Despite his age of 86 years old, it came as a shock last weekend to learn of Jesse Turner’s passing less than two months into retirement. If there’s a bright side to the sadness many have experienced this week, it’s that Turner was able to learn how people in the community felt about him before he died. Oftentimes, that’s not the case and people are wonderfully eulogized after they have passed, allowing only their spirit to hear the kind words from those impacted by them. Turner was able to hear first-hand what people thought of him at his retirement fete last month as well as in a number of articles about his business closing in February.
Turner was a community treasure for the Town of Berlin. He was blue collar working man and many ways was representative of the townspeople. I view Berlin as full of people like Turner — hard working, focused, kind, introverted and reliable. He represented a lot of Berlin’s positives in my opinion.
I think personally his name should be considered for a naming opportunity at the Berlin Falls Park should the town go that route. I’m not suggesting the park be named after him or that a petition be started along those lines. I’m merely thinking an amenity — maybe a garden or walking path — be named after him as a way to remember him.
During the public comment period at Monday’s Ocean City Mayor and Council meeting, a private citizen suggested at least one or more of the three councilmembers whose seats come up during the next municipal election cycle in November 2018 have already said they were not returning, resulting in some raised eyebrows and a few chuckles from the Mayor and Council.
Council President Lloyd Martin and Councilmen Wayne Hartman and Matt James will be up for re-election in November 2018, and while the election is still a year and a half away, none of the incumbents was ready to commit one way or the other on Monday.
Hartman dismissed the unfounded notion he was one of the incumbents that would not seek re-election. “It was said during public comments there was a suggestion those up for re-election are leaving their posts,” he said. “I’m one of the ones up for re-election next time and I haven’t made that decision.”
For his part, James said, “It wasn’t me either.” That made those in the room focus on long-time Council President Martin, who took the opportunity to put any rumors to rest.
“I haven’t made up my mind. It’s still a year-and-a-half away,” he said. “I can tell you that I’m very happy here and I’m happy with the council we have. I’m also happy with the cooperation and participation we get from the public as well. It keeps us on our toes. We’ve been open and honest and we’ve had great cooperation with everyone here.”
Martin added, “It’s well known we don’t always agree with everything up here, but we’ve had good dialogue and it works out well. We respect each other when we leave here and that’s the important part. We don’t walk out of here hating each other. This council works very well together.”
It’s only been seven months since Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor took over for Dr. Jerry Wilson, who was allegedly retiring to be closer to family. It seemed from the beginning to not add up and those authenticity doubts were confirmed earlier this year when he was named one of three finalists for the Christina School District superintendent post in Delaware. He ended up not getting that job last month.
Regardless of how that entire situation played out behind the scenes, the good news is relations between the Worcester County Board of Education and the County Commissioners are much better now than before. That much was clear at the lovefest in Snow Hill during the Showell Elementary School project review this week. Revised plans have led to significant savings from the project’s initial estimate.
Commissioner Chip Bertino’s comment perhaps best summed up the past strains and newfound harmony present these days.
“It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we’re working together,” he said.
Commissioner Ted Elder added, “It’s impressive what can be done when people put their thinking cap on.”
During Ocean City’s budget discussions, City Manager Doug Miller wrapped up his presentation on his proposed budget with some words we should all consider every now and again.
In outlining two straight budgets with small property tax cuts for year-round residents and the same tax outlays projected from second homeowners, he reminded the council outside influences will always be at play in resort towns like Ocean City that could drastically reshape the resort’s finances.
“It’s important to point out we’re coming off a couple of benign years,” he said. “We’ve had two pretty good summers in terms of weather, we haven’t had any major hurricanes during the season, fuel prices have been low. Anything that changes in those regards can have a big impact. Like we always say, three rainy weekends in August can change everything.”
Indeed it’s always wise to go by the old saying, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”