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20 July

WCTR LOCAL NEWS

News July 20 click to listen

On Tuesday night, the Kent County Commissioners introduced an amendment that addresses personal property taxes for business...

 

On Tuesday night, the Kent County Commissioners introduced an amendment that addresses personal property taxes for business. The proposed amendment would allow the county to tax personal property used as a public utility, personal property used to generate electricity for sale, and other means of dealing with business personal property taxes. There will be a public hearing on the proposed amendment on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Now with the new meeting schedule, the next commissioners meeting will be on August 1.

Next year, Washington College will be moving their commencement back to Sunday. New college president Kurt Landgraf made the announcement at Monday night’s Chestertown mayor and council meeting that the next commencement will be Sunday, May 20, 2018. The move is in response to complaints from area businesses that say they have lost business that weekend due to the lack of people staying overnight on Saturday since the college moved their commencement to Saturdays beginning in 2014. Landgraf told the mayor and council that he is committed to enhancing and rebuilding the relationship between the college and the town. Kent County Arts Council co-president John Schratwieser gave a presentation on renovations to the newly acquired Town Arts building on Spring Street across from the post office. The first work will be replacing the roof which should be done by the end of August and then work will commence on living quarters on the second floor for visiting artists and returning a downstairs room to a gallery and performance space for poetry readings or acoustic concerts. The town also added an item to the town’s social calendar with every third Wednesday evening starting in August that car people and their vehicles will gather around Fountain Park from 6 to 8pm. Organizer John Slocum is working with the town’s economic development and marketing director Kay MacIntosh on the idea. Drew McMullin, the president of the Sultana announced plans for their Downrigging Weekend in October and said that the Ferrari Club of America’s mid-Atlantic Chapter will exhibit cars at the foot of High Street after a boat and car parade down High Street. They will work with the Chestertown Lions Club so they don’t interfere with their Halloween Parade.

Due to concerns of conflict of interest raised by a town council member, Rock Hall’s mayor who is also a professional deejay, will no longer deejay town events. At the Rock Hall mayor and council meeting on Thursday, councilwoman Beth Andrews said that mayor Brian Jones has been paid $2,400 over the last two years and she said that several of the checks appear to have been written and signed by the mayor. Andrews suggested that he no longer be paid for providing entertainment for town events claiming that there does not seem to be checks and balances in place and that this has to stop. Jones said he has been doing deejay work for the town for 15 years and that he provides the town a discount at $75 an hour for his services when he doesn’t volunteer. He said the town hiring another deejay could cost the town more money. Andrews countered that she didn’t think the town needed his services and said that she thinks some of the events have been done so he can get a paycheck from the town. Jones said he will stop proving DJ services for the town. Andrews added that she thinks the money the town spends on its Festive Fridays in the summer can be better spent on other things and that the event hasn’t caught on and should end. She and council member Timmy Edwards voted to end the “Festive Fridays” but the motion was opposed by Mayor Jones along with council members Rosalie Kuechler and Brian Nesspor. Andrews also motioned to update the town’s personnel policy which was seconded by Edwards but again was opposed by the rest of the council. The council responded to an open meetings violation from the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board after the council discussed personnel policy in a closed meeting, by saying that the council was seeking to protect the privacy of specific town employees and to avoid liability issues. A state of compliance was signed by Jones, Kuechler and Nesspor, but not by Andrews and Edwards who were not on the council when the open meetings violations took place.

Queen Anne’s County has addressed the issue of busy signals when people place 911 calls. In the past whenever all six of the 911 lines in the county are in use, callers get a busy signal but the county’s director of Emergency Services, Scott Haas, said that the county is partnering with Kent, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties so that calls will roll over to surrounding counties so callers can talk to a trained dispatcher.

A waterspout was spotted in the Chesapeake Bay near Kent Island on Saturday morning. The waterspout was visible from various locations like the parking lot of Kent Island Methodist Church in Chester. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning on Saturday morning.

Police have identified the person who died in an early Wednesday morning vehicle accident in Queenstown. The accident happened around 2:30am when a passenger vehicle was heading east in the westbound lane of Rt. 50 and hit a tractor trailer head on. The car caught on fire after the accident Police identified the driver as 40-year-old Shannon Marie Fowler of Ruther Glen, VA who had been living on a boat with a friend in Queen Anne’s County. She had been driving on a suspended license and police determined that she was at fault for the crash. The driver of the tractor trailer refused treatment at the scene.

New additions to Chestertown were among the topics of conversation at the Monday Chestertown mayor and council meeting. Town manager Bill Ingersoll reported that two trees were cut down in Wilmer Park. The first was a sickly ash tree and the other was cut down to make way for the Broad Reach sculpture that will go on display on Sept. 8. The sculpture will depict a sail and wave. Mayor Chris Cerino gave a report on the progress at the marina saying that the bulkhead and new walkway are almost finished. The walkway on the Scott Point side is finished. Cerino said the work is on hiatus as the town is waiting for engineering drawings of the boat ramp. After considering moving the ramp to the other side of the travel lift, they’ve decided to keep the ramp where it is but they need the new drawings to slightly expand the ramp and make it accessible to the disabled. Councilwoman Linda Kuiper said a brewery is interested in locating downtown. Utilities manager Bob Sipes said that water sampling kits will be dropped off to participating homes, as a part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, to make sure there is no lead or copper in the water.

The Millington Dollar General is one step closer to reality as the town voted to hold a letter of credit for the developer is case State Highway Administration’s Streetscape project falls through. Oxford Chase hopes to start building by the end of the summer but they said they did not want to build sidewalks and curbing and have them removed for the Streetscape Project. The mayor and council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to hold the letter of credit with mayor C.J. Morales dissenting saying that he has no faith in the State Highway Administration to do the project. The town also appointed councilman Eli Manning as vice mayor to conduct meetings in the absence of the mayor. The town is also considering compensation for the mayor and council as it is the only Kent County municipality with an unpaid mayor and council.

Kent County Commissioner Bill Short will not run for re-election next year. Short told the Kent County News that he will finish out his term in November 2018 but will not run for re-election so he can concentrate on his business, Eastern Interiors in downtown Chestertown that he runs with his son. Short became a commissioner in 2012, replacing Alex Rasin who had resigned and Short was elected in 2014. Currently he serves on the Upper Shore Aging Board Of Directors, The Aberdeen Proving Ground Joint Land Use Executive Committee, the Joint Kent-Queen Anne’s Task Force, and the Kent County Economic Development. He made the announcement to allow the Republican Party plenty of time to field candidates in next year’s election.

The Town Of Betterton is looking for a new town manager. At the July 11 meeting, it was announced that Anne Roane has accepted an offer in Salisbury that she could not pass up. She was hired as town manage in April 2016 and mayor Don Sutton expressed frustration over the town’s high turnover rate for the position and said that the town has had four managers in the past five or six years and said that managers seem to come to Betterton only to get better offers elsewhere.

Delmarva Power is offering bill credits for customers who reduce their electric use today. With the expected hot weather and high demand for power, today between 2 and 6pm, customers will get a credit of $1.25 for every kilowatt hour of reduced use. If you have questions, call Delmarva Power at 1-855-751-PEAK

The Kent County Library is offering a financial workshop on Saturday July 22 at 10am, The workshop called “Credit & You: The Ins Ands Outs of Credit Reports and How to Improve Your Credit Score” will be offered by Maryland Extension’s Certified Personal and Family Finance Educator. The workshop is free and you can register at kentcountylibrary.org or call 410-778-3636.

The two town council members whose seats are up in the next Chestertown town election will not be running. First ward councilwoman Liz Gross and third ward councilman Sam Shoge have both announced they will not run in the November 7 election. Gross said at Monday’s town meeting that she will not run citing her husband’s health. Shoge told the Kent County News on Tuesday that due to his new job as economic development coordinator for Talbot County that he will not run because holding both positions is a conflict of interest. Mayor Chris Cerino has not decided yet if he will run again but is leaning towards running again and he told the Kent County News that he should decide at the end of the month.

Kent County Public Schools has announced the principals for the county schools after consolidation. Assistant principal Joseph Keckley will replace Tracey Williams as principal at Kent County High School as Williams announced last month that she will move to a position in the central office. Teacher Mark Buckel and Matthew Moore, who was with Kent Island High School will be the assistant principals. Last month it was announced that Mary Helen Spiri will be the principal at Kent County Middle School with former principal Janice Steffy joining Tracey Williams in the central office and teacher Diana Milligan was promoted to assistant principal. Former principal of the now closed Millington Elementary School, Kris Hemstetter will take over as principal at Rock Hall Elementary replacing Tracey Rodney who will become a service provider for the system and run the Infants and Toddlers program. Amy Crowding and Brenda Rose will remain the principals at Galena and Garnet Elementary Schools. Dawn VanGrin, principal of the now closed Worton Elementary School will take over the Judy Center at Garnet Elementary.

A Rock Hall man was convicted in New Jersey of art theft from his employer. Last month in a Camden, New Jersey federal courtroom, 42-year-old William Claudie Reed III was sentenced to a year in prison and over $92,000 in restitution after theft of over 40 pieces of art from Joseph Szymanki who is an invalid and hired Reed to oversee his property at a Rock Hall warehouse. The thefts took place between June 2013 and October 2014 and some of the art was sold to a pawn shop in Salem, New Jersey and to a person in Chestertown who was not complicit in the crime. Initially the case was investigated by Rock Hall police after Reed’s arrest in November 2014 but local charges were dropped to allow for federal prosecution. Szymanski said that 8 of 10 paintings along with jewelry have not been recovered.

Galena’s new mayor was sworn in last Wednesday. John Carroll, who ran unopposed, was sworn in as the new mayor by Kent County Clerk Of The Circuit Court Mark Mumford before the July 5 town meeting and then Carroll swore in the two new town council members Bert Piasecki and Frank Bogdan. Town councilman Harry Pisapia was appointed acting council president.