Ocean City News in Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the dangers of windy
days on the beach became a reality for one woman this week and the city may not
have to make a move to ban a potentially harmful substance after all.

Woman Impaled By Own Beach Umbrella

Resort paramedics rushed to 48th Street on
Monday afternoon to attend to a 48-year-old Baltimore woman who had been struck
in the leg by her own beach umbrella.

Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin said that the
woman’s umbrella had been picked up by a gust of wind in the late afternoon on
Monday and had lodged in her leg, forcing paramedics to have to saw the shaft
of the umbrella off, leaving the remainder of the umbrella inside the woman’s

“It was essentially a freak gust of wind,” said Arbin.
“I’ve seen umbrellas shoot like a rocket into the air before from freak gusts
of wind like that. It’s very unusual for an umbrella to fly straight up and
come straight back down and hurt someone though. Usually, it flies downwind and
hits someone who is just laying there not expecting it.”

EMS procedure states that paramedics should not remove any
object that has penetrated a victim, but rather remove anything on the outside
and allow for the remainder of the wound to be treated at the local hospital.

Arbin said that although the fact that the umbrella had to
be sawed off at the scene was a “dramatic scenario”, he said that it could have
been much more serious.

“Luckily for her, it didn’t hit her in the abdomen or somewhere
more vital,” said Arbin. “It ended up hitting her in the thigh just above the
knee, and, thankfully, it was one of the lighter and perhaps cheaper umbrellas
rather than the big rental umbrellas, which are much heavier and bulkier. If it
had been a rental umbrella, it probably would’ve gone right through her leg.”

Arbin said the woman was in “good spirits” throughout the
rather dramatic incident and should make a full recovery.

Arbin said that beachgoers should learn how to properly
set a beach umbrella and to have the wherewithal to know when to leave it down.

“Our lifeguards are watching those umbrellas very closely
on windy days, but people should know how to put them in so they aren’t in
danger of flying away, and they should also know that if something like this
happens, to make sure to stabilize the umbrella so the wind doesn’t make it
move and cause further damage, but don’t try to remove it until paramedics get
there,” Arbin said.

K-2 Seems ‘To Have

Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino says that since
concerns were brought forward about the herbal smoking blend K-2, or spice, the
product has not been seen in area stores in several weeks.

“We sent a letter to the area businesses on the Boardwalk
telling them that the product was deemed to be a drug of concern by the DEA and
that they should remove it from their shelves,” said DiPino. “From what I’ve
been told, it seems that the stores have complied with our request and K-2 has
disappeared, at least as of today.”

After the Ocean City Council had banned the hallucinogenic
drug Salvia last year, reports had surfaced around Memorial Day of the
proliferation of K-2, an essential packet of herbs that is sprayed or laced
with a chemical that mimics the “high” of marijuana when it is smoked.

K-2 has been banned in a number of states, including
Kansas and Kentucky, with bans in Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee pending and New
York, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana, and Illinois expected to follow suit.

DiPino said that her officers would continue to monitor
the Boardwalk shops to ensure their compliance with the town’s wishes to be
free of K-2.

The council still could move to ban the product, as it did
with salvia last year, if the product pops back onto the shelves at some point
this summer.

Over $1M Projected

In Retirement

As predicted by City Manager Dennis Dare, the town of
Ocean City will save more than $1 million in payroll expenses this year after
38 city employees officially took the town’s “one-time only” retirement
incentive plan.

Wednesday marked the final day for public safety employees
to give word if they would be taking the town’s retirement incentive plan that
was offered several months ago by the town.

Dare had offered the “one-time” incentive to the town’s
veteran workforce in order to “right-size” the government and save substantial
amounts of money in a tight budget year.

Human Resources Director Wayne Evans said yesterday that
10 public safety officials joined the list of 28 general employees, some of
which will stay with the town of Ocean City through the summer season, before
officially retiring in October.

Evans said that the projected savings to the town of Ocean
City next year could be as much as $2 million.