Coastal Style Magazine en-US Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 PERSEVERANCE & PRIDE Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Bob Yesbek You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. That proverb was put to the test by misfortune and hardship on March 28, 2014, in the form...]]> You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. That proverb was put to the test by misfortune and hardship on March 28, 2014, in the form of a fire at Josh and Jess Wiggins’ Blue Water Grill in Millsboro.

They had purchased the restaurant from John Rishko, now a Delaware Realtor and former owner of Rehoboth’s Stoney Lonen (along with Nelia Dolan, now with SoDel Concepts). Rehabilitation of the 1950s-built structure took such a long time that Josh and Jess risked losing their employees — until the proprietors of Arena’s restaurants and Paradise Grill stepped up to the plate, offering temporary employment to Blue Water Grill’s staff. As a result, when Josh and Jess eventually turned the key on their newly rebuilt eatery, over 90 percent of their original staff returned. This is not the sort of thing you see everywhere: Sussex County restaurants are a breed unto themselves.

Josh Wiggins is no stranger to professional kitchens. He cooked alongside Baywood Greens’ opening chef Mike Clampitt at the long-gone Sea Horse in Rehoboth (Mike is now the boss at Po’Boys Creole & Fresh Catch in Milton) and also at the Gilligan’s on the Canal in Lewes. Combined with Jess’ front-of-house expertise, they eventually fulfilled their dream of restaurant ownership. And their hard-and-fast rule of local sourcing is evidenced by their menu. Whether it’s produce, chicken, fish, beef or whatever, you can be pretty sure that your lunch or dinner grew, flew, swam or grazed nearby.

Lunchtime favorites include Josh’s signature bacon-wrapped scallops and the popular broiled appetizer combo with crab dip, clams casino, crab balls and those scallops. The dinner menu offers scallop Imperial, the Blue Water pasta (penne topped with shrimp and crab lounging happily in Asiago cream sauce, alongside tomatoes, spinach, carrots and mushrooms) and the chicken roulade stuffed with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes in a roasted red-pepper cream sauce. My go-to dish at dinner is actually a special: lobster roll salad with house pepper-parm dressing and avocados on butter-leaf greens sourced from Fresh Harvest Hydroponics right there in Millsboro.

The current menu at Blue Water Grill includes the popular “you-name-it & grits” section, where you can pair cheddar grits, fried green tomatoes and a tomato puree with your choice of fish, blackened shrimp, chicken or maybe even a crab cake or a steak if you ask nicely. Or, you can belly up to the bar from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (and all day Sunday) for the happy-hour bar menu, which includes special prices on bites like fish tacos, shrimp, mussels and wings.

As if the regular menu weren’t extensive enough, Josh loves to populate his Blackboard Menu with daily lunch and dinner off-menu specials. In spite of the maritime subtext of the restaurant’s name, there’s a large and varied selection of non-seafood apps and lunch/dinner entrées. One of my favorites is the marinated hanger steak entrée. Sourced from Travis Reid’s Black Angus ranch in Frankford, the dish is served with crispy potatoes and prosciutto Brussels sprouts drizzled with a roasted garlic demi.

In their spare time (really?!) Josh and Jess also prepare prepackaged “heat & eat” meals in two sizes for the homebound, single retirees, people with special dietary needs or simply those who want to eat controlled, health-conscious portions. These special menus rotate every two weeks, with pickup on Sundays and Wednesdays. They are also equipped to host and cater any type of event, with customized menus tailored directly to the client’s particular event, budget and even dietary preferences.

Things don’t get much more small-town than the friendly every-night meet ’n’ greet at Blue Water Grill, located at 226 Main Street. They are open every day. Call 302-934-5160 to double-check their hours. See the entire menu at

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ICONIC SALUTE Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane Homebuilder David Bradley purchased and renovated a ramshackle waterfront beach home into a million-dollar showpiece that evokes one of Ocean City’s...]]> Homebuilder David Bradley purchased and renovated a ramshackle waterfront beach home into a million-dollar showpiece that evokes one of Ocean City’s most iconic buildings — and now, it could be yours.

There used to be a brick rancher at 165 Old Wharf Road. Thanks to a spark of inspiration, Bradley transformed the structure into a miniature version of Ocean City’s famous Life-Saving Station Museum. He’s now selling the 2,425 sq. ft., five-bed, five-bath home for $1.29 million.

Bradley is a native Washingtonian who’s had his own construction company for 40 years. He also grew up coming to Ocean City every summer, and for him, the resort still holds a special place in his heart. For that reason, he decided to pay homage to that late-1800s coastal style, as seen in the Life-Saving Station Museum and in other century-old resort homes.

“People back in the day who did those designs,” he said, “they’re just spectacular, and there’s hardly anything left in Ocean City that speaks to that history. I’m so thankful they had it together enough to preserve that building. I wanted a piece of Ocean City to be preserved. I think it’s a classic design — classic Ocean City.”

Picking up design cues like board-and-batten exteriors, gables and dormers, Bradley soon took an idea from the planning stage into reality. The audacious project occurred over three phases and, remarkably, took him just 11 months to complete.

At first, all Bradley wanted was a basic refurbishment: Demo the kitchen; lose the drop ceiling; drywall the paneling. But once he pulled up the flooring, he saw signs the project would have to become a total gut job. “I underestimated the amount of work it was going to take,” he said. “It was a lot of sweat equity.” 

Phase One included significant investment into the property’s waterfront. He had 170 feet of bulk-head rebuilt and added a dock, which included two full-size boat slips and room for two WaveRunners. The T-shaped dock extends out from the sea wall 20 feet, extends 50 feet wide.  

In Phase Two, after the house was gutted and the brick was stripped, he added the second story to what was then a three-bedroom home. At the same time, in mid-summer 2017, he wanted to still get use from his beach house.

“It wasn’t great, it wasn’t fancy, but we had the furniture in here. I had plywood countertops. We had painted floors, and we got through the season. We literally didn’t have any siding. Neighbors couldn’t figure out what I was doing,” he said.

Phase Two also saw the addition of a cupola, just like the Life-Saving Station Museum. Assembled in the driveway, the cupola weighed in at 5.5 tons, so it had to be lifted by crane onto the home. 

Once that was in place, Bradley and his team had to demolish the old roof beneath it and finish building a new one, all the while suffering through the bitter, blustery winter of 2017-18. 

Phase Three involved adding two more bedrooms to the upstairs. The master suite includes a balcony that overlooks the lagoon, and a well-appointed master bath with a flush-curb shower. The other room is an in-law suite that comes with its own full bathroom, kitchenette, washer/dryer hookup and a separate spiral-staircase entrance.

What’s also noteworthy is that the property sits on the end of the street in the Caine Keys neighborhood, sitting caddy-corner across a 125-foot-wide lagoon and a canal. Lots like this just don’t come available in Ocean City. As far as the renovations, his real estate agent, Nancy Reither, told him: “You’re the only person I know who can knock the ugly off it,” Bradley recalls. 

The exterior of the home is, as Bradley describes it, “maintenance-free.” It may look like wood, but it’s all plastics and composites, from the faux-shake-shingle siding to the cross-T braces on the dormer windows to the garage doors. Even the two-car garage is a fake-out; it’s really only a one car-garage with some room for bicycles.

When it came to making the inside of the house beautiful, he put that in the hands of some very competent area professionals. Local artist Lola Panco painted a blue-sky mural on the ceiling of the cupola and stenciled a compass rose on the main living-room ceiling. Christina Lawson, owner of Ish Boutique, did all their interior decorating.

Bradley also picked out a few pieces of authentic maritime décor, like an antique rope ladder and an aluminum ship’s light. One focal point on the first floor is a life-size wooden carving of a tuna, strung by its tail and hanging from the ceiling by ship’s rope.

The overall budget fell into the $1 million range, with renovations and construction totaling about $600,000 and the land purchase coming in at $345,000. For more information or to see the home, contact Nancy Reither with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Ocean City. 

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ALL IN THE FAMILY Wed, 31 Dec 1969 19:00:00 -0500 Jennifer Cording For Tisha Ward Buchanan, designing interiors with a coastal flair comes naturally. The daughter of professional upholsterers in Dagsboro, Tisha has...]]> For Tisha Ward Buchanan, designing interiors with a coastal flair comes naturally. The daughter of professional upholsterers in Dagsboro, Tisha has been in the business since 1979 and opened her own store in Bethany Beach in 1995. Originally an accessory gift shop, Perfect Furnishings evolved into a full-line furnishing and interior-design store five years later. 

“Clients kept finding me and wanting me to do their whole homes,” said Tisha. “They wanted me to help with new building and renovations, from redesigning bathrooms to furnishing the entire home.”

Upscale coastal looks are Tisha’s specialty, a love shared by daughter Cortney Thompson, who is lead designer and store manager, alongside her mom. Younger daughter Tori Buchanan also works at Perfect Furnishings part-time while in college. Along with the store’s other employees, they provide the area with a superior decorating service. Tisha frequently hears from visitors that hers is the best-looking furniture store they’ve encountered.

“It makes me feel like we’re doing it right,” Tisha said, adding that her business’s top priority is catering to the customers.

“I pay attention to what my clients’ wants and needs are,” she said. “I don’t sell them what I want to sell them, like a lot of designers. It’s about paying attention to your customer. Our design service is complementary to our customers and their wants.”

Repeat customer Diane Wiczulis agreed. 

“I just can’t say enough about Tisha,” Diane said. “I just love her. She helps your personality come through.” 

It was the second home that Tisha designed for Wiczulis, who never considered anyone else for the job of decorating her residence in The Refuge. From the L-shaped sofa to the palette of blues ranging from aqua to navy, the home is perfectly decorated for her taste, Diane said.

“The colors are very beautiful,” she added. “Even the little touches she puts around make it very homey and stress-free.”

Even more importantly, the home is family-friendly, Diane said. While the rest of the family relaxes, her toddler grandsons can put together puzzles and watch television comfortably or play in the upstairs bedroom accented with a fish theme.

Tisha was respectful of both her taste and her budget, she said. Plus, Perfect Furnishings does all of the work involved, from hanging curtains and pictures to plumping pillows and plugging in the lamps. 

“She’s very easy to work with,” said Diane. “I feel like she doesn’t overpower your style. I still feel like I decorated my own home.”

Tisha feels fortunate that her talent for design comes naturally to her. A blank wall is like an artist’s canvas, she says.

“You have to be able to envision how the end product will turn out. I’m very lucky to have an eye for color,” Tisha said. “This is how I live. Everything is life and color.” 

She also makes multiple buying trips every year to keep up with new trends, though she doesn’t necessarily follow them, so her design work doesn’t look dated. In addition, every house remains unique. 

“We are not a cookie-cutter design business,” Tisha added. “We never make one home resemble another. Our work is unique to every home, every room we do.”

Wiczulis recommends Perfect Furnishings to anyone looking to decorate an ocean-side home. 

“If you want a beach look, I just can’t say enough,” she said.  

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NOVEL APPROACH Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Only a few moments into conversation with Mary Alice Monroe, it is crystal clear that she is fully cognizant of how lucky she is. Not only is she a...]]> Only a few moments into conversation with Mary Alice Monroe, it is crystal clear that she is fully cognizant of how lucky she is. Not only is she a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist with a great husband and life in a vintage cottage on the Isle of Palms, in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, she counts folks like actress Andie MacDowell among her friends and is anticipating the April 2018 release of the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie that was just made based on her book The Beach House, which stars MacDowell, Minka Kelly and Chad Michael Murray.

Monroe’s new book is titled Beach House Reunion, the latest installment in her phenomenally successful “Beach House” series. Known as an avid environmentalist and conservationist, Monroe has written her way into a robust cottage industry (literally) that uses richly textured narrative to not just draw parallels between humans and nature but also to unite them. Monroe herself is easily as graceful and prepossessing as even the best of her southern-belle characters, which is why it is a particular treat that she will visit the Eastern Shore in May, with book-signing stops in Frankford, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach.

We sat down with Monroe in advance of her book tour to get her thoughts on Beach House Reunion, writing in general and even the planet at large, and it was time exceptionally well spent.

CSM: Please explain your process when you sit down to write a novel.

MAM: It’s probably different than a lot of people. When I sit down to write a novel, I don’t have a story; I don’t even have a story idea. Something inspires me to pick a species to focus on…

You mean like a species of animal?

Yes, like the monarch butterfly or something. Then I go do my academic research, extensively, reading about them and speaking with experts in the field. Then, I expose myself the species itself and to the people who care for them, watching what they do and getting a sense of who they are, which helps with my characterization. During this process, certain themes begin to emerge and, hopefully, I call pull what I learned about the animal and create the parallel in human terms. Then I have to make the model for it, and I just start churning… I call it projectile writing. I will write fast and hard — 12-hour days — I just keep going until I get what Anne Lamott calls “my shitty first draft.” It’s somewhere in the middle of that that I go, Ahh… that’s what the story is about! And then I go through multiple drafts. Then I apply craft, and structure and pace.

Do you write on a keyboard or on a pad?

I write on a keyboard, but each novel has those composition notebooks filled with my notes. I love those notebooks! 

How much of your plot and characters’ actions and words come to you as a surprise rather than as a product of premeditation?

That’s interesting. Some authors premeditate everything their characters say and do. Other authors do what they call “jumping off a cliff,” which is when the author has really no idea where things are going when they sit down at the keyboard. I do what I call “jumping off a cliff with a parachute,” so, I know what’s going to happen in a scene, but then I buckle my seatbelt and let the characters go. If, however, they stray too far from what I intend, I’ll rein them back in… but at least I let them have their say [laughs]. I’m also aided by the amount of information I get from my dreams. I can dream entire scenes for one of my books. 

You’re kidding. What a gift!

Well, thank you, but I do truly believe that we are connected to something higher, something greater out there in the universe, and I believe that everybody has the ability to such things if they are receptive to them. I do think it’s a gift, but it’s a gift we all have. So, when you do something great, remember to retain your humility, because chances are there were other things or forces at work beyond just you. When people think it’s all them, I begin to worry about them a little bit.

Are you a conservationist/environmentalist who discovered that she can write, or are you a writer who is passionate about conservation and the environment?

Oh [laughs], I am absolutely a writer first and foremost. I began as an author and got into conservation in my personal life only. Eventually, as I learned more and grew more passionate about conservation, I decided to use my writing talent to spread the word and try do some good. But I am and always will be a writer first.

Where are you from?

I am from originally Chicago but later lived in D.C. for many years; my husband was at the [National Institutes of Health], during that time when they just mowed over the landscape and made all that development, in the ’80s. When I came to Charleston [S.C.] permanently, I saw quite quickly how naive, in a way, the people were, thinking that it would always be there. And I knew differently. I lived in Florida for a while, too. My husband’s family are all from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut-Vermont area. 

And, yet, you speak kindly of them anyway!
[Laughs vociferously.]

What story does this book give you the opportunity to tell that you hadn’t explored to your satisfaction previously?

That’s a great question. I really didn’t intend to write this book, but a certain momentum arose following the previous “Beach House” book, with a lot of fan mail from the readers, asking me not to leave them hanging, plus they were going forward with the Hallmark Andie MacDowell movie, so I felt like the right thing to do was just to go with it and basically ride the wave of interest and enthusiasm that surrounded the series at that point. But when I went back and read The Beach House, to reacquaint myself with the original details of the story, I realized there was a family dysfunction there, something that I should really bring out and settle. Also — and it took five books to do it — but I felt I needed to complete my character Palmer’s story arc. And I feel really good about that.

Is there a character you have created that is most dear or precious to you?

Lovie [of the “Beach House” series].

Is there another subject that you are champing at the bit to explore?

YES! And I will! There are two, actually. One is Christmas. The other is deeply rooted in my educational background; if you do your homework, you’ll be able to figure out what it is.

Which writers are your literary heroes?

For sure: Pat Conroy, Rachael Carson, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens — and I love Rosamunde Pilcher! She can make characters so real, you’d want to watch them make toast.

Which characters from fiction resonate in your heart and mind the most powerfully?

Well, every women who read [Jane Austen’s] Pride and Prejudice wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet. I love Pip [Dickens’ Great Expectations]… Charles Dickens saved my life in the eighth grade; I was a lonely child, and he was there for me. Jane Eyre is great! Also, [Mariko] from [James Clavell’s] Shogun, I love, and definitely Lady Murasaki from The Tale of Genji. I have an Asian studies background, so that’s why. Edna Pontellier in [Kate Chopin’s] The Awakening — oh, and definitely Atticus [Finch, of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird]. These are all characters who have stayed with me through the years. 

Are you satisfied with the movie version of Beach House Reunion?

I think the film is a beautiful interpretation of my book, and I’m very pleased with it. I’d really like the readers of my books to know that. I think a lot of readers set themselves up for disappointment because they go in looking for basically a visual clone of the book they loved, and that’s not only unrealistic, it’s unfair. Film is an entirely different medium, with entirely different constraints. The two shouldn’t really even be compared. I’m very satisfied with the movie, and I think “Beach House” fans should be, too.

Ultimately, what do you want to achieve with your writing?

Of course, more than anything else, I want to move people by telling good stories well. But my personal motivation is that I believe we are on the precipice of potential climate disaster, so I’m writing fast and hard to try to effect change in my own time. So when I die, if my work dies with me, but I made a difference in my own time, that’s enough for me. I would have achieved my goal.

In Reunion, Cara sees someone from her past who has left this Earth. So, have you ever seen a ghost?

Several times. I don’t really mind saying it now, though years ago I probably wouldn’t have talked about it. I’ve seen my parents, and was visited by a couple of others, which manifested in other ways, but those instances I’m not quite ready to talk about yet.

Will there be another installment to this series?

Well, the book I’m writing right now is not a “Beach House” book, but I’ll tell you that a “Beach House” character does make an appearance in the book — and that’s all I’m going to say about that [laughs coyly], but there will be another “Beach House” book.


In support of the latest release in her “Beach House” series, Mary Alice Monroe will autograph copies at the following Delaware locations: 

Wednesday, May 30

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery
32512 Road 374

Bethany Beach
Wednesday, May 30th

6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Bethany Beach Books
99 Garfield Parkway

Rehoboth Beach
Thursday, May 31

12 p.m. Ticketed event with Browseabout Books
Call 302-226-2665 to register.



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INSIDE TEMPLE GRANDIN'S INCREDIBLE MIND Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman Temple Grandin, PhD, has led an extraordinary life — one filled with uncertainty and challenges, perseverance and awe-inspiring accomplishments. She...]]> Temple Grandin, PhD, has led an extraordinary life — one filled with uncertainty and challenges, perseverance and awe-inspiring accomplishments. She is the most well-known person in the world with autism, having authored many bestselling books that have revealed crucial details of the autistic mind never before known. Dr. Grandin was also the subject HBO’s biopic Temple Grandin, in which Claire Danes’ performance as Temple won both Emmy and Golden Globe awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. 

Dr. Grandin is also a professor at Colorado State University, renowned expert of animal behavior and a scientific pioneer who singlehandedly changed the way livestock are handled in the United States. She also consults for firms such as McDonald’s, Swift and Burger King. In 2010, Time 100 named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in its Heroes category. 

Dr. Grandin frequently speaks around the world as an autism advocate and animal rights activist and will do so June 9 in Salisbury as the featured guest at Dove Pointe’s 50th Anniversary Gala at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. In an exclusive interview, she spoke with Coastal Style about her life with autism, today’s challenges for those with the disorder, her new book and more.  


What are your earliest memories from childhood?

Well, when I was a real little kid, I loved art, and that was always encouraged. And I loved to build things. When I was a kid, I would make airplanes and helicopters and loved to fly kites, anything. If it flew, I loved it. And my art ability was always encouraged.  


You didn’t speak until the age of 3½. Do you recall that time? 

I was a mess. No speech, just screaming. No social interaction. When I finally started to speak at 3½, it was with lots of flash cards and repeated practice with words. 


Your mother was very instrumental in your upbringing. She believed wholeheartedly in you and refused to allow you to be institutionalized. Correct?

She absolutely wasn’t going to allow that. Fortunately, she got good advice from a neurologist who recommended a little speech-therapy school that two teachers taught out of their basement. And I got really good early intervention. Lots of emphasis on turn taking, lots of emphasis on learning how to eat properly and learning how to speak. And then she could see that I was improving. But she got really good early advice.


You struggled through school until your high school science teacher, Mr. Carlock, recognized and nurtured your talents. How influential was he in your life?

Well, he was a huge influence, because I was not a good student. I went away to a special boarding school after getting thrown out of ninth-grade for fighting. [She was repeatedly mocked and bullied throughout school. One day, she threw a book at a student in retaliation and was expelled]. At my new school, they put me to work running a horse barn, and I learned how to work. Mr. Carlock came in the latter part, and we did interesting science projects like optical illusions, and that got me interested in science. Now, studying became a pathway to a goal of becoming a scientist. It wasn’t just do high school for doing it; it was doing it to get into college. And Mr. Carlock was extremely influential;
I mean, he turned me around. Absolutely influential. Mentors are really important, and Mr. Carlock was very important. And when I was away at college, I still visited with him. So, he spanned both high school and college, which was really good. I would go over to their house on weekends, and we would do science projects.


How would you describe today’s treatment or intervention of autism?

I was in early intervention that was as good as any program then by age 2½. We’re doing a good job on early intervention. Where we’re falling down is as the kid gets a little bit older, they get addicted to video games. One of the biggest problems I’m seeing with smart, fully verbal kids is they’re not learning working skills. They’re not getting summer jobs. There’s a tendency to overprotect them too much. 


At what age do you feel intervention of these types should begin?

My ability, in part, was really encouraged from third grade on. It starts with chores in little kids. Middle school kids need to be walking dogs for pay. They need to be doing volunteer work on a schedule outside the home. In little kids, 20 hours a week of one-on-one time with an effective teacher is crucial. I want them learning turn-taking, learning their words, learning basic skills. When the kids get older, I want them to take their strengths to music, art, writing, whatever it is and develop it. And if it’s somebody who’s more severe, take something they’re good at and develop that, too. They need to learn basic skills. Good teachers just know how to do that. They have the knack. Now, something with a lot of punishment -— no, I don’t go for that. But if I had tantrums, I’d have a night without television.


So, consequences were important?

Oh, there were consequences. Definitely. Yes, there were definitely consequences.


And structure?

And structure, yes. You had to be at dinner at 6 p.m. You had to be ready for pickup for school at 7:30 a.m. And that was enforced. I was expected to be on time. And manners were taught to all kids in a very structured way in the ’50s.


You’ve been able to articulate how the autistic mind functions differently through three categories. What are they?

By questioning many people both on and off the autism spectrum, I have learned that there are three different types of specialized thinking. You have an object visualizer. This is a person who thinks in pictures, specific pictures. That’s how my mind works. And a lot of artists are object visualizers. And then engineers, more mathematicians, are pattern thinkers. I refer to them as music and math thinkers. They think in patterns rather than in pictures. Then you have people who are verbal logic thinkers. They know everything there is to know about their favorite type of car or favorite baseball player. All minds of the autism spectrum are detail-oriented, but how they specialize varies. And I go over the research on this in my book, The Autistic Brain


What challenges did you confront as you attempted to enter the workforce?

Well, when I started out in the ’70s, being a woman in a man’s world, it was really hard. There were no women working in the feed yards in Arizona. And I started out one project at a time, designing things. One of the things I got frustrated with, fairly early on, was getting people not to be rough with cattle. What started turning things around is when you have big customers insisting on it, like McDonald’s, then there’s some motivation to change some of the ways. And things are so much better now than they used to be. I’m not saying they’re perfect, but cattle handling, for example, is way better now than it was 20 years ago. That’s for sure. But you start one project at a time, with your early adopters who do things right, and then I would write about them. I wrote; I was a writing machine. I wrote for national magazines. I wrote for state magazines. You have to write about it. 


Very insightful.

And you work on things one project at a time. Then you get some big brakes. Like if you saw the movie about me, I got asked to design those dip vats, and I was about the 60 percent level of knowledge, and I said, “Give me three weeks,” because I knew it would take time to get the drawings, the concrete reinforcing that I didn’t know how to do.
I scampered around, and I found out.


You could essentially create solutions by drawing the pictures in your mind, right?

Yes, I drew it up. I developed a lot of equipment through drawing the pictures in my mind. One piece of equipment I developed was the Center Track Restrainer System for large meat-packing plants. It’s in all the large beef plants, the real big ones. My actual drawings are in the movie. There’s a scene in the movie where there’s a big drawing out on a table with a bunch of guys around it, that is a copy of one of my actual hand drawings, and then they animated cattle over the top of it. 


Truly fascinating.

Yes, when doors open, you need to walk through them. 


What are your impressions of the movie HBO made of your life?

I thought they did a great job with it. I loved how they showed all the projects. It showed visual thinking accurately and anxiety, too. I liked it a whole lot.


What were your impressions of Claire Danes?

She did a fabulous job. She became me. She worked very, very hard on that.


Did you notice, after the movie, that your life changed in any way?

Oh man, did I get busy on the speaking opportunities. That movie was a big, big hit for HBO and for me.


Are you working on any projects currently?

I’ve got a new book coming out, called Calling All Minds: How to Think Like an Inventor. I recreated some of my childhood projects, likes kites and parachutes. My goal is getting kids to make things creatively. It’s one of my favorite books. It’s got a lot of patents in it, a lot of stories about inventors. And then it has 25 projects for kids. 

When can we expect that?

This May. 


Have you been to Maryland before?

Oh yes. Definitely. Yep, I’ve been to Maryland before. Very definitely.


Have you had the occasion to come to the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

Yes. I actually came out to give a talk on chickens. I’ve visited with the people from Purdue. I think that’s on the Eastern Shore, if I remember correctly.


That’s absolutely correct. That’s in Salisbury. Do you recall when that was?

It was about a year ago.


When you return to Salisbury in June, you’ll be speaking to help commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dove Pointe, which is a wonderful community facility that assists people with various disabilities. What will be the theme that evening?

Well, I always talk about developing strengths. No matter the person, take the thing he or she is good at and encourage it to the best of their ability. It’s like what Stephen Hawking had to say: “Concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well.” 


Have you considered the impact and influence you’ve had on the world of autism and animal rights? How does that make you feel?

I feel it’s a responsibility. I treat it very, very seriously, because it’s a responsibility.


> 7b9a724de5d329a7e857a6d3d83e29fa 10 MINUTES WITH... ]]>
INDELIBLE MARK Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman Known as a gentle giant, a 6-foot-3-inch Mark Fritschle loved the slopes of Beech Mountain, NC, where he worked as a part-time ski instructor and...]]> Known as a gentle giant, a 6-foot-3-inch Mark Fritschle loved the slopes of Beech Mountain, NC, where he worked as a part-time ski instructor and full-time ski bum in the early 1970s. His friendly, easygoing personality was infectious, and his large circle of friends thought he’d missed his calling as a salesman. By sheer coincidence, the resort’s townhomes weren’t selling as well as expected, and Mark was asked to join the team in an effort to strengthen sales. It took just one week for Fritschle to outsell the veteran group’s total output from the previous month — and a real estate career was born.   

About that same time in 1975, Len Frenkil, a prominent Baltimore real estate developer, and his father, Victor Frenkil, an influential international contractor, had just completed construction on the Golden Sands condominium project in Ocean City. The 360-unit luxury building was introduced at a time when the resort’s market was oversaturated with properties, so much so that at least seven other condominium complexes were in foreclosure. Undeterred, Len hired a couple of salesmen from North Carolina to market the properties, including a humble yet confident 28-year-old named Mark Fritschle. 

“Mark’s presence, charm and confidence was obvious from the moment he was onboard,” said Len, an octogenarian who remains busy today with a boutique development on the shores of the Potomac in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. “He and Victor became an instant team. While surrounding projects in foreclosure were busy slashing their prices, Victor and Mark were actually able to sell theirs for 5 percent more than the original list price. Mark sold more units than all the other salesmen on the team put together. In fact, given the condition of the Ocean City market at that time, it is more than likely that Mark sold more condominiums than anybody in Ocean City altogether.”       

After his success at the Golden Sands, Fritschle founded Condominium Realty, Ltd. This began an entrepreneurial career that would span four decades — one that would transform the resort’s real estate landscape and leave his indelible “Mark” on the industry. 

“You’ve got to live this business. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job,” Fritschle had once said. “The most important thing is credibility.”

By the early 1980s, Mark had used that drive and determination to create two thriving real estate ventures. Condominium Realty was a leader in the sale of resort condos and single-family homes, and Central Reservations was his full-service property rental company, which controlled a majority of the vacation rentals in town.

Although his companies were flourishing, Mark saw yet another opportunity to enhance the overall experience for his buyers and sellers, so he merged Condominium Realty and Central Reservations with Coastal Realty owner C. Terry Hough in 1985. The partnership brought the three largest real estate companies in Ocean City together to form one dominant brokerage.

“By combining budgets, the economies of scale offer us a lot of benefits,” Mark said at the time. “Before the merger, neither of us was big enough to do all that we wanted to do. We were never able to provide the full management direction we needed. Now we’re able to spend more time in training our agents, and that makes us more professional.”

Operating from six Ocean City offices, three on Coastal Highway and locations inside the Carousel Hotel, The Plaza Condominium and the Golden Sands, Coastal/Condominium Realty had 85 full-time agents, 15 office staff and an inventory of 1,300 rental units. The company’s growth continued when Fritschle and Hough merged with O’Connor, Piper and Flynn in 1986.

Fritschle was successful due in large part to his team, and he not only provided each access to the latest training and continuing education, he personally took pride in their achievements. Mark was always known to have had an open-door policy and readily provided agents with aspects of his experience and knowledge. Even his secretaries and bookkeepers were licensed Realtors, not because they were expected to sell properties but because Mark wanted them to be experts in real estate to properly handle the volumes of information coming through the office on a daily basis.

“By doing that,” he said, “they give the individual agent in the field the opportunity to be with the client longer, to help match them with the perfect property that fits their needs and budget.” 

Technology was always important to Mark, who believed that utilizing the very best computers and software platforms would reap his agents and clients tremendous benefit. Even in the 1980s, Condominium Realty managed a database of 12,000 renters through a sophisticated data network. For its day, this computer system was unrivaled in Ocean City and was widely considered to be the most advanced real estate system of its kind on the East Coast. 

Fritschle’s philosophies and practices were embraced by his agents.

“Mark Fritschle was an island when it came to Ocean City real estate,” said longtime fellow Realtor, broker and onetime real estate company owner Wayne Phillips. “I worked with Mark for over 30 years. He took Ocean City real estate very seriously, and he always made sure we were prepared for any situation, but he still took time to smile, laugh and joke with all of his agents. His dedication to our industry was unlike anyone else in Ocean City.” 

“Mark was able to bring together a staff of real estate professionals to service the needs of developers and investors in Ocean City and northern Worcester County like no one else could,” said attorney and longtime friend Randy Coates. “Mark developed a staff that was loyal to his vision of Ocean City, and through that staff, he was able to reach the pinnacle of success as a real estate broker.”


In 1990, Fritschle was awarded the Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation, the highest award real estate brokerage managers can receive for experience and educational excellence. Worcester County Commissioners President James G. Barrett took note and sent Mark a congratulatory letter of accomplishment. This was one of many awards Mark earned during his distinguished career.

During the 2008 recession, the company was reduced to a team consisting of just six agents and three staff members. Undeterred, Mark directed the company’s resurgence under its new moniker, The Mark Fritschle Group at Condominium Realty, and quickly returned to the pinnacle of local real estate. 

Five years earlier, while preparing for a real estate transaction, Mark crossed paths with Lora Mae. This chance meeting would be unlike any of the thousands of settlements before it, as it set the tone for a life-changing relationship. When Lora relocated to Ocean Pines in 2005, they soon became an inseparable couple. Mark and Lora had their first date aboard Len Frenkil’s yacht that fall; she joined the company as a Realtor in 2006, and they were married during a sunset ceremony in 2009, forming a dynamic team personally
and professionally that they cherished.

“I married a man who was kind, giving, had a passion for real estate, loved family, and he loved me unconditionally,” Lora said. “At the very core of who he was, Mark loved this business, the profession and the agents in his company. The satisfaction he gained from providing a professional home for the agents in his company was a major driving force in his life. 

“He was always even keel, always tried to solve problems,” she continued. “He would say to anyone who came to him with a problem, ‘You have told me the problem; now tell me the solution.’ He was respected and a perpetual teacher who could be intimidating and caringly embracing all at the same time.” 

Away from the office, Mark enjoyed spending time with his family, his dog, Sophie, fly-fishing, skiing, golfing and traveling. He was a sushi connoisseur and ate it three times a week. He could also be found riding his bike on the Boardwalk and watching sunsets with a Pearl vodka drink.

Unknown to most, Mark was no stranger to near-death experiences. According to Lora, when he was 18, Mark and his sister, Jan, were both declared dead at the scene of a tragic family-car accident. While both survived, Mark lived with its ramifications daily, including limited vision in one eye and one leg that was three-quarters of an inch longer than the other.  

In 2015, Mark sought medical advice, following an extended period of labored breathing and fatigue. Fifteen days of testing at the University of Maryland Medical Center ultimately concluded that he needed a lung transplant. 

“We didn’t know what was wrong, but we never expected to hear those words,” Lora said. 

Mark’s family, personally and professionally, entered a time of uncertainty, while he himself did the same. Unexpectedly, after just 13 days on the recipient list and on Father’s Day, a donor was found. The complex surgery ensued, as did numerous complications, which resulted in his hospitalization for more than three months.

“He told me on numerous occasions that he knew that every sunrise was a blessing; every day was a bonus day; and he was going to cherish every single moment he had,” Lora said.   

Mark’s son, Grant, and Lora’s daughter, Heather, ran the company, so Lora could be with and care for Mark. Fritschle would return home and regain his strength through rehabilitation. But as often occurs with organ transplants, complications arose, and Mark was admitted again to the University of Maryland on Valentine’s Day 2017, suffering from chronic rejection. He passed away three months later, on May 29, at the age of 69.

“He was my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my companion, my love, my Mr. Wonderful,” Lora said.

“Spending 20 years working side-by-side with anyone can be a daunting task. Doing so by the side of a family member might be considered by some to be impossible,” said Grant, whose credentials as a Broker, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) are some of the most respected in the industry. “Yet, after 20 years of working, learning and hustling by my father’s side, I can’t recall a single moment where I wasn’t happy to be there. I cherished every moment and wish that I had more.  

“Twenty years later, the greatest gift he passed along to me is knowing that he lives on in me and through me. His teachings guide my every decision. His life lessons live in my every thought,” he continued. “His voice resides in my head and in my heart, keeping me strong and focused on the future. My father was a man of vision who always looked to the future, to be one step ahead, and that’s where this company will strive to always be. I know that I’ll never fill his shoes or follow in his footprints. More importantly, I know that he never would have wanted me to. I’ll fill my own shoes and I’ll walk my own path and I’m honored to do so with his name, with his teachings, lessons and his guiding hand at my back, pointing me in the right direction.”   

“I’ve worked for Mark my entire career and I consider myself extremely lucky,” said Kevin Decker, one of Condominium Realty’s top producing Realtors. “I admired his work ethic so much, but more importantly, it was his calm demeanor that impressed me most. In 15 years, I never saw him rattled. He never let the pressure of this business, which can be extremely intense, get to him. He was more than my boss; he was my friend. If I had my way, he’d still be here, but I’m glad I got to share an office with him and learn from the very best. I believe I’m better for that, and I’m grateful.” 

Mark is survived by Lora; sons Grant, Drew and Chase Fritschle; daughters Heather Engler and Sarah deStackelberg; seven grandchildren and two sisters, among many other family members.

Lora and Grant have forged forward at Mark Fritschle Group/Condominium Realty in Mark’s absence, carrying on the principles and values set in 40 years of stone by its founder. Their plans for the future are quite simple: “We will continue to pride ourselves on providing our agents and clients with the highest-quality services and relationships in the business,” Lora said. “At the end of the day, we recognize this business isn’t about concrete condominiums or single-family homes. It’s about people. And we’ll do our best to take care of each one of them with every ounce of energy and support that we have.”   

Today, the brokerage has over 65 full-time agents and nine employees and recently expanded to open its first Delaware location. Mark Fritschle Group/Condominium Realty property listings appear on over 75 websites, including Zillow, Trulia, and, the company’s comprehensive website. Condominium Realty continues to invest in new technology, software and programs, too, which helps to make the buying and selling processes more efficient and successful.

Mark’s legacy also lives on through the Mark & Lora Fritschle Pulmonary Research Fund, an initiative of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Created by Mark and Lora, the fund supports research, new treatments and therapies needed to provide hope for patients suffering from lung and respiratory disease.

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THE FACE OF COMPASSIONATE URGENT CARE ACROSS THE SHORE Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Nick Brandi “So that others may live...” is the code Dr. Walt Gianelle lived by since his youth, when he was part of the pararescue team in the United States...]]> “So that others may live...” is the code Dr. Walt Gianelle lived by since his youth, when he was part of the pararescue team in the United States Air Force, putting his courage and commitment on the line during test flights of the space shuttle Columbia. Admirably, it’s the code he’s lived by ever since.

In 2005, Dr. Gianelle founded Your Doc’s In with that same singular mission in mind. No wonder it has emerged as the premier urgent-care facility on the Lower Eastern Shore, with a total of six offices, including West Ocean City, North Salisbury, South Salisbury, Cambridge, Pocomoke and Easton. Dr. Gianelle launched Your Doc’s In because his extensive experience in healthcare  made him acutely aware that there was a growing gap on the Eastern Shore that in the near future would be of vital importance to the welfare of the community. He realized the local population was growing and people were having increasing difficulty getting in to see their primary-care physicians for urgent but non-emergency treatment.

This, in turn, was driving people into the emergency rooms of local hospitals, which were not designed to handle high volumes patient traffic for non-emerging conditions. The elegant solution was to set up a strategic series of urgent-care centers staffed with talented, dedicated, well-trained providers that could respond quickly and efficiently to the unexpected illness and injury needs of a growing community while alleviating the increased demand that was being imposed on hospital ERs and primary-care physicians.

Dr. Gianelle’s vision was a success. A tremendous success. Not only does Your Doc’s In provide treatment and relief for 90,000 Eastern Shore residents every year, they have become an invaluable asset to not only primary-care providers but also local hospitals, including PRMC, which is now a healthcare partner with Your Doc’s In at their South Salisbury location.

Your Doc’s In is equipped and prepared to treat approximately 80 percent of what an ER can do, including colds and flu, sprains, fractures, chest and abdominal pains, respiratory issues, concussions, vomiting and nausea, infections, STDs, UTIs, burns, allergies, rashes, lacerations, cryotherapy and biopsies, as well as provide diagnostic imaging, EKGs and IV administration. In other words, if you can be driven to their clinic, they can treat you.

Your Doc’s In accepts all contemporary insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, and is standing by, to make you feel better, faster.

Dr. Walter D. Gianelle  

YOUR DOCS IN   |   877-222-4934   |

2425 N. Salisbury Blvd., Salisbury

1135 S. Salisbury Blvd., Salisbury

2385 Ocean Gateway, West Ocean City

Additional locations in Easton, Cambridge and Pocomoke 

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THE FACE OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGES Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Brian Shane If it’s been awhile since you bought a house, know that the lending process has changed a lot since the housing crisis of a decade ago. Getting...]]> If it’s been awhile since you bought a house, know that the lending process has changed a lot since the housing crisis of a decade ago. Getting homebuyers up to speed with the new rules of lending is where Kari Story shines. As branch manager of First Home Mortgage in Ocean City, she and her team expertly walk clients through the lending process from start to finish.

First Home is a correspondent lender, working with multiple investors who give her access to different prices and interest rates.

“There’s so much anxiety in purchasing a home — and it can be good anxiety, like excitement — but it’s still a stressful thing,” Story said. “For me, what I see with a client is, if you set the expectations and let everybody know that this is the timeline, then they’re prepared.”

After graduating from Salisbury University with a mathematics and statistics degree in 2002, Story fell in love with the Shore and longed to be near the ocean. She soon decided to get a real estate license and work in Ocean City. It set the stage for a turning point in her career.

“I was sitting an open house one day,” Story recalled, “and had a guy come in who worked for a mortgage company. He said, ‘Wow, if you graduated with a math and statistics degree, you shouldn’t be selling property; you should be financing it.’ And I replied,
‘Well, give me a job!’ He quickly replied, ‘OK!’ And I’ve been doing it ever since.”

After a few years with National City Mortgage and Met Life, Story was recruited to open a new branch in Ocean City for First Home Mortgage. “I ended up falling in love with the company,” she said. “First Home is large enough to have the products, resources and tools I need but still small enough to feel like you’re family. Everybody says it when they come in here. We have a good mojo, a good vibe in here.”

Today, Story closes upwards of $60 million in loans annually. She is licensed in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Giving clients “five-star service” remains her top priority.

“Anybody who sets foot in this door can tell you that we treat people the way they would like to be treated,” she said. “We’ll do anything to make our customers’ lives easier.” 

Kari Story


443-614-6286  | 6200 Coastal Hwy., Suite 301, Ocean City

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THE FACES OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL NEW KITCHEN Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Brian Shane Bath Kitchen & Tile Center (BKT) is a third-generation family business focused on offering top-quality products and outstanding service for retail...]]> Bath Kitchen & Tile Center (BKT) is a third-generation family business focused on offering top-quality products and outstanding service for retail and commercial customers alike. No matter the size of the project or its budget, their staff personally connects with each and every customer and provides expert design and installation services to ensure the highest level of satisfaction.

The company has proudly served the Mid-Atlantic region since 1963. For customers, that means long-established relationships with vendors and a time-tested level of expertise and customer service under the direction of owner Bob Campbell. Bob’s son, Richard, is also part of the team, invigorating the business with youthful, energetic and innovative thinking.

Technology is superior here, too. Bath Kitchen & Tile Center’s installation and technical support teams combine talents to generate a true-to-life, 3D computer rendering of a customer’s new kitchen. This experience allows the homeowners to see exactly what their project will look like upon completion. It’s
one of the many outstanding benefits of working with Bath Kitchen & Tile Center.

Countertop fabrication is all done in-house, as well, which is unique for a bath-and-kitchen remodeler, Carter said. This saves customers from the headaches of having to outsource a crucial aspect of the project to another company.  

Inside their state-of-the-art showroom, customers are greeted by a wide variety products and designs for inspiration, from starter kitchens for first-time homeowners to high-end and specialty cabinetry for large-scale projects. A full selection of tile and countertop samples are on display, too, as well as an abundance of bathroom products. 

It’s all proof that their National Kitchen and Bath Association-certified team stays on the cutting edge of design, products and trends — and their customers couldn’t agree more.

“Thanks to you and your wonderful team for the beautiful work in creating our new kitchen. Your team performed as totally dedicated professionals,” Lorraine and Jim wrote after their kitchen was completed. “Rest assured that BKT will be called back to do our bathroom when we get ready. Thanks for taking great care of us and making our kitchen so perfect.”

Photographed at Lessard Builders’ Model in Showfield in Lewes.



302-684-5691 | 26836 Lewes Georgetown Hwy., Harbeson

Showrooms also in Wilmington, DE and Bel Air, MD

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THE FACES OF EXPERT ORIENTAL RUG CLEANING Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Brian Shane In 1983, David Brasure and his wife, Peggy, boldly opened their own carpet cleaning business in Selbyville. One day early into this endeavor, while...]]> In 1983, David Brasure and his wife, Peggy, boldly opened their own carpet cleaning business in Selbyville. One day early into this endeavor, while rolling up Oriental rugs in a customer’s home to steam clean the carpet underneath, David realized there wasn’t a local company caring for these fine, often expensive, keepsakes. Today, 35 years later, Brasure’s Carpet Care is a trusted, household name on the Eastern Shore and the only true, Oriental rug cleaning company in the region. 

Brasure’s Carpet Care headquarters is an impressive 9,000 sq. ft. facility that houses the latest in state-of-the-art cleaning technology. Specialized machines operated by Brasure’s trained-and-certified technicians carefully restore Oriental rugs through its own proprietary process. The rugs go through a series of dirt and dust removal processes, using vacuum, air and mechanical action. Next the rugs go to the wash floor and/or wash tub; there it is hand and/or mechanically washed on both sides. The rugs then travel through a rinsing/wringing machine, followed by a trip through the centrifuge that spins the excess water away. A temperature and humidity controlled dry room is the next phase of the process; there the rugs are hung and dried at a precise temperature, for 4-8 hours to remove the remaining moisture.

Rugs are then examined to determine if any touch-up cleaning is necessary. It’s important to also note that all fringe is cleaned by hand and every delicate rug is washed exclusively by hand. Brasure’s Carpet Care expertly cleans a variety of styles, including flat-weaves, hand-knotted silk rugs, Navajo rugs, tufted rugs and braided rugs — and each is cleaned differently. Customers are invited to tour Brasure’s facilities before their rug is cleaned, during which every step of the process will be explained thoroughly.

Brasure’s processes about 150 Oriental and area rugs each week in its rug plant, while servicing upwards of 100 homes and businesses for on-location carpet, upholstery and tile and grout cleaning using IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) technicians. The company even offers rug pick-up and delivery services, while cash and carry discounts are available.

Brasure’s Carpet Care is a thriving second-generation family business. David and Peggy fondly recall daughter Amber, 32, in a playpen when they were getting the business off the ground. Now, armed with a business degree, she, and brother Justin, 28, are proud to play major roles in the family business.


BRASURE’S CARPET CARE  |  302-436-5652

35131 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville

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THE FACE OF A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jennifer Cording Modern life is demanding, but reiki is a way to achieve lasting balance despite its fast pace, says Eddie McGlinchey, a Usui Reiki Master and owner of...]]> Modern life is demanding, but reiki is a way to achieve lasting balance despite its fast pace, says Eddie McGlinchey, a Usui Reiki Master and owner of Peace of Heaven Reiki in West Ocean City. 

“A lot of people come to me for deep healing of their soul. I try to get them to a place of inner peace,” said McGlinchey.

In 2009, McGlinchey experienced his own life-changing awakening during a reiki session. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to helping others achieve similar results. Whether the issue is anxiety, depression, insomnia or addiction — or if stress simply has left personal goals unmet — McGlinchey offers private and group sessions that promote relaxation and healing, both physically and emotionally. He also treats children with life issues ranging from bullying to autism and other special needs.

Using guided meditation and a natural gift for healing, McGlinchey helps clients understand problems that block growth and better health. An essential part of reiki is the awareness of the body’s chakras. When a chakra is blocked or closed, the body is out of balance and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ailments can manifest. Everyone has a different experience during a reiki treatment, McGlinchey said.

“You can typically feel warm vibrations through your body,” he said. “It’s taking toxins off the chakras. You might feel yourself floating a bit. You might see a past life. I’m touching your soul. Everyone’s soul is different. Everyone has a different experience when they experience reiki.”

McGlinchey’s clients are effusive with praise as many testimonials on the Peace of Heaven Facebook page show. Lydia Pruitt, a restaurant manager who lives in Ocean City, said her very first session with McGlinchey changed her life. “I felt a natural high. I felt free,” said Pruitt, noting she had blockages in each of her body’s chakras. The feeling lasted, she added, and she’s able to use mindfulness techniques to manage anxiety and worry. “It’s definitely eye-opening — the first step in something other than medication,” said Pruitt. “You don’t have to be a reiki expert to gain something from it.”

Eddie takes deep pride in sharing the sacred gift of reiki with others and teaches reiki attunement classes at his studio.  

“The results last,” he said. “It’s life-changing healing. I’ve been extremely blessed to help so many people become who they really are.”

Eddie McGlinchey

PEACE OF HEAVEN REIKI  |  410-726-7468

12417 Ocean Gateway, Unit C28, Ocean City


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THE FACES OF A NEW REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jennifer Cording For Emma Payne, broker/owner of Delmarva Resorts Realty in Lewes, the real estate business is the industry she’s always known.    “Real estate...]]> For Emma Payne, broker/owner of Delmarva Resorts Realty in Lewes, the real estate business is the industry she’s always known. 


“Real estate is in my DNA,” said Emma, whose parents and grandfather were real estate agents in her hometown of Annapolis. “I grew up in a real estate company, and I know what it takes to be successful for clients. At Delmarva Resorts Realty, we enjoy our work while constantly growing and adapting to help our clients live a better life in a better home.”


Emma’s values are rooted in faith, family and her profession, and she says her dedication to all three aspects enhances who she is as a business owner. She knows the necessity of staying on the cutting edge for her clients, too. In 2017, she launched The Emma Payne Group, an eight-person team of buying agents and listing agents, increasing the company’s ability to move properties for sellers and to offer buyers the latest updates on available real estate by incorporating Google technology and social media exposure, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


“It’s an intelligent way of matching new properties to our clients’ specific wants and needs,” Emma said. “We are a proactive brokerage taking real estate service to the next level, by using technology to our advantage, for their benefit.” 


Delmarva Resorts Realty also offers a real estate school for new or experienced agents and is a member of Business Networking International, which enriches relationships with local contractors along with making referrals. “We are constantly educating ourselves, our agents and staff. We participate in continuing-education classes, personal empowerment, lifestyle adaptation, health adjustments and community events through volunteer work,” said Emma.


It’s a way of conducting business that’s obviously working — Delmarva Resorts Realty was voted Best Real Estate Agent in Sussex County in 2016 and 2017 by the readers of Coastal Style

“Our passion is real estate,” said Emma. “The difference between the person who has a job, and a person who has a passion, shows. We are in the market every day, working to produce results for our clients’ by using the best tools, knowledge and networks, to get properties sold and help buyers find their perfect homes. We strive to be a person’s real estate agency for life.”


302-644-3687  |  1632 Savannah Road, Suite 2, Lewes



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MEET HOLLY SHIMIZU Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman Casual strolls through the streets of Downtown Lewes have been enjoyed for centuries. The town’s historical significance and timeless charm have...]]> Casual strolls through the streets of Downtown Lewes have been enjoyed for centuries. The town’s historical significance and timeless charm have made these walks a rite of passage for locals and visitors alike. From March through November in recent years, the sidewalks along Kings Highway and Madison Avenue are occasionally congested, however, thanks to the talents of residents Holly Shimizu and her husband, Osamu.  

Holly, a nationally recognized horticulturist and former executive director of the United States Botanic Garden, and Osamu, an award-winning garden designer, have created a world of wonder outside of their home, built in 1730, and passersby cannot help but stop and take note.  

“People are full of curiosity, and we share stories of our successes and failures,” Holly said. “It’s been such a fun process because people are so friendly.
It’s been great to have people stop and chat. We love that.”

Holly and Osamu were meticulous in their garden planning, tweaking the layout of a circa-1730 Massachusetts garden found in a book and obtaining permission from a formal commission for the project.

Today, their gardens are thriving with plants, flowers and herbs in four distinctly different sections, bursting with vibrant colors and bustling with pollenating activity from birds, butterflies and bees. Comprising nearly 10,000 sq. ft., the front is dedicated as a tea garden, in honor of Holly’s time living in London, where she gained a love and appreciation for its rich tradition. Here, she grows plants to make teas, including lemon balm, mints, lemon verbena and herbal varieties. 

Holly also created a fairy garden for neighborhood children to enjoy, a courtyard garden with a beautiful fountain and her interpretation of a dooryard garden, historically used for growing herbs for medicinal purposes and flavoring, which she uses personally.  

“During the growing season [March to November], I average about 15 to 20 hours per week in the gardens. It’s a lot of work for the most part,” Holly said, noting that the recent winter was fairly quiet.

Holly harvests additional fruits of her labor and teaches others how to make all-natural skin products, essential oils, fragrances and insect sprays from the extracts of plants.

Her other garden inspirations, which pay homage to the classic Southern gardens of Charleston, New Orleans and Savannah, can be found locally at Cape Henlopen State Park and the Adkins Arboretum. Cultivating her gardens in Lewes also provides Holly the opportunity to work with well-draining soils for the first time in her life. 

“Having lived various places throughout the world, I always found the soils to be heavy with clay, which always results in situations where plants suffered,” she said. “I had always dreamed of buying a home in Lewes, to work with this amazing soil, with sand where everything grows.”

For wannabe gardeners whose thumbs are lighter shades of green, Holly encourages them to dig right in.

“Try it! Plant away,” she said. “Plants die, so when they do, remember it’s okay. It happens to me, too. It’s no big deal. Move things around until you find the right place. It’s really fun if you’re relaxed about it. Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy the journey and learn from it.”


Holly was host of “Victory Garden” on PBS for 10 years and a consultant to the White House Gardens and Camp David Plant Projects, with former First Lady Laura Bush.


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MEET ABBY MARSH Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman Abby Marsh has successfully prosecuted hundreds of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases during her career as a prosecutor. In her...]]> Abby Marsh has successfully prosecuted hundreds of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases during her career as a prosecutor. In her new role as executive director of the Life Crisis Center in Salisbury, she feels compelled do even more for local victims of these heinous crimes.

“As a prosecutor, I was committed to serving the community by making it a safer place,” Abby said. “My position at the Life Crisis Center allows me to take it a step further, by coming in at a grassroots level and empowering victims to become survivors, so that they no longer have to live in abusive situations. I firmly believe that by providing critical resources to victims, the need for law enforcement and/or court interaction is reduced.”  

The Life Crisis Center’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the community through crisis intervention and violence prevention. The licensed, professional staff uses a national best- practice treatment model to serve Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset Counties and advocate for and provide a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Through prevention, intervention, therapy, legal services, advocacy and collaboration, LCC works to provide a safe place for healing. Some of the comprehensive support services offered include a shelter in its 19-bed safe home, intensive case management, supervised visitation, victim support, abuser groups and outreach.

Unfortunately, according to national statistics, the need for the Life Crisis Center is paramount. For example, did you know that one in four girls and one in four boys under the age of 18 are sexually assaulted? Or that nearly 70 percent of sex offenders have between one and nine victims? Were you aware that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined?

Abby said it’s vital to trust the word of a victim who shares any instance of abuse. 

“Sadly, child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault are far too prevalent in all communities,” Abby said. “We only hear of a limited number because these are the type of crimes that most frequently happen behind closed doors. There is more than one Larry Nasser or one Dr. Earl Bradley among us. False reports are extremely rare and generally cannot be sustained. If the first person told about the abuse believes the victim, then regardless of what happens next, that victim is set on the road to becoming a survivor.”

April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and the LCC’s Pinwheels campaign will host a series of events focused on breaking the silence that surrounds this epidemic, including the planting of a pinwheel garden at the Salisbury Moose Lodge (March 25) and the running of the Pinwheels 5K, in conjunction with the Salisbury Marathon on April 28. LCC will also host a marathon afterparty for kids. Proceeds from these events, and others during the month, will directly benefit local initiatives of the Life Crisis Center.

“Rarely a day goes by that I don’t hear the words, ‘I couldn’t have done this without the help of the Life Crisis Center,’”Abby said, “and that is more than satisfying—it makes it all worthwhile.”

Abby is a passionate fan of the University of Virginia Cavaliers’ basketball team and its head coach, Tony Bennett, whom she says looks exactly like her husband, Steve.

> 614c32cf99d1288201156ddadf6a15c3 PEOPLE OF OUR COMMUNITY ]]>
MEET WILLIAM STRANG-MOYA AND KRISTIN HELF Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman How is it that a couple of college students created the first legitimate film festival in Ocean City in 2017? Simply put: William Strang-Moya and...]]> How is it that a couple of college students created the first legitimate film festival in Ocean City in 2017? Simply put: William Strang-Moya and Kristin Helf are wise souls well beyond their years, and their passion for the film industry, its genuine creativity and the beauty of the Eastern Shore made it all happen. That and a chance meeting with Art League of Ocean City Executive Director Rina Thaler.

William, a Berlin native, and Kristin, from Crofton, met while attending college at Towson University. They made a trip to Ocean City to help a college friend with the production of his thesis film. In need of a last-minute shooting location, a call to Thaler to inquire about the gallery as an option led to a discussion about hosting the film’s debut once it was finished. Thaler, in turn, tossed out the idea of expanding the experience into a festival. 

“We pretty much hit the ground running after that night, and six months later hosted our inaugural festival,” William said.

This year’s festival, presented by The Art League of Ocean City, runs March 9-11 and showcases 100 films from local, regional and international filmmakers (students to professionals) in a variety of genres. Feature-length films will be shown on each of the three festival days, while short films are most abundant on the schedule and cover a wide array of genres, including drama, documentary, experimental, comedy, youth and social commentary. “Not Short But Not Feature Length” selections, animation and music videos are also on the slate. All films will be shown at North Ocean City locations (Ocean City’s Center for the Arts, Fox Gold Coast Theater, The Princess Royale and the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau), to maximize convenience and the opportunity to take in as many entries as possible.

“We choose films that we believe are purposeful and personal to the filmmaker,” William said. “We often prioritize local films, but we ultimately seek films that we know will resonate with our audience. We proactively curate the stories that can’t be found in any ordinary movie theater.”

The weekend also includes a series of workshops for aspiring filmmakers on a variety of topics.

“This region is sort of a dead-end for the film industry,” William said. “I do not view the lack of opportunity on the Eastern Shore as a dead-end, rather
I view the Eastern Shore as a land to be cultivated. Our end-game is to create opportunities where there were none before.”

The 22-year-olds, who’ve graduated from Towson and gotten engaged, hope the festival and its backdrop serves as
an inspiration for others, allows film-makers to create invaluable networking connections and brings renewed awareness to Ocean City as a filming location. 

“More people should realize what a great location this is and that its beauty and uniqueness transfer to the camera,” Kristin said. “If the film festival helps someone realize that in some way, then I think we’ve achieved our goal.”

Tickets to this year’s Ocean City Film Festival, which range from $10 to $50, can be purchased at A complete schedule of viewing times and locations is available online, as well.

A filmmaker himself, William’s latest work is titled “The Sign,” a historical documentary about a Confederate marker in Salisbury, while Kristin is a professional writer.


> 62b2d2c30977d17913373862e291f343 PEOPLE OF OUR COMMUNITY ]]>
MEET MICHAEL JESSUP Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman Michael Jessup considers the five years he lived on the Eastern Shore to be among the very best of his life. From 1998 to 2003, the Towson native...]]> Michael Jessup considers the five years he lived on the Eastern Shore to be among the very best of his life. From 1998 to 2003, the Towson native worked as Salisbury University’s director of Annual Programs, and while doing so, lived in Ocean Pines and directed the Cadillac Invitational golf tournament, which benefited the National Kidney Foundation.  

Jessup, now the executive director of Susan G. Komen Maryland, returns to the resort April 14 for the organization’s popular Ocean City Race for the Cure. The 7th annual event is expected to welcome more than 1,400 participants and has been the largest charitable 5K at the beach since its inception in 2012. Through fundraising events like Race for the Cure, Komen Maryland has invested nearly $5 million into local programs that provide access to screening, treatment and support for those who have been impacted by breast cancer.

Data substantiates that Maryland’s Eastern Shore has steep inequities in breast cancer incidence and mortality rates, especially among minority populations. Four Eastern Shore counties (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester) have been identified as priority areas for Komen Maryland, based on income levels, mammography rates, breast cancer death rates and increases in late-stage diagnoses. 

According to its 2015 Community Profile, Komen Maryland found that in Dorchester County, among women age 40 and older, a 9.3 percent annual increase in late-stage diagnosis rates was reported.

Somerset County has the second-lowest median income, and 14.8 percent of its population lives in poverty, correlating to a high need for mammograms. In Wicomico County, among women age 40 and older, 10.3 percent never had a mammogram, the second-highest percentage in Maryland, and 14.6 percent reported it had been two or more years since they’d had one.

In Worcester County, among women age 40 and older, 20.8 percent reported it had been two or more years since they had a mammogram, the highest percentage in Maryland. It ranked fourth statewide for breast cancer death rates and has seen a 6.1 percent annual increase in late-stage diagnosis rates.

Komen Maryland has a long history of supporting breast health programs that serve Eastern Shore residents, and it currently provides funding to the Wicomico County Health Department, Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC) and Moveable Feast, among many others.

Race for the Cure is a 5K recreational run/walk. Registration starts at 7 a.m., while the Race Village opens at 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. for both runners and walkers. The course travels up the Boardwalk to 18th Street, turns around and continues back to the Inlet. Afterward, other events will include a Survivor Parade and dance party.

“We can accomplish so much by raising funds on the Eastern Shore and investing in programs that serve local residents,” Jessup said. “Susan G. Komen’s mission is to find the cures for breast cancer, but it’s also about providing real-time help to women who are living with the disease.”

To register, donate, volunteer or for the 7th annual Ocean City Race for the Cure, visit

Michael is a excellent cook and talented grill master. While living in Ocean Pines, he prepared his famous smoked brisket for 12 friends. Michael smoked the massive 23-lb cut of beef for more than 19 hours!

> ddb240e73cb807e7926560cbb1639966 PEOPLE OF OUR COMMUNITY ]]>
MEET SCOTT KAMMERER Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman CSM: You and your wife, Lisa, met in college and spent summers in-between semesters working in Rehoboth restaurants. What's one of your fondest...]]> CSM: You and your wife, Lisa, met in college and spent summers in-between semesters working in Rehoboth restaurants. What's one of your fondest memories from that time in your life with her?

SK: We worked at Dos Locos, me and Lisa and our two best friends from high school, the four of us together. It was our second summer here together, and we had so much fun. I just loved how busy it was, the action, the hard work and the fun of working in a restaurant on beautiful summer days.

With the birth of your first son, Griffin, in 1996, you concluded it was time to get sober. Twenty-two years later, what inspirations do you find in your sobriety?

I feel like I have a lot to offer Delaware and our company and that so many families rely on me for their future. That is inspiration enough.

You met your future business partner, mentor and best friend, Matt Haley, at an AA meeting. How have you grown as a businessman and as a person since his passing in 2014?

I think I was a good protégé. I learned as much as I could from Matt, from books on business and leadership, and from being in the restaurants every day. I was ready to become the leader of this company, but I just didn't know it. What I have gained in recent years in confidence in my abilities. 

What's the most important lesson from Matt that you keep with you everyday?

The philanthropic nature of Matt changed the direction of the company, and restaurants in Southern Delaware, in a lot of ways. I don't know if I or if people in the company would be so interested in philanthropy if it wasn't for him. I think we have done a great job in honoring his legacy, and it makes our lives richer. We stand on the shoulders of the people who have come before us. For the SoDel family, we are all buoyed by Matt; he lifts us up every day. 

What messages of hope can you share with young individuals in our community struggling with addictions today?

If you are clean and go to meetings and try to do the next right thing, your life will get better. That is a guarantee. 

You're a former high school All-American wrestler. What from your days on the mat carried over to your professional life?

Never back down. The thing I learned from wrestling is that it doesn't matter where you started. If you are strategic, out work everyone, have a plan and never give up, you will succeed. 

You've said one of your dream jobs is to coach a professional sports team. Which team would choose today?

I'd pick the Cleveland Browns because I really think I could help them. Together we could be relevant. Success is a formula, and you can apply it to many different industries. What works in restaurants could work in the NFL. 

SoDel Concepts continues to redefine the restaurant scene in Coastal Delaware, most recently with the opening of Bluecoast Rehoboth. You’re known to be planner. What can we expect over the next five years? 

Yes, I have a five-year plan, and yes, we will continue to grow the company, but we are not ready to make any public announcements yet. I will say that we are bullish on the beach area, the state of Delaware and the surrounding areas. This will be our growth area and where we feel we can successfully execute on our mission of serving beautiful, simple food.

What do you envision for the evolution of the local industry as a whole over that same time period?

I feel that companies that put their employees first will thrive. Restaurants that are willing to innovate and reinvent themselves will be successful. 

Ten restaurants, a catering company, a restaurant management firm, countless civic endeavors, including SoDel Cares, and a film company. For most, that would be considered one hell of a successful career. At age 44, what motivates you to want to accomplish even more?

I am motivated by all of the people who work for SoDel Concepts. They work hard every day to make the company great, and I have a responsibility to them to build the best company I can to provide jobs for people in Delaware. My passion is to create opportunities for the people who work to make SoDel Concepts great every day. 

SoDel Cares was established in 2014 to continue the philanthropic mission of SoDel Concepts founder Matt Haley. To date, more than $250,000 in grants have been awarded and SoDel Concepts provides in-kind donations of up to $100,000 annually to the charity.

> 53be7d5520e3590ff3a53e7e5d7b2549 PEOPLE OF OUR COMMUNITY ]]>
BOUND FOR GREATNESS Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman It’s an exciting, and often uneasy, time in a high school senior’s life: waiting to learn if he or she has been accepted to the college or...]]> It’s an exciting, and often uneasy, time in a high school senior’s life: waiting to learn if he or she has been accepted to the college or university they’ve dreamed of attending. At The Salisbury School, its strategic approach to academics, development of life-foundation skills and calculated college-preparatory curriculum fully prepares students for the next level of higher learning and does so in an environment that continues to produce acceptance letters from a four-year institution for each and every graduating senior — year after year. 

At the Upper School level (Grades 9-12), students are challenged through a demanding and pioneering college preparatory experience that embraces their love of learning and successfully prepares its graduating seniors to continue their pursuit of academic knowledge and exploration at the finest colleges and universities throughout the country and beyond.  

“This is an environment that encourages students to take risks and to step outside their comfort zone, and because of that, our students leave equipped with the set of skills that are necessary and important beyond a mere college prep,” said Salisbury School Headmaster Ed Cowell. “We’re proud that we generate an experience for our Upper School students that prepares them in ways they wouldn’t get in other places.” 

The Salisbury School is a proud member of The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.

The organization partnered with Gallup in 2017 to investigate how the collegiate experiences of NAIS graduates differ from those of graduates of other high schools. 

The analysis stated, among other conclusions, that NAIS graduates were more than three times more likely to attend elite private universities and top-ranked public universities, including Ivy League colleges, than graduates of other high schools. NAIS graduates also scored higher on the ACT and SAT, on average, and complete their degrees more quickly. 

NAIS graduates entering their first year of college were better positioned heading into their collegiate careers and more likely to seek critical undergraduate experiential-learning opportunities and extracurricular activities, such as student clubs, recreational sports and Greek life. 

The Salisbury School employs a comprehensive college preparation curriculum for each grade level of its Upper School, to completely prepare its students for college. The program is led by its director of College Placement, Gracie Ruark, a former admissions counselor at Salisbury University who brings a wealth of knowledge that directly benefits every student, beginning in 9th grade.

“I think what makes The Salisbury School unique is the one-on-one attention each student receives,” Ruark said. “Every student attends a 40-minute college-prep class once a week, starting in freshman year.” 

The freshman class, Ruark said, focuses on learning the skills that are necessary to be successful in the Upper School, such as organization, time management, study skills, etc. 

The sophomore class learns about health and wellness, which is important at this formative stage of their development as individuals. The junior class digs deeper into the college-search-and-application process, while the senior class puts everything into practice as they prepare their college applications.

The Salisbury School also takes tremendous pride in its rich history of familiar support and actively involves the parents of Upper School students in its college preparation process. 

“[For starters] I am able to explain to students and parents how each piece of the application is important in the review process [GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, essays, etc.] and help them understand how to put together a well-rounded application,” Ruark said. “In the junior year, I meet with each student and their parents, to discuss the college-search process. We discuss their college preferences, PSAT results, grades and junior-year timeline. Then I make a preliminary college list for each student. 

“In the senior year, I work with each student to make sure that they have a solid list of schools to apply to,” Ruark continued. “Students must have a mixture of safety, match and dream schools, to ensure that admission is attained for the following year. I guide each student through the application process. I review their college essays, write letters of recommendation, send the appropriate paperwork to each college and help students complete their applications on time.”

“Gracie has been a tremendous asset to our students and parents and a wonderful ambassador for TSS with colleges and universities all across the country,” Cowell said. “For our families, she outlines what to expect during each Upper School grade level, so no parent is left to wonder what needs to happen next. She helps parents and students navigate the map to the college application-and-selection process. Beyond the incredible work she does here, she’s dramatically broadened the range of colleges and universities familiar with The Salisbury School that are sending representatives to meet and visit with them.” 

On April 12, approximately 20 or more colleges and universities will descend on the TSS campus for the school’s biannual College Fair, at which underclass students can meet with representatives, to discuss aspects of each school and have their questions answered. During the last week of school each year, students embark upon trips throughout the country, planned by the teachers, to experience the history, culture and universities of the region. It’s yet another unique example of student life at TSS.

“We also direct attention to intangible experiences that allow our students to be better prepared for life,” Cowell said. “How to conduct an adult conversation, how to engage people in conversations, how to navigate this complicated world. This is as much a focus with our students and their preparation for life as it is their preparation for college-level work.”

A recent enhancement to this philosophy is the Senior Capstone Project, which allows students an opportunity to demonstrate a synthesis of their academic experience at The Salisbury School through a rich and reflective research project. Consistent with the school’s philosophy of helping students be their best selves, the capstone topics are left to the students to choose, and many reflect a confluence of the students’ personal, academic and civic interests. Upon choosing a faculty oversight committee, students will work independently for 18 weeks, preparing a presentation that demonstrates their knowledge and results of their research. 

The culmination of the Capstone Project is its presentation element. This May, each student will deliver a 20-minute presentation to share their findings in an academic conference setting to their peers, the TSS community and parents.

Topics of research this year include an examination of stress headaches, a study into the differences between drug-offense laws in the United States and United Kingdom and its relation to the opioid epidemic in each country and the ethics of genetic modifications.

The TSS experience is a strategic formula that produces results as 100 percent of its students are accepted to four-year institutions. Its senior class has earned more than $1,000,000 in college scholarships each of the last three years.

The Class of 2018, one of the school’s largest ever, is expected to exceed the recent average of scholarship dollars, and its members have already been accepted to highly regarded universities, such as Vanderbilt, Bucknell and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, among others. These stories of success are realized at home, as well.

I am continually amazed at the maturity, confidence and character developed by Hannah and her classmates throughout their years at The Salisbury School,” said Ron Boltz, whose daughter, Hannah, will graduate this May, having already been accepted to three universities and who plans to study International Relations, International Law or International Business. “As a parent, you want an environment that fosters independence and critical-thinking abilities in your child. As we rapidly approach the time when she will be leaving for college, there is nothing better than knowing that she will be ready.”

“The ultimate focus at The Salisbury School is on how we finish the process and the investment that our parents are making in their sons’ and daughters’ educational experiences, by making sure that they’re getting into the schools of their choice,” Cowell said. “The difference is the breadth of experience that students tend to have, because they can experience so many different things. We feel strongly that this helps our students become deep, critical thinkers who utilize creativity. It doesn’t happen in the same way for every student. Each brings unique qualities to the table — and we embrace and cultivate those characteristics to not only succeed in the classroom, but in life.”



> dfbd5b5b4b5162ae4f232861103b75f3 EDUCATION ]]>
QUITE THE DISCOVERY! Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Brian Shane It’s just past 4 p.m. at the Delmarva Discovery Center, where river otters Mac and Tuck, inside their cozy stainless-steel kennel, leapfrog over...]]> It’s just past 4 p.m. at the Delmarva Discovery Center, where river otters Mac and Tuck, inside their cozy stainless-steel kennel, leapfrog over each other like circus acrobats. They’re pushing their snouts through the metal cage and wagging their tongues – they know it’s feeding time.

The otters came to the museum 18 months ago and have been a hit with visitors. People love to watch the pair swimming and diving in their 6,000-gallon aquarium. They appear identical, but staffers here know how to tell the them apart, in appearance and personality. Mac used to be shy, but now he’s as outgoing as Tuck, the alpha male.

“Mac is a smidge darker and a teeny bit bigger,” said volunteer otter-keeper Rachelle Daigneault, who serves the otters a fishy snack. “Mac has the nose that looks like the Capitol building. It’s got a big spire, and it’s wider at the base. Tuck has a little button nose, a little triangle.”

Feeding time is also teaching time. Using a wand with a small sphere on the end, volunteer otter-keepers point the ball-end of the wand at each otter’s snout. If the otter keeps their nose on the ball, they will be rewarded for that learned behavior with a delicious bite of fish. But more important, learning to respond to commands comes in handy when trainers need otters to stand ramrod straight or open their mouths for a veterinarian’s examination.

The Wally Gordon River Otter Exhibit may be the star of the show at the Delmarva Discovery Center, located in downtown Pocomoke City, but the 16,000 sq. ft. museum has so much more to offer to the public about Delmarva’s historical and cultural heritage.

“This is a place where people who’ve lived here all of their lives can come in and see themselves represented in the stories that are told here,” said Daigneault, who is also on the board of directors. “Carving, shipbuilding – everything came from the land and the water. It was all about sustainability, and it’s just so rich. This needs to be a destination for people when they come to the Shore.”

The museum, now in its ninth year, actually got started two decades ago, when a group of Lower Shore residents sought to launch a new tourism attraction in Pocomoke City. Founders decided on a learning center of some sort, set on the banks of the Pocomoke River. They picked a long-empty car dealership on Market Street to rehabilitate for the museum’s new home.

“It’s been a labor of love,” said Lisa Challenger, a founding museum board member and Worcester County’s tourism director. “It took a lot of vision and a lot of naysayers. We have gradually made the Discovery Center better and better. When people go there, they tell us that they never expected anything that nice. And that’s what we like to hear. We keep trying to move forward, making it more interactive.”

Interactivity and hands-on exhibits are the lifeblood of a good museum, said museum president Stacey Weisner.

“If it’s not hands-on and interactive, people lose interest quickly,” she said. “It has to be feasible for multigenerational visits. You can come as a senior citizen or as a 4-year-old and truly enjoy yourself.”

Indeed, you can touch, feel and smell exhibits from start to finish in the self-guided museum. Visitors can sit inside a replica Native American wigwam, crawl through a beaver lodge and pilot a life-sized 19th-century riverboat. Especially popular with kids is the touch tank – a kind of petting zoo for sea creatures – filled with live clams, horseshoe crabs and whelk.

Authenticity is of paramount importance, Weisner said, for their Native American displays, which include a dugout canoe made just for the museum over nine summers by real Pocomoke tribesman. “You can see how they burned it and dug it out with oyster shells. You can put your hand in, feel it, smell the charred wood,” she said.

Weisner came on board three years ago from a successful fundraising role at the Salisbury Zoo. Here in Pocomoke, she continues to demonstrate this skillset: The museum has raised more than $1 million from public donations and private gifts under her leadership.

One such gift will yield a brand-new exhibit as the museum will soon begin work on an extensive display about farming and agriculture on the Shore, thanks in part to a $75,000 donation from Perdue Farms. The museum is also the recipient of the 2017 Henson Award by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore as the area’s best nonprofit organization.

“We’re not afraid to say, ‘Is this a good idea?’” Weisner said of the center’s innovation. “We ask visitors all the time when they come in, ‘What did you like here? Is there something you would change, and if so, what would it be? What is the coolest place you’ve ever visited?’ Then we listen. We listen to the people.”



Open Monday-Saturday, 10-4, Sundays 12-4
Adults $10, students and seniors $8, youth and military $5
Free for kids 3 and under


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SET SAIL FOR GILLIGAN'S Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Bob Yesbek Longtime denizens of Lewes can remember when 134 Market Street was nothing more than a rickety landlocked boat. The only thing missing was Ginger,...]]> Longtime denizens of Lewes can remember when 134 Market Street was nothing more than a rickety landlocked boat. The only thing missing was Ginger, Thurston Howell III and a makeshift coconut radio. Makeshift notwithstanding, that didn’t stop current owners Cheryl and Garry Tilton from making the place a Lewes favorite. But the vagaries of boat cooking (and the equally makeshift chicken-coop dining room) finally caught up with them, and the plan was to close. But that was before several prominent Lewes locals came forward to help save this dockside emporium of amazing views and even more amazing crab cakes.

The new Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant shares the same address with the original, but that’s where the similarity ends. The outdoor deck is roomier, and that nasty tree that loved to drop stuff onto your food is gone. Dining is split into two sun-filled, high-ceilinged rooms on either side of the bar. In a clever design move, the indoor bar is now parallel with the deck bar, thus streamlining service and providing a canal view for patrons sitting inside.

Cheryl’s kitchen is well known for unusual takes on otherwise standard items. On one of our visits last summer, the soup special was snapper turtle. You don’t hear that all the time! Though we had our minds set on other apps, reviews from a neighboring table were 100 percent positive, so we climbed out of our shell and tried it. It was sublime.

The current off-season menu sports similar offbeat dishes. Take the Korean Nachos, for example. Cheryl and kitchen boss Ryan Betts departed from the ordinary by adding house-made wontons and kimchee to this otherwise mundane dish. Add short rib, and it’s a winner. You can be sure that there will always be something on the menu that features Gilligan’s delicious fries. For the next few months it’s all about PEI Mussels sautéed in butter with chorizo, peas and a hint of wine. The frites are reminiscent of the crispy/crunchy potato sticks we used to get at the store — except these are impossibly fresh out of the fryer and crispier than ever. The sandwich menu pays homage to Delmarva with buttermilk fried chicken served with chili mayo. We ordered it all a few weeks ago, and though everyone expressed (faux) surprise at the apparent excess, the plates were immaculate when they were finally wrenched from our trembling hands.

No visit to Gilligan’s is complete without Cheryl’s crabcakes. Like any regional food, no two crab cakes are ever the same. I’ve seen them broiled, fried, baked in butter — you name it. The crab cake that has kept Gilligan’s in business over these many years is generous — about baseball-sized — with all-lump crabmeat. The outside coating is lightly seasoned with Old Bay, then sautéed to a delicate crunch.

Owner Cheryl is the sole creator of Gilligan’s desserts. Truth be told, her heart of hearts lies in the realm of sweets and pastries. That’s why it’s often a mystery among the guests — not to mention servers and staff — as to what Cheryl has whipped up for tonight. So the dessert menu is always a tableside narrative. On a recent visit, the server very strongly recommended the strawberry/rhubarb pie-cake. It’s a pie. No, it’s a cake. Gadzooks... it’s both! Desserts do not disappoint at Gilligan’s.

The obvious value-added at Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant is the outdoor dining area. Cradled in and among the buildings that comprise The Inn at Canal Square, it faces the dock on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. The outside bar is covered, so even if it rains, one can keep one’s seat while sittin’ on the dock of the ... uh, canal.

It’s no secret that the new building’s inside design was, shall we say, “acoustically active.” But Cheryl immediately addressed the noise issue by hiring a brilliant acoustics consultant to calm the errant sound waves. The new and quieter Gilligan’s is tucked down a little hill at the water’s edge. The off-season hours are lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday starting at 11. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Call for reservations at 302-644-7230.
See the menu at

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PRODIGY Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Nick Brandi He was a child prodigy. He made his public debut at age 8 and played with the New York Philharmonic at 16. In terms of musical training, he is a...]]> He was a child prodigy. He made his public debut at age 8 and played with the New York Philharmonic at 16. In terms of musical training, he is a direct descendant of none other than Ludwig van Beethoven. Legendary conductor Pierre Monteux called him “the pianistic find of the century,” and he is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, along with the likes of Arthur Rubinstein, Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma. Yet for his illustrious achievements and accolades, Leon Fleisher knows the bitter sting of defeat. In addition to two failed marriages, Fleisher confronted what to a lesser man would have spelled the end of his career and the negation of his legacy, when at age 36 he was struck with a neurological condition called focal dystonia, costing him the use of his right hand. But, despite it all, the intrepid maestro prevailed, first mastering a left-handed repertoire and ultimately returning to using both hands, following what was then considered experimental treatment with Botox injections that somewhat ameliorated his incurable condition.

Today, at age 90, Fleisher is still working ivory-covered miracles. On April 22, the Baltimore resident will perform as part of the season finale of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. In recognition of this grand occasion, Coastal Style sat down with Fleisher, to talk about his life and career.


Coastal Style Magazine: Where were you born?

Leon Fleisher: San Francisco, California.

What about your parents?

My father was from Russia; my mother was from Poland.

Your father was a hatmaker?

Yes (laughs), like Anatole of Paris! (From the Secret Life of Walter Mitty.)

When did you begin studying piano?

At about 4 years old.

Were you petrified on the night you were scheduled to perform as a soloist at the New York Philharmonic?

Well, I’d say more excited than petrified. Remember, basically everything I had done to that point — my entire life, if you will — was leading to that. Also, I was very well prepared. I had played that same piece [Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor], with the same conductor [Pierre Monteux], the year before,
with the San Francisco Symphony.

Explain to me, please, how you are linked directly to Beethoven by way of training.

Sure. My teacher was named Artur Schnabel. Schnabel studied in Europe with someone named [Theodor] Leschetizky. Leschetizky himself studied with Carl Czerny. It was Czerny who was a student of one Ludwig van Beethoven. So, that’s the lineage that links me to Beethoven.

That’s amazing.

Well, thank you, but, to be honest, there is a weak link in that lineage.

How so?

My teacher’s teacher, Leschetizky, was a weak link because he didn’t perform very much, but he taught night and day. He was what we in the business refer to as a “teaching ho” — and he taught everybody, which diluted things a bit.


So, legend has it that in 1964, you contracted a condition called focal dystonia in your right hand. Is that accurate, and what is focal dystonia?

Yes, that is quite right. It’s a neurological movement disorder, like Parkinson’s. Focal dystonia attacks only one or two sets of muscles. It creates involuntary and uncontrollable contractions of just a muscle or small sets of muscles, attacking a part of the body that is in general use. Golfers often get this, in the form of yips; surgeons get it, too.


Do you think you contracted focal dystonia because of all those years of practice on the piano?

Well, you may wish to speak with neurologists or neuroscientists about that. But one theory I’ve heard is that sometimes, the brain is working too fast.
The messages it’s sending are so fast and cascading one upon another that the muscles get confused. It’s a field of ongoing investigation. But I’ll tell you this: There are many in the music industry who experience dystonia or have dystonic problems, and once word gets around the industry, they sometimes have a difficult time getting engaged or hired. And that can ruin their lives.


How bad did your particular case of dystonia get?

It affected the fourth and fifth fingers of my right hand. The flexors of that hand would curl my pinky and ring finger under and into my palm, and for me to get the extensor muscles to relax them and extend them outward required an enormous effort. It was gradual at first but
got progressively worse. After something like 10 months, my fingers would curl under, and there was just nothing
I could do about it.


Did you get depressed or have a blue period as a result of your condition?

(Laughing) Yes, a blue-with-purple-polka-dots period.  I had fallen into quite a funk, actually. I had arrived at the pinnacle of my profession — and wham! When the gods choose to hit you, they really know where to hit you.


I would imagine so.

I have a feeling you’re going somewhere with this, and I’m intrigued to know where (laughs).


(Laughing) That is quite perceptive of you. I’m curious to know if you, during this dark period of uncertainty, had adopted specific coping mechanisms to dull the pain, whether those were constructive, destructive or both.

My way of dealing with this situation at its worst was basically to grow a ponytail [laughs], and I got a Vespa, and I would tool around Baltimore with my ponytail and my Vespa. I also screwed up my first marriage; it didn’t help my second marriage either. But for people familiar with music, I am now on my own Eroica, my
third symphony, like Beethoven’s, and my wife, Katherine, and I will be celebrating our 36th anniversary soon. I was lucky to find her.


Is there a cure for focal dystonia?

Unfortunately, no. Not yet, anyway.


How did you treat your condition?

I had gotten into an experimental program at the NIH that was using Botox injections to treat conditions like mine. What they did is inject Botox into the contracted muscle, and it relaxes it for a time. And to that extent, it helped a little bit, but it was certainly not the answer to the condition.


How often did you get such injections?

Once every three or four months. Botox is heavy stuff. You have to be careful. Eventually, though, you wind up having no reaction at all to it. 


So, bottom line: Botox was never a cure and only helped to small extent, correct?

Absolutely correct.


How did you guarantee yourself a steady income during those years?

I’ve been affiliated for a long time, since 1959, with the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, which is the oldest one in the land. So what I did is teach more, increase the number of students I had and adopted a modified concert schedule, for which I developed a left-handed repertoire, as a kind of Ripley’s [Believe It or Not] curiosity. I had a five-fingered career going for quite a while, and that worked [laughs].


So how are you doing these days?

I can play with two hands again, but I am careful about how I approach it. When I playing a concert, often what I do is play the first half of the concert by myself, with two hands or left-handed. For the second half of the performance, I play with my wife, with four hands on one piano, with me using both hands. 


Are some pieces more difficult for you than others?

Yes. I can’t play everything. Running scales… Mozart, this kind of clarity of articulation, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and such… these things are difficult.
Playing chordal things is much easier for me, like Brahms. Fortunately, at the tender age of 90, I’m seeing a Chinese therapist who practices acupuncture combined with a certain kind of message therapy, and he is actually helping change my condition. So, I’m starting to play a little bit more these days.


Which leads us to your upcoming performance with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony. What will you be performing that afternoon?

Yes, I’m really looking forward to that. You know, Maryland is my home state, and they have done such a wonderful job at the MSO, so I’m especially looking forward to this concert. On that day, I’ll be performing Egmont Overture, by Beethoven, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, and Symphony No. 4 by Gustav Mahler. There will also be a lecture approximately 45 minutes before the performance.

Thank you for your time today, Mr. Fleisher. May your upcoming concert in Ocean City be a resounding success.

Thank you very much. This was fun. I hope you and the rest of the Lower Eastern Shore turn out in force at the Powell Convention Center on [April] 22nd. It’s going to be a fun day, and at my age, I’ll take as many of those as I can get!


Editor's note: Visit for tickets to see Leon Fleisher perform April 22 during the MSO’s season finale at the Performing Arts Center at the Ocean City Convention Center.

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RAREFIED AIR Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman Chances are, you’ve seen his face, have heard his voice or know of his work. Maryland’s Tom Morris Jr. has been a staple on prime-time television...]]> Chances are, you’ve seen his face, have heard his voice or know of his work. Maryland’s Tom Morris Jr. has been a staple on prime-time television for 20 years and his role as a correspondent on the iconic show America’s Most Wanted not only propelled him to stardom, it resulted in the arrests of hundreds of criminals on the run from justice. Now, the Takoma Park resident is back in the spotlight as an analyst on A&E’s smash reality/documentary hit, Live PD — the No. 1 unscripted crime series on cable in 2017*.

“It’s a tremendous blessing,” Tom said during a recent visit to Ocean City. “I’m still in awe of it, really. I was working for the government as a declassification analyst eight months ago. I had kind of put TV in my rearview mirror. My attitude about it was if God wanted me to be on TV again, I would, and if he didn’t, I wouldn’t. I left it at that.”  

A call in late 2016 from Live PD executive producer and friend Kara Kurcz led to an audition in New York. Soon after, Tom was offered a contract and was back on the air as host Dan Abrams’ analyst on set. The show, which airs Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., follows six police departments across the country during their nightly patrols and broadcasts the events of select calls with the public live. The interactions span the spectrum of community policing in America today, from lighter, and sometimes comical, communications to officers’ nightly encounters with DWI subjects, substance abusers and mid-level crimes. Scenes also detail the incredibly dangerous elements of law enforcement, including felony warrant executions, high-speed pursuits and criminal apprehensions.

Currently in its second season,  Live PD will eclipse 100 shows in March and consistently leads all other shows in ratings during its time slot — topping two million total viewers on a weekly basis.**

“To put that in perspective, if you have a cable show with one million viewers, the executives and network heads start popping corks,” Tom said. “One million viewers on cable is a substantial audience. The next thing to consider is the demographic. If you’re getting a huge percentage of that 18-to-49 demographic, people are really happy. When you get to two million viewers with that demographic,*** now you’re heading into that rarefied air on cable with Pawn Stars and Duck Dynasty — the shows that have become cultural icons on cable. And Live PD has actually moved into that space and done so quickly. As we speak today, we’ve just finished 92 episodes in roughly 15 months.”

The show, which also regularly features Tulsa Police Department’s Sean “Sticks” Larkin, additionally includes “Wanted” and “Missing” segments in each episode — ideas advanced by Tom to show executives that have made genuine societal impacts.

“In 2017, we caught eight fugitives,” Tom said, “and we recovered our first missing child in December, as well.”  

Born and raised along the waters of the Tidewater region of Eastern Virginia, he once wrote a letter to J. Edgar Hoover expressing his interest in becoming an FBI agent. Hoover actually wrote back, telling Tom he needed a college degree before he could be considered for work at the Bureau. Tom would later major in mass communications and journalism at Norfolk State University, and after earning his degree, went straight to Washington, DC — not to join the Bureau but to obtain a job, any job, working for the media in the most politically influential town in the world.

He got his foot in the door as a courier for Independent Network News, running tapes from various locations around the Capitol back to its studios, and quickly rose the ranks to audio engineer, cameraman and field producer. Tom, however, yearned for a greater challenge and was hired as a contract employee for the U.S. State Department’s antiterrorism Embassy Task Group — becoming the first person without a military or law-enforcement background accepted into the unit. He was sent to Somalia to guard the U.S. Embassy as it was being built. He arrived in the Mogadishu, the capital city of the world’s second-poorest country, three weeks before a civil war erupted. He returned stateside after his assignment and continued working for the government, this time as an armed security specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, before his broadcast career resumed.

During its 23 record-breaking seasons on FOX, Tom was on the case for the hit show America’s Most Wanted for 18 of them.

Every Saturday night, millions of viewers watched to see who was wanted that week, and with their assistance, which fugitives were captured since its last episode. Tom began his AMW career as a segment producer before earning his opportunity on-air three years later — one that put him in front of the camera for the very first time in his life and an average of four million viewers. 

He traveled the world to profile stories of homicides, missing children and violent crimes — each time with the belief that with the help of the American public, his work would play a vital role in bringing a criminal to justice and a sense of peace to the family of the victim.

“My father was a minister, and he always said that our work at America’s Most Wanted was a ministry,” Tom said. “And it really was. We were helping people. I’m a fan of Edward R. Murrow, who demonstrated that you could use television to actually affect change. On America’s Most Wanted, I always felt like I was in a Murrow-esque role, to use the power of television and the power of our audience to make our society a safer place, one fugitive at a time.

“I can’t even tell you how hard it is to interview a 12-year-old girl who had just… just [becoming emotional] witnessed her mother’s and grandmother’s throats slit on Christmas Eve… and I am there three weeks later to interview this girl to try to catch her father, who did it,” Tom continued. “I had the ability to commiserate with them, cry with them, be genuine and sincere with them and to offer them the hope that putting their story on television would give them a chance at justice. And with the help of my colleagues in prime-time television and the public, we were able to do that a great number of times.”

Remarkably, 98 percent of the criminals profiled by Tom during his 18 years on America’s Most Wanted were captured. In all, 1,186 wanted individuals were apprehended during the 1,200 episodes of AMW, which aired on FOX and Lifetime for 25 seasons total. Even now, Tom can seemingly recall a case, its circumstances, the name of the victim and the detailsof the fugitive’s arrest from any point during the show’s history. 

In addition to his America’s Most Wanted duties, Tom has appeared on numerous shows, including CNN’s Showbiz Tonight, Nancy Grace, Fox & Friends and Entertainment Tonight, and he has contributed his opinions as a versatile host on XM Satellite Radio’s popular series, The Capital Hill Blues. He also holds the distinction of being the first journalist trained in practical advanced homicide investigation by renowned pathologist Dr. Henry Lee and NYPD homicide detective Vernon Geberth. 

Tom is a man of God and family. He’s a husband, father and grandfather whose multifaceted talents include being an accomplished musician, hip-hop DJ, columnist and award-winning poet. Tom’s also a workout warrior, avid sports fan and exceptionally cerebral in the details of world history, politics and current events. He’s also a great follow on Twitter and Instagram, as the members of Live PD nation will attest.

Tom has enjoyed the Eastern Shore for decades — first visiting Ocean City in 1984 and frequently spending time was his wife, Sandy, and children in Rehoboth with a family friend/owner of the popular restaurant Sir Guys.

“My wife and kids come to Ocean City every summer, too,” Tom said. “A lot of times, I’ll be working, and they’ll come down on a weekday in the spur of the moment. Ocean City has been a destination for our family for years. My ‘must-see’ is the ocean. My grandfather was a waterman, a crabber and deep-sea fisherman on commercial boats. So, I grew up going out on the water with him for oysters and crabs. I’ve always had this love for the water; it’s part of our family heritage. My grandfather also had a skipjack boat, so I will always feel connected to the bay and the ocean.”

*Among Adults 25-54 / **People 2+ Live +7 / ***Based on Live +7 across total viewers

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LEADING BY EXAMPLE Mon, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jonathan Westman Standing before four hundred people who were in attendance to honor him, Reese Cropper III took a moment to reflect on the civic and philanthropic...]]> Standing before four hundred people who were in attendance to honor him, Reese Cropper III took a moment to reflect on the civic and philanthropic accomplishments that earned him the brightly shining and well-earned light that was upon him. As Cropper prepared to deliver his remarks, the 2017 recipient of the Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award scanned the ballroom at Ocean City’s Clarion Fontainebleau to see family, friends, colleagues, business leaders and elected officials — all proud to know him. Reese knew that such speeches are usually forgettable and rife with thanks for any person they had ever come in contact with. “Not tonight,” he vowed to himself. Nervous and a bit uneasy with all of the attention of the evening, Cropper took a deep breath and began a speech that would be far different, and shockingly more personal, than anyone expected.

Reese Cropper III is a local in the purest sense. Born to Reese F. Cropper Jr. and Margaret Young of Berlin in 1960, he grew up on Gum Point Road and Turville Creek, across from the Glen Riddle Farm, in an area that was perfect for bike rides and playing in the woods. He attended Buckingham Elementary School through the 4th grade and then entered the Worcester Country School (Worcester Preparatory School today), where future headmaster Barry Tull served as his homeroom teacher. After graduating from Worcester Prep in 1978, Reese enrolled at Lynchburg College, where his passion for community involvement was shaped.

Armed with a degree in business administration earned in 1982, Reese returned to the Shore. After obtaining his insurance and real estate licenses, Cropper went to work right away. In 1996 he founded Insurance Management Group. Today, IMG employs more than 20 people, has two office locations and supports clients throughout Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Reese’s connection to the community and his generous philanthropic efforts are both notable and extensive, as he founded the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, donates a golf tournament each year to Diakonia (its top-grossing fundraiser), has volunteered his time to the March of Dimes and American Cancer Society, among many other charitable organizations, insurance organizations and government boards. Today, he serves on the Worcester Preparatory School Board of Trustees, Calvin B. Taylor Bank’s Board of Directors, Maryland’s Community Association Institute Legislative Committee, Diakonia’s Board of Directors, Peninsula Regional Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors and the State of Maryland’s Licensing/Liquor Board.

He’s been presented Lynchburg College’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and for years he’s played Santa Claus on Christmas Eve for friends who have young children.   

Yet, for all of his many personal, professional and civic successes, Cropper has spent the better part of his adult life suffering from depression. At Lynchburg, after losing his first love, he was introduced to something else he hadn’t known existed: a side of his mind that was vastly dark and desolate, filled with torment, insecurities and emotional voids that date back to his childhood. It is a place of such demons and despair, the handsome young man with a seemingly limitless future nearly ended it all with a shotgun. What follows are excerpts from Cropper’s poignant and moving speech to the guests of the 2017 Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award ceremony.

“Since my college years, and perhaps as a child, I’ve tried to find out why I would swing in and out of terrible dark periods, when I really had no reason to be that way,” Reese said at the top of his speech. “The depressions I speak of are severe. I am not referring to a sad situation that causes sad feelings. I am talking about weeks of chronic illness when I did not want to move forward in life and couldn’t focus on anything.

“It was impossible to find a medical reason for my problems, and during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, depression was not a common illness, nor was it talked about. Depressed people were considered weak or thought of as having no drive and stamina. 

“After my college years, I was encouraged to seek psychological help. However, it was difficult for me to enter a counseling center because of the fear someone would see me and recognize me. Instead, I went to offices that were outside our area. I would sit in the lobby, waiting for the counselor, always hiding behind a magazine, held high and in front of my face. 

“Why can’t our society be proactive and realize people need help with mental illness? People who suffer on all levels need encouragement to get professional help and not to be degraded when they admit to their chronic depression, or worse, declare they want to end their life. The vortex of pain, anxiety and darkness that consumes a person to the point of suicide is painful and scary. I’m speaking of the dark hole where they end up, seeing no way out other than death. I know because I have been there. 

“The feeling of desperation, when you hold a shotgun to your head with a finger on a trigger, is worse than the feeling that death would provide as a more peaceful and better alternative. And when someone goes through this traumatic situation, and 911 is called, the despair and feelings get worse when the police officer promises to only transport you to the hospital but instead puts cuffs on you and loads you in his car. 

“Society does not accept mental illness the same as other illnesses. Instead, there are comments about the person being crazy or perhaps they are considered idiots for wanting to resort to such a dramatic end of their life. We need to stop these stigmas. When you look around this room, you would probably be shocked to realize how many people here have either suffered from depression or have lost a friend or loved one to suicide. I can tell you the person lost to suicide would never want you to blame yourself or think you could have prevented it. Their pain and darkness is so deep, it’s hard for healthy-minded people to understand.” 

Cropper, along with the Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award committee, raised an event record $130,000 in support of this year’s gala. The funds will be distributed to Temple Bat Yam, the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation and the following three charities selected by Reese for their depression counseling services and suicide prevention efforts:


Rebecca and Leighton Moore Childand Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit
Peninsula Regional Medical Center

In spring 2016, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services joined the Peninsula Regional Medical Center Foundation to celebrate the opening of the new Rebecca and Leighton Moore Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at PRMC. These specialists offer outpatient behavioral healthcare for children as young as 4 years old.

The highly skilled clinical team provides compassionate behavioral healthcare to help patients successfully manage their illness and maintain optimal activity at home or school. The Outpatient Wellness Clinic treats children with anxiety and stress; ADHD; bipolar disorder; conduct disorders; depression; grieving and loss; obsessive-compulsive disorder; personality disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; and schizophrenia.

In addition to outpatient care for children and adolescents, PRMC offers adult inpatient and partial hospitalization services. 



Worcester Youth and Family
Counseling Services, Inc.

Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, Inc. (WYFCS) has been serving the Worcester County community through programs that include comprehensive counseling, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), family-connection services and youth activities since 1975. Located in Berlin, WYFCS is increasing awareness about mental health, advocating for abused and neglected children, providing community resources and education, which is truly making a difference in the lives of the people in the community.



The Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness Prevention Program

In early 2009, the tragic death of Snow Hill’s Jesse Klump cast a pall over the entire community. The Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program’s objective is to end the threat of suicide in Worcester County and beyond through a program of outreach and education.

In addition to several community organized events throughout the year, each month the program hosts a support group meeting for those who have lost loved ones to suicide and who are having difficulty coming to terms with their grief.


“I hope my candor with all of you tonight will make you more aware of people suffering from mental health issues. It’s literally all around us,” Cropper said, as his speech approached its conclusion. “It’s similar to when you buy a new car. You never realized before how many other people have the same color and model until you have one of your own. Well, maybe now you will begin to recognize how many other people need help dealing with chronic severe mental pain and the issues it causes.”


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ESSENTIAL DINING Mon, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Bob Yesbek I love to give my readers, listeners and website visitors the lowdown on hidden culinary gems here at the beach. One of the best in the Rehoboth area...]]> I love to give my readers, listeners and website visitors the lowdown on hidden culinary gems here at the beach. One of the best in the Rehoboth area is the tucked-away Palate Bistro & Catering, hiding behind a brick façade in the commercial center adjacent to the Safeway on Coastal Highway. This intimate spot is a soothing respite from the endless hubbub going on just outside.

Owner-chefs Gary and Lorraine Papp were the opening toques at The Buttery in Lewes many years ago. They have integrated their Essential Chef catering service into this cafe/gourmet-to go-eatery, bringing with them a long list of references that include Delaware Governor John Carney, former Governor Jack Markel and Senator Tom Carper.

Before they moved to the beach in the early ’90s, Gary and Lorraine were the proud owners of the Wycombe Inn, a Victorian country inn just outside of New Hope, PA. They were expecting the arrival of their second child when they accepted the kitchen-boss positions at the soon-to-open Buttery in Lewes, originally located in the New Devon Inn (now the Hotel Rodney). After a short time, the owners worked hand-in-hand with the Papps to relocate The Buttery to a stately Lewes Victorian at Second and Savannah, where it remains — under new ownership — to this day.

Gary and Lorraine eventually created their own brand, The Essential Chef. “We wanted to share our knowledge and experience on three levels,” Gary says. “The first was education.” Gary taught culinary arts to disabled and alternative learning students for Now We’re Cooking, a vocational program operated in Georgetown by the First State Community Action Agency.

The second level is consulting. In 2008, Gary worked closely with Brick Hotel owners Ed and Lynn Lester to help open The Brick Restaurant and Tavern, assisting in the kitchen layout and design for the Georgetown landmark. Catering is the third element, and Gary and Lorraine are proud of the loyal catering clients who consistently rely on The Essential Chef. I’ll add phase four: Palate Café & Catering in the Shops at Seacoast on Coastal Highway in Rehoboth.

The artfully designed eatery showcases Gary and Lorraine’s exceptional talents with its copper-top bar, tapestried walls and extensive kitchen. Like their one-of-a-kind dishes, the menu steps out of the box with delicacies like spicy sesame watercress salad; a craft Caesar with kale and locatelli cheese; bourbon & brown sugar-braised beef brisket; coriander cumin eggplant and chickpea stew (a vegan favorite), and Gary’s famous lump crab and Vermont cheddar hot dish. Of course, the slightly less adventurous (and you know who you are!) can get the grass-fed all-beef burger, Lorraine’s known-the-world-over chicken salad with granny smiths, or a cast-iron ribeye with a coffee stout glaze. Without a doubt, desserts are Lorraine’s territory and they do not disappoint.

Like the majority of Cape Region eateries, Palate’s menu changes with the seasons. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday with happy hour half-price burgers from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the bar. Seating is limited, so make reservations and double-check their hours. (This is the beach, after all, so y’never know.)



Editor's note: Bob Yesbek, "The Rehoboth Foodie," writes about the latest news and reviews here on the Culinary Coast. Visit for the very latest Breaking Chews. And stay in the know with the Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app – everything you need to know about the Rehoboth-Dewey-Lewes resort area. Available at The App Store & Google Play.


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POWER IN NUMBERS Mon, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Jennifer Cording A great many things in life are difficult. Certainly one of them is earning the trust of an unusually tight-knit community with the precious assets...]]> A great many things in life are difficult. Certainly one of them is earning the trust of an unusually tight-knit community with the precious assets they’ve worked so hard to accumulate. Now, try doing that at the same high level for 40 years, and you’ve got the Eastern Shore’s most recognized Certified Public Accounting and business-advisory firm, PKS & Company, P.A.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, partner John M. Stern, CPA/PFS, says the secret of the firm’s success lies in not just what it knows, but who it knows — or, rather, who it hires.

“It is our spirited staff with a passion for helping people, coupled with excellent training and quality clients is the foundation for our success” says John M. Stern, CPA/PFS.

Once, accountants were thought of as “bean counters.” But today the business of accounting is much more. PKS takes a different angle, with an ever-evolving approach to managing clients’ accounting and financial-planning needs.

“We are proactive advisors and business partners, versus historians,” said Daniel M. O’Connell, CPA/PFS, CVA. “We become part of our client’s team of advisors. They turn to us regularly to solve everyday problems. We’re in constant communication with our clients, not just in contact with them once a year.”

It is this approach to client service that’s been integral to PKS for decades. PKS focuses its ability to personally address the needs of clients, some of whom have been part of PKS’ clientele from the firm’s inception.

“We are in the people business,” said Stern. “We work as a team. We don’t work as individuals within the firm. The clients have access to everybody in our firm, not just one person.”

PKS is structured strategically to remain small enough to offer prompt, individualized service, yet large enough to provide an inclusive, sophisticated array of services to its clients. Many PKS associates have degrees and certifications beyond the typical accounting degree.

The company’s range of expertise extends to many industries and entities that are central to the Delmarva economy, including healthcare, hospitality, government, agribusiness, condominiums and HOAs, construction, business consulting, food service and restaurants, nonprofit organizations and others. 

To maximize opportunities for clients, PKS is a member of Allinial Global, an association of accounting and consulting firms, the members of which reinforce


PKS began in 1978 as James Pigg & Company Certified Public Accountants from the home of Jim Pigg, CPA. As the city grew, so did the firm. By 1991, the firm had 38 employees and had won the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award.

“The Firm started with a couple of key people, and although those individuals have left, we are continuously bringing up the next generation,” said Stern.

“Here, it’s a small family that’s been growing for 40 years. We have a low turnover in personnel. There are a lot of relationships that have existed for many years, and we have clients who have been with us for generations.”

A family-friendly atmosphere and flexibility within the company has long been a hallmark of PKS. “The people, the variety of the work we do, the flexibility, the fun,” said Jean Webster, CPA, CPP, when asked why she enjoys working at the firm.

“I love the culture of PKS,” said Kevin Dorman, CPA. “We have a close group, which allows us to collaborate and grow.”

“We work with our employees to support the family,” Stern said. “We have been very progressive in understanding the link between high-performing employees and their ability to support and interact with their families.”

“The firm developed a flexible and reduced-hour work schedule that enabled me to spend time with my children, attend their many events over the years and continue my professional growth,” said Susan P. Keen, CPA. 

“PKS is definitely a family,” added Ashley M. Stern, CPA, MBA, CGFM, daughter of John Stern. “I may have a father who works here, but it also feels as each coworker and client is an extension of my own family. I look out for them like I would a brother or a sister, and my clients and coworkers do the same for me.”

In turn, PKS not only encourages their employees to support the community by donating time and services to diverse civic organization and charities, but provides the flexibility and financial support to do so.



Noting a need among its clients for sound financial-planning advice, PKS established PKS Investment Advisors LLC in 1999. It’s a core belief at PKS that the coordination between financial plans and tax plans benefits clients with a service unique to financial planning. As a registered investment advisory firm, PKS adheres to a strict fiduciary standard and provides advice with the client’s best interests in mind. The firm is legally bound to act in its clients’ best interest and has done so since its inception.

Planning is provided for clients at all stages of life. Some are busy professionals seeking strategies to grow and accumulate wealth. Others are close to retirement and need a plan to transition from accumulating to withdrawing from their assets. Still others are already in retirement and concerned about outliving their money.

“Having a diverse team of accounting professionals available to answer questions relevant to creating and monitoring a client’s financial plan is invaluable,” said Timothy A. Gonzales, CFP®, AAMS®. In my opinion, there is no better client experience than having one’s financial planner and accountant working as a team.”


While celebrating its 40th anniversary and having grown into the most diverse firm of its kind in the area, PKS remains focused on growth and building the Firm of the Future. 

“We want to make sure PKS is here to support the next generation of business owners on Delmarva” said O’Connell. “We do this by offering forward-thinking advisory services to our clients, investing in the latest technologies and providing our staff with professional development that well exceeds the industry norm.”

The heart of the firm really lies in its local roots, its employees and its philosophy of “accounting is a lifetime of learning.” All professional staff are encouraged to set aside time for self-improvement and pursue additional degrees and certifications. Many are certified in fraud examination, business valuation, retirement plan administration, government financial management and personal financial planning — and others have gone on to obtain post-secondary degrees.

“PKS helped me pass the CPA exam by paying for my study materials and providing the time and flexibility I needed to focus,” said Adrienne Tyler, a first year accountant with the firm.  “The support and encouragement I received from my colleagues and the partners makes PKS
a really positive environment.” 

“We’ve assembled the best talent and recognize how fortunate we are to have access to a quality institution like Salisbury University that produces well-educated accounting and finance graduates. More than half of our professional staff are graduates of Salisbury University and three-quarters have local roots,” added Stern.

PKS’ commitment to its team and clients is strengthened by the tools and resources the firm provides. Significant investments in technology improve efficiency, provide the ability to collaborate in an instant, allows staff to work flexible schedules and maintain a good work-life balance.

“Whether I’ve left the office early to coach my son’s soccer team or I am working remotely, I’m able to access anything I need to provide my clients with timely support and the service they expect,” says Andrew M. Haynie, CPA, CFE.

“Our continuous investment in technology, training and most importantly, our people, has proven to be the formula for our success,” says O’Connell. “This investment will be the driving force of our continued success as we look ahead to our 50th anniversary.” 


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