Letters to the Editor — July 29, 2016

Fenwick resident looks to new faces


I feel I must respond to the letter “Reader discusses Fenwick issues.” It is a shame that this reader decided to make baseless claims against an unnamed candidate. All of us in Fenwick Island should be happy that we have a choice of candidates this year.

This is only the second time in the past 10 years to have one.

For a reader to try to create a scandal where there is none is shameful. It is nothing more than an attempt to stifle open communication and to continue the cycle of vitriol and resistance to any new ideas that has been far too prevalent in our community. Fenwick Island needs new ideas and new faces on the town council. We are going to get them, as there is only one incumbent running.

The reader claims that the majority of council that has been in place for the last 10 years has been extremely careful to not make mistakes. Unfortunately, this is far from true when it comes to the changes made to our charter. They made a mess of our election procedures when they changed the charter to allow businesses to participate in municipal elections, something unprecedented in any other Delaware beach town.

Now we have found out, after two candidates were disqualified, that it is not the person that registers to vote if your home is in a trust or LLC; it is the entity. Furthermore, that entity is limited to one vote. The charter wording also inhibits that owner’s right to be a candidate.

So the net result for those that have taken the time to do proper estate planning — their properties are defined as an entity lumped in with businesses and commercial entities. This essentially takes away the rights of up to 86 voters eligible under the old rules, not a small number in a town where 200 votes can win an election.

I am looking forward to new faces on the council. We should embrace the new ideas and celebrate the diversity of views. I am hopeful the council will be infused with new energy and encourage more open communication. I applaud all those running and have been impressed with the open and honest campaigns of all four of them. Thank you all for your willingness to serve our town.

Richard Benn
Fenwick Island

Reader responds to previous response

(Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to a letter from reader Thomas M. Keeley III published in our July 22 issue, which was itself a response to a prior letter from Jeffrey Chandross.)

Dear Mr. Keeley: I believe you may have missed the important points of my letter.

I am concerned about the inadequate infra-structure (roads), which are too narrow and often without adequate shoulders to accommodate the influx of cars, bicycles and people, resulting in too many individuals being hurt or killed. I’m not concerned about the inconvenience of the seasonal traffic.

No matter how slow you drive, or whatever back road you think there is (was), I defy you to tell us you haven’t had a close call with a cyclist, motorist or a jogger and wished the road was wider, or there was an adequate shoulder area, or traffic control mechanisms. If you haven’t, you are very lucky.
I do know how wonderful the tax structure here is; however, our local Sussex governmental agencies, and not the State, rely on the transfer tax to balance their budgets. I believe that source of revenue collection is extremely problematic and is a strong motivator to keep approving building and developing these enormous tracks of land regardless of the infrastructure readiness.

Yes, we need a source of income to continue to maintain services, but transfer taxes are not the only way. It’s a pity the county council and local councils are not willing to rely more upon the property tax — a more stable, consistent means of generating income than the transfer tax.

Thank you for reading my letter and responding.

Jeffrey Chandross

Frederick endorses Carouge to office


As a longtime member of the Fenwick Island community, and an active participant in the town’s management, I am disappointed by the approach some are taking to this year’s town council election. Our town is too small to have small groups fighting each other. Our residents are too nice to launch personal attacks against individuals who have volunteered to serve our community. Each of us have the opportunity to select our next members of council and should do so based on what we know.

Based on what I know, I plan to vote for Kevin Carouge. He has an impressive educational and professional background; he has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills not only in companies he has led but also the trade association with which he is affiliated.

When Kevin decided he wanted to serve our community in a meaningful way by running for town council, he did his research, he familiarized himself with the issues in town. Significantly, he distributed letters to us all, outlining his position on the most-discussed topics.

You may not agree with everything Kevin has said, but if you read his letters and listened to his comments at the FISH meeting, you know where he stands. Before you vote, may I ask you to ask yourself, do I know what those for whom I vote will do if elected? You can answer yes to Kevin.

Kevin has a distinguished business career because he pays attention to details. He communicates very well and is a master consensus builder. He is not opposed to commercial interests but pro-Fenwick Island.

Unlike some of the recent council decisions, with Kevin’s involvement, I sense that council discussions will continue until a consensus is reached, rather than move to a vote as soon as one side has a slim majority. Our council needs to work together; they need to encourage our town to work together. Kevin has the skills to make that happen.

We are lucky to live in or own property in Fenwick Island. We have a great little town; we don’t need to be angry with each other; this is not the national election. Remember, the sun shines on everyone in Fenwick, long-term residents, new owners, folks on both sides of Route 1, commercial establishments, as well as all their customers. When it rains, we all get wet.
I encourage you to vote for Kevin Carouge to represent you on Fenwick’s town council.

Pete Frederick
Fenwick Island

Longtime visitor to area questions CIB


I am writing to you as someone who has summered in this area since the early l950s and has been president of a major environmental organization. I have kayaked and clammed most areas of the bay system and know its wildlife well.

I have seen the many horseshoe crabs lay their eggs in the sandy areas, thereby providing food for many rare shorebirds. I have seen the ospreys recover once DDT was banned.

I do not understand why you are beating around the bush in your June 17 article on the Inland Bays. The Inland Bays are one large sewer. Look at the E. coli distribution maps. Pfeisteria showed up in l987, followed by a variety of other parasites. The coal-burning electric plant at the western end of the bays constantly spills mercury and dioxin (Agent Orange) into the bays. Talk about a toxic soup. You shouldn’t be eating anything taken out of the bays. Maybe clams if they go through the purification process.

Oysters do not remove significant nutrients from the water. That was already shown in the Chesapeake Bay studies. They do concentrate heavy metals and other toxins. They do accumulate bacteria, viruses and some parasites. Hence, anything grown in the bays would have to be thrown out, as the feds would not pass on it for human consumption.

The CIB is a front organization for the developers and agricultural interests. You should have seen it in the days when a prominent realtor (PCW) ran the board of directors. No mention of environmental matters at those meetings. In my experience, DNREC is there to help developers. Give them a check, and you get your permit.

The l995 lawsuit by Jim May to limit daily input of nitrogen into the bays was not settled in federal court by a judge’s order, but rather some sort of unenforceable agreement was worked out with DNREC or another branch of the state’s government.

Consequently, water quality has not improved and you have a body of water that is a bacterial paradise. The locals know you can’t swim in it or water ski on it. DNREC even posted signs at one point saying that you should not swim in the water if you have any sort of cut or open wound. Otherwise, you’re on your way to Beebe hospital for IV antibiotics.

Incidentally, the 20-something surfers are getting pneumonia from surfing on the ocean side, so the water over there is pretty contaminated also. It used to just be brown tide you worried about that gave your neurological symptoms. It’s obviously worse now, and everyone tries to keep quiet about it to protect tourism.
Incidentally, did you know that this area of Delaware has a really high breast cancer rate?

Sadly, Delaware is a not an environmentally oriented state, and the phenomenally beautiful Inland Bays are going to die because of all the abuse they have suffered.

Time to call a spade a spade.

George Kowallis
New York City

Carouge gets more support for council


We have owned our home in Fenwick Island since 1974, and we feel that Fenwick Island needs Kevin Carouge on the town council.

Kevin is calm, thoughtful and positive. He is not a politician. Carouge is honest and candid. Most importantly, Carouge listens.

After deciding to run for town council, Kevin began hosting “town hall” type sessions and has been out on the streets of Fenwick Island to introduce himself to those that do not already know him. He is eager to listen and receptive to the ideas of his neighbors.

Kevin became more involved in the Fenwick Island community and began regularly attending council meetings a few years ago, when he became concerned that the town was taking a reactive, rather than proactive, position on development.

Carouge is not opposed to growth, but rather he understands that there must be a unifying vision to guide future changes. He is encouraging everyone to become actively engaged in the work that is being done on the town’s comprehensive plan.

Carouge has the qualifications and character to serve on the town council. He will foster dialogue, not division, among the council members. Kevin is open-minded and clear-headed and cares deeply about Fenwick Island.

Carouge is concerned about hearing your thoughts and opinions, as he has been about the council listening to his. He will be a voice for the community. Kevin Carouge is exactly what this town and this council need at this time.

We ask you to join us in voting for Kevin Carouge for Fenwick Island Town Council on Aug 6.

Doug and Dottie Lopez
Fenwick Island

Fenwick resident endorses Carmean


I would like to publically endorse Vicki Carmean as a candidate for the Fenwick Island Town Council. We first met way back in 2002, when she was running for her first term on the council. I know that she is a dependable and honest candidate that voters can count on.

During her first two months on the council back then, she realized the Town had not had an audit for over five years, 25 percent of the yearly budget was being run through under “Miscellaneous,” the FICA had not been paid, and several FOIA regulations were not being observed. Although she thoroughly dislikes confrontation, she insisted that corrections be made. With that, the Town set sail on a new course and has stayed in “charted waters” ever since.

When she was directed to organize the Town’s Beautification Committee, she worked with me and many others to change dreary median strips, run contests for beautification efforts, redo restroom facilities and landscape around the Town Hall. This led to working with two other co-founders to form the Barefoot Gardeners Club, which has rejuvenated the Fenwick Lighthouse, helped fund Justin’s Beach House and the Dover Air Force Base’s Memorial Garden, and is presently supporting the new Botanic Garden.

Vicki believes that the real strength of our community lies with its residents and their talents. Therefore, working with others in making decisions is high on her list of priorities.

Like all of us, she loves Fenwick Island … and believes in keeping it as the “Last Quiet Resort.” I would like to encourage my friends and neighbors to support her on Aug. 6.

Barbara E. McCoy
Fenwick Island

Rhymer supports Carmean for council


For the past two years, Fenwick Island has been struggling with a town council bitterly split. The heated public and council discussions have resulted in charges and countercharges flying both ways.

With Vicki Carmean, the town has a chance to start healing. As a 10-year member of the council who took the last couple years off, she will help restore a more united and less hostile environment. Her calming influence and vast council experience is welcome. Her slogan is she is not running against anyone but instead she is running for the good of the town. Those of us who have known her and worked with her know she means it.

We long for more harmony and less polarization on our town council, and Vicki Carmean is our best choice. Vote for Carmean on Aug. 6 (1-5 p.m.).

John Rymer
Fenwick Island

Fenwick resident promotes trio


Here we are again, town council elections in Fenwick Island, with the direction of the Town in question.

Although most people in Town are satisfied with the direction and speed with which progress has been made, the services we receive and the cost taxes we pay, during last year’s election a small group, naming themselves the Fenwick Four, attempted to take over the council with their own agenda. They were soundly rebuffed, but two of the Four are council members, and their agenda is still very much alive.

Council meetings have become loud and contentious, and the personal attacks against the council and the town manager on their Fenwick Forum website have been way over the top! Certainly this hostile environment played a large role in the decision of two long-term, valuable council members to choose to not run for re-election, and for our outstanding town manager to resign.

Three candidates are running for four openings this year. At the recent Meet the Candidate meeting, three of the candidates voiced confidence in the council and pledged themselves to continue to improve the services, financial stability and the harmony we all have come to expect and love.

Gardner Bunting is a long-term council member and as treasurer has guided the Town through the recent downturn without the financial problems that plagued other beach communities. Vickie Carmean has served on the council before and has worked to improve quality of life in the Town. Bernie Merritt Jr. is a longtime resident who lives on the bay side, clearly understands the importance of addressing the drainage issues there, and the value to our town of nice-looking successful businesses along Coastal Highway.

The fourth candidate, however, Kevin Carouge, strongly espoused the Fenwick Four party line, criticizing the council’s actions … and especially its pro “commercial” actions. When questioned, he said, if elected, he would revisit several recent town ordinance changes, including the Sands Motel decision.

He suggested that, rather than encourage business growth within the commercial zone along Coastal Highway, he would prefer to see only residential construction in that area. I, among others, pointed out that that option has always existed but has been largely unsuccessful, as evidenced by the number of vacant lots and For Sale signs.

The current council recognizes something that Mr. Carouge does not; the commercial area is an integral and important part of our town. They understand that the first impression tourists, visitors or potential homeowners have of our town is the commercial area along Coastal Highway.

There have been significant improvements recently, with new restaurants, a new bank, aesthetic upgrades to several of the strip malls, and even the possible replacement of the Sands Motel eyesore. We still have major problems with large and small vacant properties, business turnover and some properties that are in need of “sprucing” up.

Rather than looking for opportunities to hinder that progress with taxes and limiting ordinances as the Fenwick Four, and Mr. Carouge, suggest, the town council needs to consist of members who continue to look for ways to help these business be more successful within realistic constraints.

I believe that a vote on Aug. 6, for Gardner Bunting, Vickie Carmean and Bernie Merritt Jr. will continue the conservative, balanced approach to progress of the entire town that we want, and need!

Ben Waide
Fenwick Island