Between The Lines

It appears as if the OC Air Show got the dates it wanted for next summer’s edition. It will likely be held the second weekend in June, as organizer Bryan Lilley had requested when he came before the Mayor and Council a few weeks ago.

The key, according to the newly-formed Tourism Advisory Board, comprised of a diverse group of largely private industry folks, was Lilley’s assertion he would not be able to land the top flight demonstration teams if the fourth annual event was held the first weekend of June, as it was last summer. The board seemed to be fine with moving the event back a weekend in the month for 2011 but it wants the event in future years to fall the weekend after Memorial Day.

The council will hear the request next month, but all plans are go for the event to be held June 11-12, as the elected officials seemed to make it clear it was the tourism industry’s decision to make.

The public will get a chance to weigh on a proposed bus fare increase in Ocean City on Monday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Faced with declining revenues and soaring operating costs, it’s no secret the resort needs to do something with its so-called “fixed route” bus system, which travels Coastal Highway as well as services the park and ride facility.

There are two proposals on the table currently before the Mayor and Council. One would increase the all-day fare from $2 to $3 for the Coastal Highway riders and from $1 to $2 on the park-and-ride route. The second proposal would complicate matters a bit, comparing the $1-per-boarding fee to the $3 ride-all-day pass. The hearing will provide the public and the council the opportunity to view the financial impacts and savings of this second proposal, which has not yet been discussed in detail publicly.

This hearing should prove interesting, particularly in light of the fact the city has never considered abandoning its ride-all-day program. This has long been an offering the town was proud to provide to residents and visitors, and the financial ramifications and public’s interpretation of the change will be considerable.

Berlin resident Sam West deserves some kudos for speaking up this week on the issues with the railroad crossings in town. It was beyond disappointing to discover some of the crossings, particularly the one on Old Ocean City Blvd, which I drive across multiple times a day, and on Broad St., are not smooth in anyway. In the case of the Old Ocean City Blvd. crossing, it seems worse now than it was before.

Acknowledging something is awry, the Mayor and Council pledged quick action to address the rough crossings, but the concern now is how the repairs are to be funded. Will the town taxpayers have to pay for the work to improve the situation immediately? That should clearly not happen, although it appears that could be the case in the short term to improve the situation. If that’s the case, the town needs to have something on paper demonstrating a repayment plan from either the contractor or the state because it’s not the town’s obligation.

An incident with a laser pointer was in the news this week. Readers will recall the green pointers were the fad of the summer on the Boardwalk, prompting Ocean City to eventually introduce an emergency ban on the items to cut down on the “Star Wars” atmosphere downtown.

This week, a 35-year-old Sykesville was charged with reckless endangerment, attempted second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and prohibited use of a laser pointer for repeatedly shining a laser at a Maryland State Police helicopter at night. Media outlets in the area reported the medevac flight was returning from a trip to Baltimore.

This exact issue of citizens shining the lasers at aerial police crews at work was addressed at a state summit this summer after similar situations unfolded. It was thought this issue would be a matter for the state legislature when it convenes next year even prior to this week’s incident. However, now it appears all but a certainty that a statewide law will at least be considered to ban the items altogether or at least intensify restrictions and uses.

The name, Kirt Barren Greenberg, may not mean anything to you, but what he did last summer surely will ring a bell.

Greenberg was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty last August for leaving six dogs in his vehicle during a hot and humid day that saw air temperatures in the upper-90s and the heat index inside the vehicle well over the 100-degree mark. One of the dogs died in the incident, while the others were severely dehydrated but able to be revived. While all this unfolded outside, Greenberg, a resident of Berlin, was inside the Centre at Salisbury in the air-conditioning.

He had his day in court last week in Wicomico County and he was sentenced to nearly a year in jail for the offenses. A female accomplice received three months in prison. Many in the area sensitive to the well-being of animals will surely take exception to this sentence, feeling it was entirely too light for the crime. Indeed, the punishment does not meet the heinous disregard he showed.

However, a little comfort can be taken in the fact he will be soon returning to court in Worcester County to face more than 30 charges of child pornography. This extensive case was investigated for months and involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation. If all goes according to plan in court, he will surely be looking at some additional time behind bars.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.