Neil Beahan Accepts Delaware State Middle Level Principal Of The Year Award

Community E

Neil Beahan, principal of the Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville, Del., is shown accepting his Delaware State Middle Level Principal of the Year Award from NASSP Director JoAnne Bartoletti and President G.A. Buie at the Principal of the Year Institute in Washington Sept. 9. Beahan is a 33-year veteran educator for the Indian River School District and is starting his sixth year as principal at SDSA.

Annual Darkness Walk In Ocean City Raises $40K

Some of the more than 500 participants in last month’s 3rd Annual Out of the Darkness Walk are pictured heading south on the Boardwalk. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY — The sun shone last month on over 500 participants on the Ocean City Boardwalk for the 3rd Annual Out of the Darkness Walk, a fundraising event facilitated by the Worcester County Health Department, to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund. The event raised over $40,000.

Opening the event, State Senator Jim Mathias encouraged everyone to “walk out of the darkness into the light,” a fitting message for those walkers, many of whom were there to remember loved ones who lost their lives to suicide, and to proclaim through their presence a determination to prevent other families from suffering as they had.

“The outpouring of support and participation is amazing,” said walk chair Brittany Hines of the Worcester County Health Department. “It shows there is a need for more suicide prevention, education, and awareness. This event is a big step in the right direction for accomplishing this.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a national organization that is engaged in researching the causes of suicide and the preventive measures that anyone can do to keep those at risk safe. Local organizations, like the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, work with the AFSP to provide training and workshops addressing suicide risks and prevention. Trainings are available for both professional heath care providers and laypeople who share its passion for suicide prevention.

“With the help of the AFSP and many local donors, we are able to offer Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Mental Health First Aid, and a variety of other programs to the general public on the lower Eastern Shore,” said Kim Klump, president of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund. “Suicide rates are historically very high in rural areas like ours, and many either are not aware of the risk or unwilling to seek help for the mental challenges that often end in suicide.  Our fund, through the Worcester County Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program, is devoted to reducing suicides in our seaside communities.”

Many local partners worked together to promote the walks, including Atlantic General Hospital, Wicomico County Health Department, Life Crisis Center, Salisbury University and cadets from the Stephen Decatur High School NJROTC.



County Satisfied With Rural Legacy Grant Awards

SNOW HILL — While only receiving about half of the total funding requested, the Worcester County Commission is chalking up Rural Legacy Area (RLA) grant awards as a win this year, as the $1.6 million received should be more than enough to purchase several easements in the county.

Considering how thin total RLA funding was spread in Maryland, the $1.6 million does represent a strong showing for the county.

RLA funding for FY15 is broken into two separate awards, $1,060,000 for the Coastal Bays RLA and $600,000 for the Dividing Creek RLA.

“The Coastal Bays RLA is the largest award on the shore this year. This is a wonderful achievement for the local program,” Bob Mitchell, director of Environmental Programs, told the commission last week, “and Mrs. [Katherine] Munson, in collaboration with her state and local partners, has made this award a reality. We received $1,660,000 in local funding from our original request of $3,920,000, while competing against the rest of the state for grants from this program.”

Munson works as a planner for the county and also expressed enthusiasm at the level of RLA grants coming in for this year.

“Both of these grants are going to support the county’s Comprehensive Plan and land preservation plan which have identified some of these areas as key to our agricultural and natural resource-based economy,” she remarked.

RLA funding for FY15 will be used to purchase conservation easements, between one and two for Dividing Creek and two to four for the Coastal Bays. Worcester was the independent applicant for the Coastal Bays funding but partnered with Somerset County and The Nature Conservancy as a joint sponsor for Dividing Creek.

While the county fell short of the $3.9 million requested, the commission was satisfied with the $1.6 million received. Across the state of Maryland only $16.03 million was available for RLA grants for FY15. That money was divided up across 18 individual qualified areas.

The overall goal of RLA is to protect areas such as agriculture, forestry as well as improving natural resources. Participation in the program is volunteer-based with willing sellers, of which there is a waiting list, working with the county to preserve their land with easements.

“It’s really impressive the way the map looks. These are really areas that we wanted to work,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs after reviewing some of the properties in the Coastal Bays and Dividing Creek locations that the county is evaluating as a target for this year’s RLA funds.



September Police Activity Jumps, But Year-To-Date Crime Down 2%

OCEAN CITY – While the month of September reflected numerous increases in categories of crime, the overall crime rate in Ocean City remains down from 2013.

According to the report, September’s total calls for service, including traffic stops, business checks and assistance to citizens, totaled 9,140, which is a 1-percent decrease from September 2013 when there were 9,232 calls for service.
Out of that total, 6,869 were officer initiated, which is a 3.6-percent decrease from September 2013, and 2,271 were citizen initiated, which is a 7.8-percent increase from September 2013.

The total number of calls for service, excluding traffic stops, business checks and assisting citizens, totaled 4,856, which is a 6.4-percent increase from September 2013 when there were 4,566 calls for service. Out of the total, 2,723 were officer initiated, which is a 5.9-percent increase from September 2013, and 2,133 were citizen initiated, which is a 6.9-percent increase from September 2013.
Out of the top 25 calls for service, the majority of the categories increased starting with disorderly conduct with 480 calls in September this year compared to 415 last year; 911 hang up calls increased to 343 compared to 273 last year; assist to OC EMS increased to 215 this year compared to 165 last year; suspicious person or activity increased to 196 from 187 last year; collisions increased to 171 from 159 last year; parking complaints/violations increased to 141 from 86 last year; theft already occurred increased to 115 from 110 last year; alcohol violations increased to 105 from 95 last year; domestic assault/dispute increased to 83 from 75 last year; assist to the Fire Company increased to 62 from 57 last year; trespassing increased to 61 from 42 last year; malicious destruction of property increased to 42 from 34 last year; tow impound by the police increased to 23 from 14 last year; and sex offense and indecent exposure increased to 11 from 10 last year.

The categories decreasing in the month of September start with assist to citizens declining from 381 in September of 2013 to 379 this year; assist to motorists decreased from 176 last year to 150 this year; city ordinance violations decreased from 277 last year to 146 this year; civil dispute decreased from 57 last year to 54 this year; CDS violations decreased from 73 last year to 52 this year; noise complaint/violation decreased from 90 last year to 48 this year; warrant attempt or arrest decreased from 52 last year to 42 this year; DWI investigate and/or arrest decreased from 53 last year to 32 this year; assault already occurred decreased from 36 last year to 27 this year; breaking and entering decreased from 21 last year to 11 this year; and report of a fight decreased from 12 last year to 6 this year.

There were 226 arrests made in September and 46 criminal citations issued. There were 34 drug arrests made and 35 drug citations. There were 37 DUI arrests made and 13 weapon arrests, according to OCPD data.

Increases in crime during the month of September can be related to a large event that takes place in the Ocean City area at the end of September, H20 International (H20i), which is a VW/Audi rally that attracts thousands of vehicles to the town each year.

According to OCPD data, there were a total of 2,148 calls for service during the four-day period related to the event, compared to 2,003 calls for service during that time period last year. Those calls for service do not include business checks, residential checks, and city-owned property checks.

There were a total of 495 calls for service regarding public and disorderly and criminal actions. The category topping the chart is 253 calls for disorderly conduct, followed by 61 alcohol citations and 61 collisions.

Throughout the four-day stretch, there was a total of 51 arrests made that include three drug arrests, five DUI arrests and three weapon arrests.

Nine months into the year, a weekly breakdown reflects a 2-percent decrease in total crime this year compared to last year.
Under Part 1 Crimes, there has been one homicide compared to one this time last year; no shootings compared to one this time last year; 22 forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 20 this year; 18 robberies in 2013 compared to 17 this year; 38 aggravated assaults in 2013 compared to 53 this year; 203 burglaries in 2013 compared to 272 this year; 919 larcenies in 2013 compared to 848 this year; 29 auto thefts in 2013 compared to 35 this year; and there were no cases of arson in both 2013 and so far this year.

There have been 653 common assaults so far this year compared to 716 this time last year and 58 minor sex offenses so far this year compared to 55 last year, resulting in an overall total of 1,959 crimes at the end of September this year compared to 1,999 at the end of September in 2013.

For comparison, the daily average population estimates in Ocean City in September produced by Demoflush was 163,365 this year compared to 167,640 last September, which is a 2.5-percent decrease.


Worcester County Humane Society To Hold Open House

BERLIN — In conjunction with Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month, the Worcester County Humane Society will be holding an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 25 from noon-2 p.m.

Members of the local and visiting community are invited to come see all of the sweet dogs and cats that are available for adoption.

There will be light refreshments served, T-shirts and magnets for sale and EJ Foxx from the Wave will be playing music for attendees. In addition, anyone who is a member of the Worcester County Humane Society is encouraged to attend to vote on the new by-laws.

Though October is officially Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month, the Worcester County Humane Society is calling it “Celebrate Me Home” month in hopes that anyone who has adopted a pet from the shelter will bring them back for a visit.

This would be the perfect day for anyone who adopted one of the “Tiny Twenty” to swing by for a reunion. There will be treats and toys for any furry companion who comes dressed up.

The Worcester County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter.  It is located on 12330 Eagles Nest Road in Berlin.  Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. every day except Sundays and Wednesdays.

Some of the sweet shelter kitties can also be seen by visiting Petco in West Ocean City and OC Pet Spa on Route 611.

For more information call 410-213-0146 or visit the website


Berlin Approves Emergency Notification System

BERLIN — Berlin officials this week approved the purchase of a mass notification system to alert residents of a wide variety of emergencies from pending severe weather to power outages.

The Berlin Mayor and Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of the Code Red mass notification system, a multi-tiered communication system that will alert residents via text, phone message or email of a current or pending emergency situation. Developed by Emergency Communication Network, the system is increasingly used by towns, counties, colleges and universities to alert citizens of active or potential dangers.

“It will enable us in times of an emergency such as a power outage, a water main break or severe weather to reach out to as many residents all at once,” said Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen. “Really, anything we would want to get out to a lot of people in the shortest amount of time.”

Once the system has been implemented in Berlin, residents will be advised on how to get texts or other messages about emergencies.

“It allows us to reach out to people in many ways, including texts, phone messages and emails,” she said. “It allows people to know we’re aware of the problem and we’re on top of it in a proactive way. In a lot of ways, it could reduce the number of calls coming into town hall when there is an emergency because it lets people know what’s going on in a proactive way.”

Bohlen said the Code Red mass notification system will give residents updates on conditions from power outages to weather events and other emergencies.

“A final notification will go out when the problem is resolved,” she said. “If, for example, we had a power outage and we fixed it, but somebody or some street was still without power, we could direct our efforts to that one specific area.”

Questions were raised about the coverage of the system and the segment of the population that is not text or email savvy. Councilmember Lisa Hall said a similar system is in place with the local school system and it is achieving the desired results.

Police Chief Arnold Downing said the system is effective in getting the word out about emergency situations and natural and man-made disasters, but also has other practical implications. He said the system can be used to alert residents of special events, temporary road closures, traffic pattern changes and the like.

“This system allows us to do messages about special events and other town news, it’s not just for emergencies,” he said. “People can opt out of receiving certain messages if they don’t want to get a text about every single special event, for example. Every department in town can use the system to get their important messages out.”


Jail Time For Gun Assault

Social Issues & Government

SNOW HILL — A Snow Hill man, arrested in April on first-degree assault and other charges after threatening his girlfriend and another woman while holding a handgun at an Ocean City apartment, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to three years, all but 18 months of which was then suspended.

Around 8:15 p.m. on April 29, Ocean City Police responded to a residence on 32nd Street for a reported suspect making threats while in possession of a handgun. Upon arrival, OCPD officers quickly located and detained the suspect, identified as Ralph Andrew McCabe, 23, of Snow Hill.

The investigation revealed McCabe allegedly became irate with his girlfriend and another female and began destroying his girlfriend’s belongings. McCabe then began threatening the two females while holding a handgun. During the subsequent investigation, officers located the handgun along with other evidence related to recent burglaries.

McCabe was taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of assault, burglary and malicious destruction of property. Last week, he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and was sentenced to two years with one suspended. He also pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and was sentenced to three years with all but 18 months suspended. McCabe was also placed on probation for three years upon his release and was fined $500.


First Of Three Guilty

In Bus Driver Attack

SNOW HILL — The first of three suspects indicted by a Worcester grand jury in August for their roles in the June 14 attack on an Ocean City municipal driver went to trial last week and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Josiah Mincer III, 23, of York, Pa. last week entered an Alford plea to robbery for his role in the bus driver attack and robbery and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Sentencing has been set for Dec. 17. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute. Mincer’s co-defendants in the case have not yet gone to trial. Marquez Ellis, 19, of York, is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 9, while Jaleel Henderson, 18, also of York, is scheduled to appear for trial on Dec. 2.

Around 1 a.m. on June 14, the three suspects allegedly got into a verbal altercation with a municipal bus driver after passengers were picked up along Baltimore Ave. near Worcester Street. According to sources, the dispute began when the suspects did not have exact change and the bus driver informed them they could not ride without the exact $3 fare per passenger.

A short time later, Ocean City Communications informed OCPD officers in the area an assault had occurred on a municipal bus. OCPD officer arrived on the scene and observed three suspects believed to be Ellis, Mincer and Henderson running from the bus. Numerous witnesses and bystanders pointed at the three suspects running from the scene, according to police reports.

Ocean City EMS arrived on the scene and began treatment on the injured bus driver, who had cuts on his face and head and a large amount of bleeding. The responding officer reported the injuries sustained by the bus driver were the results of one of the suspects striking the victim with an unidentified weapon. According to police reports, the driver as very disoriented and had to be taken by ambulance to AGH and at one point had trouble breathing. The driver was released from the hospital later the following morning.

Meanwhile, the responding OCPD officers observed one of the suspects, later identified as Ellis running through the property of the Atlantic Hotel. Ellis reportedly ran through a narrow passageway and through the property pursued by OCPD officers, who on several occasions ordered him to stop and go to the ground. Ellis failed to comply and sprinted west through the Somerset Street Plaza. The officer observed 40-60 people in and around the Somerset Street Plaza stop and look at Ellis with looks of disgust on their faces, according to police reports. Most in the area stopped and remained motionless and continued to point at the suspect.

OCPD officers at one point observed the two other suspects, presumably Mincer and Henderson, running with Ellis before splitting up and going in different directions. Ellis continued to run north on Baltimore Ave. with police in pursuit ordering him to stop and get on the ground. At one point, Ellis ran through traffic on Baltimore Ave. and several vehicles pulled over and stopped to avoid hitting him. Finally, in the area of Dorchester Street, Ellis finally went to his knees and gave up. Ellis was taken into custody and in his possession was found a single dollar bill and a bus ticket believed to have been stolen during the assault on the driver.


Ice Cream Truck Theft Probed

SALISBURY — A Salisbury Police investigation into the theft of money from an ice cream vending truck is ongoing although a suspect has been identified.

Around 5:50 p.m. on Sunday, Salisbury Police met in the lobby of the police department with the victim of a theft. The investigation revealed the victim has been operating the Coneheads Ice Cream vending truck in the area of Delaware Ave. and Main Street when a suspect stole an undisclosed amount of money from the cash bucket.

The victim had allowed the adult male suspect to enter the ice cream truck and travel around him while he conducted sales. When the victim was distracted, the suspect allegedly grabbed the bucket containing the cash and attempted to flee the ice cream truck.

The victim attempted to retrieve the cash bucket and a struggle ensued. The suspect removed the currency from the bucket and fled from the ice cream truck. The victim then followed the suspect in the ice cream truck and eventually convinced him to come back on board the vehicle. The victim the drove the ice cream truck to the Salisbury Police headquarters to report the theft with the suspect still on board.

When the suspect realized the ice cream vendor had pulled into the police department parking lot, he again fled the vehicle on foot. Salisbury Police were able to locate and identify the suspect a short time later, although the investigation is ongoing and the suspect has not yet been identified.


Untaxed Cigarette Bust

BERLIN — A New York man was arrested for transporting untaxed cigarettes after a traffic stop in Berlin on Monday.

Around 7 p.m. on Monday, a Maryland State Police trooper stopped a vehicle on northbound Route 113 at Germantown Rd. for excessive speeding. The driver was identified as Baleek Thabet, 22, of Corona, N.Y. During the traffic stop, numerous cartons of cigarettes were observed in the vehicle.

A subsequent search revealed 513 cartons of untaxed cigarettes in the vehicle. The retail value of the cigarettes was $33,080 with a tax loss to the state of Maryland of $10,260. Thabet was arrested for the transportation of untaxed cigarettes and transported to MSP barrack in Berlin for processing. The Maryland State Comptroller’s Office was contacted and responded to assist with the case.


Cigarette Smuggling Fine

SNOW HILL — A handful of defendants arrested in April for the illegal transportation of untaxed cigarettes during a Maryland Comptroller’s Office sting operation in Worcester appeared in court this week for trials and each received suspended jail time sentences but were hit with exorbitant fines.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot in April announced his Field Enforcement Division arrested three men from New York and a fourth from New Jersey during a sting operation in Worcester County carried out from April 15-18. The suspects are accused of bringing loads of unstamped, untaxed cigarettes from Virginia into Maryland. During the sting operation, agents seized a total of 24,750 packs of contraband cigarettes and three vehicles. The seized cigarettes were valued at more than $159,000.

“Cigarette smuggling not only takes revenue out of state coffers, but also makes cigarettes easily accessible to young people,” said Franchot last week. “I am delighted my agents made these arrests and will prosecute the smugglers to the fullest extent of the law.”

Each suspect was charged with willful transportation of unstamped cigarettes, a felony that carries a mandatory fine of $150 for each carton and a possible sentence of up to two years. Each was also charged with willful possession, sale or offer to sell unstamped cigarettes, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Among those arrested was Hassan Ali Ghamlouch, 27, of Jersey City, N.J. On April 15, agents seized 6,680 packs of contraband cigarettes and a 2011 GMC Denali during a stop on Route 13 in Pocomoke. The confiscated cigarettes were worth $43,086. On Tuesday, Ghamlouch was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended. He was placed on probation for two years and fined $100,300, all but $5,000 of which was suspended.

Also arrested during the sting was Mohammed Ali Mohsin Elroubat, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y. On April 18, agents seized 4,480 packs of cigarettes and a 2013 Volkswagen Passat during a traffic stop at Routes 12 and 113 in Snow Hill. On Tuesday, Elroubat was sentenced to 15 days, which was suspended. He was placed on probation for two years and fined $67,200, of which $63,700 was suspended.

In a single stop on April 18, comptroller’s agents seized 13,590 packs of unstamped cigarettes along with a 2012 Honda minivan during a stop on Route 13 in Pocomoke. Arrested during that stop were Haisheng Sun, 30, and Lan Kun, 30, both of Flushing, N.Y. On Tuesday, Sun was sentenced to 15 days, which was suspended. He was placed on probation for two years and fined $203,850, all but $10,400 of which was suspended.


Decatur Boys End Two-Game Skid

BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s boys’ varsity soccer team ended a two-game skid this week with a 5-0 win over Bayside South rival Wicomico on Monday.

The Seahawks got a balanced scoring attack with goals from up and down the line-up and all over the field. Scoring goals for Decatur against the Indians on Monday were Jack Hammond, Alton Walker, Tristan McDonough, Lupe Garcia and Evan Heim.

The win ended a two game skid for the Seahawks. Last week, Decatur was shut out by a pair of Bayside South rivals, including a 3-0 loss to Parkside and a 6-0 loss to Bennett. The win even Decatur’s record at 5-5 with one regular season game remaining. The Seahawks faced Kent Island on the road yesterday in the season finale in a game played too late to be included in this edition.