Hurlock plans for this year’s Christmas celebration

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz At the Oct. 10 Hurlock Council meeting, Mayor Joyce Spratt read a proclamation from the town celebrating the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool program sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. On Oct. 20, more than one million Americans will take part in the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
At the Oct. 10 Hurlock Council meeting, Mayor Joyce Spratt read a proclamation from the town celebrating the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool program sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. On Oct. 20, more than one million Americans will take part in the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.


HURLOCK — The countdown to Christmas is on! Hurlock Mayor Joyce Spratt noted at the Oct. 10 Town Council meeting that big plans are afoot for this year’s Christmas in Hurlock celebration. She asked each council member to volunteer for specific jobs prior to the festivities slated for Dec. 10. “There are lots of little jobs to do,” she said, “and I would love to have the help with a lot going on.”

The Festival of Trees auction is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the American Legion where lunch and craft vendors will be available. Horse and carriage rides will take visitors through town; the annual Christmas parade will be at 7 p.m. this year and Santa Claus will be at the train station after the parade. New this year is a showing of the classic movie for children, “The Polar Express,” which will be held at the train station in a train car. Mayor Spratt said 2016 Christmas “Promises to be the best yet – A really pretty day and night.”

Hurlock Police Chief Les Hutton volunteers his off-hours at Katie Mae’s Country Shoppe in Cambridge and has been instrumental in organizing and promoting a unique event. Chief Hutton, along with Hurlock residents and businesses, supports the first major Christian concert in Dorchester County on Oct. 23 at Sailwinds.

“Awaken: A family day event,” is sponsored by Katie Mae’s owner Katie Smith and features 7eventh Time Down “God Is On The Move” Tour 2016. Artists include: 7eventh Time Down, Audio Adrenaline, John Waller, Young Noah, and Shiloh. From 1-6:30 p.m. local Praise and Worship Bands, solo performers, and mime teams will perform. The free concert by 7eventh Time Down begins at 7 p.m. Guests are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to “make Christmas extra special for as many children as we can” plus donations to help with the concert expenses. The free event even includes food. Mayor Spratt thanked Amick Farms who agreed to donate not only 1,500 pieces of chicken but funds as well. To volunteer, contact Katie at 443-477-6413.

Chief Hutton said that $15-20,000 is needed to cover the event which he says does “something positive for families. We’re in the red right now,” he explained, “but we’re leaving it up to God to fill our pockets and help us pay for it.” Any money left at the end of the night will be donated to church youth groups. “We don’t want to walk out of there with a penny.”

Town Administrator John Avery reported that sidewalk installation is running ahead of schedule. “We really want to get Main and Academy Streets paved as soon as possible so as soon as the sidewalks are done they should come in with the final street paving.” That means paving will be completed well before the anticipated spring completion date.

Mr. Avery noted that a call for bids for road re-paving and repairs has been advertised. The contract will include: Complete repaving of Oak Street from N. Main to the county line at Cabin Creek Road; plus, Dogwood Drive and Wrights Avenue from Oak Street to Poplar Street for a total of about 4,000’ of road paving. The contract includes street repairs plus assorted patches to be done throughout the town. Bids for the estimated $120,000 job are due by Oct. 21 in time for the Oct. 24 council meeting.

Chief Hutton laughingly noted that the Prospect Heights speed bump included in the contract should be named after resident Rhoda Palmer who has pushed for speed controls in the neighborhood. “Everyone will be saying your name, Ms. Rhoda, as they try to go over it.”

In his departmental report, Chief Hutton responded to a question from Ms. Rhoda who asked why the department has “lost so many officers.” The chief explained the most recent resignation occurred based on the officer’s desire to change careers after the birth of his child. “Shift work is very hard,” he said. “It’s fine when you’re a young, single person but it gets harder with a family.” He noted the difficulty small towns have in keeping officers for a long period of time. “There is constant turnover. One reason is because we’re a training ground for these young officers. It’s very hard to get onto police departments. If they’re lucky enough to get hired, once they get through their two-year contract it’s a money game” where the chances for promotion and higher salaries increase in larger departments.
“We can’t offer that.”

Councilman Russell Murphy announced September winners of the Beautiful Yard contest that included: 1st place, Don and Dawn Higgins; 2nd place, William and Kathy Todd; 3rd place, Nancy Jones. A Grand Prize winner will be chosen next month from all winners and will receive a dinner at Suicide Bridge Restaurant.

The Veterans’ Memorial Park is back on track according to Frank Fraley. A board of directors to manage the project is now established and an executive board designed to help complete the necessary paperwork for the project, includes Frank and Fay Fraley, Mayor Spratt, and Mr. Avery.

A new site in the center of town is three times the size of the original site across the street from the railroad station. The town-owned Main Street location includes access to water and electricity, is flat, and has no trees to remove. Construction is slated to begin in the spring. The design remains about the same as presented to the council a few months ago but will be larger to fill the 104’ x 264’ lot with the memorial and an ample park-like setting. Mr. Fraley said many types of ceremonies can be held at the memorial which includes seating. It’s a “big punch for Hurlock,” he said.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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