Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Last weekend’s frightening hit-and-run accident involving a 6-year-old struck by an 18-year-old motorist is as disturbing as they come. The child was reportedly hit with such force that she flew about 15 yards in the air and is now hospitalized with major injuries.

While she is expected to recover, that pedestrian accident, along with the handful of others that have happened already this summer, only serves to grow safety concerns in Ocean City.

The recent rash of accidents is particularly disheartening after Ocean City and the State Highway Administration invested significant time and resources in new tactics to spread pedestrian safety messages. In the short term, an assumption can be made that those changes were worthless and have not made Ocean City a safer place.

That would be a myopic and unfair view at this time. Perspective is helpful here when accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles are involved. The fact is hundreds of thousands of people cross Ocean City roadways every day during the summer. Add to that thousands of vehicles, driven by motorists who may not be familiar with their surroundings and may not be using as much common sense while on vacation, and there is danger here.

These sorts of disturbing accidents and a spike in crime happen every early June, and a bit of perspective can help the situation. The fact is we are lucky there are not more accidents on a daily basis in Ocean City, but the effort to spread safety messages is surely worthwhile and its success cannot be measured by mere numbers.

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There were some strange developments at City Hall in Ocean City on Monday night when Mayor Rick Meehan pitched a last-minute compromise measure on the ongoing paid parking controversy.

Meehan’s compromise, which basically scaled down the amount of paid parking spaces included in the city’s new plan, seemed to meet tepid support from the paid parking detractors. However, it seemed to go over like a lead balloon with his close colleagues on the council.

As was the case with the former Mayor and Council body, as in pre-November’s election, it’s no secret there is a clear divide on the council. Council members Brent Ashley and Margaret Pillas, who prior to November were in power on the majority side, are routinely along on the opposing side of votes. Not every vote of the council is 5-2, as was the paid parking and budget decisions this week, but many are, and it’s almost always Ashley and Pillas in opposition. The remaining council members — Doug Cymek, Dennis Dare, Mary Knight, Lloyd Martin and Joe Mitrecic — generally see things the same way and vote together more often than not.

Meehan’s compromise proposal was a divisive one, as his five colleagues, who usually see eye to eye with the mayor, did not go along with it. An argument could even be made that the mayor’s conciliatory approach here cast his allies in an unfavorable light in front of an adversarial crowd at City Hall.

There were no visual signs of discontent among the council majority over the mayor’s 11th-hour proposal, but it was clearly an indication that not everyone is always on the same page on this new council majority. In the weeks prior to this week’s meeting, the council majority had maintained the move had been evaluated extensively and that the city had done its due diligence when it selected the new paid parking areas. In other words, the council vote to install more paid parking was not going to be changing.

While that turned out to be true, the attempt at a compromise surely undermines those earlier statements and confirms the mayor and the council majority was not on the same page at least on this issue.

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It’s not every day that downtown Berlin residents see cops running around with guns drawn, but that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday afternoon when a manhunt ensued for a suspect who fled the scene of a traffic stop.

It seems highly likely that eventually DaMar Collins will turn himself into authorities, and the likelihood is he will be heading back to prison. Court records confirm Collins is on probation for drug distribution and recently finished a three-year prison term for that crime. Shortly after being released from prison, he was charged with second-degree assault in April and was set to appear in court in June.

Once he either turns himself in or is apprehended against his will, this new assault of a police officer, along with all the other charges, should put him back where he belongs — behind bars.


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