Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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State Comptroller Peter Franchot continued his unofficial bid for governor during a few stops on the lower shore yesterday, including an announcement of his desire for a new state policy forbidding school systems in Maryland from ringing their first bells until after Labor Day weekend. He plans to introduce this initiative in the form of legislation in the 2013 legislative session.

It’s no secret the recent trend of school systems starting the year the week before Labor Day has hurt tourism in Ocean City. Consequently, many folks refer to the end of the White Marlin Open, which is always the held the first full week in August, as the finale of the peak season. It’s this shortening of the season that has given many businesses heartburn in recent years, and Franchot touched on that yesterday.

“During these tough economic times, we have to do all we can to foster growth. A busy summer in Ocean City is critical for this community and the entire state. Losing the last 7-10 days in August could be the difference between making it or closing doors,” Franchot said yesterday.

I was curious when exactly school systems west of the bridge began last fall, and a quick review found each school system began at least one week before Labor Day. For example, schools in Anne Arundel County opened last year on Aug. 23 and 24, but fall sports began on Aug. 13 and teachers had to report Aug. 16. The schedule was similar for many of the state’s largest school systems.

If Franchot is successful with the legislation requiring school systems to agree to a post-Labor Day start, it should help Ocean City significantly. It’s impossible to control what schools do in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and any other states for that matter, but surely this change would result in the middle and end of August being stronger, particularly during the weekdays.

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Alli Sports, producer of the Dew Tour, quashed a host of rumors this week that it had changed its mind about Ocean City this summer, announcing the resort will be featured in its new, three-stop “Beach, City, Mountain” model.

Spanning the country August through December, the 2012 Dew Tour schedule will include returns to Ocean City and Breckenridge Ski Resort, with a debut event in San Francisco on the West coast.

According to a press release, “the Dew Tour will integrate the character of each stop into the overall feel of the event, capitalizing on impactful Beach, City and Mountain backdrops as each of the three events will draw inspiration from the host city to create its own identity.”

The Ocean City stop will be Aug. 16-19 followed by San Francisco Oct. 18-21 and Breckenridge, Colo. Dec. 13-16.

Alli Sports reported the 2012 Dew Tour will include over 30 hours of live television coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network.  In addition, the Dew Tour will present an expanded digital offering including live competitions and behind-the-scenes exclusive content across multiple platforms.

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Adding speed cameras to school districts in Salisbury was a fairly controversial issue a couple months back. At the time, I wondered why because it seemed to be a logical safety issue. Anything to slow down motorists near schools seemed like a good idea to me.

I was rethinking that position earlier this week when I fetched a notice from my mailbox titled “City of Salisbury Automated Speed Enforcement”. My immediate reaction was denial (it couldn’t have been me). That was until I read on and noticed three color photos of my vehicle driving by a speed enforcement school zone sign, including a close-up of my license plate. In one of the photos, I could even see what color tie I had on that day. Later, the citation alleged I was driving 43 mph in a 30 mph zone with the specific violation time, date and location noted. I soon dropped that claim of fighting it.

Forty dollars later, I still do actually thing it’s a good idea, but you can bet I remember where those cameras are next time I’m driving College Ave.

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