A Week In Business – August 5, 2022

Property Acquired

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City-based outdoor hospitality specialist Blue Water continues its rapid expansion with the acquisition of Badlands/White River KOA Holiday.

Located just minutes from Badlands National Park, this property is known as the “Oasis of the Badlands.” Visitors can spot wildlife including buffalo and pronghorn deer, and the picturesque Badlands Mountains make for a highly popular hiking spot. Fossil hunting is another favorite attraction, in addition to visiting all the local replicas and exhibits. The northern lights can be seen in late fall and early spring and the area is a popular dark skies location for stargazers and photographers.

“Badlands/White River KOA is another perfect opportunity to add a unique destination getaway to our portfolio,” said Todd Burbage, CEO of Blue Water. “Providing guests with access to natural resources like the rugged beauty and stunning geography of the Badlands with so many opportunities for adventure is what Blue Water is about. This is a destination that guests will want to return to year after year to enjoy all that the Badlands has to offer.”

Of the property’s 146 sites, 88 of them are RV sites, with unique glamping options including a yurt with a skylight for prime star viewing, teepee, and camping cabins. It also features the widely popular KookHouse which offers a full breakfast with omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and hash browns, plus daily specials for dinner. As part of their visit, each guest receives two complimentary pancakes on one day of their stay.

Worcester Preparatory School Virtual Tour

Badlands/White River KOA Holiday is two hours from Mount Rushmore and is in close proximity to Badlands Loop State Scenic Highway. As part of their ongoing partnership with the association, guests can make use of the ubiquitous Black Hills maps provided by Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association.

The property opened for guests on April 29 and will remain open until Oct. 16.

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Physician Welcomed

SALISBURY – TidalHealth is pleased to welcome Arooge Towheed, MD, to TidalHealth Cardiology’s North Salisbury office.

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Arooge Towheed

Towheed received his medical degree from the Government Medical College in Jammu and Kashmir, India; completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Missouri Kansas City; a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Toledo in Ohio; and a second fellowship in clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Georgetown University/Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He specializes in electrophysiology, which is used to diagnose and treat heart conditions that affect the electrical activity of the heart muscle.

Towheed has participated in and authored many research publications and has presented at several scientific and professional conferences. He is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine Cardiovascular Disease, National Board of Echocardiography, the American Heart Association, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Registration Council and the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Towheed engaged in many volunteer experiences including the Indian Red Cross Society, which involved free medical aid camps, disaster relief and blood donation camps. With the All India Pulse Polio Program, he vaccinated children under 5 years old during this three-day program. Towheed was also a volunteer health worker in the village of Dara, which involved administering vaccinations to children under 5 years old, educating pregnant women on the importance of hospital delivery and antenatal visits, distributing free medications to the local population and educating elderly hypertensive and diabetic patients on the importance of treatment.

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Nurse Recognized

BERLIN – Coastal Hospice, Inc. recently recognized Holly Murray, RN, BSN, CHPN, CM/DN, as being Coastal Style’s Best of 2022 Nurse in Worcester County.

Murray is team leader for Coastal Hospice’s Fairwinds Care Team, and this is the second time she is being awarded Best of Nurse in Worcester County in the last three years.

Murray was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, graduating from Pocomoke High School. She attended Wor-Wic Community College and received her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and became a registered nurse in 2009, going on to work at TidalHealth for two years. Having worked in various med surge modalities, hospice care was something that peaked her interest due to the shift from acute care to comfort care she was witnessing at the hospital.

“I am honored to be recognized as Coastal Style Magazine Best of 2022 Nurse in Worcester County,” Murray said. “I believe that the work we do at Coastal Hospice is rewarding and fulfilling. I’m thrilled that the community recognizes this, and I thoroughly enjoy being part of the Coastal Hospice family and especially love meeting the families and patients that we serve.”

Murray has been part of the Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care team for 10 years, starting as a case manager and recently becoming team leader for Coastal Hospice’s Fairwinds Care Team. Holly received her certified hospice and palliative nurse certification in 2018. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2021 from University of Phoenix, working tirelessly throughout the pandemic as a nurse and a student.

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Market Slows

BERLIN – The market is starting to slow down and that could be a good thing, according to the Coastal Association of REALTORS (CAR).

In June, CAR saw home prices and interest rates dip and inventory grow.

The median home price is 15.1% higher than it was in June 2021 but down 7.9% from last month, May 2022.

Individually the median home price was $385,900 in Worcester, $249,990 in Wicomico, and $225,00 in Somerset. There are currently only 516 active listings in the lower three counties compared to 573 in June 2021 and 981 in June 2020.

In all three counties throughout June, new settlements were down 11.7% compared to the same time last year. Individually, new settlements throughout June were up by 5.1% in Wicomico and down 36.1% in Somerset, and 17.5% in Worcester.

New listings in June were down 10.1% compared to the same time last year in all three counties. Individually, new listings were down by 3.6% in Worcester, 16.5% in Wicomico, and up 23.9% in Somerset from June 2021.

Active listings in all three counties were down by 9.9% from June 2021. Individually, there were 292 active listings in Worcester, 152 in Wicomico, and 72 in Somerset. The median days on market for June 2022 was 8 which was up 33.3% from June of 2021.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, 57% of REALTORS nationwide cited a lack of inventory as the primary reason that held potential clients back from completing a home purchase.

“We seem to be on the brink of change for our housing market,” said Coastal Association of REALTORS President Grace Masten. “Sales are starting to slow and inventory is starting to slowly climb back up.”

She continued, “Interest rates are still low compared to historical highs and actually dropped a little last month. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to 5.3% from 5.7%. With prices flattening, more inventory, and still relatively low mortgage rates now is a wonderful time to be shopping for your new home.”

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New Director

SALISBURY – Wor-Wic Community College recently welcomed Stefanie K. Rider of Ocean City as the director of development and executive director of the foundation.

Prior to joining Wor-Wic, Rider worked at Salisbury University (SU) as major gifts officer for the College of

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Stefanie Rider

Health and Human Services. Her previous roles included development and administrative roles with Worcester Youth and Family Counseling, Ocean City Marlin Club and Coastal Hospice. She has a bachelor’s degree from Towson University and a master’s of business administration from SU.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve our students and community in this role,” Rider said. “I am proud to join the many donors, leaders and volunteers committed to this cause.”

Rider is leading the current “Preparing for A Stronger Tomorrow” campaign to support high-tech equipment for the Patricia and Alan Guerrieri Technology Center now under construction, as well as new technology across campus and student scholarships.

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Restaurant Renovation

OCEAN CITY – Gillis Gilkerson (GGI) recently completed a full interior and exterior renovation of the Dairy Queen restaurant and ice creamery located on 114th Street in Ocean City, Maryland.

The 3,240-square-foot building, former home of Gold Coast Liquor Store, now features a fresh, modern design to welcome customers complete with a drive-thru, quick service lane.

“Gillis Gilkerson continuously finds solutions for any obstacle that comes their way throughout the construction process,” said owner Mike Ramadan. “This is the second project that GGI has successfully delivered to me within the past year. They even finished the Dairy Queen in time for July 4 weekend.”

Led by Project Manager Jared King, Gillis Gilkerson’s construction team updated the storefront, bathrooms, flooring, and parking lot in addition to completing other renovation work within the constraints of a strict timeline.

“It was a great experience being able to lead the team through the construction process for this building,” said King. “The new Dairy Queen definitely stands out from everything else in the shopping center and we are all happy with the final product.”

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Leadership Changes

SALISBURY – Leslie Brown has retired from her role as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Behavioral Health.

After fourteen years with Hudson – eleven as CEO – she ended her tenure in early July. During her illustrious career, she has worked in finance and management, primarily in the non-profit realm, for more than 35 years.

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Leslie Brown

Brown’s legacy is one of exponential growth in not only the organizational footprint but also the levels of care offered. In 2018, Hudson purchased and renovated a building to move their administration and admissions offices, allowing for the addition of 19 beds on campus to include detoxification beds. Brown also oversaw the addition and transformation of five treatment houses, enabling patients to stay in treatment longer and receive individualized care.

During Brown’s tenure, Hudson added detoxification services, low-intensity residential treatment, and mental health services, forming a continuum of care to treat holistically and address the full scope of patient needs. Brown’s development of rigorous protocol, training and tracking allowed Hudson to remain open during the pandemic to serve those in need.

“My career with Hudson has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Brown said. “I’m excited to see all the new opportunities headed Hudson’s way, and although my chapter here has come to an end, my heart will always belong with this organization.”

After an extensive search, Judith Caprio, JD, MS, was selected to be the next president and CEO of Hudson Behavioral Health. With a long career in criminal justice and behavioral health, Caprio most recently served as the director of Community Health Services at the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH).

Caprio started her career in community social work in Rhode Island and progressed into the criminal justice

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Judith Caprio

system where she developed and oversaw therapeutic communities in all male adult prisons in the state. After earning her law degree, she worked with the court system to develop a pre-trial services program which led to developing alternative sentencing programs for non-violent offenders experiencing mental illness. Before moving to Delaware, the Honorable Albert E. DeRobbio, the late chief judge, appointed Caprio the chief clerk of the Rhode Island District Court.

In her first position for the state of Delaware, she served as director of behavioral health for the Delaware Department of Correction. She oversaw behavioral healthcare provided to all offenders in Level 5 and Level 4 facilities. She briefly served as deputy warden at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, Del., before transitioning to DSAMH.

During her time at DSAMH, Caprio led the Crisis Intervention Services, restructured the credentialing program for behavioral health screeners, and developed and implemented a medical-legal partnership with the local community legal aid society to provide legal representation and advice to individuals receiving DSAMH services.

Caprio earned a Master of Science in counseling from University of Rhode Island and a Juris Doctorate from Roger Williams University School of Law. She is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, is certified in the state of Delaware to supervise peer recovery specialists and is trained in mediation. Throughout her career, she has worked as an adjunct instructor in Criminal Justice and Psychology, teaching at Katherine Gibbs College, Rhode Island College, and Delaware Technical Community College.