Shoes off to Jesse Turner
Posted On: 2/16/17
Now that Jesse Turner is moving on at the age of 86, thousands of people in the area will no doubt will be wondering, “Now what will we do?” Turner, who’s owned the Berlin Shoe Box for decades and seems to have worked there since the beginning of time, is one of those people out-of-towners might not have seen on a regular basis, but they knew where he was when you needed him. By “out-of-towners,” we mean Ocean Pines, Ocean City, West Ocean City and the surrounding area, because everyone who ever had a favorite pair of shoes or boots that were too good to give up, but too worn to wear knew exactly what to do — take them to the Shoe Box, where this exceptionally nice gentleman would bring them back to life. Berliners, of course, know Mr. Turner best. Besides his seemingly eternal business presence, he has involved himself in the community for decades. But alas, time passes and businesses like the Shoe Box are fading into history. We’re more i...» Click here for the full story.
Er on side of inclusion
Posted On: 2/9/17
If local governments and community associations were marching bands, they would be moving to the beat of conundrums. A bad pun that may be, but it is a good way to describe how small government operations find themselves in an endless struggle to keep assessments at a politically acceptable level, while also ensuring that services and amenities are available to as many people as possible. In Ocean Pines this week, the discussion addressed a fundamental issue of this budget-balancing act: should amenities such as the gym aim to make a profit or strive only to break even? Reasonable arguments can be made to support either approach. Making a profit could, depending on the budgetary bent of the leadership, be applied against assessments, thus benefitting all property owners whether or not they use the facility. Conversely, a break-even approach would help to ensure that user fees for that amenity are within the financial reach of as many people as possible. It’s more of a philos...» Click here for the full story.
Walking the Pine plank
Posted On: 2/2/17
A take it or leave it approach usually results in no one walking away truly satisfied, and this could end up being the case with Saturday’s decision by the Ocean Pines Board of Directors to proceed with installing a pirate ship playground at the yacht club. Like many things these days, discussion focused on pitting groups against one another. Either you are a family with young children who should be allowed to enjoy dining and entertainment at the facility, or an older retiree who would rather they not. This was not the issue, as both young and old in the community want to see the venue attract more families, which will go a long way in ensuring its success. While there was discussion of how to avoid disturbing those who wish to enjoy a peaceful day at the adult pool, little thought was given to the safety and convenience of locating the play area so close to the parking lot. For good reason, other venues having similar structures have both a fenced play area along with compl...» Click here for the full story.
America is already great
Posted On: 1/26/17
The infuriatingly wrong thing about the slogan “Make America Great Again” is that it declares that the United States has become an also-ran in the global lineup. It also begs the question, if America is no longer great, who among the other nations has moved into that top spot? Some would argue that the country’s decline into mediocrity or worse began in 2009, when Obama took office, while others would suggest that our national distress started with the financial crisis of 2007-2008 under Bush, or maybe even in 2001 when terrorists exploited a vulnerability we didn’t know existed. Or maybe it’s just a campaign rallying cry that seems to address whatever grievance or belief an individual voter might have, but does not mean the country has become a shadow of its former self. Yes, we have lost jobs to cheaper labor overseas — as well as to automation — as U.S. companies seek to improve their bottom lines for the benefit of other Americans who in...» Click here for the full story.
Heroin problem in Pines
Posted On: 1/19/17
The last thing anyone would have expected 49 years ago, when Ocean Pines came into existence, was that the community would find itself with a heroin problem. But that’s what’s happening, according to Police Chief Dave Massey, who said that this, one of the safest population centers in the state, saw 70 overdose cases in the last two years. If that many overdoses don’t qualify as a “problem” nothing does. Even more worrisome is that Ocean Pines is not the typical Eastern Shore community. It has no deep pockets of poverty, derelict neighborhoods or other areas that foster the growth of criminal elements, and that suggests the tragedy of heroin addiction, as a percentage of the population, is worse in other Worcester County towns. As has been said numerous times in the past few years, opiate addiction is no longer the secretive habit of murky city dwellers who exist on the fringes of society. Neither is this affliction limited to the type of person you try ...» Click here for the full story.
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Posted On: 1/5/17
The year 2016 was a mess: rough weather, flooding, bomb threats, lawsuits, ugly politics, the loss of good citizens, and business that was OK, but not so wonderful that it overshadowed the year’s difficulties. It was, in many respects, like the year before and the year before that. With the arrival of each new year, the downsides of the previous ones remain painfully fresh, while the good, as Shakespeare observed in “Julius Caesar, “is oft interred with their bones.” But the “good,” as it were, is the foundation on which the new year is constructed, while the negative tends to diminish as other circumstances redirect the community’s attention elsewhere. In Berlin, for instance, a fairly rough election by that town’s standards left no permanent scars and the town again appears ready to embrace an ambitious agenda. It won’t accomplish it all, as the town likes to think big, but that is surely better than doing little and expecting ...» Click here for the full story.
‘Tis the (angry) season
Posted On: 12/22/16
Peace on earth and good will toward … Oh, right, that’s out the window these days. How about this then: peace on my patch of the earth and good will toward people who agree with me. For reasons sociologists will spend lifetimes trying to sort out, political and religious differences are no longer just sensitive subjects that could provoke arguments at inopportune times — the dinner table, social gatherings, the grocery store or the gas station — they are the matches for our very short fuses. We have reached the point where a disagreement is no longer a matter of two parties refusing to see things each other’s way, while still remaining on speaking terms, it has become the source of intense personal dislike and worse. Case in point: not long after the national election, a driver pulled into a local gas station and engaged in casual discussion with an attendant about the election results. As is the case throughout the country, they disagreed on the outcom...» Click here for the full story.
Generosity is news, too
Posted On: 12/15/16
Charities in this area — and there are plenty of them — get frequent publicity, because it’s necessary to remind the public that all these institutions and organizations can only do their good works if residents do their share as well. As dedicated as the volunteers and leadership of these groups might be, their efforts will come to naught without the participation of the public. That’s why it’s good to see a little operation like the Church Mouse in Berlin doing so well this holiday season. Helen Wiley, who runs the shop as an outreach for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, put it best when she said that the thrift shop’s success is a tribute to the kindness of the people of Berlin. It truly is, just as the success of the multiple charities in this county reflects well on the thousands of residents and businesses who give regularly, especially this time of the year. And there are plenty of places to do that. According to the National Center for...» Click here for the full story.
Can’t serve two masters
Posted On: 12/8/16
If nothing else, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors’ consideration of a fiber optics infrastructure project that would involve Director Brett Hill’s company is awkward. No matter how much the Ocean Pines Association and others might want blazing-fast Internet connectivity, no matter how much it might cost Hill’s company, FTS Fiber, to do the job, or how much the company might earn from it over the years, the suspicion would linger that insider dealing played a part. FTS wants the directors to grant it easements that would allow the company to install a fiber optics network system that would, in turn, be leased to a communications provider. That’s fine, but blazing-fast Internet access and gigabit download speed aren’t the issues. The difficulty is that Hill is not just a director, but also is the association’s interim general manager. As both, he is the insider’s insider, who, whether or not he recuses himself from board discussions, could ...» Click here for the full story.
Thankful on Giving Tues.
Posted On: 11/24/16
Even though the historical purpose of Thanksgiving is to acknowledge our good fortune, that has become secondary to many of us, as our comfortable circumstances allow us to look on the holiday as less of a day of thanks and more of a time to eat as much as we can possibly hold. If that thought brought about a touch of indigestion, there’s a cure for that — give someone else something to be thankful for, and you can do it through the online donation event known as Giving Tuesday, when it goes viral on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Giving can be second nature to most, but there’s always that thought lurking in the back of your mind, “How will this help me?” It appears we have lost the meaning of giving. Yet, the world continues to give us opportunities to contribute to the welfare of those around us. This Giving Tuesday, set aside that lurking thought and give simply because it’s the right thing to do. Give to a local nonprofit because all they do is give...» Click here for the full story.