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Talbot County Sheriff's Office welcomes two new police dogs

EASTON — The Talbot County Sheriff’s Office welcomed some new hires on Sept. 15.

But there was one problem — the newest additions to the police department couldn’t stop pulling on their leashes so they could play with the other deputies who came out to welcome them.

Chocolate Labrador retrievers Buc and Chief are joining three other K-9 units in the Sheriff’s Office. Buc is paired with Dfc. Brittanie DiMichele and Chief with Cpl. Jeff Smith.

The additional K-9s allow for one available unit on every shift, Sheriff Joe Gamble said. The units are vital because K-9s can track people, as well as find drugs and hidden contraband.

“Talbot County has the highest rate per capita of retired people in the state,” Gamble said. “My first year as sheriff, we had a lady wander off into a snowstorm. The nice thing about having labs is you can track Alzheimer’s patients.”

After some initial scurrying around in the grass in front of the police department, the dogs demonstrated their ability to track scents by detecting a dummy smell near a car. Both Chief and Buc sniffed around the vehicle on their leashes, and then paused on their hind legs after a hit.

“The dogs came trained,” Smith said. “The six weeks of training we did was us learning.”

The dogs effectively become the officer’s partners, living with them at home and going out on every patrol and ride.

Smith’s last trained canine died of old age when he worked at the Cambridge Police Department, and he was initially not sure if he was ready for another one.

But Smith knew it would “feel good to have a companion” again. Chief is only 18 months old.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It gives me somebody to talk to.”

The department bought both labradors for $20,000 from North Carolina-based K2 solutions, a dog-training company. The money came from private donations. The Easton Rotary bought one dog and The Lady Patriots of the Eastern Shore purchased another.

Connie Sheer, the president of Lady Patriots, said she actually approached the the sheriff’s department with the hopes of raising money for whatever they needed most. That ended up being two new K-9s.

“Everybody wants to support Sheriff Joe,” she said. “It was the easiest $10,000 ever spent.”


Business
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Easton tech company, 'confidential' partner helping develop coronavirus medicine

EASTON — Two Maryland companies are assisting with the development of a unique preventative medicine that could inhibit the reproduction of the novel coronavirus, and the over-the-counter product could roll out before the end of the year.

The development is confidential and still under trial, but the final stages are nearing completion, Easton-based F3 Tech wrote in a press release.

“While we cannot provide details about the proposed solution, the company is beginning prototype development with collaborators from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University,” Mike Thielke, executive director of F3 Tech, said in a statement.

F3 Tech primarily develops technology in the agriculture, energy, environmental and supply chain sectors, but has since expanded its reach in the past year to assist companies with research. Since May, it has been working with a private company — which requested to remain confidential in this story because of an ongoing research trial — to develop the preventative medicine.

F3 Tech has helped with research, manufacturing, distribution and business advice for the Baltimore-based company. The project is privately funded by the companies, although Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland have been assisting as well.

Nicole Duran, a public health adviser for the private company, said the medicine is low-risk and similar to immune support tablets such as Airborne or the contraception pill Plan B as far as easy-to-take prevention drugs. The results are promising so far, but further testing is needed.

“We have it in its consumer form, and we’re just specifically testing it against COVID-19 now,” she said.

The proactive medicine stops the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-coV-2, from entering cells and causing the disease COVID-19. The virus has protein spikes around it that help it bind and slip into cells, allowing it to reproduce in a frenzy. After taking this preventative medicine, a “block inhibitor” is created that competes against the virus.

“If you think of it like a competition, the product is running to block the virus from grabbing onto the cells,” Duran said.

The medicine still needs approval from the FDA before its release to the public.

Currently, there are no approved drugs from the FDA, although the drug Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences is considered promising, at least at easing COVID-19’s severity in some patients.

Still, no drug is being developed like this, with a focus on proactive prevention, Duran said. People would take this drug before they have the disease.

“A lot of the treatments we have are reactive, it’s after you’re infected or showing extreme symptoms,” she said. “We were frustrated — I think people need something cheap and that they can take easily and not worry about side-effects. It was the idea of, ‘What’s proactive instead of reactive?’”

While she anticipates no issues, information on its specific cost, and potential side effects of the medicine, are not available at the moment, Duran said.

If the medicine wins FDA approval the rollout will be slow at first, with a focus on supplying the most vulnerable populations first: school children, first responders and the elderly.

“Those high-risk carriers are our main targets, we want to make sure they get it first,” she said. “But we should be able to distribute it nationally pretty fast.”


Talbot_goes_purple
featured
Bring old medications to a drop box near you

Safely dispose of leftover medications at one of a series of mobile take-back days at fire houses across Talbot County this month.

Proper disposal of leftover medications – especially opioids, can greatly reduce the risk of accidental poisonings, misuse, abuse and overdose. Research shows that most teens who misuse or abuse prescription medications took them from the family medicine cabinet. And generally, more than 70% of people who abuse these medications get them from friends or family.

The preferred method for disposing of unused, unwanted, expired or otherwise unneeded medications is at a drug drop box. Second best is with a medication disposal bag, such as Deterra. And last resort is at home, but never in the toilet!

As part of Talbot Goes Purple, there are four upcoming mobile take-back events, including one today, Sept. 16, in St. Michaels. These are all from noon until 2 p.m. (outside) local fire houses. Deputies also will have free Deterra bags and storage solutions available.

The events are as follows:

Sept. 16, 12-2, St. Michaels Volunteer Fire Company, 1001 S. Talbot St.

Sept. 22, 12-2, Cordova Volunteer Fire Company, 11864 Kittys Corner Road

Sept. 23, 12-2, Oxford Volunteer Fire Company, 300 Oxford Road

Sept. 24, 12-2, Easton Volunteer Fire Department, 315 Aurora Park Drive

In addition to medication disposal, Beth Williams from the Talbot County Health Department, will provide on-site Narcan trainings, plus free doses, at each event. Masks are required.

Along with this month’s mobile initiative, there are three, year-round, drop box locations in Talbot County:

• Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, 28712 Glebe Road, Suite 1, Easton. Accepts medications 24 hours/day.

• Maryland State Police Barracks “I”, 7053 Ocean Gateway, Easton. Accepts medications 24 hours/day.

• Oxford Police Department, 101 Market St., Oxford. Hours: 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency twice each year sponsors take back days, in April and in October, in communities across the nation. Many communities have their own take back programs. This year, due to the pandemic, the April events did not happen. The October event is slotted to occur Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Check with local law enforcement agencies for locations.

If you cannot get to one of three drop box locations in Talbot County, and cannot access a medication disposal bag such as Deterra, you may safely dispose of medications at home as follows:

• Remove the medications from their original containers.

• Conceal or remove any personal information, and Rx info, from the label with a sharpie, duct tape or by scratching it off.

• Mix with undesirable substance like coffee grounds of kitty litter

• Put the mixture into an empty can or sealable bag.

• Throw away.

(Drug disposal guidelines from the Office of National Drug Control Policy)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions against flushing medications unless specifically on their flush list and only if a drop box isn’t an option. Medications on that list, including Fentanyl, are especially lethal with just one dose.

Talbot Goes Purple is an educational and awareness prevention program that empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. The purpose of the program is to promote the “new conversation” – one that includes prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarettes. TGP focuses on educating students about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and works toward preventing kids from beginning to use these substances in the first place.

An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Saints Peter & Paul School and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

More information about Talbot Goes Purple is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.

Talbot Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


Local_news
Frederick Douglass Day goes virtual

EASTON — A series of virtual events are planned for Frederick Douglass Day on Saturday, Sept. 26.

The day celebrates the life and legacy of Douglass, a leading abolitionist who was born a slave in Talbot County. All events will be virtual in response to social distancing needs and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Frederick Douglass Honor Society, Talbot County Free Library, town of Easton and Talbot County are presenting the virtual events.

The schedule of events include a 10 a.m. welcoming ceremony featuring Frederick Douglass Honor Society Board Member Harriette Lowery, Rev. William T. Wallace Sr. and music by Easton High School, Easton Middle School and St. Michaels Middle School students. The U.S. Navy Band will also perform at the opening ceremony.

There will be readings by William Peak and Terron Quailes. Quailes will be dressed as Douglass and will read the famous “Self-Made Men’ speech.

A 10 a.m. a children’s event will feature virtual games and a Frederick Douglass story read by St. Michaels Library Branch Manager Shauna Beulah.

At 11 a.m. a new portrait of Douglass will be unveiled at the Talbot County Free Library. Artist Laura Era, who also owns the Troika Gallery in Easton, painted the Douglass portrait. Prior to its Sept. 26 unveiling, the portrait is also available to view at the downtown gallery at 9 South Harrison Street.

There will also be events at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. featuring speakers from the U.S., Ireland and the United Kingdom discussing Douglass’ historical and contemporary impacts. That includes a virtual lecture and question and answer session featuring John Stauffer, the Kates Professor of English and African and African-American Studies at Harvard University.

There will also be virtual tours of the Douglass home in Washington D.C., a presentation on the history of lynchings in Maryland and a virtual viewing of “The Moment Was Now”, a musical set during Reconstruction in post-Civil War Baltimore.

All of the Douglass days events can be viewed at www.FrederickDouglassDay.com. The site also offers tickets to view the musical and associated links. Sponsors of the day’s events include Mr and Mrs. Paul Prager, the town of Easton, the Talbot County Arts Council and Bay Photographic Works.