Category Archives: Town of Ocean City Press Releases

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.

###

 

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.”

 

###

 

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.

###

Safety First on the Fourth of July

(July 1, 2014) – The Ocean City Fire Department would like to remind the visitors and citizens of the danger involved with consumer fireworks as the July 4th holiday approaches. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 1,200 structure fires and 400 vehicle fires.  These fires caused an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.  On average, close to 9,000 people each year are treated for fireworks related injuries.

 

“On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires, which is more than any other cause of fire,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “In addition to causing damage, fireworks can cause injuries and we want people to be safe during their holiday stay in Ocean City. The safety and wellbeing of all residents and visitors of the Town of Ocean City is the primary goal of the Ocean City Fire Department.”

 

Although the State of Maryland has approved the use of ground-based sparkling devices such as cylindrical and cone fountains, these are not legal to use or possess in Ocean City. All other fireworks that may be sold in neighboring states are not legal for use by the general public anywhere in Maryland. 

 

Within the Town of Ocean City, products such as handheld Gold labeled sparklers, “Snap-N-Pops”, “Black Cobra Snakes”, and “Party Poppers” are allowed to be used and possessed without a license.  However, injuries and property damage may still occur from these types of products, so parental supervision is always encouraged. 

 

Maryland law prohibits the shipping or transportation of fireworks into the state if the fireworks are to be possessed, used, sold, or distributed by citizens of Maryland.  Illegal fireworks found are subject to seizure by law enforcement authorities, and persons found in possession of illegal fireworks with the intent to use them run the risk of both criminal charges and the confiscation of the fireworks.  Fines for possession of illegal fireworks may be as much as $250, and those found selling or distributing illegal fireworks may be fined as much as $1000. 

 

Anyone with questions pertaining to fireworks should contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal at 410-289-8780.

Celebrate July Fourth in Ocean City, Free Fireworks and Concerts in Two Locations

fireworks(June 27, 2014) – If you are looking for fireworks with a view, then you want to celebrate your Fourth of July holiday in Ocean City. With your family and friends, beach chairs and blankets, watch the fireworks sparkle over the beautiful water in one of two great locations offering concerts and fireworks displays for free.

At Northside Park, 125th Street and the bay, The U.S. Army Band Downrange starts the evening off at 8 p.m. The spectacular fireworks display may be viewed from anywhere in the park at 9:30 p.m. with 10-year-old singing sensation Baylee Morrison leading the patriotic show with the National Anthem.  “You’ll hear the oohs and aahs throughout the park as families’ watch the colorful displays light up the evening sky,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “We encourage spectators to get there early to claim their spot to watch the fireworks.”

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. Frankie & the Pack will perform on the new Caroline Street Stage at 8 p.m. with fireworks filling the sky beginning at 9:30 p.m.  “The July 4th Celebration in Ocean City is a unique opportunity to watch fireworks sparkle over the ocean,” Meehan continued. “The celebration will also be the first time we have used our brand new stage at Caroline Street, so bring your beach chair or blanket and claim a spot on the beach for a special and patriotic display.”

The Town of Ocean City is making a change to normal parking operations in the Inlet Parking Lot on Friday, July 4, by charging a $50 flat-fee for all day parking.  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 5.

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 4th, 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 4th.

“The Fourth of July holiday is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to stay and play in Ocean City,” Meehan finished.  “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 July 4th activities, call the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department at 410-250-0125, the Ocean City Department of Tourism at 1-800-626-2326, or visit www.ococean.com.

###