Letters to the Editor -- March 26, 2010

Swim team thankful for support of many

The Indian River High School Swimming Team is wrapping up its first season, a season that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of many in our community. Your Coastal Point staff has supported us throughout the season by publishing our progress in print and photographs. So many people have approached our team to express their support because they read about us in the paper. Please help us to also offer most sincere thanks to the following organizations and individuals:

• Indian River High School Board for approving our request to swim.

• The QuietResorts Foundation, ACTS, Lord Baltimore Lions and Overture Ultimate Home Electronics for generous donations.

• Sea Colony Fitness Center for making the pool available for our practices.

• The Georgia House Restaurant, Bear Trap Dunes Community Association and Hocker’s Market for making their facilities available for fundraising events.

• Lord Baltimore Elementary School for providing a location for our banquet.

• IRHS Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann for obtaining board approval, entering us in meets and supporting the team throughout the season.

• Coaches Donna Smith, Colin Crandell and Coleen Ingram for volunteering their time and talents — we’ve learned a lot!

• IRSD CFO Patrick Miller for his invaluable advice for establishing our booster club.

• Mr. Blaquiere and Mr. and Mrs. Powell for driving us safely to practices and meets.

• Generous parents for support and encouragement and volunteering at meets.

We’ll see you next November.

Indian River High School Swimming Team and Booster Club

Resident behind Steffens and Christ

It is quite refreshing to see two young faces raising families in Ocean View emerge as candidates for the town council election this April.

Michele Steffens representing District 1 and Geoff Christ representing District 2 know each other well and are both committed to the theme of fiscal responsibility for our town. Their campaigning as a team not only demonstrates their understanding of good money management, but it proves that candidates can work together in a spirit of cooperation. This is sorely needed on our town council.

Michele Steffens’ family has an extensive history in Ocean View, dating back to 1930. She, her husband, Bob and son, Derek, live on Edward Lane. Geoff Christ and his wife, Debbie, are the parents of two young sons, Owen and Spencer, and make their home in The Cottages community.

No one wants or expects Michele and Geoff to agree on every issue facing Ocean View. They are their own people. However, I am confident we will be able to count on them to use a common sense approach to the budgetary process and town spending. And, as important, they will both truly listen to the concerns of residents and make citizens’ ideas an integral part of the decision-making process. We cannot ask for anything more.

Elaine Birkmeyer
Ocean View

Cub Scout efforts left an impression

I would like to show my appreciation for all Mrs. Michele (Steffens) has helped me with throughout my Cub Scouting experience. She helped me build a fire and cook a meal over that fire for my family and hers. She also helped me cut, sand and weigh my Pinewood derby car every year. She even watched our dog when we went out of town. Mrs. Michele has always been there for me and my family and I know she will be there for the town of Ocean View, too.

Thank you, Mrs. Michele Steffens.

Joey Cireiello
Ocean View
Grade 5, Lord Baltimore Elementary

Nippes makes case for reelection efforts

I feel compelled to put forth the facts so that you can make an informed decision on Election Day, April 10. Competition is the essence of a democracy, and I welcome the challenge of a race that gives you the voters a choice.

While both candidates Ms. Steffens and Mr. Christ appear qualified to serve on the town council, the problem I perceive is they are running as a team and have been chosen by term-limited Councilman Wichman and his supporters to push his agenda while he works behind the scene. The question arises as to their degree of independence, or will they feel obligated to support Mr. Wichman’s agenda?

The election of Mr. Wichman’s hand-picked successors will lead to significant policy changes. I believe Wichman’s new agenda can be summarized in one word and that is “reversal.” The current plan to achieve financial stability can be reversed by a three-to two vote. The reserves that previous councilman worked so hard to establish will be eroded to increase spending for the police department.

Remember a previous Council where Mr. Wichman was in the majority spent $2.66 million on a police station that is far larger than any other police station in neighboring towns that are comparable to the size of Ocean View.

The police car policy will be changed back, to allow our police officers to take home their own police car, resulting in increased spending. New police cars will be purchased and additional officers hired, resulting in increased spending. It would not surprise me to see an effort made to move the administration out of the public safety building and return the complex into a police-only building. Mr. Wichman fought tenaciously to keep the cost-saving measure of relocating the administrative staff to the second floor of this building from happening.

When you vote on April 10, remember the long-term effects of your decision. I urge you to vote overwhelming against me if you feel that I have not represented the majority wishes of the residents. Please look at my total record before voting. If you feel that I have worked tirelessly to bring financial stability and positive recognition to the town, then vote for my reelection. I believe sincerely that we are making great strides in solving the financial dilemma facing the town. The financial course I have supported will return Ocean View to a prized community where people actively seek to live.

I am often asked the question while out campaigning, “Why do you want to expose yourself to the abuse leveled at you by a vocal minority?” One reason stands out, and that is I believe the minority does not represent the desires of the majority. This election will either confirm that the majority wants financial stability or a return to the free-spending days of the past.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, I urge you to vote on April 10. The future direction of this town rests with your vote.

Richard Nippes
Incumbent Ocean View Town Council member and candidate, District One

Steffens and Christ garner more support

Before we cast our ballots on Saturday, April 10, we must look at how our current incumbent views his constituents. First of all, for anyone person to commit to the time and effort it takes to run for the council, let alone serve, has my utmost respect and admiration; but in order to keep my respect, he must earn it.

Sadly, Mr. Nippes has lost my respect due to how he has governed, how he has voted on some very important matters that have faced the town, and more importantly, how he views his fellow citizens who are actively involved in town government and exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

To refer to your fellow citizens as “…those people…” and “… an out of touch and uninformed vocal minority…” is an insult to those active, informed citizens who are genuinely interested in their town and local government. Who are these people? Are they the former mayor or the retired police officer or the retired teacher or the small businessperson or the retired company executive or the housewife and mother? Mr. Nippes is an elitist when he cowers behind these demeaning, generic terms. He implies that citizens need not attend council meetings because he surely knows best. However, he should be reminded of these words by Abraham Lincoln: “…a government of the people, by the people and for the people…”. But he encourages apathy and prefers that no one show up at town meetings, and if that would happen, that would be a good thing. Mr. Nippes, how about thanking them for caring and showing up at the meetings even though they do not always agree with your decisions. Show some respect!

A person’s past actions and decisions are very good indicators of the future. With some very important issues faxing the town, Mr. Nippes’ record of the past 3 years demonstrates that he is not the right person to remain on the council. It is time for a change to a better person who does not demean their fellow citizens, who does not come to council with a personal agenda and who does not have a puppeteer manipulating them. It is time to elect two honorable people who are raiding their families here in Ocean View. It is time to elect Michele Steffens and Geoff Christ — two new faces with fresh ideas.

Stephen Cobb
Ocean View

Steffens and Christ are the choices for resident
Editor’s Note: The following letter was addressed to the residents of Ocean View and sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Are you concerned about your town’s finances? Are you aware that 67 percent of the town’s revenues are budgeted for payroll? Do you want the best value for your dollar? Then I recommend you seriously consider giving Michele Steffens and Geoff Christ your vote on Saturday, April 10.

I have known Michele and her family since the early 1970s. She is running for the District 1 seat for Ocean View’s town council. I know her to be trustworthy, responsible, discerning and an upright citizen.

When she takes office, I believe she will be very accessible to her constituents. She will take the residents’ concerns seriously. Michele has my vote and I hope she will have yours, too. Don’t forget to vote, Saturday, April 10.

Terry Holt
Ocean View

McClenny family grateful for support

Claudia and I want our many friends, acquaintances and community groups, to know how much we have appreciated your prayers, e-mails, cards and letters before and after the death of my father on Feb. 5, 2010, and our son, Kevin, who died on Feb. 13, 2010, after suffering for eight months with liver cancer. His struggle was valiant, but the odds were simply overwhelming.

Thank you one and all for you kindnesses during a very difficult time in our lives. We apologize for the delay in sending you our “thank you,” but as you many know, Tony was overcome by a heart attack while standing by the gravesite as our son, Kevin, was buried.

Following a triple bypass and 11 days in the hospital, Tony is now recuperating at home. Know that he cannot heal fast enough and both of us look forward to our return to join with you in various church, town, and community events.

With our warmest feelings,
Claudio and Tony McClenny
Bethany Beach

Thank you to Bill Wichmann

As Councilman Bill Wichmann leaves the Ocean View Council, after his two terms, I want to give special thanks to him for his service to Ocean View.

Bill is no the kind of man to sit up on the podium and tell us all of his accomplishments in his term of office. He is one Councilman that has been “a hands-on” and has always worked for the town he cares so much for. He has been criticized in a letter to the media for his interest in his “Beloved Police Department”. Of course he has a special interest in the police department, as a former police commissioner in another town. Others on the council have their special interests, also. He has a right to be proud of the police department.

He installed appliances, built display cases, cleaned bathrooms, took police cars in for service, took equipment in for repair, watered grass, ran errands and did anything he could to help in the Public Safety Building. All this was saving the town money. He was active in the CAP volunteer unit, which helped the citizens of our town in many ways. Now they are in Millville and Bill is helping there. Our loss is Millville’s gain. They are respected by the Millville Council and are appreciated for the money they save that town.

Bill Wichmann never attacked other council members or town employees. He spent his time on the council trying to better the town, not hiring outside attorneys, which cost the town thousands, and did not improve the town’s image. Councilman Wichmann wanted to concentrate on town business, not going after others and embarrassing the town.

Councilman Wichmann attended SCAT (Sussex County Association of Towns) and the Delaware League of Local Government meetings on a regular basis, representing the Town of Ocean View. Not all councilmen do this.

Councilman Wichmann never thought it necessary to write letters to the editor to express how people were treating him. Many times I saw him being battered down and he remained a gentleman. Someone sent hate e-mails to him anonymously, and he knows the person who would be low enough to send those. Thank you, Bill, for taking the “High Road.”

Councilman Wichmann always voted his own mind without the influence of other people. He voted yes or no on any issue and did his homework on the issues that were coming up for vote. Unlike some other councilmen, he never abstained, and you knew where he stood on every vote. He never let “outside influences” direct his and vote on any issue.

Councilman Wichmann has always had the good of the town in his heart and didn’t find the need to “Blow his Own Horn.” I just wanted to let people know what a good and principled man he is and what he really did for this town. I just hope this council can find new people who will work together, vote their own mind, and do what is best for the town of Ocean View as Councilman Bill Wichmann did!

Thank you, Bill, and God’s speed. You will be missed.

Bette L. Meredith
Ocean View