Voice From The Readers
Fire Protection Adequate In Showell
In a recent article in (ITALICS)The Dispatch ('Questions Continue To Swirl Around Showell Project, May 25), Worcester County Commissioner Linda Busick asserted that the community of Showell does not have adequate fire protection. We beg to differ with Ms. Busick's statement.
The Showell Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) has been faithfully and diligently serving Showell and the surrounding area for over 60 years. We currently have 28 active firefighters, 12 cadets, seven pieces of fire apparatus and a newly expanded and remodeled fire house.
In 2006, SVFD was evaluated by Insurances Services Office, Inc. (ISO). ISO is the leading supplier of statistical, underwriting and actuarial information for the property/casualty insurance industry and evaluates both volunteer and paid fire services nationwide. The classification for the SVFD was improved from Class 9/10 to Class 6/8. To put this classification in perspective, only 22.7 percent of the fire programs received a higher classification while 37.4 percent were given a lower classification. This classification recognizes the improvements made by our organization and our commitment to serve the needs of the property owners and residents of our community.
Our firefighters have basic fire training and many have additional advanced fire and EMS training. The cadet program provides initial training for teens interested in the fire service, adding 2-3 active firefighters to our membership each year. Of the seven pieces of apparatus belonging to our department, four have been designed and purchased within the last 11 years. This includes the largest capacity tanker in Worcester County and a medic assist unit recently put into service and certified with the Seal of Excellence by the Maryland Emergency Medical Services System. Along with every other fire department in Worcester County, we have established mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments when assistance is needed.
As a small volunteer organization, we always welcome additional firefighters, cadets and auxiliary members. Should any resident of the community have questions about the fire services and protection we provide or about joining our department, we urge him/her to contact the fire department. We also urge Ms. Busick to contact us to discuss her concerns regarding the level of protection we offer to the community and its residents.
Chief David Pruitt
President Michael Davis
Humane Society Has Extreme View
As an Ocean City area resident, recreational fisherman and ardent conservationist, I take extreme exception to the position of the Humane Society vis-a-vis the Ocean city Shark Tournament. Ideally, my position on fishing would be total catch and release. This is what I practice. However, fishing tournaments are important to recreational anglers and the economics of sport fishing. Sadly, some fish are killed. What the Humane Society seems to overlook is the relatively miniscule number of sharks killed in tournaments versus those killed and wasted by the commercial industry. Moreover, just as with Ducks Unlimited, the truly dedicated sport fisherman is one of the mainstays in the conservation effort. Charter captains and rec fisherman know that unless they conserve species, the species will be endangered and there will be a ban on their catch.
While youngsters may be exposed to the death of sharks at the weigh-ins, there is a teachable moment as well. Parents, conservationists and anglers have an opportunity to enlighten the kids as to the role of sharks in the ecosystem and the importance of their overall survival.
As far as preserving sharks is concerned, the Humane Society would be far better off expending their time, effort and funds eliminating the grotesque practice by foreign fishermen of shark finning, long lining, and other commercial practices that kill sharks by the millions. Imagine, if you will, a live shark pulled from the ocean and having its fins cut off before being dumped - still alive, but destined for a slow death - back into the sea so that Asians can enjoy the ritual of shark fin soup.
(The following letter was addressed to the Ocean City Mayor and Council.)
I would like to thank you for your time today in considering the renewal of the lease to the Art League of Ocean City, and for your support of the arts by voting to reissue the lease. It was always our intention that the extension be requested. Not being attorneys, we were unaware the lease needed to be extended two weeks after our signing it. Should the same stipulation be put in the new lease, we will be sure to honor it.
I know that the members of the City Council considered this issue carefully, as they didn't want to offend any members of the community, and let me assure you that it has never been our intent to discriminate against any particular community group.
The council was asked to decide what they thought was in the best interest of the city as a whole. From your vote, I presume that the answer is, that art is an integral part of what Ocean City wants to offer its residents and visitors. The services provided by the Art League are at no cost to the city, and the benefits of having an art center in our town are certainly worth more than having another meeting room.
As you know, we are a non-profit, 501c3 tax-exempt organization. Our tax-exempt purpose is to promote the arts in Ocean City. We are run by a volunteer board of directors and membership who work hard to promote our cause. The board of directors made a decision a year ago to discontinue the many condo association and community group meetings, as they became overwhelming in number, unwieldy to manage, and a distraction to our purpose as an arts center, for which our tax-exempt status is granted.
Although some members of the council have stated they would like to see some 'compromise' on the use of the building by allowing one group access for their yearly meeting, we feel that would be unfair to the other associations in the neighborhood. The council would be sending the wrong message by granting entitlement to the building, to any one group simply because they have met there for many years, while there are many groups who have met there for years. Ocean City has undergone many changes over the years, and while change may be difficult for some, it is inevitable. I hope that the City Council continues to respect the authority of the Art League to use the building as a public arts center, and not to try to dictate it's use.
In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to promote and enrich the cultural aspect of Ocean City, and to be a positive addition to the many fine programs and services that the Town of Ocean City offers.
(The writer is the president of the Art League of Ocean City, Inc.)
Event A Success
The Downtown Association of Ocean City is proud to have been able to present the Third Annual White Marlin Festival and Crab Soup Cookoff. The area looked wonderful with the blue canopy tents up and down the street and flags flying from light standards. The weather was great considering the forecast.
The event sponsorsed by Phillips Restaurants and Macky's Bayside Bar & Grill was held on May 12 on Somerset Plaza and was very successful.
The winners of the Crab Soup Cook Off were: Cream of Crab, first place, Phillips Crab House; second place, Marina Deck Restaurant; and third place, Marlin Moon Grille. Red Vegetable Crab, first place, Vineyards in the Pines; second place, Hall's Restaurant; and third place, Phillips Crab House.
We are most appreciative of all the chefs who turned out with their special crab soups. They are Adolfo's Italian Restaurant, Assateague Crab House, Connor's Beach Café, Hall's Family Restaurant, Harrison's Harbor Watch, Marina Deck Restaurant, Marlin Moon Grille, Phillips Crab House and The Vineyards in the Pines.
The success of this event was due to the many businesses and individuals who have supported the Downtown Association in the past and continue to do so. Glenn Irwin of the Ocean City Development Corporation, the Purnell family of the Atlantic Hotel, Joe Hall of Hall's Family Restaurant, Bob Rothermel of T.E.A.M. Productions, Phillips Restaurant for the loan of Capt. Phil for the day, Danelle Amos of Beach Walk Hotel, Vi Candeloro of Ocean Terrace Apartments Ed Potetz and Mandy Miller of the Worcester County Health Department, Ashley Alexander and Benet McCormick of the Harley-Davidson Shop of Ocean City, Mike Amos of L.T. Amos Plumbing and Heating and Stan Kolb of Atlantis Gallery and the Somerset Merchants Association.
To all of the wonderful Downtown Association members who volunteered: Tom and Cookie Allen, Bob & Amy Rothermel, Vi Candeloro, Lauren Taylor, Bruce Kennington, Nancy Howard, Vicki Barrett, Glenn Irwin, Benet McCormick, Marjorie Hagood and Betty Derry, thank you so very much for your time and hard work. To the friends of the Downtown Association: Bev Townsend, Barbara Bell, Steve Crocker, Ashley Alexander, Bruce Bennett, Jody Falter, Monica French, Linda Donaldson, Carl Lemaster, Tim Long, Hope and Mike Thomas, Skip and Irish Kemp and Sandy Patrick, we could not have done it without your help. A very special thank you to the students of Stephen Decatur High School, who came to us through the Connections program, for being special assistants to some of our chefs.
Last but not least, we also would like to thank the Mayor and City Council of the Town of Ocean City as well as all of the city departments and employees who worked with us to make Somerset Plaza a special place to hold our event.