Letters: September 8, 2006

Representative takes issues with comments

In the Aug. 25 edition of [another local paper], there was an article on the front page announcing that Kirk Pope, a Sussex County deputy sheriff, had announced his intention to run against me for the 14th District representative seat in the House of Representatives.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Pope into the democratic process and look forward to a positive, honest and respectable campaign dealing with the issues that affect the 14th District. On a personal note, as a father who has a son currently enlisted and serving in the Marines, I would also like to commend him for his military service to our country.

In the article, there were several comments which I took exception to and I feel the need to set the record straight. Mr. Pope was quoted as saying that “Delaware is one of the few states that is not on national Amber Alert.” That is simply not true.

Amber Alert began in 1996 in Texas when a 9-year old girl was kidnapped and murdered. In April 2003, President Bush signed Amber Alert legislation making it a national program which appointed a national administrator and required the participation of all 50 states.

The State of Delaware does indeed participate in the Amber Alert system as required and I attended the press conference several years ago when Delaware went on line. The state plan is administered by the State Police and if there is a child abduction anywhere in the state, law enforcement and public broadcasters work together with a common goal in mind — the swift and safe return of the abducted child. Once a confirmed abduction occurs and certain criteria are met, the information is forwarded to the DSP Public Information Office and it is then disseminated to various news outlets throughout the state or several states or regions.

Mr. Pope also stated that the “national Amber Alert is used to alert all municipal law enforcement entities and sheriff departments by radio when a child is missing.” Again, he is misinformed, as that is not correct. All police agencies in the area are notified by radio as soon as an abduction takes place. The Amber Alert plan is used by law enforcement to alert the public, not the police, and enlist their help.

Under the plan, radio and television stations and transportation officials immediately broadcast information about the child abduction so that the general public may assist in the child’s recovery. Amber Alerts appear on electronic roadway signs and have been broadcast over the Internet and, most recently, some states are displaying the Amber Alert on cell phones and lottery tickets.

In the article, Mr. Pope also mentions a lawsuit that the sheriff’s office filed challenging then-Attorney General Jane Brady’s ruling that the sheriff’s office is not a law-enforcement agency. He said that the lawsuit has not been resolved and that my actions when I introduced two pieces of legislation in June were “premature because the courts have not yet resolved the dispute regarding the Attorney General’s opinion.”

Again, I think he is misinformed. As far as I know, the lawsuit that was filed visited three different courts before it was dismissed “without standing,” meaning that there is no pending lawsuit at this time and the Attorney General’s opinion stands.

One final comment: Mr. Pope also stated that, “The key issue is to serve the people — to do what is necessary to protect the people.” I wholeheartedly agree with him on that comment and I have spent 29 years — 25 years as a Delaware state trooper and four years as a state representative — trying my best to do just that.

State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf
14th District

Reader takes issue with comments in Point

As a Jewish child growing up in a Christian community, I can personally attest to the fact that it is very uncomfortable for a non-Christian child to be in a schoolroom during a recital of the Lord’s Prayer.

Is it not obvious to all that comments like those of Ms. Walker of [a local restaurant] only increase religious/personal intolerance? Our nation was founded on tolerance. How sad that in recent years our values seem to be changing. I realize that people feel strongly about their religions, but the fact is that there is room in this world for many beliefs.

There is no room for intolerance, and feelings of superiority for ones own beliefs over the beliefs of others.

Warren Jeffs and his followers think their beliefs are right. Osama Bin Laden does as well, as did Hitler. Intolerance must stop now. How discouraging that we are moving backwards in our understanding of religious tolerance.

Although I used to enjoy dining with my friends and family at your restaurant, I now realize that as a non-Christian, you don’t value my beliefs, so I will no longer support your intolerance.

Perhaps those with an open mind should boycott establishments such as yours.

Alicia Beach Halverstadt
Ocean View

Families Connected thanks many for support

Families Connected of Millsboro would like to thank the following companies, agencies, organizations and individuals for their financial and/or in-kind support during our summer programs and events — feeding program, summer camps; charity fundraisers, community events and back-to-school drive.

Your support enabled us to serve 150 disadvantaged children this summer and many more community residents. We value your friendship and commitment to those who are less fortunate. Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in the life of a child.

Sponsors: Aiken, Christoper and Alayna Aiken; Elva D. Allen; American Legion Post #28; Applebee’s restaurant; Atlantic Management; James Baker Jr.; James Baker Sr.; Bassett Furniture; Joe Beail; Rev. Raymond Bertolet; Bethany Beach Christian Church; Bible Fellowship Church; Joan and Julius Bogdan; Arline Bogia; Bonanza Restaurant; John Bradley; Laura Brittingham; Camellia Food Stores Inc.; Casual Designs Furniture; Christian Storehouse; Cypress Heart and Hands 4-H Club; Del Tech-Georgetown; Delaware State Summer Youth Employment Program; Delmarva Shorebird; Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families Division of Support Services/Office of Prevention and Early Intervention, and The Federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Governor’s Portion; Malorie Derby; Francis and Michelle DiNenna; Luvenia Draine; Draper Holding Charitable Foundation Inc., Bless our Children; Lance and Christel Folke; Food Bank of Delaware; Food Lion; Forget-me-not; Friendly’s Restaurant; Funland; Georgia House Restaurant; Grace United Methodist Church; Grotto Pizza; Hampton Inn; Happy Harry’s Inc.; Wendy Hardison; King and Carole Hauison; Gene and Rose Mary Hendrix; Catrina Hinds; Louis and Sharon Jobin; Johnny Janosik Inc.; Jungle Jim’s; Killens Pond State Park; Sandra Kramer; Fred and Norma Kropp; Lisa Lasher; John Leotta and Family; Harriet Mair; Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots; Beverly Mattox; Tony McClenny and Friends; McDonald’s of MiIlsboro; Gary Meredith; Millsboro Seventh Day Adventist Church; Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s Office; Meri Jo Montague; Nancy Mostaghim; Joseph and Sandra Myers; Ralph and Paula Nadig, M.D., FAAP-Coastal Kid Watch; Kelly Niethammer; Payless Furniture; John PeIlo; Peninsula Oil Company; Peninsula Realty Associates; Pepsi Cola of Salisbury; Philadelphia 76ers; Phillips Seafood Restaurants; Pizza Palace; Donna Rayne; Tonya Roach; Phillip and Mary Rossi; R.S. Cordrey Farms; Sam’s Furniture; Anthony and Gloria Santoni; Savannah Wicker; Rev. Doug and Michelle Short; Nathaniel and Kailee Short; Staples; Glenn and Cathy Besden-Showell; Audrey Smith; Bruce and Marianne Smith; Russell and Karen Smith; Sound United Methodist Church-Youth Group; Ronald and Ellen Stephens; Sussex County Council; Eileen Sussman; Trimper Rides; Janice Vickers; Vineyard Consignement Shop; Wal-Mart-Georgetown.

Carolyn C. Showell, Director
Families Connected Inc.

Roxana church event a huge success

We want to thank all those people who attended Roxana U.M. Church Ladies Tea and made it a success. We also want to thank The Calico Tree of Bethany for adding a touch of class with a fashion show and all the ladies who modeled the clothing. Thanks also to contributors of the door prizes.

The Ladies of Roxana
United Methodist Church

Intolerance should not be the lesson learned


What an interesting word I have read throughout the local media in the past months.

Do those who are reporting that the Indian River School District is intolerant of others really understand what this community is all about? I say that those preaching this rhetoric need to take a look at how this community has been for many years, prior to their implantation.

Twenty-nine years ago my family and I moved to this area. We had not vacationed here and actually had never heard of Sussex County, Del. However, after living in Indian River School District for a few months we knew that this was the area we wanted to live, raise our children, and become a part of.

We did not expect anyone to change for us. Yes, the salary was less, but so were the taxes. The area lacked the shopping, dentist, medical personnel and other conveniences we were accustomed to, but we adjusted to this lifestyle and fell in love with it and the people.

We embraced the community as it was and even learned where families had lived 30 and 40 years ago so we could give accurate directions. We were not intolerant of the lifestyle we encountered. We wanted to blend, not be outsiders.

If we were in another country we would not ask that country to change its ways for us. Do not ask this community to change its ways for you. If anything, this community has been very tolerant of us who have moved in and cramped their beautiful natural environment that has been here for generations.

They have been very tolerant of the different lifestyles and ways of thinking that have infiltrated their school and political systems.

For example, there seems to be a misunderstanding that only Christian prayers are welcomed prior to the beginning of the IRSD board meetings. However, I know that everyone on the school board who offers a prayer prays according to their own beliefs.

If there were a member of a different belief the other members would be respectful and recognize that individual’s right to pray a prayer according to their personal faith. It just so happens that the majority of this community’s roots are based in Christianity.

It is time that we are tolerant of a community that has received those of us that do not have generations of roots planted here. Let us be tolerant and celebrate the fact that we live in a beautiful, loving, close-knit community who has allowed us to share in their wealth of land and people.

Lee Guarna

Letter-writer furthers discrimination problem

I usually read your paper while in your distribution area. I wonder why you continually publish Mr. Valenti’s weekly [letter]. He seems obsessed with his consistent identification of the Dobrich family’s religion, as if he’s on his own jihad. I am curious if your paper actually attempts to practice non-biased publishing.

Over a year ago, I read of the suit involving the Dobrich family and the Indian River School District in your paper. It happened to be in an edition that featured the anniversary of the desegregation of Delaware schools. There was a lengthy article with pictures with an historical perspective of discrimination in our schools.

When I read of the incidents involving the Dobrich family and their treatment in the schools, I actually thought it was a related article to the one I read about discrimination. I thought it was another story of the Indian River School District back in the 1950’s. I had to read it twice to believe that this incident was current.

Mr. Valenti’s claims regarding the Indian River School District suit supported by the ACLU are echoing of the Christian majority being the victims of the suit. The taxpayers who fund the district are the true victims of the Board itself.

I wonder what Mr. Valenti’s feelings would be if he were transplanted to a nation where religion and the government acted, legislated and taxed (yes, taxed!) as a single authority.

Majority doesn’t always necessarily rule. You cannot vote away a person’s rights. Set aside the exclusionary treatment in the schools that he and his children would incur. I can tell you from first-hand experience being schooled in a Delaware public school in the 1960’s, that the treatment is hurtful and discriminatory. The treatment made me feel embarrassed and ashamed of my religion. I would even lie about it to feel accepted.

The mind of a child handles adversity and exclusion differently than that of an adult. Sure, he and his children could just get up and leave, and be free to practice their religion elsewhere. After all, the Hindu, or Muslim, or Jewish country he would live in would guarantee his rights.

I think the real point here is what involvement should a government tax-funded and attendance-mandated institution have with any religion, even if it’s the right, most popular and best religion?

A letter to your paper several months ago cited our country being founded on Christian principles, and that was why the Revolutionary War was fought. Not exactly. Although Christians did fight the war, one of the principles of the war was actually religious freedom from the government (Church of England). This is why the Supreme Court has time after time ruled the separation of church and state. It’s a founding principle of our nation.

I have no opposition to any religion being practiced and flourishing. I just don’t feel that I as a Delaware and Sussex County taxpayer should be funding it. In other areas, people who feel that religion (Christian or otherwise) should be professed during a child’s school day fund parochial schools. Innovative idea. It would be interesting to see if any suits are filed against the District, Sussex County or State of Delaware on those grounds alone.

Stuart Snyder
Bethany Beach

Editor’s note: The Coastal Point publishes letters to the editor from residents, property owners and visitors to the area, regardless of their point of view. The Coastal Point has published letters expressing views on both sides of this issue. The Coastal Point maintains an editorial stance to be as unbiased and neutral as possible.

Reader: clean up all the power plants

There will be a decision made soon concerning the emission restrictions for the three Delaware power plants. We want the strictest restrictions achievable to match the standards for new power plants. We want healthy air to breathe.

This means all eight stacks — four at Indian River, three at Edge Moor and one at McKee Run. We’re watching closely. Clean them all, or close them all. The health of Delaware citizens and visitors is not negotiable.

Constance Peterson
Citizens For Clean Power

Scouts help put boys on the right track

Is your son getting the start in life you want him to have? If he is 7 years old now, he will be on his own in another 12 years. If he is already 9, he is halfway to adulthood. Will he have had the character-building experiences he will need, when he is on his own so soon?

We all hope that our children will be the kind of people we can be proud of, and that their lives will be happy and productive.

The Scouting program involves young people with the kind of friends you would like them to have, working with adults of good character who will be positive role models to them.

Scouting teaches respect for other people, respect for oneself, and respect for God and country — all vital to our nation’s future.

Please accompany your son between the age of 7 to 10 to the Ocean View Cub Scout Pack 280 sign-up night on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Ocean View Presbyterian Church. Then make a decision: Is scouting worth your family’s time? I hope you will make the same decision that I made, and enroll your son in America’s finest youth program.

Trip Jorss, Cubmaster
Pack 280, Lord Baltimore Lions Club
Boy Scouts of America