John Cannon

With the prospect of offshore wind coming to the coastline of the Eastern Shore city, county and business leaders met last night to see how Wicomico County might benefit from the new industry.

WBOC reports that Dave Ryan executive director of Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development called this a new chance for jobs and new innovation.

Meanwhile, Wicomico County Council President John Cannon said he believed the area had the workforce and the infrastructure such as airports and waterways that would benefit the industry.

The second district seat on the Wicomico County Council remains unfilled with the 45 day deadline looming.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the council rejected all four prospective candidates citing residency concerns.

Council President John Cannon told the paper that the council had “a series of issues” that arose before a vote.

He said that the council will ask for new recommendations from the Republican Central Committee.

Marc Kilmer announced his resignation on May 2nd with four names eventually recommended by the committee.

creative commons

The Wicomico County Council has put off a vote on whether to join a national lawsuit against the manufacturers of opioid.

WBOC reports that the council has come under community pressure to reconsider a previous decision not to become part of the legal action.

The council intends to take a vote on the issue at its July 16th meeting.

County Sheriff Mike Lewis has been a strong supporter of taking the pharmaceutical companies to court and expressed some disappointment at the delay.

Wicomico County Government

Wicomico County Attorney Paul Wilber is out.

The County Council fired him on a vote of 6-to-1.

Council member Bill McCain was the sole dissenter.

A county charter requires that the County Executive Bob Culver bring appointments to the council for each department within six months of taking office.

Culver refused to meet the May 7th deadline.

But WBOC reports that Council President John Cannon was closed mouthed about the reason for the dismissal calling it a personnel issue.

Wicomico County Government

Wicomico County Attorney Paul Wilber says he has been asked to resign.

That’s according to a letter he sent on Friday which said that some members of the council have made that request.

But the Salisbury Daily Times reports that County Executive Bob Culver has asked him to stay on.

County Council President John Cannon told the paper that he had read the letter and “understood what he was saying.”

Don Rush & Official Photo

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has called for Council President John Cannon to step down from his leadership position.

Culver issued a three page letter outlining his complaints yesterday.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that they include the former Poplar Hill pre-release corrections facility on Nanticoke Road.

Officials want to make it a residential drug treatment center.

But Culver says Cannon has not been responsive on the issue.

In addition, he complained that Cannon has interfered with the county executive functions.

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The seven member Wicomico County has two new Democrats Bill McCain and Josh Hastings.

That means the current council with six Republicans will now see a four/three split as the two join the other Democrat on the council.

McCain replaces Council member Matt Holloway who did not seek reelection.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that McCain joins Council President John Cannon (R) in at-large-seats beating back efforts by Republican Julie Brewington and Democrat Jamaad Gould.

Meanwhile, Hastings captured the 4th District seat against Republican Suzannah Cain.

Don Rush

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce has been out discussing Wicomico County’s property tax revenue cap after a series of recommendations that include replacing it or eliminating it altogether.

The measure approved in 2001 limits an increase in the revenue from the property tax to 2 percent a year or the Consumer Price Index whichever is less.  

Any change would take five of the seven votes on the county council.

John Palmer who spearheaded the original cap told WBOC that adjusting the cap would be “political suicide”.

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Business owners and parents jammed themselves into a meeting this week of the Wicomico County Council  considering  a Board of Education request for an increase in funding for the local schools.

Among the programs backed by many in the audience was Superintendent Donna Hanlin’s “Imagine 2022” plan.

WBOC reports that among other features it envisions a county-wide Pre-K program along with increasing teacher salaries to avoid turnover.

The Board of Education is requesting an additional $7 million for its 2019 fiscal budget.

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The battle over the breakaway volunteer fire company has taken another turn.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Wicomico County Fire Chiefs Association voted unanimously against the fire service agreement between the county and Salisbury.

The problem they said was the current dispute involving County Executive Bob Culver who has gone forward with planning for territory to be covered by the new unit.

But both County Council President John Cannon and Mayor Jake Day note that that is not what was agreed to in the fire service agreement.

Don Rush

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver says he is moving forward with carving out a piece of territory for the breakaway volunteer firefighters who left the Salisbury Fire Department.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that move would give territory to the company that is now covered by the Salisbury Fire Department.

But such a move, say Wicomico County officials, would be a violation of the city/county service agreement.

Mayor Jake Day told the paper that it was shocking that “an elected official would flaunt the law.”

Don Rush

The Wicomico County Council has received a petition to take down the plaque commemorating Confederate General John Henry Winder from downtown Salisbury.

But the council members appears to have brushed aside the controversy.

The Salisbury Daily Times caught up with council member Matt Holloway who said there were more pressing issues in the country like the economy.

Meanwhile, County Council President John Cannon told the paper that County Executive Bob Culver needed to take the lead on making a decision about the plaque.

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Wicomico County Council President John Cannon says he wants to halt giving any land for the volunteer fire company that broke away from the Salisbury Fire Department.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that he said it would violate the fire service agreement with the city which does not designate any land for the new Salisbury Independent Fire Company.

It’s now been designated Station 13.

The fire company left the Salisbury Fire Department after staffing disputes.

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Salisbury Mayor Jake Day has joined a petition to remove the marker at the historic Wicomico County Courthouse commemorating Confederate General John Henry Winder.

Day told the Salisbury Daily Times that Winder had not connection with Salisbury.

He noted that the confederate general was from Nanticoke adding that was the place for such a marker.

Day also said that the marker should include that the general was a war criminal because of his time with confederate prisons that saw abuses – including the  Andersonville facility.

Don Rush

The company one volunteer firefighters have cut a deal to relocate to the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport.

The move comes after deciding to separate from the Salisbury Fire Department.

Council president John Cannon told WBOC that this was a positive development.

Meanwhile, County Executive Bob Culver has proposed a budget amendment that would include the volunteer fire company.

Don Rush

Wicomico County voters gave their approval to a set of charter amendments that would expand the power of the County Council.

They received from 62 percent to 77 percent of the vote.

The measures included changing the role of the county attorney representing the council to control of personnel policy in the executive branch.

County Council president John Cannon told WBOC that he was pleased with the results.

Last week County Executive Bob Culver said that while he was not against the amendments but believed the council needed to get more input from the public.

official photos

The Wicomico County Council approved a set of regulations for large chicken house operations yesterday.

The new rules call for greater setbacks, significant vegetation buffers and construction approval by the Board of Appeals for those in residential areas.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Council President John Cannon said that the new rules would protect health and property values for those who live in the agricultural areas.

Meanwhile, the lone dissenting vote was Ernest Davis who lives in the Naylor Mill area where a large operation is planned.

Don Rush

The emergence of the large chicken house operations has caused a stir in Wicomico County. Residents near a proposed 10 house operation near Naylor Mill Road have protested the project and led to the County Council to draw up new regulations for these types of operations. In part three of our series Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush looks at the residents, the local officials and the fight over the new regulations.

creative commons

The proposed mega-poultry operation for Naylor Mill road riles up local residents as political leaders struggle with the new phenomenon in the chicken industry. Delmarva Public Radio's Patrick Lieb prepared this report.

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There will be no moratorium on large chicken houses in Wicomico County.

Council president John Cannon told a meeting last night, that the council does not have enough information to impose one.

Local residents showed up at the Wicomico County Council meeting last night to express their dismay at the prospect of a poultry farm that is expected to have at least 10 chicken houses located just north of Salisbury along Naylor Mill Road.

Not only did the scale of the poultry house concern residents but they also worried about the impact on the Paleo Channel aquifer.

Council President John Cannon told residents that the research presented to them would be fully reviewed.

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A group in Wicomico County which is critical of a large proposed chicken operation near Naylor Mill Road is pushing to be heard by the County Council.

WBOC reports that Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFO’s is looking to be placed on the council agenda.

Monica Brooks, with the organization, told the television station that the group supports the small chicken farms but opposes the industrial sized operations.

A family in Virginia had proposed to build 13 chicken houses although it’s recently been reported they would come down to 10.

creative commons

A local Wicomico group wants its say in the proposal for a major poultry farm off Naylor Mill Road.

Concerned Citizens Against Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations says the thirteen chicken house operation would sit over the paleochannel which provide much of the water for the county.

Gabby Cammarata with the group told WBOC that the 500-thousand chickens expected to be on the site would pose a threat to the water supply.

There are other concerns including the impact on nearby residential neighborhoods.

Don Rush

Wicomico County’s economic initiative got off to a slow start this week when the County Council said it wasn’t sure it wanted to cough up all of the nearly $340-thousand for operating expenses.

Council President John Cannon said he thought $50-thousand was a better figure even though he considered bringing economic growth to the region a high priority.

He said he was not comfortable with the full amount until he knows exactly how it will be spent.

Don Rush

City Council President Jake Day made it official.

He is running for Mayor of Salisbury in this year's municipal elections.

Day announced his bid for the city’s top job at Headquarters Live in downtown Salisbury to a crowd that crossed party lines.

He has only been in office for a little over two years and was swept into office with the man he is trying to replace Mayor Jim Ireton.

Jim Ireton

But, he had nothing but praise for the incumbent.

Don Rush

The Wicomico County Council yesterday turned back an effort by County Executive Bob Culver to halt the demolition of the old Bennett Middle School.

Culver’s 5 year capital improvement plan withdrew the money and called for using the building for county offices and moving the new athletic fields for the James M. Bennett High School to property on the athletic practice field on Division Street.

The council members questioned the timing of the decision to halt the demolition plans.

A rift appears to be breaking between the new Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver and some county council members over the firing of Lee Beauchamp who headed the county’s Public Works Department.

Council Vice President Matt Holloway told the Salisbury Daily Times that he was disappointed that Beauchamp was gone.

Holloway noted that Culver was listed as a reference for Beauchamp during his application to the county.

Culver said in also dismissing the Finance/Budget director Andrew Mackel he was taking a different.     

Don Rush

It was a good night for Republicans on Tuesday.

Larry Hogan beat the odds by besting Democrat Anthony Brown by a vote of 54 percent to 44 percent to become the only the second Republican since Spiro Agnew to ascend to the governor’s chair in Maryland.

Hogan beat back Brown’s attempt to be the first Maryland Lt. Gov. to succeed to the office and the first African American to hold the office Maryland.

During the campaign the Republican had battered Brown over tax hikes and the flawed rollout of the state’s health exchange.

Salisbury University logo

A number of local candidates are expected to show up on the campus of Salisbury University today.

They will be joined by students in the University’s Red Square.

The candidates include Republican Addie Eckardt in District 37 for the state senate and Democratic candidate Judy Davis for District 38C in the House of Delegates.  

In addition, incumbent Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt and County council candidate John Cannon are also expected to be on hand.

The event will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will be open to the public.