Letters to the Editor — March 17, 2017

Reader offers congrats for referendum


Congratulations to the IRSD, and Mark Steele in particular, for their success with the second referendum. Superintendent Steele did indeed hustle for yes votes everywhere within the IRSD boundaries. He was indeed working 13-plus hours daily.

Personally, I voted No for the first time in my 70-year life. The referendum had the highest number of Yes votes in history. Maybe the No’s achieved the same.

Why yes? The fear within each family that their child’s education would diminish if the referendum failed.

Why no? The financial and oversight failures by the key staff of the IRSD and the Board of Education elected membership. It was an open window of serious management and money-usage problems within the IRSD. The IRSD was wasting the property owners’ school tax dollars. Thanks to the State of Delaware Auditor’s investigation.

Congratulations Yes voters in saving our students from a “to be failed educational system” without the referendum. More money allows more staff, more facilities, more administrators, to name a few. Does it really improve our children’s education that much more?

IRSD does have a higher-than-normal success with our students, in comparison of the other districts within Delaware. Will we see an even higher academic achievement equal to the money presented by the majority of voters of the IRSD? Keep a close eye and ear to your child’s progress.

The District assured all of us that our children will have an even higher level of education. Hold them to it. Demand the highest of teacher and leadership skills within every school of the district. We parents are the final judge in how our children are progressing academically and in confidence. Set the standard of expectation very high.

We all want the best for our children. Parents, be there observing, listening and participating in your child’s school from elementary to middle school to high school. Be there every day for your child’s educational development in your home.

Need help? Ask your school for it. If they do not give the help you need, write a letter to the editor of our weekly papers. Ask the property tax payers to call the IRSD administrators or school principal on your behalf.

We want our school tax money to “leave no child behind.” Your child is entitled to the same high standard of educational development as any other child. Do not tolerate any form of discrimination within your child’s school.

Smile — you are your child’s parent every day. You are the chosen ones!

Lloyd E. Elling

Ocean View

Reader: Corporations held over humans


At its Feb. 15 Board of Directors meeting, the Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC) voted to approve a rate decrease for all 93,000 co-op members. Why? According to Bill Andrew, “Falling wholesale power costs and member participation in our Beat the Peak program…”

A decline in coal mining jobs began more than 40 years ago. It started when companies began to use machines to get at the veins and move ore faster than men could. Machines were willing to work 12-hour shifts without complaints. Machines never asked for a day off to go to their mother’s’ funeral and all those other pesky things that mere human beings need.

Coal mining jobs in the mountainous Eastern parts of America, the Appalachians and Pennsylvania, had gotten at the most accessible veins and so mining companies started huge land-defiling operations in states like Montana and Nevada.

These open spaces allowed them to use less miners and massive machinery to get the ore out and transported to terminals at less cost. Less cost to the company — but more devastation of the land.

Many of the mining companies that kept operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and other Appalachian coal-mining regions started blowing tops off of mountains to get at the coal veins. Again, fewer jobs for miners and devastation for the streams into which they were allowed to dump the debris, and for the communities downstream.

To date, over 500 mountain tops have been blown off and over 2,000 miles of streams and waterways have been contaminated with lead, mercury, selenium and all the other toxic materials that we know come from the mining and burning of coal. All those contaminated streams and waterways ultimately flow into the Mississippi River!

American companies and companies worldwide are exceeding projections for clean, renewable energy progress. In 2000, it was projected that worldwide wind capacity would reach 30 GW by 2010. The fact is that that goal was exceeded in 2016, by a factor of 16 times.

Gains in scaling up solar power to meet our increasing energy needs have been even more spectacular. In 2002, the worldwide projection was that we could grow at the rate of 1 GW per year by 2010. In fact, that goal was exceeded by a factor of 17 times and still growing. By 2016, that goal was beaten by a factor of 70 times over.

Another big factor in the drop in coal use is the fracking for natural gas. For all its problems from an environmental perspective, and there are many, it does burn cleaner and is far less expensive to extract and transport than both coal and oil. Natural gas will continue to be an important U.S. energy source as we make the transition to clean energy despite the current administration.

A May 2016 Bloomberg article, “Clean-Energy Jobs Surpass Oil Drilling for First Time in U.S.” showed that employment grew 6 percent in solar and declined in oil gas and coal between 2012 and 2015.

Employment in U.S. solar jobs grew 12 times faster than overall job creation according to the same source.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 12, 2017, the entire electric grid from Montana to the Texas Panhandle was momentarily powered by 52 percent wind energy. That broke a record set less than a year before. That the grid had no problem handling it is the significant fact in this good news. As more and more of these wins for clean energy are toted up, electricity producing plants all across America will follow the lead of our DEC.

New technologies and better understanding of how to integrate solar- and wind-generated electricity flow in our aging national grid have resulted in companies being able make a profit. At the same time, they work to help American workers prosper and help America do its part in reducing global carbon emissions.

Imagine all those new, good-paying jobs in clean, renewable energy, in spite of what Trump and his administration call too many job killing regulations! It’s called American ingenuity and a win-win-win economic strategy. Imagine what we could do if clean, renewable energy companies had a level playing with gas, oil and coal companies.

If Trump had the business savvy he would have us believe, one would have expected him to have known about this economic trend.

So, now we have large numbers of coal miners out of work and the Trump administration wants to take away the first, if flawed, access most have had to a healthcare plan. In addition, Congress has just repealed the Stream Protection Act (SPA).

Remember that blowing-off-mountaintops technique to get out the coal? There is growing evidence that allowing unfettered dumping of the toxic debris in the waterways is harming people, as well as the water. No surprise there.

The SPA required mining companies and the regional regulators to do a baseline assessment, interim monitoring and post restoration of nearby ecosystems, including the waterways. Estimated cost to the companies was between $6 and $60 dollars per ton of coal extracted. Of course, there was no requirement to estimate the costs to the community health.

Repeal of this regulation proves once again that, in this administration, corporation rights are more important than the rights of people and the communities they call home. No matter how many times Trump promises American coal miners that he will bring back their jobs, it is still a lie.

Pat Frey


Reader responds to previous letter


I am responding to James and Cathy Angus’ “Reader ponders ‘Native’ versus ‘Not a native’” letter in the March 14 Coastal Point.

I think that terminology that differentiates people anywhere/everywhere is quaint. That “you’re not from around here” comment kind of gets down to the basics of who and where we are in this journey, and it can be taken many ways.

But the meat of their letter bemoans the lack of “services” and even “taxes” here in slower lower Delaware. As a “not a native” resident, I’ll respond as politely as I can with, “If you don’t like here, you can simply go back to where you came from!” I’m sure many “natives” and “not a native(s)” would agree with me.

I and many other newcomers to the area really like the lifestyle we’ve found here, and we have learned to live with the inconveniences that result when vacationers overpopulate the area for a couple of months a year.

I’ve been here a mere 17 years, and I clearly remember the advice we received from the, dare I say, local lawyer that represented us at our settlement. I’ll paraphrase what he said very plainly:

He said, “Welcome to slower lower Delaware, and please don’t attempt to change it to be like where you came from.” He stressed that we do not have the amenities or the taxes of the big cities that most of you newcomers are from, and we like it that way.

I’m sorry I cannot remember his name, but I believe he was speaking for the “natives” when he gave us that very sound advice!

Thomas M. Keeley III

Ocean View

Reader thinks people should follow the law


The subject letter [Costal Point, March 3, 2017, Volume 14, Issue 9, “Delaware should be a safe haven”] lists a host of statements, which on the surface most would have difficulty disagreeing with. However, the entire premise of protecting these so called “victims,” in this case illegal aliens, is in my opinion flawed.

I recognize that this is one of the founding principles of the Left, but the stated desire is to not only protect the law-breakers, but to further institutionalize such protections by further disobeying the federal government, in this case the evil Donald Trump, and to made Delaware a sanctuary state.

The writers go on to invoke the founding fathers’ risks as justification for the support of these actions. My family were all legal immigrants to this country; we supported and fought for the American dream by aspiring to better ourselves. With each generation, we moved a step closer to fulfilling this dream.

The flawed premise put forth in this letter is equivalent to the Biblical story of building the foundation of your home on sand. No matter how good the structure above is, it is flawed and will deteriorate due to the improper construction of the foundation. The founding fathers created a great nation based on the wisdom of Judeo-Christian values.

To further categorize and equate such law-breakers to the brilliance and sacrifices of our founding fathers is a travesty. The so-called Progressives that are responsible for this letter seek to destroy the rule of law in the name of the American dream to further their own narrow political objectives.

I am a registered Independent, due in part to the moves by the Republican Party to the Left. The goals of the present administration to make America great again and to drain the swamp of mediocrity and corruption has given me faith again that America can be what it once was, however flawed that may have been.

Donald Trump may not be a typical politician, but he personally represents the success of the American dream, as well as stating the objectives that we all aspire to. What a shame that we all can’t be law-abiding Americans first, that follow the established laws, with differences that we can discuss on their principles, not starting from an initial point of corruption.

George H. Miles


Reader speaks out on ‘entitled’ guests


As a summer local, I have come to love the lazy July days by the shore. The cool breezes, the refreshing ocean dips, the boardwalk strolls. I can even put up with the crowds, the land breezes and the long lines at the supermarkets. The only thing I really hate is the annual invasion of the Severely Entitled.

Please don’t confuse these individuals with the Maddeningly Inconsiderate — those who take up two parking spaces instead of one, or put their chairs and blankets 2 inches from yours on the beach, or let their kids run around unsupervised, kicking sand everywhere. No, the Maddeningly Inconsiderate are merely a nuisance. I am talking about our most vile yearly plague.

Locals and regular visitors to our shores know the proper beach etiquette: Get to the beach when you can. Find parking. Locate a spot on the beach, taking into consideration those fellow beachgoers who have preceded you. Fair-practice laws closely adhered to by the pure of heart and spirit.

Ah, but these rules don’t hold for the Severely Entitled. For, you see, their vacation is more important than anyone else’s. They are entitled to the best, and they are determined to get it! They arrive at the beach at sunrise, set up camp in a prime location, then drive home to do whatever it is they want to do and return to the beach whenever the mood moves them.

This practice started simply enough. A couple of chairs at water’s edge — a small footprint on a rather large, moderately-populated beach. But as is true with all entitlement programs that go unchecked, it has grown into something obscene and inappropriate.

As a scientist, I became fascinated by this facet of human behavior. And, purely out of curiosity, I began doing some research. I usually arrive at the beach at around 8 a.m. each day so I can document certain happenings.

One particular day, for example, two young men set up two huge tents at water’s edge at 8:15 a.m., then left. The tents took up approximately 594 square feet of prime space. The men returned with their families at around 12:45 p.m. — four and a half hours later. This was the 2016 leader in audacity.

The 2015 winner was a family that set up in a space occupying 1,170 square feet left unattended for five hours. But the all-time leader came from the summer of 2014 — 2,100 square feet set up at 8:30 a.m. and not used until 2:30 p.m. Amazing, don’t you think?

Again, purely out of curiosity and in the spirit of scientific research, I began engaging these people and those surrounding them in conversation. I have drawn some interesting conclusions: Locals and most Delaware residents abide by the rules. Pennsylvanians, for the most part, do so also (must be their Quaker background — peace and love and all of that).

Surprisingly, so do most visitors from our nation’s capital. DCers don’t expect a reserved beach spot (but they do expect the water to part for them when they go into the ocean).

Marylanders are tougher to read. They seem to split right down the middle. In my limited study, it seems that the worst offenders are from Virginia, I think they are still mad at us Delawareans for not declaring for their side during the War of Northern Aggression.

It also seems that frustration is growing among the average beachgoers. They seem more resentful toward the usurpers.

One morning last summer, a woman came to the beach with her two grandchildren at around 9 a.m. Faced with a series of unattended groupings, she decided to rearrange a few to make room for her own. The few people on the beach at that time applauded.

Now, I know that this doesn’t quite equate with tossing all that tea into the Boston harbor; but it does represent a bold step toward independence. (After all, the Entitled are nasty, hardened veterans in the war against civility — think Hessians!)

Perhaps Bethany Beach will be our Lexington and Concord. Maybe the revolution has started. Beach Patriots arise! Stand up to the usurpers! If they want a guaranteed spot, let them go to one of the gated communities and pay those condo fees!

All across the country, citizens are becoming more and more disenchanted with the Severely Entitled. Let us join our brothers and sisters and continue the fight in the name of those freedom pioneers of Bethany Beach! What better time than now to perpetuate the spirit of revolution and independence!

Paul Pomeroy

Ocean View

Reader: Dog control has doubled its budget


Explain that dog control costs have increased more than 35 percent since the Companion Animal Protection Act, known as CAPA, was passed in 2010, and now the office animal welfare known as OAW is costing over $900,000 on top of that 35 percent increase.

Stopping backdoor legislation like the creation of the OAW is key to controlling added costs like have been seen in animal control.

Sen. Blevins led the Levy Court to believe that this change of animal control would be cost-efficient. One of the Levy Court members said during a meeting on July 1, 2015, that Blevins was taking an initiative in reform of dog control. Well, we are finding this is not the case two years later.

If there are any politicians truly dedicated to cutting costs in our state, then they need to stop backdoor legislation like this from occurring on June 30, so that bills go through the proper legislative channels and include a proper fiscal review with each bill.

A legislator like Patti Blevins should not be able to setup an agency by first giving it a budget then putting a bill through the next year without a fiscal note, or we will continue to see costs rising and politicians creating jobs that they will later fill.

Our budget was under $2 million in 2000, and now it is over $4 million in 2017, so we need to fix our legislative system because most people in our state haven’t seen their pay double since 2000.

Crystal Shear


Reader: Fluoride in water is not bad


Regarding the article in the Feb. 17 edition concerning the possibility of adding fluoride to Frankford’s commercial water, I was surprised to see that fluoride was not already in their public water. I was even more surprised to see it reported that “90 percent of the people were opposed” to its addition.

As a Delaware practicing dental hygienist for over 35 years, I have seen the value of water containing fluoride in the United States population of young and older folks.

Fluoride incorporates into the enamel and provides protection against by-products of oral bacteria and tooth debris, thereby minimizing dental decay and possible tooth loss.

Public water systems throughout the United States have been adding fluoride in monitored levels since 1954, and if one looks at the dentitions of those who have had the benefits of fluoride versus those who have not, one will see less tooth loss and healthier oral structures.

I encourage anyone concerned about this issue to speak with his or her dental hygienist or dentist and research the facts from reputable sources to become more educated before making a decision.

Kandie Semmelman

Bethany Beach