Florida is wide open. Positivity rate is lower than California, which is totally shut down.
Schools in Florida have been completely open all year and not one student death in the entire state from COVID-19.
What else do we need to know?
Open schools, stop canceling events and open Maryland.
Let the people decide whether they want to come out or stay home.
Watch Groups Serving OC
“See Something Say Something”
Simple words that echo with law enforcement agencies in the country and a potent rallying cry to bring a community together to deter crime.
Neighborhood Watch Program was formed to identify and address criminal activity within a community. Ocean City is fortunate to have eight active neighborhood watch groups Bay Shore Drive, Boardwalk, Caine Keys II, Caine Woods, Edgewater Avenue, Little Salisbury, Montego Bay and Sundowner Park.
After a particular trying summer, two Downtown Neighborhood Watch Groups (Boardwalk and Edgewater) held four meetings with business leaders and property owners in the south end of town to develop crime deterring solutions to bolster security and promote public safety for the downtown area.
At January and February Police Commission meetings, many of these crime-deterring solutions gained support and will be implemented this coming tourist season (reported in OC Today/Coast Dispatch articles).
To join a neighborhood watch group, contact Ashley Miller, deputy communications manager for the Ocean City Police Department.
(Weaver is the Boardwalk coordinator, while Pillas is the Edgewater Avenue coordinator.)
BJ’s, Leo’s Will Be Missed
A couple of our favorite places to meet friends and to enjoy great food have closed their doors. So many good times to remember over what seems to be a lifetime in Ocean City. Weren’t they always there, in mid-town and on the north end? Both a popular gathering place, year-round cause the owners and the staff were always so pleasant and welcoming.
BJ’s had that local bar feeling with a view of the bay and duck feeding daily, add the live bands and what’s not to love. The owners Billy and Madeline Carter were always so generous to all the organizations and groups who ask for support in their charity work. They stayed active in all things Ocean City and of course a big hit with their float in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Leo’s was one of the best diner feeling places ever, always welcoming, soft chatter and hot coffee. He made the best homemade vegetable soup and fried chicken (to order) and his rice pudding and the crabs were seasoned just right. A great meal, “Blue Plate” special, (as it was once called) eat in or carry out. You got to dine in a wonderful art gallery of oil paintings, a big collection of artist located in Greece and its surrounding islands. They looked as lifelike as a photograph. “Pete” and his wife are part of a Greek family who own other great restaurants in town. They are very active in the Greek Church.
All of us in the area say, “thank you very much.”
Nelson and June Kelly
Hospice Applauds Support
I would like to bring to your attention an extraordinary effort by our Lower Shore community. In a year like no other, donors came out in full force to support our annual Coastal Hospice “Be An Angel” campaign, contributing a record-breaking $176,389.
As no one is ever turned away because of financial need, this is a crucial fundraising effort. Proceeds offset patient costs that are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance and will support our Bereavement Program which is free to anyone in the community.
Nearly 1,360 individuals and families donated in support of the drive, almost every one of them in honor of or remembrance of a special person. Eight Angel Trees throughout the region displayed donors’ angel ornaments, showcasing the names of those loved ones.
There is no way to thank everyone by name here, although a full list will appear in our next newsletter. We would be remiss, however, if we did not acknowledge the commitment of our long-time media sponsor 47ABC. They host a tree and read many of the names written on the ornaments during the morning news each day, all month before Christmas.
We also thank the following organizations for hosting trees: The Atlantic Hotel, Coastal Hospice Thrift Shop, Crisfield Elks Lodge #1044, Crisfield American Legion Post #16, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Hurlock Town Hall and The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina.
And most importantly, thank you to every Angel who supported the campaign. Rest assured, you have made a difference in someone’s life.
(The writer is the president of Coastal Hospice.)
Vaccine Website Flawed
Whoever designed the vaccine website doesn’t know the meaning of “user friendly.” I wasted a few days clicking on “find vaccination clinics” until a friend told me I had to click on the second blue box “find other vaccination clinics.” Then you can’t click on the sites that have available appointments but you can on the sites with no appointments.
There should have been one list for the entire county instead of everyone contacting the health department, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, Walmart, etc. What I really don’t understand is why the state opened up the eligibility list to 65-74-year-olds (of which I am one) before they took care of all of the older people. I know 80- and 90-year-olds who still can’t get an appointment.
I was on several waiting lists and then AGH called for me to come in for the shot. They were very professional and organized. I have heard other places are also so thanks to all the health care workers.
Education Stance Welcomed
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to states on standardized testing in 2021. Essentially, it made clear that every state was required to administer standardized tests to assess student learning.
I am the Black parent of three middle school children, a veteran and I am a co-chair for “We The Parents” in NY. As a parent leader, I want to thank the Biden administration for putting children at the center of the national education discussion. It is imperative that we as parents and communities have a clear understanding of the depth of the educational impact of the pandemic. We cannot address the issues around the massive learning loss until we have a clear picture of where our children are academically.
It is rare that politicians at any level, especially the highest level stand firm on promises they make during the campaign. So, bravo President Biden. The educational effects of this pandemic will be felt for the next decade. Especially since Black children in urban school districts are more likely to be in schools that decided to stay fully remote in September of 2020. This is in stark comparison to suburban schools and private schools that were much more likely to open fully in person or in a hybrid model.
The most important lesson to take from this statement is that parents need to stay encouraged when speaking up for the children in their communities. Parent leaders from across the country have expressed their concern with the drastic learning loss over the past year. Often met with “we can’t do assessments”, “or it’s not that big of learning loss”, parents have seen the difference in the quality of education and the pace of their child’s learning. The statement from the Biden administration validates what parents have been vocalizing for months. Parents have a voice, and parents have power, we just need to do better at using them both.