A Week In Business

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Berlin Finances Praised

BERLIN — Berlin was given a rosy review last week after PKS and Company finished their annual audit of the town.

Mike Kleger, a partner with the accounting firm, favorably compared what PKS found this year to the town’s last audit.

“This year’s report is much smaller,” he said. “There are very few comments.”

According to Kleger, the town “dealt with material weaknesses” that had shown up on last year’s audit.

“We really thought the procedures you have in place are very good,” PKS representative Leslie Michalik told the council.

She pointed to the current strength of Berlin’s general fund, which rests at $7,325,000 this year, $6,577,000 of which is unassigned and available. Michalik compared that number to 2006, when the general fund only contained about $4.5 million.

“Our overall general financial picture is a little bit better,” said Mayor Gee Williams.

Kleger told the council that Berlin “maintained a healthy financial position” despite a sluggish state and national economy.”

Williams attributed the town’s health to intergovernmental cooperation and a sincere effort by the finance department to address accounting errors and mistakes uncovered by last year’s audit.

“Our accounting process is probably the cleanest letter we’ve ever had,” he said.

Besides the labors of the finance department, Williams was quick to praise all employees of the town for thinking outside the box in finding new ways to do more work with less money.

“There’s probably nothing that we’re doing now the way we used to,” he said.

Williams pointed out that the town has stayed under budget the last few years, a fact he believes comes from departments working together instead of in competition, as they may have in the past.

“It was a gradual change … the departments try to back each other up,” he said.

It wasn’t all good news, as the council admitted that some costs the state traditionally took care of in the past may begin to trickle down to local municipalities. However, Williams predicts that Berlin will remain healthy financially even if the town has to deal with extra burdens from Annapolis.

Small Grants Available

SALISBURY – The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) is encouraging local nonprofits to submit Letters of Inquiry for programs or projects that may qualify for grants from the Foundation’s Small Grants Program.

The Small Grants Program provides funding for nonprofit and faith-based community service organizations in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties to address a wide range of needs including pilot projects, emergencies, organizational improvement, capacity building, equipment purchases, as well as attendance at programs.  Grants are typically in the $200 to $2,000 range.

Included in the Small Grants Program are Technical Mini Grant Program, Help Your Neighbor Program, ShoreCAN Mini Grant Program, Chairman’s Fund, Field of Interest Funds and Designated Funds.

There is no deadline for submission.  Letters of inquiry are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Following an initial review by the CFES staff, requests to the Small Grants Program will be referred to the appropriate CFES Fund, which may have additional application requirements.  Interested applicants to CFES should review the guidelines for the Small Grants Program available at www.cfes.org/grants.

Managers Now Scholars

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Health Department has announced that two of the agency’s managers have graduated as scholars from the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Health Leadership Institute Program (MHLI).

Worcester County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Andrea Mathias and Fiscal Supervisor Julia Parker joined 22 others in this year’s leadership program. Mathias and Parker gained advanced leadership training and skills in management and evaluation of public health systems. As part of the program, the two worked as part of a team on a project designed to use social media to enhance public health policies in the state.

MHLI is housed within the Office of Public Health Practice and Training of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. MHLI is a regional institute encompassing Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C. and several New Jersey counties. Enrollees include professionals from a broad array of fields and sectors.

Nursing Students Honored
SALISBURY — Salisbury University nursing students are among the state’s best — again.

According to the Maryland Board of Nursing, SU had the highest pass rate of all University System of Maryland campuses on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in 2010-2011.

With some 95.51 percent of students passing on the first try, SU topped peers including Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

SU now has the highest five-year average pass rate in Maryland for B.S.-granting institutions at 93.77 percent.

“The University has been committed to helping alleviate the national nursing shortage,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, dean of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology.  “Our outstanding faculty are preparing students for success academically — and in their field.”

“This is yet another example of the superior performance of our nursing students,” said Dr. Lisa Seldomridge, chair of the Nursing Department.  “They must pass the NCLEX to practice as a registered nurse, and their high pass rate is evidence of their quality preparation.”

The statistics represent students in SU’s two undergraduate nursing tracks:  traditional first-degree students and accelerated second-degree students.  Last year, some 85 out of 89 passed on the first try.  

New Policy Implemented
To Help Blue Crab Stock

BERLIN — In another important step forward for sustainability, Berlin’s own Twin Tails Seafood has issued a new purchasing policy that will help improve the blue swimming crab populations that make up so much of the crab imported to the U.S.

“Twin Tails and the rest of the participating companies, that make up about 80 percent of the imported blue swimming crab market, have pledged to focus a new effort on reducing the number of egg bearing female crabs that are harvested. In doing so, more ‘berried’ females will have the opportunity release their eggs and help rebuild their population,” said Kimberly Tilghman, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Twin Tails.

The new purchasing restriction will improve the chance of survival for the eggs and greatly limit the market for berried females and crab roe. In order to ensure its success, the Crab Council will work to educate local fishermen on improving their harvesting practices and the importance of letting berried female crabs spawn.

“Twin Tails considers this policy as an important next step in continuing to preserve and manage this resource responsibly,” said Tilghman

This initiative, which began Nov. 1, is the second sustainability effort to come from the council in four months, following the minimum size requirement.  Twin Tails and 12 other participating companies are currently funding sustainability work in Indonesia and the Philippines.

“These companies are industry leaders in sustainability, and this newest guideline reflects their continued commitment to responsible harvesting practices,” said Howard Johnson, director of global programs for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Top Agents Named

BERLIN — Shamrock Realty Group named Rosie Beauclair as top listing agent and Jack Tellman as top sales agent for the month of October.

OCDC Offers Tax Credits

OCEAN CITY — The OCDC, a nonprofit organization, is selling 2011 Maryland tax credits that can be sold to Maryland business and individuals.

All proceeds from the sale of these tax credits will be used to fund downtown special events, like the free Sunset Park concerts.  These tax credits and the tax savings they provide are a great way to support OCDC special events.  

For more information, contact the OCDC at 410-289-7739.

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