Annual St. Pat’s Soccer Tournament Continues

OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department’s 27th Annual St. Patrick’s Soccer Tournament continues this weekend with the under-14 and under-10 boys’ and girls’ brackets.

From modest beginnings 27 years ago, the annual St. Patrick’s Tournament has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and now includes over 150 teams from all over the region playing in four consecutive weekends. However, it was learned this week the number of teams has declined somewhat this year largely because some of the teams that typically participate are competing on other college showcase events that get their players in front of college scouts, particularly in those middle school and high school divisions.

Nonetheless, the tournament is a big success. Last week, the under-18 boys and girls played in the event’s first weekend. For the record, Rommel’s Ace topped Blaze for the girls’ under 18 title and FC Barcelona beat RSC Express for the boys’ under-18 title. This weekend, the under-10 and under-14 boys’ and girls’ tournaments will be held. The tournament culminates with the adult men’s and women’s tournaments on the weekend of March 13-15.

Things To Do Around Town

Thngs to do

Every Saturday:
Weekly Farmers Market
8 a.m.-1 p.m., White Horse Park, 239 Ocean Parkway, Ocean Pines. Year-round featuring locally grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, kettle corn, flowers, artisan breads, seafood, meats and more. New vendors welcome. For more info, 410-641-7717.

Every Saturday: Habitat For
Humanity Warehouse Sale
8 a.m.-noon, 7033 Worcester Hwy., Newark. Currently accepting donations in the form of gently used furniture, appliances and building supplies. For more information, 410-208-4440.

Every Sunday: Morning Worship
8:30 a.m., contemporary; 10 a.m., traditional, Atlantic United Methodist Church, 105 4th St., O.C. For more info, 410-289-7430.

Every Sunday: Morning Worship
8 a.m. & 11 a.m., Traditional Worship; 9:30 a.m., Contemporary Worship; St. Peter’s Luth-eran Church, E.L.C.A, 10301 Coastal Hwy., O.C. For more info, 410-524-7474.

Every Monday: Delmarva Chorus,
Sweet Adelines Meet
7-9 p.m., Ocean Pines Community Center. Women are invited to learn the craft of a capella singing under the direction of Carol Ludwig. For more info, 410-641-6876.

Open Monday-Saturday:
Atlantic United Methodist Church
Thrift Shop
10 a.m.-2 p.m., AUMC, 105 4th Street, O.C. For more info, 410-289-7430.

Open Monday-Saturday:
Shirley Grace Pregnancy
Center Thrift Shop
10 a.m.-5 p.m., Bank Plaza, 34407 Dupont Blvd., Unit 3. Frankford, Del. All proceeds benefit the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center. For more information, 443-513-0114.

Every Monday:
Berlin TOPS Meeting
5-6:30 p.m., Atlantic General Hospital, Confer-ence Room 1, 733 Healthway Drive. TOPS is a support and educational group promoting weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. For more info, 410-251-2083.

Every 2nd Tuesday: Worcester Co.
Parkinson’s Support Group
2:15 p.m., Ocean Pines Library. Speakers, exercises and group discussions. For more information, 410-208-3132.

Every Tuesday: TOPS Meeting
5:30-7 p.m., Worcester Co. Health Center, 9730 Healthway Dr., Berlin. Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a support group promoting weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For info, email

Open Wednesday-Saturday:
‘Used To Be Mine’ Thrift Shop
Supporting Diakonia
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Located at the intersection of Rte. 611 and Sunset Ave. For more information, 410-213-0243.

Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday,
September-May: MOPS Meeting
9:15 a.m., The Community Church, Ocean Pines. MOPS is focused on building a community of moms that meet to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood. Free childcare so come and enjoy a mommy’s play date. For more information visit, www.

Open Wednesday-Saturday:
Shepherd’s Nook Thrift Shop
9 a.m.-1 p.m., Community Church at Ocean Pines, Rte. 589 & Racetrack Rd., Berlin. Accepting donations of gently worn clothes and household items.

Every Thursday:
Beach Singles 45+ Happy Hour
4 p.m., Harpoon Hanna’s. For more information, 302-436-9577, 410-524-0649 or 302-541-4642.

Feb. 27: KC Bingo
5 p.m., doors open; games begin 6:30 p.m.; Knights of Columbus, 9901 Coastal Hwy., (rear of St. Luke’s Church) O.C. Refreshments on sale. For more information, 410-524-7994.

Feb. 27: 12th Annual Relay For Life
Vera Bradley, Basket Bingo
6 p.m., doors open; games begin 7 p.m.; Bishopville Vol. Fire Dept. Spon-sored by the Atlantic Endoscopy Center Polypeers with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. 20 games, raffles, 50/50, door prizes and refreshments available. Cost: $20, in advance; $25, at the door.

Feb. 27: Pillowcase Ministry Meets
1-5 p.m., Clarion Resort Hotel, 10100 Coastal Hwy., O.C. To benefit the indigent girls in Haiti, Dominican Repu-blic, West Africa and Mexico. All are welcome, but pre-registration is re-quired. Bring a sewing machine, if available and new or nearly new pillowcases. Shorts for boys are now being made from t-shirts. To register, 410-641-0415.

Feb. 27: “Looking Back: A Trip
Down Memory Lane” Program
6:30 p.m., Germantown School, 10223 Trappe Rd., Berlin. Share in the celebration of the former teachers and students of the Flower Street, Ger-mantown and Sinepuxent Schools. Here about their experiences and enjoy light refreshments, fun and fellowship. For more info, 410-641-0638.

Feb. 28: Soul Food Dinner
Noon-until, New Bethel United Metho-dist Church, 10203 Germantown Rd., Berlin. Sponsored by the Parents in Action Ministry. Menu includes chicken and dumplings, baked or fried fish, clam chowder, macaroni and cheese, greens, yams, potato salad. Eat-in or carry-out. Dinners come with a drink and slice of cake. For more information, 410-641-2058.

Feb. 28: 1st Annual Cancer Kills,
Let’s Kill Cancer Benefit Dance
7:30-11 p.m., Berlin American Legion, Post 123. Sponsored by Angels United To Fight. Music by Days Gone By, auctions, raffles, door prizes and more. Food and drinks on sale. Cost: $5, donation at the door. For more information or advance tickets, 443-614-9601 or 410-726-5923.

March 1: Pancake & Sausage
Breakfast Youth Fundraiser
8 a.m.-noon, Stevenson United Meth-odist Church, 123 N. Main St., Berlin. Cost: $6.50, adults; $5, ages 6-12. Ages 5 and under eat free. Eat-in or carry-out available. For more information, 443-235-6761.

March 4: AYCE Grace Parker
7 a.m.-noon, First Presbyterian Church, 13th St. & Philadelphia Ave., O.C. All-you-can-eat eggs any style, pancakes, buckwheat pancakes, Milton sausage, country ham, homemade biscuits, hash brown potatoes, grits, coffee and tea. Cost: $8. Carry-out: $6. Milk, soda and orange juice. For more info, 410-289-9340.

March 4: Bingo
5:30 p.m., doors open; 6:30 p.m., early bird games; 7 p.m., regular games; Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645, 138th St., across from the Fenwick Inn. $1,000 jackpot available, food, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. No one under 18 allowed in bingo hall during bingo.

March 4: Delmarva Hand Dancing
5:30-9 p.m., Peaky’s (formerly Jor-dan’s Rooftop), at the Fenwick Inn, 138th St., O.C. Jitterbug, swing, cha-cha to the sounds of the 50’s & 60’s. Beginner and intermediate dance lessons 5:30-6:30 p.m. Followed by dancing until 9 p.m. For more information, 302-200-3262.

March 5: OP Women’s Club
10 a.m., OP Community Center, Assateague Room, 235 Ocean Park-way, Ocean Pines. Featured speaker will be Claude Lewis, own of Home Instead Senior Care, located in Berlin. Light refreshments. 50/50 raffle. For more info, 410-208-9326.

March 5: Legion Bingo
Doors open 5 p.m., games begin 6:30 p.m.; American Legion Post 166, 24th St. & Philadelphia Ave., O.C. Food and drink available. For more info, 410-289-3166.

March 6: KC Bingo
5 p.m., doors open; games begin 6:30 p.m.; Knights of Columbus, 9901 Coastal Hwy., (rear of St. Luke’s Church) O.C. Refreshments on sale. For more information, 410-524-7994.

March 7: Soroptimist
Basket And Bag Bingo
5 p.m., doors open; 6 p.m., Showell Elementary School. Sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Berlin-OC. 20 games, door prizes, 50/50 raffle, special games and Chinese auction. Bring a canned good (to be donated to a food pantry) for a free card for a special game. Cost: $20, in advance; $25, at the door. Refreshments will be on sale. Must be 18 to play. For more info, 410-726-1722.

March 7: Indoor Yard Sale
7 a.m.-noon, Bishopville Vol. Fire Dept. Sponsored by the Auxillary. Cost: $15, table or 2 tables for $25. Breakfast food available for sale. For more information or to rent a table, 443-235-2926.

March 7: Indoor Flea Market
8 a.m.-1 p.m., Bethany United Metho-dist Church, Rte. 611 & Snug Harbor Rd., near Frontiertown, Berlin. Break-fast and lunch will be served. Great soups and baked goods. For more info or to rent a table, 410-629-0926.

March 11: Bingo
5:30, doors open; 6:30, early bird games; 7 p.m., regular games; Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645, 138th St., across from the Fenwick Inn. $1,000 jackpot available, food, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. No one under 18 allowed in bingo hall during bingo.

March 11: Delmarva Hand Dancing
5:30-9 p.m., Peaky’s, at the Fenwick Inn, 138th St., O.C. Jitterbug, swing, cha-cha to the sounds of the 50’s & 60’s. Beginner and intermediate dance lessons 5:30-6:30 p.m. Followed by dancing until 9 p.m. For more info, 302-200-3262.

Decatur Well Represented In State Swim Finals

BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s varsity swim teams will be well represented when the state championships finally get underway on Friday.

The state 3A-2A-1A championship meet is set for this afternoon after being postponed multiple times last week due to inclement weather. As a result, the event has been moved from the University of Maryland College Park to the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex due to scheduling conflicts.

Two weeks ago, the Decatur swim teams turned in strong performances in the state regional meet with both the boys and girls finishing second. As a result, several Seahawks qualified for the state championship meet in many events and Decatur will be well represented at the finals in P.G. County this afternoon.

On the girls’ side, Hailey Williams will compete in the 200-free and the 500-free, Madison Tinus will compete in the 50-free and the 100-free, and Carly Deickman will compete in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. Marley Rakow will compete in the 100-free, Stephany Smith will compete in the 100-butterfly and Maria Zweifel will compete in the 100-breaststroke and will be an alternate in the 200 individual medley. Molly Wooten will be an alternate in both the 200-free and the 100-butterfly.

The Decatur girls will also be well represented in the relays. Williams, Wooten, Rakow and Deickman will compete in the 400-freestyle relay; Williams, Tinus, Deickman and Smith will compete in the 200 medley relay; and Tinus, Smith, Rakow and Zweifel will compete in the 200 freestyle relay.

On the boys’ side, Dalton Warren will compete in the 100 backstroke, Andrew Gottfried will swim in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, and Kevin Williams will compete in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. Chris Poole will compete in the 50 free and the 100 free, while Jake Lathroum will be an alternate in the 100 breaststroke.

The Decatur boys will also be well represented in the relays. Warren, Williams, Gottfried and Poole will swim in the 200 medley relay; Poole, Warren, Dustin Berkey and Gottfried will swim in the 200 freestyle relay; and Tucker Cordial, Warren, Noah Sackadorf and Williams will swim in the 400 freestyle relay.

Ocean City Council Endorses Craft Distillery Bill

OCEAN CITY — The Mayor and Council this week officially endorsed legislation in the Maryland General Assembly which, if approved, would create a Class 9 craft distillery license allowing eligible license holders to produce their own distilled spirits on their premises and conduct guided tours and tastings, for example.

Senate Bill 523, introduced by Senator Jim Mathias, and House Bill 689, introduced by Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, would create a Class 9 craft distillery license in Worcester, opening opportunities for eligible liquor license holders to distill spirits on their premises and market them under their own label. While the new craft distillery license on the surface could open up the opportunity for all Class D license holders in the county, of which there are few, it is essentially tailored to one existing operation.

Last year, Seacrets launched its new line of craft distilled spirits, including a white rum, spiced rum, vodka and gin under its own label. The Seacrets spirits are sold at the iconic nightclub and restaurant and are available to wholesalers for distribution, but the craft spirits are not produced locally. For want of an appropriate license, Seacrets reached out to the Delaware Distilling Company in Rehoboth, which crafted the unique alcoholic beverages under the Seacrets label.

The House and Senate bills currently circulating in the General Assembly would rectify the situation, allowing Seacrets, and presumably other operators with a Class D license, to produce their own distilled spirits in Worcester County. The Class 9 license holders would open and operate distilleries right on site and would be able to conduct guided tours, tastings and other enhanced visitor experiences on their premises after meeting certain requirements and gaining approvals as conditional uses.

Last Thursday, attorney Joe Moore, who represents Seacrets, appealed to the Ocean City Mayor and Council to officially support the legislation. Moore’s appeal had some urgency because the House Bill was scheduled for a committee hearing on Monday and committee members wanted the town of Ocean City’s endorsement before approving the legislation, which is expected to be a local courtesy bill.

Moore explained the bill as written wouldn’t touch off a proliferation of craft distilleries throughout the resort and, for the time being, was essentially tailored to one existing establishment. He said Seacrets and others seeking the craft distillery license in the future would still have to seek the town’s approval as a conditional use.

“This is a pretty generic bill,” he said. “It wouldn’t allow any distillery operation unless this council approved it as a conditional use.”

Moore said the council’s endorsement of the legislation would allow his client to move its distillery operation fro Delaware to its 49th Street location, providing a positive economic opportunity while providing another enhanced visitor experience.

“Seacrets has its own label and produces rum, vodka and gin, but they’re required to go to a Delaware distillery,” he said. “This bill would rectify that situation. Their products would be produced right here and those jobs would go to Ocean City. It would be an economic boon for the town and would be very beneficial.”

After little debate, the council agreed to send a letter endorsing the legislation to the appropriate committees in the General Assembly. Councilman Dennis Dare said the bill would allow Seacrets and presumably others in the future to open craft distilleries similar to the craft breweries that have sprouted up in recent years. He said the town was protected somewhat because any proposed operation would have to be approved by the council as a conditional use.

“I think having a craft distillery would enhance the town,” he said. “I’m confident after going through the conditional use process for a craft brewery it would be carefully scrutinized.”




Major Route 50 Bridge Repairs To Cost $65K; Project Planned For Next Month

The tall ship El Galeon is pictured squeezing through the Route 50 Bridge last summer. Photo by Chris Mizuark

OCEAN CITY — State Highway Administration (SHA) officials announced on Wednesday the long-term fix of the drawbridge’s mechanical system is scheduled to begin next Wednesday, weather permitting.

SHA’s contracted engineers made a temporary repair of the failed mechanical system that caused the span to be stuck in the open position for about five hours last July 26 and planned a major repair job to prevent it from happening again. That project will start next Wednesday.

“SHA temporarily repaired the bridge after last summer’s malfunction of the draw span,” said District Engineer Donnie Drewer this week. “The work beginning now is a permanent fix to avoid another similar occurrence.”

Beginning next Wednesday, SHA crews will close a single right lane of the bridge on the eastbound side from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with occasional closures of the single right lane for an entire 24 hours. The work should be completed by the end of March, weather permitting.

SHA will not work on the bridge from March 13 to March 15 during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade weekend when traffic volumes will be higher. Although motorists will be able to use the left eastbound lane during the life of the project, drivers may want to consider using Route 90 as an alternate route.
“We scheduled the project during the less-traveled off-season to minimize impacts to travelers,” said Drewer this week. “As we move forward, we appreciate the residents’ and visitors’ patience during the project.”

Around 3 p.m. last Saturday, July 26, the drawbridge got stuck in the up position following a routine opening and closing. The malfunctioning bridge almost immediately caused heavy resort traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon in late July to back up along Route 50 and alternate routes.

The bridge over Sinepuxent Bay, built in 1942, has approximately 1,600 opening annually. SHA’s contractor for the $65,000 repair is Covington Machine and Welding of Annapolis

Voices From The Readers


Why Risk Sacrificing Something So Special?


Five years ago, Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) voiced its support for the relief efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ACT pointed out how corporate greed, lax regulatory oversight and lack of enforcement led to the greatest environmental disaster in American history. We considered ourselves thankful to live in an area not heavily impacted by oil exploration but if we do not voice opposition soon, we may not be able to consider ourselves as fortunate.

The Obama Administration is proposing to allow offshore oil and natural gas leasing off the Mid-Atlantic coast.  If this proposal reaches fruition, it would put the Delmarva coastline in the crosshairs of a future BP-style disaster, essentially destroying the Eastern Shore’s nearly $2 billion tourism economy, nearly $1 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry, and our priceless coastal ecosystem.  Even a small spill could have devastating effects on a region so reliant on clean water and beaches.

The risk goes well beyond a hypothetical potential spill. Before any wells are drilled, energy companies will conduct seismic testing to map the ocean floor in search of oil and gas deposits from Delaware south to Cape Canaveral, Florida.  This process entails firing a sonic burst into the ocean 10,000 times louder than a jet engine every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of the mapping project, which can take up to several weeks.

This type of operation has real and devastating impacts on wildlife. In the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Environmental Impact Study for the proposed energy exploration, they estimated over 138,000 Atlantic coast marine mammals would be impacted by seismic testing — and many could die.

Seismic testing could have far reaching effects given the migratory nature of Atlantic fish species like tuna, mahi-mahi and marlins. Concerns over seismic testing led California and Canada to deny exploration off their coasts.

All of these risks beg the question: just how much oil and gas is available to justify putting our coastal ecosystem, wildlife, and economy in danger? The answer is not much. The BOEM estimates around 2.92 billion barrels of oil and 25.56 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas are located in the proposed leasing area. That is only enough oil to power the U.S. for about 6 months and enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for a little over a year.  When you compare the estimated oil and gas reserves off the Atlantic coast to other regions of the country, it only represents about 4% of the total available reserves in the U.S., which is the smallest reserve of any region.

Given the small reward and potential risk, ACT stands firmly opposed to any and all oil and natural gas operations off the Mid-Atlantic coast and supports efforts to increase solar and offshore wind resources for energy. We strongly encourage our fellow citizens to join us in voicing opposition to the proposed oil and gas exploration.

Fifty years ago, a group of concerned citizens came together to preserve Assateague Island from the threat of development. It will take the combined efforts of even more citizens to stop the even larger threat of oil and gas rigs off our shores. Will you join us in protecting our coast? Visit for more information.

Kathy Phillips


(The writer is the executive director of Assateague Coastal Trust.)


Street Performers Impact Tram Drivers


In reference to the article about the street performers, I see no mention about how these performers obstruct the tram lane creating unsafe areas for pedestrians and tram personnel. Since the trams are on the Boardwalk at least 13 sometimes 14 hours a day, it would have been appropriate for someone from the transportation department to be a part of the task force.

Tram drivers and conductors are consistently on alert to keep riders and pedestrians safe. When we are confronted with situations where a crowd gathers for a performer, most times every other block, it is increasingly difficult to maneuver a tram through an unmoving throng.

The pedestrian observer pays no attention to the tram, at times refusing to move. On the wood where the tram lane is clearly designated, people will congregate around a performer blocking the tram completely.

At 4th street, when we make our turn onto the wood or cement, it is always congested if a street performer is there. Sometimes, no amount of blowing the horn will move people out of our way. As a conductor, I have had to stand and lean over to wave pedestrians over. Vacationers get annoyed that they have to move when we, as tram personnel, are looking out for their safety and the safety of our riders as well.

I want to emphasize that all tram personnel are always conscientious of our riders’ and pedestrians’ personal safety. We ensure that all visitors have a pleasant trip on the Boardwalk.

Having the street performers is a distraction, however, there are a couple of them who do try to keep their audience away from the tram and this effort is appreciated.

I would like to hear that performers, for a specific fee, be required to apply for the privilege of using the Boardwalk as a stage by acquiring an official permit from the city. Said permit should be prominently displayed on the performer. No permit, no performance.

Elizabeth Sacca Kuczinski


Decision Time


Presently the Nations of the world can’t seem to decide on a name for the evil that has presented itself under the pretense of a religious belief. Some nations call it for what they perceive it to be while other nations can’t decide or refuse to recognize it as a real threat.

While they debate and go undecided, this evil continues to grow and spread taking the lives of innocent people.  When will the nations stand up to this evil, regardless of what it’s called? How many heads need to be cut off, people burned alive, children murdered, women raped before action to oppose this evil is taken?

All the nations of the world seem to be looking for a leader. Obviously, our present administration doesn’t have the will to take the necessary action to dispose of this evil before it’s too late.

What is it going to take for nations to do what’s necessary? Another attack like Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers? I’m afraid by waiting any attack will be much more devastating. Instead of thousands in one city it may be millions in many cities because of the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Before we allow this to happen, nations of the world need to come together and face this evil and eradicate it off the face of this earth. I don’t believe there is any other alternative.

These evil people have consciously made a judgment that opposes all recognized ethical principles and in so doing freed themselves of guilt for the actions they have taken. I hope and pray that the proper action will be taken for to do nothing would be a universal mistake.

Paul St. Andre

Ocean City Maryland



Resort Clarifies Truck Franchise Will Continue With Limitations

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City officials this week tightened the definition on the types of goods that could be offered by the town’s ice cream truck franchisee after considerable debate about flirting with what could become a food truck.

The debate began two weeks ago when the Mayor and Council rejected a bid from a Selbyville company for the town’s lone ice cream truck franchise. Earlier this year, the owner of the town’s ice cream truck franchise informed the town he would not be able to fulfill the remainder of his current four-year contract, which expires in 2016.

As a result, town officials agreed to re-open the bidding process for the ice cream truck franchise with a due date of Feb. 9. The Selbyville company was the lone applicant when the bids were opened, but the Mayor and Council rejected the lone undisclosed bid amount and voted to rebid the franchise to a broader vendor base. However, before the new bidding process could be opened, town officials expressed a desire to tighten the definition of what kinds of goods could be offered by the ice cream truck franchisee.

The current code is restrictive and allows only for pre-packaged goods including ice cream, candy and non-alcoholic beverages. The code is also restrictive on the areas the ice cream truck franchisee can operate, limiting it to residential areas with condos, apartment and hotels and away from established businesses that might offer the same goods. For example, the ice cream truck is not allowed to operate anywhere in the ocean block areas near the Boardwalk where existing businesses also offer ice cream and similar goods.

Before putting the franchise back out to bid, town officials wanted to tighten the definition of what goods were allowed to prevent a “food truck” from operating in the town. Food trucks have become increasingly popular around the country and offer a wide variety of prepared foods in a variety of locations. The Ocean City Mayor and Council’s intent is to redefine what is allowed to be sold by its ice cream truck franchisee in order to prevent competition with existing businesses.

The Mayor and Council took up the debate last week. Councilmember Dennis Dare suggested the code as written might be too restrictive and suggested it could be amended to allow for certain other goods without crossing the line to food truck and infringing on other businesses. Dare said allowing the ice cream truck franchisee to offer other goods could improve its chances for success and prevent a similar situation where the franchisee had to default.

“Will the bid provide for any creativity?” he said. “If it did, does this allow for it? The code allows for ice cream, candy and non-alcoholic beverages, but if somebody came in here with something different that’s not a food truck, this does not allow for that.”

However, Mayor Rick Meehan said the council intensely debated the types of goods the ice cream truck could offer and warned about heading down that rocky road again.

“I thought it was very clear the definition was for an ice cream truck,” he said. “I don’t know if we want to go down that road. Do you want to start that conversation all over again? Do you want food trucks?”
Dare said he did not intend to open up the code for all kinds of offerings from the ice cream truck, but merely wanted to explore if there were certain things the truck could offer to make it more successful.

“I didn’t say that,” he said. “I’m just saying there might be something different that could make the bidder money and make the town money. I just think this is too restrictive and it wasn’t intended to be.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman said expanding the definition for the ice cream truck franchise could open a can of worms the town was not prepared for.

“I think it would be too hard to draw that line,” he said. “If somebody came up with a taco in a bag that they could microwave, that could be considered a snack. This doesn’t even allow for a bag of chips.”

The debate then switched to an apples-to-oranges comparison. City Solicitor Guy Ayres said the definition and the bid process had to have a level playing field or the proposed offerings could be all over the map.

“It just wouldn’t work,” he said. “Some bidder might come in and bid for an apple, while another bidder might come in and bid for an orange.”

Dare questioned why the definition had to be so restrictive that it only includes apples, so to speak.

“Why does everyone have to bid on an apple?” he said. “Some might want to bid on an apple and an orange. Some might bid on an apple, orange and grapefruit.”

After considerable debate, the council voted to leave the definition as it is with just ice cream, candy and non-alcoholic beverages with no other “pre-packaged” foods allowed. The ordinance was passed as emergency legislation because the bid process has to be opened soon in order to be approved and ready for the season.




Property Owners Advised To Retain Flood Insurance Even With Recent Changes


OCEAN CITY — Ocean City officials last week adopted the new flood insurance rate maps and the associated changes to the town’s code, but not before raising concerns the relaxed requirements could result in many property owners simply not renewing their policies.

The Mayor and Council on Thursday night, Feb. 19, adopted the new maps created by FEMA during a lengthy review process of the entire resort. FEMA has completed its flood insurance study for Ocean City and has redrawn the maps that designate which areas are at the greatest risk for flooding during coastal storms and other high tide events.

Changes to the maps impact the city’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, and by association, the town’s building code. The flood maps had not been updated since 1986, and largely because of the ongoing beach replenishment, the creation of the dune system, the construction of the sea wall along the Boardwalk and the town’s own stringent building codes on elevation, the new maps significantly relax the flood insurance requirements for most resort properties.

For example, the 1986 maps had most oceanfront properties in the V-Zone, which had the highest risk and, therefore, the highest flood insurance rates. However, the new FEMA maps adopted by the council last week take most oceanfront properties out of the V-Zone. In fact, all oceanfront properties south of 143rd Street are no longer in the most onerous V-Zone.

In the new maps, almost all Ocean City properties are no longer in the 1 percent or 100-year flood zone with a mapped Base Flood Elevation. As a result, the requirements for flood insurance will be relaxed with lower rates for most property owners and no requirement for flood insurance at all for many others. In the past, mortgage companies and insurance companies required flood insurance, but with the new maps taking many resort properties out of the highest risk categories, that will no longer be the case for some.

Many resort property owners will see their flood insurance rates reduced significantly because of the map changes. Some at-risk bayside properties will likely see their rates increase, but many in the resort may drop their flood insurance policies altogether.

“Most will see a decrease in their flood insurance rates,” said City Engineer Terry McGean, who presented the flood map changes to the Mayor and Council last week. “Those in some designations will likely see an increase. If you live on a barrier island, it behooves you to get flood insurance.”

In short, the new FEMA maps will result in lower insurance rates for many and no requirement to even carry flood insurance for others.  With the relaxed maps, mortgage companies might not make resort property owners maintain flood insurance.

The adopted maps will maintain the town’s stringent building codes in terms of elevation for at-risk properties. Those building standards, along with beach replenishment and the dunes, for example, have protected Ocean City properties during storms when other resort communities without similar standards have seen devastation from storms.

“People invest in Ocean City because we have a higher standard,” said Councilman Dennis Dare. “If we didn’t have those higher standards, you would see houses fall into the ocean during a big hurricane.”

Dare said by adopting the maps, the town will enjoy reduced flood insurance rates while maintaining its same stringent building standards.

“It sounds like the best of both worlds,” said Dare. “We get reduced rates and we get to keep the same elevation standards.”

However, later in the meeting, Reese Cropper III, president of the Insurance Management Group (IMG), warned the map changes and the perceived insurance rate reductions were misleading and voiced concern many who likely need flood insurance simply will drop their policies because of the changes.

“The flood maps are a big concern to me,” he said. “I’m seeing some assumptions by officials and the public. People are making the assumption this will lead to cheap insurance. It will not.”

Cropper warned officials to not simply convey the message the new FEMA maps and the associated flood insurance requirement changes signal a reduction in the risk threat during storms.

“I’m afraid a lot of people are not going to pay the premium and renew their policy,” he said. “I think we need to be careful about what information we put out there. I think we need a public service message.”

Cropper said it is human nature to not pay for something if it is not required, even if it will likely be needed someday.

“I know the consumer will not pay for these flood premiums if they don’t have to,” he said. “They’ll say ‘when was the last time we needed it?’”

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed the town had to continue to urge property owners to have sufficient coverage despite the relaxed rules.

“We need to encourage them to continue to buy flood insurance,” he said. “We need to get the word out in our newsletter. We live on a barrier island and we all need to have flood insurance.”








A Week In Business

briefcase 45

Health Literacy Program Pre-Testing Underway

BERLIN  Atlantic General Hospital recently held pre-testing for the next roll-out of its health literacy program, a partnership with Worcester County public schools and Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health.

Pre-testing for second, third, fourth and fifth graders throughout the county occurred in January. The roll-out is new to Showell, Buckingham, Snow Hill and Pocomoke elementary and Snow Hill and Pocomoke Middle schools this year. First grade did not receive testing due to the broad range in development at this grade level, but they are being introduced to integrated health literacy curriculum.


Seal Of Approval Awarded

SALISBURY Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Home Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with hospice performance standards.

The Joint Commission awards the Gold Seal of Approval, a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care, for a three-year period.

Accreditation is not required of hospice providers.

The accreditation process helps Coastal Hospice remain current with best practices among providers. As a result of this survey, the Coastal Hospice team not only learns from others in the field but also contributes its own best practices to the profession.

Coastal Hospice underwent a rigorous on-site survey in December 2014. A surveyor from The Joint Commission evaluated the organization’s compliance with home care standards reflecting key organization areas, including the provision of care, treatment and services, emergency management, human resources, individual rights and responsibilities and leadership.

“When individuals engage a home care provider, they want to be sure that provider is capable of providing safe, quality care,” Margherita Labson, executive director of the Home Care Accreditation program for The Joint Commission, said. “As the home care setting becomes increasingly popular, it is important that home care providers are able to demonstrate they are capable of providing safe, high quality care. Accreditation by The Joint Commission and the Gold Seal serve as an indication that the organization has demonstrated compliance to these recognized standards of safe and quality care.”

The Joint Commission’s hospice standards are developed in consultation with health care experts, home care providers and researchers, as well as industry experts, purchasers and consumers.

“Coastal Hospice is pleased to once again receive accreditation from The Joint Commission,” Alane Capen, president of Coastal Hospice, said. “Staff from across our organization continue to work together to strengthen the services we offer and deliver excellent hospice care for those in our community.”


Shore Market Update

BERLIN — Inventory decreased in many areas of Maryland’s Eastern Shore region in January, according to The Long & Foster Market Minute reports, which are compiled from data from residential real estate transactions within specific geographic regions, not just Long & Foster sales.

Some areas of the Eastern Shore market, which includes Worcester, Wicomico, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Caroline counties, also saw increases in the number of homes sold.

Though numbers varied around the region, the Eastern Shore real estate market saw some positive trends in the number of homes sold in January. Worcester County, for example, enjoyed a 48-percent increase in the number of units sold. That number rose by 35 percent in Talbot County, while other areas experienced decreases from 3 percent to 29 percent.

Inventory decreased in most of the Eastern Shore region when compared to year-ago levels, according to January data. Wicomico County saw a decrease of 10 percent and Worcester County had a 9 percent drop. Inventory in Caroline and Talbot counties dropped by 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Dorchester County saw inventory decrease by 4 percent, while Queen Anne’s County experienced a 6-percent rise in inventory.

The median sale price varied across the Eastern Shore region, with Dorchester County seeing an 11-percent increase and Worcester County seeing no change compared to the same month last year. In Wicomico County. the median sale price dipped by 4 percent, while other areas experienced declines from 6 percent to 34 percent.

“In January, we saw some positive trends happening in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast real estate market, including in the Eastern Shore region, with many areas seeing decreases in active inventory and some areas seeing growing numbers of homes sold,” said Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and chief operating officer for The Long & Foster Companies. “These are some good developments in the world of real estate, and we’re expecting to see a healthy spring market in 2015.”