Letters - March 24, 2006

Local emergency teams do great job

I would like to thank publicly the Ocean View Police Department and the Millville Volunteer Fire Department. On Monday, March 13, the first responder to our 911 call was an Ocean View police officer. He was prepared to perform a rescue in the event that my mother had had a heart attack. I regret that I didn’t get his name. He came into our Briarcliffe community at approximately 8 a.m. I am grateful for the officer’s assistance.

The officer was followed promptly by an ambulance from Millville. The attendants were Brian McConlogue and Mickey Wisseman. Those two young men performed professionally and compassionately as they made an assessment of my 86-year-old mother’s condition. Brian and Mickey transported my mother, Kathryn Sears, to the Beebe Medical Center. Thank you, Brian and Mickey. They were reassuring for me as well.

By the way, I rode in the front seat of the ambulance. I was appalled that many drivers do not pull over for an emergency vehicle.

My mother received expert medical care at Beebe. Dr. Alae Zarif performed emergency surgery on March 13. He is a wonderful physician. Mother recovered and returned home on March 20. Thanks to the Beebe Medical Center for their competent and compassionate care. Our community is very fortunate to have the quality care that Beebe provides.

Thanks to all who played a part in creating this story which has a very happy ending.

Carol Hughes
Ocean View

IRSD board members are doing the right thing

I would like to extend a hearty thank you to the Indian River School Board for their refusing to cave in to the ACLU. That organization has been chipping away at our rights for long enough (and using our dollars to do it).

It is high time we started fighting back. The fact that the vote against settling the lawsuit was unanimous was even more encouraging. Those of us who believe our first amendment freedom of speech (yes, it was intended even for those holding public office) is worth fighting for should be sure to go out and vote for all the current school board members who are up for re-election and support them any way we can.

IR School Board, there are many of us praying for you, and we are praying for you “in Jesus’ name.”

Carole Cullen

Reader supports actions of school board

I am so encouraged by the united stand our IR School Board members took in regard to the ACLU’s threats. Good for the board members. My congratulations and thanks to each member. We are praying for you all.

Carolyn Marcello
South Bethany

Wilson is more than qualified for seat

Residents of District No.4 of the Indian River School District should stand up and cheer over the news that a seasoned educator has entered the race for the Board of Education. Dr. Jackie Wilson, a graduate of the Indian River School District and a 30-year educator has entered the fray to challenge long time incumbent Charles Bireley.

Wilson’s credentials speak for themselves. She has been a paraprofessional, teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal and principal in the district. After representing Indian River effectively for 28years, she was called to Dover to lead the Office of Professional Accountability for state Secretary of Education Valerie Woodruff. Simply put, Wilson knows the Indian River School District and knows education.

This election is about the future of the Indian River School District — a district that is at the crossroads and needs positive change. Rarely does someone of Wilson’s credentials step forward and bring such expertise to a school board that is in dire need of new leadership and members who understand the internal workings of a school.

I for one will support Wilson wholeheartedly. Anyone who cares about the future of the Indian River School District will do so as well. Residents of Dagsboro, Ocean View, Millville, Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach, stand up and be heard on May 9. Vote for positive change — vote for Dr. Jackie Wilson for Indian River School Board.

Harold Walters

Representative listens to concerns of residents
Editor’s Note: The following letter was forwarded to the Coastal Point.

Dear 38th District Constituents,

I want to thank everyone who attended today’s [March 28’s] “Coffee’s On Me” event at Hocker’s Grocery & Deli. The attendance was the best ever and it makes me proud that the 38th District cares about the community by attending these events, whether to ask questions or to listen to the most recent updates on legislation affecting our area.

The big issue today seemed to be the Delmarva Power rate increase. As I stated, the Energy Task Force has proposed legislation that will be looked at; however, the sad news is that there is nothing to suggest that the rates will be lowered. Questions were raised about the concern for our seniors and those on fixed incomes.

Another concern brought up numerous times at today’s event was the closing of Old Mill Road and the need for an alternative traffic light for residents north of Route 26 wanting to turn east in the Millville area. This is being studied and I will work on any possibilities which will help this situation.

These and many other issues were discussed and I hope everyone left today feeling well informed. I enjoy hosting these events and being given the opportunity to talk with everyone “one on one.” As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns (local office number: 537-6016).

Gerald W. Hocker
38th District State Representative

Elling questions acts of board members
Editor’s Note: The following open letter was addressed to the attention of Indian River School District Superintendent Lois Hobbs and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

Last night at the school board meeting, I attempted to express my outrage at the unethical and potential illegal issues of actions by Director of Transportation and School Board President Charles Bireley.

I agree that you do have rules to not use the names of school employees in the public hearing of the Board. I was wrong to do so. I used your name and the name of our finance director as well in a positive manner. I did indeed use the name of our director of transportation multiple times and this created some very sharp and emotional responses from Board members.

I was not happy with my personal expressions in the heated part of the “debate.” I was not happy that the Board of Education used a religious prayer in our school and classroom. It was indeed a classroom, as you recognized numerous outstanding students and one group performed their award winning presentation. It is a classroom every time students are present, in my opinion.

I was grateful that all of our terrific students were no longer present when I spoke. I apologize to the all the staff of IRSD present for any and all uncomfortable feelings they may have experienced over my reference to staff by name. It was wrong of me to use an employee’s name in public in such a negative description.

The following is the text of the statement I was attempting to communicate. I have communicated this information to the Department of Election, State Board of Education and the Attorney General’s office for the State of Delaware. I am not confident in the ability of our IRSD Board of Education to investigate this issue completely and with objectivity:

Good evening members of the Board of Education, District staff and community members.

I come here this evening with a stomach full of discouragement. Our school district finances are in serious difficulties. Cuts are across the board with some questionable decisions having occurred. The referendums keep coming and coming, and after today’s vote we will still have more coming in rapid succession.

We have a Board of Education pursuing personal faith issues with taxpayer’s money. We have a lawsuit arguing a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. We have a Board that wants to bring back physical abuse for behavior management purposes. Yes, it is with parental approval. Understand this clearly, I will never permit you to abuse my child in any form. I will not have my child in a school that practices such emotional and physical abusive approaches.

Today, my stomach was sickened even more so. I received information from Dr. Jackie Wilson that she received a call from a caller that an IRSD vehicle with Transportation Supervisor John Mitchell was putting up campaign signs for Board President Charles Bireley.

I understand that Dr. Jackie Wilson’s campaign manager and her husband went to the Indian River School District and confronted Mr. Mitchell to see if he was transporting and possibly putting them out during the day when he was supposedly working for the District. Mr. Mitchell opened the back of the school district truck and there were “Re-Elect Charles Bireley” signs along with a box of stakes for displaying the signs. I was told that the campaign manager had a camera and took pictures of the signs, the truck license plate and Mr. Mitchell.

I asked Dr. Wilson why she did not go public with this information immediately… I would have. Dr. Wilson stated she felt that the controversy would detract from passing the much-needed referendum. I also asked if she really had pictures and she said yes. I believe she needs to come forward with this information if it is true because this is another horrible example of how the present Board membership and a certain district employee are acting in an unethical and illegal manner. Has our superintendent been made aware of this serious issue?

Now, you can see why my stomach is full of discouragement. I always thought that “Christians were called to be honest and the most loving of people.” Loving people are not abusers of children using “spanking.” Honest people are law abiding.

Is this accusation of using a School District employee on District time with a District vehicle for personal purposes true, Mr. Bireley? Is this legal or ethical or a positive role model for our students, teachers, administrators and all other staff? I want to know. I expect a formal review of these accusations. I expect a public notice of the result of the formal review.

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

Editor’s Note: Charles Birely denied any knowledge of these actions taking place. See story on page 19.

Pancake supper a hit because of helpers

I wish to thank all the wonderful people who helped me with the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Feb. 28, at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.

Richard L. Thomas