Juvenile Services Requires Attention
I would like to enlighten Worcester County residents of the punishments enforced upon our youths within our county by employees of Worcester County’s Department of Juvenile Services and judges of the county’s Drug Court program.
Many youths who commit non-drug-related minor misdemeanor crimes are forced to comply with Worcester County’s brutal Drug Court program.
I know of a 14-year-old Worcester County youth who committed a destruction of property crime of a storage box that was valued at less than $100 and was forced to adhere to Worcester County’s Drug Court program. The kid smoked marijuana, just as many teens do, and was forced to submit to drug tests. When he tested positive for marijuana, he was punished many times by being sentenced to be detained at the juvenile detention center in Salisbury causing the youth to miss school.
Upon testing positive for marijuana multiple times, he was sentenced by a Worcester County judge to be detained at The Jackson Unit treatment center for 60 days where he was deprived of an education and during critical learning years of a teen’s life.
Upon returning home, he was tested for inhalants and tested positive for Phenol, which is a chemical found within inhalants. The problem is, Phenol is found in many foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, cocoa, and numerous other foods and a Worcester County judge once again sentenced him to be detained at The Jackson Unit for 60 days based on an inclusive test and when the youth claimed that he had not done any inhalants. This caused the youth to quit school.
A few months afterward he tested positive for marijuana and cocaine and this time he was mercilessly and brutally punished by being sentenced to be detained in Salisbury’s detention center for approximately 30 days and then sent off to Backbone & Meadow Mountain Youth Centers in the Westernmost mountainous region of Maryland for approximately five months.
Although he was a non-violent kid, he was detained among violent, criminal-minded youths and abusive guards and was assaulted, threatened to be stabbed, and threatened to be killed among other horrific incidents.
In essence, members of Worcester County’s DJS and judges of the county’s Drug Court mercilessly and severely punished/tortured a non-violent, pot-smoking, mischievous teen via sentencing him to be detained among violent and abusive teens and guards for numerous months, while depriving him of a much-needed education during his critical teen years and causing him to quit high school.
This is just one of many horror stories I’ve heard about kids who are being mercilessly punished by Worcester County’s DJS and Drug Court program. With Maryland’s legislature commencing on Jan. 10, I will be corresponding with members of the Judicial Committee to urge them to implement major reforms within our county’s uncivil and inhumane punishments of our kids and I urge other Worcester County residents who are aware of similar horror stories to do the same.
These Barbaric punishments are what you would expect to be happening during the Medieval Era in the 1500s – not 21st Century America – and these inhumane and uncivilized punishments must cease ASAP.
Moving Ahead United
On Jan. 1, 2014, I embarked on a journey of profound honor and responsibility as the IAFF President of the Career Firefighters, Paramedics, & Fire Marshals for the Town of Ocean City. Envisioning a tenure of perhaps four years, little did I realize that this path would immerse me deeply into the realms of leadership and commitment, transcending my initial expectations.
As I step into my 11th year in this role, I reflect on the evolution of our union, a journey marked by growth and a strengthened voice in our mission to serve and protect. Our narrative is one of resilience, having navigated through the shadows cast by a challenging period under a previous administration. Yet, through unity and an unwavering focus on our service, we emerged stronger, forging a harmonious relationship with our Mayor & Council, City Manager, and, most importantly, with the community we are dedicated to safeguard.
The cornerstone of our strength lies in the solidarity and involvement of our union members. Their active participation in community activities not only exemplifies their dedication but also fortifies the very essence of our union. Their resilience, particularly through the tumultuous times of 2020, has been the bedrock of our collective strength.
Looking ahead to 2024, alongside our newly elected officers, our vision is set on the continued growth and excellence of our department and town. Our commitment to providing exemplary service remains steadfast, fueled by the trust and support of an incredible community that has always stood by public safety.
To every firefighter, paramedic, EMT, and Fire Marshal who continues to serve with great courage and compassion: your efforts are the lifeblood of our town’s safety and well-being. To our esteemed community, your unwavering support and faith in us are not just appreciated – they are the pillars upon which we build a safer, more vibrant Ocean City.
As your IAFF President, I stand proud of our collective achievements and optimistic about the future we are crafting together. Thank you for entrusting me with this noble responsibility. Together, we march forward, united in our purpose and strengthened by our shared experiences.
Support For School Board
Thank you to the six members of the Worcester County Board of Education who voted on Dec. 19 to deny two motions designed to restrict student access to school library materials. Your votes demonstrated your support for the most vested stakeholders in Worcester County’s education system–the students, parents of students enrolled in the public schools, and the teachers who use their professional knowledge and judgment in good faith every day. All education decisions are complex.
No decision will “please all of the people all of the time.” Determining what book content is appropriate for children is certainly one of those complex decisions. Your vote on Dec. 19, while certainly not resolving an ages-old debate about uncomfortable content, navigated the complexity of the issue. By prioritizing the principles of public education and trusting the professional judgment of licensed teachers, you made the best possible decision to meet the needs of all students, equitably, without judgment. Recent statements in the public comment portion of Board meetings have included, verbatim, the rhetoric of the national group, Moms for Liberty.
Those impersonal and inflammatory sound bytes should not preempt the lived experience of the many families whose children attend Worcester County Schools. On December 19th, the Board of Education heard those families’ stories and chose local voices over voices parroting national propaganda. The Board heard our library professionals explain the existing book review process that protects the rights of parents without restricting access for students.
The board should be commended for remaining open to all points of view, but ultimately recognizing its responsibilities under public education law and tradition, and for honoring its most vested stakeholders.
Nancy L. Michelson
Examples Of Misconduct
I saw a meme on social media a few days ago that really got me thinking. It was: “Statism – the belief that a group of people who can’t fix potholes can fix an entire planet.”
Now this is fairly simplistic, and of course most potholes do eventually (very eventually) get fixed, but I started wondering why so many Americans allow the government (at all levels) to dictate their life choices – such as the type of system with which they choose to heat and cool their homes, the type of appliances they can use, the cars they can buy. There are so many examples of government incompetence and malfeasance it can make your head spin.
To name a few:
As a nation we are almost $34,000,000,000,000.00 in debt (a figure which does not include unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare). Of that amount, easily several trillion is due to the aforesaid “incompetence and malfeasance”, such as the theft of as much as $80 billion or about 10% of the $800 billion handed out in the Covid Relief plan known as the Paycheck Protection Plan, or PPP. That money purchased a lot of Lamborginis, Ferraris and Teslas, mansions, private jet flights and swanky vacations. That’s on top of the $90 billion to $400 billion believed to have been stolen from the $900 billion Covid unemployment relief program – at least half taken by international fraudsters. (See NBCNews.com March 28, 2022).
Another example of incompetence is the budget of the Dept. of Homeland Security which, according to “Budget-in-Brief FY 2023 at dhs.gov, easily exceeds $95 billion this year. I don’t know about you, but the fact that at least 8 million illegal immigrants have crossed our southern border in the least three years, unvetted, unvaccinated, and handed cell phones and welfare exceeding the average unemployment benefit for Americans with an order to show up in immigration court in the future (at this point the date is 2031) and then put on busses and planes and shipped all over the country, doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in our government experts.
For other examples of waste, fraud and abuse, you can read the “Festivus Report” by Senator Rand Paul. If you dare.
And then there’s the $7.5 billion in funding for the manufacture of EV battery chargers contained in the 2021 “infrastructure bill” – to date, not one charger has been built. This is really unbelievable malfeasance seeing as more and more states (including Maryland) are following California’s example of green policy that requires that a huge percentage of cars sold in the state must be electric vehicles within the next 10 – 12 years.(Politico.com 12/05/23).
On a more local level, how about that 2024 Baltimore City Department of Public Works “A Sustainable Baltimore” calendar printed and distributed to city residents at taxpayer expense? The calendar omits Oct. 22 and adds an extra day (the 31st) to both September and November. (Baltimorefishbowl.com).
Have you ever driven into our Nation’s Capitol on Route 50? Are you embarrassed by the trash and weeds on the sides of the road? This is the first impression many visitors have of Washington, D.C. Where are the Depts. of Public Works of DC, Maryland and Prince George’s County? All these jurisdictions proudly tout their “Green” bona fides on their websites. I’m sorry, but trash and weeds don’t say “green”’ to me, they say incompetent, uncaring, fraudulent waste of taxpayer funds, etc.
The threats from the “experts” about climate change are becoming more dire and terrifying all the time – In the United Kingdom, citizens are being warned that humans are fueling Global Warming just by breathing. And Al Gore’s latest hysteria is warning that “a billion climate refugees could be crossing borders” if we don’t do as he says.
What do you think this kind of teaching in our schools to impressionable young people is doing to their psyches? No wonder our young people are so troubled.
I simply do not understand why so many people believe government “experts” who can’t manage to keep track of trillions of dollars, won’t manage our border, can’t design an accurate calendar or fix potholes and keep the streets free of weeds and debris (in some of our major cities that ‘debris” includes human feces and used needles).
Can anyone help me out here?