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OPA Pres. Stevens seeks to correct Cordwell comments

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) OPA Board President Dave Stevens this week responded to comments made by fellow director Bill Cordwell in the March 12 issue of the Bayside Gazette. His comments are as follows: 1.   “ The day before the vote, several members of the Board were given information that could have swayed the decision away from Landscapes” Fact. The vote to select Landscapes Unlimited was held on Friday, February 20th. The information was known by Bob Thompson and three Directors seven days later. It is hard to sway a decision seven days after it has been made. 2.  “ Some Board members were given information about serious allegations about this company, including poor business, legal and personnel practices and financial improprieties, but (board president) Dave Stevens didn’t think this should be brought up at the meeting and the rest of the Board didn’t find out about it until days later after the vote had been taken. Fact. No Director knew...
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Cordwell blasts board decision on golf management

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) Prior to last Thursday’s budget meeting in Ocean Pines, the Board of Directors met for a closed-door session to address personnel matters believed to have involved General Manager Bob Thompson. Thompson questioned the board’s diligence in selecting Landscapes Unlimited to replace the current golf management company during a meeting on Feb. 28, causing a stir within the board majority. Before the board could close the session on Thursday, however, President Dave Stevens was required to ask for public comments. Director Bill Cordwell, a resident of Ocean Pines, stood up. “We’re going to talk a personnel matter, but I believe the personnel matter goes along with what I’m going to talk about anyway – the process of how we got to here,” Cordwell said. “I think this whole conversation needs to be out in public. There’s been a lot of things done behind the scenes that I think were wrong. I just want to point some of ...
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County sees red on 660-page $189 million budget request

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) Worcester County’s fiscal 2016 budget book would be soaked in red ink were the county commissioners to adopt the first draft of the spending package that agrees to every request. The budget, containing the collected requests from almost every county department and municipality, is already 660 pages long without counting the Board of Education’s proposed budget or appeals for support from local nonprofits, county staff said. The budget request total of $189.8 million exceed by $22 million the county’s project $167.4 million in revenue in the coming year at the current tax rate. According to county Treasurer Phil Thompson, Worcester has $17 million socked away in stabilization funds that can be used at the commissioners’ discretion, but that figure includes about $6 million already earmarked to fund the current year’s budget. Stabilization funds are the last to be spent, Thompson said, so once traditional sources of funding run out for...
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Snow, ice no match for Berlin team

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) Three major winter storms struck Berlin in quick succession this winter, hammering the region in a frozen blanket of snow and ice. The town’s water resources and public works teamed up in the snow-removal effort for the first time this year, and the results were startling. More often than not the streets were clear, the sidewalks shoveled, and parking lots, like area shops, were open for business. Public Works Superintendent Wendell Purnell said the team-up led to an impressive “combination effort” from both departments. “It’s better for us because water resources takes care of east side and we take care of the west side,” Purnell said. “It’s a lot easier on all of us.” Water Resources and Public Works Director Jane Kreiter said the agencies “wanted to make sure the parking lots were cleared off and the sidewalks are ready for people to park in them.” “It lets us do other things we haven...
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OP Police Dept. releases 2014 crime statistics

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By:

(March 19, 2015) Ocean Pines Police recently released preliminary crime statistics for 2014. Serious crime declined nearly 40 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. A review of serious crime, known as Part 1 Offenses, revealed that in 2014 there were   106 Part 1 Offenses compared to 178 in 2013. Police answered 12,402 service calls for 2014, which is a new record. Police also made 193 arrests and conducted 2,654 traffic stops, resulting in the issuance of 460 traffic citations.   Traffic accidents saw a 23 percent reduction as a result of increased enforcement. “The statistics are very encouraging for crime reduction, and the efforts of our police department contribute to keeping Ocean Pines one of the safest, per capita, communities in the state of Maryland,” Police Chief David C. Massey said.
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Berlin ties bow on strategic plan

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) With civic engagement at a peak, Berlin officials met last week to finalize the details of a new three-year plan guiding town projects. The Town Hall gathering held last Thursday also looked to put a bow on a series of recent public meetings collecting opinions from the community. Members of the town staff met on the previous day to work on what facilitator Christine Becker called “disciplined thought.” The final day was to focus on “disciplined action.” “The town, the citizens and residents are in sync on what’s important,” she said. “One of the things I found interesting was so many of the things that the community said they really wanted were already in progress.” Becker said the issue was, “in some cases people may not be as well-aware of what you’re already doing.” “I think there’s a strong message about, as we build the plan, thinking about how you build lots of communicatio...
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Snow Hill resident gets four years in $65,000 jewel heist

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) A Snow Hill woman was found guilty stealing more than $65,000 worth of jewelry and other items from her Ocean City employer, the Indian River Trading Co., following a trial last Friday in District Court in Snow Hill. Christine Davis, 46, was a trusted employee, Indian River owner Jack Alexander testified. “My wife and I have been in business for 41 years and we never had an experience of theft like this before, which was both mentally distressing and monetarily impactful,” said Alexander, an Ocean Pines resident. Alexander told the court that Davis had keys to the business, which she often used to open and close the shop while he and his wife were away. “I’m just very disappointed,” he said. “It made me rethink about how we trust other employees going forward. It’s just been a really bad experience for us.” Prosecutor Steven Rakow said Davis stole “over $65,000 worth of jewelry, rings, watches, pendants, chain...
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Dollar General deal appears dead

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) Property owner Mike Hamad is crying foul after the Berlin Planning Commission derailed plans for a new Dollar General store last week. The commission voted to deny final site plan approval of the store, which would have been located on Old Ocean City Boulevard near Healthway Drive in Berlin. Hamad sold the parcel, contingent on site approval, to Dollar General. In September, the issue of the store was raised during a mayor and council meeting when Planning Director Dave Engelhart said the town’s board of zoning appeals granted a parking variance on the proposed 9,100-square foot site to allow for 41 parking spaces rather than the 49 spaces required by the town code for a site of that size. A final decision on the site was delayed last month after the planning commission went into closed session to discuss the matter and opted to gather more information. Two weeks later, after neighboring property owners, including representatives from Atlantic General Ho...
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Pirate party to raise funds for Berlin nonprofit

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

(March 19, 2015) Lower Shore CASA is looking for a few good pirates for the Berlin-based program’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Part of Worcester Youth and Family Services Inc., CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. Maria Cusimano, CASA volunteer coordinator, said the programs tries to “make sure children don’t get lost in the court system.” “There are laws in place now that restrict children from being in foster care for too long, with no end goal of adoption or reunification with their parents,” she said. “We want to make sure that the process stays on track in a timely manner and that children are not being placed somewhere that they could not potentially stay. This is difficult, because we also don’t want children changing placements over and over again. “Studies across the nation show that children with a CASA volunteer remain in foster ...
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OP committee looks for candidates

Posted On: 3/19/15
Written By:

(March 19, 2015) Ocean Pines Association’s 2015 search committee will host an informative public meeting on Wednesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Ocean Pines community center.   The meeting will be open to association members. Anyone interested in a position on the board is encouraged to attend. The purpose of the meeting is to outline the function of the search committee, describe the qualifications of the candidates they search for, outline the responsibilities of OPA Board members, and receive input from attendees about finding interested candidates. The committee is seeking at least four candidates to run for the board of directors in the next election to fill two openings. To be eligible a candidate must be the owner of record of property in Ocean Pines as of Jan. 1 of this year, eligible to vote as of May 15 and have completed and submitted an application to the search committee or administration office no later than 5 p.m. on May 10.  An application form may...
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