Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – December 30, 2022

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – December 30, 2022

With this being the last issue of 2022, it’s time to look ahead and make some predictions for what will make news in 2023. Here’s some thoughts:

  • The second time will be the charm, as Mother Nature will cooperate and allow a wildly successful Oceans Calling Festival to take place in Ocean City.
  • A single charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident will finally be filed in 14-year-old Gavin Knupp’s case. A plea deal will be reached with the 22-year-old suspect, resulting in one year of jail time.
  • A new liquor distillery and a new beer brewery will open in Berlin before the summer season.
  • Former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan will announce plans to run for president, but the presumptive favorite to challenge Biden will be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • With the county abandoning the effort altogether, the Town of Ocean City will pick up the sports complex concept as a priority item, hosting the Maryland Stadium Authority in the early part of the year for an informational session to review the recent study conducted and discuss funding support. Ocean City will buy the property on Route 50 from the Harrison family west of the schools and proceed with the development process.
  • A large seasonal housing facility in West Ocean City along Route 50 will be in the news. What will begin as a public-private partnership will fizzle out in exchange for property tax credits granted to a private developer.
  • Retirements will sweep through Ocean City department head ranks, notably Police Chief Ross Buzzuro announcing his intentions after being named the city’s police chief in 2013 after 28-plus years previously with Baltimore City.
  • The county’s room tax will be increased by half of a percent.
  • Berlin will move forward with the proposed sale of parcels at the Heron Park property.
  • Following a process similar to Showell Elementary, reconstruction will be the favored option for Buckingham Elementary School with the new building being built behind the current facility, which will be razed once construction is completed.
  • For the first time, body camera footage will be critical in presenting the facts surrounding a controversial case involving abuse allegations against Ocean City police officers.
  • Despite sportfishing industry concerns, NOAA will implement a 10-knot speed limit change on recreational and commercial vessels to help the right whale population.
  • In the only true bad weather impact of the year, tropical activity will force Sunfest to be canceled in October.
  • For the first time in four years, Ocean City will have fireworks on the Fourth of July.
  • Following on the heels of Luke Mergott, Decatur’s Brycen Coleman will announce his intention to play Division I college football during a signing day ceremony.
  • The interests behind the proposed 265-room, three-restaurant Margaritaville project spend most of the year clearing regulatory hurdles with a groundbreaking ceremony set for early 2024.
  • Plak That will announce mixed-use redevelopment plans for a two-acre parcel east of Cheers! in Berlin.
  • Bunk Mann’s third book detailing Ocean City’s history will be published in the spring.
  • Due to rising costs, a recession and practical concerns, no serious developments occur in 2023 on the proposed wind farm projects off Ocean City’s coast.
  • After efforts fizzled out in Ocean Pines, the Gavin Knupp Foundation makes a sizeable donation to the Berlin Skate Park development project.
  • Though the project remains the county’s top roadway project, nothing new happens with the Route 90 widening in the new calendar year.
  • Through a referendum vote, Ocean Pines property owners will approve short-term rental regulations.
  • Fenwick Island will approve a ban on short-term rentals.
  • With another no-show event in late September, it seems the pop-up rally havoc raised for numerous years is no longer an issue for Ocean City.
  • A dead whale washes ashore creating quite a stir in Ocean City on a summer afternoon, requiring crews to clear a few oceanfront blocks to handle the matter.
  • Speed cameras will be authorized for two locations in Berlin near schools.
  • In an attempt to address staffing concerns, the Ocean City Mayor and Council will approve a staff request to significantly increase the hourly rate for beach patrol members.
  • Largely a result of the increased funding needed to meet the school system’s needs due to the new Blueprint for Maryland, the Worcester County Commissioners will approve a two-cent property tax rate increase next spring.
  • Stephen Decatur High School will unveil during the fall sports season a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard at its football stadium.
  • In a disturbing repeat of last summer, access is again restricted on portions of Assateague’s beach at the height of the summer due to military ordnances being discovered.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals will defeat the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl.

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.