Letters to the Editor -- October 9, 2009

Coast Day a hit, thanks to efforts of many

I wish to thank everyone who came out to celebrate Delaware’s coastal environment. It was a delight to speak with many visitors and to see their interest in our coast and the work that we at UD are doing to help sustain it.

Thanks also to the many exhibitors, ships and vendors that make Coast Day such a special and unique event.

Coast Day’s theme this year was “Climate Change and Our Coast” and our exhibitors and presenters offered numerous educational activities related to one of our planet’s most challenging environmental issues.

In addition, there were more than 100 fun and engaging opportunities for all of our guests, including seafood seminars, lectures, research demonstrations, exhibits, ship tours, marine critter touch tanks and a crabcake cook-off.

We recognized several people at our special Coast Day ceremony.

Zachary Dailey, Tyler Stokes, Zachary Johnson, Colin Kent, Alexia Ratajack, John Bubniak and Ryan Norfleet of Caesar Rodney High School wowed us with their winning entry in the first-ever Coast Day Video Contest.

In addition, we were once again pleased with the high quality of this year’s Coast Day Fifth-Grade Essay Contest winners. Sam Schubert (Saint Ann School), Hailey DeCelles, (East Millsboro Elementary), Kellen Sweeney (Saint Ann School), Brooke Ward (East Millsboro Elementary), Hayley McCabe (East Millsboro Elementary) and Jordyn Virden (Rehoboth Elementary) should be proud of their fantastic efforts. The students’ teachers — Paris Crockett, Marilyn Vallejo, Joan Balback, Robin Hall and Jacquie Kisiel — also deserve special commendation.

Several sponsors helped to bring this celebration of the sea to Delawareans, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, DuPont Clear into the Future, Delaware River and Bay Authority, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Bluewater Wind LLC, Overseas Shipholding Group, Port of Wilmington, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration — Water Resources Agency and Delmarva Power. We thank them for their support.

I look forward to seeing you at our next Coast Day, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010.

Nancy Targett
Dean, College of Marine and Earth Studies
Director, Delaware Sea Grant College Program
University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment

‘Clunkers’ wasn’t the only tax break for cars

The “Cash for Clunkers” program for new cars may have ended, but the IRS wants to remind taxpayers that many people might overlook another special break available.

If you buy a new vehicle this year, there’s a special federal tax deduction available that can help you save money, in some cases hundreds of dollars. This tax break will allow Delawareans who buy a new vehicle in 2009 to deduct the document fee they pay when they file their tax return next year. The tax deduction is available on the 2009 federal tax return even for those who claim the standard deduction.

The deduction is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and applies to the document fee paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price for qualified new cars, light trucks, motorcycles or motor homes. Generally, vehicles weighing 8,500 pounds or less qualify. This means that most new cars and many new trucks will qualify. New motor homes qualify regardless of weight.

Buyers are entitled to a partial deduction if they earn between $125,000 and $135,000 ($250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers). The deduction is eliminated for those who earn more than these amounts.

To qualify, the vehicle must be new and purchased in 2009 after Feb. 16 and no later than Dec. 31. There is still time left, but the clock is ticking.

More information is available at IRS.gov/Recovery.

Terry L. Lemons, Director of Communications
Internal Revenue Service
Washington, D.C.

Reader wants gay rights more recognized

Five bills that greatly effect gay and transgender citizens are before the U.S. Congress.

One would topple the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of same-gender marriage even in states where it is legal. Another would prohibit anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace.

Another would allow foreign same-gender spouses of American citizens the same immigration rights as bi-national heterosexual couples.

Another bill would allow gays to serve openly, and without lying, in the military.

Another would protect from hate crimes.

These five bills represent rights so basic they are taken for granted by heterosexual Americans. Far from the sinister motives our opponents impute to us, we who are gay and transgender American citizens only want to marry and live with our spouses, to be employed, to serve in the military and to be safe from hate crimes. This is that frightening Gay Agenda of which we have all heard.

Put even more succinctly, the Gay Agenda is simply this: equal rights in every state. Sounds pretty American to me.

Douglas Marshall-Steele