Today In Salisbury’s History: Wednesday Nov. 9, 1988

Wednesday Nov. 9, 1988 — 

  • With the final voting machine ballots tabulated from Tuesday’s presidential election, Vice President George Bush beat Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in Wicomico County, 15,578 votes to 9,037. Wicomico voters preferred Salisbury native Paul Sarbanes over Alan Keyes for the U.S. Senate, 11,737 to 10,923. Though he won re-election to Congress, embattled incumbent Roy Dyson lost in Wicomico by 144 votes to Wayne Gilchrest, with Gilchrest scoring 11,881 votes to Dyson’s 11,729.
  • By a 2-to-1 referendum vote, Wicomico voters approved expanding their five-member County Council to seven members. With the plan approved by voters, five seats will be elected by district and two seats will be elected at large. The new arrangement was prompted by a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit which alleged the county’s all-at-large system discriminated against minority residents. The vote doesn’t settle the federal lawsuit, however, as the Justice Department has maintained that no at-large seats should be allowed.
  • In another referendum, Wicomico voters agreed to finally overturn the county’s Blue Laws, which prohibit all but certain businesses to be open on Sundays. A similar referendum two years ago failed by just 69 votes; yesterday’s approval was by a 12,116 to 9,807. The repeal was opposed by many area pastors, owners of many “mom-and-pop” businesses and the Downtown Salisbury Association. Repeal of the Blue Laws was seen as crucial if the new Centre at Salisbury mall is to be developed. State’s Attorney Davis Ruark determined Nov. 20 to the the first Sunday in which all stores can open.
  • About 200 people were on hand Wednesday night as the city and county lit up its Winter Wonderland exhibit in Salisbury City Park. The light displays will remain in place and lighted each night through the Christmas holiday.
  • Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development Inc. recognized its 20th anniversary with news that a new county road will be named after its longtime executive director, Robert L. Kiley. Developer Henry Hanna III said a road that will connect West Zion Road to Northwood Drive will, when built, be named for the respected economic ambassador. Outgoing SWED President Edward J. Kremer said the county’s tax base has increased from $453 million to $882 million in just the last decade of Kiley’s tenure.    
  • At the Salisbury Fire Department’s 116th annual banquet and awards night, Gilmer Nottingham was recognized for 40 years of service, and Eugene Burkett and John Perry were each recognized for 30 years service. The men were presented with medals and watches by Mayor W. Paul Martin Jr. and Chief Francis Darling.
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