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OC Blog Travel news and tips about Ocean City, Maryland
After dangerous season in 2014, Ocean City hoping for calm seas this summer

It's the time of year when the sounds of crickets, lawn mowers and ice cream truck jingles fill the air. But at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, summer is marked by the whir of medevac helicopters.

"It's trauma season," said Kari Cheezum, the hospital's trauma program manager.

Nearby Ocean City is coming off a dangerous summer for beachgoers. Town lifeguards summoned ambulances an average of more than once a day last summer, more than twice as often as a year earlier, according to the Ocean City Beach Patrol. Three people drowned, a higher fatality count than officials usually see.

But there are reasons to believe this summer will be safer. A year ago, tons of sand had been freshly pumped onto Ocean City beaches, an anti-erosion measure that can allow waves to crash on shore with injurious force, but sandbars have since returned to a more natural shape. If forecasts of a quiet hurricane season come to pass, that could mean fewer storms churning up rough surf and rip currents.

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Ocean City partners with mobile parking app

Parking in Ocean City this summer just got a little easier with the help of a smartphone app.

Beginning this holiday weekend, visitors using the city's on-street meters can access Parkmobile to pay their parking fees.

That means no more running back to your car to feed the meter or guessing how much time is left before it expires.

After registering, users of the Parkmobile app can enter a parking zone number to start their session. To find the zone number, look for the green sign, logo or sticker on or near the meter.

You can choose to receive an alert 15 minutes before your parking expires. At that time, you can decide to add more time on the meter, if needed - and you can do so from your phone. But keep in mind that time limits - for example, two-hour maximum parking - set by the city will still be enforced.

Parkmobile notes that after making a payment via the app, users may not see the meter itself change. However, parking enforcement will be able to determine that you have paid by...

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New noise ordinance at Rehoboth Beach suffers backlash in gay community

The first big test of a new noise ordinance in Rehoboth Beach over the Memorial Day holiday weekend had some unexpected blowback for city officials.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports emails from about three dozen people went to city officials and the media alleging that enforcement of the new ordinance targeted the city's gay community. There were also concerns about citations for minor violations handed out at the beach area most popular with gay residents and visitors.

City officials revised their noise ordinance in April. Included was a quiet time of 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Rehoboth's police chief says that he and his force have no animosity against the beach town's gay community and had not targeted them over the weekend.

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Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

 

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Uber to launch in Ocean City, St. Michaels on Friday

Uber will start offering rides to smartphone-equipped beachgoers and vacationers in Ocean City and St. Michaels at 5 p.m. Friday, the popular rideshare company announced Thursday.

"Uber is growing our Maryland family and heading to the shore — just in time for Memorial Day weekend!" the company said in a statement.

It also announced service in more than 20 other beach towns along the East Coast.

Rides will start with a base fare of $2.76, with 19 cents per minute and $1.52 per mile added after that, Uber said. Uber already operates in Baltimore and Annapolis, and in certain suburbs around the Baltimore-Washington area.

It's expansion to the Eastern Shore comes after it and other companies like it, including Lyft, won a key victory in Annapolis this past session, when legislators passed a bill outlining a new framework for the companies to operate legally in the state.

Prior to the legislation passing, Uber had been in a protracted dispute over regulations with the Maryland Public Service Commission...

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Headlights required 24 hours for section of beach traffic

Beach-goers, keep those headlights on, even when the sun is shining.

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration is requiring 24-hour headlight use for all vehicles. And not just for the summer months. The new rule goes into effect Thursday, in time for the holiday weekend, but it is permanent.

It will be enforced on US 50 between US 13 in Wicomico County and MD 90 in Worcester County. Between 28,000 and 36,000 vehicles use that section of highway every day during the summer.

Three other sections of highway also require 24-hour headlight use: MD 90 going in and out of Ocean City; MD 32 in Howard County between US 70 and MD 108, and MD 404 between US 50 and Denton.

SHA recently installed signs that will alert drivers to turn on headlights.

“There have been tragic crashes along this corridor during the last decade. The mandatory headlight use will improve visibility of vehicles for drivers traveling the opposite direction,” said District Engineer Donnie Drewer. “The...

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Chincoteague stud Surfer Dude found dead: 'He was the man'

With his long, blond mane, bronze-colored body and sweet disposition, Surfer Dude — who sired dozens of ponies celebrated by the childhood classic "Misty of Chincoteague" — was perhaps the most popular pony of his day.

And he was prolific.

"He's like the Misty of our generation," Denise Bowden, a member of the Chincoteague firefighters known as saltwater cowboys said Tuesday. "He was such a gentle soul. He sired so many beautiful foals through the years for us. He was always leading the pack."

The remains of the 23-year-old pony were found last week on the southern end of Assateague Island, the wind-swept barrier island off the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland. He likely died of natural causes, said Bowden, a native islander and member of the department.

"I think age just got to him," Bowden said. "We had a pretty rough winter."

The last Wednesday of July every year, the ponies make their annual swim across the channel from Assateague Island to Chincoteague as tens of thousands of...

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