A full slate in Ocean Pines
Posted On: 5/12/16
Twelve candidates? That could happen in the Ocean Pines board election this year, according to sources familiar with the candidate vetting process. That many candidates vying for just three seats should give property owners the opportunity to do what’s best for the community, assuming that no axe grinding or personal agendas get in the way. Voters should consider not just who wants to do a good job, but who is capable of doing it, has the right temperament and who has the ability to consider points of view that may conflict with his or her own.» Click here for the full story.
OPA befuddling as usual
Posted On: 5/5/16
Trying to analyze the reasons behind the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors’ vote on General Manager Bob Thompson’s contract extension is an exercise in befuddlement. As his contract was up for renewal, Thompson asked that it be extended for another three years, but without the generous bonus clause that could bring him anywhere between a few dollars and $41,250 at the end of the year if he substantially beat the budget. Instead, he suggested, he would prefer the standard 3 percent annual increase other OPA staffers receive because it would bring him more in line with the people with whom he worked. Such a move would guarantee him a raise of just under $5,000, based on his current salary, in lieu of the opportunity to make that many times over if everything falls in line with the budget. Sounds like a simple plan, except for the fact that nothing is simple with the board. For all the clashes some board members have had with Thompson over the years, one would ass...» Click here for the full story.
Dualization will be boon
Posted On: 4/28/16
Of all the economic development efforts being directed to mid- and lower Worcester County, nothing will be of greater benefit than the completion of Route 113’s expansion to a four-lane highway. To be sure, making the county’s deadliest highway safer has always been the goal, and Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement last Friday that funding has been approved for the final phase of the project especially resonated with people such as Bob Hulbard, who led the decades-long campaign to do just that. But there are other benefits of having a four-lane connection between the coast to Snow Hill and down to Pocomoke. One of them is that it eliminates the fear factor that caused motorists from the northern end of the county to avoid traveling south on Route 113 unless it was necessary. Secondly, the 23-mile drive from Ocean City to Snow Hill will no longer involve the frequent frustration of being caught behind a slow-moving vehicle and having an extra 10 minutes added to the tra...» Click here for the full story.
Trump comes to Main St.
Posted On: 4/21/16
One might ask why Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, fresh off a Tuesday victory in New York, would shift gears on his bandwagon and direct it to small- town Berlin. After all, the Republican voter turnout alone in the New York primary was 10 times greater than the total population of Worcester County and a hundred times greater than Berlin’s. In fact, Trump’s 518,000 votes in the Empire State’s preliminary round outstrip the Eastern Shore’s year-round population by the tens of thousands. There are, as it turns out, perfectly sensible reasons for the first visit by a presidential contender to this area since John F. Kennedy gave an address in Salisbury in May 1960. First, as was demonstrated early this year up in New Hampshire and out in Iowa, it doesn’t make that much of a difference where rallies are held in terms of national exposure, because the national media — print, broadcast and digital — will be there to deliver whatev...» Click here for the full story.
Bayside Gazette expands mainland coverage
Posted On: 4/14/16
This week marks a major step forward for the Bayside Gazette and Ocean City Today, as the local company that publishes both weekly newspapers begins countywide coverage for readers and advertisers. The Bayside Gazette, which has become the definitive news publication in Ocean Pines and Berlin, is expanding to include the Snow Hill and Pocomoke City areas, giving it a reach that makes it the only newspaper to concentrate exclusively on all the mainland communities in Worcester County. Going back to the 1970s, multiple newspapers have attempted to become the one paper serving the entire county, but found it impossible because of the tendency of those publications to concentrate on the Ocean City resort sphere to the detriment of coverage everywhere else. The fact was and continues to be that Worcester’s traditional communities just aren’t that interested in the goings on of a resort town that has no effect on their day-to-day lives. That’s how it was back in the day...» Click here for the full story.
Pines should rethink plan
Posted On: 4/7/16
The comprehensive plan project in Ocean Pines continues to be comprehensively confused, as neither the planning committee nor the board of directors seems to know where this effort is heading. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but is the result of trying to adapt a process required of government entities for use in a community built according to specific deed restrictions. The development of most towns, by contrast, began with no restrictions on land use until population growth dictated that rules were needed to bring order to their expansions. The original Maryland law, passed in 1927, that granted localities zoning authority did not even apply to Worcester’s towns because they were, in the eyes of the new law, too small. Further, the function of comprehensive planning, according to the state law passed in 2006, is to “address the impact projected growth will have on infrastructure, water resources, schools, libraries and public safety.” Some of these requ...» Click here for the full story.
Where politicians fail, these T-Wrecks shine
Posted On: 3/31/16
Rather than express an all-too-obvious opinion about the inexplicable behavior at this week’s Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors meeting — a circumstance that might be corrected in this year’s election by establishing a better male-female balance on that governing body — we are obligated to look elsewhere for an example of productive teamwork. Nothing illustrates that better than the county’s robotics team, Titanium Wrecks — T-Wrecks for short — as this volunteer-guided group of local high school students prepares to head to district championships in College Park next week. So, one might ask, exactly what does T-Wrecks do and what is this completion all about? The team is part of an effort created by the national nonprofit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Each year, FIRST holds district competitions throughout the country in various disciplines that allow students to demonstrate their gr...» Click here for the full story.
Pines budget request did no harm, some good
Posted On: 3/24/16
The unofficial report this week is that the Worcester County Commissioners canceled this year’s cordial wine-and-dine get-together with the Ocean Pines Board of Directors because they weren’t feeling so cordial after hearing the community’s surprising request for much more county financial support that what it normally receives every year. The official report, meanwhile, is the commissioners are just a little busier now than they were this time last year and that everything is fine. Regardless of what’s accurate and what isn’t, the question has been raised whether Ocean Pine representatives should have asked for a $700,000 increase in the county’s allocation to its community. The short answer would be, “why not?” If the commissioners really were miffed by the unexpected surge is the size of the community’s request, the fact remains that not asking in order to maintain a friendly relationship doesn’t put anything new in the...» Click here for the full story.
Drilling ban good for all
Posted On: 3/17/16
It’s rare in these tumultuous times that news comes out of Washington that doesn’t generate a divided response from the public, but that was the case with the announcement Tuesday by the Department of the Interior that offshore exploration for oil will not be taking place in the southeastern section of the Atlantic Ocean. When Department Secretary Sally Jewell announced the decision to drop from the five-year energy plan the idea of leasing drilling rights off the coast, she said it didn’t make sense to put economic activities such as fishing and tourism at risk. Even though the waters off Maryland were already excluded from the oil lease proposal, the sector just south, off Virginia, was part of the program and that’s close enough to pose a big risk to this area should an accident occur. Obviously, crude oil slicks would not be washing up into the inland communities of Ocean Pines or Berlin in the event of a spill or other catastrophe, but the ec...» Click here for the full story.
Is county shorting OPA?
Posted On: 3/10/16
Ocean Pines Association General Manager Bob Thompson made a good point in the association’s request last week for a major increase in the amount of money Worcester County government gives it in the county’s annual allocation to communities. Of the five major residential areas — Pocomoke, Snow Hill, Berlin, Ocean City, and Ocean Pines, the latter gets less per capita than any of the others, even though it has the largest population. While Ocean City deserves and receives the largest check from the county, because it produces far more real estate tax revenues than the other communities, there is no reason Ocean Pines should be at the bottom of the county’s list of financial beneficiaries. Its real estate tax base, which pales next to the billions of dollars on which Ocean City is taxed, has to compare favorably to that of other Worcester communities, since it has more homes than any other Worcester community. In addition, because it has the most year-round hous...» Click here for the full story.