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Communications Committee updates initiatives

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 25, 2021) The Ocean Pines Communications Committee discussed pending business during its virtual meeting on Thursday.

Committee member Marlene Ott said a recent update from Choptank Electric Cooperative highlighted its sponsorship of the annual “Light Up the Pines” holiday promotion.

Marketing Coordinator Julie Malinowski said residents began registering for the self-guided tour of lights last Monday.

Malinowski said about a dozen properties had registered to be included among the stops listed on an online map.

To back the effort, Choptank has provided promotional items for the first 25 Pines residents to sign up.

“This year they have donated three $50 bill credits,” she said. “We’re going to do a drawing for everyone that signed up.”

In old business, Committee Chairwoman Cheryl Jacobs inquired about the status of purchasing electronic signs to replace manually updated marquees located along Ocean Parkway.

Board liaison Josette Wheatley said the latest word from General Manager John Viola was that he “had some concerns and they were holding back on that.”

Jacobs asked where a request to acquire at least one electronic messaging board stood.

“We have pursued it vigorously and feel good about it,” she said.

Wheatley, however, admitted the current status remains unknown.

“Something had him (Viola) pause the button and I’m not sure why,” she said.

Jacobs said until an answer is forthcoming the existing community signs would have to suffice.

“We‘ll have to do it the old-fashioned way and get the people out there changing the letters around,” she said.

Turning to other matters, Malinowski said the deadline to return responses for a recently issued property owners survey was Monday.

“We got probably around 1,800 responses,” she said. “My understanding is they hit the targets they were interested in hitting in terms of responses they wanted from people.”

Jacobs said the final tally nearly doubled the initial target of 1,000 returns.

“It will be very interesting to see their final report on the outcome of that what people had to say and what they do with that,” she said.

Jacobs also asked about the status of a lawsuit brought by board candidate Rick Farr over being disqualified in July, which had a hearing in Worcester Circuit Court on Monday.

“They haven’t made a decision and that’s how they left it,” Wheatley said. “We had a follow-up meeting for Tuesday, but we cancelled that because no decision was made.”

Jacobs said the recent appointment of Wheatley and Amy Peck to fill vacancies created because of the resignations of Tom Janasek and Camilla Rogers has given the board a full complement of directors.

“We’ll just carry on business as usual until something changes,” she said.

Committee recruitment efforts were also examined, with Jacobs noting at least one new member is being sought to fill the opening created when Wheatley was appointed to the board.

“We don’t have any capacity [issues], so we can have more members,” she said.

Wheatley said a potential committee member had just submitted an application that awaited Jacobs’ approval.

“That’s wonderful but we can still have more,” she said.

The committee is forgoing a December meeting but will reconvene on Jan. 20.