CBG to Hear from Support Our School’s Group

Meeting on February 23rd, 2017, 7:30am
Holiday Inn Express, Chestertown.

Jodi Bortz and Rebecca Heriz-Smith

The voices of the Kent County Support our Schools (SOS) initiative are coming to tell us what they are doing in cooperation with the local school district to make our schools the best they can be.

Come out and hear their message of what is working and where there are problems that need attention.

Visit us on Facebook:
Plan to arrive in time to enjoy a delicious
Holiday Inn Express Breakfast with us.

When the National Weather Service issues a winter storm “Hazardous Weather Outlook” on Wednesday, the day before our meeting, our Thursday morning meeting will be automatically cancelled.

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March 1, 2017 Talk Will Expand Your Understanding of the Origin of the Solar System

Washington College
February 2017

What can meteorites tell us about the solar system’s formation? A lot, it turns out. If you want to learn more, listen to Myriam Telus talk about “Cosmochemistry: Understanding the Origin of the Solar System,” on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 5 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, of the campus’ Toll Science Center.

Free and open to the public, this talk will focus on some of the major questions about the early solar system: What is it made up of? When and under what conditions it form? How has it changed over time?

Photo: Myriam Telus

Myriam Telus – Promotional Photo

Telus is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, where she employs chemical and isotopic analyses of meteorites and their components to study the early system. She will soon take on the role of assistant professor at University of California in Santa Cruz.

The talk is sponsored by the Earth and Planetary Science Fund and the McLain Program for Environmental Studies.

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PotW: Kent County High Trojans Basketball Team Seniors

Photo by SG Atkinson: Kent County High's Basketball Team Seniors

The seniors on the Kent County Boys Basketball Team were honored at Senior Night prior to the February 16, 2017 basketball game. The team accomplished something that has never happen in the 45 year history of the High School. They were undefeated in the North Bayside Conference.

Marcquan Greene – #1
Manuel “Manny Camper, Jr. – #3
She’mar Turner – #4
Arlington Johnson – #11
Takai Caulk – #13
Tyeke Demby – #15
Tyshawn Johnson – #21
Dashawn Kister – #22

Photo by SG Atkinson: Manny Camper & She'mar Turner
Manny Camper and She’mar Turner, both have over 1000 points and combined have nearly 3000.

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Washington College’s Softball Season Preview

Washington College Athletics
February 16, 2017

One step away. The Washington College softball team was five outs away from a second Centennial Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 lead over Haverford, but its hopes were dashed as the team fell to Haverford in the championship round 2-1 and 5-3 to see the dream of a conference crown and NCAA Tournament come to an end.

Despite the ending, the Shorewomen achieved a lot in the 2016 season as they went 22-20 overall and 11-5 in the Centennial. They earned the top seed in the Centennial Conference Tournament for the first time, they reached the conference tournament for the fifth time in the past six years, recorded their fifth 20-win season since 2011, reached the conference championship game for the third time in five years and defeated #16 Wheaton (Mass.) in Florida.

This year the Shorewomen look to take that final step and win the conference crown for the second time in team history, joining the 2013 team. The 2017 version of the Shorewomen consists of 14 players: two seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen.

“The group is very hungry and while they realize it’s a new team, they have a feeling in them that hasn’t left since May 8 (which were the last two games of 2016),” says head coach Lacey Lister who is entering her ninth year at the helm of the Shorewomen. “They’ve worked extremely hard in the offseason and they’re read to put their boots on the ground and win another conference championship.”

The pitching staff last year came through as they led the Centennial with a 2.73 ERA and strikeouts per seven innings with a 5.40 clip. Washington was second in the conference with 214 strikeouts. The good news is the Shorewomen return 252 of the 277.1 innings pitched from a season ago. On offense, the team did improve its batting average by 10 points to .285, but will seek to improve on its runs per game from a season from 2016 where they scored just 158 runs (3.76 runs per game). In the field, the team seeks to be better as they were seventh in the conference last spring with a .940 fielding percentage and six of the seven runs they allowed in the championship round versus Haverford were unearned.

The pitching staff will be experienced this spring and Lister projects all four will see time this spring.

Lister has a strong duo in the circle in sophomore Maddie Bennett (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) and junior Taylor Harcum (Hebron, Md./Mardela). Bennett, who won both pitcher and rookie of the year in 2016, went 12-3 with a 2.25 ERA as she fired the team’s first-ever seven inning no-hitter last spring in a 5-0 win at Swarthmore. Bennett was second in the conference in wins (12) and batting average against (.209), third in strikeouts per game (6.14), ERA and fourth in shutouts (2) and strikeouts (90). Harcum went 9-12 with a 2.39 ERA and 83 strikeouts. She was third in the conference in innings pitched (123) and saves (2), fourth in ERA (2.39) and sixth in wins.

Rounding out the quartet are junior Milly Kawabata (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita) and freshmen Rachel Butler (York, Pa./Central York). Kawabata tossed 26.1 innings last season in 13 games as she picked up her one save in a 7-5 win at Dickinson in the second game of a conference doubleheader to allow Washington to split the twinbill.

Bennett also brings a potent bat too as she hit .333 with one home run and 23 RBI to go along with team-bests of 13 doubles and a .483 slugging percentage. She was second on the team in hits (47), walks (15) and RBI, tied for second in home runs, third in batting average and tied for third in runs scored. In the Centennial, her 13 two-baggers ranked her second and her 15 walks were good for 10th.

Behind the plate at catcher, Lister has junior tri-captain Allyson Meil (Jarrettsville, Md./North Harford) as the starter this season. Meil played in all 42 games for Washington in 2016, starting in 41 of those contests. The junior ranked second on the team in runs scored with 18 and made just three errors in 243 chances last spring. She ranked ninth in the Centennial in putouts with 229 and was the catcher for the no-hitter by Bennett on April 21, 2016 at Swarthmore. Also spending time behind the plate are sophomore Kerrigan Buck (Dalton, Pa./Lackawanna Trail) and junior tri-captain Gabrielle Edwards (New Castle, Del./St Georges Technical).

The three players expected to be the corner infielders this season are Butler and Edwards at first base as the latter projects to transition from third base to first and freshman Alli Saul (Bridgeton, N.J./Cumberland Regional) as she is penciled in right now to be at third. Edwards and Saul can play either corner and both could play the other corner during the season. At the third last season, Edwards led the team in assists with 72 and was eighth in the conference in helpers.

Kerrigan Buck could potentially see time at third as she has been working at the hot corner.

The middle infield positions of second base and shortstop are expected to be played by senior Kerri Estep (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor), and freshman Leah Stokes (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton). Last season, Estep played in 32 of the 44 games, scoring eight runs.

In the outfield, the team will have to replace two of the most decorated players in program history in 2016 graduates Paige Briganti and Clare Hofstedt, both of whom were multiple time all-conference selections.

Expected to slide from left field to center field is the squad’s 2016 most improved player, junior Elaina DiPrimio (West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin). DiPrimio had an outstanding sophomore season in 2016 as she hit .359 with one home run and a team-topping 24 RBI. She tied for tops on the squad in triples (2), was second on the team in batting, second in hits (47), third in doubles (6) and slugging (.458) and fourth in walks (12). In the conference she was tied for eighth in three-baggers and ninth in hits.

Battling to take DiPrimio’s spot in left field is sophomore Regan Horan (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma). In limited action at the plate last year, she had three hits in eight at-bats, including a walk-off RBI double to beat Franklin & Marshall to complete a doubleheader sweep. She appeared in 22 games and stole four bases. Also projected to see time in left is sophomore Kasey Buck (Dalton, Pa./Lackawanna Trail).

In right field, senior tri-captain Erin Spinden (Wilmington, Del./Delcastle Technical) and Harcum could split time this season. Harcum hit .261 with one home run and 10 RBI at the plate in 2016, while Spinden played in a career-best 24 games as junior.

At designated player, Lister sees a trio seeing the majority of the time there in Bennett, Butler and Harcum.

This year’s team has 14 players and while very talented, Lister knows it’s very important for players to be able to play multiple positions during the season due to the small numbers.

“We are very versatile this year and we have to be,” says the three-time and reigning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year. “The girls are embracing it.”

Lister will be assisted by Caitlin Chance, who is on the staff for her third season.

The Shorewomen will begin their season on February 25-26 in Cary, North Carolina at the Triangle Grand Slam Classic. On February 25, the team will play North Carolina Wesleyan and Salem and the following day the team will play William Peace and Greensboro. The following weekend, March 4-5, the Shorewomen will travel to Salisbury to play in the Sea Gull Classic against host Salisbury and Clarkson, playing both teams on both days. On March 8 the team have its home opener in a doubleheader versus Averett before departing for Florida where they will play 10 games from March 12-17 for the Rebel Spring Games. In Florida, the team will play Transylvania and Skidmore (March 12), Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.) and Gustavus Adolphus (March 13), Marietta and Cornell College (March 14), Albright and #19 Trine (March 16) and Illinois Wesleyan and Farmingdale St. (March 17).

In Centennial play, which are all doubleheaders, the team will host Muhlenberg (March 25), Swarthmore (April 11), Dickinson (April 14) and defending conference champion Haverford (April 22) and will travel to Ursinus (March 28), Gettysburg (April 1), McDaniel (April 8) and Franklin & Marshall (April 29). Out of conference, the team will in addition to Averett also host Stevenson (April 13) in a twinbill while traveling to Catholic (April 5) for a doubleheader.

Washington will play five NCAA Tournament teams from 2016 this season: World Series participant Illinois Wesleyan, Haverford, Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.), Salisbury and Trine.

The team will play teams from the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia this season. The team will have 12 home games, 12 road games and 16 neutral site games for a total of 40 games on the slate this spring, with Trine being ranked in the NFCA Preseason Poll.

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Pro BMX Competitor & Recovering Addict Tony Hoffman to Speak in Easton

Talbot County Department of Social Services

Did you know over the past 3 years that 272 Mid-shore opioid overdoses were reported by Shore Regional Health-Memorial Hospital at Easton. (Source: The Beacon Report The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)

Mid Shore communities are increasingly facing new risks from marijuana, heroin, and prescription drug abuse. The report adds that prescription drugs have become established as significant substances of abuse, alongside illicit drugs among young adults, with prescription opioids being the second most commonly misused illegal drug after marijuana among persons aged 16 to 25 years old in Talbot County. Between 2010 and 2014 clients in Talbot County reported heroin as their drug of choice has grown 927%. Users cut across all income levels, but for Talbot County, most of the users are young.

On April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Talbot County Department of Social Services will host a free conference, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” featuring nationally-known guest speaker Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. The day-long event will be held at the Talbot County Community Center, Easton, MD. Parents, teens, teachers, coaches, medical providers and anyone dealing with youth in our community are encouraged to attend. Some of the conference topics will include safe disposal of prescription drugs, drug abuse trends and prevention strategies, the use of NARCAN, available resources, and personal stories by local residents.

Tony Hoffman’s story is full of redemption as he has seen some of the highest highs, and the lowest lows. His BMX career started in high school, as he was a top-ranked BMX amateur with multiple endorsements. As a native of Clovis, CA, where he attended Clovis High School, Hoffman started drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin by his senior year. His life took a turn for the worse as he became addicted at such a young age, losing everything. In 2004 he committed a home invasion armed robbery, and was ultimately sent to prison for two years in 2007. Hoffman began rebuilding his life’s purpose while he spent two years in prison.

Hoffman has dedicated his life, to bringing awareness around the country, describing how dangerous prescription pill and heroin abuse are, as well as advocating a shift in thinking towards current addiction-recovery processes. He has been sober since May 17th, 2007 and is the Founder and Director of The Freewheel Project, a non-profit organization that mentors thousands of youth through action sports: BMX, skateboarding and after-school programs. The Freewheel Project focuses on teaching kids leadership skills, and making healthy life choices, including substance abuse prevention, each year. In 2016 he also began writing his first book, titled, “Coming Clean.” He is a Former BMX Elite Pro and is currently ranked #2 in Masters Pro class, coaching in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with Women’s BMX PRO, Brooke Crain, in his lineup.

Space is limited for the free conference and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017. Call 410-770-5750 or email Lindsay.newcomb1@maryland.gov.

Pictured is Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict, who will be the keynote speaker at the conference, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” on April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Talbot Community Center. The conference is sponsored by the Talbot County Department of Social Services and is free to the public. Space is limited and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017.

Pictured is Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict, who will be the keynote speaker at the conference, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” on April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Talbot Community Center. The conference is sponsored by the Talbot County Department of Social Services and is free to the public. Space is limited and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017.

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Rural Homelessness on the Mid Shore

February 15, 2017

Rural Homelessness on the Mid Shore
By Amelia Blades Steward

Homelessness is real on the Mid Shore. As we sit snugly in our homes this winter, there is another population not quite so fortunate who might be “couch surfing” with family or friends, sleeping in cars, or even living in makeshift tents on the outskirts of our towns.

According to Julie Lowe, Executive Director of Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS), “Rurally, homelessness looks very different than in urban areas. Here on the Mid Shore, it can go unnoticed because it doesn’t look like the people we may see with signs asking for money on the streets in our cities.”

Lowe goes on to explain that many people hear the word “homeless” and it strikes fear in their hearts as they think of urban stories about people being robbed or hurt by people in the cities which might have mental illness or substance abuse. She adds that the reality in rural areas is that more of the people who become homeless have fallen on bad luck – lost jobs, illness, accidents, or divorce or changing family status.

Lowe adds, “The people who are homeless on the Mid Shore can go unnoticed because they want to be unnoticed. There is a stigma attached to homelessness. People judge you because they don’t understand how your situation happened.” She adds, “Many of these people are trying to piece it all together themselves and don’t want people to know their struggles. It is often a crisis, like cold weather, that has them coming to the doors of our shelters.”

Krista Pettit, executive director of Haven Ministries of Queen Anne’s County, adds that it is difficult to know the true number of homeless individuals on the Shore because the population is dispersed in a rural area. Funding for homeless programs are greater in the metropolitan areas where the numbers are more concentrated. According to Pettit and Lowe, because funding is limited in rural areas, partnerships with community organizations are crucial to meeting the needs, in particular, the role of the church community in meeting the needs.

Lowe adds, “The church model is how the Shore originally dealt with the homeless population in the winter months. Through a rotating seasonal shelter, communities were able to offer shelter in the evenings for people in need in area churches.”

Talbot Interfaith Shelter was a rotating church model for six years, rotating during the winter season between seven to 10 churches and the Synagogue, before finding a permanent shelter location in Easton two years ago. Haven Ministries Shelter has also operated as a church model for the past 12 years, utilizing Kent Island United Methodist Church in Stevensville as its seasonal shelter location. Both TIS and Haven Ministries still utilize churches to provide funding, meals, and volunteers to help run their shelters.

Lowe comments, “There seems to be more acceptance of the church model and more stigma associated with a permanent shelter.”

Pettit adds, “Churches are shelters for the shelter.”

Both Lowe and Pettit agree that the neighborly feeling in rural areas contributes to the communities taking care of their own. Many people have grown up volunteering in the church shelter model, but as a new generation comes of age, many have never had the experience.

Pettit adds, “There is now need to educate the next generation about how they can volunteer and help with this issue.”

The issue today with homelessness can be complex. According to Lowe and Pettit, people don’t realize how hard it is for people with children to get jobs because of the issues around child care in our rural areas. Other issues involve the availability of mental health treatment/counseling, and getting proper documentation (birth certificates, Social Security numbers, and driver’s licenses). With the Shore’s immigrant population, there can also be language barriers and an insular community to contend with.

Jeanine Beasley, Continuum of Care Manager at Shore Behavioral Health, the core service agency for behavioral health in the five counties on the Mid Shore, comments, “Like most rural areas, there are limited resources to deal with the issues surrounding homelessness. In the area of mental health treatment/counseling, it can take a while to be seen by a mental health provider. Talbot Interfaith Shelter and Haven Ministries both have partnerships with area outpatient mental health providers – For All Seasons and Corsica River Mental Health – which can help address these issues more quickly.”

In addition to mental health issues, Beasley points to the lack of affordable housing and sustainable employment as other issues facing our communities today. She adds, “There is a lack of awareness about this issue on the Mid Shore. Most people don’t understand the reasons people find themselves in these difficult situations. Not everyone has a safety net of family and friends to help them when a crisis happens. Both TIS and Haven Ministries are trying to help their clients build that safety net to help them get back on their feet.”

Pettit states, “Year to year, the age of clients in our shelter can vary. Because you have to be 18 or older to stay alone in a shelter, there are issues with youth homelessness in our county. We are now exploring ways to address this.” She adds, “There are also issues with the elderly due to financial and health issues, being disconnected from family, and having no support systems.”

The goal of both TIS and Haven Ministries is to get shelter clients stabilized through case management services so that their clients can transition into housing of their own. Both communities face challenges in finding affordable transitional housing. Talbot Interfaith Shelter partners with the Housing Commission of Talbot to provide apartments to their families transitioning into their own housing.

According to Carlene Phoenix, Deputy Director of the Housing Commission of Talbot, “Although Talbot County is one of the wealthiest counties in the state of Maryland, we need more affordable housing units for our workforce. Specifically, we need more income-based units for our minimum wage earners.”

Phoenix explains that although The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8 Program) can help provide rental assistance for housing for eligible families, the program’s federal funding is not at a level to meet the needs in Talbot County.

Until some of these changes occur, individuals and families on the Mid Shore face the reality of quietly piecing together resources to meet their changing needs when crisis happens – often going unnoticed in our communities.

For information about how you can help with rural homelessness by volunteering, partnering, or donating to either Talbot Interfaith Shelter in Talbot County or Haven Ministries in Queen Anne’s County, call Julie Lowe (TIS) at 410-310-2316 or Krista Pettit (Haven Ministries) at 410-739-4363.

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