Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Whenever a business is purchased, the new owner always maintains no major changes are imminent. That’s what must be said to allow the status quo to continue for the time being and to help calm employees’ fears, but the reality usually is changes will indeed take place. Time will tell in this case if a major overhaul or change in direction will occur.

That’s why it’s big news that Frontier Town and Fort Whaley campgrounds, located on Routes 611 and 50, respectively, have been sold to Sun Communities for what is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $52 million.

Frontier Town holds a special place in the hearts of many families, long-time employees and avid campers. That’s why apprehension over the last couple months has abounded as word leaked of its sale this summer. There have been no noticeable changes at the campground this summer and former owner Mitch Parker’s name is still on a sign at the waterpark as the proprietor, as of last weekend.

With the addition of Frontier Town and Fort Whaley and the 2014 purchase of Castaways RV Resort, Sun Communities now owns three large campgrounds within 15 miles of each other. That’s not a concern, according to the company.

“We felt there was an opportunity to continue buying in the market and not be concerned with cannibalizing ourselves,” Colman said. “We target destination locations and Ocean City is certainly one of those.”

 

Despite one of the highest fields of boats ever and a record purse of $3.8 million being pursued by thousands of anglers, a damper was put on the early excitement surrounding the White Marlin Open this week due to an online issue.

The Open’s website was hacked overnight Sunday and was down for most of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The timing was unfortunate and clearly a result of some criminal cyber activity by someone close to the tournament.

It was remarkable to watch the tournament come under intense fire on social media for the situation. Most of it was unnecessary and mean-spirited, but that’s the world of social media these days. The criticism was robust and surely distracting to organizers during their busiest week of the year. The main beef from the vocal folks was the fact the video camera could not be accessed on Monday and Tuesday. That has long been popular for those out of the area or for those who don’t want to battle the crowds to see the prize fish weighed. With the camera down the early part of the week, the tournament provided real-time posts on its social media pages with photos to keep people abreast of the action.

Amid the backlash, tournament officials issued a statement via social media Tuesday explaining the situation and confirming it had been hacked.

“We would like to extend our apologies to all of our White Marlin Open anglers and fans for our website going down again. We are working closely with the FBI Cyber Crimes Unit to catch and prosecute the individual or individuals responsible for these crimes,” the post read. “We are able to do all of the things we do on the website offline, so it will be business as usual minus the website. We ran this tournament without websites for 30 years and can continue with or without a web site. These cyber terrorists can’t stop the White Marlin Open! We are looking into other sources for our Web Cams as we speak.”

By the time the weigh station opened on Wednesday, a new camera was in operation at www.whitemarlincam.com, a team effort between Hooked On OC, Fish in OC, D3Corp and the White Marlin Open. By Thursday, most of the website appeared to be back functioning properly.

 

Ocean City’s newest department head will have his hands full for a variety of reasons when he assumes his duties within the Planning and Zoning Department.

First, he is taking over a department that truly hasn’t been under quality leadership for at least three years. After the former director resigned last summer after a controversial 18 months on the job, former City Manager David Recor was handling some aspects of the planning and zoning director’s position apparently before his resignation last month and word is Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith was also taking care of some of the position’s duties in addition to his own responsibilities.

While taking over a leader-less department for some time will have its challenges, the bigger issue will be leading the Comprehensive Plan process and taking into account the proposed R-1A district while studying rezoning options. This new district — which would forbid rentals under 12 months in select eligible communities on the island — is a political hot potato with no easy resolution. He will be entering City Hall with a lot of catchup to do on that situation because proponents want the matter addressed sooner than later.

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