George’s Candies New Location for Summer 2016Something’s cooking at 7th St. and the Boardwalk: George’s Candies is whipping up batches of award winning macaroons, just as they have since 1954.But something new is brewing as well, just down the boards. What can only be described as a George’s super store. The new location will be much larger and not only offer George’s traditional “ ‘Roons” salt water taffy, ice cream, fudge and too many other assorted treats to mention here, but also full breakfasts cooked to order, gifts, toys and much more.The new location was born out of a space issue. People were simply too crowded at 7th St. and at peak times waited in a long line to enjoy one of George’s 50 flavors of homemade ice cream, said owner Bill Westerman, now preparing for his 21st summer with the store. He took over for his parents “Big” Bill and Janet, who bought the business from founder George Koukoulis in 1974.That’s 42 years of family ownership.“When you’ve been at it that long, you can tell from the weather and the size of the crowd on the boardwalk how many macaroons to make,” Bill the younger says.His parents are still in the store working hard with the entire staff for another banner season, Westerman said. Until recently Big Bill, a CPA, was still doing the books for the business and Janet is still in the kitchen making many of the treats.“I just try to emulate them” Bill says of his business model. “There is never a shortcut and we always use the finest ingredients. Everything is made fresh and we don’t put anything in a freezer. People who come to Ocean City love their traditions. We try to anticipate what people will like and we don’t ever want a customer to be disappointed.”That means a lot more retail space at the new store.“We will actually have room for displays and a 60-ft. long candy counter,” he said. Westerman prides himself on the homemade ice cream, which should now be more readily accessible to customers. They have 42 flavors which he calls “tried and true” and eight other flavors are rotated in and out of the offerings in an effort to see what will catch on, he said. An example is a flavor Bill calls “Motor Oil”, an indulgent concoction featuring two different types of chocolate, topped with hot fudge. Or his Jersey Peach with real chunks of local peaches mixed in…but get it while you can; its only available when local peaches are in season.As for toys and gifts, Westerman is always looking for something different. You can find traditional offerings like flip-flops, boogie boards and toys, but everything has an exotic edge. “Sometimes you take a chance and you make a mistake and it goes out the back door, but most times people tell us ‘we always come here because you don’t have the same old things.’ We strive for everything we offer to be the best it can possibly be and at a reasonable price.”In addition to the stores, customers can call George’s at 609-398-4444 or check out the website at www.georgescandies.com.One “same old thing” will never change under Westerman’s watch and that is “what we butter our bread” with: the world-famous, Macaroons.“I describe them as pure goodness,” he says with a laugh. “People come from all over to enjoy them. We make them with the finest ingredients and they are always 100 percent fresh. We even chop them up to make Macaroon-flavored ice cream.”That’s Georges for you: One of Ocean City’s longest Boardwalk traditions, but always with a new twist.
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The Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan has announced that the ministry is changing the manner in which it allotted house lots after findings revealed that thousands of house lots allocated since 2000 remain unoccupied in several schemes across the country.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan told a media conference on Thursday that the trend was worrying and alarming, as he explained that billions of dollars were expended to prepare the schemes for occupancy, but progress has been slow over the last decade.Communities Minister Ronald BulkanHe took the opportunity to remind the general public that is one of the main reasons why the Ministry through the Central Planning and Housing Authority (CH&PA) scaled back on the allocation of house lots and began the construction of housing units that will be readily available for occupancy.Minister Bulkan also revealed that between 2000 and 2015, from an approximate total of 66,000 house lots allocated, some 28,000 or 40 per cent remain unoccupied. “It makes no sense investing these huge sums of money for a rate of occupancy that is as low as 20 per cent,” the Minister said.The Minister reported that during 2011 and 2015, some 38 new schemes were developed boasting a total of 20,000 house lots but to date 80 per cent of those lots remain unoccupied. A total $12.8 billion was pumped into their development and $16 billion is now required to complete infrastructure works.Besides this, from a total of 4927 interviews conducted in 2017, the CH&PA only issued 1131 house lots with Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) accounting for the majority of 3122 interviews and 513 allocations.Bulkan questioned the sustainability of the model of housing development used under the previous Administration. He also reiterated that Government’s thrust to build housing units, provides more immediate form of occupancy, something they will continue to build on.Meanwhile, Chairman of the CH&PA, Elsworth Williams, made a commitment to meet with applicants in the system to ensure they are provided with housing in a timely manner. “We are going to continue this year to meet with those persons who have been in the system for all these years and have not been allocated their house lots. We have started last year and we want to continue.”It was also revealed that 1131 lots were allocated in 2017. In Region One (Barima-Waini), 52 lots were allocated; Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 28 lots were allocated; Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 27 lots were allocated; Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), 513 lots were allocated; Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 20 lots were allocated; Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 99 lots were allocated; Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), 132 lots were allocated ; and in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), 201 lots were allocated.Since last year, the CH&PA had promised to embark on a plan to repossess unoccupied house lots that have been issued to persons but have remained vacant. The CH&PA had finalised the list of defaulters and has commenced sending out letters to landowners, informing them of Government’s move.However, the CH&PA had noted that it will treat differently those defaulters who were allocated lots in areas that they could not access because of lack of adequate infrastructure. In fact, those persons allocated lots to areas that are without proper infrastructure are being advised that they can wait until infrastructure is put in, to begin to construct or they can visit the Ministry and be reallocated to an area where there is infrastructure.Late last year, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) announced plans to work towards identifying areas for new land development schemes in this year. Commissioner Trevor Benn said the GL&SC has been challenged to open new areas for houselot distribution as a result of limited resources.