Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – April 20, 2018

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – April 20, 2018

The only negative about the proposed Jellyfish Festival in Ocean City is it will be more than a year before it happens.

The event will feature live music on the beach and around town with nationally known acts, extreme sports athletes, a motorcross stunt team, surfing, a skate/BMX event and more. It sounds like a cross between the Dew Tour and the large-scale summer music festivals that have been taking place in other areas for many years.

The event is planned for a perfect time of the year on Ocean City’s calendar. Plugging a major event in the weekend after the OC Air Show, for example, is perfect.

Brad Hoffman, one of the event promoters, put the event into proper perspective this week while addressing the town’s stated desire to get away from events that have caused trouble in town for years.

“It’s an alternative to the motorized events everybody has been looking for and asking for,” he said. “Everybody has been looking for something like this. It didn’t come easy and it’s going to take some time, but it’s something I think the whole town will be proud of.”



The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team’s appearance in Ocean City in two months appears to still be on this week, according to a statement from the U.S. Air Force.

“Today the Thunderbirds will resume practice flights over the Nevada testing training range. While our hearts are still heavy with the loss of wingman Stephen Del Bagno, we know he would want us back in the air and preparing to recruit, retain and inspire …” said Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, commander and leader of the Thunderbirds, in a statement Wednesday. “We are not currently cancelling any shows past Columbus Air Force Base but we stress that further cancellations are still possible. When we do resume our show season, we will do so with the full faith and confidence from senior Air Force leadership that we are safe and ready to perform.”

Air Force Major Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, who flew Thunderbird 4, was killed earlier this month during a training mission in Nevada when his F-16 crashed, raising questions on whether the 2018 show schedule was in jeopardy. It’s common for demonstration teams to take extended breaks when tragedies occur.

The Thunderbirds are planned to headline the 11th Annual OC Air Show in June. Also on the bill are the Geico Skytypers and the F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft, among others.



A controversial mailer sent out last week by the Maryland Republican Party confirms the priority to take down Democratic Senator Jim Mathias.

The mailer features on one side an ice cream truck graphic with the words, “Jim Mathias is making it easier to get heroin than ice cream!” The flip side of the mailer continues, “While District 38 is facing a growing opioid crisis, Senator Jim Mathias voted to use your tax dollars to create facilities where people can legally shoot up heroin in our community. These ‘drug dens’ could even be mobile and kids won’t even need a fake ID because there’s no age requirement.” The point of the mailer is to encourage residents to sign an online petition to “tell Mathias that there is no excuse for his committee vote on Senate Bill 288.” The mailer has been accompanied by several sponsored Facebook posts with a range of comments of support and opposition as well as outrage over the tone of the GOP’s language.

The problem with the mailer is it’s not telling the entire story. In many areas of the country, these sorts of programs outlined in the bill have been a way to effectively work with addicts. I don’t believe this is the direction Maryland should go, but other progressive states, like California, do report positives associated with these types of facilities. However, a noteworthy omission in the Republicans’ attack is the fact this bill, which was indeed co-sponsored by Mathias, got an unfavorable report by the Finance Committee in February. That was never made clear in the mailer or in any of the online paid posts.

According to its synopsis, the bill was seeking to authorize “the establishment of an Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Supervised Drug Consumption Facility Program by a community-based organization to provide a place for the consumption of preobtained drugs, provide sterile needles, administer first aid as needed, and provide certain other services; requiring the Maryland Department of Health, in consultation with the local health department, to make a certain determination on a certain application based on certain criteria and within a certain period of time; etc.”

The unfortunate thing with this sort of negative campaigning is the other side, in this case the Democratic Party, will likely feel the need to respond with an equally viscous mailer of its own. It’s important to remember voters will not decide between Mathias and Delegate Mary Beth Carozza until November.

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.