Developer’s Comment Wrong
I am writing to dispute a blatantly inaccurate statement made in the article in the July 17 issue of The Dispatch by Charlene Sharpe. In the article Ms. Sharpe quotes Mr. Gillis saying, “In my opinion it rests on the board of Ocean Pines” with regard to the blame for any unsafe traffic egress at his Medical Center. Horse hockey.
Ocean Pines Association, Inc. has absolutely nothing to do with traffic control or safety on Racetrack Road. As the article clearly points out the discussions for this matter have been between the county, the state and Gillis. Ocean Pines only recent involvement has been its legitimate opposition to Mr. Gillis’s proposed traffic circle at our north gate entrance. This plan would have a serious and adverse effect on Ocean Pines. That said, it should be noted that Ocean Pines did give land to the State Highway Administration in order to help improve the safety at that site. Even at that early stage all parties knew it would not satisfy the eventual need for better egress from the Gillis property.
Quite frankly, when I hear that the state, county and Mr. Gillis are discussing this issue without Ocean Pines’ input, I am reminded of the cartoon about three wolves and a lamb discussing dinner plans.
Where’s The Leadership?
Although it is difficult to balance health versus wealth, a reasonable and prudent person should have known that opening a vacation destination would only lead to an increase of COVID-19 positive cases.
Whether it was pressure from business interests, or worry of reduced fiscal revenues, the Ocean City government decided to pursue the shaky path to wealth.
Based on July 21’s Covid-19 updates, in the eight weeks since approximately May 25, Ocean City’s positive COVID-19 case number has risen from 15 to 113. This is 7.53 times the original number; an increase of 653% positive cases.
Leadership? Would a reasonable and prudent person expect vacationers to read and follow the stenciled sidewalk graphics to proceed at your own risk (to paraphrase those graphics approaching the Boardwalk?) Would a reasonable and prudent person expect vacationers to adhere to the temporary electronic signs encouraging visitors to wear face coverings and practice social distancing? I surmise they would not.
Leadership? Notwithstanding the above, was there even a plan to inspect the bars and restaurants to ensure they were following the State of Maryland’s Emergency Declarations? Has the Ocean City Police Department done anything to enforce the declaration? This includes social distancing, or lack thereof, on the Boardwalk.
Leadership? Has the Worcester County Health Department prepared a plan to protect the citizens? Have the Worcester County Commissioners enacted a plan of protection? I don’t know. What I do know is that on April 30, the Berlin/Ocean Pines, 21811 zip code, COVID-19 case number was 29. It is now 187, this is 6.45 times that number; an increase of 545% positive cases.
The citizens deserve more.
Hiding More From Public?
Over a period of 18 months, Ocean City’s Mayor & City Council (M&CC) and a committee of three council members met secretly in closed sessions dismantling the previous Pier Franchise Ordinance, negotiating amendments and rewriting a new Ordinance Agreement, as well as drafting a Resolution to establish how revenue from the new agreement would be dedicated to the Boardwalk. In doing so, Maryland’s Open Meetings Compliance Board found that the City Council violated our State’s Open Meetings Act on multiple occasions. The Board wrote in their Opinion that “…the Council violated the Act at every closed meeting at which it discussed the pier franchise.”
At the conclusion of that Opinion, the Board wrote “…we encourage the Council to provide the public with minutes of the portions of the closed sessions from which the public was excluded in violation of the Act.”
At their meeting on July 20, 2020, the Council had that opportunity. However, they voted to deny the public access to those minutes. Not only has the City Council denied the public the forum to hear the Pier Franchise discussions in open session; now they are excluding our citizens from reading the minutes of their close door discussions.
What is the City Council hiding from the public?
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.
A Life Was Saved In OC
(The following was addressed to the Ocean City Mayor and City Council.)
The owners, guests and employees at the Sea Watch would like to thank your public safety professionals for their outstanding performance during the emergency that occurred at our building on Monday, July 12, 2020.
We want to thank in particular the Ocean City Police, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Technicians for their outstanding efforts. Their professionalism and dedication saved a person’s life that day.
Additionally, we thank the Mayor and City Council for providing these first responders with the necessary resources to ensure the public is protected, and trust as we move forward your support of these professionals will not waiver.
The residents, property owners and guests of Ocean City are truly fortunate to have available to them such professionals as these first responders.
Sea Watch Council of Unit Owners
Suicide’s Warning Signs
In the past two weeks, local newspapers have reported two incidents on Ocean City balconies described as an accident or a potential suicide. In one case, police and fire officers successfully stemmed a suicide attempt by talking an individual through a mental health crisis. In the other, while the preliminary investigation ruled the fall from a hotel balcony an accidental death, the medical examiner will determine the exact cause.
While leaping from high places is a rare method of making an attempt on one’s own life, the density of tall, multi-story buildings in Ocean City in particular acts as an enticement to those under mental stress, and suicide is often an impulsive act. When the presence of alcohol and drugs is added, it can become a lethal mix.
In our 11 years as advocates for suicide awareness and prevention, we have learned that nearly everyone is touched by suicide, not just those who are themselves suicidal, but also those left behind in grief after a completed suicide. Everyone should be able to recognize the warning signs that someone might be seriously considering an attempt on their own life: withdrawal from friends and family members; access to the means of suicide (guns, drugs, high balcony); reckless, risky behavior; anxiety, anger, “Nobody ever listens to me!”; loss of hope, “My life is going nowhere, I’ll always be a loser”; giving away valued possessions; talking, writing, texting, posting about death; and asking about writing a will, writing last letters.
Suicide prevention first aid is not much different than CPR. Anyone can learn. Often all it takes is a smile, the question “Are you OK,” or if you think a crisis is at hand “Are you thinking about suicide?” Don’t be afraid to use the word. There is always help at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255).
To learn more about how you can become a proficient suicide prevention first aider, visit www.jessespaddle.org/ineedhelp.html
(The writer is the corresponding secretary for the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness & Prevention Program.)
Undeniable Truths Response
My biggest encouragement of all: Fact check yourself before pulling “facts” and ‘statistics’ off of Facebook. It only took myself a quick look to verify some of the previously listed ”undeniable truths” by Dennis Evans.
“The law allowing for separation of children from their parents who cross the border illegally was signed by BIll Clinton in 1997. Why is it a problem now?” Fact: There is no law that requires parents and their children to be separated. This was only enacted as a result of a temp zero-tolerance policy under the current administration. Has since been rescinded (BBC).
“In 2018, 68 people were killed by mass shootings. In that same year, 2,000 people were killed by illegal immigrants.” Fact: I would like to see where this stat was pulled from. I couldn’t find anything to support this, maybe Anne Coulter. Gun Violence Archive puts the 2018 reported mass shooting incidents at 340 and even then, what qualifies as a mass shooting? There is no official record that tracks crimes committed by illegal immigrants. But I suppose 2,000 does sound like a nice well-rounded number.
“Trump’s wall costs less than the Obamacare website.” Fact: Trump placed the wall at $10-12 billion, then a Department of Homeland Security report put it as $21.6 billion. ‘’Healthcare.gov’’ cost $834 million according to the then-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary and expanded up to $2.1 billion by a Bloomburg report. The statistics continue as sourced through linked PoltiFact sources, but it is hard to dispute the wall is/will/would cost more than the website.
I sent in this info not as a form of antagonizing those with opposing viewpoints, but to point out the value in doing your due-diligence. We live in a technological age, inarguably with access to too much information. But as an increasingly suggestible society, keep in mind it is much more than where your allegiances lie, but in your own dedication to finding the closest thing you can to truth. Check my information. Why not? Be curious.
But spreading misinformation only spreads ignorance, be careful about what world you are creating.