Saturday, February 11, 2012

TIME MACHINE Preview ... Women Making News!

Women on the Eastern Shore join fight for their right to vote.

What Eastern Shore town was founded by a woman?

It's this Sunday on 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. Your name won't be used unless you ask that it be. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

The Ballet Theatre of Maryland Presents "Aladdin" This Saturday

The Ballet Theatre of Maryland Presents:Aladdin

A retelling of the classic tale with all the mystery, intrigue and magic that can only be depicted through live dance theatre. Original choreography by Dianna Cuatto.

Saturday, February 11, 2012
2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.
Tickets: $6.00

Sponsored by the Worcester & Somerset County Libraries

The Best Kept Secret In Worcester County

This has got to be the best kept secret in Worcester County!  Excellant work to everyone involved.  I'd be afraid to purchase a Tylenol Sinus Capsule in Ocean City right now.


OCPD Undercover Cab Operation Nails 34 Individuals

Written by
News Editor Shawn Soper
OCEAN CITY -- The Ocean City Police Department’s narcotics unit this week concluded a nearly two-year drug distribution investigation utilizing an undercover officer posing as a taxi cab owner and driver with the indictments dozens of individuals.

During the investigation, an Ocean City Police narcotics officer acting in a covert capacity started a legitimate taxicab company and acted as the owner and operator of the company.

SHORE BEEF & BBQ - Saturday Special


(if you care to share)

1/2 Rack Ribs, 1/2 BBQ Chicken
w/ 2 Sides


Friday, February 10, 2012

Pocomoke Woman Arrested For Theft From Little League

Date & Time: 04/13/11 – 10/17/11 Case #:12-0024
Location Occurred: Pocomoke, Worcester County, MD
Crime or Violation: 13 Counts of Theft Under $1,000.00, 5 Counts of Theft $1,000 to Under $10,000, and 1 Count of Theft Scheme $10,000 to Under $100,000
Victim: Pocomoke Little League
Accused: Carolann Chandler 40 Years of Age of Pocomoke, Worcester County, Maryland
During the month of January investigators from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation conducted a theft investigation involving the Pocomoke Little League in Pocomoke, Worcester County, Maryland. Investigation revealed the suspect, who was later identified as Carolann Chandler, was placed as the Treasurer of the league in the beginning of 2011. Further investigation revealed that Chandler had written numerous checks from the league and had later cashed them. The checks were found to be endorsed by her signature. Chandler had also used withdrawal slips from the account to obtain cash from the bank. The total amount has been verified by investigators to be $17, 495.00. Chandler was arrested at her residence and subsequently interviewed regarding the crime. Chandler later admitted to her involvement in the crime and was charged with 13 counts of Theft Under $1,000.00, 5 counts of Theft $1,000 to Under $10,000, and 1 count of Theft Scheme $10,000 to Under $100,000.

Chandler was taken to the District Court Commissioner where she was released on posting a $25,000 unsecured bond.

SHORE BEEF & BBQ Friday Special ~ OPEN Saturday Too

Try the
Pit Beef Sandwich/w Side
Drink ~ $7.50


1/2 Rack Rib & 1/2 BBQ Chicken
w/ 2 Sides



Death Penalty Bill Dies in Senate Committee

A bill to expand the death penalty in Virginia has died on a tie vote in a Senate committee.

Sen. Mark Obenshain's bill would have redefined the so-called triggerman rule, which in most cases restricts the death penalty to the person who does the actual killing. The legislation would have allowed the death penalty for accomplices who share the intent to kill.

Obenshain, a Republican from Harrisonburg, said the bill targets "the worst of the worst." Opponents argued that there's too much danger of executing an innocent person because there's no DNA or fingerprinting that can prove intent.

Similar legislation has either failed or been vetoed each of the last four years.

The Courts of Justice Committee's vote Wednesday was 7-7, with one abstention.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

TIME MACHINE Preview ... Women Making News!

Women on the Eastern Shore join fight for their right to vote.

What Eastern Shore town was founded by a woman?

It's this Sunday on 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. Your name won't be used unless you ask that it be. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

Wor. Co. Fire Marshal's Office Investigates Liquid Chlorine Spill

Liquid Chlorine Spill

On 01/06/2012, the Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office responded to a reported Liquid Chlorine Spill located at the Lower Shore YMCA 1900 Worcester Highway Pocomoke City, MD.

The spill was located in a grassy area behind the main building and involve approximately 30 gallons of liquid. Mitigation of the incident was accomplished by large quantities of water applied by the use off an on site garden hose. The exact cause of the spill is unknown and the incident is under investigation by this office and the Maryland Department of the Enviorment.

Anyone with information into the incident is asked to contact Deputy Fire Marshal Rodney K Sharpley Sr at 410.632.5666 or




1/2 Rack of Ribs w/ Side
Drink ~ $9.95
~ ~

Look for Shore Beef and BBQ on FACEBOOK

At the Mar-Va Theater TONIGHT

WCTG Presents:Scars on 45
with guest Anya Marina

February 9th7PM
Tickets: $10

Scars on 45 is a five member rock band from Bradford, Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The band was signed to Atlantic Records. Most recently, the band's single, "Heart on Fire" was selected as the lead song on the current season soundtrack for ABC's top rated hospital drama, Grey's Anatomy. Scars on 45's first EP, "Give Me Something," was released in January 2011 and yielded a hit single of the same name that rose to the top 5 of the Adult Alternative Charts. The band is preparing to release their first full length studio album in the first quarter of 2012.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

St. James UMC in Pocomoke Black History Celebration

St. James UMC in Pocomoke City, MD  Sunday, February 26, 2012
Black History Celebration 9:00 a.m.Speaker:  Mrs. Tracey Cottman, Pocomoke City Councilwoman (District 4)Breakfast will be served following service

(410) 957-2992
Rev. Jonathan Whitney, Host Pastor

St. James United Methodist Church
1513 Colona Road    P.O. Box 724
Pocomoke Ciy, MD  21851
(410) 957-2992
Sunday Worship:  9:00 a.m.     Sunday School:  10:30 a.m.

Community Crime Watch Meetings

From the Worcester County Sheriff's Office


TONIGHT-Feb. 8: Stockton Community Crime Watch, Stockton Fire Department.

Feb. 15: Girdletree Community Crime Watch, Girdletree Fire Department.

Feb. 19: Bishopville Community Crime Watch (including Hidden Harbor area) Bishopville Fire Department.

Feb. 24: Newark Community Crime Watch, Newark Fire Department.


For more information: contact Deputy Dale Trotter at the Worcester County Sheriff's Office at 410-632-1112.

Pocomoke City Police Department ~ PRESS RELEASE~


Pocomoke Police Department
300 Second Street
Pocomoke, Maryland 21851

Arrests – January 27, to February 3, 2012
Pocomoke Police Officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle that failed to stop at a posted stop sign. Upon contact with the driver, Markeith Lashawn Davis, 23, of Mappsville, VA was found to be in possession of a suspended license. Davis was issued a State Citation and released pending trial. The vehicle was removed from the scene by a licensed driver.
Pocomoke Police Officers met with a subject who wanted to turn himself in. Travis Raheem Bailey, 22, of Onancock, VA was found to be wanted on a Worcester County Warrant for "Failure to Appear". Bailey was arrested, processed and taken before the Commissioners and released under conditions pending trial.
Pocomoke Police Officers initiated a traffic stop for a known suspension violation. Deontrae Lamar Bailey, 18, of Pocomoke, MD then fled and parked the vehicle to avoid detection. Bailey was located on foot one block from the vehicle. Bailey was issued a State Citation for "Driving on a Suspended License" and released pending trial.
Pocomoke Police Officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle that was observed spinning wheels and taking off at a high rate of speed acting recklessly. Antione Lavar Bailey, 33, of Onley, VA was issued several State Citations and released pending payment of fines.

Pocomoke Police Officers were called to the Lower Shore YMCA for an assault in progress that resulted in shots being fired into the crowd. Upon arrival, Officers conducted several interviews and spoke with witnesses regarding this incident. One victim was transported to the hospital for minor injuries from the assault; no one was injured in the shooting. A thorough investigation led to the positive identification of the several suspects involved and warrants were issued for their arrest. In cooperation with the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, Pocomoke Police conducted two Search & Seizure Warrants on the suspect’s home and were able to gain further evidence relating to the crime; the suspects were not located at this time.

On January 31st
Devin Treye Wessells, 17, of Parksley, VA was located by the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office and the warrant was served with charges of "Attempted 1st Degree Murder" and "1st Degree Assault". Wessells was charged and held as an adult on felony charges in the Norfolk Detention Center without bond pending extradition. On February 2nd Roderick Rashad Savage, 17, of Parksley, VA was located and the warrant served with charges of "Attempted 1st Degree Murder" and "1st Degree Assault". Savage is being charged and held as an adult on felony charges in the Norfolk Detention Center without bond pending extradition. This incident is still under investigation and more arrests will follow.  

Pocomoke Police Officers were called to the Pocomoke High School regarding a student with a dangerous weapon on his person. Douglas Walter Schoolfield, 18, of Pocomoke, MD was found to be carrying in plain view a pocketknife with a 3" blade on his person. Schoolfield was charged with "Possession of a Deadly Weapon" and taken before the Commissioner; he was released on his own recognizance pending trial.
Pocomoke Police Officers observed Latasha Renee Blake, 27, of Pocomoke, MD acting in a disorderly fashion and causing a public disturbance. After several attempts to make contact with Blake, it was found that she was highly intoxicated and refused to calm down; ultimately, Blake was placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct due to her loud and disruptive behavior in public. Blake was issued a Criminal Citation and released pending trial.

Pocomoke Police Officers while on routine patrol observed a group of males loitering on posted "No Trespassing" property. Upon contact with the group they were advised of the posted signs for No Trespassing, two of the individuals understood and were allowed to leave. Upon trying to contact with the other two individuals and advise them of the signage, they refused to stop and began to curse and provoke officers in a loud, obtrusive manner. Identified were Martel Lesean Blake, 19, of Pocomoke, MD and Jerren Kapree Hinmon, 22, of Baltimore, MD. After several attempts to diffuse the situation both Blake and Hinmon were charged on a Criminal Citation for "Trespassing" and "Failure to Obey an Officer" and were released pending trial.

Pocomoke Police Officers were contacted by Wal-Mart Security that they had an individual in the store that has been banned from the premises on a previous theft case. Upon arrival, Officers viewed and arrested Paige Victoria Primrose, 23, of Chincoteague, VA for violating a Trespass Order issued by Worcester County. Primrose was charged on a Criminal Citation for "Trespassing" and released pending trial.

Pocomoke Police Officers observed Sean Lee White, 26, of Pocomoke, MD operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, White was known that he did not possess a valid license. A check was run through Maryland DMV and was found that White was suspended. Officers completed a Statement of Charges after the fact and on February 2, 2012 White was issued a Criminal Summons for "Driving on a Suspended License". White was released pending trial.

Submitted by:
Kelvin D. Sewell
Chief of Police




Help keep SHORE BEEF and BBQ in operation featuring lunch and dinner SPECIALS instead of  becoming a catering business.

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~TODAY~ On the Eastern Shore of Virginia

Republican Senate candidate George Allen to visit the Eastern Shore Wednesday

George Allen
Republican Senate Candidate

At 9:00 AM he will visit small businesses on Main Street in Cape Charles, Virginia beginning at Rayfields Pharmacy, before headlining an Accomack County GOP Lunch at Dons Seafood in Chincoteague at 12:00 PM and touring the Wallops Island NASA Flight Facility at 2:00 PM.

City Election Won't Be Held in Pocomoke

Written by
Bill Kerbin
POCOMOKE CITY -- With the Friday deadline having passed with no opposition in the three open Pocomoke City Council slots, the body is now set for the coming year.

The final council member to announce his candidacy was Fifth District incumbent Councilman Robert Clarke. He joins newcomer George Tasker in the First District and incumbent Tracey Cottman in the Fourth District as members who will be sworn in at the meeting in April.

Because only one candidate per district filed to run, there won't be an election, which would have been held the first Tuesday in April.

Clarke and Cottman are serving again for full three-year terms. Tasker's term will only be for one year, which is to fill the remainder of the late Bob Hawkins' term. Should Tasker choose to run again, he may do so when the District 1 seat officially comes up for election next April.

Hawkins, 92, died Nov. 8, 2011, from injuries suffered in a car accident. He had been a sitting Pocomoke City councilman since 1988, and was an active and beloved member of the community.

Mayor Bruce Morrison said town leaders decided upon Hawkins' death that his replacement would only fulfill the remainder of his term.

"And that gives them the opportunity to find out whether they like it or not," Morrison said.

When asked why he thought no other candidates decided to run, he said it's because "things are going great, and we have a great city council and people are very happy with that."

He said, "That's the only reason I can think of why no other people would run, because it was very well publicized in the papers. Everybody knows the deadline."

Perhaps nobody else wanted to take the job for one year, Morrison added, except for Tasker.

Calling himself a fiscal conservative, Clarke is looking for efficiencies of scale as a way to create savings for the town. He cites the idea of Worcester County handling the property tax billing for the town, along with the county bills as an example.

Clarke said he is pleased with the performance of new police Chief Kelvin Sewell. There are more foot patrols in town and with better weather this spring, there will be bike patrols. Clarke also hopes morale will improve among officers once they move into their new headquarters this spring.

Clarke said he has received several complaints about speeding on Cedar Street, and he said one way to correct this would be to have four-way stop signs every three or four blocks.

He said he would also like to see more sidewalks installed, especially on Cedar Street, as it is a major thoroughfare for students attending the schools.

Clarke said the new sewage plant is almost complete and on line. With the charges for collection of sewage from haulers, the town has realized several hundred thousands of dollars from the haulers. The water and sewer fund is almost balanced, with a capacity for growth.

Pocomoke City has lost a major share of transportation funds coming from the state, and Clarke said he hopes the Maryland Municipal League is successful in having at least some of the funds restored. But this loss affects the ability of the town to repair and repave city streets.

 Staff Writer Brian Shane contributed to this story.


Texting While Driving Ban Passes in Senate 28-12

The Virginia Senate passed a legislation to toughen the state's law against texting or emailing while driving.

Sen. George Barker's bill cleared the Senate on a 28-12 vote Tuesday. It now goes to the House of Delegates.

The bill would make texting while driving a primary offense in Virginia. It's already a secondary offense, meaning you can be ticketed for texting at the wheel only if pulled over for another violation. Barker, a Democrat from Fairfax, said his bill is all about highway safety.

No one spoke against the bill on the Senate floor.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shooting at YMCA - Photos

A birthday party at the Pocomoke City YMCA on Saturday, January 28, 2012 turned into a  bad situation and the Pocomoke City Police Department were called to the scene for an assault  that turned into a shooting incident. 

Several witnesses interviewed by Pocomoke City Police Officers were able to positively identify the parties that had fired the shots.

Roderick Rashad Savage,  Age 17 was arrested on January 31, 2012.  On February 2, 2012 Devon Treye Wessells was arrested.  Both are 17 years of age and from Parksley, Virginia


In an attempt to gain further evidence the Pocomoke City Police and the Accomack County Criminal Enforcement Team were able to conduct two Search and Seizure Warrants at the homes of the suspects.

Both Defendants are being held in the Norfolk Virginia Detention Center without bond pending an extradition and preliminary hearing trial date.  The case is still under investigation and more arrests are expected to follow.

**Great job Pocomoke City Police Department and Accomack County Criminal Enforcement Team.** 

So many words of praise need to be said for the recent communications between local law enforcement agencies.  Many times crime that  occurs in Pocomoke spills into Accomack County as does what takes place in Accomack County soon finds its place in Pocomoke City.  All law enforcement agencies working together will hopefully put crime to a bare minimum.

  For more info YMCA Shooting Update -February 3, 2012

BabyCakes Are Back!

The Bay Queen presents:
The Smith Island Babycake Factory

The Smith Island Babycake Factory has just opened!

Formerly known as the Bay Queen Bakery, the Babycake Factory has moved from route 13 to
110 Railroad Avenue
 in Pocomoke City

Still serving all hand-made full size Smith Island cakes and the famous Babycakes, the current hours are

Wednesday through Friday 9am – 4pm.

Babycakes are 5 layered cakes, perfect for two people and are available for $6, while the full size 10 layer cakes start at $35. Both cakes come in a variety of different flavors.

New to the Babycake factory is are the custom Babycakes, with styles ranging from heart shaped cakes to baby block cakes. The heart shaped cakes are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any romantic occasion, while the baby blocks are great for birthday parties and baby showers.

Give us a call at 443-437-7235 or visit us on Facebook
or go to our website
Smith Island Babycake Factory , for more information.

The Bay Queen is docked on the Pocomoke River in downtown Pocomoke City

Make Plans To Visit The Delmarva Discovery Center

Great Dane In Doritos Super Bowl Ad Is From Virginia Beach

Huff, the Great Dane,  tries  bribery  with a bag of  Doritos so Derek Leonidoff won't tell what he saw.

Huff, the Great Dane from Virginia Beach became an overnight star after appearing in a homemade Doritos commercial on Super Bowl Sunday 2012

For the story about Huff and his fame go HERE

General Assembly Update - Virginia

Senator Ralph S. Northam
(Virginia 6th Senate)
I hope that everyone is doing well and staying safe.  The fourth week of the 2012 General Assembly session is coming to a close, and things up here in Richmond have not slowed down.  It's about to get busier than ever with "cross-over" quickly approaching, where each chamber of the General Assembly begin considering bills that were passed by the other body.  Legislation will be moving right along in preparation to be considered by the House, so I don't expect a spare second in the coming days.  I have had several bills come up on the Senate floor and in committee since my last update, so if you ever want to check on the most updated status of my bills during the week, please feel free to click here.

Many of the bills that I am working on are at various stages of the legislative process, however, there are two that were acted on this week that I would like to highlight.  I am happy to report that my legislation addressing physical education requirements in public schools, SB 471, passed in the Senate Education and Health committee unanimously on Thursday.  We took a different approach to solve the problem this year, but this bill still addresses the issue of childhood obesity.  In 2011, my bill required 150 minutes of physical education per week, starting in the 2014-2015 school year.  It made its way through the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by Governor McDonnell.  This year, my bill requires that the Board of Education develop regulations regarding physical education in public schools, effective at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.  The other bill that I would like to highlight is SB 550, which instructs the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to adjust the boundaries of the public oyster beds on the seaside of the Eastern Shore.   These boundaries have not been adjusted since 1894, and expanding them will allow natural oyster beds that are currently outside of the boundaries to become available for wild harvest, increasing the opportunity for watermen to take oysters. This bill passed on the Senate floor unanimously, and is extremely important for economic development and opportunities for working watermen and the aquaculture industry.
Your needs and concerns are important to me, so if there is anything that I can help you with, please feel free to contact my office in Richmond.  Our office number is 804-698-7506, or you can email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  My Legislative Assistant, Matt Strickler, is always available to assist you in any way that he possibly can.
Please continue to stay safe and, as always, look for another General Assembly update next Friday!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Application Deadline Has Been Extended On New Restaurant

The application deadline has been extended so if you are interested and have what it takes to be a restaurant operator please apply.  There is a link below to take you to all the information you need.

The new restaurant being constructed in downtown Pocomoke City on the Pocomoke River didn't seem like it would be able to seat 150 diners when I took this photo in November of 2011. 

These  photos were taken  January 20, 2012 and it makes the 3,035 sq. ft. restaurant and bar more of a reality.
It is amazing the changes that can take place in just a few days.
And on Friday, February 3, 3012 some window frames had been put in. 
When completed the restaurant will have a full view of the Pocomoke River and offer free boat docking along the deck of the river.

If you have what it takes to be a restaurant operator and would like to apply go HERE or to

Here's a great article from Sunday Daily Times
written by Staff Writer Brian Shane

Town waits for firm restaurant proposal

POCOMOKE CITY -- Pocomoke City officials have extended the application deadline for restaurateurs interested in taking over the town's new riverfront eatery.

There's no hard sell-by date, only a flexible deadline of mid-March, according to City Manager Russ Blake. Previously, Town Hall had set Feb. 1 as a deadline.

Three or four operators have expressed interest in the possibility of opening at the restaurant, and while "we're hoping to receive formal proposals from at least that many," Blake said, he declined to give any names of interested parties.

"They're exploring the lead, and there may be reasons they have that they don't want everyone to know they're considering a new location. Until there's a formal proposal, it's really just in discussions at this time," he said.

The town is seeking someone with prior experience in running a restaurant and bar. Qualified applicants will have significant experience -- and, for stronger applicants, the city is willing to be "quite flexible" on rent for the first year or two, Blake said.

Pocomoke City Mayor and Council Meeting TONIGHT


7:30 p.m., Monday, February 6, 2012
City Hall

Call to Order, Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance.

 1. Review and approval of minutes from meeting of January 9, 2012

 2. Review and approval of bills to be paid.

 3. Mayor to welcome members of Cub Scout Den #1 - Troop 143 Pocomoke City.

 4. Representatives of the Delmarva Discovery Center to discuss plans for future events and continued support.

 4. Chip Choquette, representing F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Team 1829, to discuss upcoming competition.

 6. Second Reading of Ord. No. 408 to authorize a new franchise agreement with Comcast Cable, Inc. for cable TV, internet and other services.

 7. James Jones and others to discuss Save the Youth Program.

 8. City Manager to present recommendations for recreation equipment purchases for Cypress Park (POS funds).

 9. Discuss recommendation from Downtown Coordinator Angela Manos regarding a consultant to work with downtown businesses and other groups to improve profitability and performance.  (Partnership with Downtown Pocomoke Association and Worcester County Tourism Department)

Comments from the Audience.
Mayor and Council Items.


SAVE Shore Beef and BBQ


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

TIME MACHINE ... A Letter Linked To Pocomoke City's History!

(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)

January, 1931
(The Denton Journal)

A letter postmarked Pocomoke City, Worcester County, received at the State Department of Health last week, was found to contain ten belated birth certificates. The earliest of the births occurred sixty-three years ago; the most recent, thirty-seven years ago.

The ten "babies" survived the perils of infancy and are all living. So is the attending physician, Dr. Issac Thomas Costen, by whom the records were filed for registration. All of the births took place in Pocomoke City. The records were accompanied by the following letter:

"Realizing the value and frequently the neccesity of birth registration and having reached the age of 97, I am desirous (before it is too late) to have registered the births of my own daughters, as well as a granddaughter, a nephew, and several nieces whose births I attended and am forwarding the Certificates of Birth with this letter for the purpose of registration."

"Will you please make the proper registration and forward to me proper receipts, etc. Yours very truly, Issac Thomas Costen, M.D."

The correspondence was referred to Dr. John Collinson, Chief of the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State Department of Health; the births were duly registered, and the customary engraved certificates were sent in acknowledgement. The present law requires a birth to be reported within four days of its occurrence.

Though Dr. Costen has not been in active practice for some years, his name is still listed in the Directory of the American Medical Association. The published record shows that he began the practice of medicine in 1857.

April, 1931

Pocomoke City's oldest resident, Dr. Isaac T. Costen, died at his home at the age of 98. Dr. Costen had practiced medicine for many decades and was Pocomoke City's first mayor.

April, 1974

By a vote of 413 to 324, Pocomoke City residents voted to save the century old former home of Dr. Isaac Costen. The home was currently under city ownership and town officials had heard suggestions that the home be demolished to make way for more parking spaces for downtown businesses. The Spirit Of Newtown Committee was formed, headed by Mrs. Myrtle Polk, to help save the historic home.

October, 1976

Having undergone two years of restoration work an open house for tours by the public was to be held at Pocomoke City's historic Costen House, the Market Street home of Dr. Isaac Costen. With support from Pocomoke City residents, Mrs. Myrtle Polk led The Spirit Of Newtown Committee in raising funds for the preservation project and the Costen House was now on the National Register Of Historical Sites.

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. Your name won't be used unless you ask that it be. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting.

Legislative Updates By Mike McDermott

Feb. 4th, 2012

Field Notes
Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Mike McDermott

Week 4 January 30-February 3, 2012

Judiciary Hearings
Flash Mob
On Tuesday, the committee received testimony on several bills. HB-4 seeks to address the recent problems of Flash Mobs by allowing the total amount of goods stolen by the group to be used in determining whether or not the crime is a felony or misdemeanor for all of the individuals involved. We observed a store video of a recent mob event in Montgomery County.There were some concerns about the severity of the sentencing guidelines. To me, the act resembles a robbery more than a theft. They are being driven by the use of various social media outlets and we should be more than a little concerned.

Background Checks
A Wicomico Delegation bill (HB-63) was reviewed. It would simply authorize Criminal History checks to be performed by Wicomico County for potential employees. The records are confidential and cannot be disseminated. It would also require guidelines be in place by the county government which address the authorized provisions in the bill.

It seems under current law that buffalo must be provided certain protections from the weather which are required for other domestic stock. HB-80 seeks to modify this requirement as it would seem the current law was crafted without bison in mind.

Public Defender Act
This may be the biggest issue we address this year based upon the potential impact it could have on the criminal justice system. A recent decision by the MD Court of Appeals ruled that defendants have a right to representation even before a District Court Commissioner. Cost estimates to implement this change range from $28 million to over $100 million. It would impact the state budget and would require county budgets to provide additional money for the States Attorneys Office for their representatives as well.

HB-112 seeks to correct the Public Defender Act by specifically removing the need for an appearance by the Public Defender at the Commissioner level while affirming the need to have this representation at the Bond Review in the District Court. This was the second hearing on this bill and it lasted for over 6-hours. The change is slated to take affect within the next few days. This bill is classified as an Emergency Bill so it can be fast tracked and signed by the governor upon passage.

For over 40 years the Maryland system of Commissioner review followed by a Bond Review by a judge the next day has served us well. The Commissioner screening results in the release of about 65% of those arrested on Personal Recognizance or Unsecured Bonds and those folks never see the inside of the county jail. The next morning, a Bond Review by the District Court Judge insures that defendants have the opportunity to argue why they should be released if the commissioner determined they should have a bond. Involving defense attorneys and States Attorneys at the Commissioner level will change the nature of these hearings and add longer wait times. This will mean keeping police tied up with prisoners for extended periods. The bill seeks to answer the problem and could save the state and county governments tens of millions of dollars if passed.

Misdemeanors on Citation
Another of my bills to be heard was HB-119 which would expand the ability of police officers to charge people who have committed minor offenses on a citation instead of arresting them and taking them before the District Court Commissioner process. This would save a lot of money and would keep our limited police resources on the street and available for the more serious crimes. Many states have adopted this practice as a practical matter. There was some resistance from the State’s Attorneys Association as they wanted further limits on the crimes which could be charged on citation. This bill would not allow any crime of violence or domestic assault to be charged via citation. It looks favorable that HB-119 will have a vote and move to the House for consideration.

Judiciary Committee Votes:
The first voting session took place on Thursday with the following bills moved to the whole House for a vote:
HB-4 Requiring Orphan’s Court Judges in Baltimore County to be attorneys.HB-63 Local Delegation Bill allowing Wicomico County the ability to access criminal history information for the purpose of job screening.

Discussions continued in work sessions regarding HB-112 and the Public Defender Act modifications. There has been general agreement that requiring the Public Defender to appear at Bond Reviews before the judge should be required, but not before a District Court Commissioner. I expect a vote on this bill on Tuesday next week.

Eastern Shore Delegate Meeting
We met with the Secretary of Agriculture, Buddy Hance, on Friday morning and discussed his departments legislative agenda and our concerns over much of the regulations being heaped upon our farming communities. After listening to the Secretary for a few minutes discussing the new or proposed regulations, I thought I was in a meeting with the Secretary of the Environment. It would appear to me that the department of Agriculture has succumbed to being an apologist for the governor’s office instead of being a  advocate to the governor for the farmers (as we have always had in the past). The Secretary was questioned about his support of Plan Maryland particularly when it came to the land development rights of the farmers. He indicated that the state needed to “preserve” farmland, but not compensate owners over development rights denied through regulations. There were no administrative policies that the Secretary opposed.

Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) was on deck and followed Secretary Hance. They spoke of the economic impact of poultry in the region and also the escalating regulations on the industry. I thought the most interesting comment was made by DPI President Andrew McLain when he indicated that farmers use to have plans drafted to address improving agronomics of a farming operation, but now the plans are drawn up to satisfy regulations and mandates by the government. Those two goals can often find themselves in a state of conflict.  An industry that is not profitable will cease to be an industry for very long. It is clear that in Maryland, we have arrived at a point of diminishing returns on poultry operations. If this does not change, our economy will suffer irreparable damage.

One effort to bring awareness was the first annual Delmarva Chicken Day at the capitol. The luncheon event was well attended and provided a great chance for industry advocates and shore legislators to talk to others about the economic impact of poultry in Maryland.  It was very well received and will be built on for next year.

The last presentation was made by the nine shore counties various departments of Tourism. All of the directors indicated a strong need to maintain funding levels for tourism promotion in the budget. They provided reports on economic impacts at the local level which showed a very impressive return on state investment of tax dollars.  As part of the presentation, each county displayed some artifact or item representative of tourism in their area. It is always a pleasure to see folks displaying a great sense of pride for their represented areas and how each area offers a unique experience to their visitors.

Good Government Work Group
I have been appointed to lead other House Republican Caucus members in developing a legislative strategy to address transparency issues and the promotion of Good Government (G- Squared)  practices. We will be scheduling several press conferences in the coming weeks to highlight these efforts and to contrast them with many bad government bills or policies supported by the administration. The first effort will take aim at auditing practices and a bill I will be introducing  which will require independent audits of all state agencies every two years with the cost borne through the commission paid to the auditors based upon the potential savings realized by the state.