It didn’t take long for the south end of Worcester County to start raising equality questions. During a recent meeting, Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman requested for his town a portion of the money derived through a revenue sharing formula between the Casino at Ocean Downs and Worcester County.
Pocomoke as well as Snow Hill do not receive any direct casino revenue funds from the county as opposed to Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin. Dorman tried hard to prove his point that Snow Hill is impacted by the casino and even tried to throw Ocean City under the proverbial bus.
“Ocean City didn’t want the casino and they get 20 percent of the money,” said Dorman, pointing to years of opposition from Ocean City officials in Annapolis whenever casino talks surfaced.
In the end, the request fell on deaf ears from the commissioners, as it should. While he seemed to have a “it doesn’t hurt to ask” approach to the request, Dorman said he would not be shy in seeking funding for his town and touched upon an issue I thought was bound to surface.
The election last November severely tipped the elected official representation to the north end of the county. In fact, six of the seven commissioners now reside within 15 miles of each other in the north end and none reside south of Berlin. The exception is Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw, who lives in Pocomoke.
“Everybody lives in the north end of the county except for Commissioner [Merrill] Lockfaw,” Dorman said. “Everything goes north. We’re like the red-headed step child. We don’t get a fair shake.”
It was only a matter of time.
Growing up here, there are “adults” in your life that you know but you don’t really know them personally. They are parents of friends who you get to know on a certain level, but you have no idea who they are truly on a professional or personal level. It’s probably because most kids are self-obsessed and uninterested in life outside their blinders.
Life changes in experience, education and perspective eventually alters that and results in a different image of those individuals as you grow older. You start to realize these people are a big deal in the community and revered on many levels. I view Mrs. Brous that way as I reflected on her passing this week.
Rose Brous was laid to rest on Tuesday. Growing up here, she was to me, and so many others, simply Mrs. Brous, a woman I would see at get-togethers because a good friend of mine’s family was close with her and her family. She was the lady who was nice enough to let us play football in her open lot on Mallard Island and hosted cookouts and social events along with Mrs. Tawney, Mrs. VanKirk, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Sporrer and Mrs. Conner, to name a few other moms of influence in my life growing up around these parts.
It wasn’t until I got more involved with the newspaper that I realized she had a legacy far greater than my personal memories. After her husband’s untimely death in 1978, she did what so many women around these parts did. She kept the family together and operated the family business. In this case, it was the venerable Flamingo Motel, which her son operates today and did for many years with his mom.
Over the last 20 years or so, Mrs. Brous would call me from time to time to ask a favor about covering an event she was involved in and it usually involved a Republican fundraiser or a church event. She was a true lady respected by all who knew her for her genuine kindness. She leaves behind a legacy.
Another individual who touched many lives in the area was Ron Brooks, who passed away last week as well.
A relative newcomer to the area, having moved here about 20 years ago, “Mr. B” used to be a frequent visitor to our office. At least once a week he would bring ad copy for his son’s restaurant or ask to speak to me about stories on his son’s ventures as well as his golf tournament he organized each summer to benefit the University of Maryland’s M Club as well as other local charities. He also used to tell me what I was doing wrong with the newspaper based on his experience with his own advertising agency in the metropolitan area. I always listened, although I might not have agreed or liked hearing it. I think Mr. B realized that immediately, but he would still rest his hand on my shoulder and bring me in close for a few words of advice whenever he stopped in. On more than one occasion, he treated me to a crab cake or two at his son’s restaurant as well. That always got him my attention.
Mr. B was as nice and sincere as they come. He embraced life and had an infectious laugh and smile. It was tough to hear of his sudden passing, particularly the freak way it occurred while waiting in a doctor’s waiting room. In a Facebook message last week, his son, Johnny Brooks, proprietor of the Crabcake Factory brand, eloquently addressed his father in a way that got me thinking.
“My mentor, my rock, my greatest fan, my harshest critic, the man who made me who I am today … has passed away. Ron Brooks aka Mr. B is gone to heaven to be with His friends and family for eternity,” he said.
It was the part about the “fan” and “critic” that hit home for me. Good fathers should always be counted on for honesty and giving their kids a high five and praise when doing well and criticize when necessary. Mr. B did that with his son, John, who recognized how important that was for him this week.