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Guests are received at the Talisman Welcome Center for the “black tie and blue jeans ball” Saturday evening, Sept. 18, The Welcome Center housed local art works that were for sale to raise funds for injured veterans taking therapeutic riding lessons there.

Direct care facility facing dire need

GRASONVILLE — Feeling the COVID crunch, Queen Anne’s Chesterwye facility is one of many care agencies in need of additional care givers for their developmentally and intellectually compromised adult residents. Providing service to the immediate Kent Island area, Chesterwye residents live in group homes, receiving round the clock, 24/7 care, with employees coming in to work with them on shifts.

Among those Chesterwye residents who receive 24/7 care at the group homes, Executive Director Debra Langseth said, “97% of our residents have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.” The Queen Anne’s County Health Department gave priority to those live-in residents when the vaccination rollout began.

Care givers are referred to as “Direct Support Personnel” at Chesterwye. Those live-in residents have a wide range of disabilities; some intellectual, some physical. “Cass” Smith has been employed with Chesterwye the past eight-years. She said, “You’ve got to have heart to do this work. Heart and patience. Some of them can do for themselves — you just need to steer them in the right direction.”

Maria Duran has been employed at Chesterwye since 2006. She’s originally from the Dominican Republic. Said Duran, “I don’t do this work for the money. I’m here to help people who can’t help themselves. Those I serve are like family to me.”

She’s not the only one who feels that way. Larry Fountain serves in a group home with four physically disabled adult males. Fountain says, “They’re family to me. We always have a good time. It’s like we’re a home of all bachelors! (as the men all laughed) I feed, clothe, and shower these guys.” Resident P.J. Quay is a Raven’s fan. His house partner, David Davis, is a Washington football team fan. The word is, there is a tremendous rivalry when those teams play each other! P.J.’s room is decorated with all Raven’s colors and signs. Each resident has their own personal bedroom decorated with items they like most.

Fountain added, “We go out as much as we can. We recently made a trip to Ocean City for the day. Last week we went to a movie theater to see the new Marvel movie ‘Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings’. We all enjoyed that!” The group lives close to the Cross Island Trail and go out on it as much as possible, even while in wheelchairs.

Some go to the YMCA in Easton, and one client goes to Talisman Therapeutic Riding in Grasonville.

Former Maryland State Delegate Wheeler Baker has served many years as President of the Chesterwye Foundation. He often refers to the commitment made by the late Dr. Harry Rhodes in seeing that adults with developmental disabilities receive quality care and have as meaningful lives as possible. Baker often says, “But for the Grace of God — there is me, meaning, if a couple things didn’t go right, I’m right there with these folks we are caring for! Chesterwye provides these folks with a home. I think that’s a pretty significant service. I know that Dr. Rhodes (former QACPS Superintendent of Schools, 1950 — 1967) made his life mission to help these folks. I feel we’ve got to help them.”

Paid training is provided for those who apply, as care givers must become certified to work with folks with disabilities. Care givers can work full or part-time. Those who work 30+ hours a week receive additional benefits.

There are hiring bonuses being offered for referral hires by current employees, also new hire bonuses, as well as additional “end-of-year” (after 12-months employed) bonus paid to new hires.

If you might be interested in working at Chesterwye, or know someone who is, call 410-827-7048, extension 313, or send an email to rzylka@chesterwye.com.

centerpiece popular
QA Commissioners give eight-lane Bay Bridge redesign the green light

CENTREVILLE — Citing traffic concerns as inhibiting the local community’s quality of life and the expired life expectancy of the two current spans, the Queen Anne’s County Board of Commissioners signed a resolution Wednesday, Sept. 29 supporting the consolidation of the current, five-lane Bay Bridge into one, eight-lane span across the Chesapeake Bay.

Specifically, the resolution states, “the best solution to maintain forward progress, support the investments already made along the US Route 50/301 corridor, specifically from I-97 to MD 404, and address the existing and future traffic capacity shortfalls is to replace the current two spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with a single new replacement bridge, constructed at the same location, that includes a minimum of eight travel lanes to provide adequate capacity and dependable and reliable travel times.”

A copy of the resolution will be sent to and voted on by the Anne Arundel County Council during their upcoming Oct. 4 meeting. Its exact language – No. 21-17 in Queen Anne’s and No. 49-21 in Anne Arundel – was read into the record Wednesday by Commissioner Jim Moran, who’ll be testifying in Annapolis during the Anne Arundel council’s Oct. 4 meeting.

“I think it’s historic,” Moran said in an interview. “Just in the plain fact that we have five commissioners that all agree the issue at the Bay Bridge has, and always will be, a capacity issue. And this is a big step towards resolving that issue.”

The Bay Bridge – among the world’s longest over-water structures stretching 4.3 miles of the Chesapeake Bay – opened in 1952 with its original, two-lane span. The second span, which consists of three lanes, was added in 1973.

Both spans were designed to last 50 years, meaning that the original has operated nearly two decades longer than intended and the second will reach its deadline in 2022.

In addition to these operating concerns, complaints surrounding the bridge have circulated in state and local politics for years, as congestion has historically caused extensive traffic delays throughout the summer season in both Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel counties.

According to the resolution, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDTA) 2020 forecasts concerning summertime traffic volume across the bridge have been realized, with 100,000 vehicles crossing the Bay daily. By 2030, if the “capacity shortfall” at the Bay Bridge is not properly addressed, the MDTA predicts that number to rise to 110,000, with seven miles of backup and seven hours of traffic delay.

The commissioners’ signatures, rather than acting as the final approval before construction, request that the next steps of the Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study – a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016 with $5 million in MDTA funding – move forward, from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

Where Tier 1 developed and evaluated all possible options for the bridge’s redesign – a process that initially looked at 14 different locations before eventually identifying one, known as a “selected corridor alternative” – the “more extensive and detailed” Tier 2 will “thoroughly assess” the chosen location, considering environmental impacts before “possibly” advancing a new replacement bridge, according to the resolution.

MDOT Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater said that the “key” for the project, at this time, is moving from Tier 1 of the crossing study to Tier 2, “keeping the process moving.”

“There are parts of this process that we can expedite, and there are parts that we can’t,” the transportation secretary said when asked by Del. Steven Arentz about the timeline for the project. “However, we have shown that we have the ability to move some things under certain processes if we get them in the right envelope.”

Tier 1 results from the study are anticipated to be released this winter.

Kent Island High School senior MacKenzie Rodriguez, 17, with her sidewalk chalk drawing, Saturday, Sept. 25, outside the Tasty Toucan Ice Cream Shop in downtown Stevensville. This was her rendering of a sunset on the Chesapeake Bay, the way she wants to remember her home. She tied for “The People’s Choice Award” for her drawing. More photos can be viewed online at www.myeasternshoremd.com

A picture of ‘home’

QA unveils new brand encompassing “Shore living”

GRASONVILLE — Queen Anne’s County unveiled a new, adaptable brand Thursday, Sept. 23, designed to encompass the many facets of “Shore living.”

“When reviewing various marketing concepts, a common theme was that we have something unique in Queen Anne’s County. We are selling the Eastern Shore lifestyle,” said Commissioner Chris Corchiarino, who was present at the Prospect Bay Country Club Thursday morning for the unveiling. “I think the new branding captures that feeling and provides an opportunity to deploy the concept across multiple platforms.”

The distinctive, stylized “Q” logo, meshed with blues and greens, illustrates the county’s “deep connection to and interrelationship of land and waterways,” according to a style guide made available to The Bay Times. The county commissioned Choptank Communications with funds from a USDA Rural Development grant to create and design the new brand.

Along with approval from the commissioners, the final product was the result of a five-month research and outreach plan that included online surveys, focus groups, and input from community and business leaders. According to a news release, by the end of the data-gathering period, five focus groups were questioned and approximately 300 resident surveys were submitted.

In addition to the agricultural and aquatic connections on the “Q,” participants that weighed in on the brand also found connections to the Bay Bridge, one of the county’s benchmark impressions, Economic and Tourism Development Director Heather Tinelli said in an interview.

“They saw things that maybe I didn’t appreciate before, or didn’t see, or weren’t the reasons why I thought somebody would live here or move here,” said Tinelli, who has lived in Queen Anne’s her entire life. “It opened my eyes completely.”

Though Tinelli had not anticipated all of the feedback she received and the connections community members had with the brand, the county’s new tagline — “Where Shore Living Begins” — was intentionally designed to easily incorporate any number of county characteristics.

Variations on the tagline include, “Where Shore Ventures Begin,” “Where Shore Memories Begin,” and “Where Shore Business Begins,” the latter of which has been adopted by the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce.

“'Where Shore Living Begins' invites individuals to live in, work or visit Queen Anne’s County and experience the best of two worlds: an Eastern Shore lifestyle with unparalleled access to ‘big city’ amenities,” Tinelli said. “Valuing our natural resources, rich heritage and outstanding quality of life, it celebrates what makes Queen Anne’s unique.”