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.
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.




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. 


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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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Jacob Vassalotti did a great short in about 15 minutes telling us what is problematic about any thought of placing a high traffic corridor and bridge into Kent County from the Eastern Shore.  He didn’t exaggerate or hype the problems, but simply showed with very good graphics how terrifically difficult it would be to properly locate such a large flow of traffic.  Major roadways eat a lot of space.  Kent County has so many protected land zones from so many varied sources, that one could take years unraveling the rights to build anything, let alone a continuous highway whose main purpose is to send tourists to the Atlantic side of the Delmarva peninsula.  His solution was most logical.  Build and additional span where the existing bridge is at Annapolis.  Do whatever can be done on 301 and 50 to make it wider and flow better.  The folks near that bridge and those roads are stuck with traffic, noise and pollution.  Many of them opted for that exact scenario, many for the convenience of commuting to the Eastern shore.


It was a fine opportunity for our early risers to meet someone who can so well express his vision and knowledge.  We’d love to host more WC students who have great ideas.


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Eleanor Collyer and David Strong, Sr. presented their history and their aspirations for the Town of Rock Hall.  They are two of the four candidates for the two open slots in the soon to be held May local election.  You could feel their sincerity and caring attitude about our little town.  As in many towns all over the USA, Rock Hall has looming large bills, no reserve capital and aging infrastructure.  We do have a very viable location, active tourism and many possibilities that will get us through this crisis.  We need good people who are willing to work honestly, openly and fairly with one another even when they have differing opinions.  Maybe we will get lucky and things here will begin to go in the right direction.


There is a great divide between those who have lived in Rock Hall for generations and those of us who have moved here more recently.  It is a division with many features of large separation that can’t be overlooked or dismissed.  We love it here because the town reflects mid-1900 period living and gives the remoteness necessary to get away with being somewhat behind the times.  The locals want it to always remain this way, but financial and development forces are always looming.  Change will come no matter how hard you fight it.  What we need is a smart and fair balance that preserves the best things and makes use of the income to bring our infrastructure up to acceptable levels.  We also need sufficient income to re-create a rainy day fund for surprise expenses that are bound to occur.


We urge Rock Hall residents to VOTE.  Get informed and pick the best candidate for the job.



Dawn Jacobs and Art Kendall both made very much the same plea for civility, better financial planning and for bringing back governmental functionality in Rock Hall.  The current Mayor, Brian Jones, was notably absent.  One is left to assume he believes he will simply get re-elected by the large following of citizens that he feels are in his corner.  This may or may not be the case.  We wanted a complete forum, but those in attendance learned what these two hopefuls have in their minds.  We did have a truly exceptional hour of two candidates expressing their points of view.  That’s what CBG is known for.


Both had somewhat equal plans.  Both made their case with truly intense attention paid by Kent CBG participants.  It was elevating to hear two people speak so well of Rock Hall and both agreed much can be done by putting the government there back into working order.  It will take some sacrifice and there will be some increase in taxes, but neither expressed any doubt about turning the situation around.


We hope everyone will go hear the League of Women voters forum which is coming up soon with all three candidates.  The current Mayor needs to be heard and ought to explain about some of the past history under his leadership.  The citizens need to decide if new faces equate to better things, or if the status quo is what works.  The writer believes we need new approaches, civility and better planning.  Let’s see how the election goes.

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