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Berlin, MD 21811
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Annexation widely panned by BPC, Berlin residents

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 22, 2017) A discussion on the potential annexation of a parcel of land at the corner of Route 346 and Route 50 consumed the entirety of a Berlin Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday, even that’s all it was — a conversation that required no action. During that roughly hour-long discussion, no one supported the notion of annexation, and Planning Director Dave Engelhart said the item should not have made it to the agenda. “It looks like it’s an ‘action item,’ like you have some issue to decide tonight,” he said. “Where it should be is in our staff comments, planning commission comments and discussion. I wanted to make you aware of this, coming down the road.” Engelhart said there a legally advertised public hearing is required for the planning commission to make a recommendation to add the parcel to the growth area of the town’s comprehensive plan, which is the first step in the lengthy annexation process. A pla...
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This time, closed session approved

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 22, 2017) The same members of the board of directors who voted not to go into a closed session in April, when director and interim General Manager Brett Hill was the topic of discussion, did the opposite Monday night by voting for a private meeting to discuss another director’s conversations with association employees. A press release sent the following morning did little to clear up the reason for the meeting.   The stated purpose, according to the agenda, was “board discussion related to management concerns and board member interaction with staff.” It also cited the Maryland Homeowner’s Association Act on matters pertaining to employees and personnel. Board President Tom Herrick said the meeting would address “conversation with various employees and what they have said to other directors. “We want to discuss and explain to the entire board of directors what those conversations involved,” he said.   Two directors, Slobodan...
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Purnell takes seat, replacing Pruitt on Snow Hill Council

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) A changing of the guards occurred last week in Snow Hill with LaToya Purnell replacing Michael Pruitt as the Western District Town Council representative. Purnell, along with Central District representative Jenny Hall, were sworn into office for two-year terms during the council meeting last Tuesday. Appearing at his last council meeting in an official role, Pruitt accepted an accommodation for his service from Mayor Charlie Dorman and also referenced his time as a local educator. “I can put it right next to the one that says ‘Michael Pruitt, vice principal,’” he said. Leading the opening prayer at the council meeting was Pastor Lyonell Purnell, Sr., from God’s Leading Church Transformation Ministry in Berlin, who in addition to being LaToya Purnell’s father also has a longstanding connection to Pruitt. “[Purnell, Sr.] was one of my first kids at Berlin Middle School,” Pruitt said. “One of my first favorite ki...
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Goat Island provides wet, sunny fun

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) Sunny skies and calm waters provided an idyllic experience for nearly 100 paddle board enthusiasts during the second annual “Return to Goat Island” Paddle Sports Festival and Race in Snow Hill on Saturday. The all-level SUP (stand up paddleboard) race included a 17-mile elite competition, both solo and team, along with a three-mile recreational race. There was even a kid’s race consisting of a single lap around the roughly two-acre Goat Island, which is in the Pocomoke River off the shores of Byrd Park. The joint venture between the Town of Snow Hill and Walk on Water in Ocean City also featured foodstuffs and beverages, along with musical entertainment from the Lauren Glick Band. Walk on Water co-owner Ron Gossard said the day of water-based activities helped expose the riverfront in Snow Hill to the nearly 200 people in attendance. “This is pretty special for a lot of people compared to where they paddle at home,” he said. Thankful t...
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Pocomoke approves $4.5M fiscal year 2018 budget

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) Without further discussion or public comment, the Pocomoke City Council approved the fiscal year 2018 budget on second reading during its meeting on Monday. The balanced budget includes general fund revenues of $4.8 million, with general fund expenses of $4.5 million. The general fund reflects a positive balance of $257,245, with an additional surplus of $11,544 in the ambulance account. Those figures are offset with negative balances of $192,303 for water and sewer, along with a six-month estimated loss of $76,486 at Winter Quarters Golf Course. The mayor and council held a budget first reading at its meeting on June 5, which followed a special budget work session on May 12. During the May 12 meeting, based on a suggestion from Councilman Dale Trotter, it was decided to budget the Winter Quarters Golf Course for only the first half of fiscal year 2018 to ascertain if renewed marketing efforts are positively impacting the dour financial picture. The course is bud...
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Another OP Board candidate withdraws; now four remain

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 22, 2017) Four candidates remain in the hunt for two seats on the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors. Election Committee Chairman Steve Tuttle confirmed on Tuesday that a fifth candidate, Brenda Lynn Wascak, had dropped out. Two others, Arie Klapholz and Paula Robertson Gray, resigned from the race earlier this month. The remaining candidates participated in the first official forum Wednesday, after press time. The committee has the option to host a second forum, July 22 at 10 a.m., if needed. Tuttle added there were several recent errors related to Ocean Pines elections coverage. He said one involved the committee’s misreading of architectural standards and compliance, permit and inspections guidelines, which caused candidates to be given incorrect information during the candidate draw on June 9. That was reported on in this paper on June 15. Tuttle said the correct information is, candidates do not need to have their campaign signs approved by the Electi...
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Carey Road detour to begin June 23; to reopen June 30

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By:

(June 22, 2017) The Public Works Roads Division will be closing Carey Road at its intersection with the Maryland and Delaware Railroad in Berlin beginning June 23, while the train track is being reconstructed. Detours will be in place throughout the course of the project and are as follows: • Carey Road to U.S. Rt. 50 is approximately 1.9 miles and three minutes, U.S. Rt. 113 to MD Rt. 346 is 1.8 miles and two minutes, and U.S. Rt. 50 to St. Martins Road is 0.9 mile and two minutes, and MD Rt. 346 to Carey Rd. is 0.15 mile and 30 seconds. •Carey Road to MD Rt. 346 is 0.15 mile and 30 seconds, St. Martins Road to U.S. Rt. 50 is 0.9 mile and two minutes, MD Rt. 346 to U.S. Rt. 113 is 1.8 miles and two minutes, and U.S. Rt. 50 to Carey Road is 3.4 miles and four minutes. The railroad project is expected to be complete and Carey Road once again open to the public by June 30. For more information regarding this road closure, contact Roads Superintendent Frank J. Adkins at ...
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Berlin councilman rallies against annexation

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 22, 2017) When the Berlin Planning Commission last Wednesday launched into an informal discussion of whether to annex a parcel of land on the corner of Route 346 and Route 50, members already knew that opposition to that move had begun to organize. Before the session convened, Berlin Town Councilman Zack Tyndall posted a call to action on Facebook, asking residents to attend the meeting. Tyndall said he opposed the annexation and would work against it. “This is a pivotal point in Berlin’s history,” Tyndall wrote. “If we continue to annex property into town limits, we are all at risk of paying higher taxes and losing something that is irreplaceable; Berlin’s charm.” He asked residents who could not attend to send him an email with “a short message stating why you are against annexation.” He said he would read the emails into the record during the meeting. The post was shared more than 20 times, received dozens of comments, an...
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New planning, housing and zoning chief in Pocomoke

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(June 22, 2017) Daniel Brandewie, who came on board as Pocomoke’s director of Planning, Housing and Zoning last week, is quickly feeling right at home. “I’m very comfortable working in a small town,” he said. After spending the last eight years as city planner in Cambridge, Brandewie instantly noticed similarities after beginning his role in Pocomoke. “I think they’re very similar in terms of some of their housing issues [and] in terms of housing conditions,” he said. Familiarity with small towns isn’t a stretch for Brandewie who was raised in Fort Loramie, Ohio, which had a population of roughly 1,400 according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Prior to his time in Cambridge, Brandewie spent more than two decades as Planning Director in Troy, Ohio, after earning a bachelors degree in urban panning from the University of Cincinnati. Despite his wealth of professional experience, Brandewie intends to focus initially on listening and learning...
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Stay safe: Berlin Police promoting crosswalk usage

Posted On: 6/22/17
Written By: Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(June 22, 2017) Traffic accidents in downtown Berlin are rare and the police department is hoping to extend its sterling record with a new public awareness campaign for pedestrians. Police Chief Arnold Downing said about two people each year trip and fall in town crosswalks, resulting in serious injuries. “The town is unique in itself, but I think they’re having concerns with more pedestrian traffic everywhere across the state,” Downing said. “There’s a lack of knowledge, not only by the drivers themselves, but also by the pedestrians.” Downing said many of the downtown streets do not meet Maryland State Highway regulations. “That’s because these were actually horse paths – it was never intended for cars,” he said. “We don’t have a little shoulder on each side [and] the streets themselves are a little bit smaller than regulation roads. Less space means less time to see [pedestrians].” He said it’...
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