Letters to the Editor — April 1, 2016


Reader grateful for EMT response

Editor:

I recently had a bad fall down my cellar steps. I now have a steel ball and rod in my arm. Of course this happened when I was alone and with no cellphone on me. My neighbor (Don) heard my calling for help. He came over and immediately called 911. The EMTs just happened to be in the area when they received the call. The ambulance was on its way also. Everything just fell into place, except my arm. I heard a voice say, “Kelly, you’ll be alright. This is Gabby Evans.” That was very comforting to hear a familiar voice.

Don’t remember much after that. I realize now it could have been a lot worse than just my arm. I thank God every day it wasn’t/ I sincerely want to thank the following people: Don Corner, EMTs Gabby Evans and John Driscoll, Millville Fire Co., Dr. Pillai, Bob Ciaro and staff at Tidewater Physical Therapy for helping me get back to one piece again.

I just want everyone to know how extremely lucky we are to have these professionals in our community. I’m just one of many they have helped over the years. I can’t thank them enough!

Thanks again,

Kelly Bergstrom
Ocean View

Seismic testing still could happen

Editor:

On March 15 we learned the good news that drilling for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean would not be included in the 2017-2022 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) five-year energy plan.

Unfortunately, seismic testing was not addressed in the decision and is still a very distinct possibility. In fact, BOEM has accepted eight applications to date. The more I read about this permitting process the more I shake my head in disbelief. For instance, some of the companies are applying for an “Incidental Harassment,” which allows seismic blasts even though it could harm or harass endangered species. That would include the baleen whale. There are fewer than 500 of these whales and most of them spend summer and autumn in Northeast waters, and winters near Georgia and Florida.

We know that whales and dolphins rely on their hearing to find food, communicate and reproduce. We also know seismic blasts are one of the loudest sounds on the planet. During seismic surveying, the blasts are repeated every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks or months at a time. The air guns are so powerful the blasts penetrate miles through the ocean floor and then bounce back to the ship. The list of devastating effects of seismic test on marine life is long and heartbreaking. To get some idea of the power of seismic blasting, consider the finding that the catch rates of cod and haddock declined by 40 to 80 percent for thousands of miles after seismic surveying. Thousands of miles!

Another “shake my head in disbelief” fact I learned is that BOEM does not take into consideration the cumulative effect of the total seismic surveys submitted. They look at each one separately as though it were the only survey to be conducted in a given area of the ocean — even though multiple companies are seeking permits to survey in the same zone. Of course, there is no sharing of information among these companies. They are in competition with each other.

There are more frustrating points about this whole process, but the bottom line is that there is no need to drill in the Atlantic so there is no need to survey the Atlantic. Let’s get to work to stop the horrific, cruel and needless blasting. Let’s start by asking Senator Carper and Senator Coon to speak out against seismic testing off the Delmarva peninsula. Representative John Carney has been a strong opponent to the offshore drilling from the onset of the plan and we hope he will be just as adamant in opposing seismic testing.

It is time for all our federal officials to join Delaware’s coastal towns of Lewes, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach who, along with Milton, passed resolutions in opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing. By the way, it would be wonderful if South Bethany would join this list. It’s the only coastal town who hasn’t passed a resolution against seismic testing.

For the sake of the whales, dolphins, horseshoe crabs and all creatures that live in the Atlantic Ocean seismic testing must be banned.

Joanne Cabry
Rehoboth Beach

Hattier responds to Elling’s letter

Editor:

Thank you for allowing me to respond to Mr. Elling.

My response last time was in regard to better planning and how that information is available should anyone take the time and effort to come to the committee meetings where this is discussed at the length it truly deserves. I never once mentioned any animosity to anyone. The statement that 87 percent of new residents in the Georgetown area are Hispanic is a simple fact. Further, around 50 percent of the overall student growth in the district is Hispanic. My comment was how does anyone plan ahead with numbers like that? That was not answered by the writer.

All kids deserve and need an education. Period. In my opinion the IRSD does as good or better job at that than any district in our state.

The writer comments on Howard T Ennis is needing replacement. I don’t know a single person in the district who won’t agree with that statement. Again, had the writer taken time to attend some of our meetings, he would have known that this has already been discussed, voted on and is in process of taking place. That has been months in the making. This is a different pot of money than usual school financing and that is a different discussion.

As to being open to changing hours, etc. I am always open to new ideas. With the district having had our futures committee running now for about nine months, that is the place and forum for discussions of that nature. That kind of input cannot be reasonably handled via a series of editorials. Realize that the ideas presented have to be voted on, discussed with the teachers unions, legislators, parents who work during the day and may want their kids home at night etc before any implementation can happen.

The next statement was on closing the area off and allowing no more growth. Good luck with that one. Our nation at this time can’t even control its own borders and we are supposed to cut off local growth? And Sussex County as a whole is a great place to live!

These are all very important issues. The proper forum for them is in an open group where the ideas can be discussed researched and evaluated. I again invite the writer to invest the time to come and see what is being done. These committees are open and dates are published well in advance for proper planning.

Donald Hattier
Ocean View

Major victory, but threats still remain

Editor:

Tuesday, March 15, was a day to celebrate. On that day, the Obama Administration unveiled the latest draft of their offshore drilling plan for the years 2017-2022. A previous version, released in January of 2015, included plans to lease areas of the Atlantic for offshore drilling. The plan unveiled last Tuesday reversed course and removed all of the proposed leasing areas in the Atlantic thus removing the threat of drilling off our coast through 2022. The Administration cited overwhelming concern from citizens and stakeholders as one of the major reasons the Atlantic was taken out of consideration. An astounding 86 percent of coastal communities from Delaware south to Cape Canaveral, Fla., passed resolutions opposing the offshore drilling plan and airgun seismic surveys, over 120 resolutions in all, including 10 here locally from the Delmarva Peninsula.

While this demonstration of democracy in action should be celebrated, the fact is there still is a looming threat to our coastal economy and environment. The decision on Tuesday still permits companies to conduct airgun seismic surveys for oil and gas in the Atlantic. It is important to note that these types of surveys for oil and gas are far different and have a much greater environmental impact than the ones currently being conducted for offshore wind and beach replenishment projects. The reason for this difference comes from the airguns themselves which emit a sound approaching 250db underwater every few seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of a mapping exercise, which is often several weeks. The persistence of such a high-energy, intense sound has huge and devastating impacts to wildlife and fisheries.

In the federal government’s own report on the environmental impacts of airgun seismic surveys, they estimated 2,000 to 11,700 Bottlenose Dolphins would potentially be physically harmed or even killed as a result of seismic surveys employing airguns in the Atlantic and over one million would be impacted in other ways such as forced migration or disruption to breeding and feeding. For comparison, the same report estimated the impact of seismic surveys not employing airguns at less than one to two bottlenose dolphins physically harmed and 630 impacted in other ways.

The impact of these airguns also extends to fisheries. Studies in the Barents Sea demonstrated an 80 percent reduction in fish harvest in an area extending 20 nautical miles outside of the airgun seismic testing region and fisheries off the coast of Africa saw a similar 80 percent reduction in tuna catch coinciding with seismic testing there.

Even the inventor of the seismic airgun, Stephen Chelminski, has said, “It’s apparent now that we need to do better,” when asked about the impact of their use and is working to design a better alternative.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently reviewing all 8 of these permit applications and must issue an Incidental Harassment Authorization for the permit process to proceed. This authorization essentially gives permission to carry out activities that could potentially impact species listed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. If NMFS issues this authorization, the permits will then be open to public comment before the ultimate approval decision is made.

It is essential that we remain vigilant and, if a public comment period opens, ensure our voices and the voice of the Atlantic is heard.

Matt Heim
Outreach and Communications Coordinator,
Assateague Coastal Trust

Millville fire company gets more kudos

Editor:

I want to thank the Millville Vol. Fire Co. for their fast and professional response in their effort to try and save my wife from her heart attack. I also want to publically thank a part of that crew, Kris Knutsen, for his kindness during that time. As a community, we are fortunate to have people like that, willing to give up their time to train and to help others.

Thank you,

Dennis Lambrecht
Ocean View

Trump supporter explains her vote

Editor:

I see several letters regarding the reasons people do not support Donald Trump. I want to tell you why I do support Mr. Trump.

Our government has become so corrupt with greed and cronyism that it will take someone outside the government to clean it up, or at least start. I don’t believe it can be done quickly. Donald Trump is a bully and he’s brash; the exact kind of temperament who can get things done. We voted for conservatives who caved to the liberals as soon as they got to Washington. Must be something in the water.

For those of you complaining that he isn’t “conservative,” please check out Trump’s website. I think you would be surprised to see just how his tax, health and immigration plans would work. I get that you may be judging everything on the so-called debates, but if you watch the interviews that have been carried on most news stations, you might have a real insight into the heart of this man. Sure, he gave money to various causes that we, as conservatives would not support, but he gave just as much money to Republican causes; not to mention all the philanthropic things he does without fanfare and without the press and without braggadocio.

Sure, he’s changed his opinion on some very important subjects as he’s learned more about those subjects. Remember, he has been very busy in other endeavors, not politics.

It is my opinion that we need a business man to restructure the way this government does business. Have you ever wondered why the “establishment” is so frightened of this man becoming president? Because he will cut the puppet strings to the lobbyists who are the real power-brokers running the country. Donald Trump doesn’t owe anyone anything; he can put Americans first and we will be the better for it. Have you noticed that as soon as Donald Trump states a policy, the other candidates pick it up and run with it as if it was their idea. Do you really want the “establishment” with their tallons in the others to continue to have the same influence they have now? Why are the “establishment” people coming out for anyone except Donald Trump? Because they would lose their influence and power. Bottom line.

Between Cruz and Trump, I believe that Trump is the stronger of the two. We need someone not afraid to dole out a few black eyes.

One more thing you might want to ask yourself: Why is George Soros donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to John Kasich? Just asking.

I’m hoping people will wake up and do their homework: Donald Trump is the real deal and that’s why I support Donald Trump to be our next president.

Sandy McKinley
Fenwick Island

Much progress, but more to be done

Editor:

This past December, following actions by Congress, President Obama enacted into law the largest Alzheimer’s policy victory in at least a generation. An increase of more than $350 million in the federal research funding in the FY16 budget will go to researchers working to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

While we celebrate this historic win and recognize the tremendous efforts of Alzheimer’s advocates and legislative leaders, there is more work to be done. Important research needs ongoing funding and families need access to critical care and support. In order to provide better medical care and outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the possible dementia must first be detected, the disease must then be diagnosed, care must be planned, and the diagnosis must be noted in the patient’s medical record. The Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act would provide Medicare reimbursement for services to increase the diagnosis of dementia as well as provide access to information and support for newly diagnosed patients and their families. It would also ensure that an Alzheimer’s or related disorder diagnosis is included in the individual’s medical record.

There is support from Delaware legislators for this effort. On behalf of Delaware Alzheimer’s advocates, I wish to thank Senator Thomas Carper and Senator Chris Coons for committing to the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. We respectfully urge Representative John Carney to become the next leader to pledge support.

Bring Your Voice to Washington, D.C., on April 6.

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum is the nation’s premier Alzheimer’s advocacy event held in Washington, D.C. from April 4-6. Here, thousands of concerned citizens from across the country will engage with their legislators to ensure continued Alzheimer’s research funding and as well as support for the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. We need you to bring your voice! The Alzheimer’s Association is providing transportation via bus to Capitol Hill on April 6 for Day on the Hill. I encourage Delaware residents to make this bus trip. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900 or visit, act.alz.org/dayonthehill.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. More information about Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs and services is available at (800) 272-3900.

F. Gregory Tigani
Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador
Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Senator Carper
Wilmington