Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin’s comments last week regarding a recent spate of vandalism to the town’s guard stands revealed an unpleasant side few know to being a lifeguard in this resort. In an interview last week on the various vandalism acts found by lifeguards in the morning, Arbin said the acts this year have been more vicious than in the past. A certain amount of vandalism happens each year. For example, a favorite prank of late-night beach-goers over the years has been dragging the lifeguard stands into the ocean and trying to push them out to sea. Inevitably, the stands wash ashore damaged. This year Arbin reported some wise cracks built a pyramid with five guard stands and others dug a six-foot-deep by eight-foot-wide hole and buried a stand within and then covered it with trashcans full of sand. This is silly stuff, but it does mean a lot of extra work for the beach patrol personnel. What’s worse is when the vandals get even more malicious and, in some cases, disgusting. Arbin touched upon it last week. “Can you imagine going to work and finding that someone has defecated in your chair? It can ruin your whole day. Or imagine you arrive at work and find your chair has had its legs broken off or have been cut most of the way through so that it would collapse when you sit down.” Obviously, these are the acts of idiots, more than likely under the influence of something. What’s unfortunate is these vandals will more than likely never be held accountable for their actions because the chances are they are long gone by now and do not even remember what they did while here.
The summer season is not over yet, but most agree the busiest weeks of the season are now behind us. Over the years, the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August constitute the busiest part of the summer season for a majority of businesses. With that being said, and this is by no means scientific, I hear the summer has not been as much of a bummer as business folks thought. Going into the season, with gas prices, the real estate market and the overall down economy, it seemed most business owners were being logical – their expectations were low. They were hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. That’s a healthy approach in these uncertain times. If you keep the expectations realistic, there’s a good chance you may be surprised by the results. In some cases, that seems to be happening, as evidenced by online room reservations being up for this summer over last. This could mean there are more heads in beds this summer or just a result of the increased popularity of using the Internet to book stays. Either way, it’s a positive.
Baltimore Sun columnist Jean Mirabella had an interesting take on Ocean City’s elected officials’ view on a potential wind farm off the coast. A couple months back, the town heard some rough details on the proposed project, which calls for as many as 200 wind turbines to be at least 12 miles offshore. The idea is for the project to resemble what’s been approved off Delaware’s coast of late. The council immediately expressed concerns about whether the wind turbines could be seen from the shore. If they were to be visible, the town would have a problem with the project, according to some officials who spoke on the topic. Overall, and understandably so, the council said it needed much more information before supporting such a project. Regardless, some folks have been critical of the council for being overly concerned about the wind farm’s visibility from the coast. In her column on Tuesday, Mirabella joined the ranks of detractors: “Concerns remain over how the turbines would affect the vistas from Ocean City and other beaches – strange concerns, I think, given the neon-lit and Big Peckers-type of bars and amusements that already mar our coastline – but surely they would be a small price to pay for the state not going dark in the coming years from a predicted shortage of electricity. It would be pretty hard, or at least expensive, to play minigolf or blend all those icy drinks without some new sources of electricity.”