A Great Season (For Most)
The White Marlin Open is here which pretty much means we are at the half way point of our busy tourist season. Two months are in the books with two more to go. Other than the notorious vaping arrest incident back in early June, this has been one of the best seasons I can remember.
Those who rent their properties are pleased with fully booked weeks and higher than normal rental rates. The weather has been fantastic with no notable storms and lots of sunshine. Businesses of all types are booming with customers and their major complaint is their inability to attract and retain the necessary help. Police Chief Ross Buzzuro recently reported that crime is at its lowest rate since statistics were started to be kept back in 2006. As of this writing, the leading fish in the WMO is worth a whopping $4,900,000 and we are getting positive press across the globe. By all accounts, the summer season of 2021 will be one that we all will be able to reflect back on and classify as an overwhelming success.
Sadly, but predictably, not everyone can seem to take a step back and enjoy our great community and all it has to offer. Instead, they wish to see the negative whenever possible. Cases in point are two of the Letters To The Editor in this paper that appeared on July 30. Mr. Tony Christ and Mr. DT Hagan once again felt necessary to trash our town with unfounded criticisms.
Mr. Christ decided to take issue with the compensation system in place for our city solicitor. In trying to decipher his writing, it appears he is upset that our legal fees are accumulated on a per case basis instead of an overall flat fee. He may have a point on this and perhaps it is something that should be looked at closer by our leaders. However, his manner of going about it is demeaning and condescending and a turn off to many. At quick glance I think he uses the word “sausage” at least 30 times. I concluded that it is probably just more “bologna” from Mr. Christ.
Even more troublesome was the letter published by Mr. Hagan. The failed candidate for City Council, took issue with the town for not taking action to fix his rental property which he described as deplorable. I first wondered how he believed he was equipped to sit on the council if he cannot solve his own housing problems. Then, he rambled on to paint a picture of riots and fire in the streets here in Ocean City. He decided to bash the mayor and city leaders for their recent meeting with civil rights leaders. His hatred for all things BLM is quite consistent with his remarks regarding El Salvadorian folks earlier this year. While the mayor was meeting with the Ambassador of El Salvador, Mr. Hagan was warning everyone of how “these people” were violent and would be creating a crime wave of epic proportions. Thankfully, he was once again completely wrong. I hope he heard Chief Buzzuro’s report of the lowest crime rate since 2006 and will change his mind. However, I doubt this will be the case.
Crofton and Ocean City
I want to thank Moderator Rev. James Jones, panelists Pocomoke Councilman Todd J. Knox, Berlin Councilwoman Shaneka Nicholas, community member Dee Davis, and former Worcester County Commissioner, James Purnell. We also appreciate everyone who came to the Duncan Showell American Legion Post 231 in Berlin and participated in the Worcester County NAACP “Race Relations Forum”. It was very informative and helpful to understand the importance on building a good community.
Also thanks to Caucus of African-American Leaders, United Black Clergy, and the Maryland Freedom Riders for traveling to the Eastern Shore and making this an historic event. Delegate Sandy Bartlett, Honorable Carl Snowden, Maryland State Conference NAACP President Willie Flowers, NAACP 2nd Vice President Jackie Allsup, Salisbury University Chapter NAACP President Dorien Rogers, Wicomico County NAACP President Amanda Hopkins, Somerset County NAACP President Kirkland Hall, Bishop Antonio Palmer and Darius Stanton, chief executive of Stanton Group, who joined our meeting with Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan. Meehan answered questions from the group which is a good starting point on building a beneficial relationship with the community leaders and other stakeholders across the state of Maryland.
(The writer is the president of the Worcester County NAACP.)
Sale Support Appreciated
Last weekend was the largest event that is held at Ocean Pines Library every year. The volunteer organization “Friends of the Ocean Pines Library” (FOPL) prepares a Book Sale that encompasses over 20,000 books, DVD’s, Audio Books and Music CD’s divided into approximately 25 categories. They are sold for 50 cents to $2 over a three-day period with all proceeds going to benefit the Ocean Pines Library and is used for buying equipment, sponsoring programs offered at the library and supplement the budget provided by the Worcester County Commissioners.
This year was the 20th Annual Book Sale and was put together by nearly 80 volunteers donating more than 500 hours to make this sale possible. Throughout the year, people donate 95 % of the books, DVD’s and CD’s that are sorted, evaluated and categorized for the sale. This year’s sale was the largest ever with about 1,300 people attending and garnered approximately $14,000.
On behalf of the FOPL and the Ocean Pines Library, we would like to thank all those who donated books throughout the year, the volunteers who assist with the library every day and at the sale, the staff of the OP library who are so gracious with our activities and to all of you who came out to support the sale that benefits the library, its programs and everyday needs for reading, copies and information. Donations will again be accepted starting August 2nd. Hope to see you all next year.
Eileen Leonhart and Jim Meckley
(The writers served as co-chairs of the book sale event.)
Freeman Claims Inaccurate
Freeman Companies: Why masquerade as conservationists while pressuring elected officials to approve projects on wetlands?
I was extremely dismayed by the misleading statements in last week’s Coast Dispatch made by Carl M Freeman Companies’ CEO, Michelle Freeman, regarding the former golf course in Berlin that they are selling to the state of Maryland. Stating, “We are always hyper-focused on quality of life for the people in and around our communities,” and going on to say, “CMFC has a solid, verifiable history of being outstanding stewards of the environment.”
Claiming to have “preserved hundreds of acres of wetlands over the years,” could not be further from the actions of this corporation. In fact, selling this to the state was a huge departure from Freeman’s original plan for this site. CMFC originally wanted to build a massive campground/RV park, however, Maryland, the Town of Berlin and Worcester County made it clear that this would not be allowed. As a result of significant public opposition and proper zoning, their application for rezoning was denied. The only option Freeman had to get their money back was to sell it to the State of Maryland for $4.2 million.
Freeman’s press release was conveniently released the day before they pushed the Sussex County Council to approve their hotel project on an extremely environmentally sensitive area adjacent to Route 54 that has garnered zero public support. Worchester County is fortunate to have zoning laws in place to protect their environment, quality of life, and preserve open spaces for future generations. The Sussex County Council has failed to stop overdevelopment in Eastern Sussex, rapidly ruining the quality of life for taxpayers, choosing instead to work with developers rather than the constituents they are elected to represent.
The denial by Worcester County of the Freeman campground near Berlin is an example of what proper zoning and holding elected officials accountable can achieve. Pressuring the Sussex County Council to approve a project on wetlands does not make you a corporation dedicated to environmental stewardship. Please send letters and emails immediately to each Sussex County Council member voicing your opposition to Freeman’s proposed hotel complex on Rt. 54 so that we can enjoy the same level of environmental protection and proper zoning that residents in Worcester County have.
(The writer is the president of the Fenwick Protection Project.)
Vaccinations A Must
My wife and I did our homework, waited for vaccine appointments for several weeks and got both our shots. Then we thought we were finished with the masks.
Our county – Worcester in Maryland–had one of the best positivity rates in our state, and it was going down. Now the Delta Variant has hit and, because of morons who refuse to get their shots, we are being asked to mask up again. Those who refuse to get vaccines are totally irresponsible and don’t care about children, the elderly and their fellow citizens.