Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Next week the U.S. Thunderbirds schedule for 2012 is expected to be released, and most indications in the air show industry seem to indicate the team will be returning to Ocean City for the third time next June.

Nothing’s official yet, and the OC Air Show is still six months away but sources say it’s likely the Thunderbirds will be flying over Ocean City once again.

With air shows around the country awaiting the Thunderbirds’ schedule release this month, there was some big news from the United States Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC) yesterday. In a statement, the ACC reported financial cuts have led to air show sponsorship reductions. The statement indicates just one “single-ship demonstration” will be sponsored instead of the six teams, which are the A-10 East & West, F-16 East & West, F-15E and F-22. For the 2012 season, the ACC will sponsor the F-22 demonstration team to perform at up to 20 shows. The statement reads, “In addition to the F-22 demonstration team, the Thunderbirds are set to complete a full season next year, and their schedule will be announced next week at the International Council of Air Shows conference.”


This could be tricky public relations play here, as it’s worth noting the F-22s remain grounded due to the same oxygen system issue that led to it being a late scratch from this year’s OC Air Show.

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Opportunities to get out into the field and do some reporting are few and far in between for me these days, but when they do present themselves it’s a lot of fun.

One such instance was this week when it came to reporting the closure of the venerable Bailey’s Pharmacy on 8th Street in Ocean City. Owner Stanley McCabe locked the doors for the last time on Tuesday, representing the closure of the last independent pharmacy in Ocean City.

Many reader comments through our Facebook page indicate a palpable sentimentality regarding the pharmacy’s closure. The numerous customers and employees I spoke with this week confirm the emotional attachment to the pharmacy.

Rather than bemoan corporate businesses and the changing climate of the pharmaceutical world, specifically the change in reporting requirements and the problems with health insurance companies, many I spoke with this week marveled over how that hometown pharmacy was able to stay open as long as it did.

Other than stopping in to check on our stacks of papers, I have to admit it had been years since I was in the pharmacy, but I spent a great deal of time in and around there when I was growing up on Edgewater Avenue  a block away. Not much has changed inside the pharmacy over those years and that’s a huge part of its charm.

I was not around for the soda fountain days back in the 1960s when the Croppers, Eshams, Parkers, Sanfords and Brittinghams and the like discussed politics in the pharmacy, but I can imagine what that was like back then. I would have loved to be the proverbial fly on the wall. It was special then and it was special on Tuesday when it shuttered forever.

The word “native” means different things to different people, particularly in Ocean City. However, Violet Steger has a clear definition.

I ran into Violet at Bailey’s Pharmacy on Tuesday, and she is quite the charmer I must say. While we were discussing Bailey’s and her nearly six decades of frequenting the 8th Street pharmacy, the conversation inevitably turned to how long she has lived in Ocean City.

“I’m a native and a lot of these people call themselves natives. I say, ‘you aren’t a native if you were born on the island.’ I’ve spoken to people who were born here but I tell them, ‘but you live other there yonder now, you’re not a native anymore,” she said.

To reiterate how much of an Ocean City native she is, Violet told the story of how she tried to go to college once but could not get the salt air out of her mind.

“I went away to college and I cried for 14 days until my mom came and got me and brought me back … and I haven’t left since,” Violet said.

As anyone who knows her realizes, what a treat it was to meet her.

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