Md. Ballot Question Alert
Being a summer tourist to your beautiful shoreline and well aware of the consequences of storm surges there, I would like to alert your readers to a ballot vote that will have implications for climate change.
It has to do with Question #4, and yes, that’s the question concerning marijuana legalization. Almost all medical marijuana grows in Maryland occur indoors, where the energy required for high intensity grow lamps and temperature/humidity control creates a very large carbon footprint, with associated implications for global warming and sea level rise. Scientists Evan Mills and Hailey Summers, among others, have published on this problem, with the most recent publication appearing in the prestigious Nature series of journals in 2021.
Nothing in Maryland regulations requires that the recreational cannabis industry use outdoor farms, and by the time our legislators wake up to the problem, the additional indoor facilities will already be built. Indoor growing is widely preferred by the industry for reasons of profit, as they can more easily optimize the THC content with tight control of the lighting and also, can extend the growing season through the winter. Legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts increased the cannabis industry’s electrical consumption to 10% of the state’s total usage, and if that proportion holds true in Maryland, it would almost be enough to power all of the homes in Baltimore City.
The added strain on the electrical grid will increase our utility bills by the economics of supply and demand. Gas shortages for our gas-fired power plants may develop in the future because of the current trajectory of world affairs, and that 10% consumption by the cannabis industry would make it more likely that residents will have to cut back on use during times of peak demand.
Letter-writer Spencer Rowe (Oct. 13, 2022) made reference to the environmental damage windmills create when constructed as a source of clean energy. If recreational cannabis is approved, we are definitely going to need more windmills.
Hometown For Many
Every summer season vacationers pour into our beach town.
Those of us who live here understand the value of tourism, but tourism is not the town’s only value it’s also a hometown.
Families live here, work and retire here and neighbors bond with each other through good and troubled times.
And as in any hometown when one suddenly leaves, some part of each of us goes with them.
While many are enjoying the extended Indian summer, I am noticing irreversible change.
Eleven days ago, Hale Harrison passed at age 75 from a sudden unexpected heart attack. The hotel mogul, who along with his brother John built an empire in Ocean City, used to religiously eat breakfast every morning at Layton’s with his high school buddies just as they had for decades.
This past May Brent Ashley passed as suddenly. Brent was the most thorough council member this century, rivaling Vince Gisriel, yet he like Hale wanted no attention to his death. A little over two years ago in June, Jim Hall, after a courageous fight with cancer, passed away. Jim had served 25 years on the town council including as its president. Yet not the mayor or the any council member, many of which are still there, even mentioned his name.
Times are changing, but what does that mean? We all get up in the morning and often repeat the same routines day in and day out, feeling a sense of security from the repetition, yet knowing all along that nothing stays the same. The world is in constant change.
In a little over a week, we will have a midterm election. Heated elections have been underway in the county for commissioner positions for months. In Ocean City, signs are put up and on election day the candidates put up tents in the convention center lot, but the elections are not contested they seem entitled. There is a surreal atmosphere in Ocean City where the shortage of candidates bathe in an air of entitlement. Finally, Ocean City is looking to raise the pay for politicians, in the hope that the races in town may be more contested, for a change. Something I have regularly asked be done for more than a decade.
Nationally during the midterm, although we should hope different, we will probably see a lot of what plagued the last presidential election. During election day and evening the republicans will take a lead as the votes cast that day are counted first, into the night more Dems will stay in races as absentee ballots are counted second, than by the next day some Dems will come back to win as early votes are counted last. The house should flip to republican but the senate is still a tossup. Unfortunately, I predict many races will be contested and drag on through November into December, which would be unfortunate. Although we will hope and pray differently the divisiveness in the nation will continue and likely worsen.
In 2005 President Jimmy Carter and Howard Baker headed the Carter Baker Commission on elections and determined that “absentee voting was fraudulent.” Yet we are now reliant on it.
This year, sadly, we are not doing Brian’s Christmas a Christmas Concert for Children to fight drug addiction. Although the county school children were available on the date we proposed, we were told by Lou Taylor’s, superintendent of schools, “the children have three cultural events to attend and don’t need another”.
Upon further probing I learned that the teachers had been pooled and the “majority” felt the concert “was not a good use of time.” I venture to say over 95% of the county children will not have another chance to hear a Symphony Orchestra. Yet I was not surprised, at the 2019 Concert we had 1,130 of the county’s 9,10-,11- and 12-year-olds. The children were seated 10 minutes late and the concert ran over 15 minutes. Yet Ms. Carrie Sterrs was ordering teachers and students back on buses 15 minutes before the concert ended. Although we had two Old Testament songs and a spiritual song the concert was a Christian Christmas Concert and that apparently offended many teachers.
The effort to fight addiction required teacher coordination to sign the certificates of attendance that were brought to the classrooms by George Washington, our enactor. On which the students promised to never do drugs. It also required the teachers to go through the activity packets we gave them. Draw a picture of freedom. What does a decision look like? What is a consequence? Unfortunately, we have no way to know if the teachers worked with us.
It is said that Lou Taylor has ambitions to be governor and Lou claims to be a ‘Christian man’. In a meeting before the concert, Lou said, “I don’t know what I would do without my women.” Leading one to wonder what is going on behind the veneer of a wholesome public education in the county’s well-funded public schools? Are our public-school teachers focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic?
Red flags in the county’s public education abound. Recently a past councilman told me he heard that a county preschooler went home crying, he was confused about his sex. An unnamed teacher said, “we allow the children to choose pronouns.”
Does discussing gender identity, gender expression, and societal constructs about gender in the classroom help students become more accepting? Social Emotional Training (SEL) is big in the county. Should it be? Why? What about reading, writing and arithmetic? It appears Lou Taylor is asleep at the switch while his witchy women run the county schools. If I had two recommendations for the county it would be to vote for Mr. Abbott and Mrs. Addis on the school board.
Indian summers lull one into complacency but in my 73 years I have often noticed and am preparing for what they are followed by. A harsh winter.
Falls Church, Va./Ocean City
Home Tour Appreciation
On behalf of the Art League of Ocean City, I would like to thank the many members of the community who came together to support the in-person portion of the 18th Annual Sand Castle Home Tour held on Sept. 29-30, as well as the Sunday Soirée on Oct. 9, our annual cocktail party that honors our Home Tour homeowners and sponsors.
Thank you to our committee who worked for months on this project, the homeowners who opened their doors to our tour takers and videographers, and the writers, florists, and artists who contributed their work to the event.
Our gratitude goes out to our Home Tour title sponsor, T&G Builders, whom we thank for the second year in a row. We are grateful to all of our Home Tour sponsors: 32 Palm Restaurant, American Granite & Tile, Arctic Heating & Air, Atlantic Exposure, Bank of Delmarva, Bank of Ocean City, Beach Scapes, Captain’s Table, Carolina Street, Casual Designs, Coral Reef Restaurant, Delaware Elevator, Denney Lighting & Design, Donaway Furniture/Bethany Resort, Fager’s Island, Framing Corner, Franke Architects, Hobbit Restaurant, J. Conn Scott, Joyce G Design, Kendall Furniture, Made in the Shade, Mann Properties, Maryland’s Coast, Old Pro Golf, Perfect Furnishings, Poole Construction, Seacrets, Sea Glass Pool & Spa, Southwinds, Stacy Ward, Surf House Properties, T&G Builders, Taylor Bank and The Windrow Group.
We also appreciate the support of our media sponsors who helped us get the word out — WMDT 47/ABC, OC Today, The Dispatch, and Ocean 98. And of the sponsors who helped make the event even more enjoyable: the Town of Ocean City, Trond’s Pool Construction, Atlantic General Hospital, Ocean Downs Casino, Haley Architecture, and Fisher Architecture.
We can’t forget to thank our docents and volunteers, who greeted guests with smiling faces, our Home Tour committee — with chairs Ginny Outten and Dawn Rogers — whose efforts went above and beyond, and our creative and hard-working staff, who put it all together.
The community’s support continued for our Sunday Soirée party from Gayle Widdowson and Rina and Jeff Thaler, along with the restaurants that donated their incredibly delicious food and drink: Annabelle’s BBQ & Creamery, Arches Oyster, Bayside Skillet, Big Oyster Brewery, BLU Crab House, Bourbon Street on the Bay, Candy Kitchen, Crab Cake Factory Bayside, Harrisons Harbor Watch, Malia’s Café, Mancini’s, Pit N Pub, Seacrets, Spain Wine Bar, and Sterling Tavern.
We also sincerely appreciate the efforts of our Soirée committee — headed by Gayle Widdowson and Cynthia Leiner — who transformed the Arts Center and courtyard into a beautiful autumn setting, and the many volunteers who made the event special.
The virtual Sand Castle Home Tour continues online through Oct. 31, benefiting the Art League, and we encourage you to buy your tickets and take the tour at www.SandCastleHomeTour.com.
(The writer is the executive director of the Art League of Ocean City.)