No comp plan for Pines
Posted On: 6/9/16
For all the discussion of how to create a comprehensive plan for the Ocean Pines Association, the critical point that most people seem to miss is that the homeowners association doesn’t need one. Maybe OPA officials are just using the wrong label for what they really want, which would be a decision-guiding vision statement that reflects the opinions of a majority of property owners, not unlike the strategic plan that Ocean City created for itself three years ago. The purpose of that particular document was to recognize in writing the resort’s priorities and objectives, along with actions that might be taken to achieve them. That’s much different from a comprehensive plan, which is mostly about land use and development, and which is already addressed in Ocean Pines’ covenants, restrictions and bylaws. A strategic plan also is easier to do, since it’s based almost entirely on public opinion and, unlike a comprehensive plan, does not obligate anyone to do...» Click here for the full story.
Cheers to Church Mouse
Posted On: 6/2/16
Fifty years of helping people is a rare thing, even among the largest of organizations, but when it’s the smallest of enterprises that itself depends on the public for help, it’s exceptional. That’s why praise for the Church Mouse Thrift Shop at a short ceremony marking its half-century of service last week in Berlin was unquestionably sincere. The congratulatory speeches offered just plain heartfelt thanks, instead of the platitudes and routinely issued hurrahs that are often heard at such affairs. At a time when so many people disagree with each other, often to the extreme, it’s comforting to know that good work, selflessly pursued, still means something to just about everyone. An extension of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Church Mouse, long under the guidance of early volunteers Annabelle Hastings and Ruth Neville, and for the last 10 years Helen Wiley, grew into more than a successful charity to become a community institution. That’s a sp...» Click here for the full story.
A word on our letter policy
Posted On: 5/26/16
Now that election season has begun in Ocean Pines, candidates, their supporters and their detractors should be aware of how the letters to the editor policies work at this paper. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but a number of people over the years have been irked when the letters they sent for publication inexplicably never made it into print. Well, maybe not inexplicably. The paper publishes its letters policy before every election and has been doing that for years. It all stems from a campaign incident, when our papers were flooded with dozens of similarly written letters from residents endorsing a particular candidate. Suspecting a political game was afoot to monopolize our letters space, none of those letters ran and the policy was developed that no letters endorsing or criticizing any candidate would be run in these papers. This doesn’t mean that issues can’t be discussed in this space, or that observations can’t be made or that criticisms canR...» Click here for the full story.
Snow Hill fourth grader good example to all of us
Posted On: 5/19/16
Ellie Black, the Snow Hill fourth grader whose Little Library project at Byrd Park has been vandalized repeatedly, is learning a valuable lesson: some people take pride in being mean and stupid. Ellies’s Little Library is a small outdoors installation that holds a few books that anyone can borrow and return. It’s a kind and gentle effort to provide for those who wish to read and learn, but don’t have the opportunity. Obviously, not everyone appreciates the value of those pursuits. Sometimes they grow out of it — this assumes the vandals are relatively young — and sometimes they go on to become regular contributors to the comments sections on social media, where they continue to be idiots anonymously and revel in the response. It’s apparently a perverse attempt to involve themselves in society, because being limited by either the absence of intelligence or the desire to improve whatever degree of that they do have, they resort to outrageous behavio...» Click here for the full story.
Snow Hill free Wi-Fi delayed
Posted On: 5/12/16
Things happen. Or, to put it another way, the road to free Wi-Fi in Snow Hill has been paved, but remains a few weeks away from handling traffic. Frustrating as it may be, the delay in the installation of the required equipment isn’t Comcast’s fault. It could hardly anticipate the surge it would see in customers because of the labor dispute between Communications Workers of America union and Verizon. The strikers work with the company’s landline phone and DSL Internet operations, which have seen declining sales because of the growth of wireless communications and Verizon’s FiOS high-speed Internet. FiOS is not available in this area. As a result of the strike, second-home owners returning to the resort area are unable to have their Verizon DSL service reconnected and are turning to Comcast instead. In short, Comcast has more work than it expected this time of year. Still, it promises to have the Snow Hill system running by the end of the month. Hopefully, th...» Click here for the full story.
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.