Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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The forecast for this weekend looks stellar and that would be good news for Ocean City on any weekend of the year, but particularly this year because one year ago Hurricane Irene closed Ocean City for the entire weekend.

Subsequently, business owners saw a huge zero in their books for the weekend and that crushed the bottom line of every single operator in town, no matter the size or volume of business.

With that a matter of the past, the good news is no matter how much sales revenue is brought in this weekend, it’s going to be a 100-percent increase for all.

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According to demoflush estimates, last weekend, featuring the Dew Tour, saw a 3-percent decline from the same weekend last year when, of course, the Dew Tour was not held.

In this case, I don’t care what demoflush has to say about last weekend. The crowds were intense from one end of town to the other and traffic was about as congested as I have ever seen it.

The only negatives I heard involved several police interactions with the athletes and their supporters. A negative taste among some of the participants was a result of some aggressive warnings issued to skateboard athletes who were unaware of the town’s ban on skateboarding in public streets.

On that matter, Bucky Lasek, who finished second in the skate vert division, hit up a Boardwalk merchant and created a T-shirt in favor of legalizing skateboarding. He wore it on the final day of the competition for all to see.

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Ocean City now has a contest mayor’s race for the first time since 2004 when former Councilman Vince Gisriel unsuccessfully challenged then-Mayor Jim Mathias, who in the summer of 2006 was appointed to the state House of Delegates after Bennett Bozman’s passing.

At that time, Council President Rick Meehan was appointed mayor. He ran unopposed in the fall of 2006 and has not been opposed since. In that 2006 election, by virtue of her fourth-place finish in that race (behind Lloyd Martin, Joe Mitrecic and Margaret Pillas), Councilwoman Mary Knight was elected to serve the remaining two years on Meehan’s term. She was re-elected two years later to her first four-year term, which expires this fall and she is seeking re-election.

The fact Meehan has been unopposed during his mayoral tenure led Councilman Joe Hall to launch a print and online campaign to recruit an opponent for Meehan, who has been an elected official in Ocean City since 1985.

Meehan, who has not made it official by filing, confirmed last month he intends to seek a fourth term in November. It was learned Monday he will be challenged by Nick Campagnoli, who has been involved with foreign student workers in the past. Additional challengers may come forward.

Back in 2006, when four council seats were up for grabs, Campagnoli came in last place. That was an interesting council election because it contained some familiar names. The results, in order of finish, were Martin, 924 votes; Mitrecic, 881; Pillas, 784; Knight, 774; Joe Hall, 700; Doug Cymek, 493; Joe Cryer, 257; and Campagnoli, 200.

It goes without saying Campagnoli will be a major underdog, but if you believe his ardent supporter, a man called Popeye, he has a fighting chance.

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The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be missing its cutest leprechaun next year, as Gertie Apple passed away this month. Many have fond memories of Gertie, including former mayor and State Sen. Jim Mathias, who recalled first meeting her back in September of 1990 while knocking on doors for his first run at the Ocean City Council.

“When I knocked on her and [the late] Bernie’s door in Montego Bay, she opened it up and said, ‘you have to come in here, young man, you look a sight.’ We hit it right off and she insisted I eat something, saying, ‘we don’t have much in here, we got some apples, some crackers …’ It was so endearing and I remember it like it was yesterday, and I will never forget it,” he said. “In life, you are fortunate and blessed to meet people like her. It’s rare that you do and it’s unfortunate.”

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