Somerset County

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There has been a suspected arson fire in Somerset County.

It is the second such fire in the last two weeks.

But, the Maryland State Fire Marshall Office says the blaze in Eden does not appear to be connected to the more than 70 arson fires that have struck neighboring Accomack County since mid-November.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that no one was injured in the fire which only affected a small portion of the porch.

Authorities said that there was an odor from some kind of accelerant such as diesel or kerosene.

noaa.gov

If you had losses from Hurricane Sandy in Somerset County and are hoping to get some federal relief midnight tonight is the deadline to get your application in.

Residents are recommended to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency by phone or go on line to get an identification number.

Ron Roth of FEMA told the Salisbury Daily Times that about a dozen people have filed in the last two weeks…after the original February 12th deadline was extended to the 26th.

en-wikipedia.com

United Way for the Lower Eastern Shore says it is getting $150-thousand in grant money to help out communities in Somerset County which is trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The funds come from the group’s Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund.

Rick Nelson, vice chair of the organization’s county branch, told WBOC that there were many elderly people on fixed incomes who are living “hand to mouth” in the wake of the Superstorm.

The date to begin filing for help is February 28 with their offices in Salisbury, Princess Anne and Crisfield.

macinc.org

Construction of a new senior center in Westover is set to begin next month finishing the renovations at the former elementary school.

Currently, it’s being used by several Somerset County agencies.

This week County Commissioners opened bids for the project with costs ranging from just over $1 million to $1.23 million.

The 74-hundred square-foot space will become a new MAC Center for seniors from Crisfield and Princess Anne.

msa.md.gov

Somerset County residents will get a chance to find out what help they might get if they suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy now that the federal and state agencies have departed.

A meeting of the Somerset County Long Term Recovery Committee will host a town hall meeting at Crisfield High School Wednesday night at 6 pm to outline what the committee could offer.

John Phoebus, chair of the group, said help would be available to anyone who applied for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

There will be money in Somerset County’s 2014 budget for free rabies vaccination clinics held twice a year.

The County Commissioners agreed to add over $12-hundred to the Animal control budget after health officials told them several months ago about the need for better control of rabies among feral cats.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the health department now holds the clinics in the spring and the fall charging a $6 fee per animal.

James Henderson head of Animal Control said his agency sees several wild rabid animals a month. 

Hurriance Sandy, nasa.gov

It’s been a month since Hurricane Sandy and hundreds of residents in Crisfield are still waiting for federal assistance to deal with the damage left behind by the superstorm.

Many like Teresa Shallcross had their homes destroyed as waters lapped up from the Chesapeake Bay.

She told the Salisbury Daily Times that her home of 20 years is now uninhabitable because the furnace is slowly falling through her water-damaged floor.

chesapeake bay, 123rf.com

Somerset County Commissioners say they will look at whether they want to join a coalition to challenge Maryland’s $14.4 billion plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Chip MacLeod is an attorney with Funk and Bolton hired by Dorchester County to get other counties to become part of the TMDL Coalition to fight the plan.

He presented their case claiming that many of the bay’s problems result from sediment and spills from the reservoirs behind the Conowingo Dam.

Counties have expressed concerned over the price tag of the plan.

Somerset County, msa.md.gov

Somerset County officials are expected to tighten up conditions for declaring properties a nuisance.

Currently inspectors cannot cite property owners for such things as overflowing septic systems.

Instead the Salisbury Daily Times reports that the health department must go to court which can take months to get action.

Under the amended ordinance authority would be given back to the health department to issue citations for unsanitary conditions.

There are 13 new rules under the proposed revision.

digitalphotos.net

Local humane society and public health officials are now backing a new ordinance in Somerset County that would require all cat owners to vaccinate their felines for rabies.

The current ordinance only dealt with dogs.

The draft ordinance includes a trap, neuter and release policy for dealing with feral cat colonies rather than euthanasia.

The measure also details how the county will handle cats that could have rabies and allows Animal Control the right to make sure cats are vaccinated.

The Somerset County Commissioners will get a briefing today on how the Maryland’s new septic tank law will impact the county.

Under the new law there are restrictions where residential development can take place.

Gary Pusey, the county’s planning director, said the county’s Planning Commission is now working on a map that divides the county into four tiered zones.

County planners will be working closely with the town of Princess Anne and the city of Crisfield which must create their own maps.

Crisfield Mayor Percy Purnell says he wants Somerset County to share the burden of the tax abatement for the Rubberset plant.

The city owns the facility on Silver Lane which opened in 1967.

But the company, which is a division of Sherwin-Williams that makes paint brushes and rollers there, wants to exercise its option to take ownership.

The company has asked the city for two-year abatements on real estate and personal property taxes.

Liquor dispensary sales and profits in Somerset County had one of the worst years on record.

A recent audit found that sales dropped by more than $70-thousand while profits declined by over $26-thousand for the fiscal year ending in April.

Certified public accountant Scott Tawes told the Somerset County Council that the Route 13 store north of Pocomoke city had the worst year with sales dropping by more than $38-thousand from a year ago.

Somerset County officials are hoping a new $1.3 million MAC center will be completed this winter that will provide an expanded space in Westover for senior citizens from Crisfield to Princess Anne.

The County Commissioners opened bids for the design work that ranged from $35-thosuand to $84-thousand for the 6-thousand-square-foot center…which will be located in a former elementary school building.

But the Salisbury Daily Times reports that it could be several weeks before a contract is awarded.

Somerset County Commissioners are set to adopt a $35.9 million spending plan that keeps the property tax rate at 88.37 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Property taxes make up the largest portion of revenues to the county at 39 percent of the budget.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the spending plan also includes $480-thousand to cover teacher retirements for the first time.

But that amount has been offset by an increase in the State disparity grant to the county which will rise from $4.9 million this year to $5.2 million next year.

 

The video of an alleged bullying incident on a school bus from Carter G. Woodson Elementary School in Somerset County is being kept under wraps by local officials.

Jenna Howard said that last Friday her son Caleb Marshall was crying and upset telling her that another boy had physically hurt him while they were riding on the school bus together.

 

     Somerset County high school students will be required to wear uniforms starting in September after a unanimous vote by the Board of Education.

     A pilot program began in Greenwood and Deal Island, which immediately reported a decreases in discipline problems because uniforms put everyone on equal footing. 

     Since Greenwood was so successful, uniforms were expanded into Princess Anne Elementary and Woodson Elementary in Crisfield. 

 

 

   

     

      BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Department of the Environment has lifted shellfish harvesting restrictions in portions of three waterways following a decline in bacteria levels.

     Officials said Monday that an area of the Wicomico River at the border of Wicomico and Somerset counties has been approved for harvesting.

 

            There are just a few days left for public input on the proposed wind turbine legislation in Somerset County.

            And residents are expressing concerns…that range from health issues to the impact on wildlife.

            Resident Tammy Truitt said she was concerned about health issues like the noise…that can affect sleep.

            Truitt pointed to a Website for National Wind Watch which listed problems like insomnia, headaches and nausea that have been reported by people who claim they live near wind turbines.

 

          Maryland Police say the man fatally shot by two state troopers in Somerset County was not found to have a weapon.

            Forty-nine year old Terry Diaz of Princess Anne was shot in the head following a chase with state police and County Deputies on Wednesday evening along Route 13.

            Trooper Ryan Watkins and Trooper 1st Class Carl Tyler have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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