Letters to the Editor: June 18, 2010

Farmers raise funds, with local help

The annual Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market fundraiser at the Cottage Café on June 9 was another huge success, with a strong showing of support for the local agricultural community. Owners Brent Poffenberger and Tom Neville, along with their staff – particularly Shawn Murphy, Mike Pell, Chris Racine, Colleen McCowan and David Betts, hosted an evening which highlighted local growers and other agricultural advocates.

Among those in attendance were Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Kee, as well as Rep. Gerald Hocker and Rep. John Adkins. Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market Board members, including Dan Costello, Lois Lipsett, John Himmelberg, and Steve and Jean Wode, worked to organize the event, and guest bartenders Meredith Parsons, Chris Magee and Ryan Richard did an outstanding job of representing local farmers, as well.

The Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market debuts its fourth season on Sunday, June 27, from 8 a.m. to noon in the PNC Bank lot in downtown Bethany. For more information, visit our Web site at: www.bethanybeachfarmersmarket.com.

Carrie W. Bennett, Bennett Orchards
Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market

Marker’s grammar is off the mark

As a seasonal resident, I recently resumed my daily morning walks on the [Bethany Beach] boardwalk. I was interested in the three new bronze plaques affixed to the railings at the north end. The one commemorating the Seaside Inn states that it was on that site “until it’s destruction” during a storm.

Since “it’s” means “it is,” the possessive pronoun “its” should have been used here. I wonder how many people passed on this, who wrote it, who approved it, who proofread it, and who cast it in bronze (I think it’s bronze) without noticing this error.

I mentioned it to four friends who had seen the plaque, but none of them had noticed the error. I realize that in the list of the world’s problems this one doesn’t loom very large, but I see it as one more example of the dumbing-down of America.

Rosemary Brisbane

Bethany Beach Nature Center a local gem

How many times have you driven by the Bethany Beach Nature Center? You didn’t know Bethany had a nature center? Located next to Grotto’s Pizza on Route 26 sits the old Addy house, now the Bethany Beach Nature Center.

In an effort to invite the public in and see what we are all about, the Nature Center will be inviting the public to join us for a tour of the inside of the center, as well as an informative walk on the grounds of the center and the trail that leads behind it.

“Come Meet the Nature Center,” will start Monday, June 21, promptly at 10:15 a.m. and will last roughly 45 minutes. These walks and explanation will continue throughout the summer, every Monday at 10:15 a.m.

Starting Father’s Day weekend, the Nature Center will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Youth programs will continue through the summer months, every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

For volunteer opportunities, questions or information on the above, please call the Nature Center at (302) 537-7680.

Lisa Daisey, Director
Bethany Beach Nature Center

OVPD earns kudos from business owner

Many thanks to our fine Ocean View Police Department. Sunday night, they caught a man stealing gas from our work van. Due to the sharp eye of an Ocean View patrolman, they spotted the knucklehead’s legs under the van. Needless to say, he had just been released from jail, and after stealing $80 worth of gas and causing $350 damage to our new van.

We never know what is lurking at 12 a.m. or in the early morning hours, but it is good to know Chief Ken McLaughlin and his staff are there to protect us and our property.

Kudos to the Ocean View Police Department!

Mary Ann Hoffman and the staff of Maryann’s Interiors

Lioness scholarships awarded to students

The Lord Baltimore Lioness Club awarded scholarships three graduating seniors: Ashley Hurlay, Alyssa Murray and Alyssa Wloskinski. We would like to thank the community for your support for our November Bingo and April Fashion Show.

We originally planned to award two $1,500 scholarships to graduating seniors at Indian River High School. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to award three $1,500 scholarships.

The additional scholarship was well received at the awards ceremony, and we look forward to supporting this event next year.

Bonnie McBride, Scholarship Chairman
Lord Baltimore Lioness Club

Major event needs help with funding

Plans are under way for the Rehoboth Beach Main Street Fireworks, for Sunday evening July 4. While we hope to have the most impressive show ever, thanks to our collaboration with the internationally known Zambelli Fireworks family, we must appeal to the community to help make the show possible.

Each year we raise 100 percent of the fireworks funds directly from the residents and merchants here in Rehoboth and the surrounding areas. It’s not surprising, given current financial conditions country-wide, that we are a little short of the needed funds this year.

Our donors have been wonderfully loyal, but some of them are no longer in a position to be as generous as before. For that reason, we’re asking those of you who have never donated to this huge community event, or those who haven’t yet donated this year, to consider helping us out with the fireworks fund.

So far, hundreds of checks have been received, but we are only three-quarters of the way to our goal. While donations have been coming in at a steady pace, we find it necessary to appeal to the community to help us make sure we can fund a spectacular show for 2010.

If readers are in a position to help, we would appreciate donations in any amount to be sent to: Fireworks, Rehoboth Beach Main Street, P.O. Box 50, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Once again, we will have shuttle buses running from Route 1 to help people get in and out of town, music at the bandstand and lots of action downtown to make this a spectacular night.

Please help us fund this truly community-based event. Whether you can give a little, a lot, or in-between, please help us have a great big blast this year!

Thank you. We look forward to a terrific event on Sunday, July 4. For more information on the fireworks, please call (302) 227-2772 or see www.downtownrehoboth.com.

Kathy McGuiness, Chair
Fireworks Committee
Rehoboth Beach Main Street Inc.

QRCF thankful for help with event

The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation held its annual Golf Classic fundraiser at Cripple Creek Country Club on June 3. The weather was cooperated, and we had a great turnout of golfers and volunteers. All in all, the tournament was a resounding success. Its proceeds go directly to fund $16,000 per year in college scholarships and more than $25,000 in grants within the Bethany-Fenwick region.

The results of this event are directly attributed to the contributions of area businesses, residents and other organizations that sponsored the tournament and generously donated prizes, food, beverages, advertising and their time, making it the best in the region. Of course, without our golfers – who not only played but generously participated in games on the course – there would be no tournament, so a special thanks is extended to them, as well.

It is not possible to name everyone involved, but QRCF is sincerely grateful to each of you in support of our mission to improve the quality of life in the Quiet Resorts.

Brent Poffenberger, Chairman
QRCF Events Committee

Thomas speaks out against current council

How long did it take the two new Ocean View Council members to spend a half-million dollars and turn a well-thought-out five-year financial plan into a sea of red ink? The answer is it only took Geoffrey Christ and Michele Steffens 45 days.

Their actions are returning Ocean View to deficit spending by undoing what previous town councils spent five years to eliminate. Furthermore, their decisions will result in a cumulative tax increase in excess of 106 percent in an attempt to balance the budget. And even with a 106 percent tax increase, Ocean View will be spending approximately $1.25 for every $1 it takes in. Now ask yourself why Ocean View is the only surrounding town without a balanced budget.

Since Christ and Steffens ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility in government, we should ask them how they define this term. And, more importantly, we should also recognize that they did not act alone in making their decisions to freely spend your hard earned taxpayer dollars. Mayor [Gordon] Wood, who has been on the council for over two years and also claims to be fiscally responsible, has led the charge in unnecessarily spending your tax dollars.

In looking back over the past two years, I cannot recall one cost cutting measure of any significance that Mayor Wood has proposed. In fact, he has proposed numerous items that have contributed to the deficit. It would appear that Councilman [Perry] Mitchell and Town Manager [Conway] Gregory are the only town administrators that understand financial planning.

Exactly how are Christ, Steffens, Wood and even Bob Lawless planning to spend your tax dollars? I suppose you think it will be for something Ocean View really needs. Wrong. First, they voted to increase the salaries of existing police officers, in addition to the planned increases provided in the FY-11 budget. While no one argues that the salary increases for the lower paid officers may have been warranted, the other increases should not have been approved.

Second, they are planning to increase the number of police officers. For clarification purposes, it should be noted that one officer is out on medical leave. Last month, the council approved hiring a part-time officer to take up the slack. Chief McLaughlin said that this was all he needed. But this decision, one must assume, resulted in a net increase to the force.

If you recall, Mayor Wood prepared a police force analysis less than 24 months ago and concluded that Ocean View did not need to expand the police force to provide 24-hour protection. Over the past two years, he has quoted that analysis many times and defended the accuracy of the report. Guess it may not have been as accurate as claimed.

Also recall that less than 45 days ago, Mayor Wood voted to approve a budget that forecast no need for expanding the police department. This was concluded after many public hearings and council workshops. Chief McLaughlin agreed with this during public hearings on the budget. What changed?

The town manager proposed that Ocean View look for retired police officers to carry Ocean View through this period. This would solve the short-term problem without exposing the town to future costs. It was rejected. Remember, this is not about police protection. This is about building an empire.

The real reason for expanding the Ocean View police force is to get an officer on board to protect Millville. I said it two years ago, and I say it again: Millville is looking for a way to provide protection to its citizens and have Ocean View pay for it. Sure, they will propose a “token payment” and claim they are paying their own way. This will only be a smoke screen.

Protection of Ocean View residents will either be diminished or Ocean View will be subsidizing Millville. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Ocean View will be spending $1 million a year for what Millville will get for less than $75,000. Looks like a real winner for the taxpayers of Millville.

Chief McLaughlin, several council members and a former council member have been speaking around town that in five years Ocean View will be the hub of a regional police force with Chief McLaughlin in charge. This regional police force will include Ocean View, Millville, Bethany Beach and South Bethany.

Furthermore, they claim that within five years McLaughlin will not even be reporting to the town councils. He will be reporting to a police commissioner. Guess who Chief McLaughlin said the police commissioner is going to be. You guessed it: Bill Wichmann.

Wonder what the surrounding towns think about this plan for their future. Hope they have deep pockets. I bet they have different thoughts.

Roy Thomas
Ocean View

Editor’s Note: Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood and Chief Ken McLaughlin each denied rumors of a regional police force. “It’s absolutely false,” said McLaughlin.

“The rumor-mongers are again trying to use Mr. Wichmann as an excuse for everything. It’s like President Obama blaming all the ills in the world on President Bush,” said Wood.