Letters to the Editor -- August 8, 2008

Bunting asks for support for natural gas plant
Editor’s note: The following letter, dated July 30, was addressed to Delaware Public Service Commission Chairman Arnetta McRae; Commissioners Joann Conaway, Jaymes B. Lester, J. Dallas Winslow and Jeffrey J. Clark; Jennifer W. Davis, director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget; Controller General Russell T. Larson; and DNREC Secretary John A. Hughes; and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

I realize that you are meeting on July 31 in part to determine whether the decision as to the proposed natural gas power plant should be made by your four state agencies, or whether it should instead be subject to the Public Service Commission’s regular Integrated Resource Planning Process. Regardless of what you decide, there are several considerations of importance to my constituents and me that I hope will be weighed carefully.

In recent years there has been a loud and increasing public outcry from residents in the area of the Indian River Power Plant and the surrounding region, most of which is in my senatorial district, about the need for cleaning up harmful emissions of the present, coal-fired power plant. It is clear that these emissions have a negative effect on public health in the surrounding region.

Another problem of major concern with the existing plant is the fact that millions of fish are killed annually through the in-take and out-take pipes as river water is brought into the plant for cooling and then expelled. A modern natural gas facility with improved cooling tower technology could go a long way in helping to control this problem. Also, the present on-site disposal of fly ash from the coal-fired generating process and its impact on the headwaters of the Indian River and Indian River Bay, another constant source of worry, could be greatly reduced.

It is my feeling that if a natural gas facility could be built at or near the Indian River site, and if the older plant could be converted to natural gas, the present environmental problems could be greatly reduced or eliminated entirely. It is, of course, true that a natural gas plant could help provide the needed generation to meet the growing demand for power in this rapidly-growing area of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Regardless of what approach you decide on for moving forward with the study of the natural gas proposal, I would greatly appreciate your favorable consideration for a natural gas facility to be built at the existing Indian River site together with the conversion of the older plant to natural gas and cooling towers.

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

Bethany resident supports McClenny

I have been a Bethany Beach homeowner for 10 years and have watched while our town council has changed members many times. Some of the changes have been good and some not so good.

I have noticed in the last several years that our town has finally managed to get good, qualified people to run for council. I speak specifically of our current mayor, Carol Olmstead, and Vice-Mayor Tony McClenny.

The efficiency of these people has made a noticeable impact on Bethany Beach. Their devotion and dedication have been observed in many ways, such as the new bandstand, smoking ban and smoking areas for smokers, revitalization of the boardwalk and events taking place to attract residents and visitors.

Keeping the museum open and staffed for visitors and residents alike to see what the history of Bethany Beach was and how we have progressed to 2008. The landscaping of our public areas is spectacular and the purchase of raw land, while not permitting real estate development on it, is a real feat.

All of this, in addition to having our beaches protected and then having all the work destroyed by another drastic storm; now the process of rebuilding the beach while the summer season is upon us.

I raise my hat and we should all cheer for one of the most hard-working council members I have ever known. His name is Tony McClenny and he has put in many hours of his time and shared his expertise of business, computers and good old common sense to make the council better able to deal with the many problems that the town has to deal with on a regular basis.

Come out and vote for this exceptional man when we decide who will remain on the council. Now it’s our turn to show Tony how much we appreciate his dedication to us.

Vote for Tony McClenny for town council.

Dorothy Boyle
Bethany Beach

Bethany residents want town to stay the same

As property owners in Bethany Beach for 42 years, we remember when Bethany had the opportunity to “go big” and include the new Salt Pond development. We chose “no” by voice, letters and votes. That year, all those council people who were running and in favor of expanding the borders of Bethany were voted out of office.

Now we hear the rumblings of some council members for expanding Bethany again. This time it is in the guise of Bethany becoming a regional destination for Ocean View, Millville and beyond. First, it was the million-dollar bandstand, and now it’s the enlargement of our quaint boardwalk.

Bethany is only a one-mile-by-one-mile incorporated town of mostly single-family homes, no schools and a small winter population. Do we need an enlarged boardwalk at a cost of $780,000? This sounds like a promotion for the commercial advocates to bring more people to our already crowded beach.

Or perhaps the proposed wider boardwalk will cover up the town council’s error in not scrutinizing and/or supervising the new 16-foot dune that hides the formerly enjoyable view of the beach and ocean from the boardwalk.

It is time for action again to give Bethany back to the cottagers.

Martha and Milton Hill
Bethany Beach

Berkmans put support behind Dorfman

Even before Jerry Dorfman had an official presence serving on the Bethany Town Council, he acted unofficially as a supporter and promoter of Bethany Beach. His interest in the town always entered his conversations and he was always interested in the needs of the townspeople and how their ideas could be implemented.

Jerry has served for the past seven years in a variety of positions that included work on the planning commission, transportation, elections, charter, budget and finance and recycling committees, to name a few. He is a sincere, honest and active volunteer. He brings the experience of a very successful businessman in his management of budgets and has worked to maintained and establish controls to help assure financial stability.

His past dedication to the town has been exemplary, with such studies as the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Study, chairing the Finance Committee and implementing the city’s recycling project.

His vision for the future is to preserve the genre of Bethany, to continue working on the redesign and enhancement of Garfield Parkway, to continue with the financial stability of the city, to work with the federal, state and regional agencies by improving our emergency preparedness and to continue to be a voice for the residents and visitors of Bethany Beach.

We hope you will join us by supporting Jerry with your vote on Sept. 6.

Susan and Stanley Berkman
Bethany Beach

No need to rush right into boardwalk project

I was shocked and dismayed by the council’s “full speed ahead” vote at its July 18 meeting to spend $60,000 to seek bids to widen the boardwalk by 8 feet. If Councilman Wode had not raised some spirited questions about the need for the project, there would have been almost no discussion among council members about the immediate need to rush ahead on the boardwalk project.

There has been little public discussion involving town taxpayers about the proposal’s costs, its materials, its effects on views of the beach and surf, and importantly, its effects on our town’s severe overcrowding in the summer season. I suspect that the “If you build it, they will come” principle will apply here. Density and overcrowding will become worse.

I listened carefully to statements about the haste being forced on the town by the “once in a lifetime” nature of a permit granted for the widening project by a state agency. I read the permit approval letter from the Division of Soil and Water Conservation several times searching for the “once in a lifetime” proviso. I did find a sentence stating that approval would be void if construction was not initiated on or before one year and completed on or before two years from the date of the permit.

I then telephoned the Division of Soil and Water Conservation to determine if this language was the basis for the “once in a lifetime” justification for the “full speed ahead” position the council was taking. I was told that if the town was not able to start the project within a year, it could ask for a year’s extension. I was also told that if the town had to postpone the project, it could reapply later for state agency approval. As long as the state did not change the rules substantially in the meantime, there is little reason to assume that a second approval would not also be issued.

This episode reminds me of the flap earlier this year when the council told citizens that it could not move benches onto the new dune or its crosswalks because a state agency would not agree to this action. Later on, when a state official spoke to a gathering of landowners, he told us, very specifically, that the state would certainly approve a town request to put benches on the dune or crosswalks, under certain conditions specified by the state.

I urge Town Council to postpone an expenditure of $60,000 for the boardwalk widening until it can be justified solely on its own merits without resorting to a very questionable tactic of blaming the need for haste on some state agency’s permit.

We deserve to know a lot more about what the boardwalk project is actually going to entail and what it will cost. We should also have a candid assessment about cost over-runs. The total cost of the project is likely to exceed $1 million. More importantly, we should have an assessment of the project’s likely impact on congestion and overcrowding in our town.

If town government can raid the emergency beach and boardwalk fund for the money for an expansion project, you can raid it for a pedestrian and bicycle safety program, for needed stormwater projects and other works that will benefit the people who live here and pay the bills.

These are all very important public policy issues that deserve a great deal more attention than they have received to date. Justifying haste on the basis of a questionable “once in a lifetime” argument is really an assault on public involvement in town public policy and a failure to invite town tax payers to help define priorities for the many expensive projects you are accumulating on our behalf.

Dan Costello
Bethany Beach

FOSCL grateful for support with tour

On behalf of The Friends of the South Coastal Library, we offer our sincerest gratitude to The Beach and Bay Cottage Tour Committee, who once again did an outstanding job of producing the 17th annual tour. The event was another sell-out again this year and has continued to sell out since 2000.

We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who return to us each year to help make this event a great success — hostess coordinators, hostesses, ticket sellers, traffic coordinators, parkers, sign installers, flower arrangers and raffle sellers. Without all of you, the tour could not happen.

This year’s committee members were: Joan Gordon, Aubré Duncan, Ginny McDowell, Jean Newins, Joan Thomas, Claudia McClenny, Linda Kulin, Carole Lindes, Louis Herndon, John and Lois Rubinsohn, Bob and Diane Maddex, Michael and Cynthia Headman, Sue Basile, Cathy Hamerick, Mary Ann and Dave Flickinger and Barbara Carlson assisted by Debbie Idema, Karen Lett, Judy Marcucilli, Renee Morley and Barbara Natkowitz. Without your tireless dedication to the coordination, preparation and implementation, this event would not be possible. Many, many thanks.

Of course, our tour is indebted to the wonderful homeowners who allowed us access to their homes for the two days of the tour. Please accept our sincere thanks. Becky and Tom D’Amico, Mary Lou and Wright Poffenberger, Cindy and Duncan Smith, Kathy and Joseph Stewart, Ellen Begun and Bill Whaselsky, Jill and Robert Kerxton, Sandy and David Wexler, Marylou and Gil Tietz, Jean and Harry Steele, and Marti and Tim Lelko were all so gracious to share their homes with our tour attendees, enabling the Friends of the South Coastal Library to raise much needed funds to expand the services and facilities of our library and cultural center.

We also offer our thanks to the six restaurants that provided “Dinner for Two” prizes for our raffle. They included DiFebo’s, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grille, Mancini’s, Oak Arbor Inn Restaurant, The Parkway Restaurant and Sedona.

We also thank Dorothy Harrison-Braun, Ellen Rice, Barbara Deitrick, Chip Deitrick and Tara Funk Grim for donating their beautiful framed artwork for our art raffle drawing. Congratulations to all of the winners whose names will be listed at the temporary library, as well as in our next edition of The Connection.

To the many advertisers represented in our booklet and on the tote bag, and also to the generous donors who made financial contributions, we send our sincere thanks and we hope we can count on your continued support in 2009.

Special thanks go to the eight local organizations that participated in the “Adopt-a-House” program for hostesses again this year. The support and willingness of these groups to fill the homes with the organization’s members helped us tremendously.

These groups are: Gardeners–By-The-Sea, Ladies Auxiliary 7234 VFW, LaRosso Cappello — Red Hat Chapter, Lord Baltimore Women’s Club, Salt Pond Women’s Club, South Bethany Women’s Club, Bear Trap Social Club and the AARP. Also, sincere thanks go to all of our other hostesses that volunteered outside one of these organizations.

We thank Father David Kelley for the use of the St. Ann’s Church parking lot for hostesses, The Hobby Shop (John and Jean Beck and Erle Dobson) for the use of their parking lot on Daisey Avenue, Abe Alarnasi for use of his lot in South Marina, and John and Loni George/Ron and Jean Huber for use of their lot at Central Avenue.

A very special thanks goes to Aubré Duncan and Laura Hickman for allowing us to use The Gallery at Central for both ticket pickup and for tour parking while our new library is under construction. Thanks also to the Towns of Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, Selbyville and Ocean View and their police departments for helping with this event by cooperating with us concerning parking logistics for tour participants.

Thanks again to the Beebe Medical Center for providing the booties for our tour attendees to wear. This is the fourth year that this donation has been made and we sincerely thank Beebe for this support.

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner graciously served as honorary chairman of the tour. Her continued support of the South Coastal Library is greatly appreciated and we wish her well in her future endeavors.

Lastly, we would like to thank every person who attended the 17th annual tour. We truly hope that you enjoyed all of the homes as well as our lower Sussex County hospitality. We look forward to hosting you at next year’s tour, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, July 22 and 23, 2009.

Mark your calendars and be sure to make your reservations early as we continue to sell out each year. Visit our Web site at www.foscl.com for more information on the tour and other upcoming events that will be held on behalf of the South Coastal Library.

Construction of the expansion of the library is on schedule for completion by the end of the year with move-in and opening sometime in the spring of 2009. Again, we thank all of you for your continued support.

Faith M. Denault
Karen M. Taylor
Co-Chairmen 2008 Beach and Bay Cottage Tour

Keeley responds to previous letter

I am responding to Mr. Diaz’s letter published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Coastal Point.

Mr. Diaz asks for facts to support my statement that we have the best health care system in the world. Mr. Diaz, I have no need of facts. I said, “I believe that we have the best health care system in the world.” I do not need a thing like facts to support my personal belief. It’s like saying I believe vanilla is the best ice cream flavor. And it is!

I must admit that when I first read Mr. Diaz’s inquiry concerning facts, I immediately thought of that paragon of factual information the movie “Sicko” and that sicko that made it. But then I realized that he wants facts not propaganda.

Mr. Diaz offers as fact the AARP: The Magazine’s article on how bad our overall health care system is when compared to basically socialist and some communist countries. How can I dispute this bold and forthright reporting? These facts seem unassailable. Unfortunately, like most factual presentations they have little or no relationship to the “whole” picture. Don’t get me wrong here — I do not doubt they are accurate. But we cannot overlook the fact that they totally overlook the other aspects of living in those countries.

Also, there is another fact to consider here. That is, “What is the AARP: The Magazine’s agenda?” I believe that it has a very left-leaning agenda. But most of its readers do not see this because they themselves lean to the left.

The bottom line, however, is this. I still believe we have the best health care system in the world and I prefer to live here in the good old U.S. of A. I assume that Mr. Diaz also prefers his current domicile even while he and his left-leaning comrades continue to demean its numerous advantages over the rest of the world.

Thomas M. Keeley III
Ocean View

Writer believes Markell is the right choice

Delaware state government officials should not be given the unbridled authority to force property owners to sell their land. While the Minner-Carney Administration rejected Senate Bill 245, which would have protected private property from government seizure, Jack Markell knows that Delaware’s cities and towns can be revitalized without forcing Delawareans off their properties.

The legislation Minner should have signed would not have stopped governments from dealing with rundown, blighted properties, but it would have protected homes and businesses. This is just another example of why we need Jack Markell’s leadership as our next governor, to get Delaware back on track.

As governor, Jack Markell has promised to sign an identical bill into law — unlike the Minner-Carney Administration, which has clearly turned its back on the fundamental principles our country was founded on.

Jack Markell knows that we don’t need to take the homes and businesses away from our citizens in order to stimulate Delaware’s economy. Unlike Carney, Jack Markell has a plan to create 25,000 new jobs that will jump-start Delaware’s economy without taking private property away from our residents.

It’s clear Delaware needs a change, and that change is Jack Markell.

Sheila Littleton