Hurlock Councilman Cephas meets with Lt. Gov. Rutherford

MD-Charles Cephas and Boyd Rutherford

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Hurlock Councilman the Rev. Charles Cephas receives the Governor’s award for service to his community from Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford.

HURLOCK — “There are issues here on the Eastern Shore that I thought needed the Governor and Lt. Governor’s attention,” explained Hurlock Councilman the Rev. Charles Cephas when asked what his recent trip to Annapolis was all about.

Rev. Cephas met with Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to discuss “issues important to the Eastern Shore.” He was accompanied by the Rev. George Ames, Monroe Quailes, and Cederick Turner. Among the topics discussed were: Heroin and the Shore; North Dorchester High School; safe and affordable housing; community centers, and protection for police officers.

The councilman noted that a heroin epidemic is spreading across the state. He said moving swiftly to “beat it” does not mean jailing addicts. “In jail they come back out worse than when they went in. Jail is a revolving door. It takes more money to house one prisoner than it does to rehabilitate one addict.” Because it is difficult to understand the conditions addicts live in and the torture in their lives, “You have to know the streets and the people.”

Dorchester County needs funding, he explained, both private and state, to build a new North Dorchester High School. At town council meetings the Rev. Cephas has expressed his concern about raising taxes to pay for the school and feels “The state should give top priority to make that school happen in Hurlock,” he said.

Safe and affordable housing is another concern for the Councilman. Those who qualify for aid to moderate and low income families often need help to navigate the waters of large state agencies. For families ready to transition into homes, help must come from the state level because the “local level does not have the funds.” He urged Mr. Rutherford to have the Secretary of Housing and Community Development come to the Eastern Shore, share programs, and “equalize the gap between the Western Shore and the Eastern Shore.”

Rev. Cephas noted the need for a year-round community center in Hurlock for seniors and youth in north Dorchester. The Lt. Governor said he would investigate how the state can assist in the project.

Noting that Dorchester County is one of the poorest state counties with a high unemployment rate, Councilman Cephas emphasized programs that offer young people career counseling and teach financial responsibility. In addition, he noted the importance of body cameras for local law enforcement. “Body cameras are how you bring law enforcement and the community together.” Hurlock’s police officers already use grant-funded body cameras.

The highlight of the Councilman’s day was receiving the Governor’s Award from Lt. Governor Rutherford for Rev. Cephas’ contributions to his local community. “I wasn’t expecting that, being from the little town of Hurlock on the Eastern Shore, and I was very proud to receive it.”

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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