Life isn’t always a beach, but we do all live on one
Posted On: 11/26/15
Not to be preachy, but isn’t this the time of year that we should be thankful that we’re here and functioning rather than being self-involved, angry and uncivil because, well, this is America and it’s our right to be anyway we want? One might argue that we’re simply following the tone set by the increasingly divisive bleating of current and recent national political campaigns, as candidates encourage our fierce dislike – and worse – of anyone who doesn’t see things our way. But it’s the other way around – they are reflecting and playing to the self-centered disagreeableness that we have, for one reason or another, been cultivating for years. More succinctly, not only does it seem that we become more rude, belligerent and disrespectful every year, but we also appear to celebrate it. Driving a little slow in the left lane because you’re approaching your turnoff? If you’re lucky, all you will get from the outraged driver...» Click here for the full story.
Time for Berlin, fire company to move on
Posted On: 11/19/15
While, as Yogi Berra once observed, it’s not over until it’s over, the three-year battle between the Berlin Fire Company and the Town of Berlin has reached a détente and appears to be on its way toward closure. While that, of course, is a good thing, it’s even more important to Berlin’s residents, who are dependent on both for their health, welfare and safety. It would be counterproductive at this point to revisit the various circumstances of the episode or to argue about who was right or wrong in a mess that divided the community. Further, there is nothing to be gained by either the town or the company dragging this history behind them as they enter into future discussions. What the community needs is two entities that can address the needs and requirements of each other without being adversarial about it or being inflexible without good reason. Some pride will have to be dispensed within the months ahead because the fire company needs local governme...» Click here for the full story.
Ocean Pines needs to find middle ground
Posted On: 11/5/15
To expand or not to expand facilities in Ocean Pines to serve the public beyond the needs of the community is one of the key questions the homeowners association’s long-term plan and its town meetings needs to address. Problem is, a simple yes or no answer won’t suffice. While there will be both detractors and proponents for almost every individual item ultimately listed in the plan, the community needs to sharpen its focus on what its real objective should be: to provide facilities adequate for association members only or to continue on the path of providing services scaled to serve the greater area. In recent years, certain projects have generated considerable controversy because their scopes were such that they had to draw on public support from outside the association to make financial sense. Further complicating the equation is that IRS rules dictate that the public, not just association members, must be allowed to join income-producing programs so that any pr...» Click here for the full story.
Berlin’s agenda all about moving ahead
Posted On: 10/29/15
Some critics, wherever they are, might say that the Town of Berlin is doing too much too quickly, what with it poised to approve a significant increase in housing on the edge of town and the conversion of the former Tyson Foods property into a major recreation facility. Add to that its consideration of a solar power project and an apparent deal to place a Dollar General project on a parcel to be shared eventually with a new police station and a community center. Supporters, however, would contend that the town is building on the momentum set in motion several years back by activist business people and a core of local officials who recognize that the pursuit of economic growth can only occur when circumstances permit it. It’s all about the town’s increasing desirability as a place to live, a phenomenon that most Eastern Shore towns – barring those near the bay bridge that have become spiritless commuter colonies – have not experienced in years. Understanding ...» Click here for the full story.
Health Literacy on rise in county schools
Posted On: 10/29/15
Based on recent findings by University of Maryland’s Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy (UM), there was a statistically significant increase in health literacy among students in Worcester County Public Schools who took part in the Integrated Health Literacy Program (IHLP) during the 2014-2015 school year. The student’s overall health literacy – or the ability to obtain, process and understand basic information – improved. In January of 2015, Atlantic General Hospital (AGH), Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) and UM introduced students in grades two countywide – and in third, fourth, and fifth grade pilot classrooms – to the IHLP lessons. Students were pre-tested on their baseline knowledge of health literacy related concepts. After the implementation of IHLP lessons into their science, social studies, reading language arts and math classes, students were then post-tested on the topics covered during those lessons and measurement...» Click here for the full story.
Town, BFC should settle
Posted On: 10/15/15
Although the sorry tale of the Berlin Fire Company, Zack Tyndall and the Town of Berlin has long since vanished from the headlines, it now appears to be a case closed forever. With a settlement reached in Tyndall’s harassment suit against the company and others, that aspect of this unfortunate situation has been concluded, but some unfinished business remains. The fallout from the case also drew in the Town of Berlin, which at one point more or less severed financial ties with the company. To be sure, there were multiple reasons for the break and in some instances it came down to a contest of wills. As is frequently the result of confrontations between two parties such as these, the public becomes caught in the middle. Right or wrong has nothing to do with it. The relationship between the town and the company has thawed somewhat over time, but it has yet to fully recover, as the friction between the two remains. With the end of the dispute between Tyndall and the company, ho...» Click here for the full story.
Development needs limit
Posted On: 10/1/15
Few, if any, people would want to block the Rinnier Development Company’s 700-plus-townhome complex on Seahawk Road, as it would help maintain the economic balance and vitality that is necessary to Berlin’s success. As Mayor Gee Williams observed this week, the town does not want to become so exclusive that only the upper middle class and beyond can live there. That can happen, as has been demonstrated in other highly desirable towns on the Eastern Shore, as well as in Ocean City, where the cost of housing is one reason – there are others, of course – for its dwindling residential base in recent years. Obviously, increasing exclusivity leads to increasing expense to a community’s remaining residents. Still, amending the zoning code to permit the Planning Commission to decide how much is too much, as it pertains to the number of units per building in a housing development, is asking for trouble. Common sense says that what Rinnier proposes to do is pro...» Click here for the full story.
Question of fees good one
Posted On: 9/24/15
As the topic of adjusting or adding fees for nonmembers surfaced in the most recent Ocean Pines Association board meeting, the point to think about is that charging nonmembers a higher price for access to recreational facilities can be a tricky business. That’s because it’s a balancing act with three pivot points: fairness, revenue and marketing. Both Ocean Pines and Ocean City have tiered fee structures for many of their offerings, having one charge for residents or members and a higher fee for nonresidents and nonmembers. That’s only fair, since these facilities were created for use by the constituencies of the governing bodies, that is to say the taxpayers and members who pay the bulk of the construction and operational costs. Letting others in for the same basic rate when they aren’t bearing that financial responsibility would be unfair to those who do. The question, however, is what that rate ought to be and how dependent these operations are on ...» Click here for the full story.
FIddler’s, an unlikely hit, became an enduring one
Posted On: 9/10/15
Twenty-five years ago, Berlin businessman and then County Commissioner Jim Barrett had an idea about how to add a little life to what was then a mostly quiet downtown. Why not, he wondered, have a fiddling competition such as the one he had just seen in Elkins, Va.? Throw in some bluegrass-style entertainment, pile some hay bales on Main Street in front of the Atlantic Hotel, which he and nine other partners had brought back to life a few years earlier, and it just might become a big draw for the town. He ran the thought by local musician Frank Nanna, and the pair went about putting it all together, knowing that it would it make for an enjoyable event, but with no idea of how long a run it would enjoy. Turns out, it exceeded their expectations. The first convention in 1993 was so enthusiastically received that there was no question that a second and possibly a third would be in order. Barrett passed away in 2004, but not before the fiddlers convention had established itself as a f...» Click here for the full story.
As it turns out, we are ‘urban’ after all
Posted On: 9/3/15
The question, it would seem, is why the new "Urban Area, Stay Alert" traffic sign on the highway in Berlin employs the word "urban, when it's obvious that Berlin is hardly an urban area. Or is it? First, though, as Mayor Gee Williams said regarding that particular sign language, he doesn't care what it says as long as it causes motorists to drive with care. That's the new sign's purpose and even if drivers do reduce speed as they ponder what's urban and what isn't, that's fine too. As it happens, the use of "urban" serves two purposes, the first of which is that it is a federally recognized description of the area – believe it or not – while the second is that it fits the space allowed. As newspaper headline writers know all too well, it's not easy to find a word that has both a clear meaning and the right letter count to fill a restricted amount of space. That's why, in this instance, "urban" works while, say, "populated area&qu...» Click here for the full story.