DelMarVa Dealings – Where the Libs Go to Get Their Dough

Much is being made about a possible 2014 match between incumbent Maryland senator Jim Mathias (D-38) and Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B).  While McDermott would have to overcome Mathias’ huge money advantage (Senate President Mike Miller will THROW hundreds of thousands of dollars Mathias’ way), a Mathias vs. McDermott race will show the unfathomable divide between “Annapolis Values” vs. “Eastern Shore Values”.

Listen to McDermott on the recently passed budget bill:

While I am a fan of Public Radio Delmarva (actually WSDL), I don’t support Maryland tax dollars going to support it.  While I actually believe that SU needs a new library, I can’t imagine where $135 million is going.  What about all of that money in the SU foundation?  Why can’t it go to help build and equip a new library?

If you attended the recent town hall on Gov. O’Malley’s gun bill you would have witnessed a stark contrast in approaches.  McDermott has FOUGHT this bill from the start.  Mathias just voted against it (I would suggest for political reasons).  You would have seen and heard the passion McDermott brings to this issue.  While Mathias wasn’t in attendance, he sent an envoy to read a letter.  The categorical difference was apparent to all – McDermott was fighting to protect one of our most sacred liberties while Mathias was tinkering around the edges to make a loathsome bill slightly less loathsome.

As a political junkie, I think a Mathias – McDermott race in 2014 will be exciting.  As a citizen of Maryland, I believe that a McDermott candidacy and victory will send a message to those here and in Annapolis who believe that giving up our God-given liberty in pursuit of a few cups from the public trough is a worthwhile pursuit.

DelMarVa Dealings appears each Monday and discusses local politics and its impact on the Delmarva peninsula.

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Berlin Fire Company Loses $600,000

BERLIN, MD – Allegations of harassment (regarding race, sex, and perceived sexual orientation) have just cost the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company $600,000 in funding from the Town of Berlin.  If true, the allegations could cost the fire company far more.  The potential liability, if one or more of the claimants successfully sues the fire company, could impact the town’s fire service for years to come.

The Daily Time’s Charlene Sharpe outline the charges which have led Berlin mayor Gee Williams and the town council to strip the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company of town funding.  In an op-ed, the DT chastises the fire company and its members.

Legal action is moving forward.  Time will tell to what extent the fire company, and the town, will be negatively impacted.

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Worcester Co. Tea Party Meeting Today

The Worcester County Tea Party will hold its August meeting today, August 17th.  The meeting will be held at the Ocean Pines Community Center.  Doors open at 6:15 PM.


Worcester County Tea Party
PO Box 4344
Ocean City, MD 21843
Phone: 410-430-7282

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Worcester Co. Tea Party Meets Friday

The Worcester County Tea Party will hold its August meeting on Friday, August 17th.  The meeting will be held at the Ocean Pines Community Center.  Doors open at 6:15 PM.


Worcester County Tea Party
PO Box 4344
Ocean City, MD 21843
Phone: 410-430-7282

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Worcester Co. Tea Party Meets Friday

The Worcester County Tea Party will hold its August meeting on Friday, August 17th.  The meeting will be held at the Ocean Pines Community Center.  Doors open at 6:15 PM.


Worcester County Tea Party
PO Box 4344
Ocean City, MD 21843
Phone: 410-430-7282

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Burton Challenging Extradition

GEORGETOWN, DE – Matthew Burton, the accused murderer of Nicole Bennett, continues to challenge his extradition to Worcester County.  Judge Howard Mulvaney III of Delaware’s Justice of the Peace Court number 3 signed Burton’s extradition order Monday.  However, Burton will continue to be held in Delaware pending a habeas corpus hearing in Delaware Superior Court on Thursday.

If the Superior Court concurs with his extradition, Burton will be transported to Snow Hill, MD for arraignment and then held at the Worcester County Detention Center.

photo courtesy of Cape Gazette


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Church Custodian Arrested in Murder of Nicole Bennett


WHALEYVILLE, MD – A Dagsboro man has been arrested in the murder of Delaware woman Nicole Bennett. Bennett’s body was found in Worcester County last month. Maryland State Police arrested 28-year-old Matthew Burton Friday night during a traffic stop in Rehoboth Beach. Burton is reported to be a custodian at Bennett’s Church, Bay Shore Community Church. Officials are still searching for a motive in the case, but say Burton is being charged with first and second degree murder.

Maryland State Police have remained tight-lipped about the case before Burton’s arrest. They are now saying that Bennett’s cause of death was asphyxiation. Authorities are also saying that she was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off of Swamp Road in Worcester County. Bennett is survived by her husband Kevin and their three young children.

Family members told WMDT earlier this week that the family is staying strong. They still attend the church, where Nicole was last reported to be the night before she was found dead. Before the arrest, Bennett’s Father-In-Law Bob Bennett said, "It’s our faith and we’re not questioning God. It’s an evil world, evil things happen to good people and we have to be protective. I think we’re more protective than ever."

Maryland State Police say the investigation is ongoing and they are still trying to determine the actual crime scene in the case. Burton is being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution pending extradition to Maryland.

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Will the “Doomsday Session” Bail Out Rick Pollitt and Wicomico County?

In seven days the Maryland General Assembly will meet for a special session – some are calling it the “Doomsday Session”.  The primary purpose of this session is to raise taxes.  It seems that Maryland Democrats and special interest groups such as AFSCME and teachers union think that spending $700 million more than last year just isn’t enough.  If lots of teachers and other public employees aren’t paid enough to pay their union dues then the little children, the poor, and the infirm will all suffer mightily.

But … there’s another reason for this session; at least if you live in Wicomico County.  After the legislature adopted SB 848 and left Wicomico with a huge increase in its maintenance of effort (MOE), County Executive Rick Pollitt has based his entire budget on the premise that his pals in the legislature will hold Wicomico County harmless and set the county’s MOE at the level spent in FY 2012.  This includes the expected teacher pension shift.  Pollitt claims that this burden will be placed on the schools’ budget and not on the county.  Will the General Assembly do that?

For the sake of Wicomico taxpayers I hope so.  However, I have concerns about such a move.  It would be inherently unfair and it’s doubtful that the state legislature will ride to Wicomico County’s defense after complaining for years about the county’s revenue cap and its unwillingness to appropriate what the state considers adequate funding for county schools.

Other Eastern Shore counties such as Talbot and Kent counties are tying themselves in knots trying to meet their MOE obligations.  To add insult to injury, these counties pay a much higher percentage of their schools’ total costs than do Wicomico.  Talbot taxpayers pay approximately 58% of their schools’ operating budget.  Kent County pays over 58%.  Worcester pays over 73%.  Wicomico?  This year Wicomico paid only 21.5% of the cost of its schools’ operating budget.

Talbot County has a real property tax cap almost identical to Wicomico County’s.  This year they are planning to break that cap because of the required additional spending placed on them by Annapolis.  In addition, the Talbot County Council is forward thinking enough to appropriate for school pensions in anticipation of that being enacted in special session.

Kent County is seeking a waiver of its MOE obligation, which is being opposed by its board of education.  Wicomico is also seeking a waiver but both its BOE and teachers’ union have rejected the application.  Translation – NO WAIVER.

Again, should Wicomico County be bailed out while other Shore counties are left to their own devices?

Assuming Pollitt’s predictions come true, there is another question that must be asked – What back room promises has Pollitt made to legislators to get his bail out?


[Read more…]

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Worcestr Budget Hearing Tonight

SNOW HILL, MD – The Worcester County Commissioners will hold their public hearing on the FY 2013 budget tonight at 7:00 PM.  The public hearing will be held at Snow Hill High School.

All citizens are encouraged to attend and express their opinion about the county’s budget.

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Worcester County Budget Hearing

SNOW HILL, MD – The Worcester County Commissioners will hold their public hearing on the FY 2013 budget on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:00 PM.  The public hearing will be held at Snow Hill High School.

All citizens are encouraged to attend and express their opinion about the county’s budget.

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Maryland’s Eastern Shore Continues to Suffer High Unemployment

WASHINGTON – Maryland’s Eastern Shore continues to suffer from high unemployment rates with three (3) counties having an unemployment rate of over 10% for the month of February (the last available month).

To see a table of the unemployment rates for each county, GO HERE.

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Ocean Pines to Appeal Tax Case

BERLIN, MD – The Ocean Pines Association (OPA) will appeal a federal court’s decision that the OPA owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes from profits at the Ocean Pines Beach Club.  The OPA will ask for an en banc hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In March a three judge panel ruled that the Ocean Pines Beach Club is not a non-profit entity as it is not open to the general public.


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Worcester County Commissioners Meeting – March 6, 2012

SNOW HILL, MD – The Worcester County Board of Commissioners meets today at 10 AM.

March 6, 2012

9:00 AM – Meet in Commissioners’ Conference Room – Room 1103 Government Center, One West Market Street, Snow Hill, Maryland – Vote to Meet In Closed Session

9:01 – Closed Session: Discussion regarding filling critical vacant positions including – a
Roads Worker I and Roads Worker II for Public Works; Library Associate in Snow
Hill and Temporary Assistant Branch Manager of the Pocomoke Library; Part-Time
Store Clerk and On-Call Store Clerk for Liquor Control; Part Time Office Assistant IV
for Sheriff’s Office; Special Investigator for State’s Attorney; considering early
retirement incentives; receiving legal advice from Counsel and performing
administrative functions

10:00 – Call to Order, Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance

10:01 – Report on Closed Session; Review and Approval of Minutes

10:10 – Presentation of Proclamation Recognizing March 2012 as Women’s History Month Presentation of Proclamation Recognizing March 2012 as Professional Social Work Month Presentation of Commendation to Pocomoke Elementary School – MD Blue Ribbon School

10:20 – Receive Objections to Disposal of Surplus Vehicles and Equipment on

10:30 – Meet with Officials from Pocomoke City, Snow Hill, Berlin, Ocean City, and Ocean Pines

10:40 – Regarding FY13 Budget Requests

10:50 – J. Andes, B. Rothermel – Board of Education: Present FY13 Budget Request

11:20 – Wor-Wic Community College FY 13 Budget Proposal

11:30 – Hearing on Nuisance Abatement Order No. 12-4: Rosalind Purnell Dale (Rosalind Diana Purnell) – Property located at 8213 Newark Road, Newark, MD – Tax Map 49, Parcel 61

11:35 – Hearing on Nuisance Abatement Order No. 12-1: Daniel W. and Cindy Pusey
– Property located at 5313 Snow Hill Road (old Pusey’s Store) – Tax Map 63, Parcel 9

11:40 – Chief Administrative Officer: Administrative Matters 10-20
(Proposal for Retiree Medical Management Computer Program; Government Center Lease with State Department of Assessments and Taxation; Scheduling Public Hearings on Enterprise Zone Designations – Snow Hill and Pocomoke City; Bid Specifications for Girdletree Park Site Development; Lease Agreement for Health on the Boards Apartment in Ocean City; Bid Specifications for Health Department Vehicles; Award of Bids for Blacktop – County Roads and West Ocean City Harbor Parking Lot; State Transportation Project Priorities in Worcester County; Residential Fire Sprinkler Requirements and Other Building Code Amendments; State Septic Legislation – SB236/HB445 – Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012; and potentially other administrative matters)

12:00 – Questions from the Press


1:30 PM – Chief Administrative Officer: Administrative Matters 10-20 (continued)


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Ocean City Council – March 5, 2012

MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2012 – 4:30 P.M.

PDF Version or View/Download with Scribd

Closed Session – Monday, March 5, 2012 – 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Legal and Personnel Matters


2. REPORT ON CLOSED SESSION – Legal and Personnel Matters


Bid Opening – Eagle’s Landing Irrigation Pump Station


A. Work Session – dated February 14, 2012
B. Regular Session #4 dated February 21, 2012

Proclamation Designating the Week of March 12, 2012 as Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program Week

A. Founders Entertainment Music Festival – Date Postponement to June 1-2, 2013
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator
B. Ocean City Offshore Boat Races – Sunday, May 13, 2012
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator and Mike Yowaiski, OPA Racing Organization
C. Play It Safe Events – Basketball, Dodgeball, Karaoke, Tennis and Volleyball – Various Dates in June
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator and Donna Greenwood, OC Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee
D. 14th Annual Lt. Mitch Maiorana Memorial Run-Swim-Run – Saturday, July 21, 2012
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator and Ryan Cowder, OC Beach Patrol Chapter of the U.S. Lifesaving Association
E. 2012 17th Annual Sand Duels Soccer Challenge – Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, 2012
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator and Scott Westcoat, President, ASG Events, LLC
F. White Marlin Festival and Crab Soup Cook-Off – Request Approval for 3-Year Continuation – Adding May 10, 2014
Presented by: Lisa Mitchell, Private Events Coordinator

Proposed Fare Increase for West Ocean City Park and Ride Shuttle


Request Approval for Caine Woods Community Association to Serve Beer and Wine at Fiesta Park Functions
Presented by: Dennis Dare, President



A. Second Reading – Ordinance 2012-09 to Authorize and Empower Mayor and City Council of Ocean City to Issue and Sell General Obligation Municipal Purpose and Refunding Bonds not to Exceed Thirty Four Million Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars ($34,700,000) Maximum Aggregate Principal Amount
B. Second Reading – Ordinance 2012-10 to Amend FY 2012 Budget
C. First Reading – Ordinance to Amend Chapter 102 Entitled Vehicles for Hire (to allow the taxi indicator roof light to be an ad carrier)
D. First Reading – Ordinance to Authorize the Sale of Certain Municipal Real Property (Mediterranean Drive – street end)
E. First Reading – Ordinance to Authorize the Purchase of Real Property (4th Street and Philadelphia Avenue)
F. Resolution Establishing Certain Maximum Taxicab Rates for Municipal Taxicabs (authorizes a motor fuel surcharge of $1.00 per fare if retail cost of regular test fuel equals or exceeds $4 per gallon based on AAA State of Maryland average)

A. Bid Award Recommendation for Eagle’s Landing Clubhouse Carpeting and Flooring
B. Bid Award Recommendation for Coastal Highway Median Renovations



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Candidate Forum in Ocean Pines

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Candidate Forum in Ocean Pines

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Is Jim Mathias Voting for Gay Marriage?


ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today the Maryland Senate takes up debate on SB 241 – the Civil Marriage Protection Act.  The bill, which would permit same-sex marriage in Maryland, has already passed the House and is a part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s legislative package.

Some members of the Senate appear to be trying to have their cake and eat it too.  Knowing full well that their socially conservative constituents wouldn’t tolerate a vote for the bill, they will vote against it.  However, before the bill can come to a final vote on the Senate floor it must win a cloture vote.  Last year Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) voted against the bill, but voted for cloture.  He is expected to do the same this session.

O’Malley and the Senate leadership know that they have enough votes to pass the Senate.  However, if the Democrat senators who voted against the bill last year vote against cloture then the bill cannot come to floor for a final vote.  When the rubber hits the road, a vote for cloture IS a vote for gay marriage in Maryland.

A call to Mathias’ office yielded the comment that, “Sen. Mathias is opposed to SB 241.”  When asked about the cloture vote we were told that, “The senator hasn’t made up his mind yet.”  A vote on cloture is expected today.

Mathias isn’t the only Maryland senator who seems to think that he can buffalo constituents into believing that he’s opposed to O’Malley’s gay marriage bill.  Others include:

Sen. John C. Astle (D-30) 410-841-3578
Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-24) 410-841-3148
Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-25) 410-841-3127
Sen. James E. DeGrange, Sr. (D-32) 410-841-3593
Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-29) 410-841-3673
Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-28) 410-841-3616

Mathias, who represents Worcester, Somerset, and the eastern half of Wicomico counties, can be reached at 410-841-3645.

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Worcester County Commissioners – February 21, 2012

SNOW HILL, MD – The Worcester County Board of County Commissioners meets this morning at 10:00 AM (there is a closed session beginning at 9:00 AM).  This is today’s agenda:





[Read more…]

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McDermott Proposes Counties Take Over Pensions for New Hires Only

ANNAPOLIS, MD – In response to a proposal from the O’Malley administration that Maryland counties assume responsibility for 50% of teacher pensions, Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) is introducing a bill that would require counties to only assume responsibility for teachers hired since 2011.


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Colburn Sponsors Bill to Force University to Pay Farmer’s Legal Fees

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Senator Richard Colburn (R-37) has introduced a bill that would require the University of Maryland to reimburse the Hudson family of Worcester County up to $500,000 in legal bills.  The University’s Environmental Law Clinic is acting as plaintiff’s attorney in a lawsuit filed against the Hudson family and Perdue Farms by the Assateague Coastkeeper and the Waterkeeper Alliance.

Currently Colburn is the sole sponsor if SB 945.  While Colburn does not represent Worcester County, he said that this bill is important to every farm family in Maryland:

"It doesn’t matter if it’s in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester or Queen Anne’s County — people everywhere are very upset about this and they can’t understand it," Colburn said.

State tax dollars go to support the University’s law school and its law clinics.

A spokesperson for the Assateague Coastkeeper responded:

"(Senate Bill) 945 is an outrageous attack on clean water by a small handful of extremists in the state legislature and is grandstanding at its worst," said Kathy Phillips, executive director of Assateague Coastkeeper. "It will backfire and help rally efforts to force Perdue to share responsibility for the pollution caused by the dumping of 550,000 tons of chicken manure on our land and into our waterways each year in Maryland."


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Worcester County Commissioners Agenda – February 7, 2012

SNOW HILL, MD – This is the agenda for today’s meeting of the Worcester County Board of County Commissioners:

9:00 AM – Meet in Commissioners’ Conference Room – Room 1103 Government Center, One West Market Street, Snow Hill, Maryland – Vote to Meet In Closed Session

9:01 – Closed Session: Discussion regarding personnel matters; considering filling critical vacant positions including – promotions to fill two vacant Roads Worker V positions and hiring two Roads Worker IIs in the Roads Division, hiring a Recycle Worker I and advertising to fill a vacant Landfill Operator I position in the Solid Waste Division of Public Works; promotions to fill vacant Sergeant positions at the Worcester County Jail; review of position in the Circuit Court; Sheriff’s hiring an Office Assistant and a part-time Crossing Guard; and State’s Attorney hiring to fill a vacant Assistant State’s Attorney position; receiving legal advice from Counsel and performing administrative functions

10:00 – Call to Order, Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance

10:01 – Report on Closed Session; Review and Approval of Minutes

10:05 – Presentation of Proclamation Recognizing February 2012 as Black History Month

10:15 – Chief Administrative Officer: Administrative Matters 2-26
(Award of Bids for Three Housing Rehabilitation Projects; Apartment Lease Agreement for Seasonal Sanitarians for Health Department; Solar Renewable Energy Credit Services Agreement with Flexera, Inc.; Request to Use West Ocean City Commercial Harbor Parking Lot for Power Boat Racing Event by Ocean Pines Association Racing; Request to Use Public Landing Parking Lot for 10K Run sponsored by Worcester County Swim Fund; Recycling Participation in Spring Trade & Expo Show and Spring Home & Condo Show in Ocean City; South Point Boat Ramp Construction Revisions and Contract Extension; Review of Bid Specifications for Blacktop Resurfacing of Various County Roads and West Ocean City Harbor Parking Lot; Approval of Surplus Vehicles, Equipment and Miscellaneous Items for Disposal; Scheduling of e-Cycle and
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day; State Highway Administration to Study Signalization of US Route 113 and MD Route 12 Intersection in Snow Hill; Revised Agreement of Sale for a Rural Legacy Easement – GladMar Land Company, Inc.; FY13 Rural Legacy Grant Applications – Coastal Bays and Dividing Creek; Considering Several Requests for Nuisance Abatement; Teal Marsh Condominium – Addendum #2 and #4 to Declaration and Agreement; Update on Proposed Water and Sewer Service to Pines Plaza Commercial Sub-Area; and potentially other administrative matters)

12:00 – Questions from the Press

Lunch at Jail – Review of New County Ethics Law Compliance

1:30 PM – Chief Administrative Officer: Administrative Matters 2-26, continued

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Teacher Pension Shift Could Impact Eastern Shore Counties

SALISBURY, MD – Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s plan to shift 50% of the cost of teacher pensions to the counties could have a sizable impact on the budgets of Eastern Shore counties.  Among those that could be hit the hardest are Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Worcester counties.

The Daily Times’ Brian Shane reports that Worcester County could be saddled with a $1 million addition to its FY 2013 budget and no help from the state to offset the costs.  While Wicomico’s burden would actually be larger, a state “disparity grant” would drop the actual FY 2013 to less than $800,000.  Somerset, Dorchester, and Caroline counties also qualify for “disparity grants”.

Because the final determination of the pension shift bill may not be known until April, it is unknown whether county governments are taking this into account when preparing their budgets for next year.  Proposed budgets are typically submitted to county councils or commissioners during the month of April.

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One of Worcester’s Ten Most Wanted Arrested by Maryland State Police

BERLIN, MD – On Sunday, Maryland State Police arrested 31 year old Branden Sandifer at a home in Berlin.  Sandifer was being sought due to three outstanding warrants for failing to appear, including one through Worcester County Circuit Court for distribution of narcotics.

Sandifer is being held without bail in the Worcester County jail.

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Daily Times Goes on Rampage


I know my friend Greg Bassett, Executive Editor of the Daily Times, doesn’t get to write as many editorials as he used to since he became Publisher (actually, the new title is General Manager) of the paper along with his other duties.  I guess that’s why he chose to tackle multiple issues at once in this morning’s rant against the Wicomico County Council, the Salisbury City Council, and the Worcester County Liquor Control Board.  Perhaps he did so in order not to appear obvious in his attacks on the Daily Times’ favorite targets:  the conservative majority on the Wicomico County Council and the fiscally responsible majority on the Salisbury City Council.  Add in Geoff Smoot’s usual radical screed against the Wicomico Council and Susan Parker’s defense of partisan politics in re-districting and you have an excellent snapshot of the REAL Daily Times – a left of center publication which does not reflect the values of the community which it claims to serve.

Bassett and Smoot decry the Wicomico Council’s decision not to move forward with a new Bennett Middle School.  Bassett accuses the majority who opposed moving forward – Gail Bartkovich, Bob Culver, Joe Holloway, and Stevie Prettyman, with a lack of leadership.  In reality, the opposite is true.  Leadership IS NOT rationalizing irresponsible actions.  It’s easy to say, “It’s for the children!”  It’s easy to play politics with a serious matter, as County Executive Rick Pollitt (with his 11th hour push for the school), Councilman Matt Holloway (with his cheap comment trying to tie together Bennett Middle and the tragic shooting at his alma mater, Virginia Tech), Superintendent John Fredericksen (with new political group), members of the Board of Education, their political arm – “Parents in Action”, and the Greater Salisbury Committee have all done.  Instead, four members held firm against INTENSE political pressure and tactics that bordered on bullying to do the ONLY responsible thing – refuse to lock the county in to a tax rate increase without knowing what the FY 2013 budget to be proposed by Pollitt will look like.

Councilwoman Bartkovich, someone I disagree with on a regular basis, said it best:

"The big piece that’s missing is our operating budget, and that’s a very important part of this process, because we can be told something but when we see it on paper the facts could be entirely different," said Bartkovich. "To do this now would be like putting my name on a contract without all the blanks filled in."

[Read more…]

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OC Discusses End of Night Meetings


OCEAN CITY, MD – Scott Muska of the Daily Times reports that the Ocean City Town Council is weighing the pros and cons of keeping its long standing practice of holding legislative meetings on Monday evenings.  The argument for going to all day meetings appears to focus on the desire to not force town staff to work at night.

In Muska’s article, it is noted that Council President Jim Hall brought forth the idea in a closed work session.  This is not an item that is permitted to be discussed in a closed session under the Maryland Open Meetings Act.  It is expected that the council’s response would be that it was a “personnel” issue.  Maybe.  However, the Open Meetings law was not intended to wrap a discussion of the legislative calendar around a veil of secrecy by tying it to “personnel”.  When to hold meetings has nothing to do with how much a particular employee makes.

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Crime Watch Meetings in Worcester

SNOW HILL, MD – Crime Watch meetings will be held throughout Worcester County over the next month:

  • January 13, 2012 at 6 p.m. Bishopville Crime Watch, Bishopville Fire Department Community Room; Topic: Identity Theft 
  • January 18, 2012 at 6 p.m. Newark Crime Watch, Newark Fire Department Community Room; Topic: Identity Theft 
  • January 26, 2012 at 6 p.m. Germantown Crime Watch, Bethel United Methodist Church, Topic: Identity Theft 
  • February 8, 2012 at 6 p.m. Stockton Crime Watch, Stockton Fire Department, Topic : Identity Theft 
  • February 15, 2012 at 6 p.m. Girdletree Crime Watch, Girdletree Fire Department, Topic: Identity Theft
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Harris Files for Re-Election


COCKEYSVILLE, MD – First District Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) has filed for re-election to a second term in the U.S. House.  With the filing deadline for the two major party primaries looming, it appears that Harris will not face serious opposition in 2012.


With former one term congressman Frank Kratovil opting to seek a judgeship in Queen Anne’s County rather than seek the seat he lost to Harris in 2010, First District Republicans placed their worries on Maryland senator Jim Mathias (D-38).  Mathias has shown that he can raise money and put together a strong grassroots campaign operation within the bounds of his Lower Shore senatorial district.  Would Mathias run and could he translate his strong local campaign skills to a congressional run?

That question was answered yesterday when Mathias announced that he would not be seeking federal office:

"I’m very pleased where I am," said Mathias, reached while traveling to Annapolis for the start of this year’s legislative session. "I’ve only been here a year, and I thank the people for giving me their confidence."

While not part of his statement, Maryland politicos note that Mathias needs to focus his efforts on 2014 where a challenge from Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) is expected.  One source notes:

Jim Mathias is a great campaigner.  McDermott is better.  Mathias put together an admirable grassroots operation in 2010.  So did McDermott.  However, McDermott has become the darling of conservative activists on the Lower Shore.  While he mounted a fine campaign in 2010, it’s expected that he would mount an even stronger effort in 2014 if he challenges Mathias for the District 38 senate seat.  The only advantage Mathias would have is money.  If he ran for Congress this year and was forced to run alongside Barack Obama, that could be the difference between winning and losing.

That’s a big risk to take just to challenge Andy Harris, who Mathias probably couldn’t beat anyway.

It is expected that McDermott will be faced with either retirement, challenging Mathias, or running against a fellow Republican, Del. Charles Otto (R-38A), because of re-districting.

Barring any unexpected announcements, Harris will face either Dr. John LaFerla of Chestertown or Cockeysville businesswoman Wendy Rosen in the November general election.

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Pocomoke School Bus Destroyed in Fire

POCOMOKE CITY, MD – A Worcester County school bus was destroyed by fire just after 9PM Wednesday night.  The fire began in the bus’s engine compartment and has been ruled an accident by the Worcester County Fire Marshal.  The bus, owned by Kenneth Rantz, was completely destroyed.

photo courtesy of

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Convicted Murderer Asks for New Trial

SNOW HILL, MD – Convicted murderer Skylor Dupree Harmon has requested a new trial.  Worcester Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Groton, III has indicated that he will consider Harmon’s motion at his sentencing hearing.

Harmon was convicted of  first-degree murder in the May 2010 shooting of Reginald Handy, Jr. on a Pocomoke street.  Harmon is asking for a new trial due to incompetence of counsel, insufficient evidence and the fact that photographs taken days before trial were allowed to be included as evidence. Harmon also took exception to testimony from Torrance Davis, a witness who testified against him during the trial.


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Accused Pocomoke Woman in Hiding

POCOMOKE CITY, MD – A Pocomoke woman charged with stealing $5,800 from her employer is in hiding.  Carol Ann Chandler, 40, was charged December 16th with stealing cash and checks totaling $5,758.59 from Pocomoke Mini Storage.  She disappeared from home on December 22nd.

Worcester County Chief Deputy Dale Smack states that he believes Chandler is hiding out in Accomack County.


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Tour Bus Crashes in Worcester County


WHALEYVILLE, MD – A Holloway Tours bus struck the back of a Honda Civic while travelling east on Route 610 near Whaleyville on Tuesday.  Roger Hornsby, 67, was the bus’s driver.

Twelve (12) persons were taken to Atlantic General Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

photo courtesy of the Wilmington News-Journal

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McDermott Denounces PlanMD

SALISBURY, MD – Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B) has authored an op-ed which appears in this morning’s Daily Times where he provides an excellent argument against the O’Malley administrations Plan Maryland.  Key to McDermott’s argument are two points:

  • While the O’Malley administration claims that local land use powers are not stripped by PlanMD, McDermott notes that state funding is taken away from counties which do not comply with PlanMD guidelines.  McDermott correctly compares the scheme’s ties to funding as a “whip”.
  • Private property rights are a core component of our our nation’s founding principles.

… In America and a free Maryland, we used to value the private property rights of each other. In fact, we used to understand their importance to our foundational moorings.

The idea that more governmental control and bureaucracy enhances or increases my freedom would prove anathema to the ears of Presidents Washington, Adams or Jefferson.

Who has the right to declare your city or town can only grow to a certain line? What if a crossroads decides to be something more? What if a farmer decides he wants to diversify and divide up his property? Where did our cities and towns come from in the first place? Why should these decisions fall to bureaucrats in Annapolis and Baltimore?

Ironically, it was royalty who first directed their growth. …

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McDermott Proposes Charging Minor Offenses via Citation

POCOMOKE CITY, MD – Maryland Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B) is proposing legislation in the coming legislative session that would permit police officers to write minor, non-violent offenses on citations rather than having to arrest the suspect and appear before a court commissioner.   McDermott’s proposal would allow police officers to spend more time on the street and should not negatively impact public safety.

"When people are charged criminally they have to be taken before a court commissioner before they are released and that takes officers off the streets for a lot of minor offenses," said McDermott. "It can take three or four hours and if it’s a small or even a medium size department, like we have on the Shore, that’s a long time to lose an officer off the streets."

"This is a nonpartisan public safety bill," said McDermott. "This is a time when agencies are facing a lot of budget issues and anything we can do to keep police officers on the streets for the big crimes is good for the public."

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Too Many Police in Ocean City?

It seems that the taxpayers of Ocean City are paying for a little too much police protection.  Judging from Brian Shane’s article in this morning’s Daily Times, OCPD chief Bernadette DiPino has way too much money to spend and too many officers on the payroll.

How can we say that?

It’s simple.  If DiPino has enough personnel at her disposal to call veterinarians in THREE STATES to track down a bill, when NO CRIME has been committed, it’s pretty obvious that the Ocean City Police don’t have enough to do.

It’s possible that police officers were taken off of real duty, investigating real crimes.  If that is the case, DiPino should be dismissed immediately.  If there are enough officers on the town’s payroll to go on DiPino’s snipe hunt, without sacrificing public safety for the citizens of Ocean City, her budget needs to be trimmed.

We should note that we are not claiming that former OCPD officer Earl Campbell’s claims are all true.  Our knowledge of the situation is based solely on what has been published in the Daily Times and SbyNEWS.

While Mr. Campbell does not appear to be under any legal obligation to produce copies of the bills for his dog’s surgery, he does have a moral obligation to do so.  Campbell stirred up this hornets’ nest.  If he cannot produce proof that he paid for the dog’s surgery, his credibility is shot and the public should be made aware of that.  However, IF Campbell does produce proof to the Ocean City town council, they should severely discipline Chief DiPino.  Proof from Campbell is also proof that DiPino misused taxpayer dollars by investigating something that is not within her jurisdiction.  It is also evidence that DiPino is attempting to persecute and discredit Campbell to draw attention away from other charges that have been leveled during the course of this brouhaha.

For his sake, and the sake of the public, we encourage Mr. Campbell to produce proof.  I’m sure that Chief DiPino hopes he does not.

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USDA Rural Development Office Closes

SNOW HILL, MD – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that its Rural Development office in Snow Hill has closed.  Residents of the three Lower Shore counties seeking home repair or home ownership assistance will need to contact the Denton office.

The Denton office is located at 9194 Legion Road, Suite 1.  Call 410-479-1202, Ext. 4. For additional information, contact the Rural Development State Office at 302-857-3580.

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Worcester County Schools Attempting to Do More, With Less

NEWARK, MD – The Worcester County Public Schools are attempting to formulate a budget against some harsh realities this year.  Declining assessments have finally found their way to Worcester County, particularly Ocean City.  The Board of Ed faces a loss of almost $900,000 in county funding for maintenance of effort.


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Worcester County Holiday Schedule

SNOW HILL, MD – Worcester County Government (WCG) offices will be closed Monday, December 26, 2011, and January 2,2012 in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

The Central Landfill in Newark and Homeowners Convenience Centers will beopen during standard operating hours Monday, December 26, 2011, and January 2,2012.

The Recreation Center in Snow Hill will operate as follows during the winter holidays:

Closed Saturday, December 24, through Monday, Dec. 26, for the Christmas holiday.

Abbreviated hours will be in effect Dec. 27-30 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with open recreation in the gym. No special programs will take place during this week.

Closed Saturday, Dec. 31, through Monday, Jan. 2, for the New Year’s holiday, with standard hours of operation to resume Tuesday, Jan. 3.

WCG staff would like to wish one and all safe and happy holidays. For more information on WCG hours of operation, contact Kim Moses, public information officer, at (410) 632-1194.

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Tickets for SunFest 2012 Go on Sale

OCEAN CITY, MD – Tickets for Lonestar and Sha Na Na, who will perform at Sunfest 2012, will go on sale to the public on Thursday, December 22 at 10 a.m.  Tickets also are on sale now for rocker Bret Michaels, who was originally scheduled to perform at this year’s festival, but was rescheduled to appear at Sunfest 2012 due to a booking conflict.

Sha Na Na will perform on Thursday, September 20. Sha Na Na has successfully celebrated the nostalgia of rock and roll music for the past four decades– in concert, in the movies, on television and on records. Tickets for Sha Na Na’s Sunfest performance are $15 to $25.

[Read more…]

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Ocean City Offers Free New Year’s Rides

OCEAN CITY, MD – Free public bus service will be provided on New Year’s Eve to everyone “ringing in the New Year” within the municipal limits of Ocean City.

The Town of Ocean City’s Transportation Division will offer free bus service from 6 a.m. New Year’s Eve until 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Bus service will be offered every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31; from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, bus service will run every 10 minutes. Starting at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, buses return to the regular winter schedule.

This service will be offered on the normal bus route. Bus service will operate only within the municipal limits of Ocean City. ADA-Paratransit Services will also be available on New Year’s Eve at no cost.

For more information, call the Transportation Division at 410-723-1606.

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MD Re-Districting Plan Unveiled

SALISBURY, MD – Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz has provided the first round of analysis regarding the newly unveiled Maryland legislative re-districting plan.  The current maps provided by the Maryland Department of Planning don’t provide street level detail.

It appears that Del. Mike Smigiel (R-36) was not gerrymandered out of District 36, but that a smaller portion of Cecil County now lies within the district.  District 37-B, currently represented by Del. Addie Eckardt (R-37B) and Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-37B) will include a larger portion of Wicomico County.

Of the Eastern Shore districts, it appears that District 38 has seen the biggest change.  The three (3) House seats are now single member districts with Del. Charles Otto (R-38A) and Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) being placed in the same district, which covers all of Somerset County and southern Worcester County (McDermott lives in Pocomoke).  The newly re-drawn District 38-B, which is primarily comprised of the Salisbury “metro core”, appears designed to keep Norm Conway in a relatively safe district.  A new District 38-C encompasses northern Worcester County and eastern Wicomico County will almost certainly go to the GOP, provided a quality candidate comes forward.

DelMarVa Observer’s analysis of the plan, and possible alternatives, will appear Monday.

View the House Plan HERE.

View the Senate Plan HERE.

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Worcester Soil Conservation District Chairman Rebuts “Riverkeeper”

EASTON, MD – In response to an op-ed published by the Star-Democrat, the chairman of the Worcester County Soil Conservation District (WSCD) argues that the head of the Mid-Shore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Tim Junkin, knowingly wrote false information.

"To read (Junkin’s) letter one would assume that the Worcester Soil Conservation District and the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) have been permitting the abuse of tax dollars. Not so," wrote David Hudson.

Junkin claimed that the Hudson family (not related to David Hudson) received state funds to install concrete pads but did not do so.  Hudson offered that this was totally false.  Junkin also argues that because the Hudson family did not have a nutrient management plan in place they are somehow guilty of polluting the Pocomoke River and the Chesapeake Bay.  This is despite the findings of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"While every farmer is required to have a current nutrient management plan, not having one does not always indicate there is a pollution issue or a misuse of nutrients, just a lack of compliance that indeed must be corrected," David Hudson wrote.

Junkin also claimed:

… the poultry industry produces 44 percent of Maryland’s nitrogen and phosphorus and 65 percent of sediment all contributing to Chesapeake Bay pollution.

These claims are false and even exceed the estimates of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"For farmers that pollute, there are laws on the books and enforcement actions through the Maryland Department of the Environment to stop pollution. Lawsuits to put farmers out of business are unproductive and will only discourage farmers from seeking assistance," David Hudson wrote.


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Ocean City Names New Town Clerk

OCEAN CITY, MD – The Ocean City Council has appointed Kelly Allmond to succeed the late Kathy Mathias as town clerk.  During Monday’s council meeting she was sworn in by Mayor Rick Meehan.

Allmond is a 1991 graduate of Towson University.  She earned her municipal clerk certification in 2009. Originally from Baltimore County, she has lived on the Eastern Shore since 1997.  She currently lives in Parsonsburg.

photo courtesy of OC Today


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Worcester Commissioners FINALLY Ask for Stoplight at US 113 / MD 12

SNOW HILL, MD – 43 seems to be the magic number.  That is the number of fatalities along US 113 between Snow Hill and the Delaware line over the last 15 years.  After last week’s fatal crash at the intersection of US 113 and MD 12, the Worcester County Commissioners are finally asking the county’s legislative delegation to have the state install a stop light at the intersection.

Worcester Commissioner Virgil Shockley has been asking for a stop light for years.  However, it was only after the death of 62 year old Hancle Stull last Friday that the Worcester Commissioners agreed to ask the State Highway Administration to install a stop light.


Editor’s Note – One of the victims killed at this intersection was a friend of DelMarVa Observer Managing Editor G. A. Harrison.

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Christmas Needy Program A Great Way to Give This Holiday Season

SNOW HILL, MD – Ring in the season with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Christmas Needy Program and help make the holidays shine brighter for families in need.

Now through December 19, the WCSO is seeking volunteers to assist them at the Santa House in Snow Hill and donations to help provide food, clothing, toys and other special items this Christmas. Santa Clause will be at the Santa House on pickup day, December 20, 2011, when the food and gifts are distributed.

Staple foods to fill a small child’s hungry belly, mittens to buffer little fingers against the cold, and a much longed for toy are among the simplest treasures that can be given to brighten a child’s hopes this season.

“One little girl listed an electric toothbrush and blankets as the most desired items on her wish list,” said Dena Holloway, who manages the collection of food, clothing and toys for the Christmas Needy Program. “To a child in need, it’s the little things that really matter.”

[Read more…]

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State Rewards Worcester County’s Investment in Tourism

SNOW HILL, MD – Worcester County Tourism (WCT) is set to receive a healthy boost in State funding in Fiscal Year 2012. The Maryland Office of Tourism has awarded Worcester County nearly $50,000 more in advertising and marketing grant money than the prior year. This brings the total for state grant funding to WCT from 60,722 in FY11 to $109,836 in FY12.

This is an exciting development for WCT, particularly in light of the decrease in grant funding during the same period to several other counties on the Eastern Shore.

The state awards grant funding to local tourism departments based on several factors, including performance using tourism tax revenues and the level of contribution from the individual counties within the advertising budget. In a nutshell, WCT was awarded additional state grant funding for boosting our overall advertising budget and then seeing a marked increase in tourism dollars as a direct result of that increase. This has been the case for Worcester County during the last two fiscal years, and in FY10, the county saw a 4.3% increase in tourism sales tax revenues.

“This is great news because it means our advertising is working!” WCT Director Lisa Challenger said. “We have ramped up our advertising with the additional county funds, which also helps us become eligible for additional state funds. On those two fronts together it gave us a large grant amount.”

[Read more…]

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Maryland Receives Federal Crop Disaster Designation for 15 Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley received approval from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack for Maryland’s request for a disaster designation for widespread crop losses due to extreme weather conditions this year, which included excessive heat, drought, and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

“Because farmers throughout most of Maryland experienced significant crop losses, we requested a disaster designation and thank Secretary Vilsack for granting it,” said Governor O’Malley.  “It is our hope that the designation will provide relief to the farmers who need it and help them prepare for the next growing season.”

“From April through October, Maryland farmers experienced widespread crop losses due to a variety of extreme weather conditions ranging from excessive heat, drought and flooding,” said Buddy Hance, secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture.  “Farmers in the disaster designation areas experienced market value losses exceeding 30 percent.”

This designation makes farm operators in the 15 primary counties – Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester – as well as the counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Prince George’s, and the independent city of Baltimore – eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.  Farmers must have purchased crop insurance on eligible crops to quality for USDA disaster assistance programs.

This assistance includes USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses, security available, and repayment ability. SURE Program applications for 2011 crop losses will be accepted in 2012, when the 2011 farm revenue data required by statute becomes available.

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Ocean City’s Winterfest Has Largest Crowd in 10 Years

OCEAN CITY, MD – Ocean City’s 19th annual Winterfest of Lights is off to a great start, with the largest crowd in attendance over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 10 years.

From Wednesday through Sunday, more than 21,000 visitors rode the Winterfest Express tram ride through the lighted displays at Northside Park. That marked an increase of more than 900 visitors over last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period.

“We were pleased to host everyone at Winterfest over the holiday weekend,” said Tom Shuster, Director of the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department. “Winterfest continues to grow in popularity and the appeal of this event for families gathering together in Ocean City for the Thanksgiving holiday remains strong.

Winterfest of Lights, which opened with a tree-lighting ceremony on November 17, continues nightly through January 1 at Northside Park, located at 125th St. and the bay, where you can take a ride on the Winterfest Express as it makes its way along a mile-long path filled with illuminated displays. Winterfest tram rides are  $5 for those 12 years of age and older, children 11 years and younger ride for free.

While at Northside Park visit the Winterfest Pavilion for a cup of hot chocolate, browse the Yukon Cornelius Gift Shop and have your photo taken with Santa, who will be available nightly until Friday, December 23. Admission to the Winterfest Pavilion is free and on selected nights, free musical entertainment will be scheduled.

Winterfest of Lights is presented Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  For more information, call 1-800-626-2326 or visit the Ocean City website at

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Community Alert Siren to Sound in Worcester This Saturday

SNOW HILL, MD – Worcester County emergency alert signals will sound from area fire sirens. A steady alert tone will sound at 10:00 AM, on Saturday, December 3rd, for approximately one minute.

The signals are tested the first Saturday of each month. In the event of an actual emergency, the sirens would be used as additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the internet for information.

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Time to Strip “Law Clinics” of Taxpayer Funding

The left’s notion of “rights” is telling.  They believe that “free speech” entitles them to be published rather than just being free from government interference or sanction.  They believe that “freedom of opportunity” means that if the desired results are not attained, then discrimination is a given.  They believe that “academic freedom” means the “right” to spend taxpayer dollars however they please.  In the case of the University of Maryland law school that means using state tax dollars to promote a radical environmental agenda and bankrupt a farm family in Worcester County.

The Waterkeepers’ Alliance and Assateague Coastal Trust are suing the Hudson family and Perdue Farms claiming that they are polluting a tributary of the Pocomoke River.  Fair enough, this is America.  The dirty, not-so-little secret is that the Hudson family, Perdue Farms, and every taxpayer on the Eastern Shore is helping to pay for this lawsuit.  The University of Maryland’s law school is acting as the attorney for these two environmental groups.

[Read more…]

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Worcester Libraries Closed for Holiday

SNOW HILL, MD – All five branches of the Worcester County Library will be closed Thursday, November 24, Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Libraries will resume their regular hours on Monday, November 28.  For locations, hours and services, consult the library’s web site at

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