Between The Lines

A couple months ago, the future of the OC Air Show was a concern to many, largely as a result of the uncertainty of its lineup for the 2011 edition and some contrasting views on which June weekend it should be held. There have also been private talks on whether the event should be produced solely by Ocean City or continue with the existing partnership, but a change on that front does not appear to be imminent or even likely at this point.

At the risk of being a pushover, I admit I’m excited after looking over the list of performers for this year’s event. The fact only two performers from last year’s show will be returning to Ocean City has tremendous appeal, as many folks said after last year’s show a shakeup was needed to retain interest in the event. Take a look at this week’s story on page 4A for more information on this year’s lineup of performers.

Despite the major overhaul of the event, I still have reservations about the amount of money the town doles out in overtime and in-kind contributions to the special event (a majority of which is returned to the town after the fact) as well as the tremendous amount of free allocations local businesses cough up for it, but the fresh new lineup does look promising because many of us in the region will be seeing these new attractions for the first time ever.

With the county looking to enter the liquor business, and make no mistake that’s what it wants to do here with this week’s proposal, it’s going to be interesting to see who will become the new department head if the legislation is introduced in Annapolis.

Word is private discussions have already been held on this front, and that former County Commissioner Bobby Cowger is in line for the post. Readers will recall Cowger, who served two terms as Pocomoke’s commissioner, was the executive director of the Liquor Control Board during its glory days when relations with the licensees were probably at their best and revenue numbers were unquestionably at their highest. This should be interesting.

The first revenue numbers from the Casino at Ocean Downs were released this week. When dealing with huge numbers such as the $3.04 million in slot machine revenue that was recorded at the casino, it’s best to break it down and look at where it’s going.

Reportedly, of the casino’s total revenue take for January, $1.47 million will be dedicated to the Maryland Education Trust Fund; $1 million kept by the casino; $212,000 going to the horse racing purse account; $100,000 will be given to the county in the form of a grant; $60,000 to Maryland Lottery; $45,000 to support small business; $33,000 to Ocean City; $16,000 to Berlin; and $16,000 to Ocean Pines.

Now that the numbers have been released, it’s going to be interesting to see how the local development council decides to use the funds. Its first meeting is expected to be held sometime soon. That would certainly seem appropriate.

Census figures were released for Maryland this week, and the population changes confirm Worcester County is continuing to grow at a solid rate.

However, Worcester’s 11-percent spike from 2000 to 2010 confirms the rate of growth is not what it once was and significantly less than the population boom from 1990 to 2000. The county’s population change put it 15th among the 24 jurisdictions with St. Mary’s County recording the largest increase at 22 percent followed by Charles County’s 21.6 percent surge and Frederick County’s 20-percent jump.

Bringing up the rear is Baltimore City’s 5-percent decline in population, as city folks continue to migrate into the suburbs. Next lowest counties were found out on the western shore in Allegany, .2 percent increase, and Garrett, .8 percent jump.

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.