Letters to the Editor — June 9, 2017
Reader urges nation to remain world leader
President Trump is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, the global commitment by nearly 200 nations to collectively combat climate change. The president has declared climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. This grave mistake threatens more than just the environment — it hurts the economy and puts national security at risk. We have a right to demand better.
This administration continues to devastate our international credibility, damage our relationship with close allies and cede more global influence to economic competitors. The prize of leadership in the 21st-century economy could be sacrificed in a doomed attempt to revive the fossil-fueled economy of the 20th century.
Leaders from China to India to Russia to the European Union have lined up to reassert their commitment to confronting the greatest challenge faced by civilization. With more than a third of the global renewable energy capacity additions in 2015, China led employment in renewable energy with 3.5 million jobs.
Trump claims to protect the U.S. interests by leaving the Paris Climate Change Agreement. However, in full-page advertisements in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in May and June, major companies, such as Apple, Facebook and Google, told the president that continued U.S. participation in the agreement will help them manage rising climate risks and compete in growing global clean energy markets.
What makes America great is its brilliance at innovation, investment and building businesses. These endeavors in clean energy will no longer have its government’s support.
The public health issues of climate change should be evident. The economic benefits of a commitment to reduced CO² emissions have been proven. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), driven by growth in wind and solar, renewable-energy employment in the United States increased by 6 percent in 2015, to reach 769,000 jobs.
Solar employment continued its rapid expansion — growing by almost 22 percent, to reach 209,000, in 2015. Jobs in the solar industry grew 12 times as fast as overall job creation in the U.S. economy and surpassed those in oil and gas extraction (187,200) or coal mining (67,929). Support of the Paris Climate Agreement is an investment in Pittsburgh and the rest of the country.
We cannot let slogans and soundbites shackle us to dirty and inefficient industries. Blacksmiths and lamplighters were noble and necessary professions. However, our government did not stubbornly support these occupations when progress made them obsolete.
We citizens must work with our elected leaders on the federal, state and local levels who understand the role of the U.S. as a global leader. We must resist attempts to diminish U.S. leadership around the world. We must resist the influence of narrow interests and well-financed powers. We must embrace a clean and profitable future.
Tom Brett, Environment Team Leader
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County
Reader speaks out on marijuana legalization
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to members of the Delaware House and Senate and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.
I have looked over the Democratic members of the Delaware House and Senate, and I’m impressed with their qualifications and bios. There are several teachers/educators, law enforcement officers and command officials, lawyers, veterans and military leaders, school board members, even an environmental toxicologist.
Some of you belong to the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, PTAs, Little Leagues — all great organizations with high standards regarding health and drug usage. Your support of bills to improve DWI enforcement, helping children, tourism, fighting drug and alcohol dependency are commendable. Even the committees you belong to involving Health & Human Development, Public Safety, Ethics, Corrections and Education are examples of your desire to help the community.
I’m shocked to see many of you are sponsors and co-sponsors of House Bill 110.
So why is it that the Democratic leadership and the elected Delaware senators and representatives seem to want to allow a drug like marijuana to be legalized? Have you no respect for the law enforcement community, educators, physicians and researchers, clergy and parents that have been desperately trying to keep their children away from all mind-altering and potentially gateway drugs?
The children will be stealing marijuana from their parents like they have been stealing prescription drugs and cigarettes. The inhaled smoke damages the lungs; getting high daily can create psychological dependence and destroy individual motivation to do anything else.
Having it in their possession under-age is also a violation that will get them in trouble with teachers and police officials. The association with drug users encourages more drug use. Driving under the influence of marijuana is going to happen, and deaths will occur. Do you want deaths on your hands?
Young people are going to get the wrong message from the passage of this law: Easy state revenue counts, not human beings’ health and mental well-being. Your timing could not be worse. There are 90,000 opiate users in Delaware and over 300 died last year of opiate overdoses.
And before you address that major health issue, you are going to tell everyone that marijuana is fine to use in Delaware.
Delaware is going to be a big draw for the party-going tourists who visit. If passed, are the inmates in the Delaware prisons now going to have recreational marijuana events? Do you want to have medical workers, teachers, law enforcement officers and security personnel, mechanics and other technicians using marijuana on their lunch hours and breaks?
As a party, I don’t think that you could be any more wrong on this issue. Do not legalize marijuana use in Delaware. Listen to your public safety, public health, educators, police officers and their law enforcement officials.
Reader questions Carney’s budget ideas
A town hall meeting with the governor and local state senate and house representatives to discuss the budget reset talks under way — that was how the recent meeting of Wednesday, May 31, was presented in the local papers. What a farce. It was a combined sales pitch by Gov. Carney, trying to justify his budget proposals, and a teacher’s union meeting.
Gov. Carney stressed a number of times that his proposals were designed to “share the pain” among constituent groups. The many and very vocal teachers in the audience made it very clear with signs and prepared speeches that they had no intention of sharing the pain and all Delawareans should bow down and praise them for the tremendous work they do, the hours they put into their jobs, and no cuts to their budget should even be considered.
Of course, they turned on one of their own when the brave lady suggested that the number of illegals in the school system at the present time just might be one of the reasons that enrollment had spiked. She asked the governor if he had a number of the illegals in Delaware public schools, and he responded that they did not keep track and had no number. She was actually booed for bringing up the subject.
The budget proposals that the governor outlined are very skimpy, with only three categories of raising additional revenue, and each is suspect:
• Adjust tax levels for corporations and fees to reflect inflation. This could easily turn into “shooting the goose that is laying the golden egg.” Just recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the number of states that are targeting the idea that Delaware is the only option for incorporating new businesses. These states are restructuring their incorporation procedures and legal processes to go after this lucrative business.
• Raise personal income tax rates across the board, while eliminating itemized deductions, and increase the standard deduction to $5,000 per individual. Add the impact of these two income tax increases to the Joint Finance Committee’s decision to trim $100 (a 20 percent hit) from the property tax break that seniors receive, and you have a potential hit to seniors of thousands of dollars per year.
Add this to the property tax increase that we just passed in the Indian River school referendum (which is going to come as a surprise to many when they calculate what that increase actually amounts to), and I would say that we retirees are sharing the pain more than any other group in the state.
Delaware has profited greatly the last decade from all the retirees who have moved into the state from the high-tax states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Is Gov. Carney trying to say that he wants to stop this retiree movement into the state, or worse, encourage those already here to consider moving out? Maybe he should check with the builders, real estate people and all the other service providers that have profited handsomely with the influx of so many retirees.
• Increase tax on harmful tobacco products and tax e-cigarettes. This has merits, but for some reason, it does not address two other areas that should be considered, both of which are taxed in Delaware below the national average: gasoline and alcohol. Perhaps their lobbies are too strong for our governor to address.
There was little enthusiasm in the group for the introduction of a sales tax and a rousing approval of the governor’s position against recreational marijuana, even with potential tax gains.
When a household realizes that its budget is getting strained and that any potential income increase is not going to cover the issue, there is only one way out of the dilemma, and that is to cut expenditures. Why can’t the State realize that this is what has to happen? We will not work our way out of this issue, this coming fiscal year or in future years, with additional taxes.
Cutting overhead costs and administrative costs are the only way to solve the issue long term, and the Department of Education has to be part of this paring. Heaping additional taxes, especially on the retiree population of the state, is not the way to “share the pain.”
Artisans’ Fair a hit, thanks to many
AARP’s Artisans’ Fair & Farmers’ Market had a record number of attendees. AARP’s Chapter #5226 wants to thank all of the supporters and many volunteers who participated in this most successful event. The proceeds will support two $2,000 scholarships at Indian River High School and two $500 scholarships at DelTech.
We especially want to thank Lord Baltimore Elementary School for hosting this event, and the support from Atlantic Auto Service, Fulton Bank, Giant, Weis, Ocean View Animal Hospital, Ocean View police, Hocker’s BBQ, Rita’s Water Ice, Dunkin Donuts, Sweet Dispositions, Wawa and the Sussex County ROTC students.
The media outreach was extensive, due to our Ida Crist and all her efforts. We believe that the record number of attendees was because of the wide range of coverage from newspapers, radio, TV, websites, posters, signs and magazines. In addition, our Ione Phillips selects only the finest artisans’ for this event.
The Farmers’ Market was new this year, and we were honored to have 10 participants: Inland Bays Garden Center, Pigment of the Imagination, Fresh Harvest Hydroponics, JoAnne Tentschert—“A Touch of Glass,” Tranquility Gardens—Harry Dill, Carol Hudson, Backyard Jams and Jellies Inc.—Krista Scudlark, Delaware Provision South, Parsons Farms and Lakonia Oils—Julie Kramer.
Without the many volunteers from our chapter and the community support, this event would not be possible. Thank you.
Maureen Eisenhart, Chair
2017 AARP’s Artisans’ Fair & Farmers’ Market
IR alumni thank community
The Indian River High School Alumni Association (IRHSAA) would like to thank our major sponsors and community members who helped make our fifth annual Beef & Brew fundraiser such a success!
The generous donations from local business owners and IR alumni have been vital to our scholarship program. Since 2013, we have given $20,000 in scholarships to both graduating students and current IR alumni wishing to continue their education. This year, with the help of private donations and with the proceeds from our Beef & Brew, we will be awarding more than $11,000 in college scholarships.
We want to thank the countless people and businesses who stepped up to support us, especially major Beef & Brew fundraiser sponsors Avery Hall Insurance, Banks Wine & Spirits, Frankford Volunteer Fire Company, Gray’s Towing Service and Wilmington Savings Fund Society (WSFS).
A special thank-you goes out to IR Principal Bennett Murray for always being there for us, and to our auctioneer, Robert Kauffman, who volunteers his time to make our live auctions so much fun!
The IRHSAA is all about IR Pride, and we have some exciting things happening in coming months, including the placement and dedication of an IRHS sign for the Clayton Avenue entrance. Get ready for an Alumni Meet & Greet in the fall and next year’s Beef & Brew fundraiser.
If you’d like to become more involved in the IRHSAA, we’d love to have you attend one of our meetings. We support our faculty and students, and with your help, we will continue to do so. For more information on how to support or join the IRHSAA, check out our Facebook page “Indian River High School Alumni” or www.IRHSalumni.com.
Thanks so much.
IRHS Alumni Association Officers Nancy, Joy, Laura and Kim
Salt Air Gardeners offer ‘bouquet of thanks’
The Salt Air Gardeners landscaping project for the Indian River Life Saving Station could not have been completed without the help of many individuals, some who were unfortunately not mentioned in last week’s article.
First, a special thank-you to Lois McNamara who, as president of Salt Air Gardeners, inspired the group to take on a community-service project. Her enthusiasm for gardening and commitment to give back to the community inspired many of us to pick up shovels for this project.
Key to the success of getting this project started was Oksana Hoey. As member and treasurer for the Salt Air Gardeners, Oksana learned of the need at the Life Saving Station and put forth a comprehensive list of starter “to-dos” to get the project off, or “in,” the ground.
A primary contributor to this project was Marilyn Chaney. She volunteered to co-chair the project and worked efficiently, tirelessly and joyfully to see Phase 1 of the project completed in a record amount of time.
The Life Saving Station’s Laura Scharle and Olivia McDonald gave support to the group with guidance regarding the landscaping needs of the station and the obtaining and transporting of materials.
Cheryl Rehrig and Denise Hoeksema of Inland Bays Garden Center gave the group the lead for the service project and continued to support the group’s endeavor by providing information about native plants and obtaining plants that were needed for the project.
Also contributing to the overall knowledge of our group was RSC landscape designer Cherie Gilmore. She gave generously of her time by visiting the site, sharing her knowledge of native plants, materials and designs that could meet the unique needs of the historic beach site.
A talented and dedicated group of Salt Air Gardeners, including Marilyn Chaney, Barbara Drenner, Louise Egan, Oksana Hoey, Diane Kelly, Kathy Nork, Joanne Schmidt, Ginny Seaman and Joan Shepard, visited the site, researched plants and materials and/or drafted landscape designs for the project. The group’s extensive knowledge of gardening, creativity, enthusiasm and ability to work flawlessly as a team was a major factor in the success of this endeavor.
In addition to the preliminary work of the gardeners mentioned above, these hardworking Salt Air Gardeners spent a day at the Life Saving Station, pruning plants, pulling weeds and installing plants, stone and mulch to bring the landscape design’s first phase to completion. The group’s contributing members included Marilyn Chaney, Louise Egan, Oksana Hoey, Diane Kelly, Lois McNamara, Kathy Nork, Kim Norrett, Ginny Seaman and Joan Shepard.
A huge thanks to the following members’ husbands who contributed much muscle and time to the work at the site: Bob Hoey, Art Kelly and Don Nork. Bill Chaney, and Pat and John Shnekenburger also assisted by transporting materials to and from the site. Thank you all so very much.
This project could not have been completed this successfully without each and every one of you. It was a pleasure to work with such exceptional people.
Co-Chair for the IRLSS landscape project
Salt Air Gardeners
Reader encourages residents to speak out
The neighborhood of Waters Run resides along Dirickson Creek just west of the Old Mill Road bridge. They have a small piece of land just east of that bridge on which, about five years ago, the initial developer requested a crab and fishing pier. That is an environmentally appropriate way to access the creek.
That developer stalled due to financial difficulties. A second developer upgraded the permit request to a 12-slip marina. A public hearing concerning the upgrade to a 12-slip marina was requested and held about two years ago.
Despite the fact there was absolutely no signage on the property site announcing a public hearing, nor was there any notification in the local papers, 50 people showed up. A show of hands indicated that all in attendance were opposed to a 12-slip marina, finding it an inappropriate use of the creek. The reasons were many, mostly environmental.
That second developer failed financially as well. A third developer has now started building in Waters Run. Due to other priorities and an understanding that the developers were floundering, this permit had been back-burnered by DNREC under Secretary Small. With just a few minor questions, it now appears to be green-lighted for approval in about six months under newly appointed Secretary Garvin.
There are currently still no marinas on Dirickson Creek. It has been steadily silting in during the past 30 years, due to the many developmental impacts. Some of the older homes along the creek just east of that bridge have private piers, many of which now sit empty, with no boats alongside, due to the silting in of the creek since the piers were built.
More appropriately, other recently constructed developments along the creek only have crab and fishing piers, kayak launches or only a ramp. Recently, Coastal Kayak has opened a kayak and SUP concession by the bridge, which is again a very appropriate use of the creek.
The soon-to-be-released State of Dirickson Creek report, compiled by the Inland Bays organization, reveals data points which, by comparison with Delaware’s other 12 tributaries which empty into our three inland bays, ranks Dirickson Creek in the lower half of that group with regard to water quality.
Sequential Google Earth maps and local watershed resident testimonies reveal significant atrophying of our precious wetlands over the past 30 years. These hard-working wetland buffer zones continually filter and cleanse the water in our creek, enabling a diverse native habitat to live within its borders.
The wave action and murkiness caused by too much motorized boat traffic stirring up the creek waters disturbs the balance of wildlife. It erodes the wetlands and prevents sunlight from penetrating into the depths of the waters. Boats frequently get stuck, unable to judge the depth of the water, which is no longer as clear as it used to be 30 years ago.
It appears that this 12-slip marina permit request adheres to our current legal requirements and that DNREC will therefore likely approve it in the next approximately six months.
As a fellow resident of the Dirickson Creek watershed and representing the Dirickson Creek team, I encourage our fellow Dirickson Creek watershed residents to voice your concerns to DNREC Secretary Garvin before it is too late. Encourage him to recommend reverting to the original permit request of a more environmentally friendly crabbing and fishing pier.
Anna von Lindenberg