Letters to the Editor -- January 25, 2013

Another proposed campground discussed

I am writing this letter in reference to the proposed RV resort and campground in the Ward Road/Cedar Grove Road area. I have reviewed the PLUS report and also studied the site plan available in the zoning office. Being a full-time resident of Lewes and a homeowner in one of the communities which border the project, I have several concerns regarding the development of this plan.

First and foremost is the negative impact this campground will have on Love Creek and the Hetty Fisher Glade wetlands and the surrounding woodland areas that encompass this parcel. A project of this magnitude, which includes the construction of roads, buildings, lots, pools, docks, pavilions, the running of underground electrical wiring, and the addition of septic and water components, would involve the removal of a great deal of existing forest and plant life, thus displacing and destroying much of the wildlife that make this their home.

Native plants and grasses, along with marine wildlife, which border the glade and creek would also be effected by the continual use of these waterways for recreational purposes. Also, the run-off pollution from the campsites would have a negative impact on the integrity of the wetlands and its natural habitat.

Water quality in these areas must be preserved to best protect and ensure continued growth of the existing wildlife population that live in these waters and on the land; and for that reason, the location of this RV resort is not a good fit for the area.

Secondly, the impact that this project would have on the current traffic situation in the area is of major concern. The development of this site would add more than 600 (that is a conservative number, knowing that some sites will have two allotted parking spaces) vehicles that would use the small back roadways to get to and from the campground, beaches, restaurants and shops; thus making a bad situation even worse.

Currently, on any given afternoon during the season, the traffic going north on Route 24 toward Route 1 is backed up from Plantation Road and down Route 24 for at least a mile. Because of this, traffic will bypass Route 24 by using Mulberry Knoll Road to go north onto Cedar Grove, which then causes a backup there, creating delays on Cedar Grove Road.

The intersecting roads at Cedar Grove Road, Plantation Road and Postal Road can be hazardous during the season, due to the growing number of cars traveling in several different directions. The addition of this campground would only compound the existing traffic dilemma. Also, we need to consider the exhaust emissions that would pollute our air from the additional traffic flow.

Finally, I would like to address the site plan of the resort itself. It is large... Very large! It could accommodate well over 2,000 people at any given time, depending on the amount occupied by each unit. That is a great number of vacationers in a very condensed area.

Also, according to the site plan, the piece of land which borders Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade would be comprised of 200 RV lots, a pool, an amphitheater, a dock, a bar and spaces for parking. This particular piece of land narrows out at the point and is surrounded by water on both sides.

Knowing that sound is magnified as it travels across water, noise coming from this area would be invasive and create a major issue to the communities and homes which border the site. For that reason, building a bar, amphitheater and parking lot toward the end of the point would not be conducive to that particular area.

There are many beautiful campgrounds in our local area that can comfortably accommodate RV’s and campers and also offer a wide array of amenities to anyone who would like to visit our lovely beach towns. Adding another campground — especially one of this size — at the proposed location would not be advantageous to the surrounding area.

With all that being said, I am asking the commissioners to consider how this project would jeopardize the sustainability of our forests and wetlands, and ask them to help minimize the potential for additional “resort sprawl” in rural areas by voting against the zoning change and against the conditional land-use application set forth by the Jack Lingo Assessment Management Corporation.

Knowing that the Lingo and Townsend families have grown up here and make their homes in these beautiful resort towns, I would also ask that they and their asset management team reevaluate their plans for this area and consider permanent preservation alternatives to the forest and wetlands bordering Love Creek and Hetty Fisher Glade. It is the right thing to do!

Lorrie Falkinburg

Habitat thankful for support with event

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Kevin Gilmore, our executive director, I would like to thank you for your most recent article and coverage of our Winter Golf Clinic held at the Sea Colony Fitness Center on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Laura Walter was a pure joy to work with and her article captured the perfect blend of the mission and ministry of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH): building hope, homes and community!

One of our goals is to have an even stronger presence with events and projects in the Ocean View, Bethany and surrounding communities. We already have many ReStore donors, shoppers and volunteers who are your readers. With your help (front-page coverage), we were able to garner more interest in the Winter Golf Clinic and welcome many new faces who are now supporters of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity!

Over 45 golfers participated in the golf clinic to sharpen their skills for the upcoming 8th Annual Walt Jones Memorial Golf Outing, being held on May 17, 2013, at Midway Par 3 in Lewes. Even Brandy Williams, the future homeowner of the Habitat Home currently building built in honor of Walt Jones, joined in the fun for the day! The annual golf outing combined with our silent and live auction the night before is our largest annual fundraiser. All are welcome. Check it out (www.sussexh4hweekend.com).

Thank you to the four local PGA professionals who volunteered their time of instruction: Matt Keller (Cripple Creek CC), Brett Marshall (Ruddo’s Golf), Jack Skilling (Sussex Pines CC) and Matt Gordon (Bear Trap). Special thanks to Kay Herrman from Connor-Jacobson Realty and Scott Lanham from Accessible Homebuilders, who sponsored this event, and to Glen Reid, who organized the clinic.

In the upcoming months, we will be partnering with the Sussex County Association of Realtors Community Service Foundation to host a local fundraiser along the Route 26 corridor, and we are planning a special “A Brush with Kindness” day project with volunteer Realtors working on minor exterior repairs on a home in the same area.

Once again, we are grateful for your help.

Thomas J. Protack,
Community Engagement Director
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity

Hospice a vital part of community

Delaware Hospice is vital to all communities throughout Delaware. I am familiar with many individuals who have benefited from their services during the terminal illness of a family member or friend. I was distressed to learn about the layoff of 52 employees.

It concerns me that the more restrictive interpretations of Medicare regulations will continue and, as a result, the outstanding community service and care provided by Delaware Hospice, a not-for-profit hospice provider, may be impacted even further.

With all the waste and abuse of many federal and state programs, I can only hope these more restrictive interpretations of regulations are being required and enforced across the board.

Hats off to Delaware Hospice and their outstanding employees and volunteers! I’m confident they will continue their caring and compassionate presence throughout the state.

Dick Logue
Ocean View

Safe Haven ready to move into future

Last week, the Board of Directors of Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary took the very difficult but necessary first step to begin focusing on its future as a leading no-kill shelter for homeless and abandoned dogs and cats in Delaware.

It is never an easy or simple decision to make a change in executive leadership. And in so doing, the Board wishes to acknowledge and express its thanks for the many significant accomplishments that Anne Gryczon achieved in our long journey to bring the Safe Haven shelter from a dream to reality.

As Safe Haven completed construction on the sanctuary building and began operations during 2012, it became apparent that we underestimated the magnitude of the challenges ahead. It also became clear that our needs had changed and our director did not have the all of the skills we needed to manage our fast-evolving operation. Unfortunately, she did not move quickly enough to fill key staff positions, which resulted in performance below the standard of service we had set for ourselves.

Moving forward from here, the Board is undertaking a complete review of our operations. This review will include:

(1) Complete reassessment of all animals in our care and take action to vaccinate, spay and neuter as needed;

(2) Ensure animals receive appropriate exercise and socialization;

(3) Conduct a top-to-bottom review of operational policies and procedures to ensure proper records are kept and statistics are published;

(4) Move aggressively to increase adoptions and fosters, including increasing hours open to the public;

(5) Commence an immediate search for a full-time staff veterinarian;

(6) Complete outfitting our medical wing as quickly as financing will allow;

(7) Ensure there is a defined process for reporting problems to management.

As much as we strive to provide a nurturing and safe environment at the shelter, it’s never an ideal environment, and our goal is to get animals placed in permanent, loving homes. We are confident that we have a dedicated, caring and competent staff who have the best interests of the animals at heart and who will carry on during this transition.

We also want to express our deepest thanks to our many, many financial supporters and volunteers who have generously given us their time and talents and who are standing with us now. We are also very gratified by the many expressions of support and offers to help that we are receiving daily.

As we commence our search for new executive leadership, the Board wishes to emphatically reaffirm our commitment to the no-kill ethic. We will also look for opportunities to partner with animal-rescue organizations and other shelters. The sheer number of animals entering our shelter and others is indicative of the scale of the problem and needs. For the sake of the animals, we need to move beyond internecine warfare.

Please visit our Web site at www.safehavende.org and our Facebook page for up-to-date news and information about our program. If you would like to volunteer your time and talents, or make a contribution, you will find information on how to do so on our Web site. We welcome your help and thank you for your support.

Board of Directors
Safe Haven Sanctuary of Sussex County

School choice offers options to all involved

As a parent who saw three children graduate from three different Delaware public schools, I couldn’t help but reflect on the status of public education in our state and the broader nation as a whole. While I had the choice of where to send my children, most families are not as lucky.

Under our current system, children are mostly limited to a single option based on their ZIP code. As we begin 2013, I stand with parents, students and teachers across the country in calling for broad-scale school choice. The success of our nation depends on it.

I believe in an America where parents are empowered and encouraged to select a school that best suits their child’s needs. Whether that means attending a public school, public charter school, private schools, virtual school or even home-schooling, parents, students, and even teachers should not be limited to just one option.

While one child may excel in a technical high-school environment, one may prefer a school with an arts focus. I know families with special-needs children who are desperate to find education options that best unlock their child’s talents. The reality is students all have unique needs and abilities. We can no longer bus students to schools based on geography and hope for the best.

After all, we are a nation that prides itself on providing choices. Why should education be any different? While the average mother faces choices for her children every day, education seems to have fallen through the cracks. We choose our doctors, our places to shop, our meals, why not our child’s school?

Millions of Americans now agree that we must abandon archaic central planning that told us that if you live in one ZIP code, you can choose only one public school. Choice has become a centerpiece of American life, so why shouldn’t it extend to education?

The fact is a system based on choice can benefit all stakeholders. While there is a perception that exists in the public, propagated by the unions, that teachers do not support charter schools or other mechanisms that deliver choices for a public education. This perception is flat-out false.

Most teachers I speak to — especially when it comes to their own children — would love to see more choices in education. According to surveys conducted by the Association of American Educators, a strong majority of teachers support charter schools and online options. On top of all of this, the flexibility that comes along with online schools and blended learning could greatly benefit teachers searching for a schedule that meets their needs.

While some may bristle at the notion of school choice policies, teachers should understand that choice will bring even more options for students and for teachers in years ahead. With these changes comes an enormous opportunity for the next generation of educators — flexibility, autonomy, control and creativity. It’s not about what grade one teaches but a combination of factors, such as what type of school, what kind of curriculum, how many days a week and what kind of student.

We must prioritize school choice in Delaware. Students, families, teachers and communities will certainly benefit from choice, competition and flexibility. The time is now to ensure our system evolves to accommodate all stakeholders.

National School Choice Week 2013, which runs from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, shines a spotlight on the need for effective education options for all American children. In only its third year, this bipartisan, grassroots effort features more than 3,000 events spanning all 50 states. Participants in NSCW believe parents and children should have the ability to choose high-performing schools. I’m happy to be part of the call for change for our state.

Julie Schroeck
Ocean View