Voices From The Readers

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Decision Applauded

Editor:

The Assateague Coastkeeper and Assateague Coastal Trust would like to commend the County Commissioners for their vote on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to amend the county’s wastewater and sewer plan to accommodate expanded service for the Town of Berlin, without approving a new wastewater discharge into Kitts Branch and Newport Bay.

We feel the commissioners made a precedent setting vote on Tuesday by requiring the Town of Berlin to upgrade its current wastewater treatment plant and disperse all effluent through land application. They said it loud and clear: the county will uphold the intent of that portion of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan to get all discharges out of the coastal bays and move all wastewater treatment in the county to land application.

By placing a five-year benchmark upon the Town of Berlin to attain the necessary land for spray irrigation, the county has assured a timely progression of goals for the town to attain and has shown a real spirit of leadership on the part of the County Commissioners.

Worcester County’s greatest asset is its coastal bays and on Tuesday our leaders showed a unified commitment to eliminating nutrient pollution of our waterways and set the standard for all future amendments to the county sewer plan.

We thank you.

Kathy Phillips

Berlin

(The writer is the executive director of the Assateague Coastal Trust.)

Express Yourself During The Holidays

Editor:

On Dec. 28, 2006, my only son, Justin Zlotorzynski, died. He was 26 years old. I didn’t know that Christmas 2006 would be our last Christmas together.

He was a wonderful man. He had a big heart and would do anything for you. He would give you his last dollar if you needed it.

My dream vacation was to visit London, England. During the spring of 2006, Justin told me he was paying for a vacation to London for the two of us. It was a dream come true. On Dec, 2, 2006, we went on that vacation. I will never forget that. We had a wonderful time.

He was a good son, a good nephew, a good cousin and a good friend to all that knew him.

This Christmas will be very difficult for our family and friends to celebrate because of our loss.

I would like to ask all of you who read this letter to take the time to be with your family and friends and let them know you love them.

Treat each other kindly not only during the holiday season but every day. No one knows how much time each of us has on this earth.

I wish you a very happy holiday. Be safe.

Deborah Karcher

Snow Hill

Dinner Appreciation

Editor:

On Nov. 30, 2007, the Downtown Association of Ocean City held its Seventh Annual Progressive Holiday Dinner. The event was a great success due, in part, to the support of several area groups and businesses. We would like to publicly thank all who were involved.

First of all a big thank you to Patricia Ilczuk-Lavanceau of Comcast Spotlight for allowing us to be interviewed with Susan Jones promoting our dinner.

The staff at Snapper’s Saloon made our first stop one to remember with pre-dinner drinks and wonderful appetizers in a comfortable setting decorated for Christmas. Our next stop at Adolfo’s Italian Restaurant provided our diners with excellent fare and service in a holiday atmosphere while they mingled and enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. We would like to thank the Trimper family for providing the fun on the Carousel and bumper cars and for all the assistance provided at our last stop. The Stephen Decatur High School Show Chorus, under the direction of Joanne Harvey, once again put everyone in the holiday spirit with their enjoyable entertainment of songs and dance. The tasty homemade desserts were provided by Ocean City Councilwoman Mary Knight, Eileen Deutsch and Gary Sloan.

Thank you so much to everyone. What a wonderful way to begin the holiday season by sharing good company, great food and a lot of fun. Hope you will join us again next year.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Judy Lemaster

Administrator

Family Thankful

Editor:

On Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007 Patty Dietz passed away from metastatic breast cancer. She leaves behind a loving family, son, daughter and a community that came to her help to make her dream come true. Please know that everyone was thanked numerous times for their help, even though she didn’t know who you were. All she ever spoke about was her trip to Las Vegas and the wonderful time she had. She treasured the scrapbook that the women of Ocean Reef made for her, which she held in her hands the moment she died.

What have we learned from this? That when someone is truly down, we as a community come together and make something happen. We don’t depend on agencies or state departments. We in Worcester County take care of our own. That is how it should be. Patty was able to hold her 36-hour-old granddaughter in her arms and this made all of the difference in the world.

We thank all who have helped this family. May these blessings be received 100 times over.

The Dream Team of Worcester County

(The writer represents a group of Worcester County residents and businesses who helped fulfill the deceased’s dream of traveling to Las Vegas before her death.)

Cut Them A Break

Editor:

It hardly seems as though 10 years have passed since my wife and I settled in Ocean City. Over that decade, I have come to respect its Mayor, Town Council, and City Manager form of governance. And know our sandy barrier island is composed of 8,248 residents, 5,447 voters, and in the summer an average of 259,105 daily visitors mobs the place. And yet we occupy but four square miles of barrier sand out of 400 miles of terra firma in Worcester County.

I did get involved in 2004 with a group of locals and others known as Citizens for Change. In the largest turn-out ever (3,000 voters), we did sponsor candidates and a Tax Cap for every single property owner in the town, resident or otherwise. We got our clocks cleaned.

At the same time, an energized group of condominium owners from “condo row” registered absentee owners to vote in the town. Alas, the Maryland Attorney General ruled against using a second home as a primary residence and these voters quickly unregistered. Rest assured, these were monster efforts on the part of so many folks.

But, time and events, by themselves, often result in changes as they did in our very own town council and mayoralty. I do go to regular and work sessions of the town council, open to the public for comments from the floor as well. I find the elected officials genuinely engaging to try to solve a speaker’s concerns. One can also watch these proceedings via Channel 4, two times a day, seven days a week. Even closed sessions are reported on. Our local papers are truly excellent in reporting stories. In fairness, are we all not very well informed?

In a very recent survey most responders were satisfied with their lifestyles and public safety, public works and employee courtesy were so recognized. I agree. No lead flying in this town with 260 bodies to scrape up. Mega condos continue to be an anathema to most locals, as well as others. But, the old downtown needs refurbishing as time has passed it by. In the end, we are all edgy with change. I am, too.

Tough issues routinely arise before the Mayor and Council, often dealing with developers. Or, the consequences of slots, tax off-sets, and on and on. The county has demurred on funding a downtown garage and will not give the town the lease it desires to put a decent park downtown, such as we have at Northside. They did cough up a wonderful new library at 100th St. though. But, change is forever with us. One can easily visualize the huge differences between uptown and downtown as one comes into the panoramic view of OC via the Route 90 or Route 50 bridges.

Letters to the Editors are often rife with writer unease, often relating to high taxes paid by out-of-town owners. Visitors have had to adjust to price increase in both accommodations and eating facilities. We now see mini-week condo rentals or reservations made over the Internet on the way here. The US economy is a big factor here, too. More advertising, or better oriented, seems to be part of the problem, thus a room tax increase by the town in this venue. Tourism officials struggle to compete with so many other options now. But, we are so, so fortunate to have the Euro kids here in the summer and the South American kids in the winter. It is a phenomenon, really.

So, when one is uneasy with the decisions of town officialdom, even with cause, try to find a balance in perspective and consequence. The only game in town is tourism, plain and simple. And this business sends $100 million to Annapolis annually. Would I go back to over-populated northern Virginia where I lived for 35 years? Forget it. And do I feel comfortable with the medical facilities here? Absolutely. And the public and private schools known for their graduates? Of course. So, in balance and fairness, is it not right to say this town is in pretty good shape and hands.

Let’s give our town officials some slack. And even so dudos. And 2008 and another New Year is just around the corner. Or, was it Hoagy Carmichal or Johnny Mercer, who wrote "ya gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative”? May 2008 be our very, very best as OC has been around since 1875.

Ray Sawyer

Ocean City

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