Problem Property Demolition Avoided

SALISBURY — A non-compliance hearing on the planned demolition of a known trouble spot in Salisbury set for this week was postponed again at the last minute after the property changed hands again.

Salisbury officials and residents have long considered the Thrift Travel Inn on North Salisbury Blvd. to be a public nuisance. Over the past several years, numerous city agencies, including police, fire department and code compliance, have responded to calls for service at the property nearly 1,600 times, including alleged prostitution.

The Thrift Travel Inn property was condemned and ultimately ordered to be demolished, but the owner failed to raze the derelict property and was eventually fined for non-compliance. Another hearing was scheduled for this past Monday, Dec. 5, but was postponed at the last minute when ownership of the property changed again from Pramukah Inc. in Salisbury to a company represented by Mclean, Va.-based attorney Joseph Jackson.

The latest ownership change means the city can still prosecute the citation for failure to demolish the condemned structure, but the condemnation process must start all over again. A new condemnation order must be issued to the new owner, who must then be afforded the opportunity to bring the property into compliance.

“The timing of the transfer of the property, just before the court hearing regarding demolition, is an event of great interest to the city,” said Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton. “The property transfer to a new owner delays any movement on demolition or improvement of the property.”

WACS Center Relocated

OCEAN CITY — The Worcester County Health Department’s WACS Center is being relocated to the department’s facility in Ocean City for the next month or so while renovations take place at the Route 50 facility.

The county health department is relocating the services it provides at the WACS Center on Route 50 in West Ocean City to the Ocean City Youth Health Center on Caroline Street. The WACS Center is undergoing renovations and is expected to re-open in January.

All groups and treatment services will be provided at the Ocean City Youth Health Center until further notice.  Additional parking is available one half-block away in the Ocean City Baptist Church on North Division Street and WACS visitors are asked not to park on the sidewalk on Caroline Street.

The Atlantic Club is planning to remain open for self-help services during the renovations.   

2012 Assateague Passes Available

ASSATEAGUE — Assateague National Seashore officials announced this week 2012 Annual Passes to the barrier island are now available for purchase, just in time for the holiday season.

The year-long pass to the Assateague National Seashore areas in the Maryland and Virginia portions of the national park are now available for purchase for $30. The passes will be valid for the entire year, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. This year’s annual pass features a beautiful photograph of a bald eagle flying over the beach on Assateague Island taken earlier this year by local resident, park volunteer and avid surf fisherman Allen Sklar.

The 2012 passes can be purchased at the park entrance and ranger station in the Maryland district, and at the Toms Cove Visitor Center in the Virginia District.

Armed Robbery Thwarted

SALISBURY — A pair of armed robbers were nabbed last weekend in Salisbury when fast-acting employees were able to catch and detain the suspects.

Shortly after 7 p.m. last Friday, Salisbury Police responded to the Center City Exxon for a reported armed robbery. Upon arrival, police found the store employees had detained the two suspects, later identified as Juan Marquis Williams, 18, and Davel Purnell Thomas, Jr., 16, both of Salisbury. According to police reports, Thomas and Williams entered the store around 7 p.m. with Williams wearing a ski mask and Thomas acting as a lookout.

Williams allegedly approached the counter and demanded the employee hand over all of the “Black and Mild” cigars. According to the clerk, Williams motioned in his pocket toward the employee as if he was carrying a gun. Williams and Thomas then fled the store.

At that point, the store employees called Salisbury Police to report the armed robbery. In the meantime, Williams entered the store a second time after several minutes had gone by. After Williams re-entered the store, an alert employee retrieved a golf club and locked the front door of the business, keeping Williams inside until police arrived. When Thomas returned to the area a short time later, store employees identified him as the second suspect and he was also arrested.

Both Williams and Thomas were charged with attempted robbery, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit assault, theft and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.