Letters to the Editor: December 7, 2012

Osher institute has strong first semester

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware has experienced a successful first semester of classes in the South Coastal area and received a warm welcome from the town of Bethany Beach this fall. On behalf of the members and staff, we would like to express our appreciation to the mayor, town council, city manager’s office and residents of the town of Bethany Beach.

After careful planning and consideration, we began offering classes this September as part our Lewes program’s 10-week fall semester. Through the generosity of the Town of Bethany Beach, we conducted the classes at the Municipal and Community Building on Monday and Wednesday mornings. The classes, ranging on subjects such as Art Appreciation, Spanish, Irish History & Culture and Heating & Plumbing, were well-attended by people from the South Coastal community and beyond.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at the University of Delaware are membership organizations that provide opportunities for adults 50 and over to learn, teach and travel with their peers. The only requirements for admission are interest in a continuing educational experience, support of the programs through participation and a modest membership fee. UD’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes are located in Wilmington, Dover and Lewes.

We are looking forward to our spring semester, which begins Jan. 14, 2013. We have another exciting lineup of classes for the South Coastal area, which will be held on Monday and Wednesdays again at Bethany Beach Municipal and Community Building and the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information on our program and a full listing of courses for the upcoming semester, visit http://www.lifelonglearning.udel.edu/lewes or call (302) 645-4111.

Jim Broomall, Associate Provost for Professional and Continuing Studies
University of Delaware

ALA reminds readers of annual campaign

With Thanksgiving over and Black Friday behind us, it’s time to look into the tradition of the holiday season. With that comes the annual American Lung Association Christmas Seals Campaign, a holiday tradition that has been around for over 100 years.

One small stamp can leave the imprint of a lifetime. The stamps are the epitome of the holidays. Decorate all of your gifts and cards with a stamp that has meaning and hope behind it. By purchasing the American Lung Association Christmas seals you are joining the fight against lung cancer, COPD, asthma and all lung disease.

For more information on Christmas Seals or to purchase, please visit www.christmasseals.org.

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

Turkey Trot a hit, thanks to many

On Thanksgiving Day, more than 400 locals and visitors and their pets — many in turkey, pumpkin or other festive costumes — attended the 5th Annual Turkey Trot in Fenwick Island. A Pre-Trot Party was sponsored by the Bookend Café in the Village of Fenwick, with a Post-Trot Party sponsored by Perks Café at the Pottery Place in Sunshine Plaza. The 2.2-mile Turkey Trot started at 8 a.m. on Lewes Street, went south to the Maryland line, and back.

I am delighted to report that the event was terrific success, not to mention a lot of fun! There is no charge to participate, but each year, I select two charities to support and encourage participants make donations of items or cash. This year, the event supported two important causes: Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and Toys for Tots. In all, we raised close to $2,500, donated more than five dozen blankets, comforters and sleeping bags to Hurricane Sandy victims, and collected 40 toys for Toys for Tots.

My sincere thanks to our generous sponsors: Just Hooked, Off the Hook and Roosters Nest; and other sponsors: Bikinis and More, the Bookend Café, David Twining’s Nantuckets, The Dispatch, Heritage Financial Consultants LLC, HipAHA Fenwick Island Boot Camp, House Pawz Pet Sitting, Maryland Screen Printing, One Coastal, Petique, Pottery Place and Perks Café, Surf’s Edge and Twining’s Lobster Shanty. Other sponsors included ShayGallo Construction, John F. Kleinstuber and Assoc., and Pepsico Warehouse Sales.

I am already planning the 6th Annual Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving Day in November 2013. With the continued support from the Town of Fenwick Island, local businesses, dedicated volunteers and people who want to trot for charity, we will be able to help more worthy organizations next year!

Lori Martin, President

Reader describes a tale of two cities

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Included with my Nov. 30, 2012 Coastal Point was the “Indian River District News” Fall Edition. The former, my favorite local newspaper, featured a Page 1 article detailing a January 2013 referendum which would fund a $11 million-plus bond referendum and a second proposition “to pay the bills” for resources to equip the new classrooms at a cost of 11.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Conspicuous by its absence from the district newsletter was any mention of the projected bond issue.

An obvious question occurs, and it’s “why.” Is this going to be a well-kept secret to surprise the voters and have a core minority come out on a designated day in January — less than a month away — to pass a referendum that’s behind mystery door No. 1?

“Impressions” indicate that enrollment is growing and new classrooms are necessary. Where is the data reflected by a demographic study designed to support that projection? It may exist, but it is conspicuous by its absence in the article in Coastal Point and invisible in the District newsletter which, as stated previously, makes no mention of a bond referendum.

What kind of third-party study has been undertaken? What kind of present room usage analysis exists? What consideration of the reality of many Sussex County residents’ present economic situation has been factored into the “build it and they will come” analysis?

I am pro public school and a vocal supporter of education as an instrument for assuring a bright future for our great nation, but I need to know that due diligence has been performed if I am to support the projected referendum. Thus far, I don’t see it.

Lawrence Mayer
Ocean View

Coalition reaches out to senators

We have sent the following letters to our two senators.

Because of the dire effects “fiscal cliff” tax and spending decisions could have on the people of Delaware, we have formed the Sussex Coalition for Federal Tax Fairness to advocate for a balanced approach to federal deficit reduction, one that includes higher taxes on the wealthy. Our group is part of a statewide campaign for fair taxation being spearheaded by the organization Americans for Democratic Action (ADA).

If our leaders in Washington attempt to bring down our debt through budget cutting alone, public services ranging from education to health care to the arts will suffer needlessly.

Though many government programs — such as Medicare and college tuition assistance — are mainstays of the middle class, we are particularly concerned about the effect severe spending reductions would have on the poor. Medicaid, nutritional support and aid to the homeless are among the lifelines that could be severed.

Our senators should be leaders in demanding that higher tax rates on our most fortunate citizens be the central component of any deficit-reduction agreement. Specifically, they should demand that tax cuts be allowed to expire on the 2 percent of households with annual income above $250,000, raising a trillion dollars over the next decade for deficit reduction and to strengthen our vital public services.

If you are interested in joining our efforts, please get in touch with Ezra Temko at (302) 981-3007 or Ezra@ADAction.org, and he will connect you with us.

Barbara Warden, Beth Doty, Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, Dick Warden, John Mateyko, Marie Mayor, Web Stevens, Peter Schott and Rosemary Hendrix

Sussex Coalition for Federal Tax Fairness

Reader: Beware the Simpson-Bowles’ plan

If enacted, the Simpson-Bowles plan would severely reduce the COLAs for current Social Security recipients substantially. An example of how this reduction would work was in an article published by Nation of Change. For instance, the average Social Security recipient who retires at the age of 65 would lose in COLA benefits $560 a year at age 75 and $1,000 a year at age 85 more than under current law.

Meanwhile seniors struggle with the increasing costs of healthcare, prescription drugs, food, etc. Also, according to the Social Security Administration, Bowles-Simpson would cut middle-class workers with an average lifetime earnings of $43,000 to $65,000 by up to 35 percent.

Other cuts include severely cutting veterans’ benefits, raising the retirement age to 69 years and reducing the tax rate for the wealthy and large corporations. The tax rate on the wealthiest would be reduced even lower than the Bush-era tax cuts. Other gifts to the 1 percent include increasing the premiums of Medicare, Medicaid, encouraging companies to ship jobs to China where they would set up subsidiary branches in order to evade U.S. income taxes, raise taxes on workers making between $10,000 and $20,000 a year by 2014, and reduce programs that serve as a safety net for the poor and disabled.

Kit Zak