Wicomico Partnership Targets Youth Cigarette Sales

SALISBURY – In an effort to lower the State of Maryland’s retailer violation rate when it comes to minors purchasing tobacco products, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and the Health Department will partner to step up enforcement.

A resolution authorizing County Executive Bob Culver to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for reimbursement costs associated with the Tobacco Enforcement Youth Initiative Project not to exceed $8,000 came before the Wicomico County Council for approval on Tuesday morning.

According to the resolution, the Wicomico County Health Department desires to partner with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office on a Tobacco Enforcement Youth Initiative Project that include enforcement of underage tobacco sales, illegal possession of tobacco products and community education on tobacco laws.

“The Sheriff’s Office has a long standing relationship with the Health Department. Currently, we have a MOU in place for compliance checks and education. This MOU continues that and increases that. It also is asking for the Sheriff’s Office to go out to retailers with an individual under the age of 18 who will attempt to purchase cigarettes. If they do we will continue the education, and also issue a citation,” said Sheriff’s Office Lt. Richard Wierdberg, who is the contract monitor.

According to Wierdberg, the initiative same forward when the rate of failure of minors buying cigarettes increased to over 20 percent between 2012 and 2013, and between May to September in 2014 the failure rate increased to over 30 percent.

“To be honest with you in discussion with the Health Department, over the past several years we [Wicomico County] have actually seen a decrease in violations, so this was a surprise to us. While the State has seen an increase, we have seen a decrease,” Wierdberg said.

According to the MOU on the table, the State of Maryland has received special funds through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Synar Program that requires states to establish and enforce a state law that prohibits tobacco products from being sold or distributed to individuals under 18 years of age, and for local law enforcement to conduct annual random and unannounced compliance checks that provide a valid probability sample of outlets accessible to minors. The State must maintain a retailer violation rate of less than 20 percent, and if that rate is not achieved, the State risks forfeiture of 40 percent of SAPT funds.

It is further agreed that the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office will achieve or exceed 50 compliance checks using youth under the age of 18 years old, 75 visits to retailers for face-to-face vendor education and issue five youth tobacco citations.

The MOU concludes, “the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office will pay overtime for deputies participating in the Tobacco Enforcement Youth Initiative and invoice the Wicomico County Health Department on a quarterly basis for the cost of overtime and for any other costs associated with this project, such as products purchased during compliance checks. The total amount of dollars spent from the date of the agreement until June 30, 2015 cannot exceed $8,000.”

The County Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution.


Boardwalk Smokers Will Have To Light Up On Beach; Smoking Ordinance Headed For Approval Next Month

The proposed smoking locations for the area between Talbot and 4th streets were reviewed this week. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY – The resort’s new restricted smoking policy advanced this week as the Ocean City Council agreed to prohibit smoking on the Boardwalk with designated smoking areas on the beach only.

During Tuesday evening’s Mayor and City Council meeting, City Manager David Recor continued the discussion from Jan. 5 when staff first proposed designated smoking areas on the beach and adjacent to the Boardwalk. Since that meeting, the City Council toured the Boardwalk reviewing the originally proposed designated smoking areas.

Prior to November’s municipal elections, the former council voted 5-2 to restrict smoking on the beach and Boardwalk effective May 1, 2015. At that time, the council directed staff to prepare an implementation plan.

Following the discussion, a Smoking Policy Committee was formed comprised of a number of town departments who were tasked to devise a plan of action, develop enforcement criteria and prepare draft legislation that would outline designated smoking areas for further review and discussion. Those in opposition were favoring an outright smoking ban on the Boardwalk.

On Jan. 5, Recor presented a proposed ordinance restricting smoking on the beach and Boardwalk to designated smoking areas. The new law will include both nicotine and non-nicotine Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs).

The committee originally proposed 22 designated smoking areas on the beach that will be marked with bright orange 22-gallon receptacles with lids. The receptacles will display Ocean City’s new restricted smoking logo.

There will be one receptacle per street on the beach. The locations would be 50 feet east and 50 feet north of the sea wall entranceway or from a dune entranceway. Smokers will have to remain within 15 feet of the receptacle that will remain in place from May 1 to Oct. 31 of each year.

The committee also proposed a total of 15 designated smoking areas adjacent to the Boardwalk from the Inlet to 28th Street. None of the locations adjacent to the Boardwalk are on the wooden portion of the Boardwalk; only on concrete portions and beach access platforms. These locations would be marked with an aggregate, or heavy stone-faced smoking receptacles, as well as signage would be posted directing smokers to that area.

By the end of the discussion on Jan. 5, the City Council was in agreement to take a Boardwalk tour of its own to view the proposed designated smoking areas and make recommendations of their own.

Following the tour, Recor presented a draft of an ordinance amending Chapter 30 of the City Code and revised maps depicting newly suggested designated smoking areas.

The ordinance will add “The Beach” and “The Boardwalk” to the list of affected areas under the regulated smoking areas in place, and under “Penalties” add “citations can be issued to violators of the smoking regulations at the discretion of the enforcement officer following a verbal or written warning for the violator to cease the use of tobacco products; unless, said tobacco user is within a marked designated smoking area.”

The ordinance furthers, smoking regulations include Electronic Smoking Devices, the sites on the beach and Boardwalk where the town designates as smoking areas will have clearly-marked cigarette/cigar butt receptacles that are orange cans located about 50 feet from the base of the eastern side of the dune and about 50 feet from the beach entranceway from the dune, lifeguard chair signs and street signs will indicate there are designated receptacles, and enforcement of this ordinance shall come under the OCPD, not the Ocean City Beach Patrol. Citations may be issued to violators of the regulations at the discretion of the enforcement officer on scene. Citation amounts shall be from $25 to $1,000.

According to Recor, all originally proposed smoking locations west of the Boardwalk have been eliminated, all originally proposed designated smoking areas placed on beach access platforms have been eliminated and all aggregate smoking receptacles have been eliminated. All designated smoking areas will be marked with the orange containers that were originally proposed for the beach only, which will cut down on costs.

From the Inlet to the Pier, there are four designated smoking areas on the concrete pad leaving the parking lot prior to reaching the wooden Boardwalk as well as designated smoking locations 50 feet east and 50 feet north of beach access points across from street ends.

From Wicomico Street, or immediate north of the pier, to North Division St. smoking locations are located 50 feet east and 50 feet north of beach access points across from street ends, as well as mid-way on the beach as this area is the widest section of beach.

“As the beach gets narrower, we didn’t think it was necessary to provide a second row, if you will, of designated smoking areas,” Recor said.

Where the beach becomes narrower from North Division to 146th streets is where smoking areas are only located 50 feet east and 50 feet north of beach access points across from street ends. Restricted smoking signage will be located at the street ends up to 146th Street.

There are a total of 36 designated smoking areas on the beach adjacent to the Boardwalk from the Inlet to end of the Boardwalk, and 10 designated smoking areas on the beach from the Inlet Parking Lot to N. Division St. where the beach is wider.

“We recognize that we need to make reasonable accommodations for ADA, and tonight I cannot tell you how specifically we will do that,” Recor said. “I will follow up with the Town Engineer and Building Officials to make sure our designated smoking areas meet the requirements.”

According to City Solicitor Guy Ayres, enacting the new policy will call for a complete rewrite of Chapter 30 of the Code and asked for a couple weeks to do so.

“This is not an Ocean City smoking ban. There is no smoking anywhere on the Boardwalk, and all designated smoking areas are 50 feet east of the Boardwalk from the Inlet to 146th St, so it is a consistent message,” Councilman Tony DeLuca said.

Councilman Wayne Hartman asked the council if it would consider including restricting smoking from inside of bus stop enclosures and use cost savings for additional signage and receptacles outside of the bus stops to cut down on cigarette butt litter.

“If we are in the process of rewriting an ordinance, it would be easy to include the language of a bus enclosure,” he said.

Ayres agreed, saying, “Since I basically have to rewrite the whole article it would be a simple matter to include it.”

Councilman Matthew James also agreed.

“Instead of having to go back and rewrite the ordinance again, I would like to see the bus stops included as a restricted area in this ordinance,” he said.

Hartman also asked the council to consider placing an ash urn on the west side of the Boardwalk on 27th Street where the Tram Station is located.

“For consistency we did not want designated smoking areas west of the Boardwalk but we can certainly put a receptacle there, just not an orange barrel that is indicative of a designated smoking area,” Recor said.

According to Councilman Dennis Dare, during the tour the council was in agreement from 4th Street to the Delaware line each street end would have a smoking receptacle 50 feet east and 50 feet north as well as the designated smoking areas depicted in the revised maps from the Inlet to the Pier. However, he recalled the council agreeing on having designated smoking areas 15 feet east of the Boardwalk from the Pier to 4th Street.

Dare recognized the Pier to 4th Street is a popular section of the Boardwalk and 15 feet would better encourage smokers to use designated smoking areas. He added the council came up with 15 feet because that is the distance in which smoke dissipates.

“My concern is if you make it difficult for some people, 50 feet of sand could be the difference between them using that receptacle away from the public or just simply going to a street end [on the west side of the Boardwalk],” Dare said. “From the very beginning I have been concerned while we eliminate smoking on the boardwalk but still allow smoking on public streets off the Boardwalk we are forcing people to the street end.”

Council Secretary Mary Knight felt that the town had succeeded in its goal of having a restricted smoking policy.

“Something that hasn’t been mentioned is this is flexible. I was adamant that I did not want smoking where there would be sports tournaments or around children and families, and if we see that, it is real easy to make a phone call and move a smoking receptacle,” she said.

Following a lengthy discussion and several amendments to a motion made by Knight, the council voted 6-1 with James opposed to move forward with the proposed policy to include restricting smoking from the Boardwalk and the inside of bus stop enclosures, the preliminary map of designated smoking areas on the  beach subject to change due to ADA compliance, add a cigarette receptacle west of the Boardwalk on 27th Street at the Tram Station and change the designated smoking locations from the Pier to 4th Street to be 15 feet east from the Boardwalk with the remainder of the locations to the north of 4th Street be 50 feet east of the Boardwalk. The first reading of the ordinance amending Chapter 30 is scheduled for Feb. 17.

James was in opposition favoring a smoking ban all together on the Boardwalk and beach.



Region’s Hospitals Report Major Jump In Flu Cases; AGH, PRMC Under Modified Visitation Policies

A major increase in the amount of flu cases as well as patient admittances at Atlantic General Hospital this season has led to a modified visitation policy. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Last year, staff at Atlantic General Hospital saw 20 cases of the flu.

This year, halfway through flu season, that number has already reached 241.

Twenty-two flu patients have been admitted to the hospital.

“In all my years here, this is the first time we’ve admitted that many patients because of the flu,” said Michaelann Frate, the hospital’s director of infection control.

Mirroring the trend reported at the state and national level, local hospitals are seeing an increase in flu cases. With the end of flu season still months away, Atlantic General and Peninsula Regional Medical Center have both already seen more cases this year than in all of last year. Children and seniors have been the most affected.

Although the most recent Atlantic General statistics show a decrease in confirmed cases within the past week, Frate says it’s too early to say if that will continue.

“I don’t know what to expect,” she said.

Flu season varies each year. While it typically begins in December, it may taper out as early as March. Other years, Frate said, it lasts as late as June.

“It hit us hard in the beginning of the season,” Frate said. “Maybe we can hope for an early end.”

She believes this year’s rise in flu cases is attributable to a strain of the virus that mutated early on. Although the flu vaccine is designed to prevent three to five strains of the flu, if one of those strains mutates the vaccine becomes less effective.

“It seems to be more virulent than other mutations in the past,” Frate said. “People have been quite sick.”

She added that the flu vaccine itself was created each year based on researchers’ “best guess” as to what strains of the virus were most likely to appear. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this year’s vaccine is 23 percent effective.

Frate says that while it’s less helpful in preventing the virus than it has been in the past, it’s still worth getting.

“That’s 23 percent more than if you didn’t take it,” she said.

Frate, who’s been at Atlantic General for 15 years, pointed out that in spite of her profession she had not had the flu since she’d started getting vaccinated.

“I think over the years you do build up immunities,” she said.

For those who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated this season, Frate says it’s not too late. Although she recommends getting it as soon as it becomes available in the fall, the vaccine is good for a year and is still available at most pharmacies. Because the flu could remain prevalent all spring, Frate says it’s worth getting the shot.

She added, however, that it takes two weeks to begin working. She believes the “old wives tale” that getting the vaccine would give a person the flu probably started because someone wasn’t aware of the two weeks it took for the vaccine to have an effect.

Frate stressed that it was especially important for the elderly and those with chronic conditions to get the vaccine because they were more susceptible to the virus than most people. A person with a heart or lung condition, for example, is more likely to get the flu.

“It lowers your chances of fighting it off,” she said.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, like many hospitals Atlantic General is limiting visitors to the facility. Frate said children and those with upper respiratory illnesses were being asked not to visit patients (except in end-of-life situations) for the time being.

In Wicomico County, Peninsula Regional Medical Center — where there have been 138 confirmed flu cases — has also modified its visitation policy. The elderly and people with chronic conditions are advised not to visit patients while children are not allowed to visit patients (except in end-of-life situations). Only two adults are permitted to visit in the labor and delivery department and pregnant women are asked not to visit the hospital unless they’re seeking medical treatment.

“We understand the inconvenience this may cause some people, but as a healthcare institution, we need to make sure that we ensure the health of our patients, the visiting public and their families as best we can during this flu season,” said Karen Mihalik, the hospital’s infection preventionist, in a news release. “It’s also absolutely necessary to protect a healthcare team that needs to be here providing the care others will seek form us this flu season.”

For information on where to get vaccinated for the flu area residents should contact their primary care physician or their local health department. Worcester County residents can call 410-632-1100.


What’s Your Sign?

horoscopes new

ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Mixed signals could create problems. Make sure your views are presented clearly, and insist others do the same. Don’t let an unanswered question go by without a full explanation.

TAURUS (April 20 to May 20): Financial pressures ease, allowing for more budget flexibility. But as the money-wise Bovine will appreciate, thrift still beats out splurging. Expect news from someone special.

GEMINI (May 21 to June 20): Getting things done is what you do so well. But be careful not to overtax your energy reserves. Take time out to relax or to do something different to help keep them at optimum levels.

CANCER (June 21 to July 22): This is a good time to satisfy the Moon Child’s growing sense of wanderlust. Choose a really special place to go to, with a very special person to share it all with you.

LEO (July 23 to Aug. 22): You love being in the spotlight. But be careful it doesn’t blind you to the truth behind a seemingly wonderful opportunity. Look closer and you might be sadly surprised at what you find.

VIRGO (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22): Isn’t it time to take a break from your hectic schedule? Sure it is. And the sooner you do, the sooner you can return fresh and more than ready to take on all those new projects.

LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22): A recent family incident can help bring everyone closer, and there’s no one who’s better at making that happen than you. Accept (indeed, insist on!) help from others to get things off and running.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21): Long-held habits are often difficult to break. But the change from how you always did things to how you can do them now can be liberating. So, be flexible and give it a try.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21): Someone you met in your professional world last year and thought you would never hear from again could make a sudden reappearance in your life, along with an interesting job offer.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19): Once again, you delight everyone by coming up with a solution for a problem that actually works. On another note, it’s not too early to get started on those travel plans.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18): Before you go ahead with finalizing your plans for your new project, check them over to see if you can make some improvements or if you can find ways to cut costs.

PISCES (Feb. 19 to March 20): The Fabulous Fish might have been out of the social swim for too long, and it’s time you plunge back in. Reinforce your old friendships and be open to starting new ones.

BORN THIS WEEK: Your creative talents help bring beauty to the world and the people in it. On their behalf, thank you.

(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.

Things I Like

The show, “Broadchurch”


Running outside in January


Quiet, uneventful days


Packing for a warm destination


That my kids like going to church


A bookcase with leather-bound books


Finding money when I clean my truck


Crab dip with capers


Watching kids ice skate at the Carousel


Leaving the office after deadline is met


The wildlife visible from the Life of the Marsh trail on Assateague




We Remember Those We Have Lost

White lily L2

Frances E. Spann

OCEAN PINES – Frances Elise Spann, 81, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Berlin Nursing and Rehab Center.

Born in McSherrystown, Pa., she was the youngest of eight children. After graduating from high school, she traveled by train to Spokane, Wash. where she met and married her husband of 50 years, Dalton D. Spann, who proceeded her in death. She is survived by her daughters, Stacy Paulsen of Ocean Pines, Lisa Corona of Dublin, Calif.; Shelly Burns of Tacoma, Wash.; and her sons, David Spann of Newman Lake, Wash. and Dalton Spann of Ada, Okla.; and nine grandchildren.

She was a homemaker most of her life and also worked as a CNA at various nursing homes until moving to Ocean Pines in 2009 with her husband. She loved to quilt and garden.

The family invites friends to join them for a celebration of her life from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24 at their home, 21 Mist Flower Rd in Ocean Pines.

In lieu of flowers, donations and information honoring Frances can be found at www.bricks4compassion.com or by calling 410-641-7950.


James Edward Farley

DAGSBORO, Del. — CDR James “Jim” Edward Farley USN (Ret) passed away peacefully at home in Dagsboro, Del. on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 after 92 years of a life well lived.

Born in Lowell, Mass. on Aug. 30, 1922, Jim joined the Merchant Marines with several of his fellow Keith Academy graduates during early WWII. His exemplary performance while stationed aboard the USS St. Augustine earned his selection for the United States Naval Academy Class of 1947. After receiving his commission in 1946 (his class graduated early to support the fleet) Jim went on to a 26-year career in the US Navy, earning the rank of Commander while proudly serving his country during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for acts of valor while serving as Executive Officer on the USS Robert L. Wilson which was enforcing the quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Upon retiring from the Navy in 1969, Jim began his second career as a high school physics teacher while living in Fort Washington, Md. Following his move to Ocean City in 1984, he felt the pull of the sea and began his third and final career as a charter boat captain, sharing his love of the water until his final retirement in 1995.

James was predeceased by his first wife, Jean Farley (nee Lawler), in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Louise Farley (nee Chandler), and five children, James E. Farley Jr. (Kerri) of Blacksburg, Va., William M. Farley (Lorna) of Melbourne, Fla., Kathleen T. Bernas (Elviro) of Sacramento, Calif., Mary E. Privitera (Frank) of Ft. Washington, Md. and Sue A. Farley of Ocean City. He leaves behind nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Jim is remembered for his intelligence, warmth and wit. A voracious reader, he placed a heavy emphasis on education, and had a vast and sweeping love of music. Above all, his genuine love for family and friends is the hallmark of the legacy he leaves behind.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bethany Beach where friends and family gathered. His ashes will be interred at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Online condolence may be sent by visiting www.melsonfuneralservices.com




Lora And Mark Fritschle Receive OC Lions Club’s Highest Award

Community B

Lora and Mark Fritschle, owners of Condominium Realty-The Fritschle Group, have received the Ocean City Lions Club’s highest and most prestigious community service award, The Pride Award. The Pride Award is presented to individuals who make contributions to the club, who take interest in the club and who help the Lions make the community a better place to live. Pictured, from left, are Lions Norm Cathell and Ben Dawson, Lora and Mark Fritschle and Lion Vice President Tom Elliott.

CFES Awards $4,000 Community Needs Grant To The Charles H. Chipman Foundation

Community E

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) awarded a $4,000 Community Needs Grant to the Charles H. Chipman Foundation to support a Masters Piece performing artist guild for 2015 cultural performances. Pictured, from left, are Kimberly Clark-Shaw, Project Director, Charles H. Chipman Foundation; Vance Elbert, Board President, Charles H. Chipman Foundation; and BJ Summers, CFES Director, Development and Philanthropic Services.           The Chipman Cultural Center is the oldest African American wood church structure on the lower eastern shore.

Host Seahawks Solid At War On Shore

Decatur’s Robert Kaminski takes down an opponent during last week’s War on the Shore wrestling tournament. Kaminski turned in the Seahawks’ best performance in the tourney, finishing third in the 106-pound weight class.

Photo by Earl Campbell

BERLIN- Host Stephen Decatur turned in a solid performance in its own War on the Shore wrestling tournament last weekend, finishing in the near the middle of the pack among 22 of the top programs in the mid-Atlantic region.

Decatur hosted the annual War on the Shore last weekend at the Berlin high school featuring a total of 22 teams, including eight each from Maryland and Delaware and six from Virginia. The early matches began last Friday and continued practically around the clock until the titles were decided last Saturday evening. For the record, Decatur finished 14th among the 22 teams in the field. Damascus was first, Mount St. Joseph was second and Great Bridge finished third.

The best individual result for the Seahawks was Robert Kaminski’s third-place finish at 106. Kaminski beat Charles Steckline of Great Bridge in the first round followed that with a win over Mount Saint Joseph’s Patrick Langeluttig in the second round. Kaminski then fell to Cameron Hayes of Milford in the third round. Kaminski went down to the loser’s bracket and beat Luis Estrada of Middletown and then T.J. Macklin of Damascus to take third place in the division.

Andy McKahan turned in a strong performance for Decatur at 132, finishing fifth overall in the bracket. McKahan beat Joey Ciriello of Indian River in the first round, followed by a win over Christian Green of Sussex Central in the second round. McKahan then fell to eventual champion Michael Wilkerson of Damascus in the third round. McKahan then lost to Shawn Orem of Mount St. Joseph, but rebounded with a win over Christian Green again to take fifth place in the division.

The other place winner for Decatur was Jeremiah Purnell at 138. Purnell lost his opening round match to Tyler Matheny of Lake Braddock, but battled back to finish eighth overall. Purnell beat Tyler Lavallee of Dematha and Bryan Arteen of Severn before falling to Quantae Jennings of Sussex Central. Purnell then lost to Kyle Canavan of Great Bridge in the seventh-place bout to finish eighth.

At 113, Josh Lawson went 1-2, T.J. Scafone went 2-2 in the 126 division, Brandon McKenzie went 1-2 in the 145 division and Tyler VanSice went 1-2 at 152. In the 160 division, Brett Kim went 2-2, Caleb Bourne went 1-2 at 170, Brandon Wooten went 2-2 at 195 and Ean Spencer went 3-2 at 220.