Vanishing Ocean City With Bunk Mann

vanishing 12-19

Rolling chairs were a familiar sight in Ocean City in 1920s and 1930s and were an early version of today’s Boardwalk tram. Many college students helped pay their tuition by pushing tourists up and down the Boardwalk in those wicker chairs on wheels.

Rolling chairs originated in Atlantic City, N.J. and quickly made their way south. Dr. Francis Townsend, Sr. introduced them to Ocean City where he rented them for 25 cents an hours from his Washington Pharmacy on the Boardwalk at Somerset Street.

Although gone from the resort scene since the World War II era, these chairs on wheels were a big attraction for several decades. A restored rolling chair is on display at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum.

Photo courtesy Debi Thompson Cook

Smoking Rate Plummets To 7.7% In Worcester County


BERLIN – Smoking is on the decline in Worcester County.

According to local health officials, the percentage of adults using tobacco products in Worcester County dropped from 23.7 percent in 2000 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The drop, which is outlined in a recent report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, mirrors statewide trends.

“I’m amazed,” said Marty Pusey, director of prevention services for the Worcester County Health Department. “Generally Eastern Shore counties tend to be higher in smoking rates. I’m pleased to see this but what we get one year doesn’t mean we’re going to get that the next year.”

Across Maryland, the rate of tobacco use dropped from 20.5 percent in 2000 to 16.2 percent in 2012. Here in Worcester County, Pusey says it’s hard to pinpoint a specific reason for the decrease. She believes the significant amount of funding the county received in 2000 — the year the Cigarette Restitution Fund was created — played a role, as did the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2007. The funding increase allowed the county to expand its smoking cessation programs, its enforcement programs and its educational programs.

The Clean Indoor Air Act put a stop to smoking in most public places.

“There was a change in the public’s perception of the acceptance of tobacco use,” Pusey said. “People felt less comfortable smoking.”

Although Worcester County’s adult smoking rates have fallen below the state’s, Pusey said health department officials were worried to learn that the number of teenagers lighting up in Worcester County exceeded the state average. High school tobacco use in Worcester County was measured at 20.4 percent. Statewide, that rate is 12.9 percent.

“We’re concerned,” Pusey said.

She said the number of minors smoking locally decreased in 2004 and 2007 but had started to rise again in recent years. She believes a more-than 60 percent funding cut in 2010 is to blame.

“I think that had a direct impact on smoking rates among youth,” she said. “When you take the spotlight away from an issue, you’ll see a reversal of a trend oftentimes.”

Pusey believes it’s critical that teenagers are dissuaded from smoking.

“We know that the younger you are when you start the more likely you are to not quit,” she said, adding that people who smoked for the first time during their college years had more success kicking the habit than those who started in high school.

Another concern revealed by the report is the fact that both Worcester County and the State of Maryland failed to meet standards regarding the sale of tobacco to minors. Pusey said certain grants mandated that at least 80 percent of businesses selling tobacco refused to sell tobacco to minors. In Worcester County, only 75 percent of the businesses checked prevented minors from buying tobacco.

“This is the first time Worcester County and the state have been out of compliance in recent years,” Pusey said.

To address the issue, though, Pusey says Worcester County is set to receive an additional $60,000 from the state in tobacco enforcement funds. She said the health department would be providing funding to the Worcester County’s Sheriff’s Department to do compliance checks and would increase its educational efforts where it could.

“We did this in the early days,” she said. “When funding went away the effort went away.”

She said it’s particularly important that education efforts continue as the variety of tobacco products on the market increases.

“They’re making these products more attractive and they’re appealing to young people,” she said, referencing the array of flavors offered in tobacco products these days.

She also expressed concern over the use of electronic cigarettes among young people.

“We know it’s an issue and we’re certainly watching it,” she said.

In addition to monitoring new products and increasing its educational efforts, the health department will continue to offer smoking cessation classes. Two new classes will begin the first week of January in Berlin and Pocomoke.

Pusey says the free classes, paired with the vouchers the health department can provide for aids to stop smoking, is the best way for people to quit.

“Participation in group education and support classes in combination with a cessation aid is the most effective strategy,” Pusey said.


Brittany Hines, Resource Coordinator For WCHD’s Local Management Board, Presented With WBOC 2014 Jefferson Award

Community D

Brittany Hines, Resource Coordinator for the Worcester County Health Department’s (WCHD) Local Management Board, was presented with the WBOC 2014 Jefferson Award this month in recognition of her community outreach and volunteerism both locally and abroad. Hines has been involved with a variety of health and wellness improvement efforts in Worcester County and also has a strong history of volunteer work. Pictured, from left, are Jennifer LaMade, Director of Local Management Board; Lacee Griffith, WBOC; Hines; Lynn Hines, the recipient’s mother.

Softball World Series To Return To Shore In 2015

SALISBURY — Providing further evidence of the success of the recent partnership formed to attract and expand major regional sporting events, the U.S. Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) announced its Eastern World Series will return to the Lower Shore in 2015.

The three-legged series, featuring softball teams from all over the country, will run from July 15 to Aug. 1. The event traditionally draws close to 400 teams to the region and organizers anticipate the same level of participation next year. The 2014 event spanned three weeks and generated an estimated economic impact of $20 million and hotel room night demand in excess of 12,000.

“The efforts put forth in the past from the staff along with the support we’ve received from local businesses, particularly the hotels and restaurants, and civic leaders made the decision to return this three-week, 400-team event to the area an easy one,” said USSSA Vice President and Tournament Organizer Bill Dowell. “USSSA and the local community have shared the same vision for years and we look forward to solidifying that partnership in 2015.”

Wicomico and Salisbury first hosted the USSSA Softball World Series in 2007 when just 58 teams competed. As the event grew over the years, it became evident Wicomico did not have the hotel rooms and amenities to support the event and just this year a partnership was formed with the town of Ocean City. The 2015 event will be billed under the Mid-Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance (MAASA), which was formed by the town of Ocean City and Worcester and Wicomico Counties earlier this year.

“This is the ninth consecutive year the county will host the World Series,” said Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver. “The tournament only had 58 teams when it first came here in 2007, but we could see it had great potential. Now that it’s expanded to 400 teams, we’re grateful USSSA remains a strong partner and we’re excited to host this year’s event in collaboration with Ocean City and Worcester County.”

Culver said as the event grew, it became evident more partners would be needed to accommodate the onslaught of participants.

“The requirements of events like the World Series are much greater than any of us can handle on our own,” he said. “By working together, we’re able to meet the needs of large scale sports marketing promoters and see that our region continues to benefit from hosting them.”

For its part, Ocean City is looking forward to hosting the roughly 15,000 visitors during the World Series.

“We are pleased to welcome back the USSSA Eastern World Series,” said Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan this week. “We take pride in hosting these amazing athletes, their coaches and their families.”

Mallards Fall To St. Thomas More, 67-29

BERLIN- Worcester Prep’s boys’ varsity basketball team lost to St. Thomas More, 67-29, at home on Monday to fall to 3-2 on the season.

The Mallards hung with St. Thomas More for much of the first half, but trailed, 34-20, at the intermission. St. Thomas More pulled away in the second half and Worcester trailed 44-25 with just over six minutes left in the third. St. Thomas More rode a big fourth quarter to down the Mallards, 67-29.

Pat Petrara and Tucker Brown led the Worcester offense with seven points each. With the loss, the Mallards saw their early season record fall to 3-2. Worcester has wins against Gunston, Holly Grove and Greenwood Mennonite to go along with losses to Chincoteague and now St. Thomas More. The Mallards will compete in the Governor’s Challenge in Salisbury over the winter break and will return to regular season action on January 7 at home against Salisbury Christian.

Seahawks Fall To Unbeaten Warriors, 74-40

Decatur’s Keve Aluma goes up for a rebound against Pocomoke during the second quarter on Tuesday. Pocomoke rolled past the Seahawks, 74-40, to remain unbeaten.

Photo by Shawn Soper


BERLIN- It was an up and down week for the Decatur boys’ varsity basketball team, which beat Easton, 58-43, on Monday before falling to county rival Pocomoke, 74-40, at home on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Seahawks took care of business at home against Easton, 58-43. Keyon Eley led Decatur, scoring 30 points, or more than half of his team’s output. Jeron Johnson also contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

Back in action on Tuesday, the Seahawks didn’t fare as well against Pocomoke, falling to the unbeaten Warriors, 74-40. Decatur started slow and never really got into a flow against Pocomoke. The Warriors applied pressure on both ends of the floor, forcing several defensive turnovers that led to fast-break baskets down the other end.

The Seahawks trailed 17-6 after one quarter and despite moving the ball well on offense and getting good looks at the basket couldn’t get shots to fall. Decatur scored five straight at one point early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 23-11, but Pocomoke turned up the pressure again and began to steadily pull away.

At different points during the second quarter, Pocomoke pushed its lead to over 20 points and took a 36-17 lead into halftime. The same trend continued in the second half as Pocomoke cruised to the 74-40 win to remain unbeaten. Jeron Johnson led Decatur with 11 points. With the loss, Decatur fell to 3-3 on the season and now prepares for two games in the Governor’s Challenge in Salisbury before embarking on the second half of the season after the holidays.

Rockfish Tournament Ends With A Flourish

OCEAN CITY- After harsh weather and rough seas kept most of the participating boats at the dock last week during the middle portion of the tournament, the Ocean City Marlin Club’s second-ever rockfish tourney finished with a flurry last weekend with several of the eventual winners boated.

The nine-day tournament began way back on Friday, December 5 with decent numbers of qualifying stripers caught during those initial fishing days. However, the persistent nor’easter that hung around the area through much of last week kept many of the participating boats tied to the docks around the area.

By week’s end, however, the weather cleared and the seas calmed, setting up a fantastic finish in the second annual event. When the dust settled, it was the crew on the “Fish Frenzi” taking first place with a 28.6-pounder worth $2,295. The crew on the “Aubree Lynn” took second with a 28.4-pounder worth $1,134, while the “Wrecker” took third with a 28.2-pounder worth $999. The “Aubree Lynn” also took the winner-take-all bluefish division with a 7.6-pounder worth an additional $450.

The tournament began on December 5 and ran for nine days ending December 14. As the name of the tournament implied, rockfish were the primary species targeted along with red drum and bluefish. The top three heaviest fish in each category won awards and federal minimum sizes applied for each species. A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The tournament concluded with an awards ceremony on Sunday at the Ocean City Marlin Club.


NASA Station Can Carry On After Amendment Passed

SNOW HILL — The Worcester County Commissioners passed a bill this week that will allow a NASA research facility to continue operation in Newark.

The approved legislation will permit non-commercial, scientific research stations as a special exception use in areas zoned A-1 and A-2.

Ed Tudor, the county’s director of development review and permitting, said NASA had been compiling weather information with a station in Newark that had been permitted as a transient use. Because the transient use classification can’t be granted for longer than two years, county staff developed a text amendment that would allow the NASA station and others like it in certain circumstances. The amendment states that facilities would have to be for the collection of weather-related data by academic, nonprofit or government entities. It also details setbacks and height requirements any proposed facility would have to adhere to.

“This installation has proved valuable to them,” Tudor said, “and they’re looking for a way to maintain that.”

Tudor said a text amendment was the only way to do that, as there was nothing in the existing zoning ordinance to address the facility.