Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – December 30, 2016

It’s tradition in the last issue of the year for me to look ahead and make some predictions for the year ahead. Here’s a list of what I think will take place in 2017:

•In May, a federal judge will rule for a disqualification of the first-place white marlin from the 2016 White Marlin Open based on breaking tournament rules. That decision will lead to the prize money being distributed amongst various other finishers in tournament.

•Construction will begin on a waterfall feature at the new Berlin Falls Park.

•A petition turned into the Berlin Mayor and Council will not result in the town renaming its newest park after a retired postal worker.

•Whether it was continued outcry from the fishing industry or the White House administration change will be unclear, there will be nothing done at the federal level on the proposed Urban Marine Sanctuary designation for the Baltimore Canyon.

•Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will make his intentions public to represent the Democratic Party in Maryland against Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018.

•A rezoning application for a proposed Ayres Creek Campground at the site of a former golf course on Route 611 will be approved by Worcester County.

•Two new restaurants — Tequila Mockingbird and Marlin Moon Seafood Kitchen — will open in the new Park Place Plaza on Route 50.

•The year will end with construction about to begin on a new Showell Elementary School.

•Delays will lead to the planned crosswalk in front of Stephen Decatur High School on Route 50 not being installed before the end of the current school year, but it will be ready for fall 2017.

•Two school systems — Montgomery and Baltimore counties — will seek waivers from Maryland State Department of Education to start school before Labor Day, despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandate. The waivers will be denied.

•After receiving proposals, Ocean City opts for a “pay by plate” parking system to make enforcement and ticketing easier for police.

•A new building home to table games will be unveiled at the Casino at Ocean Downs before the start of the summer season.

•A compromise will not be reached between the Town of Berlin and a local woman, leading to a $75,000 equal protection lawsuit being filed. No resolution to the case will come in the calendar year.

•Construction work on the new Berlin library branch will begin in 2017, but it will not be open until spring 2018.

•Author Bunk Mann will announce intentions to write a second book on the history of Ocean City.

•After major delays, the new Residence Inn by Marriott will open in June, but there will be no changes to the exterior facing the Route 90 Bridge.

•Ocean Pines will name a new general manager from outside the area.

•Ocean City’s new median fence will not be installed and ready until the Fourth of July holiday due to setbacks in the bidding process.

•Efforts will continue on the next phase of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center expansion, but no construction will take place in the next calendar year.

•There will be another foal boom on Assateague Island with five new additions to the Maryland side of the seashore.

•After being asked to offer advice on the matter by the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Maryland Attorney General will add language to the state’s indecent exposure statute to specifically define a woman’s breasts as “private parts.” The ruling comes about after a woman’s topless freedom cause gains national attention.

•One year after the town purchased the property, Ocean City will announce the United States Postal Service plans to break its lease with the city due to poor revenues and shutter the 4th Street post office in 2018. Ocean City will then announce plans to raze the old building for the expansion of an existing municipal parking lot.

•After being a semifinalist this year, Berlin will be named one of the Great American Main Street Award winners in May.

•The legal process for the Town of Berlin to exercise eminent domain rights on Harrison Avenue in front of the Adkins Co. will begin. The town has offered $60,000 while the private property owner wants $400,000.

•Two department heads employed by the Town of Ocean City will announce their retirements with planned internal promotions to follow.

•Ocean City’s new boat ramp on 64th Street will open in the spring.

•Maryland legislators will pass several pieces of legislation in an attempt to apply regulations to Airbnb and other online vacation rental sites.

•The Berlin excursion train effort linked to Snow Hill will not come to fruition in the next calendar year. In fact, there will be little movement at all.

•President Obama’s decision this month to restrict 3.8 million acres from future offshore drilling will be overturned by the Trump administration within the first quarter.

•The Dallas Cowboys will defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

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.