Letters to the Editor -- September 28, 2012

Atkins offers his side on prison story

I have to admit, I’m a little surprised over the uproar over a visit my then 10-year-old son and I took to Sussex Correctional Institution last year. But, at the same time, I now have to explain what happened so the full story is out there.

The visit to SCI actually took place over 18 months ago, in February 2011. My middle son started asking me about prison and wanted to see it firsthand. I have been there dozens of times — as chair and vice chair of the House Corrections Committee, I have visited SCI occasionally and still go every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve at shift change to personally thank the correction officers for working on a holiday. I know what it is like there, and I decided it was safe enough to take my son with me, as long as DOC agreed.

I can’t stress this enough: The trip to SCI was pre-approved, and we signed waivers before entering the prison. I called and asked permission for us in advance, and it was granted. I know that minors have been through the prison before, to visit incarcerated family members and for other programs, and there haven’t been any problems reported.

The story reported in another newspaper is hung up on the appearance of a 10-year-old boy visiting a prison. It’s true that a prison is not as safe as a kindergarten classroom, but we were in the most secure, controlled environment of the prison — the intake area. We went after dinner, when most prisoners are locked down in their cells. We were around correction officers with years and years of on-the-job experience, many of whom I know personally and would trust with my and my son’s life.

What’s frustrating to me as a father is that I am proud to have a curious, civic-minded, straight-A student for a son who wants to be by his dad’s side and learn as much as he can. I would think that any father would want to expose that kind of child to as much as possible so they learn and have a broad perspective on life.

A father who works in construction might take his young son out to a worksite to see and ride in the machinery. A farmer might put his young son or daughter on a tractor and let them steer. Some parents won’t let their kids play Pop Warner football, while others can’t wait to suit their kids up. What one parent thinks is appropriate for their child might seem risky to another.

Seeing my son’s name and face plastered on the front of a Sunday newspaper upsets me, especially when the media shields the identity of kids his age who are charged with crimes. The timing of this 18-month-old video coming to light — seven weeks before an election — is no accident. Someone decided to drag my son into election-year politics. If this was such a concern to those who had the video, they should have said something 18 months ago.

I want to thank the hundreds of residents who have called, texted, e-mailed or messaged me in support over these last few days. I hope you understand my point of view on this situation.

Rep. John C. Atkins
41st District

Bodenweiser asks people to get involved

I thank God for all the people that supported, volunteered and voted for me. We were successful in sticking to the rules and honoring God throughout my entire campaign and it was by His will alone that I went on to win the Republican primary election for the State Senate in the 19th District on Sept. 11, 2012.

To the voters that supported my opponent in this election, I now ask for your help, understanding and forgiveness. I hope I can gain your support and your votes in November. Now that the primary is over, I hope that we will unite and put our differences in the past. If you get me elected, I will work fulltime in order to fulfill the duties of the State Senate.

The main purpose of this letter is to ask those of you standing on the sidelines to get involved in the campaigns of the candidates that must be elected in order to turn this state and nation around and get it headed back in the right direction.

Stop complaining, preaching to the choir or just cheerleading from the sidelines. Put your hobbies down for a few weeks. Get in the game. We need your boots on the ground. Please contact me, Eric Bodenweiser, at (302) 856-9395 or ericbodie@comcast.net or visit my Web site, www.ericbodie.com, if you are willing to help me win the upcoming general election on Nov. 6.

Eric Bodenweiser

Deaver talks up Sussex County Land Trust

I know that Sussex County is a natural beauty, and as I campaign through Sussex neighborhoods, I am delighted to see so many newly-built homes. I also know that the Sussex County Council has approved thousands more to come.

In its wisdom, the council has created the Sussex County Land Trust, which is part of the Sussex County Land Use Plan. The land trust is to help preserve open space and developers are to donate to the County with each sale for this purpose.

I want to thank the residents of the communities that are participating, and I ask that all developers do their part.

Finally, I have a message for all our new residents: please consider joining me in the trust and help preserve much of our county’s natural beauty.

The land trust Web site is www.sclandtrust.org.

Joan Deaver
Sussex County Councilwoman

Readers voice concerns on Castaways project

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Sussex County Councilman George Cole and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

We are writing to express our opinion on the Castaways Bethany LLC application before the Sussex County Council to change the zoning of three parcels of land (Tax Map 1-34-9, Parcels 21, 21.01 and 24) on the east side of Cedar Neck Road located in Ocean View; as well as obtain conditional use to provide a 38-acre complex for 60 small cottages, 300 or more parking spaces, 139 RV trailer or camping sites, and a 6.9-acre outdoor amusement park.

Our public order, peace, health, safety, morals and general welfare, evidenced by the vibrant community and neighborhood of individual homes and businesses, would be adversely impacted should the zoning changes and conditional use be approved.

There is no reasonable justification or rationale to grant approval for the Castaways Bethany LLC amendment to the zoning ordinances, as we have not interfered with their ability to generate wealth or income. Pursuant to the current zoning, there are other options for the applicants, such as affordable senior or workforce rental housing that would not so much affect the public safety and wellbeing as their misguided venture.

The land regulations have been established to preserve and protect the ecosystem and habitat of the southeastern shores of Indian River Bay, encompassing the Pasture Point, Beach and Joshia Coves and the Delaware Seashore Fresh Pond, in accordance with a comprehensive plan.

We are concerned that a project of the scope and scale being proposed could not properly prevent pollution discharges from stormwater runoff near so fragile a marine environment. More importantly, this proposal also jeopardizes the potable water supply from existing shallow wells for hundreds of individual homes.

Our family and friends travel thousands of miles each year from the Hudson River Highlands in New York State to enjoy our second home on Quillen Point. We consider ourselves blessed by our surroundings and have worked tirelessly to restore a small cottage constructed in early 1940.

All residents living near the Atlantic Ocean and its coast share a unique heritage and recognize how vital the Medium Density Residential District has been to nurturing strong roots and anchoring our hearts in this shore community. We strongly urge that you communicate our sentiments to your colleagues on the Sussex Council and cast a negative vote on Castaways Bethany LLC’s zoning change and conditional-use application.

John and Bridgit Ebert
Monroe, N.Y.

Reader: Price will protect our environment

As a life-long resident of Sussex County, Shirley Price knows first-hand that the ocean, beaches and Inland Bays that attract all of us to Sussex County are a state treasure, both in terms of natural beauty and preservation of biodiversity and in terms of economic importance.

Without the preservation, protection and restoration of these valued natural resources, the tourists who power the local economy by staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants, shopping in local small businesses, and thus generating the need for local jobs, will not be attracted to southern Sussex County.

Shirley Price will work to protect these valuable natural treasures to enhance our environment and to promote our local economy. On Nov. 6, vote for Shirley Price for 38th District representative.

Richard Legatski

Price gets support from local reader

As a lifelong resident of the coastal area, Shirley Price knows the importance of hard work and the importance of service to constituents. If elected to serve you in the state legislature, she will focus on “the four E’s”: economy, education, environment, empathy for our citizens.

Especially in this challenging economy, Shirley knows it is vital that we bring good jobs into Sussex County so that residents of the 38th Representative District can continue to operate their small businesses and raise their families. She knows that we must continue to improve the quality of education for our children so that they will be well-prepared to complete in the global economy.

Shirley knows that we cannot afford to take our environment for granted. The ocean, beaches and inland bays are not only natural treasures, they also help fuel our local economy by attracting tourists and related businesses.

And certainly not least, Shirley Price will have empathy for the residents of the 38th District, such as our veterans, our seniors and our needy friends and neighbors. Therefore, I think we need to elect Shirley Price on Nov. 6.

Bob Maddex
Fenwick Island

Rine offers movie recommendation

We highly recommend to the citizens of this area to go see the movie “Last Ounce of Courage.” No matter your political affiliation, we all know drastic changes have been taking place over these past years that have affected our customs, values, principles and celebrations. This has occurred sometimes without us even realizing what has and is taking place.

Because certain groups, government intentions and various organizations differ from our past traditions for whatever reason, they have gotten their way! Thus, our society and celebration of certain holidays, adhering to past customs and courtesies have gone by the wayside, all because we do not want to offend.

This must cease, as you will readily see by viewing the aforementioned movie. To continue on the current path will certainly bring this country to its knees, all because we as a free nation did not take a stand. For the masses to give in to a few is pure nonsense. Think about it.

Jack Rine
Ocean View

Resident throws support behind Gray

I am writing to endorse the candidacy of Ron Gray to serve as our next state representative for the 38th Election District and the candidacy of Gerald Hocker as the state senator for the 20th Senate District.

Ron Gray was born and raised in the 38th. Ron graduated from Indian River High School, earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware and a master’s in business administration from Indiana University. He is a smart businessman who currently owns and operates several businesses in our area. He has also been an active volunteer in various organizations in Sussex County.

Likewise, Gerald Hocker is a lifelong resident of Sussex County. He graduated from Indian River High School and the University of Delaware with a degree in business administration. Gerald is a successful businessman in the Ocean View/Clarksville areas. Gerald has been our state representative for 10 years, and he keeps his constituents informed with the coffees he holds at one of his stores. He is accessible to his constituents, readily accepting phone calls at his home when constituents call for assistance and information.

I am voting for Ron Gray because he will listen to his constituents and will work on behalf of all constituents, as his predecessor, Gerald Hocker, has done. Ron’s father and grandfather served as state representative. Ron Gray and Gerald Hocker, if both are elected, will be a forceful team to work for the interests of citizens in the 38th and 20th in Dover, respectively.

Ron and Gerald will work as advocates to promote and support businesses and jobs in Delaware. They will crusade to reduce the size of government, which is destroying our quality of life with ever-increasing government and higher taxes and fewer services. They will also use sound business principles to reduce government spending.

Both Ron and Gerald will get the job done. They both believe in:

• Education — they will fight for money for education that goes to the classrooms rather than to the administrative bureaucracy;

• Protecting the environment through common-sense solutions;

• Improving transportation and roads, especially Routes 26 and 24;

• Supporting our veterans; and

• Community outreach and communication with constituents to provide information and gain their input for decisions pending in the legislature.

Check the records of Ron’s and Gerald’s opponents. Ron’s opponent has served as the state representative for the 38th, and the voters overwhelmingly voted not to elect her — twice, consecutively.

I urge you to vote for Ron Gray and Gerald Hocker Nov. 6.

Kathy Vengazo
Ocean View

Reader responds to previous letter

We want to thank Harry Steele for a new word to add to our vocabulary. Harry, you do spend too much time on the Internet.

You are, however, very correct in that many of us Republicans, unable to sustain ourselves, still elect those Republican congressmen who are the least capable of leading or doing any thing that is beneficial for the country. It is people like you, Harry, who will help open the eyes of Republicans and join us in using our brains and not voting into office anymore of these incompetent congressmen. Thank God for our president, Barack Obama.

You might enjoy some of the comical, but sad, Republican speeches on C-Span instead of that screwed up comedian Ben Stein.

You also remember that, as Christians, we reach out to the “poor and undeserving” in all walks of life.

Bart Derrick
Ocean View

Reader believes Bush deserves some credit

From the Wave’s “Grapevine” column, Sept. 11, 2012: “The Romney Ryan Administration: Doubling Down on the Destruction that George Bush Wrought.”

That quote is a cheap shot!

Unwarranted Bush-bashing is still very popular, but charismatic Bill Clinton gave us mortgage deregulation, which brought us a housing boom, glut, bust and loss of construction jobs. Don’t you remember Clinton saying, “I want everyone to have the American dream of home ownership.”

He also gave us NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement), and our jobs went north and south.

Destruction, you say — the Saudi government had Bin Laden and offered him to Clinton, and Clinton turned them down, (prior to 9/11). Now that was doubling down on destruction.

After 9/11, Bush stopped the destruction and further attacks in America.

By the way, Bush started the bailouts, another conveniently-lost fact.

A. Fleischmann
Ocean View

Reader responds to previous letter

A recent letter-writer was not misguided in his defense of Joe Paterno — he was totally myopic. Every argument he raised was about the football program. That was the problem in the first place. Paterno, Penn State officials and their legion of apologists argue that Paterno should have been defended — from what, looking the other way?

Even Paterno, by his own admission, stated he should have done more. Football was the end-all and be-all at Penn State. No official had more clout than JoePa, as evidenced by the visit of the university president to his house in 2005, asking him to retire. He said no, and that was it.

Previously, a senior vice-president, in chare of student discipline, wanted to include football players who violated school rules in her program. She was told that “Joe” handles that. She left shortly thereafter.

Jerry Sandusky was allowed virtual unfettered access to university premises after he retired, despite a years-before situation of his involvement with young boys. This allowed him to continue his dreadful assaults. Now Penn State faces millions in lawsuits because Paterno, et al., did nothing.

The writer also cited so-called “hateful” articles about him. I read many various accounts of the entire scandal. They were not “hateful” but merely recounted the culture that existed at the university. I find it interesting that the writer failed to mention the assaults that took place.

Joe Paterno had a good record in fostering academics and contributions to the school. However, his conscious decision to “not do more” that might have tarnished his and the program’s legacy obviated all that went before.

Football was king at PSU and everything was subservient to it. “Looking the other way” at the expense of young victims will be his everlasting legacy, and rightfully so.

Rich Proska

FOSCL thankful for support with sale

Many heartfelt thanks go out to the 41 volunteers who manned the Aug. 16, 17 and 18 Friends of the South Coastal Library’s fundraising book sale and to all the patrons who supported it. Because of their tireless efforts, a sum of $5,063 is now available for the future projects of the library.

In an era of consistent budget cuts, financial and volunteer support for our excellent library needs to be ongoing. The next library book sale will be in February 2013. The library is now accepting books in good condition and not more than 10 years old for that book sale, with the observation that children’s books, DVDs and current fiction are good sellers. Should the library be closed when you come bring books from your other home, call Virginia at (302) 539-4969 or Lois at (302) 537-2906.

The library is here for you, so we encourage you to be there for it.

Lois Rubinsohn and Terry Drizd, co-chairs
South Coastal Library Book Sale

Reader throws support behind Eakle

Rick Eakle understands that protecting the natural resources in Southern Delaware is critically important for our coastal and inland communities. Some of us have been here for generations as farmers and watermen, while the beauty of this area drew many of us to move here in recent years. We all have a vested interest in protecting our coast, inland bays and waterways. Rick gets this.

Throughout his 10-year tenure as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Inland Bays, seven as chair, Rick worked to protect our Inland Bays because he knew how vital this watershed is, not only to the humans who live here, but also to the wildlife that inhabit or migrate through our area.

Rick also understands that agriculture and tourism are the backbone of our economy. The encroachment of salt water on our farm fields can be disastrous to farmers. The pollution of our bays and waterways can have a serious impact on our tourist industry.

Rick says it is time to put politics aside and bring the private and public sectors to the table to discuss how we all can prepare for a future with higher tides and a changing coastline. It is time for leaders to bring residents, businesspeople and government agencies to the table to plan how to protect our way of life for the generations that will follow us.

Rick Eakle has shown he knows how to work with all the stakeholders in our communities. He has a vision for the future that is based on facts. He has my vote on Nov. 6. If you value our inland bays, I ask that you vote for Rick Eakle for 20th District state senator.

Ray Sander
Bethany Beach