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Maryland Morning

In the sixth and final installment of the Focus on the Counties series, Tom speaks with Kent County Administrator, Shelley Herman Heller. Kent County is one of nine counties in the state that do not have a county executive, instead administrators are appointed by a board of elected commissioners. Heller was appointed County Administrator in July 2015. She is a Kent County native, and was town administrator of her hometown, Betterton, MD, from 2011 -2014, and then the finance officer for the town before taking on the top job in the county. 

Also joining the conversation is Chris Cerino. He’s the mayor of Chestertown, the largest town in Kent County. As a part-time mayor, Cerino makes an annual salary of $7,500 a year. In his other day job, he is Vice President of the Sultana Education Foundation, a local nonprofit that focuses on the history and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay.

With just 20,000 residents, Kent is Maryland’s smallest county and the population is still declining. Heller and Cerino join to discuss the challenges of serving an aging and shrinking population. 

The Chestertown Riverfest takes place from Sept. 23-24 on the shore of the Chester River. The festival features food, crafts, water sports and other family activities. The festival is presented by Chestertown RiverArts, Washington College Center for Environment and Society and SANDBOX. 

Klintz Photos

Joanne Lewis Margolius is the founder and director of the Magical Experiences Arts Company (MEAC), a Baltimore-based arts organization that for 30 years has been presenting workshops and programs for disabled children, using theater arts to address areas of emotional conflict.   This therapeutic theater group works at places like the Maryland School for the Blind, the Delrey School, which works with children suffering from traumatic brain injuries, and the Copper Ridge Center, which works with adults in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Joanne Lewis Margolius joins Tom in the studio to describe the power of Emotional Stimulation Therapy, MEAC's unique, sensory alternative to traditional drama therapy.

Alex Proimos


A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the health journal, BMJ, found that medical errors in hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. account for 250,000 deaths a year. That’s more than other notorious causes like respiratory disease and stroke.  Researchers say medical errors are not counted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of an oversight in the system hospitals use to record causes of death.

Medical errors include things like misdiagnosis, surgical mishaps and accidental prescription overdoses.

According to the study’s co-author, Dr. Michael Daniel, miscommunication between doctors and patients can lead to many fatal medical errors.

Dr. Daniel joined Tom in the studio to discuss the study’s findings and what can be done to address the issue.

Civil rights activist Gloria Richardson spoke with Tom in January 2016 about her unique but unheralded role in Maryland's civil rights movement.

Richardson was part of the so-called Cambridge Movement in the 1960s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – an area she has compared to living in the Deep South in terms of the profound and often violent racial divide.  As part of her effort to end racial bigotry and inequity in the region, Richardson helped organize the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee.

Kathy Flann

Joining Tom in the studio is writer Kathy Flann. She's the author of two short-story collections: Get a Gripwhich won the 2014 George Garrett Fiction Prize; and Smoky Ordinary, which earned Flann the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award. She's an associate professor at Goucher College in Towson, where she teaches courses in fiction and creative non-fiction.

Get a Grip, her latest short-story collection, is set mostly in and around Baltimore, and peopled with fascinating and richly textured characters, including two 7-foot-tall Estonian brothers hoping to get admitted to Loyola College, an aspiring writer trying to keep her deadbeat dad at bay, and a guy who finds a meteor in Catonsville. 

Community Healing Network

Racist rhetoric, systematic inequality and discrimination can have lasting effects on the mental psyche of those who are exposed to it, especially people of color. 

Dr. Cheryl Grills is a professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and the former president of the Association of Black Psychologists. Enola Aird is a lawyer, and the founder and president of Community Healing Network. They both participated in a panel earlier this year sponsored by the Black Mental Health Alliance that explored why African-centered approaches to mental health are crucial to addressing the psychological stress felt by many communities of color. 

Gloria Wright/The Post-Standard

Comedian, writer and political satirist Barry Crimmins is the author of Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal and the subject of Call Me Lucky, an award-winning documentary by his friend and fellow comic, Bobcat Goldthwait.

Crimmins joins Tom in the studio to weigh in on the presidential election. He also gets personal and talks about how the sexual abuse he was subjected to as a child has informed his work and purpose.  Barry Crimmins will be featured on an upcoming web release comedy special produced by comedian Louis C.K.

Bridget Armstrong

If you find yourself on the corner of Presstman Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, look up, you might just catch a glimpse of Elder C.W. Harris on the roof of the Harris-Marcus Center

After climbing the fire escape of the four story building, that’s where I found him, sitting under a canopy tent, eating a bag of peanuts, looking out on the city.

Elder Harris is the founder and pastor of Intersection of Change, formerly known as Newborn Holistic Ministries. He’s been living on the roof since last Saturday and he plans to stay there until 500 people from the Sandtown-Winchester community vote.

"In our last election cycle only 257 people voted in the Sandtown Winchester Community. That community has between 12 and 14,000 residents. We only have 2,000 registered voters. We need to change all that."

Elder Harris is a lifelong resident of Sandtown. He says since last year’s uprising following the death of Freddie Gray who was also a Sandtown resident, people are even more disillusioned and disenfranchised with local government. "Things have not gone back to normal as it was before Freddie Gray. Folks are without hope. It is hard for them to believe after so many years of neglect. I don’t hate the players, I hate the game. If they look on the chart and see that there are only a few people from our community who voted why would they listen to us? That’s the game, we have to beat them at their game."

Russell Sage Foundation

Stefanie DeLuca's new book Coming of Age in the Other America (published by the Russell Sage Foundation), explores the lengths to which young people, born to impoverished families, must go in order to escape the cycle of poverty. 

Caroline Cunningham

National Book Award winner James McBride is out with a new biography of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul seeks to tell the “real” story behind one of the most fascinating and influential figures in the history of American music.