Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk May 6, 2016

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk May 6, 2016

The biggest takeaway from this week’s interview with Assateague Island National Seashore Superintendent Deborah Darden is change is coming to Assateague but nothing major should be expected in the immediate future, assuming Mother Nature is cooperative.

It was interesting how Darden summed up the island’s past, present and future when discussing the National Park Service’s preferred alternative outlined in a new General Management Plan currently under review.

The previous generation would probably not recognize Assateague today because of all the manmade and natural changes that have taken place over the years. Fast forward a generation beyond today and the same will probably be able to be said.

“When we talk to people that have lived here a long time they are more aware than anybody that the island is moving westward. They can see the changes that have occurred in their lifetime. I think if we can agree that things are changing and we have to find a way to deal with those changes, people generally are very sympathetic to that because, like I said, if you’ve lived here all your life, you can remember what it used to be like and what it is today,” she said. “You can see those changes are occurring … if we can work with the island and move things as they need to be moved, I think we can create a situation where we have the services way into the future, and that’s what we were trying to do with our preferred alternative.”

The Hometown Heroes Program on the Boardwalk is arguably the best thing Ocean City has done in recent years. It gives me chills to see these banners while walking the Boardwalk.

It’s about pride in today’s youth making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s especially warming that these are locals making these decisions to serve our country, particularly when more and more often the news of those making bad choices carries the day. The families of these men and women should hold their head high and understand the difference these individuals are making.

Word this year’s campaign will expand to honor the living World War II veterans with local ties is even more exciting and deserving. These new banners will feature photos of the veterans during their service days.

Last year there were 20 banners recognizing active service men and women with residential ties to the area. This year there will be 40 banners — 16 of which will recognize active service men and women and the remainder devoted to living World War II veterans.

The situation involving FEMA’s error on flood maps in Ocean City is disturbing on several fronts.

First is the fact property owners affected by this mistake have little recourse but to pay the higher flood insurance premiums at this time and hope for the best down the line. They are wrongly being made to pay the higher cost, but they risk not having any coverage at all if they don’t buy the policy. It’s a ridiculous situation to be put in.

Secondly, the Town of Ocean City will have to hire a consultant to the tune of $65,000 to file the appropriate paperwork to request FEMA review the flood zone maps to confirm an error was made. That’s equally absurd.

A lot of money is going to have to be spent to address something that never should have happened. Senate Jim Mathias put it well this week, saying, “For many years, we’ve worked very effectively with our state and federal partners to protect Ocean City and its citizens from storms and flooding through our Beach Replenishment Program. Unfortunately, this FEMA error vacates so much of our good work.”