Voices From The Readers

Funding Appreciated
I would like to take this time to thank the Mayor & the City Council for approving our request for funding for our trap/neuter/return program. I would like to especially thank Lloyd Martin for going above and beyond.
I recently returned from Alley Cat Allies, a three-day National Conference: Architects of Change for Cats in Arlington, Va.
Over 350 like-minded cat enthusiasts, veterinarians, shelter directors, animal control officers and feral cat caretakers attended.
TNR is the accepted solution in over 39 states for stray & feral cats. Baltimore City has adopted a TNR ordinance with the full backing of their health department proving again that TNR is the accepted way to help feral cats. Their animal control agency BARC’s has received a $1 million dollar to promote TNR.
A panel of veterinarians and animal control officers told their stories promoting, endorsing and practicing the benefits of TNR.
Major Lamb, of Spartanburg Animal Services, S.C. decided to overhaul its policing policies and emphasize education over enforcement. He reached out to the many local cat rescue groups in the area and together started promoting & practicing TNR. He obtained a grant with the goal of spaying/neutering 750 free roaming cats in his community by the end of 2013 & they are on track to meet this goal. This TNR program has already resulted in significant positive changes for the community. As of October 2013, more than 600 cats have been sterilized & returned. Meanwhile, the kill rate of cats picked up by animal control has dropped to essentially zero.  Since launching TNR, his agency has stopped trapping healthy, free-roaming cats & turning them over to the local shelter to be killed.
TNR is the approved method to control feral cats in New York City and the NYC Animal Control no longer does any trapping and removal of feral cats as “trap & kill” has proven completely ineffective. More cats immediately replace any cats removed making it an endless and expensive failed process. TNR creates a stable cat population that will defend and protect their turf from any other unneutered and unvaccinated cats from coming onto the property. Feeding the neutered cats is necessary to provide something for them to defend and protect.
Without feeding the cats, there will be countless cats in any area. If the cats are removed, the rodents move in which, of course, causes much more of a health risk than the presence of cats. Other cats will quickly move in for the same reasons the original cats occupied the space. With no choice to live on the street, through no fault of their own, cats choose to live in places for shelter and relative safety. Cats do not move out if not fed, but the only way to motivate them to keep other cats out is to feed them. Feeding without TNR merely exacerbates the situation. The only effective method (and humane thing to do) is neuter them and feed them. TNR will improve every situation, although many people will resist it until they realize the cats aren’t going anywhere and stopping the reproduction must be done for there to be any improvement.
Stray and feral cats are found in many of the communities here in Ocean City. As the director of Community Cats Coalition, we exist to provide services to help pro-active people to bring any complaints caused by these cats under control. As long as people are abandoning unneutered cats to the street, the problem can never be resolved completely, but with our program, we can reduce their numbers and diminish the nuisance behaviors like fighting, spraying and yowling.
The county’s animal control’s traditional approach to feral cats, catch and kill, is cruel, endless and costly.
No city government anywhere can show that they solved their feral cat problem without TNR.
More and more communities are embracing TNR. According to a recent study by Alley Cat Allies, more than 340 cities and counties participate in TNR. Outdoor cats have been part of our landscape for thousands of years and always will be.
I urge you to support TNR in your community. For help with stray/feral cats, please visit our website @ www.communitycatscoalition.com.
Again, thank you Lloyd Martin and the City Council. Now we must focus our attention on the county.
Susan Coleman
(The writer is the director of the Community Cats Coalition, Inc.()

Public Comment
Change Supported
It is time to commend the Ocean City Council President and the Mayor for their handling of the Public Comment period at the Nov. 18, 2013 meeting of the Mayor and City Council.
The apparent decision to listen to citizen input fully before returning comment seems to serve a very useful purpose, namely elimination of the debating process formerly engaged in by the citizen and the Mayor or Council member.
This change certainly adds to the proper decorum of the meeting and removes some of the previous side show antics of some participants. It was particularly nice to see this change in view of the presence of members of the local Troop of The Boy Scouts of America, present to observe our government in action.
Joseph V. Moran
Ocean City

Partisan Politics At Play
For years, Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party members have been warning about the dangers of Obamacare. In return, we’ve been called racist, homophobic, bigoted, too stupid to know what’s good for us, unAmerican, etc. We’ve been accused of wanting people to just die, of hating women, shoving Granny off a cliff, and wanting autistic children to be out on the street on their own. We’re terrorists, hostage takers and suicide bombers. The list goes on.
In 2009, I wrote a letter to the editor stating that the true purpose of Obamacare is to demonize and bankrupt the health insurance industry so we’re left with nothing but the government, i.e., Medicaid for all. I can’t tell you how much I hate to say “I told you so”, because millions and millions of Americans are hurting badly as a result of this law – laid off or hours cut, and now having their insurance policies canceled and unable to get on the website to sign up for insurance under the exchanges (despite the promise of the President and every other Democrat that ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period”).
Not that people can afford the offerings on the exchanges – in most cases the premiums are much higher and the deductibles are in the stratosphere. And we’re just getting started – wait until next year when employers start receiving notices about group health plans. We’re talking tens of millions of cancellations.
Never forget that every single Democrat voted for this mess. It is pitiful to see the Democrat politicians up for re-election next year scrambling to fix this mess – a mess they created because, guess what – they didn’t read the bill.
And now we find out that our very own Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has admitted that he knew that many Marylanders would not be able to keep their insurance, but chose to keep silent. One has to wonder why? Was he more interested in promoting Obamacare than in protecting the citizens of his own state? Mr. Brown is responsible for implementing Maryland’s version of the law, and apparently our exchange isn’t working much better than Healthcare.gov. Funny, I haven’t read about that in any of the local newspapers. Again, why?
So far, according to federal numbers, only 1,254 people were able to enroll in Maryland during the month of October, while 73,000 Marylanders were sent cancellation notices. A whopping 90,000 plus signed up for Medicaid.
I don’t think it is unreasonable of me, as a taxpaying citizen of the State of Maryland, to expect the Lt. Gov. of my state to be honest with the citizens and to care more about us than he does about partisan politics and making the Obama Administration happy.
Should I expect a call from the IRS now?
Carol Frazier

Christmas Dinner
Support Needed
The Noel Community is preparing for their 16th annual dinner on Christmas Day. The volunteers serve a free turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea on 3rd and Baltimore Streets in Ocean City. This event has become an important part of the Christmas celebration for many including the homeless, unemployed, underemployed, shut-in, and those who are alone. Noel provides gifts and toys to many who attend. All items are free and all are welcome.
Last year, the Noel Community volunteers served over 1,400 meals including sit-down dinners and carry-outs. Meals were delivered to those who could not leave their homes, to the police, fire departments, and others who serve our community on Christmas Day. Thanks to your overwhelming response, the Noel Community has expanded our outreach to provide food and companionship throughout the year including lunch every Saturday. This year we will serve over 7,000 meals/sandwiches throughout the year. We hope to do the same again next year.
Checks made payable to the Noel Community can be mailed to 302 North Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City Md., 21842. Your financial support to purchase items is appreciated. Donations of non-perishable food and toiletries from individuals or organizations will be collected on Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m.-noon at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea. 
The Noel Community with the generosity from Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Berlin, Fenwick, Bishopville, Selbyville, and the surrounding neighborhoods is able to make the Christmas celebration special for many in our community. The Noel Community appreciates the support and hopes you will consider their request again this year. If you have any questions please call 410-289-3453.
The Noel Community

Disappointed By Md.
I speak on behalf of all those who are passionate about the health of the Chesapeake Bay today, when I say I am furious. It seems like with every passing week, there is another story about dead zones, or fisheries in decline, or harbor businesses struggling, but no mention of meaningful attempts to restore the Bay.
The crazy thing is — we have the solutions to clean up the bay — we’ve known what we need to do to bring our states most idyllic waterway back to its former glory. We’ve known, but have come up against a brick wall time after time.
There was supposed to be a hearing today to determine whether or not the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) should delay implementing the Phosphorous Management Tool on farms. This tool has been proven to reduce phosphorous runoff and better control the use of manure on farm fields; a critical solution to our pollution problem. After all, most of the pollution that goes into our streams, rivers and ultimately, the Bay, are due to excessive phosphorus.
But the hearing was cancelled. Why? Corporate agribusinesses want to delay the tools implementation, because their internal agendas are of higher priority than the health of the Chesapeake Bay and everyone who is affected by it.
We, the people of Maryland, are serious about protecting our treasured waterway, and are tired of being disappointed. We need the MDA to stop dragging their feet and ensure the timely implementation of this indispensable tool.
Talya Tavor
(The writer is a field organizer for Environment Maryland.)