Voices From The Readers – August 26, 2022

Voices From The Readers – August 26, 2022

Blueprint Awareness Needed


The first year of implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is over. The Blueprint is a 10-year education reform and funding plan. How have the Worcester County Public Schools done?

Strong Schools Maryland released their findings about the first year of Blueprint implementation in the form of state and local Progress Reports (find them here: https://www.strongschoolsmaryland.org/progressreports.) They looked mainly at communication with the community. Worcester County had done well. It has a section on the website dedicated to the Blueprint. The Blueprint is discussed by the School Board at their meetings. But on the other hand, it is one of ten counties that hasn’t create a “stakeholder workgroup” (i.e. parents, the community, educators, and students.)

For the Blueprint to be a success at the end of the 10-year implementation timeline the community must embrace the vision. This is the reason that community engagement is included in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future law.

The Blueprint is not about how much each county gets in funding; it is about whether each child in Maryland has the funding needed to support their success in school. Children in poverty, children with special needs and children whose first language is not English, all need more help and therefore more funding. There also needs to be enough funding to attract and retain quality teachers.

We are encouraged by the good start made during the first year and look forward to working with the Worcester County School System as they continue to expand early childhood education; create a career ladder for teachers to provide the compensation they deserve; and develop college and career pathways that ensure all graduates leave the system fully prepared for their future.

To realize the vision of the Blueprint, community members and business leaders need to partner with the schools to prepare students for the jobs of the future. For more information about Strong Schools Worcester County go to our Facebook page.

Joan Roache

(The writer is the Team Leader for Strong Schools Worcester County.)


Plein Air Festival Success


Our 17th Annual “Artists Paint OC” plein air festival Aug. 10-14 was a big success! Thank you to the 49 professional artists who spread out around the resort for five days and created 241 paintings of our iconic local landscapes.

Our gratitude goes out to our judge, Crystal Moll, who donated one of her original paintings for an Art League fundraising raffle. And to our sponsors of the event who provided $5,500 in cash prizes for the artists: Emily and Paul Schwab, Peter Glenville Foundation, Laura Jenkins, Todd Burbage/Blue Water Development, Mapleton Farm/Mechelle and Charles Nichols, Shore United Bank, Reese Cropper, Barbara Frankfort-Kollander Patrick, Maryland’s Coast, Ocean City Tourism, and the Ocean City Development Corp., as well in-kind sponsors – The Atlantic Hotel of Berlin, The Original Thrashers French Fries, and Heidi Johnson of J&M Meat Market of Berlin.

We are proud to announce the prize winning artists for “Artists Paint OC” 2022: Leo Kahl, first place; John Eiseman, second place; Dennis Young, third place; Ricky Sears and Nancy Fine, honorable mentions. Also, Jim Rehak, Best Use of Light; Jose Ramirez, Best Maritime; Bruno Baran, Best Nocturnal; and William Shulze, Spirit of OC Tourism.

The winners of Sunday’s special “Quick Paint” on the Boardwalk with awards presented by Joe Wilson of the Ocean City Development Corp. were Jose Ramirez, first place; Jim Rehak, second place; Rajendra KC, third place; and Betty Huang, honorable mention.

And another big thank you to the art lovers and art collectors who came out to support the artists and purchase their work during the Wet Paint Sales. The best of the plein air paintings will be on display and available for purchase at the Ocean City Center for the Arts through September. The raffle for Crystal Moll’s painting continues until Oct. 1.

Laura Jenkins

Rina Thaler

(The writers represent the Art League of Ocean City.)


Developer Issues Statement


Hello, this is Balsamo Real Estate LLC.  We have developed properties in Fenwick for over 40 years and take pride in what we do and the quality of tenants that we put in our building. We would like to apologize for the current appearance of the former Dairy Queen property.

We have submitted new plans to the Town of Fenwick Island with intentions to improve and renovate the current property in compliance with the current town code. Upon our submission, the Town advised us that reconstruction of the building could not be approved until the Town resolves the pending new parking ordinance.

Balsamo Real Estate LLC as well as other local business owners need your assistance.  The current proposed parking ordinance inhibits our ability to redevelop the former Dairy Queen property. This proposed ordinance will also create problems for other local business owners that want to improve their commercial properties.  If the new parking ordinance is approved, property owners in the commercial district will be faced with little to no benefit to improve or renovate their properties as it will be economical infeasible given the restrictive nature of the proposed ordinance.  Fenwick Island residents that support reasonable, balanced growth of their business community and rehabilitation of older properties should contact town council members PRIOR to the August 26th council meeting.

We thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Joe Balsamo

Fenwick Island