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Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

To the un­ex­pected, sud­den clo­sure of Elk Manor Win­ery, which has left scores of cou­ples scram­bling to find new ac­com­mo­da­tions for their wed­dings, some­times with just days to do so. The le­gal trou­bles of the venue’s owner re­sulted in the de­fault­ing of a $5 mil­lion loan taken out by the business, which led to the business’ demise. Mean­while, the own­ers tried to con­vince cou­ples al­ready sched­uled to wed at the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay venue in com­ing weeks to shell out an ad­di­tional $1,000 to sim­ply let them on the prop­erty. So far, none of the cou­ples have re­port­edly taken them up on their in­sult­ing of­fer. Many cou­ples, who of­ten spent in ex­cess of $20,000 to or­ga­nize their big day, are now left nearly pen­ni­less in search of new venues, cater­ers and more to try to make sched­uled events hap­pen as planned. The small bright spot of this de­vel­op­ing story is that many other venues in Ce­cil County and neigh­bor­ing ar­eas are reach­ing out to cou­ples to try to make their wed­dings hap­pen as planned. We feel for each cou­ple who has to en­dure this stress be­fore what is al­ready a stress­ful time — please re­mem­ber to try to take time to en­joy the mo­ment when it comes. Hope­fully it will be even sweeter due to this ad­ver­sity.

To the hor­rific story out of Kansas City, where a 10-year-old boy was killed dur­ing a ride on the world’s tallest wa­ter­slide, be­ing de­cap­i­tated in the ac­ci­dent. Caleb Sch­wab, the son of a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, died Sun­day on the Ver­ruckt raft ride at the Sch­lit­ter­bahn Water­Park dur­ing a pro­mo­tional day for the fam­i­lies of elected of­fi­cials. The ride, which fea­tures multi-per­son rafts that make a 168-foot drop at speeds of up to 70 mph, fol­lowed by a surge up a hump and a 50-foot de­scent to a fin­ish­ing pool, was re­ported by other riders to be mal­func­tion­ing, with safety straps com­ing loose dur­ing the ride. The wa­ter park re­port­edly passed a pri­vate in­spec­tion in June that in­cluded Ver­ruckt, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press. In early tests though, rafts car­ry­ing sand­bags flew off the slide, prompt­ing en­gi­neers to tear down half the ride and re­con­fig­ure some an­gles. Kansas had also not com­pleted its own au­dit of the park’s in­spec­tion records in four years. We grieve for the unimag­in­able loss the Sch­wab fam­ily feels this week and they bury a son fol­low­ing a day that should have been one of fun in the sun. Hope­fully reg­u­la­tors na­tion­wide will ex­am­ine the case to try to pre­vent such fur­ther ac­ci­dents.

To the U.S. Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­nial Thurs­day to loosen the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­juana as a dan­ger­ous drug with no med­i­cal use. The de­ci­sion is the DEA’s re­sponse to a 2011 pe­ti­tion by two for­mer state gover­nors who had urged fed­eral agen­cies to re­clas­sify mar­i­juana from a Sched­ule I drug, in line with heroin, LSD and ec­stasy, the AP re­ported. “(The Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices) con­cluded that mar­i­juana has a high po­ten­tial for abuse, has no ac­cepted med­i­cal use in the United States, and lacks an ac­cept­able level of safety for use even un­der med­i­cal su­per­vi­sion,” the DEA wrote to pe­ti­tion­ers. Crit­ics point out that as a Sched­ule I drug, re­search on mar­i­juana is in­cred­i­bly re­stricted, yet a lack of re­search is used as a rea­son not to re­clas­sify. There­fore the DEA has agreed to loosen some re­search reg­u­la­tions to open up new stud­ies. How­ever, it seems silly to keep mar­i­juana on the same level as heroin af­ter 25 states, in­clud­ing Mary­land, have sanc­tioned some form of med­i­cal mar­i­juana and four states along with the Dis­trict of Columbia have legalized recre­ational use.

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