Schumann

Ford Schumann has been heading up Infinity Recycling in Chestertown for many years.  He knows the ins and outs of this rather complex business as well as the small details of what can and cannot be recycled.  It isn’t a big money maker, but many folks are convinced of the ecological long term benefits of reusing products instead of endlessly making new items from fresh materials while rapidly filling up landfill sites.
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Ford gave us the scoop on the up and down market situation with our recyclable items.  How the sorting process works and even how to handle your pizza boxes once the pizza has been eaten.  My wife and I have signed up for the local recycle pick up Infinity offers.  Instead of going off to the muddy bins outside of town, we’ll take advantage of a bi-weekly pick up in Rock Hall.  Sounds like a winner.
 
jonesjones 2Dr. Katherine L.R. Jones is the Executive Director for the Bay Area Center for Independent Living, Inc.  While they are headquartered in Salisbury, they serve residents in Kent County.  There is a long list of services, equipment and a good amount of private funds on top of the many government and grant programs that can be accessed.  We saw several great aids to communication that people with disability, regardless of how the disability arose, could be assisted to get around and especially to communicate and participate with family, friends, society and in the workplace.  Dr. Jones demonstrated a microphone a speaker can wear when addressing a room of people which increased their voice level without any sign of distortion or background noise.  Battery powered, potable and not expensive.  It will work for our own meetings when so many of us in attendance have some hearing loss.
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One of the best demonstrations was the Tommy Hilfiger “adaptive” line of clothing sponsored at greatly lower than normal retail selling prices of fashionable looking clothes for all ages in the Hilfiger design which have fasteners that are primarily hidden magnets.  It was an impressive and creative way to assist those who have problems with dressing.  It was a real eye opener moment.
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The progress of taking technology into helping people lead better and more fulfilling lives is impressive.  Those in attendance were impressed.  You should have been there, too.
 

herb

In layman’s terms and without taking us on a long journey of who is to blame for pollution problems in the Susquehanna River, the audience came to the general realization that the Conowingo dam really does not play a part in creating pollution in the Chesapeake.  The gradual filling of the retention lake behind the dam which is now full with silt and sediment could have always been anticipated to have filled up, but it was slow and not considered a risk when dams like this were made.  Now, the removal of the stored material would be a multi-billion dollar project.  It is not a direct fault of Excelon, but possibly they will be able to take on some of the problem in some form of a shared responsibility to the public.  It can’t be all on the dam owners and the remaining will be on the rate payers and all taxpayers.  The pollution comes down the Susquehanna from NY and PA.  What will their residents who do the polluting pay?  Who or what will force the issue?   Wait and see.

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Ultimately, when and if the USA decides to end pollution of this sort in our waterways, we will understand that it it will be very difficult and very costly.  One wonders if we will ever be willing to suffer the consequences of action versus non-action.  Both situations are full of risks, costs and problems.  Hopefully, we will make wise decisions.  Putting very bright, independent and knowledgeable folks in charge of this nationwide problem of filling dams must bey done.  Then we need to act to make it happen.  Sounds like a Congressional sort of issue.  Will be get leadership in Washington DC that can make it possible?  I suppose we’ll eventually see this play out.  Hope for the best!

 

H Murphy

You have to be careful when you are a judge about what you say.  Judge Murphy does a great job educating the citizens participating at Kent CBG while staying clear of voicing personal opinions and giving any reason to think he is anything except unbiased.  Judges meet out justice according to the law and not their personal feelings.  We can have confidence that is what this judge does every time he is sitting behind his bench.  It was good to hear that there have been some benefits to shorter incarceration times for many offenses where the safety of the community is not being sacrificed.  We do save taxpayer money by getting justice without needless incarceration.  Those who come out of jail after years behind bars have little hope for a decent job or community acceptance.  We ought to believe there is better that might be done.  Our legislators have made many changes which the courts must adhere to.  In time, we will know how shorter sentences work.  We will find out eventually how removing minor offenses from those who have criminal history will work with employment.  Everyone needs a chance to get a job.  You can’t punish minor crimes on a forever basis and think society somehow wins.  It is a false dream to make a large segment of the population truly without hope.
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Drug treatment during incarceration, better opportunity to get into real treatment outside of jail.  These are goals that are now being achieved in some ways.  In other ways, fewer folks are in the system due to light sentences being imposed, so some who might require treatment are not in a situation where they can obtain it.  It is indeed a tricky system and full of unplanned consequences.  However, the hopeful thing is that there is a growing sympathy which encourages society to help those who need it.  We can’t give up trying for the sake of some errors in the effort.  Legislators will need to continue to revise and modify laws so that all of society gets a good chance at living normal lives.  It seems things are changing in some ways for the better.  We appreciate hearing from someone who is deeply involved with the process.

 

 

airlee

There is a lot of history in the area of Chestertown that many white people do not know much about.  Since emancipation up until the mandated end of segregation in the mid 1960’s Chestertown had a vibrant black community which was not visible on the surface to the white community, but went on with great vigor even if not on the front page of the news.  There were many churches, black owned businesses, dance halls, bars, and performance venues which thrived and were supported.  Legacy days seeks to bring out this less known history and make it live for everyone to share and participate in. 

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All are welcomed and everyone can have a great time.  This year the main event is held on August 17th.  There will be a parade, food vendors, gospel music, live and recorded bands and performers and dancing in the streets of Chestertown.  A brochure with all the pertinent times of events is just coming out from the printer shortly, so be on the lookout for places and times.  It really is a large group effort which makes Chestertown into a world class leader of equal rights for all the people.  It is something to be really proud about our area.

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We will try to publish dates and times on our blog when they become available to us.  

 

Mr. Rothwell is a lifelong resident of Maryland and the Eastern Shore.  He has extensive experience in city planning and historic preservation decision making.  He gave u s an overview of what has taken place in towns such as Middletown, DE and Wilmington, DE.  The kind of support and planning differ greatly from what is going on in our region.  Needless to say, the results are quite a contrast to our own area.  It seems certain that most everyone likes what we have here in a far deeper way, but what will the long term consequences of not expanding our horizons at a more rapid pace?  We can’t know with certainty, but it is food for thought.  No one knows for sure if Kent County, Chestertown in particular, will survive the kinds of changes society and business are undergoing nearly everywhere else.  Will be be the last paradise or become a poster child for failure to make needed changes?  Time will tell.

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A thinking person might ask, “What can be done which makes chances for viability more assured without hurting the rural nature of our area?”  The problem is finding solutions which answer the question.  Good minds are working on it.  We’ll see what happens is about where we are today.

 

 

Laney

What a motivating and moving story Dianelle Laney tells about her early life.  From the the worst to now a good life dedicated to helping people.  The process of working with and saving those who have become addicted to drugs is indeed an epidemic.  How this problem came about has little to do with the problems society needs to face up to now.  Dianelle does her service one person at a time, but when she spoke with CBG members, she spreads the word about addiction, treatment and life saving much further than her one and a time approach.

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Each participant got two doses of NARCAN and instructions on the use of the product.  She brought us medication dilution and disposal kits which help to prevent polluting our water supply with unwanted drugs.  Dianelle has a difficult job which she seems perfectly well suited to do.  You can’t do such a task without dedication, and the writer is convinced she could be a National flag bearer for the fight on drugs and addiction if given an opportunity.  The community is very fortunate to have her working for our local Department of Health.

 

Airlee Johnson and Larry Samuels gave a well received talk on Kent Social Action Committee with a special mention of the Students Against Racism group.  The main organization has several active committees and all are attempting to bring people in the local area together to discuss and uncover the all to common and pervasive racial bias that often silently and quietly exists.  Most people live within their own little social bubble and have little feeling that racism is a strong influencer in today’s society.  Get out of this bubble for a while and you’ll find otherwise.

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How do you combat a situation which has long persisted, and often seems invisible or imaginary to many of us when other see it as oppressive, constant and unending?  You have to bring the reality of it to the light.  You need to work out ways to unhide the problems.  You need to confront the overlying problem of prejudice with innovative and positive approaches.  Such is the difficult work of the Social Action Committee.

 

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A long time attorney formerly practicing in Indiana and Michigan, now working in the pro-bono legal arena for folks living on the Eastern Shore, residing in Rock Hall, Tim Abeska, gave us a very thorough overview of what forms and documents every one of us should have at the ready just in case illness or accident happens to us, a spouse or a family member.  We learned about designating a personal representative and alternates.  We heard about making sure your IRA has a designated set of beneficiaries.  Know where to store your legal papers, your records of ownership, your powers of attorney, your Maryland MOLST forms.  We also were enlightened to figure out proper ways to make sure your passwords are stored somewhere accessible.  Make sure your representatives know your broker’s and attorney’s names.  Put your paperwork where it can be utilized quickly.  Consider a fireproof storage box instead of a bank safe deposit box.  There are many ways for such records to get out of date over time.  You need to maintain them.

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It is pretty easy to see there are many ways to make a mess of such paperwork and details.  You need to become more organized to avoid making a mess for those who come in after there has been a problem or death.  You can also save some taxes and costs to do these things correctly.  Tim promised to get us a check off list and we’ll post it for CBG readers when we have it.

 

Below is a helpful checklist provided by our speaker:

 

End of Life Action Item Checklist

Everyone should have a Will, which puts you in control of what happens to your money and property. A Will can provide instructions for disposition of specific property such as family heirlooms, provide for funds to go to charitable organizations, and can be used as a tax planning tool, so that tax liabilities are minimized.

A Personal Financial Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to designate someone to act as your agent if you cannot act on your own behalf.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions. The AMD also addresses whether you wish to be an organ donor and will express your wishes for funeral arrangements.

A Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form, completed by your doctor, provides medical orders to emergency medical services and health care facilities. EMTs will look to see if this form is on your refrigerator, so they know if a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order is in place.

Make sure you have up to date beneficiary designations for life insurance policies. Insurance proceeds are not governed by a Will and pass outside of probate.

Make sure that IRAs or investment accounts have named beneficiaries or “payable on death” (POD) instructions if you want those assets to pass outside of probate.

Bank accounts may also have POD instructions.

There are other things which should be done to ease the burden on your survivors:

  1. Have all important papers in a central file, fireproof box at home, or safe deposit box. Make sure your loved one know where the documents are located. The documents might include your Will, POA, AMD, insurance policies, investment account statements, tax returns, deeds, Social Security card, Passport, marriage and birth certificates, military discharge papers and records, motor vehicle titles, and Veteran’ Administration records. 2. Prepare a “call list” with the names and contact information for key people such as

your lawyer, accountant, financial advisors, and other key people. 3. Have an accessible list of passwords for use in canceling accounts, deleting social

media accounts, etc. 4. Make sure your survivors know how your bills are paid so that accounts are kept

current pending settlement of your estate.

This Checklist is not intended to provide specific legal advice. You should seek advice from an attorney of your choice who can evaluate your specific situation and provide the information you need to make informed decisions.

 

 

Before you buy a piece of open ground in order to build something, you must know a great deal about the regulations and codes which surround such development.  It is truly complex.  Joe Skinner gave us a taste of the rigorous regulations and codes along with a bit of what the ADA guidelines are.  It is truly impressive that many places are successfully being built.  It is testimony to the fact that we can live with regulations and succeed, but it is also obvious that it is a daunting task to understand and apply seemingly conflicting rules.  We got down to a few specific issues surrounding Chestertown which were of high interest to the audience.  One of our County Commissioners, Bob Jacob, was in attendance.  It is great to see one of the Commissioners pay us a visit when the subject for the day is of special interest.

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It is a broad and impressive topic filling several large books Joe brought with him on National Building standards.  Of course, these standards refresh every three years, so life-ling learning remains essential.  The devil in in the details and this topic is loaded with details…..  Thank you Joe.  It was educational for all.

 

 

 
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