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Finish line nears in off-year elections

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Staff Writer

WORCESTER COUNTY–Despite not carrying the excitement of a presidential election, there are nonetheless a multitude of important decisions to be made by Worcester County voters with several incumbents retiring, choosing not to run or looking for a different office as well as a crop of newcomers eager to fill the shoes of the old guard. Starting at the top of the ticket for governor/Lt. governor are Democrats Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman, Republicans Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford and Libertarians Shawn Quinn and Lorenzo Gaztanaga. Incumbent Democrat Peter Franchot is facing Republican William Campbell for comptroller, there’s a three-way race between Democrat Brian Frosh, Republican Jeffrey Pritzker and Libertarian Leo Wayne Dymowski for the attorney general’s office and Republican Congressman Andy Harris defends his District 1 seat against Bill Tilghman. A lively contest between incumbent Jim Mathias and Delegate Mike McDermott for the District 38 State Senate s...
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Skateboard enthusiasts ask council for better facilities

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– Monday’s mayor and council meeting nearly breezed by in record time, with several town council members and employees eagerly anticipating the 8:30 p.m. start of Monday Night Football, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. Thom Gulyas and Dean Burrell were sworn in, several special event requests passed, and town staff provided updates on the Tripoli Street sidewalk, scheduled for construction on Nov. 10. It looked as if everyone would be home before 8 with plenty of time to watch the kickoff of one of the NFL’s longest-running rivalries. Then, during public comments the room swelled, several people who had been standing in the hallway filed neatly into the back to form a standing-room-only section and Berlin resident Beth Gourley quietly asked to speak to the council. Gourley said the crowd behind her had come to ask for a new skate park. “We are actively looking for a place that would accommodate skateboarding, ideally on a ye...
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Property rights issues involved in enforcement

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

OCEAN PINES – To clean up or not to clean up a yard – that was the question before the Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 23, along with two other property rights issues. The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors, considering a trio of community violations, took to several different paths of action. Reacting to two violations on 93 Whitehorse Drive, including furniture laying in the yard, Vice President Marty Clarke moved for the Board to file an injunction. “That sofa is personal property,” he said. “I would move that we find the member in continuing violation and direct our attorney to file an injunction to give us the opportunity to remove the trash.” Director Sharyn O’Hare seconded, while President Dave Stevens took issue. “I don’t know that we absolutely need an injunction to remove trash or personal property, if you will, that is in such a state of disrepair that it is not usable,” he said. Stevens said th...
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Boat ramp bid denial gives director concerns

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

OCEAN PINES– Ocean Pines Association Director Bill Cordwell believes the community may have opened itself up to a lawsuit after failing to approve a bid to build a new White Horse Boat Ramp. The Ocean Pines Association posted a request for proposal on the project on Aug. 27 and approved $252,500 in spending on Sept. 27. The project’s start date was listed as Nov. 1, to be completed by Feb. 27, 2014. Fisher Marine Construction Inc., based in Chincoteague Island, Va., bid $255,000, but failed to land the bid after the directors voted 4-3 to stall during a meeting on Oct. 23. General Manager Bob Thompson said the short window of time scared off several potential bidders and Vice President Marty Clarke called the bid a “sole source project.” During discussion, President Dave Stevens said the directors needed to show patience on a project of this size, but drew boos after wondering aloud if the bid was slanted. “We have an oversight duty,” Clarke s...
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Gulyas makes council debut and dives in

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– A different sight ushered in the usually routine Mayor and Council meetings on Monday, Oct. 27. Just after 7 p.m. Thom Gulyas, a towering man with a shaved head, glasses and a newly pressed suit, walked into the council chambers at Berlin’s town hall through the executive chamber doors, strode to the farthest council seat, flashed a quiet grin and sat down. Gulyas replaced retiring Councilmember Paula Lynch, who only missed a handful of meetings during her 26 years of service. Mayor Gee Williams swore in Gulyas and newly reelected District 4 Councilmember Dean Burrell as family and friends, lining the front rows of the audience, looked on. Burrell acknowledged his wife, three children and three grandchildren in the audience, while Gulyas thanked his wife, son and his mother, retiring District 7 Worcester County Commissioner Louise Gulyas. Williams took the occasion to thank Lynch for her service one last time. “We are so grateful for 26 years of unbe...
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Purnell, Purnell-Ayres face off in 2nd District

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN–Democrat Diana Purnell and Republican Lorraine Purnell-Ayres will face off in Tuesday’s general election for the District 2 County Commissioner seat vacated by James L. Purnell Jr., who is retiring. Lorraine Purnell-Ayres Purnell-Ayres, of Snow Hill said she was spurred to run by a Sep. 8, 2013 article in the Daily Times about the lack of gender and racial diversity in Worcester County government. “It said with 14 departments in Worcester County only two are headed by minorities – one black and one white female,” she said. “In 1983, I, along with a professor from Howard University and several of his students from a political science class, came to Worcester County and asked that they assist us by documenting the disparity between blacks and whites. That resulted in our minority district.” At the time, according to Purnell-Ayres, the county commissioners spent $1.2 million in an attempt to halt the creation of the redrawn district. ...
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New park mural reflects ideas from local students

Posted On: 10/30/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– After months of work, the town is finally ready to unveil the new Stephen Decatur Park Mural. Muralist Ann Ashman and others who worked on the project will participate in an official ribbon cutting on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. Ashman began working on the mural during Clean Up Day in April. “After that we started working every Saturday throughout the summer,” she said. “We started out with a couple of the kids from the high school, then it ended up being me and Kathy Mumford. She is an art teacher and she had done the first mural that needed to be redone, so she was very excited to be part of the second mural.” Nine Stephen Decatur High School students came up with the design: seniors Trent Carpenter, Katie Collins, Jordan Kahl, Ian Postley and Daniela Romero, juniors Teron Tatum, Haley Trice and Brian Yount, and freshman Brittney Thompson. “The town put out a contest to Stephen Decatur: ‘What does Berlin mean to you?’R...
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Notification system will spread word

Posted On: 10/23/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– A new mass notification system that employs a variety of communication platforms will notify Berlin residents of the circumstances during emergencies, town officials announced during the Tuesday. Oct. 14 mayor and council meeting. The town sent request for proposals on the project in September and received four bids. Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen, Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing and Card’s Computers President Sam Card reviewed each proposal. CodeRED, a system developed by Emergency Communications Network, won the bid. A video demonstration on the company’s website describes CodeRED as “A high-speed emergency notification solution designed to notify millions of people in minutes.” The system informs communities about missing children, evacuations, hurricanes, wildfires and severe weather, and can be used to dispatch first responders. Alerts are sent by phone, text, email, social media and via the company’s CodeRED Mobile Alert ap...
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Board seeks golf lease bids

Posted On: 10/23/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

OCEAN PINES– After years of negative dollar signs – and summer rumblings of turning it into a park – the Ocean Pines Association last week began sending out requests for proposals on the leasing and management of the golf course. Ocean Pines sent bid requests on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed facility on Oct. 16 seeking “an experienced Golf Course Management Company interested in either leasing or managing the OPA Country Club course.” Operation would include maintenance of the golf course as well as the country club and associated support facilities during an initial three-year term. Board Treasurer Jack Collins, who drafted the RFP with board Parliamentarian Tom Terry and former board member Jeff Knepper, said the community was, “simply doing the right thing and doing our job for the betterment of the membership of Ocean Pines.” Several members of the board balked after the proposal was posted without first facing a vote. Vice Presi...
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Hotel, store proposals to go before council

Posted On: 10/23/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– The town’s Planning Commission last Wednesday approved measures that could bring plans for a new hotel and a convenience store closer to fruition. The commission voted to send a pair of projects – one a 40-room Cobblestone Hotel and the other a Royal Farms store – to the Berlin Mayor and Town Council for approval. The prospective hotel, which would go on two parcels of land on the northwest corner of North Main Street and Route 50, needs a zoning change. “It’s zoned industrial and they wanted to get it downzoned to a B-2 shopping district, which allows for hotels and motels,” said Planning Director Dave Engelhart. “I understand their intention is to put a hotel or a motel there. I don’t know that it’s Cobblestone, but the Cobblestone man was there for the meeting, so that would tell you something.” Phil Houck and his wife own the property, which does not have a formal address. Houck is represented by Mark C...
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