Dog owner asks to just be left alone

I am writing this to address a growing concern that I have as a resident of the area. I am an avid walker and a great day for me is heading out to Assawoman, Holts Landing or James Farm and hiking around these areas with my dog. In some of these areas it is mandatory that my dog must be on a leash, which I respect and abide by.

There are some areas, though, such as Fenwick Beach during the off-season and out on Holts Landing jetty, that there are no such rules and as long as I don’t see any other people or dogs, I will then allow my dog to run free. My dog lives on Garfield Parkway and one can imagine how good he must feel to get to run around and feel truly free.

Twice now, I have had what one would deem as negative experiences at the specific areas I mentioned where there is no leash rule. What really bothers me is that I am a conscious dog owner and I follow the posted rules at specific areas and yet people still scream at me about my dog.

I would like to say to all those who disagree with dogs, that is their right, but please don’t disturb my dog and I when we are out in nature. As long as dog owners follow posted rules and clean up after themselves, then I feel we should be allowed to explore the area without harassment.

Margaret J. Cumberland
Bethany Beach

Editor’s note: Delaware state law requires that a dog must be confined, on collar and leash, or “under the reasonable control of some person,” with exceptions made for licensed hunting dogs actively engaged in hunting with their owner or another handler.

Sometimes, you have to give the other guy credit

I am no fan of the Republican Party since its platform and so many of its members are viciously opposed to fairness for gay people. Yet my father used to say, “You’ve got to give the devil his due,” so here goes.

In January 2007, all eight of the Republican state senators in Delaware voted to oppose rules permitting the Delaware Senate’s infamous “desk drawer veto.” Only one Democrat, Karen Peterson, joined them. The desk drawer veto allows a committee chair to simply ignore a bill, no matter how many legislators or citizens want that legislation: no hearing, no discussion, no vote. Our several gay non-discrimination bills have been killed by this undemocratic maneuver.

The desk drawer veto was abolished in the Delaware House when Republicans took that chamber three decades ago.

This January, all eight Republican senators, plus Democrats Karen Peterson and David Sokola, have now sponsored Senate Resolution 13. It calls for many open government reforms in the Senate, including abolishment of the desk drawer veto. I applaud the Republicans on this issue — and any Democrats democratic enough to join them.

Douglas Marshall-Steele

New art center would serve many in region

I read, with interest, your editorial in reference to the addition of a cultural center in this area. I am a part owner of Gallery One, a co-op gallery of 16 talented artists in the area and a member of the Bethany Beach Watercolor Society. Your paper has always supported any requests we have made to alert the community of an art event. It is comforting to know there are members of our community who appreciate the arts.

The advent of a cultural center in our area is a dream for so many of us who have tried to support and encourage growth of art in our area. It will also stimulate the younger generation of talented artists and give them encouragement to pursue their dreams.

Like you, we know it will “be costly, tricky and a lot of work to make it happen,” however we hope the community is willing to pitch in and help in anyway it can to help make this a reality for future generations. I think the artists of the area have provided a sound ground for the cultural center to use and expand upon. The simple fact is we, as artists, can only grow with this addition to our community.

Again, thank you for your continued support of the arts.

Jeanne Mueller
Bethany Beach

Clear Space firmly behind art center

Your reporting on the meeting sponsored by the Freeman Foundation last week exploring the possibility of constructing a performing arts center was excellent. Thank you so much for covering this important story.

I was there as one of four representatives of Clear Space Productions Inc., a performing arts and arts educational organization based in Rehoboth. Your report that demand for cultural events in this area is on the increase was exactly on point. One just has to look at the growth of audiences for Clear Space’s productions and in the number of students enrolled in its educational offerings to see how true this is.

Clear Space has only been in existence for three years and attendance at its musical and theatrical shows has grown from 12,110 in 2006 to 13,471 in 2007, a little over an 11 percent increase in one year. It has developed a partnership with the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover, where both “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Scrooge” were performed to large audiences. In addition to these shows, it has produced “Oklahoma,” “Dolly” and is planning to stage “South Pacific” this summer.

An important part of Clear Space’s mission is the education of young people in all aspects of the performing arts — namely, voice, instrument, dance and acting. And it is clearly fulfilling its mission. Its Arts Institute and Summer Intensive programs are at capacity and, in addition, its staff is now teaching in five local schools.

The organization is also committed to promoting the work of new artists and will be sponsoring its third New Works Festival this year. Providing the opportunity for new artists to have their works presented to live audiences is so important to encouraging young artists to pursue their work in the theater. One full-length musical presented at its first festival received such audience acclaim that a revised, fully-staged production will be presented by Clear Space this spring — “Scrooge: The Early Years.” And if your readers want a good laugh, they should see this very funny show coming in March.

Thank you again for your faithful reporting and editorial supporting what the Freeman Foundation is doing. It is Clear Space Productions’ belief that, with the support of the community, a center for the performing arts is in our future. It is just a matter of time.

Mary K. Ryan
Clear Space Productions Inc.

Boesch disagrees with proposed smoking ban
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Bethany Beach Town Council and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication:

In response to the vice-mayor’s request for comments, I offer the following thoughts.

I am a non-smoker for over 40 years but I recognize that some people get a great pleasure out of a smoke. The smoking ban is an infringement on people’s rights. The oft-used argument that it is harmful to your health outdoors is obviously bogus. While some continue to feel that second-hand smoke in enclosed places is harmful, I doubt if anyone can show that outside smoke could harm you.

The odor may be unpleasant to others but even that is dispelled by only a few feet of separation and/or a slight breeze. In the more confined area of the bandstand, a smoking ban during performances might be justified.

I think the Council has enough more important things on its agenda than to spend time trying to regulate personal activities.

Philip W. Boesch
Bethany Beach