Elections in South Bethany are drawing near (May 28), and incumbent Council Member Bonnie Lambertson recently took time to detail her experience to date.
She is seeking reelection to a second term on council.
A native of Colorado, Lambertson grew up on her father’s farm north of Denver (Broomfield). She met her husband to be, Ronald, at the tender age of 6 (first grade), striking the first romantic spark by finagling her way into a Valentine’s Day exchange with the handsome lad.
They remained play pals, wound up together through high school and then went to Colorado State University together — she for business administration and a teacher’s certificate, he for wildlife biology.
Lambertson taught for five years, and then took a teaching fellowship at the University of Colorado, pursuing her master’s in business admin while her husband went after his law degree.
She taught a couple classes and supervised some student teachers, supplementing her “half-time professor” income with painting and cleaning around their apartment building.
By 1970, they both had their graduate degrees.
Her husband had a job offer from Washington, D.C., so the Lambertsons moved to Silver Spring, Md. Their first daughter, Laurie, was born less than a year later (1971), with Leanna following along in 1973.
Lambertson considered becoming a full-time professor, but the hours didn’t quite fit with child rearing. She taught a couple night classes at Montgomery College, and did a little interior decorating with friends, over the next eight years.
Along the way, the Lambertsons shared a house in Rehoboth Beach with some friends, and developed an affection for the Delaware seaside. She decided to invest her modest teacher’s pension (from Colorado) in real estate, and after searching for something within their means from Rehoboth to Ocean City, Md., they made one last stop in South Bethany.
The real estate agent only had two houses to show them, but they took one.
They kept that house for the family’s use, coming down weekends and summers, and she said they’d gathered there for the past 30 Thanksgivings.
Meanwhile, her husband, working for the Department of Fish & Wildlife, had been avoiding transfers (she was less than thrilled with either Alaska or Oregon), but eventually, they could dodge no longer. They moved to Massachusetts in 1988, where Lambertson moved over to interior decorating full-time. She’d chalked up 20 years in the business by the time they retired to South Bethany in 2000.
They used the money from the sale of their house in Massachusetts to buy a place in an Easton, Md. retirement community. Lambertson said she was still back and forth between the two, but the balance had begun to shift toward South Bethany.
She entered civic service when late-Mayor Sal Aiello assigned her to the charter change committee, and ran for her first term on town council in 2002.
Lambertson hasn’t developed much of a reputation as an ordinance introducer, but she detailed some of her work outside the limelight, in committee.
• Windmills. She regularly points her fellow council members toward research and published opinions on the controversial topic, and has been following New York-based Winergy’s proposals for various wind farms up and down the Atlantic seaboard with especial interest. “Yes, I’m aware we have to think about alternate energy sources, but there are quite a few negatives,” Lambertson noted.
• Building committee. An increasingly dilapidated police trailer, and black mold under Town Hall, spurred Lambertson, Council Member Marge Gassinger, and Police Chief Joe Deloach’s efforts. Engineering company estimates were too high, and Lambertson said moved toward modular units. Deloach had found a reasonable, not too fancy, not too bare-bones unit, and they’d discovered they could set a new Town Hall on site for roughly the same cost as raising, moving and/or renovating the current building, she said.
• York Beach Road. She commended Mayor Gary Jayne and Town Manager Melvin Cusick for obtaining a grant for work at the corner of the York Beach Mall. The town owned the right-of-way, but she said they’d worked with the Mais family on the entrance/exit there. Next, various state approvals and permits for a walkway along the south side. Lambertson noted increasing elder — and younger — foot traffic along York Beach Road, and said she was hoping for movement on the project by this fall.
• Search committee. Lambertson helped with recruiting and interviews, as the town acquired Cusick and police force newcomer Ptlm. Josh Rowley.
• Beautification committee. She commended Council Member Richard Ronan and the civic-minded Diann Nazarian for moving to address the perennial loss of perennials due to insufficient watering. The town has budgeted for a water bladder (goes in the back of a pickup) this year, and a summer crew to mind the plantings.
As Lambertson noted, residents’ opinions were sometimes mixed regarding council members’ actions. However, she said she and her colleagues were doing all they could to keep things running smoothly — and succeeding, for the most part.
She said she hoped to continue that work. “I want to work for the people of the town, help keep things on an even keel,” Lambertson said. “I love South Bethany, and I want to give something back.”