Mardi Gras Community Dance Party at The Garfield Center for the Arts

Garfield Center
Chestertown, MD
February 2015

Attention! Revelers of all ages wanted to attend the annual Mardi Gras Community Dance Party at The Garfield Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 7, 2015. The perennially popular Dixie Power Trio (plus one) will entertain beginning at 8 pm; the lobby doors will open at 7 pm.

Costumes are not mandatory, but highly encouraged. Be prepared for an evening of dancing to authentic sounding New Orleans jazz, zydeco, Cajun, street parade, and Louisiana-style funk. Intermission will feature King Cake and a special performance by Philip Dutton & the Alligators. A cash bar will include Mardi Gras specials. Beads and masks will be available for those who need to accessorize.

Reservations Recommended! General Admission is $20; a $25 Backpack ticket ensures that $5 will be donated to the local Backpack program. Student tickets are $10 with ID. For more information, visit, email or call 410-810-2060.

The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is located at 210 High Street, Chestertown, MD.

Dixie Power Trio at 2013 FallFest in Rock Hall. Photo: SGAtkinson

Dixie Power Trio at 2013 FallFest in Rock Hall. Photo: SGAtkinson

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Danny Bramble Speaks to the CBG at their February 5, 2015 Meeting

Chestertown, MD
February 1, 2015

Danny Bramble, President and CEO of David A. Bramble, Inc., will discuss his company and the outlook for the heavy construction industry in Kent County at the February 5, 2015 meeting of the Community Breakfast Group (CBG).

The company’s founder, David A. Bramble, returned from World War II and started what has become David A Bramble, Inc. Since then, the company has grown until today it operates 150 pieces of major construction equipment, 17 trucks and three hot mix asphalt plants. It is one of the largest employers in the upper Eastern Shore area.

The CBG meets for breakfast every Thursday at 7:30AM at the Holiday Inn Express in Chestertown. Our meetings start promptly at 7:30AM, so you may want to come at 7:15AM to get your breakfast before the meeting. Our website is

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Kent Forward’s Executive Director Reports On a 2014 Filled with Fruitful Collaborations

Kent Forward
January 28, 2015

As the Kent Forward Initiative completes its second full year, Executive Director Linda Dawson can look back on a 2014 marked by a fruitful collaboration with the office of the Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools. “We have been happy to support Dr. Couch’s priorities in whatever ways we can,” says Dawson. “It has been a pleasure to work with her and her staff, especially Darlene Spurrier, Supervisor of Student Services. We have put a lot of time and effort into making local residents and businesses aware of what the schools are doing and how they can help.”

Among the accomplishments from the past year, Dawson lists:

– Discovery Education Program. Kent Forward coordinated the public announcement of the school system’s partnership with Discovery. Some 200 community leaders gathered at the KC Community Center to hear Dr. Couch and a Discovery executive outline the joint venture that is bringing interactive, digital learning to all grades.

– Challenge Day: Dr. Couch brought this meaningful three-day experience to Kent County to combat the root causes of bullying through lessons in empathy and tolerance. Kent Forward worked with Family and Community Partnerships of Kent County to raise the $15,000 cost through fundraising and grant writing and helped recruit and coordinate the 50 volunteers who participated with 300 middle- and high-school students and staffers. The results were described as a “life changing” event for the participants that brought about a positive culture change in the schools.

– Attendance Awareness Month Events. With funding from United Way and donations from area businesses, Dawson and Kent Forward in early fall administered a poster contest and an incentive program to reduce absenteeism in local schools.

– 21st Century Summer Program, an academic enrichment program offered four days a week for a month in mid-summer, included visits to local businesses and nonprofits. Kent Forward organized trips for 150 students to visit seven sites, including the Fire Company, hospital, Chester River Association and Dixon Valve.

– Career, Technology and Engineering (CTE) Programs at KCHS. Kent Forward and the Kent County Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast meeting where 50 local business leaders learned about these “pathway” programs at the high school and heard a presentation specifically about the Engineering Pathway.

The Kent Forward Initiative was launched by Dick Goodall, the CEO of Dixon, along with the then-presidents of Washington College and Chester River Health System (now part of the University of Maryland Shore Health System). The broad mission is to enhance the educational, economic and social well-being of Kent County residents, and education was identified as the most important area of focus. “A strong school system with a reputation for student achievement is vital to any efforts to boost the social and economic health of the area,” says Goodall. “Without it, our county loses too many young families to nearby counties and employers have a harder time finding skilled workers willing to relocate here.”

“Early on, Kent Forward’s agenda was to support the schools by making the community and its business and nonprofit leaders more aware of the challenges they face and the progress they are making,” says Dawson. “And to show area residents, businesses and organizations how they could be involved in positive ways.”

An aspirational goal was to help the schools become one of the top five ranked school systems in Maryland. “That’s still our goal,” notes Goodall. Kent Forward pledged to present data on school performance to the community, to shine a light on performance and rankings. But disparities in the statistics for 2014 make that impossible this year. During the 2013/14 school year, teachers were preparing students for the new PARCC assessments being field-tested by Maryland and the national Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, rather than the MSA (Maryland School Assessment) tests that have been administered in recent years. Many students took only the PARCC tests in some or all subjects in 2014. The results were too limited, and too apples-and-oranges to compare to prior years.

For those who still took the MSA, scores dropped, as expected, across Maryland. And in Kent County, the small size of the divided data meant that our schools did not even make it into the widely used “Schooldigger” rankings, and that the data reported on the state site, “Maryland Report Card,” was incomplete.

Some good news came from the statewide School Progress Index, which saw Kent County Schools rise in comparison to other Maryland public schools, from near the bottom of the 24 districts to number 13. It was the third-best ranking among the nine Eastern Shore counties, behind Worcester and Queen Anne’s.

“We are thrilled with the energy and optimism in the Superintendent’s Office and the progress the schools have made in the past year, despite the lack of testing data,” says Goodall. “We have faith in Dr. Couch and her team, and in the School Board, to keep this momentum going and provide our kids with the finest education possible.”

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Wildlife Ecologist to Stress Importance of Native Plants in February 12, 2015 Talk at WC

Washington College
January 2015

Join University of Delaware Professor Doug Tallamy Thursday, February 12, for a talk on strengthening ecosystems by restoring native plants. The free lecture, Rebuilding Nature’s Relationships, will take place at 5:00 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the Washington College campus.

Doug Tallamy - Contributed Photo

Doug Tallamy – Contributed Photo

Plants that have evolved in concert with local animals provide for their needs better than plants that evolved elsewhere, Tallamy explains on his website. He also addresses why it is important to restore life to our residential properties, and what we can do to make our landscapes living ecosystems once again.

“If we humans are capable of turning hundreds of millions of acres of rainforest into depleted grasslands, and extirpating millions of buffalo from the plains, and billions of passenger pigeons from the skies and cod from the North Atlantic, we are also capable of returning natives to our gardens,” he says.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 33 years. He is the author of 80 research articles as well as the book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association) and The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke and published in 2014. His work has earned him the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence.

The lecture is sponsored by The Center for Environment and Society. Some copies of Bringing Nature Home will be available for purchase at a book signing following the event.

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Sustainability Champion Craig Hanson To Discuss the Future of Global Resource Management at WC

Washington College
January 2015

On Thursday, February 5,2015 at 5pm, sustainability expert Craig Hanson will speak at Washington College about “Radical Transparency and the New Era of Environmentalism,” discussing trends in global natural resource management. The presentation will take place in Litrenta Lecture Hall, the Toll Science building, and is free and open to the public.

Contributed Photo - Craig Hanson

Craig Hanson – Contributed Photo

Hanson will discuss how the convergence of advanced satellite technologies, smart phones, and networks of connected citizens is laying a foundation for revolutionizing sustainable development. The convergence is impacting forests, water, and other planetary resources, ushering in an era of “Radical Transparency” he argues.

Hanson is the Global Director of Food, Forests, and Water Programs at the World Resources Institute (WRI). WRI is a global non-profit research organization that develops and promotes sustainable management of natural resources. He is involved deeply in the organization’s financial and programming development and co-created its Global Forest Watch and Forest Legality Alliance among many others programs. He also co-authored the World Resources Report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future.

Hanson’s talk is part of the McLain Lecture Series, which enhances College programming of scientific, social and artistic importance in the study of the environment.

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Danielle Corsetto, Creator of Girls with Slingshots Discusses Art and Business of Web Comics February 17, 2015 at WC

Washington College
January 2015

The creator of the online comic series Girls with Slingshots visits the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College Tuesday, February 17, to talk about the art and business of web comics. Danielle Corsetto, who has entertained hundreds of thousands of readers online since 2004, will speak at 4:30 p.m. at the Lit House, 407 Washington Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Contributed Photo: Danielle Corsetto

Danielle Corsetto – Submitted Photo

Danielle Corsetto’s love of cartoon strips was nurtured early on when her grandfather read “Garfield” and “Peanuts” to her. She started writing her own strips at age 8. After graduating from Shepherd College with a BFA in photography and digital imaging, she started Girls with Slingshots as a black-and-white comic published twice a week. A decade later, the strip appears in color five times a week and is compiled in books published by TopatoCo.

Girls With Slingshots revolves around two twenty-something women, Hazel and Jamie, and their adventures with friends, including a cactus named McPedro. The web-comic series focuses on ideas of romance, career struggles, friendships, and sexuality. Corsetto says the style of Girls with Slingshots is “more realistic and less stereotypical. All the characters have these unusual relationships, both romantic and platonic … that are not what you would find in, say, a sitcom, but it’s written like a sitcom. I’m trying to normalize these things that are taboo.”

More than 100,000 people visit on a daily basis to read the latest installment. Corsetto has also written several books and original graphic novels (OGNs). Her fifth OGN for Adventure Time will be published this March.

This event was organized by Rose O’Neill Literary House 2014 summer interns Julie Armstrong ’15 and Ryan Manning ’17. Already fans of Corsetto’s webcomic, they were eager to bring her to campus to share her quick wit and humor. For more information about this lecture and other Rose O’Neill Literary House events and programs, call (410) 778-7899 or email

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