We are pleased to announce that Wicomico County Recreation and Parks has made us very proud by receiving three awards from the Maryland Recreation & Parks Association. They earned awards for Best Activity Guide, Best Program Flyer and Best Website in our division. Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations Vanessa Junkin accepted the marketing department’s awards at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore recently.
Wicomico County Recreation and Parks continually promotes tourism by the many events that are hosted by the Wicomico Rec. and Parks annually. They are an economic engine for tourism and for the hotels and restaurants and businesses.
We want to thank Steve Miller and his team for a job very well done. Congratulations!
Rotary awards 3 Point Initiative Grant funding to nine local nonprofits
SALISBURY, Md. – The Rotary Club of Salisbury recognized nine local nonprofits as the grantees of more than $34,000 during the Governor’s Challenge basketball tournament on Friday, Dec. 29.
The Rotary Club of Salisbury is a partner with Wicomico County for the annual Governor’s Challenge basketball tournament, which is sponsored by The Bank of Delmarva.
The 2017 3 Point Initiative Grant recipients are Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library at the United Way, the Epoch Dream Center, the 1 Year to Empowerment program, the Salisbury Art Space, Main Street Gym, Horizons Salisbury, The Salvation Army Youth Club, Prince Street Elementary School and the Fruitland Community Center.
“They, like us, have a vested interest in building a better and strong community through programs that champion the tenets of our 3 Point Initiative: Responsibility, Integrity and Academic Achievement,” said Kurt Schuster, president of the Rotary Club of Salisbury, of the grant recipients.
Funds for the 3 Point Initiative grant were raised through the Rotary Club of Salisbury’s work in procuring sponsors for the tournament. The Donnie Williams Foundation offered to match those funds dollar for dollar, as it did in 2016.
The Rotary Club raised $7,237.50, which doubled with the match from the Donnie Williams Foundation to $14,475. With an additional $5,000 from the Richard A. Henson Foundation and a $15,000 match from the Richard and Patricia Hazel Charitable Fund, the total going to local nonprofits is $34,475.
The presentation to the nonprofits was made on one of the basketball courts at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center before the start of the evening’s M&T Bank Three Point Contest, Skills Challenge and Slam Dunk Contest.
The 37th annual Governor’s Challenge concluded Saturday, Dec. 30.
Annually, The Rotary Club of Salisbury channels over $65,000 back into our community through the support of agencies and causes including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, scholarships for local high school and college students, Fruitland Fire Department, Christian Shelter, Wicomico County third grade dictionaries, RYLA, Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, MAC, Inc., Meals on Wheels, Parsons Home, Polio Eradication (Global), Fruitland Community Center, HALO, Wicomico County Library, The Salvation Army, Mission of Mercy, the construction of wheelchair ramps and much more.
The Rotary Club of Salisbury meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Rotary Scout and Community Center at 1715 Riverside Drive in Salisbury. To learn more about the Rotary Club of Salisbury or to obtain membership information, please contact Membership Chairman John Aukward at 410-713-2833 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the club’s website at www.rotarysalisbury.org.
Photo Caption: The Rotary Club of Salisbury announced the recipients of the 3 Point Initiative Grant funding on Dec. 29 at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center during the Governor’s Challenge basketball tournament, sponsored by The Bank of Delmarva. In the back row, from left to right, are Carl Cottingham (The Bank of Delmarva), Jason Miller (Prince Street Elementary School), Mark Granger (Donnie Williams Foundation), Alison Grice (Salisbury Art Space), Lennart Elmlund (Salisbury Art Space), Allison Merriken (Epoch Dream Center), Samantha Scott (1 Year to Empowerment), Konstantin Maslenikov (The Salvation Army), Dan Williams (Rotary Club of Salisbury) and Terry Greenwood (Rotary Club of Salisbury). In the front row, from left to right, are Roger Follebout (Rotary Club of Salisbury), Hal Chernoff (Main Street Gym), Kurt Schuster (Rotary Club of Salisbury), Kathleen Momme (United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore), Alexis Dashield (Fruitland Community Center) and Teresa McCain (Horizons Salisbury).
2017 was a special year of celebration and accomplishment for Wicomico County. Opportunities to communicate our achievements are normally few and far between. I would like to take a moment to highlight the abundant accomplishments that have taken place in my first three years in office. Even more exciting are the numerous accomplishments coming in the years to come.
At 150 years old, our County continues to maintain its strong fiscal standing, sound governance, and improved quality of life for its citizens. We have a lot to be proud of. In my third year as your County Executive, I am ever more optimistic that 2018 will be even better. We’re not done yet!
To read the full 2017 State of the County annual report: Annual report 2017 Final
On December 14, 2017, Dennis DiCintio and David Shipley presented at the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center Opioid Intervention Teams (OIT) “Swap & Share”. At this event, local partners shared promising practices in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic with OIT leads from Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. Mr. DiCintio and Mr. Shipley presented on the collaborative effort Community Outreach Addictions Team (COAT).
COAT provides a link to treatment for those suffering from a substance use disorder in Wicomico County. The team is comprised of peer support specialists who are able to respond 24/7 to overdose calls. Since its inception in June of 2016, the Team has been in contact with 301 addicted county residents, assisting 169 (56%) into treatment.
A formal evaluation of the Community Outreach Addictions Team program was conducted by the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at Salisbury University. The Health Department contracted with BEACON to determine the effectiveness of the program. In their final report, BEACON stated that “COAT is performing at a 62.68% higher rate than the nation in assisting drug users into rehabilitation at specialty facilities.” In addition, the return on investment was calculated at nearly 7:1. Meaning, for every $1 spent on COAT, a savings of almost $7 can be seen in the community.
In the first half of 2017, Wicomico saw a 42% decrease in total drug and alcohol-related deaths. The State observed a 20% increase. During that same time, Wicomico also had a 50% decrease in total fentanyl-related deaths, while the rest of the State averaged a 70% increase.
The number heroin overdoses observed in PRMC’s Emergency Department has decreased 34% from FY16 to FY17.
Photo from left to right: Birch Barron, Russell Strickland, Clay Stamp, Dennis Dicintio, David Shipley, Dennis Schrader
This morning, to show our appreciation to the County employees, many of us gathered at the Wicomico County Civic Center for a wonderful breakfast and celebrated the holiday season at the Executive Drop-In. We realize that it is because of the strong work force that Wicomico County functions so well. Whether they are pushing snow in the middle of the night, patrolling the roads to keep the citizens safe, preparing financial statements, hiring new employees, walking the block at the Detention Center, cutting grass at the ball fields and parks, solving zoning issues, or answering 911 calls, you can be assured they are doing their jobs with dedication to Wicomico County. This does not go unnoticed and we are very grateful for them.
Ella Disharoon, Wicomico County’s Interim State’s Attorney, resigned effective November 30, 2017. Over many years, Ms. Disharoon prosecuted numerous difficult cases. She has served as a Prosecutor, Deputy State’s Attorney and then was appointed by the Judicial as Interim State’s Attorney. Ms. Disharoon has served with commitment, brilliance and total dedication to the citizens of Wicomico County and the State of Maryland. Her pride in her profession has always been apparent both in the office and the courtroom. Ms. Disharoon has always represented the State’s Attorney’s office with tremendous dignity.
We will miss Ella but wish her much continued success in the future.
Presented this 29th Day of November, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jennifer Johnson
HEALTH DEPARTMENT’S BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROGRAM
RECEIVES ACCREDITATION STATUS
Salisbury, MD (November 29, 2017) – The Health Department is pleased to announce that our Behavioral Health Program was awarded a 3 year accreditation status through October 31, 2020 from CARF International (The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities).
According the CARF International report, “Wicomico County Health Department demonstrated substantial conformance to the standards, the organization has caring, dedicated and knowledgeable staff that demonstrates pride in both its program services and in the progress of its patients” The programs that fall under this accreditation status include the Outpatient Mental Health Center, Outpatient Substance Abuse Program and the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program for children, adolescents and adults. Our Behavioral Health Program serves over 2,000 individuals on an annual basis. This was achieved through a collaborative effort by numerous staff.
For more information on the Behavioral Health program, please visit
Recently, I was proud to recognize three Wicomico County Sheriff Deputies for their service with the CAT Team. The Maryland Sheriff’s Association also recognized them as Deputies of the Year. They were Tyler Bennett, John Seichepine, and David Crowell. The CAT Team was established to combat the ever increasing problem of drug use here in Wicomico County. The mission of the CAT Team has been to both eradicate illegal drugs plaguing our communities along with the suppression of criminal activity that has spawned as a result of the aforementioned problem. During the past year, the CAT Team has aggressively attacked the illegal drug problem in all four corners of Wicomico County targeting both the users of illegal drugs and those individuals willing to bring these poisons into our county.
I’m always amazed when people call for change, yet keep doing the same thing while expecting different results.
When I ran for county executive, one of my major topics was jobs. The citizens said they want not only more jobs, but better jobs in Wicomico County. While it is true we lost many jobs during the recession, we also lost the companies that offered those jobs.
Many of those who lost their jobs have remained in the area; the companies that were forced to close have never returned to the county. The companies that survived were ahead of the times when the recession hit — and were more technology-driven.
When I would go out to talk to companies about locating to Wicomico County, the single most important theme their chief executive officers spoke of was an increased need for workforce training in college-level courses, especially in technical fields. They emphasized the need for more education and skill sets.
With that, I worked with Ray Hoy of Wor-Wic Community College to help find a solution. We came up with the Wicomico Economic Scholarship Fund, which we patterned after a successful program in Garrett County that is now more than 10 years old.
This fund would allow families challenged by economic times to give hope to their children for a better life — and an education beyond high school. We used the requirements of successful programs in other counties, such as income restrictions, grade point average and county residency.
You see, this would help give Wicomico County a better-educated, well-trained workforce. This would also attract out-of-town businesses to come and establish a home in Wicomico County.
After extensive discussions, the County Council approved this program legislatively. But after the fact, the council began to say the program was too generous on the income a family was allowed to make and still qualify.
They actually demanded money be returned — after posing for photo ops when the legislatively approved check was presented to the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.
Now they want to change parts of the grant program whenever they so choose — and without any public input or input from my office. The council now wants to change the grade point average, not only for acceptance into the program but also the grade point average students must maintain.
The state of Maryland requires a 2.0 grade point average, which is, as most of us know, an average grade for graduates from high school and to remain in a state university.
The Council wants to increase this to a 2.5 GPA, which would further limit the number of people who qualify and could remain in the program. This change will likely disqualify more than a third of Wicomico County high school students.
Basically this is just another step toward shutting down the scholarship fund.
You can’t have things both ways. Council members seem to communicate to one group that the program is a good thing and we need it, then turn to the next group and tell them they plan to rein in the requirements and make it tougher.
For the program to succeed, it needs time to work — without being changed after only three semesters.
To date, more than 300 hundred students have come to Wor-Wic because of the scholarship fund and other funding opportunities available to them.
Wicomico County has only paid for 30 of these individuals. Let me repeat myself, we have more than 300 Wicomico County school system graduates who are now earning college degrees and will contribute to society — and it has only cost taxpayers $39,000.
The council’s priorities seem counter to the wishes of the majority of our citizens and only serve to undermine any sense of credibility and continuity. Rather than taking the advice of educational experts like Hoy, a professional who is highly regarded across the state, they have taken it upon themselves to tinker with and ultimately undermine a program that has been successful elsewhere.
In doing so, they would deprive those less fortunate than themselves of the opportunities this program provides.
Bob Culver is Wicomico County Executive.