Letters to the Editor — December 27, 2013

Delaware’s battle with secondhand smog


If you’ve ever sat in the nonsmoking section of a restaurant, it’s clear that there are no real barriers to keep the smoke from wafting into your dining space. The same holds true, only on a much larger scale, when it comes to air pollution produced by coal-fired power plants in one state that drifts into many others. Some call this second-hand smog, and much like second-hand smoke, it can cause serious health problems.

It makes sense that Eastern state governors, including our own Gov. Markell, have recently banded together to petition the Environmental Protection Agency — the EPA — for stronger health protections from air pollution blowing into our region from the Midwest. Tens of thousands of asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and even deaths are caused every year by air pollution that does not respect state borders.

Delaware is worth protecting. We applaud Gov. Markell for supporting the need to clean up second-hand smog that will help protect children, older adults, people with lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease from toxic air pollution and placing pressure on those in the Midwest to do the same.

Deb Brown, President and CEO
American Lung Association of the Mid Atlantic

Reader weighs in on Pinnacle site


Recently, the status of the Pinnacle/Vlasic site has been much in the news (“Battle over Vlasic site cleanup brewing,” Cape Gazette, 12/13; “Millsboro Resident Enlist Experts In Fight Against Chicken Plant,” WDMT, 12/15; “Cleanup plan still an issue,” News Journal, 12/18; “Residents debate proposed Millsboro poultry plant,” Sussex County Post, 12/18; “Millsboro Holds Hearing on Controversial Allen Harim Plant, WBOC, 12/18; “Proposed remedial action for Millsboro plant sees opposition,” Coastal Point, 12/20).

It is not a debate. Allen Harim, as part of the purchase, has an obligation to investigate the site and not be left responsible for a problem that was not of their making. While an investigation has taken place, it was less than thorough, but it nevertheless found problems that were largely not known. What is not known before they sign on the dotted line or any pollution that moves because of a new owner’s action would be the new owner’s responsibility.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control last took decisive action on the site in 1988, when severe nitrate contamination was found. A groundwater remediation effort was ordered and executed until 1997.

Before 1988 and since, lax oversight and absence of meaningful groundwater monitoring has again allowed significant environmental pollution to occur from spray field application of wastes and leaking surface impoundments. I’m quoted as saying at the hearing, “I’m disgusted with the action of the State with this site.” That does not begin to express my views.

Today, we are faced with contamination that can be traced far offsite by the trail of vinegar and pickle spice in the groundwater. It is this chemical soup that has also created conditions under which toxic heavy metals, such as arsenic, cobalt and lead, are made soluble and transported off-site.

The next steps are to find the source of the heavy metals and determine where to and at what level of health risk they have moved off-site. Until these additional tests are done, how big the problem is, and how and if it can be remedied, are questions with no certain answers.

John J. Austin
Rehoboth Beach

BART grateful for support with show


Thanks to all of you who attended the BART presentation of “We Gather Together” at the Dickens. The show was a sell-out and, as you know, all proceeds will go to scholarships for students interested in careers in the arts.

Our next presentation is Rich Bloch’s interpretation of Mark Twain in his self-written and -acted play “Southern Comfort.” It will have six performances the first two weekends of February. Don’t miss this fantastic show, which is directed by Piper Laurie. If you wish more up-to-date information on our presentations, check out our Facebook page, under Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART).

A merry Christmas and happiest of new years to all of you, and thanks for your support of BART.

Bob Davis
Bethany Area Repertory Theatre

Cabry responds to previous letter


Mr. Walt Berwick’s response to my letter in support of DNREC’s revised storm water management plan stated I “called out Republican legislators” and I “cite Sandy as support for the regulations.”

Mr. Berwick, Hurricane Sandy hit our coast in October 2012. The legislators’ tour of flooded areas I mentioned took place in February 2013. There is no reference to Sandy in my letter.

My letter “called out” the 16 legislators who requested the moratorium. For the record, they include 14 Republicans and two Democrats. Please note, not all Sussex and Kent GOP legislators signed the letter.

My husband and I are fortunate, as is Mr. Berwick, not to have flooding problems. But as the elective officials who took that tour last February witnessed, many residents are not as lucky. I believe the government has a responsibility to hold contractors and developers accountable for effective stormwater management practices throughout the state. Perhaps that’s what makes me a Progressive Democrat.

Joanne Cabry, Chair
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

Reader has an issue or two for DelDOT


One: As we all know, the traffic condition outside of Lord Baltimore Elementary School at dismissal is out of control. At the beginning of this school year, DelDOT saw the problem and tried to correct the congestion. They even erected temporary electric signage to inform of the new procedure for picking up children after school.

Well, we were waiting for the accident, and it happened today, Dec. 20. Not just a fender-bender, but cars having to be towed away. The reason was the line of vehicles stretching for blocks, lined up to pick up their kids after school.

Is this to blame DelDOT? No. This problem has been created by the Indian River School Board. The board now allows parents to send their children to any school in the district, as long as they provide transportation if they do not live within the boundaries of the selected school.

Two: At our community Christmas party at a restaurant in Bethany, neighbors brought up this interesting observation: They asked me if I have ever driven north on Route 1 toward Dewey at night recently. Thinking back, my answer was no. Well, they said, try it sometime and you will see these confusing lights approaching the new bridge.

Well, I drove up the other night and saw three bright lights. There are three bright yellow/orange lights as you are approaching the bridge. You do not know if you are to change lanes, or what you are supposed to do.

I checked them out in the daytime and discovered they are decorative street lights to the right side of the bridge.

Check it out sometime and see if you agree.

George Eckert
Bethany Beach

Justin’s board grateful for Contractors

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the non-profit organization Contractors for a Cause and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Justin’s Beach house could not have been achieved and maintained without the ongoing support of Contractors for a Cause, who continue to work so hard to make Justin’s vision a reality. Thank you!

The Contractors for a Cause, old and new, have volunteered countless hours, and the light that you all have brought to this community is commendable.

We thank you for your belief in our mission and wish you a very healthy and happy New Year!

Craig & Mary Ellen Nantais and the 2013 Justin’s Beach House Board of Directors
Ken Baker, Kathy Green, Kathleen Jennings, Randy McCreary, Linda Schools-Ayres, Ann Baker and Ernie Felici

QRCF thanks many for supporting event


Happy holidays! It is with gratitude and appreciation that I send this message. On Saturday, Dec. 7, the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) hosted our annual Caribbean Christmas fundraiser. Our signature festive event was held at Mango’s and raised funds to support two wonderful organizations: Delaware Hospice and Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. I am delighted to preliminarily report that we predict that we raised our largest number yet, and we hope to be able to financially help these organizations, and our own, continue our good work.

This gift was made possible by the many sponsors, volunteers and guests who attended the event. Thanks to our sponsors: Mango’s, Bethany Beach Books, Beach Liquors, Sabor restaurant, DiFebo’s restaurant, Papa Grande, 14 Global, Bethany Blues, Misaki Sushi, Sedona, Mio Fratello, Off the Hook, Fox’s Pizza Den, Coastal Point, Cruise Planners, Boyden Design and the Delaware Wave. We also had many auction item donors — too many, in fact, to list here. Know that your support is most appreciated!

Thanks to event chairs Ellen Magee and Jean Wode and the many others who gave their time to make the event epic.

Our thanks also to the over 300 attendees who supported the event as guests, bought raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items. As a representative of the QRCF and on behalf of the dedicated board and advisory members, my thanks for this extensive effort executed in support of local charitable organizations.

Our community efforts this holiday season continue! On Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, in downtown Bethany Beach, we, along with the Bethany Fenwick-Area Chamber of Commerce, will host the Hair of the Dog Run and Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos Swim. Proceeds from the Run and Swim benefit the many groups, clubs, and organizations that are served by the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation and the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

We hope that residents and guests will join us kick off 2014 with us. More information can be found at hairofthedogrun.com.

Steve Alexander, President
Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation

Reader wants voting records more public


Have you ever tried to find your legislators’ voting record?

I went on the State of Delaware website (legis.delaware.gov) and could not find it anywhere. Yes, I could find how they voted on an individual bill and votes by day, but there was nothing in it about a compiled voting record. I found that you have to contact the legislator you are checking up on and, if they agree (not kidding), they will have one sent to you. I don’t want my legislator to know I’m checking up on him.

These are powerful people. This needs to be ready and available on the State website for all to see. It can only help get good legislators reelected. The public deserves access to legislators’ official voting record on the state website.

Mike Schierl

Inland Bays Foundation working for all of us


The Inland Bays (Little Assawoman, Indian River and Rehoboth) are beautiful to look at, but they are unsafe to swim in because they are impaired (polluted). This is not just the opinion of the Inland Bays Foundation, it is the State of Delaware’s periodic assessment of the Inland Bays’ water quality, as mandated by the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act.

These periodic assessments have concluded that aquatic life and primary-contact recreation are not supported in each of the bays due to high levels of pathogenic bacteria, low levels of dissolved oxygen, high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, and high concentrations of nuisance and pathogenic algae.

As a result, our bays are among the 40 percent of our nation’s assessed waters that remain polluted 41 years after passage of the Federal Clean Water Act.

The Center for the Inland Bays’ (a national estuary program) 2011 State of the Bays Report “characterized water quality in the Inland Bays as fair to poor.” The report also noted that, “The Indian River Bay continues to show evidence of an overall decline in water quality.”

According to Delaware’s 2008 pollution-control strategy, the primary causes of these conditions are agriculture and urbanization. Regrettably, the state’s department of natural resources (DNREC) knows what action steps are necessary to reverse these impaired conditions of the bays, but the state lacks the necessary level of land-use authority required to force Sussex County to, among other things:

• Comply with its own state-approved comprehensive development plan, and

• Prohibit development in Sussex County designated Level 4 areas that is detrimental to the water quality of the bays.

As a 501(c)(3) that was established in 2011 with guidance from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Inland Bays Foundation will actively lobby state and local governments to take the action steps necessary to reverse the bays’ impaired water quality conditions. As a last resort, the foundation may also rely upon litigation to bring about the necessary changes in regulations that are required to improve the bays’ water quality.

Bringing about these changes requires manpower and funding. If you would like to be a part of this effort, please join us at our monthly meetings posted on our Facebook page at facebook.com/InlandBaysFoundation.

Ron Wuslich, President
Inland Bays Foundation