Letters to the Editor -- September 5, 2008

Bonville puts his support behind Carney

One of the most important ideas John Carney has been stressing as he goes around Delaware in his campaign for governor is the need for more affordable housing. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not something that just happens automatically. The people at the top have to make it happen, and John Carney is committed to doing that.

When my wife and I purchased our house 14 years ago, we paid $55,000 for a three bedroom house. It wasn’t the fanciest house around but it met our needs while our kids were growing up. Today, my kids couldn’t get what we got for four or five times that amount.

There are thousands of people in this state who are having real problems finding a decent place to live, either renting or owning their own home. This is a need our state government can do something about, and they can do it without breaking the budget as long as they’re willing to use new ideas and new approaches to dealing with the problem.

John Carney has shown that he understands the problem and how to go about fixing it. When I think of affordable housing for Delawareans, I think of John Carney. That’s why I’m supporting him.

Diaz J. Bonville
Rehoboth Beach

Special Olympics at Camp Barnes a success

Special Olympians enjoyed another successful camping experience at Camp Barnes, Aug. 16-18. What made it such a wonderful experience was the commitment and support from community organizations in Sussex County.

On Sunday night, the Lord Baltimore Lions cooked up burgers and hotdogs for the athletes and volunteers. Their enthusiasm was much appreciated by all. Later that evening, campers danced to the music of D.J. Don Minyon, Millville’s mayor. It was D.J. Don’s first experience with a Special Olympic event, and he and his family thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to be back next year.

On that same night, Ken McLaughlin and fellow officers from the Ocean View Police Department spent the night at the camp so that all staff could get a good night’s rest, as there always has to be “wake” staff throughout the night. Not only did they spend the night, they delighted campers by dishing up ice cream sundaes during the dance.

The last day of camp, lunch was served to campers, their parents and visiting dignitaries. Lunch would not have been successful without Al Casapulla’s willingness to prepare roast turkey subs during a time his shop is usually not open for business.

It goes without saying that without all this support, the camp experience would not be as enriching for the athletes. The days at Camp Barnes are long remembered and memorialized with photos and new formed friendships.

Thanks to the Sussex Community organizations for its support and commitment.

Marie McIntosh
Special Olympics

Amendt sets blame at Thomas’ door

“There you go again…” These words were often spoken by Ronald Reagan when he was campaigning for president, whenever a rival candidate spoke only half-truths about a particular subject. These words apply today to the half-truths uttered by Councilmen Nippes and Thomas for the Coastal Point, Aug. 29, 2008, letter titled “Councilmen: Setting the record straight.”

Mr. Conway Gregory was hired to replace our former town manager, who wore many hats and two specifically were town manager and financial director. Shortly after Mr. Gregory was hired, he requested a new position of financial officer be created to assist him in the management of town funds. His request was approved, which nearly doubled the administrative cost, as now we are paying two people to do the work one did before.

And let me interject about our application selection process, in that Councilman Thomas described all the applicants and their resumes as “pitiful” just prior to hiring our new town manager.

The town car was provided to Mr. Gregory to commute for one year, after which time he was to relocate to the Ocean View area. The town car was not intended to be his permanent vehicle for commuting and personal use, like stopping to conduct personal errands during his commute. The former town manager was assigned a vehicle, but this vehicle remained at town hall many evenings and was also available for use by councilmen to attend meetings throughout the state.

Now let me address the cheap shot against the chief of police and his police vehicle. The chief is the sworn commander of our distinguished police department and responds at all hours, as emergencies arise.

I don’t know of any incident where Mr. Gregory felt the need to respond and drive from Denton, Md., to Ocean View, Del. Further, the chief’s vehicle is part of his contract with the town, which the town’s attorney wrote. And, furthermore, now you and your ilk are trying to break his contract and oust a person who has an impeccable reputation that reaches outside our state to Washington, D.C., and has done more positive things for this town, this community and this area than either of you ever will.

And, as far as contracts are concerned, the town manager’s contract expired in February 2008 and is still expired. But, nevertheless, Councilman Thomas decided to reward Mr. Gregory with an $18,000 raise just after Mr. Gregory cut the health benefits to our town employees, whom they both disingenuously refers to as “…our most valuable assets.” I, along with Mayor Meredith and Councilman Wichmann, reduced that raise by several thousand dollars. And fellow citizens, don’t try to contact the town manager on Fridays, as he is usually out on a “comp day” or allegedly “working at home.”

Now, let me address the Public Safety Building and the drinking water projects. The Public Safety Building was all but completed. However, we did needlessly spend approximately $75,000 on a “site project manager” at Councilman Thomas’s insistence. This person’s function and need was questionable, at best, as he was rarely to found on-site. The drinking water project was a fiasco from the start and came in two years overdue and approximately $2 million over the original budget. Further insult came in the form of hidden user costs being discovered by citizens for well retention or abandonment.

You are right when it comes to blame. I blame you and those Muppets whose strings you control. I was a Councilman for six years and we never had the hateful dissention until April 2006, when you arrived. Yes, we had differences of opinion, but it was never personal or vicious until your appointment. And, a few weeks in office, you brought a censure motion. Talk about making a first impression. You set the tone from that moment on and it has gone downhill ever since.

Norm Amendt
Ocean View

Baker picks up support in county race

I had been looking forward to voting for Jud Bennett for County Council for the past several years. As a loyal Republican, I was disappointed when he lost by a slim margin four years ago. I assumed that most of the negative things I heard about Jud were just political hype.

When Mark Baker entered the race a few weeks ago, I didn’t think much of it. Though I have known Mark for years, I didn’t think anyone could overcome the name recognition Bennett has developed.

Now, thanks to the behavior of Jud Bennett, I’ve changed my mind. His over-the-top response to a few rather mild political challenges makes me believe that some of the concerns about his suitability for office might be justified.

Perhaps more importantly, he’s acting like he’s behind. When a politician stops talking about his platform and focuses on attacking people who aren’t even running for office, you know they’re in trouble. It also makes me wonder how I would be treated if I disagreed with him.

After talking to Mark Baker, I’ll be voting for him in the Republican primary on Tuesday, Sept. 9. What I particularly liked was that he’s not proposing the creation of new departments and the hiring of new employees for every perceived problem. As a Republican, I really like that because I’m extremely frustrated with the continuous growth of government even when Republicans are in charge.

I just don’t feel comfortable casting my vote for a candidate who seems to be a Republican in name only. With Mark Baker in the race, I’m convinced I don’t have to.

John Floyd

Frederick offers his support to Carney

I am writing in support of John Carney’s candidacy for governor.

I have known John Carney for over 30 years and can knowledgeably comment on John’s suitability to be our next governor. Three words come to mind: competitive, dedicated and loyal. Anyone who watched John play football or lacrosse knows he is competitive. He gave his all and wanted to win, but he did so fairly and conscientiously. These days, so many of our public servants relish tearing down the opposition, whereas John’s fair-minded competitive spirit nourishes his goal of working with everyone towards common, unified objectives.

As a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan administration, I am impressed by John’s economic development initiatives and programs to create more jobs in Delaware.

As a former mayor of Fenwick Island, I am grateful of John’s efforts on behalf of small towns. He supports local government in their effort to improve quality of life. Many public servants are dedicated to their personal success and future prominence. John is dedicated to making our state a better place to live, work, raise children and retire.

Those of us who know John know that he will always be there when we need him and that his loyalty is indisputable. He is loyal to his family, his friends, his co-workers and his state. John’s strong record serving as Secretary of Finance and lieutenant governor provide just a glimpse of how much he will accomplish as governor. Delaware is fortunate to have such an outstanding individual who is willing to serve.

Peter G. Frederick
Fenwick Island

Bunting gives Hocker credit for dental bill

I was pleased this past session to join my colleague and friend Rep. Gerald Hocker in sponsoring House Bill 392. This bill has been signed into law by the governor and amends Title 24 of the Delaware Code relating to dentistry and dental hygiene.

This bill establishes rules and regulations governing volunteer dentists, hygienists and dental assistants giving of their time and talents to the less fortunate who would otherwise not have access to dental care. We are very fortunate in our area to have retirees from these fields that are willing to participate in this type of program.

Rep. Hocker observed first hand the need for this type of service in our area and for the past six years has worked tirelessly to bring this matter to the forefront and to bring to the table the Delaware Dental Society, Sussex Smiles and others interested in filling this void of care in our area.

Though I sponsored this legislation with Rep. Hocker, I did not have the time to dedicate to this issue that was required to work the legislation. Gerald took this issue, became committed and dedicated many hours working to create the bill that was finally passed. He is to be commended for recognizing the true need for dental services in Sussex County and for providing a unique and positive volunteer service for those that have retired from these professions.

People of all ages will now receive the oral care they need, and in many cases this well be the first dental appointment for many of our children. Those of us that can afford dental care, especially our children, do not realize just how many people in our county go without. Dentistry is not just about teeth but it is also a great indicator of more serious medical conditions.

This bill would not have become a reality without the determination, the due diligence and sense of purpose demonstrated by Gerald Hocker. His straightforward approach to issues and his tireless efforts to work with major players in getting this legislation passed and signed is a tremendous accomplishment and wonderful achievement for our volunteers offering this service in our area and the citizens it will benefit.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to publicly thank Gerald for having the insight and the vision to work so diligently on this issue and to continue the debate over the years ’til we were finally successful in this endeavor.

Congratulations, Gerald, and thank you for meeting the needs of our citizens.

State Sen. George H. Bunting Jr.
D-20th District

Visitors look elsewhere for vacation due to dune

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Bethany Beach Mayor Carol Olmstead and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

We are in the third generation of our family vacationing yearly, now for over 40 years at Bethany Beach; but, sadly, this year will most likely be the last time.

No matter what Bethany residents might think about the protection the recently completed dunes will give their seafront properties, the unsightly mounds have totally changed the character of Bethany. No longer can one walk along the boardwalk and see the ripple of the tides while enjoying cooling sea breezes.

Everybody should know that owning waterfront property is a high-risk venture, because no matter what investments are made in protective measures, nature has the upper hand. For example, are the builders of the new condo at the end of Garfield Parkway counting on the taxpayers to bail them out if they loose their shirt in this risky undertaking?

Talking to residents and visitors alike, I was told that the Town Council looked to the Corps of Engineers for design advice and guidance. Unfortunately, my professional colleagues at the Corps are not basking in the finest reputation after the horrible Katrina experience in New Orleans.

Surely the Town Council must have considered a minimal or even a null alternative, to let nature take its course. The manmade changes must have brought other devastating results. We have a friend who was severely injured by a wave action of the type he never experienced at Bethany before. He told us rescue missions have increased tremendously.

If Bethany Beach were the only place to vacation nearby, it would be sad for our family. But we know many beautiful spots up and down the coast, from Virginia up into New Jersey, where the beaches are wide, well-groomed and visitor-friendly.

If the Town of Bethany or nature will not change the current horrible dunes profile, the Graeub family will look for other beach vacation spots.

W.C. Graeub
Chevy Chase, Md.

Howard puts her support behind Markell

As a longtime Delawarean “of a certain age,” I have seen many political candidates come and go in Delaware, and as a politically-minded and active Democrat, I have helped some of them in their campaigns. But never have I seen a candidate for any Delaware public office of higher caliber than Jack Markell.

Here in Kent County, many of our young people have had to leave Delaware to find good employment. I don’t want my nieces and nephews to have to do that. Jack has very specific plans to create jobs in Kent County and the rest of Delaware. He has vowed to increase the educational opportunities for our young people, as well as to partner with large and small businesses in creating 25,000 jobs.

I know Jack will serve Delaware well with his business expertise and his genuine compassion for people. Won’t you join me in electing a governor who will make Delaware the best it can be?

Louisa Howard

Ide: Why not a Lee-Protack debate?

Bill Lee, according to Bill Lee, doesn’t need to debate Mike Protack, because he (Lee) has been around so long that everyone knows his position on the issues.

Gee, I wonder how many voters knew he believed illegal immigrants should be issued drivers licenses?

Maybe, just maybe, is it possible there might be other issues where we voters really do not know his position? Could we be surprised again if only someone would ask the right questions?

Would it not be better if we, the voters, had an opportunity to hear his views on the other issues so we can either confirm or question our previously held understanding of Bill Lee’s position on the issue? Should we not be aware of his positions before rather than after the election? Would a debate not help the Republican voters to better size up the candidates’ ability to handle the tough fight they will face from the Democratic candidate. Might not Lee’s reluctance to debate be indicative of a bigger problem?

Remember, Bill Lee was a reluctant candidate from the beginning. I can recall the party approaching him to run when Mike Protack was the only Republican willing to compete for that office.

More than once, Lee stated publicly that he was not interested in running for the governor’s office. It was only after further discussions with the Republican leadership that he finally agreed to run this time. Probably only God and those present at the discussions will ever know why Lee finally reversed himself. And to top it all off, Bill Lee couldn’t be bothered to attend his party’s convention to receive the nomination.

Campaign politics, at best, is a rough game and only those with a “fire in their belly” are going to succeed. Whoever the Republican nominee is will face a large voter registration disadvantage from the beginning. Running against either Jack Markell or John Carney will not be at all like running against Ruth Ann Minner, an incumbent who had a lot of political baggage to defend.

Lee is right about one thing, he has been around a long time but unfortunately that does not translate into any victories for him or the party.

Personally, I believe Mike Protack is the only Republican candidate for governor that has that fire in his belly and is capable of holding his own against either one of the two Democratic candidates in a debate on the issues. However, I am willing to keep an open mind should Bill demonstrates that he does have that fire and willingness to debate the issues with Mike.

How long will Bill Lee continue to rely on pre-recorded phone call from Pete Dupont to Republican voters before he does something on his own that indicates he deserves to be the Republican nominee for governor?

Allen Ide

Legatski puts his support behind Markell

I am outraged that the Democratic State Committee of Delaware has used funds contributed by party members to pay for an expensive education-related mailing in support of John Carney’s campaign. I would be just as angry if those ads supported Jack Markell.

John should pay this money back so it can be used to help elected Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the White House, Democrats to the Delaware legislature and to keep the Democratic majority on the Sussex County Council.

The state party should support the candidate chosen by the party’s members on Sept. 9, instead of trying to dictate the outcome of the primary. Shame on the party officials responsible for this improper and inexcusable action, and shame on John Carney for not paying the money back.

I urge my fellow Democrats to stand up for their right to choose the party’s candidate for governor by rejecting this attempt to control the primary and voting for Jack Markell! Jack is the only candidate for governor who will deliver the change Delaware needs and take our state in a new direction toward a brighter future.

Richard Legatski

MOMS Club thanks many for support

The MOMS Club of Rehoboth Beach Area would like to thank the sponsors, supporters, volunteers, truck drivers and the community for their generous support of our first Touch-A-Truck event raised over $5,000 for the March of Dimes, Sussex chapter.

Thank you first and foremost to our sponsors: Clean Cut Interlocking Pavers, the Knowland Group, Schell Brothers, A-1 Custom Fence, Child’s Play by the Bay, County Bank, Melvin Joseph Construction, Oil Change Guy and Steamboat Landing.

We greatly appreciate all of our supporters for their contributions: Ad-Art Signs, Baywood Greens, Cape Gazette, Brian K. Hall and Cat Country Radio, First State Disposal, Grand Rental Station, Grotto Pizza, Jason Cumor, Jungle Jim’s, Kmart, Kucharik Landscape Company, LogoMotive Design and Screenprinting, Heidi Lowe Jewelry, Pierson’s Comfort Group, Sprout Sales, Jeanine O’Donnell of State Farm and Surf Bagel.

Thank you to the MOMS Club volunteers, the March of Dimes volunteers, Sarah Dickey, Candace Shetzler, Ken Melesky, Rachel Kirschen, Karen Coty, Keri Berger, Debbie Sarley, Jordan Maxwell, Heidi Lowe, Tom Kucharik and “Pa” (Edward Cline).

Of course, we couldn’t have done it if the truck drivers had not given up their time off to be there. They put forth an amazing effort to entertain and educate the children, and the 500-plus children who attended loved seeing their vehicles.

Thank you to the coordinators and drivers for A-1 Custom Fence, A.P. Croll and Son, Allen Family Foods, Angersteins, Atlantic Tractor, Baywood Greens, Burris Foods, Cat Country Radio, City of Lewes, Clean Cut Interlocking Pavers, Coastal Towing, Delaware Department of Transportation, Denney Electric Supply, Dogfish Head, First State Disposal, Melvin Joseph Construction, Oil Change Guy, Overhead Door, Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Department, David Baker and Sussex County, Sweet Treats, Thoro-Goods Concrete, Troop 7, Tumblebus, U.S. Postal Service and Waste Management.

The MOMS Club also appreciates all of the businesses who hung signs and helped advertise our event and everyone who came out to see what Touch-A-Truck was all about! We look forward to doing it again next year!

Cher Stout, President And the Executive Board
MOMS Club of Rehoboth Beach Area, DE

Numerous items needed for our troops

September is here. Time again to think about our military folks.

As always, requests for all sorts of toiletries; cotton socks, foot powder, sunscreen, baby wipes, lip balm, disposable razors, etc., phone cards, hard candies, cookies, small cans of fruit, meat, nuts; canned soups such as clam chowder; macaroni and cheese, etc.; and water — water is always a needed item.

Items can be deposited at St. Ann’s Catholic Church — “Father Masterson’s Hall.” Thank you, Father Kelly, for your support and giving us use of the hall.

Pick up from Dover Air Force Base will be in early October.

Do wear red on Fridays, every Friday.

I know that this will again be successful, thanks to your generosity.

God bless our military, their families and our great country!

Gigi Vanderman
Bethany Beach

Lions appeal to public to stop thefts

We need the help of the public!

For the past 22 years, the Fenwick Island Lions Club has been collecting and recycling aluminum drink cans. Currently, we have lattice-covered collection bins — with the familiar Lions Club logo — located throughout the Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Millville, Clarksville, Fenwick Island and Selbyville areas. This longtime effort has allowed us to generously fund our Indian River High School scholarship program and numerous other service programs that we support.

Unfortunately, this summer someone has been stealing the cans from our Lions recycling bin located in the parking lot of Hocker’s Super Center on Route 26 in Clarksville.

We have contacted the state police, and they have advised us that they will keep the area under surveillance, but we are asking for your help, too. The police suggest that if you see any suspicious activity in this area, please jot down a license plate number — and any other pertinent information you might observe — and report this to the state police at (302) 856-5850.

As Lions, our members strive year-round to help others and to make life a bit easier for those less fortunate than ourselves. That is why it is so disheartening to think that someone would undermine our efforts.

Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Fenwick Island Lions Club