Thoughts From The Publishers Desk

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When I first heard Brice and Shirley Phillips were being recognized as the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce’s Citizens of the Year next month, I figured the chamber decided the couple was so special they deserved the award twice. After all, of course, they must have been recognized already with the award. However, it appears they have not won the award before, and it was nice to know a wrong was being made right here because the Phillipses exemplify community spirit. Although they do not spend as much time in their Ocean City home as they once did, the Phillips’ businesses continue to be leaders in philanthropic spirit in the area. Surely, they are not individually as active in the Ocean City community as they once were, but their past and current contributions and accomplishments make them extremely worthy of the award. It was a surprise to learn they had not already earned the honor.

Visitors to Ocean City will have some different activities to choose from this summer, and that’s a good thing. As is the case with any resort area, change is needed every now and again to spice up offerings to vacationers. These weekly events will not likely result in new people coming to the area, but they will help to entertain those that are here and ultimately add to the Ocean City vacation experience. The two events approved by the Mayor and Council are free beach movie nights and an Olympics-style event, both of which will be held on 27th Street. Movie night will be held on Monday and Friday evenings starting at 7 and will feature G- or PG-rated flicks on an inflatable big screen measuring 16-feet by 9-feet. This concept has been popular for years in other resort destinations including Virginia Beach. On Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30, the family Olympics will feature beach-related games including a tug of war and sandcastle-building contests. These concepts are excellent additions to the town’s other free offerings, including Sundaes in the Park at Northside Park, the concert series at Sunset Park and the free music and storytime series off the Boardwalk.

A number of local restaurants have been nominated for awards in different categories of the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s 54th Annual McCormick & Company “Stars of the Industry” Awards Gala on April 28. Locals up for awards, which will be voted on by the public, include Solstice, Maryland’s Favorite New Restaurant; Gary Leach, Ocean City Convention Center, Chef of the Year; Sunset Grille, Favorite Restaurant; and Seacrets, Favorite Bar. Local residents are invited to vote in the contest at www.marylandrestaurants.com. The deadline to vote is Friday, April 4.

One week after the Senate approved a bill outlawing driving while talking on a handheld cell phone and text messaging, the measure’s fate is unclear, as the House’s Environmental Matters Committee appears divided. My feeling on this bill is just move ahead and pass the thing. It’s only a matter of time before it’s eventually prohibited in Maryland. Many other states, and even more municipalities, already have the ban on the books. What I like about this bill is it’s a secondary offense, meaning a motorist cannot be pulled over simply for talking on a cell phone, and first-time offenders would not have any points placed on their driving record. It’s a watered down version with little teeth and would expire in two years unless the legislature sees fit to extend it. It would seem to me making it illegal for a couple years will go a long way toward getting motorists accustomed to going hands-free.

Here’s a prediction for the ongoing NCAA men’s tournament. In the Final Four of my bracket, I have UCLA, Texas, UNC and Kansas. On Monday, April 7, I predict it will be UNC cutting the nets down. On the women’s side, I have only watched one team, Maryland, all year. Therefore, it’s the Terps to win it all.

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