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Historic Atlantic Hotel celebrates 120th birthday

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Kara Hallissey, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) The Atlantic Hotel, the centerpiece of downtown Berlin, turns 120 years old this year and the families who joined to bring it back to life in the 1980s after years of neglect will be honored at a fundraiser at the hotel on Friday, Jan. 30.  “We encourage everyone who loves Berlin and wants to see another year of successful economic progress to attend the tapas and wine tasting fundraising event,” said Angela Reynolds, the managing director for Fager’s Island, which operates the landmark. “All proceeds will go to the promotion of the Town of Berlin during 2015 in the name of the Atlantic Hotel investors.” Wines and food from France, Spain, Italy and Germany will be featured. During the evening, appreciation certificates for visionary leadership will be presented to each of the 10 families involved in the restoration. The Atlantic Hotel dates back to 1895, when a fire demolished the entire downtown of Berlin. The mayor and council at...
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OP GM Thompson tackles ‘different’ board of directors

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) Although his name was nowhere to be found on the ballot during the 2014 election in Ocean Pines, General Manager Bob Thompson became the focus of the campaign, with issues ranging from his contract extension to the interpretation of his role as GM often leading the narrative. Thompson is now facing unfamiliar territory operating under the direction of the new board, led by newly elected President Dave Stevens. In an exclusive interview with the Bayside Gazette, Thompson addressed the political landscape in the Pines for the first time since the election shook up community leadership. Thompson began serving as general manager of the Ocean Pines Association in August 2010, following a brief stint on the board of directors. “I’ve been in the community 24-25 years now,” he said. “I served on several committees and raised my kids here. Of anybody, I can say I’ve pretty much filled every roll here.” Under the new board, Thompson sai...
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Film and website looks at Berlins across world

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) “Worldwide Berlin,” a new cross-media documentary, explores more than 100 Berlins, from the obvious in Germany, to lesser-known Berlins in Papua New Guinea, South Africa and El Salvador. DW-TV, a Berlin, Germany-based broadcasting company, launched the three-hour, four-part feature on Jan. 10 in four languages: German, English, Spanish and Arabic. While the film explores life in the German capital and six other Berlins over the course of a 24-hour day, an interactive website provides a small glimpse into many more Berlins across the globe. “We have been working on this project for almost two years,” Martin Koddenberg, producer of the web documentary and director of the South African portion of the feature film, said. “It started off with someone finding a picture from Berlin, Brazil. We were puzzled by it. It just looked so unlike the Berlin we knew. It felt too strange and too exotic not to be doing anything with it.” When a loc...
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SHA study, sinkholes, pushes back traffic on Md. Route 90

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Staff Writer

(Jan. 23, 2015) The State Highway Administration is conducting its annual review of bridges, leading to one-lane traffic patterns on the Route 90 bridge, intending to complete the process by late next week. During the inspection, a small sinkhole formed at the eastbound portion of the bridge crossing the St. Martin River in the shoulder. The hole, SHA officials said, was approximately three feet wide and four feet deep, and will be plugged by grout. The hole has since been covered and the SHA will be seeking a contractor to perform the repairs, Charlie Gischlar, SHA spokesperson, said. The work to ensure the safety of the bridge is taking a long time to complete owing to the overall length of the bridge, Gischlar said. The inspection began Jan. 12. Work will continue between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. until Jan. 29, Gischlar said. During the work hours, only one lane will be open to traffic. Employees will use familiar flags to control traffic. “I would suggest using ...
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OP gets first look at 2016 budget

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) The public got its first look at the Ocean Pines Association’s fiscal year 2016 budget during last week’s Budget and Finance committee work sessions at the country club. The proposed $10.9 million budget includes a $25 increase in membership fees, which raises the total to $934 per property. Public works and police showed the two largest budgetary shortfalls, with deficits of $1.2 million, or $146 per property owner, and $1.16 million, or $137 per property owner, respectively. General maintenance forecasts a loss of $472,000, or $56 per property owner, fire/EMS estimates a $485,321 loss, $57 per property owner, recreation sees a $522,969 loss at $62 per property owner, aquatics is eyeing a shortfall of $113,000, $13 per property owner, and the yacht club predicts an $87,868 loss at $10 per property owner. The golf course budget, which has been the subject of debate, projects a $14,124 estimated loss in fiscal year 2016. While still in the red, those n...
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Planning sessions look to map future projects in Berlin

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) Town officials met with facilitator Christine Becker last Thursday, as Berlin kicked off a series of strategic planning sessions designed to build a municipal road map for the next five years. The four-hour work session included brainstorming on what makes the town tick, as well as an exploration of Berlin’s future and a preliminary list of target issues. “The Town of Berlin has gone through many transitions since its incorporation more than 150 years ago,” Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said. “It is apparent to everyone who is paying attention that Berlin is in the middle of another significant transformation economically, socially and culturally.” Williams said the meetings served as “the first step in a communitywide process of determining where we go from here.” “The guidance we are given through this process will not only greatly influence the future direction of Berlin, but will have a great deal of implying what is...
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‘Five-year’ funding plan in Pines now in seventh year

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) The confusingly named “five-year funding solution” continues to stay on the books in Ocean Pines, almost certainly entering its seventh year with the fiscal 2016 budget. The measure showed up on General Manager Bob Thompson’s proposed budget this month and passed through the budget and finance committee last week without much fanfare. Several members of the board of directors also came out in favor of the funding, which goes towards capital projects and deficit reduction. “They call it the five-year funding plan because it took five years to put it completely into place,” Parliamentarian Tom Terry said. “It was basically a capital fund that was established for major capital projects like the yacht club.” During the first year, property owners paid $26 for capital improvements and $4 for deficit reduction, according to Terry. That included the IRS debt associated with the beach parking lot in Ocean City. The fee increased a...
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OP police dept. exploring options to stay competitive

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) Looking to stay competitive with neighboring municipalities, the Ocean Pines Police Department is exploring new retirement plan options and is asking the community for a $3,000 pay raise for entry-level officers. Currently, officers receive a 401k plan with three percent of their annual salary contributed by the Ocean Pines Association. “We’re competing against police agencies that have a defined benefit program, state retirement, 25-year retirement, and right now we’re on a 401k program,” Chief of Police David Massey said. “That’s an area that we’re at a little bit of a disadvantage at.” Massey praised Ocean Pines’ medical plan for police officers, but said the community could stand to improve its offerings in other areas. “It’s something we look at from time to time to see if there’s a possibility for improvement,” he said. “It’s a competitive market out there in law enfor...
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Delmarva Health Pavilion on track for spring opening

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Jan. 22, 2015) One of the most startling changes in the Ocean Pines landscape in 2015 might be the opening of the massive 20,000 square foot health care complex, Delmarva Health Pavilion. Construction began in late September, and the facility on Route 589 near Racetrack Road appears to be coming along effortlessly. That’s not to say the entire process has been without its share of setbacks. Developer Palmer Gillis of Gillis Gilkerson made initial inquiries on the property more than 10 years ago. “Construction was the easy part,” he said. “When my kids ask me what I do, I tell them I try to identify something that somebody is going to need five years before they know they’re going to need it. In this particular case, it was seven or eight years before they knew they were going to need it.” To date, the majority of construction focused on the first building in what could be a five-building pavilion anchored by Peninsula Regional Medical Center....
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Pre-K registration opens this month at OC Elementary

Posted On: 1/22/15
Written By:

(Jan. 22, 2015) Ocean City Elementary School will begin the registration process for the 2015-2016 Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs this month.   Children who will be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, may be eligible for the OCES Pre-Kindergarten program. Space is limited and children from families who meet the federal income guidelines will be given priority enrollment.   Children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept.1, must register for Kindergarten.  Children who are currently attending Pre-Kindergarten at OCES do not need to register for Kindergarten.  They will be enrolled automatically in OCES Kindergarten.   Call 410-632-5370 beginning Jan. 28 to schedule an appointment.
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