INSIDE THIS ISSUE: BUSINESS . . . . . . . . . . 45A CLASSIFIED . . . . . . . . . . 8C ENTERTAINMENT . . . . . . 5B LEGALS . . . . . . . . . . . . 12C
LIFESTYLE . . . . . . . . . . . 1B OPINION . . . . . . . . . . . 20A OUT&ABOUT . . . . . . . . . 17B SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . . 40A
ST PATRICK’S DAY
SALARY ISSUE: It’s that time
Mark the end of winter in fine style while celebrating all things Irish this weekend in Ocean City PAGE 1B
again, when Ocean City Today publishes city government W2 wages, from top to bottom PAGE 1C
FREEMAN STAGE ANNOUNCES SUMMER CONCERT SCHEDULE…PAGE 12A
Ocean City Today WWW.OCEANCITYTODAY.NET
MARCH 15, 2013
FREE WORCESTER COUNTY TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Movin’ on up!
County schools will announce Teacher of Year ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer
The final stages of Boardwalk reconstruction are under way, with the wooden promenade having been rebuilt up to about Ninth Street. The current phase of renovation will go up to 15th Street, above which was rebuilt last winter. The project includes not only re-decking, but also extensive renovation of the supporting substructure to include concrete rails, which will help bear the weight of the tram. As of the city’s last tally, the project was also a whopping $1.65 million under budget, due to the contractor’s ability to re-sell the used OCEAN CITY TODAY/ZACK HOOPES decking instead of having the city pay to dispose of it.
RESORT FIRE COMPANY GETS ITS MOU A long time in coming, agreement with volunteers was about command structure ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) After a considerable period of limbo, the Town of Ocean City has renewed its memorandum
of understanding with the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company, ensuring that the volunteer division of the multi-pronged Ocean City Fire Department will remain steadfast in the ongoing ten-
sion over the organization’s hierarchy. OCVFC President Cliff Christello signed the agreement at this week’s City Council session along with Mayor Rick Meehan, who praised “the intangible and immense benefit that all such charitable and volunteer associations contribute.”
“It’s refreshing to have something like this that we can continue to do,” Christello said. “It reinforces to us that the mayor and council will continue to work with us, and want us to be here.” The substantive change to the MOU, city officials said, is that it removes OCFD Chief
(March 15, 2013) Worcester County will reveal its champion teacher for 2013 next Friday during the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet, held at the Clarion in Ocean City as part of the larger state-level contest to determine who will be Maryland’s educational ambassador for the year. “It’s a great way to celebrate the teaching profession and exceptional teachers,” said county schools’ Director of Special Programs Barb Witherow. “Oftentimes our teachers are unsung heroes.” Every year, the state of Maryland charges each of its 24 school districts — 23 counties, plus Baltimore City — with selecting a top teacher to serve as a candidate alongside teachers from other districts in the contest for Maryland Teacher of the Year. Although the state does not dictate exactly how the districts are to select their candidate, Worcester’s process mirrors a similar rubric to what its winning teacher will face at the state level. At each of the county’s 14 public schools, according to Witherow, a selection committee of administrators is formed to receive nominations for that school’s best teacher. Nominations can be made by students, parents and fellow teachers. Following a review, the administrative panel selects one nominee to represent the school at the county level. At the point, the process becomes much more intensive, Witherow said. “Ours mirrors almost exactly what the state requires; however, it is a little more stringent,” she noted. The 14 finalists must submit an extensive portfolio of their work experience, which will also be used if they advance to the state level. But beyond that, each of Worcester’s candidates is interviewed by a six-person panel, consisting of four education specialists from local universities, as well as one retired veteran teacher Continued on Page 8A
See LARMORE on Page 10A
D E T A I L S O N 0A G E
Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
City to bargain with Old Bay over tram wrap advertising scheme Seafood seasoning giant planning to increase ad campaign in resort area ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) How much does it cost to turn a tram into a billboard for Old Bay seafood seasoning? Apparently, more than the city is being offered. Despite having a relatively short time before the summer season hits, the City Council moved this week to try to negotiate a higher price for the tram truck advertising proposal brought before the city by Direct Media, the contractor who sells advertising space on transportation equipment on the city’s behalf. According to Public Works Director Hal Adkins, Direct Media received an unsolicited offer from McCormick & Company, owners of the Old Bay brand, asking if the agency would be interested in selling full-body advertising wraps on the city’s Boardwalk tram trucks. Currently, the trucks that pull the tram cars feature no advertising. The roofs of the towed passenger cars do have ads, to be viewed by ocean-side
PHOTO COURTESY DIRECT MEDIA, LLC.
The Town of Ocean City is entertaining an unsolicited proposal from the owners of Old Bay seasoning to expand the city’s transportation advertising to include full tram wraps.
hotel patrons. The city’s fleet of buses features full-body advertising graphics. The city’s contract with Direct Media could be amended to allow such advertising, Adkins said, but he wished to approach the council to gauge “any concern about ‘branding’ the tram.” Council Secretary Mary Knight said she had been informed that Old Bay was looking to make advertising purchases in a number of resort venues.
“This is part of an overall advertising plan for Old Bay in our area that will bring even more ‘talk’ [to the resort],” she said. “It is a revenue source … Old Bay is very significant in this area. It’s an extremely well-known brand.” “I’m all for the extra revenue,” countered Councilman Brent Ashley, “but our brand is Ocean City, and this just doesn’t look right to me.”
Old Bay’s offer to Direct Media was $24,000 for the 110 calendar days that the tram operates. Under the contract it has with Direct Media, the city receives a 60 percent profit share of the proceeds, which would be $14,400. “I just don’t feel [the money] is appropriate for the amount of exposure they would be getting,” said Councilman Doug Cymek. “I’m not sure that Direct Media shouldn’t have come to us first to discuss what the value of that would be before they moved in that direction [to establish a price],” agreed Mayor Rick Meehan. For comparison, it was noted that the city receives $5,000 annually, plus in-kind benefits, from the Esskay company to advertise its lunchmeats on the clocks at the Boardwalk bathrooms. “You could fit the entire [Esskay] sign into the ‘B’ in Old Bay on those,” said Councilman Joe Mitrecic. Mitrecic also brought up the point that the city uses the trams to take visitors around Northside Park during the Winterfest of Lights. If Old Bay were not compensating Direct Media and the city for the winter use, the trams would have to be de-wrapped. “It’s very hard on the surface of the bus … and may incur a lot of finish damage when we go to pull it off,” Mitrecic said. See CITY on Page 23A
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
Resort will shuffle staff for ACA ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer
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(March 15, 2013) With 2013 being used as the “test” year to determine one’s obligations once the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act – popularly known as “Obamacare” – rolls around, the Town of Ocean City will likely be doing some major re-shuffling of staff this coming season to avoid adding some employees to its health care plan. “We are really having to get very creative as to how to estimate additional staff this summer, and what it may come down to is having twice as many part-time personnel as we used to,” said Ocean City Fire Department Chief Chris Larmore, whose department will likely be one of the most heavily affected. “There is an immense amount of time currently going into figuring that out.” The key tenet of the federal legislation creates a “pay or play” system that encourages employers to provide affordable health plans to their employees. Specifically, a $2,000 per employee, per year penalty will be imposed on all large businesses that do not provide their full-time employees with appropriate health coverage, beginning Jan. 1, 2014. In order to qualify as being adequate, an employee’s coverage must not cost more than 9.5 percent of their wages, but cover at least 60 percent of projected av-
See FIRE on Page 6A
erage health care costs. “Large businesses” are classified as those who have more than 50 full-time employees, or the equivalent in part-time workers’ hours, which the Town of Ocean City obviously has. But what will matter for the resort is the element of the federal statute that requires to whom exactly such a “large employer” must provide insurance. Under the ACA, any employee “reasonably expected” to work 30 or more hours per week must be provided necessary coverage if their employer is of adequate size. This coverage must be provided within 90 days of employment, meaning that all those who work for more than three months qualify. Under the current interpretation of the law, issued by the IRS, any employee who works more than 1,560 hours in 2013 (30 hours per week, multiplied by 52 weeks per year) will qualify for coverage beginning in 2014. According to City Manager David Recor’s budget presentation earlier this month, 47 city employees who are currently not considered full-time are expected to meet the ACA threshold to receive health benefits. In order to avoid paying the penalty for these employees – or change its health plan to accommodate their costs and incomes – the city will have to keep their hours under the threshold this year.
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Ocean City Today
State plans to ramp up traffic safety campaign ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) If the State Highway Administration’s public safety campaign goes according to plan, Ocean City may soon have a new graphic meme – a stick man, in the customary “walking” pose associated with traffic signs, holding a surfboard. But for all practical purposes, he should probably be carrying a beer. The SHA sought the city’s approval this week for a publicity campaign that will feature a new “walk smart – use crosswalks” logo design, to be placed on bumper stickers, garbage cans, and Tshirts, which city staff will wear for “Casual Friday.” “Public Works people that are outside all the time would be the most visible,” said Karen Waggoner of the SHA’s Office of Traffic and Safety during this week’s City Council session. “Fridays are the best day to have [this message] out there, because that’s when people are coming into town. Most of our pedestrian crashes happen on the weekend, because it’s a whole new group of people.” For the past several months, Waggoner and other state highway and traffic officials have been working with the city’s Pedestrian Safety Committee, re-formed last year over concern about the high number of pedestrian crashes the resort had seen
over the 2012 summer. There were 34 in that season, as compared to 12 over the same span of weeks in 2011, according to the OCPD. Two of these were fatal, while no fatal accidents occurred in 2011. Waggoner praised the responsiveness of the committee, made up of city officials and business owners, while working with the state. “I have to say that it is by far the best committee I’ve ever worked with,” she said. The SHA is already planning a number of engineering and enforcement initiatives, some of which – such as changing traffic light and pedestrian signal timing at several busy intersections – will be implemented for this season. Further improvements, such as the installation of a crossing signal at 54th Street, are planned for next year. The state is also conducting a study of vehicle speed on Coastal Highway to judge the possibility of lowering the speed limit. On the education front, Waggoner said the state has “a lot more things” planned than just the T-shirts. Ad space will be bought on banner planes and the backs of city buses for safety messages. The SHA will also be producing bumper stickers with a logo similar to the T-shirt design, and asked that the city allow the stickers to be placed on public trash receptacles. Public Works Director Hal Adkins cautioned, however, that “stickers are akin to graffiti.”
“The existence of those stickers promotes more stickers,” Adkins said. “I ‘d ask that you limit that exposure to the trash barrels on the beach.” As has often been noted, however, spreading the word about how to safely cross Coastal Highway is one thing – actually getting people to do it late at night, and when they’re less than sober, is another. As Councilman Brent Ashley noted, 60 percent of pedestrian accidents in the resort involved alcohol, and drunk driving arrests by the Ocean City Police Department spiked 66.7 percent last year. “Perhaps the slogan should be ‘walk smart, live smart – don’t drink,’” Ashley suggested. “The bars are a huge focus for us, because a lot of the crashes occur at closing time,” Waggoner said. “We are keenly See STATE on Page 23A
The State Highway Administration will using a new logo, the prototype of which is seen above, in this summer’s pedestrian safety campaign.
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
OCFD maintains service, but looks forward to increased staff ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) The Ocean City Fire Department’s final report for the 2012 calendar year has shown that, despite continuing scheduling and staffing difficulties, the department has been able to maintain and adapt its services. OCFD Chief Chris Larmore informed the City Council this week that the department fielded nearly 6,000 calls over the year, with an average response time of four minutes and 33 seconds, “far exceeding the national average and expectation.”
Despite the town’s massive population fluctuation, Larmore said that there has historically been “very little variation over the 12 months in a year” in call volume, although the volume “does migrate from south to north during the season,” with more emergencies on the south end of the resort in the early months of summer, and more on the north end in the latter part of the high season. Regardless, the department’s response time – from when a call comes in until emergency personnel arrive on the scene – has always hovered around four and a half minutes for the past several years.
Further, the OCFD does not “stack” calls, Larmore said, meaning that calls don’t go unanswered until a crew finishes another call. This is extremely difficult, Larmore said, given the need to balance having enough crews on-duty versus having too many crews who are being paid when not needed. Although the city’s volunteer company is “holding their own,” Larmore said he relies heavily on career firefighters to fill vacant shifts. Many of these paid personnel are primarily employed by other jurisdictions, making scheduling a challenge, especially
Fire, transportation have most affected employees Continued from Page 4A
Larmore said 14 of those employees are in the OCFD, which is in a unique position because “two thirds of the personnel who work part-time for us have full-time jobs somewhere else, where they can’t work around our schedule.” Firefighters and medical personnel who are primarily employed by other municipalities, such as in Salisbury or even the Baltimore metro area, frequently pick up shifts in Ocean City. Given that shifts are 12 or 24 hours, those who work more than one or two rotations in the resort per week would qualify for its insurance.
Whether the city would be penalized for not providing insurance to those who likely have it from another employer is unknown, but “what we have been instructed as department heads is that we may be responsible to make sure that simply doesn’t happen,” Larmore said. “Right now, I believe that we’re going to have to restrict their hours so that they won’t exceed that maximum amount of 1,560 [hours]. What we’re going to have to do is hire a significant number of people to make up the hours that those people were working. What that number is going to be, or how we’re going to find
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those people … is going to be a real challenge.” Similar measures will likely have to be taken in other departments where the city uses per-hour or per-shift workers who consistently work longer schedules but do not receive benefits. As with the fire department, Public Works Director Hal Adkins said that the transportation division of his department is likely to be re-arranged, given that most of the city’s bus drivers are paid per-shift and have other driving jobs in the area. Only seven city bus drivers are salaried employees with benefits, Adkins said.
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since the OCFD has maintained its policy of requiring personnel to have at least eight hours of rest between shifts. To this end, Larmore said that the department issues “shift reports” every 12 hours to keep track of how many crews are needed and what their workload is, a function that was recently expanded to operations in West Ocean City as well. This is particularly important when it comes to special events in the summer. “Naturally, this year we’ll be planning for those exact locations and special events,” Larmore said. Regardless of good planning, however, the department is struggling with a heavier workload and a lack of personnel – the last new OCFD employees were hired seven years ago, Larmore said. Seven persons have left the department since then, and a staffing study indicated that, assuming those vacancies were filled, the department would need to add a further six employees to ideally handle its call volume. Given that the gap has been closed with part-time and overtime work, it may be cheaper for the city to simply hire additional salaried personnel. The department will be seeking 12 new hires for this budget year, Larmore said. To further ensure good service, Larmore is also planning to expand a program whereby patient reports and responses are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of service.
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
OCEAN CITY COUNCIL BRIEFS ZACK HOOPES ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) The Ocean City Council discussed the following matters during its March 12, 2013 session:
OCDC expands programs Council heard a report from Ocean City Development Corporation Executive Director Glenn Irwin and OCDC President Bob Givarz on the organization’s ongoing and expanded initiatives to back redevelopment and reinvestment in the resort’s downtown area. OCDC’s signature initiative – the Façade Renovation Program – is still going strong. The program offers to pay one-third of the cost, up to $5,000, for those looking to renovate the exteriors of dilapidated downtown structures. Once spurred to action, Irwin noted, most participants actually put more into their projects than originally planned, resulting in twice the leverage ratio – six to one – of public-to-private dollars. This has resulted in 134 façades completed to date, and more than $4.7 million in investment. “We have more façade projects completed through the Community Legacy Program [the state grant that funds OCDC] than any other city in Maryland, including Baltimore,” Irwin said. The group’s newest initiative – the Business Assistance Program – will offer subsidies for interior renovations to businesses looking to establish themselves in vacant downtown properties, and will be run in a manner similar to the façade program. Several businesses have expressed in-
terest, and one has already applied, Irwin said. OCDC will also be expanding its downtown concerts, both at the bayside Sunset Park, which holds an event every Thursday, starting June 11, as well as on Somerset Plaza, where OCDC hosts car club receptions throughout the summer. “They’ve asked us to have a music event each time they’re there, so we’re actually doubling the amount of music we have,” Irwin said.
Summer camps grow The city’s Parks and Recreation Director, Tom Shuster, informed council this week that he is planning to expand the city’s summer camp offerings to include beach volleyball, drama, and standup paddle-boarding, as well as extending the offerings for surfing, fishing, and visual arts. “With the art camp in particular, we want to note that we’ve grown from a one-week camp at Northside Park to a four-week camp at the Ocean City Center for the Arts,” Shuster said about the newly completed facility. “We’re happy to have a location like that for the camp.”
A 3.07:0/ 37
Mayor Rick Meehan said that the camps are key, he believes, to driving consistent visitorship. “I know there are families that plan their summer vacations around these,” he said. Shuster also reported that this year’s 23rd iteration of Springfest is shaping up to be highly popular, based on the number of tickets sold for the event’s three evening concerts. A total of 610 seats are already booked for Beatlemania on Thursday, May 2. Friday’s Justin Moore concert has already sold 1,072, and Saturday’s headliner, Foreigner, has already sold 1,683. “We’ve got less than 100 tickets left to sell, so if you know someone who wants to get into the Foreigner concert, let them know,” Shuster said.
Training reviewed Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald briefed council on the city’s experience at the recent Integrated Emergency Management Course conducted by FEMA at the federal Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md. “It costs about $100,000 for them to design
the course specifically to us, and to fly experts in from around the nation,” Theobald said. Sixty-seven people attended the course, including city staff as well as those from surrounding jurisdictions and support groups that work with the city in emergencies, typically weather-related. “It’s about solving problems together when the time comes,” Theobald said. As a result of the training and collaborative effort, Theobald said he was planning to complete a revised Emergency Operations Plan before the council prior to the start of the summer season. The plan will include considerably more detail on the city’s reconstruction, Theobald said, in case the resort were ever to sustain extensive damage such as that seen in New York and New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. “After the fact is not the time to sit there are decide what you want Ocean City to look like after a catastrophe,” Theobald said. Mayor Rick Meehan, who attended the training course, said the realism was remarkable.
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Ocean City Today
WORCESTER COUNTY TEACHER OF THE YEAR Continued from Page 1A and the county’s current Teacher of the Year. The interview and portfolio review process goes through practical classroom methods, and beyond. “All of the candidates are great instruction leaders and teachers,” Witherow noted. “The portfolio has seven sections … including student career readiness, teaching philosophy, and what their platform would be if they were to be Maryland’s state Teacher of the Year. It’s very comprehensive.” The top performer, as judged on a 1,200point composite rubric, will be named during next week’s event. The winner will serve throughout the year as a leader for teaching initiatives in the county, as well as an ambassador and champion of education at the state level. Last year’s winner, Worcester Technical High School social studies teacher Tony Bevilacqua, “is very involved at the state level,” Witherow said. “All of the county Teachers of the Year participate in a number of functions, one recently was that they got to go to the House of Delegates and the state Senate and talk to our representatives about education.” Next Friday’s dinner and award ceremony will also bring back as many former county Teacher of the Year winners as possible, even if they no longer live in the area. The award was first presented in 1988. “We have wonderful sponsors for our banquet,” Witherow noted. “Because of them, we are able to bring our former Teachers of the Year back for the celebration.” The 14 candidates, one representing each school, for the county’s Teacher of the Year are: n Elizabeth Atwood, Cedar Chapel Special School: Atwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science in organizational management from Robert’s Wesleyan College and earned a master’s in special education from Wilmington Uni-
versity. Currently in her sixth year at CCSS, Atwood integrates the Common Core State Standards with a functional living skills curriculum, while incorporating the principles of structured teaching. Atwood seeks to empower all children to be lifelong learners, contributing members of society, and productive citizens. As a mentor teacher for University of Maryland Eastern Shore student teaching interns, an AFG team member, ALT-MSA representative, Equal Measurements Coordinator and president of the Bishopville VFD Auxiliary, Atwood advocates and celebrates diversity in partnerships with family and community. n Mindy Bankert, Stephen Decatur Middle School: Bankert earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in marketing management and physical education and health, as well as a master’s in post-secondary education from Salisbury University. In her 15 years of teaching, Bankert has concentrated on teaching disability awareness, diversity appreciation, and character building through physical activity. Bankert applied her passion to create an after-school club called Equal Measurements, which encourages interaction between special and general education students as they collaborate on projects and train for Special Olympics. Dedicated to the community, Bankert is an advisor for the Builders Club and coordinator of the annual Veteran’s Day tribute. She currently teaches seventh- and eighth-grade physical education. n Tanya Call, Buckingham Elementary School: Call is in her seventh year of teaching kindergarten at BES. Call graduated Cum Laude from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She earned a master’s from Wilmington University, with dual certification in early childhood and elementary education and has completed 30 post-graduate credits in reading and special education. Call’s greatest reward is seeing her students’ excitement for learning. Her favorite moment is when a child first says, “I just read! I can do it!” Call is a member of the AFG Technology Team, PTA vice president, a mentor
MARCH 15, 2013
teacher for interns and an after-school program teacher for kindergarten and first grade. n Tara Cuplin, Snow Hill High School: Cuplin attended Frostburg State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign languages and literature. She majored in French, minored in Spanish, and received her secondary education teaching certificate. Cuplin has been teaching French and Spanish for nearly 14 years and is currently pursuing a master’s in education from Wilmington University. Cuplin believes that in order for students to learn, they must feel safe and valued in the classroom. She seeks to inspire her students to expand their horizons beyond their own culture and learn about the world around them, both through learning a foreign language and studying different countries. n Gina Dean, Pocomoke Elementary School: Dean is a physical education teacher of 13 years, currently at PES, teaching kindergarten through third grade. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, Bachelor of Science in elementary education and master’s in post-secondary education from Salisbury University. Dean strives to create a positive learning environment where students develop both physical and mental skills, achieving success through individual and team interaction. Utilizing crosscurricular connections by integrating lessons with Common Core subject standards, she believes that by promoting effective physical activities in schools, students will develop the necessary knowledge to make informed, healthy lifestyle choices which can aid in preventing or reducing costly health care in the future. n Karen Eure, Snow Hill Elementary School: Eure graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish language and literature and a minor in early childhood education from Mary Washington College. She earned a Master of Education, with a concentration in reading, from Salisbury University. Eure began teaching at SHES in 1987, enjoying the ever-changing world of Kindergarten
for 25 years. She believes that every child has potential to grow. Will her students learn a love of reading and a flair for the drama of good literature? Will they realize that numbers are fun to manipulate? Will singing, dancing, and painting inspire them? Eure believes it is her mission to foster their interest in answering these questions. n Jennifer Fohner, Ocean City Elementary School: Fohner graduated from Bowie State University with a Bachelor of Science in early childhood/special education and a Master of Science in reading and literacy from Walden University. She has been teaching for 14 years and is currently teaching pre-kindergarten at OCES. Fohner believes that all students can learn when they are in a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment. She also believes that students respond when they are engaged in lessons that involve handson activities and are meaningful. She is a member of the Math Team for Accreditation for Growth and teaches the after-school homework academy for fourth grade students. n Monica Forrester, Pocomoke Middle School: Forrester is in her seventh year of teaching at PMS, where she teaches art and gifted and talented, and serves as the school’s Arts Immersion Specialist. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Salisbury University and a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She believes that encouragement and praise for a job well done builds self-esteem in her students and creates a desire to achieve more. Forrester is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and serves on the Maryland Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel. In 2012, Forrester was recognized as an Outstanding Maryland Art Teacher. n Arlene Hager, Showell Elementary School: Hager began her career in education as an advocate, supporting early education and quality childcare in Worcester County. Currently, she is in her seventh year of teaching kindergarten at SES. Hager’s philosophy is based on providing hands-on, encouraging, and literature-
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
graduated from The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Arts in English and earned her Master of Arts in English at Salisbury University. She has taught for 23 years, the last four of which have been at PHS, where she teaches English 10, British literature and college writing. Price is chair of the English department at her school. She strives to engage her students in the challenging work of English scholars. Believing in the enormous potential of every teen that comes into her classroom, Price sets very high expectations and guides students toward reaching them. n Amanda Senter, Berlin Intermediate School: Senter has been teaching reading/language arts and mathematics to fifth-graders at BIS for 12 years. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and a master’s in post-secondary education. She believes that building a community of learners helps students become comfortable taking risks and helps to build more autonomous learners. Senter motivates her students with lessons that are hands-on and infused with the arts, and believes hosting Salisbury University’s co-teachers (interns) plays an important role in her students’ success. Senter serves on the AFG reading committee, mentors new teachers, and is a former team leader. n Beau Williams, Snow Hill Middle School: Williams graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Arts in teaching. Williams is in his 10th year of teaching at SHMS and currently teaches eighth-grade social studies. He believes fostering cooperative group work and providing students with the opportunity to solve real-world problems in the classroom will enable them to develop the skills they need to be successful citizens in the 21st century. Williams is a Maryland Service Learning Fellow and advises the Student Government Association at his school. He serves as the eighthgrade team leader and is a PDS mentor teacher for interns.
WORCESTER COUNTY TEACHER OF THE YEAR enriched instruction. She provides a supportive learning environment that inspires individuality, creativity, respect and imagination. She finds that it is through music and rhyme, wonder and discovery, that critical thinking, problem solving and discussion are daily adventures where students are encouraged to learn something new every day. Hager is always cognizant of Benjamin Franklin’s adage: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” n Tracy Hunter, Worcester Technical High School: Hunter graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a master’s in post-secondary education. Hunter is a 14-year teacher who teaches biomedical sciences and nursing at WTHS. She is also an adjunct nursing instructor at Salisbury University. Holding high expectations for her students, she uses project-based instruction to help students acquire the qualifying skills needed to become healthcare professionals. Hunter is the current science technology engineering and mathematics high school master-teacher for Worcester County Public Schools. She coordinates student internships and nursing clinical experiences, and serves as a mentor for new teachers. n Emily Insley, Stephen Decatur High School: Insley graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Delaware with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French education. She has taught students in all grade bands, from elementary through post-secondary. Insley believes that student engagement is the key to effective education and classroom management. She maintains that high expectations do not mean that learning has to be dull. In her sixth year at SDHS, she teaches French to ninththrough 12th-grade students. She is currently the Legal Interns’ teacher advisor and has served as a mentor teacher for Salisbury University interns. n Beth Price, Pocomoke High School: Price
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Larmore no longer conditional to MOU Continued from Page 1A
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Chris Larmore as a specific party to the agreement, and instead places him in the same structure, under the city manager, as all other city department heads. “That [old agreement] was a three-party MOU between OCFD Chief myself, the volunteers, and the Chris Larmore city,” Larmore said this week. “This new MOU is now a two-party agreement between the volunteers and the town.” That legal language dates back to the 2007 row between the city and the volunteer company that led to the current setup of the OCFD. At that time, allegations arose that the city was planning to place an emergency services director over both the OCVFC and an expanded paid fire corps, and whose operational directives would supersede those of the volunteer company. Larmore, then the OCVFC chief, said the plan was “an unacceptable public safety practice” and “an unsound and dual com-
mand structure where truth is alien and duplicity rules.” The OCVFC then stated that it would relinquish fire service on the island and move its primary operations to West Ocean City due to its inability to “function under this umbrella of distrust and deceit.” A compromise was reached under which Larmore would become the interim head of a fully combined fire department, for a starting salary of $1 per year, in which both volunteer and paid firefighters and EMS personnel serve under the same administrative structure. But because Larmore has since become the permanent, fully compensated chief of the department, the city suggested this past fall that the agreement was moot, and needed to be revised in order to reflect the fact that Larmore was no longer serving as an interim chief on behalf of the volunteers. Even under the new MOU, however, the OCVFC still maintains its right to appeal directly to the city’s elected body. “The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company reserves its longstanding right to communicate directly to the mayor and council
on all standing matters,” Meehan said. “That did not change and it will not change.” Since the topic of revising the MOU was first broached some months ago, multiple members of the city’s administration have noted that the volunteer company was reluctant towards any change in Larmore’s powers, likely due to the ongoing tension between Larmore’s administration and the city’s paid, unionized fire division which Larmore now manages. As previously reported in Ocean City Today, conflicts over scheduling and promotions have become increasingly heated between Larmore’s command and the city’s chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “The terminology is exactly the same [in the new MOU], in that I have full operational and administrative authority over all three divisions [the volunteer company, the career division, and the Office of the Fire Marshal],” Larmore said. The city has completed negotiations on a new collective bargaining contract with the IAFF, but the document has yet to be ratified by the union, city officials said this week.
Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
Exhibitors warned about phony fair guide NANCY POWELL ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) Past exhibitors in the Ocean City Hotel-MotelRestaurant Association’s Spring Trade Expo are being warned about a “fair guide” purporting to be affiliated with the organization. A letter sent to exhibitors this week from Susan Jones and Amy Tingle of the HMRA says the “Fair Guide/Show Fair Guide” is a fraud and is “In No Way associated with our show.” Exhibitors are told not to fill out paperwork because the “Fair Guide” is actually soliciting them for thousands of dollars. The Fair Guide letter tells ex-
hibitors that the update for their “pre-registered listing in our exhibitors directory is essential to guarantee problem-free communication to all visitors seeking contact with your company and to assure that only accurate data is published.” It goes on to tell exhibitors that an order form is attached if they want to place an order for a payable insertion in the guide. Those who ordered a payable insertion were billed about $1,700, Jones said. This is not the first year the Fair Guide has targeted exhibitors of the Ocean City show. Jones said this was probably the third
year for the solicitations. Last fall, she e-mailed the Fair Guide’s Web site, asking for the OCHMRA and its expo to be removed from the site’s query search. “I do not want any affiliation with your brand, as it is misleading and deceptive to my clients. Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter,” Jones wrote. She received a read receipt, but no response, on Oct. 22. The Fair Guide’s Web site, www.fairguide.com, describes itself as “the largest fairs and exhibitors directory on the Internet,” and instructs exhibitors to use it “to find companies, fairs and exhibitions all over the world.”
Ocean City Today
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(March 15, 2013) The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation on Thursday announced the summer concert schedule for The Freeman Stage at Bayside, an outdoor performing arts venue located off Route 54 in the Bayside community, which is celebrating its sixth season of bringing arts and entertainment to the Mid-Atlantic region. The Freeman Stage has attracted more than 120,000 audience members since 2008, with a diverse offering of dance, theatre, live music and children’s performances. The 2013 season will include more than 50 performances between Memorial Day and Labor Day, including five special concert events: Lyle Lovett and his acoustic group on July 10; nine-time Grammy award winner Sheryl Crow on July 14; country superstar Darius Rucker on Aug. 8; five-time Grammy award winner Michael McDonald on Aug. 10; and Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo on Aug. 13. Tickets for all paid performances will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. on April 1. “We have just released our 2013 schedule of events and we couldn’t be more excited about the diversified programs and special concert events that our sixth season will offer to our community,” said Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. “So many gifted and talented artists are scheduled to grace our beautiful stage.
Adding the special concert events to our lineup over the last few seasons has been a huge success, and we hope that the performances in 2013 will continue to attract new patrons, while also bringing awareness of the importance of arts in our community.” Among the performances scheduled this season are such crowd favorites as the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Clear Space Theatre Group, Jesse Garron’s tribute to Elvis, First State Ballet, and the Morgan State University Choir. Also returning in 2013 are the Arts & Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, local artist John Donato and Tommy Edward as Sir Rod. Performers new to the outdoor stage this summer include Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, the Official Blues Brothers Revue, Classic Albums Live, Hits of the Great White Way with Franc D’Ambrosio, Cherish the Ladies, the Doo Wop Project, Bruce in the USA, among others. New to The Freeman Stage this year will be two nights called “Locals Under the Lights,” where local artists will have their moment in the spotlight to perform right on the Freeman Stage. For a complete listing of all the season’s events, or to find out how to volunteer at The Freeman Stage, call 302-436-3015 or visit www.freemanstage.org.
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MARCH 15, 2013
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Ocean Pines heroin dealer pleads guilty NANCY POWELL ■ Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) A heroin trafficker from Ocean Pines faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty last week in Circuit Court in Snow Hill to having a large amount of the drug. Not only did Leck M. Lyons, 38, have a large amount of heroin, it was the largest seizure of heroin in recent history Leck Lyons in Worcester County. Lyons had been under investigation by the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team after its members learned he was selling heroin. The investigation was one of several involving suspected heroin distribution in the northern end of the county. After gathering information about his trafficking, they obtained a search and
seizure warrant. On Oct. 19, 2012, investigators saw Lyons driving on Route 113 at Bishopville Road and stopped him. Police searched the vehicle and found 1,678 individually wrapped bags of heroin, with an approximate street value of $41,950. They also found $2,020. Following that search, police executed the search and seizure warrant at Lyons’ residence on Windjammer Road in Ocean Pines, where they found and seized seven bags of heroin. Lyons was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of a large amount of heroin and importation of heroin. Lyons, who pleaded guilty March 5, will be sentenced by Judge Richard Bloxom at a later date.
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and turned off his vehicle’s lights. “He was on the other side looking around,” said Mathias, who then called police. When police asked the man, identified as Matthew Bullen, 21, of Ocean City, for his wallet, Bullen removed it and the officer saw a silver and black bracelet fall onto the sidewalk. Checking for warrants, the officer found an active warrant out of Anne Arundel County and arrested Bullen. After the arrest, the officer searched Bullen and found a leather Kindle case with a Kindle reader and charging cord in his jeans pocket. He also found one $50 bill, two $20 bills, two $10 bills, one $5 bill and 10 $1 bills. Police also found two more vehicles See MATHIAS on Page 26A
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Rural counties ally to increase clout in capitol SHEILA R. CHERRY â– Associate Editor/Bayside Gazette (March 15, 2013) No longer content to make do with new laws passed by the General Assemblyâ€™s larger urban and suburban jurisdictions, Marylandâ€™s rural counties have begun forming a political alliance to leverage their collective numbers in an attempt to present a greater specifically rural voice in the decision-making process in Annapolis, according to organizers. Maryland Rural Counties Coalition President Michael McKay told members of the Eastern Shore Delegation on March 8 that the coalition had grown to include Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico counties â€” representing 939,980 rural Maryland residents â€” since its inception in December 2011. Turns out, the delegation meeting had competition, which diminished the usual turnout. It occurred the same morning as the state prayer breakfast, which this year hosted Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson. Nevertheless, McKay said he felt comfortable that five of his coalitionâ€™s representatives attended. He said he was told by the state representatives that the coalitionâ€™s work was both ap-
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preciated and needed. The four original member jurisdictions â€” Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties â€” each contributed $5,000 to create an operating budget of $20,000 to use during the stateâ€™s 2012 legislative session. Most of the funding was spent to retain Annapolis consultants to advocate on behalf of rural issues in tandem with the coalitionâ€™s new partner, the Maryland Association of Counties. The idea is to complement, not compete with, MACo, McKay said. During the 2013 session, the coalition retained Maryland lobbyist Bruce Bereano to help the coalition navigate through the legislative maze in Annapolis. Bereano was convicted of mail fraud in 1994. Asked about that, McKay said coalition members were well aware of Bereanoâ€™s spotted past, but still responded by overwhelmingly choosing him to represent them because of his political weight and effectiveness in Annapolis politics. Worcester County Commissioners President Bud Church said March 8 that the county had been approached when the coalition was initially forming. But at that time it was only a small number of counties and they were asking for a large amount of money as an initiation fee. The membership issue â€œwill proba-
bly be brought before us again,â€? Church said. â€œWe might reconsider, now that the group is a member of MACo,â€? he said. The coalition listed several bills it is tracking during the current session of the assembly. However, seven specific proposals, labeled â€œLegislation of Interestâ€? were highlighted as measures for which the group has taken positions. Four of the bills the coalition is supporting are: â– HB 409/SB 443 â€“ which would generally increase the time period of a local governmentâ€™s comprehensive planning and zoning cycle from six to 10 years, to coincide with the release of federal census data, and would allow local jurisdictions to have access to that data at the beginning of their comprehensive plan review processes; â– HB 694 â€“ which would exempt a county or municipal corporation from permit requirements under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, if the local jurisdiction maintains adequate program funding to support stormwater management infrastructure and programs approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment; â– House Bill 796/SB 427 â€“ which See MEMBERS on Page 17A
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MARCH 15, 2013
Ocean City Today
MD Senate weighs increase to murder accessory charges NANCY POWELL â– Staff Writer (March 15, 2013) Delegate Mike McDermottâ€™s bill to increase the penalty for being an accessory after a murder was passed by the House of Delegates last Thursday. Although the bill was watered down, it would increase the maximum penalty, which is currently five years. McDermottâ€™s original bill would have increased the penalty for being convicted of being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder to up to 20 years. A conviction for being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder would have increased the penalty to 10 years. An amendment to McDermottâ€™s bill increased the maximum penalty for both offenses to 10 years. Lynn Dodenhoff, the mother of murder victim Christine Sheddy, testified in favor of McDermottâ€™s bill during its Feb. 19 hearing held by the Judiciary Committee. She testified again Tuesday in favor of the companion bill of Sen. Norman Stone Jr. during the hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee. â€œIt went very, very well,â€? Dodenhoff said Wednesday of her testimony. Dodenhoff was in Circuit Court in Snow Hill in October when Tia Johnson was sentenced to the maximum five years in prison for being an accessory after the 2007 murder of her daughter. She thought the sentence was too light. Not only had Johnson driven her car, with her children inside and Sheddyâ€™s body in the trunk, from Pocomoke to Snow Hill, she remained mum about the crime. Sheddyâ€™s body lay undiscovered in a shallow grave behind a bed and breakfast for two years, three months and seven days. One of the murderers is serving a prison sentence of life without parole. The other is serving a life sentence, with all but 30 years suspended. Johnson is serving five years. When asked if she was disappointed that one of the penalties in McDermottâ€™s bill had been lowered from 20 years to 10 years, Dodenhoff said, â€œYeah, but weâ€™re talking baby steps here. Five more years is five more years.â€? Robin Bennett, mother of murder victim, Whitney Bennett, who was murdered in Wicomico County in 2010, also testified for stronger penalties. The man convicted of being an accessory after the fact to her daughterâ€™s murder was sentenced last summer to five years in prison and is already up for parole. Because of those two murders, the bill was renamed last week as The Sheddy-Bennett Act.
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Ocean City Today
MARCH 15, 2013
Maryland casinos generate more than $47 million in February (March 15, 2013) The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency last week announced February revenue numbers for the state’s three casinos — Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, Casino at Ocean Downs in Worcester County and Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County. The combined statewide revenue for the month totaled $47,767,536.68. The Casino at Ocean Downs generated $3,467,751.20 in February, and its gross gaming revenue per machine per day was $154.81. The Casino at Ocean Downs’ February 2013 revenue decreased by $59,098.28 or 1.68 percent from February 2012. The Casino at Ocean Downs operates 800 machines. Hollywood Casino Perryville generated $5,964,476.56 in February, and its gross gaming revenue per machine per day was $185.59. In a year-to-year comparison, Hollywood Casino’s February 2013 revenue decreased by $5,583,757.86 or 48.35 percent from February 2012. Hollywood Casino Perryville operates 1,148 machines. Maryland Live Casino generated $38,335,308.92 in February, and its gross gaming revenue per machine per day was $302.28. Maryland Live operates 3,991 machines. In a year-to-year comparison — excluding Maryland Live, which opened in June 2012 — February 2013 casino rev-
FEBRUARY 2013 CASINO REVENUE WORKSHEET GROSS GAMING REVENUE
Total Feb 2013
Total FY2013 Year to Date
Hollywood 2013 Fiscal YTD
Hollywood Feb 2013
Ocean Downs Feb 2013
Ocean Downs 2013 Fiscal YTD
Maryland Live 2013 Fiscal YTD
Maryland Live Feb 2013
# OF MACHINES
Education Trust Fund
Horse Racing Purse Account
Local Impact Grants
Race Tracks Facility Renewal Account
Small, Minority & WomenOwned Businesses
This chart shows a detailed breakdown of February fund disbursement, fiscal year-to-date totals for the individual casinos and combined state total. *Due to floor reconfigurations, the gross gaming revenue is an estimate based on the number of machines in operation on the last day of the month.
Control Commission is responsible for all matters relating to regulation of the state’s casinos. In this regulatory role, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency oversees all internal controls, auditing, security, surveillance, background investigation, licensing and
enue decreased from February 2012 by $5,642,856.14 or 37.43 percent. The addition of Maryland Live, however, brought a year-to-year net benefit to the state of $32,692,452.78, or 216.86 percent. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming
accounting procedures for the facilities. To keep Marylanders informed and maintain integrity and transparency in its regulation of the state’s casinos, the LGCA posts monthly financial reports on casino revenue on its website, gaming.mdlottery.com.
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