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State Highway Admin delays 113 work, again

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(Aug. 11, 2016) State Highway Administration Public Information Officer Charlie Gischlar confirmed the work originally scheduled to begin on July 25 to install four new stormwater drainage pipes on Route 113 will now proceed beginning next Monday. Gischlar said the contractor on the project has experienced delays with the work they’re currently doing elsewhere. However, the first night of work may not require a detour now, as crews will begin the work outside of travel lanes Monday night beginning around 6 p.m., he said. The two following nights will likely require detours. Three installations will be just south of Langmaid Road, and will use that street and Newark Road as bypasses. The fourth installation will take place north of Basket Switch Road, and drivers can use that road as well as Newark Road to get by. The SHA measured the detours at about 1 mile each. Electronic signs have been in place for at least a week now, and will be updated before each replacement, Gischl...
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Berlin Council mtg. canceled, but majority of agenda passes

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Aug. 11, 2016) Although Monday’s Town Council meeting in Berlin was canceled because of a lack of quorum, several items on the agenda were still approved via electronic polling. The council endorsed a contract for $171,282.23 to Southside Land Management related to the Hudson Branch and Flower Street Culvert Replacement Project. The bid was approximately $400,000 less than another bid, by Clean Venture Inc. In a separate item, a grant application to build permanent restrooms in Stephen Decatur Park was approved at a cost of $106,660. That includes a $96,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space, Community Parks and Playgrounds Program, and $10,660 in matching funds. According to the grant application, the park currently has portable toilets, which are “not aesthetically pleasing” and are often subject to “vandalism and other mischief — such as tipping over.” Prefabricated, ADA compliant restrooms with two g...
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Snow Hill’s John (Dale) Smack appointed parole commissioner

Posted On: 8/11/16
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Snow Hill’s John (Dale) Smack appointed parole commissioner (Aug. 11, 2016) John (Dale) Smack III of Snow Hill, was recently appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan as a Maryland parole commissioner. Smack, who recently retired as chief deputy with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and as chief judge with the Worcester County Orphans’ Court, will assume his new position after Aug. 16. Smack spent approximately 29 years with the Sheriff’s Office and approximately 10 years as an Orphans’ Court Judge. The Maryland Parole Commission is charged with determining on a case-by-case basis whether inmates serving sentences of six months or more in state or local facilities are suitable for release into the community under certain conditions or supervision by the Division of Parole and Probation. Parole commissioners and hearing officers hold hearings via video conferences and in correctional facilities throughout Maryland. The commission holds open parole hearings and has a strong commitment to victim rights
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Berlin’s Laura Allen readies for international ‘exchange’

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

Berlin’s Laura Allen readies for international ‘exchange’ (Aug. 11, 2016) Berlin Town Administrator Laura Allen is about to become, essentially, an exchange student. In May, 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, visited Berlin as part of a joint program between the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the U.S. State Department. The program was designed to support emerging leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 in Southeast Asia. As an extension of that, ICMA and the state department are sending leaders from the U.S. overseas to allow for additional communication and sharing of knowledge. Allen was one of only a dozen people selected from a small pool of applicants. “The program included the opportunity for an exchange, so I put my name in back when we applied to host and they reviewed the application and interviewe...
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Worcester Co. solar co-op gets enough interest to start

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(Aug. 11, 2016) Nineteen people have joined a countywide solar cooperative to get a deal on installation costs, and that is enough for the co-op to begin what is expected to be a month-long search for an installer. “We’re looking to release the request for proposals in the next week or so,” Corey Ramsden, project manager, said. Ramsden works for MD Sun, an offshoot of the nonprofit Community Power Network, which specializes in assisting communities in forming solar cooperatives. Ramsden held two meetings, one in Snow Hill for the southern part of the county, and another in Ocean Pines for the northern side, to explain the process. Basically, interested parties sign up to be part of the co-op by completing a form found at www.mdsun.org/worcester. The form asks for information such as the address where solar panels are to be located and a recent utility bill, plus asks users to rank several factors used in selecting a solar installer. Once the form is submitted...
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Pocomoke Fair attendance was ‘about average’

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

Pocomoke Fair attendance was ‘about average’ (Aug. 11, 2016) While it wasn’t the summer knockout event of the season, neither was it a ghost town, as the Great Pocomoke Fair of 2016 enters the history books walking tall on the straight and narrow. “Attendance was about average,” organizer Gloria Smith said. “Thursday and Friday had the better weather — we didn’t get rain, but it wasn’t too hot either. We had a good crowd for the pageants.” Jahniah Johnson of Crisfield was crowned Junior Miss Pocomoke Fair 2016, and Amelia Webster of Pocomoke was crowned Little Miss Pocomoke Fair 2016.   Also on Friday was the first hobby horse race at the fair. Smith said the idea came from a convention she attended, and the demonstration was fairly elaborate. This year, the fair debuted a stripped-down version and invited elected officials to participate. “We had two heats on Friday night. The first was the mayor and Town Council members. The second heat included Sen. Jim Mathias, D...
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Discovery Center schedules otter inspection in Sept.

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

Discovery Center schedules otter inspection in Sept. (Aug. 11, 2016) One of the finishing touches on the Wally Gordon River Otter exhibit, opened to the public late last month at the Delmarva Discovery Center in Pocomoke City, is an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has been scheduled for September. USDA representatives have been to the center before to evaluate a proposed site for an animal exhibit. “They came before when we applied to look at what we wanted to do, and then they inspect when the exhibit is complete,” CEO Stacey Weisner said. “This way we have the feedback before we start putting donor money into the plans.” The timeline, Weisner said, is 90 days from the application date. The application was submitted in July, she said, but the inspection must wait until the animals, known as Mac and Tuck, are actually living within the habitat, which has only been a couple of weeks now. The delay is due to inspector availability, she said.   Weisner said the inspector would be ...
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Mixed-use building on Gay Street gets closer to approval

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Aug. 11, 2016) A process that began in February to develop an empty lot on Gay Street in Berlin inched closer to completion during a Historic District Commission meeting last Wednesday. Patrick Vorsteg, who received approval from the Berlin Planning Commission earlier this year to rezone 15 Gay Street from R-1 residential to B-1 town center district, was asking the historic commission for approval to start construction. He planned to build a mixed-use structure with storefronts on the ground level and apartments overhead. Initially, commission members Carol Rose, Robert Poli and Laura Stearns praised the plans. Stearns called it “beautiful … in keeping with the other buildings in town.” “I think it’s going to be a great improvement,” she added. Poli concurred, and Rose said she “loved it.” Mary Moore, however, predicted she would be the “odd man out.” She said the front of the building appeared “very handsome,&...
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‘Be a Hero, Save a Life’ looks to continue Naloxone push

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

‘Be a Hero, Save a Life’ looks to continue Naloxone push (Aug. 11, 2016) More than 7 percent of 12th graders in Worcester County have used heroin at least once, according to a recent Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Opioid and especially heroin abuse appears to be on the rise locally, as evidenced by the most recent data from the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. According to a quarterly report on overdose deaths released in June, heroin-related deaths in the state have increased more than 180 percent during the last decade. In 2007, 77 deaths were attributed to heroin use between January and March. Last year, that number was 190. This year, for the first time, more than 200 people have died in the state during the first three months of the year because of heroin use. To combat that growing trend, the Worcester County Drug and Alcohol Council, a program of the county health department, formed an Opioid Awareness Task Force along with a campaign launched last year, dubbed “Decisions Matter.” “La...
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Holt skips train talk, praises farmers at combine ‘Blessing’

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

Holt skips train talk, praises farmers at combine ‘Blessing’ (Aug. 11, 2016) While declining to comment about the proposed excursion train project that would link Snow Hill and Berlin — where his name is often mentioned in discussions — Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development Kenneth Holt did offer thoughts on the administration’s view of the lower shore. Though recent governors have taken tours and attended events here, their visits were fewer and farther between than appearances by Gov. Larry Hogan or a member of his administration. Hogan vacations in Ocean City, and has been spotted on the Boardwalk both on- and off-season. “It’s important to Gov. Larry Hogan to reach out to the rural communities,” Holt said. Sometimes, he continued, that means financial support. Other times, he said, it means pointing agencies able to solve problems in the right direction. Because the urban and rural lifestyles within the state are so different, the unique problems of the lower shore might not make t...
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