Editorial — Decisions can leave a generational impact

Date Published: 
Jan. 12, 2018

Many people along the coasts were disturbed when it was announced that there was a revision to the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program, which will lead to increased oil and gas drilling in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of Mexico.

One significant fear was the environmental impact this drilling would have, and the threat to the environment and local economy if a spill were to take place, such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

And then on Tuesday night, Jan. 9, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the waters off the Florida coast will be excluded from the new plan after he met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahassee International Airport.

“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, per The Hill. “As a result of discussion with Gov. Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

Well, Delaware’s coast is reliant on tourism as an economic driver, as well, and one significant spill could destroy this community’s economy for generations. If we know the potential for spills could hurt Florida’s economy, why isn’t this a consideration for other coastal areas?

Please review this decision again. For all our sakes.

Point of No Return — It’s crazy out there, but it’s also pretty cool

Date Published: 
Jan. 19, 2018

Before we get started here, no matter what side of the political aisle you might find yourself on, this is by no means the “worst of times” for this nation.

We once had a civil war, remember? It was fought because one group of people owned another group of people. Justify it any way you want — state rights, regional pride, economic disadvantages, whatever —, the general foundation of the war that divided our nation was slavery. And that’s gross.

And we’re not quite there today. Sure, a look at the headlines from news outlets across these fruited plains might read like the lyrics to a Billy Joel song (“Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, wily Russians, roasted rump. CNN, s*&#hole countries, the Mar-a-Lago. We didn’t start the fire...”). And there is a divide amongst both our elected officials and our general citizenry as cantankerous and absolute as there has been in generations.

But let’s not get overly dramatic concerning our current state of affairs. We’ve been much, much worse.

Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t a time that has reasonable-thinking people chewing at their fingernails. It feels as if we’re one bad Tweet away from nuclear armageddon, and we have people in California petitioning to divide the state, creating “New California” in the process.

There are protests and counterprotests, accusations of beloved personalities committing sexual assault and harrassment, distrust — and often burning hatred — of the media, mass-shootings and veterans taking their own lives or finding themselves without shelter because a nation that is so vocal in showing its support for them won’t do a damn thing to help them adjust to civilian life, and get a hold of the demons they brought back from whatever horrifying situation they were dropped into so the rest of us could sleep in comfort at night.

Rant over. I promise.

Our economy is, and has been for a few years, doing quite well. The military structure of ISIS appears to have been beaten down convincingly. There has not been a string of race-riots following the disgusting happenings in Charlottesville, as I had feared would take place. And, though many people disagree with how things were ultimately divvied up amongst the economic classes, most Americans are going to get some tax relief thanks to a new plan put into motion.

It might not be the best of times, but it’s certainly not the worst of times, either.

We live in an age of instant information and technological wizardry that would bedazzle those who came before us. Consider, if you will, some of the things we can do today that were not even imagined in decades passed:

• Google is a game-changer. Yes, Yahoo and other search engines came before Google and paved the way, but none of them made their way into the mobile world, and our pockets, as well as Google. We are always just moments away from chasing down a recipe, finding a score, seeing what stores have the merchandise we want or finding out who the leader is of any country we want to know. Google has also settled more than one barroom dispute, and instantly decided thousands of arguments between my father and myself regarding batting averages or Final Four appearances.

• Yeah, in hindsight, I should have probably led with the mobile phone. “Why don’t you go back and edit it,” you might ask. “Because it’s none of your business,” would be my snappy retort. The mobile device (I’ll include tablets in this since actually using the “phone” part of a phone is somewhat passé.) has changed the very way we live our lives. Get lost while driving down an unfamiliar road? Open your navigation app. Want to order a full set of silverware or a bounce house while sitting on the beach? Do it from your mobile device. Looking to go on a date with someone who may or may not turn out to be a serial killer? You guessed it. There’s an app for that!

• We got a microwave oven when I was a kid, and I can vividly remember my excited mother boasting about how she could cook a roast and four turkeys in about 11 minutes with this amazing new device. I don’t remember if she actually tried that stunt or not, but we used it a lot to defrost meat and warm up her tea in the afternoon. Now I have one in the kitchen to cook popcorn at night, so, yeah, that’s a pretty remarkable, and flexible, device.

• The television beat me to the world, as it was already poisoning young people’s minds long before I was born, but the advances in television viewing over the course of my lifetime have been staggering. My family’s living room television weighed approximately 13 tons and was the size of an adult Indian elephant, while featuring a screen that was about 6 inches wide. If the picture wasn’t clear, my father would have me balancing on one leg, standing on top of the dog, while I waved the antenna around the room until he could make out Archie Bunker’s face. And then I would stay there until he was ready to go to sleep. Now there’s cable programming, DVRs, satellites, Netflix, Hulu and various other streaming options. If you want to avoid your family or responsibilities, television is your answer.

• Though the Internet is visible in a few of the items already mentioned, it’s impossible to give it too much credit. We can meet people with similar interests from every corner of the world, monitor the locations of sexual predators in our communities, keep track of the behavior and practices of our elected politicians, provide us education on a plethora of subjects and gain us access to reruns of “Baywatch.”

It’s a magical time we live in. Embrace the now.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — Jan. 19, 2018

Date Published: 
Jan. 19, 2018

Dukes weighs in on right-to-work

Editor’s note: The following letter from former Sussex County Council member Dale Dukes was addressed to the current Sussex County Council and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Born and raised my entire life and started two businesses here in Sussex County, I would like to offer my opinion of the right-to-work (RTW) ordinance that was turned down. I also served on the County Council 20 years and was privileged to be president about 12 of those years. Forget the legality issue, which I feel should not be the determining factor to support or not support this ordinance, but what would benefit Sussex County. I was elected to spur the economy and create jobs and growth.

Warren County, Ky., passed this in 2014 and since then the county seat of Bowling Green has seen downtown development of over $300 million in capital improvements. Since 2014, Warren County has attracted 174 prospective new businesses to their county.

This represents about $2.5 billion in potential investment and 16,618 jobs have materialized, according to Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber says their county has 600 job openings for blue- and white-color workers in all fields.

The City of Seaford passed this unanimously in mid-December, and Mayor Grenshaw said he wasn’t content to wait for the County to act and anticipated their own RTW law would attract businesses and opportunity for the former Dupont site, as well as other parts of Seaford.

Despite one county’s decision to reject a right-to-work law, Delaware will remain the only state in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with a local statute prohibition imposition of union mandates on private-sector employees.

Sussex County could benefit from this tremendously and could really boost the economy. Really, the entire state needs this, since the state has such financial difficulty. However, if the State won’t pass it, I encourage the Council not to put this on the back burner but work out the legality of it and get it passed.

I read in the paper that almost all of you were in favor of it, but because of Home Rule and not sure if you could do it, legally turned it down. I hope continued discussion will take place and not be influenced by people outside our county but listen to your constituents whom I have heard overwhelmingly support.

Dale Dukes


Hovington offers other side of debate


I applaud the [Sussex County] Council on their vote at the Jan. 9, 2018, and I commend Mr. Burton on his comments, which were to the point and very appropriate.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, I had the pleasure to appear before the Sussex County Council to exercise my right as an American to express our opinion of the right-to-work issue that was the subject of the council’s meeting that day. As you would expect, as chair of the Sussex County Democratic Party, I was there to speak regarding the wasted tax dollars to host these hearings on this proposed ordinance. However, this is not the point of this letter.

I was appalled at the arrogance of the officials of the Sussex County Republican Party as to the comments they made. It was not a surprise that they spoke in support of the ordinance. It is their right as an American to take that position, as wrong as it is.

What took me aback was the threatening tone taken by these people. Pointing at the council, they told them that they would absolutely have to vote for this ill-conceived ordinance or they would take them out at the next election. It mattered not to these bullies that the County Attorney had ruled that the council lacked the authority to do this. Break the law, cost the taxpayers of this county thousands of dollars and put the economic development back years, it was do it or else. Such intimidation — have we fallen this far?

Let me give these folks a lesson in civics. Threatening public officials for just doing their job is not what America is all about. The noise I heard that day was the founding father of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, spinning in his grave!

We in Sussex have enjoyed a great deal of bipartisanship over the years. Even when we disagree, we have remained cordial to each other. I was embarrassed for the Republican County Council that their positions were threatened by their own party if they didn’t vote to break the law!

How sad!

Jane Hovington, Chair

Sussex County Democratic Party

Reader responds to previous letter


I have read quite a few letters in the last couple of months in the Coastal Point about the lack of “love” in our country. They are very observant! But overlook that most of this lack of love comes from the DemoNcrats and their left-leaning media cohorts and is relentlessly aimed at our president.

I have decided that I have to respond to such one-side vitriol. Therefore, I am writing to comment on Valerie Reeves’ “Reader says America is at a crossroads” letter in the Jan. 12 Coastal Point.

I have to wonder how much time Valerie Reeves has spent reading the new tax law. But I don’t have to wonder what perspective she used, if indeed she did read it. I’ll be honest, I did not read it, but believe it was long overdue and that it will indeed be good for all Americans!

Her first paragraph lists four points that seem to me rather absurd! They are what she interprets as the priorities set by the new tax law. At the risk of being repetitive here they are, verbatim: (1) a compliant work force, (2) starvation wages, (3) weak unions (which produces greater income inequality) and (4) relentless attack on benefits for poor and infirm, constantly attacking protections for the working class on order to create a fiscal crisis that enables them to kill or privatize Social Security and undermine Medicare and Medicaid.

I just cannot conceive how any rational person other than a DemoNcrat Koolaide drinker could list these four statements and relate them to the new tax law. They are nothing but DemoNcrat talking points! Where’s the love? From what I understand, we’ll all pay less taxes and I hope that’s true!

In the interest of space, I won’t repeat her second paragraph. But it is similarly lacking in love. It mentions, among other things, the lack partisanship, and all I could think of was the previous eight years and the total absence of partisanship. But that does not make it right!

But when she says, “the President does not understand the nuances of governing or the intellect to do so” I cannot help but think of Nancy Pelosi. And, again, where’s that missing love? Of course, President Trump had the necessary nuances and intellect to, thankfully, beat Hillary, but I digress.

The third paragraph bemoans what she believes to be the sad state of affairs of the leadership of our country and a ridiculous assertion that Putin somehow controls things. Really? Wake up! Putin has more than enough on his plate controlling what’s inside Russia! Will the DemoNcrats ever give up on a Russian connection?

Vallerie, there are many many millions of us that have patiently waited for a president of the United States of America to stand up for America! To tell the dysfunctional U.N. a thing or two, and to tell the world that we believe that America should be and is the most important thing to Americans!

And the last paragraph expresses her hope for a mind to emerge that will promote truth, justice that is fair, merciful and understanding. Sounds like a prayer! And there’s nothing wrong with praying, but you/we cannot run a country on a prayer! You run a country with a Constitution and laws! And after eight years of Obama, perhaps it’s time for us to return to running our country using our great Constitution and enforcing or changing our existing laws!

I’ll end with what we all should be saying and thinking: “God bless America!”

Thomas M. Keeley III

Ocean View

Filling wetlands can cause more problems


A Bethany Beach Planning & Zoning Committee meeting is scheduled to be conducted at the Town Hall on Jan. 20, 9 a.m. The agenda includes the following item: “A. Discuss and possible vote on an application for a minor subdivision for the creation of 4 new lots and one residual lot, and the relocation of property lines for property identified as Lots 5,8,9 and 10, Block 25, Garfield Parkway in the R-1 zoning district.”

The parcel in question essentially is the same area that was reviewed and rejected by DNREC in 2016 and, at that time, the Town Council submitted a letter to DNREC to oppose the application!

The Loop Canal wetlands at issue are part (18 percent) of a remaining wetland parcel amounting to approximately 10.5 acres of land that provides a large measure of flood control, water cleansing and wildlife habitat. The Loop Canal wetlands are adjacent to the Bethany Loop Canal, which causes major flooding both east and west of Route 1 in Bethany.

These wetlands also capture and process pollutants, thereby helping to protect and maintain water quality. The wetlands and the associated uplands are an irreplaceable, functioning habitat mosaic which supports fish and wildlife species, and which also serve as an important refuge, feeding area and migration corridor.

Further fragmentation of the limited habitat of this kind remaining in our community is contrary to the public interest, especially when one looks at this development in the context of the cumulative impacts that have occurred over the years as a result of new construction?

The wetlands in question have not changed and are required to be maintained as such to insure that inherent benefits as defined by the Department of Interior & Wildlife Services are in place, some of which include:

· Flood control (storage and protection);

· Reduction of coastal storm damage;

· Shoreline stabilization;

· Water quality (by removing silt and filtering out and absorbing many pollutants, such as waterborne chemicals and nutrients);

· Saltwater intrusion control (creating groundwater pressure that prevents saltwater from invading public water supplies);

· Wildlife habitat on the tract itself and as part of a regional mosaic,

· Waterfowl breeding and habitat (;

· Recreational opportunities, including aesthetic enjoyment of nature, photography and environmental education).

It was for these reasons that this area was originally protected by the federal government and the State of Delaware.

Over the years, we have had numerous flooding occurrences in our area, with water levels reaching sometimes as high as 18 to 25 inches above normal. People in the surrounding area have been forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding. We accept these occurrences because we prefer to live in a beach community and rely to a great extent on these precious wetlands to help mitigate coastal flooding.

However, if the wetlands are filled in, the flood-prone adjacent areas can only be made infinitely worse. I must also mention that home owners on at least nine streets could be directly affected by this activity, along with the increased flooding impact of the Loop Canal area, not to mention the cumulative effect throughout the town.

Fragile and vulnerable wetland systems can be quickly destroyed by smothering them with fill, bulkheading, dredging and real estate development. These wetlands are balanced, intricate and dynamic. Destruction of these fragile ecosystems will ultimately affect us all.

Please join with me in attending this meeting in opposing this request, commenting if you wish, but just your being there signifies the need/importance to maintain these fragile wetlands as a safe harbor for all of us.

Jack Walsh

Bethany Beach