Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – March 31, 2023

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – March 31, 2023

During an Ocean 98 radio interview this week, Tiffany Knupp, mother of Gavin Knupp who was killed in a hit-and-run collision walking across a road last July, reiterated her trust and faith in justice. She said 260 days have passed since her son was killed crossing Grays Corner Road to return to a vehicle driven by his older sister. The vehicle that struck Knupp did not stop at the scene and was later seized by police from a residential garage in West Ocean City. Police have not issued requests for help in locating the suspected motorist because he has been identified. The investigation into possible charges remains ongoing.

“We have all the confidence in our State’s Attorney and even more now. Justice will be served, and we have even more confidence now it will be sooner than later. We are waiting on that,” Tiffany Knupp said on the radio. “Mrs. Heiser has been absolutely amazing. She is completely transparent. Any questions or concerns we have she helps us out with. Basically, she’s just a bad ass. I would not want anyone else on our team. … We have full faith in her and her team.”

Knupp also touched on the recent remarks coming from the Ocean Pines Association about the Do It For Gavin-Justice For Gavin Facebook page and claims of harassment and bullying toward the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, board members, nonprofit organizations in the community and even school children. In a statement, OPA Board President Doug Parks said, among other things, “Talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors and talk to other Association members to let them know these situations are taking place and that this group is promoting a level of disruption to our community that at some point will affect us financially, which in turn will most likely lead to an increase in annual assessments.”

Knupp addressed the statement during the radio interview, saying, “I hope they have good attorneys, and we are going to let our attorney handle the allegations that have been put against us. It’s just kind of pathetic as an Association … they are relentless for coming after us. They are saying the management company for the yacht club is being harmed and we are bullies and basically a gang is what they are insinuating. What it comes down to is our community is just standing together and bonding together and refusing to let criminals run our businesses. Hands down the facts are the facts. My son was hit by a car. That car was in a garage. They knew about it. I don’t understand what other facts need to be said. If you want to support businesses that support that and hide that, go for it. Just don’t contact me. … I am fighting for my son and my daughter right now. We are going to continue to do that, and we are going to continue with the foundation and try to make a positive impact on our local community, not try to destroy it. … Gavin’s story is a community together vs. not ashamed or scared of the big boys or the big boys with the good old boy money. We are not scared of that anymore. It’s a community coming together and making a change and we want to get that story out there.”

There are more questions than answers into a fatal vehicle fire that occurred in Ocean City late Tuesday night.

What is known is Ocean City first responders were alerted to a vehicle fire in the east parking lot of Northside Park. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and afterwards located a deceased individual in the vehicle. The body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for identification and an autopsy.

As of Thursday afternoon, there is no other information available. There is no indication whether foul play was involved or if the fire was accidental in nature.

While most of the Worcester County department requests represented small increases or flat funding, an outlier at Tuesday’s budget workshop was the Sheriff’s Office, which is seeking $1.2 million more than currently budgeted. The funding request represents an 11.7% overall increase over the current fiscal year budget including an 8.6% jump in personnel expenses and a 49.8% jump in capital outlay.

Crisafulli acknowledged, “we have quite an ask for our staff, as you know … law enforcement across thenation has seen an unprecedented increase in recruitment and retention challenges and my office is not immune from these challenges.”

One of the surprises in Crisafulli’s significant request was a $324,000 armored rescue vehicle the sheriff views as important for his agency during emergency hostage situations and natural disasters. He said the vehicle, “is comparable to an F550 .. it’s essentially body armor on wheels. This is like having a life insurance policy and you cannot put a price tag on saving a life. For instance, if there’s a hostage situation that ARV can get right up to a structure as it has body armor for our STAR team …  it can help save their lives as they go in tio potentially save a life. Again you can’t put a price tag on that. Well, we will put a price tag on it of $324,000 but overall you cannot put a price tag on lives.”

Due to the nature of the work session, there was no indication from the five commissioners present on whether the overall or specific requests would be funded. Those decisions will come at meetings in the coming weeks.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.