Saturday, January 19, 2013

Field Notes By Delegate Mike McDermott

Observations and Reflections
 on Legislative Activities

Week 2 Jan. 14-18, 2013

Monday Evening Meeting of the Commercial Waterman’s Caucus: I joined Delegate Jay Jacobs (R-Kent) and several other members (primarily from the Eastern Shore) for the first meeting of the Commercial Waterman’s Caucus. Approximately 45 Watermen attended representing all area...s of the state. We heard a presentation from representatives for the watermen, including Gibby Dean addressing the “Fair Share” plan published by the Dept. of Natural Resources. While the watermen number around 5800, they are dwarfed in number by recreational fishing interests. The Fair Share is designed to distribute the costs associated with enforcement and administration by the DNR evenly between those two groups based on the catch ratios, etc. I was encouraged to see the turnout and I hope the bi-weekly meetings will be productive insuring that the commercial watermen have a voice in Annapolis.

Tuesday Judiciary Committee Hearing: We heard a presentation from the Maryland Access to Justice Commission regarding compensation for plaintiffs in civil litigation who are indigent. They particularly addressed issues surrounding the Maryland Constitution’s Declaration of Rights and their desire to see fee shifting for plaintiffs who are successful in bringing action. Link to Hearing

Wednesday Morning Session: My bill, HB-106 which would repeal last year’s SB-236 Septic Bill, was on First Reader today. A hearing is pending before the House Environmental Matters Committee. Another one of my bills, HB-104, which would provide a grace period to Maryland businesses for minor violations of regulatory codes, was also on First Reader and assigned to Economic Matters for a hearing. HB-104 insures that on a first offense, there is no fine assessed if the corrections are made in a timely manner. The bill has good bi-partisan support .

Wednesday Judiciary Committee Hearing:
Briefing on Maryland’s False Health Care Claims Act-We heard from the office of the Attorney General concerning the use and application of the False Claims Act passed in 2010. Under the act, the Attorney General has expanded his staff to address these false claims to a total of 31 with 7of those positions being attorneys (current budget requests another 9 personnel). To date, the unit has settled the following in claims/recovery: 2011-$3.7 million; 2012-$1.2 million; 2013-$12 million to date. The unit is not cheap to operate and costs millions in tax dollars. The presenters pointed out that up to 75% of the funding is paid by federal grant funds. No one could say how long the grant may last. The damage to our system is substantial, but the cost to operate and facilitate fraud collection is not cheap. It seems clear the act passed by the General Assembly is not really increasing our collection of fraud cases (most are settled with the federal government which we would receive regardless of the act), however the potential is real to make a dent in fraudulent cases filed in Maryland. We need to do a lot more to make it worth our expenses even though we should always pursue fraud when it comes to our attention.) Link to Hearing

Wednesday Afternoon-My office launched “A Minute with Mike” video clips. They are a one-minute presentation on a contemporary issue facing the Maryland. My first topic was the 2nd Ammendment. See “A Minute with Mike”.

Thursday Judiciary Committee Bill Hearings:
HB-10 Would prohibit a convicted Sex Offender from being awarded custody of a child by a court without good cause and clear and convincing evidence as determined by the court. This is one of those bills that tends to codify what the courts in Maryland are already practicing, but it may be necessary to insure that the approach is uniform.

HB-22 Deals with access and confidentiality to Birth and Adoptive Records as they relate to search, contact, and reunion services. The bill would open up the records of adoptees and it would eliminate the right of a biological parent or an adoptee to file a Veto Disclosure. We heard some emotional testimony, primarily from adoptees. There were several reasons provided for maintaining the current law and keeping the Veto Disclosures option in place. Link to Hearings

Thursday Afternoon: I met with the Coastal Association of Realtors representatives along with Delegate Charles Otto. They reviewed several legislative initiatives which give them great pause. We all agreed that much of the legislation passed in recent years has been a real detriment to development across Maryland and particularly on the shore.

Friday Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting: The delegation met Secretary Summers of the Maryland Department of the Environment and also heard from Thomas W. Beauduy, Susquehanna River Basin Commission and the Marine Trades Association of Maryland. You can click here for Minutes for the Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting.

Friday Morning Governor’s Press Conference: Gov. O’Malley spelled out his Gun Control agenda this morning in the Signing Room around 10 AM. Clearly, we will be having strong discussions about the 2nd Ammendment in Maryland. I hope we can cut through the rhetoric, identify any shortcomings, and move forward with intellectual honesty. I must tell you that I am not hopeful in this regard. The Progressives want a gun grab from law abiding folks that will not solve any problems or prevent future tragedy. and they are willing to play on emotions so they can declare, “problem solved”.

Friday Morning Session: I had two distinct pleasures this morning. First, my son, 1st LT Nate McDermott (Army, 82nd Airborne Division) came up through a snow storm to be on the floor of the House. It was his first trip to Annapolis since my election. Speaker Busch was very kind and after introducing my son, he invited him up to the Speaker’s Dias for a photo opportunity. I went up as well and the members were very generous with their appreciation for Nate’s service to our country. My second pleasure this morning was offering this morning’s prayer. I utilized General George Washington’s “Earnest Prayer” which he offered to the First Continental Congress as he disbanded the successful Continental Army following the Revolution. This was a very proud moment for me as a father and a member of the House.

Specials ~ Riverside Grill

Saturday  January 19, 2013

 -Crab & Corn Chowder w/ 1/2 chicken salad sandwich or side salad 6.99
 -NC Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich w/ cole slaw and hush puppies 6.99
 -Neptune Wrap (lump crab and shrimp salad) w/ fries 8.99
 -Ale Batter Fried Shrimp Basket w/ FF 8.99*
 -Tropical Salad w/ chilled shrimp 8.99

 *Take another $1 off shrimp baskets all day
$2.50 Bloody Marys and Mimosas all day

 @ 5 pm: $4 dollar burgers
 @ 8 pm:
$3.50 Stoli drinks
 $3 Corona, Corona light, and Red Stripe

Earl Weaver- Orioles Manager Died Friday

Earl Weaver, the Hall of Fame Manager for the Baltimore Orioles died Friday night while on a Caribbean Cruise sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles.  He was 82.

One of the greatest managers- if not the greatest- in the history of baseball, especially in the history of Orioles baseball.

What a loss for all of us Oriole's fans. 

RIP Earl Weaver.

Firery Orioles Manager Earl Weaver Dead at 82

TIME MACHINE ... This Sunday's Preview.

1974.. A community college for the lower Eastern Shore?; 1929.. A bootlegging problem, but not liquor; 1964.. Pocomoke City's newest downtown business; 1880.. Travel plans to Ocean City for state teachers announced; and Part 4 of Memories Of Accomac, 1890.

Although you may not find 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!

Episode 3 /From Why Do We Kill?

"Why Do We Kill" Episode 3: Five Women Who Died from Why Do We Kill? on Vimeo.

Taken from Episode 3:

"When is one life, worth more than another?

That's the question Baltimore faced as the bodies of strangled women were found strewn across the city during the summer of 2008. In roughly four months, five women died, all strangled, all victims discarded in back alley's and side streets of West Baltimore. Among the victims, Nicole Sesker, the daughter of Baltimore's former top cop, Leonard Hamm.

The killings spurred speculation that a serial killer was targeting prostitutes, and shortly after the last victim was found, a man was arrested who had indeed strangled two women and nearly killed another. But what happened after the arrest, and how the cases were handled, revealed just how treacherous life is for the city's poorest, and most vulnerable."

To read more about this case and why people kill in Baltimore and beyond go to:

"We keep making the same mistakes, because we don't understand.  We don't understand why the women remain, why they won't abandon a lost generation and mere memories of a better past."
                                                  - Kelvin D. Sewell -

Thanks Tom


(ROCKVILLE, MD) – State Police are investigating the death of a man who shot himself this afternoon after being stopped by a trooper in Montgomery County for a traffic violation.

The identity of the man is unknown at this time. Troopers are attempting to positively identify the driver of a 1997 Ford Focus. Emergency medical personnel from Montgomery County Fire Department pronounced him dead at the scene. His body will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Shortly after 4:00 p.m., a Maryland state trooper from the Rockville Barrack was patrolling on northbound Interstate 270 prior to Montrose Road when the driver of a 1997 Ford Focus was observed operating the vehicle without a seat belt. The trooper initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver stopped the vehicle on the right shoulder without incident. As the trooper exited his vehicle, he heard a gun shot. The trooper returned to his vehicle and immediately notified the barrack and requested back up. The trooper gave verbal commands to the driver but he did not respond.

Once back up arrived on the scene, the troopers gave verbal commands for the driver to exit the vehicle. When he did not, the troopers approached the car. They found driver unresponsive and saw what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his upper torso. Troopers saw a handgun near the center console of the car. EMS personnel were summoned to the scene and emergency care was provided, but driver was deceased.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit has been notified and will be conducting the investigation. Investigators from the Rockville Barracks along with State Police crime scene technicians continue to process the scene. The body will be transported to the Office of the Medical Examiners in Baltimore for an autopsy. The victim’s name will not be released until he is positively identified and family is notified. He may not be positively identified until after the autopsy is completed.

Md. State Police

Friday, January 18, 2013

Worcester County Sheriff's Office Arrest Report

Worcester County Sheriff's Office

On January 16, 2013 members of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team executed a search and seizure warrant on West Street, Berlin, Maryland. This search and seizure warrant was in reference to an ongoing Marijuana and Heroin distribution investigation. Entry to this residence was made by the Berlin Police Department SWAT Team at which time Joseph Tyler Shanahan (Age 25) was taken into custody without incident. A search of this residence revealed 987 grams of Marijuana, 99 individually wrapped bags of Heroin, and $1,510.00 United States Currency.

 Joseph Shanahan was subsequently transported to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office for processing at which time he was charged with following offenses:


1        Possession of Marijuana

2.      Possession of Heroin

3.      Possession with the intent to distribute Marijuana

4.      Possession with the intent to distribute Heroin

5.      Possession with the intent to distribute Marijuana in a school zone

6.      Possession with the intent to distribute Heroin in a school zone

7.      Possession of drug paraphernalia

 Joseph Shanahan was subsequently committed to the Worcester County Jail on a $250,000.00 bond.
The Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team was assisted by the Ocean City Police Department Narcotics Unit, Berlin Police Department SWAT and Canine, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack during the execution of this search and seizure warrant.
On January 9, 2013 at approximately 0912 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 34 year old Larry Murice Obrien of Berlin, MD on 3 Worcester County Circuit Court Warrants for failing to appear for court on 12/12/2012 for paternity cases.  Obrien was held at the Worcester County Jail on $3000.00 bond.
On January 9, 2013 at approximately 1032 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 27 year old Rodrigo Alves Valadao of Salisbury, MD on a Fugitive Warrant through Delaware on the charges of Forgery and Bad check uttering.  Valadao was held at the Worcester County Jail on no bond.
On January 10, 2013 at approximately 1029 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 28 year old Christopher George Ashley of Berlin, MD on a District Court Arrest Warrant through Worcester County on the charges of Theft less than $1,000.00 (2 counts) Conspiracy Theft less than $1000.00 (2 counts), Theft Scheme $10,000.00-100,000.00, and Forgery of private documents (2 counts).  Ashley was released on personal recognizance. 
On January 11, 2013 at approximately 1446 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 28 year old Rachel Katherine Oettel Of Lewes, DE on a District Court Arrest Warrant through Worcester County on the charges of Burglary 1st Degree, Theft less than $1,000.00,Theft $1,000.00-10,000.00.  Oettel was held at the Worcester County Jail on $7500.00 bond.
 On January 12, 2013 at approximately 0859 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 47 year old Rone Bouvier Tindley of Delmar, MD on Libertytown road in the area of Nine Pin Branch road.  Tindley was charged with DUI related offenses and later released on citation. 
On January 16, 2013 at approximately1405 hours a Deputy of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office arrested 27 year old David Lee Clark of Dover, DE on a District Court Bench Warrant through Worcester County for failure to appear for court on September 28, 2012 on the charges of Driving on suspended/revoked license privileges, Driving without a license, Driving while Impaired by CDS, and possession of marihuana.  Clark was released on personal recognizance.
Lt. Edward C. Schreier
Worcester County Sheriff's Office


Riverside Grill Specials

JANUARY 18, 2013
-Cream of Crab Soup w/ ½ ham sandwich or side salad 6.99
 -Buffalo Shrimp Wedge Salad 8.99
 -Fried Oyster & Shrimp Basket 11.99 (7 of each w/ fries)
 -Fried Rockfish Sandwich w/ fries 9.99

 Happy Hour 4-7
w/ $1 off all appetizers
 @ 8 pm:
 $3.50 Captain Morgan and Sailor Jerry Drinks
 $1.50 Bud lt, Coors lt, and Yuengling drafts


The 23 Executive Orders On Gun Safety Signed Today By The President

Rick Ungar, Contributor
President Obama has signed 23 executive orders designed to address the problem of gun violence in America.

 The following are the items addressed:

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

It does not appear that any of the executive orders would have any impact on the guns people currently own-or would like to purchase- and that all proposals regarding limiting the availability of assault weapons or large ammunition magazines will be proposed for Congressional action. As such, any potential effort to create a constitutional crisis—or the leveling of charges that the White House has overstepped its executive authority—would hold no validity.


Compromise Met On Pit Bull Issue

By Michael Dresser,
The Baltimore Sun

Senate, House Reach Compromise On Pit Bull Issue

Key members of the Maryland Senate and House have reached a compromise on how to undo a Court of Appeals ruling last year that labeled pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed.

Identical bills have been introduced in both chambers to deal with the issue of who is liable when a dog bites a person, reflecting an agreement that eluded lawmakers during a special session last August.

Sen. Brian Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the legislation would apply to all dogs, not just pit bulls, overruling the court's breed-specific decision. It would also eliminate what is known to some as the "one bite" doctrine under which a dog owner can be excused from liability if the pet has not bitten somebody else previously.

"The burden is shifted from the victim to know the propensity of the dog to bite or be dangerous," said Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat. "It's fair to victims, it's fair to landlords, it's fair to pet owners."

Frosh and his House counterpart, Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr., promised quick action on the emergency bill, which would take effect upon its signature by the governor if passed by a supermajority in both houses. Vallario, a Prince George's County Democrat, said his panel will hold a hearing Jan. 31.

One of the concerns raised by the court decision is that it held landlords liable for injuries caused when a tenant's pit bull bit somebody. Animal advocates have expressed concerns that landlords would require tenants to give up their pets in order to keep their housing.

The bill returns the law on pit bulls to where it stood before the court decision, making it more difficult to win a case against a landlord. A plaintiff would have to show that the landlord -- or housing or condominium association -- knew or should have know that the dog was dangerous.

At the same time, the measure would make it easier for victims to prove a case against an owner in all dog attack cases, regardless of breed, than it was before the court decision.

Frosh said the issues that divided the Senate and House last year were worked out in talks between himself and Del. Luiz R. S. Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat who sits on the committee that will handle the legislation in the House.

Simmons said the House and Senate divided last year over the question of whether to apply a "strict liability" standard under which the dog owner would in many cases be automatically responsible for any injury caused by the pet. He said the Senate agreed to drop strict liability under the compromise, which provides that an owner could still call in witnesses to testify that the dog had not previously shown any signs of aggression.

A strict liability standard would have had unintended consequences, Simmons said. "It would have caused insurance policies for homeowners to spike in ways that couldn't be predicted," he said.

Owners would still retain all the previous common law defenses that existed before the decision, including trespassing and provocation, Simmons said.

The compromise was endorsed by representatives of landlords and animal advocates.

"Something needed to be done because we've been the bad guys since the ruling," said Michael Gisriel, a lobbyist for the Maryland Multi-Family Housing Association.

Tami Santelli, Maryland director of the Humane Society  said the compromise addresses the organization's concerns that the decision was forcing Marylanders to choose between their dogs and their homes.

"Shelters are seeing more pit bulls come in," she said. "It's been harder to adopt pit bulls out."


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Change Maryland Releases New Figures on County-Level Employment

*see technical note following release

Annapolis - Change Maryland released new figures today on county employment levels following the release of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program on January 8.

Under the program, Maryland's 24 jurisdictions can be measured on employment levels over time periods. By comparing the annual year-end average against other years, the data shows multiple-year trends for each jurisdiction.

The largest population centers of Prince George's, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City have lost the most jobs, in total numbers, from 2007 to 2011. These jurisdictions, on average, experienced employment level declines ranging from 16,000 to 17,000 each. Just two counties – St. Mary's and Howard – gained jobs during that time.

“Coming out of the recession, we're just not posting strong gains consistently, across the state,” said Change Maryland Communications and Policy Director Jim Pettit. “And we're finding that our largest jurisdictions are pulling employment levels down, and we need to see an opposite trend in order to restore economic performance statewide."

In percentage terms, St. Mary's and Howard led the state in job growth with gains of over 6% and nearly 3%, respectively. In percentage terms, eastern shore counties Kent, Cecil and Talbot led in declines with employment levels dropping on average just over 9%. 


County Employment Annual.pdf (161.5 KB)
attachment: county employment annual
county-by-county analysis, p.1
county rankings, p.19

*Technical note: On January 15, Change Maryland issued the press release, “Sharp Divergence in Maryland Counties' Job Growth, Economic Performance.” That release uses a different baseline to calculate employment levels, which caused wider fluctuations in some jurisdiction's ranking, particularly Worcester county. Unlike state-level employment data, county-level data is not seasonally-adjusted. BLS, in county-level tables and in its technical documentation, does not disclose this. Change Maryland made further inquiries to BLS. BLS recommends comparing annual averages to help account for preliminary data and monthly fluctuations. 2012 data is preliminary; 2011 is not. Therefore, this release analyzes years 2007 to 2011, comparing the average employment levels for those years.

DDC & Brian Garrett Receive Award

Brian and the Delmarva Discovery Center
Photo/City of Pocomoke

Congratulations to Brian Garrett and the Delmarva Discovery Center for the 2012 Heritage Tourism Event Award they received today (Wednesday) from the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council (LESHC) for the Winter Watermen's Festival they held again this year! Well-deserved. (Apologies for the funny photo! Bad lighting, bad angle and little time!)


Don't forget the next upcoming event at the
 Delmarva Discovery Center


Pocomoke Couple Receives Legacy Award

(Photo/City of Pocomoke)

Congratulations to Jim and Sudie Gatling for being awarded the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council (LESHC) 2012 LEGACY AWARD for their 17+ years of work to restore, refurbish and maintain the Sturgis One Room School Museum! They, too, received their award today (Wednesday) at LESHC's 8th Annual Meeting. They were thanked for their exemplary leadership and inspirational dedication.
 (Apologies for the poor photo quality!)
Sturgis One Room School Museum in Pocomoke City, Maryland 

Riverside Grill ~ Thursday Specials

 -Cheeseburger Soup w/ 1/2 shrimp salad sandwich or side salad 6.99
 -Raspberry Walnut Salad 7.99
 -Buffalo Chicken Sandwich w/ chips and a pickle 7.99
 -Ale-Batter Fried Shrimp Platter 9.99

@ 4 pm: $4 burgers
 Happy Hour 4-7 w/ $1 off appetizers
 @ 8 pm: $3.50 Bacardi drinks

TIME MACHINE ... This Sunday's Preview.

1974.. A community college for the lower Eastern Shore?; 1929.. A bootlegging problem, but not liquor; 1964.. Pocomoke City's newest downtown business; 1880.. Travel plans to Ocean City for state teachers announced; and Part 4 of Memories Of Accomac, 1890.

Although you may not find 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!

Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan on FY '14 Budget

Annapolis, MD - "This budget increases spending 4% over last year, to a record $37.3 billion, and does nothing more than continue the spend-and-tax governing that Martin O'Malley feels will further his political objectives.

"Nowhere in this budget document is any mention made to helping Maryland's blue collar workers and other regular working people. However, we're all told to wait for some undefined sales and gas tax increase later on that will hit poor people the hardest.

"Missing is any understanding whatsoever on how to bring jobs and businesses back to Maryland.  Over 6500 small business have left Maryland during his term and the number of Fortune 500 companies is down to just three - some of the worst declines in this region. Maryland's manufacturing sector has likewise been decimated.

"Yet the governor proposes carve outs for favored industry sectors attempting to pick winners and losers in the economy.  The only sector he has successfully chosen for job growth has been the gambling industry which led the state in job creation last year.

"Martin O'Malley also showed again today in the budget briefing slide show for reporters why he is the most partisan governor in America, lauding the President for wanting to raise the debt ceiling and blaming in advance the U.S. House of Representatives for any largess that may not come Maryland's way.

"Maryland is better than this."

Birthday Today


Legislative Updates By Delegate Mike McDermott

Repeal of SB-236-The Great Land Grab

‘Repealing The Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Act of 2012 (SB - 236) - A Bill that Hurts Farmers in the Name of Preserving Them’

(ANNAPOLIS) -- “Last year, the General Assembly took away decision making authority from our local governments under SB-236.  In the name of ‘preservation’, they gave us restrictions, and in the name of ‘planning’, they have now  taken control.  Currently, many local governments are waiting and hoping that some relief will come during the 2013 Session, and I am hoping to do just that with the Repeal of SB- 236”said Delegate Michael A. McDermott (Worcester and Wicomico Counties).  At the end of last year’s Regular Session, the Maryland legislature passed the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act (‘The Septic Bill’ or SB236).  This bill was passed after a heated debate over the state’s authority in local planning matters because it requires county governments to adopt a four-tier system into their planning maps.  Based on septic and sewer use, this new system will allow the Maryland Department of Planning and the Maryland Department of the Environment to control the growth of residential developments in agricultural areas and makes the state the final arbitor of, what used to be, local zoning decision making.  Under the Septic Bill, the county will be majorly limited in what it can authorize or plan if the four-tier system is not adopted.  County governments cannot allow new major subdivisions to be built without submitting the plans to the Maryland Department of Planning. 
“The passing of last year’s ‘Septic Bill’ hurts farmers in the name of preserving them.  It takes away local sovereignty by employing a cookie cutter approach dictated by Annapolis bureaucrats.  Maryland needs to recognize the importance of local farmers to our economy, the environment, our collective heritage, and the economic viability of a vast portion of Maryland’s economy” stated Delegate McDermott. The four-tier system creates severe restrictions on the installation of septic systems in larger residential developments and rural areas.  Tier I areas are currently served by sewer lines, Tier II areas are designated as ‘growth areas’ where sewer lines are planned to extend to, Tier III areas are not planned for sewer lines or zoned for agricultural uses - but septic systems can be installed as an alternative, and Tier IV areas are designated as ‘conservation areas’ not planned for sewer lines.  In areas designated as Tier IV, the building of large subdivisions and the installation of septic systems are banned.  This tier system has caused grief to many Marylanders who believe that the development restrictions will cause significant land devaluation at a time when their property values have already been reduced by the recessionary economy.  Those who own farms are worried that a reduction of their land value will also mean a reduction of the money they can borrow for supplies and equipment when times are tight.

“Many Marylanders did not have the chance to understand the significance of this 52 page piece of legislation as presented last year. The bill I dropped, repealing SB-236,  should afford those voices a second chance to address the many challenges this legislation created”, concluded Delegate McDermott.  Delegate McDermott ‘dropped’ the bill which will repeal SB236 on Tuesday, January 15th.  He has gathered support for the bill and is waiting on a hearing date.

MarVa Theater This Weekend

Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her, bringing MI6 under attack.

January 18th & 19th
7 PM
Tickets: $5

Pocomoke City Vol. Fire Company Control Burn

Earlier in the day.......

Around 4:30 in the afternoon fire equipment began to roll in  and the attending fire departments began their preparations for the control burn.  There was no wind at all and fog was moving in.  It wasn't long before activity began to take place in so many different directions!


Pocomoke City Volunteer Fire Company Chief Dicky Gladding had everything under control


Final inspection.  This would be the last time the building would ever be entered. The three people I assumed to go in there was a Pocomoke City Fireman, the Mayor of Pocomoke Bruce Morrison (a fireman himself) and Worcester County Fire Marshall.

Three items were found in the building that evening.  Some type of trinket, a stuffed animal- that happened to fall in front of the building when tossed AND the "special keepsake" the Mayor found!

According to time in my world it was a little after 5:00 when the fire departments began to wet the surrounding buildings.

Pocomoke City Fireman Larry Fykes with
Pocomoke City Councilman Don Malloy
It was shortly after the wet down- I'd say between 5:30 and 6:00 when the first flames popped through the roof of the structure and what was last known as Lawson's Nightclub would be a memory....
When flames broke through the roof I knew that it wouldn't be long before we would all be warm!!-Or at least I would.
More photos to follow..........


All photos by JMMB