Hurlock Council praises Cpl. Johnnie Beasley

MD-hurlock meeting 2x-051315

The Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Cpl. Johnnie Beasley receives an award for his outstanding contributions to public safety. From left, Hurlock Mayor Joyce Spratt, Cpl. Beasley, Ashley Walls, and Capt. Michael Henry.

HURLOCK — In her report at the Hurlock Town Council meeting on May 11, Mayor Joyce Spratt announced the sale of the former Provident State Bank building on Rt. 392 to Warwick Transport. The building will house the company’s offices.

Seven juniors in Girl Scout troop 58, under the leadership of Sharon Evans and Sarah Jensen, have undertaken a project to beautify Hurlock. They are assisting with the installation of three flagpoles and a flower garden in front of the old hotel at the junction of Rt. 331, Rt. 307, and Main Street.

Sometimes it seems that police officer Cpl. Johnnie Beasley should be sporting a large “S” on his back. The Hurlock “Superman” rescued a child for the second time. The first was at Hurlock Elementary School where he aided a child in respiratory distress. This time he and fiancée Ashley Walls were fishing at Cherry Beach in Sharptown. He glanced up from cutting a worm and saw a youngster running alone from a playground near the beach. “I thought it was odd,” he said.

At first he thought boaters on the boat ramp were with him since the child was following the boat down the ramp. “I couldn’t imagine a child being out there by itself,” he said. Cpl. Beasley and Ms. Walls walked the youngster to some nearby homes but no one knew who he was.
“We walked from the beach, under the overpass, and called the Wicomico Sheriff’s Department who met us at the firehouse.” The little boy was very young, no more than 2, and was unable to give his name or where he lived. By gently questioning him, Ms. Walls learned only that when the child had left the house his father was asleep.

As Cpl. Beasley and Ms. Walls returned to the beach they saw the child’s mother frantically looking for her son and told her he was safely in the care of sheriff’s deputies. What amazed the pair was how far the youngster had walked and how he reached the beach unharmed. Some might call it a miracle.

Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief David Carrier recently passed his exams for national registry certification and is moving up to Medic status. He reported that the new cardiac monitor is in service on the ambulance. It is a $32,000 piece of equipment that “we got pretty much 100 percent on grants.” The new ladder truck will be delivered next March.  During the past month, Mr. Carrier reported: 20 EMS responses; 13 fire responses, 6 of which were motor vehicle collisions; 3 medical assists, 1 car fire, 2 brush fires, and a structure fire.

Town Administrator John Avery recommended approval for financing the new police station and replacement of the aging water main. He explained that the town has USDA approval for a $1.396 million loan for police station construction at an interest rate of 3 1/8 percent.   Additional coverage of $300,000 for contingencies that are not covered is anticipated for a total of $1.7 million.

Water main replacement costs of $1.110 million are approved by USDA at 2 1/8 percent interest. Mr. Avery recommended that the council approve the construction and water main loans and use town funds to cover the contingency costs rather than use an additional loan with an interest rate of 3.5 percent. The town has already spent $125,000 of the $300,000 on engineering and other “soft costs.” He feels that all of the remaining $175,000 in contingency charges will probably not be needed but is available. The council unanimously approved the request.

Councilman Charles Cephas advised the council that he is in the process of drafting a needs assessment for an affordable housing plan directed to public servants in the county, including police officers, firemen, nurses, and doctors. He will present a feasibility study that also includes affordable housing programs for community members to put vacant houses back on the tax rolls.

Attorney Robert Merriken read an anti-public urination ordinance, #2015-5, which was introduced by Councilman Cephas.

The next meeting is slated for May 26 and will include a public hearing on rezoning two Main Street properties to allow Dollar General to proceed with the purchase of property for a 9,100 sq. ft. store. The FY2016 budget will be presented on June 8 and approved on June 22.

Hurlock is mourning the death of highly respected Police Chief Les Hutton’s wife Joann who passed away after a brief and hard-fought battle against cancer. At the May 11 Town Council meeting, Mayor Joyce Spratt expressed condolences to Chief Hutton and to resident Monroe Quailes as well. Mr. Quailes recently lost his 34-year-old daughter after a long illness.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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