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Local Family Adopts Five Siblings and Named Talbot County Department of Social Services 2017 Adoptive Parents of the Year

A dream came true for this year’s 2017 Adoptive Parents of the Year for Talbot County. Jeff and Jeanne Scharf, resource (foster) parents for the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS), when they recently adopted a group of five siblings on the Mid Shore between ages 5 through 14. The Scharfs initially became resource parents in 1998 with another agency and foster parents in 2013 with the Talbot County Department of Social Services. They were selected as Talbot County’s Resource Parents of the Year in 2016.  This year’s accolades reflect the hard work and dedication of the family in the adoption process which has brought their number of family members to an even dozen.

While the Scharf’s had four biological children of their own and one adopted son, they felt the tug to do more. Jeanne Scharf, who had been in challenging family situations as a child, recalls, “God allowed me to go through the trials in my own life when I was a child to prepare me for caring for children in situations like foster care.  We got the call about this sibling group of five children and said we would take them all.”

She adds, “When I see children in these situations, I remember what I said as a child, ‘Who will love me?’ I wanted to break that cycle in my own family and raise my children differently.”

The couple, who were school sweethearts before they married, attribute their faith, supportive church community, and extended family and friends to helping them keep things going. Jeanne quips, “God never has given me more than I can handle.”

The Scharfs felt it was important to keep the five children together. Their sibling bonds were even stronger because they had survived something together. Jeanne recalls the process of figuring out how to meet each child’s needs. She recalls, “We had to take a step back and reassess everything to give each child the tools that he or she needed to be successful. They began to trust us because they had security and consistency in their lives.”

Because of the language barrier, Jeanne and Jeff started with sign language with the youngest of the siblings. Jeanne had taken a Spanish class just before they arrived and was able to piece the language together from what she had learned, along with using Google Translate. In addition, there were cultural differences that needed to be addressed. Jeanne adds, “Having foster children before helped us to be more understanding of the children and more patient. We grow every day having them with us.”

Christine Abbatiello, LCSW-C, Foster Care and Adoptions Supervisor at the Talbot County Department of Social Services comments, “We were so honored to nominate the Scharf family for Adoption Family of the Year. They are so deserving of this award as they have dedicated the past several years to these five children. They encompass all that we would ask for in a foster and adoptive family. They are nurturing and advocate for each individual child.”

The Scharfs have enjoyed the support of families, friends, and their church in providing for the children. Jeanne states, “They came in with just the clothes on their backs, but God provided for them”.  She thanks Talbot County Department of Social Services, St. Martin’s Barn, The Good Shed, and everyone in the community who pulled together to help. “We only had a five-passenger car and a church member sold us a 15-passenger van for a reasonable price. It was an overwhelming blessing.”

The family stays busy with the children participating in 4-H, dance, band and student council. The Scharfs’ youngest biological daughter, who is in her freshman year of high school, is very bonded with the children and helps Jeanne with the tutoring. Jeanne quips, “It’s a very busy life!”

Jeanne says that while she keeps the children straight, her husband Jeff entertains them and is their biggest cheerleader, always saying to them, “You can DOOO it!”  Jeff adds, “When you take children in, there are so many obstacles you can face; but, one day you wake up and you’re just family! When you look back on life, you find when you lead with your heart, it’s all worth it!”

For further information about becoming a resource (foster) or adoptive parent, contact the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371.

Shipwrights combine hull, topsides of bugeye Edna Lockwood

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Boatyard Manager Michael Gorman reports the historic restoration of Edna E. Lockwood is right on schedule, with her new hull now attached to her existing topsides. The 1889 bugeye and National Historic Landmark is set to launch at CBMM’s OysterFest 2018, scheduled for Saturday, October 27.

Fall and winter saw a very active shipyard at CBMM, with shipwrights and apprentices going through several steps to combine the two pieces of the boat. Her outer stems were removed, shims were added to make up for hidden material behind frames, plank lines were mapped, and the hull was jacked up to its final height on the hard. Additionally, centerboard posts were milled and fastened, bronze stock was used to make custom bolts to fasten the new hull, and Edna’s old hull was moved to storage, with the intention of the piece eventually being a permanent exhibition. They will move on to planking next, and will be replacing the cabin house.

The restoration team is reviving CBMM’s queen of the fleet Edna Lockwood by replacing her nine-log hull, in adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation. Shipwright apprentices working on the project are generously supported by the Seip Family Foundation and the RPM Foundation. All work takes place in full public view on CBMM’s waterfront St. Michaels campus. To learn about the project, visit For more on CBMM, visit

Mental Illness Family Support Groups Available in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has recently started Family Support Groups in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties. These groups are peer-led groups for family members, caregivers, and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. Support group members gain insight from the challenges and successes of other group members facing similar circumstances

Family members or friends of someone with mental illness find from the support group that they are not alone and that they can find the support they need from the group. The family support group is unique because it follows a structured model, ensuring everyone the opportunity to be heard and to get information and the support that they need. The support groups are free, confidential, and led by people who have loved ones with mental illness.

By sharing your experiences to a group in a safe and confidential setting, you gain hope and develop supportive relationships. The group encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. Members benefit through others’ experiences, discover inner strengths, and learn how to identify and use local resources.

One group member said, “The most beneficial thing for me to learn was that I am not alone. I found the NAMI Family Support Group at the time I really needed it!”

NAMI offers its Family Support Program the first and third Monday of the month in Centreville and the first and third Tuesday of the month in Chestertown from 7pm – 8:30 pm. For more information contact: 443-480-0565 or

QAC Earns State Award for Visitors’ Guide

STEVENSVILLE – Queen Anne’s County’s Visitors’ Guide was awarded, 2017 Best Destination Guide at the recent Maryland Travel and Tourism Summit held at Maryland Tourism Coalition annual banquet on November 9, in College Park. County Tourism Development Coordinator, Ashley Chenault accepted the award on behalf of Queen Anne’s County.

“It is an honor and privilege to have Queen Anne’s County recognized for my work on Explore Queen Anne’s County, By Land, Air or Bay, the official visitors guide.  This publication serves as a marketing tool for Queen Anne’s County and was written and creatively led by Chenault in partnership with publisher Alchemi Design and Publications. The 50 page guide features eight content sections targeted towards travelers and a center fold section highlighting the Kent Narrows Waterfront, composed by the Kent Narrows Development Foundation.

“Sincerest thanks go to all the businesses and sponsors who participated in the publication. We are excited about utilizing this publication to increase visitor spending in the county, or as the State of Maryland Tourism Office’s simplified mission indicates, “MORE customers, MORE revenue, MORE jobs,” said Chenault.

The “Explore Queen Anne’s County” Visitors Guide is available in hard copy at the Chesapeake Heritage Visitor Center, located at 425 Piney Narrows Road, which also serves the Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic &Tourism Development office. Copies are also available online at .

The Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit is Maryland’s annual tourism industry conference that brings together all sectors of the hospitality industry. The event provides a forum for travel and tourism businesses, nonprofits and leaders from state and local governments to convene, network and learn new strategies to advance Maryland’s Tourism industry. This year’s event marked the 38th Annual Maryland Travel and Tourism Summit, demonstrating a continued collaboration with the Maryland Office of Tourism, partnering associations, and hundreds of volunteers. The summit attracted more than 250 attendees who participated in sessions designed to improve tourism activity throughout the state and learn about new industry trends. Legislative and department officials interacted with industry representatives during a tourism town hall meeting to identify significant issues facing the industry. The annual summit also featured off-site educational tours highlighting best practices and destination marketing strategies. The awards banquet is organized to honor exemplary examples of projects in ten categories and culminates with a keynote speaker. This year, the former University of Maryland graduate and former Baltimore Raven’s player, Torrey Smith, provided examples of leadership in his personal and professional life and many reasons why Maryland is a top tourism destination including crabs – his favorite.

CBMM announces education staff promotions

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has recently promoted three staff members in its education department. Jill Ferris of Stevensville, Md. is the new Director of Education; Allison Speight of Trappe, Md. is Volunteer & Education Programs Manager; and Matthew Engel of St. Michaels, Md. is Lead Educator.

“Expanding CBMM’s education programs is critical to our mission,” commented CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “These promotions help position CBMM for that growth, and with our role of helping children understand more clearly the history, environment and people​ ​of the Chesapeake Bay, ultimately more children will become stewards of the Bay.”

Jill Ferris is responsible for furthering CBMM’s mission by creating, evaluating, and managing innovative education programming of the highest caliber for diverse audiences of all ages. Ferris most recently served as CBMM’s School & Family Programs Manager, with prior experience as an eighth-grade teacher with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, where she received the 2015 Outstanding Teacher Technology Award, and the 2014 Maryland History Day District Teacher Award. She was selected as a Master Teacher with Maryland State Department of Education in 2014 and 2015, where she instructed teachers and administrators on the implementation of inquiry learning in the social studies classroom.

Ferris holds a master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, an academic division of the State University of New York at Oneonta. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, with distinction in the liberal arts core curriculum from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., where she earned a bachelor’s degree and History and Secondary Education Teacher Certification. Ferris received Colgate University’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan from 2008-2009.

As the Volunteer & Education Programs Manager, Allison Speight creates, implements, and supervises programs and materials for families, students, and adults who use CBMM as a resource, including the CBMM Volunteer Program, and Lighthouse Overnight Adventures. Speight previously served as CBMM’s Education & Volunteer Coordinator, beginning her career at CBMM as an education intern in 2013. Speight graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies.

Matt Engel has been promoted to Lead Educator, after serving for more than two years as CBMM’s Shipwright Educator. As Lead Educator, Engel will continue to develop the Rising Tide After-School Boatbuilding Program in addition to supporting school tours and programs.

Engel brings more than ten years’ experience in boatbuilding, project management, and training program development. In addition to founding his own construction company, Engel most recently served as Senior Programs Manager with All Hands Volunteers in Leyte, Philippines, where he managed and mentored program managers across multiple reconstruction projects. Engel learned the aspects of wooden boat construction at The Landing School in Arundel, Me.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving nearly 80,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and numerous indoor and outdoor exhibitions situated in a park-like setting along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit

Easton Hospital Unit Staff Collect Supplies for Gratitude HouseRecovery Home in Easton

Nurses on the 2 East Multi Specialty Care Unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton believe in giving back to the community and most recently, they have made that belief real by conducting a drive for cleaning and laundry supplies for the Gratitude House in Easton, a project of Realslow Recovery LLC, a nonprofit organization founded by Easton residents Mike and Sara Rissolo with the goal of providing safe, affordable and supportive housing for all people to live and grow in recovery from drugs and alcohol.

In addition to her involvement with Gratitude House, Sara Rissolo is currently a per diem nurse for UM Shore Regional Health while pursuing advanced nursing studies. “These supplies will go a long way to helping our10 residents maintain the house,” she says. “I know they will be so grateful for this support. We welcome donations of supplies and also groceries, prepared foods and other items.”

Other organizations supported by the unit’s “2 East Gives Back” initiative include the Ruth Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship at Chesapeake College, Perry Point Hospital, the Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore, the Cancer Center at UM SRH and local humane societies.

Bilbrough joins CBMM Board of Governors

Pat Bilbrough recently joined the Board of Governors of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.

Bilbrough has been a contributor to the community both professionally and charitably for most of his life. He leads the region’s largest “community bank,” as President & CEO of Shore United Bank. Having worked in the banking industry since 1995, he is a graduate of Salisbury State University with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting, and is also a CPA.

Bilbrough is active with the community in many capacities, including being a member of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce. As a director on the Board of the Benedictine School, he serves as the Finance Committee Chair and Executive Committee. He has also served on the Caroline Center Board, Choptank Community Health Services Board, Greater Salisbury Committee, Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development Committee, Habitat for Humanity, and Boy Scouts of Caroline County.

A former waterman for a decade, Bilbrough is a native of Caroline County. He and his wife, Ann, live in Trappe. 

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving nearly 80,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit

Blackwater Distilling to open New Tavern on Route 50 on Kent Island

Expansion Plans for Maryland’s Most Awarded Distillery Include New Bar and Food Service Offering 

KENT ISLAND, MD—Blackwater Distilling, Maryland’s first fully-licensed alcohol distillery since 1972, announced plans to relocate and expand, opening a new tavern visible from Route 50 on Kent Island.  Beginning spring 2018, residents and visitors will discover a fresh opportunity to experience Maryland’s local craft spirits, wine, beer and food.  Located at 405 Cleat Street adjacent to BOE Marine in Stevensville, MD, the new tavern will be open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner with a custom, casual menu created with the local restaurateurs behind the “Smoke, Rattle and Roll” brand.

“Blackwater Distilling is a true representation of Maryland’s distinguished craft spirit history,” said Jonathan Cook, COO. “By expanding our distilling, tour and retail operations to a full tavern visible from Route 50, we have the opportunity to share not only Maryland’s spirits, but also many other locally sourced food and beverages with visitors to the Eastern Shore.”

Blackwater Distilling’s new tavern will feature flexible event space and unique experiences including mixology classes, food pairings and demonstrations such as “how to stock your home holiday bar” and “how to make the perfect cocktail”.  The location will also be the new home of Blackwater Distilling’s production, giving visitors the opportunity to see exactly how the popular libations are made.

Making spirits bright and holiday shopping easy, Blackwater Distilling is hosting Open Houses December 10, 17 and 24 from 12 – 4 PM at the current location at 184 Log Canoe Circle in Stevensville with free distillery tours and tastings, warm cider, tasty nibbles and free gift wrapping.  Visitors can sample the new Picaroon Coffee Rum Liqueur or any of Blackwater’s award-wining spirits.

Blackwater Distilling’s products are also available at various bars, restaurants and retailers throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Blackwater Distilling’s newest product, Picaroon Coffee Rum Liqueur, along with old favorites, are available at Abbey Burger, B&O Brasserie, Carson’s Creek, Chesapeake Wines, Dawson’s Liquor, One Eye’d Mikes, The Chausser and Southern Provisions.

Blackwater Distilling offers tours and tastings seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. with tours kicking off at the top of each hour. Follow Blackwater Distilling on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and Smoke, Rattle and Roll at @smokerattleandroll.

Southern Kent Island Sewer Project Receives National Recognition

STEVENSVILLE – The EPA sited “excellence and innovation” this week when they recognized Queen Anne’s County’s Southern Kent Island Sewer System.

“For decades, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has supported critical water infrastructure projects that help grow the American economy and support our way of life,” said Mike Shapiro, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “These projects are a testament to the power of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in leveraging investment to meet the country’s diverse clean water needs.”

Queen Anne’s County is utilizing the fund to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay by eventually connecting all 1,526 properties in the nine communities that had failing septic systems. Phase I of the project is currently underway and connecting the 774 homes in Kent Island Estates and Romancoke.

This $55 million project is partially financed by a $34 million CWSRF loan for disadvantaged communities that includes $1.2 million in loan forgiveness, a low 0.8 percent interest rate, and a 30-year repayment term.

The failing septic systems are generally on small lots with marginal soils and high groundwater. Upgrading Southern Kent Island to sewer service will not only remove 7,000 pounds of nitrogen each year from Chesapeake Bay, but will also benefit the community by improving property values, all while keeping the project affordable at under $100 per month per customer, according to the EPA.

County Commissioner Mark Anderson said, “During the District Four Commissioner campaign in 2014, I had occasion to hear the reasons both pro and con on this public sewer project. After being elected to this office, I had the authority to get the facts versus the theories with converting many septic systems in South Kent Island to a public sewer processing plant. I had input from other jurisdictions with similar systems, input from our own sanitary engineers and health department professionals. My investigation found no small number of these septic drain fields on South Kent Island were failing, and based on soil hydrology, I knew many more were to follow. The real estate property market in South Kent Island was in disarray with an over-hang of pending health issues some properties could not be sold. The largest asset most people own is their home, and that asset was being devalued. The foreclosures appeared in good neighborhoods. The thoughts that too much traffic would clog Rt. 8 was lessened by lot consolidation required by loan from the state and this substantially cut the number of buildable lots in the service area.”

“When the time came to cast that critical vote, I voted to move ahead because the facts said that would be the fairest solution for the most, and this needed project passed 3-2,” Anderson said. “A lot of work preceded that important vote including the General Assembly’s help and the assistance of our partners in state government, without whom none of this improvement could have occurred. Lastly, we have a competent and devoted staff in our Health Department and the county Department of Public Works Department on whose professional expertise I found invaluable. This EPA recognition validates the creativity and joint effort on this the long road taken for a project and is the absolute right thing to do.”

Shore United Bank Welcomes Heather L. Bacher, Market Manager

Shore United Bank, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Heather Bacher has joined the company as a Market Manager of our Queen Anne’s and Kent County branches.

Heather will be responsible for promoting and growing business while leading her team of commercial bankers and working with the branches within the northern region. Her office will be located at our Commerce Street branch in Centreville, Maryland.

Ms. Bacher is a graduate of Salisbury University earning a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Prior to joining Shore United Bank, Ms. Bacher spent the past twenty years working in both retail and commercial banking.

“We are very excited that Heather has joined our team. Her experience in banking will help us deliver products and services to the communities we serve”, says Michael Cavey, Senior Lending Officer of Shore United Bank.

“I am looking forward to serving our customers and being able to work in the same community where I live. Ensuring the success of our branches through a team of professionals will assist us in growing our local economy while meeting our customers financial needs,” says Ms. Bacher.

Heather is the Treasurer of United Way of Queen Anne’s County, a Board Member of Chesapeake College Foundation Board, a Board Member of the Chesapeake Women’s Network QAC and a Committee Member of the Bosom Buddies Ball.

Ms. Bacher resides in Stevensville, Maryland with her son, Ryan.

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