Author Archives: Communications Manager

Town of Ocean City Mourns the Loss of Former Councilmember

(July 11, 2014) – It is with deep sadness that the Mayor and City Council, as well as the men and women of the Town of Ocean City, announce the passing of former councilmember Hank Westfall.  Westfall served one term on the Ocean City Council, from 1990 until 1994.  In addition to his time on the council, Westfall was a 13-year member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, which he served from 1996 to 2011.

Hank Westfall was an excellent Councilman and also one of the finest gentleman I have ever known,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “He will be missed by all and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Evelyn and the entire Westfall family.”

Along with his involvement in local government, Westfall was a member of the American Legion Post #166, he served as the AARP Ocean City Chapter Vice President and was the President of the Little Salisbury Civic Association. Before moving to Ocean City after retirement from the Department of Labor in D.C., Westfall attended George Washington University as a Mechanical Engineering student.  He also served in the US Army and the Army Reserves, eventually retiring as US Army Captain. 

 

Services for Westfall, who passed on July 10, will be held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Ocean City, MD at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, July, 14, 2014.  In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to either:  St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, American Legion, VFW, Hospice, or any charity you choose.

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Ocean City Fire Department Adds New Equipment to Fleet

ocfd4The Ocean City Fire Department recently took delivery of a brand new 2014 KME engine tanker.   The engine, which is equipped with rear and side view safety cameras for backing and parking, will replace an older fire engine that has been in service for nearly twenty years. 

 

The interior crew cab has two specialized cabinets that house medical supplies.

Other features include a Booster Line Reel Engine, an international MAXXForce 13 450 HP Motor, light tower red and yellow safety marking on the front bumper and rear of the truck to enhance.  “Adding the new tanker to our fleet is going to be extremely beneficial,” stated Ocean City Fire Department Assistant Chief Chris Shaffer.  “The body style of the tanker is the same as our current units, but this engine uses different foam and has the ability to hold more water.”

 

In addition to the new KME engine tanker, the OCFD also recently received 53 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and six new Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) kits.  The equipment was 95 percent funded through the competitive Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The $383,325 grant, when coupled with the required Town of Ocean City match of 5 percent, brought the equipment award total to $403,430.

 

“We are pleased to have been chosen to receive FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant”, Shaffer continued.  “The SCBAs are a critical component in the protective equipment used by our personnel.  With a primary response area of 10.5 miles, nearly 9,000 calls for service annually, including HAZMAT, being fully equipped with the latest SCBAs is vital to reducing first responder risk.  The safety the SCBAs provide to our members, while also supplying our firefighters the ability to operate in hostile fire ground environments, including high rise buildings, is invaluable.”

 

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NORTHSIDE PARK AWARDED 2014 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

Recognized as a Top Performing Attraction as Reviewed by Travelers on the  World’s Largest Travel Site

OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND – (July 7, 2014) –Ocean City Recreation and Parks (OCRP) today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.  Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings.  Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, volume and recency of reviews. Additional criteria include a business’ tenure and popularity ranking on the site.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Ocean City Recreation and Parks and we’d like to thank all of our past visitors who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Susan Petito, OCRP Director. “I can’t think of a greater honor than being recognized by our visitors. This is a remarkable statement about our property and facilities and the staff that maintain them, and it only reaffirms our continued commitment to excellence.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses for consistent excellence,” said Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we want to applaud exceptional hospitality businesses for offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.”

About Northside Park

Northside Park is located on 125th Street and the Bay.  It is Ocean City’s largest and most popular park and home to the Recreation and Parks Department administrative offices.  This 58-acre complex boasts three lighted softball/baseball fields, a lighted soccer field, multipurpose field, a foot bridge, mini-borrowing library, concession stands, accessible playground, picnic shelter, two piers, over 1 mile of walking/jogging paths and a state of the art outdoor exercise area.  Indoor facilities include a Community Center with 14,200 square foot gymnasium, kitchen, community room, conference room, patio, sitting areas and a Sports Center annex with a 21,000 square foot multi-use arena. Northside Park hosts more than 100 special events and recreational programs and activities each year for both residents and visitors to Ocean City.

About TripAdvisorTripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching nearly 260 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 39 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

For more information about Northside Park and the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department visit: http://oceancitymd.gov/Recreation_and_Parks/.

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 *Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, Q1 2014

**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2014; does not include traffic to daodao.com

Captain Robert S. Craig Annual Boardwalk Swim & Ginny Craig Quarter Mile Boardwalk Swim

(July 7, 2014) – The Ocean City Beach Patrol will host the annual Boardwalk swim to honor Captain Robert Craig on July 12, 2014 at 6 p.m. on 14th Street and the Boardwalk. Competitors will swim a measured mile with the prevailing current to a finish line located at 14th Street and the beach. In addition to the annual one mile Boardwalk swim, the Ginny Craig quarter mile swim will take competitors on a 400m distance along the coast and also finish in the area of 14th Street and the beach.

 

Participants will compete under the watchful eye of surf rescue technicians deployed in the water, on the beach and in rescue boats. “This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in open-water swimming,” said Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin. “The Ginny Craig quarter mile swim is a good training distance to work up to the Captain Craig mile swim. What is really special is the one mile swim can also qualify participants for the first annual “Swim Ocean City” event, which is a three mile event, in addition to a nine mile race.”

 

The event is named in honor of the late Captain Craig who served as Captain of the Ocean City Beach Patrol from 1935-1986. Throughout his 52 years of service to the Town of Ocean City, Captain Craig molded the Ocean City Beach Patrol into what it is today.  One of the first procedures he changed was the training and recruiting process, requiring each person interested in becoming a member of the Ocean City Beach Patrol to fill out a written application and complete a physical assessment. If they successfully completed the test, Captain Craig continued their education, by assigning an experienced guard for further instruction in spotting rip currents, knowledge of waves and what to look for so that preventive measures could be taken before difficulties occurred.  Captain Craig also introduced semaphore to the patrol, and it is still used for communication between guards to supplement radio communication.

 

A registration form for the Boardwalk swim can be completed on-line at www.ococean.com/ocbp. Those participants who register early will be offered a discounted price if the form is completed before July 19, 2014. Participants will still be required to check-in on the day of the competition, pay the registration fee, which is $20 if pre-registered before July 9, 2014 or $25 race-day registration, and complete the proper paperwork before being permitted to compete. The registration fee includes certificates for the top three finishers in each category and a t-shirt for all participants. 

July 4th Celebration Rescheduled, Fireworks on Saturday in Two Great Locations

fireworks(July 2, 2014) – It’s better to be safe than sorry and when the projected inclement weather threatened to impact Friday’s holiday fireworks celebration, Town of Ocean City officials agreed that rescheduling the event was the best bet! Both fireworks celebrations, one held at Northside Park and the other in the area of N. Division Street and the beach, have been rescheduled for Saturday, July 5.

“Due to the passing storm and the probable residual effects of the weather, including wind and rain, it would be logistically challenging to hold the fireworks shows on Friday,” commented Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan.  “We are expecting some wet weather on Thursday night and into Friday morning, which makes it nearly impossible to set-up the fireworks show on the beach in enough time for Friday night.  Alternatively, the weather over the weekend looks beautiful so Saturday is the safest choice.”

Aside from the date change, operations for the holiday will remain mostly the same.  The Town of Ocean City will still host celebrations in two great locations offering music and fireworks displays for free.  At Northside Park, 125th Street and the bay, The U.S. Army Drum Downrange and 10-year-old singing sensation Baylee Morrison will take the stage at 8 p.m. with the spectacular fireworks display lighting up the sky at 9:30 p.m.

On the south end of town, you can head to Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk with its bright lights, assortment of food, family fun and more fantastic fireworks. Performing the first show on the new Caroline Street Stage, Frankie & the Pack will take the stage at 8 p.m. with fireworks filling the sky beginning at 9:30 p.m.

The $50 flat-fee for all day parking in the Inlet Lot will now be applied on July 5.  The fee, which is good for one-entry, will allow visitors to come as early as 5:30 a.m. and stay as late as midnight, without being charged an hourly parking rate.  In addition, a late entry fee will be permitted based on availability at 3 p.m. for a fee of $30, also allowing one-entry only. Once the lot fills, visitors will be encouraged to use neighboring parking lots, including Worcester Street, Somerset Street, Dorchester Street, North Division Street, 4th Street and the West Ocean City Park & Ride. The normal “ticketed” parking operations will return at 12 a.m. on July 6.

Parking is extremely limited at both locations. It is recommended that visitors take the bus. Bus service is $3 ride all day. The West Ocean City Park & Ride on Route 50 is just west of the Route 50 Bridge and offers free parking and $3 ride-all-day shuttle service to downtown.  Also, area boaters should note that on the evening of July 5, the span of the Route 50 Bridge will remain closed to marine traffic at the usually scheduled 10:25 p.m. and 10:55 p.m. opening times. The Route 50 Bridge will reopen for boaters at 11:25 p.m. on the evening of July 5.

“The expected weather left a lot of uncertainty and several logistical complications on Friday evening,” Meehan continued.  “We know a lot of our guests are traveling a long distance to watch our holiday celebration and we would hate to have had to disappoint them.  The weather for Saturday, on the other hand, looks beautiful. With a beautiful setting and two great fireworks events, we hope our guests will come early and stay late to celebrate America’s birthday at the beach.”

For more information about the holiday activities, call Town of Ocean City Communications Manager, Jessica Waters, at 410.289.8967.

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