Voices From The Readers
Two Different Kinds Of Acknowledgements
I happened to be in Ocean City the week of Sept. 11, staying on the Boardwalk. The morning of Sept. 11 we all heard the loud but slow roar of the beautiful Harley motorcycles approach, almost countless, like sparkling sticks of dynamite glistening in the sun. They headed up the center of the Boardwalk towards the bronze statue of the firefighter donated by the Ocean City volunteer firefighters. It was graced by two human firefighters in dress uniform at parade rest.
I know this because earlier that morning I did my daily workout on the Boardwalk. It was breezy, warm, and sunny, even though hurricanes were invading some of our skies, not much unlike the murderous fanatics of that day in 2001. On my way back through I stopped in front of them and removed my sweat soaked sunglasses with my left hand, raised my cupped right hand vertically to my heart and slowly lowered it. My glance did see the reaction in their eyes, I left with my head lowered in sadness. That evening I foolishly and perhaps selfishly wondered which display meant more to those two men.
The noisy and ostentatious one or the quiet and solitary one.
I then realized it simply did not matter, all that mattered was that they were acknowledged. The firefighters that sweat for us now, and the ones from Sept. 11 who sweat no more.
Council Disappoints With Avenue Vote
As a resident of St. Louis Avenue, I attended the public hearing in July and completed the survey on the redesign of our street. Overall, I liked the designs for road resurfacing, traffic calming and increased lighting.
Overwhelmingly, those in attendance were in favor of maintaining the dedicated bike lane. Now, the City Council has voted 4-3 to abolish that safety feature because what most citizens favored was not the desire of most elected officials with the exception of Nancy Howard, Margaret Pillas and Mary Knight.
The reason cited for this is to increase the width of the sidewalk from 5 feet to 8 feet because the city has adopted this as the new standard for sidewalks in the 'pedestrian-dense' downtown area. No way at anytime could St. Louis Avenue ever be called 'pedestrian-dense.' Rarely, as opposed to bike riders, does anyone ever walk the length of St. Louis Avenue. Usually, that would be a solitary or pair of workers going to and from work because St. Louis Avenue is already safer for pedestrians than Philadelphia or Baltimore avenues. They have the buffer of parked cars and a bike lane between them and traffic.
Most pedestrians are on St. Louis Avenue for less than a block before they turn east at the corner and go to the Boardwalk or beach. Those hand-holding families that Mayor Rick Meehan is concerned about would be able to do so for only half a black before they turned onto the narrower side street sidewalks for the next three blocks of their walk. So, for half a block of family hand-holding, the safety of cyclists would be jeopardized.
Getting rid of the bike lane is dumb and the reason is even dumber. The bike lane is a safety feature that serves families, seniors and workers and cost nothing more than a white painted line. Don't we owe a safe route to our servers, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, clerks, cleaners, ride attendants and lifeguards who serve us and use the bike lane everyday to go to and from work? Sure, some county roads share a lane, but that's because they, unfortunately, are not wide enough to accommodate a bike lane but St. Louis Avenue is.
Guess what? If the bike lane is eliminated and the sidewalks are increased to eight feet, the bikes are going to be on the sidewalk and why not be safe, nobody else will be using them.
I hope the four members of the City Council will reconsider their position and that others who are opposed to this irrational decision will come forth.
Also, on the issue of safety, I agree with Councilwoman Pillas' concerns about a circle at 1st Street. There were others options for realignment presented that were simpler and safer.
There is no rationale for making our city less safe.
Police Went Too Far
My family and friends attended bike week in Ocean City this past week as we have the past five years. I am very concerned about the way we were treated. I have never seen so many police harassing hard working people in my life. I am certified in crowd control and no matter where I have been in this country for an event I have never seen such harassment. No matter where we went, we were pulled over or followed. Two of my friends got very expensive tickets for doing nothing.
The club we went to Friday and Saturday night was visited by the Fire Marshal each night for an extended period of time much longer than required. What you need to realize is that bikers work hard and no matter where they go they spend a lot of money having a good time. They very rarely cause any trouble and are respectful people. I would guess that 80% of the bikers I know are US veterans and deserve more respect than you offer them. Many of the people I talked to said they will never again visit Ocean City and I really need to decide if I will myself ever again.
I have worked spring break and I must tell you that the kids there behave worse than any biker I know and usually have no money but they are treated with respect I don't understand why we're not. Are you better than us? Do you not want us there? Just let us know and we will not come. We felt very unwelcomed in your city.
I realize that you want an organized city and you want it kept clean and lawful. That I agree with and if someone gets out of line they deserve what they get but the way we were treated is not called for.
I hope some of you get treated this way when you take your vacation maybe you will understand what I am saying in my letter. A vacation is a time for fun and to unwind and relax. We got none of that. We were on edge the entire time we were there.
I talked to a man that got arrested for an open container. He doesn't drink but picked up a beer can to spit tobacco juice into. The can was lying on the sidewalk and he didn't want to spit on the sidewalk so he picked it up to spit in and got arrested. Now I don't like chewing tobacco but don't you think this is going overboard?
Well that's all I have to say. I hope you think about the way you treat people in the future remember the next time it may be you.
David A Orazio
Lexington Park, Md,
As an Ocean City resident, it is very discouraging to read of the City Council's recent decision to ignore the wishes of the people and vote to eliminate the dedicated bike lane on St. Louis Avenue.
This decision would mean that there would be no bike lane from the Route 50 Bridge to 17th Street. While I believe most of are in favor of improving the area, we are not in favor of doing so at the expense of the bike lane. A safe dedicated bike lane is essential to both residents and visitors and St. Louis Avenue is heavily traveled by bicycle traffic.
One only needs to read the paper or listen to the news to hear stories of towns and even big cities that are redesigning their roads to accommodate bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation. No one that regularly rides a bike in Ocean City would consider it bike friendly, but to remove the meager area that we have to safely ride seems a huge step backwards.
It seems that living in an area so surrounded by natural beauty our elected officials should be leading us to live a cleaner lifestyle that preserves what we are so lucky to have. The lack of enthusiasm for the windmill project made it evident that it is not a priority for the majority of this council.
Biking is one of the dwindling pleasures of living downtown. Please help us to retain our quality of life. It seems our leaders sometimes forget that we are more than a town of visitors. Contact your council members and ask them to reconsider their vote. Please thank council members Nancy Howard, Mary Knight and Margeret Pillas for their vote to preserve the dedicated bike lane.
Debi Thompson Cook
I was hoping to be commending the town of Ocean City, but I am saddened to have to point out an area lacking in the "Great American City."
I am deaf, and members of my family have hearing challenges ranging from total deafness to "normal" hearing. As a group, anywhere from six to 30, we enjoy attending concert and stage performances, with the help of an interpreter. We have been attending performances in Dover, Harrington, Salisbury, and occasionally Ocean City for the past five or six years. We have never had an issue in Dover, Harrington and Salisbury with requesting an interpreter and receiving services. We obtain our tickets, then contact the venue to request the interpreter. The venue hires the interpreter and confirms via e-mail. In Ocean City, it is always a battle. We have had to return our tickets on several occasions because the town did not confirm that an interpreter had been secured.
As I write this letter, I am waiting for confirmation of an interpreter for the three concerts at Sunfest. This request was made on Aug. 28 or 29, but there has been no response so far. If I do not hear anything by Sept. 16, I will be forced to, yet again, return my tickets.
The ADA law gives me the right to request an interpreter, but it also protects my privacy. I do not have to, nor would I benefit from sitting "up front in the handicapped access section." Interpreted performances are best viewed from the center of the auditorium to allow for best viewing of both the interpreter, usually off to one side of the stage, and the activity on the stage. Unless every individual in the auditorium is forced to identify themselves to the Recreation and Parks gentleman who sets up the concerts, why must I?
My only request is that an interpreter be provided to allow for my right to access and that my right to privacy be respected.
Grateful For Experience
While on vacation in Ocean City, on Aug. 23, 2008, my husband and I were forced to bring our 9-year-old daughter, Emma, into the ER for treatment of a migraine. Emma has suffered from severe migraines for six years. This was the first time she came down with one away from home. Our normal place for treatment is the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). As we prepared to make the 2.5-hour drive back to Philadelphia, we reluctantly decided to give the local hospital a chance and ended up at Atlantic General.
The admissions staff was great. The triage nurse was great. The ER nurse, Shane, was absolutely wonderful with Emma, making her laugh and making her feel at ease. He also relayed to us some different methods that the hospital uses to treat their "regular" migraine patients, which we are following up on. (He also gave us the name of the "best" pizza place -- I'll let you know about that one.)
The doctor who treated Emma was Dr. Forrestal who was just as competent and compassionate as any doctor we've seen at CHOP, and in my opinion that is saying a lot. He actually listened to us and listened to Emma. Although he suggested treating her with different drugs, he discussed everything without trying to intimidate us or talk down to us and eventually treated her with her usual drugs.
Our entire visit lasted under three hours (which is extremely quick) and Emma was 100% when we left - and has been since.
Thank you Shane.
Thank you Dr. Forrestal.
You're the best.
Matt, Kelly & Emma Nederostek