Thoughts From The Publisher's Desk
With a little luck, the weather will cooperate and allow the fireworks to go off as planned tomorrow night. It's always quite the bummer when the fireworks have to be delayed or cancelled, both of which have happened in recent years in Ocean City. It's disappointing for everyone involved including the city coffers, which shell out about $62,500 annually for two fireworks displays in Ocean City - on the Boardwalk and at Northside Park. As staff writer Bryan Russo pointed out in his article, this amounts to $1,736 per minute for each site, based on the display lasting about 18 minutes at both locations. That figure is only for the fireworks and does not include the live entertainment planned downtown as well as uptown at Northside Park, which will not feature the amusements as it did in years past as a result of budget cuts.
It was a surprise to hear this week there are no official laws governing bicycling on the Route 50 Bridge, but it was shocking to learn police and highway folks instead rely on people using 'common sense' when biking across the span and 'encourage' them to walk their bikes on the sidewalk. Signs are reportedly being erected in the near future along the bridge to 'encourage' bikers to walk them across. That's all well and good, but that alone is unlikely to deter bikers, so long as it's not against the law. It's too inconvenient. The fact is it's not only dangerous for the bikers but also the motorists, who are trying to avoid them in oft-congested conditions, while keeping an eye on head-on traffic. It's easy for me to say, but biking should be banned on the Route 50 Bridge like it is on Route 90. That's the only way to truly 'encourage' folks to stay out of the travel lanes with their bikes. It would be a pain in the rump for the bikers, but it would be safer.
For what it's worth, Ocean City appeared on Priceline.com's 'Top 50 4th of July Weekend Travel Destinations.' The survey stems from data compiled from more than 30,000 hotel reservations. Therefore, it's essentially a ranking of the most-booked locations for the holiday. Ocean City appears on the survey at 47th, two notches above Atlantic City/Cape May. In case you were curious, top 10 destinations were, in order, New Orleans, downtown/convention center; Las Vegas, strip vicinity south; Chicago, Millennium Park/Grant Park area; New York City, Times Square/Theater district; Seattle, downtown; San Diego, coastal area; Chicago, North Michigan Avenue/River North area; New Orleans, French Quarter; Washington, D.C., White House/downtown; and Boston, Copley Square/Theater district. As far as other regional competitors locations fared, Virginia Beach was ranked 25th and Myrtle Beach, 31st.
It's beyond words the tragedy the Boughter family experienced in Ocean City three years ago. A mother, father and two daughters came to town and stayed at a local hotel. Only the mother and one of the daughters left as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The family recently reached a settlement against numerous parties in the lawsuit. The settlement amount was not disclosed but it's within reason to think it was a multi-million-dollar deal, considering $30 million was being sought. Surely, that was not the figure, but it was a fair amount to be certain. Word that the family is now going after town paramedics is concerning. Clearly, there was a serious communication breakdown in this case, and the paramedics should have responded to the Boughter's room. The situation was botched, and the family will likely get some type of compensation as a result. This paper will follow the case as it goes through its stages because taxpayer money could be involved if a settlement is reached, but all this legal wrangling has gotten to the point it undermines the tragedy in the entire situation. Rather than focusing on the loss of life, most objective minds are now viewing the family as greedy and overly litigious, rather than as victims. That's a shame, but it's a reality.