Between The Lines

The resort’s Mayor and Council passed an emergency ordinance outlawing North Division Street as a place for the buskers to perform this week. The emergency nature allows it to take effect immediately, meaning police officers will more than likely have to make some arrests.

It’s going to be interesting to see if the street performers change their tune at all. Previously, they flexed their will, contending the council was violating their Constitutional rights by restricting where they could conduct their acts. Several of the more outspoken buskers said police will have to arrest them before they abide by a law they view as unconstitutional.

Street performer Mark Chase said previously that if he is forbidden from selling his art or told to move from North Division Street he will refuse to budget. “I am standing my ground basically,” Chase said. “To have them arrest me is the only way they will get rid of me.”

The city seems to feel the rights of Chase and the other street performers are not being violated because it’s a public safety issue and remind them that it’s the only site being prohibited. It should be interesting to see if Chase pushes the city on this as he said he would.

Although he would most likely never admit it publicly, Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby must have been feeling tremendous vindication in the moments after the jury returned a first-degree murder conviction in the death of Christine Sheddy.

To understand why, we must look back at last election season when then-State’s Attorney Joel Todd illustrated in campaign materials how a number of crime victims were backing him for re-election. One of those crime victims quoted in the campaign ads was Sheddy’s mother, Lynn Dodenhoff. When Oglesby questioned crime victims being used as political leverage, the proverbial you know what hit the fan.

Oglesby’s pointed comments set off a firestorm among the local blogs and on a Facebook page slamming both Oglesby and this newspaper. Over the course of that October weekend, dozens of phone messages, nasty emails, ridiculous threats and Facebook posts addressed the matter. Hysteria was how I described it back then. Many comments criticized Oglesby and his so-called inexperience and how Todd was the better man to prosecute the case and bring justice to those who harmed Sheddy.

The rest is history, as Oglesby prevailed in another nail biter and is the current top prosecutor in Worcester. Although many were concerned how Oglesby would handle a major murder trial, he proved this week he can not only handle the pressure but also overcome it. The jury returned a first-degree murder conviction on Justin Hadel in Sheddy’s death. What else could anyone ask for?

Nonetheless, Oglesby was still being ripped in the bizarre local blog world. Oddly enough, Todd came to his successor’s defense with a statement.

“This week, the Worcester County State’s Attorney successfully prosecuted Justin Hadel for 1st Degree Murder. Despite that, negative remarks have been posted about him,” Todd said. “Let me be clear, this post is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of the current state’s attorney. Nevertheless, to those who supported me who may be making attacks against the incumbent because they’re hoping to make him vulnerable for my return at the next election, let me be perfectly clear: I have no intention of running for state’s attorney again. … The personal attacks that have been made against him are ill-advised. Give him a chance to do his job. If you are not pleased with his job, then you may get actively involved in the next election and exercise your right to vote for the candidate of your choice.”

As far as crime and simple craziness goes, June is always a nutty month for Ocean City. This year is certainly no exception, and there have been a handful of disturbing incidents in town raising eyebrows, not all of which can be attributed to the ignorant senior weekers.

The most troubling incident so far has to be the horrendous incident at the 7-Eleven in north Ocean City where an enraged 64-year-old local man went crazy, punching a clerk over a dispute over change and then ran him over with his Escalade and fled the scene. The clerk was gravely injured, while the man is facing attempted first degree murder charges.

Another incident that has gone unreported until this week was an ongoing investigation into a suspect or suspects running around town with a pellet gun. Sources say a tram driver was shot at last week by this suspect, and that there may be as many as six incidents related to the same gun in the downtown area.

WOCM radio personality Big Al Reno found out first-hand about this gun-wielding suspect while helping remove a sign from 21st Street Beer and Wine. While his back was turned tending to the task at hand, he heard a shot and the window immediately cracked. Believing initially he had damaged the window himself while removing the vinyl sign, he soon learned it was a pellet gun fired by someone behind him. Police were reportedly called and responded in force, but they were not able to locate the suspect.

What’s most concerning about these situations, and others reported on the pages of this newspaper this week, is the pure randomness of it all.

In all likelihood, these sorts of incidents will subside in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all have a right to be disturbed by what’s happening around us.

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.