Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

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It’s remarkable to me what goes on behind the scenes in Ocean City every night in preparation for the next summer day. Years ago, while dropping off recycling at the town’s Public Works facility, behind the police department on 65th Street, I was shocked to see an enormous pile of used beach chairs. It was startling to me then and continues to be now. Apparently, the town’s public works maintenance crews pick up hundreds of beach chairs every night from the beach during their nightly cleaning. Last week Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the city is picking up six to seven trucks full of broken or damaged beach chairs in Ocean City every day in the height of the season. That’s remarkable to me.

It’s always interesting to hear feedback on a story. On Tuesday, we posted on our website and Facebook the story on the local woman who was arrested for disturbing the peace last weekend after she was disrupting traffic by burning a flag in the road. The story was headlined, “Resort Teen Not Feeling Holiday Patriotism.” Although the email did not contain a name, I thought the point of view expressed was interesting. The email read, “Strange headline. On Independence Day the teen was showing her patriotism. Patriotism is love of and/or devotion to one’s country. What is more patriotic than showing love for the million dead women and children in Iraq killed as collateral damage in an illegal and immoral war. And for the veterans who killed them and are now suffering post war traumatic syndrome and never ending guilt. What is more patriotic than showing a devotion to bring America back to its moral compass? Ending torture and war crimes, and crimes against humanity, closing GITMO and BAGRAM and the other black holes.”

The Outer Banks seems to be throwing more money at their tourism concerns this summer. The Dare County Tourism Board recently authorized $100,000 in spending for immediate marketing purposes. At last week’s Ocean City Tourism Commission meeting, the added expenditure from the resort’s competitor to the south was noted. Resort officials are apparently under the impression some new marketing dollars will be directed toward Ocean City’s market and the surrounding areas. Consequently, the obvious observation was made that the Outer Banks is going after the Ocean City tourists while they are here. I have not been able to find anything specific about where the ad dollars will be spent. Most reports simply indicate the money will be spent in metropolitan areas away from the Outer Banks region. If that’s the case, logic dictates these ads will be rolling locally on Baltimore television stations, such as WBAL and WJZ, similar to the Virginia Beach ads that have been appearing on local tubes and in metropolitan newspapers all year.

It’s no surprise someone wrote a book about Benjamin and Erika Sifrit and the brutal double murder they orchestrated while on vacation here. It’s a story worth retelling. What I found most interesting in the interview with the author this week was the fact he obtained hundreds of letters that Erika Sifrit has penned while in prison. Additionally, the author received a letter about another murder the Sifrits allegedly carried out. “I got a letter a few weeks ago that they were responsible for a murder in Altoona [Pa.]. There’s a guy in prison in Pennsylvania for a murder I know that they did. I know they did it,” the author said. This is most interesting because authorities long speculated about how proficient the Sifrits were in carrying out these murders. It was felt at the time this could not have been their first taste of murder. They were too calculated and meticulous in covering it up. It’s worth pointing out they may have never been caught if they had not tried to carry out a robbery of the Ocean City Hooters apparel store days after they committed the murders.

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