Chester Gras 2015 To Support Backpack Program

The Peoples Bank
December 17, 2014

The Community Food Pantry is working with The Peoples Bank to once again sponsor Chester Gras, (Chestertown’s Mini Mardi Gras Celebration). The event will take place Saturday, February 7, 2015, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Like last year, the event will kick off with a Mardi Gras style parade in Downtown Chestertown.

After the Parade, everyone is invited to join in the fun, food and festivities under the Tent. This year the Tent will be located on High Street between Court and Queen Streets. Once again, there will be a Silent Auction boasting quality items and services from area merchants and restaurants. A highlight of the event will be gumbo donated by area restaurants and Mardi Gras style music.

We are planning an expanded Children’s area for 2015 to help keep up with the demand for face painting and mask making.

To make donations to support Chester Gras and the children served by the Backpack Programs please make your check payable to the Family and Community Partnerships of Kent County and mail c/o The Peoples Bank, P. O. Box 210, Chestertown, MD. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Any questions, please contact Karen: 410-778-3500 or

Again, all proceeds raised by Chester Gras will go to the area Backpack Programs.

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Chester River Chorale’s 2015 Season Begins

Calling All Voices!
Sopranos, Altos, Tenors, Basses

Do you love singing? Do you want to welcome the spring with song? If you do, the Chester River
Chorale Wants You!

Join us in Heron Point’s Wesley Room at 6 p.m. Monday, January 5, for our 2015 season—or on any of the next several Monday evenings—and make the Chester River Chorale even better. No auditions. We provide the music. All you need bring is $40 for dues (students free), and the desire to sing for joy.

Douglas D. Cox, the Chorale’s artistic director, has put together an exciting 15th anniversary program for the spring concert in March. Cox picked the songs from favorites sung in previous years. In honor of Chorale accompanist Sam Marshall, the program is titled “Play It Again, Sammy.”.

Chorale practices are 7 p.m. every Monday nights in the Wesley Room at Heron Point. All voices are welcome, If you are a newcomer and cannot make it on January 5, you will be welcome on January 12tt or January 18th.

The Chester River Chorale (CRC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded in part by Yerkes Construction Co., the Hedgelawn Foundation, the Kent County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. The CRC’s Mission is to provide opportunity and inspiration for amateur singers to strive for artistic excellence. CRC performances entertain diverse audiences and enrich the cultural life of the community.
For more information visit or the Chester River Chorale Facebook page. You may also call 410–928–5566.

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RiverArts Starts 2015 with Exciting New Classes

Chestertown RiverArts
December 2014

RiverArts has something for everyone with the broad spectrum of classes offered throughout the year. In January, we’ve got workshops in woodworking, digital photography and iPhoneography, as well as several pottery workshops at RiverArts’ Clay Studio at its new downtown location, 204 High Street.

Holly Geddes facilitates Figure Drawing sessions on Wednesdays, 4:00-7:00pm at KidSPOT, located next to the RiverArts Gallery and Gift Shop. Featuring professional models of both genders, the sessions are valuable to artists who want to improve their sense of proportion, line quality, understanding of anatomy and overall drawing skill. Beginners are welcome. The cost is $10/session (with the purchase of a ticket book) or $15 at the door.

Master woodworker Vicco von Voss will teach Woodworking Workshop – Make a Side Table. Sessions will be held on one Saturday a month for four months, 9:00-3:00pm, at Vicco’s workshop in Centreville (145 Island Creek Road). Participants should have some experience with hand tools and be familiar with hand cut mortise and tenon joinery. The cost of the class is $450 for RiverArts members and $560 for non-members. Sign up soon, Vicco’s classes always sell out!

Want to learn about your digital camera and the great pictures you can take with it? Dick Lance offers his Basic Digital Photography class on Sundays, January 18, 25, February 1 and 8, 2:00-3:30, in KidSPOT. The class covers the basic steps in creating digital photographs, editing using proprietary and free software, and some special photographic techniques. The cost of the class is $135 for members and $165 for non-members.

The Art of iPhoneography with Anne Highfield will be held on Tuesdays, January 27, February 3, 10, and 17, 6:30-8:00pm at KidSPOT. The best camera for taking photos is the one that you always have with you. Shooting pictures with your phone adds a level of convenience, flexibility, and spontaneity to the photographic process. Students will get a solid introduction to using the iPhone camera, and a different app or technique will be examined each week. The cost of the class is $135 for members and $165 for non-members.

RiverArts is very excited about the Clay Studio’s new downtown location and is starting off the new year with five workshops in January, geared to beginner, intermediate and advanced students.

Karen Douglas invites everyone to explore the possibilities of what can be done with a slab of clay in her Handbuilding class on Mondays, January 5-26, 6:30-9:30pm. Each week students will make something different and start to develop their own artistic style. The cost of the class is $115 for members and $145 for non-members

The Potters Wheel will be taught by Marilee Schumann on Tuesday evenings, January 6-February 24, 6:00-8:30pm. and by Doug Sassi on Wednesday mornings, January 7 – February 25, 9:30-noon This class is geared to Intermediate/Advanced students who want to continue to develop their throwing and creative techniques through one-on-one teaching and self-directed projects. The focus is on aesthetics, craftsmanship, and personal expression. The cost of each of these classes is $230 for members and $285 for non-members.

Marilee Schumann will also teach Beginner’s Pottery on the Wheel, Thursday evenings, January 8-February 26, 6:00-8:30pm. Beginners will learn to make basic forms of functional ceramics on the potters wheel, including glazing. The cost of the workshop is $230 for members and $285 for non-members. The fee includes the first 25lbs of clay and the first glazing. Beginning students will need a $15 tool kit which is available for purchase at the first meeting.

Rick Bisgyer will teach Intermediate/Advanced Wheel Technique, Wednesdays, January 7- January 28, 6:30-8:00pm. This is the perfect class for accomplished students to hone their skills. A different technique will be explored each week. The cost of the class is $115 for members and $145 for non-members.

All or our instructors are extremely knowledgeable, creative, and great teachers. For more information and to register for any of these classes, visit, call 410-778-6300 or email Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106 in Chestertown.

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Ashley Insurance Offers Holiday Safety Tips

Ashley Insurance
Centreville, Md.,
December 17, 2014

Ashley Insurance, an independent insurance agency based on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, recently released its annual tips for holiday safety. The company, which offers home and auto insurance, among other lines, notes that during the holidays, there are increased risks of fire at home because of lights and other decorations. In addition, the holiday season is a time of increased travel in possibly hazardous conditions.

For the home, Ashley insurance offers these decorating safety tips:
• Use lights that have been UL, CSA or ETL certified.
• Make sure there are no cracked or damaged sockets. If there are bare wires showing, discard that string of lights.
• Be careful not to overload electrical outlets.
• Be sure to unplug all lights before leaving the house, and at night when you go to bed.
• When using outdoor lights, do not uses staples or nails to hang lights.

Ashley Insurance offers these safety tips for holiday driving:
• Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times.
• Make sure to clear all of the snow and ice off your car, even the roof.
• Before you take a trip, check the air pressure in the tires and make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid.
• Have an emergency kit in your car that includes jumper cables, a snow shovel, and an ice scraper.
• Never text and drive.

Jack Ashley, president of Ashley Insurance, said “Our customers are very important to us. We want them to enjoy the holidays and be safe. With these precautions and a little common sense, people can avoid some potentially dangerous situations.”

Founded in 1980, Ashley Insurance is a local independent insurance agency based on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Offices are located in Centreville, Easton and Denton. Services include home, auto, life, health, dental, boat, farm and commercial insurance. For more information, visit, or call 410-758-0200.


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Soroptimist Quarter Auction is January 16, 2015

Soroptimist International of Kent County Md

Come out to our Quarter Auction Friday, Jan. 16, 2014 at 6 pm at the Chestertown Elks Lodge, 8631 Bell Rose Lane, Chetertown, MD. Only $5 for a paddle to play. Quarters will be available. Great way to beat the winter blues!

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Benchworks Names Melissa Johnston as President

December 2014

Benchworks is pleased to announce that Melissa Johnston has been named to the position of President. She will be responsible for all agency functions and executing the company’s vision and strategy, as well as overseeing sales and marketing. Melissa will also support Benchworks’ market development initiatives focusing on the Boston, Washington, DC, and Virginia markets.

Previously, Melissa held the title of Senior Vice President at Benchworks. As a member of the leadership team, she helped manage the company’s daily operations, implementing business procedures and controls, and supervised the project management staff. Melissa also directed Benchworks’ pharmaceutical/life science segment serving clients including Shire, West, and Supernus.

Melissa commented on the appointment, saying “I am looking forward to working closely with Thad Bench (CEO) and Renee Bench (Chairman) to help execute the overarching vision and strategy for the Benchworks marketing business unit. This is an exciting time. With our recent acquisition of Safe Chain Solutions and the creation of our consulting division, we continue to expand our support for our pharmaceutical and life science clients as well as build a solid portfolio of middle-market accounts.”

Benchworks CEO Thad Bench said “Melissa’s impressive accomplishments and dynamic work style have earned her this important role. I am confident that under her leadership, Benchworks will flourish and continue to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations as I shift my responsibilities to managing an expanding number of business units. I look forward to working closely with Melissa in her new position.”

Melissa earned a BA in Business and Economics from Washington College. She also completed the Project Management Certificate Program from the University of Delaware.

Benchworks, a comprehensive marketing services firm headquartered in Chestertown, MD, was founded in 1991. The company specializes in the design, production, and launch of complete marketing and branding services. Additional Benchworks operating units include Benchworks Consulting, Safe Chain, and a licensed products division. Clients include a wide variety of companies in the pharmaceutical, beverage, manufacturing, marine, tourism, and education industries in North America and Europe.

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