Who Will Replace E. J. Pipkin?

CENTREVILLE, MD – Maryland Senator E. J. Pipkin (R-36) has resigned to enjoy graduate school and no state income tax at Southern Methodist University.  The feeding frenzy to replace the center / right Republican has begun with thirteen men and one woman applying for his seat:

Steven J. Arentz    Queen Anne’s County
R. Scott Bramble    Cecil County
Frank W. Frohn    Queen Anne’s County
John L. Graham    Queen Anne’s County
Stephen S. Hershey, Jr.    Queen Anne’s County
Andrew Langer    Queen Anne’s County
Timothy McCluskey    Queen Anne’s County
Audrey E. Scott    Queen Anne’s County
Michael D. Smigiel, Sr.    Cecil County
Richard A. Sossi    Queen Anne’s County
Robert A. Thornton, Jr.    Caroline County
John L. Walter    Queen Anne’s County
John J. Walton, Jr.    Caroline County
Eric S. Wargotz    Queen Anne’s County

Two incumbent delegates (Smigiel and Hershey) and one former delegate (Sossi) have thrown their names in the pot along with former MDGOP chairwoman Audrey Scott and the Eastern Shore version of Harold Stassen – Dr. Eric Wargotz.  Probably the most interesting name on the list is Andrew Langer.

Langer is a strong, libertarian leaning, conservative.  Langer is principled but not an ideologue.  This would allow the 36th district to have a strong conservative senator who could also get thing done. (While I agree with much of his analysis, Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz characterizes Langer as a “bomb thrower”.  I have to respectfully disagree.)

While Scott was an excellent party chairman, another moderate senator is NOT what Maryland (or the MDGOP) needs.

What about Smigiel and Hershey?  Maryland is one of the few states where delegates serve the same term lengths as senators.  Why give up seniority in the House?

The coming weeks will be interesting.  Each county central committee (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s) gets one vote.  However, most of the district’s population is in Queen Anne’s.  Given the breadth of candidates, Pipkin’s successor should come from QAC.  The question is who.

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How Could You Possibly Question Climate Change?

That seems to be the question being asked with dismay by our friends at the Chestertown Spy.  Why are only 20% of Americans between the ages of 32 and 52 concerned about climate change?  Perhaps it’s because people over the age of 30 have acquired enough wisdom to understand that global climate has historically run in cycles and that every time we have a hot summer or a cold winter it isn’t because of a right-wing capitalist plot to destroy our environment?  Perhaps it’s because climate change advocates keep getting caught promoting “science” that defies common sense or that those same “scientists” seem more concerned with promoting an agenda than finding the truth?

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Kent County GOP to Open HQ Today

from the Chestertown Spy:

CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Kent County Republican Central Committee and Republicans of Kent are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the GOP headquarters at 200 High Street on Friday, August 3. Ribbon cutting will be at 5:30 pm.  Former Kent County Commissioner Alex Rasin has been asked to cut the ribbon with assistance from Commissioner Bill Short and other Republican elected officials.

The Republican Party of Kent County will be hosting First Friday receptions from 5:00 to 8:00 pm until the 2012 election. Our “Rally for Romney” will commence immediately after the ribbon cutting on August 3 with a welcome speech by Audrey Scott, former Chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party and Co-Chair of Maryland for Romney. Refreshments will be served.

On Friday, September 7th Congressman Andy Harris is the invited guest speaker as we “Connect with Andy Harris”. And visitors can “Meet and Greet Dan Bongino” on Friday, October 5. Dan is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Friday, November 2 will begin our “Election Countdown”.

These First Friday events are open to the general public as well as our 350 Republicans of Kent members. Our phone number at the GOP HQ is 410.778.2306. For more information on joining our club, Republicans of Kent (annual dues are $10), please visit www.gopofkent.com or call 410.708.8814.

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Kent County Commissioners to Hold Public Hearing on Budget Tonight

CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Kent County Commissioners will hold their public hearing tonight on the FY 2013 budget at 6:30 PM in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the Kent County Government Center, 400 High Street in Chestertown.  Prior to their public hearing, the commissioners will hold their regular meeting at 6:00 PM.

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Will the “Doomsday Session” Bail Out Rick Pollitt and Wicomico County?

In seven days the Maryland General Assembly will meet for a special session – some are calling it the “Doomsday Session”.  The primary purpose of this session is to raise taxes.  It seems that Maryland Democrats and special interest groups such as AFSCME and teachers union think that spending $700 million more than last year just isn’t enough.  If lots of teachers and other public employees aren’t paid enough to pay their union dues then the little children, the poor, and the infirm will all suffer mightily.

But … there’s another reason for this session; at least if you live in Wicomico County.  After the legislature adopted SB 848 and left Wicomico with a huge increase in its maintenance of effort (MOE), County Executive Rick Pollitt has based his entire budget on the premise that his pals in the legislature will hold Wicomico County harmless and set the county’s MOE at the level spent in FY 2012.  This includes the expected teacher pension shift.  Pollitt claims that this burden will be placed on the schools’ budget and not on the county.  Will the General Assembly do that?

For the sake of Wicomico taxpayers I hope so.  However, I have concerns about such a move.  It would be inherently unfair and it’s doubtful that the state legislature will ride to Wicomico County’s defense after complaining for years about the county’s revenue cap and its unwillingness to appropriate what the state considers adequate funding for county schools.

Other Eastern Shore counties such as Talbot and Kent counties are tying themselves in knots trying to meet their MOE obligations.  To add insult to injury, these counties pay a much higher percentage of their schools’ total costs than do Wicomico.  Talbot taxpayers pay approximately 58% of their schools’ operating budget.  Kent County pays over 58%.  Worcester pays over 73%.  Wicomico?  This year Wicomico paid only 21.5% of the cost of its schools’ operating budget.

Talbot County has a real property tax cap almost identical to Wicomico County’s.  This year they are planning to break that cap because of the required additional spending placed on them by Annapolis.  In addition, the Talbot County Council is forward thinking enough to appropriate for school pensions in anticipation of that being enacted in special session.

Kent County is seeking a waiver of its MOE obligation, which is being opposed by its board of education.  Wicomico is also seeking a waiver but both its BOE and teachers’ union have rejected the application.  Translation – NO WAIVER.

Again, should Wicomico County be bailed out while other Shore counties are left to their own devices?

Assuming Pollitt’s predictions come true, there is another question that must be asked – What back room promises has Pollitt made to legislators to get his bail out?


[Read more…]

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Rasin’s Replacement Selected

CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Kent County Republican Central Committee has selected William A. Short to succeed county commissioner Alex Rasin, who announced his resignation in March.  Short will take his seat as a commissioner this month.

Short, who campaigned for the board of county commissioners in 2010 on a platform of cutting the size of county government, is a former member of the Local Management Board.  Short and his wife Donna are the owners of Creative Treatments in Chestertown.


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Maryland’s Eastern Shore Continues to Suffer High Unemployment

WASHINGTON – Maryland’s Eastern Shore continues to suffer from high unemployment rates with three (3) counties having an unemployment rate of over 10% for the month of February (the last available month).

To see a table of the unemployment rates for each county, GO HERE.

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Kent County Commissioners Meeting – March 6, 2012


CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Kent County Board of Commissioners meets this evening at 6PM at the Kent County Government Center.

AGENDA for March 6, 2012

6:00 p.m. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Moment of Silence

6:05 Invitation
Correspondence Review

6:10 Consent Agenda
Action Items

6:15 Public Hearing ~ Alcoholic Beverage Hearing
Talegate Market ~ Class A ~ Beer
Albert W. Woodfield, IV, Surrinder Mohan Datta and Bala Datta

6:20 Phil Russum, Alcoholic Beverage Inspector
Request to Increase TIPs Certification Fees

6:25 Chesapeake College, Resolutions and Petitions for Center for Allied Health and Athletics
Andrea Fee, Faculty Representative, Dana Bowser, Staff Representative and Todd Troester, SGA President

6:35 Wayne Morris, Director, Public Works

6:45 Susie Hayman, County Administrator

6:55 Public Comment/Media Review

7:00 Wayne Darrell, Director, Office of Emergency Services
Emergency Services Board Recommendation (Closed Session)

7:10 Phil Russum, Alcoholic Beverage Inspector
Violations Update (Closed Session)

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School Bus Burns in Kent County

CHESTERTOWN, MD – Nine school children are in the hospital after a 12 year old student ignited a marine flare on board a bus in Kent County this morning.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal stated that the act “may not have been malicious”.  The Fire Marshal and the Criminal Investigative Division of the Maryland State Police are jointly investigating the incident.

Two students were transported by Kent County EMS, two students were transported by a Queen Anne’s County ambulance, and five students were transported by a Kent County Public Schools bus. The most common complaints were smoke inhalation and "nervousness," according to one emergency medical responder at the scene. A hospital spokesman said the injuries were not life-threatening.

Bouch said seven students were taken to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation; they were treated at Chester River and released.

The bus was transporting students from the Rock Hall area to Kent County Middle School.

photo courtesy of the Star Democrat

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Kent County Commissioners – February 21, 2012

CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Kent County Board of County Commissioners meets this evening at 6:00 PM at the Kent County Government Center in Chestertown.  Today’s agenda is:




[Read more…]

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Millington Settles Water System Suit

MILLINGTON, MD – On the eve of trial, the town of Millington has settled its pending lawsuit against the firms which designed and built the town’s water system.  Trial was set to begin on March 12th against McCrone, Inc., the designer, and Bearing Construction, the firm which built the town’s water system.

"The case has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," Millington town attorney G. Mitchell Mowell said, after being prompted by Mayor Ed Robinson to make the announcement at the town council meeting.

Because of a confidentiality agreement, the town council did not provide additional details of the settlement.


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Remains Found in Rock Hall Identified

ROCK HALL, MD – The remains found in woods near Hynson Road on last Friday have been identified.  The Star Democrat reports that the remains were those of Bruce Edward Freeman, a 45 year old Rock Hall man reported missing in June of 2010.

The cause of death was an apparent suicide.  Police confirm that a rifle was found next to the body.

The remains were found not far from the home of Freeman’s mother.  Freeman lived with his mother.  Positive identification was made through dental records.

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Boy Finds Skelton in Rock Hall

ROCK HALL, MD – A boy walking his dog on Friday evening found what appear to be human skeletal remains, according to the Rock Hall police.  The Star Democrat reports that the remains were found about 100 yards off of Hynson Road in a heavily wooded area.

The remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

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Teacher Pension Shift Could Impact Eastern Shore Counties

SALISBURY, MD – Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s plan to shift 50% of the cost of teacher pensions to the counties could have a sizable impact on the budgets of Eastern Shore counties.  Among those that could be hit the hardest are Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Worcester counties.

The Daily Times’ Brian Shane reports that Worcester County could be saddled with a $1 million addition to its FY 2013 budget and no help from the state to offset the costs.  While Wicomico’s burden would actually be larger, a state “disparity grant” would drop the actual FY 2013 to less than $800,000.  Somerset, Dorchester, and Caroline counties also qualify for “disparity grants”.

Because the final determination of the pension shift bill may not be known until April, it is unknown whether county governments are taking this into account when preparing their budgets for next year.  Proposed budgets are typically submitted to county councils or commissioners during the month of April.

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Chestertown Doctor to Challenge Harris for District 1 Seat

CHESTERTOWN, MD – Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) has another challenger for his First District congressional seat.  Dr. John LaFerla, of Chestertown, filed his candidacy for the Democrat nomination to challenge Harris last Friday.  He joins Cockeysville resident Wendy Rosen in seeking the Democrat nod.

Speaking with the Star-Democrat, LaFerla said that former Rep. Frank Kratovil’s announcement that he will not run again motivated his entry into the race:

"Even though Wayne Gilchrest was a Republican, I think he was a moderate and I think he was much better for the Eastern Shore than our current representative," said LaFerla in reference to Harris.

LaFerla is the current chief of surgery at the Chester River Hospital Center.  He also serves as a deputy health officer for Talbot County.

photo courtesy of the Star-Democrat


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Chestertown Police Not Looking Too Good After Arresting “Frosty”

CHESTERTOWN, MD – The Chestertown police aren’t looking too jolly after last week’s arrest of “Frosty the Snowman” at the Chestertown Christmas Parade.  As more details emerge, possibilities of a vendetta against 52 year old Kevin Walsh are surfacing.

Walsh has a history of run-ins with town officials.  Witness accounts of the incident indicate that the police overreacted.  Chestertown has become famous around the world .. but not for their “Tea Party”.


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Maryland Receives Federal Crop Disaster Designation for 15 Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley received approval from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack for Maryland’s request for a disaster designation for widespread crop losses due to extreme weather conditions this year, which included excessive heat, drought, and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

“Because farmers throughout most of Maryland experienced significant crop losses, we requested a disaster designation and thank Secretary Vilsack for granting it,” said Governor O’Malley.  “It is our hope that the designation will provide relief to the farmers who need it and help them prepare for the next growing season.”

“From April through October, Maryland farmers experienced widespread crop losses due to a variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from excessive heat, drought and flooding,” said Buddy Hance, secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture.  “Farmers in the disaster designation areas experienced market value losses exceeding 30 percent.”

This designation makes farm operators in the 15 primary counties – Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester – as well as the counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Prince George’s, and the independent city of Baltimore – eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.  Farmers must have purchased crop insurance on eligible crops to quality for USDA disaster assistance programs.

This assistance includes USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability. SURE Program applications for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.

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Kent Man Dies in Harford Jail

BEL AIR, MD – A Chestertown man was found dead Thursday night in his cell in the Harford County Detention Center.  Michael Ray Malpass, 26, was discovered in his cell Thursday and was transported to the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Malpass was being held without bail for a string of armed robberies in Baltimore, Cecil, and Harford counties.


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“Frosty” Arrested in Chestertown

CHESTERTOWN, MD – A man dressed up as “Frosty the Snowman” was arrested Saturday morning at Chestertown’s annual Christmas parade.  Kevin Michael Walsh, 52, was charged with assaulting two police officers and a police dog.

Police claim that Walsh kicked at the police dog near the intersection of High and Cross Streets.  When police attempted to escort Walsh away he allegedly struck one officer while taking the head off of his “Frosty” costume and pushing another as he was forced into a police car.

photo courtesy of the Star-Democrat


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Intense Oyster Die-Off in Upper Bay

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Concentrated pockets of dead oysters have been found in the upper Chesapeake Bay.  These pockets appear to be limited to two areas north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  These areas accounted for just two percent of last year’s oyster harvest.

It appears that this die-off is due to the record inflow of fresh water into the Bay.  These two pockets are located between the Magothy and Patapsco Rivers on the Western Shore and an area north of Rock Hall, on the Eastern Shore.


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Soggy Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown

CHESTERTOWN, MD – While rain may have dampened portions of Chestertown’s “Downrigging Weekend”, Chestertown’s celebration of Tall Ships and other historic craft continued.  The photo above is from Friday’s fireworks display.


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Sorry, No News Yet from Kent County, MD

We’re sorry, but we haven’t posted any news from Kent County yet.  We’ve got plenty of news from the rest of DelMarVa.  Keep checking back.

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