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Thousands celebrate ‘Old-Fashioned’ way

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) The mile-and-a-half stretch of Flower Street overflowed with onlookers on Monday, as Berlin’s annual Old-Fashioned Memorial Day parade drew residents and visitors of all ages on a picture-perfect summer day. Unlike most Berlin events, centered in the downtown area and designed to boost revenue in shops and restaurants, the parade served as a communitywide homecoming, and the enthusiasm often spilled out on into streets, jamming up traffic on the parade route with scores of camera and cell phone-wielding spectators. Vendors, most of them centered near the multipurpose building, sold the works: hamburgers, hot dogs, barbeque chicken, fried fish sandwiches, hot wings, snow cones, and treats of all shapes and sizes. Nonprofits and political action committees, including Working America, the country’s largest nonunion worker’s group, set up booths for the occasion, while others groups and individuals, such as Berlin resident Q. Burden, set up a makeshift...
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Berlin makes $17M budget public

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) The Berlin Mayor and Council formally introduced the $17.1 million fiscal year 2016 budget during a public meeting on Tuesday. This year’s budget marks an 11 percent increase over the $15.3 million dollar budget adopted during the previous year. Of the staff’s work on the budget this year, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said, “More time for sure, and possibly more effort, has been put into the preparation of this budget than any I have been associated with since first being elected to the town council in 2003.” The budget is based on maintaining the town’s current property tax rate of 68 cents per $100 of valuation. The tax rate has remained steady for three consecutive years. Residents will not experience increases in fees for town water, wastewater or stormwater, and will see a 3 percent reduction in electric bills from June 2015 through December 2017, thanks to a new purchase power agreement. Also because of the agreement, the electric...
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Directors still debating facility-use policy in Pines

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) The 17-member group examining how community organizations can use certain Ocean Pines amenities gave a major presentation at last Wednesday’s board of directors work session that detailed its several months of work and its proposed policy on facility use. What comes next, however, is unclear as it the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors are debating the group’s findings. “It was just a working session, which, really not everybody understood,” Board President Dave Stevens said. “Coming out of it, what I thought about it was there were a lot of important, unanswered questions.” Chief among those, in Stevens’ view, is what kind of data the group used as a foundation for its recommendations, including establishing how much different groups would have to pay to use the facilities. “The answer to that was, ‘Yeah, it’s some place handwritten,’ I think,” Stevens said. “[board member] Tom Te...
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Gallery offering original works by world-class artists

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

Gallery offering original works by world-class artists (May 28, 2015) A number of art galleries on the Eastern Shore hang work by local artists, as well as prints of well-known works, but few can boast a collection of original contemporary pieces by renowned artists such as Marcel Mouly and Andy Warhol. That’s about to change next month, when Art in the Fields opens its doors in downtown Berlin. New Jersey native Foster Schoch and his wife, Lisa, moved to Salisbury more than a decade ago to start a family. The couple began putting together an impressive private collection of artwork. “Art was something we both enjoyed, we both loved, and we ended up with a lot of it,” Schoch said. “And then at some point you kind of say, well if you like collecting it and you’re having fun doing it, why not continue with it?” Most of the gallery’s work is obtained through the secondary market, meaning work that has already been sold at least once. While the primary market generally works through galleries rep...
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Zawacki hoping for return to board

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

Zawacki hoping for return to board (May 28, 2015) Bill Zawacki, who served on the Ocean Pines Association board of directors six years ago, is working to return to that body in this year’s election. According to the 75-year-old resident, “not much has changed” since he last served. “It’s the same damned thing,” he said. “The board hasn’t gotten any better,” he said. A native of Washington State, Zawacki spent much of his youth traveling across the country while his father served in the U.S. Navy. “I went to 17 schools before I got out of high school,” he said. “I started the first grade in Washington and finished it in Newport R. I. That kind of thing happened all the time.” Zawacki spent 35 years with Xerox, starting as an equipment technician and making $80 a week when the company only had a few thousand employees. By the end of his career, he was manager of business services at the Xerox Document University in Leesburg, Va., working w...
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Berlin Chamber names director

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) Donna Compher, president-elect of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, introduced Larnet St. Amant as the organization’s new director during a Berlin Town Council meeting on Monday. Compher and St. Amant, an Ocean Pines native, were on hand to lobby the mayor and council for approval of the 2015 Bathtub Races, which the council unanimously approved for Friday, July 17. She replaces Jim Volk, who served as the chamber’s administrator from November 2014 through April. The chamber is also interviewing for a part-time administrative assistant to help with office duties, while St. Amant primarily focuses on events and membership, according to a source at the chamber. 
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Williams trails in ‘Battle of the Mayors’

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) The third annual High Heel Race in Berlin is turning into a grudge match between Berlin Mayor Gee Williams and Pocomoke Mayor Bruce Morrison. Both men are participating in a “Battle of the Mayors” during this year’s event, Friday June 5. Websites have been established to collect wagers on the winner, with the proceeds going to local nonprofit Women Supporting Women. As of early this week Morrison had received 330 votes – Williams had received none. Mary Henderson, support group facilitator for the Ocean City Chapter of Women Supporting Women, added fuel to the fire on Tuesday. “[Morrison’s] people obviously have more faith in him winning than Berlin with Mayor Gee,” she said. “All they have to do is go online, go to our website, and it’s a $1 vote what mayor you think is going to win,” Henderson added. “Bruce Morrison already has 330 people thinking he’s going to win. Mayor Gee has nobody....
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School calendar adjusted for 2016 presidential primary

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By:

(May 28, 2015) After Governor Larry Hogan signed Senate Bill 204, which moved the Presidential Primary to the fourth Tuesday in April, the Worcester County Board of Education approved a modified 2015-2016 school calendar. In addition to the Election Day change, the modified calendar represents adjustments to the first, second and third marking periods. “Because the school calendar had to be altered to comply with the regulation it affected the number of days in session for the months of November and April,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. John Quinn. “In turn, it gave us the opportunity to balance the length of each marking period. This will benefit our students and staff and will not impact holiday vacations or the projected last day of school.” The modified calendar remains at 183 school days and includes three inclement weather days which have been added to the end of the calendar. If these inclement weather days are not used, they will be subtracted fr...
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Berlin going big with second annual Touch a Truck Day, Sat.

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) After last year’s vent turned out to be a literal roaring success, Berlin will hold its second annual Touch a Truck Day on Saturday. The event, essentially a public utilities vehicle showcase, allows children to get a little hands-on experience with several of the larger town vehicles from public works, water resources, the police department, fire company and the electric company. “This is a great opportunity for children of all ages to see, touch and explore their favorite truck or vehicle,” Mayor Gee Williams said in a press release. “Everyone will have the opportunity to learn all about the equipment they like the most.” This year, the free event will includes a bucket truck, digger derrick, vacuum truck, camera truck, garbage truck, fire rescue squad vehicle and ladder truck.   Town employees will provide demonstrations on the use of each vehicle, including some showcasing their function during working hours. “We’l...
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Basketball tryouts Sat. at Henry Park

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(May 28, 2015) Berlin resident William Johnson, a principal at the alternative school in Pocomoke, is holding tryouts for his ambitious new youth basketball league on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Henry Park in Berlin. Johnson, working with the nonprofit Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, received the approval of the Berlin mayor and council during a meeting earlier this month, and has set his sights on a month-long summer season for the league, with as many as 200 participants. Several elected officials, as well as the Berlin Police Department, have offered financial support. B.J. Johnson, who runs the basketball program at Stephen Decatur High School, is on board as a consultant. The idea, William Johnson said, came from his upbringing in Wilmington, Del. I grew up with this model,” he said. “In the summer that was what we lived for. We went to school all year, some of us got summer jobs, but at six o’clock it was game time. We all a went to this one pa...
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