Voices From The Readers

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Much More To Know About Fire Service

Editor:

I was at the Ocean City Council meeting last week where, as was expected, the main fireworks had to do with the continuing saga of the Ocean City Council vs. the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company. I have a few comments.

Number One: Yes, Ocean City Council, you were elected by the people to make decisions on our behalf for this town, be they easy or difficult. But that does not mean ‘We The People’ will not speak up when the decision is just plumb wrong. Our town, our money … we elected you to work for us. We pay your salaries. We will speak up as needed in between elections. Do not forget this.

Number Two: I do want to know more about the “secret plan” to drive the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company out of Ocean City proper and send them into exile to West Ocean City. This was in December 06/Janurary 07, but wait, since it was more like a memo of “talking points” set forth by City Manager Dennis Dare, and since the powers that be knew the proposed “reassignment of powers” would cause a ruckus and thus did not allow it to be formally presented and/or voted on by the council, it does not actually exist. Right? I had to do a lot of digging today… Does anyone have a copy of the “talking points memo” that doesn’t exist so I can see it? Has it been published? Does the freedom of information act help me on this one? I want to see the proposal that never was. I want to see the proposal to send the OCVFC to West Ocean City and replace the fire company with an all-paid force under the command of a single, paid fire chief. It seems to me that where we are today is directly related to this secret plan that never was.

Number Three: To the grumblings and rumblings I have heard since the meeting concerning the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company’s decision to pick up and leave for the greener grass of West Ocean City, please see point number two. This was not the OCVFC’s idea. They are simply giving up and giving into to the “secret plan” that was put forth to the City Council over a year ago. So the next time you hear that the OCVFC voted to move to West Ocean City, please remember that this is not a matter of them picking up their toys and leaving the sandbox. They are just giving into what was already proposed over a year ago, behind closed doors without the knowledge of the citizens of this town, by the very people who we trust with decisions, we trust with our tax dollars, yes, those who swore to keep our town safe. It seems to me that the OCVFC has bent over backwards to do whatever the Ocean City Council wants so they can remain and keep the citizens safe. But for some reason, some of our leaders seem to prefer the secret plan that never was.

I cannot bring out all the points in this debate, for the secret backroom dealings prevent most of us from having all the facts easily at hand. But I can say this – be informed. Dig a little. All of this started over a year ago, and we need to stop hen pecking at the current dilemma and instead go back a year to see where things really went wrong and fix it from there. The secret plan was wrong. We don’t need a chief of all chiefs. We didn’t have that for 103 years. What we need is people working together for each other. Somehow things have gone horribly wrong.

This may not be Watergate, but I think Ocean City needs a Woodward and Bernstein to flush out all the facts so ‘We The People’ can fix it. And by ‘We The People,’ I mean you and me, dear reader.

Vikki Johnson

Ocean City

Ocean City Council Not Representing

Editor:

I am in Florida for the winter, but try to keep up with things at home by reading your paper over the Internet. Recently I emailed a council person in Ocean City in reference to the problem with the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company (OCVFC).

I did not gain much except that this person would not answer a simple question that I asked. When we vote in the elections, we always hope that we are putting in office, someone of integrity. It seems that when they gain this office, working for the people, they change and not for the better. As I look at our present council, I hesitate on voting anymore. I can only remember one person on that council in the last 20 years that was not a rubber stamp. Whatever happened to the concept that these people represent the residents and voters who put them there?

Whatever happened to the concept of not spending city income like it is an endless stream of money? The economy is not great and the city should recognize this fact.

There are many in OC on fixed incomes and keeping expenses down would help everyone.

J.M. Marx Sr.

Ocean City

Support Appreciated

Editor:

As a local, private non-profit organization, we at Diakonia, Inc. rely heavily on the generosity of the community. Our thanks to those who have made our work here possible including the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore Inc., civic organizations, the faith community and so very many individuals who have donated time, money, food, clothing, household items and toys.

Diakonia, Inc. is the only provider of comprehensive emergency and transitional housing for men, women and families on the lower eastern shore of Maryland and is recognized as an exceptional partner in the creation of affordable housing by the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust.

Without our donors, it would be impossible to give hope to so many people. Thanks again.

Claudia Nagle   

West Ocean City

(The writer is the Executive Director of Diakonia, Inc.)

Sewage Spills Not Being Addressed

Editor:

How is it possible the wastewater plant in Salisbury, Md. keeps spilling huge amounts of sewage into the Wicomico River without receiving major fines from the Maryland Department of the Environment?

Last year the plant had four large spills that killed fishing and boating for weeks and recently they spilled 173,000 gallons into the Wicomico again. It is obvious the city does not have a clue what is wrong or how to fix it and now they claim the spill was not as bad as first thought.

Why has no one been fired or even held accountable for polluting the river over and over again? I thought it was the job of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to enforce the pollution laws and fine violators but those folks are sorely lacking in that department.

At this point, I can’t tell who is worse – Salisbury for polluting or MDE for not doing their job.

Capt Bruce Wootten

A Changing Mentality

Editor:

Well, they have done it again, this Mayor and City Council have managed to blow off not only fire fighters, but their supporters throughout the state and region. Another "kick in the slats", for our Volunteer Fire Company. I can’t wait for the clique in City Hall to "welcome" the Maryland State Volunteer Firemens Association to their next (and final) Annual Convention and Parade in June 2008. Thanks for the memories, now get outta town.

The fallout from this episode, if it’s not rectified, will negate any amount of money spent on advertising to attract families to visit the resort. Oh, I get it, we are looking for the high-end spenders, fits right in with that mentality I guess.

Joseph V. Moran

Ocean City

Questions To Consider

Editor:

Ask the candidates for congress and president if they would:

1. Manage well and fund well the retraining of workers whose jobs are Bangladeshed.

2. Require businesses to fund worker pensions. Workers are being “Walmartized.”

3. Keep state college tuitions affordable for poor and middle class students.

4. Require developers to build five affordable houses for each macmansion they build.

5. Make Detroit meet the California-Maryland MPG standards, not just Georgie Boy’s.

6. Shift federal aid from carbon to non-carbon fuel R & D. Help us to love windmills.

7. Stop loggers, drillers, miners, and power moguls from further ravaging the land.

8. Prevent power moguls from gouging a pound of flesh out of our side every month.

9. Set up single-payer. Every 30 minutes someone dies from lack of health insurance.

10. Revive the Bill of Rights. Fire Mukasey the Waterboarder, the new Torquemada.

11. Hike taxes high on rich people and corporations. They’re not paying their share.

12. End Iraq War II now. It costs $3 billion a week. A few soldiers commit suicide every day. Georgie won’t treat our mentally wounded. Our mercenaries, the Breakwater Boys, roll into Baghdad any old time and shoot dozens of civilians. That 3 billion, 156 a year, would go far to financing this quality of life dozen.

Will right-wingers let McCain do any of the 12? How many would Obama/Hillary do? Ask them.

James Hoage

Severna Park

Education Is Key On Growing Problem

Editor:

Self-injury (usually abbreviated SI), is known by many names. These include self-harm, self-mutilation, self-inflicted violence, and much more commonly, cutting. SI Awareness Day is March 1 and I would like to take this opportunity to talk about an issue that is difficult for people to understand and discuss.

SI is becoming all too common, a recent statistic suggests that as many as one in 25 people have at some point harmed themselves on purpose. SI is not an attention-seeking tactics used by silly teenage girls. Most people who are SI are not seeking attention of any kind and go to desperate lengths to hide their injuries from the people around them. SI can affect anyone in any age bracket, race, gender, or socio-economic standing. It doesn’t matter whether a person is male or female, white or black, rich or poor, old or young. People with SI are not psychotics and it should not be viewed simply as a failed suicide attempt. While some self injuries are suicidal not all are. SI is a coping mechanism used to deal with overwhelming emotions that cannot otherwise be safely expressed. This may be because self-injuries often lack the ability to verbally express their feelings or because they live in an environment where it is not acceptable to do so.

SI is a very serious and real problem facing society today. If someone comes to you and reveals themselves as a self-injurer or you discover that someone you know self-injures, would you know what to do? Don’t react with anger or disgust. Self-injurers generally need support from those around them, not condemnation. Don’t try to blackmail them or make them feel guilty for what they’re doing. Punishment and forced hospitalization are very unhelpful and can make the self-injurer even more secretive about their behavior and more reluctant to seek help from another person. Instead, offer the person a listening ear and (when he or she is ready) assist the self-injurer in finding the help they need (that could mean a ride to a hospital for stitches or helping to find a good therapist). Talk with the self-injurer about SI and be supportive. Another great source of support for people with SI is Recoveryourlife.com, a community of self-injurers who gather together to support one another.

To any self-injurer I say this: don’t suffer in silence anymore. There is someone in your life who will help you and support you. You deserve better than SI. Break the silence.

Support Self-injurers in your life by wearing orange on March 1, Self Injury Awareness Day or by wearing orange and white if you currently SI or are recovered from SI. Break the silence and confront SI. For more information or support check out Recoveryourlife.com or email SelfinjuryAwareness@yahoo.com.

Izzy Rowland

Noel Grateful

Editor:

The Noel Community thanks everyone that donated gloves, hats, blankets, and socks to our sixth annual gLOVEs drive over the Valentine Day season.

Local food pantries, lower income day care facilities, and social service groups have already distributed the items collected at the drive. Together, we were able to warm the hands and hearts of our friends in need.

We are especially grateful to St. Luke’s and St. John Neumann’s Catholic churches and to the Worcester County Libraries in Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin for hosting the collections. We appreciate everyone’s generosity again this year.

The Noel Community

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