ViewPoint

IRSD school board appears to be in good hands

It has been a while since Charles Bireley was not the president of the Indian River School Board. In fact, Bireley has served that role faithfully for the past 10 years, and has held the seat for 15 of his 38 years helping direct the educational path for generations of students to pass through our local schools.

But James “Jim” Hudson now holds that seat, and he’s ready to tackle pressing issues.

“I think the major goal to address is our population growth,” said Hudson. “I think that’s going to be a major thing. We’re really growing — especially in the Georgetown, Millsboro areas. We’ve really got to tackle that. Hopefully, come up with some solutions.”

Hudson previously taught and coached in the Indian River School District before becoming vice principal, and then principal, at North Georgetown Elementary School for 15 years, before retiring in 2009.

So, yeah, it would seem they found a solid replacement for an icon, which isn’t always an easy trick.

We congratulate Hudson on his recent appointment, and have faith that he will help lead the Board into the future. We also enjoy the fact that Bireley continues to participate in the shaping of the area’s schools as a member of the Board, and believe our local students are in good hands.

A retreat to a simpler time really hit the spot

Date Published: 
August 28, 2015

It’s still in there.

Deep below the impressive layers of never-worked-off microwave burritos and a time-hardened soul lie the fragments of what was once a 12-year-old boy without a care in the world. Yes, life can have a way of making us all “grow up” so we can fend off the ravages of reality, and cynicism becomes the shield with which we fend off any potential disappointments or heartbreaks after we’ve danced with those devils enough throughout our respective lifetimes, but deep inside, far past the cockles and icky stuff, sits that little boy.

He still giggles at potty humor. He still wakes up on summer mornings and checks out box scores from the baseball games played the night before. And he still laughs when his friends fall down, though the motivating factor for those momentary struggles with gravity has changed from untied shoelaces to far too many cocktails.

There are too many times I forget that little boy is still in there. Waking up every morning with aching knees and a mind clumsily spinning with everything that has to get done that day muzzles the wonder and innocence that once caused me to embrace that new day with unbridled fervor.

Guys, do you remember those summer mornings as a kid? You know, before summer jobs and chasing girls began to make you look at life in a completely different light? You eagerly got dressed and raced out the door with cereal dripping off your chin, terrified that your friends have already started that day’s adventure without you, but pretty confident that they’d have you jump right in to the fun as soon as you got there.

I’ve been reminded over these first nine months of fatherhood how special it is to not be weighed down by what is expected of you on a day-to-day basis. I watch my daughter scoot about the floor on all fours, not caring so much about what happens next, or what she has to plan out to accomplish everything that’s on her list — she worries about the “right now.”

And that makes me smile.

And, to be honest, it sometimes makes me sad over my own lost innocence. I didn’t use to get grumpy. I certainly caused a lot of grumpy over the years, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t used to stay up at night staring at the ceiling, fretting over what the next day would bring. I would lie awake at night, excited about what adventures would be heading my way the next day. It’s during those times of introspection I sometimes worry that the little boy inside me is gone now, replaced by some old bald guy who watches the news in the morning while he sighs a lot and sucks down coffee just so he can manage that morning ahead.

But then, nights like Tuesday happen.

My wife went out of town to visit with an old friend, and she brought the baby with her, leaving me and the two dogs to fend for ourselves. We had two main objectives for the night: Eat dinner and clean up the kitchen.

We failed at both.

You see, Tuesday was also the release of Madden 16, the NFL video game franchise that has reportedly sold more than 100 million copies over the years, and is personally responsible for more wasted hours out of my life than anything other than my fascination with watching the Food Network, even though I don’t really cook.

I decided that I wasn’t really hungry yet when I walked in the door, so I let the dogs out to handle their business, gave them their subsequent treats for doing so (why don’t I get a treat when I use the facilities?) and put on Madden for a minute, just to see what changes have happened for this newest addition.

This is when the story gets a little hazy.

I got caught up a little bit in the new training mode the game offers, where players have the opportunity to explore the game’s new features by participating in drills and kind of getting in the flow of the game a little bit. I liked the new features a lot, and figured I’d sneak in a quick game, eat some dinner, clean up and hit the sack early, since I had a 4 a.m. wake-up scheduled for Wednesday’s deadline.

That’s what I had planned, at least. But somewhere near the end of that game, 12-year-old Darin seized command.

“Well, big guy,” the little voice bellowed from inside. “That game started a little rocky, but I think we figured some things out by the 4th quarter. One more?”

“Yes, 12-year-old Darin. I think that’s an excellent idea.”

And so we sat, the two of us immersed in a Madden marathon that took adult Darin far past the threshold of responsible adult behavior, and equally that far past his bedtime. And now I’m left speaking in the third person for my troubles.

I’d love to tell you that I’m wearily wiping the sleep out of my eyes on Wednesday morning while I’m writing this, regretting my choices from the night before and making a solemn promise to ignore the controller for a few days and get to bed early. But that’s not the case. Not even a little.

I had fun. I escaped the mental prison that so many of us become incarcerated by as we move through this time we have on this dusty globe, and my Baltimore Ravens are off to a really strong start in their virtual season taking place in my living room.

Oh, and I got to eat cookies for dinner. Never underestimate the soul-cleansing that is cookies for dinner.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — August 28, 2015

Reader offers opinion on aquaculture project

Editor:

I have been reading, with much interest, the feedback from the community, regarding the implementation of the aquaculture farming project being planned for several sites along the Indian River Bay and Fenwick Island bay waters.

First, let me say that I live in Bethany Beach. I am a full-time resident, an avid boater, and while I am not immediately impacted by the proposed aquaculture project, I do often frequent the areas being proposed. Having said that, my comments are that of an “objective observer.” I believe the comments I have are that of someone removed from the emotion of this project and offer a sense of objectivity.

Questions that I feel need to be addressed, which have not been discussed are:

(1) What is the primary objective of the aquaculture farming project?

We have all read articles regarding the degradation of our inland bays and the ability of oysters to filter and clean our coastal waters. What has not been discussed, by any of the government or environmental agencies, is the mention of the word “restoration” in any of their justifications of this project.

There are numerous studies which have documented that the oyster population along the eastern seaboard is 1 percent of what it was at the time Europeans first colonized America. It has been our lifestyle, and the poor management of our natural resources, which has eliminated 99 percent of the oyster population. (Not to mention numerous other aquatic fish, crustaceans and plant life.)

The only objective that has been presented is the development of a commercial source of oysters for harvesting. Additionally, this objective, as presented, is insufficiently funded, and requires that additional monies be pulled from the General Fund. Moving forward with a budget shortage projected, to promote commercial job opportunities for a limited number of individuals, funded by tax dollars from a greater number of people who do not benefit from the project, but are required to forgo their access to these recreational resources, is without merit.

(2) What portion of harvested oysters will be used to restore those natural oyster beds, which have long since been destroyed?

Given the fact that restoration has never been offered as an opportunity, or as a possible long-term objective of this project, I suspect this was never a consideration. A project to raise and promote the growth of oysters, without the consideration of potential restoration, is unconscionable.

(3) What has been the net effect of the successful aquaculture farming project implemented in Rhode Island?

In several articles and statements from our government officials, the project in Rhode Island has been offered as an example of a successfully implemented aquaculture project. Certainly, if there was scientific data available to support the value of this project, short of the generation of commercial oysters for grocery stores and restaurants, it has never been presented.

What improvement of the BOD has been recognized through these efforts? What have been the improvements noted to inland bay fish and aquatic life? What improvements have been seen in the growth of eel and other marine grasses? If there is no data available to support any secondary environmental improvement, other than providing commercially available oysters, then the project provides limited benefit.

Considerations:

(1) The goal and mission of the project should be “to provide for the support and promotion of restoring water quality, through the incorporation and restoration of natural oyster beds within the inland bay waters.”

(2) In order to accomplish this mission, a percentage of all harvested oysters should be provided for the restoration of these natural beds.

(3) The council should reconsider the scope and size of the project, such that the natural resource of the inland bays can be shared by residents, home owners, boaters and watermen. There needs to be a common ground, such that all can coexist.

These comments have been presented to Gerald Hocker, David Sveikis, Chris Bason and David Small, all of whom have been present to the several meetings with those residents being impacted by the project. To date, I have not seen any response regarding any of the above comments and questions.

There needs to be more discussion to develop realistic options for the restoration of our inland bays. We all have much more to lose then a seafood cash crop.

Glenn Davis
Bethany Beach

Dorfman thankful for experience in Bethany

Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank first the citizens of Bethany Beach who have had the faith and trust to allow me to serve five terms on the town council.

Second, I would state that serving on this present council has been very special. While other councils have been hard working and diligent during their terms, this council leaves their egos at the door and works really hard to make Bethany Beach the best place to live at the Delaware beaches. I have every reason to think that the gentleman who will be taking my seat next month, Jerry Morris, will fit in very well, and be a hardworking and contributing member of council.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the office staff and the town manager for their hard work and support of council. The town clerk, Lisa Kale, and finance director, Janet Connery, have been especially helpful with their support.

I would be remiss if I did not personally thank our town manager, Cliff Graviet. He has worked tirelessly to support the council. His hard work and vision have helped to make Bethany Beach a wonderful place to live and visit.

I have enjoyed being a member of council and I will miss it, but I leave assured the town is in very capable hands.

Thank you.

Jerry Dorfman
Bethany Beach

FOSCL grateful for help with book sale

Editor:

The Friends of the South Coastal Library thank all of the 80-plus volunteers who helped make the Summer 2015 Book Sale such a great success. We also thank the library staff, the community newspaper outlets and the community at large for their assistance and support. We truly appreciate the people who took time from the beautiful beach weather to stop by and purchase books, CDs and DVDS. Without all of you, we would not have been able to raise over $5,000 to enhance the library’s programs and services.

The funds raised by the book sales help to pay for:

• The purchase of audiobooks for the children’s room, which “reads” award-winning titles to children, then encourages them to check out the books and related titles.

• Ancestry.com access in-house, through the library’s PCs.

• Monthly Book Page Reviews that highlight the latest titles, trends, new authors.

• The McNaughton Books contract, which provides extra copies of new and bestselling titles.

• The purchase AWE (Advanced Workstations for Literacy) PCs for the children’s room — they learn without knowing that’s what is happening, through music, math, history, even early literacy exercises, like learning the alphabet.

• Nearly all of the library’s events and classes, year-round.

Thanks to all who participated — see you in February!

FOSCL Book Sale Committee
Lora Caputo, Theo Fulton, Fran Markowski, Lois Rubinsohn and Audrey Young

Hattier responds to previous letter

Editor:

Regarding the comments of another reader:

First, let me thank the writer for the kind words regarding my community involvement. The community here has been extremely kind to me and my family and my outside-the-practice activities are my attempt to return something to that community.

Second, when the writer stated that I spoke for the board regarding the new board member, the “we” only refers to the announcement of who she was. Nothing more. I was not sure at the time of the radio call that her name had already been released. Anything other than that were my personal feelings.

I find it interesting that the writer should invoke separation of church and state to criticize my feelings about the background of our new member. Separation of church and state is not mentioned in the Constitution, only in a letter from Jefferson in 1803. There was a denomination concerned that the Congress would name another denomination as the official religion. Jefferson rightly stated that this could not take place.

The Founders were not concerned with the idea of religion in general, just in the specific dogma of each denomination. They wanted to avoid what had happened in England with the Church of England having primacy. The concept of a higher power and religion general suffused their thoughts. John Adams claimed that statesmen “may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” Surely, he wasn’t against some religious training. He was but one of many. Their writings are well known to us all.

And throughout the early years of our Republic, both McGuffie’s readers and Webster’s primer were loaded with Biblical teachings. We all prayed at school board meetings, graduations, baccalaureates, legislative meetings, etc., and even our own John M. Clayton High School had a chapel at some point in the late ’30s and early ’40s.

By claiming that we have full separation of church and state as envisioned by the writer last week, it would make the point that all of this past action was unconstitutional from the gitgo and that our ancestors were all deliberately breaking the laws at virtually every turn. And, frankly, I don’t believe that.

The current situation where religion is absolutely excluded from public life is a product of the courts from Franklin Roosevelt’s time onwards. Before then, the arguments of the Supreme Court Justices are replete with references to our Christian and religious backgrounds. Were the new justices that much smarter than our Founders and could read their minds that this total exclusion was what they wanted? Or are they arrogantly assuming that they know better to further some cause?

I can respect those who do not have a belief in God or a higher power. But if we believe that it takes some set of generally held beliefs and morals to run a republic, as our founders did, how well is it working out that we have abandoned that thought at the highest levels? Can we really say that we are better off?

Donald Hattier, Board Member
Indian River School District