27 April


News April 27 click to listen

On Tuesday night, the Kent County Commissioners turned down a funding request and grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation...


On Tuesday night, the Kent County Commissioners turned down a funding request and grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. CBF Eastern Shore director Alan Girard has appeared before municipalities and counties asking for them to be involved in the “Healthy Waters Roundtable Technical Support Services” grant program offered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation which would assist local governments in restoration projects. The total of the grant is $450,000 and the deadline to apply is May 9 and towns and counties would be involved with a $10,000 matching contribution and a letter of support. Among the local governments participating are Chestertown and Queen Anne’s County. Commissioner Ron Fithian, who is a member of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition which has been at odds with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in the past, said the county has made leaps and bounds in good environmental practices and have been able to do it without going after farmers and watermen who Fithian says have almost been put out of business. Commissioner Bill Short agreed with Fithian and said the money would be better spent locally with organizations like the Chester River and Sassafras River Associations.

A U.S, District Court Judge dismissed a federal claim against Queen Anne’s County filed by Hippocratic Growth and two other companies involved in setting up a medical marijuana dispensary in Grasonville. Judge Frederick Motz said the plaintiffs did not have a property or vested right in the case and questioned if someone could have a federally protected right in an activity prohibited by federal law. The judge remanded the case to the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court .The lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages from the county saying that the county’s attempts to amend the county’s zoning ordinance to regulate medical marijuana facilities interferes with the state’s implementation of the medical marijuana program authorized by state law. The state approved their proposed facility at Drummer Drive but the county amendments proposed after the state approval would disqualify the location.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Department is investigating vandalism of the Queen Anne’s County High School baseball field where someone planted a tree in front of the pitcher’s mound. Police believe this may be a senior prank. Initially it was feared that there could have been over $2,000 in damage to the field which just had been renovated, due to possible water line damage but an investigation showed no damage. The tree has been removed and the sod repaired with no further damage to the field. The tree, which still had a $139.99 price tag attached, was planted sometime between Friday night and 10am Saturday when the authorities were alerted. Also, Earth Day 2017 was scratched into the dirt on the mound. Police are trying to determine where the tree was purchased and they ask anyone who may have information to call the Sheriff’s Office at 410-758-0770. e-mail or send a message on the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office is investigating another case of vandalism and malicious destruction of property at Old Love Point Park and the Route 8 Pier. Someone spray-painted offensive images on a shed, port-a-potty, the concession building, a dumpster and a county-owned skid loader at the park and similar images were found at the pier. The county Parks Department was tasked with cleaning up the graffiti.

A candidate forum for the Rock Hall election will be held on Wednesday, May 3 starting at 7pm at the municipal building auditorium. The forum is sponsored by the Greater Rock Hall Business Association and the Kent County League of Women Voters. The town council terms of Butch Price and Jack Jester are up and neither one is running. There are six candidates for the two seats: Beth Andrews, Timothy Edwards, Leonard Milewski, Charles Price, Allen Riley and David Mayne. The election will be Saturday, May 6 from 10am to 8pm at the municipal building.

Congressman Andy Harris visited Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties on Thursday and took a tour of area farms to view some modern farm practices. Harris visited the Hambleton Creek Farm outside of Chestertown along Rt. 213 and he viewed several no-till practices including cascading systems and chain filtering during a hayride at the farm. He also toured Grandview Farm in Kennedyville to view the pork business. He heard concerns about proposed budget cuts and the impact of wind or solar farms on a rural area.

A Harford County Democrat may be running for the First District Congressional seat. 34-year-old Allison Galbraith, a small business owner who has never held political office, has filed her intent to run with the Federal Election Commission. Although she has not held public office, she said she helps small businesses apply for federal contracts usually through the U.S. Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs giving her an understanding of day-to-day federal government operations. She criticized Congressman Harris’s record saying that his votes threatens her way of life and that she will go down fighting.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s office is investigating a shot fired into a Chester home on Wednesday night. The incident happened at 203 Benton Pleasure Road around 8:23pm when a resident was helping her children with their homework at the kitchen table when they heard a loud bang and they saw a hole in the wall. The kids were taken to another part of the house and the mother called 911. Emergency personnel who responded to what they thought was an explosion, but uncovered a shotgun slug from the wall and determined the noise was a gunshot. This comes after several calls of gunshots from the Cox Neck and Dominion areas. Patrols of those areas turned up nothing. Police do not believe that the Wednesday night incident is related to the incidents earlier in the week. Sheriff Gary Hoffman is urging anyone with information to call the Sheriff’s office at 410-758-0770, e-mail or send a message on the Sheriff’s office Facebook page.

George “Smokey” Siglar, who recently lost his re-election bid by two votes in the Centreville Town Commissioner election has announced he plans to run for the District 2 Queen Anne’s County Commissioner seat. Siglar, who is Council of Governments president, made his announcement at the last organizational meeting on April 12. He said he is running because District 2 needs a commissioner who will look out for all citizens in the district, not just the Rs and not just the Ds. The current District 2 commissioner is Steve Wilson who is the commissioner president. All the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners seats are up in November 2018.

A Wednesday fire in a Centreville office building caused by an exploding computer battery sent a woman to the hospital with injuries. The fire happened at the Bridges Behavioral Health and Wellness Center when a lithium computer battery exploded and caught on fire and caused facial and upper body injuries to a 58-year-old woman. The woman was airlifted to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center. The fire was accidental and was extinguished by another employee.

The town of Chestertown is officially getting $500,000 from the state’s capital budget for renovations to the Chestertown Marina. The announcement was made at Monday night’s Chestertown mayor and council meeting by mayor Chris Cerino who presented a slide show of the progress of the marina. Phase One of the project which included dredging, bulkhead replacements, a new boat ramp, a raised pedestrian walkway and finger piers is almost done and Cerino hopes the work will be finished by the Tea Party Festival weekend. Phase Two will include the Waterfront Interpretive Center and he would like to have the bids out on this in May or June and the shell of the building up by the end of the year. Phase Two will feature a new bulkhead, raised walkway and backfill and to raise the grade of the Fish Whistle parking area by 18 to 24 inches, a joint project with the restaurant. The final work to be done in the future is to remove the green shed which would be replaced by a pocket park.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin visited Kent County officials on Monday, after attending a news conference in Stevensville. Cardin met with officials such as Kent County Commissioners William Pickrum and Ron Fithian plus Chestertown mayor Chris Cerino and economic development was the major topic of conservation with how to balance the county’s rural nature with the need for encouraging new business. Cardin spoke positively about the Chestertown Marina plus the broadband buildup as promising economic tools. Cardin said that “hardcore jobs” like technology based jobs would be appropriate for the county.

Washington College has announced their “Dam The Debt” program will give $325,581 to help reduce the federal subsidized debt of 122 graduating Washington College students this May. The program will be a sort of back end scholarship that averages about $2,640 to each student and lower their debt by just over 10%. The program which was started last year is for seniors who take out federally subsidized loans for the Spring 2017 semester. The program is funded by donations and so far has raised around $1.2 million

Kent County High School basketball star Manny Camper has become the first Kent County student to sign with a Division 1 college basketball program. On Wednesday, the 6-5 inch guard/forward signed a letter of intent for Siena College in Loudonville, New York. The Siena Saints play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Camper will be on a full athletic scholarship.

Kent County school students are getting an early summer vacation. Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch announced that the last day of the school year will be June 8 rather than June 13 as set on the school calendar. The change is because the school system has used only two of the five snow days built into the calendar. Early release dates for the elementary schools will be on June 6 and 7 to allow teachers the time to pack up their classrooms to prepare for consolidation. The last day for 10-month-staff is June 9.

Thursday’s Rock Hall town council meeting had the town’s police chief leaving the meeting after a discussion with the town manager over the future of the police department. Police Chief Steve Moore along with Capt. Bill Dempsey recently told the Kent County News that they are being pushed by the town manager Ron Fithian to take early retirement. An exchange with Moore and Fithian at Thursday’s meeting had Moore saying he was told that since the mayor and council were not going to raise taxes that the police force had to be downsized with Moore emphasizing that the conversation took place. Fithian countered that he’s on record saying that nobody will be fired and this has nothing to do with the mayor and council. Fithian added that Capt. Dempsey is already planning on leaving to perhaps take a farm manager job and that another officer has applied for officer jobs in the county and the town of Chestertown. The exchange continued with Moore saying he would consider finding something else to do and added that the conversation was prompted by the mayor and asking why the town manager and mayor are pretending the conversation never took place. Moore then left the meeting before giving his monthly report. Fithian then answered a question from a citizen asking about the future of the police department by saying that he is responsible for the officers and he has issues but is dealing with them and the dealings will remain in secret. Mayor Jones reiterated that he’s had no conversations regarding downsizing the police department.

Also at Thursday’s mayor and council meeting, the town heard input from citizens regarding how Rock Hall handles special events by moving language from the zoning code to the general code. The council will vote on this likely in May. The other would allow the Rock Hall Planning Commission to vote on lot line adjustments rather than through the county which would speed up the process. This was passed by the council. The town also discussed the recent citizen complaint to the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board with town manager Ron Fithian saying that an open meetings violation is meaningless since all the Open Meetings Board does is send a letter saying “don’t do that”.