Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

I feel for the decision-makers within the local school systems and private schools who have to make the calls on school closures. It’s a thankless job to be certain.

As far as this week goes, Monday and Tuesday closures were obvious calls. The storm was approaching on Monday and the snow started by 9 a.m. in most parts. There was no reason to gear up the schools on Monday. It was an even easier call on Tuesday when the roads were a mess for most of the morning.

As far as Wednesday goes, I think the local officials made the right call. A delayed opening was the best decision. Wicomico was delayed two hours, while Worcester was an hour late. Even with the surprise freezing rain that fell overnight Tuesday and the extremely icy conditions early on Wednesday, the delayed start was on the money. School did not need to be cancelled but a later opening helped with thawing out the roads.

Congratulations to the decision-makers, who are in the ridiculous position of constantly being second guessed and rarely hearing praise, except maybe in this space this week.

Watching the building of the Dew Tour grounds each summer on the beach in Ocean City has been about as exciting to many as the actual competitive events themselves. This coming June I will be anxious to see the dismantling of it actually.

That’s because crews will be under a tight timeline to break down all the venues and associated equipment after the last event on Sunday afternoon, June 29 because the 4th of July holiday will be looming.

The efficiency of these crews has never been in doubt, and I’m sure Dew Tour officials would not request something that cannot be done, but this will certainly be impressive to watch. The plan apparently is for there to be no signs the Dew Tour was even in Ocean City by the time the fireworks are launched from the beach on the Fourth of July.

Social media is a valuable tool in many aspects of the newspaper business, particularly content distribution. Facebook, in particular, is a way for this media outlet to gauge reader interest in a certain matter.

For example, on Wednesday, two stories were distributed. One detailed the announcement of a booking of the Harrier aircraft for this June’s Ocean City Air Show. The other story dealt with the pending date request for the Dew Tour for the last weekend in June.

As history shows, there is more interest in the Air Show than the Dew Tour on the social media front. The Air Show article gained much more viral activity, reaching 7,344 people and recording 14 comments, 52 shares and 166 likes, as of yesterday afternoon. The Dew Tour post reached 5,384 people, had five comments, 46 likes and 15 shares.

By comparison, although breaking news articles typically garner the most attention, our weekly Vanishing Ocean City with Bunk Mann post every Tuesday morning always gathers a lot of viral activity. This week’s post about the former Mario’s and Samoa restaurants was no different, reaching 10,328 people and recording 44 comments, 169 likes and 55 shares.

It’s been known for some time that special things have been happening at the huge facility called Worcester County Technical School on Route 113. However, the appropriate spotlight has now been shined on the school, thanks to a nationwide technology contest that could bring the school a huge acknowledgement.

Later this month, the school will find out just how much of a funding boost it will receive, but at this point it has already scored $35,000 in donated technology by making it to the final 15 in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, which provides school with the chance to compete by showing best practices in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses. Read more about the school’s submission in this issue.

Judges will select four winners out of the 15 finalists, and online voting will determine the fifth finalist. Each finalist could receive as much as $140,000 in donated technology. I say let’s control the school’s destiny by getting out the vote. Online voting continues through next week at

The debate over increasing the minimum wage, which some legislators are embarrassingly calling the “living wage”, heated up this week. All signs are the wage will be hiked to $10.10 per hour, from the current $7.25, over the next three years, thanks in large part to the governor making it a major issue and several larger counties on the western shore already passing higher minimum wages within their highly-populated jurisdictions.

This move will have a major impact on all Ocean City businesses, particularly those who can only stay open a few months out of the year because that’s the only time they make money. That’s why I was interested to see how Delegate Mike McDermott’s proposed amendment exempting seasonal employees, or those working less than 120 days in a calendar year, would fly.

Unfortunately, the amendment did not have any wings and was voted down 89-47 by the House, despite Prince George’s County being able to previously have the Six Flags amusement park exempted from the increase. This is just another example of how the political game in Maryland continues to be anything but equitable.