It seems fitting on the last day of 2010 to look ahead and make some bold, and not so bold, predictions for the year ahead. Here are a few I have on my mind:
— There will be no need to keep the snow shovels out, as not one inch of snow will accumulate locally in 2011.
— Ocean City will choose wood as the chosen surface for the new Boardwalk, dismissing a proposal to use a concrete tram lane, disguised as wood, along part of it.
— Designated smoking areas recently approved by the Ocean City Mayor and Council will go largely unused next summer.
— The Liquor Control Board for Worcester County (LCB) will operate as usual in 2011.
— Lawmakers will pass a bill keeping the LCB in the retail liquor-only business but ending its wholesale operation. It will not go into effect until 2012.
— Legislation making driving with a hand-held cell phone a primary offense, rather than its current secondary, will be introduced and passed in the General Assembly.
— 2011 will be the last year for Ocean City’s Rodney the Lifeguard advertising campaign.
— The Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll will increase to $3 to address the state’s budget deficit.
— Less than a year after the election, property taxes will be raised in Worcester County.
— A bill to introduce table games in Maryland at existing slots parlors will fail by a slim vote in the General Assembly.
— A gallon of unleaded gasoline will remain above $3 for most of the year.
— Problems with the Route 50 Bridge drawbridge will surface in the summer months, leading city officials to seek an estimation of the state’s timeline to work on the span.
— A local newspaper will fold.
— After inevitable traffic concerns associated with the slots parlor at Ocean Downs, the state will move Route 589 up the priority list for capital improvement projects.
— A high-ranking official in Ocean City government will resign in protest over sweeping changes to town operations.
–It’s announced Berlin is in the running for an All-America City designation. Why not? Salisbury can now boast it’s one.
— Snow Hill will remain a municipality after a petition effort by a resident is abandoned.
–After a bank sale of the former health club property on 62nd Street, long-range plans are unveiled for a new mixed-use project featuring a hotel and condos.
— Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton will retire and the governor will replace him with Master Peggy Kent, who was passed over to replace Judge Ted Eschenburg this week in favor of attorney Brian Shockley.
— Although no major work is initiated, efforts for a wind farm off the coast continue to progress, as a company is chosen to handle the work.
— Berlin’s new speed board will be vandalized within a month of being erected.
— A bill to further increase the sales tax in Maryland is introduced in the General Assembly. While some lame-brained legislators actually vote for it, the measure does not pass.
— A tropical storm will impact Ocean City in September.
— The state legislature will adopt specific rules regarding youth concussions in response to several recent tragedies across the country.
— The US Postal Service will increase first-class stamp prices twice in 2011. It’s the same old story here – demand is down, cost of services are up.
— Some of Ocean City’s larger special events, like Springfest, Sunfest and Winterfest, will be linked to corporate sponsors like Pepsi, Toyota and Nestle.
— By years’ end, there will be talk of more Ocean City employees trying to unionize, as a result of changes made to employee compensation.
— The Ravens will defeat the Eagles in the Super Bowl in February.