Voices From The Readers

Support For Strong Stance On Guns, Booze


(The following is a copy of a letter forward to Ocean City Council members.)

I am writing to voice my concerns over the debate of whether Ocean City police officers should be allowed to carry their weapons when off duty. I may be too late (I don’t know if a final decision has been made), but I am writing to you from personal experience.

I worked with the Baltimore County Police Department for 25 years and my father was shot by an intoxicated off-duty Baltimore City police officer. As to the latter, city officers carry their weapons 24-7. The officer who shot my father was extremely intoxicated. He was in a small diner, screaming and cursing at a waitress and my father stepped in to defend the waitress and try to calm the officer down, when the officer pulled out his weapon and shot my father. My father did not die right away, instead he suffered for a long time because the bullet could not be removed being too close to the spine. As for the officer, he was just months from retiring, the department circled their wagons and the officer disappeared into the sunset with his pension in hand.

I don’t know if the council has done any research on other agencies that allow officers to carry weapons off duty, but if they did, they would know that "off-duty" shootings by "impaired" officers is a very real problem.

Police officers are highly trained individuals, but they are human. Part of their training is to try to resolve a situation and get it under control without using their weapon. Drawing their weapon is usually a last resort. If an officer is off duty and out socializing, he still has that training within him. If a situation arises, he will tap into his training, kick into gear and should be able to handle the situation and resolve it or keep it in control until uniforms arrive, without the need of his weapon. Alcohol and guns don’t mix in any situation.

As for the NyQuil argument, it doesn’t fly. The purpose of NyQuil is to knock you out, so you can sleep. There are plenty of other cold medicines that do not impair you. If you need the NyQuil, you probably wouldn’t be going to work anyway. As for the Quick Response Team, officers know when they go into a specialized unit such as this, there is no room for error and they are held to a higher standard, which means lots of sacrifice on their part and they know this going in. If they can’t live without their NyQuil, they shouldn’t be on the team.

How many times have you said to yourself, or heard someone say, "I’m just going to have one beer, glass of wine, whatever." And how many times has it been just one, not one and half or two? There is no guarantee that it will be just one. That first one always goes down easy and boy does a second taste even better. So why take the chance. If it’s going to be just one, than why not none?

I truly believe that there should be zero tolerance concerning alcohol and guns.

Betsy Kalista

Ocean City

State Right Not To Have

Statue Of Limitations


In response to last week’s story, "Former Priest Extradited To Face Child Abuse Charges," the fact that any one can be arrested on childhood sexual abuse charges suspected to have happened in the 1970s or 1980s is a testament to the importance of having no criminal statutes of limitation on the books in regard to the sexual abuse of children.  

At least the state of Maryland is on the short list of those states that have no criminal statutes on the sexual abuse of children. Now, if only the civil statutes of limitation were removed they would then be able to join the very short list which includes its neighboring Delaware.

Religious denominations, especially the Roman Catholic Church and its state Catholic Conferences, should be leading the parade to completely remove those statutes of limitation and include window legislation that would hold all sexual predators accountable along with their enablers and facilitators.

The psycho-sexual experts have told us for years that sexual predators do not change and they should be removed from their professions just as embezzling banker are removed from bank positions.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

New Castle, Del.

Staff Congratulated


Our winter weather has been a challenge for many. Perhaps no group is affected more than healthcare workers and the fragile population they serve.

At the Berlin Nursing Home, care and activities continued mainly because of their administrator, Chris Coronado, and Director of Nursing, Lisa Havelow. Using their own vehicles, they transported staff between work and home, some living as far away as Pocomoke and Delaware.

When the snow wouldn’t allow for transportation, staff was permitted to get some sleep at the nursing home. They were fed free meals as Chris manned the outside grill. As one staff member put it, “They made it happen because they put our residents first.”

Thank you Chris, Lisa and staff for taking such good care of these precious people who have contributed so much to their families and our society.

Diane Graham

Shame On Utilities


We pay our overpriced utility bills in full and on time, in return we expect prompt, professional and quality service. Is this what we get from the utility companies?

When the first snow hit with the extreme high winds in January, a utility pole fell on my travel trailer in my yard. To this day, the pole is still on my travel trailer. Also the utility lines that are attached are laying on the ground between my yard and my neighbor’s yard. All the utility companies have been notified by me and my neighbor.

Mediacom states that it’s not their pole, but they did remove their lines from the pole. Verizon states the pole belongs to Delmarva Power because it has their tags and numbers on the telephone pole. And Delmarva Power says that the pole was property of the previous power company before it became Delmarva Power. So what?

When you buy a business, you take on their inventory and responsibilities. All I want is the pole moved off my travel trailer. The last phone call I made to Delmarva Power about this, the lady told me that because the pole was on private property, it was not their responsibility to remove it. I informed her that the pole had DP&L plates and numbers on it, and the pole was there long before some of the homes were. Her statement was to me that I needed to hire a private contractor to take care of the pole because DP&L was not going to remove it.

I again reiterated about the utility lines that were attached to the pole and she stated that it was not DP&L’s responsibility. Then who is responsible? All I want is the pole off my camper.

To Mediacom, we can get along with a TV antenna or just go satellite. To Verizon, we can lose the home phone and change cellular service to another company. But to Delmarva Power, we

cannot live without electric, nor is there any options to changing power companies.

Shame on you

Renee Johnson


New Organic Rules Welcomed


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently finalized regulations that will ensure organically certified production practices are in keeping with the spirit of what an organic label means to consumers.

The organic rule already required that producers afford access to pasture to receive certification, but the new rule will clarify vague language about how much grazing is enough and the limited circumstances under which animals can be denied pasture access. Previous requirements, for instance, allowed some products to receive the certified organic label although the animals rarely set foot outside a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO).

To obtain the label under the new rule, producers will have to give livestock access to the outdoors year-round and graze animals throughout the grazing season, which much be at least 120 days. In addition, the rules ensure that minimum amount of an amimal’s food come from pasture. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that grazing animals on pasture is not only less damaging to the environment than raising animals inside confined operations, but that meat and milk from grass-fed cows can contain higher levels of good fats that may provide health benefits.

USDA’s new rules will remove ambiguity for producers in meeting organic standards and give consumers greater confidence that milk and meat bearing the organic label have been produced in ways that truly benefit people, animals, and the environment.

Brise Tencer

Washington, DC

(The writer is a food policy advociate for the Union of Concerned Scientists.)