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Resolution reached in Town of Berlin equal protection claim

Posted On: 3/16/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(March 16, 2017) The Town of Berlin has settled an alleged equal protection claim, according to Luke Rommel, a Salisbury attorney representing complainant Ronshell Shockley. Shockley contended she was forced to leave a public park – under threat of arrest – after an officer with the Berlin Police Department found her sitting on top of a picnic table at Dr. William Henry Park on June 30. Shockley is African-American and the officer was white. “The Shockleys and the Town of Berlin have reached a settlement agreement,” Rommel said in a statement emailed on Tuesday. “The terms of the settlement are confidential. Both sides are satisfied with the outcome.” Also on Tuesday, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams confirmed the resolution. “The suit was settled,” he said. “The claim was settled to the satisfaction of all parties to the case, and the specific terms of the agreement are confidential. I’m pleased that it’s behind us.”...
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‘Invention’ event brings out inner Albert Einsteins

Posted On: 3/16/17
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

‘Invention’ event brings out inner Albert Einsteins  (March 16, 2017) Capping off a month’s worth of effort for the second graders of Buckingham Elementary School, last Wednesday’s third annual “Invention Convention” was attended by hundreds of parents, well wishers and fellow students. Led by teachers Donna Socha and Jessica Fry, the students spent weeks either researching a famous inventor and developing a presentation on him or her, or developing their own inventions to solve a problem — prototypes included. Consider the Brush Paste — a toothbrush with a squeezable handle that dispenses exactly the right amount of toothpaste every time, or the Quad-oculars — branching binoculars built for two for the express purpose of “not having to share everything with my twin brother” written right on the product description. Also, the Easy Scooper, which is built like the shovels used to fill sandbags, with a plastic liner built into the back of the scoop portion, but is intended fo...
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GM replacement discussions start with Novak Group

Posted On: 3/16/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(March 16, 2017) The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors began the process of finding a new general manager in January, when it hired the Novak Consultant Group to lead the search. The question that won’t be answered for some time, however, is whether that contract – reportedly $20,300 plus an unspecified amount for advertising, background checks and travel – pays off. As Board Vice President Dave Stevens said during a phone interview Friday, paraphrasing a line from Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” “you pays your money and takes your chances.” The board met with Novak Executive Search Practice Leader Catherine Tuck Parrish last Thursday in closed session. Stevens said Parrish also talked to Ocean Pines staff before briefing the directors. Only four of the seven board members, Stevens, Cheryl Jacobs, Doug Parks and Slobodan Trendic, were able to attend the meeting. Parks said Thursday that Novak had given a 90 to 120-day ...
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Big crowd for Jesse Turner sendoff

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Big crowd for Jesse Turner sendoff (March 9, 2017) Close to 100 well-wishers packed the small front room of the Berlin Visitor’s Center on Thursday to honor retiring Berlin Shoe Box owner Jesse Turner. Among them were old friends, many dressed up for the occasion, along with fellow Main Street business owners and a handful of local politicians who brought proclamations for a man who obviously meant a lot to the town during his 68 years in business. Turner was also dressed up, sporting a dark green sports coat that could have doubled for business casual on St. Patrick’s Day. He stood in the center of the room between Berlin Mayor Gee Williams and County Commissioner Bud Church. Carol Rose, chairwoman of several Berlin committees, flanked Church and represented Del. Mary Beth Carozza and Del. Charles Otto. A cake with white icing and the Berlin Shoe Box logo sat on a small table in the back of the room. It was inscribed, “Happy retirement Mr. Jesse Turner. We will miss you!” “This is...
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Budget approved, attention turns to Pines election

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Budget approved, attention turns to Pines election With the fiscal year 2018 budget ratified late last month for the Ocean Pines Association, the election season is about to begin. Two seats will be on the ballot this year, with the winners elected to serve three-year terms. Those seats currently belong to Doug Parks and Dave Stevens. Stevens has indicated he would not run again. Parks, who was appointed last September after Pat Renaud resigned, said he was unsure if he would run. “There’s a lot of things to consider,” Parks said. “To tell you truth, I really haven’t even thought about it because of all the things we’re taking care of. We’ve still got the GM [general manager] search [and] we’ve got several things with the technology work groups. “I’ve kind of been nose-to-the-grindstone on those kinds of things and haven’t given it much thought, although I think I owe to everybody at some point to do so,” he continued. “I’ll probably make that...
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Sharpley granted PBJ in gun case

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

Judge Dale Cathell had no problem telling the court exactly what he thought of the case against retired Worcester County Fire Marshal Rodney Sharpley as he rejected a nonbinding plea deal the parties had agreed to and imposed a much weaker sentence. “Every man in the country has the right to have a gun in the house. Every man in the country has the right to answer the front door with the gun in his hand,” Cathell said during the trial on Wednesday. “We’re talking about five or 10 seconds when a man, after midnight, in darkness, had to get it within his mind whether or not there is danger outside of his house.” Cathell said he had cause to answer his own front door many times while holding a firearm. “The firearm charges should never have been placed,” Cathell said. Sharpley faced 10 charges, including two felonies, for an incident that occurred between Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14-15, 2016. The plea deal was based around one of those ch...
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Pocomoke looks into school-zone speed cameras

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

The installation of school-zone speed cameras is being examined by the Pocomoke City Council, following a presentation from Mario Hernandez, Redspeed Maryland project manager, on Monday. In Maryland speed cameras are only permitted in school zones and can be in operation from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. between Monday and Friday. Following changes to traffic laws in 2014, Hernandez said merchants like Redspeed are now required to submit annual reports to the Maryland Police Training Commission. Prior to 2014 he said speed camera vendors were attempting to overachieve by issuing an exorbitant number of tickets. Hernandez said local police are required to list the number of officers involved in traffic enforcement and the total and net revenues collected, as well as how the funds would be allocated. “All the rest of the information regarding the cameras, the certification and calibrations, all the things like that are going to be included,” he said. “We fill out all the form...
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Town to get new signage as HDC speeds through session

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

In a robust, but speedy session last Wednesday, the Berlin Historic District Commission approved four new projects for the downtown area. Berlin Town Hall, on 10 Williams Street, was approved for new signs almost before Town Administrator Laura Allen could settle into her chair. The signs will cost the town about $3,300. “Everybody liked exactly what was submitted,” Chairwoman Carol Rose said. “Laura sat down and I said ‘does anybody have any questions’ and nobody did. I think she sat in that chair maybe 15 seconds.” The rest of the meeting moved along at a similar pace. Rose said it helped that all of applicants turned in “just perfect” packets. Rose also had taken a walking tour to look at all five items on the agenda earlier that day. Also approved was replacement of the stamped, concrete patio area on 120 North Main Street, the future home of the Island Creamery ice cream shop. “Needless to say, when we received that ap...
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More details emerge on OPA separation from Landscapes

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(March 9, 2017) The Ocean Pines Association paid former golf management company Landscapes Unlimited an undisclosed amount in a settlement last month that ended the company’s contract with the community and allowed the association to assume management of the course as of March 1. OPA Board Vice President Dave Stevens declined to give a specific dollar figure related to the settlement, but suggested it was far less than the roughly $80,000 Ocean Pines would have paid in an annual management fee. “Without finding cause [for termination], we would have continued and been liable, basically, for the third year of the contract,” Stevens said. “A settlement was reached wherein we would not be liable for the entire contract amount.” The original contract, signed in May 2015, had Ocean Pines paying a base management fee of $6,500 per month with an annual 3 percent increase. There was reportedly an opt-out clause if fiscal year 2017 budgetary projections were o...
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Fourth Friday beer and wine sales approved in Pocomoke

Posted On: 3/9/17
Written By: By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

The Pocomoke City Council on Monday approved a request from the Downtown Pocomoke Association to sell beer and wine during 4th Friday Street Festivals, which are held monthly between April and September. Association president Marc Scher said his group has always received ample support from the city for their undertakings. “I’ve been involved since 1982 with the [former] Downtown Improvement Association,” he said. “We don’t always get what we want, but you’ve never said no.” Pocomoke Economic Development Coordinator Karah Lacey said the concept for the 4th Friday Street Festival was copied from similar events in the region. “Fourth Friday Street Festivals were inspired by a neighboring town(s),” she said. “There are First Fridays in Snow Hill, 2nd Fridays in Berlin and 3rd Fridays in Salisbury.” Now entering its fourth year, Lacey said all the area events follow a similar outline, including free registration for loca...
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