Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

It’s remarkable to me that only an estimated 17 percent of the approximate 30,000 units in Ocean City supposed to have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are in official compliance. That was the big news coming out of Ocean City Fire Marshal Sam Villani’s presentation to the Mayor and Council this week. While it’s true more units could be in compliance and simply not have sent the required confirmation to the city after they installed their CO detectors, it’s more than likely a reasonable ballpark figure. The town’s answer: more education mixed in with more of an emphasis on inspections.

That’s not exactly an aggressive position, considering this is a life-and-death situation. However, city officials seem to think it’s the only route to chart at this time. There are no resources, personnel and finances, available to monitor compliance through a massive inspection service, according to City Hall. That’s understandable, and I hope heightened education efforts, combined with an emphasis on inspections, will be successful in increasing the participation rate. My issue with these hoteliers and condo owners who have not complied is a great majority of them are aware of the law. Many of these folks simply chose to ignore it and by doing so showed a wanton disregard for their guests’ health as well as gave city lawmakers the bird. I think it would be naïve and overly optimistic to think more education will get the point across and send them off to the hardware stores to get their CO detectors.

With that said, I do understand the city’s position here. Its hands are tied to the extent of a serious crackdown because the manpower is not there to race around the island conducting examinations all the time. Nonetheless, I believe the city is serious here. The fact the Americana Hotel, which was evacuated earlier this summer after a serious CO leak, remains closed confirms the town is trying to send a message to boost compliance. Hopefully, education will achieve the desired goals and convince the heart-less and lazy violators to comply with a law that should be simple common sense.

Ocean City got snubbed this week. Typically, whenever any media outlet does a compilation of the country’s best Boardwalks Ocean City is always listed among the favorites. Both USA Today and the Travel Channel have recently listed Ocean City in its top 10, and the town uses that recognition in some marketing pieces. That’s understandable, and this paper always spreads the word whenever the town makes the lists, organized by reputable media outlets. That’s why it’s worth mentioning Ocean City was conspicuous by its absence in a listing this week. Forbes Magazine’s Traveler edition ranks the 10 Boardwalks this way, from top to bottom: Atlantic City, N.J., Wildwood, N.J., Bethany Beach, Del., Rehoboth Beach, Del., Virginia Beach, Va., Coney Island, N.Y., Venice Beach, Calif., Long Beach, Wash., Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Bay, Texas and Santa Cruz, Calif.

School students around the area headed back to the classroom this week, whether they liked it or not. There were some interesting figures included in a press release sent by the Board of Education this week regarding enrollment figures For a guy who deals mostly with words on a daily basis, I have a strange fondness for numbers. Here’s a few that caught my attention:

— Confirming the huge population tilt in this county, Stephen Decatur High has by far the largest student body in the county. The projected enrollment is 1,392, compared to Snow Hill High, 351; and Pocomoke High, 364.

— Of the elementary schools, Ocean City Elementary is the largest by a slight margin with an approximate enrollment of 574 followed closely by Showell Elementary at 526 pupils. The rest of the schools are Buckingham Elementary, 470; Pocomoke Elementary, 425; and Snow Hill Elementary, 346.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.