Letters to the Editor — April 11, 2014

Atkins discusses repeal bill


I read an article talking about the death penalty repeal bill and how supporters are saying House leadership is holding up the bill in committee. They say that the only way to do something about it is to suspend rules and force the bill to the floor for a vote.

I need to correct the record for my constituents. Regardless of your position on the death penalty — and I’ve made mine very clear, that I support keeping the death penalty — this bill has had a fair process in the House. It bothers me to hear people say the opposite. We have a process for bills, and it has been followed the same as it has been for any other bill.

When Senate Bill 19 came to the House, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf assigned it to the Judiciary Committee. That was the right committee for the bill, and probably was the best chance for it to get out. Looking at the committee membership, it’s apparent that death penalty repeal would not have gotten out of Public Safety, Corrections or Administration. Judiciary was the best committee, and the bill’s sponsors haven’t disagreed.

Most importantly, the bill got a full hearing in committee. It failed by a 6-5 vote. Bills sometimes fail in committee. If you’ve been a legislator long enough, it’s probably happened to you at some point. That’s the process. If you don’t get the result you want, you can try to change some minds or you can try again next session. You don’t accuse people of abusing the process.

It’s fair to point out that Rep. Schwartzkopf had this happen to him a few years ago. He introduced a bill and couldn’t get a committee hearing, so he brought the bill to the floor — because the process wasn’t being followed. The next session, he got his committee hearing on the same bill and it failed in committee. Pete walked away from the bill because he respected the committee’s decision.

This is a contentious bill for a lot of people, but you cannot say that it hasn’t been given a fair hearing. I think everyone should keep that in mind when talking about it.

State Rep. John C. Atkins
41st District

Sons of Italy lodge offers thanks


The Fourth Annual St. Joseph’s Day Italian Festival on March 22, sponsored by the Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy and St. Luke’s/St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, was another big success. We had over 1,300 attendees come through to enjoy our home-cooked Italian meals and baked goods.

They sat and listened to music provided by the Mario Monaldi Band from Baltimore (a favorite of Italian festivals throughout the Mid-Atlantic); bought Italian specialty foods and merchandise; participated in our large silent and Chinese auctions; played some games of chance and watched their children enjoy making Easter crafts.

All in all, it was a fun day and a very successful one for our charity and scholarship funds.

We have many individuals and local merchants to thank for their generosity in sponsoring our entertainment and auctions. These are the establishments that are the backbone of our community, and we appreciate their support. It is a pleasure to acknowledge them and encourage your readers to support them.

Our benefactors in Bethany Beach: Anabelle’s Boutique, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach Hut, Calico Tree, Freaky Tiki Teez, Off the Hook, Perfect Furnishings, Sabor restaurant, Somerhouse, Sea Level, Tidepool Toys & Games.

Our benefactors in Dagsboro: Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. Our benefactors in Fenwick Island and West Fenwick: Avon Products/Patti Graininger, Bayville Package Store, Bayside Liquors, Casuals Design Furniture, Fenwick Float-ors, Fenwick Hardware, Fenwick Wine Cellars, Just Hooked restaurant, Lighthouse Liquors, Mancini’s Italian Restaurant, Mio Fratello Italian Steak House, Nantucket’s restaurant, Paco’s Paradise, Sea Shell City, Southern Exposure, Taste of South Philly, the Pottery Place, the Rooster’s Nest.

Our benefactors in Millsboro: Denney’s Electric Supply, Mill Pond Restaurant, Millsboro Lanes, Pizza Palace, Ray’s Place Styling Salon.

Our benefactors in Millville: Dr. Julie Hattier D.O., Fat Tuna Grill, Giant Food, Miller’s Creek Gifts/Wicker, Patti’s Hallmark, Perucci’s Classic Italian Restaurant. Our benefactors in Ocean View: DiFebo’s Italian Grill, Ellen Rice Gallery, Hickman’s Package Store, Studio 26 Salon, Tidewater Physical Therapy, Treasure Island Fashions, Treasure Quest Shoppe, Turquoise restaurant.

Our benefactor’s in Selbyville: Coastal Coffee Works, Doyle’s restaurant, Georgia House restaurant, PNC, Johnson’s Family Restaurant, Sweet Dispositions.

Each one of these merchants played a part in our festival’s success through their sponsorships, gifts and donations. We sincerely thank them all, and we hope that the 2014 season will be their best ever.

And a very special thanks to all of you who came and enjoyed the afternoon with us. We had fun putting it all together. We hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did. See you next March.

Sal Castorina, President
Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy

Elling: It’s not too late to do right thing


Do the sport images and behaviors used by the IRHS and SMS cause any of the following terms to legally apply toward Native American tribes/people?

(1) Disparages, belittles, mocks, ridicules, sneers, criticizes, vilifies, denigrates, derides, scorns, rubbishes, laughs at or pours scorn toward Native American tribes/people?

(2) Falsely, incorrectly, misleadingly, deceptively, dishonestly, suggests a connection with any of the Native American tribes/people?

(3) Fails to demonstrate respect, admiration, esteem or high opinion toward Native American cultures, languages, religions and ways of doing things?

(4) Ignores past and living Native Americans every November for Native American Month and every Columbus Day?

(5) Are the Indian mascots/images of the Indian River High and Selbyville Middle Schools promoting “white privilege” in our schools?

Will the IRHS and SMS leadership and followers be forgiven for the harm caused by their “Indian” mascots and images? “The Hebrew Scriptures encourage forgiveness — Leviticus tells us not to bear any grudge.” It is fair to say that forgiveness is a bigger theme in the New Testament.

In the field of behavioral psychology, “the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance… says, in part, if you behave in a certain way, your beliefs will eventually change to conform to your behavior.” Change is difficult after 45 years of living a lie, to vilify, to falsify a connection, to disrespect cultures and languages, to ignore important events and to impose “white privilege.”

Albert Emmi wrote, “There is a strange kind of enigma associated with the problems of racism. No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still, racism persists, real and tenacious.” Racism is very much a part of the history of our school district, and it is alive and active today. We have the power to starve it or continue to feed it within our schools. When will the IRSD say no to racism?

We can stand with the National Congress of the American Indians and support their demand for “ending the legacy of racism in sports and the era of harmful Indian sports mascots.” We can end the “…widely consumed images of Native American stereotypes” within our school district that “slander, defame and vilify Native peoples, Native cultures and tribal nations, and continue a legacy of racist and prejudiced attitudes” (National Congress of the American Indian).

“However we express them, apology and forgiveness are gatekeepers to open doors that have been closed for too long. We can open a gate that allows good work to follow between people who have things in common, as well as differences. Apology and forgiveness can open a door that is just the beginning of a further relationship” (White Bison Inc.).

We can start again. We can be born again. We can become a new creature.

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

Nebraska class requests our help


We need your help! We are the Anselmo-Merna fourth-grade class. The kids in our class are 9 or 10 years old. Our home is in Custer County, which is in rural central Nebraska. The school has students from two towns and the surrounding farming and ranching area. Our school has about 180 students in grades Pre-K through 12, and 21 in fourth grade.

The fourth-graders want to learn about what life is like in other states and areas of the country. We are doing a project with our third-grade class called “the States Fair.” Each of us is researching a state and will be presenting our learning in May at our States Fair. Our teachers wanted to help us make researching more interesting by contacting chambers of commerce and newspapers in various states and asking readers for help.

We are hoping that you, the readers of local newspapers or leaders of chambers of commerce, can mail us artifacts from your state. Some examples of things you could send are brochures, pamphlets, pictures, non-perishable products unique to your area, leaves from native plants, small rocks or shells, or other small items.

We are excited to learn about your area, and it will mean more to us if you help us out by sending us a few items. We would like to have our items by May 1. Thank you for your help! We look forward to hearing from you!

Anselmo-Merna Public Schools
Attn: Fourth Grade Class
750 N. Conway St.
Merna, NE 68856