Today In Salisbury’s History: Friday, Feb. 20, 1998

Friday, Feb. 20, 1998 —

–Salisbury Mayor W. Paul Martin Jr., who will leave office following this spring’s city election, offered some advice to his yet-to-be-selected successor: Build a new fire station, implement efforts to attract businesses to Downtown and draft a pay plan to better compensate city employees. In a speech to the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Martin said that it’s OK for the next mayor to push through unpopular ideas — citing the criticism he weathered for building the Downtown Parking Garage and advocating for the construction of Waverly Drive, which allows local traffic to avoid South Salisbury Boulevard.

–Salisbury businessman and philanthropist Richard Henson has pledged $1 million to launch a correctional boot camp for youthful offenders. Citing the successes of so-called drill academies, Henson said there is strong evidence that instilling military discipline in street-hardened teen-agers can set them back on the right path. Wicomico officials have voiced concerns about the continuing public cost of such a facility, but Henson said the $1 million would cover any possible losses for at least the first five years.

–The state Open Meetings Compliance Board is investigating whether the Salisbury City Council and Wicomico County Council violated the law in holding two meetings to discuss administrative consolidation possibilities. Two closed meetings were held during summer 1996 at the Wicomico Tourism Center, Compliance Board Attorney Jack Schwartz said. The board was alerted to the meeting by the Salisbury News & Advertiser, which filed a complaint.

–A series of incidents in which people have been attacked by dogs has gotten the Wicomico County Council’s attention, and council members are considering new laws that would step up enforcement efforts. Animal Control authorities have a list of suggestions that could make it easier to control troublesome animals. Last month, a 7-year-old boy was severely mauled in a local attack.

–More than 100 people attended a celebration dinner at the Jackson Memorial Building to honor the 11th anniversary of Habitat on Maryland’s Lower Shore. Board President Sis Givens called 1997 a “year of T’s — trials, tests and transitions,” but declared the nonprofit housing ministry will continue working in partnership with people in need to build and renovate affordable housing.

–The Polar Bar on East Main Street is celebrating its 50th year in business. The original 1948 building — the essentially a frozen custard stand — received a significant addition in 1958 that made it into a real restaurant and Salisbury landmark. Bill and Joan Givans took ownership in 1977. The business has outlasted all of its equally famous competitors: The Oaks, Shelton’s and B&K Drive-In. Dr. John May and George Wolfe were the original owners.

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