St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Vestry Establishes Quantico Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund At The Community Foundation Of The Eastern Shore

Community C

The St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Vestry recently established the Quantico Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. This permanent endowment will support the care and maintenance of the Quantico Cemetery which is adjacent to the Church’s property. Pictured, from left, are Phil Tilghman, Senior Warden, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Vestry; Ginny Zirkel, Junior Warden; Erica Joseph, Vice President Community Investment, Community Foundation; and Father Nathaniel Pierce, Worship Leader

Vanishing Ocean City With Bunk Mann

vanishing 10-24

The first bridge to carry automobile traffic into Ocean City was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1916 but did not officially open until July 4, 1919. Known to locals as the “State Roads Bridge,” it had a single lane in each direction. It crossed the Sinepuxent Bay at its most narrow point and entered Ocean City at Worcester Street in the center of the old downtown.

This bridge was damaged in the Hurricane of 1933 that destroyed the nearby railroad bridge and also created the Inlet. For the three days it took to repair the State Roads Bridge, no automobile traffic was able to enter or leave Ocean City except by the long and sand-covered route through Delaware. The photo above was taken four days after the hurricane in 1933.

The State Roads Bridge was replaced by the current Route 50 Bridge in 1942.

Photo courtesy Travis Langworthy


21st Annual Seaside 10 Set For Saturday

OCEAN CITY- The Seaside 10 and associated 5K race returns to Ocean City for the 21st year on Saturday as part of the resort’s ongoing special events during the month of October.

Hundreds of running enthusiasts will gather in Ocean City this weekend for the annual Seaside 10 and 5K, which will kick off tomorrow morning at the Inlet. The Seaside 10 will start at the Inlet parking lot and continue north on the Boardwalk to 27th Street. From there, runners will travel along Baltimore Ave. to Coastal Highway and head north to a turnaround at 68th Street. The runners will then come back along the same route in a southerly direction to a finish at the Inlet.

The 5K race will be run entirely on the Boardwalk with a start and finish at the Inlet. As usual, the Seaside 10 and 5K races will have a Halloween theme and many of the runners will be dressed in costume. The Seaside 10 will begin at 9 a.m. and the 5K will start soon thereafter at 9:15 a.m.

Whenever You Do It, Please Choose To Vote


Early voting started yesterday in jurisdictions across the state and will run through Thursday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

In Wicomico County, the polling site is the Civic Center and in Worcester it’s at the Gull Creek Retirement Community in Berlin. It’s our hope the recent trends with early voting – those that confirm it’s not popular among voters – will be flipped this election, and that the people will surprise us and choose this convenient option.

The turnout for June’s primary was disturbing – at about 20 percent. It was thought it would be light due to the summer scheduling, but the truth is it was just about what it was historically when it was in September. The fact is people, generally, are just not engaged in elections these days.

To be truthful, understanding this as a reality now, we have not invested a tremendous amount of newsroom time in previewing the various elections next month. We certainly have not ignored the election and the political season, but we have learned that our readers are more interested in the current events of the day rather than long election previews and interviews with candidates. The feeling here is candidates have more than enough avenues and opportunities to engage with voters that the populace simply does not look to the media as much as it once did for information on candidates and their views on various issues.

Over the next 10 days, the political season will hit its apex. If they haven’t already, the mailboxes will soon begin to be filled with campaign materials. The commercials in between your television shows and sports events will take on different tones. Readers will also notice some unique and new advertising space in this newspaper as well.

Elections are important every year, and it’s critical that residents view them that way. There is much riding on the numerous seats up for grabs on the local, regional and state front next month, and we hope the citizenry is serious about their obligations to express their voices.

Next week we will offer our endorsements for a variety of local elections of significance. It’s not important that we all agree. What’s critical, though, is expressing your opinion by simply voting between now and Nov. 4. You have many opportunities and we encourage you to utilize the voice so many of our predecessors worked so diligently to achieve and protect.





Petito’s Four Goals Lead Seahawks To Bayside Title

Stephen Decatur’s girls’ varsity soccer team edged Queen Anne’s, 5-4, with a dramatic sudden death overtime win to claim the Bayside Conference championship on Tuesday. Pictured above, a happy Coach Maggie Berke and her team celebrate with the championship hardware.

Photo by Heather McDonough

BERLIN- Senior captain Jillian Petito’s fourth goal on the game, on her birthday no less, gave Stephen Decatur’s girls’ varsity soccer team a dramatic 5-4 sudden death overtime win over Queen Anne’s in the Bayside Conference championship game at Wicomico County Stadium on Tuesday.

Decatur, which claimed the Bayside South title last week with a big win over rival Parkside, entered the conference championship game against Queen Anne’s on Tuesday with a near perfect record, it’s only non-win a tie with the Rams earlier this month. Queen Anne’s would prove to be a tough test for the Seahawks, however, and the back-and-forth contest was not settled until Petito scored her fourth and final goal just three minutes into the overtime period on her 17th birthday.

Decatur scored first on a lofted shot by Petito just 11 minutes into the championship game, but Queen Anne’s tied it at 1-1 about four minutes later. Petito tallied again, giving the Seahawks a 2-1 lead, but again Queen Anne’s had the answer with a goal with just four minutes remaining in the first half to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the intermission.

After the fast and furious first half, both teams came out fired up in the second half in what was becoming a tense, physical battle. Both teams had great opportunities early in the second half, but neither could break through. Queen Anne’s took its first lead of the game about 15 minutes into the second half at 3-2. A little over a minute later, Decatur’s Brigitte Ardis tied the game at 3-3.

Just over a minute after that tying goal, Petito put the Seahawks ahead again at 4-3 with an unassisted goal, her third of the game. Decatur clung to the 4-3 lead as the clock ticked down in the second half, but Queen Anne’s scored the tying goal with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

The last four minutes played out with neither team able to break through and the game headed to sudden death overtime with the Bayside Conference championship hanging in the balance.

About three minutes into the overtime period, Decatur’s Lexie VanKirk had a throw-in into the box and Petito found the ball in heavy traffic and was able to fire the winning shot into the Lions’ net.

The game-winner touched off a wild celebration for the Seahawks, who had claimed their first Bayside Conference championship in 11 years. The Seahawks won the conference championship in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003. Decatur’s title win continued the Bayside South’s dominance in the conference championship games. The Bayside North has only won once title since the series began in 1997, and that win came from Queen Anne’s in 2009.

With the win, the Seahawks crossed another major goal off their list for 2014. The team went unbeaten, it’s only blemish a 1-1 tie late in the season with Parkside, and also won the Bayside South title. Decatur’s record now stands at 12-0-1 on the season heading into the state regional tournament, where they will be the top seed in their sectional.

Comptroller Finds No Issues With Liquor Deal; Wholesaler Cleared In Investigation

SNOW HILL — The state Comptroller’s Office Field Enforcement Division this week opined a major liquor wholesaler in Maryland did not engage in unfair trade practices and false advertising when Worcester’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) locked into a deep discount price on a particular product in April only to see the price fall farther later in the summer.

In August, Worcester County officials requested a state investigation into alleged unfair trade practices and false advertising by Reliable-Churchill after making a large purchase in April on what the DLC believed was a locked in, one-time deal. According to the letter, the DLC purchased 400 cases or Captain Morgan at an advertised sale price of $12.79 per bottle based on the representation by Reliable that the sale price would be locked in until October.

However, in July, Reliable issued another sale flier advertising Captain Morgan at a sale price of $9.99 per bottle, or nearly $3 less per bottle than the price the DLC purchased 400 cases in April under the assumption the price was fixed until October. Based on the assumption the $12.79 per bottle price was as good as it was going to get until at least October, the DLC purchased the 400 cases needed to meet the demands of its wholesale and retail operations for the summer season, only to see the $9.99 price offered in July.

For that reason, the DLC alleged it was purposely misled into making the 400-case purchase in April and sought a rebate of roughly $8,300, or the difference between the $12.79 price and the $9.99 price. When Reliable tacitly denied any hints of unfair trade practices and false advertising by not remitting the $8,300 rebate, the DLC, through Worcester County Attorney Sonny Bloxom, in late August requested the Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Division to conduct an investigation.

“The county feels that Reliable deliberately misled it to get the DLC to purchase a large amount of the product at a higher price, knowing that later in the summer, Reliable would dramatically drop the price, therefore putting the county in an uncompetitive market position,” Bloxom’s letter to Field Enforcement Division Director Jeffrey Kelly read. “This is a blatant violation of the laws and regulations regarding alcoholic beverage advertising and sales.”

After weeks of careful review and investigation, Kelly and the state Comptroller’s Office Field Enforcement Division this week issued a ruling exonerating Reliable and dismissing the DLC’s allegations. Kelly informed Bloxom of the results of the investigation in a letter sent on Monday.

“As our investigation has drawn to a close, I am reporting to you that there is no evidence to support your allegations,” the letter reads.

The Comptroller’s investigation agreed Reliable’s price sheet did state the $12.79 price would likely be locked in until October, but the DLC failed to mention the price was set for a five-case minimum order and left out the key word “projected” in its allegation.

“Your aspersion that Reliable ‘deliberately misled’ the DLC does not make sense,” Kelly’s letter reads. “For that to be true, presumably, Reliable would had to have been willing to trick or entice accounts statewide into the making the April purchase only to hurt them with the further price reduction in July and August all for the purpose of placing the DLC in an ‘uncompetitive market position’.”

Kelly’s investigation pointed out the DLC does a significant amount of business with Reliable, but not at a level that the company would be willing to jeopardize its other accounts across Maryland.

“Admittedly, the DLC is a large purchaser, but it accounts for less than two percent of Reliable’s statewide sales and so, it seems, hardly warrants jeopardizing the other 98 percent of Reliable’s business across Maryland in an attempt to adversely impact the DLC.”

Kelly’s investigation also debunked the idea Reliable offered its $9.99 sale price for a 10-case purchase only to a few select retailers.

“This assertion is wholly inaccurate,” the letter reads. “Our investigation has shown that 253 retailers in Maryland took advantage of the discounted offer, including the DLC,” the letter reads. “Further, there is evidence that dozens of Worcester County retailers were provided information on the 10-case discounted offer and eight purchased the product at the discount.”

Kelly said in the letter the investigation included interviews with DLC Director Bobby Cowger, Reliable executives, and several Worcester County retailers along with a review of reams of invoices, emails and other pertinent documents.

“Please be assured that pursuant to your assertions and request, our office conducted a thorough and complete investigation,” the letter reads. “However, contrary to your allegations, we did not discover any evidence that Reliable acted in an illegal or improper manner.”

Voices From The Readers


Publication Threatened


As a candidate for the Ocean City Council who was disqualified at last Thursday’s kankaroo court hearing before the City Council, I wish to get the facts straight for the record.

In this morning’s The Dispatch, you reported Ufholz “never properly established his residency” and “immediately following the hearing, it was discovered that Ufholz claimed his homestead tax credit in Montgomery County.”

The facts are I did establish my residency via driver’s license, voter registration and tax records at the hearing. The facts are we do not have a homestead tax credit in Montgomery County. It is an automatic credit given to all primary residents of the county, in this case, my wife not I.

We all know where The Dispatch’s sentiments lie and where it gets its payroll. But, next time do not publish erroneous false statements lest you next see your intended victim in Circuit Court.

Philip John Ufholz

Ocean City


Some Events Chasing

Visitors From Area


On Friday, Oct. 17, I read my copy of The Dispatch while I ate lunch as I do most every Friday. It helps me plan my meager social life and gives me insights into the happenings of Ocean City. I probably most enjoy reading the “Between the Lines” section since it is the one place in the paper I can be assured will be addressing the more important issues in town.

What caught my eye most this week was the mention of current candidates being asked if they believed that the tourist season is “shrinking” and what they would do to “grow” the shoulder season. Considering what I see (and unfortunately too often hear), I believe the question asked should not be how to get tourists here but rather what is keeping them away.

My thought is that many of the events that have been embraced to fill the shoulder seasons have morphed into serious problems that challenge the resources available to control them and keep tourists and nearby locals with disposable income away. A business model that has relied heavily on high school seniors and motorized “fests” has gone badly awry.

Take a look at the calendar. Though out of any time order, I’ll mention Bike Week first. By all accounts that I read and see, it makes money for the city and is mostly manageable. But it is unbelievably noisy at all hours for days. And it wasn’t that many years back that a motorcycle group was experimenting with making OC its’ “fest” home, and while doing so made things somewhat more difficult for local police. I mostly point this out because Bike Week could deteriorate with just a post on the Internet and an overnight change in attendees.

And then in May there’s the first Cruiser Week. I know what it was years past with nicely restored cars (unfortunately often without adequate mufflers) coming to town to ride and display. It was an event that was attended by Boomers, but even back then I wondered how much was spent in town by those lined up on the sidewalks in camp chairs to watch the cars drive by. But that is all changed; that is not only what Cruiser Week is any longer. What do tourists see now — cars that aren’t restored but put together to be loud and fast, burning rubber in the streets. Tourists see pick-up trucks intentionally belching unburned carbon to blacken the air. They see trashed parking lots. They see the impossibility of driving anywhere on Coastal Highway. And OC is getting a great deal of advertising it does not want on YouTube. This is the exact caption under one (there are many) video featured as Cruising Ocean City, “These are just some unbelievable burnouts during Cruisin Ocean City event on May 18 Ocean City Maryland. The crowd was just insane.” It was quite a scene in front of the Spinnaker. This was one of many similar videos documenting the mayhem. Folks, it has been viewed 421,187 times. Who does this attract and bring to town that week and who does it keep away? And it is all repeated in October.

June bugs; Senior week. Only it isn’t just one week. School systems within driving distance of OC finish over a three-week span from the week after Memorial Day until Northern Virginia finishes deeper into June. More mayhem, and other than groceries and room rates (jamming in as many as possible), what are they really spending as compared to who they are keeping away?

Jeep Fest, Corvette Fest — both seem tame but exemplify the reliance on engines and four wheels to boost the economy.

Back to the calendar and the worst representation of what OC offers — H2O International. This is the one that already is and will continue to be the greatest threat to the city’s quality of life and reputation. There has been a pointing of the finger of responsibility to Whaleyville as the organizational culprit. Maybe deserved, but OC hotels and businesses have literally put out the welcome sign in front of their establishments. Forget the modified Volkswagen aspect at the campgrounds. This has become ground zero for all makes of cars modified to be loud, race, and burn rubber. This year, more high-speed Japanese road bikes have joined the group. Local coverage did not begin to capture how bad things were. Again, take a look at YouTube, OC’s new advertising agent. Here are some of the video titles: “H2O International Weekend 2012 – Mischief Coverage,” “Loud Exhaust Contest,” “H2Oi 45th Street Shenanigans,” “H2Oi the Get Up.” The caption after this one read, “My full recap on H2Oi 2014, it was a amazing time and can’t wait to see what happens next years H2Oi and what it will bring us.” There were many, many more. Mayor, Council, and candidates – are you aware of these? You need to be, not a pretty picture for tourists.

You will need a more comprehensive plan than impounding some cars that don’t meet vehicle requirements. I did a quick view of some H2Oi online videos that I saw in a brief search. There were hundreds of thousands of views total. The import of that number is astounding. I don’t think many of your Wine at the Beach tourists will be back that weekend.

Endless Cruisin’ in October brought more of the same. Yes, there was the traditional organized event and its participants, but the town was again graced with those here to race, burnout and speed. Documented in person; documented on YouTube.

As I rode my bike Sunday morning, Oct. 12, I came across three cars with big engines revving down Coastal Highway just north of Fenwick Island Park. They went up one side then down the other at a fairly normal speed. Then I realized why. They checked for Delaware trooper presence, found none, and then began racing at speeds that had to approach 85 mph up one side and then back south again. When I got home, I was on a review site looking at restaurant reviews for Ocean City. I came across a hotel review of an Oct. 11 stay that described that coffee mugs and plates had been thrown from balconies during the night, damaging that person’s car. And, once again, who now won’t come back.

Tuesday after Endless Cruisin’, I rode my bike down Coastal Highway to the Inlet. The 45th Street parking lot was still trashed with beer cans and bottles. An innocent bystander might have been injured or killed by the Camaro that flipped multiple times on Baltimore Avenue. After reading about that incident, I went online to find out more details, entering “Camaro Ocean City MD.” Multiple revealing reviews of Cruisin’ came up. This is the content of just one of the many. It was on a Camaro enthusiasts group site.

“All very true. It seemed the entire strip was bumper to bumper. I got down to the Inlet Saturday morning , 8:50am only to get turned away. Lot full. I was there since Thursday morning and spent one session in the Inlet Thursday. I just couldn’t move around.  I still had a blast, I swear at times it seemed that town was out of control.  There was a Trailblazer that went by Hooters, 3 girls in bikinis stuffed out the sunroof, hugging each other. Oh my, what a freak show.”

Who does this bring to Ocean City?

I know that this pattern was not the intent of the powers that be over the years. But a reliance on these types of events coupled with businesses hanging out the welcome sign no matter what has created a problem that I believe is bigger than what is being discussed.

A perception that Ocean City is a place where behavioral boundaries can be pushed has brought and will continue to bring a “tourist” that will undermine the image the city wants. When the events traditionally welcomed increasingly require law enforcement to be “all hands on deck,” there’s a problem. When there is more coverage of the council’s concern over buskers on the Boardwalk than there is for mayhem in the streets and parking lots, there’s a problem.

I feel for the city police being strained with these expanding disruptions. And groups (including more modified auto/motorcycle groups) viewing what’s out there on social media may already be looking for a week of their own to disrupt town. “College Takeover Week” already looms as a potential major disruption in June. And how many who live locally with disposable income to pump into businesses who would normally make the short drive into OC during the shoulder-seasons don’t do so any longer because of the nonsense going on?

Forget “how do we grow the shoulder season.” Start thinking “How do we restore Ocean City.”

John Natale

West Fenwick


City Director Recognized


I would like to recognize the recent efforts of an Ocean City employee, Hal Adkins, who is head of Public Works.

My mother is elderly and the only time we can get her to our condo in OC is during her favorite months of September and October. She hasn’t been able to get near the surf in many years and recently has been wanting to do so.

Knowing that she would need one of the sand wheelchairs that are not available on the beach after Labor Day, I sent an e-mail to Hal to see if he could accommodate us. Hal replied to my message quickly and assured me that he would help us make this happen.  He even had one delivered to the Convention Center so that we could pick it up when Public Works was closed.

Hal was eager to assist, was a pleasure dealing with and was adamant about my mother being able to get back on the beach after many years.

Many thanks to Hal Adkins for going above and beyond the call of duty and going the extra mile for mom.

John Zulli

Ocean City


General’s Looks To Continue Tradition At New Site

General’s Kitchen owner Robert Noll, right, and Manager Law Adkins, back, pictured with staff members last Friday, are currently looking for a new location. Photo by Joanne Shriner

OCEAN CITY – General’s Kitchen’s tradition at its current site will come to a close at the end of the year, leaving the “house of chipped beef” searching for a new home.

In August, General’s Kitchen, located within the Beachmark Motel on 74th Street and Coastal Highway, was informed by the property owner its lease will not be renewed.

General’s Kitchen boasts 45 years of tradition in Ocean City. Owner Robert Noll’s stepfather, Gus Bollas, and his first wife, Mary Bollas, opened the restaurant in the George Washington Hotel on 10th Street and the Boardwalk where it received its name in honor of General George Washington.

When there was discussion of demolishing the hotel, General’s Kitchen moved to its current location on 74th Street in the early 1980s. Previously, it was home to a bank.

Bollas later remarried to Noll’s mother, Angela Bollas, who took over the restaurant when he passed away in April of 2000, and when she passed away this past December, the family business was passed onto Noll.

“General’s Kitchen, if I have it my way, will remain in Ocean City. I am not going to abandon Ocean City. This is a tradition that started in Ocean City, and I am going to honor my stepdad’s wishes. Even my mom, in her last months when we renewed the lease made it known to the property owner … her son was going to keep it going for her family. She considered the employees her kids, her family and she wanted to look out for them to make sure the tradition kept going. I am committed to that,” Noll said in an interview last Friday.

According to Noll, the property owner did not inform Noll until August that the lease would not be renewed, leaving him only four months to find a new location. Noll even recently completed renovations to the restaurant with permission from the property owner.

“He just said it is time for a change,” Noll said. “His idea of a change is he is going to allow another restaurant to come in here, which will be run by a personal friend of his.”

The restaurant’s lease is up on Dec. 31. Noll and his long-time manager, Law Adkins, who has worked at the restaurant for 22 years, are currently seeking a new location in Ocean City. He hopes to remain between 33rd and 139th streets but has not had any luck finding a space that will seat over 84 guests, which is the space he currently serves.

“In the summer time, there is not a day you won’t see a line down the street, and sometimes it will even come around the building. A lot of those people are repeat customers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York or all over who say they come for General’s Kitchen. It’s all about the tradition and the food. There are not that many restaurants in Ocean City that have been here more than 45 years,” Noll said.

General’s Kitchen has become a tradition in Ocean City for many residents and visitors, both new and returning, as they open their doors at 6:30 a.m. serving home-made breakfast and lunch recipes, such as the famous creamed chipped beef and Spanish sauce that Gus Bollas created himself. The original recipes have lived on as the current cook, Reine, has worked at General’s Kitchen for over 20 years and was trained by Gus Bollas himself.

“We offer quality food. You don’t leave here hungry. You leave here happy and satisfied,” Noll said. “We don’t cut corners. It is always the top of the line.”

Not only can guests depend on General’s Kitchen’s menu but also the restaurant’s familiar and friendly staff.

“My main concern is my employees. A lot of my staff has been here for over 10 years. This is their source of income, and they support themselves and their families. To sit down and tell them what was happening on Labor Day weekend some of them started crying not knowing what they were going to do. I am not going down without a fight,” Noll said.

Noll, who has retired as a lieutenant from Ocean City Police Department after serving 35 years, has carried on Gus Bollas’s philosophy to serve the public, especially those in uniform.

“Gus had that philosophy going back to when he served in World War II with the military … and when he came here to Ocean City his philosophy was to treat the people right and to feed the people, make sure they come in for a healthy breakfast or lunch, and they don’t leave hungry. We are here for the people and that tradition will live on,” Noll said.

Noll has taken his stepdad’s philosophy further by designing the 9/11 Memorial at both the Public Safety Building and General’s Kitchen where the pictures of all the firefighters and police who lost their life on that day is on display. Many have visited General’s Kitchen because of the memorial or are taken by surprise walking in to find a loved one on the wall.

Noll reassured the search will continue for a new location if General’s Kitchen has not relocated by the end of the year.

“He is the [property] owner. It’s his decision. He has every right to do what he wants. I would have rather had him tell me in January and I would have seven months extra to look but right now it’s very hard,” Noll said. “Customers have come up to me and I have heard them talk to the waiters and waitresses. They are all in disbelief that the property owner will not renew our lease. They have all said, ‘Wherever you go, we will go’.”

Adkins, who began working at the restaurant in high school as a bus boy, is hopeful the change in the end will be a good thing.

“It’s tough. I have been here so long. It is going to be a transition. It has potential to be a positive thing but we need to find some place,” Adkins said.







Pillas Maintains Council Candidate Process Was Flawed

OCEAN CITY – Councilwoman Margaret Pillas’s request to reopen Philip Ufholz’s hearing to further deliberate his Ocean City residency and qualification to run for council was unsuccessful this week.

Two weeks ago, the Mayor and City Council held a public hearing after the residency of City Council candidate Ufholz was challenged by local attorney Jay Phillips representing the Citizens For Ocean City group.

After considerable testimony and comments, Ufholz was denied as a candidate by the council in a 5-2 vote, with council members Brent Ashley and Margaret Pillas opposed.

At the hearing, Phillips challenge was based on the language of the charter, “to qualify for election … must be a resident of and domiciled in the corporate limits of the Town of Ocean City”.

Besides reviewing several case laws, and the definitions of “residence” and “domicile” in relation to Ocean City’s code, Phillips’ primary piece of evidence was Ufholz’s State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) form.

According to the form, Ufholz’s Ocean City address is not listed as his primary address. An address in Bethesda is listed as the primary address as well as is the address where tax bills are to be sent. The form is dated Sept. 24, 2014.

According to Ufholz, his family purchased the property in Ocean City in 1975, and when he retired as a tax attorney he became a permanent resident in Ocean City in 2008, although his wife remains a resident in Bethesda.

Ufholz provided an Ocean City senior bus pass, a driver’s license with his Ocean City address listed, his voter registration code being a registered voter in Ocean City, where he has voted in the past three elections, a letter from a neighbor stating he has been a permanent resident in Ocean City for the past six years and a copy of his most recent State of Maryland tax return listing his Ocean City address.

At the conclusion of Monday evening’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas asked the council to consider reopening Ufholz’s public hearing for further deliberation.

Pillas argued Ufholz, who was not in attendance at this week’s meeting, attended his hearing bearing the documents he was instructed to bring to prove he is a resident of and domiciled in Ocean City four months prior to the election.

“During his hearing, several council members’ stated they didn’t think he qualified because of a Homestead Tax Credit and SDAT showed he still lived in Bethesda,” Pillas said. “I called Montgomery County Division of Treasury and spoke to a Mr. Allen, who said Montgomery County issues an automatic tax credit to the primary home in that county, and it is never applied for by the owner. Mr. Ufholz told me he only received that tax credit last year and his wife receives it as she has remained in that home.”

Pillas, who has been in contact with Ufholz over the matter, reiterated Ufholz retired in Ocean City in 2008 but his wife remains in Bethesda as she works in Rockville until she retires in 2015 and moves to Ocean City as well.

“She is entitled to receive a tax credit at that home,” Pillas said. “It was implied by the council that he was working the system by retiring here and she was living there and getting the tax credit but that isn’t the case. Mr. Ufholz never applied for an Ocean City tax credit … I think Mr. Ufholz did show the documents he needed to have.”

Councilman Doug Cymek responded the council was instructed by legal counsel to make a decision based on the totality of evidence provided.

“If you listen to the hearing online, I think you will clearly understand the gentleman wasn’t candid, in fact some people accused him of being deceptive. I should remind you that the gentleman is an attorney at law. He knows the rules of evidence. He knows what to present. He has defended people in court. He claims to be a trial lawyer. I don’t think we needed to go out of our way to give him any instructions in what to bring to defend himself,” Cymek said.

Council Secretary Mary Knight reminded Pillas this isn’t the first time she had participated in a candidate’s denial to run for office. Six years ago, the council denied a candidate due to his residency being in Annapolis.

“The other thing I find extremely curious, if I was Mr. Ufholz I would have been here tonight. I wouldn’t have a council member pleading my case. What I would have done is the Thursday after I was denied I would have been filing a case with the Circuit Court,” Knight said. “We have done this before. It was not out of malice. It was not done out of fear that somebody would be running against a council member.”

There was no motion made to reopen Ufholz’s public hearing and therefore the matter was not revisited by the council.

“Certainly Mr. Ufholz should come and fight for himself. I am not sitting up here fighting for Mr. Ufholz. I am fighting for the process. That is my job as an elected official to say when I don’t think the process is being honored. I think everybody should sit up here and fight for the principle that I think is being completely destroyed,” Pillas said.


Multiple Dredging Projects Underway; OC Canal, Inlet Work Among Priorities

A hopper dredge called the “Murden” and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pictured near the Inlet on Monday. Photo by Rally Rides/Howard Whaley

OCEAN CITY — The fall dredging season is well underway in and around Ocean City with several projects going on simultaneously.

The federal Army Corps of Engineers in September began a major dredging project of the navigation channels in the Isle of Wight and Sinepuxent bays with hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of dredged materials being spread at various important ecological sites in and around the resort area. Taking place at the same time is the dredging of various canals in Ocean City, which need to be dredged to facilitate marine navigation.

New on the landscape this week was the Army Corps’ dredge vessel “Murden” which was seen working in and around the Inlet and at the mouth of the commercial harbor in recent days. Twice a year, typically in the spring and fall, the “Murden” performs sand management dredging during which the Corps takes material from the Inlet ebb and flood shoals and transports it to the surf zone on Assateague.

The “Murden” is what is called a hopper dredge and its bottom is designed to essentially scoop sand from silted in areas around the Inlet. The vessel’s bottom then closes, keeping the dredged sand in place. The “Murden” then moves over to the surf zone just off the coast of Assateague and reopens its bottom, allowing the dredged material to dump out. Wave action and natural processes then disburse the dredged sand onto the beaches on Assateague as part of a natural replenishment project.

“The purpose of the project is to stabilize the Assateague shoreline by taking sand that would have been naturally transported to the island if the Inlet was not there, while at the same time keeping the Inlet open for navigation,” said Ocean City Engineer Terry McGean this week.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ major dredging of the federal navigation channels in the Isle of Wight and Sinepuxent bays is also proceeding on a parallel course. The channels silt in over time through natural and man-made processes and need to be routinely dredged to a depth and width to support the area’s commercial and recreational fishing and boating industries.

The required dredging serves the dual purpose of maintaining the channels to appropriate depth and width while driving material to sand-starved migratory islands and beaches in and around the resort that serve an important ecological purpose and provide habitat for the many species of migratory birds that pass through the area.

Meanwhile, the town of Ocean City is moving forward with the first phase of its five-year plan to dredge the various canals in the resort. The bayside canals silt in as well and many have become unnavigable. Town officials recognized the need to dredge the canals to an appropriate depth and developed a long-term plan to tackle them systematically based on a pre-determined priority system.

The canals are being dredged in relatively close proximity to each other in the interest of efficiency and cost-saving. The dredged material in some cases is being deposited on the beaches nearby, depending on the quality of the material, and in other cases is being pumped into a lagoon at Northside Park.

The first phase included the canals in the areas of Hitchens and Trimper avenues and began earlier this fall. McGean said this week the project is moving forward quickly and the contractors could soon be moving on to the next phase.

“Canal dredging is going very well,” he said. “They are about 75 percent complete with the first canal and will then be moving to 52nd Street, which has a lot of open water so they want to get that one done before the weather turns. Then they will move to 48th Street and finally address the smaller storm drain outfalls.”

McGean said the plan to pump some of the dredged material into the lagoon at Northside Park is exceeding expectations.

“The disposal process at Northside Park is going much better than I ever expected,” he said. “By placing a small hydraulic dredge right in the pond, they have been able to offload material with minimal impact to the park.”