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CAR stats show sales on rise in Lower Shore area

Posted On: 12/18/14
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(Dec. 18, 2014) Home listing prices and sales prices are on the rise in the tri-county area, according to the latest figures from the Coastal Association of Realtors. The November CAR Local Housing Statistics reflect an 11.5 percent jump in the average listing price and an 11.3 percent increase in the average sales price of single-family homes and condominiums as compared to October. “Rising listing and sales prices reflect more and more homeowners having the ability to sell,” said Sheila Dodson, executive director of CAR, pointing out that the National Association of Realtors annual survey, released last month, revealed that the typical sellers over the past year were in their homes for 10 years before selling, which is an all-time survey high for tenure of home. “It’s a very encouraging sign both locally and nationally,” she said. Condominiums in Wicomico County saw the largest increase in average listing price at 11.2 percent. Single-family homes ...
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Sewer line construction work delayed until Jan.

Posted On: 12/18/14
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Staff Writer

(Dec. 18, 2014) Major construction to replace aging sewer lines before moving on to insert and upgrade force main pumps and pipes will likely be put off until January, but construction crews are expected to get some preliminary work done as early as today or by Monday. Deputy Director of Public Works John Ross said Tuesday in Snow Hill that workers may begin digging “test pits” to determine the exact location of utilities, which will affect traffic in Ocean Pines on Windjammer Road and Bird’s Nest Road and on Ocean Parkway between Windjammer Road and Village Way. “In my personal opinion we won’t be seeing a lot done before Christmas,” Ross said. He expects lanes and traffic to slow down, but not stop altogether. There will be changing traffic patterns and construction traffic, as well as lane and parking restrictions in these areas. Workers will break for the holidays, and are likely to return before New Year’s Eve will heavy construction b...
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Bertino sets ‘town hall’ session

Posted On: 12/18/14
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(Dec. 18, 2014) Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino, who represents the Ocean Pines District, has scheduled his first Town Meeting for Saturday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. at the Ocean Pines library. Bertino was sworn in as a county commissioner on Dec. 2, at the Worcester County Government Center in Snow Hill. He succeeds Judy Boggs, who initiated the commissioner-town meeting concept in Ocean Pines during her tenure and which Bertino is adopting. For more information about the meeting or other issues of public concern, contact Bertino at 443-783-3248 or cbertino@co.worcester.md.us.
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Weather permitting, power to be cut

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) More than 4,500 homes in Berlin will likely be without power at midnight Friday. The town and Delmarva Power scheduled a temporary service interruption, lasting until 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, as the utility company continues to upgrade transmission lines in Worcester County. “Our rebuild of a more than 50-year-old transmission line between Berlin and Ocean City is designed to improve electric service reliability in Worcester County,” Delmarva Power region vice president John Allen said. “We will make every effort to keep the outage as brief as possible. We also apologize for any inconvenience while this work takes place and thank the public for their patience and understanding.” The infrastructure improvements include replacing the wooden poles holding transmission lines with 90-foot steel counterparts. “They’re built to withstand hurricane winds up to 120 miles per hour,” Berlin Electric Utilities Director Tim Lawrence ...
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Police say be alert to crime over holidays

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) A suspected criminal hoax turned out to be a simple misunderstanding, but area police warned citizens to remain vigilant during the holiday shopping season. During a Mayor and council meeting on Monday, Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing warned that two people posing as employees from the gas department were approaching area houses. The following morning, police confirmed the suspects’ legitimate affiliation with the utility. “We found out that the gas company did have subcontractors out,” Downing said. “I just got off the phone with the young lady whose house it was … and we verified everything was OK in that circumstance. False alarm for sure on that.” Although the police were able to put reports of one crime to bed, Downing said the holiday season is notorious for sparking increases in crime and confirmed that several vehicles in Berlin have been broken into. “We’re reminding all the citizens to go ahead and lock...
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Strategic planning prep taking shape

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) Hoping to build on the “Coolest Small Town” momentum, the Berlin Mayor and Council approved a contract to allow Washington, D.C. based firm Christine Becker Associates to facilitate a series of strategic planning sessions, beginning next month. The council voted unanimously in favor of the motion, granting Becker a maximum contract of $14,500 plus expenses, during a meeting on Monday, Dec. 8. The town had earmarked $8,000 for the project in the fiscal year 2015 budget. Additional money will come from the contingency fund. Mayor Gee Williams said the community-based meetings would run from mid-January through February 2015. “In addition to the public meetings she will be meeting with the mayor and council initially to let us know how she is going about this, and then at the end she will present her findings to the mayor and council,” he said. “In a very organized way [she] will help us understand the priorities and the various options...
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OP gets better deal from new refuse collection co.

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) Republic Services will take over trash pickup in Ocean Pines starting on Jan. 2. The Phoenix, Az. based company, serving more than 3,000 municipalities in the U.S. and boasting more than $8 billion in annual revenues, beat out three other companies for the bid, including current provider Waste Management. Under the new plan, the community will keep the same schedule for trash pickup, twice a week, on the same days. Recycling pickup, previously offered every other week, will now be collected weekly on Thursdays and Fridays. Republic provided the lowest cost-per-customer bid, $12.07 a month, as well as the lowest bid for weekly recycling, $3.50 per month, and the lowest annual association refuse cost, at $14,244. Their total association cost bid was $20,100. To contrast, Waste Management projected a total association cost of $27,116. Two other companies, Chesapeake Waste and Bennett Waste, submitted bids. A team of evaluators rated Republic, Chesapeake Waste and Was...
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‘Festival of Lessons and Carols’ at St. John Neumann, Sunday

Posted On: 12/11/14
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(Dec. 11, 2014) St. John Neumann Catholic Parish will present “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” on Sunday Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. The program will consist of Scriptural readings, hymns and carols – along with time for meditative silence – and is being offered as “a respite during these very busy days that lead up to Christmas,” according to the Rev. Joseph MPR Cocucci, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish. “With the culture bombarding us from every direction, focusing not on the Laws and the Prophets but rather on the loss and the profits, it’s important for Christians of every tradition to take time and remember exactly what it is for which we’re preparing during these Advent days.” Admission is free to the “Festival of Lessons and Carols.” A basket will be available for free-will donations. St. John Neumann Church is located at 11211 Beauchamp Road (off Racetrack Road) in Berlin.
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Letters to Santa to be forwarded by Pines Rec.

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) For the second year, Ocean Pines is collaborating with the North Pole on the “Letters to Santa” program. Recreation staff at the Ocean Pines Community Center on 235 Ocean Parkway is inviting area children to drop their Christmas lists inside Santa’s mailbox in the lobby. “The elves, with public works, helped make the box, and we have letters to go with it,” recreation staff Vicki Magin said. “We encourage parents to help children write letters to Santa, because otherwise Santa won’t know how to find them. We have been working in conjunction with the elves to make sure every child gets a return letter.” Santa himself writes personalized return letters to each child, mailed to their homes. Magin said last year’s inaugural Letters to Santa was a hit. “I was surprised how well it went over because it was something new,” she said. “It wasn’t really advertised that much, so we’re tryin...
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Casper Golf hopes to continue managing course

Posted On: 12/11/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(Dec. 11, 2014) Two months after the Ocean Pines Association sent requests for proposals to manage or lease the community golf course, current management company Billy Casper Golf is speaking out in defense of its four-year tenure. Casper is one of four companies that submitted formal bids to manage the course. A fifth company submitted a proposal to lease the course, according to several members of the OPA board. Joel Gohlmann, who oversees Mid-Atlantic and Northeast operations for Casper, said he visits Ocean Pines at least once a month and has regular discussions with community leadership. “We have a very close partnership and relationship with the OPA there and [general manager] Bob Thompson,” he said. Gohlmann said he is happy with the progress Casper has made this year. “Overall, even in the golf industry and the golf market this year with the weather and the way the spring started, our revenues are significantly up over the prior year, most of that bein...
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