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Warriors meeting sparks anti-opiate movement

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) When the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction met for the first time in April, approximately 50 people gathered in a small space tucked inside the Ocean Pines Library. The new group dedicated to raising awareness of the growing heroic problem in the area was formed by two mothers, who had seen their children succumb to addiction. They spent most of that initial assembly listening to stories, from survivors and those who had lost loved ones, and from others who simply showed up with questions and concerns, but with little real knowledge of the problem. By Tuesday evening, during the group’s second meeting, things had changed. This session was held in a larger venue, television cameras were set in the room and attendance had easily tripled. Instead of firsthand stories, the group now had guest speakers, including local politicians and law enforcement professionals, educators and addiction specialists. Twenty minutes before the scheduled start ti...
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Officials rally behind Hardwire to support major expansion

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) Pocomoke City, Worcester County and the state have all joined to invest in Hardwire LLC, a firm that specializes in armor for vehicles, aircraft, personnel, boats and structures, to the tune of about $100,000. But as chairman and CEO George Tunis put it, this is just the beginning. “We’re going to end up investing around $3 million” in support of both existing and new products, Tunis said. As with many other businesses and industries on the lower shore, Hardwire’s business is cyclical, he said. It just happens that Hardwire runs on a different cycle than the real estate, tourist and agricultural markets. “The military market is turning back on. We were focused on the urgent need in Iraq and Afghanistan. We would make products and ship them right to the front lines,” Tunis said. With major military operations in those areas either winding down or over, demand naturally decreased. Hardwire shifted to diversify product lines, maki...
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Department of Justice audit clears Pocomoke City Police

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) In the wake of the dismissal of former Police Chief Kelvin Sewell, a routine audit conducted by the Department of Justice looking into how particular grant funds were dispersed became more than it was, according to City Manager/Attorney Ernie Crofoot. Crofoot’s tenure began after the July firing of Sewell. The former City Manager of Pocomoke for 40 years, Russ Blake, retired shortly after the dismissal. “Like so many things, it was misunderstood. It was branded as a ‘DOJ investigation’ with the idea being we did something wrong,” Crofoot said. “We could have done some things better or differently, but this was not an investigation.” The letter, received by the town earlier this year, makes no mention of Sewell but does exonerate the town from any wrongdoing with regards to a Community Oriented Policing Services grant awarded in 2011 and intended to cover the cost of a single officer for three years. “The COPS office ha...
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Unity, healing messages of Nelson’s District 1 campaign

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) Sheila Nelson’s campaign to represent District 1 on the Pocomoke City Council paints a broad picture of the town she grew up in and calls home. “The voters know me. They know my family, and I can speak for all citizens,” she said. “One thing this town needs is unity.” She contends that electing her to replace George Tasker is one way to foster that unity. “We know our town has been diversified and needs unity. There’s a lot of anger and animosity, but it’s not all about what happened to the former police chief,” she said. Water quality, she said, is a main issue. Dilapidated homes are a main issue. The controversy surrounding the Winter Quarter Golf Course in town is another issue that needs addressing. “We already know it doesn’t make money, but children play there. I had my wedding reception there,” she said. Within the last month, the council voted unanimously to keep the golf course open...
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Pocomoke City to redo District 1 election

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) Pocomoke City will hold another election for District 1, this time on paper ballots, at the library at 301 Market Street next Tuesday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. An unspecified mechanical failure is blamed for the failure of the previous election held on April 5. Though 132 people were counted at the polls, only 127 votes were counted. The city’s Board of Election Supervisors did not certify the results, though board chairman John Haynie confirmed there was a winner by 9 votes for the disputed machine totals plus 6 votes from absentee ballots. Because the city charter is vague on the topic of disputed election totals, officials have been forced to make decisions on the fly. The charter states, “The candidate or candidates for Councilman with the highest number of votes in each general election shall be declared elected as Councilman,” and requires elections to be certified 12 hours from the time the polls are closed. Little else is said on the topic. In th...
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Berlin Council earmarks funds for downtown bikeways route

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) A grant expenditure approved by the Berlin Town Council on Monday night could pave the way to several major new bikeways in the area. The town approved up to $20,000 in funding to create a pedestrian and biking path that would connect downtown Berlin to Berlin Falls Park on Old Ocean City Boulevard, along the existing railroad line. Part of that money would go toward licensing fees for a right-of-way easement to use the area near the rail line, which is owned by the Maryland-Delaware Railroad Co. The railroad runs behind the Berlin Fire Company and the library on Main Street to the former Tyson’s Chicken plant that the town is converting into the Berlin Falls public park. “The ideal bikeway path, according to Maryland Department of Transportation Bikeways program, is a 10-foot surface with two-foot clear both sides,” Planning Director Dave Engelhart said on Monday. “We have plenty of clearance in most areas of town to use.” Engelhar...
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Tasker targets biz, infrastructure

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) District 1 incumbent George Tasker thinks bolstering Pocomoke City’s downtown while shoring up infrastructure like roads and the water supply are the priorities the town will face in the coming years. Asked how the town will achieve those goals, Tasker said the council should perform more media outreach and advertising, and continue to support the work of Karah Lacey, the downtown coordinator. “We’re training her more and sending her off to different functions,” he said. That experience will help twofold, he explained, by increasing the exposure of Pocomoke City to economic development professionals, and giving Lacey additional experience in the development arena. Turned to internal affairs, Tasker said infrastructure was an immediate and growing concern, with water delivery and road work the top priorities. “I have seen some towns with roads worse than ours,” he said, but added, “our road infrastructure is going to need ...
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Five Mile Branch Road Bridge to be replaced by county

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By:

(May 26, 2016) The Worcester County Department of Public Works is implementing plans to replace one county bridge during the summer of 2016, the Five Mile Branch Road Bridge. This bridge was scheduled to be replaced after earning unsatisfactory bridge sufficiency ratings during the county’s annual bridge inspection program. This bridge replacement project is eligible for federal funding under the Highway Bridge Program. The three-span, timber-beam Five Mile Branch Road Bridge is located approximately 0.76 miles north of US Route 113 and crosses Coonfoot Branch. Access to this bridge will be closed and detour will be in place throughout the course of the project. For information on detour routes or a complete description of these projects, visit www.co.worcester. md.us. A public comment period is currently open, and the public is invited to comment on this project. Refer all comments regarding this bridge replacement to Roads Superintendent Frank J. Adkins at fadkins@co.wor...
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Tiny signs combat careless pet owners in downtown Berlin

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) Vigilante justice has hit the mean streets of Berlin, as one or more persons has apparently taken matters into his or her own hands, rallying back against a public scourge of – dog poo. More specifically, that would be dog poo that is left by delinquent pet owners on streets, in parking lots, sidewalks or in the otherwise pristine, emerald grass just outside the Atlantic Hotel. To fight this thoughtlessness, one or more of the vigilantes have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness of the problem by placing miniature signs in the offending material itself with a toothpick. Each one carries a unique caption, for instance, “Don’t be a shrew / bend over / pick up your poo!” or “Hey scallywag, bring a bag!” or “Only a two pump chump leaves behind Fido’s dump / I bet you voted 4 Trump.” The signs also include a uniform set of hashtags: #notcoolberlin, #americasstoolestsmalltown, #yousuckatlife and #poopbombberl...
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Berlin Memorial Day Parade returns, Monday

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 26, 2016) One of Berlin’s oldest traditions returns Monday, as the communitywide Memorial Day celebration takes place on Flower Street. The annual parade will begin at 8 a.m. and will run from Stephen Decatur Middle School to Dr. William Henry Park. Dozens of school and community groups are scheduled to travel the mile-long route, including car clubs and motorcycle groups, dance troops and musical groups. The origins of the annual celebration date back to at least the middle part of the last century. At one point, however, interest and other factors caused the event to fade. Then, about 24 years ago, local businessman Jesse Turner helped bring Memorial Day back to Flower Street. Turner, who served in the United States Army, and owns and operates Berlin Shoe Box & Shoe Repair on Main Street, is modest about his involvement in planning the massive event.   “It came back through the church at one time and they knew I knew how to organize parades, so it j...
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