Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry Wilson did not find many who shared his opposition to Maryland schools starting after Labor Day at this week’s Economic Development Committee. This was not unexpected, as the room was full of tourism people who have rallied around legislation mandating all school systems in Maryland return to post-holiday starts.
While his view was already known because every school superintendent in the state has signed a statement to state lawmakers opposing the school start change, Wilson surely knew his views would not be embraced by this week’s meeting attendees.
“This is going to be in the hands of the legislature, and looking at it as the local superintendent, the legislature is going to act on it, take the position they are going to take, and we are going to have to adapt to it,” Wilson said. “I just wanted to let you know why I signed onto the letter of opposition. I know where I live. I know the importance of tourism to our county’s success and to your success.”
Although I disagree with his view on this matter, Wilson deserves a tip of the cap for walking into the proverbial Lion’s den and sharing an opinion that he knew would be unpopular and not shared among attendees.
The good news is the opinions held by Wilson and his fellow superintendents do not appear to be swaying legislators. Word is the votes are there to pass this legislation.
I’m a homer for the “Ping Pong Summer” movie filmed in Ocean City in late 2012.
I attended the early event at the Hilton in the summer of 2012 when producers and Director Michael Tully pitched the movie. The gathering was essentially an opportunity for the movie people to seek financing for the work. From those I spoke with at the event after the movie folks made their presentation, the pitch appeared to go over like the proverbial lead balloon, but that turned out to be false, as Ocean City and Worcester County each agreed to send funding from tourism budgets to the movie. There were other private interests as well that agreed to provide funding help with a certain royalty and payment plan reportedly included in the deal.
That gamble appears to be paying off to a degree, but how much will be known in the future. At this point, there are still many questions, but producer George Rush said however the theatrical release of the movie is handled the hope is to hold an event in Ocean City at some point early on. That would seem only logical considering how much local funding was given to it.
“One way or the other we will definitely have an Ocean City premiere,” Rush said. “It certainly was a gamble for everyone that put money into it, but particularly the city and the county. We have a great deal of gratitude. We told people in the worst-case scenario we were making a really great commercial for Ocean City, and in the best-case scenario we would have a successful film, and I think we got the best-case scenario. We are hopeful the risk for the city will pay off for them, and it will bring more interest around the country and around the world in Ocean City.”
Unlike in 2010, Worcester County Commissioner Bud Church, a Republican elected in 2002, will face opposition to retain his recently revamped District 3 seat.
Challenger Michael Maykrantz is a well-known name in the district and has worked for the Town of Ocean City for 24 years as a firefighter/paramedic. He has a lot of government experience, including for 15 years serving as the president of the Career Fire Fighter Paramedics Association of Ocean City union and currently as the town’s public safety pension trustee. He is vice president of the West Ocean City Association, which had been dormant for years but has begun meeting again over the last two years.
If no other candidates come forward prior to the filing deadline, Maykrantz, a Democrat, and Church will square off in November in the general election in what should be an interesting matchup.