Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – July 7, 2017

There are certain things the Town of Berlin has done in recent years that have been incredibly impressive.

Masterfully using social media to garner Budget Travel’s online America’s Coolest Small Town title was a major event in the town’s recent history. It put Berlin on the map for many in the mid-Atlantic area, and there’s no question the town continues to benefit from that exposure.

Due to an unprecedented commercial renaissance in town and the variety of special events that have come along in recent years and others that have bene reinvented — such as the bathtub races this evening — the town is more popular today than ever before. It’s clear every single day by the sheer volume of people walking the streets and the increased traffic that has shined a light on the town’s woeful parking situation. The latter is now a major issue borne out of the town’s success that will soon need government’s attention.

The town’s trending popularity was particularly obvious on Monday, July 3 when the town held its second annual fireworks display, which attracted thousands to parcels along Old Ocean City Boulevard and especially Burley Oak Brewing Company and Urban Nectar. There was a wonderful festival feeling to the event along the corridor.

This event will only grow in future years as more and more activities are added to it. Over the winter, it was unclear who was going to fund the fireworks this year. It was mentioned it a public meeting that Burley Oak was going to fund the fireworks entirely on its own, but the town eventually opted to take over the cost and did so this year. That’s appropriate use of town dollars and I’m glad to see the town shouldered the fireworks display costs. It’s certainly worth the investment and in only two short years has become a source of pride in town.

What’s it like to swim with a whale shark in the wild? That’s a question many of us will never be able to answer but Josh Schleupner of Hebron can after he made a special memory with his family on the Fourth of July.

“I think the captain saw it first,” he said. “It came right up to the boat. We were taking pictures and my oldest son Adam said he wanted to jump in. By the time he got his mask on, it had moved away, but then it came right back to the boat. I grabbed my mask and jumped right in also. It was so majestic. Never in my life did I expect to have the chance to swim with one of these majestic creatures, especially not off the coast of Ocean City. I never had any fear or anything like that. They are just gentle, docile giants. It was pretty surreal. It didn’t really sink in until I was back in the boat and we started trolling again. We were talking about it and we all agreed we don’t think anybody has had the opportunity to swim with and touch a whale shark in Ocean City.”

He’s probably right about that.

It’s a little thing but sometimes it’s the little things altogether that matter most.

The Town of Ocean City’s new Art “Can” Clean Beaches program has been ongoing for months, but this week it became a reality with the first batch of artwork-adorned trash cans being placed on the beach. At this point, 10 cans have been placed on the beach in areas near their sponsors such as Gateway Grand on 48th Street, Mother’s Cantina near 28th Street and 4th Street south. Another 15 are expected to be adorned with the art work of sponsors in the next month.

While detractors will say it’s merely allowing for another source of advertising to be placed on the beach in a creative fashion, I like the concept of trying to beautify the beach. Trash cans are a must on the beach to provide outlets for people to dispose of their garbage and the idea of making them a little more attractive to the eye is worthwhile. This program is starting small with 25 trash cans included in the first phase, but it could turn into something successful over the years as more and more cans are changed over.

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.