Saturday, February 19, 2011
Written By: Staff Writer, Travis Brown
A group of concerned individuals petitioned the Worcester County Board of Education Tuesday to bring junior varsity football to Pocomoke High School (PHS).
While many board members openly supported the idea, they also cautioned the group that the process of bringing a football team to PHS would likely be long and have to take place in degrees.
“They [the kids] all want to play,” said Howard Wilkinson parent of two children currently at Pocomoke Middle School.
Wilkinson explained to the assembly that his kids deserved the opportunity to play football on a school team once they reached PHS.
As of now, the only options for Pocomoke area students who wish to play football are programs like the Salvation Army Youth Club. Or, if a student is determined to play on a school team, Worcester County allows youths to attend any public school they wish, regardless of residence, as long as the individual can provide their own transportation.
This policy has resulted in many students transferring to nearby Snow Hill High School, just to take advantage of that school’s football program.
However, the process can be trying on families who have to transport the student to and from school every day. Additionally, the transfer means having to adjust to a new school and new people, an experience which is often difficult to manage for students at that age.
While Worcester used to allow temporary, one semester transfers to students wishing to participate in other schools’ sporting seasons, a relatively recent state athletic law has changed the rules.
“The school you play for, you have to graduate from,” Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes explained to the assembly, meaning that students who transfer to Show Hill High School to play football are implying the intent to graduate from that school. If they were to return to PHS at any point, they would not be allowed to play on the Show Hill High football team again.
Such rules were cited by the group asking for a football program at PHS, including Salvation Army Youth Club Director Harvey Davis, who told the Board of Education that he saw more than enough commitment and dedication from Pocomoke players on his club team to justify giving the school its own program.
The board heard what the advocates were saying and seemed engaged in the discussion and exploring all options.
Several members shared their own memories of playing high school football and agreed that it was an opportunity for growth that all youths should have the chance to experience. However, the realities of bringing football to PHS, even just junior varsity, will be difficult to surmount.
“Football is a very expensive undertaking,” said Andes. “It’s probably one of the most expensive programs.”
Board of Education President Bob Hulburd agreed, saying, “There are a lot of nuts and bolts and details that need to be worked out.”
The board suggested taking the Stephen Decatur High School swim team as something of a model for what would need to be done at PHS. That team began at the club level after receiving a lot of support from students and parents and eventually evolved into a fully Decatur-endorsed program.
“You need to show the intent and commitment of the community,” Board of Education Vice President Bob Rothermel said.
Rothermel recommended getting in touch with PHS administration, the PTA, and the community at large and coming back at the board’s next meeting.
Wilkinson and his group got a head start on Rothermel’s proposal when PHS Principal Tyrone Mills, who was in the audience, lent his support to the petition.
“I’d love to have football at Pocomoke High School,” he said.
www.delmarvadiscoverycenter.org or on facebook.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Be sure to buy tickets for the raffle of a beautiful donated quilt from RobinAnne’s Quilting Service!
$1 = 1 ticket $5 = 6 tickets $15 = 20 tickets! Quilt to be raffled is event photo!!!
Get your tickets today!!
The county last week began advertising the position of executive secretary in the office of County Commissioners, a job starting at $30,213 with duties included oversight of boat slip fees.
Somerset County State's Attorney Daniel Powell said Wednesday that he referred the case to his counterpart in Worcester County, Beau Oglesby. Powell, a former county administrator who once supervised the employee under investigation, turned the case over to the Worcester state's attorney to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Oglesby was not available for comment.
Powell confirmed that more than $6,000 was allegedly taken from the boat slip account between Sept. 2, 2008, and July 7, 2010. Powell also acknowledged that he was county administrator in early September 2008 when one of the alleged thefts took place, based on audit data. The second incident was March 17, 2009, when the late Sam Boston was county administrator.
"There were several occasions, and I was county administrator when one of the alleged incidents occurred," Powell said. "It will be up to Mr. Oglesby whether to press charges."
To Read More Go Here....
If you don't know anyone that has been harmed by using a cell phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle I suggest you ask at your local hospital or shock trauma unit.***
For another year Virginia motorists will be allowed to talk and text on their cell phones while driving.
On Thursday A House subcommittee killed a bill from Sen. Thomas Norment that would have banned talking while driving. Police would NOT have been able to pull drivers over until next year.
Until that time, using a cell phone would have been a secondary offense. This means police could only issue tickets if the motorist had been pulled over for another traffic violation.
Bills also killed by the House Millitia, Police and Public Safety Subcommittee were bills allowing police to ticket motorists for texting while driving and teen driver's with provisional driver's licenses who talk on cell phones. Both offenses would be noted as secondary offenses.
Both of those offenses would be secondary offenses.
"Michael Vick was scheduled to be a guest on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' for an episode airing next Thursday, February 24," a press release from Winfrey's Harpo Productions explained. "Mr. Vick's representatives called last night to cancel his appearance for personal reasons."
News of the decision by the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was first widely reported by CNBC's Darren Rovell, who Tweeted the news about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Winfrey's plan to broadcast a one-on-one interview with Vick was not welcomed by some of her fans.
"I too am horrified that an animal-lover like Oprah would allow her show to be used to generate more PR for a sociopath like Vick," wrote a viewer identified as Amywuk on a Oprah.com message board. "Oprah has always been about people who are living examples of doing good, who use their fame & fortune to make things better … Give the PR to those who deserve it, who use their celebrity for good, not evil."
The television interview was expected to include discussions about Vick's conviction on federal dogfighting charges.
Vick has renounced dogfighting since his release from prison in 2009.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
The 8-year-old shepherd (pictured here with his partner Pfc. Freddie Howard) passed away Tuesday from a degenerative disk disorder in his spine.
K-9 Officer Delon came to the OCPD in 2005 from the Czech Republic and has spent over 1,000 training hours as the OCPD’s only explosives K-9. Delon also trained with Dover Air Force Base and the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office.
Thankyou for your service K-9 Officer Delon.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the last game will be at 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The accused is identified as Matthew N. Collins, 28, of the 33000-block of Cowhouse Branch Road, Millsboro, Delaware. Maryland State Police have obtained an arrest warrant charging him with first degree assault, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and theft under $1,000. This warrant will be served on him as soon as he is medically able to have an initial appearance before a court commissioner at the hospital.
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office deputy is not being identified at this time. The deputy is a seven-year law enforcement veteran and has served with the sheriff’s office for about five years.
Worcester County Sheriff Reggie Mason contacted the Maryland State Police last night and requested that Homicide Unit investigators conduct the investigation into a police involved shooting. State Police Homicide Unit investigators responded and were assisted by investigators from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office. State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby responded to the scene and has been personally consulted by investigators.
The preliminary investigation indicates that shortly before 10:00 p.m. yesterday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputy responded to a 911 call for a reported burglary in progress at Venables Electric, in the 10000-block of Old Worcester Highway (Rt. 575) in Berlin. The witness reported that a vehicle had pulled to the rear of the business and a person appeared to be attempting to enter the building.
Initial information indicates that when the deputy arrived, she got out of her patrol vehicle with her dog. Almost immediately, a Ford F-150 pickup truck drove from the rear of the building. The deputy, who had her .45 caliber department-issued pistol drawn, attempted to stop the truck.
The truck, being driven by Collins, stopped several feet in front of the deputy. The deputy gave repeated verbal commands to Collins to surrender.
Collins, who was alone in the truck, ignored those commands and accelerated, driving directly toward the deputy. In fear for her life, the deputy fired her pistol at the driver.
The deputy was able to avoid being struck by the truck. Collins drove out of the lot and turned left on Rt. 575. The deputy pursued Collins in her patrol car. The pursuit continued onto Carey Road and then to northbound Rt. 113.
Once on Rt. 113, Collins stopped the truck and surrendered to the deputy and two other deputies who had responded to the pursuit. The deputies saw Collins had sustained gunshot wounds and immediately provided emergency care and summoned assistance.
Collins was flown by a Maryland State Police helicopter initially to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center and then on to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. At this time, his wounds are not believed to be life-threatening.
Crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police and the Ocean City Police Department responded to the scenes and spent the night collecting evidence. The truck driven by Collins has been taken to the Berlin Barrack where it will be processed later today pursuant to a search warrant. Investigators can see several air conditioning units in the bed of the truck, which are believed to have been stolen from Venables Electric. One unit fell off the truck during the pursuit.
Investigators learned there had been air conditioning units located outside the rear of Venables Electric. It does not appear Collins gained entry into the building before the deputy arrived.
The investigation is continuing.
**It has since been reported the deputy is Cpl. Katie Edgar, a seven-year law enforcement veteran who has served with the Worcester County Sheriff's Office for about five years.***
On January 23, 2011, an extensive amount of jewelry was reported stolen from a residence on Bowditch Road near Onancock and on February 9, 2011 breaking and entering reports were received from the Corner Bakery and the General Store, both in the town of Onancock.
An investigation into these incidents was initiated and a suspect was developed resulting in the arrest of 22 year old Brandon Gregory Durrua of Onancock, Virginia on February 11, 2011.
Durrua was charged with (2) counts of breaking and entering and (2) counts of grand larceny and is incarcerated in the Accomack County Jail with bond denied.
I wanted to discuss briefly a bill that I introduced this year which was laid on the table in Appropriations but which I think has a great deal of merit going forward and that is House Bill 2517, the zero-based budgeting bill. Zero-based budgeting is a budget management tool that provides a means of evaluating operations and programs. While theoretically each departments budget would begin at zero and build from there, in practice it is usually not purely zero-based but rather on the margins around the department or agencys current budget level. However, it does require and provide for a complete review of all aspects and functions of the particular agency. Usually, three or more alternative budgets have to be submitted for each program which make up what are called decision packages in the zero-based budgeting system. At least one of the alternative budgets has to be less than the current budget.
It is paper and time intensive, but it offers a thorough efficiency and results-based review of the way we budget our tax dollars. It also offers greater transparency on the budgetary decision making process.
While the Appropriations Sub-Committee which heard my presentation on the bill, which had two Republican co-sponsors, seemed very sympathetic to the notion of zero-based budgeting, it is a significant and fundamental change in the way Virginia constructs its budget. Therefore, the matter was "laid on the table" for this Session. I have learned in my time here in Richmond that many worthy ideas and practices begin with the planting of a seed which, in time, takes root. I am hopeful that the concept of zero-based budgeting will eventually take hold in Virginia, and hopefully I can be a part of bringing that about.
The Commonwealth received some good news last week with a continued increase in state revenues yielding an additional $152 million for our state's two-year budget period. The Governor, wisely, has asked the legislature to put the money in the state's "rainy day fund" and also to make payment towards the debt owed to the Virginia Retirement System and to eliminate the accelerated sales tax program, which was really a budgetary gimmick used to close the states revenue gap last year. Revenue from individual withholding taxes increased by 5.2% while the estimate had been for an increase of 3.4%. This is apparently due to a rebound in small business hiring.
The Senate and the House have both released their budget amendments to the Governor's introduced budget amendments. As is typical, they are at odds and will be reconciled by a committee of conference which is made up of legislators appointed by the Senate and House. This group of legislators will work long hours in an attempt to negotiate and finalize amendments to Virginia's two-year budget plan.
I will be in Richmond until Saturday, February 25 when the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at 12 noon. It is important that I hear from the people that I represent. Please do not hesitate to contact me while I am in Richmond at (804)698-1000 or by email at DelLLewis@house.virginia.gov or by mail at Delegate Lynwood Lewis, P.O. Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218.
An April court date has been scheduled.
The spring fire season begun at 4 PM Tuesday and runs through April 30.
Virginia law also prohibits burns within 300 feet of woodlands, fields or any other possible fuel source.
Violators face up to a $500 fine. Anyone who allows a fire to escape is liable for the cost of fighting the fire and any damage to others' property.
The Department of Forestry says there were 897 fires across Virginia last year that burned nearly 8,500 acres.
Just the other day a couple of friends of mine made the comment about the way some people were dressing to go to court. Some walk into court looking like they just jumped out of bed. Some are dressed in cammo clothes, other in baggy jeans (you know the kind).
My husband came home the other night and mentioned a woman shopping while still in her bathrobe. The secretary at his work place mentioned seeing another robed lady in another store over the weekend. I've seen pajama bottoms and bedroom slippers myself in public places. The shopper was just scuffing up and down the aisles not worried about the Sponge Bob SquarePants she wore.
Then tonight a friend of mine asked the question on facebook...."who made it fashionable to wear pajamas in public?"
I guess I am from "the old school" and I don't/can't/won't accept the anything goes world we live in today. People who looked disheveled and unkept years ago were considered poor. Most couldn't help it. But in this day and time I don't believe that should be even a lame excuse.
Does anyone know what's going on with this new fad of sloppiness and lack of pride? (That's what I'd call it). Or is it a huge pajama party going on somewhere the rest of us haven't told about?
And on one last note. If you EVER see me in public in MY pajamas PLEASE take me home or call a family member! It just means I have finally lost my mind!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By Delegate Mike McDermott
Feb. 14th, 2011
Today, the Eastern Shore and all the rest of Maryland received a Valentine’s Day surprise delivered by Governor O’Malley and two metropolitan legislators in the form of a coming moratorium on the use of septic systems. Citing the need to make further progress on the Bay, the Governor said now was the time to get serious on the way we develop and deal with sewage treatment. The sweeping legislation being offered by Del. Lafferty and Senator Pinsky would not allow any significant development of land to occur outside of areas serviced by wastewater treatment plants. In his remarks, the governor did not shy away from the notion that this has all the potential of reducing the value of land in many areas around the state, and, in particular, the Eastern Shore.
The irony of this must not be lost in the shuffle. Here we have a Baltimore Delegate introducing legislation that will have incredible impact on rural counties. He also highlighted Worcester County as being a poster child for this type of legislation. Now while I love hearing the lower shore being touted as an example for the rest of the state, it would have been nice if the delegate had taken the time to speak with those of us on the shore who represent areas that have already taken the lead in conservation, resource, and septic management. We call that “buy in”, and it is sorely lacking from the governor’s proposal.
Planning is a key element governing growth and it should always be performed as close to the people as is possible. The reason that Worcester County has been so successful is the very reason the governor’s plan will be problematic. The county took several years to garner input from all interested citizens in Worcester County. It also involved direct feedback from every local government entity prior to being implemented. This collaborative effort brought farmers, developers, civic leaders, environmentalists, and the business community together for the overall good of the whole county. In the end, the plan reflected the goals and desires of our folks moving forward.
Good planning is best performed at the local level. Infusing more centralized power into the MD Dept. of Planning is not the answer when it comes to encouraging smart growth initiatives. In fact, several counties on the shore are already utilizing best growth practices when it comes to this issue. The same cannot be said for much of the western shore, including many metro areas such as Prince Georges County.
Following the press conference, I spoke directly with the Secretary of Planning, Richard Hall, and told him of my concerns. I further conveyed that, like many programs coming to us from the administration, there is no buy in at the legislative level with those who will inherently find themselves in opposition from the get go. This is not leadership and it is not based on the sound principles of taking time to get legislation correct before attempting passage.
I encourage all who share my concerns to stay vigilant and aware as these bills begin to make their way through the House and Senate.
Botetourt Republican Del. William Cleaveland's bill would have provided civil immunity to residents who kill intruders. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 12-3 Monday to kill the bill.
The House passed it 75-23 last week.
Democratic Sen. Roscoe Reynolds of Henry County said the bill was not necessary because supporters have not been able to provide evidence that anyone has ever been indicted or sued because they used such force against an intruder.
Monday, February 14, 2011
SURF DOG RICOCHET BLOWS REALITY TV STARS OUT OF THE WATER WITH CHALLENGE TO RAISE THE MOST MONEY DURING BREAST CANCER FUNDRAISER!
SAN DIEGO, CA, February 14, 2011... Surf dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog who raised over $70,000 for charity in the last 15 months, has been challenged to raise more money than TV reality stars in a breast cancer fundraiser called "Reality Rally"
"Reality Rally" is the brainchild of Gillian Larsen, a contestant on the popular reality show, "Survivor Gabon". Gillian was voted off during the 2nd show, giving her five weeks in the jungle to create what has become known as the premier Reality Star fundraiser.
Reality Rally is a three-day weekend event in Temecula, California, April 15-17 intended to raise funds for Michelle's Place, a non profit 501(c)3 resource center in Murrieta where women can go for help in coping with the challenges of breast cancer. Michelle's Place was started 10 years ago to fulfill a 26 year old daughters dying wish... to provide a haven and support center for those battling breast cancer.
When Ricochet heard there was fundraising involved, she contacted Gillian, and asked if she could help. An immediate "alliance" was formed. As Gillian learned of Ricochet's philanthropic successes, she challenged the 110 participating reality TV stars from 36 different Reality Shows including Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother to raise more money than a dog!! A challenge Ricochet was very excited to take on while helping women with breast cancer.
Ricochet has raised $3323 in the last several weeks, leaving the reality stars in her wake! The next highest fundraiser is Gillian herself at $1035. But, the competitive nature of the other reality stars kicked in, and social media is burning up with the challenge, and threads are asking for support from their family, friends and fans all over the world. It's turned into Reality versus FUReality!!
There is a “reward” for this challenge too. Anyone raising over $1000 wins a Hot Air balloon adventure with Grape Escape Hot Air Tours. Ricochet and Gillian are donating their “reward” to “help someone’s spirits soar” as they go through the arduous treatment for breast cancer. Women can contact Michelle’s Place to enter a drawing for the hot air balloon ride. But, the real winners of this challenge will be all the women with breast cancer that benefit from Michelle's Place... very possibly saving their lives.
Please "get on board", and help keep Ricochet in the lead while blowing the rest of the reality stars out of the water, and supporting FUReality & breast cancer! Just click this link to make a donation. http://www.active.com/donate/Realityrallystars/2011RRRSurfic.
For more information, contact Judy Fridono at 707-228-0679, or email@example.com, or visit www.surfdogricochet.com, www.realityrally.com
It has been requested that the public join them in prayer.
Save The Youth is a nonprofit organization located in Pocomoke City.
CAUTION SHOULD BE EXERCISED WHEN BURNING ON MONDAY...AS THESE CONDITIONS ARE CONDUCIVE FOR FIRE TO SPREAD RAPIDLY. IF BURNING HAS TO BE CONDUCTED...USE EXTREME CAUTION AND HAVE THE NECESSARY TOOLS AVAILABLE TO QUICKLY CONTROL THE FIRE.
"A hand crafted cake in the perfect size for two"
Sunday, February 13, 2011
What a damn shame it is that someone that bothers not one soul could have young adults act so stupidly.
It's been open for a few months and seems to be gaining in popularity!
Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Mike McDermott
Feb. 7th-11th, 2011
• Monday evening just prior to the session was a meeting of the Tea Party Caucus. At that meeting, Del. Mike Smegiel (R-Cecil Co.) was voted Chairman and Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) was voted Vice Chairman. It was agreed that the caucus would have the singular focus of fiscal restraint and holding the line on taxes.
• Following the quorum call, I faced off with another chess opponent in the Senate lounge. I continue to advance in the Chess Challenge with two rounds to go.
• Tuesday morning I dropped my first bill in the “hopper”. It is HB-594 and it calls for the top tier Child Sex Offenders to be monitored by GPS tracking technology. This bill is a true game changer on how we monitor the worst of the worst.
• A couple of bills I sponsored had hearings on Tuesday: HB-103 on Farm Vehicle Weight (Environmental Matters); HB-288 Voter Proof of Identity (Ways and Means). The hearings went well, and now they will wait and see if they get a scheduled vote in the committees.
• Tuesday the Judiciary Committee held 7 bill hearings:
1. HB-132: Would allow the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services to appoint someone as “acting” Secretary in the event the Secretary was somehow not available.
2. HB-138: Would increase the penalty for the use of a cell phone by inmates in correctional facilities from a misdemeanor to a felony. It was a hard sell to the committee. Many asked about the cell phone jamming technology being made available.
3. HB-140: Would classify a particular compound as a “high explosive” and subject to permitting for sale and possession. This is the compound used by many for reactive practice targets on firing ranges. Several Fire Chiefs and State Fire Marshal’s spoke in support of the legislation as a potential homeland security threat. The compound is not linked to any nefarious issues or actions, this is seen by them as preemptive.
4. HB-149: Would require inmates at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center to pay certain fees to the county as a means of covering some of the cost of their incarceration. This included things such as medical/dental care. While some concern was raised about indigent inmates, the Warden indicated that many of these fees would be considered uncollectable and written off by the county.
5. HB-178: Would allow defendants in certain court cases to offer a “Conditional Guilty” plea preserving a right of appeal from Final Judgments. This involved several technical issues of the law and was batted around by the defense attorneys and a prosecutor who offered testimony against the need for the bill.
6. HB-189: Would place 10 synthetic cannabinoids (drugs which mimic the effects of marijuana) on the Maryland list of Controlled Dangerous Substances. There was some anecdotal evidence offered about instances where there has been abuse, but there were no documented cases offered. It was also pointed out that the DEA is preparing to place 5 of the 10 synthetics on a temporary list of controlled substances which would ban them in Maryland so long as they are banned federally. The committee members seem disposed to allow the federal government to perform due diligence in this arena and wait on their procedures.
7. HB-192: Would ban the sale of “novelty lighters” in the state. These are lighters which are packaged to resemble a caricature or appear like a child’s toy. The State Fire Marshal has expressed concern that these lighters are too attractive to children and could lead to serious situations. While no instances were offered regarding previous harm, this is seen as preemptive. This may be getting into a “nanny state” issue and it has not passed after previous attempts.
• Today there was a real stir among the Baltimore City Delegation as a couple of their members severely rebuked their Chairman, Del. Curt Anderson, for being a member of the Tea Party Caucus. They clearly told Anderson that he could not be a part of the caucus and be a leader in the Democrat Party. I suppose that holding the line on spending is simply not a value the Baltimore City Delegation shares. Del. Anderson reluctantly resigned from the Tea Party Caucus saying it was the only way he could retain his Chairmanship. This has created quite a stir in the House and caused rifts within the Democratic Caucus. From the looks of it, Del. Anderson quit the wrong Caucus.
• On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee conducted hearings of the following bills:
1. HB-134: Would allow the Department of Social Services to retain records of investigative action for a five year period even if the complaint is not sustained. Currently, the department expunges records at 120-days. There was a lot of concern raised on this bill. While testimony was offered by the agency that retaining records could serve to help folks wrongfully accused in future court actions, it was generally thought that the retention of these types of records could serve to prejudice a case worker in future cases even though the record was false or not sustained. I do not think this one is going anywhere.
2. HB-136: Would allow Temporary Protective Orders to be entered electronically by the courts. While this is a no brainer, these types of changes often require legislative change.
3. HB-169: Would create a “dangerous dog” definition statewide and provide for penalties if such a dog was involved in an incident or other attack. The committee quickly identified this as primarily a local issue where each county or municipal government already has laws in place to address these types of issues and events. It was suggested that these concerns would be better addressed at the local level and not through a statewide mandate.
4. HB-227: Would allow judges, as part of a sentence for Animal Cruelty, to prevent a convicted person from owning or otherwise possessing an animal (pet). There was concern expressed about the ability of the court to place a condition like this after any probation period expired (which is up to 5-years). It was suggested that this could be a proper sentence, but it would need to be a stand-alone law and not administered as a condition of one’s sentence.
• I attended my first hearing for HB-39 in the Ways and Means Committee. This bill will provide for Non-Profit Slots in Worcester County (they are allowed in all other counties on the shore). Del. Conway and I introduced the legislation and the committee also heard testimony from Jim Flag with the Ocean City Elks Lodge along with Sarge Garlitz with the American Legion. The committee asked a few questions and my discussions with some of the senior members indicated smooth sailing for this bill. From there, it will be up to the Senate and their first hearing on it is slated for next week.
• On Thursday afternoon, the entire Eastern Shore Delegation had the opportunity to meet with Governor O’Malley in the State House in the Governor’s Conference Room. It is a great historic room in which to meet. On one wall is a full portrait of Governor Tawes sitting in a chair. It was nice to think that a governor could come from the Eastern Shore, or at least did at one time.
The meeting was very cordial, and the governor was candid in response to the questions posed. He had a couple of staffers present to assist with any technical answers and to insure follow up was achieved. The primary focus was on the economy and quickly moved to the poultry industry. It seems that Acting Secretary Sommers with the Dept. of the Environment, and Secretary Hatch with Agriculture, have made many significant changes to get the ball rolling so chicken house construction will not be hindered as it has been in the past few years. Senator Colburn, and many of the delegates indicated how pleased they were with the new secretary and how responsive he has been to problem solving for agricultural concerns and development. This is good news for our farmers and it shows how often a change of leadership can make a difference.
The governor was excited to talk about all of the progress that has been made on the shore for Broadband technology, for which we are all very pleased; but there was a lot of discussion on his declared war on septic systems on the shore. The delegation believed his statements in his State of the State Address were very problematic for the shore. Sen. Pipkin told him plainly that he was putting billions of dollars in property value at risk by creating a moratorium on new septic systems for development. We believe that the current upgrades and new technology for septic systems will eliminate the issues of nitrogen leakage that the governor wants to address without eliminating growth potential and eroding property rights on the shore. Whether or not we made any inroads with the governor on this issue remains to be seen, but he knows we will be vigilant in protecting the rights of folks on the shore.
We discussed road funding for the shore specifically Rt. 404 and Rt. 113. We realize there is no money for these roadways to be completed in a timely manner. I have been floating the idea of creating a one way toll at the Delaware line for Rt. 404 and Rt. 113 as a means of allowing these projects to move forward immediately. The dedicated toll funding would insure the projects continued until completion and not be delayed. Minus this type of funding, these roads will remain congested and unsafe for our citizens. The governor seemed agreeable and we will be having this discussion over the coming months to determine if it is feasible.
• There was concern over the recent GPS tracking of some commercial fishing vessels on the Bay by Natural Resource Police. This has been a contentious issue during the past two weeks. While protecting the fisheries is important, the idea that “big brother” is watching everything was disconcerting to some at the table. The governor explained that radar would soon be up monitoring the Bay for surface vessels which would provide all the detection necessary to monitor the fisheries, namely the oyster beds. He agreed to review the actions taken by law enforcement with Secretary Griffin.
The governor seems willing to strike a balance when it comes to applying his environmental agenda to the Eastern Shore, but we have some philosophical differences on what government should be doing verses the private sector. I could see that he is perplexed by some of the resistance his policies have received. There may be some room to move forward in areas of conservation on which we could all agree. In particular is the area of wind turbines, and these discussions will continue.
• On Friday morning, hundreds of bills received their “First Reading” on the floor of the House. The deadline for introducing legislation without going through the Rules Committee was Thursday night. While there was quite a bit introduced, it does not appear to be the same volume in play last year.
Washington is a 1994 graduate of Nandua High School and he attended and played football for Virginia Tech as a guard and center. Washington also played for 8 years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buchaneers and the Houston Texans.
Washington is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Washington of Melfa.
According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Washington fills the position left by Andy Moeller, who was promoted to offensive line coach after John Matsko was fired. Last season, Washington coached the offensive line for the UFL's Hartford Colonials.
"We researched Todds career and know hes a demanding coach who builds very good relationships with the players," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Todd will work well with Andy and our players to make the offensive line the best it can possibly be."
Washington started his coaching career as the offensive line coach at the University of San Diego in 2007. He was promoted to offensive coordinator for the 2009 season.