Worcester County

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis was detected last month in Wicomico and Worcester Counties.

It’s a mosquito born virus that can cause some mild health problems but also could turn serious and cause death.

WBOC reports that the Wicomico County Health Department says on average only five to 10 people are affected by the virus.  

Dennis DeCintio with the Department says that number there is a high fatality rate of around one third.

Otherwise symptoms can include chills, muscle aches and join pain.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal grant is bringing long-distance care to children with social, emotional and behavioral problems in three rural Maryland counties.

U.S. senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski announced $300,000 in funding Monday from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Baltimore-based Kennedy Krieger Institute.

The Maryland senators say in a statement that the institute will partner with hospitals in Garrett and Worcester counties, and with school-based health centers in Dorchester County, to screen patients and deliver specialized care.

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Could ice hockey come to the Eastern Shore? Worcester County officials are now looking at the possibility after Hat Trick Consultants came to them with their own study which says yes. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush has this report.

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The three Lower Shore Counties in Maryland have the highest rates of child abuse in the state.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the state Department of Health found that in 2014 ranked highest with 30.5 out of a thousand children suffered some abuse.

In Worcester County the figure was 29 out of a thousand while in Wicomico County it was 13.4 out of a thousand.

The national average is 8.5

Michele Hughes, executive director of the Life Crisis Center, told the Daily Times that she never sees fewer than 100 children who have suffered from abuse.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will be making a stop at the Harrington Fairground on Friday afternoon.

According to his website the event will kick off at 3 p.m. and will be located in the Quillen Arena.

The tickets are available on the campaign website.

This comes on the heels of tonight’s appearance at the Stephen Decatur High in Worcester County beginning a 7 p.m.

Doors open at 4 p.m.

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The 2016 Punkin Chunkin is on.

And there is a possibility that Worcester or Dorchester Counties could witness the pumpkins flying through the air this year.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Frank Payton, president of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association, confirmed it was looking at locations in Maryland as well as Sussex County. 

The Worcester County Tourism director Lisa Challenger told the newspaper that there are three locations at the northern end of the county.

All the insurance and liability issues have been taken care of.

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With the recent bomb threats in the region, Delegate Mary Beth Carozza has offered up a measure that would make it easier to prosecute offenders.

The bill would allow law enforcement to charge someone who makes a bomb threat to be prosecuted in the county, in which it occurs – even if the person lives in another state.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby and the Worcester County Sheriff’s office.

Don Rush

There was another bomb threat yesterday.

This time at Stephen Decatur High School.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Worcester County school district officials said the high school got a live call at around 9:30 a.m.

The school’s 13-hundred students were quickly evacuated.

Law enforcement officials found no explosives and the students went back to class at around 11:25 a.m.

Meanwhile, there was a rumor of a bomb threat at Richard A. Shields Elementary School.

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A Delaware judge is meeting with attorneys to discuss the murder case against a man accused of raping and killing a fellow church worker in Sussex County.

The judge scheduled an office conference Thursday with attorneys to discuss the case against 31-year-old Matthew Burton of Dagsboro. Burton is scheduled to be tried in April in the death of 35-year-old Nicole Bennett.

Bennett, a volunteer daycare leader at Bay Shore Community Church near Gumboro, was found dead in June 2012 in Worcester County, Maryland. 

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Nearly $2.3 million has been awarded in federal Violence Against Women Act grants by the state of Maryland.

Atlantic General Hospital Cooperation SAFE Victims program in Worcester County got $18-thousand in funds through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Governor Larry Hogan said these funds will save lives and give many families the ability to receive treatment and support after a violence incident.

Berlin Gets Another Award

Sep 28, 2015
Don Rush

Berlin has been bestowed another accolade.

This time Good Housekeeping Magazine has put the Worcester County town in the top “50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America”.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Mayor Gee Williams says this is the 17th award in the last three years.

Williams praised his town telling the paper that tourists may get the feel of a town that looks like a hundred years or more in the past.

The Mayor describes the town as having “a sprinkling of architectural and cultural whimsy, but always with a touch of class.”

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State Senator Jim Mathias says he’d like to see a third span across the Chesapeake Bay.

During a recent meeting in Wicomico County the Maryland Democrat said that he believes this would ease the congestion on the current two spans.

WBOC found that Maryland state officials say that last year around 25.6 million cars crossed the bridge last year.

There was a proposal for a ferry to cross the bay with a landing cite in Crisfield

But that was scrapped after a study of project.

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An ice hockey rink in Worcester County is one step closer.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has voted to go ahead with a study to evaluate the 62-hundred seat arena.

It will look at the project from a marketing and economic standpoint.  

Worcester’s economic development director Bill Badger told the Salisbury Daily Times that this gives the county an official opportunity to get an evaluation.

The proposal for the study must now get through the Maryland General Assembly.

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Existing home sales in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties have gone up by nearly 14 percent.

That’s during the first 5 months of 2015 compared with the same period last year.

The Salisbury Daily Times analysis also found that they have risen by nearly 40 percent since 2011 according to stats form the Coastal Association of Realtors.

The paper reports that biggest hurdle is that prices have still been low with a typical house selling for around $147-thousand compared to $161-thousand five years ago.

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The fight over the education budget in Worcester County was expected to see teachers at Snow Hill High School begin working to the rule.

They met on a grassy knoll where buses drop off students in the morning and are protesting the lack of a pay raise yet again.

Worcester County officials say that there is no money for the $4 million budget increase request by school Superintendent Jerry Wilson.

The county faces a $22 million short fall and it is trying to partially close that with a six cent tax hike.

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Maryland’s mosquito eradication efforts begin today with aerial spraying operations in Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester counties.

They will hit flooded woodland and fresh water areas to destroy the larvae.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the white aircraft with red and blue strips will fly around 250 feet above the land.

There are around 28-hundred acres of woodland in Dorchester County near Cambridge and another 900 acres of woodland in Somerset County around Dames Quarter and Fairmont.

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Hockey could be coming to Worcester County officials are looking at possibly constructing a multi-purpose stadium-style arena that could provide a venue for a minor league hockey team as well as concerts and convention groups.

Bill Badger, director Economic Development, told the Salisbury Daily Times that it is too soon to say where or when it might be built.

He adds that more than likely this would be a public-private venture.

But such project would stir up some competition with the Ocean City Convention Center.

Delmarva Power Upgrades in Worcester County

Sep 24, 2014
Don Rush

Delmarva Power is embarking on a project this fall that would rebuild a 9 mile, 69-thousand volt transmission line in Worcester County.

The $43 million project also involves 6 new miles of electric distribution lines and is aimed at improving the reliability of service in the county.

Between October and May of next year the overhead portion will run from its substation in Berlin to the Culver substation west of Ocean City near Route 50.  

Don Rush

Motorists on the Eastern Shore should get ready for work on five bridges in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties beginning this Friday.

Work crews will be setting up this weekend for cleaning and painting the bridges.

The Maryland State Highway Administration says it does not anticipate any lane closures or detours but says the staging areas for the maintenance will be set up on the shoulders for each bridge.

Another five bridges will be cleaned and painted later this year for a total cost of just over a million dollars.

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Bar owners in Worcester County can now buy their liquor from outside wholesalers.

The exclusive right of the county’s Department of Liquor Control on spirits to liquor licensees ended this month.

The county dispensary charges them more than wholesale and uses the money as a form of revenue.

That money is divided between the county and four major towns at the end of the fiscal year.

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says three Eastern Shore counties have failed to file plans with the Maryland Department of the Environment to clean up the bay over the next two years.

Those were Caroline, Dorchester and Worcester Counties.

In addition, CBF and the Choose Clean Water Coalition noted that Dorchester had not submitted a milestone progress report.

Meanwhile, the environmental groups said that Wicomico County has secured $700-thousand in county and outside grants…to begin designing and installing clean-up measures.

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SNOW HILL, Md. (AP) - The Worcester County Commissioners now have bulletproof clipboards.

George Tunis, CEO of Hardwire LLC in Pocomoke City, which manufactures the clipboards, handed out the clipboards to the commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday.

The county bought 61 clipboards and 33 shields. The shields will be distributed to workers in the county's main government office building, courthouses and state's attorney's office.

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The Route 13 bridge that connects Worcester and Somerset counties is expected to see some traffic pattern changes this morning as the state begins a $14.4 million upgrade project.

The State Highway Administration plans to replace bridge decks on the northbound lanes and resurface the decks on the southbound lanes.

The state also plans to repair steel beams and concrete surfaces of the bridge piers.

It will also get a new paint job.

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The federal government has proposed removing several areas in Worcester County from the flood plain maps.

And that has the County Commissioners concerned it could lead to residents dropping their flood insurance policies.

Ed Tudor, director of Development, Review and Permitting, emphasized to the Salisbury Daily Times that these changes were only being proposed.

Worcester County Government

With a growth of more than 5-thosuand residents over the last decade the Worcester County Commissioners have decided to draw up some new districts.

And they are going to get some public input at hearings set for the end of July and August 1st.

The last census in 2000 resulted in adding two more commissioners bringing the total to seven.

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The Worcester County Commissioners gave their approval to a $168 million operating budget for the next fiscal year that begins July 1st.

That’s a $2.7 million increase over last year and leaves the property tax rate unchanged. 

The spending blueprint includes a new school safety plan that will take effect this fall.

The new measures provide for uniformed officers in each of the county’s schools.

The first year will cost almost $600-thousand in the first year with the price tag decreasing to $486-thousand in the following years.

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OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials are concerned about a possible gypsy moth outbreak in parts of the state.

The Times-News of Cumberland reports that the amount of acreage in Garrett County to be treated for gypsy moths has more than quadrupled this year.

The treatment of nearly 12,000 acres will likely start around May 20, depending on the weather, and spraying is also expected in Worcester and St. Mary's counties as well as in other states.

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Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan wants the Worcester County Commissioners to restore grant funding to  $4.2 million – that is as it was four years ago.

Meehan argued that the resort represents 60 percent of the county tax base but receives a smaller percentage of the grants compared to the tax revenue produced by the towns of Berlin Snow Hill or Pocomoke City.

Ocean City is responsible for $75 million in property tax revenue.

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Some Maryland lawmakers are hoping to crackdown on the smuggling of cigarettes.

The measure in Annapolis would create a mandatory $150 fine per carton for anyone who tried to smuggle cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Yesterday state police said they have been catching smugglers mostly along Route 113 in Worcester County.

State authorities say there was a 150 percent increase in the amount of smokes seized last month when compared to this time last year.

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The list of road repairs in Wicomico County has been mounting over the years with county highway user fees going to transportation projects throughout the state.

This year the money the county is getting will see a major bump from $343-thousand in the last fiscal year to $615-thosuand in 2013.

But Wicomico County officials say that will still not make much of a dent in the backlog of highway projects that have zero funding.

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