Letters: January 28, 2005

The Social Security crisis can no longer be ignored

The News Journal printed a letter headed “Bring government workers to program.” As a newspaper, it would seem that there should have been a note giving the facts on the matter. The pertinent facts are: 1) Public Law #98-21, enacted in 1983, placed members of Congress and all new federal employees under Social Security; and 2) employees of thirty-five of the 50 states are covered under Social Security; 3) the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), enacted in 1977, also greatly reduced Social Security benefits of all those workers who earned pensions as federal, state, county and municipal employees. These legislative acts which have been in effect for over 20 years have not rescued Social Security. Rather they have been responsible for significantly reducing the retirement income of many public servants by cutting the Social Security income that they had earned through previous employment. I might point out that the GPO and the WEP were passed in record time, less than 70 days from introduction to signing by the president. Keep in mind that many of the people affected by the legislation are the postal employees that deliver your mail and the teachers who educate your children.

The National Association of Retired Federal Employees, (NARFE) and several teachers’ organizations have been working hard to get GPO and WEP repealed. In spite of having a large majority of the House of Representatives and a significant number of Senators as cosigners of the bill to repeal GPO and WEP, certain committee chairmen have kept the bill from a vote on the floor. Congress treats Social Security like a sacred cow but does not hesitate to cut benefits of smaller groups such as federal retirees and teachers. More federal retirees need to voice their objection to having benefits that they have earned taken from them. They can do this in two ways, add their names to the membership rolls of NARFE and write their representative and senators in Congress.

Walt Berwick
President, Federation of Delaware NARFE Chapters

Fannin will be missed by those at SDSA

It is with much sadness that I will say goodbye to Tim Fannin, Principal of Southern Delaware School of the Arts, when he retires this summer. Although I am happy for him, moving to Florida to be with his children and new grandson, Titus, I am sad for our SDSA children. It will be a great loss.

My children were lucky enough to be invited to attend SDSA the first year it started. Alyssa was in first grade and Cory in fifth. It was with much trepidation that we accepted the invitation. Cory already went to an excellent school, with an outstanding principal and staff. Also, I was P.T.O. president at Phillip C. Showell, so that made it even harder to leave. But, after much thought, we decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

When I walked into the “new” School of the Arts building (the old Selbyville Middle School) that summer, I was stunned by the condition of the building. It had been sitting empty since the new SMS opened. There was a lot of water damage where pipes had burst, walls needed to be painted, floors and ceilings needed to be replaced. The library, gym, cafeteria, stage, etc. all needed to be totally redone. I though I had made the worst mistake of my life. How could all of this work get done in one summer?

Enter Mr. Fannin and his army of workers. As P.T.O. president for 5 years at Phillip Showell, I had seen a hard working staff. Never did I imagine the amount of support we would receive. The IRSD custodial and maintenance staff, Mr. Fannin and his family, the new SDSA staff, parents, students and volunteers from many area businesses, worked day and night, all summer long, to get the building ready.

We built, painted, scrubbed, anything that needed to be done we did. In September, we had a school that anyone would be proud of. Each classroom was beautifully decorated and ready to go. We still had a lot of work to do in some areas, such as the gym, cafeteria and library.

Then we started on the outside. We landscaped, and then started work on a playground. With the help of the town of Selbyville, parents, students, staff and area businesses, the P.T.O. raised over $30,000 for a beautiful playground. We also raised money for a school sign out front. One of the teachers started a flower garden out back, which she tended all summer. Each student that spring made a stepping stone to display in the garden. We also have a pond in the side yard that was put in by another teacher and his helpers.

It didn’t stop there. Thanks to much hard work, in addition to a wonderful gym, cafeteria and library, we also have a wonderful dance room, drama room, stage and band room. The students put on shows and plays that would rival any Broadway show.

We have a wonderful team of dancers, actors, singers and a variety of bands, including a performing Roadshow and Steel Drums that are fantastic! At SDSA, there is truly something for everyone.

At SDSA there is never a shortage of new ideas (or helpers) and we continue to improve and expand every year.

Mr. Fannin has been there through it all and with his leadership and dedication has made SDSA a school to be proud of. The person who steps into his shoes needs to have some really big feet.

SDSA, “Where Imagination Takes Flight” and it is you, Mr. Fannin, who taught us to fly!

You will truly be missed!

Anne M. Devine
Aka: Bubbles

Homecoming of Marine a memory to last

On Dec. 26, a homecoming took place in Clarksville for Captain Phillip N. Ash (USMC). He had come home from Iraq in September and home to Delaware, with his wife Denise and one of their two daughters, Sidney (their oldest daughter, Krista, was visiting her grandmother in North Carolina).

Captain Ash is currently stationed at Twentynine Palms, California and was able to come home for a brief visit for the first time in several years.

During his visit home, his mother had a homecoming/Christmas party for him and invited many old friends, school coaches and teachers from his years at Indian River High School. Many of those invited influenced Phillip in ways that were unknown at the time. Even Phillip’s first employers from Warrens’ Station were there which was a very welcomed pleasure for Phillip.

At the party, Captain Ash was honored by Senator George H. Bunting and the full Delaware Senate for his service to his country. A Senate tribute was presented to Captain Ash and after Senator Bunting read the tribute, Captain Ash simply stated that it was his “honor and privilege to lead such a fine group of men and women as he has in the United States Marine Corps.” He asked that we not forget the job these men and women are doing for us and that we remember that they fight for us all, regardless of political party.

As another holiday season is gone and a new year has begun, it is our hope that we all can “come together” and remember the job our armed services are doing for us. We thank all who welcomed Phillip and his family home and appreciate all those who called to express their disappointment at not being able to attend.

Throughout this year we pray that everyone has a safe and happy 2005. Our prayers especially go out to all those families with loved ones serving in our armed forces. Thank you all for the sacrifices you make and the commitment you keep in protecting the United State of America.

Family and Friends of C
Captain Phillip N. Ash (USMC)