Friday, August 1, 2014

Stop Digging! by Delegate Mike McDermott

 Stop Digging!
by Delegate Mike McDermott

As Americans, we understand that people can make mistakes. As we grow up, we learn from our mistakes so that we do not stumble a second time. Wise people do not often make the same mistake twice.
There is an old proverb which states, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Governor O’Malley and Senator Mathias are not exceptions to this rule.
Eight years ago when these two men took office together, Maryland enjoyed a billion dollar surplus at the end of Republican Bob Ehrlich’s first term as governor. Our state played host to 11 Fortune 500 companies. We were #25 on the list of “Business Friendly States”, poultry operations were expanding, and the future of agriculture in Maryland looked bright. Our people were happy to live here and most had no thoughts of moving away.

Eight years with O’Malley and Mathias have shown the devastating effects of their big government economic policies and made it clear that they do not learn from their past or their mistakes. Their shared philosophy promoting government as the answer to any problem has turned our surplus into deficits. While every state experienced the recession, Maryland has struggled to regain its footing, and some of our counties are simply not recovering. It is a failure of policy, not our people.
Of those 11 Fortune 500 companies...only 1 remains in Maryland and that is McCormick Inc. Based on recent news accounts, even the folks who gave us “Old Bay” seasoning are soon to relocate to Pennsylvania. These companies have not gone out of business, they just cannot afford to operate in a state run by folks who do not know how to be “business friendly”.

Being known as a “Business Friendly” state should be our goal. O’Malley, and his apologists like Mathias, have moved us from #25 all the way down to #42. We are surrounded by businesses that have closed shop, companies that simply do not exist anymore, and large retailers that have boarded up and moved away. Business has a thin bottom line that liberal lawmakers have never understood. Every increase to the cost of doing business must be passed on to consumers who have less money to spend. Liberals apparently skipped their Economics 101 class to attend Advanced Hole Digging 301.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

TIME MACHINE ... This Sunday's Preview

1914.. A hundred years ago this summer- the Eastern Shore of Virginia's "Stream of Gold"; 1965.. Pocomolke City Woman Wins State Golf Championship; 1909.. Worcester County teachers threaten suit in pay dispute; 1939.. Signs for new Maryland speed limits being erected; 1870.. A strange tale about disabled Somerset County woman's remarkable 50th birthday; and more from an article of 112 years ago about Tangier Island and its residents.

Although you may not find all of these items in a history book, they are a part of our local history and you can read more about it this Sunday right here at The Pocomoke Public Eye! 

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about?  It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish.  Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Wright Place Now Banquet/Conference Center Ribbon Cutting Saturday, August 2nd, 12 p.m.

Jennifer Rafter
Pocomoke Chamber of Commerce

For Immediate Release

The Wright Place Now Banquet/Conference Center Ribbon Cutting Saturday, August 2nd, 12 p.m.

Saturday, August 2nd at noon, The Wright Place Now Banquet/Conference Center proudly welcomes you to attend a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening at 2317 Stockton Road in Pocomoke City.
Join the Pocomoke Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Pocomoke officials in welcoming this new rental facility.  In addition to rental banquet and conference spaces, the Wright Place Now features fashion shopping.  Daily education classes are also offered.  Please call (757) 709-5078 for more information.  We look forward to seeing you at the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening at 12 p.m. this Saturday, August 2nd.  Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Pocomoke Public Eye welcomes our newest reporter

The Pocomoke Public Eye would like to welcome Donna Clarke as one of our new reporters!  Donna, we thank you for stepping up to the plate, and your willingness to help us out! - Travis

Here is the first of hopefully many articles she has written for The Pocomoke Public Eye.

International Quilting Promotion Draws visitors to Delmarva!
Jeanne Hill, from Wall Township NJ shopping for her Row to Row in the Pincushion, Pocomoke City

Patti Woodhurst on the left with customer,   Myrna Sunderland shopping from Joppa MD.  Behind them is the Row by Row display at Quilts by the Sea

Days are busy at 4 Delmarva Quilt shops this summer!  The “International Row by Row Experience” is drawing shoppers from places like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in fact, from all over the eastern states!  What is this “International” promotion called “Row by Row Experience”?    Founded by Janet Lutz of Syracuse NY, it involves over 1250 Independent quilt shops from 35 areas of the US and Ontario.  Quilt Shop owners have joined creative minds to “Sew a Season”, the theme of the 2 month summer shop hop.  Each participating store owner chose a season and designed a unique quilt pattern.    Starting on July 1, the patterns were posted on-line.  An interactive map allows shoppers to choose a route and drive to as many quilt shops as they like, collecting the free patterns.  Most shops have also chosen to have a very collectible 6” fabric “license Plate” produced.   These all have clever and catchy phrases on a background of the state’s license tag. 
As I visited the shops, I saw lots of enthusiastic quilters and shop owners.  The cute fabric license plates are selling out and being reordered at every store.  When I was in Dagsboro, DE at Serendipity Quilt Shop, there was a customer from Michigan.  In Trappe, at Quilt Vine, I saw other Maryland quilters shopping.   The Pincushion in Pocomoke City has had quilter-shoppers from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ontario and Australia!   The shopper from “down under”, a microbiologist on assignment in Annapolis MD, is also a quilter.  Her husband programmed his iPad for all the shops they planned to visit!    The Australian quilter stopped in Chincoteague at Quilts by the Sea, as well! 
As they drive through our Delmarva back roads and small towns, these out-of-town shoppers are finding local restaurants, visiting other merchants and having fun on the peninsula, many for the first time!
What are they doing with the patterns?   Part of the promotion involves a contest.  A quilter may collect 8 or more patterns and make a quilt.  Prizes are awarded for the first quilts done and turned in to a local shop.  A photo of the quilt’s maker and the quilt are posted on the Row by Row Experience Facebook pages.  Posting the pictures generates more excitement and more quilt enthusiasts are getting involved. Many are planning road trips to collect patterns and license plates.  Ellen B. a resident of Michigan is exploring new parts of her state, checking out book stores and local ice cream parlors, while on a quest to collect patterns.    Jane, also from Michigan, plans a road trip each weekend also, shopping and having lunch out.
Stopping for a pattern  and license plate at Candy Stiffler’s “Quilt Vine” in Trappe yields a Delmarva summer beach scene  and a license tag that reads, “Sew Pieceful” .   Driving east to Dagsboro, you can visit “Serendipity” to get their pattern, “Our Summer Friends are Stars”, designed by Barbara Hudson of Snow Hill.   Sharon Beyma, owner of Pocomoke’s “Pincushion”, designed her own row with fall leaves.  Finally, Patty Woodhurst of “Quilts by the Sea” created a pattern sporting a lighthouse, crabs and sand dunes!
And that’s why the quilt shop owners on Delmarva are meeting people like Jeanne Hill of Wall Township, NJ, who stopped in Sharon Beyma’s “Pincushion” on Market St., in Pocomoke on her way down the coast collecting kits, patterns and license plates.   Today while I was talking with Patty Woodhurst, owner of “Quilts By The Sea”, Myrna Sunderland of Joppa, Maryland dropped by to get a pattern. 

Independent quilt shops are making an impact on local economies this summer by attracting new customers.  In turn , the new customers are shopping, eating and stitching up a piece of Delmarva.   

The Great Pocomoke Fair Opens 5 p.m. Thursday!

See for more information

Backpack Giveaway at the Cellular Connection


Television's Pioneer Days On The Eastern Shore

Prior to local television arriving on the Eastern Shore, TV viewing was quite a novelty for those who owned a television set or who had friends or relatives whom they could visit to watch TV.

It didn't matter so much what the program was but whether reception was available. Those were the days prior to cable or satellite service and a VHF antenna on your rooftop was your TV's connection..maybe.. to a signal from Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Norfolk, or sometimes Richmond.

Occasionally there would be a clear picture coming in on one or more of the available channels.  In these rather rare instances a telephone call might go out to those without a TV to come over and watch.  There was no certainty, however, that the picture would still be there when the visitors arrived.  

Sometimes reception was simply not viewable at all; at other times there was a viewable, although "snowy" picture but you couldn't count on it to last. Reception might fade during the last five or ten minutes of a program, leaving the viewer without a clue as to the program's ending.

Depending on the location of the originating signal the rooftop antenna would have to be adjusted to point toward the geographical location of the signal. I recall that my dad would go outside our home in Pocomoke and turn a hand crank, similar to an awning crank, to turn the direction of the antenna while he was watching from outside through the living room window to monitor the reception.  We would assist by communicating to him from inside.

We eventually graduated to a motorized antenna.  That was truly a luxury.  You simply turned a knob on a little box that sat on top of your TV to the direction you desired your antenna to point. 

Television was gaining popularity around the country, and on the lower eastern shore hopes for the availablity of a clear, dependable picture were raised with word in 1953 that Salisbury's WBOC (radio) was making plans to put a UHF television station on the air, and that came to fruition on July 15, 1954.  

Standard TV sets were equipped to receive the VHF channels 2 through 13.  The new UHF (Ultra High Frequency) technology was broadcast on channels 14 through 83.  The Salisbury station was operating on channel 16. So if you wanted to tune in you needed a UHF converter box as well as an antenna that could receive a UHF signal.  New TV's began to include the UHF channels in their sets.

For the eastern shore's new television station it was a learn-as-you-go experience as the new operation got underway.  Radio announcers found themselves in front of TV cameras.  Technical and other staff found themselves dealing for the first time with this new venture.. television.

Those who were around to view WBOC-TV in the 1950's and 60's might recall...

**The trio of Ralph Pennewell with weather, John B. Greenberger with news, and Ron Weber with sports ("Good evening sport.. you, too, mam") holding rein for many years. Weather, sponsored by Atlantic gasoline, lead off at 11P.M. with their musical jingle, "For business, for pleasure, in any kind of weather, Atlantic Keeps Your Car On The Go."  Ralph wore an Atlantic service station uniform for the weather presentation, drawing the weather fronts on a paper outline map of the U.S.

**During the early years Claire Beach, Nancy Allen, Carol Lee Anderson, Nancy Pigman (Weather Fashions, sponsored by Benjamin's ladies apparel store), and Ann Gladding were among those who presented the weather during the 7PM evening news.  In later years Kelly Rouse was a weather host for her sponsor- Wharton & Barnard auto supplies. Kelly went on to a long career in local television news.

**Club 16," a live production from the studio each weekday evening was hosted by staff announcer John Rahe.  

**Poultry auctioneer Carol Long, leading off his program with an auction chant, had a daily evening report on the day's activity at the Selbyville poultry auction exchange.

**George Hack initiated and hosted a weekly Saturday afternoon teen dance program live from the studio.
**At Christmas time the Jolly Jack show, sponsored by the White & Leonard store's "Jolly Jack's Toyland," was popular with the youngsters.

**For many years The "Miss 16" contest selected a 16-year-old young lady to represent the station for a year, along with winning a host of prizes.

** Phil Adams, Tom Maguire, and Jack Downing were familiar local TV faces to viewers.

The station's art director, Ed Parsons, hand-painted material used for commercial ads; it was long before the age of computer graphics. He designed the in-studio sets for local programs. At election time he'd prepare the visual materials needed for the presentation of election results.

The Polaroid camera was a staple of the news department for covering spot news events.  Some news events were filmed on 16mm black and white film and developed in the station's dark room. The newsroom staff of one fulltime member grew to three fulltimers by the mid-1960's (today's news staff numbers in the dozens).

Some commercials were broadcast live from the studio.  A classic recollection passed along from veteran employees recalled the demonstration of features of a new refrigerator.  Everything went well at rehearsal.  But when the announcer opened the refrigerator door during the live on-air broadcast, inside the refrigerator for all to see..... was a boot!  

And so goes just a glimpse of the early days of TV on the Eastern Shore. 


Monday, July 28, 2014


The live harness racing program for Saturday August 2nd 2014 is here!

Playing Thursday Night - July 31st
Blue Crab Crossing

Playing Friday Night - August 1st
Audio Graffiti

The full daily schedule for the 2014 Great Pocomoke Fair is now online! Click here. 


Television's Pioneer Days On The Eastern Shore

Read about it this Tuesday on The Pocomoke Public Eye.. TV on the Eastern Shore from the years before the arrival of local television to the early era of local TV.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

TIME MACHINE ... 1975, 1901, 1970, 1895, 1940, 1902

(Reader-friendly viewing of news archive/historical archive material)

August, 1975
The Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Md.)

High school student newspaper abolished in article controversy

SNOW HILL, Md. (AP)-  The administration at Snow Hill High School has abolished the student newspaper which was the center of a controversy last spring over the right to publish student articles on sex education.

The paper's editor, Judy Porter, said she went to the principal last week to get a list of students enrolled in the journalism class which produced the paper.

Kelly H. Shumate, the principal, however, reportedly told her the newspaper class and two other journalism classes had been dropped from the fall schedule.

Shumate said that most of the students who worked on the paper, the Eagle, were assigned to the yearbook.

The Eagle's adviser last spring, Rebecca Dawson, a French teacher, was removed from the post which she held for five years after community officials complained about (articles and) an editorial in the paper calling for sex education to help stop teenage pregnancies.

Shumate said Tuesday that the faculty member appointed to replace Miss Dawson as the paper's adviser resigned and that he could not find another teacher to take over the post.

Miss Porter said she and a co-editor invited another faculty member to volunteer as the adviser, but Shumate said it was too late to put the journalism courses back into the schedule.  

He said the paper would be resumed next semester on a regular basis, although he said interested students could work on the paper during a 30-minute activity period as well as after school.

Shumate denied that the termination of the paper and the cancellation of the journalism classes stemmed from last spring's controversy.

Last April, the U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Va., ruled that the administration of Woodlawn Senior High School in Baltimore violated the constitutional right of students to freedom of expression when it suppressed a student newspaper article describing cheerleaders as "sex objects." 

July, 1901
The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.)


CRISFIELD, Md., July 22.-  Soft crabs have been scarce this summer and have been bringing in the Crisfield market $1 a dozen for the past ten days.  This scarcity of crabs does not seem to be of much disadvantage to the crabbers, because they are getting 4 cents a piece for them this season, where they got only 1 cent last season. Some of the best crabbers are making from $20 to $25 a week, and even boys are receiving exceptional wages.  The demand for crabs is steadily increasing, and to supply this demand the packers of crab meat continue operations winter and summer. 

About 2,000 boats are now engaged in crabbing in the waters of Somerset county. At least 6,000 persons in this section alone are employed in this industry.  Barrels of hard crabs, boxes of soft crabs, and cans of crab meat are shipped by the carload every day.

July, 1970
The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Md.)

Worcester County Circuit Court Quashes "Berlin Airlift" Plans

SNOW HILL, Md. (AP)-  A Worcester County Circuit Court judge issued a permanent injunction Tuesday against the staging of the "Berlin Airlift" rock festival near Ocean City this Saturday.

The decision by judge Daniel T. Prettyman will be appealed to the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to Lance W. Billingsley, a lawyer for the festival promoters.

Prettyman's action made permanent a temporary order he issued last week.

Prettyman said the festival posed potential health and traffic problems and that the promoters failed to obtain permission from Worcester County zoning officials.

Promoters had planned to stage a one day, 12-hour rock festival at a 150- acre Berlin, Md., farm located along U.S. Route 50, about six miles west of Ocean City. 

Backers of the Berlin Airlift predicted some 30,000 to 50,000 persons would have attended the affair, for which 15 music groups had been booked.

February, 1895
The Washington Bee (Washington, D.C.)


A Runaway Marriage to Which the Parents Offered Fruitless Opposition.

Pocomoke City, Md., Jan. 2-  The Parker Hotel was the scene of a romantic marriage yesterday. The contracting parties were Douglas L. Sommers and Miss Florence Lewis ofr Bloxom, Va. They came here to escape the wrathful ire of their objecting parents. The Rev. E. F. Tuttle was sent for, and performed the ceremony in the parlor of the Parkel Hotel. Mrs. Lewis, mother of the bride, arrived early yesterday morning in pursuit of her daughter, who she says is underaged. She caused a great deal of excitement over the girl's marriage, but Mr. and Mrs. Sommers left on a train for their home in the afternoon.

Footnote: As noted in previous articles, for many decades couples would come to the Virginia-Maryland state line near Pocomoke City to be married, where Maryland's age requirements for marriage were less restrictive then Virginia's.  At one time there were said to be three "marriage trees" at the site under which the marriage ceremonies were performed.

June, 1940 (Time Machine archive)
(The Salisbury Times)


Baltimore, June 19-(AP)-  Another "Blue Law"- this time a question of swimming on Sunday mornings- was scheduled for airing in police court today.

It was described by Police Commissioner, Robert F. Stanton, as a "test case" which he hoped the courts will settle.

Police issued summonses both to bathers and managers and personnel of two semi-private swimming pools yesterday when bathers were permitted to plunge in before 2P.M.

The law forbids charging admission for profit, before that hour on Sunday.

A platoon of police "raided" the two pools shortly before noon.

Plainclothesmen who had preceeded them said they had been able to rent bathing suits.

(First installment from a feature page article on Tangier Island) 
TIME MACHINE ... August, 1902
The Times (Washington, D.C.)

DOWN on the Chesapeake Bay in that portion called Tangier is situated the quaint island of Tangier, an Island that is without a counterpart in this country. It is Holland without its dykes and windmills; it is Venice without its picturesque architecture; It Is the most unique summer resort in all America.

Tangier Island is situated 125 miles south of Baltimore with which city It has steamer connections twice a week. The island is about five miles long and three quarters of a mile in width, and contains a population of about 1,400, and derives its revenues from the fish, crabs, and oysters which abound in the waters of the bay and sound.

The peculiar features of this island are many and of varied interest, for to the visitor, everything seems strange and novel. There are no wagons for the reason that there are no horses to draw them, and no roads over which the wagons could be driven. The streets seem to resemble country lanes with the exception of the one street of the island known as King Street, which is only nine feet wide, and which follows the highest land of the island from the landing wharf at the south end to the bridge which connects the main part of the island to that portion of the island farther north known as Canaan.

But the absence of streets is not a detriment to this island community, for each building lot has its own private canal, by which the occupants float their flat bottomed boats out into the sound and bring from the larger boats out in the harbor their supplies of wood or other necessaries needed for the demands of housekeeping- for the island is without wood, and gardening is carried on to a very limited extent, for the islanders are fishermen, oystermen, and crabbers and agriculture is not depended on to any great extent, although the soil seems well adapted for gardening and corn raising; but the difficulties of tilling the ground seem to keep many from gardening and there seems to be plenty of ground which might be used for the raising of corn and potatoes if there were a disposition to forsake the water for the land.

(More from this article next Sunday)

TIME MACHINE EXTRA ... Television's Pioneer Days On The Eastern Shore.

It's this Tuesday here at The Pocomoke Public Eye!

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about?  It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish.  Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

"Somewhere over
the rainbow
Bluebirds fly..."

Flying on for JMMB