‘Tis the (angry) season
Posted On: 12/22/16
Peace on earth and good will toward … Oh, right, that’s out the window these days. How about this then: peace on my patch of the earth and good will toward people who agree with me. For reasons sociologists will spend lifetimes trying to sort out, political and religious differences are no longer just sensitive subjects that could provoke arguments at inopportune times — the dinner table, social gatherings, the grocery store or the gas station — they are the matches for our very short fuses. We have reached the point where a disagreement is no longer a matter of two parties refusing to see things each other’s way, while still remaining on speaking terms, it has become the source of intense personal dislike and worse. Case in point: not long after the national election, a driver pulled into a local gas station and engaged in casual discussion with an attendant about the election results. As is the case throughout the country, they disagreed on the outcom...» Click here for the full story.
Generosity is news, too
Posted On: 12/15/16
Charities in this area — and there are plenty of them — get frequent publicity, because it’s necessary to remind the public that all these institutions and organizations can only do their good works if residents do their share as well. As dedicated as the volunteers and leadership of these groups might be, their efforts will come to naught without the participation of the public. That’s why it’s good to see a little operation like the Church Mouse in Berlin doing so well this holiday season. Helen Wiley, who runs the shop as an outreach for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, put it best when she said that the thrift shop’s success is a tribute to the kindness of the people of Berlin. It truly is, just as the success of the multiple charities in this county reflects well on the thousands of residents and businesses who give regularly, especially this time of the year. And there are plenty of places to do that. According to the National Center for...» Click here for the full story.
Can’t serve two masters
Posted On: 12/8/16
If nothing else, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors’ consideration of a fiber optics infrastructure project that would involve Director Brett Hill’s company is awkward. No matter how much the Ocean Pines Association and others might want blazing-fast Internet connectivity, no matter how much it might cost Hill’s company, FTS Fiber, to do the job, or how much the company might earn from it over the years, the suspicion would linger that insider dealing played a part. FTS wants the directors to grant it easements that would allow the company to install a fiber optics network system that would, in turn, be leased to a communications provider. That’s fine, but blazing-fast Internet access and gigabit download speed aren’t the issues. The difficulty is that Hill is not just a director, but also is the association’s interim general manager. As both, he is the insider’s insider, who, whether or not he recuses himself from board discussions, could ...» Click here for the full story.
Thankful on Giving Tues.
Posted On: 11/24/16
Even though the historical purpose of Thanksgiving is to acknowledge our good fortune, that has become secondary to many of us, as our comfortable circumstances allow us to look on the holiday as less of a day of thanks and more of a time to eat as much as we can possibly hold. If that thought brought about a touch of indigestion, there’s a cure for that — give someone else something to be thankful for, and you can do it through the online donation event known as Giving Tuesday, when it goes viral on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Giving can be second nature to most, but there’s always that thought lurking in the back of your mind, “How will this help me?” It appears we have lost the meaning of giving. Yet, the world continues to give us opportunities to contribute to the welfare of those around us. This Giving Tuesday, set aside that lurking thought and give simply because it’s the right thing to do. Give to a local nonprofit because all they do is give...» Click here for the full story.
In doubt? Seek council
Posted On: 11/17/16
Things are happening in Ocean Pines and, as is the case with everything else these days, no one can know with whether these things are fixes or follies until they play out over the next several months, maybe longer. On the surface, the proposals tendered by interim General Manager Brett Hill make sense financially. Reconfiguring and renovating available space to meet current needs would seem to be the thing to do for a citizenry that’s perennially concerned about assessments. Changing the administration building around to give more space to the police department, for instance, appears to be the logical thing to do. After all, if space isn’t being used to its fullest advantage, the smart thing to do is to use what’s available, if it’s sufficient, before undertaking a much pricier project. As for other aspects of Hill’s renovation proposal, they are based on the assumption that an overhaul is all that is required, and that won’t be apparent immedia...» Click here for the full story.
Veterans Day every day
Posted On: 11/10/16
Most media outlets, whether print, online or broadcast, have something to say about Veterans Day because, well, it’s expected. It’s a traditional tip of the editorial hat, an obligation of the calendar that must be fulfilled, a noncontroversial topic that’s even more popular today than it was a decade or so ago. Writers try to instill in their commentary the usual patriotic verbiage, something rousing even, to make their observations seem more powerful. A good many of these editorials, however, aren’t read because they’re so predictable and are sometimes more of an exercise in writer self-glorification than they are an expression of gratitude to those who have served. Wow, one might say, that’s an extremely cynical point of view. Maybe it is, but it’s because many of these editorialists and columnists, along with a good portion of the population, have no idea of what it means to be a veteran. The short version is that a veteran is a person ...» Click here for the full story.
Wor. shows giving spirit
Posted On: 11/3/16
The giving season is underway, and that’s not referring to specific holidays. As is always the case when summer is over, school is back in session and the calendar moves toward its conclusion, and charities and other benevolent organizations launch their one last fund drive of the year. If there is one thing to be said about Worcester County, it is that it is one of the more generous areas anywhere, and that’s despite the economic differences between its districts. This week alone, three fund-raising events will be taking place: one in Pocomoke, one in Berlin and one by a countywide organization. In Pocomoke, the curtain will go up Saturday evening at the Mar-Va Theater for a fundraiser for that area’s Samaritan Shelter for the homeless. As unlikely as it might sound for anywhere on the Eastern Shore, the draw will be opera as performed by hometown soprano Brittany Lewis, who has packed them in before in previous charity performances. Also on Saturday, Victorian C...» Click here for the full story.
Getting out in front of it
Posted On: 10/27/16
No one would think that Pocomoke and Ocean Pines have much in common, separated as they are by a fair amount of distance, demographics and form of government. But it turns out this week that these two otherwise disparate communities share one thing: they both have had to confront legal problems over unmet financial obligations. In addition, both these debt situations resulted from mistakes or misunderstandings rather than malfeasance and both are dealing with them publicly and in a straightforward manner. In Pocomoke’s instance, it isn’t the town, but the Delmarva Discovery Center that found itself in trouble over an unpaid bill from the contractor that put together one of its exhibits. At dispute is the amount being charged, and perhaps the terms of the contract, but not the fact that the center will have to make good somehow. More interesting is that the center’s president, Stacey Weisner, made the story public in the interest of operational transparency. Gettin...» Click here for the full story.
Tried formula still truest
Posted On: 10/20/16
The search for a general manager in Ocean Pines is as much about finding the right person for the position as it is determining what kind of operation the Ocean Pines Association wants to be. All in all, the approach the community has followed over the years — a general manager and staff overseen by a board of directors — has worked out just fine, give or take the occasional political kerfuffle along the way. It’s also the simplest form of management there is, as compared to those in place in larger planned communities such as Columbia, Maryland and in the south and west, where some homeowners associations are so large that community subdivisions have their own management companies. Columbia also has multi-tiered management, with the Columbia Association responsible for certain operations and facilities, village associations enforcing covenants and creating master plans, and Howard County government handling essential services such as police, fire and trash collect...» Click here for the full story.
Nothing ado about much
Posted On: 10/13/16
The phone rang and the caller had just one question: “What’s going on?” The answer was simple: “Not much. It’s quiet on all fronts.” And that’s the way it is throughout the county at the moment, as governing authorities take care of business quietly and without controversy. In Ocean Pines, the board of directors continues to establish how it will function in the year ahead by assessing which aspects of the community’s operation need the most attention. It’s all being done in businesslike and logical fashion and suggests that this could turn out to be a good working group. Over in Berlin, the mayor and council officially brought to a close a stormy municipal election as it issued a cordial goodbye to a departing council member and prepared to welcome a new member to that body at the next meeting. No big changes on the horizon there. In Snow Hill, the biggest concern at the moment is whether the town can catch a break and pull off...» Click here for the full story.