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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letters to the Editor

Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
This year’s theme, “Engaging New Voices,” builds on the idea that we are stronger together, and that new partners and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts. We can help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality and respect.
Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are victims of sexual assault. We all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence in our community.
Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide and influence. From modeling healthy behavior to addressing inappropriate conduct, everyone can make a difference.
The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (S.A.F.E.) program at Atlantic General Hospital is managed by a forensic nurse team that is certified and licensed by the Maryland Board of Nursing. This team provides confidential, compassionate and comprehensive support to victims of any age, from newborns to seniors, who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse/child sexual abuse/neglect, and senior abuse.
The program provides victims physical and psychological assessments, crisis intervention, and evidence collection for local law enforcement and the State Attorney’s office.
The program works in collaboration with many agencies and community services, including Life Crisis, Worcester County Child Advocacy Center, Worcester County States Attorney Office, Law Enforcement and Worcester County Department of Social Services, under a multidisciplinary model called the Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T). Atlantic General’s SART team main goal is to coordinate the response to victims of sexual assault in Worcester County.
Changing beliefs that contribute to sexual violence starts with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. You, the community, can help by calling out victim-blaming comments or rape jokes. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never OK, or the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this can make a critical impact.
Get engaged this April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Join us in embracing your role in ending sexual assault. Learn more about how you can use your voice to change the culture. Rape Is Wrong.
Althea Foreman DNP, RN, APR-CNS, CEN, FNE A/P
SAFE/SART Coordinator
Atlantic General Hospital

Just say ‘no’ to spot rezoning
I am writing on behalf of the overwhelming majority of members of the South Point Association, Inc. to express opposition to the rezoning of the Pine Shores Gulf Course (zoned E-1) property on Route 611 to any designation that might allow for the development of a campground (zone A-2).
The stated purpose and intent of E-1 zoning is “to allow for orderly development until the regulations are amended to effect changes in the Comprehensive Plan resulting from the next state-mandated periodic review.”  
In our view, the premature rezoning of environmentally sensitive, protected properties south of Maryland Route 376, which permits intense commercial development in a piecemeal fashion prior to a fully state-mandated review of the Comprehensive Plan, falls disturbingly into the definition of spot zoning. We feel compelled to raise this issue.
The Pine Shores Golf Course is a parcel of ecologically sensitive land adjacent to the intersection of Maryland Route 376 and Maryland Route 611, east of Berlin. It is reasonable to conclude that at the time of the purchase the local investor was fully aware of the restrictions to the development of a commercial campground imposed by the existing E-1 zoning. These restrictions are intended to preserve the ecological integrity of the area lying south of Maryland Route 376.
The degree of profitability of the investor’s gamble in this parcel is entirely contingent upon a zoning change from E-1 zoning to A-2, as this would allow the commercial development to proceed and greatly increase the monetary value of the investment. The investor/developer has moved expeditiously toward this end and requested the zoning change.
In this respect, the developer’s application to our County Commissioners for rezoning to A-2 cannot be viewed in the same light nor approached with the same sympathy a reasonable person might be tempted to give a bona fide farmer seeking to save the family farm by maximizing its earning potential.
Rather, this is a clear case of a real estate investor seeking a change to existing zoning in order to maximize the return on his investment. We contend that this change in zoning runs contrary to the dictates of our Worcester County Comprehensive Development Plan and would undermine the preexisting rights and uses of adjacent property owners.
In short, we consider this request for rezoning to be a classic example of an attempt at spot zoning for individual profit and a detriment to everyone else. Given these circumstances, we cannot fathom any legitimate reason why there exists any urgency which might compel our Worcester County Commissioners to allow this project to go forward prior to the next state-mandated review of the Comprehensive Development Plan.
The future of development in this area demands a full, fair and comprehensive review by all stake holders and a halt to piecemeal decision making by a few.
An argument that rezoning is justified by a “change in the nature of the area” borders on the ludicrous. Roads that over the years have become increasingly congested and creeks and bays that suffer from greater-than-ever environmental stress are certainly not justification for rezoning. Allowing development of this campground (an entity that, in reality, is an intensively developed parking lot for seasonal trailers to encroach upon environmentally sensitive land) based on the rational that the area has changed, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Any quick spot zoning becomes a precedent-setting decision supporting future arguments in favor of even greater commercial development along the scenic approach to the Assateague Island National and State Seashores.
We find without merit any argument that the existing E-1 zoning was the result of a mistake. After the required public hearings, the issue was fully vetted by competent county officials including, but not limited to, the then Board of County Commissioners. E-1 was approved as the zoning designation, which most closely adhered to the letter and the spirit of our Worcester County Comprehensive Plan.
The fact that a developer is now attempting to entice our County Commissioners to approve an adverse exception to the intent of the Comprehensive Plan is incontrovertible proof that the E-1 zoning was not a mistake, but rather a prophetic bulwark against encroachment. The current E-1 zoning was both well conceived and continues working precisely as the county intended – to “protect and preserve the open character of the rural areas and the environmentally sensitive areas of the county.”
The membership of the South Point Association, Berlin, respectfully request that the application for rezoning be denied. We believe that this area is nature at its best — please keep it that way.
Michael A. LeCompte, President

Seeing ‘red’ over claims  of Russian involvement
Well, we got a two-fer in the last issue of Ocean City Today . . . two letters to the editor that have very little – if any – factual basis.  
One letter speaks of “Russia’s involvement and interference in our election.” There is absolutely no proof that Russia had anything to do with John Podesta’s email fiasco. John Podesta’s email was not hacked, he fell for a common, run-of-the-mill “phishing” scheme, the same type of scheme that we all have encountered at one time or another, but are smart enough not to fall for.  
On top of that, his password was “password.” Who does that?
And, “involvement and interference with our election.” Is the writer referring to the fact that voters may have been distressed when Podesta’s emails revealed the fact that the Democrat primary was rigged in favor of Clinton (Sanders never had a chance, and DNC chairman Wasserman-Schultz was forced to quit), and that the CNN moderator of one of the Clinton/Trump debates provided the Clinton campaign with the questions ahead of time (she now runs the DNC!).  
Did Sessions – in his roles as a U.S. senator – speak to the Russian Ambassador? Of course he did, as does Schumer, Pelosi, McCain and every other member of Congress. And the Russian Ambassador has recently stated on CNN that he had discussions with Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff, not Trump’s.
So when playing the race card, woman card, Muslim card fails, try the Russian card.
The second letter addressed school vouchers. How can anyone – anyone not representing the special interest teacher’s union that is – oppose school vouchers, especially for the underprivileged?
The Democratic Party depends on the teacher union to redistribute membership dues to their campaigns, so they enthusiastically deny school choice to those who live in the areas where the public schools are a dismal failure. As the president said, education is the civil rights issue of our time.
Why do Democrats so desperately want to keep under-privileged youth in failing schools, perpetuating the cycle of under-achievement and poverty? And why do democrats refuse to accept that their liberal, socialist policies have been soundly rejected in the last election and in the previous two mid-term elections, and instead want us to believe “the Russians did it?”
Steve Lind
Ocean Pines