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.