View Older News »

News

Commissioners Vote to Match $1 Million Grant from State Library System

CENTREVILLE – The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners voted Tuesday night to move forward in the design phase of the proposed expansion of the Kent Island Library by signing letters to the state certifying that the county will match the $1 million grant from the Maryland State Library in the FY 2020 county budget.

Moving forward does not require the county to make a final determination on whether to expand the library until firm construction estimates and the state’s cost share are determined.

Last year, when researching the cost of expanding the Kent Island Library branch, the county estimated that the county’s share of the project, above and beyond what the state might provide, would cost between $5.7 million and $6.2 million. However, when the architectural firm Manns Woodward Studios Inc. presented three plans, each varying in square footage, the cost to the county came in at $6 million, $7.2 million and $8.9 million.

The firm, which is providing their services pro bono, was asked to go back to the drawing board to ensure that the final design remains within the county’s original cost estimates.  Additionally, the commissioners said they needed to weigh this capital project against other projects, such as needed school improvements, to make sure the county is being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.

County Commissioner Chris Corchiarino said, “When the expansion estimate came in higher than initially predicted, the Commissioners told the library and its architect to sharpen their pencils and come back with a revised plan with an impactful reduction in construction cost. They then worked diligently to produce updated plans which lowered the cost.  While I would like to see further reductions, I did not want the County to miss out on the opportunity for this $1,000,000 grant from the state. This vote allows us to lock in this opportunity while the library works to raise additional funds and further refine the renovation plans.”
In FY 2018 the commissioners allocated $325,000 for the design and development of the expansion, which matched a state grant in the same amount.

Two Gunston Student-Athletes Sign Commitment Letters


Gunston is proud to announce that two student-athletes have signed commitment letters to play collegiately, beginning with the 2019-20 academic school year.


Cole Evans will continue his lacrosse career at Christopher Newport University beginning this fall. Evans was nominated the 2019 ESIAC Boys’ Player of the Year for his senior season, served as a captain of the boys’ lacrosse and soccer programs and was an ESIAC Lacrosse All-Conference player in each of his four years. He will finish his Herons lacrosse career with more than 200 points. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Gunston’s honor roll, and serves as the senior class Vice-President


Nellie Stup signed with the University of Mary Washington. Stup was an ESIAC Lacrosse All-Conference selection for her four-year career, served as a captain of the lacrosse team for three years, and was a key member of the 2017 Capital Area Lacrosse League Championship team.  She was selected to the 2017 Brine All-American National Classic and was an all-star team selection at the 2017 Warrior National Prospect Invite. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Gunston’s honor roll.

First Responders Concerned That Weekend Traffic Jams may Cost Lives

CENTREVILLE – It may only be a matter of time before weekend beach traffic that clogs Kent Island’s back roads may cost someone their life because first responders, both paid and volunteer, can’t get from their homes to the stations or from the firehouse to the patient in a timely manner.
“We all know how important the Golden Hour is, but we have a hard time getting people and equipment to an accident,” said Commission President James Moran.
Those were the concerns shared among the first responders and regular citizens in the audience Tuesday evening at the commissioners’ regular meeting.
  Moran said the county presented to the state a Beach to Bridge plan that would alleviate some of Kent Island, Grasonville and Queenstown’s snarled traffic only to have the plan shot down by the state.
 Dr. Joseph Ciotola of the QAC Health Department said to the commissioners, “You are the board of health for the county and we have been discussing this with the state for six years. There is a risk to public health and safety if we can’t get units back and forth and the return time (from the hospitals) is a significant issue. This is an emergency situation now. I think you could declare an emergency.”
The commissioners invited the first responders, both volunteer and paid, to come back for next week’s meeting on May 28, to continue the discussion and search for solutions that can be implemented soon.
Today’s navigational apps such as Waze, note backups and redirect travelers to side roads. Last year, the county tried a Beach to Bridge plan to keep the section of Rt. 18 from Stevensville to Queenstown open to local traffic. The officers were stationed at strategic off ramps to direct motorists with western shore destinations to stay on Route 50.  “In many cases folks were simply following navigation apps in their cars which direct them onto MD 18 and other back roads. Travelers don’t realize they are leaving one back-up and getting stuck in another,” said County Administrator Todd Mohn.
At Tuesday’s meeting the commissioners voted to allocate $50,000 to pay for the additional law enforcement staff that this plan would depend on.

SHORERIVERS BEGINS PUMPOUT BOAT SEASON AND BACTERIA SAMPLING

 

 

ShoreRivers is pleased to announce an expanded bacteria testing program for the 2019 swimming season. The strain of bacteria sampled, Enterococci, indicates pathogens that may cause human illness. This bacteria can originate from a variety of sources, including failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry and livestock operations, improper disposal from marine tanks, and pet waste. During significant rainfalls, the possibility always exists for elevated and unsafe bacteria levels. As a general precaution, it is recommended to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.

ShoreRivers will test popular swim sites weekly until Labor Day: five sites on the Choptank River, two sites in Eastern Bay, one site on the Wye River, two sites on the Miles River, twelve sites on the Chester River, and three sites on the Sassafras River. Sites include: Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park Beach, Oxford Strand, Bellevue Beach, Sailwinds Park Beach, Great Marsh Park, Claiborne Beach, Broad Cove, Drum Point Beach on Wye Island, Miles River Yacht Club, Tunis Mills Landing, Duck Neck, Morgan Creek, Rosin Creek, Chestertown Marina, Chester River Yacht and Country Club, Rolphs Wharf , Camp Pecometh, Langford Bay, Grays Inn Creek, Conquest Beach, Corsica River Yacht Club, Centreville Wharf, Georgetown Bridge, Dyer Creek, and Indian Acres.

Results will be posted on the SwimGuide website (theswimguide.org) and smart phone app that allows users across the Chesapeake Bay region to check the health of local swimming beaches. Additionally, ShoreRivers’ Riverkeepers will post bacteria results on their social media pages. Follow the Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper on Facebook and Instagram for updates, or follow #SwimmableShoreRivers. Thank you to the following funders for supporting the continuation and expansion of this program: Royal Bank of Canada, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, TriCycle and Run, Dorchester County, and community donations.

The ShoreRivers Pumpout Boat is a free service to the boating community that helps combat this harmful pollution. Local and visiting boaters are encouraged to take advantage of this service and do their part to keep our waterways clean. The boat services the busy St. Michaels Harbor and marinas and private docks on the Miles and Wye Rivers.

ShoreRivers launched this program in 2016 as a convenient way for boaters to properly dispose of concentrated marine waste without polluting our rivers. The Pumpout Boat is funded by the Department of Natural Resources, and operates in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which provides dockage for the vessel free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pumpout station to off-load waste that is transferred to the updated St. Michaels Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Pumpout Boat Captain Jim Freeman states, “Both transients and locals rave about the convenience of using the pumpout boat because they don’t have to deal with the hassle of a crowded marina in order to pump-out their tanks. We can serve any boater on the Miles and Wye Rivers and can remove up to 300 gallons of waste from their vessel.”

More than 1,000 boats have receive pump-outs since the vessel began operating. This service is available Friday evenings and weekends (including holiday Mondays) through October. Boaters can contact the Pumpout Boat at 410.829.4352 or VHF channel 9 to arrange service. Captain Jim is also available at pobcaptjim@gmail.com to answer questions or setup a regular schedule. ShoreRivers is looking forward to another productive year and hopes to break last year’s record of keeping 15,000 gallons of waste out of our rivers.

For more information about any of ShoreRivers’ water quality programs, please visit shorerivers.org or call 443-385-0511. Here’s to a clean, safe summer enjoying our rivers!

Forest Music Returns June 6 to Adkins Arboretum

 

 

Adkins Arboretum joins the National Music Festival in presenting a unique improvisatory performance in the Arboretum forest on Thurs., June 6 when the NewBassoon Institute performs Forest Music.

 

Positioning themselves throughout the forest, within hearing distance though not necessarily within sight of one another, these innovative musicians will engage in a musical conversation that winds throughout the trees. Following the forest performance, there will be a brief concert at the Visitor’s Center. The program begins at 4 p.m.

 

Forest Music is free, though donations are welcome. Light refreshments and a cash wine and beer bar will be available. Advance registration is appreciated at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

 

The NewBassoon Institute is an annual workshop taught by “bassoon supergroup” Dark in the Song. The workshop focuses on contemporary bassoon literature, performance techniques and pedagogy, with the aim of teaching a new generation of open-minded players and bringing the bassoon and bassoon ensembles to the forefront of 21st-century music-making.

The National Music Festival brings together inspiring mentors and the next generation of gifted musicians, providing education, scholarships and affordable, adventurous public performances in and around Chestertown, Md., for two weeks each June. This year’s Festival is June 2–15. Visit nationalmusic.us for more information.

KIHS Visual Arts Teen of the Week—Theresa Surina  

 
KENT ISLAND — (May 20, 2019) — Junior Theresa Surina was another of four outstanding artist recently showcased from Kent Island High School that were honored at the Board of Education meeting May 1st in Centreville. Theresa earned three of the district’s first ten ever Scholastic Art Regional Awards. Scholastic is the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7 – 12 in the country, and out of 340,000 submissions this year, Theresa earned two Silver Keys for works entitled, “Who am I” and “Eyes of the Sky”, in addition to earning an Honorable Mention for “String Turtle”. 
 
“Art has really helped shape me into who I am today,” says Theresa. “It has taught me to persevere and to try my best on everything I do. Art has helped boost my self-confidence [in that way]. Now I put myself out there and it’s been recognized, whereas before I used to think nothing I did would ever be good enough. Art is also a way to express myself and relax. Though, while I say that, it can also be the cause of stress and frustration especially when given a deadline, but it’s actually about getting past that point that has made me a better artist as well as a better person.”
 
Michael Bell, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts, agrees with Theresa’s deep understanding of the value in pushing past those points of frustration and hopes she keeps going further. “Theresa has accomplished something most students in the country never get to experience,” Bell says. “Winning a Scholastic Art award puts her in elite company. It also speaks to her character that she recognizes the value in striving past any obstacle in her way. I’m glad she recognizes that if you keep going you just might experience something far greater than you could have ever imagined. I sincerely hope she keeps going with her art. She’s very talented.”
 
In addition to Theresa earning two Silver Keys and an Honorable Mention in Scholastic, she was also awarded 2nd place at Academy Art Museum’s student art showcase. Her sculptural work has also been displayed at Kent Island Federation of the Arts (KIFA) in the past.  
 
“Theresa is a hard working creative student who never settles for anything less than her very best,” says her art teacher, Andrea Schulte. “She spends countless hours taking work home to refine and extend her assignments. I really enjoy teaching Theresa in art because she’s not only an excellent student artist, but she is also a valuable leader through her dedication, her  work ethic, and honest critiques.” 

CMS Performing Arts Teen(s) of the Week—The Tolson Twins

CENTREVILLE — (May 9, 2019) — Brooke and Elyse Tolson are twin sisters in 8th grade and are band members at Centreville Middle School (CMS), studying under award-winning Director of Bands, Ms. Heather Fullerton. Brooke plays the clarinet and Elyse plays the trumpet. They both began private instruction on their instruments when they were in 2nd grade and continue to study privately with local experts.

 

As members of the CMS Band, Brook and Elyse have earned many musical honors.

 

Elyse is first chair in the Symphonic and Jazz Bands and has auditioned for and earned a spot with the Junior All-Shore Band every year of middle school This year, Elyse earned 3rd chair trumpet.

 

Brooke is first chair clarinet of the Symphonic Band and will enjoy her 2nd year in the Junior All-Shore Band. She earned 2nd chair clarinet in the Honors Band. Both Tolson twins have participated in the Solo and Ensemble Festival each year of middle school. This speaks to their level of dedication and the high expectations of Ms. Fullerton.

 

In 6th grade, the sisters played a duet together, and in 7th and 8th grade they have each performed solos and duets with classmates. With their help, the CMS Symphonic Band has earned high scores at District and State Level Band Festivals. You can hear these two playing with the CMS Marching Band at the

Chestertown Tea Party Parade the weekend of May 25th!

 

Brooke says, “Being a member of the CMS band means to be able to maintain the everyday responsibilities of preparing and perfecting pieces of music, while also building a family amongst my peers.”

 

Elyse says that music “is a way to express yourself without having to use words. Music makes me happy when I’m sad and makes me normal when I’m mad; lets me tune out the rest of the world when it’s a mess, and it relieves my stress.”

 

Outside of their very busy musical schedule, the sisters are members of the National Junior Honor Society, play volleyball, basketball and lacrosse. They also enjoy working in their Dad’s pizza place in Easton. Brooke plans to become a veterinarian one day and Elyse is still making up her mind, but both girls say music will always play a major part of their lives.

Green Room Gang Theatre Camp Selects Summer Shows

The instructors of Church Hill Theatre’s annual Green Room Gang summer camp have chosen the shows for the 2019 Green Room Gang summer camp.  GRG Jr will present Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS and GRG Senior will perform Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR

Registration for Church Hill Theatre’s 21st consecutive year of the Green Room Gang youth theatre program is currently open. The GRG Program has provided opportunities for young people of the Eastern Shore to experience true live theatre, from auditions to curtain call, for two decades. CHT offers a standing ovation to our entire community for supporting arts education for our children throughout the years. Bravo!

Begun in 1999, this exciting summer program of theatre games and training culminates in two fully staged musicals adapted for young performers. The Green Room Gang Senior Program, for young people entering grades 6 through 12, begins on Monday, June 24th, 2019 and runs Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students will take a magical journey through the world of a play by means of dance, music, improvisation, theatre games, acting, staging and artistic interpretation to conceive a role from start to finish. Iz Clemens, who served as a Green Room Gang intern for two years and is graduating from Washington College this spring will be instructing the Senior camp. Full tuition for the five-week GRG Sr. program is $550.00, with a 10% discount for CHT Members. 

Green Room Gang Junior participants, students entering grades 1 through 5, will do theatre games, learn basic acting skills, and explore singing and dancing while they create a musical especially written for young performers.  GRG Jr. begins on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, and runs Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to Noon. Becca Van Aken returns for her 14th year as GRG Junior instructor. Full tuition for the four-week GRG Jr. program is $330.00, with a 10% discount for CHT Members. Scholarships are available for both Sr. and Jr. camps.

Final performances for GRG are Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m.

For more information, call the Church Hill Theatre business office at 410-556-6003, or email us at office@churchhilltheatre.org. The enrollment period runs now through May 31st; be sure to fill out your child’s registration forms with haste – GRG is first come, first served and fills up quickly! See you in the theatre!  Scholarships are still available for both camps.  If you are interested, please contact the CHT office to provide you with a scholarship application.

Huffner Honored by the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants

William Huffner, MD, senior vice president, Medical Affairs and chief medical officer, recently received the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) highest honor, the MAPA Physician of the Year Award. MAPA represents the interests of all Maryland physician assistants in the state by supporting and offering continuing education, practice support, advocacy, scholarship and fellowship.

The award was presented during a luncheon at the Tidewater Inn on April 30, 2019 by Dr. Mary Jo Bondy, assistant dean, University of Maryland Graduate School and Dr. Cherilyn Hendrix, program director, Physician Assistant Program for the Anne Arundel Community College/University of Maryland-Baltimore Collaborative Program.

Dr. Huffner was selected in recognition of his leadership that led to the development, coordination and oversight of a clinical curriculum at Shore Regional Health for Anne Arundel Community College/ University of Maryland (AACC/UMB) Physician Assistants students. In 2016, when most of the enrolled students had been displaced after the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Physician Assistant program lost its accreditation, Dr. Huffner identified Shore Regional Health physician partners across many medical specialties and disciplines to support the clinical rotations of 12 students over the past three years and continues to do so. For many of these students, receiving education and training in the Mid Shore region has resulted in employment offers with the Shore Regional Health network after their graduation.

To date, three PA graduates were recruited and are now working in local physician practices.

At the award presentation, Dr. Bondy stated, “We are indebted to Dr. Huffner for his leadership and very grateful to the physician community for their collective efforts to educate the next generation of physician assistants.” Dr. Hendrix added, “We look forward to our continued collaboration with Shore Regional Health to meet the health care needs of the Mid Shore region.” 

Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Executive Director Discusses Mission and Challenges with Democratic Club

Guest speaker, Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Executive Director, Jay Falstad, provided a timely, on topic presentation about the Four Seasons development, possible future Bay Bridge expansion, and the upcoming ten-year comprehensive planning process to members of the Democratic Club of Queen Anne’s County during their recent meeting at the Kent Island Library.

Now in its 50th year, the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association’s (QACA) stated “mission…is to promote stewardship of the county’s natural resources, to protect its rural character and small towns while managing prudent and sustainable growth.” Summarizing QACA’s role, Falstad said, “The thrust of it is, we pay attention to everything going on in the county and we try to keep people informed.” To this end, Falstad provided well-timed information for three concerns in the county and cleared up some crucial confusion during the well-attended club meeting.

(MORE)

Rather than all four phases planned to complete the Four Seasons development on Kent Island, “Only phase one is approved,” said Falstad. Describing it as a common

misconception about the project, Falstad explained, “a lot of people think it’s a done deal, it’s not a done deal,” then adding “they want you to think that.” 

Responding to a member’s concern for potential expansion of the Bay Bridge, Falstad stated, QACA is “focused on it like a laser beam” along with several other organizations including the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. 

Falstad described the county’s current comprehensive plan as “excellent” adding there is “no need to make wholesale changes to it.” However, Falstad also suggested, “nothing else has more influence it’s where all decisions are made.” Further adding, “I encourage you to get involved because it’s crucial.”

“Queen Anne’s County must grow to meet the needs of the future while balancing the concerns of traffic, schools, infrastructure, and the environment,” said Jim Coulter, Democratic Club President. “As Jay Falstad so aptly demonstrated, Queen Anne’s Conservation Association is a voice we should listen to as our county plans its future.”     

Jay Falstad has served as Executive Director of the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association since 2009. QACA is the oldest land use and conservation organization on the Eastern Shore. Falstad is a passionate conservationist. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Harry Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and Adkins Aboretum. He’s previously served on the Boards of the Chester River Association and the Sassafras River Association. Falstad holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware.

View Older News »