Voices From The Readers

Hoping To Keep On

Coming To OC

Editor:

The letter from Doug Trimper in the March 9 edition of The Dispatch really got me thinking about many things going on in and about Ocean City.

While making my semi-annual visit to the dentist (she qualifies as someone with considerable discretionary income who Worcester County is trying to woo), she asked me if I was going away for vacation this summer. I told her that we were going to Ocean City. She told me how she found out by going to Ocean City that the cost is just as much if not more than going to a more exotic all-inclusive destination like the Bahamas. This successful dentist with two offices added that the Bahamas is only a two-hour plane ride away and you aren’t fighting traffic before, during and after the trip.

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The dentist who has considerable discretionary income has already figured out that it is better to vacation somewhere other than Ocean City. She was here once, and probably never again.

Let’s look at my blue-collar family, one of countless families who has been coming to Ocean City for four generations. In order for us to afford to vacation in Ocean City, we have always stayed at a place where we can cook. Last year when we went grocery shopping in West OC, the price of grapes was $4 a pound. When we bought a milk shake on the Boardwalk, the price came close to any alcoholic beverage. These and many more examples result in us purchasing as much as possible at home and bringing it into Ocean City, rather than spending that money in Ocean City, in order to be able to afford to come to Ocean City.

For the first time, I am questioning the economic sense of bringing my family to Ocean City. Many other blue-collar families have already chosen to go elsewhere. I do not want to join them. We love vacationing in Ocean City.

As far as the amusement park, the Trimper family can choose to cash in big time if they wish, and surely they have already said no thanks to bushels of money, which is the better decision for Ocean City, but probably not for the business.

Thanks to the monstrosity of a condo complex being built near Fisher’s Popcorn, the challenge has been set for a developer to build something even bigger in town. Imagine a 10-story condominium starting at the Boardwalk and going back far enough to replace the Tidal Wave. Once that is built, the amusement park won’t be coming back.

I’m curious to the financial situation of the Jolly Roger amusement park – surely they are facing the same obstacles as Trimper’s. I hope they aren’t in the “what you know, but who you know …” category.

Thanks for allowing me to voice my opinion.

John Novak

Essex, Md.

Voice Opposition To

Hydraulic Dredging

Editor:

A delegation from the Ocean Pines Anglers Club and the Maryland Saltwater Sportfisherman’s Association recently traveled to Annapolis in support of House Bill 964, which would bring an end to the destructive practice of hydraulic clam dredging in the Coastal Bays around Ocean City. A similar bill, formerly introduced by Delegate Bennett Bozman, had previously passed in the House but the bill lost impetus in the Senate and expired.

This time around the House Bill comes with some teeth in the form of additional support for the anglers from the Ocean City Council, respected Charter Captain Mark Sampson, Erin Fitzsimmons, Ocean City resident and special assistant for the environment at the State Attorneys Office, and the Coastal Conservation Association. Delegates Norm Conway and Jim Mathias teamed up to present the bill to the Environmental Committee and testimony was given in support of HB 964 by Fitzsimmons, the Coastal Conservation Association and several members of the OP Anglers and MSSA among others.

With all this support it might be assumed that it is a foregone conclusion that the destruction caused by hydraulic clam dredging will soon be coming to an end. Nothing could be further from the truth. The DNR is already making an attempt to amend the bill, which would basically maintain the status quo, and the powerful waterman’s lobby is putting tremendous pressure on State Senator Lowell Stoltzfus to keep the bill bottled up in committee.

This is where the average citizen that cares about the health of our local bays can make a major difference. Take a look at the photo showing just one hydraulic clam dredger at work and envision over 20 power dredgers tearing up the bay bottoms and turning them into a barren landscape void of habitat. Passing this bill will truly "take a village". Make your intentions known to your local legislative representative.

Jack Barnes

Berlin

Happy Ending TO

Memorial Concerns

Editor:

On March 1, 2007, the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation submitted to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors suggested solutions to resolve issues critical to the esthetic and safety aspects of the Memorial site during and after the construction of the OPA Community Center. The Foundation’s primary concern was the initial location of a sediment pond within about 35 feet of the memorial.

In response to the March 1 letter, Dan Stachurski met with members of the Foundation Board on March 8. Accompanying Mr. Stachurski at this meeting were OPA President Glenn Duffy and Board Member Bill Zawacki. The OPA Board had Soule Engineering redesign the sediment pond so that it is approximately 170 feet from the Memorial. The Foundation Board had asked that the OPA Board consider the possible alternative of a sand filtration system. The OPA Board did, in fact, contact two different companies for estimates of such a system. At the meeting on March 8, the Foundation was informed that, although the sand filtration systems have not been priced yet by Blades Construction, the OPA Board has decided that such a system would be cost prohibitive.

The relocation and redesign of the sediment pond at a distance of 170 feet does satisfy the Foundation’s need for space to conduct public ceremonies at the Memorial. The OPA Board has assured the Foundation that every effort will be made to make the pond esthetically acceptable which was another concern of the Foundation.

At the March 8 meeting, other concerns of the Foundation, including access to the Memorial during construction, were discussed. Although the Sports Core will be a construction site for over a year, the Foundation was assured by the OPA Board that the Memorial will remain accessible to the public during construction, and that Memorial Day activities can be conducted there as they have been in the past.

Given these assurances, the Foundation will finalize its plans for the annual celebration of Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, at 10 a.m., and the Foundation invites all of Worcester County to be there for the festivities.

The OPA Board of Directors has agreed to other changes to the site plan, which it is hoped will satisfy many of the Foundation’s other concerns such as safety and convenience for our handicapped veterans and visitors.

The Foundation would like to thank all of the residents, veterans and supporters who have shown their dedication to the Memorial over the past six weeks. The Foundation pledges continued vigilance to ensure the safety and integrity of our beloved Memorial.

Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation At Ocean Pines, Inc. members Sharyn O’Hare, Roseann Bridgman, Marie Gilmore, Tom Cetola, Bill Killinger, John Henglein, Denny Bowers, Gene Ringsdorf, Jim Spicknall, Chip Bertino, Bill Rakow, Ron Haslam and Ron Fisher

Training Course

Needed At City Hall

Editor:

I am always amazed by the arrogant actions of some individuals who are placed in positions of power. The recent actions of Ocean City Council President Joseph Mitrecic come to mind.

Mitrecic took action at a March 5 council meeting that raises serious questions of whether he is being fair with his fellow council members and Ocean City residents that oppose his views.

At a prior council meeting to revise fees for electric shuttle business, council members Hancock, Pillas, Knight and Martin voted to approve the revised fees while Mitrecic and council members Howard and Hall voted to oppose the revised fees. Once this vote was taken, the next step in this process is for city attorney to actually write a proposed law that legally establishes the revised fees. This ordinance is then returned for approval by the council. One of the duties of the president is to develop the meeting’s agenda. With council members Hancock and Knight absent from the March 5 council meeting, Mitrecic called for a vote on the ordinance setting the revised fees. The bill failed to pass because Mitrecic and council members, Howard and Hall again voted to oppose it while council members Pillas and Martin voted for the revised fees.

As Mitrecic attempted to move on to the next item on the agenda, council member Pillas had to interrupt him and said she believed having the vote with council members Hancock and Knight absent from the meeting was not consistent with the council’s past actions of operating in a fair manner. Only then did Mitrecic agree to have another vote on the revised fees when council members Hancock and Knight would be in attendance.

Also, during the council’s March 5 meeting, Mitrecic displayed much irritation with a resident who was attempting to obtain clarification on the relationship between the Ocean City government and the Art League of Ocean City and why it was taking the city over three years to remove the public boat dock from Little Salisbury. He also called citizens, who correctly disclosed that the Ocean City government had surplus money totaling $24.7 million or the equivalent of about $3,000 for each year-round resident as being misguided. I suggest that Mitrecic take some of that left over $24.7 million from the rainy day fund and attend a training course on chairing meetings that are fair to everyone.

Joann Holten

Ocean City

Thanks To County

Editor:

Please accept this letter as a public thank you to the County Commissioners, current and past, for their support of funding construction of the new Worcester Career and Technology Center located on Route 113 in Newark, Maryland.

During my daily work commute, I travel Route 113 and see such progress during the construction phase. It is such an exciting time for current and future high school students of Worcester County.

The facility will offer state-of-the-art technology for students pursuing training on auto mechanics, HVAC, electrical wiring, masonry, nursing, cosmetology, CAD, computer technology, carpentry, dental assistants, culinary arts, criminal justice, CPR/EMT/FIRE training, to name a few.

I strongly encourage the parents of middle school children to familiarize themselves with course offerings at the Worcester Career and Technology Center; come and learn more about it. This school offers a broad spectrum of courses for all students, including the college bound; AP courses, Math and Spanish classes are even offered with smaller class sizes.

The parents of Snow Hill High School students can attend an informational meeting about the Worcester Career and Technology Center on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Snow Hill High School auditorium to discuss the academic and career opportunities available.

Worcester Career and Technology Center can provide so many opportunities for our youth who are our future and are the future taxpayers of Worcester County.

Ginger Curran Gillis

(The writer is the chairperson of the SIAC for the Worcester Career and Technology Center.)