and volunteer workers are in constant demand even as the Center is have so much success.  It deserve our full support.

 

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Nancy Bedell spoke with CBG participants today.  She gave us her optimistic outlook on the good that will happen over time with the changes coming down the road in health care.  She sees the US shifting toward a far less costly long term wellness system versus the current model of being the best in fixing the worst health problems at the highest cost and at the last minute.  The implementation of this process has begun, but it will take time and adjustment to see the real benefits both in cost and overall longer life expectancy.  She was well prepared and made sense to those present.  It was a great experience to hear from someone who is in the daily battle of delivering health care who has a positive attitude about the good changes that are already taking place and further expected changes that will be coming soon.

 

Incumbent Commissioner Bill Short and 4 hopeful County Commissioner candidates spoke to attendees and gave us their story, their ideas and some of their positions on matters of importance to residents and voters.  We covered all the HOT the topics such as “the yet to be built bridge”, school funding and discipline issues, county taxes and tax differentials, police, substance abuse issues, economic development and economic road blocks, gaining public consensus for necessary changes.  It is difficult to discuss many of these topics casually or in formal sessions.  Many people have well established views developed over years and are not about to compromise.  We mostly see the need to be good listeners.  We mostly see the need to understand viewpoints which don’t exactly align with our own.  To get the progress that fits our County and Communities, we need to listen, learn and create a bit of flexibility in our thinking.  From the liberal to the conservative, we should consider how to best live with one another.  This is what Kent CBG has been doing with success.  

Once the Primary election is completed, we will have all the County Commissioner candidates, both Democrat and Republican, speak to Kent CBG.  We hope those who came to one or both of our two pre-primary election sessions will return along with additional local citizens.  Everyone will get a unique and personal contact with all the chosen candidates.

 

The discussion and questions were long and lively.  The questions were wide ranging from leniency in sentencing, to opinions on the opioid crisis.  We asked each candidate why they were running, what their work and educational history was and what they hoped to achieve if they won the election.  We saw their enthusiasm, the learned about their much different experience set in their legal professions and what they hope to bring to the job.

You need to meet these individuals in person to understand them better.  Both are quite different, but both have the residents of Kent County in mind as primary motivation.  Either individual would be good in the job, but every voter has the right and duty to make an informed decision.  That’s why Kent CBG exists.  To help YOU to make those big decisions wisely.

We will host the winner of the primary and the incumbent after the Primary election.  Please plan to attend.

 

When Sam Shoge was finished speaking and responding to many thoughtful questions, he really opened up the thought process going on in the minds of many of those in attendance.  He sees the need to figure out how Kent County can quickly connect to the growth that is around us, such as in Middletown.  We don’t need to wait until there is a decision on a bridge only a few people want to have built to get the wheels in motion to have sufficient population growth and economic activity here to save our local county.  Saving the nature of our area without waiting for a bridge decision sounds like a very smart thing to consider.  

Shoge “painted a picture” with sound statistics showing we are not headed to a good place if we don’t look for positive changes.  Admittedly, one could paint a different picture with other sets of statistics, but the process was definitely thoughtful and thought provoking.  It opened up some eyes to what else might be good to try and that waiting is not the only option.  Sam would like to come back and speak specifically about the bridge at a later date, but the presentation appeared even-handed, open and heartfelt.  We have to appreciate his  obvious sincerity and his youthful enthusiasm.  He is a great example of what Kent County Public Schools can produce.  We need many more like him.  It would be a pleasure to have Shoge return with other programs.  We will look forward to it.

 

Jay gave us his take on the broad range of activity and bills which were worked on and then voted on in the most recent sessions in Annapolis.  It has been a big season with quite a large number of bills going to Governor Hogan for signature.  Jay recounted a special success he had with one bill which he managed to get past by knowing more than some of the other members.  Such knowledge is gained by experience, so when one blindly calls for short term limits on every participant in government, we might forget that experience can count in good ways sometimes, too.  The process of writing legislation and then getting it to a vote is a daunting and complex business.  It is learned over time by doing the work and allowing one’s peers to teach and mentor younger or newer legislators.  Those in attendance were surely impressed with the level of care and concern Jay Jacobs brings to his elected position for all the residents of the Counties he represents.

 

Hill

Our audience was truly impressed with the easy yet professional way Trey Hill told us how farming and science have evolved together to give us enough food while saving us more and more from pollution from less efficient farming practices.  You don’t just become a farmer these days.  It takes advanced education, world travel, networking, conferences, early morinng phone calls from market advisers and a dedicated team of employees to make it all happen.

The questions asked and answered ranged from technical, to political to international in scope.  Trey was well informed, ready and willing to share.  Everyone left feeling like they had really had a learning experience

 

 
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