Early Study Underway For Possible Excursion Train Operation

Excursion trains, similar to the Thomas version pictured, are being seriously evaluated in Worcester County. Photo by Strausburg Rail Road

SNOW HILL — The first phase of a proposed excursion train in Worcester County is officially underway, While the move was expected, details on the feasibility study emerged this week.

Anticipation is also beginning to ramp up amongst officials who see an excursion train as a way to further distinguish Worcester on the shore.

It was confirmed earlier this month that the county had found a suitable consultant for a train feasibility study. Bill Badger, director of economic development, revealed additional details about the process Tuesday while also obtaining permission from the County Commission to move forward.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) process to find a consultant resulted in two strong bids, according to Badger.

“As you know, the Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) office issued a request for proposals (RFP) to the consultant community for an excursion train phase one feasibility study for Berlin to Snow Hill,” he wrote in a memo to the commission. “WCED received two proposals in response to our recent RFP, they include Stone Consulting, Inc. from Warren, Pa and Ozark Mountain Railcar, from Kirbyville, Mo. Although both were similar in their final pricing, Stone Consulting provided the requested detail and proven history necessary to contract with them.”

The final bid for Stone came in at $18,040 with another $2,899 sum set aside for extra possible expenses for a total of $20,939. Ozark’s bid came in at $18,750. The expectation from the county is to have the feasibility study completed within 45 to 60 days. It’s an important first step, Badger said, and falls in line with some predictions he made last week about having a solid plan in place to advance by the end of the calendar year.

“There has to be a business plan made where capital is put forward … So we’re embarking on that journey with this Phase I study which really challenges market assumptions and builds a case for an investment to create an excursion train opportunity here in Worcester County,” he said.

Though the RFP only yielded two qualified bids and a third that missed the deadline, Badger added that he was happy with the amount of interest the feasibility study generated. Excursion trains are a “niche” field that requires special consultants and Stone has a good reputation in the business, he told the commission. The $20,939 fee for Phase I will be evenly distributed among the towns of Berlin, Snow Hill, the Maryland Delaware Railroad and WCED. All will pay $5,000 toward the study with WCED rounding everything off by contributing $5,939.

Last week Badger met with the Berlin Mayor and Council and was given a reiteration that the town would be glad to pay its $5,000 share and that officials are excited to be part of the proposed excursion train route, which would carry passengers between Berlin and Snow Hill for day trips and special events.

While signing the consultation agreement this week, several commissioners agreed that the closer Worcester comes to realizing the train the more excitement seems to be building.

“I have had more calls of interest with this than anything we’ve done in a long time,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs. “People are really attracted by the uniqueness of it and the history of it. It’s very exciting.”

At a recent meeting of Eastern Shore government officials, Commission President Bud Church said that he had close to half a dozen mayors of nearby communities approach him to talk about the excursion train.

Commissioner Virgil Shockley reminded the group that the proposed project is similar, if much larger in scope, to an excursion system the county had in place more than two decades ago that was popular.

Badger plans on returning to the commission in September with the results of the feasibility study. There’s no guarantee yet that a train will come to the county, but he is optimistic about how the study will play out.

 

Recent Dolphin Mortality Event Remains A Concern

A pod of dolphin are pictured in the Atlantic Ocean last weekend. Photo by Laura Powell

OCEAN CITY — The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) last week conducted its annual dolphin count along the coast in Ocean City and Assateague amid concerns over the stress of an unusual mortality event that has lingered on since last summer.

The National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program last Friday was joined by a large group of volunteers for the annual Maryland Dolphin Count and the numbers revealed a significant decline over the number counted during the 2013 event, but aquarium officials are not alarmed. Last Friday, around 50 volunteers of all ages came out between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to help record dolphin sightings at four locations, including the Assateague State Park day-use area and in Ocean City at 40th, 81st and 130th streets.

During the sessions, a total of 53 dolphins were counted at the four locations, which was a lower number than last year, likely due to limited visibility caused by fog. Last year, 113 dolphins were counted during the event, which is in the normal range. In 2012, just 31 dolphin sightings were recorded, representing the lowest total in recent years.

The annual dolphin count helps marine mammal specialists capture a snapshot at dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. Looking at the population numbers over the years can help determine the health of the coastal ecosystem as well as the abundance of prey. Prior to the annual dolphin count on the beach last Friday, a fundraiser was held at Seacrets on Thursday during which nearly $3,000 was raised for the National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program.

What is alarming for MARP officials and their colleagues up and down the east coast is the continued unusual mortality event that has plagued the dolphin population since about this time last year. Around mid-July 2013, the number of dolphin strandings up and down the coast from New York to Florida spiked dramatically, causing NOAA Fisheries to declare an unusual mortality event.

While there were some live strandings, most were found dead and often badly decomposed. The epidemic reached a crescendo late last summer and into the early fall, but National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program Stranding Coordinator Jennifer Ditmar said this week the mortality event has not abated and is still under investigation.

“The Unusual Mortality Event affecting bottlenose dolphins is still open and active unfortunately,” she said.

While there have been no reported live or dead dolphin strandings in Maryland this summer, the numbers collected over the last year since the first spike last July illustrate the scope of the epidemic. For example, from 2007 to 2012, the average yearly number of dolphin strandings in Maryland was five, but that total has risen to 71 from last July to this month. Similar numbers bear out in neighboring Delaware, which saw an average of five dolphin strandings in the five prior years spike to 71 in the last 12 months.

In Virginia, the figures are even more dramatic. Virginia saw an average number of dolphin strandings of 64 from 2007 to 2012, but that total has spiked to 389 since July of last year. The entire east coast from New York to Florida saw an average number of 295 for the prior five years, but that figure has ballooned to 1,370 during the unusual mortality event.

From the beginning, scientists have conducted diagnostic tests, or necropsies, on some of the deceased dolphins and NOAA has determined the primary cause of the mortality event is a virus, more specifically a cetacean morbillivirus, which is characterized as similar to measles in humans, or canine distemper in dogs. Dozens of dolphins have been tested from all over the mid-Atlantic region and the morbillivirus has been detected in most.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, the Assateague Island National Seashore officials this week provided useful information to help determine the differences between dolphins and porpoises spotted off the coast. For years, many beachgoers and vacationers have debated the differences and the two terms have often been used interchangeably, but they are uniquely different creatures and the National Seashore officials provided some useful information for knowing the difference.

Dolphins and porpoises are two different species of mammals, but it’s hard to tell them apart from the beach. As a general rule of thumb, one spotted from the beach on Assateague or Ocean City is generally an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Not only are dolphins more common than porpoises in the Atlantic, they are much more numerous than porpoises worldwide. Most scientists agree there are 32 dolphin species, plus five closely-related species of river dolphin, while there are only six known species of porpoises.

From the beach, it’s important to focus on the shape of the body, head and dorsal fin. Dolphins have slender bodies with pointed beaks and a dorsal fin that looks like a breaking wave. Porpoises have chubby bodies with blunt, rounded beaks and a dorsal fin that looks like a triangle. Another notable difference is that social groups of porpoises are not as large or close-knit as those of dolphins.

 

Private Industry Help Sought To Tame Car Event’s Spectator Concerns

Private

OCEAN CITY – Cruisin’ promoters and Ocean City officials plan to place a greater importance on working with the business community to address concerns about destructive behavior during the twice annual events.

Last month the Ocean City Police Commission began a preliminary discussion regarding concerns over the popular Cruisin’ event that occurs in Ocean City in May and October.

Following a busy Cruisin’ event this past May, Ocean City residents vented on social media and in the media’s letters to the editor section their frustrations over massive traffic backups, infrastructure damage to roads caused by the thousands of classic cars in town spinning out and the massive amounts of litter left behind by irresponsible visitors.

Following Cruisin’ weekend, event producers Bob Rothermel and Jack Hennen met with Mayor Rick Meehan and City Manager David Recor to address the concerns.

During last month’s commission meeting, Recor confirmed the meeting took place and the officials acknowledged how the event has changed over the years and actions can be taken next year to make it better. Although events are held in the spring and fall in Ocean City, the May event typically brings larger crowds to the area.

Rothermel and Hennen joined the conversation with the Police Commission at Monday’s meeting. According to Hennen, the activity at the event’s two official host venues, the Inlet parking lot and Roland E. Powell Convention Center, was smooth.

“The only thing we noticed was the activity going on, on the highway between the two venues and further north with the amount of traffic on the road and the amount of extracurricular activities that took place on the side of the highway but in terms of the actual events that was run, they went fine,” he said.

Rothermel added the problems occurring are coming along with the success of the event.

“We all know this went from a very small event that has grown to a very significant event for the community and the problem that we have is success because it has brought other spectators to come to see the event,” he said. “The spectator portion has also grown, so when you put that many more people into the community at the same time as the cars it will increase numbers. We had 200 cars our first year and now it is over 3,000 registered cars.”

Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro asked if there are any regulations required to be abided by in order to be registered with the event.

Hennen responded regulations are printed on the registration applications, such as cars must be licensed, tagged and insured, as well as excessive speeding, loud noise and spinning wheels will not be tolerated. The regulations are then reiterated on the confirmation letter registrants receive.

Rothermel furthered event staff at both venues are empowered to pull registrations for those not abiding by the rules, and the promoters are in communication with the police department when it comes to any issue.

“I can’t remember when was the last time we had to ask you guys to pull a tag,” OCPD Captain Kevin Kirstein said. “It is usually the spectators that go out on the radios that they are violating ordinances than the actual participants.”

Meehan looked back 25 years ago when Cruisin’ was first introduced to Ocean City hand-in-hand with the first Springfest event to draw more people to the resort in the spring season.

“There was not the same mass of people that are here today. We have built over 5,000 condominiums units since that time period, and now more people are coming earlier in May and staying later in September. We have watched that grow … there were less than 250 cars the first time and people still thought they were everywhere because town was so quiet but the town has grown, the season has expanded and the event has expanded, so now we need to look at what we can do to make the event more compatible with the community that has grown,” the mayor said.

Meehan recognized there are certain businesses and private properties becoming associated with the event for spectators to gather and suggested the police department recommend ordinances to enact in regards to parking lots and alcohol consumption.

“It is time now to look at the bigger picture and let the business community know if this is going to continue to be successful everybody has to play a role and it maybe something they need to do to ensure success into the future,” he said.

Buzzuro reported he has been in contact with the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) over the matter, specifically security of private property and prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the open.

“Hopefully, we can solve a lot of the issues working with private properties, but we are very limited when it comes to enforcement on private property associated with the event,” Buzzuro said. “The biggest issue is Coastal Highway turning into a speedway, and for us we can pull over folks all day long and cite them but if they’re from out of state the points aren’t transferable so it almost a trophy when you get a moving violation. An hour later they are getting pulled over again because if you have money in your pocket there is no overall fear, and that is what we’re up against. As well as, the height of the jubilation of the spectators egging everyone on combined with the private property issue is a big deal for us in what we are trying to deal with.”

Meehan concluded it is time to have another conversation with the OCHMRA as well as the town’s Planning and Zoning Department to regulate parking lots.

“Certainly we want to work with these events to make sure their successful, number one, as well as compatible with the community,” he said.

Rothermel and Hannon agreed, and conversation will continue with all partners who need to “step up to the plate” to ensure the continued success of the event.

 

 

10th Kid’s Classic Tournament Underway

OCEAN CITY- Young anglers will get their moment in the spotlight this weekend when the Ocean City Marlin Club hosts its 10th Annual Kid’s Classic Tournament.

Throughout the summer, the big boys and girls get to show off their fishing skills practically every weekend with one tournament or another, but the focus during this weekend’s 10th Annual Kid’s Classic will clearly be on the younger anglers. The event is open to all anglers age 19 or younger and is taking place in the waters in and around the resort area from the back bays to the ocean.

The annual tournament is held for the benefit of the Wish-A-Fish Foundation, a national program that provides opportunities for kids with special needs, whether they are suffering from a life-threatening illness or suffer from long-term disability, to enjoy a day on the water catching fish. The event gets underway today with registration and a captain’s meeting before the action inshore and offshore gets underway tomorrow and Sunday. Participating boats and anglers will fish one of the two days.

Sunset Marina will host the weigh-ins each fishing day but most of the tournament activity will be centered at the host Ocean City Marlin Club. For example, a cookout will be held on Saturday night at the club, while Sunday’s activities include a carnival and awards ceremony. For more information, contact the Ocean City Marlin Club at (410) 213-1613.

 

 

 

Things To Do Around Town

Thngs to do

Every Sunday: Morning Worship

7:30 a.m., early morning service, 4th St. & the Boardwalk; 8:30 a.m., contemporary; 10 a.m., traditional, At-lantic 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 Wor-ship; 9:30 a.m., Contemporary Wor-ship; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, E.L.C.A, 10301 Coastal Hwy., O.C. For more info, 410-524-7474.

 

Every Monday Through October:

Historic St. Martin’s Church

Museum Open

1-4 p.m., 11413 Worcester Hwy., Showell. For more information, 410-251-2849.

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 directions 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 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 info, 410-213-0243.

 

Every Wednesday: TOPS Meeting

3:30-4:30 p.m., Ocean City Library. Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a support group promoting weight loss and healthy lifestyles. For more info, 302-436-3682.

 

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 small household items.

 

Every Thursday: OC Elks

Carry-Out Fried Chicken

4-7 p.m., Ocean City Elks Lodge, pick-up window located on the corner of 146th St. & Sinepuxent Ave. O.C. Carry-out fried chicken available in 4-piece dinners with two sides, $9; 16-piece dinners with two large sides, $25; and 24-piece dinners with three large sides, $38. To place an order ahead, 410-250-2645.

 

Through Labor Day:

Books By The Bag Sale

Ocean City Library, 10003 Coastal Hwy. Available during regular Li-brary hours. Sponsored by the Friends of the Ocean City Library. Gently used books for $5 a bag.

 

July 18: Trout Fish Fry

4:30-6:30 p.m., Bowen United Meth-odist Church, Newark. Trout platters are $10 and include fish, macaroni and cheese, green beans, roll, beverage and dessert.

 

July 19: OP Anglers Club

18th Annual Art Hansen

Memorial Youth Fishing Contest

Registration, 8:30-9:30 a.m., with contest from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; South Gate Pond, near Sports Core Pool, Ocean Pines. Youths should bring own rod and reel. Bait will be provided. Three age groups, ages 4-7; 8-11 and 12-16. Participants in each age group will be given special awards for the three largest fish and for the most fish. All participants receive a prize compliments of the OC/Berlin Optimist Club. For more information, 410-208-2855.

 

July 22: Free “Ask A Master

Gardener Clinic”

1-4 p.m., Ocean Pines Library, 11107 Cathell Rd., Ocean Pines. Of-fered by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. Mas-ter gardeners will be available to help you with your gardening questions. Please put your plant damage sample in a plastic bag and label the bag with your name and phone number. If your questions cannot be answered at the time of submittal, it will be reserved and someone will get back to you at a later date.

 

July 23: 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.

 

July 23: 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.

 

July 24: Worcester Co.

NAACP Meeting

6:30 p.m., Berlin Multipurpose Building, Flower St. Guest speaker will be Capt. Butch Arbin, of the OC Beach Patrol, who will discuss water and surfing safety at the risk of rip tides. Dept. of Natural Resources Officer Mance McCall will review boat safety. Adults are encouraged to bring their children for this informative meeting. Free hot dogs and soda will be provided. For more information, 443-944-6701.

 

July 24: Legion Bingo

Doors open 5:30 p.m., games begin 7 p.m.; American Legion Post 166, 24th St. & Philadelphia Ave., O.C. Food and drink available. For more information, 410-289-3166.

 

July 26: “Singspiration”

Gospel Music Extravaganza

2 p.m., Makemie Memorial Pres-byterian Church, 103 W. Market St., Snow Hill. “Singspiration” will feature gospel music, bluegrass instrumentals and congregational singing of favorite hymns. For more information, 757-824-0364.

 

July 26: Special Praise Service

At Snow Hill Christian Church

6:30 p.m., Snow Hill Christian Church, 300 Park Row, Snow Hill. Service will feature T.J. Magee and her praise band. Refreshments to follow. For more info, 301-436-5974.

 

July 26: The Nelons

Gospel Concert

7 p.m., Friendship United Methodist Church, 10537 Friendship Rd., Berlin. No tickets are required but a love offereing will be taken.

 

July 29: Free “Ask A Master

Gardener Clinic”

1-4 p.m., Ocean Pines Library, 11107 Cathell Rd., Ocean Pines. Of-fered by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. Mas-ter gardeners will be available to help you with your gardening questions. Please put your plant damage sample in a plastic bag and label the bag with your name and phone number. If your questions cannot be answered at the time of submittal, it will be reserved and someone will get back to you at a later date.

 

July 30: 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.

 

July 30: Delmarva Hand Dancing

5:30-9 p.m., Peaky’s (formerly Jordan’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.

 

July 31: Legion Bingo

Doors open 5:30 p.m., games begin 7 p.m.; American Legion Post 166, 24th St. & Philadelphia Ave., O.C. Food and drink available. For more information, 410-289-3166.

 

Aug. 1: Temple Bat Yam

Shabbat Service

7 p.m., arrival time with service at 7:30 p.m., Ocean Pines Beach Club, 49th St. & Coastal Hwy., O.C. Ser-vice will be held on the lower deck for easier accessibility. Lights, bathrooms, chairs and free parking. A limited amount of flashlights will be provided but attendees should bring their own. In the event of rain, the service will be held at the Temple Bat Yam. For more info, 410-251-6366.

 

Aug. 2: Montego Bay Residential

Community Yard Sale

8 a.m.-2 p.m., turn at bayside at 130th St., O.C. Look for bargains at some of the 1,523 homes.

 

Aug. 2: 37th Annual OP Craft Fair

9 a.m., White Horse Park, Ocean Pines. Featuring over 100 crafters, food vendors, bake sale table, farmers market (open 8 a.m.), music and children’s activities. In addition to the Craft Shop, sponsored by the Pine’eer Craft Club, will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., located in front of the Ocean Pines Community Center. For more information, 410-726-8062.

 

Aug. 3: The Pine Ridge Boys

In Concert

7 p.m., Friendship United Methodist Church, 10537 Friendship Rd., Berlin. No tickets are required but a love offering will be taken. For more information or directions visit www.friendshipchurch.us.

Adventures Of Fatherhood

new fatherhood headshot

There are certain phrases that will always stop Carson in his tracks.

For obvious reasons, one is anything that has to do with swimming in the pool and going to the beach. Another is, oddly enough, a sentence that includes deviled eggs.

Our 4-year-old boy is an egg fanatic in general, but he has recently discovered a serious love affair with those of the deviled egg variety. We recently learned about this at a neighborhood picnic when Carson mauled a couple deviled eggs before returning repeatedly for more. I lost track at six. Only problem is he wants nothing else to eat and obsesses solely on them once he knows they are available.

Over the weekend, his love affair was reignited at a family gathering when he polished off another half dozen and a couple days later took care of the leftovers.

I see a lot of these in our future.
Frequent discussions have taken place recently with Beckett over the concept of an allowance.

The 6-year-old of the house is quite focused and curious about money. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. In fact, he often fires off questions to me about money. The conversation usually goes something like this.

Him: Daddy, how much money do we have exactly?

Me: [Trying to dodge because it makes me uncomfortable] It varies.

Him: I need a number. Is it hundreds?

Me: Yes.

Him: Is it thousands?

Me: Hold on I hear someone at the door [which there was not].

Him: Is it hundreds of millions?

Me: No.

Him: Well, why not? You need to go back to work then.

Conversations along these lines happen often and every time I buy something in front of him he tries to sneak a few dollars for himself or tries to work me over to buy him something.

During a talk about money with his mom and his desires to get a new video game, she suggested that he step up his efforts around the house with chores, like making his bed, taking out the recycling, getting the morning paper and keeping his room clean, in exchange for a modest allowance that he could save for future purchases.

While we are still considering what amount of an allowance would be appropriate for a 6-year-old, Beckett has been placing his own dollar amount on certain chores.

For instance, he came down the other morning without any sort of greeting and continued a conversation he and I were having at bed time. He had overnight come to the conclusion that making his bed is worth $10. He held the car door open for his brother and figured that was worth $5. When he put his cup in the sink the other morning after being reminded to do it, he reported that should be worth at least another $10. He even thinks using the bathroom should be worth something. In fact, after a particularly proud bowel movement, he reported that has to be worth a $20 bill.

It’s interesting that he also doesn’t think he should be docked any allowance for not following rules or showing poor judgment. He seems to think it should be like a running tab that is added up at the end of the week, while we say a handful of things may merit an allowance.

Pam believes whatever he receives in an allowance that a certain amount should go to savings and some set aside to donate to help others. I liked that idea. Beckett embraced the concept, saying, “oh okay then I will give $20,000 to a charity and keep the rest.”

His expectations could use a little adjusting.

 

There are so many instances during this parenting journey that make me laugh. There are others that aggravate me, of course, but I try my best to focus on the positives.

One such moment was last Friday when I took Carson to the pediatrician to have three staples removed from his head after a recent fall at home.

I dreaded this appointment because I knew how much it hurt him to have them put in seven days prior. Fortunately, Carson was fine with it and as soon as we walked into the waiting room he walked over with me to the receptionist and started pulling his hair back to show her why he was there.

Once the doctor came in, the wrestling match began between me and Carson. He abhors anyone trying to constrain him under any circumstances.

Once I had him in a vice grip, the doctor adeptly removed the staples, which I was anxious to examine after feeling them all week in his head. The good news was there was no pain for him.

Carson did not seem as interested in the staples as I was. When I made him look at them in my hand, he simply slapped them out of my hand to the floor and then started jumping on them.

Afterwards, he flung the room’s door open and sprinted toward the waiting room, while signing he wanted that cookie that I promised him from the nearby coffee shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Pusey Family Calls Community Generosity ‘Amazing’

The June 26 fire ravaged the West Ocean City home located at the corner of Golf Course and Old Bridge roads. Photo by Shawn Soper

WEST OCEAN CITY — The local community’s generous spirit was on display in a big way this week as hundreds gathered at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Tuesday for a fundraiser to help support a family displaced by a devastating house fire in West Ocean City in late June.

The fire that gutted a West Ocean City residence on the corner of Golf Course and Old Bridge roads was one of two going on simultaneously on Thursday evening, June 26. Around 7:05 p.m. on June 26, firefighters responded to a reported house fire on Riverview Drive in a subdivision outside Ocean Pines near Showell. First-arriving units found the large, two-story waterfront home fully involved with fire. The house was occupied at the time by the owners and no injuries were reported.

About 20 minutes later, a second fire was reported at the residence in West Ocean City. First arrivers found the rear exterior deck on fire with extension inside the house. The Ocean City Fire Department responded, along with fire companies from all over Worcester, Wicomico and Sussex County, Del.

The West Ocean City residence was occupied at the time, but no injuries were reported. However, the fire did result in the loss of two family pets. Almost immediately after the fire, the local community began to rally to support the West Ocean City family that lost nearly everything in the blaze. The Pusey family, including Jennifer and Brian, along with their two children, Ashley and Bailey, and a father-in-law, a nephew and the nephew’s girlfriend, lost everything in the fire.

The very next day after the fire, a Facebook page called the Pusey Family Fire Recovery was set up, directing the community on how to help the family in their time of need. Accounts were set up at the area Calvin B. Taylor Bank branches for monetary donations and well-wishers were also instructed on how to donate clothing, food, supplies and gift cards, for example. Family friend Christina Ager of the Mark Fritschle Group-Condominium Realty coordinated the early relief efforts in the weeks following the fire and a team of generous volunteers mobilized to create the fundraiser held at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Tuesday.

Hundreds turned out to show their support and make donations to assist the family. Local restaurants provided food for the function and other area businesses donated gift cards, baskets of various items and other contributions for silent auctions, raffles and other events. While it is uncertain at this point just how much was raised, the collaborative community effort will help jumpstart the Pusey family’s road to recovery.

“It was amazing,” said Jennifer Pusey this week. “This community is amazing. The generosity shown to us was overwhelming. It’s why this is such a wonderful place to live.”

Pusey said the family is still picking up the pieces after the fire, but the outpouring of generosity has buoyed their spirits and made life a little easier.

“Right now, everything is still kind of up in the air,” she said. “We have found a place to rent, which is a good thing. Every day is a better day.”

While the fundraiser at the Marlin Club on Tuesday was the high point of the efforts to assist the family thus far, it certainly is not the end and there are still several ways to contribute. For example, the Calvin B. Taylor Bank is still accepting donations for the Pusey family at any branch. In additions, contributions can still be made to Condominium Realty-Mark Fritschle Group on 62nd Street in Ocean City.

 

Things I Like

Eating dinner on a boat

 

Trail mix on the beach

 

Random acts of kindness between my sons

 

Photos of a moon rise over the ocean

 

Finding a good pen and holding on to it

 

Being sore on Monday morning from weekend kids antics

 

When penalty kicks do not decide a World Cup match

 

The Marina Deck’s kids play area

 

Summer nights at the Freeman Stage

 

Carpet after it’s been steam cleaned

 

The Orioles’ orange jerseys

 

 

Worcester County Economic Development Director Guest Speaker At Kiwanis Club Meeting

Community B

Kiwanis Club Chair of Speakers and Programs J. Graham Caldwell, Worcester County Economic Development Director Bill Badger and Kiwanis Club President Dick Clagett are pictured at a recent meeting. Badger was the guest speaker at the weekly meeting and talked about the prospect of having a train ride from Berlin to Snow Hill, similar to the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, Pa, offshore wind turbines, the development of the Pines Plaza now under new ownership and the retail developments on Route 50 in front of both Wal-Mart and Home Depot.