Bethany resident expresses concerns
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Tony Pratt of DNREC and forwarded to the Bethany Beach Town Council and to the Coastal Point for publication.

On my recent walks on the boardwalk in Bethany Beach I noticed a poster at several of the steps explaining the beach replenishment/dune project in considerable detail. It even includes an excellent photo of the damage to the oceanfront improvements due to the 1962 storm, in addition to the basis for the dune elevation and costs.

I don’t know who is responsible for this effort, but they are to be commended, be it the CoE, DNREC or the Town of Bethany Beach. It should go a long way toward mitigating the disappointment that I feel will be apparent to our summer-season visitors and may generate acceptance of the dune elevation at 16 feet.

I am hopeful that the efforts to get the CoE to reduce the elevation of the dune along the boardwalk to 14 feet will succeed. I would like to offer a few observations and ask questions. To that end, however, I do not know who to contact. I am hoping you could assist my efforts.

Subsequent to my past letters to the Coastal Point, I visited Ocean City and the Rehoboth Beach boardwalks. In both instances, I found that the view of the ocean and beach from their boardwalks was quite satisfactory. This prompted me to inquire what the elevation of their respective boardwalks and dunes are.

I contacted the city engineer for OC and he advised me that the concrete retaining wall along the east side of the boardwalk was elevation +14.5 (NGVD 1929 datum). The dune was no higher than the wall and the view of the beach is unobstructed while standing, and only slightly shielded when sitting on the benches.

I contacted RB as well. They do not enjoy an on-staff city engineer but referred me to the consultant firm that does their engineering. I was advised that the dune elevation in RB was +14 (NGVD 1929 datum). The view of the ocean from the boardwalk is unobstructed.

In order to clarify the difference in the elevation datum, I accessed the CoE Web site and obtained the following equation: NGVD 88 – NGVD 29 = -0.81 feet. Relying on my high school algebra, it seems by inserting the OC wall elevation of +14.5 in the NGVD 29 slot in the equation and solving for the top of wall elevation for the NGVD 88 elevation, the top of the wall in OC is +13.69 feet (NGVD 88 datum).

My question is why the wall/dune elevation in OC is 2.31 feet less than in BB? A similar exercise would apply to the RB dune elevation relative to BB. Is there something wrong with my observations and conclusion?

One step further: upon my review of the FEMA flood plain map for BB, I find that the 100-year flood elevation from the beach line easterly is given as ZONE VE (EL 14) and the elevation given for the actual beach area is ZONE VE (EL 12).

These 100-year flood determinations are for “flood insurance rating purposes only” according to the “Notes to Users” — but how can they differ so much from the apparent conclusion reached by the CoE determination for the BB dune that established the necessary elevation of 16 feet?

I am fully aware of the necessity for justifying expenditures of federal funds based on a positive cost-benefit analysis. I would like to offer that there is a benefit lost in BB by the obstruction of the view of the ocean from the boardwalk. Quantifying the economic loss to BB and merchants due to possible reduction of vacationer population and expenditure is probably indeterminate but I believe it is a factor.

I would hope someone at DNREC or the CoE will re-evaluate the necessity for the dune at 16 feet adjacent to the boardwalk, rather than 14 feet, considering all the effects and the apparent differences in protection provided at OC and RB.

John J. Stamm
Bethany Beach

Bethany Blues comes through for group

On Nov. 15, the Bethany Blues Barbecue Pit hosted another successful benefit for Bethany Town Cats. The members of our non-profit organization are grateful to Bethany Blues for its continued support in our efforts to control the feral cat population in the resort area with our spay/neuter program.

We would especially like to thank Kevin, Jim, Ky, Ruthie and all the staff at Bethany Blues who contributed to making the evening so enjoyable. Our thanks go also to all the local businesses which allowed us to post our flyer heralding the event. We are looking forward to our next collaboration with Bethany Blues.

Jack Reamy
Bethany Town Cats

Walk-A-Thon a big hit because of support

Faith United Methodist Women Society held and sponsored a Walk-A-Thon for the Crisis House in Georgetown, and Casa San Francisco in Milton, on Sept. 29, 2007. The Walk-A-Thon was a huge success, raising $7,529.

We would like to thank those individuals, organizations and sponsors for their contributions, prayers and support. Both shelters will utilize the money for the sole purpose of meeting needs of the clients they serve. Remember, as you help others, you are fulfilling the willing of God.

Marlene Duffy, Christina Miller,
Faith United Methodist Church Women Society

Families should be support, not stressers

About 25 percent of gay teens are kicked out of their homes after their parents learn of their sexual orientation. Other gay and transgender youth choose to run away due to unbearable family and societal opposition. All together, gay and transgender youth comprise 20 percent to 40 percent of all homeless and runaway youth. That’s up to 640,000 gay and transgender kids who are homeless.

Suicide is another way gay and transgender youth seek to escape their private hell. Up to 30 percent of all youth suicides are gay and transgender, and suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBT youth. Some 3,000 gay kids kill themselves every year.

Drug use, prostitution and other risky choices are also suicidal behaviors that these vulnerable youth might select.

Is this the way we treat our children in order to assert our religious purity and commitment to “family values?” Those parents who are fortunate enough to know their kids are still alive and where they are can warmly urge them to come home for Christmas. They might also apologize for their cruelty. Who knows, the kids might be gracious enough to accept.

Douglas Marshall-Steele

We should all be more respectful of each other

How do you define family? To me, a family is people connected by love. Mother Theresa said, “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” I believe the time has come to see that we are all one family.

My dearest friend in the world is Maria. Our bond is sacrosanct. I could not love her more if we were born of the same mother. We laugh together and cry together. We pray together. I am a Muslim of Palestinian descent; she is a devout Italian Catholic. We see the face of God in one another.

In these difficult times, please see the face of God in everyone. Let’s invoke the very best in ourselves and in each other. May we uplift, forgive and honor one another, and may peace be upon us all.

Dina Odetalla
Bethany Beach

Operation Thank You a huge success

On behalf of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce’s staff and board of directors, I warmly thank all of you who helped make Operation Thank You a true success.

As always, you demonstrated your true sense of community and donated a mountain of items that included phone cards, hand-knitted caps, toiletries, snacks, blankets, DVD’s and yo-yo’s. Your gifts and “thank you” messages are on their way to Iraq. Because of you, local servicemen Jon Frey, Ryan Strafer and Jonathan Steele and their units will be warmed and cheered for the holidays.

Very special thanks go to the Coastal Point and WGMD for helping to promote the effort, to Mr. and Mrs. Jim Pisauro for transporting the truckload of donations, and especially to John Barrett and the staff at The UPS Store in Ocean View for beautifully and efficiently packing everything up for us.

Thank you again, and warm wishes for a wonderful holiday.

Karen L. McGrath, Executive Director
Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce