No To Painting Courts
The idea to paint the surface of the basketball courts in Henry Park in Berlin is ill conceived. Players use lines and markings on the court surface to orient themselves to the basket, other players and boundaries. Each of the lines and zones has a purpose in the game.
Painting the court surface in vivid colors would only confuse and distract a player and make these boundaries difficult to navigate. A quick Google search of best practices for basketball court surfaces offers up many images of how a court should be lined, with templates available to do it properly. I visited the park and saw that the surfaces were striped with appropriate markings that contrast well against the court surface. Members of the Berlin Parks Commission are wise to be concerned with paint damaging the existing non-skid surface and maintenance required of a painted surface.
Neighborhood basketball courts are often used by multi-generational players, with more seasoned players interacting with less experienced players. There may be other reasons why the courts aren’t used more, if in fact that is true. The money to paint the courts could be used instead to hire a coach or teacher to offer free drop-in learning sessions for all ages, in order to build energy and interest in the courts and to complement the summer basketball program. Advertise this on social media, put up fliers. Also, Henry Park is not easily found. It shows up as Stephen Decatur Park on Google maps. Maybe a sign out front that says basketball courts would draw in folks traveling back and forth on Flower Street. And at 10 feet tall, the basketball hoops may be too high for younger players. Lowering a few may help or bringing in portable, adjustable hoops.
Officials Spreading Fear
Governor Hogan and State Senator Mary Beth Carozza are wrong to fearmonger over The Dignity Not Detention Act (HB016).
It is terrible that Governor Larry Hogan vetoed HB016, the Dignity Not Detention Act, and our State Senator Mary Beth Carozza voted against it this past session. What is even worse is their current cowardice effort to dehumanize our immigrant communities on the Shore and across the state by spreading divisive lies about the bill to spread fear and hate in our community in hopes it will bring them political gains.
Here are the facts. The Dignity Not Detention Act sponsored by Delegate Vaughn Stewart and Senator William C. Smith, Jr. doesn’t turn Maryland into a “Sanctuary State,” nor does it “allow criminals to roam Maryland and threaten public safety.” The legislation protects our immigrant communities from the aggressive and often illegal federal policies conducted by ICE by banning local prison contracts with federal immigration agencies.
This legislation stops places like Worcester County from profiting off of human suffering and supporting the policies of ICE that are often unconstitutional and violate numerous human rights. Human Rights violations that include separating child from their parents, locking kids in cages, and unwanted invasive medical procedures like complete hysterectomy leaving immigrant women unable to have children.
It is shameful that our Governor and State Senator (who claim to be “Pro-life” and want small government) are using racist dog whistles to justify continued compliance with a Government entity with a history of overreach, ignoring our Constitution, and human rights violations. An entity that only exists because it was created during the high of post 9/11 fears on the false pretense that “immigrants were a national security threat.” Our immigrant communities here on the Shore and across the state are full of working people just trying to make a living and live their lives. They are massive contributors to the betterment of our society and are just as much a Marylander as you or I.
In the 2022 Midterm election, we deserve better than this from our next governor and state senator. The Lower Eastern Shore is the most impoverished region in the state. We NEED leaders who will focus on bringing opportunities and improving the economy of this region, not cowards who looked for scapegoats to cover up their failures and hid their weaknesses. It is easy as a political leader to target immigrants or other underrepresented communities. It takes strength and vision to lead our region out of poverty. Strength and vision we currently don’t have. I look forward to working towards quickly overriding this veto next session and continuing the work to prepare for the 2022 state election.
(The writer is the chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.)
Wear Orange Event
Wear Orange is a nationwide event dedicated to honoring people in the United States affected by gun violence and elevating the voices of those demanding an end to gun violence. Every year, #WearOrange expands, as community partners and gun safety advocates hold events – from virtual gatherings, to community beautification projects, donation drives and Wear Orange walks. This year, advocates will once again participate in every state and D.C., and while our activities will be structured for pandemic safety, our voices will be louder than ever. In addition to a proclamation by Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, the Lower Shore local group of Moms Demand Action is dedicating a bench in the Blessing Garden of the Healing Arts Center in Berlin from 5:30-7pm on June 5, which will include a memorial with luminaries to remember lives taken by gun violence.
Gun violence didn’t stop because of coronavirus, and neither did the movement to stop it. We continue to educate, organize, support, and rally for safer communities. Together, we’ll work to make this country safe for everyone. From intimate partner violence to police violence, gun suicides, gun homicides and unintentional shootings, we demand a bold plan that must address all of it. To learn more, go to wearorange.org, text ORANGE to 64433 or join us at 5:30 on June 5th at the Healing Arts Center in Berlin.
(The writer is a volunteer with the Lower Shore Maryland Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.)
Biden Wind Plan A Win
When President Joe Biden unveiled a bold plan to expand offshore wind energy in March, he created an historic economic opportunity for states like Maryland.
In addition to unleashing a new U.S. industry and good-paying jobs, the President rightly stated that offshore wind must be developed responsibly with coastal communities having a voice in the process.
As developer of the Skipjack Wind Farm off the Maryland-Delaware coast, Ørsted wholeheartedly accepts that important obligation.
President Biden announced a goal to generate 30 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind energy by 2030. That’s enough renewable energy to power 10 million American homes and businesses every year and avoid nearly 80 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution – all while protecting biodiversity and promoting co-use of our oceans.
The Biden Administration estimates $12 billion in domestic offshore wind economic activity, creating 44,000 good-paying jobs in the industry by 2030 and another 33,000 additional jobs supported due to offshore wind activity.
So, what does this mean for Maryland?
First, it presents a remarkable opportunity for Maryland’s businesses and workforce. Welding, fabricating, construction, manufacturing, ocean surveying, and engineering are just a few of the myriad construction and supply chain jobs offshore wind development creates.
At Ørsted, we expect our Skipjack Wind Farm to be a catalyst for Maryland employment, creating 1,400 good-paying jobs and $200 million in capital investment in our state.
For example, we will establish an operations and maintenance facility in the Ocean City area. This facility will create new jobs and attract and retain highly skilled workers to Ocean City and the lower eastern shore.
We are already developing Maryland’s first offshore wind staging center at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County where wind turbine components will be staged and assembled before being transported out to sea.
Second, the Biden Administration is right when it states that offshore wind projects need to be developed responsibly, with coastal communities like Ocean City having an important voice in the process. At Ørsted, we will continue to work with all interested community and governmental stakeholders on Skipjack Wind Farm’s development to ensure it’s a project Maryland can be proud of. As the builder, owner and operator of this project for decades to come, being a responsible member of the community is an obligation we take seriously.
For example, we have funded the development of an offshore wind farm simulator in Linthicum Heights, Maryland that lets marine vessel pilots from Maryland and beyond virtually pilot a vessel through a simulated offshore wind farm. These pilots will have unique experience navigating in and around offshore wind turbines once the Skipjack Wind Farm is operational.
Lastly, the Biden Administration announced it will fund new research to enhance the nation’s understanding of offshore wind and how to make sure Maryland residents – not just developers – benefit from this project.
To that end, Ørsted has entered a first-of-its-kind agreement with the Biden Administration to share data from waters we lease subject to U.S. jurisdiction – including off Maryland’s coast – with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By sharing the water, weather, and climate data we collect with NOAA, we can help the nation protect sea life and property; and contribute to healthier oceans and more resilient coastal communities.
Ørsted is firmly committed to developing the Skipjack Wind Farm in a way that advances President Biden’s plan – by creating good-paying jobs, protecting marine life and coastal communities, and powering the Delmarva region’s homes and businesses with reliable renewable energy.
(The writer is a Mid-Atlantic Market Manager for Ørsted, developer of the Skipjack Wind Farm, which is under development off the Delaware-Maryland coast.)