Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – July 22, 2016

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – July 22, 2016

The latest in a series of increases to the minimum wage in Maryland took effect this month. The current hourly minimum wage rate is $8.75 (from $8.25 most recently and formerly $7.25). Next summer the wage will jump to $9.25 and then hit $10.10 in July 2018.

When the minimum wage was at $7.25 an hour, the annual salary based on a 40-hour workweek came to $15,080. With the current rate of $8.75, that increases to $18,200. When the wage jumps to $10.10 in two years, the annual salary for a minimum wage earner who clocks 40 hours a week will increase to $21,008.

Whether this is a good thing depends on your political beliefs, but one thing it does not do is help businesses. In fact, for a small business employing 10 employees at the minimum wage earning level, payroll costs will jump from $182,000 presently to $210,080 in two years. That 15-percent increase is not sustainable, but the majority of the legislators in Annapolis are not thinking about this sort of thing, unfortunately.

Last week’s story about Narcan Nasal Spray, or Naloxone, reveals an interesting trend that must frustrate law enforcement. Narcan is an antidote for opiate overdoses. When a person overdoes, a spray of Narcan up the nose blocks the opioids from depressing a person’s respiratory system. It’s been called a miracle drug because it prevents death.

As is the case often with the most desperate among us, addicts have found a way to take advantage of this antidote. For one, they keep it in their house when possible as a sort of “free pass” in case they overdo it with their heroin. Secondly, there have been several examples when Narcan has actually prevented arrests on possession and distribution. In one specific case, an individual overdosed but a friend was there to administer Narcan, which brought him back. Since first responders had been alerted, they flushed all their drugs down the toilet before they arrived, meaning there was no recourse for police by the time they got to the domicile.

In last week’s story, Nate Passwaters, a sergeant with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office who is on the front lines of this drug epidemic, acknowledged there is a sense of relief and aggravation when he learns of a drug overdose being prevented and the user not seeking treatment as a result of the huge scare.

“Heroin users are keeping Narcan in the house while they use heroin or opiates as an added safety measure,” Passwaters said. “Bottom line is we don’t want people to overdose and die, so, while it is troubling that some people are pushing the envelope knowing that Narcan is there, we are glad that it’s there.”

If it saves lives, it’s a good thing, but it also makes law enforcement’s job that much more difficult in many cases.

As far as I’m concerned, Trimpers Rides is the oldest family-owned amusement park in the world. It’s a definite that it holds that title in the U.S. and little gray area when it comes to the world’s bragging rights due to questions surrounding how the Blackgang Chine Park began in England.

It’s tough to imagine Ocean City without Trimpers Rides, but that appeared a possibility in 2008 when a tax issue led to concerns the increased property assessment could result in owners finding a new, more profitable use for their property. Fortunately, that issue was resolved and the amusement park lives on.

Congratulations to the Trimper family on this designation being confirmed. It’s a noteworthy achievement to be certain.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.