Waiting for real set of design standards
Posted On: 1/15/15
It is not the people who are serving who need to be considered when granting a government body the authority to impose subjective standards, it is the people who might serve in the years ahead. That is the situation with the town’s proposed amendment to the zoning code giving the Planning Commission the legal right to require new commercial buildings to meet design criteria that reflect the town’s image. Although there is no argument that the code ought to make legal what the commission has been doing anyway, with the cooperation of businesses, it is difficult to embrace the entire program without knowing exactly what it will entail. Mayor Gee Williams believes, for instance, that architectural standards as applied to development beyond downtown should ensure that the appearance of projects compliments the architecture of the town, but not necessarily mimics it. That’s fine, but the code doesn’t say that, yet, which is why he and the council majority want th...» Click here for the full story.
Don’t criticize park idea at this juncture
Posted On: 1/8/15
Raising the alarm based on first impressions and perceived, but not necessarily real, problems generally accomplishes little, because the critical outburst is usually the result of instinct rather than solid information. That’s the case with the Town of Berlin’s proposed purchase of the former Tyson poultry plant. The operative word here is “proposed,” because nowhere in the town’s announcement was it ever said that this is a done deal. What town officials did say was that they had made a $25,000 down payment that is refundable if it turns out that their vision of turning the plant property into a multi-use park facility isn’t feasible. That most significant aspect of this consideration, obviously, is whether the town can do what it wants to do without burdening residents financially. That’s something that town officials don’t want to do from both a political and practical perspective, considering that it took years to clean up the to...» Click here for the full story.
Traveling light into another new year
Posted On: 1/1/15
Two thousand fourteen, 2014 or MMXIV. No matter how we might write it, it still comes out the same. The results are in and no matter what we think of the 12 months past, 2014 is over and out. There are, of course, all kinds of years besides this one – fiscal years, legislative years, religious years, academic years and other kinds of astronomical years – but the Gregorian calendar that most of us follow in our everyday lives gives us the opportunity to believe in a fresh start. Obviously, that was not the intent of the scholars who, under the authority of Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, refined the solar calendar developed by Julius Caesar many centuries earlier. What they were trying to do – and this is a gross simplification – was to establish more firmly when Easter should be celebrated. Still it’s nice to think of each new year as a clean slate of sorts or something of a do-over as we ponder mistakes that we vow not to repeat and pledge to build on the g...» Click here for the full story.
Ehrlich: I’m just looking, thanks
Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: C. Fraser Smith, The Daily Record Newswire
(Dec. 11, 2014) He won’t do it. You read it here first. Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is having fun — with us and with himself, right? He’s made a couple of trips to New Hampshire. People are polite to him. The group he meets with likes his message: loves the Constitution, hates Obamacare, hails the tea party. Gee, wonder what side of the political spectrum he’d be on? Don’t get excited. He’s not running for president. He’s too into his kids. Their sports, their lives, their need for a father. Running is too hard. It takes time. You have to be on the road a lot. So what’s he doing? A few thoughts from a relatively small spectrum of well-informed sources. A Republican: - Watching Larry Hogan win was probably a bittersweet pill to swallow. He’d been telling people that he, Ehrlich, was the last GOP governor Maryland would ever have. - He wasn’t ready for his career to end when it did and is now looking for different pat...» Click here for the full story.
Gas price comparison certainly worth a look
Posted On: 12/4/14
Unless there’s something we’re missing, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors is on the mark about the community’s price schedule for propane not adding up … or adding up to much more than it needs to be. As board member Marty Clarke observed, no superior math skills are required to see the difference between the $2.96-per-gallon charge the OPA is paying Sandpiper and the $2.09 quote from another company. Moreover, that $2.09 isn’t even the commercial rate, according to Clarke, who quoted the competing company’s rep as saying it could charge significantly less than that. Undoubtedly, there must be any number of reasons for that huge price variance between Sandpiper and other suppliers, including the expense of maintaining its infrastructure. It’s also would seem that there has to be more involved than one company simply charging more than the other. That, however, is what General Manager Bob Thompson is charged with finding out, as...» Click here for the full story.
Berlin thankful for ... it’s a long, long list
Posted On: 11/27/14
To say the Town of Berlin has something it ought to be thankful for this year would be a gross understatement. By any measure, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the town has had a magical year and that the food on the Berlin’s table Thursday would likely grow cold were it to enumerate all its blessings. The highlight, of course, is the “Coolest Town” award, which led to the recent state recognition for the social media campaign that made that designation happen. But something subtler is taking place as well, as more people are drawn to Berlin because of its growing reputation as a great place to be. Evidence of that will be apparent during Friday’s Holiday Arts Night, which brings hundreds of people – and maybe more than that – from the area not just to shop, but also to experience the event and the atmosphere. How many small communities, after all, will have a giant ice sculpture taking shape in the center of town as part of the holi...» Click here for the full story.
Deficit changes Hogan’s pitch
Posted On: 11/20/14
Written By: Bryan P. Sears, Daily Record Newswire
(Nov. 20, 2014) Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan said Monday that a larger-than-expected budget problem will likely affect how quickly he is able to keep a campaign promise to roll back taxes in Maryland. The comments are Hogan’s first in public since a joint legislative committee heard that Maryland faces nearly $900 million in combined budget deficits in the current budget and fiscal 2016 budget years. “We’re going to try and get spending under control and roll back taxes as quickly as we can but obviously it’s a factor,” Hogan said. “We’ve got to figure out how big a problem we have with this deficit and how we’re going to address it.” Erin Montgomery, a Hogan spokeswoman, said after the news conference that the governor-elect still planned on unspecified tax cuts in his first year in office. Hogan made his comments during a news conference to announce six new members of his transition team, some of whom will be charged...» Click here for the full story.
Temporary skateboard park makes more sense
Posted On: 11/13/14
Berlin officials are taking the reasonable approach in seeking an answer to the recent demands for some kind of skateboard facility by suggesting that a temporary facility would be easier and quicker to do as they consider the feasibility of something much greater. That would include looking at the vacant Tyson property, which might be transformed into a multi-purpose park, depending on how expensive such an undertaking would be. The property certainly needs to be something besides the empty giant that it is, but converting it to anything suitable for general public use, much less a specialized use, would be more than just a notion. That became evident this week when the Maryland Department of Environment declared that a more substantial cleanup of the site might be required if the property were to be used for other than industrial or commercial purposes. And the cost of that would be on top of whatever the sale price might be. In addition, given that skateboarding is not allowed ...» Click here for the full story.
Posted On: 10/30/14
Over the last several weeks, we have interviewed many of the candidates for local and state office and from those conversations, we have selected those who we think will best serve our communities and northern Worcester County. In the General Assembly contests, the critical factor is who will be in the best position to deliver what the resort area needs, when it needs it. Legislative District 38 State senator: Incumbent Democrat James Mathias. He has demonstrated his ability to work within the system to protect and provide for the needs of a district comprised of distinctly different constituencies: tourism, farming, commercial fishing and small business. Further, he lives in Ocean City and is therefore well aware of what it, Berlin and Ocean Pines both want and require. Delegate 38C: Republican Mary Beth Carozza. An Ocean City native, Carozza has expert knowledge of how governments work. She has worked at both the federal and state levels, from the Department of Defense to Annap...» Click here for the full story.
Picking an advocate by style and approach
Posted On: 10/9/14
Bertino or Wilson? That would be the question for voters from County Commissioner District 5 in Ocean Pines, as Chip Bertino on the Republican side of the ballot, faces Tom Wilson, who carries the Democratic banner, in the November election. The thing is, party affiliation means little in county elections, because, as the late House Speaker Tip O’Neil observed, all politics is local. The debate last Friday between the two in Ocean Pines made that apparent, as they focused on two strictly local issues: the narrow funnel that is Route 589 and the county’s economy. In a world where people are more concerned about “What are you going to do for me?” as opposed to what might be done for the good of everyone, the aforementioned are the logical choices of discussion, along with taxes and such, of course. Wilson argues that a more urgent and vociferous push for widening Route 589 should be on the county commissioners’ agenda and he is right. But Bertino is ju...» Click here for the full story.