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Queen Anne’s County Announces Anne Sparks as First Chief of Aging and Transportation

Queen Anne’s County announces Anne Sparks as the first Chief of Aging and Transportation at the Department of Community Services. Prior to this role she served as the Senior Center Administrator and has been with Queen Anne’s County Government for 9 years.
 
“I look forward to working with all three divisions within the Area Agency on Aging: Community Care, Senior Centers and Transportation. It is truly important work that the staff does each day and I’m grateful to be a part of it.” said Anne Sparks
 
Annie comes to this new role with 10 years of supervisory experience and a degree in Interpersonal / Organizational Communication from Salisbury University. Prior to working for Queen Anne’s County, she was the Program Director for a cognitive brain training center and a Recruiter / Home Study Worker for a treatment level foster care agency.
 
“Annie brings a wealth of knowledge to the position between her 9 years of service to the county, her education and over 10 years of supervisory experience in her career. Along with her skill set, calm demeanor, and great personality we look forward to this advancement.” says Director of Community Services Cathy Willis
 
In 2012, Annie joined county government as the Maryland Access Point (MAP) Coordinator and transitioned to the role of Senior Center Administrator in 2015. Some of Annie’s accomplishments while serving as the Senior Center Administrator include the Senior Sports Summit, Ex’s and Oh’s Promotional Video and the Senior Center Chronicles Quarterly Newsletter. During her time as the MAP Coordinator, she was a certified Information and Referral Specialist and is co-founder of the MAP/ County Ride Advisory Board.
 
Annie has lived in Maryland most of her life and has been a resident of Queen Anne’s County since 2013. When she isn’t working, you will find her spending time with her family and performing in musical theatre productions in Maryland and Delaware. 
 
Join us with a warm welcome for Annie in her new role as Chief of Aging and Transportation.
To learn more about the Department of Community Services and all their divisions, visit qac.org and search Community Services.

 Community Center upgrades kitchen with Maryland Community Development Block Grant

The St. Michaels Community Center recently made kitchen upgrades with funding through a Maryland Community Block Grant to help serve holiday meals and distribute more than 200 pantry bags and meals each week to individuals and families in need from throughout the Bay Hundred area.

 

The $150k grant received approval in July 2020 and is governed by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and regulated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funding is used for staff costs and the purchase of kitchen equipment, supplies, and food for food programs serving low to moderate income persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Center additionally purchased a commercial oven and made other upgrades in 2020.

 

“We are grateful for this generous support for our operations,” said St. Michaels Community Center Executive Director Patrick Rofe. “It speaks to the relevance and importance of our work in making sure no one in the Bay Hundred area goes hungry.”

 

The St. Michaels Community Center continues serving as the Bay Hundred area’s food hub as designated by the Talbot County Emergency Task Force and is a member of the Maryland Food Bank. The Community Center also participates in the Talbot County Hunger Coalition and the National No Kids Hungry program to help eliminate food insecurity for low-income individuals and families in Talbot County.

 

The Center’s Community Café and pantry are open three days a week to provide meals and groceries for anyone in need, with limited local delivery provided by a group of dedicated volunteers. The St. Michaels Community Center also hosts food drives and holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, along with year-round engaging programs and activities for children and adults.

 

The St. Michaels Community Center is currently seeking holiday donations of new toys, non-perishables, toiletries, and household goods, which can be dropped off or shipped directly to SMCC to arrive no later than Dec. 20 at 103 Railroad Ave., St. Michaels, Md., 21663.

 

Donations can be dropped off at Treasure Cove Thrift Shop at 200 Railroad Ave. Monday, and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or at SMCC Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Suggested donations include toys suited for children of all ages; personal hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, and shampoo; family homecare items like detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and sponges; and food items like canned chicken, tuna, roast beef, ravioli, pasta, stew, peanut butter, rice, soup, crackers, pudding, and fruit cups.

 

SMCC staff and volunteers will also be preparing Christmas meals for pick-up and delivery to those in need. The meals are provided at no charge, with SMCC donors and in-kind donations helping to offset costs. To reserve a meal or for more information, contact Amy Dewitt at amy@stmichaelscc.org or 410-745-6073.

 

Donations to SMCC and proceeds from the Treasure Cove Thrift Shop in St. Michaels, Md. help the nonprofit provide year-round community programs and services that serve, empower, and connect people from throughout the Bay Hundred area, with more information at stmichaelscc.org.

Lara Wilson Honored as Outstanding Rural Health Advocate

Lara Wilson, Director of Rural Health Care Transformation for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, was recently honored by the Maryland Rural Health Association as recipient of the organization’s 2021 Outstanding Rural Health Advocate Award.

“Lara Wilson is a key member of our Rural Health Care Transformation team. We are delighted that she has earned this well-deserved recognition for her excellence in advancing rural health care in Maryland and particularly in the region served by Shore Medical Center at Chestertown,” said Ken Kozel, President and Chief Executive Officer, UM Shore Regional Health. “We congratulate her for this exceptional accomplishment and look forward to her continued success.”

The Outstanding Rural Health Advocate Award is presented to an individual who has contributed extensive time, commitment and dedication making an identifiable difference in rural communities, demonstrating outstanding efforts and leadership in advocating and influencing policies/programs that impact the health and well-being of rural citizens.

Specific award criteria include:

  • Developed/grown community awareness on rural health issues
  • Inspired others to understand the significance rural health care plays in the community
  • Demonstrated his/her commitment to rural health through grassroots efforts and/or policy changes
  • Positive innovations impacting the community
  • Shares her/his knowledge of and passion for advocating health

Wilson joined UM SRH in April 2021 after serving six years as executive director of the Maryland Rural Health Association, based in Centreville. In that capacity, with the goal of improving the health of Maryland’s rural communities, Wilson provided leadership and advocacy, program and strategic planning, financial management and personnel management, communications and marketing, and membership development and services.

Small Treasurers of Art at Studio B Art Gallery this Holiday Season

Studio B Art Gallery is holding a special gallery exhibit, “Small Treasures of Art,” throughout the 2021 holiday season. The featured masterpieces are big on details and beauty, but smaller than the traditional wall art found in the gallery. These pieces, made by the gallery’s artists specifically for this event, make the perfect gift for loved ones.
Come see a sneak peek of select exhibit art during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and shopping weekend. Studio B Art gallery will be open November 26-28 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Support the gallery for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Artists Sunday.
A holiday themed reception will be held on December 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. during the final First Friday Gallery Walk of the 2021 season. The public is invited to stop by and enjoy all the wonderful “Small Treasures” featured at the gallery and get a chance to speak with some of the artists that painted them.
“As the holidays approach, we all look for that special gift for our friends and family,” Studio B Art Gallery owner Betty Huang said. “What better way to show your appreciation to those in your life than with a one-of-a-kind piece of art? These are more than stocking stuffers, these are gifts they will treasure for a lifetime.”
Visit www.studiobartgallery.com for information on the gallery, and its events and artists. You will find artwork in all shapes and sizes, sure to fill the perfect spot on your wall and in your heart. You can also send an email to betty@studiobartgallery.com or call 443-988-1818 to arrange a private or group gallery viewing, another great way to spend time with loved ones this holiday season.
“It’s the perfect time of year to explore downtown Easton,” Betty said. “Bring your family to town to enjoy the holidays, and stop by the gallery to see all the art our artists made in 2021.”

UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and Easton Nationally Recognized

University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton each received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for Fall 2021, making this the third consecutive period both hospitals have received the prestigious A grade. This national distinction recognizes the achievements of the hospitals in consistently protecting patients from harm and error.

Fewer than a third of hospitals nationwide earn the “A” grade and even fewer achieve that milestone in consecutive grading periods.
“This is a significant accomplishment, and one which our entire UM Shore Regional Health family should be proud of,” said Ken Kozel, President and Chief Executive Officer of UM Shore Regional Health. “This is the result of our exceptional team members and medical staff providers, and I am deeply grateful for their dedication to patient care and safety, especially as we’ve faced the challenge of navigating through the pandemic these past two years. Earning this distinction for the third consecutive period speaks volumes to progress we are making towards becoming a High Reliability Organization.”

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigned to more than 2,700 acute care hospitals throughout the U.S., is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.
“An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a tremendous achievement, of which this community should be extremely proud,” said Leah Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leapfrog Group. “I thank the leadership and workforce of UM Shore Regional Health for its commitment to prioritizing patients and their safety, especially during these trying times.”

To see the full grade details for UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.

Local Businesses Support Haven Ministries Homes of Hope 

Haven Ministries has had an overwhelming response from local businesses to its Homes of Hope project with businesses donating a variety of materials and services toward the completion of the homes. Homes of Hope – two new 1700 square foot single-family homes located in Stevensville – will provide hope to those participating in Haven Ministries Housing Assistance Program in Queen Anne’s County.

“We are so very grateful for the generous response we have gotten from the community. There are more and more businesses stepping up every day to support this project for the residents of Queen Anne’s County,” states Krista Pettit, Executive Director of Haven Ministries.

Lundberg Builders, the general contractor on the project, has been coordinating the donations, which have ranged from building materials to actual services. “We have been committed to this project because we make our living from the community and feel we should give back to the community. Housing assistance is important to the health of our community and there continues to be a shortage of affordable housing in Queen Anne’s County. It’s also hard to build affordable housing today with the cost of some of the impact fees associated with this type of housing,” states Brad Lundberg, President of Lundberg Builders.

“This project is a community project. Several things have been donated from the initial demolition to Delmarva Power donating their labor for electricity hook-up to the local plumbers and electricians donating their labor and materials – the generosity has been overwhelming.”

To date, the following local companies that have contributed to the Homes of Hope through free or reduced labor and/or materials: Increte, Torchio Architects, Lane Engineering, Lundberg Builders, O’Berry Engineering, Inc., Delmarva Power An Exelon Company, Universal Supply Co., Friel Lumber Company, Absolute Fire Protection Inc., True Value Kent Island, A Plus Sanitation, Cole Ventures, Insurance, Island Floors, W. Scott Jones Mechanical Contractor, Lindy J. Jones Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Jack Wilson Jr. Electrical Services, Patuxent Roll Off LLC, Economy Pest Control, Inc., R and D Electric, Annapolis Exteriors, 314 Design Studio, Choice Stairways, and Lifetime Well Drilling. At the end of the project, a complete list of donations will appear on Haven Ministries’ website and there will be a recognition event to celebrate the Homes of Hope opening.

“Both current supply chain issues and contractor time have affected the process and timetable for the project. We have had to plan as far ahead as we can to avoid some of the price increases and delays that are happening. We hope to complete the project by spring 2022,” adds Chris Spurry, Supervisor for Lundberg Builders.

The construction for Homes of Hope and the Housing Assistance Program is also being funded by private donations and grants, including those from foundations made directly to Haven Ministries, and through major fundraising activities. The organization wishes to give special thanks to the organizations who have contributed funding to make this project possible including the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners, Weinberg Foundation, Salmon Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, May Foundation, Truist Foundation, Maryland Legislative Bond Grant, Keller Giving, Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Grant, Mid-Shore Community Foundation, and many individual donors.  The Truist Foundation, one of the funders for this project, supports nonprofits to help ensure the communities they serve have more opportunities for a better quality of life.

Each of the Homes of Hope two-story houses has four bedrooms and two baths and are mirror images of each other. Individuals and families who live in Queen Anne’s County can apply for the program, must pass the background checks, pay a program fee, and voluntarily agree to work with a case manager. While participating in the Housing Assistance Program, participants will work closely with a Haven Ministries case manager to ensure that they are positioned for success to secure safe and stable long-term housing once their respective program period is over, usually within two years. A program fee will also be collected from the Housing Assistance Program clients approved for the program.

Haven Ministries will continue to operate its seasonal shelter at Kent Island Methodist Church in Stevensville to offer emergency overnight safe and warm accommodations for individuals and families that do not have a dedicated location in which to sleep. Although both of these programs are important programs, they each serve a different population of community members with different needs.

For further information about donating to this important project, visit haven-ministries.org or call Krista Pettit at 410-739-4363.

Love shapes the ministry, love transforms people, and hope prevails at Haven Ministries.  Haven Ministries operates a seasonal Homeless Shelter, a Resource Center and Food Pantry in Queenstown, Our Daily Thread Thrift Store in Stevensville, Hope Warehouse in Queenstown, and a Food Pantry Truck in Sudlersville.

Some Online and In Person Payment Systems will be down on Dec 13 for Updates

Queen Anne’s County Planning and Zoning and Finance Departments have scheduled maintenance on their payments system scheduled for December 13, 2021. How will this affect how you do business with the county?
 
Planning and Zoning Payments:
  • Unable to take payments in person at the counter in our Vincit Street Office.
  • Online payments will still be available with the citizen self-service portal.
Finance Office (Tax and Utility Payments)
  • Unable to take payments in person at the Liberty Building.
  • Our online portal for Tax and Utility Payments will also be down.
All counters and offices will remain open on December 13, this only affects the payment system. The payment system will operate as normal on Tuesday, December 14. 
 
For more information about the services offered at Planning and Zoning visit qac.org and search Planning and Zoning or go https://www.qac.org/234/Planning-Zoning
 
For information about the Finance Department and what services are offered visit qac.org and search Finance or go https://www.qac.org/616/Treasury-Division

Town of Greensboro’s Whoville Village Holiday Park Returns in December

Greensboro, Md. – The Town of Greensboro is pleased to announce the return of the Whoville Village Holiday Park (Whoville) this December at its new location behind the Greensboro Volunteer Fire Department.

“Our entire team is excited to welcome everyone back to Whoville,” said Tammy Kelledes, Town Clerk. “Our new location gives us more space to expand the holiday park and offer more light displays and family fun. We are proud be part of our community’s holiday traditions, and also to be named a top three best seasonal attraction in the 2021 Chesapeake Best of the Best Readers’ choice awards. We encourage our neighbors and friends from across Delmarva to join us this year!”

Whoville is a walk-through, outdoor light display featuring characters from Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” that ends with Santa’s Village with hot cocoa, cookies and photos with Santa, the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who. Whoville is open every Friday and Saturday from 5-9pm starting December 3rd until December 18th.  Admission is free. Visitors should use 13781 Greensboro Road, Greensboro, MD 21639 for GPS directions.

Visit www.greensboromd.org for more information.

Compass Reaches New Level of National Veterans Program

We Honor Veterans is proud to announce it is now a Level 5 Partner with We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The progression to this new level demonstrates an elevated level of commitment to Veteran-centric care in the community.

As a partner, We Honor Veterans is providing specialized care to Veterans who are facing a serious illness. This includes a Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program, training on conflict-specific medical and mental health concerns, and knowledge to assist Veterans in navigating VA (Veterans Affairs) benefits. We honor our patient Veterans with a special pinning ceremony which consists of a pin, certificate, flag, and red, white, and blue handmade lap blanket. Before Covid-19 we would have Veteran, volunteers and staff attend but during Covid-19 it has been the nurses and social workers who have kept our program going by honoring our Veterans. Veteran Cafes that meet quarterly, Veteran to Veteran, last month we watched and discussed a Ted Talk about actor Adam Driver. Did you know he served his country as a Marine and is still at heart, always a Marine. We held meetings with local clergy and community members to raise awareness about veteran suicide through a program called S.A.V.E.

As the CEO at Compass, it is an honor and a privilege to work so closely with our Veterans and their families. Our team has gone the extra mile to ensure our veterans get all the unique services they need at the end of life. It is also amazing to partner with so many local organizations also service our Veterans so we can serve them together.

NHPCO and the Department of Veterans Affairs launched We Honor Veterans in 2010 to address the growing need for Veteran-centered care, especially as Veterans from different eras are aging and need access to Veteran-centric palliative and hospice care. Learn more about the We Honor Veterans program at www.WeHonorVeterans.org.

Learn more about the programs and services Compass offers at our web site www.compassregionalhospice.org

Kent School’s Empty Bowls Project Supports Food Pantry

Although Kent School was not able to host an in-person Empty Bowls event due to COVID-19 safety precautions, students were still able to continue the School’s tradition in support of the Kent County Food Pantry with a school-wide ceramics project. Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level.

Over the past several years, Kent School has engaged in an Empty Bowls event and has been able to donate over $2,000 each year. This year, without the benefit of hosting a community-wide event, bowls were sold to parents and family members. At this time, the Public is invited to participate in the benefit by purchasing bowls. Each bowl is $10.00 and can be purchased through the Kent School website at www.kentschool.org/student-life/school-store. Following an individual’s purchase, bowls will be packed and ready for pick-up at the school at 6788 Wilkins Lane.

Since the start of this academic year, Kent School’s art teacher, Amy Bower has been working with students in their art classes which have been devoted to ceramics. As a result, every student at Kent School from Preschool through Grade Eight, has made at least one ceramic bowl. Bower said, “It is a magical feeling to see these ceramic pieces evolve over time from a gray lump of clay into a beautiful, functional piece. It was a delight to see our hallway fill up with such an array of shapes, colors and sizes.” Bower continued, “It is also incredibly gratifying to help the children develop as artists who can be proud of their creations and also be proud of the meaning behind their efforts.”

Deeann Jones, Program Director at the Kent County Food Pantry visited Kent School and addressed the student body at an all-school meeting. Ms. Jones spoke about food insecurity in our community and how the food pantry supports people in need. She also conveyed appreciation for the work our students were doing to benefit the clients who visit the food pantry.

Kent School students have a long-term, ongoing relationship with the Kent County Food Pantry. Each year the Student Government Association (SGA) at Kent School leads charitable activities in support of the Kent County Food Pantry.

For more information, visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The School’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

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