For the first time in six decades, Ocean Downs will not host a live racing meet this summer. However, if it wants to host slots in the future, the ocean oval will have to hold some sort of horse racing this summer, according to county zoning law. This is an interesting twist. It’s sad to hear the track will not host a meet this year, but word from track officials as well as county representatives is there’s no funny business going on. Track officials said this week they would do whatever it takes to abide by the current zoning laws in place for the property. Therefore, there’s no question at some point live racing will take place at Ocean Downs this summer, even if it’s just a one-day thing. It’s not my decision to make, of course, but a Fourth of July racing night mixed in with fireworks sounds like a win-win for everyone.
It was a fascinating set of circumstances that led the local tow industry to unite. It’s no secret this is a competitive business, and there are ongoing disputes at hand among some of the operators. It’s a hyper-competitive business and issues are bound to surface when tensions run high, but the idea of franchising the industry in Ocean City and subsequently squeezing out some of the smaller companies brought them to the same table last week. By suggesting a 233-percent increase in license fees, from $150 currently to $500, it appears the tow guys were successful in rallying the town to steer away from another franchise, at least for now. That huge license increase, reducing excess employee hours at the city impound lot and hiking the lot fees will reportedly address the major issue at hand here – a six-figure deficit at the impound lot.
“Saving Jobs And Environment” – that was the headline on an email message from Governor Martin O’Malley this week. Obviously, this is just a one-sided political spin job, but I had to giggle when I first saw the message pop into my inbox. I ended up getting excited by the pep talk, albeit tentatively. It reads, “Last month, Maryland led the nation in job creation, and we’re showing each day that environmental stewardship can help drive economic progress and create so-called green jobs. And with our #1 ranked public school system and our world class workforce and institutions of science, discovery, and higher learning, we’re in position to grow Maryland’s innovation economy so we can create even more jobs, save more jobs, and expand opportunity to even greater numbers of our people.” Now, that’s a positive take on matters.
In my book, there’s nothing wrong with a proud mom calling in and bragging about her child, particularly when it has to do with poetry about a local site. Cassie Anna Kansak, a fifth grader at Snow Hill Elementary, penned the following poem about her favorite place as part of a school lesson. Since I share a fondness for the subject of this poem, I thought I would give her some ink.
“The cry of a seagull soaring over my head
The sound of the crashing, big, blue, greenish wave
Tasting the crisp salt air
Smells flying around my head
The salty sea breeze
The marsh creeping in as a skunk
A light blanket of cool air wrapped around me
I’m at Assateague”
In other news, there’s a poll for everything these days, but one in particular caught my attention this week. The Baltimore Sun is asking for votes on “Maryland’s Greatest Sports Moments.” As of yesterday, with about 750 votes cast, Cal Ripken Jr. breaking the consecutive game streak led the way with 67 percent. Rounding out the top five were the Ravens’ Super Bowl, 53 percent; the Colts beating the Giants in the so-called “Greatest Game”, 48 percent; swimmer Michael Phelps’ eight Olympic gold medals, 38 percent; and the Orioles’ 1966 World Series and the Terps winning the national basketball championships, tied at 25 percent. Considering I almost named my first dog Ripken, you know how I voted. You can cast a vote through today.