Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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The plan all along was for the County Commissioners to decide who will be president and vice president for the coming year at Tuesday’s meeting. That all changed reportedly after last week’s editorial suggested the current president be replaced by another veteran commissioner. It was widely reported by knowledgeable sources this week the current commission president had been planning for weeks on stepping down from the post for 2008. However, word is last week’s editorial, which one caller referred to as a “character assassination,” sparked a change of heart. It’s something about not wanting a newspaper to dictate how the elected group governs. It’s unknown when a vote will actually be held on the board’s leaders, but tradition says it should be held before month’s end.

The editorial sparked a lot of reactions from readers. That’s a great thing. Whether it was through email, phone conversations or personal visits to this office, I heard from seven people this week. Five said the editorial was on the mark and supported the call for a new commission president and two said the editorial was an unnecessary “character assassination” and backed the status quo. The opposition, of course, resorted to name calling, including accusations that I am a “racist”. For those who don’t know, the current commission president is a black man and I am a white man.

It’s been an ugly week, and it would seem unwise to throw more fuel on the fire here, but I must say I have learned a lot about race relations in this county, most notably how far we have to go. It seems ridiculous to me that a white man is a racist for calling for a member of the opposite race to no longer lead an elected body for a variety of legitimate reasons, all of which have nothing to do with the color of his skin. It never even occurred to me that race would enter the picture. It certainly had nothing to do with last week’s editorial or the motivation behind it, but I was being naïve. The cynic in me should have known better.

The Worcester County Board of Education presented its 10-year school capital improvement program to the County Commissioners recently. The plan is a requirement that outlines which schools will be renovated or expanded in the near future. It was interesting to see the game plan for the schools in northern Worcester. If all goes according to plan, Showell Elementary will be getting a major facelift come fiscal year 2011 with an addition and renovation planned. The school needs the project because it’s currently using eight trailers and is turning away pre-kindergarten students. If all goes according to plan, next up would be Stephen Decatur Middle School (SDMS), which has nine classroom trailers, in fiscal year 2012. With the expansion, all sixth grade students in north Worcester County would then attend SDMS. A full renovation for Berlin Intermediate School is next in line in fiscal year 2014.

Prior to leaving the house last Sunday to be a judge in the Ocean City Parrothead Club’s Hots for Tots Chili Cookoff at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City, the running joke around my house was how many Beano pills to take before the event. After all, the judges were told upon arriving there would be 22 so-called professionals vying to accumulate enough points to qualify for the Terlingua International Chili Championship, held in Texas and sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International. That’s a lot of chili, especially for someone who has an aversion to spicy foods. The judges were told to consider a variety of factors and to rank the chili contestants on a scale of 1-10. The good news is not one had any beans, making the decision not to stop for the Beano a good one. It seems no “filler,” such as beans or pasta, is allowed in the contest, making the unique ingredients, cooking process and selection of meat the key factors for the participants. The best news of all was relief was apparent all through the house later that night. When all was said and done on Sunday, more than $2,000 was raised and a truck full of toys was gathered for local needy families.

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