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Berlin, MD 21811
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Pocomoke Council meeting delayed; will resume next wk.

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) The Pocomoke City Council, through City Manager/Attorney Ernie Crofoot, announced Monday morning that the regular meeting — scheduled for Monday evening — has been delayed until next week. The meeting will be held Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall instead. The town is pursuing a Main Street community designation offered by the state, which has granted that status to other lower shore towns such as Berlin and Salisbury. However, to pursue the designation, the council must pass a resolution, an action that requires the town to advertise its intentions. Crofoot said the mayor and City Council had not been notified of the resolution requirement in time for this week’s meeting, and moved back the meeting date as a result. The Main Street Maryland program is competitive and selects communities that “have made a commitment to succeed and helps them improve the economy, appearance and image of their traditional downtown business districts,...
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Berlin Parks Commission Briefs

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) The Berlin Parks Commission discussed the following items during a meeting at Town Hall on Tuesday, May 10. New chair/old chair Mike Wiley was unanimously chosen by the commission to remain as chair. Commission member Patricia Dufendach said Wiley provides a “wonderful service” to the town. “He’s always there with a smile and a camera, even at his own peril,” she said with a laugh. “Thank you for all you do for us. Without you, we would not be able to get all the things we get done, and that’s the truth.” International professionals Zalikha Wan Zaharuddin, an environmental education program officer for the Malaysian Nature Society, and Crisanta Rodriguez, the assistant regional director at the department of the environment and natural resources in the Philippines, sat in during the meeting. The two international professionals also attended the mayor and council meeting one day prior. Both are in town as part of ...
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Pines certifies record 12 board candidates

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) A record 12 candidates will compete for three seats on the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors this year. Last week, the Gazette reported as many as a dozen had filed the paperwork to run for the OPA board. On May 12, the association confirmed all 12 had been certified. Surprisingly, almost half of the announced candidates are political newcomers. One current director, Jack Collins, will seek reelection. Another, Bill Cordwell, opted not to run while a third, Tom Terry, cannot run because of term limits. Three members of Ocean Pines advisory boards are also running, including Budget and Finance Chair Pat Supik, Frank Daly from the Comprehensive Planning Committee and Doug Parks, from Bylaws & Resolutions. Steve Lind formerly served on the Clubs committee. Two others, Ray Unger and Slobodan Trendic, have run during the last two election cycles. Unger has previous experience on the board, while Trendic was the third-leading vote getter last year. Five...
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Candidate Simon brings vast construction career to race

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) George Simon Jr. he has “seen it all” during his decades-long career in construction, and he’s hoping to bring that expertise to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors in August. “I’ve been in construction and construction sales pretty much my whole life,” he said. “The main thing I can bring to the board is knowledge of construction, construction projects, sales and the bid process, and … I have a good relationship with a lot of the contractors in the area.” Simon, a 55-year-old territory representative with TRI Supply & Equipment in Salisbury, is one of a dozen candidates vying for three positions on the board. After growing up in Baltimore, he moved his family to the Ocean Pines area in 1986, and bought his first home there about four years later. “We would come down here to the ocean on vacation and we liked the area, and when we had kids, we didn’t want them growing up [in the Balti...
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Pines Elections Committee: ‘we have ... work cut out for us’

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) The Ocean Pines Association Elections Committee has its hands full with the largest pool of board of director candidates in community history. A day after the filing deadline, and when news leaked out that a dozen homeowners had done so, the committee went to work on the logistics of putting together election materials and a forum that would include a record number of candidates.   “We have our work cut out for us,” committee Chairman Bill Wentworth said during a meeting on May 11. “We’re going to have to be a little creative in how we do the normal forum. How we normally do it ... it would be over four or five hours. That would be like watching paint dry. “We’ve never had this many people – never, ever,” Wentworth added. “This is a new horizon for us.” Committee member Frank Danowski asked about the likelihood that some of the candidates would drop out of the race. “It’s very rare for a ...
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Snow Hill raises amusement tax

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) To mirror what is charged in Pocomoke City, the Snow Hill Town Council voted to increase the amusement tax from two percent to five percent during last week’s council meeting. Despite not being a huge moneymaker for the town, certain proposals — including an excursion train linking Snow Hill with Berlin that is still very much in the planning stages — would have an effect on town finances eventually, Mayor Charlie Dorman said. Dorman said he wanted the town to be prepared should an amusement renaissance occur. The amusement tax is collected via the state comptroller’s office for Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City, incorporated cities, towns and the Maryland Stadium Authority. The rate, according to the comptroller’s office, is set by municipalities between one-half and 10 percent of gross receipts from use or rental of sports equipment, the sale of merchandise, refreshments or services at a nightclub or entertainment venue and ad...
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Snow Hill write-in candidates limited

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) Balancing the need for free and open elections with an expense estimated to be between $6,000-$7,000 in advertising and equipment fees, the Snow Hill Council voted last week to amend the charter to revise the time a person has to mount a write-in candidacy. Mayor Charlie Dorman said the town’s code had already been modified some time ago to change the declaration date to the end of March, but those changes never made it into the charter proper. The new regulations impose a drop dead filing date of March 31, no matter the type of campaign a candidate intends to run. If an incumbent is unopposed following that deadline, the election will be cancelled, as it was this year. Previously, a write-in effort was allowed up until one week before the election, which brought significant costs — voting machines would need to be rented and judges would need to be assigned, among other expense factors. Other municipalities in the area, Dorman said, had already made sim...
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New Berlin Library plans nearly done; funds still needed

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) Plans for the Berlin Library are proceeding, with the Worcester County Library Foundation estimating site plan work is about 95 percent finished.   That’s according to foundation board member Ron Casio, who showed the latest schematics to the Berlin Planning Commission last week. Developed by architect Jeff Schoellkopf, the two-story 11,400- square-foot building on Harrington Street adjacent to the Waystead Inn looks to improve on nearly every aspect of the current library on Main Street.   The eight-page architectural site plan shown to the commission included a much larger multipurpose space that can accommodate up to 100 people and provide space for plays, musical performances or meetings. In addition, the design features several outdoor enclaves that were meant to maximize the building’s geographic location in relationship to the sun. As for fundraising efforts, Casio admitted the foundation has hit a few snags. When a portion of the $1....
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Thompson contract includes clause for ‘new board’ review

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) Although OPA General Manager Bob Thompson recently signed a three-year contract extention, the August board of directors election could affect the length of his tenure. According to Director Tom Herrick, the new agreement includes a clause for reevaluation by the newly elected board. That language is as follows: “The contract is agreed to with the full understanding that the make-up of the Board of OPA evolves every year and a ‘New Board,’ created in the twenty seventh/twenty eighth (27/28) month of the existing contract. “The ‘New Board’ or Mr. Thompson, may chose to change their position on an extension of the old contract or development of a new contract. The ‘New Board’ and Mr. Thompson must notify each other, in writing, no later than the end of the twenty eighth (28) month (August 2016) of their intention to support or change their positions. If there is a change, and there is a failure to develop a new contract,...
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Planning commission passes Habitat project

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(May 19, 2016) The Berlin Planning Commission took the long way around, but it did unanimously grant conditional site plan approval for a new Habitat for Humanity of Worcester County project last Wednesday at Town Hall. Habitat’s latest local endeavor, on 21 Jefferson Street next to Berlin Coffee House in the downtown area, would put two, two-story apartments over ground floor studio or shop spaces for artists. The nonprofit would use the revenue from the downstairs retail spaces to support future projects. Berlin’s historic commission and Board Of Zoning Appeals had already approved the project. Some planning commission members, however, saw potential for improvement in the site plan and asked about the possibility of pushing the setbacks closer to the curb. Commission member Pete Cosby said he was “thrilled” about the concept, but that the structure would do well to maximize the space by cutting out the planned parking spaces. “Extend the building...
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