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Year-end donation supports KIVFD's heavy rescue unit

CHESTER — Mary Ewing, probably best known for opening Holly’s Restaurant in 1955, would have turned 100 this year. To celebrate her memory and honor that milestone, her daughter Holly Baker, son-in law Wheeler Baker, grandson Mitchell Andrew and his wife Tami decided to make a year-end donation to the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.

“My grandmother was a big fan of the fire department,” said Mitchell Andrew. According to Wheeler Baker, the fire department was called upon to care for Mary and “their response time was outstanding.”

Wheeler and Holly Baker have been long-time supporters of the fire department. Not only were they committee members of the Capital Campaign to build the station on Kent Island, but, when Wheeler was a county commissioner, he was instrumental in the formation of the county paramedic program. Mitchell and Tami Andrew, Love Point Deli owners, have also been very generous and supportive during the Capital Campaign and beyond.

“Community members like the Bakers and the Andrews are crucial to our volunteer station’s ability to survive,” said KIVFD President Jody Schulz. “We are thankful that over the years they have given so generously in many different ways.”

Their generosity at this time will be used to add much needed equipment to the department’s new Heavy Rescue Unit.

A Heavy Rescue Unit is designed to transport and provide the specialized equipment necessary for technical rescue. That specialized equipment can be costly. Most people have heard of a Hurst tool (The Jaws of Life), which is a hydraulic tool used to extricate victims that have become trapped in a piece of machinery or involved in an accident. The Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue not only has a new Hurst tool, but it also has a small pump and water tank for minimal firefighting capabilities. There is also an assortment of equipment used to stabilize vehicles and buildings, such as airbags, a portable winch and stabilization struts.

A portable generator is also on board so the responders can supply electric at a scene if needed.

Each rescue situation presents a different challenge, so the equipment and personnel must be ready for any possibility.

If you are interested in making a year-end donation to the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, please visit www.kivfd.org or mail your donation to 1610 Main Street in Chester. Donations are tax deductible.

The Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department is also always looking for new volunteers.

If you are interested, please contact the station by calling 410-643-5454, or email info@kivfd.org.

Those getting COVID vaccines tend to be women, white

ANNAPOLIS — There have been 65,692 COVID vaccinations given in Maryland, according to a Jan. 4 report from the state health department. The Maryland Department of Health reports 6,863 of those coronavirus vaccinations have occurred on the Eastern Shore.

So far, coronavirus vaccinations in the state are skewing toward women, younger demographics and whites.

The first phases of the state’s mass COVID vaccination plans offer shots to health care workers, nursing home staff and patients and first responders.

Women make up 43,013 of those vaccinated or 65.5%. Some of that stems from women making up a larger percentage of health care workforces.

Of those vaccinated statewide, 39,531 of the Marylanders are white (or 60%), 9,297 are African American (14%) and 2,305 are Hispanic (3.5%).

African Americans make up 31% of Maryland’s total population, whites 50% and Hispanics 10.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state’s vaccination levels thus far have also skewed younger even though seniors have made up the majority of deaths attributed to the COVID.

Mass COVID vaccination efforts are challenged by hesitancy and resistance including from some groups such as African Americans, immigrants and political conservatives. Some Marylanders worry about the fast development of the COVID vaccines and potential side effects while others want to wait and see how the vaccines work for others.

MDH reported Jan. 4 that there have been 5,859 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

African Americans have made up 2,145 (or 36.6%) of the Maryland coronavirus deaths, according to MDH data.

Top CEOs, NBA chief press Congress to approve Biden’s win

NEW YORK — A group of CEOs and top business executives are pressing Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Top executives from companies such as Microsoft, Pfizer, the National Basketball Association, Lyft, Etsy, American Express, Mastercard and Condé Nast are part of the effort, as a group of Republican senators plan on objecting to Biden’s Electoral College win.

GOP U.S. Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee want a 10-day special audit of the White House race, pointing to questions raised by President Donald Trump about vote counts and mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, Georgia and other battlegrounds won by Biden.

They plan on objecting to congressional approval of Biden’s win. “For 4 years Democrats called @realDonaldTrump’s 2016 election illegitimate, For the 2020 elections, let’s determine what happened in these disputed states,” Blackburn said in a social media statement.

Some establishment and anti-Trump Republicans, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, oppose those efforts.

The group of CEOs and top executives — which include Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, WNBA Commissioner Catherine Engelbert, Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David M. Solomon and Microsoft President Brad Smith — want Congress to certify Biden’s Electoral College win.

“This presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the Electoral College and the courts have rejected challenges to the electoral process. Congress should certify the electoral vote on Wednesday, January 6. Attempts to thwart or delay this process run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy,” the CEOs and business executives said in a statement on Monday, Jan. 4.

“The incoming Biden administration faces the urgent tasks of defeating COVID-19 and restoring the livelihoods of millions of Americans who have lost jobs and businesses during the pandemic. Our duly elected leaders deserve the respect and bipartisan support of all Americans at a moment when we are dealing with the worst health and economic crises in modern history. There should be no further delay in the orderly transfer of power,” the statement continued.

Despite rebuffs by courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump has continued to challenge the election results, contending voter fraud and irregularities. He called Republicans not siding with his efforts part of a “surrender caucus.”

Trump’s push has shown divisions in the GOP between his populist and working class wing and the party’s business and neoconservative establishments.

Trump also has been calling for his supporters to protest in D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Community forums set to gather input in state superintendent search

BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Board of Education has scheduled virtual community forums to gather public input regarding the search for the next State Superintendent.

Working with search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates, the State Board of Education is seeking public input to help identify a leadership profile and characteristics necessary to help lead the State’s education system. The first forum was held Dec. 22. Two more virtual forums are planned: Tuesday, Jan. 5, and Thursday, Jan. 7, both from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The virtual community forums will be live streamed and the public is encouraged to watch. Links to the forums are listed on Greenwood/Asher website at https://www.greenwoodsearch.com/maryland-forum-info-page.

For each virtual forum, participants will be able to register at https://www.greenwoodsearch.com/maryland-forum-info-page to provide live public comment and thoughts on the following:

• What characteristics and qualifications should the next Superintendent have?

Up to 30 speakers are invited to speak for up to three minutes at each forum. Registration will open one week prior to each virtual forum date and close at noon on the last business day preceding the date of each virtual forum on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is now open for the Jan. 5 forum; it will close on Jan. 4 at noon. Registered participants will receive an email confirming their registration, along with the Zoom link, passcode to join the meeting, and a copy of these guidelines and procedures. Questions or comments should also be sent to msde@greenwoodsearch.com.

Upon registration, participants will also be provided with a number indicating the order in which they will be called upon to speak. A representative from Greenwood/Asher will explain the meeting procedures and call on speakers in order of their registration and monitor time. Time will be monitored by the Greenwood/Asher team through the use of a timer.

• What are the challenges and opportunities the next Superintendent will face?

• What distinguishes the Maryland Public School System?

• What must the next Superintendent accomplish over the next one to three years in order to be viewed as a success?

• Additional comments/concerns related to the search for the next Superintendent.

Public input also will be solicited through an online survey, available on the same website.

For accommodations or questions regarding the registration process, contact msde@greenwoodsearch.com or 850-650-2277 and ask for Julie Holley.

Easton man charged with underage porn solicitation, sexual offense

EASTON — A 20-year-old Easton man is facing criminal charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with and soliciting and obtaining underage pornography from a child under 16 years old, police said.

Eliseo Tomas-Reynoso is accused of forming a relationship with a 14-year-old girl on social media in August 2019 and exchanging nude photos with her. Police said the online relationship lasted nearly a year, and in June 2020 Tomas-Reynoso went to the girl’s house and allegedly had sex with her.

The girl’s mother reported the alleged sex offense to police immediately after the incident, charging documents state. Easton Police detectives investigated the allegations, and with the assistance of troopers assigned to the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, arrested Tomas-Reynoso on a warrant on Dec. 29.

Charging documents state that the girl believes she told Tomas-Reynoso her age and he told her his. Police recovered at least one illicit photo on the girl’s phone, as well as other photos related to the case, police said.

Tomas-Reynoso was ordered held without bond after his arrest and was later released from the Talbot County Detention Center on Jan. 4 on a $10,000 unsecured bond, according to court records.

Easton Police Department detectives are part of the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which comprises police agencies across Maryland, according to a EPD news release. The task force’s primary mission, the release states, is to “protect children from computer-facilitated sexual exploitation.”