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20 Oct

WCTR LOCAL NEWS

News October 20 click to listen

Kent County is getting a little over $100,000 from Governor Larry Hogan’s office for road repairs....

 

Kent County is getting a little over $100,000 from Governor Larry Hogan’s office for road repairs. Governor Hogan recently awarded about $38.4 million in grant money to counties and municipalities for the fiscal year 2018. Counties and municipalities had to sign and return a Transportation Grant Application to get the funding with Kent County getting $105.117. Among the municipalities, Chestertown is getting $122,049.93, Rock Hall $50,421.50, Betterton $16,102.49, Galena $14,192.70, and Millington is receiving $12,134.14 from its Kent County allotment. The counties and towns also get highway user funds from the state with Kent County getting $225,251, Betterton $5,855, Chestertown $45,274.19, Galena $5,161,Rock Hall $18,335, and Millington $4,412 from its Kent County portion.

Students from Washington College will be conducting their annual Gilchrest Rail Trail cleanup this Sunday, October 22. At Monday’s Chestertown mayor and council meeting, Student Government Association community relations secretary Arianna Hall told the council that they will meet at the Dixon Valve parking lot at 11am this Sunday and students are inviting faculty and staff from the college as well as the community to be a part of the cleanup efforts. Mayor Chris Cerino said he will be there with his pickup truck to help haul away bags of trash and Town Manager Bill Ingersoll said in the past the town has supplied trash bags and gloves. He said town crews may need to do some pre-cleaning including removal of fallen tree limbs and weed cutting so crews can see trash along the trail. Hall said the SGA would like to know other ways they can help around town such as raking leaves or shoveling snow. Town councilwoman Linda Kuiper invited students to help volunteer with the Chestertown Tea Party committee which is short of members.

The Democratic Club of Kent County will have gubernatorial candidate Jim Shea in Chestertown for a Meet The Candidates series event on Saturday, Oct 21 from noon to 2pm. The event will be at the club’s headquarters on High Street. Shea, a native of Baltimore, is the chairman and managing partner of Venable LLP and in the past has served as the chairman of the University of Maryland’s Board Of Regents, the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.

At Tuesday night’s Kent County Commissioners meeting, they heard from the president of the hospital on keeping down healthcare costs on the Eastern Shore. University of Maryland Shore Regional Health president Ken Kozel spoke at the meeting and talked about driving down their costs in order to remain sustainable, otherwise rash decisions are made. Kozel said the hospital is working toward the national trend of using emergency rooms as a last resort with patients being urged to visit an urgent care facility or primary care physician before going to the emergency room. Kozel also said the hospital is looking to have more specialists in the county or providing transportation for patients to see their doctors. Also, Jamie Williams, the county’s economic development coordinator and Jim Luff, the chairman of the Economic Development Commission spoke about the comprehensive plan and the focus on jobs, education and housing. Luff said they met with Middletown, Delaware mayor Ken Branner to share ideas on attracting business. Luff said the county does not want to be Middletown, but he said that Middletown’s use of zoning along with infrastructure and quick approval processes are applicable to Kent County. He also said the county needs to develop the Rt. 301 corridor as there is an opportunity with the highway expansion and the county needs to act. The commissioners passed the business personal property tax amendment which would add to the tax assessment for electricity generation equipment. Commissioner Bill Short said he was concerned that the amendment could serve as a loophole so solar companies could co-op with entities such as Washington College which would not be liable for the tax. The county also accepted the town of Chestertown’s request to annex the land around the town’s wastewater treatment plant and that the courthouse tower has to be taken down for safety reasons.

The Town of Rock Hall has adopted an ordinance to allow small wireless facilities in the town. At the town’s Oct. 12 mayor and council meeting, the town unanimously voted to approve a text amendment based on a proposal from Mobilitie of California to install what they call a “small cell” device, which is an antenna along Rock Hall Avenue near Rock Hall Liquors and Deli. The device would access cell phone aerials on the town water tower that would boost cell phone signal strength. Also, the town presented the Rock Hall Community Spirit Award to the Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Committee and mayor Brian Jones thanked them for the decade of economic good the festival has brought to the town. Town manager Ron Fithian also said that work is continuing on demolishing the old Catholic Avenue water clarifier and that work is continuing there on the new water main. Mayor Jones said that the town is waiting to hear back on a $250,000 to $300,000 Community Legacy grant application to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development on behalf of the Rock Hall Inn project. Finally the town will hold two forums on the streetscape improvements to Main Street on 1pm Saturday, Oct. 21 and 7pm, Tuesday Oct. 24 at the town municipal building.

The Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee is looking for someone to fill the vacant seat on the school board. The at-large Board Of Education seat of Arlene Taylor became vacant when she passed away from cancer on Sept. 18 and her term expires next year. The Queen Anne’s County GOP is considering Tammy Harper, Joe Gannon, and Rick Bowers as nominees to send to Governor Hogan for the appointment. Harper and Gannon are previous school board members. The Democratic Party in Queen Anne’s County is not soliciting candidates and is encouraging anyone interested to apply directly through the governor’s office.

The Kent County Board of Education is holding a special meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 5:30pm at the Board of Education Building on Boundary Avenue in Rock Hall. The meeting will be to approve a Transportation Resolution and Execution of Transaction Documents for school bus purchases for the school district. The City National Bank, City National Capital Finance, Inc will finance the $1,414,248 purchase.

A Thursday morning gunshot victim caused a brief lockdown of Grasonville Elementary School. According to the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Department, emergency personnel responded to a call at Grasonville Terrace around 8:23am and found a woman suffering from a single gunshot wound. The incident caused the Sheriff’s Department to lockdown the nearby Grasonville Elementary School while police investigated the shooting. The woman was flown to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with what was determined to be a non-life threatening self-inflicted gunshot wound. The school lockdown was lifted before 10am.

A Sunday shed fire near Rock Hall was determined to be caused by electrical failure. According to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, the fire broke out around 2:45am in a shed on Humphrey’s Point Road and the fire was discovered and reported by the owner. Rock Hall firefighters took 10 minutes to put out the fire and no one was injured. The Fire Marshal’s office said the fire started in the exterior wall cavity of the 4 by 10 foot wood framed shed and a smoke alarm in the shed was activated. Damages were reported at around $5,000.

A Sunday evening fire in Chester was started by improperly discarded smoking materials according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The fire at the one-story wood-frame home broke out at 6:21pm and several fire companies responded to the fire on Golt Road. The homeowner reported the fire after his daughter saw it while looking out a window. The fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes and the family was able to escape the fire without injury.

The Chestertown mayor and council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 16 at 7pm to discuss the proposed annexation of the Chestertown wastewater treatment plant, also known as “The Lagoon”. The area features 149.11 acres south of town along Quaker Neck Road and if annexed would add to the Second Ward. The water treatment plant has been in operation since 1967 and serves the Quaker Neck sanitary line for the county. Written comments can be submitted prior to the hearing and you can call the town office at 410-778-0500 for more information. The regularly scheduled mayor and council meeting will follow at 7:30pm.

The town of Galena will be getting bathrooms in their park. At the town’s Oct. 2 mayor and council meeting, the mayor and council voted 3-2 to use Department of Natural Resources grant money to construct a restroom on the property. Council members Harry Pisapia and Francis Bodgan voted against claiming that bathrooms would invite loitering and increases in trash in the park and not be worth the money, but several citizens spoke in favor saying that it would be another thing to draw people to town. Town manager Sharon Weygand said not having a bathroom reflects poorly on the town and she says that parents of young children complain about the lack of a public bathroom in town. Mayor John Carroll echoed the town manager and said the town can install motion sensitive lights, security cameras, and can close the bathrooms at night.

A Centreville man has been charged with arson after a fire as his residence at Little Kidwell Avenue in Centreville. 21-year-old Evan Flynn was charged after the Tuesday, Oct. 3 incident when around 2:30pm the home owner discovered a small fire on the kitchen floor that had burned out after returning to his residence. Firefighters from the Goodwill Fire Company ventilated the home due to the odor of gasoline and the State Fire Marshal’s office determined that Flynn, the owner’s stepson had intentionally set the fire. No one was injured with damages reported to be an estimated $3,000. The smoke alarms had been taking down from the ceiling and had their batteries removed. Flynn, who had fled the home, was arrested while riding his bicycle in the Acme supermarket parking lot in Centreville after a brief struggle. Flynn was charged with various arson charges as well as assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and other charges.

The Kent County Republican Central Committee has two vacancies for the current term than expires in November 2018. According to a news release, any registered Republican in Kent County is eligible to be appointed and the duties include working for the election of all duly-nominated Republican candidates, helping register new Republican voters and encouraging registered voters to switch to the Republican Party. Other activities include filling vacancies and nominations for public office, coordinating party activities in the county and fundraising. Letters of interest can be sent to P.O. Box 744 in Chestertown or you can get more information at kentcountyrec.com.

A Tuesday morning accident in Kingstown closed the Chester River Bridge. The accident happened around 8:50am near Kingstown Farm, Home and Garden in Queen Anne’s County and involved a pickup truck going off Rt. 213 and re-entering the roadway and colliding with a grain truck traveling southbound causing the grain truck to overturn. The driver of the pickup truck was flown to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. The driver of the grain truck was not injured. As of 11:45am Tuesday, the Chester River Bridge was closed and drivers detoured around Crumpton for cleanup efforts.

Maryland State Police are investigating a Monday afternoon stabbing incident in Queen Anne’s County. After 5pm, the Centreville Barrack responded to a 911 call about a person stabbed multiple times at a residence on Taylors Road in Queenstown. The victim was treated and released from the Maryland Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown and he told police that an African American man with shoulder length dreadlocks arrived at the residence and demanded someone come out to meet him. The victim confronted the man and was stabbed with a pocket knife and was also beaten in the head and mouth and was bitten by the suspect. The suspect sped off in a black or dark blue two-door vehicle. Police are continuing to investigate.

An application for a proposed Kent County solar energy farm has been withdrawn as the company is considering changes to the plan. Urban Grid, who is proposing a solar project on Morgnec Road near Chestertown on 255 acres of land known as the Clark Farm, wrote a letter to the Kent County Commissioners dated Sept. 27 that they have withdrawn their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Maryland Public Service commission while they consider changes in the plan due to local opposition. The project has been opposed by the Kent County Commissioners, the town of Chestertown, and the Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance. The company would like to change plans to include a sheltered picnic area, a children’s playground, an educational facility, nature trails and a community solar portion of the property and would like local input on plans before moving forward.

At last Tuesday’s Kent County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners discuss the mediation efforts at the Nicholson landfill. The Maryland Department of the Environment has regularly found the landfill in violation of state regulations and one of the remediation efforts is to upgrade the water treatment facility. The county’s Environmental Operations Director said that the county will get the necessary equipment later this month and that McCrone Inc. of Centreville is working on an engineering report. The commissioners approved a $6000 expenditure for McCrone’s engineering work. Also the county can use a flare system to burn excess methane gas on site. The equipment is on hand and the Maryland Environmental Service can set the program up for about $66,000, but commissioners Bill Short and William Pickrum want to put the project out for bids due to concerns about costs and trust issues with the quasi-state agency. Commissioner Ron Fithian concurred but warned that putting the project out for bids could affect the continuity of the work with MES. The commissioners also decided to table a vote on the proposed business personal property tax wanting to review the wording of the bill. Also, it was 4-H week and Kent County 4-H educator Beth Hill brought several 4-H students in to discuss their projects with the commissioners.

The first phase of the long delayed Four Seasons development on Kent Island is ready to break ground. On Oct. 2, K. Hovnanian Homes announced they will begin building the resort style 55+ active adult community development just north of the Castle Marina Road and Rt. 18 intersection and hope to have the first homes built in the Fall of 2018.

FTS Fiber is back at work laying down the fiber-optic network in Kent County after a hiatus due to company restructuring. At the September 26 Kent County Commissioners meeting, residents said that they had not seen FTS employees at work and asked about rumors that the company was bankrupt and employees were being asked to return company equipment. However, according to the company’s Facebook page, they are now working on installing fiber at the Tolchester Wastewater Treatment plant and then they’ll move on to the Edesville Water Tower. Also according to the county’s IT director Scott Boone and county commissioner and Rock Hall town manager Ron Fithian, the county and town have met with FTS on where to lay the fiber in the town without disrupting the infrastructure or cause traffic delays. About 104 of the 110 miles of fiber have been laid according to Boone and after Rock Hall is done, all that is left is Quaker Neck Road and downtown Chestertown. The county says the delay has been due to restructuring of upper management at FTS as CEO Brett Hill stepped down due to personal reasons. The lack of a performance bond from FTS caused Queen Anne’s County to drop out of their agreement with FTS to lay down a broadband network. Kent County has agreed to pay around $3.8 million for the project to FTS once FTS finishes the work with the agreement that the county gains control of the network if FTS defaults on the contract.

The town of Centreville is changing how elections are conducted in the town. At the most recent town council meeting, the town approved four separate resolutions that changes the expiration date of council member terms, changes the town election date and hours the election will be conducted, as sets a new deadline for candidates to run. Many of the changes come as a response to citizen complaints about the noon to 7pm polling times where citizens had trouble making it to the polls because of work schedules. Now, polling will be open from 7am to 7pm. The council voted 2-1 to change the election date from April to October which will allow the incoming council member the opportunity to participate in the budget process. Councilman Jim Beachamp voted against the change saying that most municipalities in Maryland do not hold their elections in October and there’s wisdom to that. The new date will be effective in October 2018 and therefore, the council needed to extend the terms of council members.

Fourteen Kent County Middle School students were taken to the hospital Thursday after their school bus was rear-ended. The accident happened in Millington on Rt. 291 near River Park Road and emergency personnel were on the scene by 7am. Fourteen students were transported to Shore Medical Center in Chestertown, two by parents, and no serious injuries were reported. The rest of the students were transferred to another bus and taken to school. The teenage driver of the other vehicle was not injured and she was charged with following a vehicle too closely. She was identified as a Kent County High School student from Galena and she had two other KCHS students in the vehicle and none were injured. The school system’s transportation director Ed Silver said the bus driver was Bert Ford, a long time local contractor for the school system and he was not injured. Police said the bus suffered just a few scratches but there was visible damage to the other vehicle.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Chestertown on Thursday and he visited Dixon Valve & Coupling Company as a part of his tax reform tour. The visit was scheduled for 2pm which included a tour of the factory, a participation in an employee question and answer session as well as a press conference. The company, at 800 High Street, is a 101 year old Maryland manufacturer with over 1,000 employees in 14 states. Social media reports indicate that the House Speaker’s visit was met by several protestors.

The driver of a vehicle in a September 23 accident near Sudlersville has died nine days after the accident. 84-year-old Richard Alan Coleman died on Monday, Oct. 2 at the University Of Maryland Medical Center. His wife, 80-year-old Dorothy Elizabeth Coleman was also injured but has since been discharged from the hospital. The accident happened around 6:30pm at the intersection of Rt. 300 and Rt. 290 when according to police, a Chevy Malibu with Mississippi license plates ran a stop sign on southbound Rt. 290 and collided with the Coleman’s Honda Accord traveling eastbound on Rt. 300. The passengers in the Chevy Malibu, both described by witnesses as Hispanic, fled the scene on foot with unknown injuries and have still not been located. Maryland State Police conducted a K-9 track in an attempt to locate the suspects. An investigation revealed that alcohol may have contributed to the accident.

Friday is the deadline to file to run in the Chestertown mayor and council election. The election is Tuesday, November 7 and all candidates must be filed and petitions presented to the town office by 5pm October 6. The open seats are mayor and the council members from the 1st and 3rd Wards. So far, Mayor Chris Cerino has announced that he is running for re-election but first and third ward council members Liz Gross and Sam Shoge are not running. Announced candidates for the first ward are Owen Bailey, David Foster, and Bob Miller while the Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver in the only announced third ward candidate.

Washington College has created a new associate dean for international education. Andrew Oros, professor of political science and international studies, was appointed to the position by Provost Patrice DiQuinzio. Oros will help the college coordinate and develop strategies for international education initiatives at the college along with enhancing the experience of international students at the college plus domestic students traveling abroad. Oros has been a professor at Washington College since 2002 and accepted the three year term for the new dean position in September. He will continue to teach one course per semester at the college.

The town of Rock Hall is one step closer to building a dog park. At Monday’s workshop, the town voted to get estimates on the cost of building the proposed park between the lagoon and the Rock Hall Avenue baseball fields. Councilmen Brian Nesspor and Timothy Edwards took measurements of the area recently and Nesspor presented a rough sketch that would feature two separate fenced in areas for small and large dogs. He said the park would need about 450 feet of fencing, two double gates, two single gates, plus a 500 foot water line with two drinking fountains and a spigot. Town manager Ron Fithian suggested the fences should be 6 feet high and that the town’s insurance company approved having the park. Nesspor said the town can raise funding from the private sector and an audience member said that Java Rock is already collecting donations. Also, mayor Brian Jones was designated the town’s Maryland Open Meetings Act representative since he’s received OMA training and is certified. Fithian said the town is still demolishing the old water clarifier system as a part of the Catholic Avenue water main replacement project. The town has also received their first reimbursement from the People’s Bank interim financing for about $96,000.