It’s that time of year to evaluate the predictions I made the last week of 2016 for the year 2017. As usual, it’s a mixed bag of results. I was right on some and blew it on others.
On The Money
•It turns out I was correct when I said a federal judge would disqualify the first-place white marlin in 2016 for breaking White Marlin Open rules, leading to more than $1 million in prize money being doled out among the other winners. I thought the call would come in May. It turned out to be June. An appeal has been filed.
•It was true that an informal petition submitted to the Berlin Mayor and Council would not result in the town renaming Berlin Falls Park after a retired postal worker.
•An effort to create an Urban Marine Sanctuary designation off the coast of Ocean City was abandoned soon after it was proposed by the National Aquarium amid a backlash from the fishing industry.
•Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a Democrat, did announce his intentions to challenge Republican incumbent Larry Hogan in 2018. He wasn’t along either, as the state’s Democratic Party has lined up some heavy hitters from the western shore to slug it out in the primary with the goal to take out Hogan.
•Ocean City’s new public boat ramp did open prior to the summer as planned.
•At least from what I can tell at this point, my prediction significant progress would not be made on a proposed excursion train operation between Berlin and Snow Hill in 2017 turned out to be true.
•Efforts did continue to progress on another expansion of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center with funding included in a bond and a plan in place to proceed next year.
•Ocean Pines filled its long-vacant general manager post with someone outside the area as expected.
•I predicted Ocean City would approve a “pay by plate” parking system for downtown Ocean City in 2017. That approval came last week just in time to be true.
What Was I Thinking
•Construction did not begin in 2017 on a waterfall feature at Berlin Falls Park. I don’t believe it was discussed once in official chambers.
•Prior to ever getting to the decision making part, a rezoning application for a proposed Ayres Creek Campground off Route 611 was withdrawn by the property owner, who decided to build a family farm instead. I thought the rezoning would be approved by the county.
•Two new restaurants – Tequila Mockingbird and Marlin Moon Grille – did not open in 2017 in West Ocean City in the Park Place Plaza. Tequila Mockingbird will soon open at that location, while the Marlin Moon will reportedly be featured inside the new Double Tree hotel in Ocean City next year.
•Contrary to what I thought, the Maryland legislature did not pass serious laws restricting the operations of Airbnb and other online vacation rental sites.
•I predicted there would be five new foals born on Assateague Island. There have been four this year.
•I suspected there would be delays in the new median fence project in Ocean City, but I predicted it would be ready by July 2017. That was wrong. Construction recently began and it should be up and ready by Memorial Day 2018.
•I was delirious evidently when I predicted the Casino at Ocean Downs would open its table games operation during the summer of 2017. It’s looking like it could be ready to open next week, however.
•I was way off when I predicted a crosswalk in front of Stephen Decatur High School would get hung up in bureaucratic red tape and not be in place in 2017. It’s fully operation and has been for months.
•When last year closed, I predicted the Maryland Attorney General would clear up the state’s indecent exposure law to include female breasts as “private parts” after a woman challenged the state’s existing law does not prohibit females from walking around without tops. In early June, as a result of a ton of topless freedom exposure in the media, the Town of Ocean City passed an emergency ordinance prohibiting women from going topless in the same area as men, and the Maryland Attorney General opined the town was within its rights to do so.
•The Town of Berlin did not exercise eminent domain rights to the Harrison Avenue parcel in front of the Adkins Company. The road was closed for months in 2017 until a 1903 easement surfaced that confirmed a right-of-way for the roadway was granted to the town.
•The Dallas Cowboys did not defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in February. It was the Patriots who defeated the Falcons, 34-28. Stay tuned next week to see if I can continue my 13-year streak of unsuccessfully predicting the Super Bowl winner at the end of December. Can it really be this difficult?
Hanging In The Balance
•Construction on the new Berlin library branch commenced in 2017 but it’s still early to tell if I will be right when I suggested it would open by spring 2018.
•It’s probably inaccurate to contend as I did this time last year that 2017 would end with construction on the new Showell Elementary School about to begin.