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Worcester County Fair back this weekend for earlier start

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) The Worcester County Fair opens to the public this Friday, a bit earlier than its traditional run in August. Worcester County Fair Board member Cindy Morris explained that sweltering heat made last year’s fair at Byrd Park in Snow Hill a bit taxing for livestock and attendees. “It’s always been the second weekend in August but last year it was like an 115-degree heat index,” she said. “We struggled with it … being so hot in August so we thought we would try moving it this year.” Morris is also a 4-H Program coordinator, which is organized in this area by the University of Maryland Extension, a statewide non-formalized education system included in the college of agricultural and natural resources. “The Worcester County Fair is set up as a family event,” she said. “We have exhibits for kids, as well as adults.” Lisa Murphy, 4-H STEM faculty extension, said agricultural competitors were slated to begin...
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Annual Truck and Tractor Pull this Saturday in Pocomoke

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) The Great Pocomoke Fairgrounds will be full of sound and fury during the 14th annual East Coast Pullers Truck and Tractor Pull this Saturday. Lovers of smoke-belching vehicles can check out super and pro-stock diesel tractors, pro-stock diesel four-wheel drive trucks, two-wheel drive trucks and hot-farm tractors. Gates will open at 4 p.m. and the cost is $15 for adults, $8 for youths and children 6 or younger are free. Event organizer John Smith, who also severs as the fairgrounds president, said the entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts at least four hours. The East Coast Pullers manage the event, which is sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, Smith said. Truck and tractor drivers’ battle to see who can drag a 40,000-pound sled for the longest stretch, typically in the 280-320 foot range, Smith said. Competitors in the mid-Atlantic region, who can earn points at more than a dozen events, are about a quarter of theway through the season, ...
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Five candidates remain in hunt for Ocean Pines BOD

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 15, 2017) The Ocean Pines Association Elections Committee announced last Friday that two candidates, Arie Klapholz and Paula Robertson Gray, had dropped out of the Board of Directors race. The five who remained took part in the annual candidate draw, determining what order they will appear on ballots and speak during association forums. The results were: 1. Colette Horn 2. Nicole Schafer Crosariol 3. Doug Parks 4. Marty Clarke 5. Brenda Lynn Wascak During a brief informational session that followed, members of the elections committee walked candidates through the elections process. Committee Chairman Steve Tuttle advised the candidates to familiarize themselves with Resolution M-06, governing elections, and C-08, which describes the responsibilities of the elections committee. “We did do a lot of revision of M-06 this year,” Tuttle said. “It was sent through [an Ocean Pines] attorney and we accepted most of what they had proposed. Our deep desire as a...
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Way-finding signs will be redone, but utility boxes won’t

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

 (June 15, 2017) Revamping the dated way-finding signs in downtown Berlin is a great idea, according to members of the Historic District Commission, but placing several sidewalk appliques and painting utility boxes in the Victorian sector bright, cartoonish colors proved not to be quite as popular. All three items were on the agenda of a Historic District Commission meeting last Wednesday, when a larger-than-usual crowd was in attendance. The discussion started as outgoing commission Chairwoman Carol Rose delivered the news that none of the aforementioned items could be voted on, based on a decision by Town Attorney David Gaskill. Instead, town officials were there to discuss the items as a courtesy, Allen said during a somewhat tense exchange. “It’s really the town’s decision, but what we’re looking for tonight is some feedback from the Historic District Commission as well as other members of the audiences regarding the approach,” Allen said....
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Berlin adopts fiscal 2018 budget

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 15, 2017) The Berlin Town Council on Monday unanimously approved a $19 million fiscal year 2018 budget. The new spending plan is the result of more than six months of work by the town staff and represents a 5.49 percent reduction from the previous budget of $20.1 million. A public hearing on the package was opened and closed without comment. The approved budget included a $7.7 million general fund, nearly 14 percent lower than the previous fiscal year. Three utility funds were higher —  electric ($5.5 million, 1.15 percent), water ($1.19 million, 15 percent) and sewer ($3 million, 21 percent). The stormwater fund, about $1.5 million, was 29 percent lower than the previous fiscal year’s spending. Capital projects were budgeted at $4.59 million, a significant reduction over the $6 million in capital items approved last year.   Finance Director Natalie Saleh said the major adjustment to the budget over the one introduced during a first reading three weeks...
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Decision coming on Shore Spirits

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(June 15, 2017) Late last month the Board of License Commissioners took the unusual, but not unprecedented, step to delay its decision on whether or not to grant the new owner of the former county Shore Spirits store in Pocomoke City a Class A liquor license. The board announced last week that it would hold deliberations on the matter on June 21 at the Government Center in Snow Hill, starting at 12:45 p.m., ahead of the meeting’s usual 1 p.m. start. Kalpesh Patel, of Berlin, successfully bid $1.175 million for the store and its inventory, which was made public during an April county commissioners meeting. Contingent on that bid, however, was the county’s endorsement and support for Patel to successfully obtain a Class A license. Without it, the county would have to move on to one of the lower bidders. However, during the hearing in May several other business owners in the same area as the Shore Spirits shop, as well as the Pocomoke City mayor Bruce Morrison, attended ...
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Cardboard regattas not ‘all wet’

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 15, 2017) Following a successful test launch last year, 45 students from Snow Hill Middle School swarmed the Pocomoke River last Friday to test the limits of cardboard and packing tape. Forty-five eighth graders and 21 custom-designed vessels accompanied their teacher Denis Jenkins for the school’s second-ever cardboard regatta event. Jenkins said the boat-building exercise is the culmination of three years of technical education imparted in the “Project Lead the Way” class he teaches. “We go through the entire design process basically from idea to prototype,” he said.   The nonprofit organization Project Lead the Way develops STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula for students from K-12.   “You need to design it, you need to research it and prove why its going to work,” he said. “Then you need to build it and test it.” Since the beginning of May, Jenkins’ students have complet...
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Pocomoke Cypress Festival will be two days this year

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 15, 2017) Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks? Now in its 42nd year, Pocomoke’s annual Cypress Festival will, once again, provide music, arts, crafts, food and drinks, along with a few new wrinkles, this Friday and Saturday. The array of activities takes place from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Produced by the Pocomoke Area Chamber of Commerce, the long-standing summer kick-off event went through a metamorphosis of sorts last year when amusement rides were no longer offered, following the closure of the company previously contracted for that purpose. Michelle Hickman, chamber executive director, said despite that unexpected turn last year’s festival offered new activities, such as the donut eating and barbecue contests, with other new surprises set for this weekend. “It’s intended to be a family friendly event the whole community can enjoy,” she said. After losing the amusement rides last year, Hickm...
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Disused OP parcel gets exception for contractor storage

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(June 15, 2017) Before the Pines Plaza was tied into county water and sewer it used, like many properties on the shore, a septic system that also required a drain field, or leach field. Since the county project to provide services several years ago, the drain field has remained dormant, except for the minor matter of an adjacent vendor using the area for storage, which the attorney representing the owners of Pines Plaza, Hugh Cropper, said was only recently discovered and would be quickly remedied. In the meantime a nearby neighborhood, Pennington Commons, had been selling homes based on the relative privacy of the area. At least one resident, Brenda Archer-Nichols, said during the hearing on the issue at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last Thursday, that she was explicitly told that nothing would ever be built on that site. Nichols had been misinformed. The parcel is designated as an Existing Developed Area in the county’s comprehensive plan, which is used to identif...
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Berlin Fire Co. makes last-minute budget plea

Posted On: 6/15/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 15, 2017) The Town of Berlin and Berlin Fire Company continue to be at odds over the philosophy of budgeting, although officials on both sides said they are looking forward to an independent assessment that could resolve some differences. During a mayor and council meeting on Monday, PKS & Company presented a compilation of fire company expenses. Managing Partner John Stern said a compilation was essentially a comparison to numbers presented during other years. Unlike an audit, it does not “test the numbers.” Based on his assessment, Stern said the Berlin Fire Company is healthy, with cash and investments of more than $3.1 million. Fire company officials, however, said those numbers were more than 11 months old. President David Fitzgerald, Fire Chief Jim Corron and EMS Captain Duane Phillips painted a much grimmer picture during a more than one-hour budget request that followed. Fitzgerald said the fire chiefs had to do “an unbelievable job … ...
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