Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – June 2, 2017

I have heard the word “hijacked” used multiple times in recent weeks to describe what has happened to the annual spring Cruisin’ event. It’s an appropriate way to describe the situation because the event’s reputation has essentially been seized by outside groups who have nothing to do with the organized event itself. It’s become apparent these outside groups could care less about the organized event and simply are here to wreak havoc and damage infrastructure.

Case in point was the creation last week of a Facebook page called, “OCMD “Takeover” 2018.” The page is full of inaccuracies, including an assumption that the Cruisin’ event is going to be cancelled. While it’s unclear what the future date for the spring Cruisin’ weekend will be in 2018, one thing I know is it will not be cancelled. I’m not even convinced the organizers of the event are even willing to move the date to April at this point. There are a lot of factors that go into a decision like that and the post-weekend recap has not even been held with law enforcement and city officials.

Nonetheless, this Facebook page states an intention to keep the third weekend in May a vehicle-dominated time of the season. The page reads, “Tired of all of the whining & complaining about the cruisers in OCMD. ‘CARS AREN’T OLD ENOUGH…’ or ‘THIS EVENT NEEDS TO END…’ or ‘THE CRUISERS ARE SO RECKLESS …’ & finally, ‘THIS EVENT NEEDS TO BE MOVED OR CANCELLED…’ We are … so if ‘Cruisin OCMD’ is forced to cancel or move, post up pics of what you will be in next may for the OCMD TAKEOVER CRUISE… If you want to complain about the younger generations messing up ‘YOUR’ event, this is not the page for you.”

Along the same lines, a new unofficial event being marketed on Facebook is being planned for Sept. 28-Oct. 1, the same weekend as the H2Oi event. This should be a major concern for the city.

The page reads, “Since there’s not a week for trucks and diesels why not create one? Feel free to share to all of your truck friends and invite. Let’s make it big and be respectful. Lowered or lifted gas or diesel we will have a show down!”

The deal between the Town of Ocean City and Constellation New Energy that will save the town about $140,000 annually sounds too good to be true. Add to those savings a certain amount of money the utility company plans to spend marketing the green effort with the resort and it seems implausibly too good. By all accounts, however, it’s the reality, and the deal will be outlined in writing.

Constellation New Energy plans to build a 70-acre solar farm on Route 50 near the Route 90 exchange and generate 10 megawatts of power. There are several entities apparently set to purchase power from this solar array, but the most germane to us here is Ocean City, which plans to buy enough power to reduce its annual energy expenditures by $140,000, or 20 percent.

“We view this project as a potential flagship project, not just for our Maryland portfolio but for our entire portfolio,” Constellation New Energy Senior Manager Rick Kilbourne said. “The cost of this project is around $20 million. We’re paying for that internally and only ask the town of Ocean City to pay the negotiated contract rate for the kilowatt hours that your section of the array generates. This will be the largest solar plant on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We expect full operation of this project no later than December 2018.”

After hearing about this project, I’m curious who the other purchasers will be and whether they are government or private entities. It’s also got me to wondering if all the hubbub and expense involving the offshore wind farm will truly be worth it over the long run.

Last weekend marked 15 years since the Sifrit couple made national news in Ocean City. That’s a case I will never forget.

It was such a huge story back then that we assigned a reporter to actually leave the paper for the week to cover the suspects’ individual trials.

As the years have gone by and I reflect on this case, it’s amazing to me how this could have easily been an unsolved double murder. If the Sifrits weren’t arrogant and careless about it, that would have been the case. Fortunately, they were stupid and were caught.

Readers will remember Ben and Erika Sifrit dismembered a Virginia couple in their Ocean City penthouse after meeting them at a bar. They disposed of their bodies and even bought a door at The Home Depot to replace the one damaged by gunfire. Nobody knew anything until the Sifrits were caught stealing from Hooters, which was in north Ocean City at that time. Once police officers caught the couple in the act, they then found clues linking them to the couple that had been reported missing earlier that week.

It was a fortuitous turn of events that eventually led after court convictions to long jail sentences for both of these sick individuals.

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.