Letters: June 1, 2007

Changes resulted from opponent’s actions

Regarding Mr. (Dan) Costello’s letter (published in the May 18 issue of the Coastal Point).

I agree that citizens of Bethany should not be denied the opportunity to petition the local government.

Unfortunately, Mr. Costello brought these changes on himself. He is upset that the “full text of the offending ordinance,” must appear on the “one-page-per-signature petition.”

That is because his synopsis of the ordinance that he petitioned was wrong. He lied to the signers of his petition. That was witnessed by a public statement at a Town Council meeting by John Eckridge, the town’s building inspector.

Mr. Eckridge stated that the lady who came to his house asking him to sign the petition stated the wrong facts and told her so. He then told her the correct facts and she said that is not what she was told.

He states that the council was “really unhappy” with his petition drive. Not so. I was on that council. What I was unhappy about was the fact he would never engage me in a public forum to discuss his petition. I tried many times at public meetings, he refused. He did not want the truth be told. He did it to put a “fly in the ointment.”

If you would like to see Dan discuss the true facts, call him at 537-5243.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Community support of fundraising appreciated

On behalf of my sister Nikki Basile and I, we would like to thank the local community for their continued support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team-N-Training program.

Through generous local business owners, like Alex Laird of Scotty’s Bayside Tavern in Fenwick Island and Jerry Richard of Steakhouse 26 in Millville, as well as our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc., we were able to reach our goal to raise $10,000 to assist in the efforts to help find a cure for blood cancers through research.

We will be participating in the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon next Sunday, June 3, in honor of those battling with this terrible disease, they are the real heroes. Without all of your support, generous donations and encouragement over the past five months none of this would have been possible.

Again, many thanks to all who have supported this great cause.
Carrie Subity

Space not protected by our developers

In regard to your May 11, 2007, article about the Sussex County Land Trust award for Josh Freeman’s contributions to open space and conservation in Sussex County, I feel compelled to comment on the effect of the Carl M. Freeman Companies’ developments in Sussex County.

But first, I wish to emphasize that I did not know Josh Freeman. I have no reason to disagree with his award. I am sure he was a fine young man and his death a tragedy.

However, I find it absurd to link the activities of the Carl M. Freeman Companies to the enlightened protection of the environment. To the contrary, this company, with the assistance of the Sussex County Council, has led the way to a deterioration of the quality of life in Sussex County: crowded beaches, crowded roads and crowded and noisy restaurants.

First, there was Sea Colony, a development that belonged in Ocean City, not in the area of Bethany Beach. I am reminded of the comment of Warren Zitzmann in James Meehan’s book “Bethany Beach Memoirs.” Warren, a professional city planner who wrote most of the zoning ordinances for Bethany, vigorously opposed Sea Colony. His only regret “We could have annexed that land … then it never would have happened.”

Then, along came Bear Trap, followed by Bayside. Does the Sussex County Land Trust believe that these developments have led to the value of open space and conservations?

The foreword to the Bethany Beach Comprehensive Plan states: “The major goals of the Comprehensive Development Plan are to retain the characteristics that make Bethany Beach unique and to give highest priority to the care and protection of the oceanfront, flood control, land use and recreation. It will be difficult to achieve these goals in view of the tremendous growth that is taking place in the areas surrounding Bethany Beach. Over-development that exceeds the capacity of the ecosystem or fails to respect a community’s sense of place will result in resentment and the eventual destruction of the very attributes that attract people to Bethany Beach.”

I have been coming to Bethany since the 1930’s and have owned a home there for over 50 years. I am glad that my family was able to enjoy Bethany when it was truly a quiet resort and sorry that my grandchildren won’t have that same experience. But there’s always the spring and the fall.

On a more positive note, I want to commend the Bethany Beach town staff and the many residents who volunteer their time to make Bethany a very well-run small town.

Cal Baldwin
Garrett Park, Md. and Bethany Beach

Council president happy with budget

The proposed Fiscal 2008 Budget was reviewed with the Sussex County Council on May 22, 2007. The total $142 million budget is up a modest 1.4 percent compared to the current fiscal year.

The budget balances the need to maintain existing services for a growing Sussex County population with the economic reality of decreased revenues. Real estate and construction industry related revenues, including the County portion of the transfer tax, Recorder of Deeds fees, building permit fees, etc., are down $17.5 million compared to Fiscal Year 2006.

The proposed budget conservatively estimates these revenues at $33.5 million, a level of funding that represents 80 percent of what those sources were forecast to generate in the current 2007 budget.

Even though there is a reduction in real estate-related revenues, a 10 percent increase is proposed for the public safety portion of the budget.

Public safety costs total $23 million, 40 percent of the General Fund Budget. This includes funding of $13.8 million for the Paramedic Department, including a staff of 118 with eight full-time, 24-hour-a-day paramedic units serving the County, plus one seasonal paramedic unit and two supervisory units.

Paramedic expenditures are up 12 percent, while the 2006 paramedic response calls were up 10 percent, to 16,268 calls. Calls are up 69 percent over the 10-year period, reflecting the growth and aging of the current population.

Funding for the fire service is maintained at $3.7 million, the same amount in the current year’s budget. This includes grants totaling $1.5 million for basic life support ambulance attendant costs.

Funding of $25,000 for each town police service also is included to assist with costs, especially for service outside of their municipalities. Grants for police service include funding for 36 additional state troopers in Sussex County, over and above the State’s base allotment for the County. This is four more than the current year budget.

Proposed grant funding includes human service grants, budgeted at $110,000. That includes funding for CHEER centers, senior centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, food banks, historical societies and more.

The recommended budget includes $1,390,000 for open space land preservation. To date, since Fiscal Year 1999, the County has participated in preserving more than 3,000 acres of land in Sussex County.

Funding of $150,000 is included for housing assistance programs for affordable housing, in addition to $40,000 to administer the County’s new Moderately Priced Housing Program. Operation costs funding of $4.7 million for 14 libraries and a bookmobile, where over 1.1 million books were checked out last year, also is included.

Capital projects include amounts for a new crosswind runway at the Sussex County Airport near Georgetown, partial funding for a County Administrative Offices building, library expansion projects for Greenwood, South Coastal and Milton libraries, and sewer expansion projects.

All of this, and there is no property tax increase recommended. The average county tax for a single-family home remains under $100, at $99.93, while the average county tax for a manufactured home is $39.62.

A public hearing will be held on June 19, 2007, at 10 a.m. at the County Council chambers on The Circle in Georgetown. Public comment is welcome at that meeting. After the public hearing, the County Council will be able to approve or amend the budget proposal.

As president of the Sussex County Council, I hope that you are pleased with this budget proposal that continues to provide for existing county services while at the same time recognizes the economic realities of reduced revenues.

Dale R. Dukes, President
Sussex County Council

HB 167 needs to be passed — it’s right

In 1994, I had a close friend who was dying of AIDS in a Delaware hospital. I was his medical power-of-attorney and had him admitted to the hospital in those days before HIV therapies improved. My friend was estranged from his family, some of whom actually thought AIDS was divine punishment for being gay.

That difficult situation was made worse when the charge nurse refused me access to my friend’s chart, thus hampering my ability to make informed medical decisions. A sympathetic doctor’s order the next day allowed me chart access and the nurse apologized. It might otherwise have required court intervention.

I personally also know of at least 12 Delaware patients whose living wills were ignored. Of them, two were actually “coded” and attached to a ventilator.

Delaware House Bill 167 would require hospitals and nursing homes to honor medical powers-of-attorney, advanced directives and related documents. It would also allow an adult patient to name an individual as his requested visitor. This would allow same-gender partners, for example, to visit in situations like ICU’s where “family only” rules now bar them.

House Bill 167 is not only reasonable, it is humane and affirms the patient’s right to make his own health-care decisions.

Douglas Marshall-Steele

Thank you from IR High School Band Boosters

I’d like to thank all the parents that have taken the time this year to help in the concession, football games, parades, Em-ings dinner, band banquet set-up and clean-up, concert ad books, phone tree calls and bringing food and drinks for concerts. Without your help, the band would not be as fun and educational for our children.

I’m asking for more parents to come out to our meetings each month (see school calendar for dates or ask your child to get the information from Mr. Marvel) to get involved in your child’s musical education and experience.

If you can’t make the meetings, you can still help with the events we have going on. This year we have over 20 band students graduating with nine parents also not returning, as they have no younger children. This means we will loose help and need to find new parents to step forward. These parents will be greatly missed.

If you have any questions, please contact any Band Booster or Mr. Marvel.

I’d also like to thank Mountaire and Hocker’s for their help with the main course at our Band Banquet this year. I’d also like to thank any business that is involved with our band cards and concert ad books. Without the participation of area businesses, the band and chorus could not be as beneficial, fun and active for our music students.

I’d also like to thank Mark and Elaine Marvel for all the extra time and effort they give to our students in the music department. The recent band trip to play in the Disney Magic Kingdom Nightime Parade was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all the students that went. Again, thank you Mark for helping our students experience this. Where would we be without their dedication?

Karen Ware
IRHS Band Booster President