Voices From The Readers

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$50 Fee Outlandish
Editor:

Fifty dollars to park at the Inlet — have the city leaders lost their minds? Fifty dollars is an outrages amount for a day parking.

To say it’s not for the revenue is political talk for we are trying to suck as much out of the visitors as we can. Wouldn’t $30 be more reasonable? Who came up with this outlandish amount?

I don’t go to the Inlet on the Fourth of July because it’s always too crowded and I prefer the entertainment at Northside Park, but I feel sorry for those that do and will be saddled with this outlandish fee.

I think everyone should call City Hall and complain, write emails to the mayor and all the council people and complain. Then maybe when the peoples voices are heard this will be reduced, but who am I kidding. What do they care?

They will probably all be home or parked in their free parking spaces at City Hall.
Len Bender
Ocean City

Light Change Welcomed
Editor:
Finally, kudos to the city.

They have finally adjusted the traffic lights at 94th Street to give the pedestrians a fighting chance to get across Coastal Highway safely. Previously, there was about a three-second delay before the light changed from walk to green for vehicle traffic. Now there is over a 30-second walk signal before vehicles can turn onto Coastal Highway from 94th Street,

Certainly, a step in the right direction.
P. Wiedermann
Ocean City

OC Priorities Off
Editor:

While we spend $5 million a year for advertising in four states and Washington, D.C to get people to come to Oecan City, it would seem that we could and should inform the police in the town that we appreciate guests who come here and we do not want to unnecessarily harass them.

I am referring to a situation I saw today, Saturday, June 22. A tourist whose wife was shopping on the Boardwalk fell asleep in the car and his parking meter ran out. The city response: two teams of two policemen each visited his car. Did they knock on his window to tell him of the problem(s) or, even worse, to see if something was wrong? No, they each wrote him a ticket and went on their way.

When our guest awoke, he was upset and felt somewhat helpless and abused. The best I could was to tell him to write a letter to the city since it is obvious that he will not be able to come back in a month or two to present his argument in court.

And then the City Council debates whether or not we should paint a water tower, “Thank You For Coming To Ocean City.” Thanks indeed. Let’s just hope he didn’t get stopped for speeding by the four to six State Police troopers that set up a radar station to unsuspecting incoming traffic every day.

It seems to me that in a town that was truly caring and appreciative that its police, if they wanted to demonstrate that they were truly proficient in their work and interested in our tourists and the city, would have handled this situation much differently. But, in a town that thinks more of squeezing each dollar out of each tourist, it is understandable that the $30 or $50 earned by the police to help meet the city’s deficit spending caused incidentally by the pay raises negotiated by the police union is going to take priority.

Al Wendling
Berlin

Treatment Appreciated
Editor:

The family of Betty O’Brien would like to express their appreciation to the medical professionals who treated Betty — the Ocean Pines Fire Department Ambulance crews, the wonderful staff from Coastal Hospice, and to all of Betty’s friends and neighbors who cooked, called, and visited.

Betty’s last weeks were filled with love and support. We are deeply appreciative.
Linda Clukay

Clarifying Bethany Hotel
Editor:

It can be confusing to understand what all the fuss is about over building a new three-story Oceanfront Hotel facility in Bethany Beach. While we think it is great to debate whether a brand new oceanfront facility will have a positive or negative impact on the Quiet Resorts, some of the arguments and rumors I have heard about the new three-story Oceanfront Hotel are just plain wrong and misleading.

I want to make a couple basic points just to clarify some incredible misconceptions.

Point No. 1: Our new Bethany Beach Hotel project is only three stories tall and it did not require any special height adjustments from the Town of Bethany Beach. Someone actually told me I was going to build a six-story high-rise. Can you believe it?

Our new 3-story Oceanfront Hotel facility would replace an existing 3-story motel facility. Of course, because we would be building a brand new facility, we are happy to be able to offer a wider range of newer and more comfortable amenities.

Point No. 2: This is a Bethany Beach favorite – parking. Some people think that a new three-story Oceanfront Hotel facility will increase parking problems in downtown Bethany Beach. In reality, a hotel in Bethany Beach must provide on-site parking for its guests. Providing on-site parking is part of the requirements for a three-story Oceanfront Hotel facility. Our new facility will provide ample parking for our guests.

Point No. 3: Some people have said the new hotel would bring more people to that location then currently could use the existing area. We did an analysis. The Blue Surf Hotel had 35 rooms and the Bethany Arms had 50. Because they were larger rooms than we are going to build, their maximum load of people was actually greater that ours will be in the new hotel.

I hope everyone will understand that we want our new three-story Oceanfront Hotel facility to be a positive addition to Bethany Beach. We have been pleased to develop properties in the Quiet Resorts before and look forward to building a brand new hotel facility that everyone can be proud of.

Jack Burbage

Petition A Waste
Editor:

After reading the article concerning the group starting up a partition drive to bring the parking issue before the voters, my first thoughts were what a gigantic waste of time and money over this issue. We all know this is just a lame attempt by the condo owner association and the business up there to keep the free parking for their guest and patrons.

Why can’t they just accept that this is going to happen and let it be? Why do we need to waste all this time and money fighting what will be a losing cause and they will be paying anyway? The condo owners already have free parking that came with their condos so in reality they are only trying to keep free parking for the guest. Well guess what the free parking is over and they will just have to learn to adjust.

I am still for the idea of having paid parking on the oceanside all the way from 120th to 146th streets. This will help pay for needed improvements throughout the city help balance the budget.

Len Bender
Ocean City

New Retirement Realities And The Longevity Bonus

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OCEAN CITY — With people living and often working longer than any preceding generation, a recent study examines their perspectives about preparing for retirement and living the best life that they can during their later years.

How are people adjusting to this great life transition in today’s environment? How have their attitudes about retirement shifted in response to new realities? What do they expect and worry most about? What do they really think about the longevity bonus and rest of their life?

These and other questions are the focus of the 2013 Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, conducted in partnership with Age Wave, experts on the aging population.

Completed in January 2013, the study is based on a nationwide survey of more than 6,300 respondents age 45 and older. Age Wave is the nation’s foremost thought leader on population aging and its profound business, social, healthcare, financial, workforce and cultural implications.

Findings from the study reveal new insights into people’s approaches to and thoughts about retirement, such as:

Finances: When it comes to financial goals, achieving peace of mind is seven times more important to Boomers than accumulating wealth.

Reinvention: Today’s retirees are largely not retiring — they view the "longevity bonus" as a chance to explore new options, pursue old dreams and live life to the fullest.

Family Interdependencies: With today’s economic uncertainty, and with many family members struggling financially, balancing an individual’s or couple’s retirement needs with the needs of parents, siblings, children and grandchildren is a growing and complicated challenge.

Connections: Today’s retirees are finding comfort, meaning and safety in connections with family, friends, communities and trusted guides.

Traditional Values: Retirees today define happiness not in terms of dollars but in terms of new experiences, peace of mind, helping family and making a difference.

The study also offers new insights about sources of concern and the need for guidance, including:

Health Disruptions: Health problems and the cost of healthcare now top the list of retirement worries — even more so among the affluent.

Falling Short: People don’t know exactly how long they will live and feel insecure about their ability to support a very long life.

Home and Community: People are concerned about where they should live in retirement, as well as the need to support adult children and parents’ housing and eldercare needs.

The study reveals a strong desire among those approaching and in retirement to know more about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, to gain greater clarity about what they hope to achieve, and to understand what is possible.

Most people understand that retirement planning is not a ‘once and done’ proposition,” said David Tyrie, head of Personal Wealth and Retirement for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Where guidance is needed most is helping people understand how all of these variables and decisions work together over time. At Merrill Lynch, we are developing a new approach to help people carefully consider nearly all aspects of their life when planning for and living in retirement, including health care costs, family, giving, home, work, leisure and finances.”

 (A Merrill Lynch senior financial advisor, who can be reached at 410-213-8520.)

What’s Your Sign?

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ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Before you adventurous Arians charge right into those new projects, take a little time to learn where you’ll be going so you can avoid getting lost before you get there.TAURUS (April 20 to May 20): Your time is devoted to career demands through much of the week. But Venus, who rules your sign, might be planning how (and with whom) you’ll spend your weekend.GEMINI (May 21 to June 20): Don’t be put off by the surprising turn in the way your project is developing. You’ve invested enough time in it to know how to make all the necessary adjustments.CANCER (June 21 to July 22): The work week goes smoothly for the most part. But a weekend visit to a place in your past could hold surprises for your future, especially where romance is involved.LEO (July 23 to Aug. 22): A sudden attack of shyness for the usually loquacious Lion could be a sign that deep down you’re not sure enough about what (or whom) you had planned to talk up in public.VIRGO (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22): Deal with that job-related problem on-site — that is, at the workplace. Avoid taking it home, where it can spoil those important personal plans you’ve made.LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22): It’s a good time to let those favorable comments about your business dealings be known to those in a position to be helpful. Don’t hide your light; let it shine.SCORPIO (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21): Avoid added pressure to finish a project on deadline by steering clear of distractions. To put it somewhat poetically: Time for fun — when your tasks are done.SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21): You might be uneasy about an offer from a longtime colleague. But before you reject it, study it. You might be surprised at what it actually contains.CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19): Deal firmly with a difficult family matter. It’s your strength they need right now. You can show your emotions when the situation begins to ease up.AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18): A recent dispute with some co-workers might not have been completely resolved. But other colleagues will be only too happy to offer support of your actions.PISCES (Feb. 19 to March 20): Let go of that Piscean pride long enough to allow someone to help you with a surprising development. That could make it easier for you to adjust to the change.BORN THIS WEEK: Your willingness to open up to possibilities is why people like you are often among our most popular political leaders.

(c) 2013 King Features Syndicate

Voices From The Readers

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Clearing Air On
Resort Advertising
Editor:

In last week’s Ocean City Today, Ocean City Council member Brent Ashley stated that "we [Ocean City] push all this marketing in inner city Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, to the tune of $5,000,000 … you’re getting what you ask for." His assertion was also stated by former Council member Joe Hall in Facebook posts in response to an article in The Dispatch.

As the president of MGH, the town’s advertising agency, let me clear up these completely inaccurate statements. Almost all of Ocean City’s visitors come from four states – Maryland, NewJersey, Pennsylvania and New York, plus the District of Columbia. Our advertising is directed at attracting and retaining those visitors. There has never been one dollar of the town’s advertising budget directed at the inner city.

We primarily advertise on television, radio, billboards and online. All programming is specifically selected to reach our primary target — families traveling with their children. On TV, we buy The Today Show, Good Morning America, Katie Couric, Jeopardy, Dr. Oz, How I Met Your Mother, Two and Half Men, and many others. On cable, we buy high profile networks including The History Channel, Discovery, Bravo, A&E, Animal Planet and MASN. Our outdoor boards are on major commuter highways, not inner city streets. All of the radio stations and websites are selected with the same criteria.

Obviously, we can’t stop anyone from seeing our ads if they choose to be exposed to them, but the idea that we have ever targeted the "inner city" is completely false.

It is also worth noting that the state of New Jersey and Atlantic City have a combined $40,000,000 advertising budget this year, roughly eight times our spending, all directed at the same areas we target.

Andy Malis
Baltimore

Event Trashed Park
Editor:

In the past, I’ve written several letters to city officials regarding Northside Park. I’ve lived in several other states and have never seen the kind of dedication and professionalism that I see in the team who takes care of that park.

They are dedicated to their job, very courteous to visitors who go there and take pride in the job they do. I hope the city appreciates their hard work which I find as rare today.

Anyway, on Sunday I had visitors from out of town and we went to the park. For the first time since I moved here in 1999, I was embarrassed to have my friends see the mess that was made of that park by a lacrosse tournament. The fields looked like they are destroyed. It is awful. I don’t understand how we’d let that happen to this park. I hope whoever negotiated this event had sense enough to make sure there was a deposit made in case of damage. If not, I think it’s unfair to expect the taxpaying people of Ocean City to pay for the mess that has been made.

I can’t imagine how the dedicated employees who did such a good job with that park will feel when they see this mess.

Dennis Patti
Ocean City

Alcohol Enablers
Should Be Targeted
Editor:

I truly find it disturbing how the June Bug pattern has not changed at all. I work in a hotel downtown on the boards and the calls to the desk this week has ranged from pot smoking, urinating in the parking garage all the way up to various noise complaints. Typical Senior and Junior behavior.

This is the height of June Bug week and I was hoping things weren’t as bad as they use to be (at Council: oh yes, they still are June Bugs and they have done nothing to un-deserve the title.) The thing I thought would be better was the amount of underage drinking. Wow, was I wrong. If anything, it is worse. In the height of this past June Bug Week, there has been four underage alcohol poisonings at our place alone. It makes you wonder what the total count is and if it’s being purposely concealed to preserve the town’s image.

One girl, 17, told paramedics she had 28 shots. I hope not from a local bar. I’ll take a break from the desk and go outside and on two occasions have watched underage kids very drunk walking around the area. We do our best to spot these kids with alcohol when they check in but usually it’s concealed within the luggage and we can’t search those items.  We run the kids out and call the police but the problem seems persistent as you run one crowd out just to bring in another.

The rumor is that the town stores are doing a good job on spotting fake ID’s so the kids are bringing it with them and it makes you wonder who bought it for them. Friends of friends that are of age? Or is it the parents? I believe it is definitely both. If I go into a liquor store and buy eight cases of cheap beer, shouldn’t that set off a warning light to the vendor? OC may have eliminated most of the underage selling but it hasn’t done nothing to prevent the problem of teen alcohol poisoning.

The kids are just smarter now and so are the enablers. Time to put some laws in effect that severely hurt an enabler. And I’m not talking a fine and a slap on the hand. I mean automatic jail time to a first offender and a 100-plus hours of community service at the bus depot for the drinkers.

Brad Hallowell
Ocean City

Resident Weighs In
On Current Events
Editor:

Are you kidding me? The food merchants on the Boardwalk are really concerned that a two-ounce piece of hot dog would really suppress the hunger pains of a teenager. If they had any brains, they would advertise on the lines of, “Hey you tried their dog, now try ours or buy one, get one free.” Use their promotion to enhance their product.

You all sound like a bunch of greedy whiners. Once again, City Hall is putting it to the small people. First cut the bus days and hours. How are the workers, backbone of the town, going to get to and from work in the winter? Is the city going into the cab business? Oh, that is right, they are already in it with their medallion program.

Then to save more money, they were going to close down a wholesome activity for the kids with the skate board deal. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail.

Last year they cut back on the fireworks display to save money. Now let’s put a parking meter everywhere we can. Once again, the little person get it.

How much was spent on the cartoon crab campaign to get people to use a crosswalk? If they are stupid enough to not use a crosswalk, do you really think a cartoon crab is going to make them use a crosswalk. Twenty years ago, I suggested that instead of having meter maids roaming downtown to write parking tickets, that we put a couple cops on mopeds especially up the north end where herds of people cross, everywhere but at a crosswalk, and give them tickets. Pass a common sense law — “must cross in crosswalk or be fined.”

Imagine saving lives and making money, maybe you could use the money for another cartoon character to help save lives. Why not some graphic pictures of what happens when you don’t use the safety features that are there for your well being? I said for years in the summer, in the water they are not jellyfish but people’s brains that they throw out the windows when they cross the bridge.

This is just a pet peeve (pun intended). The state passes all kinds of laws to try to keep you safe (because they think we are all morons). Seat belts, helmets, no phone calls while driving. I just can’t understand why people are allowed to drive with a drive on their laps. I’ve seen the dogs go crazy when they see another dog in a car and if the airbag should go off, what happens to Fido? If I can’t drive with a cell phone in my ear, then there should be a law when you are crossing a street no cell phone. I’ve seen people so engrossed with their yapping on the phone they don’t ever look where they are. I’ve seen them stop in the middle of the highway to answer their phone like it is the president of the U.S. asking them for advice.

Here is an I wonder why. Why during car week at the end of Baltimore Ave. by the Hilton are the state boys walking down the middle of the street looking in everyone’s vehicles for seat belt violations, but the pickup trucks with people in the bed with no restraints are okay? They are potential missiles if involved in an accident. To me, it does not make sense.

Now if the city and state wants to make money put a speed camera on the Route 50 bridge. People fly over it while throwing their brains in the bay. If you got a little time on your hands, stand on any corner in Ocean City and count the cars where the drivers have a cell phone in their ears. I’ve had seven out of 10. I wonder how many tickets have been issued since the law was passed.

I love plants. I do landscaping, but again 20 years ago I suggested that the city send out a small car and go to every side street that enters Coastal Highway. The plants are so big and overgrown that vehicles have to inch out into crosswalks to see oncoming traffic and illegal joggers and bikers going the wrong way. People with cell phones yapping while not watching where they are going are also another obstacle you have to deal with, just to make a turn.

Bill George
Ocean City

Examining How To Leave Behind More Than Money

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OCEAN CITY — Eventually, most parents of even modestly substantial means end up thinking long and hard about their legacy. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll probably ask, How much money will we be able to leave to our children? What form should our legacy take? If you own a family business, there are also questions of succession to consider, as well as issues regarding how to treat your children fairly — whether they are involved in the business or not.

As crucial as these questions may be, there is another aspect to a legacy that’s often overlooked: the values that shaped your success. Without an appreciation of the work and wisdom that went into building the wealth they receive, says Eric S. Williams, head of U.S. Wealth Strategists at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, your heirs may have a harder time holding onto it, let alone building on it to create the sort of legacy that can benefit future generations.

One way to bridge this gap and shape a legacy that benefits your entire family is to create an ethical will.

"Ethical wills are a way of documenting the history of how the wealth was created," Williams says. He recommends that clients use the will to impart their experiences and teach future generations the lessons they learned along the way. Often, these insights say more about the family’s values than its finances.

Although they have no legal standing, these ethical wills, used in conjunction with documents that determine how assets will be distributed, can open up communication between generations while helping to inform and complement an estate plan. "Wills and trusts often create restrictions on money for valid reasons," Williams says, "but they can also create resentment. Explaining why you set up your plan the way you did can serve as an important role in creating family unity, and an ethical will can provide that perspective." A formal will may not necessarily say "I love you," yet many of the clients with whom Williams works use an ethical will to express what their family means to them in ways the wealth may not.

Ethical wills are as unique as the individuals who write them. Some people generate substantial texts that describe major life events and explain how they shaped personal goals, beliefs and values, offering rich insights for generations to come. Many families now hire professional writers and videographers to help draw out their thoughts and craft their personal reflections. Still, even a simple ethical will written around a single topic, such as "My Definition of Success" or "What I Cherish Most," can allow you to pass on important life lessons and provide loved ones with a clear sense of your personal values, says Stacy Allred, Director, Wealth Structuring Group at Merrill Lynch.

The ultimate goal is to build a legacy that can be passed down through multiple generations. Allred works with a family that pulls out the patriarch’s ethical will every time a difficult discussion arises over finances or any other major family decision. "He did a fabulous job with advice and guidance," Allred says. "His ethical will goes beyond life lessons to include specific things around finances and what he viewed as the responsibility that comes with wealth. The impact it has had on his children and grandchild is just astounding. I never met the man, but I feel like I know him too."

(A Merrill Lynch senior financial advisor, who can be reached at 410-213-8520.)

What’s Your Sign?

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ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Count to 10 if you must, but don’t lose your temper, despite that person’s (you know who!) efforts to goad you into reacting. Your restraint will pay off in a big way.TAURUS (April 20 to May 20): This week finds you in a sociable mood, ready and eager to enjoy the company of family and friends. It’s also a good time to seek out and renew old friendships.GEMINI (May 21 to June 20): Patience is called for as you await a decision about that project you’re eager to launch. Meanwhile, try to set aside more time to share with that special person in your life.CANCER (June 21 to July 22): Avoid becoming involved in a workplace dispute early in the week by insisting both sides submit their stands to a neutral arbitrator. Things begin to cool off by Thursday.LEO (July 23 to Aug. 22): It promises to be a busy but productive week for the Big Cat. The pace slows by Friday, allowing you to catch up on matters you put aside but that now need your attention.VIRGO (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22): A suddenly disruptive family situation is best handled with a cool, calm and collected response. Wait until things settle to let off all that pent-up emotional steam.LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22): Your practical side dominates the week as you reassess your finances to make some sensible adjustments in what you plan to spend and what you expect to save.SCORPIO (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21): An unexpected meeting with a former colleague opens some interesting possibilities. But you need to press for full disclosure before making a decision.SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21): A recent flurry of activity eases by midweek, giving you time to readjust your disrupted schedule and make new plans for a weekend getaway.CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19): You’re usually the one who gives advice. But now it’s time to open yourself up to counsel from friends who have your best interests at heart.AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18): You might find resistance to your call for a full inquiry into a workplace problem. But by week’s end even the most rigid naysayers begin to come around. PISCES (Feb. 19 to March 20): A recurring problem surfaces once again. Maybe it’s time you used your creative talents to help you find a new approach to resolving it once and for all.BORN THIS WEEK: You are guided in what you do both by your intelligence and your emotions. An acting career would suit you quite well.(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

Voices From The Readers

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Disturbing Budget
Editor:

There is no acceptable excuse for the Worcester County Commissioners’ ram-rodding their June 4 budget vote.

This is not, by a long shot, Bud Church’s first time pulling this. As long as we allow it, you can be sure, it won’t be his last.

Regardless of any circumstances, we deserve genuine representation from our elected officials. Commissioner Jim Bunting was our sole consistent voice for fair and open governance. Whether the others were respecting “politically-correct” protocol or were, themselves, blind-sided is understandable (somewhat), but Church’s tyrannical act must still be reconciled.

Therefore, although the budget was passed, “due diligence” must now be restored by objectively, publicly and openly revisiting probably all non-essential major expenditures. One significant example is the horrendous across-the-board (2.0% and 1.5%) pay-raises. A meager 0.163% or $110,840, is plentifully sufficient to protect county employees, thereby preserving more than $1.5 million. How many other alternatives were concealed? And why?

A final closing thought: Citizens who tolerate such political injustices and deceptions for any reason, have only their own consciences to face, (which can be much more scrutinizing and agonizing than public opinion). The rest of us could never fathom conceding. That would be betraying all those who have ever fought (and died, whether through weapons or legislation) for our God-given rights of freedom and fair representation. Don’t believe me? Listen, as I have, to emigrants from less-privileged countries, (which encompasses the vast majority of the world).

Ellie Diegelmann
Ocean City

Happy Father’s Day
Editor:
On this day that we honor our fathers, I would like to take a moment for reflection.

My father was a member in good standing of the Great Generation, arguably the finest generation this great country has ever produced. During their day, they struggled through the Great Depression, fought and won two terrible World Wars, Fought in the cruel forgotten war of Korea and built the largest infrastructure the world has ever known. Then, in the twilight of their longest day, almost as an afterthought, they took this nation into space and walked on the moon. No challenge was too great for these men.

Between these noble endeavors they paused, and with a gentle hand raised their families. They were successful in their efforts because of their ideals, their beliefs, and their sense of responsibility to God and Country. They readily sacrificed their youth, their vitality, and even their lives for these ideals. They placed a high premium on families and hard work, and if our generation has it easy today it is on the back of their sacrifice which we ride. Will our children say the same of us?

Now our family and our God are villainized, the criminal is lionized, and there are attempts being made to crumple the very foundations that made this country the greatest nation on Earth. It is during these times that I draw solace in the memory of my father and the values for which he stood.

I will always love this man and forever be indebted to him for his greatest gift; a sense of responsibility and moral beliefs that he imparted to my brother and I. And although he is no longer with us, the ideals he held dear will live on through us, our children, and hopefully theirs.

Happy Father’s Day Dad and to all the fathers of the Great Generation.
Harold C. Earls, USN Ret
Berlin

What’s Your Sign?

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ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Your creative side is enhanced by indulging yourself in as much artistic inspiration (music, art, dance, etc.) as you can fit into your schedule. Take someone special with you.TAURUS (April 20 to May 20): Take a little restorative time out of your busy life. Go somewhere quiet this weekend. Or just close the door, turn on the answering machine and pretend you’re away.GEMINI (May 21 to June 20): Your advice might be much in demand by family and friends this week. But reserve time for yourself to investigate a project that could have some unexpected potential.CANCER (June 21 to July 22): Work-related issues demand your attention in the early part of the week. Family matters dominate Thursday and Friday. But the weekend is yours to spend as you please.LEO (July 23 to Aug. 22): Try to keep your temper in check as you deal with someone who seems to enjoy showing disrespect. Losing your Leonine cool might be just what the goader hopes to see.VIRGO (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22): A heated confrontation needs some cool-off time before it boils over. Better to step away than to try to win an argument where emotions overrule the facts.LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22): Someone very special in your life finally sends that reassuring message you’ve been hoping for. You can now devote more time to the tasks you had put aside.SCORPIO (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21): Job pressures begin to ease by the week’s end, leaving you time to relax and restore your energy levels before you face next week’s emerging challenges.SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21): Your spiritual strength helps calm a friend who might be facing an unsettling change in his or her life. An offer to help comes from a surprising source.CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19): By midweek you could learn some surprising facts about an associate that might cause you to reconsider a long-held view about someone in your past.AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18): One of those rare-for-you darker moods sets in in the early part of the week. But by Thursday, the clouds lift and you’re back doing nice things for people in need.PISCES (Feb. 19 to March 20): Use that sharp Piscean perceptiveness to reel in more information about a promising offer so that you have the facts to back up whatever decision you make.BORN THIS WEEK: Although you prefer the status quo, you easily can adapt to change when it’s called for.

(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

Voices From The Readers

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Non-Profit Helping
Overcome Cuts
Editor:

The article by Shawn Soper on sequester impacts on Assateague Island National Seashore and your editorial comments were well put but don’t tell the whole story.

Over the past two decades, budget cuts by Congress have also affected all national parks so the financial situation for “American’s greatest idea” is much more dire than just the sequester impacts. Some local citizens recognized this situation about five years ago and formed a non-profit friends group for Assateague Island National Seashore known as the Assateague Island Alliance (AIA). Funds raised by AIA are used to help the Park.

Examples of ways AIA funds have been used include transporting a horse to a rehab center, stipends for seasonal interns and park volunteers, funding the horse contraceptive program, paying for interpretative equipment repair, funding school bus transportation where budget cuts were keeping children for field trips to Assateague and this year fund raising for window blinds in the education center.

Any local resident or visitor who loves Assateague Island and would like to help out the Park should contact AIA at assateagueislandalliance@gmail.com.  Any donations made directly to the park are required by law to go into the general fund and be used by all national parks. We have a very special place that this community needs to protect with or without federal funding.

Join AIA and help make a difference.
Carolyn Cummins
Ocean City

Disturbed By Council
Parking Approach
Editor:

At the June 3, Mayor and Council Meeting, the paid parking issue was a hot topic of conversation, once again. The many sides of this issue were debated for quite some time with the usual defensive posture of some on the council that the matter had been of deep concern to the council during its budget discussions earlier this year.

council members pointed out that these discussions took place in public meetings open to anyone wishing to attend. The council’s argument raises the obvious question of the appropriateness of such a serious and contentious issue being pursued during the course of budget discussions, rather than in a public hearing, a more appropriate setting for policy discussion and council decision making.

This contentious issue impacts the whole town, its residents, property owners (both resident and non-resident alike), commercial/business owners, and even our visitors. That the matter was discussed openly during council budget discussions is not an issue, the appropriateness of the council’s action stemming from those discussions and its decision to proceed is the issue. That’s what public hearings are designed to do, inform the public of major policy issues and provide a forum for public discussion and input before the council acts.

We know the council works hard and diligently on our behalf and does its best to be open and fair to its many constituencies, that’s what they were elected to do, but spare us the holier than thou attitude on display by some on the council that evening.

I respectfully suggest the council seriously consider delaying implementation of the ordinance until such time as a public hearing can be convened, notwithstanding the fact that the meters are already on order.

Joe Moran
Ocean City

Slow Down Common
Core Implementation
Editor:

Recently, Worcester County School Board (WCBOE) president made it clear, the board plans to fully implement Common Core State Standards for Education (CCSS) by the end of next year.

Many people have not heard of CCSS. For those that have researched CCSS, most do not like what they have learned. According to Truth in American Education, 16 states are in some form of discussion to or are withdrawing from CCSS.

Nine US Senators signed a letter directed to the Senate Appropriations Committee calling for defunding of CCSS. Thirty-four US Congressmen, including our representative, Andy Harris, signed a letter to the US Dept. of Education expressing concerns with the implementation of CCSS and the manner in which the federal government collects and distributes student data.

The RNC passed a resolution rejecting CCSS stating that the RNC recognizes CCSS for what it is, an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children. American Federation of Teachers (the second largest teacher associations in the US) president recently stated, “CC changes are being made nationwide without anything close to adequate preparation is a failure of leadership, a sign of a broken accountability system and worse, an abdication of our moral responsibility to kids, particularly poor kids.”

A recent Maryland State Education Association Survey indicated that 82% of Maryland teachers believe significant challenges remain to understanding and implementing CCSS in our schools.

The MSEA president stated, “We can’t close our eyes and hope for the best. This survey should be a wakeup call for more focus, more professional development, and more consideration of how to implement these changes successfully.”

Public policy organizations such as Heritage Group, Cato Institute, American Principal Project, Heartland Institute and Freedom Works as well as parents across the United States are opposed to Common Core State Standards.

Maybe the WCBOE needs to slow down, conduct town hall type, public information meetings to provide the taxpayers that are paying for this untried experiment lacking legitimacy and empirical study, the opportunity to openingly ask questions of our elected board.

During the last WCBOE meeting, it was stated that this train (CCSS) has left the station and is moving on. It appears that many states and regions are trying to get off the train before it wrecks. Why in the world did WCBOE hop on this train when we were supposed to be the best school system in the state, leading a state that is supposed to be number one in education in the entire country?

Every parent should be asking why are we sacrificing our children for a free ride on the Race To The Top (stimulus money) train without knowing or worse yet asking where the train in headed.

Kellee Kennett
Berlin

New Standards Will
Only Hurt Children
Editor:

“Common Core Standards will cause suffering, not learning, for many, many young children,” states Dr. Carla Horwitz of the Yale Child Study Center.

A Washington Post article, “A tough Critique of Common Core on early childhood education (1/29/13) reads, that when the CC standards were first revealed in March 2010, many early childhood educators and researchers were shocked. “The people who wrote these standards do not appear to have any background in child development or early childhood education,” wrote Stephanie Feeney, chair of the Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.

The promoters of the Common Core Standards (CCS) claim they are based in research. They are not. There is no convincing research, for example, showing that certain skills or bits of knowledge, if mastered in kindergarten will lead to later success in school. Two recent studies show that direct instruction can actually limit young children’s learning. At best, the standards reflect guesswork, not cognitive or developmental science. This is not surprising, particularly in K3 standards because of the 135 people on the panel that wrote and review the CCS not one of them was K3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional. It’s bad enough to set up committees to make policy on matters they know little or nothing about. But it’s worse to conceal and distort the public reaction to those policies. And that’s exactly what happened. Take a look at the summary of “public feedback” posted on the Core Standards website. It is grossly misleading.

First of all, calling the feedback “public” is wrong: the organizers of the standards would not make public the nearly 10,000 comments they say they received from citizens. The summary quotes 24 respondents – less than 1/4 of 1 percent of the total – selectively chosen to back up their interpretation of the results.

But they don’t even mention a critically important statement opposing the K3 standards, signed by more than 500 early childhood professionals. The Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative was signed by educators, pediatricians, developmental psychologists, and researchers, including many of the most prominent members of those fields.

Their statement reads in part: We have grave concerns about the core standards for young children … The proposed standards conflict with compelling new research in cognitive science, neuroscience, child development, and early childhood education about how young children learn, what they need to learn, and how best to teach them in kindergarten and the early grades … .We therefore call on the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to suspend their current drafting of standards for children in kindergarten through grade three. They did not.

Worcester County School Board is quickly moving forward with implementing CCS. If this Washington Post article is correct, maybe we need to slow down and schedule public information meetings so parents and taxpayers (who are paying $75 million of the proposed county budget towards education) can ask questions.

The Washington Post article concludes, “Our first task as a society is to protect our children. The imposition of these standards endangers them.”

Fran Gebhart
Berlin

What’s Your Sign?

horoscopes_new5

ARIES (March 21 to April 19): Cheer up, Lamb. Your emotional impasse will lift once you allow your highly tuned sense of justice to guide you on what to do about an associate’s questionable behavior.TAURUS (April 20 to May 20): News about a project you hoped to work on might need more clarification. Take nothing just on faith. Draw up a list of questions, and insist on each being fully answered.GEMINI (May 21 to June 20): Giving your time to help others is fine. But don’t lose sight of your own needs. Make plans for an energy-restoring getaway with that very special person in your life.CANCER (June 21 to July 22): Congratulate yourself on getting that difficult job done to everyone’s satisfaction. This could be the first of many such challenges you might be offered down the line.LEO (July 23 to Aug. 22): With your enthusiasm soaring again, you feel ready to tackle a tough new assignment. Good for you! And remember: Don’t be too proud to accept help when it’s offered.VIRGO (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22): Cupid rules the week for single Virgos eager to make a romantic connection. Meanwhile, Virgo couples experience renewed commitment in their relationships.LIBRA (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22): Home and work issues vie for your attention through early next week. Rely on your Libran sense of balance to keep you from being overwhelmed by either side.SCORPIO (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21): Creative projects might have to go on standby as you tackle other matters making demands on your time and energy. Things should ease by the middle of next week.SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21): Your energies are high, and so are your aspirations. But be careful not to let work dominate the week. It’s also important to spend time with family and friends.CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19): It’s a good time to set aside your pride and stop nursing those hurt feelings. Instead, consider restoring relationships you want to have back in your life.AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18): You might be miffed at not being shown more appreciation for your hard work. But don’t brood over it. Recognition comes in its own time and in its own way.PISCES (Feb. 19 to March 20): With your inner creative juices starting to boil and bubble, this is a good time to launch a new arts-related project, or go back and restart the one you had set aside.BORN THIS WEEK: You have a way of seeing the best in people, which helps encourage them to live up to your perceptions.

(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.