Berlin was aptly chosen as the site for Gov. Martin O’Malley to announce this year’s new entrants into the Main Street Maryland program. Of course, Berlin was one of the five new members, joined by Annapolis, Chestertown, Middletown and Princess Anne. The town nearly missed out on this excellent public relations opportunity and just got in its application submitted in time, thanks to Main Street administrator Michael Day driving it to Annapolis. There’s no question this is a fluff designation, but that’s okay in this instance. In the grand scheme of things, it does not mean much and will not help the town a tremendous amount. Nonetheless, it’s commendable for the town to be recognized for the ongoing work to keep its downtown commercial and residential sectors revitalized. After all, that’s an important effort and the ceremonial support is key to sustaining the foundation that’s been laid. With the state designation comes a $12,000 check for the town to use on its Main Street area. The town will reportedly use it to increase public signage and add crosswalks and other speed reduction devices.
It’s hard to believe last weekend was the eighth edition of Art’s Alive. At the risk of sounding like an employee of the town’s public relations department, this has grown into a tremendous special event. When Arts Atlantica was cancelled along the Boardwalk about a decade ago, the event’s supporters blasted the city for being apathetic toward cultural events. At the time, I remember agreeing because I liked Arts Atlantica. There was something unique about strolling along the boards and looking at art exhibits, all the while the beach and ocean provide a beautiful backdrop. Unfortunately, interest in the event waned and it was often hampered by a lack of parking. A couple years after Arts Atlantica was kicked to the side, Art’s Alive was born with the host being Northside Park. It took some years for the event to grow and mature, but it seems to have hit its stride now with Northside Park crowded when I stopped by last Saturday. The adults seemed content strolling the grounds looking over the exhibits, while the kids were enthralled with the activities specifically designed for them. Even the little ones who were not coloring, mired in arts and crafts or having their faces painted seemed to enjoy chasing and screaming at the ducks and geese.
Ocean City Play It Safe coordinator Donna Greenwood raises a good point. She is right a great majority of the young folks here celebrating their recent high school graduation are here for good, clean fun. Most of them are good kids, enjoying their first taste of freedom in the form of a week away from the parents before they get a huge dose of it when college rolls around in a couple months. However, it’s true the black sheep of the bunch do get the most ink. In my mind, that’s rightfully so. The incidents reported this month deserve attention and our readers need to know what is happening in our town. It’s shocking to me that a young man walking alone on the Boardwalk on 20th Street at 10 p.m. was jumped by three strangers, badly beaten up and robbed of his money and hat, seemingly for no reason. This is just one of the tamer examples, and there are many other more concerning incidents from this month. Greenwood is right a huge majority, I would say 98 percent, behave and enjoy themselves while here without destroying the town or harming others. It’s that remaining 2 percent that we have all been reading about in recent weeks that we need to be more concerned with because that’s a frightening bunch.
In other news, there are some things heard in the news business that are simply surprising. According to a trustworthy source, the morning-after pill is in high demand at one Ocean City pharmacy, which has been giving out an average of 15 daily to young women, many being frequent visitors to the pharmacy while staying in town. The demand apparently has been running higher than ever this month. Obviously, this is a touchy subject, involving all sorts of controversial issues including proper contraceptive methods, abortion, religion and philosophy. I will leave all that discourse alone for now because those decisions clearly need to be made in each household. The debate speaks for itself, but one thing I know is this gives a whole new meaning to the term “walk of shame.”