Letters to the Editor -- April 22, 2011

Resident upset with council over religion

I am appalled that the Ocean View Town Council at its meeting last week voted unanimously, without any floor discussion, to allow representatives of the Community Lutheran Church (not in Ocean View) to set up a table and distribute their religious materials at all town sponsored events – Homecoming, Concerts in the Park, etc. Is this really what we want at town events?

This has now set a dangerous precedent. In effect, any religious denomination in Sussex County should now be welcome to have a table with their religious materials. And who knows what other groups may want to seize this opportunity to proselytize their particular religious beliefs?

Think about this. Actions have consequences.

Elaine Birkmeyer
Ocean View

Reader points out slim margin in vote

I want to congratulate all candidates who were successful in their bids for seats on the Ocean View council. I agree with Darin McCann’s well-written editorial that it is time for all of us to pull together. The mayoral race was a very close one, with the incumbent mayor winning by just 20 votes, all of those votes by absentee voters. Of the total 638 votes recorded, Wood received 306, or 48 percent; Pickrell received 286, or 44.8 percent; and Elling received 46 or 7.2 percent.

I am sure I was not the only one surprised to read the quote in Maria Counts’ article from Mayor Wood that “A landslide is gratifying.” I thought she must have misquoted him, and I called her to verify. She confirmed that she had quoted him correctly.

I wondered why he used the word “landslide.” It is defined as a victory by an overwhelming margin of vote. In my opinion, I don’t think winning by 3.2 percent qualifies as a “landslide.”

To Mayor Wood and his supporters: I hope you seriously consider the advice given in Darin McCann’s editorial. The fact of the matter is that 48 percent of the voters voted for Mayor Wood and 52 percent did not. As Mr. McCann stated, “You have to govern and serve all the people in Ocean View and look at all points of view when reaching decisions,” and, I might add, including those views of the 52 percent who didn’t vote for you.

Susan Kent
Ocean View

Personal account tells story of healthcare

In 2000, I bought my mother a cruise for Christmas. She had just been selected Republican Woman of the year in Cecil County, Md., but that’s not why I did it. Like most of us, I just wanted to thank my mom for all she had done for me for so many years.

On Tuesday afternoon of her cruise week, I received a call from Doctor’s Hospital in the Bahamas, saying my mother was a patient there. She had had a stroke on the dock and had been admitted. I flew to Nassau and, after some time, was able to bring mom home.

For the past 11 years, our family has cared for mom in her home, our home and, finally, last year in a nursing home.

On April 3, I got a call from the nursing home saying “somehow” she had fallen out of bed and broke her hip. After painful surgery at Christiana Hospital, she is now at rehab facility to help her walk again. Mom was 89 on March 29 of this year. Medicare and her Medicare supplement policy will pay for 100 percent of her care for next 100 days in a rehab facility. After that, she will go back to nursing home, which she will have to pay for out of her pocket. The old nursing home charged $6,400 a month. The new nursing home charges $8,000-plus a month.

During last few years, I have had to sell off all her assets (car, land, stocks, etc.) to pay for her care. These funds will run out at the end of this year. Her last remaining asset is her home, which we have been unable to sell due to current real estate market.

Medicaid will not pay for future care because she has this one remaining asset.

My mom is in luck because she can move back into her house and I can take care of her, or she can move in with me again. I pass along her case to your readers because of the current debate going on about Medicare and Medicaid, about how much we can cut or eliminate these programs.

Russ Melrath

PETA pushes for vegan Earth Day

This Earth Day, April 22, please consider eating only vegan foods to help halt climate change, curb pollution and conserve resources. Here are five good reasons to “eat green” on Earth Day — and every other day of the year:

• A 2010 United Nations report revealed that meat and dairy products “require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.”

• It takes approximately 10 times more fossil fuels to produce meat than to produce vegan foods.

• Animals raised for food produce around 130 times as much excrement as the entire U.S. population — 87,000 pounds per second. Chicken, hog and cattle excrement has polluted at least 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

• More than half of the world’s crops are used to feed farmed animals, not people.

• It takes more than 4,000 gallons of water per day to produce food for a meat-eater; only 300 gallons of water a day are needed to produce food for a vegan.

For more facts and free vegan recipes, see www.PETA.org.

Heather Moore, PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Va.

Reader asks state to pick up roadside litter
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, state Sen. George Bunting and state Rep. Gerald Hocker, and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

It’s time for the state to clean up the litter along Route 1 between Fenwick and Dewey. Inasmuch as this area means so much to our state’s tourism industry, why don’t we clean up the litter more frequently? I know, like other states, Delaware has budget problems, but our state parks are too important not to take better care of them.

A tourist coming north on Route 1 out of Ocean City would be shocked by the bottles and cans and McDonald’s cartons along Route 1.

The towns do a good job of cleaning up the litter within their jurisdiction along Route 1, but the State should be embarrassed by its inattention to the litter.

Ron Wuslich
Fenwick Island

Resident offers his view on Frankford meeting

[Frankford’s April 4 council meeting] meeting was indeed interesting.

The issue that was given the most time was concerning feral cats. Yes, cats were talked about for approximately an hour.

It turns out that one person in town had a problem with stray cats at her house. It was first brought up and discussed at the March meeting, where a lengthy letter was read by the council president concerning stray cats at this one house.

One town employee, who lives outside town limits, stated that when he had a problem with feral cats, he trapped them and took them to the SPCA and that was the end of his problem.

But that wasn’t good enough, because at this meeting it was discussed for another hour, where the council entertained spending $40 to get rid of each of the cats. But they had no complaints from anyone else, and this was perhaps the first cat complaint ever.

Now, if you want to speak on more substantive issues which affect all Frankford citizens, you can only speak for three minutes.

When Greg Welch wanted to speak on a continuing water bill problem, he had to speak within his allotted time.

His issue was residents receiving water bills up to six months after the meter is read. He had, along with other residents, received this particular bill of discussion 69 days after the meter was read.

This night, the explanation of choice given by the council president’s wife – the person responsible for getting the bills out – was there were problems/delays in getting the water meters read.

At prior meetings, the reasons ranged from the post office not getting the mail out on time to residents not caring about when they received their water bill or if they had to pay a penalty for not paying their water bill within 30 days, even they only had it for 20. The council seems to think this practice is OK since it has been going on for years now.

So the council’s explanation was they needed to digitalize the water meter for a quicker reading, which was backed up by the town’s attorney.

What’s noticeable here is that reading the meter was not the problem, getting the bill out was, so I’m not sure how the conversation was changed and I’m not sure how many people present realized what the real perpetual problem was, since it was skewed.

According to one resident, it doesn’t make sense to pay overtime to one person in light of this matter. A part-time person could save the town money on overtime, as had been mentioned long before now, and make the water billing more timely and efficient.

As was mentioned at the meeting, prior to eight or nine years ago, Frankford didn’t have this water bill problem and a customer was given 30 days to pay their bill. There simply were no six months or four months water billings, nor digitalized meters. As of now, the can continues to be “kicked down the road.”

So what does the town want to do for their young people?

In November/December of last year, a councilman expressed interest in keeping the kids busy by adding basketball to the park. Since the town was in the process of revamping the park, this would be an opportune time to do just that. Accommodations for soccer had already been added.

At a subsequent meeting, he was told the basketball court would be included. At this meeting, he had discovered that a list of the equipment some council people desired at the park had been submitted, since it had been required for grant purposes. He was surprised there was no mention of a basketball court on the list.

The reason given by the council president’s wife was there wasn’t enough room to for a basketball court. So he suggested a dual-purpose court to go along with what they had already put on the list. In the end, she suggested that perhaps a basketball court could be put on another street. The street named was a street that a lot of the kids live on or near.

The council said it was not etched in stone whether a basketball court would be put in the park, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out, since kids playing on a basketball court are less likely to end up obese.

Jerry Smith

St. Joseph’s event a hit, thanks to many

The Ocean City Lodge of the Sons of Italy would like to thank the Delaware merchants of Selbyville, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach who so graciously donated wine, merchandise and gift certificates for our First Annual St. Joseph’s Day Italian Festival in March.

Their gifts helped us have a table of prizes for raffling that was a key part of making our first festival such a success. Over 800 people came and shared the day with us. The crowd so exceeded our expectations that we ran out of some food items; however, we promise that we will be prepared for the crowd next year with our great Italian homemade food and pastries. We have started a new Ocean City tradition, and it will only grow each year.

Again, we are grateful to these merchants and wish them great success in the upcoming season.

Sal Castorina, Ocean City Lodge
Sons of Italy