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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette



Jan. 29, 2015) The Berlin Mayor and Council discussed several issues during a public meeting at town hall on Monday, Jan. 26.
Event approvals
The Berlin Mayor and Council unanimously approved the first Worcester County Arts Council 5K Run, set for May 16.
The council also approved suspension of the open container law at six town events this year, beginning with the “Cool” Berlin Day on April 18.
Nonprofit briefs council
Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Executive Director Steven Taylor spoke to the Berlin mayor and council about the Berlin Youth Club.
Taylor said the nonprofit enriches children “by exposing them to events and cultural activities.”
Children in the program collect for nonprofits, write thank you cards for cancer patients, and are “constantly doing a variety of things to engage themselves in the community and make the community a better place to live,” Taylor said.
The service introduced SAGES, a program for struggling adolescent girls, in 2003. Last year the nonprofit unveiled a similar program for boys, SABERS.
Taylor said the programs focus on “enrichment, empowerment and getting [youths] engaged in the community.”
The mayor and council voted to approve $2,034.28 to the service for the balance of second quarter expenses and expenses for the third quarter.
Bike Maryland
Representatives from Bike Maryland, an Annapolis-based nonprofit launched in 2009, spoke to the mayor and council about the Bike Friendly Maryland program.
Advocacy Coordinator Emily Ranson praised Berlin for supporting the bike trail connecting Berlin and Assateague, and the Walkable Bikeable Berlin initiative.
“You guys are looking at biking as a safe and viable transportation option,” Ranson said. “You’re planning for it and you’re measuring what is happening with it.”
Ranson said supporting bike trails is “not just a vacation extender, it’s a season extender.”
Matt Wempe, a community planner at Maryland Department of Transportation, said the state is “holding Berlin up as a model” as a community that uses different funding sources, including state grants, to bankroll community projects.
Mayor Gee Williams said Berlin’s efforts to promote bicycling is part of a move to “become a multimodal community.”
“It won’t happen overnight, but I think a multimodal approach is going to be critical in Berlin’s continuing success,” Williams said. “We don’t want to make the downtown any bigger, we just want to continue to thrive.”
Energy assistance
Berlin’s Energy Assistance Fund program raised $5,600 to “support people in need in the wintertime,” according to Finance Director Natalie Saleh. The town received $2,600 in donations and provided matching funds.
Saleh said a check will be mailed to Maryland Assistance and distributed to applicants in the area.
Notification system
Berlin sent a notification through the CodeRED emergency notification system on Monday, Jan. 26 reminding residents to avoid parking in the street in advance of an expected snowstorm.
Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said the alert also advised Berliners that Tuesday trash pickup would likely be delayed.
“This is exactly the type of scenario the system is intended for, to get short notice out quickly,” Bohlen said.
According to Bohlen, the town sent 260 emails, 291 texts and successfully reached approximately 1,200 of 1,400 town subscribers, resulting in an 86 percent success rate.  Residents may sign up for the notification system by phone at 410-641-4314, online at, or by using a form available in town hall.
House evacuated
A kerosene spill on 111 Maple Avenue resulted in the evacuation of the home’s occupant and her daughter, according the Planning Director Dave Engelhart.
“The fire marshal’s office and Maryland Department of the Environment responded with a hazmat team,” Engelhart said. “Apparently 275 gallons of kerosene [in a tank] went over and spilled in the yard.”
Engelhart said a majority of the spillage flowed underneath the house.
Berlin electric workers disabled electricity to the house and removed the meter, and Engelhart met with the occupant to “make sure she had other arrangements” for the night.
The department and the fire marshal were expected to reassess the situation on Tuesday.
Engelhart said there was no evidence the kerosene spill reached the street, and praised the response by fire and department of the environment crews.
Black History Month
Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells is preparing a Black History Month display in the town’s Welcome Center, including book signings.
Wells is coordinating with Calvin B. Taylor Museum Director Susan Taylor to create a display featuring Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley.
Tindley, an American Methodist minister and gospel music composer, wrote the hymn, “I’ll Overcome Someday,” credited by many as the basis for the U.S. Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.