Senator Eckardt’s update: Dorchester named a 'best destination' by National Geographic

By Addie Eckardt, Special to Dorchester Banner
Posted 11/26/21

ANNAPOLIS - Dorchester County and the Eastern Shore were named a Top 25 “Best of the World” Destination for 2022 by National Geographic. The following is an excerpt from the article, …

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Senator Eckardt’s update: Dorchester named a 'best destination' by National Geographic


ANNAPOLIS - Dorchester County and the Eastern Shore were named a Top 25 “Best of the World” Destination for 2022 by National Geographic. The following is an excerpt from the article, published Thursday, Nov. 18:

“Be transported by history. The history of the Underground Railroad flows through the waterways, wetlands, swamps, and tidal marshes of Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This is where the secret network’s most famous ‘conductor,’ Harriet Tubman, was born enslaved, grew up, and honed the skills — such as trapping, hunting, and using stars to navigate — she used to escape to freedom in Pennsylvania. She then returned 13 times to rescue more than 70 enslaved friends and family. Her heroic story is told at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, one of the more than 30 stops along the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

“To bring Tubman’s story to life for kids, Alex Green, co-owner of Harriet Tubman Tours, suggests a kayaking adventure in the byway’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. As a child, Tubman trapped muskrats here and worked alongside her father, a timber inspector who taught her how to move around the marshlands.

“’We talk to kids about how the confidence and lessons Harriet learned inside the terrible institution of slavery drove her to accomplish incredible things,’” Green says. “’Harriet never gave up and she never stopped learning. That’s a lesson they can take home.’”

COVID-19 booster eligibility

Governor Larry Hogan announced that the State of Maryland has expanded eligibility for COVID-19 boosters to include all adults. This expansion will help further the state’s public health goal of maintaining immunity against severe COVID-19.

“As of today, Maryland has already administered more than 800,000 booster shots, and we are immediately expanding our campaign further to include all adults,” said Gov. Hogan. “As the holiday season approaches, with more travel and more gatherings, we are encouraging all Marylanders to get a booster shot and maintain their immunity. The state has a robust network of vaccination providers, and we continue to have both the supply and the capacity to provide a booster shot to anyone who needs one.”

Expanded Guidance to Providers: The Maryland Department of Health has issued a new bulletin directing all providers to administer upon request a booster dose of any FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years and older who completed a primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago.

Individuals who received a primary series of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago continue to be eligible for a booster dose.

State health officials continue to strongly recommend that the following individuals get a booster shot as soon as possible:

  • Individuals aged 65 years and older
  • Individuals who live in long-term care settings, those who have underlying medical conditions, and those who work or live in high-risk settings or in communities with high transmission rates

The bulletin further emphasizes to providers that they may not turn away any individual requesting a booster dose.

More than 800,000 Booster Shots: To date, the State of Maryland is reporting 802,987 booster shots administered. Nearly half of the state’s eligible seniors have received a booster shot. Official data is available at

Find a Vaccine Clinic: To find a clinic, visit or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).

Request a Vaccine Clinic: Businesses, schools, organizations or community groups can request a GoVAX Mobile clinic for their organization at or call 1-855-MD-GoVAX (1-855-634-6829).

African-American heritage grants

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust have awarded 13 African American Heritage Preservation Program grants totaling $1,000,000 to Maryland nonprofit groups for FY22.

These grants offer assistance to organizations and private citizens in their sponsorship of projects involving acquisition, construction or improvement of sites related to African American heritage. This year’s grant awards range from $48,000 to $100,000.

Grantees in District 37 include:

St. Paul Church - Denton, Caroline County

($100,000 awarded to St. Paul Church Historical, Revitalization, and Maintenance, Inc.)

The St. Paul Church is one of the earliest African American churches in Caroline County. The associated cemetery has burials dating back to at least the 1840s. The church will be used to promote community education and awareness of African American culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. AAHPP grant funds will advance a major ongoing restoration of the structure.

Bellevue Passage Museum - Royal Oak, Talbot County

($56,000 awarded to Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Inc.)

The building proposed to house the Bellevue Passage Museum was built circa 1900 on a lot on Dawson Street in the historically African American community of Bellevue. It is a small, single-story, rectangular frame store building with a hipped roof. It was occupied in the early 20th century by John U. Greene. Its use as a privately run business was unusual in this company-oriented town which was created through the designs and financing of the local canning and packing business owner. The small structure has been moved several times throughout its history, and the project will relocate the structure to a lot on East Poplar Street within Bellevue for use as a museum.

Online applications for FY23 AAHPP funding will be available in spring 2022 on MHT’s website (

For more information about the grant program, contact Barbara Fisher, with MHT, at or 410-697-9574, or MCAAHC Director Chanel Compton at or 410-216-6180. For information about organizations receiving grants, please contact the institutions directly.

Natural Gas Safety

With colder temperatures arriving, Delmarva Power expects its customers to use more natural gas to heat their homes and businesses. As Delmarva Power prepares its systems to meet customer needs, the energy company is also reminding customers to prepare and stay safe this winter season while using natural gas.

This winter, customers are advised to familiarize themselves with the important tips and information found on Delmarva Power’s natural gas safety web page. Here are a few key reminders:

  • Leaks can be caused by construction or by ground movement during winter’s deep freeze.
  • Natural gas is odorless, so an odorant is added to help customers and crews detect when a leak occurs.
  • Immediately reporting a natural gas odor is critical to help ensure customer and community safety.

To promote good maintenance practices for natural gas equipment, especially during the winter season, customers should do the following:

  • Have your heating system or other natural gas appliances and piping serviced by a qualified technician.
  • Keep exhaust vents for natural gas appliances (e.g. water heaters, furnaces and fireplaces) clear of snow and ice to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep gas meters clear of ice and snow by using a broom or similar tool to gently clear the area around the meter.
  • Keep shoveled and plowed snow piles far away from your gas meter and never use a shovel or sharp tool to chip ice away – this can cause damage or break the meter.
  • Repair gutters and downspouts that may drip water onto your meter.

Combat Anti-Asian crime

Gov. Hogan announced a series of statewide actions to combat the rise in anti-Asian hate and bias crimes, including enhanced safety and enforcement measures, more robust community resources, and steps to empower educators and students.

Building on the workgroup’s efforts, the governor is advancing immediate actions to support Asian American students, businesses and families:

Public Safety and Enforcement

  • Updating hate and bias training for law enforcement agencies to include reporting of hate and bias incidents and crimes.
  • Designating a Maryland State Police commander to act as liaison for hate crimes and racially biased incidents, and launching a partnership between the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives to share data.
  • Encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to prioritize diversity in recruiting, and offering incentives for officers who are proficient in multiple languages.
  • Providing $1 million in funding to provide devices with translation apps (i.e. Google Translate) for law enforcement and victims services organizations.
  • Calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to expedite guidance for the implementation of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.

Community Resources

  • Increasing Protecting Against Hate Crimes funding from $3 million to $5 million — a 67% increase — and directing the Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to conduct aggressive outreach efforts regarding the availability of funding.
  • Making 211 Maryland a resource for reporting hate and bias incidents and providing information about services and resources in Asian languages.
  • Launching an online resource center, and publishing a guide for How To Report Hate Crimes & Incidents available in Asian languages.
  • Developing alternative reporting channels, including community organizations, nonprofits and faith centers.

Educators and Students

  • Directing the Maryland Center for School Safety to develop resources for educators, parents and students on how to identify and report hate and bias incidents.
  • Engaging with the Maryland State Department of Education on developing a Continuing Professional Development offering on Asian American history for teachers.
  • Working with the University System of Maryland to explore scholarships and fellowships through the Merrill College of Journalism to encourage more Asian-American participation in journalism.
  • Provide education resources online for educators and members of the public.

Qlarant Foundation grants

Qlarant Foundation announces a call for proposals for the 2022-23 grant period. Qlarant Foundation will award grants up to $50,000 to eligible nonprofit organizations in Maryland and Washington, D.C., that work to improve health care to underserved communities.

Qlarant Foundation will fund health care projects, focusing on the uninsured and underinsured patient. Selected projects should include well-defined goals with measureable outcomes. Acceptance of applications for grants will be from Dec. 1 through 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 19, 2022. Notification of award status will be announced in June 2022.

Qlarant Foundation focuses on programs that demonstrate improved health care quality with clear goals and measurable outcomes. Priority areas include programs that: 

  • Improve access to health care services to the unserved and under-served
  • Improve understanding of health issues, including health-related social issues
  • Demonstrate improvement through measurable outcomes of stated goals

For more information on how to apply, visit