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Ocean Pines boat explosion sends four to area hospitals

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Nancy Powell, Staff Writer/Ocean City Today

OCEAN PINES–Four people were taken to hospitals following a boat explosion Sunday in Ocean Pines. A fifth person was treated at the scene. Boat owner Neal Edwards of Springfield , Va., told investigators he was ready to take some people for a ride in his 24-foot-long boat at about 2 p.m. In preparation, he opened all of the hatches and started the blowers to vent gasoline fumes that might have accumulated, said Candy Thomson, public information officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, on Monday. The blowers were on for 10 or 15 minutes, he told investigators. He then went to the house to get a cooler and to round up his passengers, his wife, Bonnie, their daughter, Shannon, and friends Dawn Van Deursen and Larry McPherson, both of Escondido, Calif. When all were aboard, he started the boat’s engine, put it in reverse and then put it in forward.  That’s when the explosion occurred. The boat’s hull remained intact, and all aboard either jumped...
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Berlin designated ‘sustainable community’ in July by state

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– In 2010 Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the “Sustainable Communities Act” into law, establishing the Sustainable Communities designation designed to strengthen reinvestment and revitalization in the state’s older communities. The Department of Planning designated Berlin a sustainable community in July. Kevin Baynes, Director of the Office of Community Programs, said the designation brings a variety of state resources to the community, particularly from the Neighborhood Revitalization division. The Department of Business and Economic Development, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Planning and the Maryland Historical Trust also offer incentives. “Many other divisions and departments provide, if you will, sweeteners or additional incentives if you’re located within a sustainable community,” Baynes said. “What it is, is a shared target area to channel revitalization resources to really have an impact ...
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Brown Box Project to offer tragedy, ‘Macbeth’

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– The Brown Box Theater Project returns to Main Street, presenting William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Macbeth” on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Berlin native Kyler Taustin founded Brown Box in 2010, basing the nonprofit organization in Worcester County, but utilizing talent from Boston. “We have two homes,” he said. “We are dedicated to touring from Boston to Delmarva, and our mission is based in trying to bring high-quality arts to communities who have little or no access to performing arts.” Brown Box has presented free Shakespeare in Berlin and throughout Worcester County for the last four years. “All of our productions start in Boston,” Taustin said. “We do two-to-three weeks in Boston and then we do our tours down in Maryland.” Set in Scotland, “Macbeth” follows the titular general who is consumed by ambition after a trio of witches prophesize that he will become king. After his...
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No new dog bite incidents occur in Berlin

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– Following a dog attack last month, police and animal control said no new incidents have occurred. An off-leash dog scratched Berlin resident Pam Hay on Saturday, Aug. 2, and bit her 3-year-old Cairn terrier Lulu while on a walk near downtown Berlin. After filing a police report, Hay took Lulu to a veterinarian’s emergency room in Salisbury where doctors treated her for puncture wounds. Hay spoke to the Berlin Mayor and Council about the incident during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 25. She named four streets in Berlin – Branch, West, Washington and Burley – that she felt were unsafe and asked if the town could change regulations to allow for fines rather than warnings following initial contact with off-leash dogs. Berlin Chief Arnold Downing said he was not aware of any new reports of incidents with off-leash dogs. “I talked to (Hay) the night of Council meeting and let her know what animal control was doing,” Downing said. “I don&#...
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Health fair set for Worcester Recreation Center, Sept. 26

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By:

SNOW HILL–Worcester County Recreation & Parks will host the first General Health Fair at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill on Friday, Sept. 26,  from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The General Health Fair takes place during Falls Prevention Week, Sept. 22-26. This year’s theme, “Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow,” seeks to raise awareness and prevent falls, and unite professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to play a part in preventing falls in the older adult population. According to the National Council on Aging, every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, and every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury.   This event is free to the public and will provide participants with opportunities to talk with local health professionals and other knowledgeable health vendors who can provide information about vision, balance, assisted living, home health, gaining more independen...
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Town, Berlin Fire Company agree to raise siren’s height

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– Following several months of discussion, the town and the fire company agreed to move the fire siren pole behind the police station in order to help alleviate noise complaints. Guests and residents in downtown Berlin were startled on the morning of July 4 when the siren malfunctioned, staying on for close to a half hour. “The siren went off at like 6 in the morning,” said Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence. “It was very disruptive to residents that lived in the area, and that’s where most of it all came about at that point to do something about the siren.” On July 17, Berlin Fire Chief David T. Lewis sent an email to Town Administrator Laura Allen stating, “The chiefs of the Berlin Fire Company met earlier today and decided we would like the fire siren to only blow during the hours of 07:00-22:00 hours every day.” The Mayor and Council drafted their own letter supporting the change during a meeting on July 28. The Fire C...
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County could seek bids for Berlin Library design

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Nancy Powell, Staff Writer/Ocean City Today

BERLIN–Not a single Worcester County Commissioner voiced displeasure or doubt Tuesday when county library officials said they wanted to skip the formal bidding process and hire architect Jeff Schoellkopf to provide design and consultant services for the proposed new branch library in Berlin, but some want to give others the opportunity to bid on the work. “We have a responsibility to the taxpayers to get competitive bids,” Commissioner Judy Boggs said. “We are convinced . . . Jeff Schoellkopf is the right person to be the team captain of the project team,” Mark Thomas, county library director, told the commissioners. Thomas said he and members of the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees had looked at Schoellkopf’s skills and knowledge because they believe it is critical to have someone with knowledge and experience. Schoellkopf is the principal architect of The Design Group of Warren, Vermont. “We feel it’s a responsible decis...
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Visitor Center use uncertain months after town takeover

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– Use of the Visitor’s Center remains uncertain several months after the town took the building over from the Chamber of Commerce. Located on 14 South Main Street, the center includes a front office for Berlin Main Street as well as six 10x10 offices and a commons area. Main Street uses two rooms for storage and conferences. The Chamber rents one room for their executive director and one for storage, and local artist Don Grafer currently rents an office for an artist space, although Grafer gave notice that he would vacate by the end of October. Formerly a train shop, the building had made several rooms available to local artists as well as small businesses and nonprofits. Don Grafer and his wife Susan leased the studio in 2012, maintaining the studio and as well as the center’s 2nd Friday events. They decided not to renew their lease this year, saying their endeavor was not viable with only one artist remaining. As many as three artists had kept offices the...
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New season, more activities on schedule in Ocean Pines

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

OCEAN PINES– A new season means new activities and new staff at Recreation and Parks. Fall programs include indoor walking, cross court tennis, CPR certification classes and ultimate Frisbee. Ocean Pines also hosts the Annual Doggie Swim as well as trips to NASA facilities and the White House. “In the summer the big focus here in the building is on day camps because we have 105-plus kids,” said Recreation Associate Vicki Magin. “As we get into the fall we have more activities.” “In the fall we’re really trying to push new activities out there to keep people active,” said new part-time Program Supervisor Ian Smith. Smith had interned with Ocean City Recreation and Parks, running day camps and day-to-day activities. The department also hired Jackie Stewart to assist with new fall programs. Stewart interned with Recreation and Parks during the summer from Frostburg State University. A nationally recognized nutritionist and a register...
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Coastal Hospice moves to build facility in Worcester County

Posted On: 9/4/14
Written By: Josh Davis, Staff Writer

BERLIN– Following years of preparation and fundraising, Coastal Hospice is moving forward on plans to open a new care facility in Worcester County. Serving Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset and Dorchester counties, the 501(c)3 nonprofit provides in-home hospice and palliative care for patients who have a prognosis of six months or less. “If you haven’t experienced the care that hospice gives it’s hard to understand what it is,” said Community Relations Manager Elaine Bean. “A lot of people hear ‘hospice’ and they get scared immediately – they think it means imminent death. But that’s not always the case.” A personal experience with her mother helped Bean realize the benefits of hospice. “They came into my home – my mother was living with me – and cared for her and made her last days comfortable,” she said. “They told us what to expect. I didn’t have any experience with anyone passing ...
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