Archived entries for Living here…

QUID PRO QUO… Now it’s YOUR turn!

It’s been almost a week since the mid-term elections here in the U.S.  We’ve done our part.

WE VOTED!

For months we’ve watched, listened and studied an almost endless stream of candidate posturings – opinions with few facts – noise without action.  We’ve answered your annoying ro-bo calls, received your large, colorful postcards/blue letters, shaken your hands and suffered through a barrage of politically motivated TV and radio commercials…we’ve even had our visual ‘landscape littered’ with your signs!  Short of living underwater there’s been no way to avoid you…you spent a whole lot of money to court us – at least a coupla’ billion!  You said you wanted a job.

We got it…WE VOTED!

The losers of this election are packing up, heading home.  The few ‘un-decided’ candidates, remain hoping!

For those of you that won…I think you‘ve learned (if you care to look), that we no longer care about your hairstyle or lack of one; the color of your skin or shoes; designer of your clothes.  And, ironically we no longer seem to care much about your party labels!

We’re now a nation of tired folks who only want one more action from you, to

“STOP TALKING and DO YOUR JOB!”

If you are working – doing your JOB, they’ll be no time to perfect a tan, participate in the endless ‘2012’ dialogue on the FOX news, ‘do’ lunch with lobbyists or really do little else other than seriously create, study and vote on the needed legislation set before you.

REASONED LEGISLATION for US!

Quid Pro Quo

Note:  YOUR  ‘JOB PERFORMANCE (including attendance record) report card’ will be handed out again on November 2nd, 2012!

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Summer’s Summary

It was hot!  The summer of 2010 broke temperature and rainfall records here on Delmarva; too hot, too little.  Yet, despite the unusual weather patterns, most of us here in Berlin MD seem to muddle along.

The ‘West Street Girls’ (our two remaining hens after an late spring attack by feral cats) continued to lay beautiful, large eggs throughout and taught me that chickens do play in water.  While fiddling with the hose one day looking for ways to help them through the hottest part of the day, I made a little mud puddle in the lawn.  Juliet and April jumped right in, cackling and splashing.  Since then, if that puddle is dry, one or the other comes to the back door protesting loudly, reminding us to ‘fill the pool’.  They’ve surely become our pets, with ‘tangible benefits’!  Apparently others in the area are interested…we’ve had visitors, several of whom, after meeting our hens, have begun their own flock of backyard birds.  No matter, I remain in awe of nature.

And, hats off to our area farmers!  Getting to know these hard-working folks further through my Berlin Farmers Market facebook marketing efforts, my appreciation continues to deepen.  Despite difficult growing conditions all season long, these growers continue to offer (Wednesdays & Fridays 10-3) the best in fresh and local.  Fall crop varieties; crispy greens and squashes (including the ubiquitous pumpkins) are coming in – right on time.  Our plant guy, Paul, promises a good supply of pretty, fall pansies too!

Finally, under the heading of a “… Believe It or Not” moment; it can’t be late summer in an even-numbered year without the biennial noise of the political campaign; not only noise but also the growing crop of visual campaign – landscape litter.  It’s almost as if strategic property placement and the number of signs has become its own commodity!  Nevertheless, my hope for these ‘hopefuls’ is that there are enough good deeds behind the candidates’ names; people really don’t vote for signs!  Tomorrow is the Primary and November 2nd is the General Election.  After that time, the signs disappear, but those deeds, past and present (which are fairly good indicators of future performance), remain!

Vote!

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The aftermath…

Sitting here thinking in the aftermath of last night’s Mayor and Council meeting where the Town of Berlin MD added about $1 million dollars of land purchase debt to it’s already stretched budget.  And, while still personally concerned with the details of financing this effort,  I’ve learned a few additional things:

  • That hope trumps reason for many
  • The future of Berlin’s youth is important to most

The ‘hope’ lesson was gleaned from the several who spoke in favor of the purchase ignoring the sad fact of adding debt which will prolong, if not eventually increase, the need for income derived from the Town’s levied property taxes upon Berliner’s.  An answer to ‘reason’ was apparent when our Mayor Williams stressed our dependence upon ‘slots’ money to erect a future Community Center and Police Station.  That kind of anticipatory financing is again called ‘hope’ – however, judging from the final vote…perhaps we all could use a short course in fiscal responsibility as well?

The ‘future’ of Berlin’s youth is important to many, if not all…several folks (discounting unnecessary testimony from a few politicians) testified of a nearly life-long wait for a local, crime-free gathering place for children.  Somehow, I’ve always believed that school provided necessary socialization and that after school and weekend hours offered unstructured playtime: pursuit of outdoor activities and quality opportunities to spend with family.  Berlin already boasts of some well-appointed, well-maintained parks thanks to an active Berlin Maryland Parks Commission.

Guess I’m not with the times.  I had to make do with creating my own recreational pastimes; often playing with friends outdoors – hopscotch, hide & seek and sandlot ball were favorites.

Nevertheless, we are getting our land (along with the debt)…and we’ll ‘hope’ for funds to erect the proposed, very much-desired, buildings.

‘Magical Thinking’ vs. Critical – Route 113 Land Purchase Ordinance

Reading the online version of today’s Daily Times only reinforces my beliefs – that the proposed Ordinance to purchase six acres of land for $828K plus simple interest of 5% for five years (cost to nearly $1 million) is somewhat ludicrous – and only increases the burden of DEBT, current and future, to the taxpaying citizens of Berlin MD.

“Another public hearing is scheduled on plans to spend up to $828,000 to purchase about 6 acres of land at the intersection of Route 113 and Bay Street. The town would buy the land in anticipation of using it as the future site of a new police station and a community center, in separate buildings.  Mayor Gee Williams said the time is right to buy the land. Spending money to construct the buildings, he said, would likely wait until Berlin began receiving its share of tax revenues from legalized gambling at Ocean Downs, in 2011 or later. “We sincerely believe that money will be coming from our share of the slots revenues,” Williams said. “We’ve got years to let that accumulate.”
If a new police headquarters was built, Williams said, the current police building on William Street would likely see service as a substation. “We’d still have a police presence downtown,” Williams said.”

Further critical thought leads me to question – we have DEBT for the land…we have DEBT for the buildings to yet be erected and then additional DEBT for staffing, maintenance of all? (Eventually someone will have to pay staff salaries to mow the lawns, trim the bushes and change the light bulbs.)

Didn’t our Town already scramble to make budget cuts this year (good job all)? Aren’t we in a local building slump…perhaps longer and worse than anticipated? Certainly revenues are falling short…again, worse than anticipated?

We can’t change the world economy…but we can certainly reorder ours by deliberately decreasing any unnecessary, additional responsibilities; two Police Stations for a town the size of Berlin, a new community center when fewer dollars could rehabilitate a facility resting on land already owned?

It’s fine to be optimistic, to indulge in ‘magical thinking’ but please don’t do it with my dollars!

Public Hearing and final vote on this issue – Tonight, Town Hall at 7 pm.

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Even in Berlin…darned TICKS!

Though I often like to fantasize that Berlin MD is a very special place and that we are somehow immune – seems that we are plagued by the same problems as others living elsewhere (maybe not Antarctica). TICKS!

Perhaps by retelling my own story it is to be hoped that someone else may avoid the often-devastating, resulting infection – Lyme disease. (For basic information visit this link – http://bit.ly/wWUEd )

One evening a couple of weeks ago while scratching, I noticed a lump and found a tick attached to a very delicate area on my upper body. I carefully removed the little critter and checked to make certain that the head was no longer embedded. I then applied alcohol as a disinfectant. However, by that time a large bright, red area about the size of a half dollar had already surrounded the bite site. By best, good fortune, I was scheduled to see my General Practitioner the very next day for an annual, routine exam. I took myself off to the visit armed with that darned tick (now dead) in a baggie!  Upon viewing the red-ringed bite site…she exclaimed, “You’re on antibiotics for the next 21 days (63 pills)!” UGH! Extra high doses of antibiotics don’t bode well for the average person, sometimes causing annoying side effects! Ever the doubter, trying to avoid this unwelcome treatment; I asked while holding up the baggie, “Don’t you want to test first?” Her reply, “I don’t need to do that – Sue, whether or not you accept treatment is your decision!” Hmm!
So, at this point, I’m in the mid-way through my term of treatment and suffering few if any, side effects (eating lots of yogurt) and most of the redness has subsided.  I’m hopeful for a good result.

While we’ve all heard horror stories of the physical devastation caused by infected ticks apparently there is a 36-hour window within which to begin treatment after being bitten by an infected tick.

Keep your eyes open; check often and if you must go into an overgrown area (or even stand beneath a tree) do a ‘tick check’ afterward and again, OFTEN. I’ve had a number of tick bites over the years – but this one was special!

Beware, even in Berlin, we have those ‘darned ticks’!

“…putting the ‘here’ in there.”

Over the past several weeks I’ve had some minutes to reflect on my continued good fortune to be living in this charming Eastern Shore town.  Life is life and things are pretty good around here – especially now that the gardens are showing green and some of our early crops are showing promise.  (Yesterday’s West Street ‘backyard’ event surely caused even greater joy; first egg was discovered, safely delivered from our new flock of four, 19-week-old Red Star hens.)

But I’m getting off track – recently, while reading an article in this month’s issue of Organic Gardening I saw this comment, ”…it’s the tight knit rural communities that put the ‘here’ in there; that make one place distinct from another and are the essence of regional character.” To my mind this charming thought speaks of this place – Berlin Maryland.  Certainly these days we each have our challenges – personal, economic, environmental even political; no one is untouched by today’s events both near and far.  Yet, I keep discovering an extraordinary strength, a resiliency, and certainly a willingness to pitch in and share among Berlin’s people…my neighbors, my friends.  Thanks to the many area folks who just keep on putting the ‘here’ in there.

To that end, this weekend our town will again throw open the doors to welcome visitors and share our ‘here’.

Spring Arts Night on Friday evening offers a new view of our Town talents – to mention but a few of the many; Pat Henry will ‘Officially’ open his new gallery and I saw that Gail Lewis has a mighty fine show prepared at Water’s Edge.

Saturday features the 3rd Annual Jazz & Blues Bash with daylong musical events planned for our Historic downtown streets.  Come on down…!

Berlin Home Grown into World Class…

The tiny Eastern Shore town of Berlin Maryland, though remaining ‘cozy’, continues to grow in stature every day…thanks in part to a group of five, active, home town artists.    These talented folks are our friends and neighbors, seen daily, living and working beside us.  We are truly grateful to you all for generously sharing your gifts…

Although always subjective, much real art is recognized through exhibition (and sales)…

This coming weekend, Ann Coates of Bishop’s Stock Fine Art, Fine Craft Gallery in Snow Hill is opening the Spring season with an exhibit of new work by Lynne Lockhart and Kirk McBride.  “During the past year both Lynne and Kirk received national recognition for their work – Lynne’s for her paintings of animals and Kirk for his skill at plein air painting.”  The show opens with a gallery reception on Friday, April 2nd, 5-8pm.  And, because the opening coincides with ‘First Friday’ down there – others venues shall be open.  Should be fun as the weather forecast is promising a real Spring weekend!

No one can say ‘Berlin Maryland’ without thinking about the art of Patrick Henry – I’d call Pat the Godfather of Painting here in town.  Over the past 20 years, his works – mostly depicting life within and around Berlin – have become classic and are always wonderful!  The huge mural inside the entrance of Atlantic General Hospital is Pat’s work.   And now, with the opening of Pat’s new gallery at 4 Bay Street, (across from Town Hall) his fine art may be seen and enjoyed every day!  We don’t have to wait…

Number four on our list of home grown town artists is Pete Cosby – by day, Pete’s a lawyer with an office in Ocean City, perhaps stealing the odd hour for his craft – but on nights and weekends Pete is often be found with brush in hand.   Pete’s work has come a long way in a short time.  I remember some early works – with an almost tooth-jarring, thalo/viridian green mix grabbing my attention.  His more recent works – marine in theme, are just plain terrific.  Thanks to Gail at the Water’s Edge Gallery, Pete’s newest works are frequently featured – and much loved!

Rounding out the home list is Marge Coyman – although not an native Berliner, Marge has become a strong, participating resident.  As a dedicated art teacher at the Salisbury School to our west, Marge still finds time to paint  (not often enough in my opinion) some wonderful works.  She’s done a couple of pastels – of simple vegetables – that I’ve coveted for a long, long time.  Yesterday, I found that these have been sold – but am promised that more will be available in the near future.  Marge – please do it!  Often Marge’s work may be seen at the j.j.fish gallery and studio on Main Street and at The Globe.

Certainly can’t list Berlin’s artists without mentioning additional locations within our town where their works (and the works of many other inspired folks) are frequently exhibited…

The Globe, 12 Broad Street – Jen’s got events and activities relating to the arts year round.  On Saturday, April 3rd coinciding with Berlin’s Spring Celebration, the Globe will sponsor an ‘event to benefit cancer treatment for friend and artist, Bill Rolig‘.

Worcester County Arts Council – located on Jefferson Street – exhibits from area artists year round with frequent special receptions.

And finally, a heartfelt thanks to all of the shops and businesses that foster and feature ‘art’ and crafts throughout the year…on Berlin’s regular ‘Second Friday’ walkabouts and on Berlin’s upcoming special Spring Arts night – this year – May 7th.

Note:  To the many other creative and talented folks who show and sell within this fine town – I apologize for neglecting to mention your name.  However, this one’s for the natives!
(Further…links to venues mentioned may be accessed by clicking on the name.)

‘RO – BO’ calls = SPAM, even in Berlin MD

Regardless of nursing a sore back last evening, I got up to answer the house phone when it rang at 5:50 pm thinking perhaps it was one of the kids or a friend.   No such luck – another ‘ro-bo’ (recorded message) call from a local politician – this time our Congressional Representative Frank Kratovil.   Of course I hung up immediately upon hearing the identity of this ‘spammer’.  I have phoned Mr. Kratovil’s local office in Salisbury on three separate occasions to request that our number be removed from his call list.  On two occasions, upon reaching a live person, I was quickly assured that we would not be receiving further intrusions.  The third time I left a message.

Still feeling cranky about this issue, this morning I decided to poll my buddies at the gym – seems no one listens to these messages.   Many choose to screen their calls and one had their house phone removed entirely to avoid intrusions of this ilk!

And, almost everyone with whom I spoke, feels much the same frustration, that this intrusion continues – politicians and those doing surveys – being exempt from the National ‘Do Not Call’ list.  Furthermore, several agreed that they resent that our tax dollars are being used to support this intrusive behavior.   Representative Kratovil, if you really want to ‘represent’ your constituency – stop the unwanted ro-bo calls.  The old saying, ‘actions speak louder than words’ still has meaning.  This has nothing to do with you personally, your party or political performance…or perhaps it does?  Please remove me!

Note:  My husband went to Mr. Kratovil’s page on facebook this morning to leave a message.  He complained that our request to be removed from the call list was being ignored.  Strange thing – within seconds his complaint was removed from the Representative’s facebook page!

…cruel and unusual punishment!

In order to avoid any future threats of cruel and unusual punishment (only kidding) from Alice and the gang at the Berlin library for my consistently overdue books, I’ve promised to publish this list of stuff (many items of interest for any of us).    OK, here it is –  the 2010 Berlin Library Spring Program guide.  For further info – phone 410-641-0650.   (You may also find a current list under the top tab entitled “Library Events”)

Berlin Library Programs Spring 201

March 30            Story Time 10:30

Stories, rhymes, finger plays, music and crafts! Different stories and activities each week. Geared for children aged 3-5 years.

March 31             Teen Night 6:00

Unlimited computer access, video games, food and more . . . what more? You tell us! For teens aged 12-18, no registration required. Refreshments served.

April 6                Story Time 10:30

Stories, rhymes, finger plays, music and crafts! Different stories and activities each week. Geared for children aged 3-5 years.

April 13            Story Time 10:30

Stories, rhymes, finger plays, music and crafts! Different stories and activities each week. Geared for children aged 3-5 years.

April 16            Play Time Baby 10:30

Foster creativity and confidence with age appropriate toys, games and activities for children aged 0-5. Develop cognitive, physical and social skills while meeting new friends through this wonderful interactive, free play program! Parents and children will be delighted as they build a strong bond that will last a lifetime!

April 16            National Library Week  special event 2:00

Local artist Barbara Schmidt will unveil a mural she created for our children’s area. The mural will feature children enjoying town of Berlin and it’s Friendly Library. Children are invited to come dressed as their favorite story book character. Refreshments will be served.

April 20            Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

April 21            Teen Night 6:00

Unlimited computer access, video games, food and more . . . what more? You tell us! For teens aged 12-18, no registration required. Refreshments served.

April 27            Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

April 29            Fireside Chat 3:00pm

Join staff, friends and fellow book lovers to discuss and recommend your favorite books while enjoying a warm cuppa and light refreshments.

April 30            Baby Yoga 10:30

Developmentally enriched yoga for babies, toddlers and their caregivers.  Under the instruction of a certified instructor, learn the many benefits of yoga wile bonding with your child and meeting new people!

May 4               Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

May 11            Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

May 14            Play Time Baby 10:30

Foster creativity and confidence with age appropriate toys, games and activities for children aged 0-5. Develop cognitive, physical and social skills while meeting new friends through this wonderful interactive, free play program! Parents and children will be delighted as they build a strong bond that will last a lifetime!

May 18            Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

May 19            Teen Night 6:00

Unlimited computer access, video games, food and more . . . what more? You tell us! For teens aged 12-18, no registration required. Refreshments served.

May 25            Laptime 10:30

All children aged 2 and under are invited to visit the Berlin Library to enjoy our special lap time program with their parents or caregivers. Children will be introduced to songs, games, finger plays and movement activities, while parents will learn new and fun ways to communicate with their toddlers to help them grow.

May 27            Fireside Chat 3:00pm

Join staff, friends and fellow book lovers to discuss and recommend your favorite books while enjoying a warm cuppa and light refreshments.

June 11            Play Time Baby 10:30

Foster creativity and confidence with age appropriate toys, games and activities for children aged 0-5. Develop cognitive, physical and social skills while meeting new friends through this wonderful interactive, free play program! Parents and children will be delighted as they build a strong bond that will last a lifetime!

…Let me count the ways”

I think the poem goes…”How do I love thee – let me count the ways” – or something like that.  Last evening at the regular meeting of the Berlin Maryland Town Council, the newest object of my affection was served alongside the usual, often dry, but necessary, rhetoric.

Upon entering the nearly full, Town Hall Council Chamber, I was handed a container of the new “Official Berlin MD Dessert”.   And, shortly thereafter, we listened to a lovely presentation about the now former, famed, Berlin area, Harrison Orchards by Sandra Dewey (nee Harrison). Continuing, amid the ‘clatter’ of busy utensils, our Mayor, Gee Williams and the Council members unanimously decreed that the ‘Peach Dumpling’ would become our Town’s official dessert – beautifully baked, flakey, tender pastry filled with flavorful peaches topped with a dollop of flavored whipped cream!  What fun and how delicious!

For now though – we’ll have to wait a bit for a second (and third….) helping. Still busy with remodeling within the Main Street location formerly known as “The Pink Box”, the new bakery is not yet open to the public.  Soon, I hope – be assured, it’s worth the wait.  This offering has me waxing poetic!

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