Coastal Style Magazine en-US Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 BETHANY BOUND Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi In 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the Unites States, Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, Terminator 2 was the top-grossing movie, and the...]]> In 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the Unites States, Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, Terminator 2 was the top-grossing movie, and the Friends of the South Coastal Library debuted an Eastern Shore classic: the annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. This year, 10 more exceptional homes have been curated to the delight of tourgoers, including the home of Bird and JP Bishop in Bethany Beach.

The ocean-facing 5,000 sq. ft. home in Pelicans Pouch bears little resemblance to what it was when Bird and JP acquired it in 2016. The open but otherwise eccentric, even quirky, floor plan of the 1990s-built structure had to be essentially gutted in order to create the sunny and bright getaway the couple enjoy today with their three children. The roof was shot, and walls had to be torn down. There was a two-sided fireplace, which, for reasons unknown, was situated between a bedroom and a hallway. The house was odd to put it mildly — but it was an outright steal, so JP and Bird gave the owner his full asking price and rolled up their sleeves.

Bird brought in builders to bid on the reno. Some scratched their heads in bemusement; others turned down the job outright. But all of them agreed on one vital point: The house had outstanding structural integrity. “It’s true; the house had great bones,” said Gail Lednum, design consultant for Creative Concepts in Ocean View and the interior designer Bird brought in to help her visualize and execute the massive task they had ahead of them. Gail was joined by Bethany Beach architect Scott Edmondson of Sea Studio and Dewson Construction in Wilmington — a trifecta of uber-talented professionals whom Bird couldn’t praise highly enough.

The new house leans contemporary and is deliberately well-balanced, with four of the six total bedrooms situated on the third-level, two on each side of the hallway, separated by an inviting loft-type space. The first level is essentially used as an entryway, with a foyer, laundry room and storage space.

It’s on the second level where the living begins. The kitchen received all-new quartz countertops and a center island in bright, crisp tones and a radiant subway-tile sea-glass backsplash that runs all the way to the ceiling — simultaneously adding an exciting dimension to the space while complementing the linen-finish cabinetry. The kitchen is also the only space that retains the original flooring, which was installed only two years prior. What tourgoers are sure to appreciate are the stunning ocean views available from this vantage point, as well as from the rest of the house.

To the right of the kitchen is a media room that was created primarily for Bird and JP’s 7-year-old son that includes Sunbrella-covered three-piece sectional seating and the requisite entertainment electronics, all presided over by grand vaulted ceilings that reach heights of 16 feet, with handcrafted shiplap wood ceiling accents and exposed beams, oozing that nautical-rustic ambience that is a perennial winner on the Eastern Shore. The theme is buoyed by an overarching soft-gray color palette with accents in blue.

Off the entertainment area is the voluminous dining room, which boasts a 10-seat Canadel distressed-wood dining table with a Stanley server that serve up more spectacular ocean views. The great room, meanwhile, sports a huge sectional and two large swivel chairs with an inlaid Greek-key pattern, deploying more durable and utilitarian Sunbrella fabric, because Bird and JP prefer a home that can be lived in rather than tended to like a museum. The great room also has a custom-built linear fireplace with a custom surround all over off-white frisé carpeting.

The stunning master suite on the second level basically amounts to a tribute room for Bird’s beloved mother, for whom Bird has set aside the space when she comes to live with her permanently. The room features a Coastal Living Oasis bedroom group with king-size bed within a saltbox-white palette. The room comes with its own private, screened-in porch, stocked with outdoor furniture and coordinated cushions. There are also custom built-in dressers and a custom walk-in closet with barn doors. The master bath includes a luxury walk-in shower with flower-burst custom-tile (each petal is applied one at a time) and a seamless clear-glass door. The second level also includes a guest room with a king-size bed and upholstered headboard. Throughout the home, windows treatments are from Hunter Douglas, alternating between Woven Woods and Palm Beach shutters.

The third-level bedrooms continue the clean, crisp themes, with bright splashes of creams, whites, off-whites, taupes and grays. A carpeted hallway leads to JP and Bird’s bedroom, which was redesigned so that they could see the ocean while lying in bed. The third level also has a custom-built full-size dayroom-style common area for all upstairs occupants, where you can read, catch up with your mobile devices or just gaze at the Atlantic. The upstairs bedrooms also come with three-panel doors, and each has its own bathroom, for a total of seven baths throughout
the house.

Lots of newly installed, gargantuan picture windows — both traditional rectangular and porthole oval — bathe the house in sunshine while providing unobstructed views of the great outdoors, which the Bishops greet via an enormous Azek deck off the dining room and kitchen. Double chaise longues, a large dining table and a huge outdoor sectional are the trappings of countless summer days and evenings reveling in the majesty of both nature and the personal Shangri-La the Bishops have crafted in for themselves in Bethany Beach. And on July 25 and 26, you can revel in them, too.

2018 Beach & Bay Cottage Tour

July 25–26  •  9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30.00, available online, by mail-in order or at the South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach. A non-transferable tour ticket gives you access to the homes for the two days of the tour (each home may be visited only once).

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COASTAL CAROLINA Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jennifer Cording Balancing the breathtaking scenery of bayside Worcester County with an extensive collection of artwork was the house-building challenge for property...]]> Balancing the breathtaking scenery of bayside Worcester County with an extensive collection of artwork was the house-building challenge for property owners Christie Taylor and Fred Sprock, along with their construction team at T&G Builders in Berlin. 

“You’ve got art on the outside and art on the inside; how do you get the balance?” said Sprock. The problem was solved with a clever combination of house height and an inside-out wall design. The couple and their architect, Jeff DelSordo of Charlotte, NC, designed the backbone of the house as a central corridor that amounts to a built-in art gallery. It left the rooms unfettered by solid exterior walls. Instead, windowed and screened walls open the outside to those inside the house, and the center of the house is left for the couple’s personal artworks, solving their dilemma of “how to hang paintings in a house without losing the windows,” Taylor said. 

“Whatever room you’re in, you feel like you’re outside,” added Taylor, whose sketches were the main inspiration for the design. A painter of salt marshes and the owner of an art gallery in Charlotte, she knew they wanted to invite the beauty of the nearby Chincoteague Bay into the house as much as possible. They also felt the best views would be achieved at a height. “We knew we had to go up to get a view,” Taylor said. “That’s why we have a treehouse.”

Along with mixing the indoors and the outdoors, Taylor and Sprock wanted to meld the past with the present. Throughout the house — and in addition to traditionally painted walls — they incorporated farmhouse walls constructed of spaced boards. Furniture and framed photographs from their respective North Carolina childhoods are placed around the home “to mix that traditional look with the modern,” said Taylor. 

The house includes other features that make it stand out, as well, said Ron Wesche, sales and marketing manager for T&G Builders. Completed in 2012, the building has a central elevator; a southern-style sleeping porch; wide-plank reclaimed wood flooring and wall finishes; Marvin integrity windows; first-floor breakaway walls in case of extreme storm flooding; vertical knotty, shiplap cypress siding for a timeless look on the exterior; and a rooftop deck where birdwatchers come to search for brown-headed nuthatches on Delmarva Birding Weekends. 

“We offer one of the most informative and customer-friendly experiences available locally when thinking of building or improving,” Wesche said. “The team knowledge and current technology make for a clear understanding of the process and a complete visual of the project prior to starting. Our reputation continues to get stronger and stronger each year, and I attribute that to the experience, which is followed up with everlasting quality.”

Taylor and Sprock agreed. “They were very committed to giving us a great product,” said Taylor, who noted other features they and their guests enjoy, including a firepit, screened porch, metal shed roof, natural materials, carport and mudroom. The four-level house also features spacious art studios — one each for Taylor and Sprock, both of whom are paint artists themselves. A central tower where the elevator is located begins at the ground floor and stretches up through all four levels, serving as the springboard for the L-shaped rooms on each level. Each level also can be reached by a staircase and features a powder room and a utility room. 

The ground floor is home to the mudroom and elevator entrance, while the second floor holds the studios, two guest bedrooms with baths, as well as the sleeping porch. The third floor is home to the den, kitchen, living/dining room, and the screened master bedroom with his-and-her bathrooms and a deck. The fourth floor holds an attic and the rooftop deck. The couple have frequent guests, who can receive T-shirts with the name of the property, which Taylor and Sprock call “Camp KissmyAssateague.”

Along with their rescue dogs, Clara and Louise, Taylor and Sprock have achieved their dream of living and working in a way that “celebrates the landscape.” As Fred said, “We’ve never looked back. We’re glad we did it. We love it.”



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GENUINELY FLOORED Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jennifer Cording Large or small, if the project requires tile, East Coast Tile & Flooring continues to demonstrate that it has it covered. From the interior of a...]]> Large or small, if the project requires tile, East Coast Tile & Flooring continues to demonstrate that it has it covered. From the interior of a ship’s cabin to the interior of a spacious home — two of the most recent projects by the company — East Coast Tile & Flooring has the experience to install the product properly with stunning results. 

In business for more than 70 years and operated by third-generation owners, East Coast Tile & Flooring is known for top-notch service and the excellence of its tile installation. “If it has anything to do with tile, we can do it,” said Dave Slater, showroom manager.

Recently, East Coast completed an extensive remodel of the traditional-meets-modern home of Jeff and Stephanie Hensal in Selbyville. The company removed nearly 2,000 square feet of existing downstairs flooring before installing wood-look tile to complement the home’s airy, open floorplan, which was accented with dark wood furniture and bold color in rugs, pillows and wall hangings. 

With the wide-plank flooring in place, East Coast Tile then installed a porcelain kitchen backsplash with an alternating pattern of varying sizes. A wood-tone pattern echoed the authenticity of the wood-look floor tile, as well as the earth tones of kitchen’s granite countertops and raised dark-wood panels on the island counter. This plan complemented the space’s modern stainless steel appliances, its white, raised-panel cabinetry and timeless drawer pulls.

The homeowners were a bit apprehensive during the extensive remodel, according to Slater, however, by project’s end, Jeff and Stephanie Hensal were exceptionally pleased. “They’re thrilled,” Slater said. “They’re super-happy with the entire project and they’re fantastic advocates of East Coast Tile.”

East Coast Tile & Flooring’s state-of-the-art showroom offers a substantial selection of marble, granite, glass, metal and ceramic tiles from around the world. Their experienced staff regularly assists architects, designers, installers and homeowners on projects of various sizes and budgets, whether a modest tile purchase or a complete home renovation.” 



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GETTING THE JOB DONE Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Joe Curcillo might very well describe himself as a shark. Not in the sense that he’s circling hapless beachgoers in the ocean or monomaniacally...]]> Joe Curcillo might very well describe himself as a shark. Not in the sense that he’s circling hapless beachgoers in the ocean or monomaniacally trolling for profits at the expense of his humanity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: This attorney-turned-business consultant is monomaniacal only when it comes to helping businesses maximize their bottom lines through team-building and the creation of an enriching work environment for everyone. So convinced is he that team-building is the key corporate strategy of the 21st century, the part-time Bethany Beach resident has authored Getting to ‘US’: Discover the Ability to Lead Your Team to Any Result You Desire, published by Thought Emporium, Ltd.

Coastal Style spoke with Curcillo recently, to get his perspective on the modern-day workplace and what employers can do to get the results they seek.

CSM: What kind of law did you practice and where did you attend law school?

JC: For the majority of my career, I focused on criminal law. The first half of my career I was a prosecutor, and during the second half I was a defense attorney. I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Temple University, and a juris doctor from Temple University School of Law.

How did you get involved with team-building?

That is an interesting question, because I think that we are all involved in team-building in everything we do. The first time I recognized the importance of team-building was when I studied trial advocacy at Temple Law School. As part of the training classes, they broke us into teams. How well you performed as a team directly impacted how you did in the class. I guess, when I think about it, the same was true while I worked toward my engineering degree. Individuals did not build buildings and highways; teams do, but I never thought of that until you asked. When I began practicing law, I worked in the district attorney‘s office. I quickly realized that the office had to operate as a team to be successful as administrators of justice. I could not put together a proper case without coordinating my team of victims, witnesses, police officers and the other various agencies involved. It was up to me to lead the team if I wanted to be a successful prosecutor. I knew that as a trial lawyer, I never really worked alone. My team won, or I lost.

How long have you been advising companies on the merits and virtues of team-building?

The answer to that is my entire professional career. I always sought out positions where I could find challenges to getting people to work together. In doing so, I realized that my counterparts in other departments or agencies were in the same situation. So, offering advice to other team leaders, brainstorming problems and teaching the effectiveness of teams became second nature. In later years, I offered my services to clients, the private sector and charities, to help them become a more effective cohesive unit.

In what ways, if any, do you feel that your law background helped prepare you for or make you better at advising companies on effective team-building strategies?

The advice that I offered companies was usually to help it grow more in the marketplace and become more functional. Rarely was it a matter of life and death. In law, the ability to build the team was to protect someone’s freedom and life. Therefore, the fact that I learned team-building under life-and-death circumstances makes advising corporate clients more strategic with less pressure. If a client corporation is in a difficult situation, and they are facing a potential ticking time bomb, I thrive on that pressure.

How does an employer go about measuring the success of a team-building strategy over time? In other words, how does an employer know his team-building efforts are working?

All great leaders have a clear vision and a goal. The leader need only look at the team to observe the progress and make sure that there is constant motion toward the end zone. By creating a single unifying vision that binds the team together, the leader only needs to be sure that the team is always heading in one direction. Every player has a role to play, and every player must have their eyes on the same prize. So, look at the bottom line. Look at the progress. Look at everyday interactions. If they are heading in forward motion, you have built a unified team. 


How does an employer decide how much money to spend on team-building activities in the course of a fiscal year?

I think that is a difficult question. It’s sort of assumes that team-building activities are exercises that occur on a periodic basis. I firmly believe that every day that a team comes together to work on a project is a team-building exercise. Every penny that you, as a corporate executive, put into your management team is money spent on team-building. Leaders should spend their day leading the team. In my mind, that means they should be building the team every day.

What are some classic examples of team-building activities that virtually any company can utilize?

Based on my prior answer, the ultimate team-building activity is to focus everyone on the end goal. Making solid leaders, no matter what the size of their company, who pay attention to the skills, qualities and abilities of the individual players on their team is essential. Once you have a handle on the abilities of your players, point them in the direction that allows them to best feel satisfied by contributing to the cause. It is not an exercise. It is an everyday reality.

What role does the size of the company play in determining the kind and number of activities per year it should engage in?

Not every company can pay for team-building party days. So don’t. No matter the size of the company, management must realize that team-building is an integral part of their jobs. It does not cost money to listen to the needs of the employees. It does not cost money to simply humanize your staff. Frankly, some of the smaller companies I have worked with cannot afford any “team-building exercises.” They are just too small and don’t have the ability to take a day off to have a team-building rally. But, they are small enough that a little bit of personal attention paid to the individual employees will yield great benefits and create a cohesive team.

For companies that don’t have a lot of employees or deep pockets, what are some effective activities that they can do to reap some of the benefits of team-building?

This is a topic requires more time than we have here. If I may draw from an article that I have written in the past, the short answer is once a manager has amassed and organized the knowledge she possesses in her industry, leadership is about finding the “GLUE” that binds your team together. GLUE stands for:

Gathering information on your team members

Listening to the team members

Unifying the team by finding each if their niches

Empowering and Execute your vision

While I can spend a lot of time discussing the intricacies of each of the about four areas, for today, I suggest just being aware of the four steps is a good start, and it deserves reflection.

Are there ways in which you’ve seen team-building activities and strategies evolve over the years?

Absolutely. People do not want to be pampered. They no longer want to feel important, they want to be important. The company needs to build the team from the top down. Today, the leaders need to be trained to be more aware of the players and learn what the team is capable of accomplishing. The best strategy in today’s world is to find a role a person can invest in and allow that individual to achieve their potential. Nothing will build a better team than on-the-job action. Teams will thrive when the leaders know how to trust and empower.

Do baby-boomer staffs get motivated by different things or different approaches than might Gen-Z, Millennial or now, Gen-Z workforces?

Actually, I believe that all generations want the same thing. People are people. If they are given an opportunity to achieve their own level of nobility and honor within an organization, they will feel good about what they are doing. It is up to the leaders across all generations to find team roles that everyone can accept. Not every player on the football team needs to be the quarterback to feel like they are contributing. Do not be as concerned about the generational differences; instead, we should be concerned about the needs of the individual players. Then, help each person become the best that they can be in the role that you have assigned to them. If your strategy is simply to allow each person to shine, generational labels mean nothing. Everyone wants to be a valued employee. Find their value, or, dare I say, they may not belong on the team.

Can you share a couple of examples of create, unique or outside-the-box team-building activities that you’ve advised companies to do or that you’ve seen them do?

There are a lot of fun team-building exercises. I’ve seen people do trust falls, scavenger hunts and crazy camping trips. They’re all fun, and they get everyone out of the office.... But these temporary measures do not take the place of listening to and respecting the team. I believe that the team is built from the top down. You can teach team members to trust each other, but the real goal is getting them to trust and produce for those leaders. No exercises or games can replace a leader who knows her team and their individual abilities. I once attended a team-building party where the team members played games and bonded. The team leaders stayed back at the office to hold down the fort. I flipped out. It was the leaders who needed training.

What are some of the most common or most important DON’Ts that companies should be mindful of when planning team-building strategies and/or activities?

As I was saying earlier, team-building exercises are fun. Unfortunately, too many companies rely on the motivational-type and excitement exercises. The end result is a temporary placebo. The results are not long-lasting, and in many situations, the employees are just looking for more funding for game time in the future. The focus of a real team-building effort needs to be productivity and results. So, birthday parties and pizza parties are always fun, but the company should never lose sight of the reason why the team is in existence. Allow your team to feel good about their accomplishments and achievements. Celebrate the end goal, and do not make the mistake of celebrating before you cross the finish line. So many employees return from team-building workshops laughing about how much fun they had but never really understanding how it related to the work they have to do. That is a mistake. Instead of worrying about random activities, focus on how each member of your team can play an active role in making your unifying vision unsinkable. Then, lead, trust and empower. That will build the team of your dreams!

Joe's book, “Getting to ‘US’: Discover the Ability to Lead Your Team to Any Result You Desire,” is available on Amazon. To learn more about Joe, visit

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TOP BRASS Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane When Tom Davis was nearing retirement from the state police in 2014, he thought about going back to school and finishing his college degree. He...]]> When Tom Davis was nearing retirement from the state police in 2014, he thought about going back to school and finishing his college degree. He thought for sure that he’d be done with law enforcement. But what else would he do? Two decades earlier, he had been a music major studying the trumpet; now it was calling him back. 

“I was in my car, driving — I don’t remember what I was listening to — but there was something somebody was playing that was very complex,” Davis said. “Whatever it was I listened to really inspired me.”

Davis was accepted into the music program at Salisbury University. He dove headfirst into being a full-time student of music performance — picking up where he had left off as a younger man, with dreams of a career as a professional trumpet player.

He practiced every day, honing his chops and relearning breathing techniques. He played small gigs before joining the Delmarva Big Band as lead trumpet. “That’s pretty much my favorite thing to do, because it’s high, loud, and fast,” he said.

Davis spent his no-frills childhood in a modest rowhouse outside Baltimore. He was in the fourth grade when he first picked up a trumpet, “and pretty much haven’t stopped playing since,” he said. “I saw Louis Armstrong on TV and kind of had a natural attraction to it. Then, in elementary school, they had some of the kids come through the classroom and play. That got me interested in trying it out.” 

He loved the trumpet and dreamed of building his career around it, but there was another calling that was competing for his attention.

“As a boy, I remember seeing police officers and was impressed by them,” he remembered. “I was brought up to respect my elders and authority figures, so the police were like knights in shining armor to me.”

As a young man, Davis studied music at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County but dropped out in favor of full-time trumpet performances because the money was really good. But he needed benefits, like insurance — especially since he had just married his sweetheart, Stephanie, who today is his wife of
32 years. 

A friend who was a trooper convinced him to enlist, saying he had the right disposition for the job. That was the start of a distinguished 26-year career with the Maryland State Police. But being a trooper effectively squelched any shot Davis had at a music career.

He enjoyed a highly decorated career as a trooper, starting and ending at the Salisbury barracks, except for seven years as the commander of a criminal interdiction unit. One of his fellow troopers on that detail — where they chased bad guys and seized record amounts of cash and narcotics along major highways — was Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis. Sheriff Lewis said Davis “saved my butt on more than one occasion.” There’s one case in particular, Lewis recalled, that may have cost Lewis his life, had Davis not intervened.

“Some guy had a fully loaded machine gun on the bypass during a traffic stop. He was ready to take me out. Davis was behind me and well-hidden in the shadow. It was dark, around 5 a.m.
The guy went to grab the gun. Davis was screaming and hollering. The guy later admitted he was going to kill me,” Lewis said.

Though Davis was done with the state police in 2014, law enforcement was not done with him.

His former state police coworker James Pilchard had taken a job as police chief in Snow Hill. Pilchard asked Davis to join him as an assistant chief. “I promptly told him no, because I was done with law enforcement,” Davis said, “but after several more phone calls, I gave in.”

Davis agreed to stick around for a year or two, but not even that much time had passed when Chief Pilchard departed the job. Town leaders tapped Davis to take over as acting chief before he was offered the job permanently. He’s now in his third year serving as Snow Hill’s top law enforcement officer. 

Police work has allowed Davis to use his trumpet not only onstage but as a part of peoples’ most personal moments. He’s played solos for wedding ceremonies and “Taps” at police and military funerals. When Senator Jim Mathias lost his wife, Kathy, to cancer in 2011, Davis played at her funeral. The solo Davis performed, the theme to CBS Sunday Morning, had been one of Kathy’s favorite melodies. 

Lee Knier is a Salisbury University trumpet instructor who worked with Davis on his music performance degree for about two years.

“He really is the real deal,” Knier said. “Here’s a grown man, a professional with grown children, he’s successful — and he comes to class on time and prepared. You can’t get any better as a role model for students. And he was always very encouraging to my other trumpet students. He was an inspiration to them.”

Davis was already a good player when they met, Knier said, so he tried to help him by finding some corners of the trumpet world that he wasn’t as familiar with.

“He’s very competent; he’s one of the best jazz players in the state of Maryland,” Knier said. “If you put him in a situation where there’s no [sheet] music and we’re just playing, put him in a black T-shirt, he’s perfectly at ease. And, here’s a guy who, as a police officer, has had someone try to get his gun from him, and he handled it.

“But,” he added, “put him in a coat and tie, and tell him to play this piece by Bach, and his knees start shaking. Nerves are all about what your comfort zone is.” Ultimately, Davis sees parallels between the brotherhood of police officers and that of musicians. He’s cultivated a personal network of musician friends, some of whom are world-class players, and “they care because you care.”

“They want to make you a better musician,” he said. “They look out for each other — just like the police. It’s a true brotherhood.”

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HONORING HERITAGES Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Joanne Guilfoil overcame her share of hurdles en route to becoming the accomplished artist, writer and educator she is today. As a child growing up...]]> Joanne Guilfoil overcame her share of hurdles en route to becoming the accomplished artist, writer and educator she is today. As a child growing up in Westchester County, NY, in the 1950s, Guilfoil missed an inordinate amount of school due to illness, which severely impaired her reading-comprehension level and placed her years behind her peers. Her struggle to catch up wasn’t easy, but Guilfoil had the eye. She had an innate gift for visual perception and reproduction, which she channeled into drawing, sketching and eventually painting. She ultimately earned her doctorate and became an art professor and highly skilled painter — she even became a writer. Today, the author of the popular Flying Over Delmarva: Spray Planes, Banner Planes & Bi-Planes has fittingly chosen the Berlin’s 150th anniversary as the release date for her ABCs series follow-up, Berlin Maryland ABCs, a colorful tribute to the history, characters and traditions that make “America’s Coolest Small Town” unlike anywhere else in the world.

Coastal Style recently sat down with Guilfoil, to get a better a better view of what makes this intriguing and multitalented woman tick.

CSM: What made you decide to write an ABC book about Berlin?

JG: Well, I was in Berlin and had gone into Victorian Charm with hardcovers of my book Flying Over Delmarva, and I met the owner, Steve Frene. At one point he asked me: “Well, what about an ABC book on Berlin?” And I replied that I didn’t really know anything about Berlin, so he gave me this book on Berlin published by Arcadia and said, “Now get to work!” [laughs], which I intended to do, but I had put the project on the back burner until I realized that 2018 is the town’s 150th anniversary, at which point the project shot right to the top of the list, so it would be in time for the season. Plus, Steve and Debbie have grandkids, and there was nothing like this that had been published about Berlin, so that became another reason to get the book done, something about Berlin for the kids and grandkids.

You donate time, as a volunteer, to paint and maintain the nose art of a B-25 in Georgetown, Delaware. Do you come from a military family?

My father was a shipbuilder in the Navy during World War II.

Did you move around a lot as a child, as so many military families do?

No. He served his time but then went to school to become an engineer, so for the first 13 years of my life we were residents of Valhalla-White Plains in Westchester County.

I’m told you were sick a lot, growing up. Is that true?

Yes, it was before the era of vaccination became the norm in the United States, and I had all the childhood diseases and missed a lot of school. Then, I was ice-skating and fell and broke my arm, so I couldn’t write. After that, I got hit by a car, so some time in the hospital and more school missed. Oh, well.

When I was in fourth grade, my mother got really bad pneumonia, and I got it, too, so we were basically quarantined, and there was nothing to do all day but lie in bed. It was so boring. Eventually, I think my dad brought me some pastels — which, in retrospect, for a kid with pneumonia, probably wasn’t a very good idea. But anyway, he brought me a book, too, called Misty of Chincoteague. Now, the problem was, I couldn’t read, and nobody knew that. But I could draw, so I made a zillion drawings of Misty of Chincoteague — and all I knew is that it was a pony somewhere, but I didn’t know where. The point is, from first grade through sixth grade, I was able to get by because, back then, you could do group work, so I’d always do the drawings and art, which I was good at, and that’s how I got by.

So your reading deficit went basically undetected. 

Yes, for writing assignments, I’d basically just hand in the same work year after year, until sixth grade.

What happened in sixth grade?

I transferred to this new school, the Virginia Road School, in Valhalla, and I had this male teacher with big, brawny arms, named Mr. DeGiorgio, who was on to me. He called up to his desk and said, “You didn’t read this book,” and I said, “So?” Well, he slammed that ham-hock arm of his down on the desk and said, “You take this book home, and you read it to your mother, and I want a note from her when you’re done.”

Do you remember what book it was that he forced you to read?

Oh, yes. I’ll never forget it: It was Pippi Longstocking.

By having to read that book, did you effectively catch up with the rest of your class?

By the end of sixth grade, I was much closer to grade level, and by seventh grade, I was basically caught-up, and life was good.

At that time, were you already aware that you possessed an innate aptitude for art?

Yes, definitely. And that was very important, because it was very traumatic when my family uprooted me from Valhalla and made me move to Montgomery County in Maryland. I remember it being a terrible adjustment but that the art was the thing that got me through. That and sports.

Oh, then, despite your sickly childhood, you were athletic?

Yes, I was a tomboy and jock — and a brat! [Laughs.]

Where did you go to college?

The University of Kentucky.

Did you play any sports there?

Yup! I played guard on the women’s basketball team and did a double major in art and art history. It was tough: Half the day in the gym; the other half was in the art studio, so I dropped basketball after two years.

Still, it’s not all that commonplace for someone with genuine artistic ability to also excel in sports.

I know. I thought I was crazy for a while. I’d roll into art class all sweaty, and the kids would look at me like there was something wrong with me [laughs].

Where’d you get your doctorate?

University of Oregon. It had the program I was looking for, where I could study what I wanted, which was environmental design, and I got to study architecture and landscape design.

Did you eventually teach at the university level?

Yes — studio art and art education at the University of Kentucky and later Eastern Kentucky University.

Where do you live now?

Selbyville, Delaware.

How long did it take you to complete ABCs Berlin Maryland?

Oh gosh. Maybe a couple of months. I didn’t waste any time. I got in and got it done.

What did you learn about Berlin that intrigued you the most?

I guess it was the historical figures that are actually part of Berlin’s history, not Ocean City’s, like Stephen Decatur, War Admiral and Man o’ War, to name just some.

Did you make any new friends there?

Definitely. Patrick Henry, Steve Frene, Anya at the Worcester County Art Center and Olga at World of Toys — the best toy store ever — and the folks at Rayne’s Reef. It’s the people of Berlin who make it as great as it is.

Speaking of Patrick Henry, I notice that, like Patrick’s, your work is highly representational, very precise and eerily lifelike.

Thank you! In fact, I call it “precision painting.”

You’re big on acrylics. Why is that your medium of choice?

I can use water; I can do blending; there’s no smell; it dries quickly; and I can do a lot of layering easily. I’ve worked with oils, but I must admit I prefer acrylic.

Will your art be on display locally anytime soon?

Yes, we’re having a show in the Spotlight Gallery at the Art League of Ocean City in August, which will showcase 20 to 30 of my works.

What’s next on the literary front?

ABCs Bethany Beach is done and will be out by the time this article runs, and next is ABCs Ocean City, Maryland. After that is a coffee-table book about the chickens of Delmarva, from backyard broods to family farms, believe it or not. Love those Delmarva chickens. A chicken was my first and only pet!

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THE FAMILY MAN Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman Wayne Lednum sure has seen the landscape of the Eastern Shore change in his day. The spry octogenarian, who turned 85 on June 7, founded Creative...]]> Wayne Lednum sure has seen the landscape of the Eastern Shore change in his day. The spry octogenarian, who turned 85 on June 7, founded Creative Concepts in Bethany Beach with his wife, Bobbi, in 1973, within sight of Sea Colony’s first high-rise, which was still under construction. During a candid conversation, the patriarch of the third-generation business recalled some of the company’s earliest days and shared the importance of surrounding oneself with honest, hardworking individuals as keys to its success more than 45 years later.

“Bobbi and I were happy — me to be away from corporate life and her from the suburban life,” Wayne said of moving his family to the Delaware beaches. “Freedom and fresh air were ours. We had youthful enthusiasm and an indomitable attitude that didn’t know failure was an option. Our three sons, Craig, Steve and Scott, were in high school and tasting Ocean City freedom themselves.

“The Sea Colony building, and its opportunity, were in front of us every morning as we drove to work,” he continued. “I hasten to add that the building was empty of people except for weekends — and then only if it was warm. There was no local business for beach décor, not that anyone walked through the door all week anyhow. Back then, in order to call Salisbury, you had to have an operator to complete your telephone call… now that’s rural!”  

Wayne left a managerial position at Montgomery Ward to relocate his family and pursue his entrepreneurial passion. Originally a window-fashion and home-accessories store, Creative Concepts rapidly expanded its offerings to include furniture and complimentary interior-design services to create a full-service shopping experience for customers.

“There were less than a handful of furniture stores from Ocean City to Rehoboth Beach at the time, along with an independent decorator who primarily did government work at Dover Air Base,” Wayne said. “Our first store was 1,200 square feet, including the bathroom and storage. Our first employee was our youngest son, Scott, who was too young for Mom to be comfortable leaving him alone at home. I think he is still mad at me for paying him $5 — I’m not sure if that was for a day or a week.”

The original store was located in South Bethany’s York Beach Mall, and the Lednums expanded their operation by moving to Creekside Plaza in Millville. Wayne and Bobbi opened a second location in Lewes in the early 1980s and later built their flagship showroom in Ocean View in 2005. Today, Creative Concepts has more than 30 employees and roughly 30,000 square feet for showroom and warehouse space between its two showrooms.

Family has always been a welcome and trusted component of the Creative Concepts business plan. Eldest son Craig is the furniture merchandiser and accessories manager. Steve is in charge of the warehouse and delivery operations, as well as the window-treatments division. Scott oversees construction and building management. Daughter-in-law Gail Lednum is Creative Concepts’ lead designer, while grandsons Justin, who works full-time in the showroom, and Corey, who works in the warehouse in-between semesters at college, collectively help further the Lednum family legacy.

Their successes were not without challenge and sacrifice, however, as long hours and a longing for more customers dominated those early years of the business. 

“There wasn’t a middle class down here, just many working couples surrounding the necessary beach enterprises,” Wayne said. “That meant scraping by financially in the winter and working seven days and six nights in the short summer season.”

The family’s biggest challenge came in March of 2017, when Bobbi, whom Wayne married 61 years earlier, passed away at age 79. Heartbroken by the loss of his wife and best friend, Wayne carries on today with his trademark enthusiasm and spirit, guided by irreplaceable and inspirational memories of the love of his life.

Wayne also has the full support of his talented and dynamic team of employees, who feel a familial connection to him and continue to learn from him.

“I feel I have been very fortunate to work with Wayne on a daily basis,” said Patti Marro, who has been the company’s bookkeeper for seven-plus years. “His years of knowledge and experience have helped me, because I can apply what he has taught me at work in my personal life.”

“Mr. Wayne has been a mentor to me. I have improved my life tremendously just by knowing him,” said Shawn Stevens, who serves as warehouse manager and has been employed with Creative Concepts for 15 years. “This is a wonderful place to work, and the Lednums are like family to me. Mr. Wayne calls me his ‘other son.’ He’s an awesome guy and a father figure to me.”

“Wayne is an amazing and unique man,” said Lewes location designer Robin Wall. “I was able to meet Bobbi, Wayne and Craig on one of my very first days on the job. From that point, I knew this was a business that held high standards for honesty, integrity and great personal relations.”

“I’ve always been an idealist. I believe you gather together people who want to work, work together and want to function as a team,” Wayne said. “I don’t have to drive my enthusiasm; I believe it. Even at 85, I wake up eager to go to work every day, because I know that when I get there, my family, my incredible staff and the best customers anyone could ever ask for are all going to be there, too.”

302-539-6989  (Ocean View), 302-645-6200  (Lewes)


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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.

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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.


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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!

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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.

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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.”



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