Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – February 24, 2017

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People who make a living in the world of public works are passionate about garbage. That’s why Ocean City Public Works Hal Adkins used the phrase “game changer” when describing a heavy-duty, four-wheel truck for beach trash collection he was pitching to the Mayor and Council this week.

“This is a game-changer for how we operate on the beach,” Adkins said. “I am extremely optimistic that it’s going to create the next level of efficiency for us. Based on the size of this vehicle, I am optimistic that we will try to do at least three quarters of the entire length of the island before it fills up. My goal is to do the whole island except on extreme days like the Fourth of July.”

Last summer there was a noticeable layout adjustment made to the beach trash receptacles. There appeared to be many more on the beach in strategic locations. There was the customary row of cans close to the Boardwalk and dunes for beach-goers to drop their garbage in as they left. However, the big change in my opinion was placing the cans in another row closer to the water. This way they were more convenient for beach-goers and cut down on the unsightly amount of trash that was overflowing from some cans at the end of the day. When that happens, the sea gulls become involved and the beach quickly turns messy.

This week’s decision was an easy one based on the finances presented. Even if it did cost more, one area the town can’t afford to be too cheap over is on trash collection, particularly on the beach. If this new truck improves efficiency and allows crews to further efforts in our area, it will be a big move for the town.

Should public schools be closed for Presidents Day? Evidently there’s a movement in Annapolis to ensure that’s not the case in future years.

House Bill 400 seeks to remove the state requirement that public schools be shuttered in observance of Presidents Day and the Monday after Easter.

The bill had a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee last week and there’s no indication whether the measure will be approved. If I were on the committee, however, I would vote for it because it’s two days less to account for at the end of the school year. Additionally, it’s a work day for most professionals.

Ocean City earned a No. 10 ranking in the Best U.S. Beaches, according to TripAdvisor and its Travelers’ Choice awards for the best beaches in the world.

Taking home top honors is Siesta Beach, Fla., which should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited it as the sand there is remarkable. Rounding out the top 10 were Ka’anapali Beach, Hawaii; St. Pete Beach, Fla.; Clearwater, Fla.; Panama City Beach, Fla.; Hollywood, Fla.; Pensacola Beach, Fla.; St. Augustine Beach, Fla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Ocean City.

As far as world beach, the same ranking listed Siesta Beach, Fla. as No. 5 behind Baia do Sancho, Brazil, Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos, Eagle Beach, Aruba and Playa Paraiso, Cuba.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan this week submitted his annual list of “green bag” appointments to various boards and commissions at the state government level, but the list certainly doesn’t appear on the surface to be representative, at least in terms of the Eastern Shore.

Dating back to the 17th century, the term “green bag” refers to something altogether different than you might assume. It has nothing to do with the environment. It refers to the green satchel used once a year to bring the gubernatorial nominations to the State Senate. It’s a long-standing tradition for a member of the governor’s staff to deliver his green bag appointments to the Senate for approval.

This week, Hogan’s staff delivered the green bag including 189 appointments to 70 different boards and commissions. Hogan said the green bag appointments represent the diversity of the state.

“I am proud that these men and women are reflective of the diverse nature of our state and I look forward to seeing the great things they accomplish as we continue to change Maryland for the better.”

However, a closer inspection of the list appears to lack any real diversity in the appointments at least from the Eastern Shore’s perspective. Wicomico County’s Murray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic College, is on the list for appointment to the Technology Development Board and there are three appointments from Queen Anne’s County and one from Caroline County.

Otherwise, most of the appointments are from right up the center of the state including 32 from Baltimore County, 25 from Montgomery County, 20 each from Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City and 18 from Prince George’s County. To be fair, some of the appointments are region specific for which the Lower Shore would not be eligible, such as the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees or the Patuxent River Commission, for example, but with just one appointment from the Lower Shore and five total from the entire Eastern Shore out of 189, the green bag appointments this year don’t appear to be very representative in the least bit.

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.