Letters to the Editor — January 9, 2015

Fenwick business owners to share info


On Jan. 21, at 2 p.m., a meeting will be held at the Fenwick Island Town Hall. The general purpose of this meeting is an effort by the Town to reach out to the business community for their input on issues that can help their business be successful.

In my opinion, the most critical topic of this particular meeting is proposed changes to current town ordinances that will impact both vacant and non vacant commercial lots. The proposed changes and various options of those changes, deal in a large part with setbacks and parking — two areas that relate to the size, location and configuration of a commercial building.

In the past a common complaint from the business community has been “I didn’t know about it.” The current town council, a newly-formed business committee, and our Chamber of Commerce are working to address that concern. All business-license holders were recently sent, via mail, a notice of this up coming meeting. If you own commercial property in Fenwick Island inc., your input is crucial.

Tim Collins, Southern Exposure
Fenwick Island

Reader: Frankford at a crossroads


Frankford has been in the news quite a bit lately, primarily because of pension issues for the current town employees and budgetary issues. While these two issues have certainly dominated our regular monthly town meetings, the problems facing Frankford are much more numerous and at least as complex, if not more so.

These include a decade-long saga with the water plant, transparency in how the town is managed and for whose benefit, healthcare benefits that are provided to town employees that any deferral employee would be envious of and aging infrastructure that never seems to be discussed. Now comes the retirement of the police chief and questions if Frankford will disband the police force.

These issues can be complex and will require a significant time commitment from the town council. However, over the last year there has been very little effort from the council to address these issues, and when these concerns are raised by the residents, the council’s usual response is to change procedures as to not allow any input from the citizens or to delay any decision in hopes that the issue will simply go away.

The pension issue is a prime example. The council decided to institute the state-defined benefit plan for Frankford and back the plan for current employees costing the town over $65,000 immediately and possibly hundreds of thousands over the next couple of decades. At the insistence of residents, a workshop was scheduled to review other options and alternatives, but the council could not get enough of the council members to even show up and listen. This is only one example. It has been extremely rare to have all five members even show up once a month for the regular monthly meeting.

Health care is the next immediate concern with the town facing a February deadline to either renew the existing plan or make changes. There are a number of options available for the town to consider. As I am sure everyone knows, the Affordable Care Act has forever changed health insurance as we know it. This law is complex and affects every single American and the way that they receive healthcare coverage. Whether you like it or not, you simply cannot ignore it. As I write this, to my knowledge the council has done nothing in preparation for this. At a minimum, two workshops open to the public should be held with every council member required to attend in order to make an informed decision. Simply hoping the issue will go away is no way to run a town’s finances and does a disservice to both the town tax payers and the town employees.

Thankfully, Frankford has an election coming up in February. There are two seats open. If my fellow residents are as concerned as some of us are, and take these issues seriously, this is our chance to start to make a change in the way the town has been run for the last 20 years. Current council member and council president JoAnne Bacon has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected. For much of her time she has been fighting an uphill battle and needs support from someone else on the council to be able to make a difference. This other person is Velicia Melson, a local with lifelong toes to Frankford, exceptional experience in finance and a great understanding of the issues Frankford faces.

This is an incredibly important election for Frankford. The problems the next council will have to confront will have ramifications for every resident, including taxes, property values, public safety, etc. The great thing about local elections is that each and every one of us can have an impact, unlike state or federal elections. But it is up to the voters of Frankford. We basically get the government we deserve.

Marty Presley

Sight Team grateful for support with effort


Thank you, Delaware. More than 3,000 pairs of eyeglasses from all corners of the state are being delivered and distributed to people in and around San Pedro de Macoris, in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic.

It’s a team effort — coordinated largely by the Delaware Lions Sight Team. People throughout Delaware, including at our summer church, St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach, donated their old glasses. The Delaware Lions and team leader Clyde Bragg of Viola, collected the glasses and delivered them to the Sussex Correctional Institution, where inmates determined the prescriptions. Then the glasses were cleaned, sorted and shipped to the Dominican Republic.

That’s where our volunteer team from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Savannah, Ga., takes over.

This is the second year St. Peter’s has operated a one-week vision clinic at our sister parish in San Pedro. Our team includes ophthalmologists, opticians, translators and workers, and our experience last year confirmed the need for eye care: Of the 500 children and adults we examined, nearly 20 percent would be considered legally blind. They had cataracts, macular degeneration and the consequences of diabetes and other diseases and conditions. We examined everyone and helped them see better. Some who had never seen a clear object in their lives now gasped when their vision sharpened and they began to realize what they had missed.

Imagine a lifetime of blurry, hazy vision, suddenly transformed. The sense of joy and wonder made this an unforgettable experience.

It convinced us that returning was essential, but with greater capacity — we want to examine over 1,000 people this year. That’s now possible, thanks to the efficiency and energy of the Delaware Lions Sight Team. And you.

Jim Toedtman
Bethany Beach

Women’s club makes community donations


Each year the Women’s Civic Club of Bethany Beach assists local organizations to fulfill their goals by providing holiday cheer. This year was no exception.

At the annual Holiday Luncheon held at Bear Trap Dunes, on Dec. 11, the club generously donated the following:

• The Town of Bethany Beach funds to continue and support the Martha Jean Abby Memorial Gardens. Martha Jean Abby was president of the WCCBB from 1987 to 1991, and again from 1995 to 1997;

• The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Department and the Bethany Beach Emergency Medical Services, to assist with the services they provide to the local area;

• The South Coastal Library for their children’s library section and activities;

• The Pyle Center in Frankford was awarded numerous Wal-Mart gift cards to enable them to provide families some assistance for the holidays;

• The Warrior Weekend program established at the American Legion in Millsboro was given a donation to assist them in their program which provides our wounded warriors and their families a brief and enjoyable weekend away.

Representatives from each of the above-mentioned organizations attended the luncheon as guests of Bear Trap Dunes and donations by the club president were awarded at that time.

The WCCBB was established in 1925 and presently has 182 members from the local areas. The club does not fundraise; therefore all monies donated to these worthy causes are from the dues and member donations.

The club meets the second Thursday of each month at the South Coastal Library. For more information, you may contact Andrea Gowetski, Membership Chair at (302) 541-4751 or B.J. Hildebrand, president, at (302) 539-6973.

Women’s Civil Club of Bethany Beach