Fact: Some folks around town are suggesting last month’s Boardwalk fire will serve the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company well in getting what it wants out of the city when they meet next week to deliberate over the future of fire service in the municipality.
Opinion: All the firefighters involved are to be commended for their work on the scene in that blaze, particularly the volunteers who spearheaded the overall effort and stayed long into the night cleaning up the Boardwalk area. However, I do not see how that fire and the manner it was handled affects the ongoing debate over the future of fire service in Ocean City. In any big fire, there’s no debate the volunteers are the most valuable players. In my estimation, that devastating fire did not buy the volunteers any additional political capital heading into next week’s talks than they already had. The current structure of fire service depends heavily on the volunteer company in the case of a true fire. That should not be part of this contentious discussion over a combined service because there is no question that’s accurate. It’s been that way for decades and it should remain the case.
Fact: The Maryland General Assembly wrapped up its 425th legislative session this week, and one of the significant votes was a repeal of the “tech tax” approved in last year’s special session.
Opinion: The legislature got it right this time. This tech tax, approved prematurely, was going to be far reaching and truly impact just about every business in the state. Its repeal was incredibly important for businesses that have any connection with technology, and that would seem to be just about everyone these days. The bill would have added the state’s 6-percent sales tax to computer repairs, web site designs, email service, high-speed offerings and installation and other IT-related services. This would have hurt the businesses that depend on technology to function as well as those who provide the technology in various forms. It’s a good thing it’s gone, but I think it will be back in another shape or form in the future.
Fact: Cell phone users will get text message alerts of emergencies under a new nationwide alert system approved this week by the Federal Communications Commission. Cell phone companies would voluntarily opt into the system and send text-based alert messages to subscribers in the event of child abductions, any disaster that could jeopardize Americans’ health and safety and imminent or ongoing threats caused by Mother Nature. Cell phone users can decide whether they want to receive these types of messages.
Opinion: Offering these mobile alerts is a good idea and, if used properly, could go a long way in disseminating critical information to the populace at times when it’s needed most. I like the idea and hope all cell phone carriers plan to take part in the new program.
Fact: Berlin is planning its 1st Annual Berlin Jazz and Blues Bash on Saturday, May 3. To help raise money to put on the event and hire the bands, The Globe will be hosting a benefit on Sunday, April 13 from 4-7 p.m. called Jazz and Blues, Wine and Brews.
Opinion: Adding another event to the town’s annual slate of special events is smart. I am a strong believer the key to tourism these days is special events. With the economy a mess for a variety of reasons and heavy competition for that treasured disposable income, there has to be something offered to get people’s attention. This is not just the case for Berlin, but also Ocean City. Coupling this musical event with Spring Arts Night the evening before should bring some folks to Berlin that would have otherwise bypassed the town for the popular Springfest in Ocean City. Music lovers could have a great day if they plan ahead. They could walk the streets of Berlin during the day, enjoying the music along the way, grab dinner while they are out and about and then go check out Three Dog Night at Springfest in Ocean City.