Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – June 3, 2016

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – June 3, 2016

The mounting tragedies in Ocean City are reason for concern, but they must be kept in the proper perspective.

The five deaths within a few months are disturbing, but it’s their unique circumstances that make them head scratchers to me. In the most recent case, it would seem to be a classic tale of alcohol-fueled men in a fight gone deadly wrong after a night out on the town, except that wasn’t entirely the case, according to sources.

There’s no question in many situations that’s exactly how problems escalate into something they shouldn’t. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it happened a couple summers ago downtown outside a sub shop. As was the case in that incident, it’s likely death was not the goal. In the most recent incident at 136th Street, reliable sources maintain the victim, who was a non-drinker according to friends, was punched once in the face and then fell and struck his head and neck in a way that was the fatal blow.

Instead of being just a late-night fight that nobody ever heard about, it’s a homicide investigation resulting in pleas from police for the eyes and ears of the community to provide valuable information if it exists.

Each of the five fatalities in Ocean City are unrelated and it would be wrong to try and lump them into some sort of argument that asserts they are the result of a new marketing strategy that has led to a change in the socio-economic profiles of visitors. It may seem inappropriate, but these five fatalities are what they are — avoidable tragedies.

What’s most concerning to me about these sad occurrences is the timing. Typically, if unfortunate things happen in Ocean City, they happen in June with the onslaught of young revelers prone to misbehavior and bad decisions make their presence known here. That’s just starting to get kicked into high hear this week. That’s the most concerning aspect to me.

A solar farm off Route 50 that would rival the scope of the one outside Salisbury where Perdue’s headquarters are located is planned for west of Berlin.

It’s a massive system and the folks behind it in permitting papers maintain these sorts of large-scale projects are the future in Maryland if the goal of 20 percent renewable energy generation is to ever truly be reached.

It seems to me this project does represent the future of solar. It’s the concept of non-local companies leasing portions of suitable private property in rural areas from landowners, generating the energy and then selling it to the larger power providers. It’s a system that works for all involved and should be viewed as a positive to me.

The Public Service Commission is holding a hearing on the plans next Thursday at the Ocean Pines Community Center.

Without getting a straight rejection, it’s quite clear Ocean City’s quest to get Route 90 ahead of Routes 50 and 589 on Worcester County’s infrastructure priority list is going nowhere at this time.

The Worcester County Commissioners have to agree to put the dualization of Route 90 ahead of the Route 50 Bridge replacement and the widening of Route 589 before the State Highway Administration will readjust its thinking. As far as the county and state go, the priority as far as major road projects remains Route 113 (which is now entirely funded, although not complete), the Route 50 Bridge, dualizing Route 589 and then Route 90.

“At some point, it’s going to need some maintenance and probably sooner rather than later,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “We feel it’s very important from a transportation standpoint, but also from a public safety standpoint. If State Highway doesn’t feel the same way, we like to have an honest dialogue. We might have to have that discussion because it’s important for our future.”

SHA District Engineer Donnie Drewer responded “Where that stands I don’t know. I know what your stance is. I haven’t heard any movement on that.”

The fact nothing has changed on this priority list didn’t seem to sit too well with at least one council person.

“If Route 90 had to be closed, that’s a disaster the magnitude of a hurricane,” Councilman Dennis Dare said. “Yes, it would be tough on Ocean City, but it would also be tough on the comptroller’s office because he has a book on his shelf that shows just how much tax revenue comes to the state from Ocean City.”

There were some funny social media posts yesterday morning from couple Ocean City residents who came upon two horses randomly tied to a tree. It was the same sort of bewilderment Berlin motorists had on Wednesday when they drove by the same two horses tied to a tree in front of the library.

It turns out they belonged to Doc Mishler, an 80-year-old God-fearing man who has for the last 10 years or so been making cross country treks across the U.S. in the name of raising awareness and dollars to fight childhood hunger.

Although it’s a taxing journey, Mishler showed no signs of stopping his campaigns. When asked specifically when he will stop, he replied, “When will the Pop sell the Vatican?”

There you have it.

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.