Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk


Convicted felon and NFL
football player Michael Vick will be in Worcester County on Monday to “share a
message of hope with Snow Hill kids,” according to a county Board of Education
press release. The event, by invitation only, is sure to be a controversial
one, as Vick was convicted on federal dog fighting charges three years ago, and
surely the second-guessing of this decision to permit Vick to speak to local
students has already begun. The school board acknowledged that in its release.
“No one will ever forget or understand what Vick did,” said Frederick Grant,
Supervisor of Student Services for Worcester County Public Schools. “Vick’s
coming to Snow Hill in no way implies that we’ve forgotten his actions. 
But his message is one of hope.  Hope to get on the right path, to change
yourself to become a better person. That is a powerful message coming from
someone who hit rock bottom.”

It’s that time of the
month to look at a couple prime indicators gauging the business climate:


Room Tax: Ocean
City room tax revenue for the month of April, the latest available figures,
shows a 12-percent increase from the same time period last year. So far this
year, room tax collections for the resort are up 6 percent.


Food Tax: After
the numbers are adjusted to the same rate that was applied last year, food tax
collections are down considerably in 2010 thus far – 5 percent through the
first four months of the year.


According to calculations by the Ocean City Tourism Department, year-to-date
population estimations show a 1-percent increase through last weekend when
compared to 2009. When presented with 2008 figures, this year’s crowds are up 9
percent. It was interesting to note that last weekend’s crowds were down 13
percent from the first weekend in June when the Air Show was not held.

Real Estate: The
latest reports confirm what many in the industry are saying candidly – things
are looking up. The bottom line continues to be reasonably-priced properties
are moving and inventory is slowly on the decline subsequently. Here’s the
summary of three reports, compiled by the Coastal Association of Realtors:

– Ocean City
Condominiums: Through May, there have been 311 settlements (including two over
the $1 million mark) compared to 263 through the first five months of 2009.
That’s an 18-percent increase. Eighty-three settlements were for properties in
the $200,000 to $299,999. Active listings are down 8 percent year to date, from
1,560 to 1,430 in 2010. Contracts for this year are up 16 percent from last

– Ocean City
Single-Family Homes: This market continues to be slow in the resort, as
settlements are down 29 percent, from 31 in 2009 to date to 22 in 2010 through
May. However, active listings are down 11 percent, from 210 in 2009 to 188 at
the end of the May.

– Worcester
Single-Family Homes: Thus far, there have been 158 settlements in 2010, an
8-percent spike over last year where there were 146 settlements. Contracts have
jumped 11 percent, from 217 through May of this year compared to 196. Active
listings have decreased 8 percent, from 867 in 2009 to 796 thus far in 2010.

Alcohol can be blamed
for a lot of misdeeds but not when it comes to a disturbing incident in West
Ocean City last weekend. After being involved in a collision, a 66-year-old
man, already badly injured from the accident, was battered severely by a
29-year-old motorist. According to police reports, the younger man repeatedly
punched the older man in the face while he was in the vehicle after their two
vehicles collided. The assaulter was drunk at the time, but these sorts of
uncivilized incidents need serious punishment. What kind of lowlife would
repeatedly punch an already injured elder after an accident? Surely, when he
appears in court, he will cite alcohol as the reason for his actions, but that
does not explain this sort of aggressive, barbaric behavior. I hope he’s thrown
in jail and given plenty of time to think about what he did.


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