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Berlin, MD 21811
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Fax: 410-641-0085

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Co. Commissioners hold hearing on $105.6 million ‘Christmas list’

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) The Worcester County Commissioners on Feb. 3 will hear what the public has to say about a five-year capital improvements plan that, if left unaltered, would total $105.6 million. That, however, is not just a big “if,” but a mighty “if,” as that includes everything the county departments feel ought to be done from 2016 through 2020. Chief Administrator Harold Higgins repeated several times Tuesday, when the commissioners set the hearing date that “inclusion of a project in the plan does not constitute a guarantee of funding by the county.” Commission President M. Jim Bunting went further, describing the plan as a “Christmas list.” Budget Accountant Kim Watts said in her memo to the commissioners that about 11.6 percent of the funds for these projects would come from the General Fund, while 53.26 percent would come from bond issues. The remaining portion, Watts noted, could come from user fees, grant funding, state matc...
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Unpaid EDUs lead county to threaten lien on Pines Plaza

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) The sale of the Pines Plaza Commercial Center on Cathell Road early last year was contingent on lowering the number of allocated Equivalent Dwelling Units, which are used to gauge sewer capacity. The original allocation for the Pines Plaza and neighboring commercial properties was 110 but increased to 125 with the assimilation of the final properties in the area connected to the system. To sell the property, the number of allocated EDUs was reduced to 64, reflecting the maximum allocation for the property at full capacity. In a letter dated Dec. 1 2014 and signed by Bob Waugh, vice president and chief operating officer of Pines Plaza Associates LLC, Waugh requests the number of EDUs be reduced to reflect actual usage — 24, plus an additional unit to cover possible expansion at the Dollar General Store. The remaining EDUs allocated would be made available within the service area on a first come, first served basis. Those 25 EDUs carried a cost of $132,500 that...
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Planning sessions to gauge public interest in new projects

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) Looking for public input on the future of the town, Berlin officials last week officially announced dates for its strategic planning sessions. The town will introduce planning facilitator Christine Becker during a kickoff meeting at Town Hall on Thursday, Jan. 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said the kickoff was “our way of doing our homework before the community meetings start.” Williams added that the meeting would function as a public work session between Becker, the mayor and council and town staff. Four community meetings will follow: Thursday, Jan. 29 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the multipurpose building; Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Buckingham Elementary School; Thursday, Feb. 12 from 6-9 p.m. at Town Hall; and on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the multipurpose building. After Thursday evening meetings, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, the town will hold an after-hours event at the Visitor’s C...
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County Briefs

Posted On: 1/15/15
Written By:

The Worcester County Commissioners also discussed the following issues during their most recent regular meeting.   Solid waste overview EA Consulting provided the commissioners with a snapshot “state of the union” presentation highlighting the county’s solid waste program. The overview explained how the current system operates and what measures will need to be taken in the short and long term to sustain it. Of concern was the construction of Cell 5 of the central landfill, which needs to be built sooner rather than later. Also of note was the closing of the Berlin rubblefill, where EA’s Darl Kolar said there would be a gap in time between the closing of the Berlin facility and the opening of the replacement.   Groundwater monitoring Immediately following the solid waste overview, the commissioners awarded EA the contract for continuing to monitor Worcester County’s groundwater at a cost of a bit less than $16,800. When Co...
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Switch to Sharp opens door for propane changes in Pines

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) After pulling a switch on propane service at the sports core pool late last month, Ocean Pines is looking into similar money-saving moves at other amenities. General Manager Bob Thompson on Monday spoke about the likely change over during budget committee hearings at the Ocean Pines country club. Thompson said the community paid close to $3 per gallon for piped propane from supplier Sandpiper Energy. Under new supplier Sharp Energy, which is owned by the same company, Chesapeake Utilities, as Sandpiper, the community is already saving a substantial amount. “We put the tanks in at the sports core pool recently,” he said. “The pricing to fill the initial tanks was approximately $1.24 per gallon. Pretty significant differential.”  “It’s our intent to continue in January. We’ve already got pricing to put tanks in at the other facilities,” Thompson said. “Sports core is now finished. That went seamlessly. That ...
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Berlin book drive could have international impact on kids

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) Looking for ideas for new service projects for children, Berlin-based Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services Inc. turned inward. The nonprofit group, which provides mental and social health care services for all age groups, asked the children they serve in the Berlin Youth Club program to come up with new ideas to serve people within – and outside – the Berlin community. The brainstorming session produced a book drive of international proportions. “One of them brought up helping people in Africa,” Melanie Windsor, youth project coordinator, said. “I asked them how they wanted to do that and gave them a few suggestions, one of which was the idea of sending used books. That got them excited.” As part of the “help our neighbors” mission, the group also decided to give books to local children. “[Children] often work on projects like handmade scarves, dog toys, and cards for different local causes, but th...
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Atlantic Hotel 120th b-day bash celebrates Berlin

Posted On: 1/15/15
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(Jan. 15, 2015) The Atlantic Hotel will host a special fundraiser on Friday, Jan. 30 to benefit the continued promotion of  “Cool Berlin”  during  2015. This event will honor the families who were responsible for the 1980’s restoration of The Atlantic Hotel. Join them and hotel management and staff in celebrating the 120th anniversary of this iconic landmark. A tapas and wine tasting evening will feature food and appropriate wines from France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Tickets for the fundraiser will be available at The Atlantic Hotel as well as the Berlin Chamber office, located at the Berlin Visitor’s Center, 14 Main Street. The event will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. in The Atlantic Hotel Ballroom, Main Street, Berlin. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 410-641-3589. The ticket cost is $35 per person. This event is an opportunity for everyone who is devoted to Berlin to get and ensure its future success.
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Berlin Dr. Rush says ‘higher calling’ led to mission work

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

(Jan. 15, 2015) A chiropractor at Healing Hands in Berlin by day, Dr. Tracy Rush said she has a “higher calling to help others” that has motivated her into international mission work. Rush first became involved in missions after a patient told her about the Appalachia Service Project in 2007, a volunteer effort that repairs homes in rural West Virginia and Kentucky. “I did it as, not as a chiropractor, but just building a house, ” she said. “And then from there I thought I would like to do something different.­” When the Community Church of Ocean Pines announced a missionary trip to Galapagos in 2010, Rush immediately signed up. “We went to the Galapagos Islands, and a team built a church from the foundation all the way to the roof in 10 days, ” Rush said. Rush is an avid traveler, but had never been out of the country at that point. “It was incredible,” she said. “To get there was a day because you have to go...
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SHORE UP! to help with heating and electric bills

Posted On: 1/15/15
Written By:

(Jan. 15, 2015) SHORE UP! Inc. is accepting applications from people who need help paying their home heating bills and electric bills. Residents of Somerset, Wicomico or Worcester counties who meet state income guidelines may qualify for assistance. To receive help, an individual must complete an Energy Assistance application and provide supporting documentation. Anyone who has already mailed in an application for assistance this year (July 1, 2014 - May 31, 2015) should not do so again. Applications can be received from  www.shoreup.org (Go to “Energy Assistance and Family Support Programs” and click on link to state application) and from Www.dhr.state.md/us/meap” www.dhr.state.md.us/meap (Click on “Download Applications and Brochures,” in the “MEAP” section) or by calling or going to the nearest office during the week, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.: •Wicomico County–500 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, Md. 21804, 410-341-9634 •S...
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Berlin to test notification system

Posted On: 1/15/15
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(Jan. 15, 2015) The Town of Berlin will be utilizing the CodeRED Emergency Notification System on Jan. 15 to call the entire community. The calls will occur in the afternoon and will continue until the entire database has been attempted. This call will give Town of Berlin personnel the chance to operate the system as if there has been a community wide disaster. The message that is being delivered directs recipients to the Town of Berlin website to add additional contact numbers, and it also asks that recipients spread the word by mentioning the system to family, friends and neighbors. Mary Bohlen, deputy town administrator, suggests that “all individuals and businesses should take the time to visit our website and add contact information to include cellular phones and other non- traditional phones as well as email and text addresses. If your contact information is not in the database you will not receive a call when an urgent message is sent.” In particular, business...
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