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25 June

WCTR LOCAL NEWS

News June 25 click to listen

An Essex man, described as a serial burglar, has been arrested for a string of burglaries including in Queen Anne’s County....

 

An Essex man, described as a serial burglar, has been arrested for a string of burglaries including in Queen Anne’s County. 66-year-old David Warren Chilcote, Sr. was identified as a suspect by the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Department and other allied agencies for a rash of burglaries in six different counties including burglaries at small businesses in the Stevensville, Chester and Grasonville areas between September 2017 and May 2018. In all of the burglaries, the suspect pried open a window or door and then stole money. Chilcote was arrested at his Essex residence around 6am on June 14 without incident. Evidence seized connected him with burglaries in Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore and Harford Counties and he is the suspect in more burglaries in Frederick County and in Pennsylvania. He is being held with no bond at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and his preliminary hearing date in Queen Anne’s County District Court is set for July 12.

The Town of Betterton recently has submitted three grant applications for town improvements. The announcement from Town Manager Elizabeth Greenwell says that two of the grant submissions are for Wheeler Avenue improvements. One is a $500,000 Community Legacy grant and the other an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant. The third application is a $5,000 grant for a Chesapeake Bay Trust funded mural in the 6th Avenue Park. Previously the town also submitted two grant applications for the Rigbie Steps and one for the Bayside Bluff. Also, she announced that work is done on the Main Street Outfall and County Parking Lot with grants from the State Department of Natural Resources and they are finishing up the water treatment plant with partial U.S. Department of Agriculture and Maryland Department of Natural Resources grants.

Chestertown town council member David Foster will take on the task of having the town pursue getting a tax differential from Kent County for services that the town provides for residents. Foster said, at the Monday, June 18 council meeting, that Kent County is one of only three counties that do not provide the differential. The last year the town received the differential was in 2011 when the town got back $116,000. Foster said he’s asked the county why they do not provide it and was told by the commissioners that they don’t have the money. Foster said he has talked to the Maryland Municipal League about having them lobby state legislators in Annapolis to force the county to provide the differential. Mayor Chris Cerino asked if it would require the state delegation to back the effort and Foster said it would help. The town plans to draft a letter to the Maryland Municipal League asking for help.

The Sultana Educational Foundation has offered to purchase a vacant lot near the former Chestertown railroad station. The offer was announced at the Monday, June 18 Chestertown mayor and council meeting. Town manager Bill Ingersoll said the 1.16 acre property was acquired from the Penn Central railroad around 1980 and is mostly an upland wetland. The town listed the property as excess property in 2006 and is currently not on the tax rolls. The Sultana would like to combine the property with an adjoining 5 acre property owned by Washington College as a wetland preserve for Sultana’s environmental education programs. The council voted to have Ingersoll enter into negotiations with the Sultana while mayor Chris Cerino recused himself since he is employed by the Sultana Educational Foundation. The mayor and council also approved $2,700 for the Recreation Commission to install a swing set in the Margo Bailey Park near the dog park. The town also voted to raise building permit fees.

The Kent County Commissioners have introduced a bill that would allow property owners the option of withholding total acreage of property when applying for an easement. The bill was introduced at the Tuesday, June 19 meeting and would change the current requirement that an easement consists of the entire property. Commissioner Bill Short suggested an edit to the bill that would make it more specific on what land sold in easements could be used after the sale. The commissioners will hold a public hearing on this bill at their July 5 meeting.

Two Rock Hall residents, along with a New Jersey man, were arrested at a Rock Hall apartment and charged with heroin and cocaine possession. The Kent County Narcotics Task Force seized suspected heroin, crack cocaine and powdered cocaine while exercising a search and seizure warrant around 4am, June 14 at an apartment in the 21000 block of Brittany Bay Drive. Arrested were the residents 23-year-old Victoria L. Gabauer and 25-year-old Patrick Ian Weinrich both of Rock Hall. A third person, 29-year-old Shamar Aquil McNeil of Willingboro, New Jersey was also arrested. Three children under the age of 10 were in the home. All three adults were charged with various drug charges while Gabauer received three counts of reckless endangerment and McNeil was charged with three counts of neglect of a minor. McNeil and Weinrich are being held at the Kent County Detention Center while Gabauer was released on $15,000 bond. Each has a preliminary hearing set for July 11 in Kent County District Court.

The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners passed an ordinance that requires dog owners to bring their dogs inside during extreme weather conditions. The ordinance was unanimously passed at their June 12 meeting and states “any dog shall be brought inside a home, building our other suitable shelter within 30 minutes of the onset of extreme weather conditions”. Extreme weather is defined as temperatures above 90 degrees or under 32 degrees Fahrenheit or during active weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service or the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services. The bill was also moved, by Commissioner Mark Anderson, to make the ordinance an emergency meaning that the ordinance took effect immediately upon passage.

Early voting for the June 26 Maryland Primary election runs through this Thursday, June 21 and polls are open from 10am to 8pm. In Kent County, the polls are at the Kent County Library on High Street in Chestertown. All registered Republican and Democratic Party voters can vote in the primary of the party they are registered with while unaffiliated voters cannot vote in the primary as the primary elections are for the Republican and Democratic parties to choose candidates for the November 6 general election which is open to all registered voters. If you not are registered, you can register at the polling place during the early voting period and cast your vote in the primary. All voters must be registered before the June 26 primary and to register, bring ID and proof of address.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to fill out an online survey available at the Sheriff’s Department website. Sheriff John Price says that citizens are urged to complete a community survey which can be sent anonymously or with identifying information, and the Sheriff’s office is collecting opinions on responsiveness and service as well as citizen’s views on the major crime issues in the county. Sheriff Price says he will review every survey and that every bit of feedback they get helps them improve their operations and public service. The survey is available at sheriff.kentcounty.org and residents without internet access can stop by the Sheriff’s Office at 104 Vickers Drive off Flatland Road in Chestertown or call (410) 778-2279.

Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann is launching the Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25 Campaign to promote speed enforcement in residential neighborhoods. Speeding in residential neighborhoods is the biggest concern and complaint by residents to the Sheriff’s office, and deputies will be reaching out to community members and associations to participate. One way they will be promoting the message is by giving residents yard signs to remind drivers to drive the speed limit. Deputies will also be stepping up speed enforcement in neighborhoods. Residents are encouraged to report speeding vehicles by reporting tag numbers to their anonymous tip line at 410-758-6666. Vehicle owners will get warning letters.

The Kent County Department of Water & Wastewater Services will be painting the Georgetown water tower beginning Monday, June 18. They are reminding Fairlee and Georgetown area residents that the routine maintenance extends the life of the tower and ensures reliability and should not affect water quality or pressure. If you have any concerns, call the county at 410-778-3287.

The Kent County Commissioners approved their $47.3 million 2019 Fiscal Year budget without any boosts in education spending. The budget was approved at the Tuesday, June 12 meeting and features $49 million in expenditures, down about $4 million from last year and the county will use part of their fund balance to make up for lost revenue. Property and income taxes will remain the same and the school budget at $17.2 million is about $600,000 less than what was requested by the Board of Education, although the budget is at $228,000 over the state’s maintenance of effort requirement meaning that the county has fund the schools no less than next year’s per student rate. Robbi Behr of the “Support Our Schools” grassroots group addressed comments made at the June 5 public hearing by Commissioner Ron Fithian saying that the group was choreographed by someone outside the group with Behr saying that the group did the work all by themselves.

The Thursday Rock Hall mayor and council meeting led to assault charges being filed by the mayor against the husband of one of the council members. Mayor Brian Jones filed the assault charges against David May, the husband of council member Beth Andrews, after May allegedly shoved Jones during a conversation over an increase to the town’s Parks and Recreation budget after the June 7 meeting. According to reports, after the alleged pushing incident, Jones had the town clerk Stephanie Loller call police. The Kent County News reported that court documents stated that the mayor was suffering from anxiety, shortness of breath, and chest pains while waiting for police, and emergency personnel suggested he seek medical treatment and he was treated and released from the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. Town Manager Ron Fithian said a letter would be sent to May to ban him from attending future meetings. The alleged incident happened after the mayor and council approved their $1.1 million budget. Councilwoman Beth Andrews is critical of the budget, especially the increases in the Parks and Recreation budget when other expenses have been cut. The council did cut the new Parks and Recreation position from $34,000 full time to $20,000 at 30 hours a week. The employee is the uncle of the mayor. Andrews suggested the employee work 16 hours a week. She also motioned for tax increases at the June 6 public hearing on the budget and at the June 7 meeting, but the mayor and council voted not to raise taxes.

The University of Maryland Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chestertown is under new ownership as of June 1. The new owner is Outcome Health Group and Shore Regional Health president and CEO Ken Kozel said the staff is already making the transition to the new ownership. According to a press release, the agreement ensures that Outcome Health Group will keep the facility open and serving the community as a long term care facility and has the financial means to cover capital improvements.

The Chestertown Rotary Club along with the Sgt. Preston Ashley American Legion Post in Rock Hall and the Rock Hall Fire Company have put up 50 American flags to represent each state along with a Maryland flag to commemorate Flag Day and Independence Day. The flags are in the town’s field between Rock Hall Dental and Pearl on Main and will remain through the town’s Fourth of July parade. Chestertown Rotary president Andy Meehan said “the field of flags gives folks an opportunity to reflect on what makes the USA, Maryland, Kent County, and Rock Hall so special.” Meehan; along with Vernon Rodney, the Commander of the Sgt. Preston Ashley American Legion Post and R.J. Dowling, the President of the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company, all expressed their appreciation to the Town of Rock Hall and Town Manager Ron Fithian for providing the field and the electrical power to illuminate the flags at night. Vernon Rodney, Commander of Sgt. Preston Ashley American Legion Post 228, noted “This project is to honor our flag, which symbolizes liberty, justice, and the American way of life. We are following the rules of flag etiquette, including illuminating them at night.