Between The Lines

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For some reason, the Maryland Senate wants to give in-state tuition breaks (immense savings over a four-year degree) to illegal immigrants. There’s a lot more to this issue, of course, but the fact is if the Senate gets its way — House approval is still considered unknown — people who live in Maryland as illegal immigrants can enjoy the same tuition breaks as official citizens.

Coined the Maryland DREAM Act, bill supporters say the state as a whole will benefit as a lot more so-called residents will have access to higher learning, resulting in better salaries and opportunity. Detractors, understandably so, argue these illegal immigrants will be taking spots of current citizens who need the financial assistance to enroll at a state college and that extending these breaks to illegal immigrants will cost the state a tremendous amount of money in tight budget years.

It’s going to be interesting to see how our local Senators vote early next week and then observe how regional Delegates vote.

A lot has been said about the new council majority-minority division in Ocean City, but it’s worth noting the sides may not be as entrenched as once believed. This week’s Boardwalk vote is the latest in a number of recent decisions that have not been of the 4-3 variety. The council voted Monday to approve a wooden surface for the Boardwalk in a 5-2 vote with Councilmen Brent Ashley and Joe Hall opposed. Ashley and Joe Hall did not have the support of typical allies Jim Hall and Margaret Pillas on this particular matter.

It’s a wonderful thing to observe a grassroots effort get underway like it did this week when word leaked the U.S. Navy would be scrapping the NJROTC program at Decatur this summer.

The issue here seems to be these sorts of programs must have at least 100 participants to continue. Despite steady increases in participation, the Navy has indicated the decision has been made and programs like Decatur were put on probation and notified of the deadline to hit the 100-member threshold by a certain date.

Nonetheless, current and past NJROTC members have stepped up to lend their support in a quasi-petition effort. Here’s a look at a small sampling of the comments that have been put forward in support of retaining the program.

Jackson Todd: “After graduating in 2002, I attended and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2006. Then I attended the Maryland State Police Academy and worked as a Trooper for 4 years before transferring to another police department. I am proud to have graduated from VMI because of the lessons learned inside and outside the classroom, and I credit the SDHS NJROTC, CDR Deming, and OSCM Reynolds with sparking my interest in choosing that college.”

Brandon Smith: “The NJROTC was a very large part of high school experience, but it taught me life and leadership skills that got me into to college. I now use those same skills as a manager in my workplace, and in starting/running my own business.”

Robert Rappold: “Being a part of the NJROTC Unit at Stephen Decatur H.S. helped me in more ways than I ever thought. To start with, it kept me out of trouble. … At the time of my High School years, I did not entirely appreciate all that NJROTC provided. But looking back, I wish I had taken more advantage of it. And now that I have 2 boys of my own now attending Buckingham, I would love to see them be able to join the SDHS-NJROTC Unit in a few years.”

Natalie Hemphill: “I was in the NJROTC program at Stephen Decatur High for 3 years and I would hate to see the school lose this vital resource. Although I chose not to go into the military, this program taught me more of what I wanted out of life. It also made it possible for our students to see and experience things we never would have had the chance to see like the inside of a Sub, and Aircraft carrier, and other parts of the Navy we have no access to here on the Eastern Shore.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.