Letters to the Editor — August 28, 2015
Reader offers opinion on aquaculture project
I have been reading, with much interest, the feedback from the community, regarding the implementation of the aquaculture farming project being planned for several sites along the Indian River Bay and Fenwick Island bay waters.
First, let me say that I live in Bethany Beach. I am a full-time resident, an avid boater, and while I am not immediately impacted by the proposed aquaculture project, I do often frequent the areas being proposed. Having said that, my comments are that of an “objective observer.” I believe the comments I have are that of someone removed from the emotion of this project and offer a sense of objectivity.
Questions that I feel need to be addressed, which have not been discussed are:
(1) What is the primary objective of the aquaculture farming project?
We have all read articles regarding the degradation of our inland bays and the ability of oysters to filter and clean our coastal waters. What has not been discussed, by any of the government or environmental agencies, is the mention of the word “restoration” in any of their justifications of this project.
There are numerous studies which have documented that the oyster population along the eastern seaboard is 1 percent of what it was at the time Europeans first colonized America. It has been our lifestyle, and the poor management of our natural resources, which has eliminated 99 percent of the oyster population. (Not to mention numerous other aquatic fish, crustaceans and plant life.)
The only objective that has been presented is the development of a commercial source of oysters for harvesting. Additionally, this objective, as presented, is insufficiently funded, and requires that additional monies be pulled from the General Fund. Moving forward with a budget shortage projected, to promote commercial job opportunities for a limited number of individuals, funded by tax dollars from a greater number of people who do not benefit from the project, but are required to forgo their access to these recreational resources, is without merit.
(2) What portion of harvested oysters will be used to restore those natural oyster beds, which have long since been destroyed?
Given the fact that restoration has never been offered as an opportunity, or as a possible long-term objective of this project, I suspect this was never a consideration. A project to raise and promote the growth of oysters, without the consideration of potential restoration, is unconscionable.
(3) What has been the net effect of the successful aquaculture farming project implemented in Rhode Island?
In several articles and statements from our government officials, the project in Rhode Island has been offered as an example of a successfully implemented aquaculture project. Certainly, if there was scientific data available to support the value of this project, short of the generation of commercial oysters for grocery stores and restaurants, it has never been presented.
What improvement of the BOD has been recognized through these efforts? What have been the improvements noted to inland bay fish and aquatic life? What improvements have been seen in the growth of eel and other marine grasses? If there is no data available to support any secondary environmental improvement, other than providing commercially available oysters, then the project provides limited benefit.
(1) The goal and mission of the project should be “to provide for the support and promotion of restoring water quality, through the incorporation and restoration of natural oyster beds within the inland bay waters.”
(2) In order to accomplish this mission, a percentage of all harvested oysters should be provided for the restoration of these natural beds.
(3) The council should reconsider the scope and size of the project, such that the natural resource of the inland bays can be shared by residents, home owners, boaters and watermen. There needs to be a common ground, such that all can coexist.
These comments have been presented to Gerald Hocker, David Sveikis, Chris Bason and David Small, all of whom have been present to the several meetings with those residents being impacted by the project. To date, I have not seen any response regarding any of the above comments and questions.
There needs to be more discussion to develop realistic options for the restoration of our inland bays. We all have much more to lose then a seafood cash crop.
Dorfman thankful for experience in Bethany
I would like to take this opportunity to thank first the citizens of Bethany Beach who have had the faith and trust to allow me to serve five terms on the town council.
Second, I would state that serving on this present council has been very special. While other councils have been hard working and diligent during their terms, this council leaves their egos at the door and works really hard to make Bethany Beach the best place to live at the Delaware beaches. I have every reason to think that the gentleman who will be taking my seat next month, Jerry Morris, will fit in very well, and be a hardworking and contributing member of council.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the office staff and the town manager for their hard work and support of council. The town clerk, Lisa Kale, and finance director, Janet Connery, have been especially helpful with their support.
I would be remiss if I did not personally thank our town manager, Cliff Graviet. He has worked tirelessly to support the council. His hard work and vision have helped to make Bethany Beach a wonderful place to live and visit.
I have enjoyed being a member of council and I will miss it, but I leave assured the town is in very capable hands.
FOSCL grateful for help with book sale
The Friends of the South Coastal Library thank all of the 80-plus volunteers who helped make the Summer 2015 Book Sale such a great success. We also thank the library staff, the community newspaper outlets and the community at large for their assistance and support. We truly appreciate the people who took time from the beautiful beach weather to stop by and purchase books, CDs and DVDS. Without all of you, we would not have been able to raise over $5,000 to enhance the library’s programs and services.
The funds raised by the book sales help to pay for:
• The purchase of audiobooks for the children’s room, which “reads” award-winning titles to children, then encourages them to check out the books and related titles.
• Ancestry.com access in-house, through the library’s PCs.
• Monthly Book Page Reviews that highlight the latest titles, trends, new authors.
• The McNaughton Books contract, which provides extra copies of new and bestselling titles.
• The purchase AWE (Advanced Workstations for Literacy) PCs for the children’s room — they learn without knowing that’s what is happening, through music, math, history, even early literacy exercises, like learning the alphabet.
• Nearly all of the library’s events and classes, year-round.
Thanks to all who participated — see you in February!
FOSCL Book Sale Committee
Lora Caputo, Theo Fulton, Fran Markowski, Lois Rubinsohn and Audrey Young
Hattier responds to previous letter
Regarding the comments of another reader:
First, let me thank the writer for the kind words regarding my community involvement. The community here has been extremely kind to me and my family and my outside-the-practice activities are my attempt to return something to that community.
Second, when the writer stated that I spoke for the board regarding the new board member, the “we” only refers to the announcement of who she was. Nothing more. I was not sure at the time of the radio call that her name had already been released. Anything other than that were my personal feelings.
I find it interesting that the writer should invoke separation of church and state to criticize my feelings about the background of our new member. Separation of church and state is not mentioned in the Constitution, only in a letter from Jefferson in 1803. There was a denomination concerned that the Congress would name another denomination as the official religion. Jefferson rightly stated that this could not take place.
The Founders were not concerned with the idea of religion in general, just in the specific dogma of each denomination. They wanted to avoid what had happened in England with the Church of England having primacy. The concept of a higher power and religion general suffused their thoughts. John Adams claimed that statesmen “may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” Surely, he wasn’t against some religious training. He was but one of many. Their writings are well known to us all.
And throughout the early years of our Republic, both McGuffie’s readers and Webster’s primer were loaded with Biblical teachings. We all prayed at school board meetings, graduations, baccalaureates, legislative meetings, etc., and even our own John M. Clayton High School had a chapel at some point in the late ’30s and early ’40s.
By claiming that we have full separation of church and state as envisioned by the writer last week, it would make the point that all of this past action was unconstitutional from the gitgo and that our ancestors were all deliberately breaking the laws at virtually every turn. And, frankly, I don’t believe that.
The current situation where religion is absolutely excluded from public life is a product of the courts from Franklin Roosevelt’s time onwards. Before then, the arguments of the Supreme Court Justices are replete with references to our Christian and religious backgrounds. Were the new justices that much smarter than our Founders and could read their minds that this total exclusion was what they wanted? Or are they arrogantly assuming that they know better to further some cause?
I can respect those who do not have a belief in God or a higher power. But if we believe that it takes some set of generally held beliefs and morals to run a republic, as our founders did, how well is it working out that we have abandoned that thought at the highest levels? Can we really say that we are better off?
Donald Hattier, Board Member
Indian River School District