September is World Suicide Prevention Month, a time to become aware of the high rates of suicide on the lower Eastern Shore, to remember those who lost their lives to what the National Institute of Mental Health calls one of the most preventable public health crises in America, and to learn suicide prevention first aid.
Here are some facts about local suicide tragedies:
• In Worcester County, from 2012 – 2014, the rate of suicide was 16 percent higher than the state average.
• For the same period, the Wicomico County rate exceeded the state rate by 33 percent.
• The Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that 17 percent of young people seriously considered suicide and 13 percent actually made a suicide plan in 2015.
Rural regions across the country historically suffer higher rates of suicide than urban and suburban areas, so the Eastern Shore is not an outlier. The reasons are myriad: shortages of mental health professionals, high rates of firearm ownership, and the rural sense of proud independence, among many others.
World Suicide Prevention Month is a time to become cognizant of the threat of suicide, but the operative goal is to teach as many citizens as possible how to recognize the risk factors and warning signs that may lead one to contemplate taking his or her own life, and the simple steps that anyone can take to keep that person safe until healthcare professionals can step in.
Suicide prevention first aid is not much different from CPR. A practitioner does not have to be a cardiologist to keep someone alive until the ambulance arrives, and a person does not have to be a psychiatrist to keep someone safe from suicide until trained mental health professionals can step in.
Begin by visiting the website of the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness & Prevention Program at www.choosetolivemaryland.org. There you will find tips on recognizing the warning signs, the cries for help that precede most suicide attempts. You’ll learn how to listen, what to say and what not to say, and you’ll find a comprehensive guide to local mental health services.
Through the website, if you belong to a group – a church, school parents’ group, community organization, any group that welcomes guest speakers – invite us to speak. There is never a charge for any of our presentations or workshops.
World Suicide Prevention Month is a time to stop and think about those close to you. Someone is suffering from depression, and someone may be thinking about suicide. You can prevent that. Imagine how you would feel if you had the opportunity and didn’t know what to do.
Ronald W. Pilling
The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund
Spread the credit, and the blame
After six years, Director Dave Stevens has finally achieved his objective of having General Manager, Bob Thompson, fired. The effort to get rid of Bob began in July of 2010 when the then board of directors decided to terminate the contract of the then GM and to hire Mr. Thompson to replace him. Mr. Stevens was very opposed to the action of the board majority and made very clear his intent to oppose and make life difficult for Bob Thompson, ultimately, no doubt, in having his contract terminated.
My opinion is based on my having been a director at the time and participating in the discussions and the decisions. I have to acknowledge Mr. Stevens’ relentlessness, over the years, in pursuing his objective in so many ways. He has finally met with success. He certainly has had help over the years, most notably from Marty Clarke and Joe Reynolds, who have also been relentless in their criticism and call for removal of the GM. So, they certainly share in the success.
The board has made its decision, which it has every right to do. Now it’s time to move on and identify and hire a competent replacement that can be successful in this very challenging position.
Mr. Thompson’s critics, including some successful, as well as unsuccessful, candidates for election to the board, have been quite vehement in criticizing how Ocean Pines has been managed. I hope the board will identify, for the benefit of the membership, those areas, which it considers the most poorly managed and which, presumably, would be established as the highest priority areas for improvement, as we go forward under new leadership. The membership can then follow the progress being made.
The voters have expressed their confidence in the newly elected board members. I wish them well in their efforts to meet the needs and expectations of the entire association, not just certain elements of it. We all need them to be successful.
Lastly, I would like to thank Bob Thompson for his extremely dedicated service to Ocean Pines and wish him well in the future. I know how much pressure he has been under and the challenges he has faced. A fresh start could be a very good thing.
Past OPA Director
Give new OPA Board majority a chance
Many of us that own houses in Ocean Pines do not live here full time. I purchased my house eight years ago and probably spend 50 to 60 days here per year.
I live full time in Pennsylvania and am a business owner. Over the last 25 years I have developed and constructed numerous properties along with two ground-up builds of a 20,000 and 24,500 square foot properties.
While not an expert, I do understand construction and what customers like and want. Over these last eight years I have continued to watch and listen to the vocal minority rule and extend their wills on the rest of us. I applaud what the board has done in removing the general manager. Under his watch the new yacht club was poorly planned and built. The dining room reminds me of a cafeteria, the small bar with its mini TVs and no elbowroom is a joke, and the outside tiki bar is badly designed and aesthetically bad. This doesn’t even take into account how poorly run it is.
The yacht club continues to lose money every year. A change is needed. In fact let’s look in a completely different direction. Anything government does private business can do better. I urge the Ocean Pines board to look to the private sector in running all of the amenities.
The vocal minority has their heads in the sand and keeps doing the same things over and over again. Let’s look outside the box and make Ocean Pines the best it can be. I also urge others like myself, who are not full time residents, but property owners, to get involved and offer your expertise and suggestions. Everything is not good in Ocean Pines. Let’s give the new majority board members a chance to fix it.
Ocean Pines and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Concerns over new superintendent
This letter is in reference to the search for a new superintendent for Worcester County Schools. As a community organization dedicated to the equality of minority group citizens, we have several concerns we would like to address:
1. Since we are fortunate that Dr. Wilson will remain until a replacement has been secured, protocol must be followed as we have ample time for the process to be done transparently. According to the superintendent search brochure, the new start date for this position will be no later than July 1, 2017. Although the application deadline has passed, care should be taken to carefully consider each candidate. We are concerned about the rush to interview and fill this position so quickly.
2. It is critical for our school system to hire someone with an advanced degree. Specific qualifications have been identified: doctorate preferred and at least five years of administrative/executive level experience in public education. Of the nine school districts on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, seven superintendents have their doctorate degrees.
3. We need all stakeholders to be involved in the current process. During previous superintendent selections, focus groups participated in the candidate selection. It was an ideal situation whereas representation came from all stakeholders parents, teachers, classified staff, and community members from our diverse population.
4. Since 32 percent of the student population is minority in our school district, the Worcester County Branch of the NAACP should have input into the superintendent selection process.
We request the courtesy of a meeting with the Board of Education members prior to the final selection.
Worcester County Branch
Thank you, Bob Thompson
Where, other than Ocean Pines, can one’s contract be terminated for doing a great job?
I would like to thank Bob Thompson for a very effective six years as general manager of Ocean Pines and for the numerous accomplishments he achieved for the Ocean Pines residents.
Bob lived and breathed Ocean Pines 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He and his team accomplished more for the community than you have space to list in this paper. And, he did it without seeking recognition.
Bob’s most significant problem as general manager was his compensation package – but the board of directors sets the salary, not the general manager. Even with regard to bonuses, he offered to eliminate them, but the board majority disagreed.
It is unfortunate that approximately 25 percent of the 8,500 plus-or-minus Ocean Pines residents voted. The other 75 percent were probably happy with the direction Ocean Pines was headed and didn’t think their votes were necessary.
Many of the 25 percent who voted give Ocean Pines the reputation as the “Pines whiners” and the “Pine nuts.” Bob has had to deal with considerable negativity encouraged and promoted by a certain website and one local publication in particular.
Bob has his heart in the community and loved working for the people of Ocean Pines. He had other career opportunities while serving as general manager, but didn’t seriously entertain them, as Ocean Pines is his home where he and our daughter, Missi, have raised their children.
Old adage still true: ‘Stupid lasts forever’
Consider these facts. Hillary [Clinton], at the age of 27, was fired by her Democrat boss, Jerry Zeifman, while she worked on the Watergate investigation “because she was a liar,” Zeifman said.
“She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”
She still is unable to tell the truth—even about trivial things. For example, she claimed to be part Jewish while running for Senator of NYS. She claimed to be named after Everest climber, Sir Edmund Hilary. He climbed the mountain when Hillary was already 5 years old. She claimed she was under sniper fire when visiting Bosnia. Yet pictures clearly show her greeting people casually on the tarmac there.
In ‘78 and ‘79 she invested $1,000 in cattle futures and quickly turned that into $100,000. Her involvement is evident with regard to the Whitewater debacle that sent several people to prison and drove Vince Foster to suicide. The list goes on and on.
She didn’t accomplish much as first lady of Arkansas. As first lady of the USA, she screwed up the healthcare initiative her husband assigned her. As Senator of New York, she failed to bring jobs to upstate residents as promised. On Nov.11, 1999, Hillary gave Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, a hug and kiss. Many say that much of the USA money given to Arafat (a serial killer of Jews) for Palestinian aid went to support his wife’s lavish lifestyle in France.
Hillary’s record while Secretary of State is atrocious! The Russian “reset” lead to canceling defense missiles for Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia annexed Crimea, continues to violate missile and nuclear test ban treaties, and invaded Ukraine and their jets have buzzed our warships.
The New York Times reports that uranium investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary’s office was involved in approving a Russian bid for uranium mining assets in Kazakhstan and the USA. China is annexing islands that do not belong to them. Hillary did not try to dissuade Obama from pulling out of the then-stabilizing Iraq in ’11.
This led to hundreds of thousands dying, and the growth of ISIS (not ISIL). ISIS has engaged in unspeakable cruelty – killing hundreds of thousands. Beheadings, burnings and drownings in cages and the metastasizing of the caliphate can be blamed on them. ISIS seized power in Iraq and Syria and can be found all over the planet. Under Hillary’s watch, Mubarak of Egypt and Qaddafi of Libya were overthrown, leading to chaos and sanctuary states for ISIS.
Our embassy in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists resulting in the torture death of Ambassador Stevens and the deaths of three other American heroes. They begged for help many, many times but none was sent. Then to add insult to injury, Hillary lied to their families about the real cause of the attack. She and Obama did not support the democratic uprising in Iran. It failed. This helped pave the way for Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Iran vows to destroy Israel, the “little Satan.”
It has been theorized that they could hit us, the “great Satan,” with an electromagnet pulse. This pulse from a nuclear weapon would be exploded 25 to 40 miles above the center of the USA, frying our electric grid for decades. Our society would be devastated.
Now we have her unsecured emails and deletions. FBI director Comey affirmed that she lied repeatedly about them to Senator Trey Gowdy during Senate hearings. Also being investigated are the lavish donations to the Clinton Foundation made by foreign powers. Will they expect favors in return? What about the exorbitantly priced speeches made to Wall Street executives?
Are they expecting favors if she becomes President? She admitted that she will raise taxes on the middle class, offer “free” college tuition, and let millions of unvetted foreigners into our country. She will continue funding for Planned Parenthood.
While she is claiming to support African Americans, it is important to note that the majority of aborted babies are black. She supports making it much more difficult for the law abiding to own a gun even for self-protection. Her Supreme Court appointments will effectively take away most, if not all, of our second amendment rights. She vows to dismantle the coal industry and is against the Keystone pipeline. This will perpetuate our dependence on foreign oil coming from unstable, radical Islamic states for our energy needs. We have the capability of becoming completely energy independent!
Would any of us consider hiring a serial liar and a proven incompetent to be our maid, nanny for our children or any other position? Of course not! Why then our President? No matter how many ways she has proven not worthy of a position of distinction, she might still be elected because she is a Democrat. No consideration is given to how she can hurt this country for generations. I find this baffling.
John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
The two-party system also gave pause to Washington. They both agreed it will serve to divide the country.
On Jan. 8, 1996, columnist William Safire (of the very liberal New York Times) called Hillary Clinton a “congenital liar.” Yet after this, there are millions who will vote for Hillary because she is a Democrat. Comic playwright of ancient Athens, Aristophanes 447 B.C. – 386 B.C., summed it up perfectly when he said, “Youth ages. Immaturity can be outgrown. Ignorance can be educated and drunkenness sobered; but stupid lasts forever.”
Dennis W. Evans