Septic Task Force Members Named

BERLIN- Worcester County and the Lower Eastern Shore will be represented on Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s task force to study septic system pollution and its impact on the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays, the roster of which was announced this week.

Shortly after the Maryland General Assembly session ended in April, O’Malley announced the formation of a task force to study the impact of septic system pollution on the state’s imperiled waterways. During the 2011, O’Malley introduced legislation that would ban the use of on-site septic systems in new development in critical areas around the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays watershed.

The legislation drew the ire of lawmakers from rural areas all over the Eastern Shore including Worcester and Wicomico, who perceived the bill as a means to wrest land use and management decisions away from the local jurisdictions that best understood their areas and had already implemented their own strict laws on the proliferation of septic systems.
Others claimed the proposed ban on septic systems for new developments diminished property values because of the lack of public sewer systems in many rural areas. The governor’s bill was eventually withdrawn with the promise it would be reintroduced after more careful study. To that end, the governor has formed a task force to study the septic system issue that included a broad cross-section of representatives from business, agriculture, science, environmental advocacy and local government to study the impact on septic systems and the extent to which they contribute to the pollution of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays.

Worcester is well represented on the panel, with County Commissioner Madison “Jimmy” Bunting at the table, along with Robert Mitchell, Environmental Programs Director for Worcester County and Jim Rapp, executive director of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE). Delegate Maggie McIntosh, chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee, will lead the task force, which also includes several state cabinet members including the Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Critical Areas Commission. O’Malley laid out the objectives for the task force this week, which are due to be in front of the governor by December 1.

“I am charging this task force with examining this issue in greater depth and we look forward to its conclusions,” he said. “We must continue the progress we are making toward restoring the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways. This effort is not about stopping growth, it is about stemming the tide of major housing developments built on septic systems.”

Ashley Planning Own Gas Giveaway Promotion

OCEAN CITY – Councilman Brent Ashley is carrying on the free gas giveaway in attempts to continue the promotion of Ocean City and to express the town’s appreciation for its visitors. Ashley, the voice behind the free gas giveaway promotion, released a news release on Tuesday morning that was titled “There Will Be Free Gas in Ocean City, Maryland This … Continue reading

Salisbury Woman Faces 20 Years for Check, Credit Card Fraud

SALISBURY- A Salisbury woman this week pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft after scamming dozens of victims and as many as 13 financial institutions in a check and credit card scam dating back to last spring and summer. Carla Nicole Koester, 38, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to … Continue reading

Smoke From N.C. Wildfire Drifts Across Worcester

BERLIN- The heavy, acrid smoke that arrived across much of Worcester County this week drifted north from a massive wildfire in North Carolina. By mid-day on Wednesday, much of Worcester County was socked in with heavy smoke and a strong, acrid odor stemming from an active wildfire in Dare County, N.C. hundred of miles away. Smoke from the North Carolina … Continue reading

Council Considers Teleconferencing

SALISBURY- Advances in technology have the Salisbury City Council considering the use of electronic teleconferencing during meetings. With video chat programs like Skype and its equivalents widely available to the public, the boundary between physically being in a location and communicating with that location are shrinking. While the council has required members wishing to take part in discussion to be … Continue reading

Wild Chase Ends In Worcester

BERLIN- Two Baltimore men were arrested on numerous charges including assaulting a police officer after a high-speed chase through three counties last Friday that began with a traffic stop in Cambridge and ended in a ditch along Friendship Rd. in Berlin. A little before 11 p.m. last Friday, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputies received a report from Dorchester County about a … Continue reading