Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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State Senator Lowell Stoltzfus is calling it quits next year. Months ago, this was believed to be a fact among local Republicans, but it seemed of late people were speculating as to what he would actually do when it came down to a formal announcement. Stoltzfus confirmed last night he was done after his current term, allowing plenty of time for potential replacements to line up their next moves. It’s important to reflect on Stoltzfus’ long tenure in Annapolis at this time, but it’s perhaps more interesting to examine what this means politically. The fact is a state Senate seat long occupied by the right is up for grabs, and there will be well-known folks vying for it.

Certainly, the Republicans are going to do whatever they can to keep the seat on their minority side of the aisle. By the same token, the Democrats would love to add another seat to their strong majority hold on state politics. There are at least three familiar faces that are at a minimum considering the move to higher office. Delegate Jim Mathias, a Democrat, has said he would seriously evaluate a potential Senate run after Stoltzfus made his intentions public. Resort hotelier Michael James was clear a couple weeks back the lower shore Senate seat interested him if his Republican ally did in fact plan to step aside. Additionally, County Commissioner Virgil Shockley, a Democrat, told me last October he had been approached and would consider a run at the Senate over the summer. One thing is for sure the political game is about to get extremely interesting around these parts.

It appears a legal showdown is inevitable over a piece of property on 64th Street.

At this week’s Mayor and Council meeting, the town moved forward with an ordinance to purchase the bayfront land. While the town was doing its thing, the owner of the property is going about his business, filing plans with City Hall for a hotel on the property. In the ordinance, it details specifically the town’s intent for the bayfront property. Future wastewater expansion and further treatment opportunities are envisioned as critical uses for the site. However, according to the ordinance, there’s other plans, including an issue that’s been a thorn in the town’s side for at least a decade.

The ordinance reads, “in the interim the land can be utilized for potential boat launching area, transportation fleet parking, other support operations of the Public Works Department, and parking for Public Safety and other city employees …” It’s no secret the town’s only public boat ramp is located in the densely residential community of Little Salisbury, and that’s an odd fit. On busy summer weekends, it’s hectic, confusing and congested in that area as a result of the busy ramp. The town has its eye on a future site, but it may be years before that happens if the courts get involved.

One of the admirable aspects of the White Marlin Open over the years has been the release rates. While it’s the fish that are killed and brought to the scales that get the most coverage and result in the most money, tourney officials can boast impressive release rates. After three days of fishing, there have been 236 white marlins caught and released and 17 boated for a 93-percent release rate. Of those boated, 10 have met the minimum 65-pound threshold. As of yesterday morning, there had been 12 blue marlins caught and released and three blue marlin boated for a release rate of 80 percent. Of those three boated, as of Thursday afternoon, only the state record 1,062-pounder qualified with the other two, 337.5 and 360 pounds, respectively, falling considerably short of the 500-pound minimum.

The crowds should have booed the boats bringing the undersized blue marlin to Harbour Island. Clearly, these anglers knew their catches had no chance of meeting the minimum threshold. It’s their personal choice whether they want to keep the blue marlin and perhaps hang it on a wall somewhere, but they never should have weighed them at tournament headquarters. It makes me think they just wanted the chalkboard shot.

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