Voices From The Readers – July 14, 2023

Voices From The Readers – July 14, 2023

Questions Surround New County Commission


I am writing in response to the Worcester County Commissioner’s latest vote to form a commission to oversee local public-school construction. One of the reasons Mr. Joe Mitrecic voting no for the formation of this commission was because of the existence of the Buckingham Planning committee that has already been working on planning the new Buckingham Elementary School that will replace the existing 50-year-old school located in Berlin.

I am one of many members of that planning committee which also includes 3 county commissioners — Eric Fiori, Diana Purnell and Jim Bunting — as well as the mayor of Berlin and two town council members, two Worcester County Board of Education members, three teachers, the principal and vice principal, several parents, the superintendent and assistant superintendents of Worcester County Public schools, the chief financial officer of Worcester County Public Schools and other central office staff as well.

That planning committee has been meeting for the last 9 months to discuss the needs for a new school that will educate Berlin children now and for the next 50 years. The majority of people serving on that committee are both Worcester County residents and Worcester County taxpayers who have taken our role on that committee very seriously.

Worcester County prides itself on having local control of life in our community. The existing committee is already fulfilling that desire for local control. Who best to decide what a school located in Berlin needs than Berlin elected officials, Berlin parents, staff who will be working in the new building and central office staff who have spent their professional lives as educators as well as trained architects who have built many elementary schools on Delmarva? This type of committee was used when Ocean City Elementary and the new Showell Elementary school were built and resulted in two beautiful schools that serve the needs of the Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Bishopville communities in Worcester County

There are many questions raised by the creation of this new commission, such as: would this newly formed commission meet with the existing Buckingham planning committee to discuss what has already been done? We have already approved a design and layout of the building; will this newly formed commission be able to override that work? Who will have the final say on a design? When will this newly formed commission meet? Will the meetings be open to the public, will they be held in the Berlin community?

Why don’t the three county commissioners who have already been part of the planning process feel they can share their thoughts and concerns with the Buckingham planning committee they already are a part of? In all of the meetings so far, the questions the county commissioners did ask were clearly and thoroughly answered by the professional architects already hired to design the school.

Again, Worcester County elected officials often complain about what they see as over regulation on a variety of local issues, yet the six county commissioners just voted to create an extra layer of regulation over funding for local schools. Will they do the same for all other government building that takes place in Worcester County or just for the construction of Buckingham Elementary?

As a resident of Worcester County and a taxpayer, I do not want my taxpayer money spent on forming a redundant commission to do a job that is already being done by highly qualified professionals and locally engaged community members.

Melissa Reid


Commercial Use Questioned
(The following letter was addressed to the Worcester County Commissioners with a copy forwarded to this newspaper for publication.)
It seems this issue of commercial use of public boat ramps built is still not resolved. We emailed you in December 2022 on this matter. The Commission granted a special use waiver to a commercial entity to use the public boat ramp. That waiver has expired and yet the company in question is still performing commercial operations.

It is our understanding from talking with neighbors and reading The Dispatch articles the waiver was temporary based upon the Commission’s evaluation of their authority to issue the waiver. Now we see you are planning on making changes to make commercial use of boat ramps permanent. I wonder how all of the people of Worcester County would perceive and consider the additional traffic, the loss of public parking spaces for local residents’ use, and the loss of opportunity to enjoy the waters of Worcester County. That issue is probably not on everyone’s radar as it is on the minds of South Point Residents who have been asking the Commission to stop issuing the waiver.

Everyone in Worcester County who wants to start a business should perform the necessary due diligence to understand the operating constraints and access to county property and plan their business model processes accordingly. There is a commercial boat ramp in West Ocean City and that should be the appropriate place for business entities to utilize. A one-off use by dealers to deliver a boat or an occasional use by crabbers consistent with residents’ utilization of the ramp facilities is not the same as the more frequent excess utilization a business entity requires for their vehicles, boats, and their customer’s vehicles.
As government performs best for everyone with sunlight, I would respect-fully request the Commissioners ask all of their Worcester County constituents if the Commission’s proposal is appropriate and in accordance with everyone’s wishes.

Sue and Bob Lowe


School Appreciates Support


On behalf of the members of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center, we thank all of our supporters who contributed to the success of the Summer Fun Kickoff on Saturday, June 17. This event is held annually each year after the closing of school to reward the children and families for their hard work. We could not have done it without you, it also fulfilled our mission statement which is providing a gathering place that presents cultural, educational, social events, with the aim of promoting fellowship within the greater Delmarva community.

A heartfelt thank you to the volunteers who donated their time and energy to spend with our future leaders of tomorrow.

A special thank you to our sponsors, Uncle Willie’s and Cheers, who provided us with their generous contributions which helped to make the day a great success and to the following community groups that took time to share their expertise and knowledge with those who attended. Thank you to Assateague Island National Seashore, Berlin Fire Company, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Erin Carrington, Hands Up, Guns Down, Healing Arts Center of the Easter Shore, Heather Kiser, Lower Shore Land Trust, Sierra Club and Worcester County Health Department.

We’re looking forward to working with you next year.

Barbara Purnell
(The author is president of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center)


Take A Stand Against Turbines


I read with interest in a recent OC Today that some Worcester County residents are “stewing” about a Facebook post by Commissioner Caryn Abbott, which offered a workshop sponsored by the Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition for parents explaining their options for private or home schooling and financial planning advice etc.
I, also received this announcement, but I am not on Facebook so obviously I could not post it. Caryn Abbott posted information that her constituents and residents of Worcester County may be interested in about other school options, they may be looking for curriculum that better represent their values.

If the residents of Worcester County want to “stew” about something they should direct their attention and energy toward the Offshore Wind Turbines planned for our beautiful shorelines. Carol Frazier recently reminded us of this in the June 23 issue of The Dispatch. Regardless of what pretty pictures we have been presented about wind turbines on our Ocean City coastlines, residents should be alarmed and researching this posing tourism disaster for Worcester County.
We all appreciate that “sweet” real property tax rate we enjoy here in Worcester County that funds the operation of Worcester County and 80% of the Board of Education budget. Imagine when we, as residents and our visiting tourist gaze across the ocean to see wind turbines, many more and larger than initially proposed, hear the hum of the whirling blades as they maim and kill our bird population and the vibration disrupt and destroy our marine life, not those pretty Dutch Windmill visions we conjure up, huge wind turbines and their transfer stations.
What happens to our tourist industry when there are no fish, no White Marlin Open, no Poor Girl Open and the dozens of other annual fishing tournaments to generate income for Ocean City and Worcester County? What happens when our visitors object to the view and noise and dead marine life washing up on our beaches and decide to vacation somewhere else? We won’t just have vacant rooms, empty restaurants and shops! What happens to the burgeoning real estate market in Ocean City and Worcester County? What happens to our watermen who depend on the fish and marine life for their existence?
We will say goodbye to the major source of income, employment and low real property tax rates. Wind turbines are ugly, dangerous, expensive to build and maintain and ineffective. Caryn Abbott has the best interest of all Worcester County residents and I expect we will be hearing from her on the wind turbines and their effect on our county.
Please residents of Worcester County, our eastern shore has been described and is often referred to as “the land of pleasant living,” please take a stand and stop these wind turbines from destroying our county. It will be financially devastating if our shorelines, marine life and bird population are compromised, but it will be criminal if we allow these wind turbines to destroy our beautiful shore, our resources and our way of life.
Patricia Barbely


Opportunities For Offshore Wind Facts
I just watched a video on YouTube entitled “Bonnie Brady’s Crash Course in Offshore Wind and the Anti-Fishing Lobby”. I don’t recall any of our local news media (other than Mike Bradley of WGMD 92.7 FM) reporting on any of the information and facts contained therein. I highly recommend that everyone reading this take the time to watch the video – it is very informative, and the information needs to be known far and wide.
That said, I have also been made aware of a new fact regarding Offshore Wind of which people need to be aware. The wind turbines must be regularly “cooled” which is done by drawing ocean water into electrical substations using “once through” cooling systems – these systems are now prohibited in newer power plants because of the devastating effects on aquatic life. The cooling water is then discharged back into the ocean at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Just imagine what this does to the temperature of the water and the habitat of the sea life. If this technology is not allowed in new power plants near water why is it allowed IN water? The first planned project off our coast calls for 121 turbines and up to four transfer stations. I would suggest everyone read the article “Offshore Wind Electrical Substations: The Secret, Silent Killers” by Jim Lovgren at Fisherynation.com.
I have done a lot of reading on this issue of Offshore Wind, and it absolutely boggles my mind that our government agencies (starting with the EPA and going all the way through to NOAA and BOEM) seem to have absolutely no concern about the effects of their policies on the commercial fishing industry or the people that earn their livings from this industry or even the people who eat the seafood they catch. If you make it harder and harder to do the job, if you take all of the joy out of doing the job, if you endanger profits with government regulations and policies, then eventually you won’t have anyone who is willing to do the job. What then – lab-grown fish?
Finally, although not directly related to OSW, I found this little nugget which pretty much sums up the whole “green” movement: Volvo has admitted that emissions from making EVs can be 70% higher than petrol models – and claims it can take up to 9 years of driving before EVs become greener (than petrol models). I think that’s about the life of an EV battery before it has to be replaced at a cost of thousands of dollars.
If you are interested in the facts, please follow the Facebook pages “Protect our Coast – Delmarva” as well as “Protect our Coast – NJ”, “Protect our Coast – Carolinas” and “Save the East Coast” and all of the related information groups linked to them. And please plan to participate in the ”Hands Across the Beaches” rally on July 15 at 11 a.m. at the Ocean City Inlet. The meet up is in the parking lot next to Thrasher’s. This is part of an East Coast effort to protect and save our coast.
Carol Frazier
Ocean Pines