Editorial — Let’s keep good memories from summer season

Date Published: 
June 23, 2017

Well, it’s summer.

Honestly, “summer” really kicks off around here Memorial Day weekend, but the sun and the calendar are now in agreement over the switch of the seasons, and kids from our surrounding areas are out of school. So it is now official.

There is no time of year when this community is more alive than summer, and, for many of our summer guests, this is their one big family vacation a year. For all our sakes, let’s make this a summer to remember, for all the right reasons.

Let’s start with the obvious: We must all respect each other and be vigilant on our roads. One of the worst parts about our jobs here at the paper is reporting on bicyclists and pedestrians being struck by vehicles. There are always several incidents, and more years than not, there is at least one fatality. We harp on it. The local and state police departments harp on it. But someone won’t pay attention — either a person driving a car, or the pedestrian or bicyclist — and a few people’s lives will be altered forever in a moment. Please, please, please pay attention and follow the rules of the road.

Take. Your. Time. Leave a little earlier than normal to get where you’re going, and let the flow of traffic be your guide. Riding someone’s tail down the road or honking incessantly helps nothing. Take your time.

Also, please practice caution when in the ocean. We’ve all been banged around out there by waves and undertows, and it’s a helpless feeling when you are upside down and not knowing which way is up. That feeling can turn in to something much worse before you know what happened. Pay attention, and swim close to the lifeguard stands if at all possible.

Point of No Return — Let’s turn our attention to the positives

Date Published: 
June 23, 2017

It’s easy to take shots.

Trust me on this. The easiest thing in the world to do when you have an opinion column at your disposal — or a prominent commentary spot on television, radio or the Internet — is to sit back and fire away at every single thing that makes your blood boil. Don’t agree with someone’s politics? Blast them to your audience. Unhappy with the service you received at a restaurant or store? Rip them apart publicly, and “teach them a lesson.” Unhappy you got a ticket for driving like a fool? Dig up something you can use to trash a police officer or department.

There was once a saying in the news business that “if it bleeds, it leads,” meaning that the most horrific story of the day would get the best spot in the newspaper or on-air program. It was a shock tactic to get people to tune in or grab the paper off the stand, and, as deplorable as it might sound, it worked. Audiences were attracted to the stories that described the worst of humanity, either because they empathized with the people who were victimized and wanted to learn more, or because people are just naturally drawn to the opportunity to voyeuristically view evil, without being personally involved or at risk.

I was sitting in a media association conference last month for an awards presentation, and noticed that so many “winning” news articles were for covering things that were awful experiences for someone else. The Baltimore papers stacked up piles of awards for their coverage of the Freddie Gray trials. Others got certificates for sharing sad stories of addiction or overdoses. The Coastal Point won recognition for articles on the embezzlement at a local fire company and our schools becoming woefully overcrowded.

It was just another subtle reminder that negativity is what moves the proverbial needle. Negative columns and broadcast pieces focus on the missteps of our president, or Democrats acting feckless or our military being too aggressive, or not nearly aggressive enough. Articles are often constructed with the end-game in sight, with chosen facts filling in the space in the middle to prove a point, as opposed to stepping in with an open mind and presenting all sides so the reader or viewer can reach his or her own opinion.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe it is the responsibility of news organizations to shine a light on every corner of a community, be it a positive or negative story that is unearthed. I’m proud of the work we’ve done over the years with some very sensitive and hard-to-stomach stories, and I fully appreciate the hard work that news organizations around the globe put in to unearth stories that might be hard to ingest, but are vitally important to fully understanding the world around us.

But, man, it’s hard not to feel beat up sometimes when all you see is the bad.

So, with that in mind, and in celebration of the first official week of summer, I decided to “embrace the positive” in this column, and focus my attentions on some of the great parts of our community.

• I love the volunteer fire companies. I love that so many men and women in our community feel a sense of duty in helping others that they willingly put their lives at risk, for nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing they are trying to make a difference. Every time my daughter hears the siren go off, she gets concerned and starts asking about a fire. I always tell her that sound means really brave people are on the way to help someone who needs it, and that seems to satisfy her. I hope she always appreciates that some of those really brave people are our friends and neighbors.

• I love how many service organizations we have in this area, and how many of them raise money to help local students further their educations after high school. Charity should begin at home, and helping young people maximize their potential only makes our community stronger.

• I love our libraries, from the volunteers who help keep them going to the librarians and staff who put so much energy into everything they do, both for adults and youngsters. I hate that I just wrote “youngsters,” but that word goes well with my new wrinkles and the symphony of sounds I emit each time I stand up from a chair.

• I love passing that big chair sitting outside Justin’s Beach House. It makes me smile each time, thinking about how what started as a dream has now turned into a shining beacon for our community, and a house of memories for so many families who could really use some remarkable memories.

• I love sitting on the boardwalk with my family after dinner, eating ice cream cones and listening to the seagulls, waves and children laughing. Everything that’s right with summer can be summed up on one little bench.

• I love the fact that I can walk into any number of restaurants in our area and receive a meal on par with what you’d find in much bigger cities. The restaurant industry is a competitive market here, and they have to always be on their game with so many other options available to diners.

• I love the Bethany Beach Bandstand and Freeman Stage. I’m a junkie for live music to begin with, so having these incredible options a short drive away is a gift.

• I love James Farm. I love taking the dogs for a nice, long walk down the shaded path, and I get a kick out of seeing my daughter explore the beach and plant life. It sure beats sitting around watching “Moana” for the 75,000th time.

• I love that you can go from the beach to a local farm or produce stand in less time than it takes to listen to three songs from the “Moana” soundtrack. We make that particular trip a lot, and it makes for a great day. And there are plenty of great days here.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — June 23, 2017

Date Published: 
June 23, 2017

Fireworks company calls for legalization


Delaware has fallen even behind further in the inevitable path to legalization of consumer fireworks. This year, Iowa adopted a full-line consumer fireworks bill.

Delaware, Massachusetts and New Jersey are the only three states left that continue to prohibit all forms of consumer fireworks to be sold and used. Massachusetts had a failed bill a couple years ago, and New Jersey has a consumer fireworks bill currently active in the state legislature, having been approved by the Senate on May 25, 2017, by a vote of 35-1-4.

The use-injury curve of consumer fireworks is very attractive. Since 1994, when the industry began testing the products at the factory level in China before exportation to the U.S., the imports have increased from 117,000,000 pounds in 1994 to 285,300,000 pounds in 2015. During the same period, the injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used has dropped from 10.7 to 4.2.

This represents an increase in use of 143 percent against a drop in the injury rate of over 60 percent. This is a dramatic contrast, and is a major argument against those who would continue to outlaw the use of consumer fireworks to protect the citizenry. Where are the anti-fireworks legislators when the discussion comes to outlawing the use of cigarettes and other things like that which cannot be used without causing harm to the consumer?

The reduction in the number of fireworks-related injuries is even more impressive when you consider the CPSC injury statistics include injuries related to professional display fireworks, illegal explosives, homemade fireworks and altered fireworks — none of which are consumer fireworks.

Remember, second U.S. President John Adams, in a now-famous July 3, 1776, letter to his wife Abigail, expressed that Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”

The time has come for Delaware to join 47 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in legalizing the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks.

Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.

William A. Weimer, Vice President

Phantom Fireworks

Craft show a hit, thanks to many


The 13th Annual Bethany Beach Seaside Craft Show was held on Saturday, June 3. Once again, this juried show presented over a hundred crafters with a wide variety of offerings on our boardwalk and bandstand, as well as on Garfield and Parkwood streets.

We want to give recognition to all those who make this excellent occasion possible. The Seaside Craft Show Committee begins each year in September to plan for the upcoming show the following June. However, it is the generous assistance of our town staff and volunteers the day of the show that makes the event happen.

The Bethany Beach Police are on hand from 6 a.m. until sometime after 7 p.m., when the last crafter has moved out. They provide the order that is necessary and appreciated in making things go smoothly from beginning to end. A very big thanks to Dean Sissler and our seasonal officers for their invaluable and friendly assistance.

Thank you also to Brett Warner and the other Bethany Beach Public Works staff members for attending to the many details that set the stage for a successful show. We could not do without their assistance both before and after the event.

Not least of our thanks is for the many volunteers who show up each year at 6 a.m. to mark booths and welcome the crafters, as well as assisting with the crafter parking at the Christian Church grounds. Maureen Killmer annually rounds up these folks, many who graciously return year after year, assuring that the day gets off to a good start.

This year that thanks goes to Carole and Ron Calef, Jim Lutrzykowski, Rick Morini, Joe Morris, Debby Hannan, Steve Piron and three of our town council members, Lew Killmer, Chuck Peterson and Bruce Frye. During the day, Carol Coyle and Margaret Young provided booth-sitting for crafters who needed a short break. Thank you one and all!

And finally, thanks to Maureen’s Ice Cream for the early-morning doughnuts and coffee we provide for our volunteers and crafters, the Disciples of Christ Conference Center for the parking area for the crafters and to all those who attended the show!

The Seaside Craft Show Committee

Gloria Farrar, Stacie Loftus,

Carol Olmstead Karen Taylor, Joan Thomas, Cheryl Wisbrock, Julie Malewski (Bethany Beach Events Director)