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Berlin celebrates ‘cool’ anniversary

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) While there is sure to be plenty of reflection and well-earned back patting by Berliners on Saturday, a large portion of the crowd in downtown Berlin will be there for one thing and one thing alone: the planned, massive Cool Berlin Anniversary Party. This year the task of throwing a party worthy of the word “cool” rests on the shoulders of new Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells. “From my perspective, being new here, everyone has heard about Berlin being voted ‘America’s Coolest Small Town,’” Wells said. “Now is the time for them to come here and check it out, and I need to make sure that we live up to that standard.” The party officially begins at 1 p.m. with a parade down Main Street featuring at least 16 youth groups. The downtown area will be closed to traffic, and open beverage container laws will be suspended for the day as Burley Oak Brewing Co. and the town’s chamber of commerc...
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OPA, Landscapes Unlimited close in on golf contract

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) After months of often grueling debate over switching golf course management companies in Ocean Pines, the community association’s board of directors is nearing a final vote to approve a contract with Landscapes Unlimited. The vote, which could take place this week, would bring Landscapes Unlimited in to replace former management company Billy Casper Golf. The 36-month contract includes management of the course as well as the clubhouse, Tern Grill, the cart facility and the maintenance building. Ocean Pines would pay Landscapes a base management fee of $6,500 per month with an annual three percent increase. A contingent management fee of 10 percent would be paid annually on any improvement over the original budget projection of a $100,000 loss. The contract would include an opt-out clause, beginning in fiscal year 2017, if the Nebraska-based company misses budgetary projections by more than $50,000. “That begins in June 2017 if they fail to meet the annu...
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Looking behind Berlin’s ‘coolest’ campaign

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) Last year, during the aftermath of the Budget Travel magazine designation that named Berlin the “Coolest Small Town in America,” the Bayside Gazette examined the decades-long journey the town took, from former peach hub, to forgotten stopover, to a thriving, resurgent community of certified cool.   While this Saturday’s Cool Berlin Anniversary Party is a celebration of the years of work the town’s business, political and community leaders put in, it’s also thanks to the people who spearheaded the campaign to snag the designation in the first place, starting with Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger. Challenger said she was involved in, but did not originate, a similar campaign to nail down the designation several years ago. The movement stalled, but she kept up with Budget Travel’s mailing list and saw a virtual cartoon light bulb when she received notice for new nominations in 2014.   “We had a social...
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Kelly Bell Band to headline ‘Cool’ Berlin anniversary

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) While Berlin has officially been “cool” for a year, courtesy of the Budget Travel Magazine designation, one could argue that the Baltimore-based Kelly Bell Band has maintained its cool status for going on two decades. The band’s year-long birthday celebration/victory lap includes headlining the Cool Berlin Day bash on Saturday, April 18. For Bell, it all began in a little club in Charm City. Bell was a backup singer, the self-described “baby in the band” of Fat Tuesday, a New Orleans-style jazz and blues group that once backed up the legendary Muddy Waters. Bell also doubled as the bouncer at the 8x10 in Baltimore, a tiny bar with a sterling reputation among diehard musicians and music fans, which just so happened to book one Bo Diddley in January 20, 1995. “Bo didn’t travel with his own band at the time,” Bell said. “Bo was real smart. After getting ripped off all those years, when he got to his twilight y...
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OP community still buzzing about home-based business

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) A week after a potential new home-based business involving firearms sparked debate and then abruptly ended in Ocean Pines, questions remain about exactly what the Ocean Pines Association’s community bylaws allow. According to Section 700.2 of the Architectural Review Committee guidelines, home occupations in Ocean Pines must be “conducted solely within the structure,” unless the business relates to childcare and cannot generate “substantial” amounts of traffic. Businesses are limited to no more than 25 percent of the gross floor area of the home and cannot use signs of any type, including window signs. The community forbids businesses from stocking anything “other than parts or supplies used in the occupation” on the premises, and further stipulates that nothing can be sold “except what is produced on the premises or as permitted by special exception by the committee.” Businesses cannot include a boarding hous...
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Berlin replacing Main Street ‘eyesore’ with new art gallery

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) One of the few remaining empty spaces on the revitalized Berlin Main Street has been filled, Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells announced this week. Wells reported the sale of the former Mid Atlantic Pain Medicine building on 6 South Main Street during a mayor and council meeting on Monday evening. Salisbury residents Foster and Lisa Schoch bought the building from Tom Rosenthal, who now operates Pain Medicine exclusively in Salisbury. Cam Bunting of Bunting Realty in Berlin brokered the deal, which closed on Monday. “It will eventually become an art gallery,” Wells told the council. “I’m meeting with [the new owners] on Thursday.” “It’s an ideal place for an art gallery,” Mayor Gee Williams said during the meeting. Wells told the Bayside Gazette on Tuesday that many area residents had complained about the lingering downtown “eyesore.” “It was definitely on my radar,” ...
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Berlin Briefs

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By:

(April 16, 2015) The Berlin mayor and council discussed several issues during a public meeting at Town Hall on Monday, March 9.   Designations The council voted to designate April as “Fair Housing Month” in Berlin. The designation, part of a new national initiative, is a requirement of block grants awarded to Berlin. The Community Development Block Grant program has funded Berlin projects, including sidewalk upgrades, stormwater improvements and public restrooms. April 18-25 was designated “Take Pride in Berlin” week. The Fourth annual weeklong observance acts as, “an acknowledgement of Berlin’s encouragement of its citizens to take pride in their community,” according to Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen. “[It’s] a chance for all of us to show off what a great place we call home,” Bohlen said. Events The council approved a slew of special events to be presented by the Arts and Entertainment Dis...
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‘Take Pride’ week includes movies in park, on street

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) The fourth annual Take Pride in Berlin Week encourages residents to reflect on the town where they live and includes in the debut of the new “Movies in the Park & on Main” series. Take Pride in Berlin Week runs April 18-25. “It’s just drawing attention to the fact that folks are living in a pretty great little town here,” Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said. “We’ve always encouraged people to kind of think of how they can show their pride in their neighborhoods, in their own homes, downtown, wherever they feel like doing something for the town.” Bohlen said the annual event also serves as a reminder to residents to “be green.” “We always do encourage people to consider the environment when they’re doing this,” she said. “We’ve always encouraged things like reducing electricity use, neighborhood gardening projects, composting projects, things like that. It’s s...
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AIA hosts ‘Road to Assateague,’ Sat.

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By:

(April 16, 2015) Assateague Island Alliance (AIA), the Friends Group of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS), will host “The Road to Assateague Part 2:  Becoming a National Seashore” on Saturday, April 18 in the Environmental Education Center. Coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. prior to the program which begins at 10 a.m. Following devastating effects of the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, development plans ceased and an opportunity was created for the National Park Service to acquire land. Great change would take place in the years that followed resulting in mandates to keep ASIS free from commercial development, rendering the island reborn. Presenter Joseph Fehrer, currently the Coastal and Lower Shore project manager for The Nature Conservancy, will share his personal account of living on the island during Assateague’s historical shift from life as the seaside resort “Ocean Beach” to becoming a National Seashore. Fehrer will ...
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Berlin, ‘antique capital of the Eastern Shore,’ hosts art mart

Posted On: 4/16/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(April 16, 2015) Vintage goods guru Bill Outten is looking to grow the legend of the “antique capital of the Eastern Shore” with a new outdoor Antique Art Mart in Berlin that will debut this Sunday, April 19.   As a bonus is the first in a planned series of monthly events that will run every third Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is an Antique Road Show-style appraisal session with local expert Charlene Upham. Outten, who today runs three antique stores in Berlin – Town Center Antiques, Pitts Street Antiques and Uptown Antiques – came to the town 15 years ago from Baltimore, where he, in another life, worked for an investment group that flipped restaurants. Feeling burned out after years of venture capitalism, Outten began looking for something with a slightly slower pace. His mother, remarried after his father passed away, was a recent Berlin transplant who fell in love with the area. She and her husband also found themselves managing an antique store. ...
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