City Again Violating First Amendment

City Again Violating First Amendment


As a Boardwalk performer, I understand the need for safeguards to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Ocean City. But new regulations on Boardwalk performance are once again doomed to failure, and please allow me to explain why.

The First Amendment — notice, it’s first because it’s the most important — protects freedom of speech, and arguably by extension, freedom of expression. How the city has violated this most sacrosanct of our laws was exemplified on the first day the new regulations took effect.

A young boy visiting with his family from Pennsylvania was denied his right to sing on the boardwalk because he hadn’t registered to do so a week prior to his visit. This boy, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, has sung on the Boardwalk during previous visits, and finds relief from his condition by singing. The city denied him his most fundamental right as an American, and that’s big trouble. While the city’s job is to regulate activities like Boardwalk performance, it has simply over-reached, and will necessarily have to restructure current regulations. Over-reaching is an oft-repeated theme in making and enforcing the law. It’s why citizens have protections like the First Amendment.

Let’s hope the city can promptly walk back current regulations that violate the First Amendment, before it once again finds itself in an expensive, losing legal battle.

Bob Carr


Farmers Week Celebrated


Governor Larry Hogan has designated Aug. 2-8, Farmers Market Week in Maryland, and we invite you to celebrate local farms and local food with us. During this week, many markets will offer food preparation demonstrations, music and children’s activities along with an assortment of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, wine tastings, and more.

One way to celebrate is to include at least one local farmers market product in your meals each day. Try fresh, local products once and we think you will want to do so more frequently. There are more than 140 farmers markets across the state – at least one in every county and Baltimore City. The markets are filled with a variety of items – from watermelons and peaches to greens, sweet corn and the hottest habanero.

Farmers markets provide an important source of income for farmers, and local economies can improve as consumers seek the freshness, quality, and wide selection of locally grown produce, meats, dairy, eggs and more. Markets also serve as integral links between urban, suburban and rural communities. By talking one-on-one with farmers, you can learn where your food comes from, how to best prepare it, and useful storage and handling tips. You just can’t beat talking with a farmer to understand and appreciate your food.

You can also enter to win a prize by uploading your favorite farmers’ market week photo to Facebook or Twitter with #MdFarmersMarketWeek. At the end of the week, the Maryland Department of Agriculture will enter all the names of people who uploaded a photo into a drawing to win a prize! If you don’t engage with social media, you can submit photos the old fashioned way – by U.S. mail. Include name and contact information, phone number, and send to Shelby Watson Hampton, MDA, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401. All photo submissions must be postmarked by Aug. 8.

A randomly selected participant will win a copy of the local cookbook Dishing up Maryland, a $50 gift certificate to use on Maryland’s Best Ice Cream trail, and a copy of the first season of Maryland Public Television’s award winning series Maryland Farm & Harvest.

For more information on farmers markets in your area, visit or call 410-841-5770. See you at the market.

Joe Bartenfelder

(The writer is the secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture.)

Feral Cat Story Response


If trap-neuter-release proponents succeed in preventing animal control from picking up feral cats when citizens complain about them, this will inevitably cause cats to suffer deaths far worse than humane, painless euthanasia at the shelter (“Groups Hoping To Change County’s Feral Cat Law,” July 30).

Not everybody loves cats or wants a colony of cats living on their property. When shelters refuse to take in feral cats, they give people no choice but to take matters into their own hands. This sets cats up for horrifying deaths by poisoning, shooting, or drowning by people who are irritated when cats kill songbirds, get into noisy fights at all hours, climb on their cars, or dig in their flowerbeds.

Even feral cats in so-called “managed” colonies usually die lingering, painful deaths due to parasite infestations, deadly infectious diseases, exposure, car strikes, attacks by dogs, wildlife or cruel people, and starvation or dehydration after they become trapped in sheds, sewer pipes, or crawl spaces.

It is tragic that cats are dying for lack of good homes, but we must not compound this tragedy by refusing to shelter them and spare them a lingering death on the streets.

Teresa Chagrin

Norfolk, Val.

(The writer is an Animal Care & Control Specialist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.)