The lone event on the special event calendar that could have survived last weekend’s nasty Nor’easter with solid turnout was probably H2O International.
It’s important to note a huge majority of the vehicles in town last weekend were not affiliated with the H2Oi event, which is actually headquartered at Fort Whaley Campground on Route 50. However, all of these unique vehicles usually get lumped under the same H2Oi description for obvious reasons.
I was in Ocean City for much of Saturday and was amazed at how packed Coastal Highway was in most areas. In fact, people were still lining up along the road watching the vehicles on Coastal Highway despite a major north, northeast blow and periods of torrential downpours. You know the weather is terrible when you are getting blown in the face by sand and saltwater while standing on Coastal Highway.
Indeed these folks were hearty souls and many of the people I encountered along the highway were unfazed by the weather, but some casual conversations I had with the onlookers indicated many people did stay home out of fear they would damage their vehicles here because of flooding.
The police data seems to confirm that to a degree. Total number of calls for service to the OCPD declined from 2,318 in 2014 to 1,703 last weekend. The total number of traffic stops dropped from 1,033 over the four-day event in 2014 to just 680 in 2015. Interestingly, the number of traffic citations issued held steady from 715 in 2014 to 710 last weekend, and the number of traffic warnings issued spiked from 410 last year to 713 during the 2015 event.
The figures indicate a more pro-active police approach. While traffic stops were down considerably, almost as many citations were issued and many more warnings were reported. The team approach for police work and an obvious attempt to have a larger profile and presence seemed to work, but the reality here is this year was not the true test.
The punks and thugs still came in surprising numbers, but not nearly as many visited as a result of the weather. In the end, this year’s weekend — one that is dreaded by most in Ocean City — provided a chance to test out this new unified police partnership and some other strategic moves, like blocking off the convention center parking lot. Everything went fairly well and hopefully some things were learned ahead of next year’s event, a date for which has not been set yet.
Managing Editor Shawn Soper’s story on the couple who got married last Friday at the height of the Nor’easter was a great read and a memorable story.
Congratulations to Mollie and Josh Kotis on their wedding and kudos to the entire team at the Harrison Group for working together to do whatever had to be done to pull off this memorable event under the most daunting of circumstances. Be sure to read the story in this week’s issue.
The article has a little bit of everything, including the bride and guests being transported in a surplus vehicle provided by the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company the wrong way down Baltimore Avenue because of flooding in other areas of downtown.
That’s the story I will remember most from the fall Nor’easter of 2015.
Although officials seem to disagree on how much it should cost, a new Showell Elementary School appears to be in the future. It won’t be anytime soon, however, as construction is not estimated to start until 2019, which means it will probably be later than that.
While the school board had been using a $54 million figure for the new school, the County Commissioners voted this week to spend no more than $37 million. There’s been a lot of interesting political theater surrounding this project. All of it continues to underscore a major and unproductive disconnect between the school board and the commissioners
However, what’s most important here is an old, dilapidated school will be getting replaced by a modern facility. It’s just a shame it will be six years — at the earliest — before it’s ready.