Voices From The Readers

Voices From The Readers

Support Was Special

Thank you Ocean City community and the Ocean City Baptist Church (OCBC) for another successful free Thanksgiving Dinner.

This was the 34th year that OCBC has hosted this great event and every year it amazes me how God brings it together. As the new pastor of OCBC, I am not new to this. I watched my church host this event for the last 34 years. My father, Terry Davis, the former pastor of OCBC, made it a tradition for our family to spend Thanksgiving with the community participating in this event.

This year we had over 100 volunteer helpers from every church in Ocean City as well as from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia come and help us with this event. Many of these volunteers have made it a Thanksgiving tradition to serve the Ocean City community. I look forward to seeing these people every year just as if they are my extended family. The volunteers are young and elderly and rich and poor, but all of them have a servant heart to help others. This year we started the dinner at 11 a.m. and stopped at 3 p.m. We cooked, carved, and served 34 turkeys, plus gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, corn, sauerkraut, bread and a great variety of desserts.

We served almost 240 meals as well as delivered 320 take-out meals. The amazing thing is that because of many generous donations from the members of OCBC as well as several local businesses and community groups, OCBC did not have to pay anything from the church budget. There are many other people that are responsible for the success of the dinner, but it is a very long list. Thank you for your prayers and support, but ultimately all the glory goes to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sean and Anna Davis

Delegate Backs Governor

It was great to see Governor O’Malley join with the Eastern Shore Delegation in condemning the use of State Tax dollars at the University of Maryland’s Law School to fund the attack on family farms. Never before have we seen such an egregious attack spurred on by the misguided. The governor characterises the action as, “state sponsored injustice” and a “misuse of taxpayer resources” with which I could not agree more.

The governor’s actions have left the Dean of the Law Clinic, Phoebe Haddon, “uneasy”. Well, here’s a wake up call Phoebe, we’ve gone way beyond feeling “uneasy” in Maryland with actions taken against those who put food on our tables. If the clinic were going to support anyone in this case, should it not have been the underdog Hudson family? The Maryland Department of the Environment (not exactly known for being pro-growth or pro-industry) investigated the complaint and concluded there was nothing actionable. That should have ended this nightmare except for the boundless assets of tax payer funded legal services brought to bear on a family who never had a reason to have an attorney on speed dial. Six figures later, a century old farm family now fights to remain.

I’m proud of Governor O’Malley, himself an attorney, his wife a judge, for taking a strong position in support of the farming community. When the Eastern Shore delegation met with University officials during the 2011 session, we were assured that they would address this issue. It now appears they have turned a deaf ear while paying us lip service.

Each year, the university system receives a king’s portion of funding from the General Assembly. Perhaps their hearing will improve if we place a stop-hold on the check. I will be asking my fellow delegates and senators to take an aggressive stand in the coming session that will adequately reflect our collective disgust with this situation.

Kudos to Governor O’Malley. His leadership in this area may help us turn the tide for Maryland farmers.

Mike McDermott
(The writer is a member of the House of Delegates and represents District 38-B)

Proud Of Law Clinic

Delegate McDermott, Congressman Harris and Governor O’Malley are using the Law Clinic to divert the public’s attention away from the "politics as usual" that is playing out in our State government. When one is doing the right thing, opposition and chest-thumping attitudes are expected in response. These political antics will not stop the pollution problems that are degrading our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Law Clinic has a small budget and more importantly, 100% of the litigation expenses for this case have been paid from funds donated by private donations — not state money. The Assateague Coastkeeper, as with all of the rest of the Waterkeepers Chesapeake and the Waterkeeper Alliance, funds its advocacy efforts with donations from concerned citizens and grants from organizations committed to ensuring a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay.

Perdue employs one of Maryland’s largest and most prestigious law firms, giving Perdue and Hudson 670 lawyers at their disposal and endless resources at their fingertips. It’s laughable anyone would suggest that Perdue Farms, Inc, a corporation that last year grossed $4.6 billion, is overmatched by our small team of lawyers, a team which includes the students at the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic

These young, committed law students chose to study at the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic to help further the mission of the Clinic, which is to protect and clean up the Chesapeake Bay and I am proud to have them as part of this team.

We invite the public to use our website http://actforbays.org/PressRoom/Events/lawsuit.html as a resource for information.

Kathy Phillips
(The writer is the executive director of the Assateague Coastal Trust and serves as Coastkeeper.)

Prayer Breakfast Announced

Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 at the Clarion Hotel in Ocean City. This event will begin at 7 a.m. and end promptly at 9:15 a.m. Our speaker this year will be Three Star General Jerry Boykin. He was the commander in “Black Hawk Down” which was made into a movie. He is also a founding member of Delta Force and a former commander of the Green Berets. He has been involved in every conflict since Vietnam, and has been wounded twice. The majority of his time has been spent in the Middle East. General Boykin is a wealth of information on this topic.

Our speaker for this year’s 22nd annual event is in much demand throughout the country and has been seen on all major networks, as recently as last week. He has an exciting testimony that you do not want to miss.

For ticket information and any other questions regarding this buffet breakfast, please call 443-235-2669.

Bruce Spangler
(The writer is the director of the Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.)

The Fight Continues

On this Dec. 1, 2011, we celebrate the 23rd anniversary of World AIDS Day. I say celebrate, because we have accomplished so much in the fight against this terrible disease, particularly in the last decade.  However, much more remains to be done, and I stand committed to overcoming this disease, which has killed millions worldwide.

As one who has consistently cared about human dignity and human rights, I am pleased that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has an established legacy of bipartisan support. PEPFAR is dedicated to saving the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world, and it is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to save lives.

The progress in the fight against HIV/AIS has been a long one. In more than 30 years, approximately 26 million people have died from AIDSe and there are 7,000 new infections every day. But our commitment to combating this disease is making important strides.

In the past decade, new HIV infections fell 25 percent in 33 countries, thanks in large part to making antiretroviral treatment available in even the remotest corners of Africa. However, while HIV/AIDS is the leading killer in Sub-Saharan Africa, and remains a focus of our PEPFAR activities, the largest regional increase in HIV prevalence is in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, particularly Russia and Ukraine.

The United States should be proud of its leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We account for nearly 60 percent of the international community’s assistance, and, from 2004 to 2010 we spent more than $26 billion on bilateral funding. Dedicated government experts from an array of U.S. agencies are involved in the fight. In fact, more than 20 percent of all Peace Corps projects are currently related to HIV/AIDS.

Behind these impressive statistics are touching human stories. One woman recently visited my office from South Africa. She mentors other young mothers who learn they are HIV positive when they visit the doctor to confirm a pregnancy. She teaches them how to take their medicine to prevent transmission to their children, and offers to talk to them whenever they need support as they grapple with the initial shock, and lifelong consequences of the disease. Programs such as this are aimed at prevention, and are crucial to a healthy, stable Africa of the future. They must be strengthened and stabilized if we are going to eradicate AIDS.

World AIDS Day is a reminder of what has been lost and of the continuing fight to eradicate this disease. It also is a time to continue the important funding that is needed for HIV/AIDS programs both here, and aboard.

Ben Cardin
Washington, D.C.
(The writer is a U.S. Senator for Maryland.)