Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

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The
holiday weekend marks the middle of a three-week stretch of strong draws for
the Ocean City area. Last weekend’s Cruisin’ event seemed at times,
particularly on local roads, like the town was filled to capacity. While
demoflush shows about 170,000 people were in town (down about 25 percent from
last year), that number seems deflated to me. It was much busier by nearly all
accounts.

Cruisin’
truly has become the start of the busy season around here. For some businesses,
like hotels and condominium rental companies, Cruisin’ is better than the
holiday weekend, according to recent history. That’s not to say Memorial Day is
not a welcome weekend because it’s typically the biggest of the year to date. A
typical Memorial Day weekend usually well exceeds the 200,000 population mark.
Last year, 270,000 people were here for Memorial Day weekend. Add to these
consecutive weekends the 3rd Annual OC Air Show, and Ocean City is
on to something big.

It was
smart to line these events on consecutive weekends, and they should stay that
way in the future because it’s an ideal way to launch the busy season and to
make the best out of June, traditionally a solid month but the weakest by far
of the summer months. Furthermore, it also sparks some optimistic thoughts
early in the season and that’s important.

Interviews,
like the front-page Q&A with Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch, always
prove interesting because they are essentially a transcription of a
conversation. Of particular note to me was what Arbin had to say about some of
the younger members of his team. “Another
thing we’ve really been stressing this year is integrity. We want to instill in
our lifeguards that the tourists are always watching them when they are on the
stand, so they need to make sure they are doing what’s right even no one is
watching. For instance, this generation of kids is addicted to text messaging,
and we want to make sure that our guards aren’t sitting on their stands and
texting,” Arbin said.

Additionally, Arbin
commented on a project that’s in its infancy but could have sweeping
ramifications if it comes to fruition. He said the patrol is currently,
“working alongside the National Weather Service to enact a rip current
calculator that they will use worldwide, so we will be feeding them with data
almost everyday.

The word “hero” seems
excessively used in our overly dramatic culture. However, it applies to local
resident Austin Deppe, who is to be congratulated for saving a toddler’s life
in his West Ocean City neighborhood last weekend. Check out the front-page story
for details. What strikes me about this story is the humble reaction from the
teenager, who had recently completed CPR training in advance of his summer job
as a pool lifeguard. “I guess I made my first save before I even started as a
lifeguard,” said Deppe. “I guess you could call me a hero, but honestly, all I
know is when I saw how blue that baby was, my only thought was I was going to
do anything that I could do to get her better.” That’s good stuff because he
did just that.

Coincidence
or not, Ocean City hosted a Community Hurricane Preparedness town hall meeting
on Wednesday, just hours before the federal government issued its forecast for
the upcoming hurricane season, which begins Tuesday and continues through
November. There are a lot of storm season predictions made around this time of
year, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) yearly
estimates are typically credible. According to NOAA, citing a weakening El
Nino, seven hurricanes are expected to form this season. Three of the seven are
forecast to be major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or higher with sustained
winds of 111 mph. For what it’s worth, not one hurricane made landfall in the
continental U.S. last year. 

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