Young already a fixture in community

Margaret Young is uniquely qualified to serve on the Bethany Beach Town Council. A life-long member of this community, she has served it uncommonly well through decades of pell-mell growth. As the town struggled to maintain its family ambience and sense of history, Margaret has been a champion of the cause.

A home owner in Bethany Beach for 40 years, as were her parents since 1945, Margaret, secretary of the Historical Society, has been a docent in the town’s museum through three different site changes.

Margaret came to Bethany as a child. As a teenager, she worked at the cherished Holiday House Restaurant during the summers. In later years, her children also worked in Bethany businesses.

After retiring from their jobs in Pennsylvania, she and her husband Val (an avid fisherman) moved permanently into the “new” development of Bethany West, today an oasis of trees, beach gardens and bungalows — a suburban treasure.

Few in St. Ann’s parish do not know Margaret and her many volunteer works for the church.

For eight years, Margaret has served as the recording secretary for the 300-member Women’s Civic Club. And those records go back to the days when “The Ladies Club” bought equipment for the few lifeguards and benches for the boardwalk.

Like many of us, Margaret recalls quieter and friendlier days at Bethany. However, she is ready and qualified to face the many challenges in a town with a multi-million dollar budget and a surge toward upscale living.

Carolyn B. Hughes
Bethany Beach

Healy an asset to Bethany Beach

I know that Joe Healy will be a great asset to Bethany Beach as a town councilman. A vote for Joe will leave no regrets.

Joe and Peggy have been my next door neighbors since I came to Bayberry Woods in ’99. Joe and I have served as council members, Joe as treasurer and I as president.

It’s a nice feeling to have a person with Joe’s expertise in accounting and finance to rely on in projecting financial needs and reserve requirements. I don’t have knowledge of other condo communities’ finances, but I feel Bayberry Woods would rank high on the list thanks to Joe’s stewardship.

This expertise is available with or without a vote, since Joe has served on Bethany’s Town Budget and Finance Committee on a voluntary basis. Let’s make it official with a vote.

Joe is very forthright, which translates into knowing the facts, which a good community needs to be successful. He has integrity and a good wit.

See you at the polls.

Don Pellicano, President, Bayberry Woods Condo Association
Bethany Beach

Book sale a big hit for library

A sincere thank you goes out to all the volunteers and patrons who helped to make our book sale at the South Coastal library such a resounding success. For the first hour that we were opened on Thursday, Aug. 9, the library meeting room was packed with customers who were eagerly buying many, many books.

In spite of the crowd and the closeness of the quarters, the customers were very courteous and uncomplaining, and, hopefully, most found what they were looking for. The volunteers who were checking out did a super job. We moved so many books that it was unbelievable. It was the busiest hour that any of our book sales has ever had.

For the rest of the sale on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we had a steady stream of patrons, and the volunteers all came and completed their tasks in a pleasant and helpful manner.

This will be the last book sale for at least a year. I’m so grateful that it went so well and we can end on such a happy note. Thanks, everyone.

Dot and Joe Lane, Co-chairpersons
Friends of the South Coastal Library Book Sale

Replenishment not all for the good

I grew up in the summers in Ocean City. Boogie boarding, surf fishing and then graduated to surfing, I still Boogie board when the guards are on.

When I was about 12, they did the first beach replenishment and it destroyed the surf break and the fishing. It also broke numerous necks, legs, etc. At first, they published this in the Beachcomber, but then for some reason they stopped.

My father said when he was a kid they actually had fighting chairs on the piers near the inlet and would catch huge sharks. But that was shut down by the Chamber of Commerce. He said that this was my first lesson in the government’s ability to hide the truth. Did you know that in June some of the best shark fishing is a few miles off the coast and a guy actually caught a great white this year off the Delaware coast?

Seems funny how these items are not published too well.

I have noticed that the break in Ocean City has always become a shore break in the summer months. It was tough to ride the shore break but we learned or we had to go to south O.C. or Assateague for a good break.

Last year, in August, I broke my leg on 130th Street, surfing on my Boogie board. It was a bad idea to do it and I knew it. As stupid as it makes me look, I want everyone to know that the shore break is dangerous.

This incident cost about $7,000 in ambulance, hospital fees, medical bills, etc. Thankfully, I have insurance, but it cost me time out of work and, worse, I missed the fall hurricane swell season.

I know that there are a tremendous amount of good things financially about beach replenishment, but the human costs are severe.

A few years ago, when we were in economic trouble, the federal government gave us a quick fix by lowering interest rates and easing lending standards. So in the short term we all got that new beach house, additions, furniture, cars, tuition payments, the list goes on…

So now that we got our quick fix, we are left with its effects, which are overcrowded beaches, a glut of investment properties with their associated taxes and cost, more traffic, and more people. Thank you, quick-fix government.

So, in the same way, we are going to get the same type of effects from beach replenishment.

In the previous scenario, it was all related to financials, but with beach replenishment it is a human and environmental cost. Sure, that new beach will protect your investment property, but what about your kids? Just go up to Rehoboth and tell me if you want your kids playing in that shore break. Just ask any lifeguard in Rehoboth how many people have broken bones this year alone because of the new beach.

If you don’t own property and you save up $8,000 to come here for a week, how would you like to spend the rest of your life nursing your child with a broken neck? How much money has Bethany set aside to assist these people?

I want everyone to know that your tax dollars are going toward a project that could endanger you and your family’s life. Our representatives know this as well but will not bring them up to our attention.

Also a new big beach will bring more people and traffic. That’s just what we want isn’t it?

Just this week I was on 130th Street on a hot day. The beach is huge, but we still have to fight for a spot closest to the ocean. Just sit in between the dune and the surf and tell me how long you can stand it. I’ll give you 10 minutes and a few bottles of water.

For me and everyone I know, we come to the beach to play in the ocean. So why would we spend money on something that rules that out?

There are better ways to replenish the beach, by gradually sloping the sand out so we can enjoy the water, but I think that would cost a bit more. And maybe even open up the discussion so all sides can comment. What about the animals, such as fish, sand crabs, turtles, sea lions, birds and crabs?

In Virginia you can’t go on certain parts of the beach because of a certain bird that nests during the summer. Well, the same bird would live on our beaches if we cared, but, for some reason, in the name of money, we avoid all of our standards we apply elsewhere.

Also, what about the unexploded bombs that are off the coast. When was the last time they tried to detect them? How about your kid digging up an unexploded bomb? How about all the toxic heavy metals that are on the ocean floor at the mouth of the Delaware Bay? Gee, I would really like my pregnant wife swimming in water with mercury or raw sewage.

I think we all need to step back and look at this one more time, with both sides of the story.

With the ocean levels rising every year, are we sure that current beach replenishment technologies are suited for this new environmental shift? I just don’t want everyone to get teased by this low interest-only teaser loan.

Its impacts can be very detrimental.

Stephen Schwing
Ocean City, Md.

Clear Space a positive influence for many

Congrats to Clear Space Productions. Congratulations on yet another sensational summer show. “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” starring Brit Shubow, was fantastic and full of beautiful staging and sounds due to the talents of your outstanding cast and crew.

I would further like to congratulate you on your excellent work as you continue to bring your mission of quality arts opportunities to our area. As many of you may know, I have worked in non-profit organizations since the mid-90s, in the arenas of the arts, education and human services.

I recall being in a workshop at one time and hearing a message that implied that arts groups were “not as critical” as human service organizations. At that time, I was working at The Barnes Foundation, an arts education center in Philadelphia, and hearing this message made me feel somewhat like a second-class citizen.

Seeing the work and mission of Clear Space Productions in our community proves that such a thought is truly a misconception. Just because some individuals have divorced artistic expression from their everyday lives doesn’t make it true. Art is the language of the human spirit, and I firmly believe that art can exist in everyday living. By bringing a vibrant and exciting arts organization to our area Clear Space Productions enriches Sussex County and makes this a more amazing place to live.

Clear Space Productions’ classes, outreach and performances remind each of us that the arts are the essence of who we are and serve to uplift us regardless of age, race, sex or creed. This is evident when one listens to the voices of seasoned professionals and community members as they come together on stage. It can also be seen on the face of a child in the Musical Theater Summer Intensive as he demonstrates his first choreographed dance steps while wearing a bright, toothy smile.

A heartfelt thank you to each of you — board members, staff, artistic directors, students and company member — for helping our communities to see a new perspective, one in which the arts are embraced as a means of creating a healthy, vibrant place to live.

Melissa Tice Martin and family

Family thankful for response in fire

My family would like to express our sincere thanks to all the members of the Millville, Bethany Beach and Roxana fire companies for the exemplary job they did responding to our emergency call on July 19, 2007.

When we discovered a fire in our attic that was caused by a lightning strike, we quickly called 911. Within a few short minutes, the Millville department was on the scene and was soon followed by the Bethany Beach and Roxana departments. We were amazed by the coordination and teamwork demonstrated that night. Not only was the fire quickly extinguished, but the firefighters made an extraordinary effort to minimize damage to our personal property by moving furniture and covering the area with giant tarps.

We are truly fortunate to have such dedicated and knowledgeable volunteer fire companies with such great leadership serving our area. Our thanks go out to all the men and women who responded at the scene, as well as those companies covering back at the stations.

Sandy and Lori Smyth
Ocean View

Dukes explains his vote on ordinance

As president of the Sussex County Council, and the subject of a recent letter to the editor in several local newspapers, it is incumbent upon me to respond to some inaccuracies and plain untruths regarding the July 31 passage of the bonus density ordinance.

Obviously, the letter writer has been misinformed about the purpose of and content within the ordinance that will charge developers a fee for added density. Money collected by way of this ordinance will be reinvested in our communities to purchase open space, with recommendations for land purchases and protective easements coming from the non-profit Sussex County Land Trust.

First, the letter writer asserts that I am a member of that organization’s board. I am not.

Secondly, the letter writer incorrectly states that I and fellow Councilman Vance Phillips “play a significant role in determining who benefits from these funds.” The writer states that all the money through this ordinance will be generated on the east side of the county, and that I and Councilman Phillips will take it to pay rich farmers over on the western side.

This, too, is incorrect and baseless. In fact, the County Council attached an amendment to the ordinance which states that any money generated through an application will stay in the watershed where it was generated. So, if a project in the Inland Bays watershed is proposed and approved under this ordinance, any money collected will have to remain in that watershed. It cannot be used to purchase open space in, say, Greenwood. This feature will bring about a sense of balance.

With declining real estate revenue, I believe this could be a revenue stream that could help the shortfall that we and other government jurisdictions are experiencing. I hope this sets the record straight as to why I supported this ordinance.

Dale Dukes, President
Sussex County Council

Editor’s note: The amendment mandating the purchase of open space in the same watershed with the density fee funds was added to the ordinance shortly before its adoption.