Letters to the Editor -- January 22, 2010

Magill responds to previous guest column

I intended to offer another local’s opinion to counter Bob Herrington’s rant against newcomers in the Jan. 15 Coastal Point, but I’m not sure I’m qualified to do so.

My family moved to Ocean View in 1970, when my father became the minister at Mariner’s Bethel Church. Even though I’ve been around long enough to remember when we called him “Bobby,” I’m just not sure if I meet Mr. Herrington’s qualifications as a local.

By stating that those who have moved here since 1970 have stifled the local way of life, Mr. Herrington implies that those of us who have moved here since then are somehow not locals. My situation is even more complicated. My family moved here in 1970. Does that mean I’m not a local, or am I safe since I moved here in 1970?

I’m so confused. I think I’m having an identity crisis.

I grew up in Ocean View and consider Ocean View to be my hometown. I attended Lord Baltimore Elementary and Selbyville Middle School and graduated from Indian River High School, just like all of the other “locals” I knew back in the 1970s.

I went to college after graduating from Indian River in 1978 and moved away after the summer of 1982, following my graduation from college. I moved because, in the 1970s, there were no jobs to speak of in Ocean View or the surrounding area. Many other “locals” did the same thing.

So what happened between the hustle and bustle of Ocean View that Mr. Herrington recalls from his childhood in the 1960s, and the Deadsville that Ocean View had become by 1970?

The town had hardly any ordinances to speak of back then. It didn’t have a Planning Commission until 1977. The Zoning section of the town code wasn’t added until 1989. Almost all of our planning-related ordinances have been added since the 1980s.

Could it be that all of those hog and chicken farmers decided that real estate and other tourism-related jobs provided a better way of life than chasing farm animals?

I, myself, was gone for 14 years, working at various newspapers around the country. At times during my exodus, I wanted to move back to my hometown, since my wife and I always seemed to be planning our next trip to the beach.

We couldn’t do it then because this area, while growing, still couldn’t support much more than seasonal businesses.

Finally, in 1996, it looked like the area had grown enough, with the influx of newcomers and the number of businesses serving them, to support a Web site hosting business.

I went up and down the coast that winter, from Lewes to Ocean City, with a business plan for an online travel guide and Web site hosting business. Peter Roenke of Coastal Images Inc. agreed it was a worthwhile idea. I served as Webmaster of Beach-Net for three years before venturing out on my own again.

The point of my mini-bio is that Ocean View, while trying to retain its small-town character and not morph into suburbia or the mess that is Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach, has hardly been anti-business.

Today, I counted more than 90 businesses in the town limits, not including vacant offices or home businesses. You could have counted the number of businesses on one hand when I grew up here.

I don’t remember being able to buy much of anything within the town limits, either. The closest grocery store was Jake’s (now G&E) out in Cedar Neck. When Harris-Teeter opens this spring, we’ll have five supermarkets, including three that are closer to Ocean View than the old Jake’s.

Thus, I don’t buy the hysterical “Ocean View is dying” proclamations I’ve heard in the past couple of weeks. Had Ocean View been as anti-business since 1970 as Mr. Herrington claims, I never could have moved my family back here.

If “locals” had wanted Ocean View to remain an agricultural community instead of an idyllic beach community as Mr. Herrington suggests, perhaps they shouldn’t have advertised their properties’ proximity to the beach and Ocean View’s small-town charm. I certainly don’t remember ads touting a property’s proximity to or suitability for hog farms and chicken houses.

When those newcomers were enticed to pay top dollar for those properties based on their proximity to the ocean, it stood to reason they wouldn’t want live next to smelly chicken houses and hog farms any more than Mr. Herrington wanted to live next to the “cat house” on Woodland Avenue that he pestered me to do something about from the moment I was elected to council in 2001. Mr. Herrington’s complaints inspired our Dangerous Property ordinance.

Finally, as I look at the town code online, unlike Mr. Herrington’s belief that he couldn’t move his funeral home to town, I see that funeral homes are allowed under the General Business District, Section 222-16-B, Permitted Uses. It’s right there with bakeries, florists, restaurants, pharmacies, grocery, hardware and variety stores, and a couple dozen other business categories.

Mr. Herrington, my friend, put your money where your mouth is. Move your funeral home to Ocean View.

Eric Magill
Ocean View

Improve boating skills before season begins

Visitors to and residents of Sussex alike anticipate the arrival of warmer weather and the boating season. The time for brushing up on boating skills is now, before you take your boat out of storage.

The USCG Auxiliary, Indian River Flotilla 12-09, will be presenting a seven-week Basic Skills & Seamanship Course (BS&S) starting on Monday, Feb. 22, at Short’s Marine off Long Neck Road in Millsboro. Classes run from 7 to 9 p.m. each Monday, although the first session begins at 6:30 p.m. to accommodate the sign-up process.

The course covers boating, navigational rules, required safety equipment, navigational aids and numerous related subjects. Optional subjects may be included, as appropriate.

Upon successful completion of the course, students are awarded a USCGAUX certificate and a safe boating card from the State of Delaware. The BS&S Course is one of the most comprehensive courses available for recreational boaters and satisfies both federal and state training requirements.

The cost is $35 per student and includes a study manual with workbook. The cost for additional family members who can share the study manual or those with their own manuals is $15.

Preregistration is required because the class often fills to capacity before the course begins. To enroll, contact Instructor Andy Smith by e-mail at adweeb@mchsi.com or by calling (443) 359-0140.

This class supplies the information that you need to have a fun, safe boating season and provides you with the opportunity to ask experts questions about procedures and situations. It’s a great investment for summer fun.

Kay Carnahan, Flotilla 12-09

CHEER Christmas drive a big hit

Thanks to donations from individuals and local businesses, Operation Christmas CHEER 2009 was a big success. This year, we delivered meals and care packages to almost 300 senior citizens in Sussex County.

Demand has been greater than in the past. Requests for Christmas meal delivery increased by over 25 percent. The economy, of course, was a significant factor — some loved ones were increasingly unable to provide holiday goods for homebound relatives. As reported by some of our Christmas Day meal recipients, many far-away loved ones were unable to afford the traditional Christmas visit to grandma or grandpa this year.

Another factor is the increasing population of older seniors in Sussex County. We have one of the highest per capita senior populations in the country. With this increasing population comes increasing demand for services like our meal delivery. Due to cuts in state and local funding, donations are even more critical to help us meet the increased need — and not just at the holidays.

This was the first year for many, like Ocia Dixon, to receive a Christmas meal delivery from CHEER. Ms. Dixon told us that the lap quilt she received in addition to her meal helped make her more comfortable at home.

“The lap quilt feels so good on my knees when I’m watching TV. My knees get so cold and stiff. I have it on right now.” Saying it meant so much to her to have strangers care so much about her comfort during the holidays, she added, “I couldn’t thank the people who came to my house as much as I wanted to because I was so choked up I thought I would start to cry. I appreciate it so much.”

Our meal delivery wouldn’t be possible without our generous volunteers and donors.

Here is a partial list of this year’s donors: Carol Wallace, Jason and Carol Brown, Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 1, Maryane Manzi, Dublin 4H Club, Helena Smith, K-mart Giving Tree, Kathryn and Charles Pickering, Mispillion Kennel Club, Transceformations Massage, Dawn Lowe, Classic Divas Red Hat Group, Greenwood Electrical Co-op, Delaware Technical and Community College Agriculture Department, Atlantic Community Thrift Store Inc., Coastal AARP, Joan Ridolfi, Trap Woods Inc., Short Funeral Services, All Walks of Life Outreach, Delaware National Bank, Discover Bank of Greenwood, Long Neck CHEER Center Seniors, Greenwood CHEER Center Seniors, Harbour Lights CHEER Center Seniors, Slaughter Neck CHEER Center Seniors, Long Neck Elementary School, Stockley Center, Carol Lazzara, Sheila Maden, Susan and David Ondish, Mid-Del Charitable Foundation, Perdue, Sussex Tech High School Honor Society, Delmarva Chapter Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees and anonymous donors.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped spread a little Christmas CHEER this year.

Jesse Lanier

Free TV now available – take advantage

Attention all Delmarvans (and everyone across this great nation), we’ve been granted a free lunch, and I’m sure you’ll all agree that it is about darned time, too! It’s actually more like a lifetime of free breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Yeah, right – like I believe that! For the all negative naysayers out there, which is most of us – myself included – I realize that it sounds too good to be true, yet it is. I speak from personal experience and knowledge.

It all became possible with the federal government’s mandate (in February 2008) forcing all TV stations to switch from analog to digital broadcasts. You do need the right equipment, however – not the silly rabbit ears that Mr. Paparella holds up on WBOC (CBS) Channel 16.1.

Most of us who do not live near Salisbury (where most of the TV signals come from) need roof antennas and, again, it is crucial to get the best, and these antennas are not available locally.

I purchased mine from a company in Michigan for under a hundred bucks, including shipping and handling. It’s also a good idea to get a rotor so that you can have three times as much fun picking up over-the-air (OTA) TV channels. It’s guaranteed to amaze you – especially given the fact the TV has never been free, especially here on the coast.

Everyone who can afford it pays, and the poor folks like me have mostly given up or are still struggling with rabbit ears. It’s so exciting to go from two snow channels here in Ocean View to over 13 channels – kind of like striking gold.

Stop throwing your money away. It’s just plain silly. And, what you get for free is quality TV that you will never get by paying for subscription TV. Subscription TV is not only poor quality TV, but it is also obsolete or no longer necessary. It’s just plain duplicitous to continue paying when the new free DTV is this great.

I can envision a day where the reverse happens, where those who pay are far and few between, like those who currently use rabbit ears. This new digital signal far exceeds anything you can pay for. For instance, how does nine channels of quality, commercial- and advertisement-free, PBS channels strike you? It’s only the most amazing television programming ever available.

It easily replaces about two dozen subscription channels. PBS also needs new viewers so that they can continue airing great programs that sharpen the mind and feed the soul. If you must pay, why not pay PBS, whose quality programming (inclunding movies) is unmatched? Viewers who pay for cable don’t watch PBS as a general rule, because they are paying for 500 channels … and PBS gets ignored.

Plus, if this weren’t enough good news, I get three MPT’s, three WHYY’s, three NJN’s and so on. And, those who pay every month only get one (MPT and WHYY) of these fabulous channels through their subscription.

I’ve actually got two TV setups - one uses rabbit ears receiving five channels and the other is hooked up to the roof antenna (plus rotor), which gets a minimum of 13 channels, plus when I rotate toward D.C./Baltimore, Philly, and to the south, I pick-up N.C. It’s not often that we get anything free here, but now it’s a reality, so why not take advantage?

Call Solid Signal in Michigan (1-866-374-4625) or go online to their Web site (www.solidsignal.com) and look for the Winegard SquareShooter (SS-2000). Tell ’em Susan sent you. Maybe, if enough Delmarvans call, they’ll give us a group discount. (Hey, you never know.)

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that you’ll also need a converter box (remember the coupon program? What a mess that was!), unless you were among the many who purchased a new TV because of this confusion.

Call me, your friend and neighbor, Susan Rush, at (302) 539-4653, if you have any questions.

Susan Rush

The tyranny of the majority is frightening

The present functioning of the Democrat congress concerning healthcare/insurance reform points to the inherent dangers of the unlimited power of its majority upon our democratic republic.

The ensuing consequences of the tyranny of a majority thwarting the will of the people were most feared by both Jefferson and Tocqueville. They thought it to be an impious and detestable act for a majority legislature to use their authority of absolute power to pass laws they considered just but their constituents considered unjust.

Unlimited power of any kind is a bad and dangerous thing, as it is the germ of tyranny. It is an accepted maxim that liberty is endangered when a legislative majority enforces an arbitrary law and there is no power to retard its vehemence. The present healthcare bill strikes at the heart of our democratic values, and that can prove fatal to many of our personal freedoms; we are at risk.

But the American people are striking back and are winning the argument in the public square. They have driven the Democrats into hiding, as about 70 percent of our citizens have an unfavorable opinion of this “monstrosity” that they deem too onerous for the many.

Thought is the invisible and subtle power that mocks the Democrats’ effort to force a despotic act through their majority. It is becoming a national scandal as they buy the votes for passage. Democrats are fleeing from public transparency, as all who stray from our values do.

Jefferson, one of our most powerful advocates of democracy, opined, “The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared….” But, given the energetic voice of the executive trying to prove the necessity of government healthcare, they may not be far behind. I believe the voice of the people will heartily mitigate the tyranny of this majority legislature in November.

Richard Spencer