Letters - July 14, 2006

State already helping CHEER, county must now

I was recently taken to task for my quoted remarks in an article about funding for the Sussex County CHEER program which appeared in a recent issue of a local paper.

As most people know, CHEER provides essential meals for many of the county’s senior citizens, among other services. The article discussed fears expressed by some CHEER officials of a possible cut services because of a funding shortage.

I was quoted as saying that the Sussex County government ought to be asked to do more for CHEER and, “This is a Sussex County issue. They should be going to the county and County Council should be stepping up to the plate.”

Some people have taken this to mean that I don’t think the state should be asked to provide funding for the CHEER program. Nothing could be further from the truth.

My point is that the state of Delaware is already doing a lot for CHEER when it comes to funding and has been for many years. By comparison the Sussex County government is doing very little. Consider the following:

In the Fiscal Year 2007 state Grant-in-Aid bill, which was just enacted by the Delaware General Assembly, Sussex County CHEER received an increase in funding over last year, including the following amounts for its meals programs: Bridgeville CHEER — $4,300; Coastal Leisure CHEER — $4,000; Georgetown CHEER — $8,400; Greenwood CHEER — $8,400; Laurel CHEER — $14,500; Long Neck CHEER — $14,500; Roxana CHEER — $14,500; Slaughter Neck CHEER — $14,500, and CHEER Mini-Mart — $15,700. This adds up to $98,800. The bill also includes a $67,000 appropriation for the Lewes and Rehoboth Meals on Wheels program.

In addition, the Delaware Division of Aging operates contracts with CHEER and Lewes-Rehoboth Meals on Wheels. These contracts are expected to add up to $625,189 for CHEER and $245,411 for Meals on Wheels for the new fiscal year which began on July 1, 2006.

In addition to funding for CHEER meal programs, the Grant-in-Aid bill includes the following appropriations for CHEER Senior Centers in Sussex to help fund their other operations: Coastal Leisure CHEER Senior Center — $96,584; Georgetown CHEER Center — $88,323; Greenwood CHEER — $99,114; Harbor Lights CHEER Senior Center — $192,387; Long Neck CHEER Senior Center — $126,870; Roxana CHEER Center — $100,346; and Slaughter Neck CHEER Center — $96,642. This adds up to another $800,266.

The state government is providing this magnitude of funding at a time when we don’t have enough money to properly address our school and highway construction needs, and many other state services are facing funding shortages.

All state agencies face the same kind of rapidly escalating costs that CHEER faces because of increases in the cost of energy and other expenses. It is costing us more to operate public schools and school buses, state hospitals and other institutions.

At the same time, Sussex County government is racking up budget surpluses year after year. Among the major reasons why the county is able to do this is that, thanks to the General Assembly, they receive a portion of the real estate transfer tax, and we all know what real estate transfers have been like in Sussex County in recent years.

Nor does the county government have to bear most of the increased infrastructure costs for roads, schools and police protection caused by new real estate development that the county council approves.

My point is that before people start pointing fingers at the state for not providing CHEER with enough funding to maintain their present level of operations, they ought to be asking the Sussex County Council why it is not doing more.

People should be asking the county government why it doesn’t see fit to use some of its surplus millions of dollars to provide additional funding for the very real needs of the thousands of Sussex County citizens, many of them elderly, who are not fortunate enough to be benefiting financially from the county’s real estate boom.

State Sen. George H. Bunting Jr.
20th District

Legion holds program to make us all proud

Often times, I hear people doubt whether our country is in good hands with our current young people. The tattoos, the body piercing, and that awful music. It’s almost as if some people believe that the world will cease to exist once their generation passes.

June 11-15, the American Legion held Delaware Boys State on the campus of Delaware State University, and I believe our country is in very good hands.

Boys State is “among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students” and Indian River High School sent three of its young men there.

Perry Townsend, Art Davidson and Steven Alesi learned the rights and privileges, the duties and responsibilities of being a citizen. They ran for and were elected to various governmental offices within Boys State. They participated in such activities as legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, and other assemblies dealing with our local, county, and state government.

The members of the Indian River School district should be proud of these young men and should know that the future of our government and country is as bright as ever.

Patricia Via
Bethany Beach

Double Bridges Road is an absolute mess

I would like to reinforce the letter from Edythe Becker printed in your issue of July 7, 2006, regarding the extremely dangerous and noisy problem that exists on Double Bridges Road (the brilliantly conceived Alt. 54) just south of Kent Avenue. As a resident of Half Moon Bay in Clearwater, I feel like I live on the infield of the Dover International Speedway.

Drivers, bike riders and pedestrians entering and leaving Ocean Farm and Clearwater Village encounter cars and trucks accelerating to 60 and 70 miles per hour or more on this straight stretch of road. The worst offenders are the drivers of pickup trucks with the tricked-out exhaust systems who speed, tailgate and pass illegally (solid double lines divide the lanes, not that it matters).

The unfortunate decision to make this very narrow, shoulder-less road, with its frequent deer crossings, children and neighborhoods, a major alternate route from the Fenwick area to Bethany was stupid and ill-advised. The reduction of the speed limit from 50 to 45 was a joke. And the State Police, who are responsible for the road, are never there.

Unfortunately, if it is business as usual, a certain number of people will have to die before we get some of the radar speed traps so prevalent elsewhere on the Delaware coast, or a substantial reduction — and enforcement — of the speed limit.

Bob Yesbek
Clearwater Village

State again does the wrong thing on bill

The Delaware state senate has again scorned democracy by not allowing sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill H.B. 36 to be voted on. While the Dixiecrats in the senate leadership are primarily responsible, it is also true that senate Democrats maintain Sen. Adams (and therefore Sens. Vaughn and Venables) in their caucus leadership.

However, while we who are gay deeply appreciate the sponsors’ motivation and effort, and dutifully lobbied for it as something better than nothing, some of us believed H.B. 36 was begrudging, insulting and maintained a second-class status for gays in some of its provisions designed to placate the far right.

If it must fail due to senate Dixiecrats, let us at least have a nondiscrimination bill that educates and does not codify a second-class status. While we have been dithering here in Delaware, the world has moved on, and 18 states and D.C. have such laws. Of them, eight protect transgender as well as gay persons. Shamefully, Delaware has no law at all that specifically protects or even mentions transgenders.

I respectfully urge our legislators to craft a truly egalitarian, transgender-inclusive bill that will not already be outdated, incomplete and regressive when it eventually becomes law.

Douglas Marshall-Steele

Prostate golf tourney a huge success

This note is to thank you for your picture of our Progress for Prostate golf tournament committee that appeared along with an excellent article in the Coastal Point.

This year’s third annual tournament and auction, raised over $22,000 for the Beebe Medical Foundation. It was held once again at the Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club on June 22.

Our focus is to offer free prostate cancer screening to our local communities, with an emphasis on the high-risk African-American male.

Thanks to your efforts and help we were able to meet our goals and objective again this year.

Again, thank you from our committee and from Beebe Foundation.

Bob Davis, Chairman
Progress for Prostate

Tick story was very informative for reader

Thank you for your most recent article, “Season of Ticks” by Christina Weaver.

The article was a help in making family, community and visitors aware of the tick problem and the precautions that they can take.

A good informative article.

Emily Heishman

Handicapped parking a real issue in Bethany

Over the years my late husband, Lawrence “Jake” Jacobsen and 1 both served on the Town Council and various committees. We were there during major disasters – the 1962 storm destruction of the board walk and finding the funds to replace it without raising taxes.

In my first term the council meetings were reconstructed to encourage public participation at meetings and to serve on committees. Reasonable and needed changes were made to the charter ordinances.

This has been the way the town operated under Mayors Bartlett, Parsons and McHugh. The present Council seems to be creating work and making little or no effort to listen to the voter and visitor. They may price the average retiree who lives here out of town.

The most recent outrage is to charge for all handicap parking. Bethany has been noted for being friendly. When I questioned the need, one council member said he saw three boys running from a car with handicap tags to go surfing. They should have been reported. The second reason was because Rehoboth is doing it. This is Bethany Beach.

I was told that more handicap places would be created. To add insult to injury, they are now charging for the designated places. There are four handicap places next to my driveway on Third Street. I talk to many of these people. They are angry and many of them vote here. Bethany is rapidly getting to be an unfriendly and costly place to live.

Please consider running for Council. If you own property here, you are eligible to run and vote.

Julia M. Jacobsen
Bethany Beach

Readers take exception to previous letter

After reading the letter from the Faby family in your July 7 issue, I was so appalled at the irrational statements made, that I felt I must respond.

(1) Adding sand has decreased property values? Does this family not realize that sand is what makes a beach; the beach is what attracts tourism; and tourism is what fuels our local economy? Without tourism and a local economy, what effect would that have on property values?

(2) They are hoping for a nor’easter or a hurricane? Did I read that correctly? Considering all the damage that hurricanes and tropical storms have done in recent years to Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and surrounding states, this statement is not only completely insensitive, it’s downright stupid. Hurricanes don’t just destroy beaches, they destroy roads, property and anything else in their path.

Lucky for the Faby family, their primary residence is not in Fenwick Island, or even in Delaware. They do not live or work in this area. They have the option of going home, should a storm arise, and do not need to depend on the local economy to feed their family.

However, many of us do work and live here full-time, and I can assure you that we do not wish for a hurricane or a nor’easter to hit this area. One of the most beautiful things about the beach, and the ocean in general, is that it is constantly moving and changing, never the same twice. If the Faby family is looking for ideal swimming conditions at all times, maybe they should consider installing a pool.

Reid and Amy Tingle
Fenwick Island

Former mayor urges public involvement

Time is running out to sign up to be a candidate in our town. Applications are available in town and must be completed by July 25, 2006. Be part of a team that curtails the increases in property and size, restores our image as a friendly, family-oriented town, pays attention and does what our citizens want, and doesn’t try to fix what ain’t broken. Please think about running. This is your town.

Joseph McHugh, Retired Mayor
Bethany Beach

Town parade special because of help

I am writing this letter on behalf of all committee members to express a special thanks to all those who devoted their time to make this 22nd parade a special event.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Bethany Beach officials, their staff and town employees, Bethany Beach Police Department, Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary, the fire police, the Public Works Department and their crew.

Thank you also to St. Ann’s Church and the Christian Church Conference Center for the use of their facilities and grounds. A special thanks to those who sold T-shirts and who purchased them and to Jennifer Carter, a very talented local artist, for her help in the design of the T-shirts and her donation of a painting for the grand prize winner.

Without the support of all of these parade components for the months leading up to and after the parade, this event could not be a success. In addition, thanks to the local businesses who provided trucks for our musical groups, which are Lord’s Landscaping. G&E Hocker, Millsboro Ford and two from 84 Lumber. Also to Mr. Natural Bottled Water, Connor’s Package Store, Food Lion and Giant for their donation of water to the parade.

The parade committee is an all-volunteer group. The town of Bethany Beach supports us with a great deal of logistical help. The majority of funds to cover the cost of this event were realized from donations by civic-minded friends in the community and the sale of T-shirts. Thank you for your generous support.

A special thanks to the scores of bicyclists who used the bike kits and their talents to decorate their bikes as they ride the parade route and to the number of community groups and businesses who entered floats and, of course, to the walking organizations. In addition, thanks to those who participated in the 18th annual horseshoe-throwing contest and the first-time pie-eating contest, which were a great success.

From everyone connected with this annual fun and successful show of small town Americana, our sincere thanks.

Phil Rossi, President
Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade Committee

Road a very real danger to cyclists, too

How do we promote safe cycling for tourist and workers?

Double Bridges Road is a very dangerous road, as one reader/resident pointed out. I may be one of the cyclists that may be taken out by a fast car.

Please, slow down, move over, so I can travel safely on the narrow road. If a truck is hauling a trailer, be aware that mirrors can swipe a cyclist. The trailer takes up more room on the road, too.

So why not take advantage of Route 1 with its wide shoulders? Route 1 North has bicyclists going north and south on the same side. My choices are few. I enjoy the roads going west. I find it difficult to compete with fast, inconsiderate motorists on narrow roads.

Thanks for the bike safety check points in Bethany Beach this weekend by Michael Love of Univerity of Delaware and Anthony Aglio from DelDOT, and our local police department. These guys are trying to get the message out about safe cycling.

Route 26 features foreign kids traveling to and from work. Wearing dark clothing, no helmets, cycling against traffic makes riders an easy target for motorists. I hope the free helmets that were provided are used.

If there is a business in our area who would like to see their employees have a helmet, I can provide one from my bike club, Sussex Cyclist. If you want to join me for a bike ride, that works, too. E-mail me at MTmaureenthomas@cs.com or call (302) 539-8445

Maureen Thomas
Ocean View

Homosexual marriage threat defeated

I want to convey my personal heartfelt thanks to everyone who e-mailed and called the NEA. United in one accord, we have made a difference in our children’s life.

I was informed that the National Education Association was forced to drop their proposal to endorse homosexual marriage because of the efforts by the American Family Association Online supporters and people like you — you know who you are. The NEA has removed the original proposal and replaced it with a new one.

The new proposal reads as follows: “The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally-recognized domestic partnership, civil union or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions taxes, inheritance, adoption and immigration.”

It is clear that the NEA efforts were designed to approve homosexual marriage even though they continue to deny it. Without your response and the AFA Online supporters, the resolution with the original paragraph would have been overwhelmingly approved at their upcoming convention in Orlando.

A special thanks to all those bold teachers that took a stand against the NEA. Remember, if you do not like what your union dues is supporting, there are other alternatives. I thank you once again for making a difference in our children’s life and standing up for what is right.

Lidia Smith, AFA