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Artists put finishing touches on Black Lives Matter street mural

CAMBRIDGE — Artists put the finishing touches on a mural incorporating the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on Race Street in Cambridge on Friday evening, June 19, a day celebrated as “Juneteenth,” the date that marks the end of slavery in the United States.

mdetmer / photo by MIKE DETMER 

Artist Miriam Moran works on the Black Lives Matter mural on Race Street in Cambridge.

mdetmer / MIKE DETMER 

A Cambridge Police Department officers and event volunteer talk at the Black Lives Matter street mural painting event on Thursday, June 18, the second day of work on the art project.

Work on the mural on the 400 block of Race Street began on Wednesday, June 17, after the Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley received permission from each Cambridge commissioner virtually.

Miriam Moran, a Cambridge artist originally from Staten Island, New York, created the images inside the letters, including representations of Cambridge civil rights leader Gloria Richardson, Dorchester native Harriet Tubman, and Talbot native Frederick Douglass.

Moran became an artist and painter after being in a car accident as a teenager, and she said she loves painting portraits and images of family.

“This means unity with the community, it means love, it means compassion and showing others that we do care,” said Moran when asked how she felt about the project.

mdetmer / MIKE DETMER 

Two artists paint on the letter “B” of the Black Lives Matter street mural in Cambridge. The letter contains a representation of Cambridge native and 1960s civil rights leader Gloria Richardson.

mdetmer / Photo by MIKE DETMER 

Artists and volunteers work on the street mural on Race Street in Cambridge.

Shelton Hawkins, an Easton artist and art teacher in Charles County, undertook the project management component, making sure that Moran and other volunteers had “smooth sailing.”

Hawkins, who painted outdoor basketball courts in Talbot County, was really into art and basketball as a child. His mother, Patricia, who was working next to Shelton, said that he would draw when sent to his room as child after getting into trouble. “It wasn’t a punishment for me,” said Shelton Hawkins.

mdetmer / MIKE DETMER 

Local youths ride bikes on Race Street after checking out the work on the Black Lives Matter Street mural.

mdetmer / MIKE DETMER 

Artist Miriam Moran paints a representation of Talbot County native Frederick Douglas on the Black Lives Matter mural on Race Street in Cambridge.

Hawkins said that the street art project was very meaningful as a direct descendent of Harriet Tubman, and that he like that it was next to the Harriet Tubman museum and nationally-know Tubman mural. He also appreciated, “getting so many people of different colors for a common goal.”

Hawkins acknowledged that the mural was not liked by all, but said, “At the end of the day, change only starts with people that are willing to make a change—us standing up together and coming out here is a first step.”

Hawkins’s mother, Patricia, said that in her childhood, she did not feel welcome on Race Street. She remembered the riots and unrest in Cambridge, including crying when police required her mother to exit the car while they searched. Hawkins said police were searching all of the trunks and interiors of the cars for H. Rap Brown, a civil rights activist for whom a warrant had been issued.

Shelton Hawkins said the paint was standard road line paint, and will last for about about a year.


Volunteers work in the evening on Thursday, June 18, on the Black Lives Matter mural on Race Street in Cambridge.

mdetmer / MIKE DETMER 

Volunteers make progress on the Black Lives Matter street mural in Cambridge.

mdetmer / Photo by MIKE DETMER 

Artist Miriam Moran paints a representation of Cambridge civil rights icon Gloria Richardson.

As Moran was painting the final touches on the last image on Friday evening, the volunteers and bystanders watched as dancers performed an interpretive dance to music from the recent major motion picture “Harriet.” As the dancers finished their performance, rain began to fall.

Cambridge remains calm despite unrest elsewhere

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge remains calm despite unrest elsewhere in the nation. Violence and turmoil over racial and political issues has been a part of Cambridge’s past, but peace prevailed at a Black Lives Matter rally Sunday, June 7 in Cambridge.

Cambridge men charged in OC Boardwalk assaults

OCEAN CITY — Four Cambridge men are among five people charged in recent Boardwalk assaults in Ocean City. Ocean City Police responded to reported assaults at 11th Street and 15th Street between 10 and 11 p.m. on June 9. The Boardwalk victim at 15th Street was stabbed in the back, police said.

Investigators determined the same group of individuals were involved in both attacks, according to Ashely Miller, OCPD deputy communications manager.

Police arrested Marquis Trajon Demby, 22, of Lincoln, Del., shortly after the 15th Street stabbing. They recovered a knife used in the stabbing during Demby’s arrest, Miller said. Demby was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Surveillance images obtained from the Boardwalk City Watch Cameras of several suspects were released to the public through social media and local media outlets. Ocean City detectives received numerous citizen tips and also worked closely with local police jurisdictions throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland to identify the numerous suspects, while the Ocean City Police Major Crimes Unit continued the investigation, Miller said.

On Friday, June 19, Ocean City Police announced four more arrests in the incidents.

Marcus Dashawn Butler, 27, Orlando Manship Nichols Jr., 20, and Daveione K Cephas, 20, all of Cambridge, are each charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Xavier Jamal Spencer, 19, of Cambridge is charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment, dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

Demby, Butler, Nichols, Cephas and Spence are all currently being held without bond at the Worcester County Jail.

Both victims in these cases are expected to make full recoveries, Miller said.

Ocean City Police Department gave credit to the numerous citizens who assisted them in identifying the suspects, in addition to assistance from the Maryland State Police, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Cambridge Police Department and Easton Police Department for their cooperative effort in this investigation.

The investigation is ongoing, and police expect to make more arrests, Miller said.

A mugshot photo of Xavier Spencer was not available at press time.

Dorchester only county on Mid-Shore to reach state goal; community COVID-19 testing continues

COVID-19 Testing

Dorchester achieves states COVID-19 testing goal

ANNAPOLIS — Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Department of Health officials recently urged county leaders to increase local COVID-19 testing to meet the goal of testing 10% of their populations. On the Mid-Shore, only Dorchester County has achieved that goal. Kent County has tested 9.7% of its population; Talbot, 7.8%; and Caroline, 7.0%. At 4.3%, Queen Anne’s County ranks lowest in the state.

“Widespread testing is critical to saving lives and safely reopening more and more of our economy, which is why state health officials are setting a goal of testing 10% of the population in all of our 24 jurisdictions,” Hogan said. “The State of Maryland will continue to have an abundant supply of testing available at no out-of-pocket cost to anyone in our state who needs to be tested, and we are looking to our county leaders to do their part by expanding testing efforts at the local level.”

MDH Secretary Robert Neall and Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips sent a letter June 18 to local jurisdictions: “As part of our COVID-19 testing expansion, Maryland continues to make large quantities of specimen collection kits directly available to local health departments. Given that the state has a long-term strategic supply of tests, there is no need to stockpile these resources or turn away our allocations. Instead, we ask that your local health departments use these tests to increase the number and capacity of community-based testing sites. We urge you to make every effort and come up with innovative ways to provide your residents and businesses with open and convenient access to testing.”

As of June 18, Maryland had tested 7.4% of its total population.

Two steps endorsed by the state to increase testing are broadening criteria for testing to include those who are asymptomatic and making appointment-free testing available at high-volume, community-based sites.

Laura Patrick, director of nursing at the Caroline County Health Department, said they submitted their plan to reach the 10% goal to the state Friday morning. She said they have been working with partners in the community to offer testing and had participated in the test site at Chesapeake College.

On Saturday, June 20, the health department partnered with Caroline Emergency Services and Choptank Community Health to hold a COVID-19 drive-thru clinic at Immaculate Conception Church of Marydel. In about 90 minutes, 42 people were tested.

Choptank has done more than 1,300 COVID-19 tests since February, Chief Operating Office Jonathan Forte said. They were able to obtain testing materials from the state, from a lab in Frederick and from LabCorp. Recently, test material has become a lot more accessible from the state, he said.

Emergency Services Director Anna Sierra said her staff had participated in mass testing for poultry workers in Federalsburg a few weeks ago.

Patrick said the health department plans to host more community clinics like the one at the church. Testing also is available at the Choice One Urgent Care center in Denton.

In Dorchester County, Angela Grove, public information officer and health education program manager for the local health department, said collaboration was the key to reaching the 10% goal.

From the beginning of the state of emergency in March, “Dorchester County Health Department has worked tirelessly to ensure testing is available to all members of our community,” Grove said.

Dorchester COVID-19 test clinics have been free and open to all, regardless of symptoms, and they have traveled around the county to make testing as accessible as possible, she said.

“We have a strong testing team, including bilingual employees, at our health department and testing plans in place to cover details such as traffic control, registration, education, testing and more,” Grove said.

They have held free COVID-19 community testing at schools throughout the county — Hurlock Elementary, South Dorchester Elementary, North Dorchester Middle, Mace’s Lane Middle, Warwick Elementary, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School and Vienna Elementary.

“We do not require an appointment, insurance, or a doctor’s order,” Grove added.

She was working on the county’s longterm plan and said the health department would continue testing as long as they had the capacity and supplies to do so.

“We are continuously adding testing events to our schedule,” Grove said. “We are still going to different sites throughout the county, but plan to offer on-site testing at the health department on Cedar Street in the near future.

“We want to test anyone who wants to be tested.”

Grove said local doctors continue to offer testing. Also, the Walmart in Cambridge offers testing by appointment to those meeting state guidelines.

Queen Anne’s County Health Department is taking steps to expand access to COVID-19 testing, according to Deputy Health Officer Jennie Burris.

“Private medical practices who are testing their patients are provided by supplies as needed for start-up,” Burris said. “Mobile testing sites and a drive through for residents is currently being planned for July.”

Additional information will be available made when details are finalized, she said.

“At this time, the health department is prioritizing vulnerable populations with emphasis on those who are not able to attend sites for testing,” Burris said.

Queen Anne’s Health Officer Dr. Joseph Ciotola said, “We are aware that the state is reporting a low testing percentage for Queen Anne’s County. Our numbers do not coincide with the state’s numbers, and we are working to get that corrected.”

The county reported 226 residents testing positive with three hospitalized and 14 local deaths at the end of the day Wednesday, June 24.

“We continue to be impressed by the cooperation and assistance of our citizens in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Ciotola said.

Edwards Pharmacy in Centreville is offering COVID-19 drive-up testing by appointment.

Rear Admiral Doug Fears stands at his new command, the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West. Visible in the background is “Bigfoot,” a self-propelled semi-submersible drug trafficking vessel that was seized in 2006, the largest ever seized.