It has become tradition in our Christmas issue to look back on some predictions I made at the end of 2010 for 2011.
As usual, there were several that were completely wrong, some that were right and others somewhere in between. Next week, I will take another stab on the prediction front.
In the meantime, let’s look back at what I thought was going to happen in 2011. As usual, I was wrong about most of my prognostications but at least a few were correct.
ON THE MONEY
Ocean City did choose wood as the surface for its new Boardwalk. That project is ongoing.
Legislation was, in fact, introduced and passed in the Maryland General Assembly making driving with a cell phone a primary offense, meaning you can be pulled over for doing just that. Previously, it was classified as a secondary offense.
I predicted the Bay Bridge toll would increase to $3 in 2011. It did increase, but it actually went to $4 instead, from the former $2.50.
A bill in Maryland to introduce table games did fail as predicted.
A gallon of unleaded gasoline did remain above $3 for most of the year.
Snow Hill has remained a municipality, despite some citizens’ efforts.
A hurricane (some pain in the you know what named Irene) did impact Ocean City this year, as I predicted, but it was in August, not September as I guessed.
As predicted, the Maryland legislature did pass sweeping new rules and regulations protecting students who are suspected of incurring concussions during school sports. The bill requires any student believed to have suffered a concussion be removed and only given clearance once approved by a licensed health care professional. Believe it or not, that was not previously the case.
The US Postal Service did increase stamp prices in 2011.
My prediction: “A high-ranking official in Ocean City government will resign in protest over sweeping changes to town operations.”
In 2011, there were two high-ranking resignations — City Manager Dennis Dare and Convention Center Director Rick Hamilton. However, Hamilton went to greener pastures in Florida, and Dare was forced to resign and was able to retire after he and the council worked out a deal.
Therefore, my prediction does not fall in the “on the money” or “what was I thinking?” category, so I put it here.
It was my opinion the designated smoking areas on the Boardwalk would go largely unused and honestly I’m not sure how that worked out.
It’s unclear at this point if the opening of the Casino at Ocean Downs last January put the Route 589 dualization project on the state’s front burner. I had opined the parlor’s opening would cause state officials to fast track the work.
Although private talks could be taking place, there does not appear to be any plans at this time for more Ocean City employees to unionize.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Ocean City’s town-sponsored signature events, such as Winterfest, Sunfest and Springfest, did not begin using headline sponsors. In an effort to reduce costs, I expected the city to begin fetching serious money for sponsorships for events like Nestle’s Winterfest of Lights, Comcast’s Sunfest or The Dispatch’s Springfest (oops, I meant Delmarva Power or something like that).
In a case of wishful thinking, I said there were would be not one inch of snow in 2011. In reality, there were a few dustings in January and February, but it was not a major winter on the snow front with the exception of the Christmas snow, which remember took place in 2010, of course.
Contrary to my prediction, the Liquor Control Board for Worcester County did not operate as usual. It was actually disbanded and absorbed by the county.
It does not appear 2011 will be the last year for the Rodney advertising campaign, as I figured it would.
The Worcester County Commissioners did not raise the property tax rate in 2011, as I expected.
There were no major problems with the Route 50 Bridge as predicted here a year ago.
Contrary to what I thought, Berlin did not seek an All-America City destination.
No plans were unveiled in 2011 for the former Ocean City Health Club property next to the Route 90 bridge. I predicted plans for a new mixed-use project would surface sometime this year.
Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton did not retire this year, as I thought he would.
No significant progress was made this year on the offshore wind farm effort. The Maryland General Assembly did not hear a proposal to increase the sales tax again in 2011. Due to the last spike not resulting in the forecasted revenue officials thought it would raise, I had figured some legislators would try to increase it again. I was wrong.
A local newspaper did not fold, but one publication company did acquire a competitor.
The Ravens did not upend the Eagles to win the Super Bowl in February. Actually, it was the Packers squeezing by the Steelers.