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The news is pretty good.  There’s plenty to be thankful for, but there are several large issues which could become increasingly problematic.  You have to take the good with the bad, and that’s what the state of affairs is.

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The Marina is looking healthy and viable.  It is nearly ready for promotion and clients.  It could be a success.  We will see how it goes.  One would be hard pressed to criticize so much good work and effort that has been made to date.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed

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The hospital remains under long term threat of closure, but the current situation is not all bad.  It may be time that the oil issue is finally put to rest after decades of remediation for the spill

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There are a couple park improvements which are coming to pass this year which will be pleasing to citizens.  Many one to three day events are scheduled and they seem a perfect fit for the tourism Chestertown needs.  While there have been major commitments of renewal and construction from local powerhouse businesses such as La Motte and Dixon Valve, there is plenty of room for new employers and businesses here.  The movie theater is up and running.  Restaurants and bars are in the process of being constructed or opening shortly.  The Farmer’s Market has new guidelines meeting their needs.  The Sultana project has grown much larger and more viable.

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All in all, 2018 was a great year for Chestertown and 2019 looks like some very good things will continue to bloom here.  That’s all good news!  Hopefully, the County Commissioners will find a way to give Chestertown and Rock Hall the tax differential payments these places truly need to survive and prosper.

 
Phil has been active with this group as a leader and past President for the past 20 years.  He currently serves as Vice-President.   The Friends of the Refuge launched a letter writing and mass campaign to save the Refuge from being closed over the past two years.  It has been a successful pursuit.  The place is still open to the public and the friends of the Refuge have become a crucial element in keeping the place open and viable for tourism and those seeking a diversion from the busy character of life in urban environments.

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In theory, the Feds have a responsibility to fund and run refuges and parks for the benefit of all the public, but behind the scenes there are agendas which favor major preserves over minor ones.  Where most National Parks are well funded and not under any threat of closure, the minor public lands can easily find themselves targets of spending cuts, or suffering from a lack of increased funding as inflation silently erodes the level of available services.  Phil told us that when the Feds intended to close Eastern Neck they had 13 additional places in mind to discontinue funding also in mind.  After the campaign to preserve Eastern Neck, the other 13 places were closed.  Only Eastern Neck was saved for the enjoyment of the public.  Even so, without the efforts and funding provided by this private, not for profit entity, Eastern Neck would have virtually no staff and maintenance.  It is sort of a bittersweet win, but it is thankfully, not a loss.  Some things are worth preserving.  Some things are worth paying for.  The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is among those things that have real value not only to our natural world, but to the people who visit there.
 

20190228 CBG Dr Bill Schindler WC ES Food Lab - 0801

What an exciting and educational meeting we had this morning with Dr. Schindler.  We now know a tiny bit more about our complex food history for the past 3.5 million years and about our current position with nutrition and bad eating habits of the past few decades.  If we weren’t having so much fun, we’d be deeply concerned.  Food as we know it today is highly altered and not always made to be the best for us.  It is made to last a long time, but much of the food value is trapped or simply lost in the processing.  We are very disconnected from real food and real understanding of this most basic human need.  At least now we know this is the situation.

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It sounds like the Blue Heron will be the epicenter of what may become a local revolution or at least an educational hub for the region when it comes to re-connecting with good nutrition and healthy eating styles.   You can just imagine how excited some of Dr. Schindler’s students must become when they begin to hear his philosophy and facts.  Not only is he a very fine educator, but he is living his methodology successfully.  It is a big win-win for the College and our community.

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We urge readers to go to the events of the Eastern Shore Food Lab and to gain more understanding of what food ought to be.  FInd out more about what to eat and how not to let so much good food go to waste.  Our eyes are now open!

 
There is no question that there is a long list of things which could be improved or developed in our area and in Chestertown.  With the advent of Federal legislation in the tax reform act of 2016 Opportunity Funds were established.  Investors with capital gains can defer and decrease the amount of tax due by investing in such funds.  The funds are administrated by folks such as Tom Timberman.  The investments can cover a wide range of ideas and programs which seek to improve or create in areas where there is a concentration of poverty.  However, most investors want to invest where the risks are not high and the potential for financial gain has some assurance.  That’s capitalism and that’s what wealthy investors tend to desire.    The issue appears that the list of what citizens and Tom want are things like affordable housing, better public transportation, better schools and diverse educational opportunities, and more and better paying jobs.  Typical wealthy investors tend to want to promote and develop upscale apartments, fancy hotels, more shopping, conference centers and money making enterprises.  
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Tom Timberman’s task is to find the unique blend of public spirited wealthy investor who might be willing to sacrifice some, or possible all financial gain, in order to make our local main town a better and more livable place for those who are likely not affluent.  Raising us all from the bottom up is a worthy goal, but can Timberman accomplish his mission?  Time will tell as the story is just in the early stages.  Thank you Tom and we wish you success with your efforts.
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We hope to have Timberman back in the near future to discuss with us the effect of tariffs on international trade.  Such tariffs are having an impact on our local agricultural economy and should be better understood.
 

Andre DeMattia, CEO, Talkie Communications, 2-14-2019

On February 14, 2019, in Uncategorized, by David Atlas

Andre DeMattia presented  the business plan to connect Chestertown residents and businesses to highspeed and highly reliable fiber optic Internet services beginning this June.  A large amount of money is being spent up front to bring fiber optic right to the front of every home in the area.  For what seems like a highly competitive amount, you soon will be able to connect at lighting speed.  We will keep out fingers crossed.  The team from Talkie sounded highly professional and have years of experience behind them.  Looks like this time the choice to get fast Internet service will finally be possible.

 

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Since your weekly writer, Dave Atlas, was out of town this past Thursday, another member of our Kent CBG Steering Committee kindly wrote this short description of our March 7th meeting.

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Susan Eddy and Muriel Cole led a discussion about public policies on aging which they call ‘a scandal’.  Using various statistics, they compared the budgets for senior services of several Eastern Shore counties with Kent being in last place.  They showed inventory of senior housing in Kent is way below the need.  Their slide presentation was informative and eye opening and they encouraged everyone to become more involved in advocating for our senior population.–

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Our speakers also provided a write up of what they discussed with our overflow crowd of participants.  It follows below:

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PUBLIC POLICIES ON AGING- A SCANDAL

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By Muriel Cole and Susan Eddy

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On Feb. 8, Muriel Cole and Susan Eddy, both advocates for seniors and Chestertown residents, gave a talk that highlighted many weaknesses in U.S., State, and local policies for those in our senior years. A number of statistics were given that reveal the inequities in resources assigned and attention given, especially to the elderly. Older people are more vulnerable and face more challenges, yet the issues are not prominent in the minds of most people. In Kent County there are 1900 public school students and over 5000 people over 65. Senior services are poorly funded. A number of attendees pointed to inadequate long-term care and a general lack of awareness. Cole called this situation, in Martin Luther King’s words, “the appalling silence of good people.”

 

 

Ron Abler had a truly uncommon and unusual wartime experience during his time in Vietnam.  He flew helicopter rescue missions from ships based in the Gulf of Tonkin into Vietnamese waters and land territory.  The goal was mostly to bring back downed pilots before the enemy could find them.  Once in a while there were other rescues of Vietnamese nationals, too.  The miracle of the Miracle Squadron was that while many helicopters and airplanes were lost in combat, not one downed crew member or pilot that was signaling for pick-up during Abler’s time in the war zone was lost.  In total, nearly 1500 rescues were made without loss of life during these nearly impossible and dangerous rescues.

 

All we heard about Vietnam on the news during those days was about the protests at home and death in a distant land.  Ron Abler had the privilege and experience of truly helping to save lives.  He never saw the enemy during his time there. Ron’s war experience was uplifting, memorable and life changing in many good ways.  War is not a good or perfect thing, but Abler’s experience is a part of the story about the Vietnam war that very few people have heard about.  We were deeply impressed to say the least.  THANKS RON for sharing your story with us.

 

Tourism brings not only lots of people to spend their money in Kent County, but it also is one of the engines that brings us new, long term residents.  People see a lifestyle they really like, fall in love with the area and decide to live here permanently.  The diverse efforts made to attract visitors and to explain the many things which they can do and visit while they are here resides with the two people staffing our office of tourism.  No big bureaucracy, just two people working along with business and event partners producing several publications, schedules, calendars, advertising and promotions.  Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all now play an active part as well as traditional brochures and print ads.  It is a big effort, but the statistics show it really pays off very well.

 

Check out this link.  Make it a “Favorite” so you can easily find it again.  When you have visitors, look it up and see what’s taking place, where to go, and what you might do.  https://www.kentcounty.com/visitors

 

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Jamie Williams has been in this position now for over a year and tells us every day she learns more and more about the rules, regulations and tactics of the players.  She also has gained a way better handle on the sources and extent of funds, tax credits, incentives and grants which are available some of which rarely are even applied for.  There is slow and optimistic progress in getting businesses to locate here or to remain and expand here.  This is good news because it appears it is being done right and fairly.  While no one says they want unrestricted growth, few would promote zero growth.  Keeping control and finding compatible ways to increase the possibilities of employment and development are constantly being looked for.

Jamie brought us a long list of things that have been attended to in the past year.  It was organized and shows real promise.  We understand there is a list of 25 properties Washington College has the intention of selling.  She said she’d send it to me and we will post it on our site just in case you might like to know the situation.

 

Wow!  What a large basket of services is offered for senior citizens.  All one needs to do is to become informed and make choices from a long list of provided services from more than 17 available agencies.  There are many opportunities for services and lots of volunteer positions to fill, if you are able and so inclined.  We discussed the problems with reliance on private transportation being endemic to rural communities like Kent County.  While we didn’t come up with solutions, the problem is becoming more recognized and focused.  Maybe we will eventually have a fleet of autonomous vehicles to pick up and deliver people who no longer can drive…  We don’t know what the near future will bring, but the needs of citizens are being kept on the radar by caring people.

 

If you need services or wish to become involved call 410-778-6000 or see www.uppershoreaging.org

 
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