Police Chief Thankful For Community Support
With the first motor event of 2018 behind us, I would like to thank our entire community for their support. A significant amount of time went into preparing for this past weekend and much of our efforts would not have been possible without the support of our residents and business owners.
Several allied agencies came to Ocean City from across the state to assist us. Susan Jones and her staff at the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association were instrumental in assisting us with coordinating food and lodging for our allied support. Thanks to their relationships with hotel owners and coordination efforts, we were able to provide lodging for all of the officers from allied agencies at no cost to the Town of Ocean City. I sincerely thank the Carousel Resort Hotel, Coconut Malorie Resort, Commander Hotel, Francis Scott Key Family Resort, Quality Inn Boardwalk and the Sahara Motel for their gracious hospitality and support.
Many restaurants throughout town also agreed to provide meals for visiting officers. I would like to sincerely thank Abbey Burger Bistro, Anthony’s Carryout, Bayside Skillet, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon & Dry Dock 28, Captain’s Table, Coral Reef Café, Dough Roller on 41st and 70th Streets, Finnegan’s Irish Pub, Fish Tales, General’s Kitchen, The Original Greene Turtle, Grotto’s, Happy Jack’s Pancake House, Ky West, Layton’s, Macky’s, Pit & Pub and Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli.
We are extremely grateful for the many local business partners that have shown their dedication to public safety in Ocean City. The community partnerships and strong relationships that we enjoy are truly what makes our community safe.
(The writer is the chief of the Ocean City Police Department.)
Canopy Ban Upsetting
When a criminal steals form you, they usually like to do it when you’re not home or not paying attention. Politicians are pretty much the same. When they take your rights from you, it’s usually done in the dead of night or a time of year when you least expect it.
Here we have the Bethany Beach Town Council.
In the off-season, they decided that they know best how to protect your family from the harmful rays of the sun and how you should shade yourself while on the beach. In the beginning, it was a discussion about how a few groups put out their umbrellas, chairs, canopies, towels or cabanas early to reserve their spots on the beach. In rare cases, these squatters would not even occupy their set ups until later in the morning. We all can agree that this shouldn’t happen. Somewhere along the way, it turned into a referendum against anybody who did not use an 8’ approved umbrella to protect their family from the elements. Some of the people who shared their opinion in front of the council actually based their opinion on how it made the beach look (“different color umbrellas are prettier than those ugly canopies”) and not on the supposed problems that these shading devices pose. A questioner was sent out to Bethany Beach residences to ask their opinion. As we all know, Bethany is a resort town where most of the houses are empty over the winter. The few residences that remain voted to ban the canopies. From what I’ve seen, most of these year-round residences are older, retired people and some don’t understand that it is happy tourists that keep their town running. Why weren’t the summer residences polled? I’m pretty sure when you rent a home during the season, and you spend several thousand dollars to do so, you should have a voice on this question.
In our case (and I think in many cases), we are a family of 50-plus who have vacationed in Bethany for over 33 years straight. We use three to four canopies and always set up at the back of the beach. We have never heard from any of the families that we see on the beach year after year of any problems. Our canopies are always anchored with sand bags and never pose a tripping hazard. Our family, as with the vast majority of large families who use canopies, do not set up in any way to limit other beachgoers of their view, access, or fun. We just want to protect our kids and grandkids from the sun.
Ironically, during our vacation last summer, one of the council members (Rosemary Hardiman) approached our family under the guise of protecting our rights to use our canopies and indeed praised us for how we set up as to not disrupt or disturb other beachgoers. She asked and was permitted to take pictures of our set up and assured us that she would be an advocate for responsible canopy use. In attending several of the council meetings over the off season, I realized that she actually used the photos to argue for the ban of canopies and the ban of any shading device (save small baby tents) besides eight-foot umbrellas. Her actions were very disappointing. Not surprising. Disappointing.
Let’s talk about those umbrellas. The Bethany Beach Council appointed a committee (CORC) to study the issue and get back to them with their recommendations. One of most influential committee members was Tempe Steen, the wife of the only vendor allowed to rent eight-foot umbrellas on Bethany Beach Ron Steen. That committee voted to ban any shading device except for umbrellas. Doesn’t it seem a bit strange that the only vendor allowed to rent umbrellas on the beach is owned by her husband? Full disclosure here. After it was found out she was on the committee, and the council got some heat, she recused herself from further official work on the committee. By that time, the damage had been done. Gotta love small town, “ole boy” politics.
The only good thing to come from this is that I did find one council member with a rare trait for politicians – common sense. He is Vice Mayor Lew Kilmer. Never did a meeting go by on this subject where he didn’t express his feelings that the council was reacting to a problem that didn’t exist and he believed that they were reacting to what Rehoboth did and that their time and treasure was best spent elsewhere.
The irony now is instead of erecting four to five canopies at the back of the beach, our family will be forced to set up 12-14 umbrellas to protect ourselves form the sun. Sorry Steen family, none will be rented.
Path Of Denial, Delay
Here is my curiosity:
Why, in Worcester County do we have commissioners and other county elected officials who deny climate change and one of its most insidious impacts, sea level rise.
Science has proven that the current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), are primarily human caused and are a by-product of burning fossil fuels. Research has also proven that 350 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere is the only long term sustainable level for healthy earth ecosystems. We currently have 411 PPM of CO2 in our atmosphere. The best remedial tool to combat excess CO2 and CH4 in our atmosphere is the immediate adoption of clean, renewable sources of energy and the suspension of all new fossil fuel development projects.
Despite these facts, our local elected officials are pursuing a path of denial and delay for the immediate development of wind energy farms off the Maryland coast. The claim being made by Ocean City town officials is that the visual impact of wind turbines off the coast will reduce real estate values. This is another curiosity because across our planet, coastal real estate is being lost to the sea level at an accelerating rate.
Because of climate change and global warming, every year the planet is warmer than the year previous and the acreage loss rate also increases. I am curious. Are our political leaders in league with fossil fuel corporations, both seeking short term financial gains while compromising our long-term health and security?
A final curiosity: Both Republicans and Democrats are curious as to why current local leadership are turning their backs on a $1.4 billion investment, 3,500 direct jobs, and a long term economic growth from a Maryland offshore wind industry that the development of the offshore wind promises. This development also guarantees the modernization of the electrical grid on the Eastern Shore and long-term stability of electricity rates and resulting economic growth. Why are our local leaders bucking the inevitable international movement toward less expensive, clean, renewable energy that helps insure a sustainable future? Will our community ever be able to make proactive rather than reactive decisions? Can we make choices that will consider impacts beyond the end of year financial statements? Can decisions we make today take into consideration the long-term sustainability of these choices?
An informed electorate results in a more responsive governance. Vote your conscience in the June 26 primary and in the November elections.
Speed Limit Cut Wrong
(The following letter was addressed to the Ocean City Mayor & City Council with a copy sent to this publication.)
Congratulations on the planning and foresight of the Cruisin weekend. Sen. Mathias, at your request, had the special event bill passed at the legislature enabling Chief Buzzuro to enlist the many law enforcement agencies from throughout the area to assist in the enforcement of our town’s ordinances and laws. Thank you for your efforts.
However, I disagree with the idea of changing the speed limits to 30 mph from 40 mph. The difference between the two isn’t that significant and it was very costly.
No .1: There were thousands of dollars spent just changing the signs alone.
No. 2: It gives visitors the opinion that we are becoming like a Bridgeville or Bethany Beach, where the speed limits are particularly low enabling them to write tickets and collect fines.
No. 3: What about the residents and property tax payers that live here? Why should they have to suffer the consequences of possibly forgetting the special event and what the speed limit is a few days a year? You must remember that most of our residents are senior citizens and memory is not on the top of their list.
Again, my congratulations on your foresight and I agree with your actions, but without changing the speed limit.
Record Setting Benefit
The 7th Annual Hats for Hospice Preakness Party benefiting Coastal Hospice was a record setting success despite heavy rains and a location change. The signature fundraiser for charity care hosted 177 attendees and raised more than $22,000.
The funds raised support patients of Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties who do not have resources for care or who have needs that extend beyond their insurance coverage.
Every year, a dedicated committee of volunteers helps organize this Preakness Day event. We would like to personally thank co-chairs Diana Barber and Alan Merritt-Hyle, the Hats contest co-chair Kathleen Abercrombie, and committee members Nancie Booth, Jenna Bowne, Hope Morgan and Nancy Hall.
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Charter Society Anchor Award to Dirk and Gayle Widdowson. The couple has cultivated significant financial support, volunteered much of their time to support the mission, and they demonstrate leadership, compassion and generosity.
Sponsorships are critical to the success of the event. We want to personally and publicly acknowledge the following sponsors for their support: Jack and Marge Duer, Kuhn’s Jewelers, Bruce and Cindy Leiner, Ronald and Hope Morgan, Phyllis Vinyard, Dirk and Gayle Widdowson, Diana and Ed Barber, CATO Gas and Oil, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Alan and William Hyle, William and Nancy Hall, Ginnie Malone Realty, Debbie and Rodney Abbott, Charles Brown Glass Co., Chesapeake AG Cargo LLC, Companion Home Care, David and Donna Hanlin, Edward and Patricia Klopp, Nelson Insurance Company, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Jim and Jan Perdue, Silicato Development, Widdowson and Dashiell PA, William Staples Insurance and Financial, and Yard Designs.
The event would not have been complete without the 17 talented hat designers who turned hats donated by Vernon Powell Shoes into majestic pieces of art. The community voted for their favorite hats by sending in donations. Hats off to the designers.
Our appreciation goes out to Ocean City Golf Club for hosting the event on short notice, and to our celebrity bartenders: Lisa Bryant of Delmarva Life on WBOC and Daniel Johnson, chief meteorologist on WMDT. We are also grateful for the in-kind support from Candy Kitchen, Impact Audio and City Florist.
Thanks to this generous community, we can continue to deliver on our promise to put our patients’ needs and goals first in all we do.
Alane K. Capen
(The writer is the president of Coastal Hospice.)