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Kent County News: Comptroller visits Chestertown, honors Goodall

CHESTERTOWN — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot visited Chestertown Tuesday, giving awards and commendations to local businesses and their owners.

Franchot presented the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Kent County to Dixon Valve and Coupling CEO Dick Goodall. Franchot said his creation of the award was to honor namesake, William Donald Schaefer, former Baltimore mayor, governor and comptroller.

“If you go to his tombstone, where he rests in peace, he doesn’t have anything about being governor of the state, anything about being comptroller or the four-term mayor of Baltimore city, none of that on his tombstone,” Franchot said. “It’s just his name, his dates and two words: ‘He cared.’”

Franchot said that he could think of no better person to receive the award than Goodall. He said Goodall had fabulous commitment to his family business and to education in the county. Franchot specifically highlighted Goodall’s work with Character Counts! Kent County, a program that provides character education to students.

“I think you’ve changed the culture of education in Kent County, the time and energy that you’ve spent at Garnet Elementary School further exemplifies the dedication you have to your local community,” Franchot said.

Goodall said Franchot visiting areas around the state was wonderful. Goodall said he thought there were other people who deserved the award more than he did.

“I know I don’t represent myself, I really do believe that, I represent all the people that I get to work with,” Goodall said. “There’s a lot of people ... who deserve this way more than I do, but I really appreciate it and we’re going to keep working for people just like you do.”

Franchot also introduced former Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., thanking him for his service.

Franchot spoke briefly about working as a politician and its challenges.

“We kid a lot about politics and some of it is particularly unsavory and off putting to people, all the backroom stuff but, overall, politics is a noble profession and a lot of what we do is beneficial to all the people,” Franchot said.

Kent County Commissioner Bill Short also spoke during the event. He said that he was happy the Goodall family had decided to build it’s business park in the county.

“So they are gracious people. They take great care of our county,” Short said.

Later, Franchot toured Bad Alfred’s Distillery on High Street, presenting owner Al Cassinelli with a proclamation recognizing the distillery’s contributions to the industry and its impact on the community.

Cassinelli gave an overview of how the business distills different alcohols and general information about his menu and products. He said he had recently been granted a federal brewer’s license and hopes to have a state license to brew beer by June.

Cassinelli then showed Franchot bourbon being distilled, saying that by Saturday it would be moved to a larger still. Franchot said that the commendation not only highlighted the community impact of the distillery, but also recognized the business for its entrepreneurial competence.

“Tourism for craft alcohol products produced in Maryland — distilleries, wineries and breweries — is absolutely important,” Franchot said.

Franchot also visited Uncle Charlie’s Bistro, recognizing owner Chuck Ministero for the restaurant’s culinary expertise and customer service. Franchot thanked Ministero for his contributions to the community, reading aloud from proclamation.

“I want to give a shoutout to all my staff who make this all possible,” Ministero said.

Short said that Uncle Charlie’s Bistro had been in the county for six years and said that the community supports the business.

“All the employment — even a small restaurant like this — creates is a great thing for Kent County and we all support him and we support him in whatever he does,” Short said.

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