We had a very informative morning with Mr. DiGregory.  He made several points about his varied experience as a criminal litigator and as a public defender.  He is readily able to make his point of view clear and it seems great that such a well qualified candidate is looking now to the public for support and for the needed votes.  On Sept 13th, we will host his opponent for the same office and also give him an equal opportunity to impress us as voters and citizens.  The activities and programs being supported in the Justice department of Kent County sound like they are meeting the need of those who have been trapped in the drug scene and want to get clear of it going forward.  We have an intensive program to support those who deserve and want an opportunity for relief from drugs and to get back into normal lives without carrying a felony record into the future.  We can only hope it succeeds on a long term basis.   

There was lots of discussion on the new approach to bail.  It makes sense not to incarcerate poor people who honestly intend to appear at their trial.  Qualifying people for bail based on their  attitude, history and threat to others, rather than making money the determining factor does make good sense and appears to be saving the taxpayers money by keeping the jails less full of poor people waiting for their day in court.

 

We had a good sized audience for today’s speakers.  Two incumbents and two hopeful of being elected to the Kent County Board of Education.  Each was given 10 minutes for their own introduction and then the floor was opened for questions and many thought provoking statements by audience participants.  It was informative and rewarding for those in attendance.  As today’s event is early in the campaign, some of the questions and issues raised may help the candidates to better form future talking points and to be even more fully prepared to respond  in the balance of the time remaining before election day.

We asked, in advance, that each candidate be able to personally define what “fully funded” means.  This term is often casually used in the mix of explanations given for so many things to do with funding of schools.  Each candidate gave it a go.  We never ought to expect all the money that is requested to simply be delivered.  We live in times where there are constant demands to pay more and more taxes.  People don’t want to pay more without guarantees of positive effectiveness.   Those on the Board of Education are the public’s buffer between the demand for more funding and the limitation of revenue being collected.

We are left in a quandary.  Can we truly hope to provide first rate basic education against the large presence of long term poverty and its effects?   Is it realistic to think that what the public schools might offer will be competitive with first rate private education where parental support is demanded, courses are more oriented to the gifted rather than the average or struggling student, and where the effects of poverty are virtually removed?  What must the public schools concentrate on achieving?  What is beyond the scope of public education?  What is optional, what are the priorities of those options, and what is absolutely mandated?

In the end, the Board of Education acts as the elected representatives of the public, advises the school administration and County Commissioners.  The BOE members fit the budget handed to them by the school administration to work with the revenue supplied to them by the the State and County.  This is no easy task.  Cutting the amount of requested funds to fit the revenue is a task which creates controversy.  We commend the BOE members for the patience required of them, their commitment to the public, the students, the schools, and to education.

 

WC-ALL is now in its 26th year of service and education in Chestertown.  The upcoming schedule sounded exciting and of high quality.  We’ve grown to expect it, but there are no disappointments with the upcoming offerings.   We tossed around ideas for learning sessions and other events.  Sometimes good thing happen when you least expect them and I belive we came up with a few good ideas.  That’s how it works.  

Sign up now for the Fall Season.

 

Johnson-Granillo

Airlee Johnson of the Social Action Committee and Rosemary Granillo of the Local Management Board are both highly immersed in finding ways to improve inter-race relations and to seek ways to mitigate and end racism.  We find it a truly difficult and long term task, but one worth working on.  Making things better is far more effective than saying the work is simply too difficult to make an attempt.

The vast majority of Americans came here from other lands in the past 300 years.  It has taken considerable time to reach accommodation for many ethnic and religious groups.  Some have done far better than others in becoming powerful.  Some have progressed very little.  Seeking some further equity will benefit society as a whole.  We need to live together and support one another.  There seems little choice on this matter.  Past differences should be put in the past.  Just like we no longer accept bullying in schools, we should feel the same way about racism.  If we work at it, we will achieve some of the desired effects, but it will take work.

The talk was enlightening and involving.  The audience was moved to share and participate.  If you weren’t there, you missed one of CBG’s best presentations.

 

The statistics make it painfully clear that the revenue sharing which is normal in nearly all of Maryland counties between each county and their contained Municipalities is missing in Kent County since the recession of 2008.  Such a loss in revenue has led to a local tax increase, but there are still many budget cuts which come from delaying increasingly necessary expenditures which simply cannot be delayed forever.  The County Commissioners know of the situation and they say it is “On the radar”, but they did not act to alleviate the unfairness at the last budget approval process.

 

Citizens who understand the process and the Tax Differential need to more forcefully insist that the tax sharing between County and Municipalities be re-instituted in Kent.  The best way is to get an understanding of the history and why there is revenue sharing.  Then, when the commissioners meet, they need to hear clearly the message that fairness s important to who will be elected.  There is a golden opportunity now, before our general election, to make the case and to spread the word.  David Foster made the case clearly and simply.  There may be opposing opinions, but that is okay and part of our democratic process.  The big thing now is to be HEARD………………..

 

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.

 
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