Regional Digest

School Board Member Resigns

SALISBURY — Wicomico County Board of Education member L. Michelle Wright, a member of the Board since 2006, announced last week she is resigning effective June 30 citing concerns about the financial disclosure requirements.

In a letter of resignation sent on May 8, Wright thanked Gov. Martin O’Malley for re-appointing her last year. She said that while she intended to serve her full five-year term through 2016, new financial disclosure requirements in the state’s ethics law forced her to make a choice between her desire for public service and her family’s right to privacy.

“The financial disclosure requires very personal information about my family members, our family business, and business partners to be made available to the public,” she wrote. “There’s no way to be sure that everyone would be responsible and conscientious about using the information. I hope you understand my first responsibility is to protect my family and our business.”

Wright lives and works in Mardela Springs and is an active parent at Mardela Middle and High Schools. She was appointed to her first five-year term on the Board of Education in 2006, and served as Board President from 2010-2011. She was re-appointed to the Board in 2011 to a second five-year term. Wright said she has enjoyed 99 percent of her duties as a Board member, and will continue to be active in the Wicomico school community.

“I may not be here at this seat, but I will be out in the audience and out and about in the schools,” she told fellow Board members and the public at the May 8 Board meeting.

Boat Ramp Closed for Dock Daze Festival

SALISBURY — Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt announced a temporary closure of the Cedar Hill Boat Ramp on May 18-20 and limited access to Cedar Hill Boat Slips on May 19-20 for the Dock Daze Festival.

The Dock Daze Festival is an outdoor signature event located at Cedar Hill Park and Marina. The festival is expected to attract more than 3,000 visitors to the marina from the lower Eastern Shore and region. Due to the anticipated size and scope of the event, the county has authorized the temporary closure of the boat ramp. 

The Dock Daze Festival is a celebration of Eastern Shore food, artwork, maritime tradition, and the great outdoors. Main attractions for this event include a boat docking competition and dock dogs competition. Additional festival attractions include a sailboat race, paddle boat tours, live music, and hands on activities for kids. 

The event will serve as a Wicomico Recreation, Parks and Tourism fundraiser with proceeds directly benefiting the Westside Community Center. The economic impact is estimated to be $100,000.

Fed Funds For Ambulance

POCOMOKE — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski this week announced the city of Pocomoke has received a $50,000 grant and $150,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development program to purchase a new ambulance. 

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure that our first responders have the resources they need to keep our families and communities safe,” said Cardin. “These brave men and women are on the front lines every day responding to emergency situations, and we must ensure that they have the equipment and training they need to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.”

The funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance to replace an ambulance that has been in service for 10 years.  This ambulance is used along with two other units to serve lower Worcester County where calls for ambulance service come from an area of approximately seven square miles and the nearest trauma hospital is 30 miles from the service area. 

“It means residents will have increased access to trauma care,” said Mikulski. “We must do what we can to give our first responders the resources they need to keep our communities safe.”

Assateague Free to Active Vets

ASSATEAGUE — In honor of Armed Forces Day, Assateague Island National Seashore starting tomorrow will begin offering free year-round passes to veterans.

To show appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. military, the National Park  Service will offer free annual passes to its 397 facilities around the country, including Assateague, to all active duty military members and their dependents.

“We all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country,” said Assateague Island National Seashore Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. “We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to this or any national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun with their families.  Beyond the beautiful beaches, the National Seashore offers a variety of Ranger led programs where visitors can explore the island, learn to surf fish or crab, or paddle the bay. There’s something for everyone at Assateague.”