Thoughts From The Publishers Desk

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There will be no Verizon’s Springfest. No Comcast’s Art’s Alive. No Pepsi’s Sunfest. No The Dispatch’s Winterfest of Lights. It seems the town is content with the sponsorship dollars it receives for its special events and wants the big festivities to remain town-sponsored events. This is fine, but it’s understandable some folks find it a bit hypocritical when the town once inked a deal to make a company the official soft drink of the town. I think the town is right to stay away from selling the name of its events. There’s a little bit of cheese involved in having an event named Sysco’s Sunfest. However, there are other less dramatic sponsorship ideas the town could consider in the future, particularly in light of declining assessment revenue and if City Hall decides to let the volunteer company move all its operations, manpower and equipment to West Ocean City. If both of these take place, the town will find itself in a major cash flow problem. Of course, taxes would then be increased, but they can only go so high in an election year. Perhaps the town will have to consider an event like “Springfest, presented in part by The Home Depot and Wal-Mart” to offset the inevitable gap between expenditures and revenues. That’s easier to digest than large tax increases.

Former Ocean City resident Brian Sterner, who now resides in Florida, was in the news this week. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School, Sterner was injured in a beach accident 14 years ago and is now a quadriplegic. Sterner was reportedly pulled over for a traffic violation by Hillsborough County, Fla. authorities. He was subsequently taken to the county jail where a disturbing incident unfolded. Sterner was dumped violently out of his wheelchair because the deputy on duty did not believe he was a quadriplegic. He hit the ground hard and reportedly suffered injuries including at least one broken rib. The incident was caught on tape by department surveillance. It was detailed in a CNN report this week and is now available on You Tube. By yesterday, a quick Google search found the report being featured by dozens of news agencies. The department is investigating the incident, which undoubtedly will result in legal action, and the deputy involved has reportedly been terminated.

Just before the paper went to press last week, Senate Bill 785 was introduced. It was a piece of legislation I suggested last week should be put on the books over some other silly wanna-be laws. It seems the bill had been proposed officially a day before this paper hit the streets. It would make it illegal to smoke in an automobile with children under the age of 6 years old. The penalty will be a written warning for the first offense followed by a $100 fine on second offense and $250 fine for subsequent offenses. This is sound legislation, but sources say the bill stands little chance of passing this session.

During all the political coverage the other night, a commentator posed an interesting question. Which state has been the birthplace for the most presidents? See the answer at the end of this column.

I know a lot of people have issues with the electronic voting machines. It seems most concerns arise with the system’s alleged inability to keep a paper trail to back up the system in case of an electrical outage or some other reason. One complaint that cannot be uttered is that it’s difficult. It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing. Even if you have a question, there are so many elections officials on hand at each polling site it’s simply fool proof. Voting has never been easier by my estimation. That is until there comes a day when you can vote via the Internet. That will eventually happen.

Question answer: Virginia is the state with most presidents born within its borders with eight – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. For what it’s worth, Ohio is a close second with seven.

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