Letters to the Editor -- Oct. 7, 2011

Food Pantry ready to start new season

We are so blessed. The Community Food Pantry housed at Salem United Methodist Church will begin its 19th year in November. During the 2010/2011 seasons, we served 987 families, which set a record. Just a few years ago, we averaged just 75 families for the nine-month distribution period.

There are so very many wonderful people to thank who support our pantry in some way that it is difficult to list them individually. Let me say that, whatever it is you do, please know that you are greatly appreciated. The financial support, the food drives, those who showed up each month and those who come in to bag chickens or sort food drives, it is you who make the pantry so successful.

Please accept my sincere thanks to each and every one who has ever been involved. You are special!

And last, but far from least, many thanks to the Coastal Point for including our notice in the “Events” section each week. You are our primary source of reaching the less fortunate in lower Sussex County.

Dottie Campbell, Coordinator
Community Food Pantry

UD extends Coast Day thanks

On Oct. 2, thousands of people converged on the University of Delaware’s Lewes campus for the 35th annual edition of Coast Day.

I wish to thank everyone who came out to celebrate Delaware’s coastal environment. It was a delight to speak with many visitors and to learn of their great interest in our natural resources and the work being done to conserve them for future generations.

Thanks also to the many individuals and organizations that made Coast Day such a unique event. In keeping with this year’s theme — “It’s About You!” — they offered many engaging and educational activities that demonstrated how environmental research and outreach make a difference for everyone.

We recognized several people at our special Coast Day ceremony. Saleh Hamad of Caesar Rodney High School wowed us with his winning entry in the Coast Day Video Contest.

In addition, we were once again impressed with the writing skills of this year’s Coast Day Fifth-Grade Essay Contest winners. Shea Sweeney (St. Ann School), Ethan Ward (East Millsboro Elementary), Meredith Carey (Phillis Wheatley Middle), Anika Devotta (Odyssey Charter School), Cole Statler (East Millsboro Elementary) and Lucy Sheetz, (St. Ann School) should be proud of their fantastic efforts. The students’ teachers — Mary Stokes,Marilyn Vallejo, Tonya Mock, Heather Kerrick and Charlotte Horgan — also deserve special commendation.

Several sponsors helped to bring this celebration of the sea to Delawareans, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gamesa Wind U.S., the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, OSG Ship Management, DuPont Clear into the Future, NRG Bluewater Wind, WMDT–CW-3, UTEC Survey, Port of Wilmington, Delmarva Power, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, ERM Group, Teledyne Benthos, Matt Slap Subaru and the University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration — Water Resources Agency.

We also thank the Lewes Historical Society, Lewes Chamber of Commerce and PNC Bank for their support in bringing the Northern Neck Chantey Singers to Coast Day and Boast the Coast weekend.

I look forward to seeing you at our next Coast Day, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012!

Dr. Nancy Targett
Dean, UD College of Earth, Ocean and Environment
Director, Delaware Sea Grant College Program

Reader responds to previous Point letter

This is in response to “Steele Outspoken on Bethany’s FAR” (Coastal Point, Sept. 30).

Yes, really, Mr. Steele, those of us who do have our quaint smaller beach homes do like to see the sky and have the light. The bigger the home does not mean the bigger the dream of having the view of the sky and the landscape.

Huge, and some not so attractive, homes are being built in our town, especially on the West side of Route 1, and FAR (floor-area ratio) should not be kept far, far away, but addressed.

Let me also add that I have much respect for, and I am thrilled to have citizens of our town like Mr. Loppatto and Peterson, who do listen to the concerns of the people who present to the Planning Commission and bring those concerns to light.

Just some thoughts!

Shirley Hales
Bethany Beach

Writer offers different perspective

The following thoughts are in response to a recent letter to the editor from Lloyd Elling, “A moment of reflection on Sept. 11, 2001.”

I am certain that every American shared Mr. Elling’s feelings of sadness and grief at the memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy. I also have no doubt that Mr. Elling is a patriot who loves his country. However, his thoughts on our response to the tragic events of that day reflect a serious lack of understanding of what led up to the attack on our country, as well as the purpose of our actions afterwards.

As someone who had many colleagues in the Pentagon that day, I admit to a certain bias. At the same time, I believe my thoughts are more representative of most Americans than those of Mr. Elling.

To keep my comments brief, I will focus on three key words used by Mr. Elling: Hatred, Revenge, Forgiveness.

To sum up and paraphrase his points, Mr. Elling believes our actions have fostered hatred toward the United States in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq; that our actions in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack were motivated by revenge; and that it would have been wiser for the U.S. to forgive than to respond militarily.

Hatred does exist in the world, of course. In fact, I have been convinced for some time that hatred of the United States of America and everything it stands for has been the prime motivator for al Qaeda attacks against us.

They hate our freedom, they hate our democratic principles, they hate our way of life, and they especially our desire to see democracy spread around the world. Remember, it was Osama bin Laden who, in the name of al Qaeda, declared war on us.

To assert that our response to a blatant, unprovoked, attack on our country was an act of revenge is absurd. Was it revenge against Hitler and the Nazis that got us into World War II? Of course not. We went after al Qaeda and the Taliban not to kill Osama bin Laden — although that was the objective — but to thwart further attacks on our country.

It is important to recall that, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, we were absolutely certain that additional attacks would be forthcoming. It is no accident that we have not been attacked since!

Mr. Elling seems to believe that forgiveness on our part would have achieved the same, or increased, level of security at home that we have enjoyed for the past decade, but without the bloodshed.

Since we chose to engage the enemy rather than sing “Kumbaya,” we can never know what might have happened. But we need only to look back to the decade prior to 9/11 to get a pretty good idea.

Perhaps Mr. Elling forgot that the first attack on the World Trade Center took place in 1993. Or that nearly 20 U.S. military were killed in the 1996 Khobar Towers attack. Or that 17 U.S. Navy members were killed by terrorists in October 2000 while onboard the U.S.S. Cole.

Our decision not to respond to those attacks may not fit the definition of forgiveness, but — since our inaction very likely emboldened the terrorists — I believe our decision to turn the other cheek provides a good analogy.

With grandchildren of my own, I share Mr. Elling’s wish that they grow up to “see good people from all over the world.” At the same time, I will make certain they understand that evil does exist in the real world and that freedom is not free.

Col. Frank W. Jenkins
USAF (Ret.)

Reader offers tip for festival organizers

This past weekend, my family and I attended Millville’s Great Pumpkin Festival. I want to thank the Town of Millville, and the festival’s chairperson, Kami Banks, for creating a family-friendly event that brings together the community, promotes local businesses, artisans and organizations, and supports local schools.

Millville is sorely lacking in off-season events and this is a wonderful way to revitalize the community outside of the summer season. For that, kudos!

The reason for my letter, however, is regarding one of the events held at the festival: the pie-eating contest.

Before I explain my aberration with such competitions, I want you to understand that I am fully aware that eating contests are almost a part of American culture. They can be good-natured, funny, and they are all-inclusive in that they require little skill. The fact that ESPN now broadcasts the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July each year is a testament to the idea that “everyone loves a good time.”

Eating contests can be a good time, when they are handled in an appropriate fashion. I felt that opening the pie-eating contest to children was a poor decision, and I’d like to see the event canceled at next year’s festival.

It is no secret that children are products of their environment who also crave praise and attention. It is also no secret that our country is suffering from a childhood obesity crisis, evidenced by the fact that our state has initiated the 5-2-1-Almost None program (Nemours) in early-childhood education programs and school districts in order to educate children about healthy eating habits.

When you hold a public competition, it announces to the community that the winner of the competition is someone the community should value, or someone the community will look up to. What message, then, does an eating contest for children send?

I contend that, in supporting the idea of eating massive amounts of food (the children were given full-sized pies, for goodness sake!) in a short amount of time, we, the community, are advocating that we are not only OK with this type of eating, that we view it as something to be “won,” and valued.

Add in the fact that the children were vomiting and almost taunted by the announcer at the event for doing so, and the entire scenario left me with a sick stomach. I cannot support a contest that so blatantly goes against an important foundation for a long life: good health.

I’d like to suggest that at next year’s event, in lieu of a pie-eating contest, the children could participate in a pumpkin-rolling race or a pumpkin-decorating contest. How about allowing the adults to participate in a pumpkin carving contest by bringing their creations to the event to be judged? This would eliminate any public show of support for an American tradition (the eating contest) that is antiquated and, frankly, gross.

Let’s create new traditions and show our children that we don’t always need to rely on the past to fuel our present ideas!

Thank you so much for considering a change in the way the community of Millville represents health in the eyes of our children. I look forward to next year’s event!

Gretchen Sowers, Healthful Mama
Easy Steps to Eating and Living Healthier