The outrage over Ocean City eliminating its recycling program and expanding its current waste-to-energy policy has dominated these pages for the last few weeks. This week, we decided to forgo our weekly editorial to allow for viewpoints to be expressed. For those keeping track, including this week’s letters, there have been 11 letters to the editor published opposing the town’s decision and not one citizen has penned a letter of support.
Lose Rodney, Focus
On Quality Of Life
Just in time for Earth Day when our country is moving in the direction of thinking of future generations and reducing our impact on the environment Ocean City has taken a giant step backwards. At a work session with no warning and no input from the tax payers the city council abruptly ended our successful recycling program that we are so proud of. We had no opportunity to make our voice heard. In other words they just don’t care what is important to us. Maybe we would be willing to make cuts elsewhere, maybe we would be willing to pay a little more to keep this valuable program, but our opinion is apparently not needed.
Even worse than us losing our recycling option in town, we are being told to just throw it all away its being "recycled" for us. Funny how the rest of America has been working so hard to solve this huge garbage problem when the solution is so simple and was right there all the time. I don’t know about you but I’m not buying what they are selling. I’ve always believed that if its too good to be true it probably is. I did a little research and I believe my suspicions are correct. These plants are for burning garbage after the recyclable are removed. The metals are being retrieved before burning but think of all the plastic, glass, paper and cardboard that will be incinerated as garbage.
Dave Ciplet, US coordinator for Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives in an article for the New York Times, says trash has more economic value and a lighter impact on climate change when reused, recycled or composted than when incinerated or placed in a landfill. Burning valuable materials that could be recycled wastes the life cycle energy of products to produce a small amount of energy. The EPA largely agrees with this assessment and advocates a ranking of waste management practices. Reducing the need for new materials should be the top priority, followed by reuse, recycling, waste-to-energy incineration and placement in a landfill.
This is just a sad example of a lack of creative solutions by our City Council. How do other towns make it work and we are unable to? It’s hard to imagine that they are losing money at this rate and still continue to recycle. What are we doing wrong? It seems it’s just too easy to cancel one program than to find waste in other areas. We are all struggling in tough economic times but I for one could use a little less Rodney the lifeguard and a lot more quality of life.
Debi Thompson Cook
Ashamed Of Council
For Recycling Decision
Ocean City has had the proud reputation as a family resort and has even had the privilege of being awarded the coveted “All America City” title in 2001. With one unanimous decision, our elected city council made these descriptions of our once-great town as obsolete as the recycling receptacles that will be found empty after April 30.
In Ocean City, we strive to promote our family atmosphere as well as maintain a clean and safe community that draws over eight million visitors a year. Residents of Ocean City and the businesses who depend on tourism to prosper recognize the duty they have to the community at large to participate in the recycling program. In a time when “going green” is on everyone’s lips, we see parents teaching their children how they can do their part to protect the environment from further damage. One simple way is by participating in the recycling program. “All America” ideals promote recycling. In fact, participating in the community recycling program as part of waste management is mandatory in many jurisdictions throughout the country, with more and more counties and municipalities coming on board every day as the concern for the environment becomes more critical.
Last month, Ocean City took a step backward by voting to eliminate the town’s recycling program. While other cities are moving toward a more sustainable and “green” way of doing business, ours turned back the clock by eliminating one of the most basic environmental programs. Worse yet, the decision was not made because the program wasn’t working or because of problems with implementations; it was eliminated to save a few dollars.
I know that the right thing to do is recycle, regardless of the cost. I also know the right thing to do on Oct. 19, 2010 is be an informed voter and support candidates committed to protecting our environment. I am ashamed of every one of our council members. Their vote has put a black mark on our town and sent the message that saving a few dollars is more important than protecting our natural resources for future generations to enjoy.
To make things even better, I just saw a Ocean City Parks and Recreation vehicle speeding across the Route 50 bridge that had plastic bags and other assorted recyclable materials flying out of the truck and into the bay.
R. Scott Housten
Quality Man Noted
Every once in a while you come across a businessman who always does the right thing, charges a fair price for his service, does quality work and stands behind it. I found just such a person in Van’s Marine Service. He has serviced my boat for the past dozen years doing the winterizing, spring tune up and painting the bottom as needed without a miss on anything. His mechanics are top notch and he sends them to all the training schools offered by the various engine manufacturers he represents so they can provide the best service possible.
I have heard a lot of horror stories about various dealers but never a one about Van Caffi. He’s living proof that an honest tradesman can be found if you look hard enough and I recommend him highly.
Robert M. Bauersmith
Vote The Clowns Out
I have been reading all of the articles on the decision to change recycling practices, but I think people are missing the point.
Ocean City never should have built a recycling plant. I’m sure that a feasibility study was never done or, if it was done, it was severely flawed. Three years ago, after watching this effort losing more money, the town decided to force condo owners to get involved. They forced us to buy the containers. They can do that because we can’t vote. If we could, the council would be gone. Besides buying the containers, our condo association incurred thousands of dollars in expense building corrals for the containers so they didn’t blow all over the place and providing access through our fences for the sanitation workers.
This could have all been avoided if the city had a viable business plan that showed that the recycling was a boondoggle. The city government is fiscally irresponsible. They spend money like it is other people’s money.
Every week when I come down I can’t wait to get my copy of The Dispatch to read about the latest episodes of the town council. Citizens, please vote these clowns out when you get the opportunity.
Aloha Spirit On Display
Ocean City’s first Live Aloha Earth Celebration was a great success as over 100 volunteers picked up trash around the wetlands and sand dunes of Ocean City last Saturday.
Thanks to the Town of Ocean City, Ayers Creek Adventures, Bayside Skillet, Crossfit, the Hilton Suites, the Fenwick Inn, and the Community Foundation ShoreCan Volunteer Center’s support and all the incredible hard working volunteers, we at Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation and The Ocean City Chapter of Surfrider Foundation were able to pull off the first of what we hope will be a perpetual annual event.
Monies raised from the Luau along with a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore allowed us to hold a tee shirt design contest among the local high schools and we are able to award each art department $250. And from this contest we came out with a great tee shirt which was given to every volunteer who came up and helped us celebrate Earth Day and the area we live in by picking up trash.
One of the highlights of this event for me was watching a local T.V. station interview with high school student Sarah Tull as she described with great disgust the amount of trash her group picked up. You could actually see a motivation in her to get the message out that the trash she and her group picked up was simply unacceptable and the pride she holds to living in such an amazing area. It truly was an inspiration to all to live aloha!
(The writer is the development coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.)
Honoring The Nurses
As National Nurses Week approaches, I would like to recognize the caring and dedicated nursing staff we have here at Atlantic General Hospital, and extend a warm and sincere thank you to all nurses who live and work in our area. Nursing is one of the noblest professions anyone can hope to pursue and at times one of the most grueling. Only the strongest and most caring individuals can persevere. Our nurses work around the clock, literally walk through snow storms, and endure a great deal of stress to care for the sick and injured and offer a comforting touch or word. They change lives and spread the lessons they learn from their professional experiences to those around them.
One of our clinical managers, a registered nurse named Joyce Wingate, recently received a letter from a patient’s husband that I would like to share with your readers:
I wish to extend to you and the staff at Atlantic General Hospital my dearest and sincerest, “Thank You”. My wife, Nancy was admitted Jan. 11, 2010, with pneumonia. Throughout our stay, she was treated by the Doctors, Nurses, Nurses assistants, administrative staff, Dietary and maintenance people with T.L.C.
The reason I mentioned a variety of departments, is because patients have contact. I am “Sorry” I cannot identify all the hospital staff. Throughout the years I have witnessed the inter-action between hospital personnel and patients, Atlantic General Hospital excels in every category that makes a hospital a home away from home. My observation is based on my experiences also how I’ve seen treatment of others. Every patient is treated humanely with deep care and concern; time of the day or night and regardless if anyone else is near, the results are the same. It is my privilege and honor to express my “thank you” to AGH. staff administration, Doctors, nurses, plus many more. A.G.H. deserves to be recognized as the leader in professional care.
I would be remiss if I did not give a special “thank you” to Nurse Audrey Bonser. My wife was having a problem accepting some very good instruction from your wonderful staff. Nurse Bonser with her knowledge, experience and compassion handled the situation in the most professional manner and the issue was resolved.
To each and every one, thank you.
Dennis L. Durham
Thank you for allowing me and Mr. Durham to share our thoughts.
(The writer is the CEO of Atlantic General Hospital.)
Grief Over Club Demise
(The following letter was addressed to members of the Ocean City Council.)
Many of us are mourning the closing of the Ocean City Health Club as we wish for a comparable replacement that serves both us and the wishes of the Furst family. What a wonderful Club to which to belong! It was where many gathered for a time of exercise and fun – a real social gathering with health benefits. Members and visitors alike quickly sensed a feeling of belonging for one was quickly absorbed into the “family” whether returning from a winter in Florida or just stopping in for the day. For many, a workout at the Club was a daily ritual; for some, the Club was the only family they had in the Ocean City area.
My daughter worked for the Furst family twenty years ago. She was a young single parent. She often spoke of the Furst family members and remarked about how she felt included and even cared for by them. She told how family members really worked at the Club. They were “co-workers”, not bosses with employees. When I came across the bridge to visit her and stopped by the club, I felt that family comfort myself.
Years later I moved to Ocean City and immediately joined the Ocean City Health Club. The instruction provided in my water aerobics class was always excellent, prices were very fair, friendships were formed, and each day, as I was warmly greeted at the front desk by name, I knew I belonged. I continued my membership with the Club when I moved to Ocean View, Del.
A large and sensitive community family has been torn apart and is now struggling to repair its loss. Phone calls are being made between members. We are asking what we can do to restore what has been ripped from us. We are hurting and we are ready to argue and support.
Gerry Furst and his family had a plan to expand the club with an idea that would have benefited the Club’s members and the Ocean City community. Just as he had a dream years ago that worked, he envisioned a more modern “big picture”. Unfortunately, no one predicted the narrow sightedness of the council members nor the demise of the economy. What a shame for the future of Ocean City.
For Ocean City to continue to grow and prosper, traditional and established places must be allowed and helped to continue. Knocking an established and trusted group off its feet causes weakness, distrust and dissension. The traditional mainstays that can be counted on to be there cause people to live in and return to Ocean City.
No one, no group was as welcoming as the Furst family. My daughter and I and their many friends and community members thank the family for years of wholesome exercise and true friendship. We grieve our loss but support the Furst family in any endeavor for we are part of their extended family. We pledge to help keep those dreams alive.
Priscilla H. Minnich
Ocean View, Del.