Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – November 25, 2022

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – November 25, 2022

After all the votes were counted, the Worcester County sports complex referendum – whether a public bond could be issued for design and construction costs of a facility – failed by 697 votes. There were four different ways to vote in the general election. Breaking out the results by method was interesting and shows mixed reuslts – early voting, 1,763 for, 2,257 against; election day, 6,809 for, 7,167 against; mail-in ballots, 2,265 for, 2,112 against; and provisional, 226 for, 224 against. In total, there were 11,760 votes (52%) against the referendum and 11,063 for public financing (48%). This is hardly a mandate and confirms the division among the community on this issue, but nonetheless the referendum results are important heading into next month’s swearing in of the new slate of County Commissioners. Though this referendum dealt specifically with the particular bond that was petitioned, it would be illogical to think an elected body would ever undermine the public’s vote on the matter.

Fireworks continue to be a complicated matter in Ocean City, but a plan has been approved and all seems to be back on track.

For many years, except for the last three years due to a variety of issues, Ocean City has held three major fireworks displays each year — dual fireworks displays on the Fourth of July (one downtown and the other at Northside Park) and one on New Year’s Eve in north Ocean City at Northside Park. The plan moving ahead for 2023 will be the traditional fireworks displays on Independence Day downtown and at Northside Park and the New Year’s Eve fireworks display taking place on the beach downtown instead of uptown as has been the case in recent years. The contract with Celebration Fireworks will be for $357,000 over three years.

It was learned earlier this year Northside Park has become a problematic site for fireworks vendors, especially in the winter due to Winterfest of Lights. Therefore, fireworks will not be held at Northside Park next year on New Year’s Eve. Due to the vendor breaching the contract with the town days before the 4th of July last summer, there do not appear to be any plans for fireworks on New Year’s Eve at Northside Park this year either.

No matter what happens Friday night against the Class 2A top-ranked team in the state, Milford Mill, Stephen Decatur High School’s football team has had a magical year. This season’s tremendous performance thus far comes after an impressive season last year. “Decatur strong” is a great way to describe the resurgent football program, which is led by an engaging and experienced coaching staff. In fact, the program’s revival is no better confirmed than by attending a home game. The atmosphere is electric with parents, students and community members providing a true homefield advantage. There is tremendous excitement surrounding the program. Friday night football games are now a community event once again and it’s been inspiring to observe.

Last week, in a state quarter-final playoff game, Decatur scored more points in a single game (36) against Potomac than its opponent allowed all season to date cumulatively (33). It was an incredible display and turned into a rout by halftime.  Decatur will need to defy the odds Friday night as well. Milford Mill is an undefeated powerhouse and is heavily favored. It’s a familiar script as Decatur was the underdog against Potomac last weekend as well. Decatur, ranked fifth, has nothing to lose as it appears in its first state semifinal game since 2004.

I am hoping for an all-Bayside state title game next weekend between Decatur and Kent Island, the No. 2 ranked team in the state who plays No. 6 Middletown.

Every now and again I like to geek out and look at our social media statistics. Facebook, or Meta, is by far our largest audience with about 116,800 followers. Of those page followers, 70% are women with the ages 45-54 the largest age grouping. Some other interesting data facts include the top 10 cities of the page’s followers are Ocean City, Salisbury, Baltimore, Berlin, Ocean Pines, Bel Air, Dundalk, Glen Burnie, Hagerstown and Pasadena; the top 10 countries are United States, 98%, followed by India, Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania and United Kingdom.

The 10 most viral posts of 2022 so far were the July beach closure on Assateague Island caused by old ordnances being discovered that reached more than 500,000 people with 11,670 total reactions; a gallery of photos of severe tidal flooding this summer causing large beach cliffs, 408,522 reach; a photo of a whale breaching, 252,489; a gallery documenting horses fighting on Assateague, 240,151; the closure of the Sun and Surf movie theater, 236,136; the opening of the White Marlin Open with a gallery of aerial photos of boats entering the Inlet, 226,738; a photo of a yacht grounding near the Inlet in August, 185,213; a Vanishing Ocean City post about the White Marlin Open with a photo of a record blue marlin, 179,087; a photo and press release about the Dunes Manor Hotel being sold and transformed into a Hilton brand, 151,506; and the first word of Oceans Calling being canceled, 106,661.

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.