Good Samaritan Thanked
On Monday morning I decided to stop at Food Lion in Ocean Pines to pick up a few items to take with me to work. After shopping I realized I had locked my keys in my car along with my cell phone. The store manager was very nice and let me use the store’s phone to make a call. I was unable to reach anyone at my home to bring my spare key. Monday morning was truly living up to its’ bad reputation.
A very nice woman who was leaving the parking lot agreed to give me, a complete stranger, a ride to my house. Not only did she do that for me but noticed a short time later that my wallet had fallen on the floor of her car. She made another trip back to my house to leave it for me then drove back to Food Lion in hopes of catching me to let me know. She refused to accept any monetary gift for her trouble.
I appreciated her kindness and honesty so much that I wanted to share the story. I hope someone blesses her in her time of need like she did for me. It’s nice to know there are still good people in the world, especially when the news tends to be full of negative headlines.
CAFO A Major Concern
The following is a letter I’ve sent to the Worcester County Commissioners that I also wanted to share with the public.
I am writing to express my dismay concerning the enormous CAFO planned for my neighborhood on Purnell Crossing Road in Libertytown. I do realize that this operation is considered an agricultural use of the property and is acceptable under the current regulations.
I live at 7611 Purnell Crossing Rd. and have been a resident of Libertytown for 30 years. As my neighbors would agree, this has been a nice area to live and raise a family in–fairly quiet and safe. It’s a rural area that has had farms for more than 100 years. The Seagull Century bicycle race goes along our road and throughout the year there are more and more smaller groups of cyclists enjoying the winding, peaceful road and its scenery–farms with visible livestock, the bridge over the Pocomoke River and acres and acres of crops. The families that live here enjoy walking along the road with their children and fishing off the bridge.
We have already been forced to put up with the negative aspects of the Town of Berlin’s wastewater treatment facility. It seems like this giant CAFO will be forced upon us too.
The heavy truck traffic necessary to supply and maintain this facility is is going to take a toll on Purnell Crossing Road, a long portion of which hasn’t been paved in years. This traffic will also be dangerous on the narrow, curvy road.
I doubt the tourists who visit our area will perceive eight, 800-foot structures and the associated outbuildings that make up a CAFO as a farm. It will look like an industrial complex, which it is. A CAFO–a poultry operation so large it has its own acronym — is not the same as a farm raising cattle or growing corn and shouldn’t be treated–and permitted — as such. It’s doubtful the chickens there will see the light of day more than a few times in their lives, and passersby certainly will not see them. It’s hard to believe an operation that can use more than 33,000 gallons of water a day isn’t going to have an effect on the local environment.
I realize that none of you know me personally so I feel the need to let you know that I realize how important the poultry industry is to our economy and it’s not the chickens that bother me, it’s the sheer size of the operation.
On my farm, there are many animals, including two agricultural staples–cattle and chickens. The neighbors have never complained, but then again from the road my property looks like a traditional family farm — not a high-tech industrial site. Furthermore, there is a CAFO on Libertytown Road — a road better equipped than Purnell Crossing to handle the trucks associated with large poultry operations–and I don’t think anyone has objected to that, as it is on a large piece of property and set back off the road.
Another aspect of this CAFO proposal that bothers me is the amount of oversight — or lack of — it will receive. During my three decades in Worcester County, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about and complying with all the county’s rules and regulations. A few years ago, when I decided to replace my aging farm house with a smaller, more energy efficient one, I had many months of stressful dealings with the county — including a hearing, a new survey, and inspections by seven different county employees. Because I have horses I also have to deal with the nutrient management rules that treat horse manure like it’s nuclear waste.
When we ask the purpose of the array of regulations and requirements we’re expected to comply with, we’re told it’s to protect the residents and character of Worcester County. What is there to protect Worcester County from the risks — to the environment, to our health and to our quality of life– associated with CAFOs? I just can’t believe that we’re expected to put up with a change in the neighborhood as big as a CAFO without so much as an opportunity to share our concerns with the county’s planning commission. This is not fair.
I understand that the planning commission is set to soon consider a text amendment that would increase requirements for CAFOs. I only wish that it had been drafted sooner so that things like buffers and density limits might have made the industrial poultry operation planned for Purnell Crossing more palatable.
Partner Support Appreciated
The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) wishes to thank our partners for their assistance with the 2016 Sunset Park Party Nights music series. Every Thursday night in July and August these events brought quality music at Sunset Park. Each summer these music events are bringing more attendees to the downtown area.
Our principal partner on these events was the Town of Ocean City who managed every other event with OCDC staff. In particular, thanks to Frank Miller and his Special Events staff. Also, special thanks to Bill Paul and the Ocean City Recreation Boosters volunteers who sold beverages at each event with the proceeds going to youth programs in Ocean City.
Each week, local nonprofit organizations co-sponsored an event and invited their memberships to attend. These groups included the OC Cruzers, Art League of OC, HMRA, OC Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Bays Program, OC Surf Club and the Downtown Association.
We appreciate all for making this a successful music series. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2017 at Sunset Park for more music events.
(The writer is the executive director of the Ocean City Development Corporation.)