Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – December 29, 2017

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – December 29, 2017

With the calendar flipping to 2018 next week, I have been thinking ahead to what the next 12 months could hold on the local news front. Here are some of my predictions:

•Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will retain his seat in the 2018 gubernatorial election after a narrow victory over Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who will survive a crowded Democratic primary in June. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will finish second in the Democratic primary.

•There will be at least three new faces on the Worcester County Commission after the election next year, as Josh Nordstrom and Virgil Shockley, a former commissioner who lost his seat four years ago, are elected. The third individual will be from Commissioner Bud Church’s district after he decides to run for the House of Delegates seat held by Mary Beth Carozza.

•In an extremely tight race that was not decided until weeks after the election, Senator Jim Mathias edges Mary Beth Carozza to retain his seat. Before the close of the year, however, Carozza is appointed to a position within newly re-elected Gov. Larry Hogan’s cabinet.

•Due to a lack of consensus among task force members and the city’s elected officials, no substantive changes are made to the town’s policies on motor vehicle events. As a result, 2018 will end with the same concerns heard as in previous years.

•The first summer in Ocean City with the new median fence proves the project was successful in reducing pedestrian accidents along the one-mile stretch of Coastal Highway.

•Not one significant thing will happen with the proposed offshore wind farm project off Ocean City’s coast.

•Plans for a Lidl grocery store on Route 50 will never come to a fruition, despite an earlier intention expressed by the company to build near the road’s intersection with Route 589.

•A significant plan involving the state, Army Corps of Engineers and Worcester County to ensure consistent dredging of the Inlet is approved and cheered by local watermen.

•A planned summer weekend concert series at Berlin Falls Park becomes a major success the town wants to expand on.

•With parking scarcity resulting in major challenges for Berlin, the town earmarks funds for a study of a potential two-story garage.

•Ocean City Councilman Lloyd Martin will opt to not seek re-election after 16 years in office.

•No major developments will take place on a marine animal rescue facility suggested this year as a concept to explore for the model block program in downtown Ocean City.

•A hired consultant will present grand plans for the 3rd Street recreation complex to the Ocean City Mayor and Council. Sticker shock over the cost estimates will lead to the study being remanded to staff for review.

•As a result of the exorbitant cost of the project, Ocean City decides to budget for the installation of a dozen gated systems at the street ends of the Boardwalk. The year ends with the second phase planned for 2019 and the final phase in 2020.

•Atlantic General Hospital’s Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center opens in the spring on schedule.

•A new business offering the exact same type of fare will take the place of the Atlantic Stand on Wicomico Street.

•Several new stores, including Michaels, Petsmart and Dollar Tree, will open in the Ocean Landings Shopping Center near McDonalds.

•Back in the fall, I predicted Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby and Magistrate Peggy Kent would be appointed new Worcester County Circuit Court judges by Gov. Larry Hogan. Official word came this week. As a result of Kent’s ascension from her magistrate post, I predict Regan Smith, a finalist for the Circuit Court post, will be appointed to the magistrate post.

•A tattoo shop will open within a Berlin business after a committee submits to the town council a proposed ordinance aimed at allowing the practice with limitations.

•With gambling revenue soaring in Maryland and concerns growing over how the funding is being used, legislation will be passed in the Maryland General Assembly creating a “lock box” to ensure a majority of proceeds are actually used to help schools as was originally billed.

•The Democratic Party will gain numerous House and Senate seats in the federal mid-term election as anti-Trump momentum sweeps across the country.

•After much debate, the Ocean City Mayor and Council will formally move forward with plans to relocate its mid-town fire station, located presently on 74th Street, to the 65th Street parking lot in front of the police department and court building. Construction will not begin in 2018.

•The year will come and go without any decision from Worcester County or Ocean City on creating a major sports complex in northern Worcester County to host large tournaments and special events.

•Historian Bunk Mann will announce his intention in 2018 to publish his second book called “Ghosts In The Surf” in time for the holiday shopping season in 2019.

•The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl over the New Orleans Saints.

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.