Letters to the Editor -- September 2, 2011

ALA offers tips for cleaning up after storm

As many of us begin to return to school, work and the busyness of our lives in the wake of Hurricane Irene, it’s important that we maintain the health of our lungs, which can be at risk from floodwaters, debris, chemicals, mold and other remnants of this storm. We are all at risk, especially those suffering from asthma, COPD, emphysema or other forms of lung disease. In the cleanup, we should make use of these tips:

• Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning – Never use generators, power washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline-, propane- or charcoal-burning equipment indoors. Don’t heat your house with a gas oven. If your carbon monoxide detector sounds, leave the house immediately and call 911. Watch for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – If you or others in your house feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated, get out of the house and seek medical help immediately.

• Remove hazardous materials – Chemicals and other dangerous materials may have come into your house or yard during the storm. You may also have to dispose of household chemicals that have been damaged. Call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. Contact local authorities to inspect or remove chemical drums, propane tanks or other major problems with dangerous materials. Wear protective clothing and an N95 face mask to protect your skin and lungs if you are handling materials yourself. Don’t burn debris or waste. Remove it to a designated disposal area.

• Clean up mold – Dry out the building as quickly as possible; Open doors and windows. If water has been in the building longer than 24 to 48 hours or the mold is larger than 10 square feet, get professional help. Don’t try to tackle it alone. Protect yourself and your family: Wear gloves, goggles and an N95 face mask to protect your eyes and throat while working on mold and toss mold damaged materials in a plastic bag to discard.

When in doubt, toss it out! Remove everything that has been soaked by water, including clothing, papers, furnishings, carpet, ceiling tiles and wallboard – anything that cannot be cleaned and dried must be discarded. Use soap and water to scrub mold off hard surfaces, like tile and concrete. Be careful of hidden mold from windblown rain, especially if you have vinyl wallpaper or large mirrors on an outside wall. It can be in the wall behind.

• Take your medicine – If you have a chronic illness like asthma or emphysema, it is very important that you get back to your normal routine of medicines. Get medical help if you have lost your medicines or can’t remember what you are supposed to be taking.

• Prevent Illness – Wash your hands often, especially if you are living in crowded conditions or in contact with contaminated water. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Get a flu shot this fall.

• Be aware of breathing problems – It is not unusual after a natural disaster for people to develop lung problems, even if they have never had them before. Don’t wait to get medical help if you start having breathing problems. Keep an eye on family members too, especially children and seniors. Some warning signs are: Coughing, especially coughing at night, wheezing or feeling short of breath, chest tightness or pain. Critical signs: Get emergency medical help if fingernails or lips are turning blue or if there is severe chest pain. Both could be life-threatening.

Let’s all breathe well after Hurricane Irene. More resources on protecting lung health from hurricanes and flooding can be found at lungusa.org by searching on “Hurricanes and Flooding.”

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

Council candidate makes case for election

I’m writing this article because I have several points to make that you may or not agree with... It’s your right to make that decision, just as it’s your right to vote and make a difference in the Bethany Beach community.

Now is the time for all good Bethany citizens to vote, in order to exercise their personal power. You can make a difference in the upcoming Bethany Beach Town Council election on Sept. 10, by casting your ballot. I am honoring my promise to my neighbors and friends by challenging the three incumbents and by opening up the election process, being one out of five contenders for three positions. It should be noted that no election was held last year.

The main reason I am running for a council seat was the proposed industrial power lines that were planned to come through our residential streets. This was a national issue being handled on a local level and would have adversely impacted our community. Consequently, our only recourse was to rely on our town council members to act accordingly and make good decisions based on our expectation, in the best interest of the community.

The town council tried to perform its “due diligence” concerning this matter, but did they? Who were they performing due diligence for? Were they doing this as just another business transaction? We had no feedback from the other two forms of government, federal and state, and we felt left out and abandoned.

Ultimately, the residents actively addressed the complexities of dealing with three different forms of government: federal, state and local. Therefore, the nexus of the problem was lack of communication of these bureaucracies, which forced us to bring our concerns to the town council’s attention numerous times.

Consequently, without all these agencies working collaboratively together, any idea, major plan or proposal, such as the power line issue, was not feasible for the town to even entertain. Again, it begs the question, what took so long? Why couldn’t the citizens get a beneficial and proper decision for all townsfolk from council sooner? One has only to wonder, will the same scenario be likely to happen again? What have we learned from this?

My goal is to gather and transfer information, while obtaining empirical evidence in order to formulate good decisions and choices for all citizens. Having been involved in several community issues, such as parking, water drainage and recycling, I have also come to realize the importance of our town charter and ordinances. They need to be clear and specific in order to be interpreted correctly. This has been another concern of mine.

Trust makes people feel comfortable, safe and willing to ask questions. Trust is when the situation is directed toward the future. A loss of trust is when expectations are not satisfied and information is withheld. In summary, then, the bond of trust is how we anticipate the future by example and look forward with confidence that our elected officials act appropriately, by representing the majority and expectations of the community.

Tony Carmen
Bethany Town Council Candidate

Resident discusses Candidate Forum

It was with great amusement that I read Margaret Young’s self-serving rant against the Coastal Point’s Candidate Forum and Bethany Beach Town Manager Cliff Graviet.

As a second-generation Bethany Beach property owner, a former member and former president of the board of the BBLA (too much negativity is bad for the soul – I quit and I’m a happier person) and a citizen who has put in many years working on a number of town committees and a true lover of all things Bethany Beach, I think I’m qualified to offer an opinion.

First, congratulations to Margaret Young for the outrageous, unbelievable, chutzpah, hubris, audacity to suggest that the Coastal Point, by hosting a fair open and impartial Candidates Forum, somehow creates an unfair “home-court” advantage for incumbents!

Margaret Young and her cohorts on the Board of Directors (yes, Margaret Young is a longtime board member of the BBLA. Did she forget to mention that?) have written the book on how to create an unfair home-court advantage.

How does the board of the BBLA stack the deck against non-BBLA candidates? First, the BBLA board selects candidates from among their own board members to file and run for the town council.

Then the BBLA Board of Directors asks all candidates, BBLA board members and non-members, to answer questions the BBLA board has developed! Then they publish the answer to their questions in a BBLA newsletter – a newsletter that invariably contains some BBLA board editorial comment.

The expense for all this is borne by the general membership of the BBLA, who have no idea that they are actually members of an informal political PAC!

Then the BBLA board goes to work on their candidates’ forum, a night of incredible fairness and impartiality. Not a night where only BBLA board members’ candidates can be presented to the public and answer the public’s questions, but rather a night where all candidates, BBLA board members and non-members, can answer questions created and screened by the board of the BBLA. You get the picture.

Now, I know, and I am friends with, a great number of BBLA members. I know many of them will scream in protest, but I ask them to take a step back, look at this process and tell me, if you were not a member of the BBLA board, would you think this fair? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then a duck it is.

As to Margaret Young, who has reaped the benefit in past elections of a “home-court” advantage created for her as a BBLA board member, I suggest she sign her next letter to the Coastal Point “Margaret Young, BBLA Board Member.”

Thank you, Coastal Point, for creating a fair and impartial venue where all the candidates will have an opportunity to play on an even field and no one will have a “home-court” advantage.

Kudos to Cliff Graviet, also. Keep up the good work!

Paul A. Denault
Bethany Beach

Doyle supports Healy, Dorfman, Olmstead

For the past 18 years, my wife and I have had the pleasure of living in Bethany Beach, a town that has been blessed with the finest town administration that can be found along the Delaware coastline.

As Bethany property owners, we have not only enjoyed the special family atmosphere that Bethany is noted for but have also benefitted from the lowest real estate tax rates, the lowest water rates and the lowest trash collection fees in this area.

In addition, we have pleasure of being in one of our coastline’s most beautiful environments, thanks to the lovely floral landscaping throughout the town.

While many governments and enterprises throughout our country are suffering from serious financial problems, Bethany continues to remaining excellent financial conditions and has, once again, received high praise from its outside auditors on both its quality of management and its financial condition.

This picture of continued high quality doesn’t just happen by accident — it’s the result of the efforts and skill of our elected representatives, who have been doing a superb job for us. So when you are marking your ballots this September, please use your vote to reelect the individuals listed below who have played principal roles in the leadership that is responsible for these achievements.

Carol Olmstead: In the past eight years, Carol has served as mayor, vice mayor, treasurer, as well as having been a member on other key committees. Carol’s leadership and vision in these highly important environments speak volumes about her value to our town and her special leadership qualities.

It is not just a coincidence that Bethany has prospered so well during the last eight years — the same period that Carol has occupied these highly visible areas of responsibility. Bethany needs Carol to continue to provide her experience and leadership in not only maintaining these achievements but in facing the issues and problems that will need to be addressed in the future.

Jerry Dorfman: Jerry, who now serves as town treasurer, also chairs the Budget & Finance Committee and, over the past few years, has been a member on six other committees. In addition, he brings to our town his management experience from other business enterprises, as well as having owned his own small business.

In the past few years, as our town was faced with economic problems resulting from the recession (which seriously impacted other towns), Jerry led the efforts to restructure our budget, without reducing key services, while maintaining our Town’s excellent financial condition — clear evidence of the leadership qualities he brings to us and why he is needed on our council.

Joseph Healy: Joe is an outstanding finance professional who has spent his entire life in the business world as a CPA and as a financial advisor to many community organizations and activities.

In today’s very uncertain economic environment, Bethany is indeed fortunate to have a council member who can offer that experience and guidance to our Town in both its accounting structure, as well as its long-term strategic planning. His financial expertise has been one of the key factors in the continued high ratings our town has received from our outside auditors. In today’s uncertain economic environment, Bethany needs his financial expertise on our council for the next two years.

Don Doyle, Former Vice-Mayor
Bethany Beach

Reader enjoys town’s recycling bins

I have enjoyed creating many wonderful memories with family and friends the last nine summers here in beautiful Bethany. However, one of my happiest moments was when I finally saw recycling bins on the beach! Now I hope to see more businesses participate before it is mandated.

It would be even better if business owners stopped using plastic carryout containers, cups and straws. Other “waterway” communities have done it.

Let’s all work together to recycle and reduce our human footprints on Bethany and all areas.

Georgette Greason
Bethany Beach

Resident puts support behind incumbents

The upcoming Bethany Beach election offers a great opportunity to affirm exceptional work by longtime Town Council Members Carol Olmstead, Jerry Dorfman and Joe Healy.

While the two new candidates should be commended for caring enough to serve, it would be difficult indeed for anyone to exceed the performance, personal availability and work ethic of Carol, Jerry and Joe. They listen, do their homework, study the issues, and the fiscal, physical and strategic performance of Bethany Beach government are superb, in large part due to their efforts.

The question Bethany voters must ask is, “Why change personnel when the current all-star team is accomplishing all the town’s goals?” My own experience with government at all levels from coast to coast has found few examples in decades of public service to match theirs. Indeed, prudence and common sense call for a vote for these three incumbents.

Edward J. Appel Sr.
Bethany Beach

Bethany gets thanks for storm efforts

On behalf of property owners of the Canal Association, I want to express our deep appreciation to Town Manager Cliff Graviet, our police department and volunteer fire company personnel, and all Bethany Beach employees for all their efforts to protect life and property before, during and after Hurricane Irene.

As just one example, public safety announcements alerted us to the need for preparation early on and kept us informed throughout the week on developments.

We also want to thank Brett Warner and our Public Works Department employees for the excellent work they did over the winter on our swales and culverts. Since then, the streets in our community have not flooded in rain events, including Hurricane Irene. The hurricane could have been far worse. We are grateful that it wasn’t and especially grateful that we were prepared and protected because of all those who serve our Town and its citizens and visitors.

Rosemary Hardiman, President
The Canal Association

Lions Club grateful for support with event

The members of the Lord Baltimore Lions Club wish to thank the visitors and residents of our community who attended and supported our 66th AUCE Fried Chicken Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Millville Fire Hall.

All monies raised through this effort are returned to our community, state, nation and world through projects such as providing programs for the visually impaired, scholarships for our local high school students, loans of medical equipment free of charge, support of local Girl and Boy Scout troops, senior citizen outreach, eye examinations and visions screenings for our elementary school students and numerous other activities which benefit our community. None of this money is used for our administrative obligations.

We also want to thank the Millville fire company and Boy Scout Troop 281 for their continued support and cooperation. They, like members of our Lions Club, are all volunteers. and we appreciate their ongoing efforts to make this a special event.

Again, thanks to all who worked on the dinner, as well as the over 600 members of our community who came out to support our efforts.

Doug Parham, Chairman,
Fried Chicken Dinner Committee
Lord Baltimore Lions Club

St. Ann’s thanks the community

Once again, because of the generosity of the parishioners and the support of the local community, St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach had another successful bazaar.

The weather was perfect this year, the attendance was overwhelming at times and it is always special for our workers to visit with those who come every year. We thank you all for being a part of this event.

St. Ann’s graciously thanks all the local businesses who donate items or gift cards to our Silent Auction, which is always the most popular spot at the Bazaar, especially at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Without the local businesses supporting us and the many items donated by our parishioners to the Silent Auction, it wouldn’t be such a success.

A special thanks to the parishioners and friends who work tirelessly for many months preparing for this event. Without all their efforts, the bazaar would not be possible.

Thank you to the Coastal Point for your coverage of our event.

Pat Duchesne, Chairperson
St. Ann’s Bazaar