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Ready for another OPA election

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Ready for another OPA election (April 27, 2017) With the May 10 deadline for candidate filings looming, followed by the August election of two board members, the Ocean Pines Association Elections Committee reviewed procedures for counting ballots during its meeting on Friday. The committee was reconstituted last fall after the 2016 election, making this contest a first for all five committee members. As such, John Connell from B. Donald Kimball Inc. was brought in to demonstrate how the ballots are counted using a Scantron machine. Kimball guessed Ocean Pines had used the machine for at least a decade. He has presided over the count during the last four or five elections, he said. Paper ballots are mailed to homeowners in July and counted in August. This year the deadline to receive ballots is Aug. 10. Ballots will be counted on Aug. 11 and announced during the annual meeting on Aug. 12. Small stacks, about a quarter-inch to a half-inch thick, are hand-fed into the machine. The Scantron reads the ballots a...
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Reforms on tap for Pines Board meeting, Saturday

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 27, 2017) Two significant elections-related amendments will appear on the agenda during the Ocean Pines Association Board meeting on Saturday. Director Cheryl Jacobs plans to introduce changes to Resolution M-06, governing the elections process, and Resolution M-09, related to the Ocean Pines Search Committee, which recruits and certifies board candidates. During a board work session on Monday, Jacobs said the changes to M-06 would require ballots to be counted during an open session – a major issue of contention during the election last year – and would cap candidate statements and Q&A answers that appear in OPA literature to 200 words.   The Ocean Pines Elections Committee introduced a more sweeping overhaul of M-06 during a board meeting in March, but the directors rejected a first reading of the amendment by a 3-2 vote. Two directors were absent during the meeting. Jacobs praised the election committee’s work, which included two meetings wit...
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Berlin to continue support for WCDC, Worcester Youth

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 27, 2017) The Berlin Town Council approved increased funding for Worcester Youth and Family Counseling programs and consented to keep funding level for Worcester County Developmental Center during a meeting on Monday. Worcester Youth programs, which includes the Berlin Youth Club, will get an annual grant of $40,000. The Developmental Center will continue to receive $7,500. Executive Director Steven Taylor and Youth Program Coordinator Amanda Chaffee briefed the mayor and Council on their activities, including the recent Easter egg hunt and children’s crafts during Spring Celebration. During the last year, youth club participants went on educational trips to Assateague State Park, the Ocean City Art League and the Salisbury Zoo, and took swimming lessons in Ocean Pines. The kids also had kayaking instructions at Ayers Creek Adventures, where Taylor is the co-owner with his wife, Suzy. Participants also took part went bowling, had days at the beach and at Town of Ber...
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Route 113 dualization effort could continue into next year

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(April 27, 2017) Drivers on Route 113 between Snow Hill and Berlin will continue to encounter lane closures during peak travel hours until Memorial Day, with single-lane traffic limited to off-peak hours during the summer as construction crews’ complete a more than $86 million highway dualization project. Work on the project, however, could stretch well into next year. Maryland State Highway Administration Spokesperson Bob Rager, who said Phase 3 of the Route 113 project covers a 4.6-mile stretch of roadway between Massey Branch at the north end and Five Mile Branch Road, provided a progress update on Monday. “We continue to do a lot of grading, most visibly at the north end near Langmaid Road,” he said. “In a couple of weeks, weather permitting, we’ll put down soil cement, which is a prelude to the first paving operation on the new roadway alignment.” Next month Rager said traffic on Route 113 near Newark would be fully rerouted for an entire...
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Snow Hill employee arrested, but officials silent on reason

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(April 27, 2017) Erica Holland, 31, of Snow Hill was arrested Tuesday afternoon at her place of employment at Town Hall in Snow Hill, but no charges have been filed against her as of press time. Up until yesterday at least, she was employed as a receptionist for the town. The locks on the doors of Town Hall have been changed. Police Chief Tom Davis said Holland was arrested around 1 p.m. yesterday, and released. Snow Hill police could not say when charges would be filed or what they might entail. The State’s Attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Town Manager Kelly Pruitt refused to confirm Holland’s employment status or salary and referred all inquiries to Mike Lupiwok at the county Criminal Bureau of Investigations. Pruitt provided a printed statement: “Anyone requesting information on the matter of Erica Holland should contact Mike Lupiwok, at Worcester C.B.I., 410-632-2080. Everyone should advise that they have no comment on the si...
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Worcester County remembers former Warden Gary Mumford

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(April 27, 2017) County staff and officials appeared wearing blue ribbons pinned to their lapels at the county commissioners’ Tuesday meeting to remember Warden Garry Mumford, 57, who passed away after a brief illness last Saturday. Jim Bunting, county commissioner president, said the county “had lost a dedicated and respected person, and I lost a good friend.” Commissioner Chip Bertino followed, and said no one cared more about the people he worked with, and didn’t know a higher compliment to pay Mumford other than “he was a true gentleman.” Commissioner Bud Church said he’d known Mumford since he was deputy warden, and just had dinner with him two weeks ago, where they reminisced about former warden Ira “Buck” Shockley. “I didn’t know him before I became a county commissioner,” Ted Elder said. “He always made sure everyone was taken care of. God probably needed a department head and found the very best...
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Pocomoke man arrested as suspect in shooting death

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(April 27, 2017) Darryl K. Wise Jr., 26, of Pocomoke City, is facing multiple charges including first degree murder after police say he shot and killed Deontre’ Bailey, 23, following a verbal altercation last Thursday night in Pocomoke. According to Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators, Wise was engaged in a discussion on the front porch of a residence in the 100-block of Fourth Street just before 10 p.m. Shortly after police said a group of individuals, including Bailey, who also resides in Pocomoke, walked up and joined the conversation on the porch. Investigators said witnesses reported Bailey threw a bottle at Wise, striking him in the chest, and a violent altercation ensued that ultimately resulted in Wise shooting Bailey with a handgun. The Pocomoke Police Department received a 911 call just after 10 p.m. about a person lying in the road on Fourth Street. Police said Bailey was found with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced de...
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Ripple effect of Oasis pool felt at meeting

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

 (April 27, 2017) A huge crowd by Ocean Pines standards turned out for last Thursday’s special meeting to oppose change at the adults-only Oasis pool and succeeded in convincing the board of directors to scuttle that proposal by a 5-2 vote. The ripple effect of that meeting continued to be felt during Monday’s work session, as the board discussed a half-dozen agenda items related to the Oasis pool and Family Fun Night, an event authorized by interim General Manager Brett Hill and subsequently overturned by the board. Despite not being able to vote during the work session, the directors learned that new lounge chairs had already been ordered for the Oasis pool and sidewalk repairs were coming to the Swim and Racquet Club, where conditions were said to be unsuitable for seniors. Director Cheryl Jacobs asked about securing a waiver from the county to allow later hours at the Oasis pool to facilitate the return of Family Fun Night there on Wednesday. Objections to the ...
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Pocomoke liquor store sale final

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

 (April 27, 2017) The county commissioners voted to approve two documents on Tuesday: an agreement of sale and an asset purchase agreement, which finalized the purchase of the Shore Spirits Liquor Mart in Pocomoke City by Kalpesh Patel for $1.174 million. Patel bid $950,000 for the real estate, furniture, fixtures and improvements, and the existing inventory for a 15 percent markup from county cost for the store. The next highest bid was offered by Vinod Patel for $801,000 plus a 14 percent markup on the inventory. The inventory cost was slightly adjusted from the last meeting when the bids were revealed. The first estimate of the inventory cost was $196,036, which was revised downward to $194,812, with no explanation offered for the change. The county granted Patel permission to apply for a Class “A” beer/wine/liquor license and to be heard at the May 17 Board of License Commissioners meeting under the terms of the agreement. Patel operated the Shop Kwik in Berli...
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Temporary ramps for skateboarding coming to BF park

Posted On: 4/27/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 27, 2017) By a unanimous vote, including one emphatic vote of “absolutely” by Berlin Councilman Thom Gulyas, the town agreed to allow Sean McLaren to set up public-use skateboard ramps once a month at Berlin Falls park starting in May. McLaren will set up the ramps on the east and north sides of the main building at Berlin Falls, on Old Ocean City Road, on the last Sunday of each month from May 28 through Oct. 29. Skating events will be free and open to the public, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. He agreed to provide adult supervision with at least two adults present at all times, as well as establish a parking area for guests and provide $1 million in general liability insurance. In exchange, the town will allow McLaren to store the ramps onsite at no charge until the agreement ends. Parks Commission Chairman Mike Wiley read a letter of support on behalf of McLaren. “About two or three months ago, Sean appeared before the parks commission at our monthl...
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