For the last issue of the year, it’s an opportune time to look back on the predictions I made one year ago for 2018. Next week I take another stab at the news that will make headlines in 2019.
Right On The Money
•Republican Gov. Larry Hogan did cruise to re-election as I thought he would. However, he did not defeat Rushern Baker, the former Prince George’s County Executive. Baker lost in the Democratic primary to Ben Jealous, who got hammered by Hogan.
•I was right when I predicted the new median fence would prove to be a general success in “reducing pedestrian accidents along the one-mile stretch of Coastal Highway.”
•As I thought, nothing happened in 2018 with a new Lidl grocery store that was announced for Route 50 in 2017.
•The pessimist (or maybe realist) in me was right when I opined there would no major developments on a “marine animal rescue facility” suggested for downtown Ocean City. In fact, the National Aquarium folks in Baltimore said they wanted nothing to do with any type of project of the sort aside from consulting informally.
•Atlantic General Hospital’s Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center opened this summer as initially planned.
•Several new stores, including Michaels, Petsmart and Dollar Tree, did open west of Home Depot in the Ocean Landings Shopping Center. Ross also opened along with Fox’s Pizza and IHOP.
•Voters approved the “lock box” referendum, which sought to ensure a portion of gambling revenue was in fact dedicated to education as it was initially sold to voters years ago.
•On the national level, I was right the Democratic Party in November would make substantial gains in the House and Senate as a result of anti-Trump sentiment. The Senate actually flipped from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority. That’s one of the reasons why the government is currently shutdown as officials differ on the border wall funding.
•The year did end without the Worcester County Commissioners taking any substantive steps toward a major sports complex for youth tournaments. Word is a closed session vote was held on a parcel near Berlin, but the majority voted against this type of economic development in a 4-3 vote.
•Ocean City has moved forward with the second phase of the Boardwalk security project, approving bids last month to advance the effort including gates at street-ends.
What Was I Thinking?
•Three new faces were not elected to the Worcester County Commission. I thought Josh Nordstrom, Virgil Shockley and a newcomer from District 3 (with longtime incumbent Bud Church opting for a Delegate run to replace Mary beth Carozza) would be elected. In fact, it turned out only Nordstrom was the new face, as Shockley lost to Ted Elder for the second straight election, and Bud Church decided to run for commissioner and defeated challengers in the primary and general elections.
•I thought Jim Mathias would retain his Senate seat in a close contest over Mary Beth Carozza, who would then be appointed to a Hogan cabinet position. It turned out Carozza delivered Mathias his first career election loss in convincing fashion.
•I predicted a planned summer weekend concert series would be a huge hit at the new Berlin Falls Park, resulting in town officials wanting to expand it in future years. Nothing of the sort or anything like it occurred this year.
•Ocean City Councilman Lloyd Martin did opt to seek another term in municipal elected office. I thought he would not run again. In the end, he was elected to his fifth term in a tight election.
•A hired consultant never came before the Ocean City Mayor and Council with a grand vision for the 3rd Street park redevelopment as I hoped.
•After she was named a Worcester County Circuit Court Judge along with Beau Oglesby, I predicted Peggy Kent’s Magistrate position would be filled by Regan Smith, a finalist for the judicial post. It was actually Cathi Coates who became the next Magistrate, which among other thing presides over Family Court matters.
•A tattoo shop did not open in Berlin, as town officials have extended a moratorium while a committee continues to dive into health department hurdles.
•The Pittsburgh Steelers did not defeat the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl. Instead, it was the Philadelphia Eagles winning over the New England Patriots.
Too Early To Tell
•A planned parking study for the Town of Berlin did in fact move ahead, but it’s unclear if a two-story garage is part of the effort. I predicted the garage concept would be a focal point.
•It’s unknown at this point whether the mid-town fire station in Ocean City will be relocated to the parking lot in front of the police station.
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