Some Reasons To Be Thankful This Year

Some Reasons To Be Thankful This Year

It’s healthy for all to take a few moments over the weekend to reflect on what brings us gratitude. Among the things, in no particular order, we are thankful for this time of year are the following:

•Schools being open for in-person learning. Though students and teachers must wear facial coverings at all times, nearly all local schools have been functioning on a normal schedule for the first time since early 2020. The pandemic confirmed this is not to be assumed. A typical day may look different today, but students, teachers and administrators have proven to be flexible and adaptable in what continues to be unusual times on some levels.

•Continued trends toward normalcy, as nearly all special events have returned. Next week is a perfect example, as Berlin and Ocean City host their annual Christmas parades. These events were not held last year as crowding concerns led to their early cancellation. One year ago, these seemed like responsible decisions. The traditional holiday events being welcomed back this year and excitement surrounding their return serves as a confirmation of progress from a reality and perception standpoint.

•Elected officials seeing things differently. In all the primary elected boards we cover, like Ocean City, Worcester County, Berlin and Ocean Pines, there are profound philosophical ideologies and political approaches on display each week. It’s a good thing to report on the disparate opinions. Spirited dialogue often leads to compromises on controversial matters, and the process to find these middle grounds is often beneficial to all.

•Active and engaged citizens. The best example is in Berlin where the community is more enlightened and involved than ever before. The major property tax increase from a few years ago sparked the community resurgence in current affairs, serving as evidence a positive can often have its roots in a negative. Today, Berlin’s citizens are engaged on a variety of issues, especially on social media. Proposed large-scale residential developments typically draw the most ire. It’s understandable for concerns to surface when perceived threats to existing qualities of life are discussed. Asking questions is always a good thing.

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•A host of talented photographers – led by our staff photographer Chris Parypa – who routinely provide us with high-quality pictures. Having the choice each week of tremendous pictures around our local region is a treat and offers an opportunity to spotlight our natural beauty as well as current events.

•Coronavirus numbers heading down while vaccination totals head up. It’s critical to document progress, reflecting on where we have been compared to where we are now. The fact is COVID-19 is here to stay and positive cases are inevitable. Vaccination does not prevent infection, but the science is clear – getting immunized reduces the severity of the symptoms as well as the spread to the more vulnerable. Vaccination supplies are plentiful, and availability is now widespread. This was not always the case. We have come a long way in a short period of time.

•Continued discussions on masking in schools. The Maryland Board of Education is expected to convene next month to revisit its mask mandate in schools. We expect the requirement to continue, as the revised protocols recently released by state health officials largely hinge on masking. For example, close contact quarantine time requirements have been reduced for the asymptomatic, but they are contingent upon masking. Until vaccination trumps masks as the critical piece, we predict they are here to stay in schools. We hope increasing vaccination rates among all school aged children will lead to an easing of mask importance. Until then, it should be reviewed monthly. We look forward to the day when masks are not required.

•Living in the land of amazing sunrises and sunsets, no two of which are ever the same.

•All who make this publication possible – our staff members and contractors who create and distribute this product, dedicated readers and critical advertisers. Each critical leg of this tripod of support is dependent on the other. We do not take anything for granted. It’s our lesson from the pandemic.

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.