Letters to the Editor -- September 16, 2011

Booth feels energy bill was rushed

Recently, on Aug. 24, there was an article on Bloom Energy’s project and the Public Service Commission’s consideration of a rate hike for Delmarva Power’s customers. Legislation (SB 124) was hastily passed late in the legislative session to make this application even possible. Whether you are in favor of it or not is not the question. The question is what process was used to get to this point.

SB 124 was introduced on June 14, 2011, then debated and passed two days later. The House of Representatives passed it the following week, on June 23, 2011. It was signed by the governor on July 7, 2011.

According to your article, Bloom will get $751 million over 21 years. The average residential bill will increase $1.63 per month (about 63 cents more, or 63 percent more than what we, the legislators were led to believe). Discussion on the Senate floor dealt with the expense of producing megawatts as compared to conventional combustion, and there was very little discussion on solar production.

There was a lot of debate about calling a non-renewable process (fuel-cell power) a “renewable” source (such as wind or solar). Once the General Assembly agreed to call it that, then that’s what it became. The PSC was left to rule only on the rate increase and not the standard of Delmarva meeting the 25 percent renewable plateau set by the General Assembly. It was also surprising to learn that DNREC’s Secretary O’Mara had the ability to determine the ratio of fuel cell to solar energy to sweeten the deal, I think, for Delmarva’s customers.

Here is the problem with doing business this way: DEDO has promised $16 million in enticements or 2 percent +/- of total personal income tax. This is a $751 million bill on Delmarva’s customers over 21 years, based on market assumptions. There has been a huge push to use this as an economic/jobs creator in the green energy field by calling it a renewable source “combustion.” Missing from the article was the fact that the University of Delaware contributed land for the actual plant Bloom intends to build.

I hope this works out to Delaware’s advantage. I believe there are two rate/tax increases being used to finance the project. A better way would have been RFP’s from major industries that produce energy and allow DPL to go to the PSC without the legislature’s blessing to determine the best deal for its customers. This rate increase was a given without knowing if it was the best deal out there.

All I ask is, “Why the rush?” While debating the bill, I asked on the Senate floor, “Is this putting the cart before the horse?” I guess only time will tell.

State Sen. Joseph W. Booth
R-Georgetown (19th)

Carmen questions town’s accommodations

Since this is the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I have found it more important this year to be honored and allowed to be part of the Bethany Beach town election on Sept. 10, 2011.

However, having handicapped issues of which the town was aware, we were greatly disappointed regarding their lack of understanding. Our team noticed that perhaps reasonable accommodations were not afforded to “all” persons with disabilities throughout the electoral period. It would appear evident that more accommodations for parking were given to citizens attending the Candidates Forum night on Sept. 2, 2011.

More accommodations, such as parking control and police department oversight, were given for Candidate Night but not for the more important event of the election. Shouldn’t it have been given the same weight and consideration? You might ask, “Why is this more important?” The answer is the town gets their funding and exists not only for its own good but also for the good of the citizens, as well. They also receive grants by the people and for “all” people.

At the conclusion of the election, we were pleased to see that approximately one-fourth of the voters spoke out for “change,” suggesting large opposition to the status quo or business as usual. If the vote were not split, change would have prevailed.

Being encouraged by these results, we remain vigilant regarding state rules and regulations, particularly House Bill 410. As a citizen trying to solve problems, one would hope that government would be more cooperative with our suggestion for “change” by example.

If any voter or citizens were not clear regarding any aspect of procedural voting rules or did not find it convenient to vote, please contact me at our Web site, Tony Carmen.org. Clearly, with your thoughts and input, we together can make a difference.

Anthony Carmen
Bethany Beach

A moment of reflection on Sept. 11, 2001

The Sept. 11, 2011, anniversary has awakened endless painful memories. I watched on TV the many videos captured of the horrific events of 10 years now past and a lump kept occurring in my throat. I watched the movie “Flight 63,” until I started crying multiple times and I could not watch it to the end. The pain is still embedded, and I was but a viewer from afar a mere 10 years ago.

We all know that nearly 3,000 victims and 19 hijackers died in the attacks. We learned that al Qaeda and their leader, Osama bin Laden, were responsible for this horror. The United States government responded by launching the War on Terror, invading Afghanistan to dispose of the Taliban, who had harbored al Qaeda members. We added Operation Iraqi Freedom soon after the start of the war in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was found recently and he was killed.

Here we stand 10 years later with our hands over our face or our heart and possibly it is time to ask ourselves; what are the results and effects of our collected response to Sept. 11, 2001? Our U.S. military has lost in military fatalities in Afghanistan a total of 1,654, with 31,921 injured, and in Iraq a total of 4,421. U.S. military killed, with 13,700 injured.

An estimated 19,629 people have been killed in Afghanistan and 48,644 injured. Iraq has endured 900,338 killed and 1,690,903 injured. My neighbor boasted the day our U.S. government decided to attack Iraq that we are going to have a lot of Iraqi orphans, and he was smiling with pride. He wanted to be part of this operation. He was not alone in those thoughts and desires.

We, as a nation, went to war to secure our revenge for the violent murder of nearly 3,000 victims within the boundaries of the USA and to bring security back to our lives.

Has our revenge been satisfied? Was this revenge justified? Was it worth it to lose more U.S. military soldiers killed than the nearly 3,000 civilians killed on 9/11? Was it worth the nearly 1,000,000 or more people killed in total? Was it worth the $4.7 trillion in cost for these two wars to be added to our national debt? Was it worth it to add an additional trillion dollars over the next 30 or more years in the care of our injured military soldiers? Was it the right decision in order to make our world safer? Is our world safer?

What do I think? I have never forgotten the words of my neighbor when he boasted that we are going to have a lot of Iraqi orphans. It is obvious that we have created a significant number of orphans in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Will those children grow up hating those who killed their fathers and/or mothers, or have we gained their fear/respect?

Does not Christianity completely condemn personal revenge, as forgiving one’s enemy is demanded of Jesus? Excuse me for getting off subject.

What do I think? I think that the Amish people of Pennsylvania responded in a very different manner when their beautiful children were killed in a rural schoolhouse. They went to the murderer’s family and forgave them for their father’s horrific murders. They prayed for the wife and her children for the loss of their father.

However, my neighbor’s view is most common, as my grandchildren have learned revenge and their support of military action as the primary response is deeply ingrained by the teachings of their church, their schools and their community. They firmly believe that God blesses the USA and its military, even though there is no Biblical documentation.

Selfishly, I wanted my grandchildren to see good in people from all over the world and to be connected to them, to know the value of forgiveness, to learn compassion and to experience love many times over. Our grandchildren’s children will repeat the next revenge as those who fathers and mothers were killed will seek their revenge. Hatred is an emotion with great depth. Revenge is an action with endless practice. Forgiveness was an idea long rejected.

Lloyd Elling
Ocean View

Healy thankful for support in election

I wish to express my thanks to all that took their time, consideration and support to each of the Bethany Beach Town Council candidates. A specific thanks to all that gave a priority to my candidacy.

During my upcoming term, I will continue to put forward my best effort for the benefit of our town. Your comments and critiques will be appreciated.

A special thanks to all that gave their advice, assistance and time on my specific behalf during the election process. A very special thanks to my wife, Peggy; Connor Joseph and Riley Kathleen, as well as my entire family for their loving support and understanding during this period.

Now it is time to get back to work.

Joseph Healy
Bethany Beach

Many involved with putting on Jazz Funeral

A sincere thank you to everyone who helped with and attended this year’s Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction held on Sept. 2 and 5.

The intent of this year’s Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral was for those attending to have fun, get involved, enjoy the weather and celebrate one of the few remaining days of the summer season. We also raised funds at our Silent Auction for an organization that once again proved its worth during Hurricane Irene – the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Since we were concerned about the possibility of a cancelation of the Jazz Funeral because the forecast called for rain in Bethany Beach during Labor Day afternoon, the members of the Jazz Funeral committee adopted the slogan “beat the rain and have a fabulous time.”

How fortunate we were that the weather ended up cooperating and we had the clearest possible weather. The great weather proved to be a harbinger of many good things featured at this year’s Jazz Funeral.

For the uninitiated, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is based on the jazz funerals held in New Orleans. On Labor Day Monday, about 2,000 spectators crowded onto the Bethany Beach Boardwalk to see a casket with a mannequin representing “Summer of 2011” paraded down the Boardwalk to be ceremoniously “buried” at her final resting place at the Boardwalk Bandstand.

All those who attended this year, smiled and laughed along with the tongue-in-cheek humor that has marked all of the 26 Jazz Funerals held in Bethany Beach. Many of the onlookers joined in the funeral procession of revelers and sang-along to the music provided by three Dixieland Jazz Bands.

Many of those who attended remarked that the music of our bands was the best ever. For this we thank the Dixie Cats, the Downtown Dixieland Band, the Jazz Funeral Irregulars and Jazz Funeral Musical Director John Strawley.

This year’s Jazz Funeral honored the memory of Art Antal, who passed away in the fall of 2010. Bethany businessman, arcade owner and restaurateur Antal was the former chairman of the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral. He was remembered for his community involvement and his humorous presentations at the Jazz Funeral.

In earlier years, Art operated the Gigi restaurant with his late mother. He was a community activist as a member and treasurer of the local merchants association. His range of activities included devising an early parking plan for downtown Bethany and planting trees along Garfield Parkway. Art also ran for the Bethany Beach Town Council, and was the treasurer of the Bethany Beach Fourth of July committee in its early years. Most recently he was the proprietor of the former Starcade Amusement Center and the Golfin’ Dolphin Miniature Courses on Garfield Parkway.

Jazz Funeral founder and former Bethany Town Councilman Moss Wagner developed a CD audio tribute to Art that was aired at the Silent Auction and at the end of the Jazz Funeral. We all share Moss’ sentiment that Art will be missed and that he is irreplaceable.

Many notes of appreciation are in order for those who assisted with the Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction.

If you are reading this message, you are probably aware of the excellent coverage of the Jazz Funeral events provided by members of the press. The newspapers have communicated all the best about the Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction. We are pleased and humbled by their outstanding coverage of our events. The local media provide a free, meaningful community service that should be celebrated by all. Few other geographic areas enjoy this high level of complete journalistic professionalism.

The selection of gifts contributed by area merchants for the Silent Auction was some of the best ever. Their generosity allowed us to raise funds for the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula.

A tip of the hat to Glenn Barnhill, Sarah Gilmour and all the other Red Cross volunteers for their help with the Silent Auction held at Bethany Blues and their involvement with the Jazz Funeral. We are so pleased that Red Cross was the beneficiary of all funds raised at the Silent Auction.

The food, atmosphere and service provide by Bethany Blues for the Silent Auction was enjoyed by all. Once again, Ky and the staff of Bethany Blues were very good to all of us. All our Silent Auctions have been held at Bethany Blues. We all thank Jim Weisgerber for his ongoing support of the Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction. Bethany Blues was kind enough to serve our Jazz Funeral band and those who attended a superb selection of snacks while the Silent Auction was in progress.

Our before-parade “wake” was held at the Artful Bean coffeehouse, and we again thank Kim for inviting us back year after year. This wake serves as a final tune-up for our marching musicians right before the Jazz Funeral begins. Our bands sincerely enjoy meeting at the cozy, friendly Artful Bean, as we have done for a number of years.

An extra-special thanks goes to the Jazz Funeral Committee of Carolyn Bacon, Marie Wright, Tom Sullivan, Jean Sullivan, Pat Woodring, Carey Hill and Dave Rickards. These hard-working committee members did it all, from helping our local merchants contribute their merchandise to the Silent Auction, to hosting the Silent Auction at Bethany Blues, to helping with our before-parade meeting at the Artful Bean Coffee Shop, to participating and organizing the Jazz Funeral itself, and for putting together the local after-event party.

Thanks also go to Jack Burbage of the Bethany Town Center and the staff of the South Coastal Library, who volunteered their facilities again this year in the event of inclement weather.

During the 26-year run of the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral, the local community and the Jazz Funeral has benefited from a group of local unsung heroes. These unsung heroes are a mix of community members, local businesses, medical/fire police/Red Cross volunteers, local news media and Town of Bethany Beach employees that contributed time, manpower, money and in-kind gifts to the cause.

Any of the small successes the Jazz Funeral has achieved over the past 26 years are a result of the involvement of these generous people. Specifically, the Jazz Funeral can only be held because of the whole-hearted cooperation of the Town of Bethany Beach.

From the town council to the town manager to the police chief to the events coordinator and to the bandstand sound crew, the Town of Bethany Beach people are the ones who make the Jazz Funeral possible; and they rarely receive their fair share of recognition. As Jazz Funeral organizers we paraphrase William Shakespeare, “We can no other answer make, but thanks, and thanks.”

Many local merchants helped out the Jazz Funeral Silent Auction by generously donating gift certificates and merchandise to the Jazz Funeral Silent Auction. They represented a broad spectrum of businesses in the greater resort areas of Delaware and Maryland. Those who attended the Silent Auction to help out Red Cross found an interesting array of gift certificates and merchandise compliments of these generous store owners. Along with the American Red Cross, we thank all contributors for your generous donations.

Gifts donated to the Silent Auction to benefit Red Cross included two-night accommodations at the Addy Sea and the Bethany Arms Motel and restaurant gift certificates from Sedona, Nantucket’s, Lobster Shanty, Grotto Pizza, DiFebo’s Restaurant, the Frog House, Steamers, Nick’s House of Rids, Mango’s, Patsy’s, the Greene Turtle, the Blue Ox, the Artful Bean, Mancini’s restaurant, Baja Beach House Grill, DiFebo’s restaurant, Bethany Blues, The Parkway restaurant and others.

The Silent Auction also offered photography services from Fern Eisner Photography, cell phones from Delaware Wireless, jewelry sets from Silver Stockpile and Coronado Jewelers, and Gourmet Foods from McCabe’s Gourmet Market.

Also at the Red Cross benefit were massage and health services from Delaware Massage Network, Curves, Yoga Center of Bethany Beach and Mind Body & Soul, as well as gifts, furniture and nautical items from Windsor Teak Imports, Paradise Gifts, Elaine Rifkin, Yesterday’s Toys and Games, Fenwick Floaters, Christy’s Keepsakes and a friend. In addition, there was popcorn from Fisher’s Popcorn, arch supports from the Good Feet Store, fine wine from Beach Liquors and Lighthouse Liquors, and miniature-golf passes from Captain Jack’s miniature golf.

The Silent Auction also offered books from Bethany Beach Books, food certificates from Giant, baseball tickets from the Delmarva Shorebirds, and graphic design and public relations services from Quiet Resorts Public Relations and Ocean City Advertising Agency. Also offered were auto parts from Clarksville Parts Plus, and sportswear and clothing from Bennett Orchards, Captain Jack’s miniature golf, White Marlin Mall and Pineapple Podiatry.

The list of perpetual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction supporting sponsors who contributed time, money and gifts included Bethany Blues, Artful Bean, Diamond State Photography, Instream Energy Recovery Systems, White Marlin Mall, Bethany Beach Books, Parkway Restaurant, Harpoon Hanna’s, Dave’s Surplus, East Coast Promotion & Research Group, TKO Designs, the Carousel Hotel, Red Sun Screen Printing, Sea Level, Bethany Resort Furnishings, Christy’s Keepsakes, Déjà Vu, Old Pro Golf, Bethany Floor Coverings, a friend, M&C/Antique Junction, Candy Kitchens, UEKDE and Dr. Elizabeth Reilly, DPM, of Pineapple Podiatry in Delray Beach, Fla.

Finally, it has been our collective privilege to present the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction. Our sincerest thank-you goes out to everybody for their help, generosity and good wishes. We hope to see everyone again at the 2012 Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction.

Paul Jankovic, Chairman
Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction

Keeley responds to previous column

I am writing to offer comments on Perry Mitchell’s “The election of 1992 could be a harbinger of 2012 election” article.

Mr. Mitchell states that Ross Perot’s three primary issues were: the size of the federal debt, reform of government and bringing jobs back to America. Does that sound familiar?

The first two of these are what has given the Tea Party such strength and are something that the Obama administration still does not understand, even after the 2010 election. And the third, bringing jobs back to America, seems further from the administration’s understanding, since General Electric’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the new head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. This, even after the GE festering tax situation and Immelt’s decision to move GE’s X-ray headquarters to China while promising $2 billion in funding for training Chinese workers.

He apparently does not understand that his job is to create employment opportunities in this country.

But I digress!

Mr. Mitchell believes that Ross Perot’s bucking the odds as a third-party candidate and garnering 20 percent of the vote was a success. A success that could have been even bigger had he not temporarily dropped out of the race. I’m still not sure who convinced him to reenter the race, but I know it was not Republicans.

Unfortunately, the thing that I will always remember Perot for is that he gave us Clinton. A disaster in his own way! But unlike Obama and the blame game, Clinton never once mentioned his predecessors, Regan or Bush Sr., who gave him a robust economy and a pending surplus.

While third-party candidates seem to offer an alternative, I am, obviously, against them because such a candidate could very well give us four more disastrous years of the current administration! I hope that the low approval ratings of congress and the presidency will encourage voters to come out in 2011 and 2012 so that the “right”-thinking party will be able to regain the Senate and the White House. It is high time for hope and change!

Thomas M. Keeley III
Ocean View

Horrible day offers glimpse of goodness

The other evening we were blessed to find that there are some very special people out there. We had an emergency with our cat Stevie Ray. We came home to find him not able to move. I didn’t know what to do and realized the closest vet was the Ocean View Animal Hospital. I called them right before they closed and they told me to bring him right in.

Everyone was very nice and caring. Unfortunately, our Stevie Ray had a mass that we did not know about and it caused a blood clot, and there was nothing else that could be done for him and I had to have him put to sleep. This was very hard to do, as he was a very special part of our family for 13 years.

The vet was so kind, and all of his staff. Upon leaving and having to pay the bill, I asked if I could pay half, since I was not able to pay the full amount, which they agreed to.

After coming home and having to tell my children and my husband that Stevie was no longer with us, we received a phone call from the vet’s office, telling me that a very nice couple that was there while I was had paid off the rest of my bill. I was shocked and so grateful. They would not give their name, but I want to thank them for their help and hope that they see this. You have no idea how much this helps us. We are really struggling right now to make ends meet and this was such an unexpected expense to us.

So thank you to Ocean View Animal Hospital and to the wonderful couple that helped us out. You made losing our precious Stevie just a little bit easier to handle.

We will definitely be paying this forward! I hope this will let other people know that everyone out there needs some extra help sometimes, and it means so much.

Brian and Dawn Rexrode
Ocean View

Writer annoyed with JROTC facility progress

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Sussex Technical High School District Superintendent A.J. Lathbury and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

I am writing to express my concern over the lack of progress in completing the new JROTC building. This building was begun at least several years ago, and there is little evidence of progress in completing the structure.

The current facility used for the JROTC program has badly deteriorated and may not even be structurally sound. The roof and walls leak, and the building is damp and musty and may be contaminated with mold.

Do you realize the health risks associated with buildings contaminated with mold? Has the building been examined by qualified professionals to determine if mold or other hazards are present? Quite frankly, the current building is falling apart, and there are substantial potential liabilities associated with its prolonged use.

The JROTC program itself is very valuable to our community and the nation. Particularly in these troubled times, we need to encourage our young people to step forward and serve in the defense of our nation. The military has offered wonderful careers for generations of American youth.

As a family, we have two children who graduated from Sussex Tech and are now officers in the military. The JROTC program was a great encouragement to our daughter who went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

We also realize that not every student that participates in the program will enter the military and that its primary mission is to motivate young people to be better citizens.

We want to offer you every encouragement and support for completion of the new structure at the earliest possible date. Hopefully, our youth can realize the greatest potential benefits from the program without the present hazards, which are quite evident.

Both the education and safety of our students are at stake.

Spyro and Susan Stamat