Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – September 1, 2017

In Worcester and Wicomico counties this week, festive celebrations were held in advance of next week’s return to school for thousands of public school students. These sorts of events have always been held as school systems gather their faculty members together and thank them for their service as they prepare to welcome a new crop of students to their classrooms.

However, these events have morphed into celebrations in a major way with a lot of planning involved. In fact, in Wicomico County yesterday, a “pep rally” was held featuring 3,000 staff members, speakers and student performances. It was a grand event. Afterwards, an outreach event was held as Pinehurst Elementary teachers boarded buses from the civic center, which hosted the opening ceremony, to visit neighborhoods where school students reside.
Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Worcester County was downright giddy for the new school year to start. In fact, Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor even cut some rug (or in this case some stage) with selected students in front of the county’s faculty at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center. Taylor’s message clearly set out to inspire his teachers.

“I challenge you to do the things above and beyond your teaching talents this year for our kids,” Taylor said. “Love them. Encourage them. Embrace them. I challenge you to take a step forward and be a game changer. Step out of your comfort zone like I stepped out of mine this morning by dancing in front of you…I did it because I want to tell you sometimes we have to take chances to make a difference.”

That “game changer” message was similar to a message delivered by featured speaker Baruti Kafele, a motivational speaker and former New Jersey principal.

“The difference between their success and their failure is you,” he said. “….“When teams walk out onto the field, that team that goes out onto the field and looks at the opponent and says ‘whoa, I don’t know,’ that’s a team that lost before the game even started. If you walk out on to that field next week and look at youngster and say ‘whoa, I don’t know,’ not only did you lose but that youngster lost with you. That youngster lost big time.”

There were a couple developments in the ongoing Rapoport vs. Ocean City case involving the white building on the east end of the Boardwalk currently home to Dumser’s Dairyland. This case has been the subject of much public outcry in recent weeks.

First, a motion to stay the recent Worcester County court decision was, as expected, rejected by retired Judge Dale Cathell, who wrote the opinion siding with the Town of Ocean City regarding ownership of the property. That motion would have given Dumser’s longer than Oct. 31 to vacate the premises and the Rapoport family an extension on demolishing property from the current date of the end of the year.

On Wednesday, the family officially filed an appeal of the Circuit Court judge’s decision in Annapolis. The high court is expected to hear the case sometime this fall. It’s unclear what impact an appeal being filed has on the city’s notice to abandon the property.

Every summer is remembered for something and this season’s takeaway are two-fold in my opinion.

One, it has been one of the wettest summers in recent memory. Rain is a good thing, of course, at times but the timing of this year’s downpours unfortunately seemed to occur more often than not on the weekends. Data from The Weather Channel confirms the Ocean City area has received more than double the amount of rainfall in June, July and August than is normal. That’s devastating for many businesses, while helpful to others.

Although it’s difficult to make general conclusions about the summer around here, I think from a business standpoint it will be a largely forgettable season. It was neither super nor terrible. It was just an average to slightly below average season in my estimation.

Secondly, it was a sad summer on the foreign student-worker front. The lives of at least three European families have been changed forever after serious incidents to members of their families working here. This past week there was the grisly hit-and-run accident involving a 21-year Solovakian woman who is reportedly in critical condition and not expected to survive the accident. Earlier in August there was the 22-year-old Irish man who drowned while swimming early in the morning on a rough ocean day. In July, a Czech man was disabled when he became trapped in a trash compactor at an Ocean City hotel.

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.