"Smith Islanders Debate Buyout Offered By State"

"EWELL, Md. -- Superstorm Sandy barely laid a glove on Smith Island last fall, to hear residents tell it. Though storm-driven flooding damaged hundreds of homes in Crisfield and the rest of Somerset County, only a couple islanders got any water in their homes from the surging Chesapeake Bay."

"Yet with the island slowly shrinking and sinking into the bay, the state is considering using $2 million of the federal storm recovery aid it's received so far to buy out islanders who want to sell their homes and move to the mainland — 'out of harm's way,' as one official put it.

The hardy, proud islanders, some of whose roots here go back more than 400 years, aren't exactly rushing to take the offer. Instead, some have banded together to denounce the buyout, saying that despite the challenges and risks of living 13 miles out in the bay, they're not about to give up on the low-lying archipelago of sand and marsh. To them, the state's offer to move them from the only home they've ever known is like a slap in the face."

Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun May 12, 2013.

Source: Baltimore Sun, 05/14/2013