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Berlin, MD 21811
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Berlin budget draft unveiled; outlays include parks, police

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Berlin presented a balanced $3.5 million draft of its fiscal year 2017 general fund budget during a public meeting at Town Hall on Monday. The proposal included $40,000 for a new contractual position to manage development at Berlin Falls park, as well as $17,000 for three temporary seasonal employees to work there. More than $1.3 million in capital outlays for new police projects were outlined, largely reflecting the building of a new police station, and a $66,000 request for two Ford Interceptors to replace older models. Economic Development Director Ivy Wells asked for $14,200 towards the trade-in of her town vehicle, as well as $22,000 to improve the exterior of the visitor’s center on Main Street. If the town approves that project, Wells said $11,000 would come back in the form of façade grants. Public works requested $89,000 in capital expenses, including $55,000 for a replacement vehicle. Other significant capital projects were $210,000 for str...
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New Pocomoke election to occur May 31 — maybe

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Pending any changes because of notification procedures from the Board of Elections Supervisors, Pocomoke City will hold either a new election or a “re-vote” on May 31. Both Pocomoke City Mayor Bruce Morrison and City Attorney/City Manager Ernie Crofoot confirmed the new date, but each was quick to add it’s not really their call. “We empower the Board of Election Supervisors to make these decisions,” Morrison said. According to code, the Board of Supervisors of Elections “shall be in charge of registrations of voters, nominations and all city elections.” When asked about the new date, Board President John Haynie replied via email: “The mayor will be letting everyone know at the meeting tonight.” However, the meeting came and went without an announcement from Morrison. When approached after the meeting, Morrison relayed the information he said he had, which is a date of May 31, which was echoed by Crofoot. Bot...
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About 70 artists paint Snow Hill

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Navigating the sidestreets of Snow Hill had been a little more challenging than usual this past week, as dozens of artists braved swirling winds and bracing temperatures to capture what they saw as the essence of the county seat. To be fair, there was a financial motive — artists were vying for Artists’ Choice award and the $500 prize associated with it, as well as a “wet paint” show Sunday offering pieces for sale — but the artists wouldn’t keep coming and the showcase wouldn’t fill in a brisk 40 minutes if there wasn’t anything worth seeing. “We always have wonderful shows, but this year 100 percent of the artists hit home runs. Many of the other artists have told me, and I agree, that the quality was just outstanding — perhaps the best ever,” organizer Ann Coates said. In the end it was Julie Riker, a professional artist from Pennsylvania, who won the Artist’s Choice prize — not for a...
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Local chef sets sights on national competition

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Last month, Barilla and culinary website Chef’s Roll invited cooks across the county to “represent your region” in the 2016 Barilla Pasta Perfect competition. Locally, chef Paul Suplee has taken up the charge and was one of just 188 chefs in the United States selected as a finalist. “The competition rates a chef’s ability to take a pasta dish and make it ‘scream’ a region,” Suplee said. “Of course, mine is a salute to The Eastern Shore.” Suplee created a “Casarecce alla ‘crab’onara” for the contest, which used Barilla casarecce pasta, tossed in carbonara, with a regional twist – the dish is dressed with blue crab and Virginia ham, fried in duck fat and garnished with Old Bay-cured egg yolks. “In developing this dish, it was a no-brainer to include the blue crab, since it is freshly in-season,” he said. “Virginia ham was a close second, and frying it in duc...
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Berlin, county and Maryland police prepare for Trump rally

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Given just more than 48 hours notice, Berlin police on Monday hastily began preparing for an unexpected visit from leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump was to hold a rally for supporters at Stephen Decatur High School Wednesday evening, after press time.   “We’ve been meeting ever since 10 o’clock to go ahead and get things together,” Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing said during a public meeting in Town Hall, Monday night. “We’ve already reached out to our non law-enforcement partners at the Berlin Fire Department [and] the fire marshal’s office, and we’ve already spoken to our own public works and with state highway.” Downing said the concern was that demand would be high for the event, which would be held at a “small” venue, Decatur High School. “It’s going to be a process. We don’t know how … how many people actually will come for a few tic...
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Wor. County Arts Council to host second Walk for the Arts

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By:

(April 21, 2016) The Worcester County Arts Council announces the second 5K Race/Walk for the Arts to be held on Saturday, May 21, at 8 a.m. in downtown Berlin.   This event is a fundraiser to increase the awareness and importance of arts in the communities. Runners of all ages are encouraged to participate. For event details, schedule and registration, visit www.octrirunning.com. Each race entry includes a free one-year membership to the Worcester County Arts Council. Various sponsorship opportunities are offered. For details, download the sponsorship commitment form from the WCAC website, www.worcestercountyartscouncil.org. For volunteering opportunities, call the Council at 410-641-0809.
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Pines cmte. trying to regroup after ‘unmitigated disaster’

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) “I think we’re on our own, guys.” That was the message of Steve Cohen, chairman of the Ocean Pines Comprehensive Planning Committee, said at the start of a meeting in the community center last Thursday. The committee is attempting to regroup, following what many considered to be a calamitous meeting with the board of directors last month. “The last board meeting … would, I believe, charitably be called an unmitigated disaster,” Committee member Frank Daly said. “It is our job to go in front of [the directors] with a deliverable [message] and have backup and have a clear understanding of what that deliverable is going to be.” By all accounts, that did not happen. Daly said the committee had not effectively communicated just what kind of information the in-progress comprehensive plan would contain, and that the committee members were often not “on the same page.” According to Pat Renaud, president of th...
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Cannery Village weathering delays

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Berlin is getting closer to issuing occupancy permits for more than a dozen homes at Cannery Village, although sewer system issues still persist at the new affordable housing complex. In an email dated April 14, developer Andrew Hanson, vice president of Osprey Property Company LLC, said water meters had been set for lots 1 through 22. “[Lots] 1 through 15 will be final today or tomorrow, and it is up to the town to issue [occupancy orders],” Hanson said. “It has always been up to the town.” During a phone interview on April 14, Mayor Gee Williams agreed that the town was close. “The first certificates of occupancy should be given by the end of the week if everything falls into place,” he said, adding that orders for all townhomes on the property were likely “within two-to-three weeks.” “Within the next month, everything that can be occupied, I think, will be ready for occupancy,” he said. “One th...
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Two opinions on Ocean Pines reserve study

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Veteran OPA Director Tom Terry came away from the April 11 special meeting with an extremely positive view of the reserve study conducted by Design Management Associates Inc. “I really feel like DMA delivered exactly what they had promised and proposed to deliver,” he said. “I think the tool that they have given us is going to help a lot in being able to assess the impact of how much reserves we need in Ocean Pines.” What DMA essentially created, Terry said, was an “independent assessment of the various components [of Ocean Pines] and the condition of the buildings,” as well as the life expectancy of virtually all of the association’s assets. “I think there’s just an enormous amount of information in there that was done by an independent set of engineers and independent business that we can look at and count on to help us make decisions,” he said. That information was put into an XML spreadsheet that ca...
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Two opinions on Ocean Pines reserve study

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 21, 2016) Freshman OPA Director Tom Herrick said he still has plenty of questions following an April 11 special meeting about the new reserve study conducted by Design Management Associates Inc. “I think it’s got to be addressed and looked into with a little more detail,” he said. “I also think that we need to get some feedback in some regard from the association membership, exactly what they see in a capital facilities improvement plan – and how they would like the direction of our community to go in the future – before we decide to start funding reserves. “Before we start figuring out how much we need to fund, we need a plan,” Herrick added. During the meeting, DMA Senior Partner Doug Greene presented the study in the form of an adjustable XML spreadsheet, grouping Ocean Pines’ assets and estimating when they will need to be repaired or replaced. The tool, Herrick said, was fine, but the priorities of the association ...
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