Voices From The Readers

School Board Questions


1. How can Common Core be state led when not one parent, commissioner, delegate or senator voted for its adoption?

2. Why did the No. 1 school system in the country adopt the untried, untested common core standards? Where is the evidence that Common Core will improve education?

3. The school board continually states that standards are not curriculum. That may be so. But if you did not create the standards and you did not create the tests, as Bill Gates said, “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.”

4. School board received $1.1 million from “Race to the Top” funds over four years but the cost to implement Common Core was stated at $5 million. What will be the cost to county residents going forward?

5. Why are school board meetings scheduled for 12:30 p.m.? Wouldn’t evening meetings be more convenient

for the public?

6. Why aren’t school board meeting recorded and made available on the internet?

7. Why is the county spending over $45 million for “renovating” Snow Hill High School with only 350 students. That’s a cost of $128,000 per student.

8. Why are county bus driver randomly drug tested and teachers are not?

9. To the best of my knowledge, for at least the last year or more, the school board has voted unanimously on every issue that came up for a vote. That seems unusual for a seven- member board.

Last week, after a four-year study, the Maryland State Board of Education adopted new regulations guiding student discipline. This regulation removes local discipline decision making and turns it over to the state. I assume that our school board was aware of this potential grab of local autonomy and if so how was it communicated to the public or is this another transparency issue like Common Core?

This November there are four school board positions up for election. If you believe in local control and oppose Common Core, please run.

F. Gebhart


Addiction Epidemic

Needs More Attention


When I learned of the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I silently wept. I was not an adoring fan, relative or from the same hometown, just the mother of another heroin addict. I consider myself lucky because I have not lost a son to a drug overdose. He is safely incarcerated in jail for the crime of intent to distribute heroin.

The judge stated during sentencing that although he was an addict, he still made the choice to do drugs. This is true but does not take into consideration the impact that heroin use has on the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, and the ability to make rational decisions. As many are aware from recent news reports, heroin use is increasing in the area, additionally crimes related to drug use and trips to the emergency room from overdoses and tainted drugs. Because of the stigma associated with drug addiction, it has been a struggle to raise the funds necessary to bring about research, good drug addiction treatment and changes in public policy.

A new national organization, Shatterproof, is committed to protecting our children from drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease. Addiction is a health crisis and 22 million people struggle every day either with drugs or alcohol. If you have children, it is imperative that you educate yourself and start a dialogue with them. A great reference is the book, “Clean” by David Sheff. As a community, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to save our children from this epidemic.

Jackie Ball

Ocean City

Donations Appreciated


I want to thank everyone that attended the Meet and Greet for our newly formed organization, Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry and Rescue, Inc. It was held on Jan. 18 at Adolfo’s on the Ocean. Owners Kim and Dave (Kanook) Griffin and their wonderful staff provided us with a delicious buffet and great hospitality.

The purpose of our organization is to assist families in need by providing food and medical assistance for their pets. This enables them to keep their pets in their loving homes and not have to be surrendered for adoption elsewhere.

The many food and monetary donations we received will certainly give us a great start with helping as many families as possible. The community support for this new endeavor means a lot.

Kenille Davies

West Ocean City

School Bus Article

Called Misleading


I am writing to correct a misleading article in your paper concerning school buses’ useful life.

It is stated incorrectly that Maryland buses owned and operated by private contractors be retired after 12 years on the road. It also states that certain jurisdictions may extend this life to 15 years, provided a rigorous inspection program is adhered to. This is simply not true as it applies to state law.

We have been driving these buses up to 15 years since 2003. I will add with excellent safety and durability records.

The legislature of Maryland passed in 2003, HB 358 allowing buses in the lower shore counties to have a useful life of 15 years. Any extra inspections or requirements were/are not required by the state.

When this law was passed, the Worcester County Board of Education was against it. The contractors were in favor of it.

Because it passed over the objections of the Board of Education, they imposed several requirements of their own, some extremely severe, bordering on ridiculous. Inspection forms were required to be filled out every month or 1,000 miles, using forms dug out from the 1950s.

Over the past 10 years, they have mellowed somewhat, but still require certain extra inspections and letters of intent to use buses past 12 years. This is in no way required by state law.

Since I am not in the legal professional and don’t proposed to know than the board attorney, I will defer to the office of the Attorney General of Maryland.

According to a letter from that office to the late Delegate Bennett Bozman, interpreting the law concerning these buses, there is no difference in requirements for buses over 12 years old and up to 12 years old. I quote, “It is my view that in the affected counties, buses may be used until they are 15 years old, without meeting requirements other than those applicable to buses up to 12 years old.”
The letter goes on to explain how the law was written to override past requirements of the 12- to 15-year buses. I have a copy of this letter, as does the Board of Ed, if anyone would doubt its content.

These extra requirements are from the Worcester County Board of Education and the administration, used for one upmanship over the bus contractors only. They are punitive in nature and serve no other purpose.

Ted Elder

(The writer is the president of the Worcester County Bus Contractors Association.)

Stop The Lying


Talk about out of touch.

The Democrats have been saying the Republicans are out of touch with the people. I just listened to President Obama’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney, talking about how much nicer it will be to be able to stay home with our family since we can only work 30 hours a week now and earn less money and so we’ll get subsidies for health insurance. I don’t know about anybody else, by my family’s bills are based on 40 hours a week, health insurance or not – it doesn’t matter. Our bills are still what they are.

Sure, working less would give us more time with our family, but I’m not sure where we would be, since we won’t be able to pay the house payment, or if we can pay the house payment, there wouldn’t be enough money left for food or utilities. In fact, we’d have to get second jobs to make up the difference, and there goes the extra time with the family. I guess we could go on food stamps and ask for government assistance, but we weren’t brought up that way, and don’t want anything from our government but to be left alone to live our lives.

Take your Obamacare insurance and stuff it. Never mind, just stop telling lies and leave us alone.

Ralph I. Frazier

Ocean Pines

Research Issues
Before Assuming



To all who are falling for the environmentalist scare tactics regarding farming and its effect on the Chesapeake Bay, a cautionary tale:

Do you remember in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the push to save the Spotted Owl? Environmentalists claimed that the owl’s habitat was being destroyed by the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest. The scare tactics employed led to a national outcry to save the owls. The issue was actually addressed in a Presidential Debate and led to the restriction on logging by the Clinton Administration’s 1994 Northwest Forest Plan. Thousands of workers in the wood products industry were put out of work and the amount of “board feet” produced per year has been slashed.

Now, I’m sure the environmentalists were patting themselves on the back and feeling all superior about how they had “Saved the Spotted Owl”. The only problem is, they didn’t save the Spotted Owl. For some reason, the population of this species has continued to decline, even after all of the new restrictions and regulations on the timber industry.

And lo and behold, the new theory of what is endangering the Spotted Owl is, wait for it – the Barred Owl, a more aggressive and invasive species. So the US Fish and Wildlife Service is spending $3.5 million over six years to remove (a euphemism for “kill”) 3,600 Barred Owls from Oregon, Washington and California. Contractors go to areas where the Barred Owls are, attract them with digital callers, and shoot them with shotguns.

A few questions come to mind: 1. Why are some owls more equal than others? 2. Will environmentalists and their enablers in the Democratic Party ever tire of dealing with “unintended consequences” of their “feel-good legislation”?

And, most important, why should we listen to the environmentalists here about the chicken industry’s impact on the Chesapeake Bay, when their brethren in the Pacific Northwest were so horribly wrong about the Spotted Owl?

Bev Bigler

Ocean Pines

Project A Success


On behalf of the Art League of Ocean City and Diakonia, we would like to thank the hundreds of people who helped make the “Empty Bowl” project a huge success.

This project was a partnership between the two non-profits and was sponsored by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. The program was unique as it engaged a diverse group of people in a creative effort for a good cause. Over 300 ceramic bowls were made, which were given out at a soup dinner to remind people of all the empty bowls in the world. The “Starving Artist Dinner” was the culmination of this effort, and over 200 people attended the dinner.

Thanks go out to the hard working committee members who collaborated to oversee the bowl making and present the dinner: Debbi Anderson, Lisi Ruczynski, Karen Tomasello, Margaret Kimmel, Nancy Barnas, Kathy Bohs and Sandy Glassman. Our gratitude to all the restaurants and businesses who donated the delicious soups, breads, desserts and beverages to the dinner. These civic minded businesses are what makes this area great and we appreciate their donations. They are: Fresco’s, Hooked, Pickles Pub, Atlantic Hotel, Liquid Assets, The Globe, Lighthouse Sound, Bull on the Beach, Seacrets, Fenwick Wine Cellars, Bayside Wine & Spirits, Bayville Package Store, Coffee Beanery, Desserts by Rita, Dunkin Donuts and Panera bread. Thanks also to Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Superfresh and Coastal Tents for their donations.

Our appreciation goes out to the many volunteers from both organizations that came out to help set up, serve, prepare desserts and clean up at the “Starving Artist Dinner” as well as ceramic director Erik Hertz, pottery assistant Monika Lilley and the staff of the Ocean City Center for the Arts.

All of the proceeds from this project will go to support the missions of Diakonia and the Art League. The mission of the Art League of Ocean City is to promote the visual arts in the Ocean City area through exhibits, education, scholarship, programs and community art events. Diakonia is dedicated to building a foundation for those in crisis or who are homeless while maintaining their dignity and respect, providing hope and assistance and helping them change the direction of their lives, one step at a time. Again, we appreciate the participation and the support of all who made this unique fundraiser possible.

Rina Thaler

Claudia Nagle

(Thaler is the executive director of the Art League of Ocean City, and Nagle is the executive director of Diakonia.)