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23 Feb

WCTR LOCAL NEWS

News February 23 click to listen

Chestertown Police are asking citizens in the College Heights area of Chestertown to contact the police department if anyone has seen a suspicious small white passenger car driving around during the day or night...

 

Chestertown Police are asking citizens in the College Heights area of Chestertown to contact the police department if anyone has seen a suspicious small white passenger car driving around during the day or night. If you have, contact Lt. Dolgos at 410-778-1800.

The deadline to file in the upcoming county elections is Tuesday, Feb. 27 and interested candidates need to file with the Kent County Board of Elections at 135 Dixon Drive in Chestertown. For more information, call 410-778-0038 or visit http://www.kentcountyelections.org. The primary election is June 26 with the general election on Nov. 6. In local races, several have filed to run for Kent County Commissioner including incumbent Democrat William Pickrum and incumbent Republican William Short while “The Kent County News” reports that Democratic incumbent Ron Fithian plans to run again. Also filed to run are Republicans Aaron Bramble, Bob Jacob, and Jim Luff and Democrat Tom Timberman. Three Kent County Board of Education seats are open and only two candidates have filed including incumbent Wendy Costa and challenger Francoise Sullivan. “The Kent County News” reports that school board member Trish McGee is undecided and incumbent Jeff Reed will not run. Currently some incumbents are running uncontested including Republican Sheriff John Price, Democratic Circuit Court Clerk Mark Mumford, Democratic Register of Wills Kristi Osborn, and Orphan’s Court judges Democrat Elroy G. Boyer, Jr and Republicans Betty Carroll and Amy Nickerson. Circuit Court Judge, Republican Harris P. Murphy is currently running uncontested for a 15 year term. There is a contested race for State’s Attorney as current Deputy State’s Attorney Brian DiGregory and Chestertown Attorney Andrew Meehan are running in the Democratic Primary and former state’s attorney Robert Strong is running as a Republican. Republican 36th District State Senator Steve Hershey is running for re-election and so far his only challenger is Democrat Heather Sinclair. 36th District Republican delegates Jay Jacobs of Kent County, Steve Arentz of Queen Anne’s County and Jeff Ghrist of Caroline County are running as a team and Arentz will face a Republican primary challenge from Rick Bowers and Dudley Wick in Queen Anne’s County. Democrats Keiren Tayor of Caroline County, Michael Ian Welker of Cecil County and Crystal Woodward of Queen Anne’s County have filed to run for 36th district delegate

The town of Galena has approved an ordinance that will clarify liability for tampering with the water system in town. The ordinance was approved on Feb. 5 and the new language will place a fine of $250 for a first offense and $500 for any additional offense for illegally taking town water. The ordinance also does not allow anyone to tamper with a water meter. The ordinance is meant to protect the town’s new meter system once it’s put into place and readings will be done remotely. Town clerk Barbara Shaw said if a homeowner can currently read a meter, it means that the cover has been broken. In answer to a question from a resident, a licensed plumber should be able to look at a water meter if a resident suspects there is a leak.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the Rock Hall Lions Club hosted an information session on the county’s fiber project at the Bay Wolf Restaurant. Scott Boone, the county’s information technology director was there along with Judy Morgan, the sales director of ThinkBig Networks and Kent Fiber Optic Systems. Kent County Commissioner and Rock Hall town manager Ron Fithian introduced Boone and Morgan and Boone showed a map of where the county has finished with their fiber construction and gave a demonstration of how the fiber optics works. He also said the fiber is state of the art and would be available at county facilities such as beaches and community pools. Public Wi-Fi spots would have site blockers and time limits. Morgan talked about the process of connecting customers saying that ThinkBig will concentrate on areas with the highest subscription rates first. She said that when internet service providers splice fibers into individual homes, it limits how many homes can be connected which makes single homes in rural areas harder to reach. She said that they have to reach as many people as possible, so they have to deploy the cable in a way that could avoid one cable getting “spliced out”.

The Kent County Board of Education has decided to wait another month before implementing updates to the school system bullying policy. The decision was made at the Feb. 12 Board of Education meeting after the Board heard from community members wanting the board to allow for more public input. One of the forms of bias added is gender identity which came from the district’s Multicultural Committee according to Superintendent Karen Couch. The School Board’s non-voting student member Anu Sharma is on the committee and said that students feel strongly about the policy and have witnessed bullying associated with gender identity. Also, the Kent County Local Management Board’s Social Action Committee wants to review and offer suggestions to the policy. The School Board also wants to look more into problems with cyberbullying.

On Feb. 12, the Kent County Board of Education approved a report which discusses future facilities needs of the schools. The plan was presented by consultant David Lever after a study looking at enrollment and population projections for the county as well as the age of the buildings. Lever said currently the plans are conceptual so the report is a guide on moving forward. Superintendent Karen Couch said the total cost for the projects is about $14.2 million over five years and would be tied to county and state funding. The short-term projects would include roof replacement at Rock Hall and Galena Elementary schools along with the high school and relocating the school district’s central office from Rock Hall to the currently vacant Worton Elementary School. Also in the short term are circulation and security improvements to Galena Elementary and providing more natural light in classrooms. Long-term projects include potential future use of the Middle School which needs roof and structural work and improving facilities at the high school.

Community Mediation Upper Shore is looking for volunteers in Kent, Queen Anne’s and Cecil Counties. They provide conflict resolution services through mediation, education and training and they will be providing training to volunteers in March at Chesapeake College and in April in Cecil County at a location to be determined. There is no cost for the training but is required for certification. If interested call, 410-810-9188 or email info@cmusmediation.org.

Weather permitting, the town of Centreville is planning on painting the lines on Commerce and West Water streets beginning Tuesday, Feb. 20 as they prepare to start work on the water and sewer construction project. By late Tuesday night, two-way traffic on Commerce and West Water Street will start. Keep in mind, the start of the work is dependent on the weather.

Kent County School Superintendent Karen Couch sent out a letter with the students to assure parents that safety measures are in place for the local schools. The letter is in response to the school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida last week. Dr. Couch said the school system is offering assistance to students and staff who need counseling or have questions after last week’s incident. Dr. Couch said that the schools conduct regular drills and work on situational awareness for staff and students.

The Queen Anne’s County detention center in Centreville is getting a new roof. At the Feb. 13 county commissioners meeting, it was announced that AKJ Inc. of Stevensville won the contract with a bid of $200,643 and the contract includes removing the current roof and insulation and installation of new insulation that meets code as well as a synthetic rubber roof. Warden LaMonte Cooke said the building is showing its age and the work is something that couldn’t be delayed.

Kent County is accepting bids for Summer 2018 concessions at Worton Park and Betterton Beach. Any business interested in offering concessions should file a bid with Parks and Recreation Director Myra Butler at Worton Park, 11041 Worton Road, or P.O. Box 67, Worton, MD 21678 by the deadline, March 16 at 4:30pm.

The Town Of Millington has canceled their March town council election because only candidate has filed to run. Incumbent councilman Eli Manning was the only candidate to file prior to the Feb. 5 deadline and under the town election ordinance, the town has canceled the election and Manning will be sworn in at the April mayor and council meeting. At the February meeting on Tuesday Feb. 13, the town signed a development services agreement with Home Partnership Inc. for a senior housing facility on town owned property in the Mill Village subdivision on Carville Drive. Town manager Jo Manning said that the weekend rains caused a breach in the town’s sewer plant and 200,000 gallons of effluent overflowed and the town could face a fine from the Maryland Department of The Environment. Manning said that 13 truckloads of waste was hauled to the Sudlersville sewer plant over the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11.

The Lemon Leaf Café and JR’s Past Time Pub is closing. The last day for the bar and restaurant on High Street in Chestertown is Saturday, Feb. 17. According to the Lemon Leaf Facebook page, owner JR Alfree said opening the restaurant was the greatest adventure of his life, and despite the accolades and awards, the business ran into challenges they could not overcome. He said the large historic building is badly in need of repairs and he hopes that someone will give the building the time and investment it needs.

Rock Hall mayor Brian Jones is taking heat from two town council members on taking action without consulting the council. During the Feb. 8 mayor and council meeting, Mayor Jones brought up two subjects in his report that were challenged by council members Beth Andrews and Tim Edwards. First, Mayor Jones brought up adding an online payment option via Paypal for utility bills. Andrews was concerned that Paypal is a security risk and adds extra reconciliation items for the staff. The mayor replied that he has spoken to the town’s auditors who have approved the idea as well as the town’s attorneys who added a disclaimer to the service. Andrews complained that the idea should have been brought before the council before spending time and possible town expenses. Andrews and Edwards also complained about the town hiring interns from Washington College saying that the mayor should not be advertising and interviewing people for a position before it was approved by the town council. The council then approved the intern program by a 3-2 vote with Andrews and Edwards voting against because of how it was done. Also, Rock Hall Police Department Captain Bill Dempsey asked when the town would start advertising for a new officer to replace police chief Steve Moore, who retired in December. Town manager Ron Fithian said the town only has the money to hire a part-time officer due to Moore’s retirement package. The council agreed to start advertising for the position starting in March.

The town of Rock Hall has three Washington College interns now working on a marketing project for the town. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, mayor Brian Jones, vice mayor Rosalie Kuechler, and Main Street manager Meg Parry welcomed Kyle Gaeffke, Brennan Martz, and Kerri Walsh from the college. Gaeffke and Walsh are seniors while Martz will graduate in 2019. Gaeffke and his brother own a marketing business and he is on the college’s soccer team. Walsh is on the rowing team and credits her love of the waterfront for joining the town and Martz cites working with a close community. All three students take a digital marketing class at Washington College and the mayor said that coming up with new ideas on marketing the town was a big reason for hiring the interns. Some of the projects they will be working on in advertising on Facebook, ad design, updating business listings on the town website and developing a Rock Hall phone app. Each student will work 10 hours a week either remotely or at the Municipal building for 16 weeks and will be paid a $500 stipend from the Main Street Restoration grant. Mayor Jones also said he hopes to establish a relationship with the college.

Citizen complaints have led to the ending of trapping foxes at Queen Anne’s County owned Blue Heron Golf Course. Queen Anne’s County Commission President Steve Wilson and County Administrator Gregg Todd made the announcement after one of the members of the advisory board, who is also a trapper, offered to take care of trapping foxes who were building holes in the bunkers. He claimed the traps were humane but witnesses of the trapping disagreed and made the complaints. According to Queen Anne’s County Parks rules; hunting, trapping and firearms are prohibited on county owned lands. Commissioner Wilson said the trapping should not have happened and ended as soon as the county was aware of it.

The first meeting of the 2018 Bay Bridge Monitoring Committee has been set for Monday, Feb. 26 at 10am in the Kent County Commissioners hearing room at 400 High Street in Chestertown. The meeting will also be streamed at www.kentcounty.com/commissioners/meeting-live-video. Meetings are open to the public and serving on the committee are Tolchester residents Gary F. DiVito, Ralph Dolinger, and Mike Waal along with Chestertown-area residents Bronwyn T. Fry and William Sutton. Each is serving a three-year term. Kent County’s Director of Planning, Housing, and Zoning Amy Moredock is the contact person.

The weekend rainstorm dumped almost six inches of rain onto Kent Island. The National Weather Service reported that Stevensville received up to six inches of precipitation in over a 24-hour period on Feb. 10 and 11. By noon on Monday, the water had receded and all roads were open according to Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services Assistant Jim Alfree. Alfree said that there were no reports of people stranded in flood waters or abandoned cars during the storm. Emergency Services received 15 calls regarding flooding on Kent Island. Queen Anne’s County Public Works Director Todd Mohn said that the county was hit hardest in a diagonal line from Kent Island to Centreville and the county had to deal with a lot of drainage issues especially clogged pipes, culverts and storm drains, as well as repairing road shoulders. Mohn also said there were issues with “unstabilized” open construction sites with project managers dealing with sediment and erosion issues after the storm.

Kent County 36th District Delegate Jay Jacobs has filed a bill in the General Assembly that would end consideration of a Chesapeake Bay crossing into Kent County. House Bill 1199 was read on Feb. 8 in the Environment and Transportation Committee where Jacobs sits and would repeal the authority of the State Roads Commission to finance and build a bridge on the northern crossing and is in response to the Maryland Transportation Authority's review of a possible northern crossing. A hearing is set for the bill on March 8 at 1pm in Annapolis. The bill is co-sponsored by 36th District delegates Steve Arentz from Queen Anne’s County and Jeff Ghrist from Caroline County along with Charles Otto from Somerset County

Chesapeake College has narrowed their search for their new president down to four finalists. The Chesapeake College Board of Trustees made the announcement on Feb. 12 that four candidates will visit in the next two weeks. This would be the school’s sixth president, replacing Barbara Viniar who stepped down in July 2017 after nine years. The finalists are Dr. Clifford Coppersmith, dean of City College in Billings, Montana at Montana State University; Dr. Keith Cotroneo, the president at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, WV; Dr. Ted Lewis, vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN; and Dr. Lisa Rhine, provost and chief operating officer at Tidewater Community College, Chesapeake Campus in Chesapeake. VA. The search committee evaluated 72 candidates and delivered their choices a month ahead of schedule. The Board Of Trustees hope to make a choice by mid-March and hope to have the new president in place by July 1.

The deadline to file in the June 26, 2018 Maryland Primary Election is Feb. 27 and several candidates have filed with the Board Of Elections for Queen Anne’s County. As of Feb. 7, the candidates who have filed for county commissioner are Republican Helen Bennett for the At Large seat; incumbent Republican Jack Wilson in District 1; incumbent Republican Steve Wilson and former Centreville Republican town councilman George Sigler in District 2; incumbent Republican Robert Buckey along with Republican challengers, former commissioner Phil Dumenil and Barry Donadio in District 3; and incumbent Republican Mark Anderson and Republican challenger Chris Corchiarino in District 4. Republican Lance Richardson is running for re-election as State’s Attorney. Republicans Katherine Hager and Roger Twigg are running for Clerk Of The Circuit Court. Republican Laura Cook is running for Register Of Wills. For Judge of the Orphans Court; incumbent Republicans Kimberly Jean Cascia Joseph V. DiPietro, R. Eric Wargotz have filed along with Republican challenger Thomas Walsh. Incumbent Republican Sheriff Gary Hofmann is running for re-election. Marion Grier, Frank W. Alduino and Kevin Woodward are running for the Democratic Central Committee with Barry Donadio, Dona Donadio, and Timothy Kingston running for the Republican Central Committee. And in the non-partisan Board Of Education race; Tammy Harper is running for Member at Large; Michelle Morrissette is running for District 1 and Carrie O’Connor and Richard Smith are running in District 2.

The possible Kent County crossing of a new Chesapeake Bay bridge was the main topic of discussion at the Monday meeting of the Chestertown mayor and council. During the Feb. 5 meeting, fourth ward councilman Marty Stetson said he donated to the Kent Conservation And Preservation Alliance and he read a letter he wrote to the environmental manager of the State Highway Administration to oppose the bridge due to concerns about congestion, pollution and crime. He said the letter represented his personal views and was written on his personal stationary. First ward councilman David Foster said he is personally opposed to a bridge, but said it would bring economic opportunities so he’s not in favor of dismissing it. He said that those opposed to the bridge should find other ways to bring economic development to the area and that the county can’t say no to every economic opportunity. Third ward councilman Ellsworth Tolliver said he’s spoken to people in his community who support a bridge if it brings growth and development to Chestertown. He said he’s not taking a stand until he does more research. Mayor Chris Cerino and second ward councilwoman Linda Kuiper did not address the issue. In other news, Jeff Carroll of the Fish Whistle restaurant talked about bringing a fishing tournament to Chestertown in the fall with a first prize of $10,000. He hopes to make this an annual event. He said he will be at the Feb. 20 meeting with more details.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office drug team has arrested two Delaware residents with illegal distribution of prescription pain pills after a covert police operation. Arrested in January were 34-year-old Christopher Lewis Morgan and 57-year-old Georgeina Beatrice Ranshaw who are both from Dover. The arrests came after the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Team received information about alleged drug dealing at a bar in Golts. Ranshaw is a bartender there. According to a news release, an undercover officer made several purchases of pills, including Oxycodone, from Morgan and Ranshaw. Both have been released on $10,000 secured bond and await trial.

Reporter Tom Mongelli writes: Total broadband and wi-fi accessibility in Queen Anne's County is the goal of a panel being organized this month by the County Commissioners. Applications are being accepted through February 28 for the Broadband Advisory Council, authorized in the Commissioners' first resolution of the year. Membership is to consist of two Commissioner appointees, a Commissioners' liaison, up to two residents of each QAC district, a broadband representative who is not necessarily a QAC resident, the county Director of Budget, Finance and Information Technology, the county Manager of Information Technology, and an alternate. Members will hold staggered one-to-three-year terms, with future terms lasting three years. "Through this fresh approach I hope to see more engagement from county citizens and business," Commissioner Robert Buckey said in part, noting that full participation will be "key this time around in developing a joint approach promoting broadband for public benefit and business expansion." Anyone interested in serving on the Broadband Advisory Council should send a cover letter and resume to <mailto:lthomas@qac.org> lthomas@qac.org, or by overland mail to QAC Commissioner, Att. Lynda Thomas, 107 N. Liberty Street, Centreville MD 21617.

The current 36th District legislators have all filed for re-election and will run together as a team in this year’s elections. Senator Steve Hershey along with delegates Jay Jacobs, Steve Arentz, and Jeff Ghrist have all filed with the State Board Of Elections and the Republicans are officially named the “Team 36 Slate”. The 36th District comprises all of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties plus parts of Cecil and Caroline Counties. Senator Hershey said running for re-election as a team is a natural extension of their ability to work together. According to Hershey’s office, running as a slate will allow them to pool their campaign funds, organize team events and have joint campaign material.

The Kent County Commissioners held a public hearing concerning alleged alcoholic beverage violations for Pip’s Liquors in Chestertown. The hearing was a part of the last Tuesday evening Commissioners meeting and Pip’s owner Fortunato Cristiano was present along with their vice president Robert Connell and secretary Denise Norman. Alcoholic Beverage Investigator Robert Edler was present and was the only person sworn to testify by County Attorney Tom Yeager. Pip’s is accused of storing and transporting alcoholic beverages illegally and Edler said he observed a white van driven by Connell leave Pip’s with alcohol and when it was stopped by law enforcement at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Bear, Delaware, the cases were gone. A search warrant then turned up cases stacked at a Bear, Delaware residence owned by Cristiano. Cristiano’s attorney, Daniel Saunders argued that photos from the garage should not be entered as evidence saying that they are challenging the legality of the search warrant. The hearing will be continued at the April 3 Commissioners’ meeting when the validity of the search warrant should be resolved.

A Greensboro man died in a Monday morning accident on Rt. 404 in Denton. The accident happened around 9:42am on Feb. 5 when a pickup truck driven by 21-year-old Richard Brighton Bean was on eastbound Rt. 404 near Gay Street when he crossed onto westbound Rt. 404 and struck an SUV in the turn lane before crossing into the path of a dump truck. Bean was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV was unhurt and the 65-year-old driver of the dump truck was taken to a medical facility by family members and his condition is unknown. Westbound Rt. 404 between Legion Road and Gay Street was still closed into the late afternoon for cleanup and police investigation.

Main Street Historic Chestertown is offering $40,000 in matching façade-improvement grants for commercial buildings in the historic district. Business owners may apply for the grants which will cover 60% of their project and the maximum grant amount is $20,000 with a minimum of $500. Applications will be accepted anytime after Feb. 12 and funding for the grants is provided by the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing Community Development through its Community Legacy program. For more information, go to www.mainstreetchestertown.org or contact Main Street manager Kay MacIntosh at 410-778-2991 or email kay.chestertown@gmail.com.

Two Queen Anne’s County teenagers have been charged with arson in connection with a Friday evening fire on Kent Island. The State Fire Marshal’s office reported that the fire broke out around 5:30pm on Feb. 2 at a vacant two and a half story house on Castle Marina Road in Chester. Firefighters took about two and a half hours to extinguish the fire at the home built in 1900. After the Fire Marshal’s office determined arson to be the cause of the fire, they were able to locate and interview two teenagers ages 14 and 15 who confessed to starting the fire. The teens started the fire by pulling old Christmas trees into the house and setting them on fire with a lighter. The teens then fled the scene without reporting the fire. They face charges of second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, malicious destruction of property, burglary, and trespassing and will face court action in the Department of Juvenile Services. The house, valued at $250,000 was declared a total loss.

The water and sewer replacement project in Centreville that was scheduled to start in January, is now expected to begin in mid-February. The project to replace the water and sewer infrastructure on Commerce and Liberty Streets was delayed by the frigid weather in early January and is now scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 18, depending on good weather. The project is expected to take about 18 months to complete and will create new traffic patterns, including, at times, two way traffic on Liberty and Commerce Streets which are currently one way. The first two phases will close Liberty Street with traffic diverted to Commerce and then Commerce will close with traffic diverted to Liberty. For more information, visit the town’s website at www.townofcentreville.org.

Beginning Feb. 1, the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown has changed their visitation policy due to an increase in the number of visitors with flu-like symptoms. Visitors with symptoms or who had recently been ill will not be allowed to visit patients. The new policy will be in effect until further notice also says that visitors are discouraged except for immediate family, significant others and those necessary for a patient’s well-being. Special exceptions will be made for things like end-of-life situations. Also, no one under 18 will be allowed to visit unless they are the parent of a patient. Also, only two adult visitors allowed per patient at a time. To ask for exceptions, contact the patient’s nurse.

The League of Women Voters of Kent County is teaming up with the Goldstein Program for Public Affairs at Washington College on Wednesday, Feb. 7 for a discussion on Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals policy, also known as DACA. The discussion will take place at 7pm at the Hynson Lounge at Washington College. The speakers will be Estela Vianey Ramirez, the assistant director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center in Easton and Ivette Riera Salarich, the court liaison and outreach coordinator for Mid Shore Pro Bono in Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. Ramirez is a DACA recipient who came to the United States from Honduras as a child when her family escaped violence there. Salarich is from Barcelona, Spain and practiced law there and is working toward an American law degree. The event is free.

The deadline to file to run in the March 6 Millington town council election is Monday, Feb. 5 at noon. The seat of Eli Manning is up for re-election and the Kent County News reports that Manning has filed to run again and that another person has picked up filing forms. Anyone wishing to run must be a registered voter and be a town resident for six months. They must file with the town clerk and filing forms are available at the town office and require the signatures of five registered voters in town. The March 6 election is at town hall at 402 Cypress Street and the polls will be open from noon to 8pm.

The mayor and council of Rock Hall discussed utility bills, the town’s board of appeals, proposed changes to the events ordinance, and the town’s water system at their Monday, Jan 29 meeting. Madelyn Reni, the owner of Spring Cove Marina, just outside of town, addressed the council about a $1,000 water and sewage bill she received while the marina is winterized and not being used. She suggested that her marina receive the in-town rate. She said a reduction in boat slip users has affected her ability to pay for the town’s utilities. Councilman Brian Nesspor and town manager Ron Fithian said they would review the bill and follow up. Kevin Strickland was sworn in to the Board Of Appeals which has not been able to meet since Nov. 2016 due to a shortage of members. Strickland is the second member of the board and they need one more member and an alternate before it can hear complaints. The town introduced an ordinance, to be discussed on Feb. 8, that will change the procedure for hosting a town event. Currently the event host has to go through the Kent County Department of Planning, Housing and Zoning for approval and the proposed change would change that to the town manager and mayor. A grant has been submitted to the federal government by GMB Architects/Engineers for purchase of radio-read water meters which was approved at the Jan. 11 mayor and council meeting. Finally, councilman Brian Nesspor said a broken suction line at Pump Station seven has been repaired.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree plantings to Kent and Queen Anne’s County landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on their property. These residents are eligible for the free seedlings through the DNR’s Backyard Buffer program. DNR says that trees planted along waterways improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, reducing sediment, lowering water temperature, and stabilizing stream banks. Each bundle available to homeowners will have 25 native tree seedlings suitable for moist soil. Each bundle has five eastern rosebud, five red osier dogwood, five river birch, two or three bald cypress, two or three eastern red cedar, two or three American sycamore, and two or three willow oak. Loblolly pine will be bagged separately in quantities of ten. All requests are first come, first serve and must be received by March 22. For more information, call the Centreville DNR office at 410-819-4120 or 4121 or email Brittany Haas Brittany.haas@maryland.gov and pickup will be in early April.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office reports a Saturday evening shooting incident in the Georgetown area of the county. Around 8pm, deputies responded to the 8900 block of Georgetown Road after reports of shots being fired. Police learned the suspect, Edward Purnell Butler, Jr. was accused of firing numerous shots from a handgun into a vehicle at the residence. No one was reported injured in the incident. Butler fled the scene before police arrived but he was later apprehended in Rock Hall without incident. Butler was found to be in possession of two firearms, including one that matched the description of the gun used in the incident. He was charged with 1st degree assault, 2nd degree assault, reckless endangerment, and other weapons-related charges. Butler is being held without bail.

Natural gas on the Eastern Shore is a topic of conversation among lawmakers in Annapolis. Delmarva Pipeline Company has a proposal to build a gas pipeline that would go from Cecil County through Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Dorchester Counties before entering the southern Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Virginia. According to Delmarva Pipeline, the project would bring down fuel costs and bring jobs to the Eastern Shore. Some Eastern Shore lawmakers, such as Senator Steve Hershey from Queen Anne’s County, are concerned saying that protecting the environment is important and that steps must be taken to protect it. Also, Spectrum Energy has proposed building a natural gas power plant near Denton. Both the pipeline and power plant would cost around $1.25 billion each and would be paid for by private investors. If approved, both projects could be running by 2021.

The Maryland State Police report a fatal accident on Sunday afternoon in Cecilton. 66-year-old Larry W. Thompson of Cecilton was pronounced dead at the scene in the accident that happened on Jan. 28 at 110 Main Street, Rt. 282 near Rt. 213. Thompson was a passenger in the vehicle driven by 46-year-old Lawrence Midash of Cecilton and police report that the 2006 Nissan crashed into a utility pole across from the Cecilton Volunteer Fire Company. Midash was not injured in the crash but was transported to Union Hospital for a medical issue not related to the accident. Charges are pending in the accident.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office will be participating the Checkpoint Strike Force “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” campaign, February 1 through February 4. During this time, additional deputies will be on patrol to combat impaired driving in Kent County.

Kent Island High School was evacuated for two hours last Wednesday due to a bomb threat. On January 24, law enforcement officials evacuated the school around 7:30am after a student notified authorizes about a message written on a girl’s bathroom claiming a bomb was in the building. Law enforcement searched the school with bomb sniffing dogs and after two hours, determined the school was safe and school was reopened. During the search, some buses were taken to a relocation site at Safe Harbor Church while those who drove stayed in the school parking lot.

A guilty verdict has been secured for a Millington man charged with raping and assaulting a Clayton, Delaware woman in November 2016. On Friday, Jan. 26 the Delaware Department Of Justice announced that 45-year-old William Reynolds was found guilty in Superior Court of five counts of first degree rape, one count of third degree rape, and strangulation of a woman in her home in Clayton. Reynolds did not attend the trial and reportedly has been found deceased but identification has not yet completed.

It appears that the Chester 5 Theater may not be reopening anytime soon. The Chestertown Spy reports that Chesapeake Theaters that was looking to reopen the theater complex was “not able to negotiate a favorable lease” with Silicato Development, the owner of the Washington Square shopping center. The theater representative said that Silcato made modifications in the final lease that were not talked about in the negotiations and that the conversations with Silicato ended this month and he does not expect the theater will open unless Silicato reaches out to them. The theater group said they are open to another suitable location if it can be found and be within their budget.

The trial of a former Washington College student charged with threatening to set fire to the home of professors and a fellow student has been delayed for almost two months to allow for the college’s spring break, and for a defense motion that the Kent County District Court judge not hear the case. 21-year-old Steven Michael McDonnell of New York is being represented by attorney Tom Yeager and at a court hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 24, Judge John E. Nunn offered to recuse himself from the case and rescheduled the trial for March 21 to be heard by a visiting judge. The date comes after Washington College’s March 12-16 Spring Break as students, who may be called as witnesses, will be back on campus. Yeager said that Judge Nunn heard more testimony during the peace order hearings than would be allowed in a criminal trial. According to the peace order hearings in December, McDonnell allegedly threatened arson and violence against two female professors in the presence of other students and threatened violence against one of the students.

A Grasonville man has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty of arson. 27-year-old Sean Nicolas Murphy pleaded guilty to first degree attempted malicious burning and reckless endangerment charges in Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court on Jan.19 and was sentenced by Judge Thomas G. Ross to 10 years with all of it suspended after one year at the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center. The charges stem from Sept. 17, 2017 when Murphy set fire to his neighbor’s home on Jewel Court in Grasonville. The 76-year-old resident and her granddaughter were able to escape the fire uninjured..

The Chestertown Police Department is investigating a home invasion that happened in the Chestertown Landing neighborhood. On Friday, Jan. 19, according to police, two men forced their way into a home around 4:30am on Cutter Crossing. The men, who were armed with guns, entered the house through the front door and took money and other property before getting away on foot. Lt. John Dolgos said the home was occupied, including three children ages ten and younger, but no one was injured. The Maryland State Police Crime Lab has collected forensic evidence at the scene. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Cliff Wilson as 410-778-1800.

Congressman Andy Harris is holding a telephone town hall from 5:30 to 6:30pm on Monday, Jan. 29. According to his news release, his office will automatically call out to around 50,000 constituents from a constituent services database. For more information, call Harris’s office at 202-225-5311 and constituents who do not want to be called should contact the office.

The Democratic Club of Kent County is hosting a meet the candidates event at the Kent County Library this Saturday. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is running for Governor, will be at the library meeting room at 408 High Street in Chesterton at noon on Jan. 27.

According to a press release, Kent County Commissioner Bill Short has reversed his previous decision and he will run for re-election citing an outcry from citizens urging him to run again. In July 2017, Short had previously announced he would step down to concentrate on his business but the response from citizens which he calls “humbling” has propelled him to reconsider. In the press release Short says: T”he citizens’ outcry to run for another term has propelled me to reconsider this decision. It became clear that my job as the peoples’ Commissioner is not yet complete. As I stated during my interview in July, “You don’t just walk away from this.” With this, I am officially going on record to announce that I will be running for another term as Kent County Commissioner. This decision is the result of much thought and planning, in both my personal life and for my business, Eastern Interiors.”

The Maryland Department of Planning will be visiting Kent County on January 30. The visit is a part of the state’s effort to reach out to counties about Governor Larry Hogan’s “A Better Maryland” development plan implemented by executive order in August 2017. The state will have 24 listening sessions in every county and Baltimore City to get feedback on a state development plan. The Jan. 30 meetings will be at 3pm in the second floor Chestertown Town Hall meeting room with local staff members. Elected and appointed officials will meet at 6pm in the Kent County Commissioners hearing room at 400 High Street and there will be a public meeting starting at 7:30pm in the Chestertown Town Hall second floor meeting room.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration has set an informational meeting on the rehabilitation of the MD 213 Centreville Bridge over Gravel Run on Feb. 15. SHA says the bridge is currently safe but repairs are needed to extend the life of the bridge. Work is scheduled to start later this year and work will include beam replacement, deck/riding surface repairs, wall replacements, as well as sidewalk and bridge lighting. The Feb. 15 informational meeting will be from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Centreville Middle School cafeteria at 231 Ruthsburg Road, Rt. 304. There will be no formal presentation but MDOT will have materials on display. Residents can view the materials anytime between 5:30 and 7pm. For more information, call the SHA at 410-545-0303.

The Maryland Public Service Commission has rescheduled a public hearing on Choptank Electric’s request to raise their rates by $8.3 million a year. The hearing will be at 7pm on Thursday, Feb. 1 at Choptank’s Denton District Office at 24820 Meeting House Road. The hearing was originally scheduled for January 4 but canceled because of bad weather.

Two candidates for Kent County Commissioner announced their candidacy on Friday. Republican Aaron Bramble and Democrat Tom Timberman are running on a bi-partisan ticket and they made their joint announcement on Friday, Jan. 19 in a series of events in Chestertown, Betterton, Galena and Millington. Both join Republican Bob Jacob as announced candidates for Kent County Commissioner. The primary election for both Democrats and Republicans will be on June 26. Current commissioner William Short has announced he is running while commissioners William Pickrum and Ron Fithian have not announced whether or not they will run.

Andrew Meehan has filed to run for State’s Attorney for Kent County in the Democratic Party primary. Meehan was the 2014 Democratic Party nominee for the position. According to his Jan. 19 press release, Meehan said “while Kent County has low crime rates, heroin and other opioid abuse continue to gnaw at our community’s core”. He added that “I renew my pledge to support law enforcement with strong prosecutions to send drug dealers to jail, to help addicts seek treatment, and to work with community organizations on the front lines of educating adults and youth about the risks of opioid abuse”. Meehan is a native of Alexandria, VA and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1984 and received his law degree from Washington & Lee University in 1987. After practicing law in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., he moved to Kent County in 2001. He currently lives in Still Pond and practices law at the MacLeod Law Group in Chestertown. He is also president of the Chestertown Rotary Club, treasurer of the Kent County Bar Association, a member of St. Paul’s Parish, and has worked with other community organizations. Beverly Birkmire is serving as his campaign treasurer.

The Maryland State Police is warning residents of the “Delmarva Power Scam” with recent reports of people claiming to be representing Delmarva Power or other power companies and requesting to view utility bills. Most suspects arrive to a residence on foot with no vehicle in sight but claim their supervisor is up the road. Police are asking residents to be alert to such individuals and to report any incident to the police. Also, some victims are reporting they are being contacted and told they are behind in their payments and asked to make immediate payments over the phone with a pre-paid card or credit card to keep their power on. Police urge you to not make a payment and to contact Delmarva Power directly at 1-800-375-7117 if you feel you may be behind on an account.

The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Department will launch a cadet program for county residents looking to get into a law enforcement career. Sheriff Gary Hofmann recently announced the plan for county residents ages 18-21 that will begin on March 1. The program, in cooperation with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools and Chesapeake College, will choose two qualified applicants to work full time as uniformed and unsworn employees at a salary of $27,040. Hoffman said the positions will serve as an opportunity to receive experience and preparation for the police academy and the cadets will provide invaluable assistance to the county deputies. Cadets would work in the records room, represent the sheriff’s office at community functions and school events, assist at crime scenes, process individuals, enter data, respond to public inquiries, and locate and verify court paperwork. Cadet candidates will receive a background check and would be sent to the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy for six months of training to be qualified as a deputy and then return with a three year contract as a Queen Anne’s County deputy. To apply, click on the employement tab at http://www.qac.org or for more information, visit the sheriff’s office at http://www.queenannessheriff.org.