In August 2009, Worcester County celebrated the grand opening of The C.R.I.C.K.E.T. Center located on the grounds of Atlantic General Hospital on the backside of the Atlantic Health Center. The center has actually been in existence since 2006 but now it has a state-of-the-art facility. The mission of the C.R.I.C.K.E.T. Center is to provide a comprehensive, culturally competent, multidisciplinary team approach to the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child physical and sexual abuse in a child friendly environment.
This collaborative team response enhances the investigative process and facilitates the prosecution of those who commit these crimes in Worcester County. This approach also helps to minimize the trauma of abuse for the child victim and the non-offending family members, prevent further victimization and promotes emotional healing for the child victim and family. Without a Child Advocacy Center, children may be required to tell their story of abuse multiple times to different investigation and prosecution agencies. Also, children may have to travel to an emergency department for a medical exam. With the benefit of the Child Advocacy Center, the mandated agencies work together and children may be interviewed one time in a child friendly environment.
In 2009, total reports of child maltreatment was 485. As of September 2010, this number has been exceeded. Worcester County has the largest number of referrals per capita in Maryland. The center is a non-profit organization. Funding for the center is based on grants, community donations, and fundraisers. Operational costs for the center exceeds $120,000 annually, which can be challenging in these economic times.
On Oct. 9, we will be having our 3rd Annual Gala, our largest annual fundraiser for the center. It will be held at the Clarion Hotel in Ocean City at 6 p.m. The cost is $85 per person and includes sit down dinner, entertainment by “Bad Mojo”, open bar for two hours and silent/live auction items. The center is still accepting donations for the live and silent auction as well as financial donations. For more information, you can contact the center at 410=641-0097.
Please help support the Center so we can continue to help protect children, to minimize further trauma to these children and their families and to prosecute the offenders.
(The writer is a board member.)
I am dismayed by recent accomplishments of environmentalist menaces like the Assateague Coastal Trust and others who conceal their activist mischief behind titles like the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.
A local newspaper report last week was headlined “Hardwood Trees to Be Planted on Preserved Land.” It was an innocent enough title but a close examination of the story should make sane people cringe. It reported that $1.8 million financed through a federal grant and $500,000 from Program Open Space was paid for the purchase of 430 acres of forest land in Worcester County. Most hard working taxpayers of our county were probably too busy trying to earn a living to see the forest for the trees. While environmental zealots celebrate the taking of the property rights, the fact is that those rights were bought from the people of our state and nation with their own money. The report did not mention that this property and 200 additional acres purchased by the governor earlier this year for $2 million will be added to more than 43,000 acres of Worcester County forest owned by the state of Maryland.
Further it is the intention of the environmentalists to replace the trees on 60 acres of the newly acquired forest. The forest, we are told will be for “passive public access and a walking trail. Some wonder what went wrong in the mental development of people who thinks we all need to take a passive walk in the $4.3 million woods.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans and countless thousands of Marylanders who paid for it will never even know what opportunities await them somewhere on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
In fact, very few residents of Worcester County will ever be aware that another multimillion dollar boondoggle has been pulled off by local environmentalist using money taken by force from otherwise unwilling citizens. While the virtues of spending the people’s money on this environmental act of lunacy are explained by our governor as “continuing to invest in a more sustainable future”, the hard, cold facts are more easily understood.
The seller of the forest must be laughing all the way to the bank. The property rights that once existed will be denied to, we the people forever. The property will be removed from the county’s taxable base. The ever enlarging state forest reduces the land available for growth and will increase the cost of land ownership for future generations.
A Maryland Coastal Bays Program employee will faithfully oversee the removal of 60 acres of trees and then over see the planting of the same 60 acres with trees. Sort of like digging a hole and then filling it again. Some say it will keep one more environmentalist off the unemployment rolls. Others might say its environmental activism gone wild.
R Grant Helvey Sr