Banks recognized for selflessness, grand vision

Kami Banks has long been an influential voice in the community, somewhat belying her relatively-young age.

She is known widely throughout the region for her family’s business, Banks Wines & Spirits, and served succesfully as a member of the Millville Town Council. To add another hat to her already impressive collection, Banks assumed the duties of president of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce last year, a job that comes with more than its fair share of responsibilities for the active business owner.

Want more? Shortly before Banks took over that role, the former executive director of the Chamber resigned suddenly, leaving Banks to put on yet another hat in order to keep the Chamber running smoothly.

She could have simply left her post at that point, citing too much on her plate, and nobody would have thought twice. Instead, Banks jumped into all of her responsibilities with zeal, and led the Chamber into a new era, mingling in new business owners with the established, and taking the Chamber to new frontiers along the way.

For her efforts, Banks was recognized last week by the Chamber with the prestigious Lighthouse Award. Though she was obviously touched by receiving the award, we get the feeling Banks feels just as rewarded seeing the Chamber, and entire community, blossom during her time at the reins.

“I’m born and raised in Delaware,” said Banks. “I graduated high school and said I wanted to get far away as possible. I quickly realized my freshman year (at Ohio State University)... I wanted to be here.”

And she has most definitely come back with a purpose. Besides her stint as a town council member, Chamber president and director, she also has served on the Atlantic ImmediCare board and received a “Friend of the Bays” business award.

We congratulate Banks on receiving this high honor, and thank the Chamber board for making such a strong decision.

Do we oversaturate in the media? Absolutely

Date Published: 
October 24, 2014

I love a good statistic.

Not one of those “I’m-trying-to-prove-a-point-so-I’ll-pull-something-out-my-backside-that’s-almost-pertinent” statistics. I mean the ones that either truly tell a story, cause me to think about things in a different way or, quite simply, make me laugh.

For instance, I saw one making its way around the Internet the other day that gave me a little chuckle. It read, “More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.”

Obviously, I’m not belittling the tragic deaths of those around the world who have died from this wretched disease — nor, I’m assuming, was the individual who created it. The statistic was obviously built as a satirical look at how we, as Americans, tend to become obsessed with whatever the current 24-hour news cycle is pushing down our throats at any given time.

They fill hours upon hours of air time with information they believe can cause you to sit on your couch for hours upon hours at a time to digest and, ultimately, form an opinion. When there is nothing new of substance to report on whatever subject is filling their airways, which is about 99 percent of the time, they bring in “experts” to hypothesize and make educated guesses.

Think of the D.C. snipers, 9/11, Casey Anthony, Ferguson, the missing Malaysian plane, multiple wars in the Middle East, Aaron Hernandez, the Boston bomb suspects, Ray Rice, Trayvon Martin, gas prices, Katrina, Sandy Hook, Chris Dorner, acid-dropping leprechauns wielding golden ladles of oatmeal as they chase children through the streets and...

But I digress.

All of those topics and people I brought up were big stories, and the public had a desire to learn more about them. That’s an important void for newspeople to fill. However, they were also over-analyzed at the 24-hour news stations, and viewers had a difficult time differentiating between what was fact and what was the opinion of someone brought on to both fill minutes of air time and pontificate on “what-ifs.”

Well, maybe not the acid-dropping leprechauns, now that I think about it. Let’s take that one off the board for the purposes of this discussion.

People in the media often bemoan the image we have cultivated from the public as being biased or sensationalistic, but then some corners of the industry do indeed show bias, and do sensationalize. Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Are we victims of the casual viewer, reader, blogger or listener being unable to differentiate between what is news and what is opinion? Are we just not doing a good enough job at what we do collectively?

Yeah, probably all of that.

But I’m a bit limited in space here to chase all these topics around in one week, so let’s go back to where we started before my cluttered mind rambled off on yet another rudderless discourse — oversaturation and sensationalism.

Consumers of news complain often about how the people who deliver them their information spend so much time on one subject, at the expense of everything else that is happening around the world. And that’s true. Sports fans who might not follow the news on a regular basis and may not appreciate what I’m saying right now, I’m not excluding you from this conversation at all. Just think back about how ESPN browbeat us with Brett Favre or Tim Tebow information around the clock and how annoyed you might have become from it. Same concept here.

Well, here’s a little secret. These big news agencies aren’t stupid. They track how many eyes are on their stories at any given time and they often plan their programming around that information. If people are actually watching 22 hours a day of missing plane coverage, commenting on Internet postings or clicking on links, they know that and they are going to keep giving you more until those numbers drop. They might bore you to tears sometime by providing “new” information that isn’t “new” at all, or spelling a name wrong from time to time in their haste to get something out, but they do it for a reason.

You watch. We all do.

I was following coverage Tuesday night of the death of longtime Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee, a man I have admired since I was a young boy, and the steady hand that guided Woodward and Bernstein during their landmark coverage of the Watergate controversy. He oversaw 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning efforts during his tenure at the Post, and brought together investigative reporting, beat coverage and human-interest features to both keep his readership informed and to expose the highs and lows of basic humanity through storytelling. I’m quite certain you can see traces of that philosophy here at the Coastal Point on a smaller scale, as I have no doubt been influenced by his contributions over the years.

In layman’s terms, that means I’ve stolen a lot of his ideas in helping shape the parameters of our own editorial coverage. Hey, I never claimed to be smart, folks. I just steal what works, and hire people far more intelligent than myself.

Regardless, I kept clicking on more stories about Bradlee, and searching for more personal recollections from those who worked with the man. If an oversaturation of Ben Bradlee stories start showing up, know I’m one of the ones to blame.

But at least I’m not the one to single out for the leprechaun stories. Fine, I might be to blame for that, too.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — October 24, 2014

Arlett explains why he deserves your vote


During the past five months, I have traveled the roads of Sussex County from east to west. In listening to old-timers and newcomers, I’ve learned the history and distinctive qualities of every town in the Fifth Council District. I’ve heard good news and bad.

“It’s a great place to live but we need jobs,” is what I hear. Sussex has a past wholly dependent on farmers and beach tourists to keep us viable economically. These are great industries and will continue to thrive, but we need more.

The County Council has come a long way in the past. In the past 25 years they’ve introduced reasonable, safe and quality-controlled building codes; they’ve contributed to worthy and needy causes and they have become knowledgeable arbiters in the continual balancing act between new construction, practical and wise land use and conservation of vital areas for the environment. As Ileana Smith, DelTech vice president always says at the Today & Tomorrow conferences: “It doesn’t have to be either/or.”

I believe we can do better. Just a look at some of the new projects on the agenda, such as aquaculture, incentives for new business (see Project Pop-Up 2014, a joint effort between DEDO and Downtown Delaware), the appointment of Melody Booker-Wilkins as Sussex County director of development, the increase in charter and private schools, as well as improvements in public schools. Plus the possibilities at PATS Aircraft Systems and their new 737-800 Boeing Business Jet (BB12), a project that opens doors to overseas business interests.

We can build on these projects with an eye toward the future for everyone in the county. We need innovative ideas from business creators to encourage small businesses. A monthly visit to Council meetings by existing or new businesses can keep us informed and enlightened.

We can ameliorate the roadblocks such as an industrious baker who wanted to open a bakery in the western side of the county but was discouraged because he had to totally remodel a bathroom to make it large enough for wheelchairs. If someone had suggested a loan or tax easement instead of putting the complete financial onus on the business person, that bakery would be selling homemade breads by now.

We can work closely with the Delaware Economic Development Office on joint projects; we can work with the Department of Labor, the Sussex County Economic Development Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration — we can work with Sussex Tech and DelTech to fund a scholarship program geared toward teaching skills to people with ideas and a business plan.

We have to think out of the box to bring environmental tourism to the Nanticoke River, one of Delaware’s precious waterways where kayakers and birdwatchers see blue herons, American eagles and a host of avian species. The Nanticoke Yacht Club is doing great things with their members and for the communities. We can get their news out and build on the possibilities along the river.

You can be sure, if I am in office, that according to Article I — General Policy and Procedures of The County Council: “[My employment] in county government shall be based on merit and fitness, free of personal and political considerations.” This is my solemn promise.

Let’s get things moving in Sussex’s Fifth District!

Rob Arlett
Candidate for the Fifth Councilmanic District

Reader puts support behind Price


It is a funny thing about perspective. Everybody has their own, and they are often different from others. George Cole, 4th District Sussex County councilman, has stated in his last two debates that “because he has been a councilman for 28 years, he must be doing something right.” That is his perspective regarding his tenure in office. My perspective is quite different.

Mr. Cole took over the seat from his mother, who took over the seat when his father passed away, and I don’t believe, until now, that he has ever had a serious challenger to his office. In my world, what Mr. Cole has established is a “dynasty” that is keeping him in office, not a platform of accomplishments.

The truly sad part is that he could have done so much to help and protect the residents in the 4th District over the last 28 years, but his greatest claim to fame is his rhetoric about “stopping overdevelopment.”

Really? If you read the papers, listen to the radio, watch news reports on TV or ever attend a council meeting, the biggest issue concerning the average citizen is the overdevelopment of this beautiful county. Every time you turn around, you hear about citizens fighting against the overdevelopment of eastern Sussex County because of another planned development or a shopping mall or something else being built that will many, many times have a negative impact on surrounding communities.

I understand that the powerful “group of three” from western Sussex, which include Phillips, Wilson and Vincent, have done a lot of this, but sadly, we never see Mr. Cole really stand up and fight for us. He never gets mad and never fights hard enough, and yet he claims he has done much to stop this overdevelopment? Really? Not from my perspective.

This election, I have seen Mr. Cole wear shirts with his name on them, signs along the highway and attendance at a number of debates, and why is that? This election, he has a serious contender for his seat and he knows it.

Shirley Price is a former House of Representatives member who is fighting for the residents of the 4th District. She knows the issues and she differs in her answers to resolve them. She is a fighter, but not in an angry way. She does her homework, she knows her answers and she wants to work with the State and other council members to help resolve our issues and problems and conflicts. She wants to work for us and she will listen to us. She knows that growth is always necessary, but she believes in “controlled growth” with proper infrastructure to support it.

It is time to end a “dynasty” that has failed us, and with Vance Phillips gone soon, we have a real chance to be heard and represented and supported and most of all, fought for. Vote for Shirley Price, 4th Council District, Sussex County, on Nov. 4. This is an election we can’t afford to lose if you love Sussex County.

Dixie Boucher

Callanen explains problem with locations


The 200 irrate citizens who gathered at the Millville fire house on Oct. 6 to voice their extreme displeasure with the state’s unknown plans for establishing a large commercial oyster farming industry in Beach Cove and Little Assawoman Bay may be interested to learn that the mission statement of DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Division is to “conserve and manage the fish and wildlife resources of the state, to provide safe and enjoyable fishing, hunting and boating opportunities to the citizens of Delaware and its visitors.” The proposed oyster farm industries in Beach Cove and Little Assawoman Bay are not consistent with these objectives.

A Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) website identifies that the Shellfish Aquaculture Tiger Team was aware of socio-economic issue constraints affecting Inland Bays shellfish aquaculture, including “conflicting use with other Bay stakeholders, recreational and commercial fisheries, recreational watercraft, waterfront views, NIMBY — not in my back yard — and machinery noise.”

The weight assigned to these constraint factors in Tiger Team evaluations is not mentioned. It is not known if sail boating, kayaking, windsurfing, waterskiing and paddleboarding interests were considered or if the negative impacts on the successful business interests of Coastal Kayak were considered.

It is difficult to believe the claim that, “The ‘Education and Outreach Sub-committee’ identified and reached out to additional stakeholder groups locally and statewide who had an economic or environmental interest in the initiative … and that the team met monthly to study every aspect of the plan; to identify conflicts, and consider the needs and concerns of those who live on and use the Bays.”

How can this be claimed when the Tiger Team failed to contact the vast majority of residents who live on the shores of Beach Cove and Little Assawoman Bay and who daily use these waters for recreational purposes?

This local outreach failure is especially hard to fathom in light of the claim the Tiger Team was supported by work of the CIB, which reportedly “held meetings to inform and hear concerns expressed by constituent groups … held a working breakfast for federal, state and county decision-makers on the goals and work of the Team,” and educated “thousands of individuals” on aquaculture through presentations and materials developed with input from the Team.

How difficult would it have been to obtain contact information for each of the communities surrounding Beach Cove and Little Assawoman Bay and solicit feedback from them?

The CIB has identified the Tiger Team as E.J. Chalabala (chair), Roy Miller, Bart Wilson, Chris Bason and Sally Boswell of the CIB; Nick Couch, Jeff Tinsman, Rick Cole and John Clark of DNREC Fish & Wildlife; Mike Bott and Debbie Rouse of DNREC Watershed Stewardship; Scott Figurski of DNREC Wetland & Subaqueous Lands; Mark Davis of the Department of Agriculture; John Ewart and Ed Lewandowski of the University of Delaware Sea Grant; Julie Wheatley of Sussex County Economic Development; Bill Baker representing recreational interests; Bob Dorman and Steve Friend representing commercial clamming interests; Rob Robinson and Josh Thompson representing shellfish aquaculture interests; and Steve Copp representing the Shellfish Advisory Council.

It is significant and dismaying that of the 22 persons on this Tiger Team that only one represented recreational interests.

Although highly optimistic claims have been made that proposed shellfish aquaculture will eventually generate millions of dollars in revenue, only “estimates” of the economic and environmental benefits of aquaculture apparently have been made. It appears that no thorough legitimate cost-benefit analysis has been conducted.

Not addressed is the appropriateness of converting otherwise freely used public lands into restricted areas for the benefit of private (for-profit) use — even by out-of-state commercial entities. The proposed oyster farms will constitute a detriment to the public’s right to freely use Bay waters. Moreover, in addition to the area restrictions, the proposed oyster farms will result in both the visual degradation of an otherwise scenic area (visual pollution) and the introduction of compromises to public safety.

Irrespective of whatever amount of benefit is derived from oyster filtering action in the highly tidally flushed Inland Bays, it is disturbing that the Delaware legislature voted unanimously to establish an unsightly disruptive commercial oyster farming industry in the picturesque Inland Bays.

One would have hoped that, although oyster farming does not meet the legal definition of “heavy industry,” the legislature would have been guided by the fundamental purpose of the Coastal Zone Act (CZA), which expresses the State’s desire to “protect the natural environment of its bay and coastal areas and safeguard their use primarily for recreation and tourism.”

The CZA acknowledges that, “While it is the declared public policy of the State to encourage the introduction of new industry into Delaware, the protection of the environment, natural beauty and recreation potential of the State is also of great concern.”

Steve Callanen
Ocean View

Carroll responds to previous letter


My name is William H. Carroll. The Oct. 16, 2014, edition of the Coastal Point included my letter supporting election of Shirley Price as District 4 representative to the Sussex County Council. Amidst several reasons for support, my letter identified the privilege of knowing Ms. Price in her service to the county as a member of the Delaware House of Representatives. A recent letter from a gentleman with a name similar to mine responded, in part, by stating that I have been a “voter in this area for a very limited time.”

For the past 39 years I have been a part- or full-time resident of Sussex County. In 1975, my wife and I purchased our first home in the county, which our children and grandchildren loved and appreciated as a second home. In 2012, we moved within the county to Bethany Beach.

As a Sussex County property owner for nearly 40 years, I have been affected by and kept myself well-informed on County policy and political issues. During the years before becoming a registered voter, I came to know Shirley Price as a state representative, a highly expert and ethical Realtor, and a generous volunteer with many local organizations.

When it comes to addressing key issues facing the county, current representation of District 4 on the County Council is, at best, complacent. That is why I believe it is time for a new voice on the County Council and that Shirley Price is the best choice to represent District 4.

William H. Carroll
Bethany Beach

Chamber celebrates members with event


The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership celebration on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 16, at The Den at Bear Trap Dunes. Themed “A Night Among the Stars,” the evening highlighted the passing of the gavel to current President Anne Powell of ResortQuest RealEstate, in addition to the recognition of outgoing Board Members, including: Jenn Jones, Jim Brannon, Tim Haley and Rick Hundley.

The 2014-2015 Board of Directors was officially sworn in, with new additions including: Steve Hagen of Hooked, Just Hooked, Off the Hook restaurants; Kirsten Northway, Atlantic General Hospital; Lois Saraceni, La Vita Bella Day Spa & Salon; and Andrew Stump, Mercantile Processing Inc. A glass-blown wine stopper and opener were given to all in attendance, courtesy of SPC Financial Inc., the presenting sponsor.

Open to a public vote for the first time this year, the Chamber presented six distinguished business awards to the following members:

• Inspiring Business Award — Judy Layman, High Tide News

• Best in Business Award — Coastal Point

• New Member of the Year Award — Kristina Isom, Mind, Body & Sole

• Community Spirit Award — Bethany Beach Books

• Member of the Year Award — Kami Banks, Banks Wines & Spirits

• Ambassador of the Year Award — Lise O’Connell, Send Out Cards

Kami Banks of Banks Wines & Spirits, the immediate past-president of the Chamber, was awarded the prestigious Lighthouse Award sponsored by Bellinger’s Jewelry. This award honors a long-term Chamber member who contributed outstanding leadership and devotion to both the Chamber and local community. Along with her service to the Chamber, Kami currently sits on the Atlantic ImmediCare Board of Directors and served on the Town Council of Millville from 2007-2009.

The Chamber thanks all its members, and those who showed their support by attending last Thursday’s 2014 Member Celebration & Awards Ceremony. We are looking forward to a great 2015!

Kristie Maravalli,
Executive Director
Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce

Former local mayor endorses Price


I was delighted to learn that Shirley Price has decided to once again offer her services for betterment of Sussex County. There is no doubt that this very special area needs to move away from the tired perspectives and questionable practices of the few who determine what’s best for the few who benefit the most.

We need a fresh view of what Sussex County needs, and Shirley Price is the proven leader with knowledge of the past and the vision to improve our quality of life without further damaging our unique surroundings.

Shirley listens to people and works with those who don’t necessarily share her views in order to develop consensus-driven solutions that are best for our community

I first encountered Shirley when I was mayor of South Bethany, some years ago. A few of the residents and I were concerned about safety of individuals crossing Route 1 to gain access to the beach, especially during the tourist season. Within a few weeks of discussing the issue with then-Rep. Shirley Price, DelDOT installed two walker-controlled traffic lights and lanes that are still there.

I also remember how Rep. Price helped us turn what was then a combative relationship between the Town of South Bethany and DNREC concerning quality of water in the canals and drainage of storm/rainwater from north of us into one wherein both parties worked together in attempts to resolve challenging issues.

Shirley Price is not a member of any “good ol’ boys” group, with a politically driven fixation for what’s best for the “club.” Shirley is one of those individuals who come our way only occasionally, who is focused on the needs of the community, its residents, its schools and businesses. Those of us who know Shirley know exactly what she is about: service to the community and its citizens, passion in her beliefs, commitment to completion of endeavors and integrity in conducting all she does. Those of you who don’t yet know Shirley Price are in for a wonderful, rare experience.

My vote is for Shirley Price. Hope you will join me.

Ted Marcucilli
Ocean View

Readers endorse Price for 4th District


As residents of Camelot Meadows manufactured home park in Rehoboth Beach, we are greatly heartened by the candidacy of former state legislator Shirley Price for Sussex County Council in the 4th District.

Her platform is based on a keen understanding of the challenges that manufactured homeowners face — in particular those who are retired and living on fixed incomes. She was instrumental in initiating the critical “Rent Justification” bill, which now protects homeowners on leased land from unwarranted and crippling rent increases by placing a cap on annual land rent raises.

But, we know that the wealthy owners of leased land are working behind the scenes to effect legislative change that will benefit them — not us, those who rent their land. Shirley Price will work on our behalf, doing everything in her power to protect us from such actions by those members of the 1 percent whose only concern is squeezing their tenants for more and more money.

Shirley Price is extremely knowledgeable, is a native of this area and is sincerely poised to help correct all the adverse conditions and formidable forces we as manufactured home owners face.

As a result, we intend to vote for her on Nov. 4 — in order to replace ineffective council leadership that has done nothing to help seniors, and nothing to help homeowners, as well as everyone else who lives in the 4th District for nearly three decades!

We know Shirley Price is the right person for the job of Sussex County Council, and we hope you will join us in voting her into office on election day, Nov. 4, 2014.

Laurel Marshfield, John Morris, Betty Jean Buckno, Terry Buckno, Mary Ann D’Amato, Tom Reynolds, Lillian Reynolds, Debby Markow and Gary Markow
Rehoboth Beach