Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – February 19, 2021

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – February 19, 2021

Vaccinations continue to be on the minds of many and understandably so. Health officials report this week approximately 18% of the county’s population (9,381) has received the first vaccine and 7% (3,742) the second vaccine as of Thursday. Worcester County ranks second (behind Kent’s 21%) in Maryland in the proportion of population vaccinated by county. Statewide, there have been 970,457 doses administrated with 71% representing the first vaccination.

There was some talk this week at the Worcester County Board of Education meeting about teacher vaccination data. Teachers were elevated last month into phase 1C making them eligible for immediate vaccinations, and the Worcester County Health Department and AGH reportedly facilitated their vaccinations. It was learned approximately 738 staff members of the school system (out of approximately 1,050) responded to a recent survey about vaccinations. Of those respondents, 68% have been vaccinated (501); 8% were waiting; 23% were not interested (170).

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Ocean City is currently advertising its new position of Director of Tourism and Business Development. As is often the case, the job description sets some high hopes for the position. The salary range of the post is $120,000 to $130,000. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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The job posting read in part, “The Town is seeking an experienced, high energy marketing and sales professional to head up Ocean City’s efforts to attract visitors that will enjoy our family friendly atmosphere. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop and execute comprehensive short and long term plans to attract visitors, special events, trade shows, and sports tourism that promote Ocean City. This person will be the “quarterback” for the sales efforts of multiple Town departments including the Convention Center, Marketing and Special Events. This position will be directly accountable for increasing year-round room stays, mid-week room stays and attracting groups, sports teams and events which reflect the values of Ocean City. … this position will be responsible for the following. Develop the sales and marketing strategies for the Town and for all applicable Town departments. Directly sell to groups, events, sports leagues and teams to bring them to Ocean City. Travel to shows and other venues where Ocean City can be promoted to sports leagues and groups. Work with other levels of government and the private sector to develop an indoor and outdoor sports complex near Ocean City. Work with local, county and state tourism related organizations to strengthen tourism in and around Ocean City. Work directly with our private partners in the hospitality industry.”

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It’s going to look different, but at least it’s happening.

This mantra can be applied to a lot of things in life right now. High school seniors have every reason to regret many of the traditional things – like homecoming, prom, graduation and sports — being missed this school year, but at least in the case of most schools locally these teens are having some semblance of a senior year. In many areas around Maryland and across the country, some seniors will never see the inside of their school buildings. Seniors are being robbed of wonderful life experiences, but locally there are some opportunities for these kids.

The same concept applies to Springfest. There was online backlash from social media types decrying the cancel society we seem to live in these days, referring to the news this week major live entertainment acts would not be booked and significant downgrades in food, craft and alcohol offerings were planned. It seems to be this will be the norm in 2021. Events are going to need to be modified so long as the current restrictions continue, and it would seem unlikely any major reprieves are coming before summer.

Rather than rail against these changes being made to traditional events, there needs to be some modifications to expectations. Let’s celebrate the progress being made in this correction to normal but remember there’s a long way to go before normal returns. Let’s not allow perfect to get in the way of the good. I’m just happy to see these events happening again even if they are unrecognizable versions of themselves.

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The effort to bring a skate park to Berlin continues to gain solid momentum. More importantly there seems to be some intentions made to not let this concept fall off the town’s radar as it has in the past.

Former Berlin Council candidate Tony Weeg has organized an online fundraising effort on Go Fund Me. On the page, referring to a map of the town he posted, he wrote, “As you can see from the image Berlin has many things — but it does not have a skatepark!  We are raising funds for that skatepark to someday be constructed in Berlin, MD.  Please help us raise money for the awesome enhancement to our already cool town, thank you!”

Last month the Berlin Police Department told the town council it would be contributing $1,000 to the effort. Within 24 hours, as of 1 p.m. Thursday, the online campaign had eight donors and raised $1,250, including $500 from Councilman Jay Knerr and $250 from Weeg. Readers will remember Knerr defeated Weeg, 606-495, in last October’s election to gain the at-large seat. It’s great to see one-time opponents on the same page for the greater good.

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.