Letters to the Editor -- January 5, 2011

Christmas Seals keep on giving

Every year, millions of Americans donate to the Christmas Seals campaign, the largest campaign of the American Lung Association. In each donation, we are able to fund life-saving research, education and advocacy efforts to combat lung cancer, childhood asthma, tobacco use, secondhand smoke, air pollution and influenza.

In Delaware, the Christmas Seal makes it possible for children to attend Asthma Camp, assist teens and adults to quit smoking in our Freedom from Smoking and Not on Tobacco (NOT) programs and advocate for clean air. It advances research in lung cancer, the No. 1 cancer killer in the nation, and it educates everyone, including our most vulnerable citizens – seniors, children and those with chronic medical conditions, which number over 776,500 in Delaware – on the importance of getting vaccinated for influenza.

For more than 100 years, one of the most effective weapons in the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air has been the Christmas Seal. As we enjoy the holiday season well into the new year, we can equally enjoy the Christmas Seal. Presents have been opened, but the Christmas Seal continues to give well after the holidays.

For more information on the American Lung Association Christmas Seal Campaign, visit www.christmasseals.org.

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

Let’s look out for our neighbors this year

“Feliz Navidad inmigrantes!”

I saw the above headline on the front page of the Washington Hispanic newspaper, dated Dec. 23, 2011, and it captured me. It means “Merry Christmas immigrants” in the Spanish language. It is a very easy translation for all of us.

Here we are in the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus and “all” Christians know that Jesus became an immigrant himself. It is written that the parents of Jesus took him to Egypt for many years to escape the threat of violence or death.

What if our “Christian nation” encountered Jesus, Joseph and Mary crossing into our country? What would the “Christian nation” say to these immigrants? Would you say, “Merry Christmas immigrants… come in and share with us”? Would you say that ‘there is no room for you here”? Would you say, “Go home illegal immigrants”?

Would you say the baby can stay, as he was born here, but the parents have to go back where they came from? No, the baby is nothing more than an “anchor baby”… he has to go. They do not speak English... they have to go. Who speaks Aramaic?

How shall a “Christian nation” interpret the following Biblical scripture? (Matthew 25, Aramaic Bible in Plain English):

“34 Then The King will say to those who are at his right, ‘Come, blessed ones of my Father, inherit the Kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundation of the universe.’

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, and I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in.

36 I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’

37 Then the righteous will say to him, ‘Our Lord, When did we see you that you were hungry and we fed you, or that you were thirsty and we gave you drink?

38 And when did we see you, that you were a stranger and we took you in, or that you were naked and we clothed you?’

39 ‘And when did we see you sick or in a prison, and we came to you?’

40 And The King answers and says to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, as much as you have done to one of these my little brothers, you have done that to me.’

41 Then he will say also to those who are at his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed ones, into eternal fire, that which was prepared for The Devil and for his Angels.

42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.

43 I was a stranger and you did not take me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe me. I was sick, and in prison and you did not take care of me.’

44 And those will answer, and they will say, ‘Our Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we did not minister to you?’

45Then he will answer and he will say to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, as much as you have not done to one of these little ones, neither have you done that to me.’

46 And these will go into eternal torture, and the righteous into eternal life.”

My letter to the editor is but a simple question from a neighbor who is the descendant of immigrants a few generations back in time. Yes, you can rightfully call me an immigrant U.S. citizen. Yes, you can call me a descendant of the European invaders onto the American continent. Yes, you can call me a fortunate child because some neighbors saw value in me when others only saw “white trash.”

I have known “neighbors” who reached out to feed me, clothe me and took me in. Yes, I am of the opinion that “cooperation,” “responsibility” and “kindness” are innate human expressions and they have benefits for all.

“Christians” have been clearly told how they shall greet the strangers. Make it a happy new year as we much to do about the strangers among us.

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

Reader wants DelDOT to be revamped

A while back, Coastal Point had an article about the challenges faced by the new chief of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). How about an article about the challenges faced by people whose property is being taken by DelDOT for the SR 26 road-widening project? One challenge is flawed property appraisals.

My targeted property was appraised by DelDOT at around $3 per square foot. An adjacent property was reportedly appraised at over $6 per square foot. Another adjacent property was reportedly appraised at over $8 per square foot. These contradictory appraisals no longer merit confidentiality; they merit an investigation.

In light of Gov. Markell’s heralded change to Delaware’s Freedom of Information policy, I asked the governor for public access to the DelDOT appraisals of the properties adjacent to mine. This would either refute or substantiate my allegation that DelDOT’s condemnation process is corrupt. The Governor’s Office has not acknowledged my letters.

Eminent domain is controversial enough without the addition of cook-the-books appraisals to the process. If the appraisals are as fraudulent as they appear, then the appraiser’s license should be revoked. DelDOT employees who traffic in flawed appraisals, using them to intimidate law-abiding citizens, should lose their precious State jobs.

DelDOT has squandered millions, including sending monthly checks totaling about $50,000 to several Sussex County development tycoons. When taking the property of ordinary taxpayers, however, DelDOT can be very tight-fisted.

When I served in the military, it never occurred to me that I was defending a system which would try to take a sizable part of my home site on the cheap, using a corrupt process. Dealing with DelDOT’s malfeasance, in addition to having a major roadway moved substantially closer to my home, is not helpful.

I propose that members of the U.S. House of Representatives, looking for ways to cut spending, start with corrupt DelDOT projects, especially the SR 26 widening project. Real reform is needed in Dover, especially at DelDOT.

Lew Lesko
Ocean View

Justin’s Beach House had a great 2011

Wow — what a year 2011 was!

It was a year of “firsts” for Justin’s Beach House! To actually say we’ve had our first year is such a wonderful accomplishment — a vision that you all have brought to life. This achievement encompasses so much, from the driving of the first nail to the planting of the first flower! Especially rewarding was seeing the first smiles from guests of Justin’s house when they have had little to smile about in their lives. These smiles — and all of these firsts — are the fruits of the labor of so many that have embraced this wonderful cause.

The board members and house staff of Justin’s Beach House have done a wonderful job of welcoming and catering to the needs of each individual family. In fact, one family this year brought their son’s therapy dog with them, a yellow Lab named Kamichi. She rode the trolley into Bethany and, while at the beach, she and her family were welcomed with open arms.

This year, 22 families have stayed with us, coming from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. The ages of our guests have ranged from 3 to 67, and each and every one have left us a message of what a wonderful time they had during their stay at Justin’s Beach House. It gave them an opportunity to take a much-needed break from the day-to-day realities of their cancer. The stay at Justin’s also gave them the time to reconnect with their families and to renew their soul.

We could never begin to thank you all enough, but we will continue to try. Old friends and new, the countless volunteers and the light that you all have brought to this community is so commendable. We continue to thank Bethany Beach and the surrounding communities, but now our community has grown and we need to thank all of Sussex County, the state of Delaware and beyond!

“A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets.

“Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of man is to accept his insignificance, his human condition and his earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of man is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.” Jean Vanier, “Community and Growth”

We thank you for your belief in our mission and wish you a healthy, happy new year!

Craig & MaryEllen Nantais, and the Justin’s Beach House Board of Directors
Mary Jo DeCampli, Kathy Green, Kathleen Jennings, Ken Baker, Lindsay Maurer and Randy McCreary

Brown offers view on town

Hello, Ocean View. Wally here.

So here I am, minding my own business as best as I can, and I’m getting phone calls congratulating me because I made the paper again. I’m trying my best to be a good little slave, and I find I’m being mentioned as an excuse for other actions. As numerous people have called, informing me of my name being used and asking that I explain, here is my opinion regarding being mentioned.

I’m sure Eric Magill has all the inside knowledge necessary to defend the council’s actions when Bill Wichmann was censured.

Now, for the necessary clause. I am familiar with most of the councilpeople, more then than now. I was fond of several of them and lamented their actions, not their person. I even had occasion to visit Wichmann’s “Bar.” So what I write here is against the actions of the council only, and no personal slight is intended.

Yes, it can be argued or equated that a person who withdraws money from a bank at gunpoint, even if never caught, is a crook and has committed an illegal action.

Willey Sutton was a charmer also. For those who are too young to know this, he was a famous bank robber. When asked why he robbed banks, his answer is still a classic. “That’s where the money is.” These days, the money comes from the pockets of the people via taxation and fees.

Three points need addressing to clarify being mentioned: one, regarding the police generally; two, regarding the police station specifically; and three, my deciding to become the mayor. I’ll even throw in the water company for free.

One: Few realize how intertwined I am with the police, generally speaking. I spent a career doing the “job” as a police officer. I was well-decorated, and spent most of the years driving a sector car. My college courses included police administration.

I was able to work special operations, plainclothes, stakeouts, riding the desk, supervising the “new guys” after their probation, and I finished my career as a field training officer (teaching rookie cops common sense – something all too often lacking these days).

I was elected PBA president and held that office for four years (four election cycles). I was a “union” man, with the safety of my officers’ and the public paramount. Presently, I am representing the local Fraternal Order of Police (an elected position). The status of the Ocean View police does matter to me, and I cringe every time I hear another officer appearing to be violating the people’s rights.

I studied the Constitution inside and out, and one of my hobbies is researching “case law,” that defines the limits of government (this started in college after a conversation with a law professor and at his behest). It is this knowledge that has annoyed several councils.

As a former police officer, when I hear of an illegal action, I complain. Or I used to, until I was sold into slavery (a 13th Amendment violation).

Two: The police station was and is unnecessary as it was designed. Its location is questionable. I am a taxpayer in Ocean View, and the cost with resultant taxes therefore matter to me.

When it was proposed, I complained. It was three times bigger than needed. Prove it, you say? History has done that for me. Has the town utilized the second floor as office space? Are the upstairs offices huge? Did the town attempt to rent out that space? Did the town spend major dollars “renovating” what was supposed to be already workable?

A 5,000-square-foot building would have been more than sufficient. In fact, it would have been perfect. A truly dedicated building with and for the police department only. Anything bigger is asking for trouble.

This formula is easy to understand. The total number of officers divided by the number of officers working any given shift, plus a percentage for special needs, is all that is needed. There is an overlap reduction involved (i.e. only one shift is used). Remember, patrol officers belong on the street, not at the department, taking up space.

They would have a front desk open and accessible by the public; a “holding” area for the temporary needs of those being held while transportation is arranged; offices for the chief and the officers’ working needs; lockers, men’s and women’s locker rooms complete with bathrooms; a conference or mustering room; a kitchen with lunchroom; an equipment/storage room; and a garage. A barracks room is needed in case a really severe storm hits and the officers are there for several days.

Location does matter.

Think of your house and how big it is in relation to the number of people living in it, and to what extent you utilize the several rooms. Now, mentally convert it to fit the needs of a police station. The ability to cook, if needed; sleep, if needed; write reports and temporarily keep prisoners; storage; and meet the public. With an average house being between 1,700 to 2,200 square feet, even 5,000 square feet is huge.

One of the arguments used was that the department had 40 volunteers, all of whom needed their own lockers (at $1,000 per locker). It could be my memory is faulty on that price, and it was $250 per locker. What are lockers used for? When I worked, our department bought a bank of 20 lockers for $500. Are the “volunteers” local people?

Also included was a display case costing $10,000. What lunacy is this?

Three: When I ran for mayor, I ran on the understanding that the town council was acting as though they were elected as “kings” whose every decision automatically was a mandate and the people had no choice but to genuflect and say “yes, master.” This form of government called an “oligarchy,” which means dictatorship by council.

Why am I saying this? Read Article 4, Section 4 of your Constitution. What is the only form of government allowed? Hint: It is not an oligarchy, or a corporation. Was the town council operating under this form?

The police station was just such an issue. Who are they that they automatically decide what we will have to live with and be forced to pay for? Because of this stance, I was portrayed as being “anti-police.”

The deal was done without the people’s permission. A new station was needed for years. I spent many an hour in the old police station, talking with Chief Dennis O’Malley about that very subject, and then there were only two officers. I remember his working on a plainclothes car in the driveway of the road department (also two people). Bob Orem was one of the mayors, and Joe Lobb was the town manager.

The statement that I would sell the building, or even disband the department, is presuming to know what I was thinking. Yes, I believed the station was a mistake from its inception. This again has proved correct, as it is no longer a dedicated police station, but now shares its function.

I would have utilized the space into three parts, putting all town functions into that one building. The council did in fact do this, to a minor extent, which proves the building as designed was seriously extravagant.

A smaller building could not have been used except for a solitary purpose. However, once constructed, we were stuck with it. I thank Eric for admitting that the site was not originally “use it or lose it,” as they stated.

Regarding disbanding the department — town police usually hold an advantage over larger police departments (smaller is better), as long as the officers recognize and operate for the taxpayer, with the understanding that the taxpayer is ultimately the boss (Article 4). The job of the police includes keeping the people happy (community relations).

Most insurance companies will grant a discount on your homeowner’s insurance should you live in such a town. Why? When I was the officer driving the sector car, it was called “knowing your post,” and you actually patrolled it. Yes, it is old-school policing, and it worked very well – so well the insurance companies recognized it. Anyone old enough to remember the “beat cop” knows this. Ask any older retired officer about those days.

It involved knowing the people on a first-name basis, who had problems and what kind of problems, who drove what car, who left for work early or late and what they did, who was seeing whom, when were they away (which meant keeping an eye on their property), who was infirm, and all those duties necessary for the populace to know they were actually being protected, including knowing who was not normally living there.

The absence of numbers was the goal, not the need for even higher numbers. When the job is done right, paperwork is minor. No numbers means no crime, which means the job is being done correctly. Yes, we wrote. More often we scolded.

As mayor, this would have been fine-tuned, an open-door policy. As this is a resort area, it would be more challenging. Learning the people during the off-season enables the officer to know who is visiting during the tourist season. So why would I disband the department and lose the protection I would have ensured?

Two pages are enough, so I’ll forgo the water. I hope I put a smile on your face and explained to my friends why I believe my name was used.

Wally Brown
Ocean View

IR football boosters thankful for support

I would like to thank so many people that helped out with the Indian River Football Boosters this 2011 season, on what was the best IR football season of all time: 12-0 and a Division II Delaware State Championship!

First, I would like to thank the coaches for their hard work and time: Ray Steele, Paul Kmetz, Mike Norton, David Grise, Phillip Townsend, Bob Hahn, Kevin Cordrey, Chris Megee, Marvin Phillips, Brock Dean, Will Fitzhugh, Issac Goodman, Michael Steele and Todd Furhamm. I would like to thank the principal of Indian River High School, Mr. Mark Steele, for his support of the team and everything he does for Indian River High School.

I would like to thank the players for giving us a magical season that I will never forget.

But I would like to thank most of all the people behind the scenes, the Indian River Football Boosters, who are a great group of hardworking people that get the jobs done and make it easy for so many fans to enjoy the football games: Dave Fitzhugh, Brandi Lecates, Kim Lecates, Debbie and Jack Melson, Jennifer Hill and Coach Ray Steele.

Also attending meetings were Shyne Moore and Denise Kraushaar. Also, thanks to Katlin Fitzhugh for being there on Friday nights selling T-shirts and sweatshirts. Thanks to so many people who helped in the concession stand on Friday nights.

I also would like to thank the Indian River High School Band for their show on Friday nights and especially to the players and coaches for that great night at Delaware State University to see the Indian River High School football team win the state title!

We are IR!

See you in September to say, “IR Jacks, are you ready?!”

Mike Casale, President
Indian River Football Boosters