Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Ocean City could soon treat standup paddle boards (SUPs) like they do surf boards, and that would be the proper course.

The town’s code currently restricts SUPs from the ocean because it views them as similar to kayaks and canoes. Many in the community maintain that’s not fair because it’s a misrepresentation. That clearly is true. SUPs should be considered more like a surfboard because they are leashed, supporters of the code change say, and they are correct.

If this gets the Recreation and Parks Committee’s blessing, which would almost assuredly only come after getting the Ocean City Beach Patrol’s view on the matter, it would head to the Mayor and Council for an official vote.

I don’t see any problem with it, but I’m sure many traditional surfers will frown on this proposed change. I expect this to be a controversial water cooler topic because surfers, generally, dislike having to share the waves with SUPs. The longer boards are known to crowd the water and almost always have the advantage when it comes to catching a wave. However, that personal dislike is not reason enough to continue to allow SUPs to be wrongly identified in the code and restrict them from the surfing beaches in the summer months.

Like this week’s ordinance that was passed prohibiting passengers from riding in the back of pick-up trucks without seat belts, I would expect this request to go through the subcommittee level and eventually gain the blessing of the full council in time for this summer.

It was quite cold this week and the extreme frigidness created quite a division among the school community as a result.

When word started getting around that shore schools were closing or maybe would be delayed, I was shocked. Why would schools be closed simply because it was cold? I could not understand it and assumed those schools that were closed were concerned about road conditions, not just the fact it was abnormally cold.

For the record, public schools in Worcester and Wicomico counties were open as usual without any delays. It was that fact that seemed to strike a nerve for some, and some parents even kept their kids home from school. Therefore, we posed a question on our Facebook page on the subject, resulting in 84 comments, the great majority of which felt freezing temperatures did not merit closing or delaying school.

Apparently, the concerns from the minority in this argument were heard by the Wicomico County Board of Education, as Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Fredericksen issued a statement on excused absences.

It read, “Wicomico County Public Schools were in session on Tuesday, Jan. 7. For any students who were kept home due to the cold, upon the student’s return to school, parents and guardians must provide a note naming the cold as the reason for the absence and requesting that the absence be excused. Students will be allowed to make up work that they miss during these excused absence days. The absence, while excused, will still count as an absence from school.”

Salisbury’s decision to look into Taser use is a good move for the city. Before making any official decision, the Salisbury Police Department is looking for approval from the city to launch a 12-month pilot program.

While the pilot program may be a useful phase, it’s almost a certainty that it will result in the Tasers being used in an official capacity down the line. The department need only look east to Ocean City for evidence of the success of the program.

Each month during the town’s Police Commission meeting incidents of Taser use are reported to the elected officials by the Ocean City Police Department. In nearly all cases presented, the Taser use quelled a situation before it grew into something more dangerous for the suspect as well as the law enforcement officer.

Considering Salisbury’s well-documented issues with certain crime elements, it’s a no-brainer.