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25th annual Jazz Festival anchors weekend of events

CHESTERTOWN — The Chestertown Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a weekend jazz lovers will remember.

To mark the anniversary, “we have one of the most incredible performers — Christian McBride,” Leslie Prince Raimond said in an interview Tuesday, Sept. 7.

The first jazz festival, which occurred in 1996, was Dr. Melvin Rapelyea’s idea.

According to Raimond, Rapelyea thought that there was no reason Chestertown couldn’t have a festival that was equal to the famed Newport Jazz Festival. Raimond said Rapelyea approached her when she was director of the Kent County Arts Council, about the first festival, and they have been collaborating on each one since.

“His devotion is what makes it happen,” Raimond said of Rapelyea.

The first Chestertown Jazz Festival was held on Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31, 1996, and included musicians like Dick Durham, Sue Matthews, the Ashley Harding Quartet, the Tom Lagana Trio and more.

Over the years, portions of the festival have taken place at the White Swan Tavern, under a small tent in Wilmer Park, at Washington College’s Tawes Theater, the Imperial Hotel, Black Eyed Susan Restaurant, the Garfield Theater, the Mainstay and more.

“It’s had various iterations,” Raimond said.

Kicking off this year’s festival, Chuck Redd will perform “A Dedication to Charlie Byrd” at The Mainstay in Rock Hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9. Tickets for Redd’s performance are $25 online and in advance and $30 at the door.

Information and ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website at www.facebook.com/mainstayrockhall and www.mainstayrockhall.org, or call 410-639-9133.

The festivities move into Chestertown at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10 with performances by the Bratcher Project and the Sholbertshire Quintet in Wilmer Park. The Friday night event will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and have “a festive feeling,” Raimond said. Tickets are $40.

Jazz in the Park starts at noon Saturday, Sept. 11 with a performance by the Burke Family singers, who have been performing together for over 50 years.

“We always start with a gospel group,” Raimond said. “To celebrate the roots aspect of jazz and American music in general — it’s always been very important to what we do.”

Raimond said that she’s expecting 17 members of the Burke Family singers to perform on Saturday.

“Anybody who is interested in that should be there at least five minutes before noon,” she said. “We have a schedule and we’re sticking to it.”

At 12:24 p.m., The Euphriam and Ebben Dorsey Quintet will perform in the park.

“They are high school students that are considered just amazing,” Raimond said of the quintet.

Aside from the high-profile headliner in McBride, the festival will celebrate 25 years by having a “Chestertown Revue,” where eight previous performers will come back and perform a 12 -minute set.

“It’s going to be almost like this choreographed thing of this amazing group,” Raimond said. “That’s much different than what we’ve done before.”

The eight performers include Durham, Matthews, Stef Scaggiari, Marlon Saunders, Lena Seikaly, Sherry Winston, Giacomo Gates and the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet. The revue will start at 2 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., headliner McBride — a seven-time Grammy winner — and the New Jawn will take the stage.

“All of it is going to be exciting and it’s going to move quickly,” Raimond said of Saturday’s events.

Raimond sang praises for each of the festival’s performers and talked about her excitement to see everything being held.

Vendors will be present at Saturday’s events, selling food and beverages.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Student tickets are $15 and those under 12 are free.

For more information, go to www.garfieldcenter.org or call 410-810-2060.

The jazz festival will adhere to CDC guidelines for masks and social distancing.

Raimond said she is “delighted” to have things opened up enough to enjoy an in-person festival.

The jazz festival anchors a weekend of events in Kent County.

More than 40 local non-profit service groups will be on hand for the Kent County Volunteer Fair, according to a news release. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 11 on High Street near the Garfield center for the Arts in downtown Chestertown.

The Galena Volunteer Fire Company will be hosting the third annual Charlie Joiner Memorial Decoy Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 11, with an auction at 1 p.m. Admission is $5.

The Chestertown Arts and Entertainment District is hosting a Fall Art Walk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 11, with artists and artisans selling their works in galleries, storefronts, restaurants and pop-up venues at the Bank at 211 High St. and the Garfield Center.

The Animal Care Shelter for Kent County is inviting swimmers and their dogs to take a dip at the Kent County Community Center pool in Worton from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 11 for a Doggie Poolooza fundraiser.

The Town of Galena will hold its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the firehouse.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Kent Goes Purple, a monthlong campaign to raise awareness of opioids and substance use disorders, will hold its two featured events: a color fun run/walk and the Purple Jamboree, both in Chestertown’s Wilmer Park.


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Kent Goes Purple prevention tips

CHESTERTOWN — Kent Goes Purple encourages the community to support our youth in making good choices, as part of its substance use prevention initiative now in its fourth straight year.

Kent Goes Purple focuses on preventing substance use in our youth, for which there are many different proven, evidence-based strategies.

One of the most important strategies involves parents and caregivers communicating often and directly with their kids. In fact, teens who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.

Another proven way to help prevent substance use is by using what’s called a positive social norms campaign.

This involves promoting healthy behaviors, like not using alcohol or other drugs, that are actually the norm, to counteract incorrect assumptions such as, “everybody drinks.” This strategy involves scientific evidence, like consumption data, to promote accurate norms about substance use.

For example, Annette Duckery, alcohol and other drugs prevention coordinator with the Kent County Behavioral Health Prevention Office, has adopted such a campaign for her prevention efforts.

Duckery has taken local data on consumption and behaviors, which show the rates of drug use in Kent County youth, and highlights the fact that most kids don’t drink or use other drugs.

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Duckery’s substance use prevention campaign uses the slogan “Most Kids Don’t — Together, we can keep it that way.”

Not only does this emphasize the fact that use of alcohol and other drugs is not the norm, it also encourages parents and others in the community to raise awareness together, which is this year’s slogan for Kent Goes Purple.

“Our research shows that most of our youth continue to make good choices, and we’re here to support them,” said Duckery, who has worked in prevention for years. “Substance use prevention is all about creating conditions that reduce the risk of, and increase protection from, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”

One of the keystones of prevention involves risk and protective factors, which are conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood of certain behaviors.

Risk factors enhance the likelihood and include things like a family history of substance use, certain pre-existing psychiatric conditions, youth in itself, exposure to peer pressure, easy access to prescription drugs and lack of knowledge about prescription drugs and potential harm.

While risk factors cannot be removed, adults can provide a buffer against them with protective factors. These evidence-based factors include a positive parenting style, higher parental expectations, participation in activities, early intervention services, supportive communities, positive role models, and more.

Research has shown that risk and protective factors work about the same across racial lines, and both are important in prevention efforts.

The Search Institute has expanded upon these lists with specific building blocks of health development — developmental assets.

Developmental assets are proven ways to help protect kids from engaging in risky behavior, such as drug use. The institute’s research includes studies of more than 5 million young people that show the more developmental assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in high-risk behaviors.

On average, kids in grades six through 12 have or have experienced 19 of the 40 total developmental assets.

Anyone can be an asset builder, and the first step is taking a shift away from fixing young people’s problems and moving toward promoting young people’s strengths.

For families, simple supportive gestures help with development — hugs, spending time together, creating rituals like game night and giving kids privacy. Staying involved in your child’s school also helps buffer against poor choices.

Another important aspect is clear boundaries and expectations — including monitoring activities.

Positive role modeling also is critically important in asset building.

In our community, we can all help with basic youth empowerment actions like simply saying hello to teen employees at grocery stores, fast food franchises and other places of employment.

These small steps help show our kids the community values them. Neighbors also can help by making kids feel welcome. Organize activities such as pick-up basketball if you have time. Take a few minutes to meet your neighborhood kids if you haven’t.

Parents, guardians and other family members of teens also can do a few things to help kids feel valued. Spend time together when possible, try to be a good role model and encourage kids to do well. And when a kid does something generous, take time to extend praise.

More information on these assets is available at search institute.org.


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State health department plans to unload Chestertown facility
  • Updated

BALTIMORE — Getting rid of Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center in Chestertown and two other closed health care campuses is part of the first phase of the Maryland Department of Health’s facilities master plan that would begin in 2022.

The property on Scheeler Road is nearly 23 acres. What was then the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene acquired it from the Kent County Commissioners in 1977, according to the state Department of Assessments and Taxation’s online records.

The primary structure was built in 1980.

The DHMH, now the Maryland Department of Health, closed Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center in November 2009 and its patients were moved to a new facility in Easton.

The Kent County Health Department’s A.F. Whitsitt Center has continued to operate out of the facility as a residential treatment program for substance abuse and mental health disorders.

The local health department currently leases more than half of the USCMHC space from the state health department, about 49,000 square feet, according to Kent County Health Officer William Webb.

In addition to the Whitsitt Center, programs that operate at the complex on Scheeler Road include an outpatient behavioral health clinic; non-clinical addiction/Substance Use Disorder services (Kent County Local Addictions Authority, Recovery In Motion, Opioid Intervention Team and prevention coordination); outpatient SUD assessment and referral services needed for the courts and Department of Social Services; Developmental Disabilities Administration; and the school health service coordinator for Kent County.

The Maryland Department of Health released its facilities master plan on Sept. 2.

The 132-page document can be found on the MDH website, health.maryland.gov.

The 2041 facilities master plan will evolve over the 20 years it covers.

The aim is “to align MDH’s projected patient care needs with health care services offered or provided by the Department,” according to a news release.

Also on Sept. 2, MDH submitted the phased plan to the Maryland General Assembly.

The Maryland Health Department has 14 health care facility campuses. Three of those campuses — USCMHC in Chestertown, Crownsville Hospital Center in Anne Arundel County and Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents in Prince George’s County — are closed.

According to an MDH spokesperson, many of the 11 operational facilities are aging and no longer align with evolving patient care models or are reaching or are at the end of their useful life.

Phase one of the plan will occur from 2022 to 2026, according to the news release.

This phase also includes construction of 24-hour regional crisis centers in Western Maryland, Central Maryland, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore; identifying strategic partners to transfer services currently provided at Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown and Deer’s Head Hospital Center in Salisbury to health care and community providers; and performing an assessment of the current Central Maryland inpatient behavioral health capacity.

Phase two (2027-2031) will involve construction of a new facility for children and a Secure Evaluation Therapeutic Treatment (SETT) facility in the Central Maryland region and construction of a replacement patient building at the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

Renovating the Holly Center, integrating MDH facility patients with community providers and developing strategic partnerships to transition services currently provided at the Potomac Center and Spring Grove Hospital Center to health care and community providers will occur during Phase three (2032-41).

“Our goal through this ongoing process is to finalize a capital program that guides us through the rejuvenation of our facilities,” MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said in the news release. “We can now begin the process of divesting facilities that are no longer operating, build new state-of-the-art facilities, and properly plan so that we can continue to provide Marylanders the level of health care they deserve and expect today and well into the future.”

General Services Secretary Ellington E. Churchill Jr. said development of the master plan was a collaborative process that started in 2018 and included assessing MDH operations and infrastructure, focusing on creating the best care environment for patients now and in the future.

Implementation of this plan is expected to save the state $321.6 million, according to Churchill.


GALENA — Kindergartner Abel Mason and his older sister Margrit, a second-grader, hold hands as they head into Galena Elementary School on Tuesday, Sept. 7, the first day of school for most Kent County Public Schools students. In the background is Principal Arlene Reading, directing students to their home rooms. See page A3 for more back to school photos.

First day of school


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Kent Goes Purple run, jamboree are Sunday

CHESTERTOWN — The third Kent Goes Purple 5K Color Run/Walk and Purple Jamboree are set for 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12 in Wilmer Park.

Kent Goes Purple is a substance abuse awareness and prevention initiative from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Chestertown Rotary Club that empowers youth and the community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

This is year four for the initiative, and year three for the color run. Last year’s run/walk did not happen due to the pandemic.

“Kent County Prevention is excited to be able to sponsor the color run this year so that more of our families can participate,” said Annette Duckery, alcohol and other drugs prevention coordinator for the Kent County Behavioral Health Prevention Office. “The more community members that can come out, the better.”

According to a news release, the color run starts at 8:30 a.m. at Wilmer Park in Chestertown and is directly followed with a Purple Jamboree, from 10 a.m. until noon.

Race registration is available online at www.KentGoesPurple.org and is free for children 12 and under. Registration for those 13 and older is $10 — much less than the cost in 2019 thanks to support from Kent County Behavioral Health Prevention Office. Day-of registration is $20 and starts at 7:30 a.m.

The first 250 participants receive a commemorative shirt and color packet, plus a purple drawstring bag with lots of fun goodies, including collapsible silicone water bottles.

Free waters also will be available thanks to the Chestertown Elks and a limited supply of free purple shirts also will be on hand.

The Purple Jamboree will include music, family fun and entertainment, free food from Phat Daddy’s BBQ and children’s activities with Willy Woo Woo.

This year’s Kent Goes Purple initiative includes daily educational messages, which the community can share from the Kent Goes Purple Facebook page. These messages are intended to educate and encourage conversations about substance use prevention.

“Our theme this year is raising awareness together — the more we can bring people together, the stronger message we can send that Kent County stands together against substance abuse,” Duckery said.

Other ways to get involve include getting trained on Narcan; learning about the Good Samaritan Law; and learning about medication storage and disposal.

The community can again display purple lights and gear throughout the month as a show of taking a stand against substance abuse. Lights are available at JBK Hardware in Chestertown and Village Hardware in Rock Hall.

Kent Goes Purple also has free 5-inch-by-5-inch vehicle stickers available.

Vendor and volunteer registration forms for the color run and jamboree are available online at www.KentGoesPurple.org.

Get more information at www.KentGoes Purple.org and on Facebook @kentgoespurple.

Kent Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


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