Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Labor Day falls the latest it possibly can in 2015 — Sept. 7 — and that’s likely why Worcester County parents for the first time will get to weigh pre- and post-Labor Day start dates for the next school year.

Three possible calendars will be under consideration for the 2015-2016 school year after being developed by a 22-member committee. Each can be viewed on the school system’s website at www.worcesterk12.com and information will be sent home with students as well in the near future with a decision expected in February.

One calendar under consideration starts the school year on Aug. 31 with it ending June 16; another starts on Sept. 8 with the last day on June 17; and the final option starts school on Sept. 8 and ends on June 15. Although the need to provide the choice is understandable, clearly the pick here comes to down to the post-Labor Day start calendars. This year was the first time Worcester in some time has started after the holiday and it was widely viewed as the way to go.

Meanwhile, along with the results of this local survey, it’s going to be interesting to see if the party change in the governor’s mansion will have any impact on the effort to mandate all public school systems start after Labor Day. This has been a pet initiative of Comptroller Peter Franchot’s in recent years. A state task force, comprised of diverse members across the state, released a recommendation this year to the legislature to introduce a measure to ensure all school systems return to a post-holiday start date. Accompanying that is Franchot’s online petition called “Let Summer Be Summer — Start School After Labor Day.”

Legislation, driven largely by economics and tradition among supporters, is expected to surface in the next legislative session in January after just missing out on consideration earlier this year.

 

“Berlin and I have the same mentality. Events drive economic development.”

That’s what new Berlin Economic Development Director Ivy Wells told Staff Writer Charlene Sharpe during her first week at her new job.

Those are wise words and an observation that rings true throughout the lower shore. Some things do not deserve over thinking and this is a perfect example. Sustain the major events that work well and attract people to town who can support the local businesses and cut those events that do not.

On top of the masterful social marketing campaign that landed it the “America’s Coolest Small Town” title, Berlin’s recipe for success of late has been  simple — continue with the old traditional favorites, such as the widely successful Fiddlers Convention, while continuing to explore new events, such as this fall’s surprisingly popular Octoberfest.

 

Major anxiety has surrounded the fatal Route 113 accident that occurred in Berlin last year. The obvious reason is the loss of a young life, but another source of apprehension was the long period of time it took to complete the accident investigation and a perceived communication issue.

The eight-month probe, conducted by a specialized unit of troopers unaffiliated with the local barrack, has resulted in no malfeasance being found on behalf of the Maryland State Police trooper who struck a teenager, who later died, and his brother, who suffered serious injuries. The investigation found pedestrian error was the reason for the accident.

Prior to the investigation, many were maintaining the trooper was unable to avoid the young men near the intersection of Route 113 and Bay Street because he was speeding. The probe found the officer was traveling at 57 mph, which was seven mph over the speed limit at that time. Since that would not normally result in a citation, police indicate it was not a “contributing factor.”

Understandably, eight months to complete a study of any magnitude is an absurd amount of time. Add to that the fact it involves the death of a teenager and major injuries to another family member and there really was nothing this report would say that would make anyone happy. Nothing changes the ultimate outcome, but the perception on the family’s part is communication from authorities was poor. Whether that was the case is arguable, but in this case perception is in fact the reality for those involved.

Patience Needed On Excursion Train Possibility

At first glance, the feasibility study for a possible excursion train operation in Worcester County does not look promising as an initial step, but the effort deserves further consideration before its abandoned. The question is how much money has to be spent during this evaluation period before a conclusion can be made on whether this sort of operation will be … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Tax Reflections Editor: Having lived in Maryland near Washington DC for over 40 years, I am accustomed to seeing DC license plates with the “Taxation Without Representation” slogan. Reading the article in your Nov. 14 edition regarding the plans of the Mayor and City Council to use the Homestead exemption to block future property tax increase of residents, I feel … Continue reading

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Nearly 60 years of experience in elected office were reflected on this week in Snow Hill, as Worcester County Commissioners Judy Boggs, elected back in 2002, Louise Gulyas, in office since 1998, Jim Purnell, sworn in back in 1996, and Virgil Shockley, elected in 1998, attended their last meeting. Gulyas, Boggs and Purnell are retiring, while Shockley lost his seat … Continue reading

Challenges Ahead For Honrable Cause

Worcester County Education Foundation Chair Todd Ferrante shared this week a You Tube video called “Did You Know? Shift Happens.” It provides a wealth of information, most of which is concerning how critical technology and associated enhancements will be in the lives of today’s young people and in particular their future. For example, one fact included in the video was … Continue reading

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

This week was not the first time allocating marketing dollars to promote Ocean City’s booming fishing industry has been discussed with the city’s elected officials, but it might be the most organized and likely to have a significant impact. At this week’s Tourism Commission, Scott Lenox, resident fishing guru known for hosting the Hooked On OC show, outlined an effort … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Digital Upgrades Key To Community Editor: Worcester County Public Schools will always be the heart and future of our community. Through a strong commitment from our Worcester County Commissioners, dedicated leadership from our Board of Education, and the support of families and local businesses, we have all reaped the benefits of providing a Blue Ribbon education as we watch so … Continue reading

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Some reflections on this week’s election: • I don’t like to use the term upset when it comes to election races because the fact is you never truly know the will of the general public until it’s expressed through the voting process. However, prior to elections, it’s natural through educated research and experience to handicap certain races and when the … Continue reading