Letters to the Editor — November 18, 2016

AARP thankful for help with fundraiser


The South Coastal DE AARP Scholarship Committee would like to thank everyone who made our Oct. 27 fundraiser a success.

We are grateful to Hooked Up in Millville for hosting the event for the second year and donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the Scholarship Fund. We had record attendance from throughout the community. Attendees were able to bid on the chance to take home one of 38 baskets assembled with donations from many community businesses.

We want to thank those businesses who provided gift cards, products or cash donations for the event. They included: Adkins Inc., All Aboard Grooming & Kennels, Artful Bean, Beach Break Bakrie & Café, Beachview Chiropractic, Bear Trap Den, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach Diner, Bethany Fine Arts Gallery, Bishop-Hastings Funeral Home, Blossoms, Browseabout Books, Café on 26, Capriotti’s, Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Coastal Cottage, Costa Ventosa Winery, Cottage Café, County Bank, Crabcake Factory, Crazy Ladiez, Delmarva Shorebirds, Delmarva Shorebirds Fan Club, DiFebo’s, Restaurant, Energy Gym, Fenwick Hardware, Fenwick Float-ors, Fish Tales, Fox’s Pizza Den, Millville & Selbyville, The Fresh Market, Fulton Bank, G&E/Hocker’s, Georgia House, Millsboro, Giant Food, Grotto Pizza, Hair Snippery, Harris Teeter, Harry & David—Rehoboth Beach, Fran Hart quilter, Hickman’s Liquors, Japanesque, Kool Bean, Lobster Shanty, Made by Hand, Mancini’s, Maureen’s Ice Cream, McCabe’s Gourmet, Miller’s Creek, Mio Fratello, OC Haircuts, Ocean View Deli, Outback—Rehoboth Beach, Patti’s Hallmark, The Penguin Diner, Pin-Up Girls Salon, Pizza King, Millsboro, Plants by Mary, PNC Bank, Bethany Beach, Porto Pizza, Rosenfeld’s Deli, Salon on Central, Seacrest, Sea Level, Sea Needles, Seaside Country Store, Sedona, SoDel Concepts, Solutions Plus, Summer Salts Café, Sunshine Crepes, Sweet Dispositions, Treasure Island, Turtle Beach Café, Walmart—Rehoboth Beach and Younique.

Thanks also go to many chapter members who contributed items for the auction.

Finally, we want to acknowledge all the members of the Scholarship Committee, without whose hard work the event would not have been possible. They include: Barbara Shamp, event coordinator; Carolyn Bacon, Jo Beall, Ida Crist, Kathy Johnson, Carolyn Kress, Dawn Lekites, Chotsie Martin, Chris & Helen Norris, Ione Phillips and Shirley Price.

This is one of two annual fundraisers sponsored by the chapter that enable us to provide scholarships to Indian River High School students and to adult Sussex County students attending Delaware Tech. Our other annual event, the Artisans Fair, is held annually on Memorial Day weekend. See you then!

Ione Phillips,

Scholarship Committee Co-Chair

South Coastal DE AARP

Reader offers support for referendum


On Tuesday, Nov. 22, there is a very important referendum coming up for vote in the Indian River School District. This referendum has faced a bit of opposition, but passing it is in the best interest of our entire community, from the smallest students in the district to the people at the top — the employees and administration running the schools.

It’s true that saying “Yes” to this referendum will raise taxes, but extremely modestly. The average homeowner in the district will see their bill go up about $95 per year — less than 25 cents per day. While this may make some people balk, when this passes, we will still have some of the lowest taxes in the entire state, while maintaining one of the fastest-growing districts.

Our county is growing, and that growth is exponential. The student population is rising, and we needs supplies, teachers, support staff and infrastructure to support that growth. Without this referendum, not only will we not get the money we need to support our own growth, but there will be cuts; 1,500 people work for the Indian River School District in Sussex County. Conservative estimates are that without this referendum, 10 percent of those people will lose their jobs. That’s 150 people.

You probably know several people off the top of your head who work for the Indian River School District. You probably have children, grandchildren or nieces or nephews who go to these schools, or will go to these schools. With 150 less employees and a subsequent hiring freeze, those children’s class sizes would increase.

This is personal. It’s about doing what we can to support our children and the people who teach them. Caring for the people in our community should be our highest priority, and a vote “yes” for this referendum is a vote yes for our children and our greater community that counts on these jobs.

To learn where to vote on Nov. 22, please visit: http://www.irsd.net/referendum.

And please vote Yes… Children and their families are depending on you.

Billie Criswell


Reader wants more info on referendum


The article and referendum notice included in the Coastal Point Nov. 14 issue was an argument to increase the school tax for the IRSD. It appears the justification is based on the fact that IR has the lowest school property tax rate in Sussex County, not because of a massive increase in the number of students or mandatory educational adjustments that require revamping of school systems. Evidently, someone happened to notice Kent and New Castle have a larger tax, and therefore Sussex taxpayers should pay more.

As noted on the State of Delaware county budget website on tax collection/distribution, the average per pupil expenditure for 2014-2015 for Sussex was $13,228; New Castle $13,456; and Kent $12,099. Sussex taxpayers only pay $228 less than New Castle, which is the most populated of the three Delaware counties, with the largest number of high-paying jobs.

Sussex is predominately agricultural, with low-paying jobs and a large population of immigrants who can least afford a tax increase. Based on the budget breakout provided in the referendum notice inserted in Coastal Point, from 2005 to 2016 the increase in students over an 11-year period was only 2,577 — that’s about 234 student increase per year; however, that number was collected at the beginning of the school year, Sept. 30, and did not account for drop-outs or transfers out of the IRSD.

It was noted that as of Sept. 30, the 329 additional students counted for 33 teaching units, but projections for 2016-2017 decreased the student population to 296, which would indicate teaching units would also decrease. Not so. Teaching units increased to 35.

Why would additional teaching units be needed for fewer students? The referendum notice identified a line item as “student enrollment growth” instead of stating what this actually is — hiring more teachers/paraprofessionals and purchasing supplies, material and furniture. It is disingenuous to lump teachers into the same category with “supplies and furniture.”

The State of Delaware website for 2014-2015 lists instructional services, including breakout expenses for teachers, librarians, support staff, total as earmarked at 82.2 percent of the budget and 17.8 percent, and is designated for administrative, secretarial and other staff.

The IRSD needs be to clear in their proposal and identify teachers and supplies separately, just as the State does. Clearly, someone is playing the old numbers game trying to justify their reason for the tax increase.

Lastly, the referendum notice is clearly biased in favor of the increase, as they provided an example to those looking at the “official ballot” reprinted on the referendum notice which is clearly marked with a big red checkmark indicating that a voter should Mark “For the Additional Tax.” This referendum notice is misleading and mendacious, especially since our non-English speaking residents will see the red checkmark as a mark they are required to copy. Shame on IRSD.

It is suggested that the IRSD delay the Nov. 22 vote until a straightforward and impartial notification is provided to the Sussex county taxpayers that honestly identifies each line item cost increase based on the same line items listed in the State budget to include the “cost per pupil,” which was not included in the referendum notice. Listing teachers and other professionals in the same category as “supplies and furniture” is demeaning to those professionals and simply ridiculous.

Ginny Hall

Fenwick Island

Wags event offered fun for all in the family


A big thank-you to Tyler Valliant, photographer, for taking the picture and to the editors for choosing to print the photo of our dog Bailey Martin from this year’s [Wags, Witches & Warlocks] parade! He is a 12-year-old Lab/golden retriever mix and has walked in the last few parades. Each year we wonder, will this be his last one?

His human mom was Auld Lang Syne, who wore a white sheet and a stifling rubber mask with a gray beard and long hair, carried a 2016 sickle, and Bay was my sidekick with a black T-shirt, party horn, and New Year’s 2017 black top hat that would not stay upright — hence the side bandanas.

Even though we did not win, we had fun, and events like this affirm that we are so grateful to be able to live in Bethany Beach and support the SPCA.

Lorraine, Dan & Bailey Martin

Bethany Beach

CATS seeks person who abandoned cat


On Nov. 10-11, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., an orange cat was abandoned in a trap outside the Millville Pet Stop on Route 26. This is against Delaware Law 1325, Cruelty to Animals, a misdemeanor Class F felony offense, punishable by jail time and $1,000 to $5,000 fine.

The cat is friendly and well-fed, indicating that it belongs to someone who felt it was of no significance and left it like trash, in a trap in front of a place of business. The person or persons are believed to know enough about the place of business to know where the surveillance cameras are placed.

Cats Around Town Society now has the cat and is taking care of it while we ask the public to help us find and prosecute the offender(s). Please help us identify the person(s) that dropped off their pet in a trap Thursday night/Friday morning. The trap had an old Cats Around Town tag, and so the person has had this trap for over one year, since we renumbered and retagged our traps one year ago.

Anyone with information that would lead to identifying the individual(s) involved, call CATS, (302) 355-9979, or the Delaware Animal Control office, (302) 255-4646.

Nancy Ward

Cats Around Town