Voices From The Readers

Educational Article On
Bats A Better Course
I am writing in regards to the Worcester County Health Department’s article alerting readers of the danger of bats in their homes. While the intentions of the article mean well, the misrepresentation of the information will most likely conjure negative results. Bats seek different places for shelter and warmth during breeding and migration, which is why it is not uncommon or alarming to find one in an attic, barn, or other human structure.
Bats, like many other mammals, such as raccoons and cats may be rabid. But a study by University of Calgary researchers has confirmed that bats “are not as disease-ridden as the stigma suggests.” Researchers sent 217 carcasses to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and reviewed literature on reported rabies in bats in North America covering the past 56 years (totaling 65,096 bats). Test results and research determined the rate of rabies in bats is less than one percent. While the most common source of rabies in humans is generated from bats, the CDCP states that the disease is rare in the United States, with only 1-2 cases per year (as of 2011). In fact, the Worcester County Health Department website states that since 2009, only one bat was confirmed as having tested positive for rabies.
As a general rule, the human populace should refrain from interaction with estranged animals of any sort, for their own personal protection. However, most people are unaware of the critical role bats play in our ecosystem. Over 300 species of fruit depend on them for pollination and some bats consume half their weight in insects each day, thus keeping flies out of YOUR Cheerios. Other bat species eat small animals, such as rodents, and ones not found locally, eat fruit and nectar. The infamous blood-sucking vampire bats, glorified by cinema, are found in South America, not on the Eastern Shore. Harsh human reactions, habitat destruction and white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by fungus in caves, have caused bat populations to decline at an alarming rate.
Similar to snakes, bats have been given a poor reputation and my personal experience confirms this mistaken perception often results in unnecessary deaths of these species. Not to discredit the Worcester County Health Department’s “alert” for informing people to take precautions when exposed to potentially dangerous animals, but if an article is published to the general public, information needs to be conveyed in a way where it provides education rather than instilling a false fear. Hopefully, the information provided will help locals proceed rationally if encountering a bat in their daily routine. If this occurs, a private animal control business may be contacted to humanely remove the animal.
Tracy Marie
Ocean Pines

Local Moving On
I’ve lived in Ocean City for nearly half my life and it’s hard to believe it’s time to move on, but it is.
I’ve had the pleasure of working in an iconic family-owned Ocean City business and that being Trimpers. The Trimper family has always treated me with respect and made me feel like a part of the family. Granville Trimper was not only a stern businessman, but a compassionate family man and I have the utmost respect for him and I’m very fortunate to have known him and although saying “thank you” will never show my gratitude, I need to say “thank you” to him and his family.
I also want to thank everyone I worked with and met at the Ocean City Recreation Department, the Ocean Pines Camera Club, all the surfers and high school athletes that allowed me to “practice” sports photography with them as my subjects and anyone else whose path may have crossed mine over the years.
Not everyone can say they’ve had nothing but great memories in a place they are leaving, but I can say that and for that I say “Thank you, Ocean City” and farewell.
Bernie Walls
Ocean City

Bat Story Alarming
I was a little haunted in regards to the Worcester County bat alert posted last week. The statistics stated were far more alarming than it needed to be. Bats, like many other species are migrating this time of year. Since Ocean City offer’s little in the way of natural habitat, bats tend to find a daytime resting spots in the eaves of a home, condo or hotel unit. And sometimes, unfortunately, they wind up inside, not by choice.
Yes, bats like many other mammals can carry rabies. But let’s just point out some facts here. In Worcester County, from 2009 to 2012, we had no rabid bats. This year there was one. The county has a great website which documents that information http://worcesterhealth.info/protect-menu/rabies-exposures-and-animal-bite-investigationsservicesmenu.
The number thrown out in the county alert stated that since 1995 over 90 percent of those who have died of rabies in the US contracted it by bats. Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the 19 naturally acquired cases of rabies in humans in the US from 1997-2006, 17 were associated with bats. Not all of the folks who contracted rabies died. It appears that they have five documented cases of death from rabies by bats. I’m guessing the total fatalities by lightening during the past nine years in the United States may be a higher.
The bat population is already in serious trouble due to devastating disease called White Nose Syndrome. I know bats are freighting to many, but they are a great source of mosquito control, and since West Nile has found it’s way to Worcester County, we all better think twice before we fear the bat. If you see one in the daylight and it’s not moving, it’s because it is resting and will be on its way as soon as it is dark. I not encouraging you to go out and handle a bat. But just be reminded that they are not as great of a threat as we are to them. And yes, if one is flying through your house and approaching you, it most likely is sick. But I’m pretty sure the majority of bats that accidently get into a house are looking for a quick passage out an open window or door. And I’ll leave you with one more thought.
According to an article in Science Daily from 2011 “previous studies have suggested that typically about 10 percent of bats taken by the public to be tested have the disease and prevalence varies greatly, depending on the species and how often that species is around people. But University of Calgary research says the number is closer to one per cent regardless of species or where the bats roost.”
Sandi Smith
West Ocean City

Editorial Response
We were surprised to read the opinion article titled “New Public Safety Programs Need Promoting,” which discusses the OCPD promoting positive news to vacationers, second-home owners and media outside the area. The OCPD prides itself on being an open and transparent police organization. We aggressively utilize state-of-the-art and traditional media technologies to provide the widest possible reach of crime information, departmental and officer related updates, news worthy events and enforcement programs.
In 2009, we switched to a subscriber based press release and blog delivery system, which allows our residents, property owners, visitors and business owners an opportunity to receive information from us directly, in addition to our partnering media outlets. In addition, we were one of the first eastern shore police departments to use social media to communicate with our citizens by maintaining active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube to achieve the widest possible dissemination of information. We also post our news releases on the Town of Ocean City’s website and welcome and value comments on all of our social media sites.
Although it may seem to you as though we offered limited information regarding our new Special Enforcement Unit, we actually provided the information about this new full-time group in the same manner as we have in the past. By including as much information as was operationally feasible while also keeping in mind the covert nature of the unit, we released this news release on all of our social media platforms in addition to our subscriber based blog system.
The new Special Enforcement Unit is projected to impact our local community, as well as our visitors and we were thrilled to share the information with our critics and fans. Unfortunately, the lack of attention given to this story and other positive topics by media sources outside our area, even though they subscribe and receive the same information as our local news organizations, is not a reflection of the lack of information that was made available to them.
We continue to encourage our residents, property owners, business owners and visitors to stay informed, as we believed a well-informed community is the key to crime prevention. Below are all of the various web based sites where every citizen can receive information and or contact the department with questions: www.oceancitymd.gov/Police – our main city website; www.ocpdmdinfo.blogspot.com; www.facebook.com/oceancitypdmdinfo, www.twitter.com/ocpdmdinfo ,www.youtube.com/ocpdmd and www.pinterest.com/ocpdmd.
PFC Michael A. Levy
Ocean City

Citizen Due Apology
The recent article in the local paper regarding the removal of a citizen (Ellie Diegelmann) for clapping her approval of Mr. Pawlukewicz’s berating comments concerning a financial date request is disturbing.
I understand that government officials like to impose restrictions and limits on attending citizens during certain type meetings. If you’re going to impose limits and controls you should understand what these restriction imply. To impose a restriction of our rights given to each of us by the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, which are the guiding rules of this nation since its birth.
Now due to your self imposed restriction and limitation you have forcefully removed a private citizen from a public meeting simply because she expressed her approval of a statement made by another citizen. You may not have approved her action but she had a right, based on the guiding principles of this nation, to do so.
The saddest part of this whole incident is that only one Council member (Mr. Ashley) questioned the action and stood up for her right. No one else objected. I have to ask: Why?!
I think it would be best if each person present reflect upon what occurred and realize this type of restriction placed upon one citizen, allowed to go unquestioned, can only lead to similar restriction placed upon all citizens that don’t go along with the ruling party or people in power.
If nothing else each of you, I feel, owe Mrs. Diegelmann an apology for allowing her removal to be permitted. without voicing your disapproval. Remember the next time it might be you.
Paul St. Andre
Ocean City

Relieved By Beach
Replenishment Change
I was actually relieved to read that the beach replenishment project has been delayed from this fall to next winter/spring. I have never understood why we replenish in the fall.
The last time the beach was replenished, it was done in the fall, and over the ensuing winter, we were hit with two Nor’easters that effectively undid everything that was done the previous fall.
Perhaps if the work is completed in the spring we will get one summer beach season out of the work before Mother Nature reshapes the beach to her liking.
Karl Dickel
Ocean City

Home Tour Thanks
On behalf of the Art League of Ocean City we would like to thank everyone who made this year’s tour a huge success. This event is the major fundraiser for the non-profit Art League of Ocean City and will provide funds to realize its non-profit mission of promoting the visual arts in the Ocean City area through exhibits, education, scholarship and community events.
It takes the efforts of hundreds of volunteers to present the tour and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed in so many ways. The broad range of support is indicative of the growing realization of the importance of the arts to enrichment of the quality of life for residents and visitors to Ocean City.
Our gratitude to our gracious homeowners: Cindy and Bruce Leiner, Marie Karl, David Bradley, Tiffany and Mitch Wyatt, Kathy and Mike Marshall, Reese Cropper III, Janet & Vincent Cherrix, Susan and Bill Mariner, Pam and Gunnar Zorn, and Pat and John Otto who opened their doors to allow the public to tour their homes. The tour could not take place without their generosity and community spirit. A special thanks to Jan and Jim Perdue who hosted the kick off cocktail party the week prior to the tour and to the Gateway Grand residences for sponsoring the party.
Our hardworking committee members include: Jennifer Albright, Jamie Albright, Marian Bickerstaff, Lyn Burr, Phaedra Endre Brown, Jenny Carven, Rebecca Galyon, Vicki Harmon, Merilee Horvat, Linda Kessinger, Barbara Melone, Christina Pohland, Nancy Rider, Judy Tremellen, Marcy Thiele, Kim Wagner, Tina Walas and Jacquie Warden.We offer them our utmost thanks for making this a premier event in Ocean City.
To the florists who provided spectacular arrangements for the homes: City Florist, Flowers by Alison, Encore Events by Angie Gillis, Little Miss Lovely Vintage, Rainbow Florists, Kitty’s Flowers, Ocean Greenery, Ocean City Florist and the Ocean Pines Garden Club; we are grateful. Thanks to the artists who painted the fabulous home portraits: Dorothy Harrison Braun, Gerilyn Gaskill, Jeri Lipov, Rina Thaler, Paige Ruby, Stasia Heubeck and Marian Bickerstaff. Thank you also to Atlantic General Hospital for providing the booties for the tour goers to wear in the homes.
For publicizing and promoting the tour we thank Maryland Coast Dispatch, Ocean City Today, Coastal Style Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine and the Ocean City Tourism office. To the many tour book advertisers and restaurants that provided gift certificates, we thank you and appreciate your support.
We could not run this event without the almost 300 volunteers who worked as docents during the tour. The volunteers included members of: D3 Corp, BBT Mortgage, EWGA, The Refuge, Eileen Salafia and “The Goddesses”, the Coastal Association of Realtors, the Democratic Woman’s Club, the Republican Women of Worcester County, the Tennis Ladies, the Red Hatters, The Worcester County Commission for Women, River Run, The Womens Council of Realtors, Shore Networkers and members of the Art League of Ocean City.  Finally, thank you to the 1,000 people who took the tour.
We hope you enjoyed the beautiful residences of our area and mark your calendars for the 10th Annual Sand Castle Home Tour Sept. 18-19, 2014.
Rina Thaler
Katy Durham