Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

When more and more school systems around the mid-Atlantic region began ending their summer breaks prior to Labor Day weekend, there were concerns about business taking a hit locally. The idea was visitors would be less inclined to pack up the family and come to the beach once schools were back in session, leading many to say Labor Day weekend in recent years was not what it once was and that the peak season was actually ending earlier than ever before.

I’m not so sure that is true and crowd estimates confirm that Labor Day weekend remains one of the busiest weekends of the year for the Ocean City area. In fact, over the last 20 years, Labor Day has always ranked among the top eight weekend crowds of the year and almost always better than Memorial Day weekend.

Here’s a look at Demoflush estimates for the last 10 years for Labor Day weekend

2010: 268,840
2009: 262,583
2008: 261,113
2007: 277,581
2006: 276,582
2005: 258,269
2004: 256,326
2003: 280,633
2002: 344.562 (rain skewed figures)
2001: 276,915

Along those lines, with Ocean City closed last weekend due to the hurricane that I promised I would not write about at all this week, this Labor Day weekend could be on course to be a memorable one. Recent history and the splendid weather forecast (which is what really makes or breaks this September weekend) seem to indicate it will be solid, no matter when schools began.

During a conversation about that storm last weekend this week, Mayor Rick Meehan touched on this weekend.

“I expect Ocean City to be busy this weekend, with the weather looking great and a lot of excitement to get back to the beach after the storm,” Meehan said. “We are putting it behind and looking forward to a great fall season.”

Referring to the lost weekend of business, which Comptroller Peter Franchot said cost the revenue-starved state about $2 million, Meehan hinted at something special looming ahead.

“We are working on trying to come up with something to replace this lost weekend,” the mayor said.

There’s a disturbing trend taking place in Ocean City each summer of late.

As a result of the proliferation of this or that, the city is being forced to enact emergency ordinances banning certain items seemingly every summer. First it was making salvia illegal, then it was imposing restrictions on specific laser pointers and now it’s K-2 and its associated drug paraphernalia, specifically water pipes.

Replacing the packets of K-2 in some Boardwalk store shelves has reportedly been the Green Laser, a popular item pushed by many Boardwalk retailers the last couple summers. There’s not much Ocean City will likely be able to do about this as far as banning them, but there is a law on the books from last summer limiting what people can do with them once they are bought and that minors cannot purchase them.

While it’s nice to see the substances will be outlawed, the best part of this ordinance is the removal of all the bongs and hookas from several Boardwalk storefronts.

It was said at this week’s Mayor and Council meeting that Ocean City has been leading the way in placing bans on these sorts of dangerous substances that spring up from time to time. That may be true, but the sheer nature of these unknown fad items means the city has to be reactionary rather than proactive. However, at least the city is reacting faster than other places affected in similar ways.

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.