Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Well, there is plenty on tap as far as entertainment goes, so let’s narrow this down a little bit.
Looking for something to keep you busy from Friday through Monday, without ever leaving Bethany Beach? Oh, we have you covered.
Let’s start with Friday, Aug. 29. The silent auction for the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral will be held at Bethany Blues at 3 p.m. All the money raised by this auction will go to Sussex County Big Brothers Big Sisters, and there will be music, food, fun and opportunities to visit local shops and enjoy sales.
Saturday and Sunday are filled with opportunities along the shore, but the annual yArt Sale promises to be one of the more popular events of the weekend. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days at 33258 Kent Avenue, and there will be artists, crafters and music to fill the days. This is a relaxed show with fantastic artists on hand, and opportunities to purchase items from the artists, as well as raffles. All proceeds from the fundraising efforts will be donated to the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, so you can feel as if you are helping your community while enjoying a day for yourself at the same time.
Then, on Monday, Sept. 1, revelers and mourners alike can head down to the north end of the Bethany Beach boardwalk at 5:30 p.m. to see the beginning of the Jazz Funeral procession as it embarks on its journey to the bandstand. There will be three jazz bands accompanying the marchers, costumed participants and a lot of smiles. This is the 29th edition of the Jazz Funeral, so it has tested the ravages of time and stood up for decades.
This is the last week we will run letters regarding the primary and Bethany Beach Town Council elections. In next week’s Coastal Point, we will be publishing Q&A responses from all the candidates, so our readers may make informed decisions without the weight of bias on their minds. Following the primaries, we will open up the letters section again for the general election. Thank you for your understanding.
Labor Day weekend.
Those three words alone can generate a plethora of emotions across the board. They actually work together to constitute one word in our reality, joining “Memorial Day weekend” and “Fourth of July” as the sacred trinity of important summer benchmarks for our community — the beginning, the heart and the end of another summer season.
For many in the region, Labor Day signifies the end of traffic congestion, long waits at stores and beaches with seemingly more people than sand. It’s especially welcomed by many of the retirees in the community, who simply want the area to get back to the quiet place it is for the majority of the year.
For others, particularly those who own businesses, it means the end of the profitable season and, in some cases, serves as the final bell for the work year, as they will clean everything up, lock up the doors and spend the next several months catching up on sleep and basic mental health until the next busy season comes along.
And, for others, it means that this is the last weekend before the kids go back to school next week and mom and dad can break out the party favors, turn the television off the children’s programming and enjoy a little sanity.
And that is how it’s been historically for our area. The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is the ultimate reminder of that, as people gather downtown each year on Labor Day to bid farewell to another summer season, and celebrate it with a mixture of relief and sadness. There was a time when one could go outside that Monday evening and feel as if he or she stepped through to another dimension — one of silence and emptiness that would best be narrated by the voice of Rod Serling.
But it’s changed. And it’s changed for the better, in my opinion.
For starters, we have more people living here year-round these days. From retirees enjoying a new chapter in their lives, to families with small children who choose to take advantage of our schools and quiet lifestyle, the area is becoming less of a destination and more of an arrival. This is now home for many, and that contributes to more businesses staying open throughout the year, and more activities taking place to keep us all interested.
We’ve also come to really take advantage of the “shoulder seasons” over recent years — those weeks after Labor Day and before Memorial Day when the weather feels like summer. It is a great time for golf courses, as golfers can now get accomodations that might have been booked during the busy summer season, and a fantastic time for restaurants and shops to open for at least the weekends as events like the Boardwalk Arts Festival and others dot the calendar throughout the fall and spring.
It is also the time for home owners who might rent out their units through the lucrative summer months to actually come enjoy their homes for themselves. They can still visit the beach, enjoy great restaurants and just generally take a breath from life for a few days, and that’s simply a good thing.
While “Labor Day” brings a near-Pavolovian reaction to many of us, signifying the end of the year’s fun, it really isn’t anymore. In reality, many of us believe this to be the best time of the year. Count me in that category.
For instance, this is when I will start camping nearly every weekend for the next few months. Be it a one-night trip to Trap Pond on a Saturday or an extended weekend away somewhere else, it is a terrific time to go enjoy being outdoors with slightly smaller crowds around the campgrounds. There will also be Sunday trips to the drive-on beach, enjoying relaxing days with friends and still-warm weather without the stress of busy summer workloads stunting the enjoyment factor.
I can also finally break out that rhinestone-studded thong I’ve been tempted to wear all summer, but have been too self-conscious to display, outside of sitting around the house or walking through our office on casual Friday. Granted, it’s a little garish and often conflicts with the diamond-encrusted one that Tom Maglio wears all too often, but now is not the time to go there. Actually, I’m not really sure there is an appropriate time for that, so let’s just forget I ever mentioned it.
Good luck with that.
The shoulder season is the best season, in my humble opinion, particularly in the fall. College football on Saturdays, the NFL on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and whatever other day they care to dominate, and the food that comes with watching football, ranging from wings to ribs to sausages grilling over hot coals and juices dripping down to make that “hiss” sound as they expand from the heat and blossom into that tasty...
But I digress.
This weekend is truly not the end. It has been a constant source of amusement for us here that the smallest our Calendar section in every year is the summer, while fall and spring are jammed with events and activities. It’s as if we come out of our collective coccoons to spread our wings, and any other ridiculous metaphors you might be able to muster.
Say goodbye to the Summer of 2014, and all that goes with it. But, while you’re doing that, say hello to the Fall of 2014. It promises to be a great one.
Letters to the Editor
Frye gets the nod from Bethany voter
Bethany’s election to fill four Town Council seats will be held on Sept. 6 from noon until 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Candidate Bruce Frye is ready to serve all of us now, and I urge you to vote for Bruce, along with incumbent candidates Jack Gordon, Rosemary Hardiman and Lew Killmer.
This team of four, together with continuing Council Members Dorfman, Healy and Peterson, will continue the fiscal and operational processes which have made Bethany Beach the wonderful place it is.
Now, let’s discuss Bruce.
Bruce and his wife, Charlotte, have owned property in Bethany since 2003 and have lived here for the past five years. Prior to that, they spent family vacations in Bethany for 20 years. Bruce was raised in Wilmington, attended the University of Delaware, earning a BS with honors in Chemistry (1971) and matriculated to MIT, where he earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry (1976).
Bruce’s 35 years of work experience include senior management positions in Chemistry, primarily at General Electric in New York. (GE is known to groom and produce outstanding managers who are creative, decisive and innovative leaders who focus on achieving measurable results.)
I said above that Bruce is ready to serve us now! His managerial and problem-solving skills are evident from his successful business career focused on management and chemistry. Since Bruce’s fulltime arrival here in 2010, I have personally watched him tenaciously learn the Town’s governance processes by diligently attending meetings of the Town Council, Planning Commission, Budget and Audit, Board of Adjustments and Non Residential Design review.
In 2011 he joined the Charter and Review Committee; in 2013 was appointed to the Board of Adjustments, and in 2014 I worked with Bruce on the July 4th Parade committee, on which he has volunteered since 2011. In addition, to broaden his understanding of Delaware town government he completed two University of Delaware government courses: Board of Adjustment and Master Planning in Delaware.
Bruce is clearly ready to serve us as a councilman!
Bruce’s outreach extends beyond Town government. He is: a director of Sussex County Science Fair; a volunteer science instructor at Sussex Academy, Indian River High School and Sussex Tech; a coach for the Science Olympiad and Odyssey of the Mind; chair of ChemVets, retired chemists in Am. Chem. Society; a volunteer for Meals on Wheels; a mentor at Showell Elementary School; and has been the president of his community association, Bethany Crossings West, since moving here.
Bruce is clearly involved with his community!
By electing Bruce Frye as a Bethany Beach councilman, we are fortunate to have an opportunity to elect an enthusiastic, intelligent, energetic and knowledgeable leader. Bruce has demonstrated his ability to work with a variety of diverse people and groups within and outside the community. He is committed to: seeking the views of voters, councilpersons and elected and appointed town managers to collaboratively govern our Town; approaching issue resolution in a logical, fact-based manor; and keeping Bethany Beach a family-friendly “Quiet Resort.”
Please vote for Bruce Frye for Bethany’s Town Council on Sept. 6 or obtain an absentee ballot, Monday through Saturday, at Town Hall!
Redefine or restore? Question for sheriff
Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher has attracted national attention in his effort to “redefine” the role of county Sheriff. Or so the power elite in Delaware would have us believe. In his court battle, the Delaware Supreme Court went all the way back to the Magna Carta of 1215 to study the history of Sheriff’s duties.
But the Magna Carta shows something far more significant than the duties of the Sheriff — it shows the usurpation of power 800 years ago by the English kings. The nobles finally rebelled and forced the king to agree, sign and guarantee the rights of the nobles (yet again). A power grab away from the people is at the heart of the Sheriff issue today, the corrupting influence of centralizing power into fewer and fewer hands; in this case, the State and the governor.
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Human nature never changes. Our Constitution, recognizing human nature and how power corrupts, set up our federal government with equal but separate executive, legislative and judicial branches in order to divide and share power, and instituted checks and balances to maintain those divisions.
The Constitution in Article IV, Section 4, also guarantees that each state will have a republican type of government. And so every state has its government setup similar to the federal government; as do counties, cities and incorporated towns. The co-equal branches of government set up in all Delaware counties are Sheriff, County Council and County Courts. No branch has control of another; which is why the County Council has no authority to define the Sheriff’s duties. The Sheriff is elected by the people as their last line of defense against governmental overreach into county and local affairs.
Just as the governor is the chief executive of the state and has the power of the police (and National Guard if necessary) to enforce state law, so does the Sheriff as the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of the county have similar power, albeit on a smaller scale. That means the Sheiff and his deputies would have powers of arrest and would be armed.
Also as chief executive of the state, the governor has the responsibility of enforcing laws that are constitutional and disregarding laws that are not. If a federal law defies the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, the governor can, along with the General Assembly, nullify that law within the state. The Sheriff, along with the County Council, would have the same power within the county, if the governor failed to uphold his constitutional duty.
The county sheriff is our most important ally for self-governance. He should not be an errand-boy. Sheriffs are usually consulted by the feds or state, about county operations; county sheriffs have the power to stop the feds and/or state forces from executing operations in their counties, or face arrest.
Cooperation is key, so this is a rare decision, but sometimes necessary. His is the final word in the county. The Sheriff’s main job is to protect the constitutional rights of the citizens who reside in his county, as well as peace-keeping and public safety.
Sheriff Christopher doesn’t want to redefine this position, he wants to restore it to what it should be; the people of the three Delaware counties deserve protection of their God-given rights by a local and elected “conservator of the peace”; a Sheriff who owes first allegiance to the Constitution and the people, not the governor or the state.
If our sheriffs are to only serve warrants and administer foreclosure sales, why don’t we send the warrants through the mail and hire auctioneers? Why are we electing anyone who doesn’t understand the Constitutional duties of his office?
Sheriff Christopher is being primaried Tuesday, Sept. 9. Please remember to vote.
Young gets support in Bethany election
Margaret Young’s dedication to Bethany’s wellbeing, what we call its community character and sense of place, as a council person and a hard-working volunteer, deserves to be rewarded with reelection to the Council. I’d like to remind my fellow voters of four specific accomplishments of Margaret’s that no other Council candidate can come close to matching. These are deeds, not words.
When Bethany enacted its unfortunate increase in the height limit for residences, Margaret joined a band of 15 or so local citizens who gathered nearly 1,000 signatures from neighbors, thus forcing the Council to unceremoniously repeal its very unpopular height increase. Margaret personally gathered about one-half of those signatures. An effort like this was never before or since accomplished in Bethany.
As a member of Bethany’s Cultural and Historic Affairs Committee, Margaret personally researched and wrote histories of over 40 of Bethany’s older homes — work that led to Bethany’s historic markers for residences. With her unmatched knowledge of Bethany’s history, Margaret was the lead volunteer on the highly praised landowners association booklet titled “Bethany Beach, Delaware — A Walk Through History 1901-2014.”
Margaret’s participation in the project generated generous gifts of cash and sponsorships, raising sufficient funds so that the project was free of cost to the landowners association.
When Margaret learned that Bethany Beach was home to one of Delaware’s Congressional Medal of Honor winners (just 14 in all), she pressed hard for a suitable memorial here honoring Ensign Henry Clay Drexler, who died attempting to save his crew members after an explosion at sea in 1924.
Fighting against unexplained opposition from part of Bethany’s leadership, Margaret gained enough support among her council colleagues to have her resolution approved. The memorial for Ensign Drexler she was able to win can be seen today in Centennial Park at the Loop Canal.
When Bethany town government approved a farmers’ market in 2007, Margaret immediately volunteered to recruit and schedule other volunteers to staff the market to provide information and seek donations to support the market’s advertising and promotions budget. Literally dozens of Bethany citizens have joined Margaret in this effort (which continues to this day) and contribute their time and energy to give Bethany the best farmers’ market in Delaware.
Bethany needs independent-thinking, selflessly hard-working council members, like Margaret Young, dedicated to the common interest of all residents who love the Quiet Resort just the way it is.
Doyle weighs in on Bethany election
For well over 20 years, my wife and I have had the pleasure of living in Bethany Beach, a town that has been blessed with the finest town administration that can be found along the Delaware coastline.
As property owners, we have not only enjoyed the special family atmosphere that Bethany is noted for but have also benefitted from the lowest real estate tax rates, the lowest water rates and the lowest trash collection fees in this area. In addition, we have the pleasure of being in one of our coastline’s most beautiful environments, thanks to the lovely floral displays throughout the town.
We are also delighted to see the improvements that are taking place in the town: the Streetscape expansion of Garfield Parkway, the new water tower that will improve both the supply and backup of our water system and a town park that will beautify the area at Routes 1 and 26.
We all know, however, that these improvements don’t just happen; they result from the continuing efforts and skill of our elected representatives who do a superb job for us. So when you are marking you ballots this September, please use your vote to support the individuals listed below who have played key leadership roles in bringing about these significant achievements:
• Jack Gordon — Due to the unfortunate illness that caused our former mayor Tony McClenney to resign as mayor, our vice mayor, Jack Gordon, assumed this key position of responsibility and has continued to lead the Town Council in a splendid manner. All the capital improvements mentioned above continued and are now close to completion. Through his years on the council he has demonstrated both the experience and skill to fill this very important position. All of us can know that with Jack as mayor, our town is in excellent hands.
• Lew Killmer — Lew, now our vice mayor, has served on the council for the last eight years, and his many contributions during this time are too numerous to mention in this letter. Without question, however, his leadership of the Planning Commission has been outstanding, and thanks to his efforts, our building codes are as good as or better than any other town. His oversight in the planning area has been a major factor in keeping Bethany the beautiful residential area it has always been. Lew’s continued presence on the council will assure that our town stays this way in the future.
• Rosemary Hardiman — Rosemary is a new member of the council whose experience in both county and state government, as well as in many diverse community activities, adds much to our town. In addition, she has demonstrated a deep interest in the town’s financial direction, to assure we follow prudent planning on our budgeting efforts — a management perspective that will help us maintain our current healthy financial condition in the years to come. Her professional and legal experience and her strong work ethic are needed now and in the future.
FOSCL declares book sale a success
As co-chairs of the Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL) 2014 Summer Book Sale, we are most appreciative for the support of the community. The book sale was a great success! We made just over $6,000, which is used by the library in a variety of ways. For example, many cultural programs have drawn huge audiences throughout the year; new titles have been added to the MP3 CD audiobook collection; and BookPages, a monthly newspaper with book reviews and upcoming titles, is provided free of cost to our patrons.
Approximately 120 potential volunteers were contacted by our hard-working coordinators, Fran Markowski and Audrey Young, and 105 actually participated in the sale. The volunteers were responsible for transporting the boxes of books to the meeting room, unpacking and displaying the books, serving as cashiers and support personnel. As the saying goes, “Many hands make easy work.”
The community was essential to the success of the book sale because people donated thousands of quality books, DVDs and CDs throughout the year, which others looked forward to purchasing. There is no doubt that e-readers are useful, but it seems that many of us still like to hold, feel and smell a real book!
The business community was especially supportive of the FOSCL book sale by allowing us to post flyers in their stores, and the local newspapers and magazines promoted the sale by including articles of interest about it for their readers. That widespread publicity informs our community about the wonderful events that take place in our area. Thank you so very much.
We also are fortunate to have the most supportive and enthusiastic library director, Sue Keefe, and staff. You can’t imagine how they cheered us on in addition to providing the necessary carts, bookends and promotional bookmarks. A special thank-you is extended to Joanne Anderson, library assistant, for sorting all of the donated books and educating us about the process.
Our sincere thanks are extended to an exceptional committee. In addition to volunteer coordinators Fran Markowski and Audrey Young, the FOSCL Summer Book Sale Committee was extremely fortunate to have member Theo Loppatto head publicity. Lora Caputo, our most recent member, brought new ideas and a willingness to help out in any way she could, and Lois Rubinsohn added experience and important perspective to our discussions.
We look forward to seeing you on Feb. 13 and 14, 2015, for the next FOSCL Winter Book Sale. Keep those book donations coming!
Judy Ramoy Johnstone
and Loeda Stango, Co-Chairs
2014 FOSCL Summer Book Sale
CIB thanks supporters of its annual gala
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Gala on Rehoboth Bay the evening of Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. This event helped to raise important funding that will allow us to continue to work for cleaner and healthier Inland Bays!
Surrounded by so many of the people who have been supportive of the CIB over the last 20 years, we truly had a wonderful evening that exceeded all expectations. All of us at the Center feel so thankful for the generous support of the sponsors and community members that made this event such a success.
It was an evening that we will never forget. It was purely expressive of the dedication and collaboration of so many people and organizations that have worked hard over the past 20 years to protect and restore your Inland Bays.
On behalf of the Center I want to thank NRG, Cardno, Atlantic Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Perdue, Baird, Mandalas & Brockstedt, Banks Wines & Spirits, Clean Delaware, Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Delaware Sea Grant, Dewey Beach Lions Club, Harry Caswell Inc., NV Homes, Stephen and Susan Soulas, Sussex County Council, the Town of South Bethany, Aqua Tech Water Specialties, Artesian Water, Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Chesapeake Utilities, Delaware Beach Life, Delmarva Power, Joanne Shipley Designs, the Starboard restaurant, State Farm/Ron Krajewski Agency, Tidewater Utilities, the Town of Dewey Beach, Economy Printing, Vickie York and all of our supporters for their generous sponsorships to make the event possible. For a complete list of all of the amazing sponsors who gave to make this Gala the success it was, please check out our website!
I would also like to recognize the recipients of this year’s Friends of the Bays awards: CIB Volunteer Dr. Dennis Bartow, the Division of Watershed Stewardship of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Perdue Farms and past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center, Rick Eakle.
The Friend of the Bay awards are presented to honor the significant contributions over time by an individual or organization in support of the mission of the CIB. These individuals and organizations are exemplary examples of the type of dedication and innovation that it takes to restore the quality of our ecosystems.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays and its watershed. With our many partners, the CIB conducts public outreach and education, develops and implements restoration projects, encourages scientific inquiry, and sponsors research. We can only restore the Bays with your help.
To view photos of the Gala and to learn how you can support this important work, visit our website at www.inlandbays.org
Chris Bason, Executive Director
Center for the Inland Bays
Hardiman clarifies her position on BBG
There is one lingering controversial issue in the ongoing campaign for election to the Bethany Beach Town Council that needs to be further addressed. The issue concerns an agreement between the Town and the Bethany Boardwalk Group (BBG), the developer of the new hotel on the site of the former Bethany Arms. The agreement requires BBG to pay approximately $791,000 in realty transfer taxes and building permit and water impact fees.
The taxes and fees were calculated by the Town in accordance with Town fee schedules and applicable legal provisions that apply to all construction projects. The agreement further provides that payment will be made in four equal installments over three years. Equally important, the agreement provides that BBG will not contest the constitutionality, enforceability, validity or appropriateness of the taxes and fees in any legal action.
The agreement was approved by a six-to-one majority of the council following a presentation by Town attorneys in which all council members were present.
One letter-writer and other critics mischaracterize the agreement as a special favor or gift to Mr. Jack Burbage, a principal of BBG. In support of their assertion, the critics of the agreement only mention the payment installment plan, noting that it is an interest-free arrangement. They conveniently ignore the very significant reciprocal agreement by BBG, which benefits and protects the Town.
As a council member who carefully considered and voted for the agreement, I’d like to correct and fill in the misleading partial picture painted by the critics by providing the important missing legal facts and context involved in the council’s decision.
At the present time, fees charged by municipalities are the subject of a legal challenge, as well as action by the Delaware Legislature. In Delaware, fees charged by municipalities must be reasonably proportionate to the cost of providing the service. This fall, the Delaware Supreme Court will hear a case regarding a business license fee charged by Dewey Beach which has been challenged as being grossly disproportionate to the cost to the Town of administering the fee. The lower court ruled that any amount over the Town’s cost could be considered a permissible “tax” under the “all powers” clause in the Town’s Charter.
Based on that pending case, the Delaware legislature recently passed a law stating that all municipal taxes must be specifically authorized by the General Assembly. It grandfathered in all taxes that were in effect as of June 15, 2014. The legislation leaves open the question as to whether it grandfathers in “fees” which are later deemed to be “taxes,” as in the Dewey Beach case.
BBG had disagreed with and challenged the amounts of the realty transfer tax and the building permit and water impact fees on various legal grounds. There were arguable merits in the legal positions of both the Town and BBG, and the legal picture was clouded by the uncertainties raised by both the pending Delaware Supreme Court case and the recent legislation described above.
With the prospect of lengthy and costly litigation and uncertain outcome, either party could prevail. If BBG won, the Town could lose substantial fee income and still incur significant litigation costs, realistically estimated at well over $100,000. Even if the Town prevailed, it would still incur the litigation costs.
In an effort to avoid litigation, the parties decided to attempt to resolve the matter through negotiations to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome. Those efforts were successful in the agreement described above. As in any agreement to settle a legal dispute, each side gains and gives up something to avoid costly litigation and the uncertainty of what the outcome might be.
In this situation, the Town will be paid the full amount of the calculated taxes and fees. The first installment has already been paid. While payment of the remaining balance over the next three years precludes investment by the Town of the full amount if paid immediately, the estimated amount of interest lost at today’s low rates, based on the Town’s conservative investment policy, is less than $6,000 — far less than the estimated litigation costs.
With BBG’s agreement not to contest the fees and taxes in any legal action, the Town avoids the potential loss of a significant portion of the $791,000 in an otherwise possible legal challenge. In my opinion, the total agreement is far from any “gift” or “special favor” to BBG or to Mr. Burbage.
After careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances in the matter, and legal advice from the Town’s attorney, I voted in favor of the agreement because, given the possibility that fees charged on projects of this size could be disallowed as “grossly disproportionate” to the cost of the services rendered, I felt it was fiscally responsible, fair and ultimately in the best interest of the Town.
I hope this is helpful in clarifying the issue raised.
Bethany Beach Town Council
Resident supports Hardiman in election
I am endorsing Rosemary Hardiman in the upcoming Bethany Beach Town Council election. Rosemary has all the ingredients needed for an effective town council representative. She is intelligent and will research every issue until she is satisfied that she has all the facts surrounding the issue, as well as an understanding for all sides of the issue, without bias. She will represent the town well because she cares deeply for the community of Bethany Beach and the character of the town that has drawn all of us here as residents.
Rosemary serves where she is needed, and no job is too small. I read recently an article on effective managers, and it stressed that a good manager or leader is one who eats last. That is Rosemary; she will be the last worker to leave any project in which she is involved. She and her husband, Jerry, work with my husband and myself on a Breakfast Team at the VFW during the summer months and, though breakfast ends at noon, Rosemary and Jerry do not leave until every last piece of cutlery and dishware has been cleaned and put away.
Rosemary brings this work ethic and enthusiasm to every committee and project with which she is involved. She has served on the town’s Communications Committee as chair and as an election judge for past town elections. She also volunteers for Read Aloud Delaware as a reader at Lord Baltimore Elementary School. Rosemary does not shy away from any involvement when it is for the betterment of the community she loves.
Not only does Rosemary work within her community, but she also serves on the Sussex County Library Advisory Board and is that board’s representative to the Delaware Council of Libraries, a statewide advisory board. This experience gives her the opportunity to work on issues on both county and state levels, and gives a broader context to her work for the community as a Bethany Town Council member.
Rosemary’s intelligence and competency are without question; her honesty and work ethic are exceptional; and her capacity to actively listen and respond to members of the community is a valuable and essential tool; and all are the ingredients of an excellent and effective Bethany Beach Town Council member.
Steele offers support to candidates
One last letter to help you decide how you should vote in Bethany.
Jack took over for Tony when he had to resign for health reasons.
Why was Jack picked: because he was the most capable to be mayor!
Lew was elevated to vice-mayor because there is no one in the town who has done more or who knows more about the workings of the town’s ordinances than Lew Kilmer!
Bruce has been involved with so many different committees that it is time for Bruce to actually to be able to put into action those recommendations!
Rosemary is one of the most prepared and knowledgeable contenders to seek the office of town council. At the Meet the Candidates Night, Rosemary did not have to refer to index cards to let you know she knows of what she speaks!
Simple: Jack, Lew, Bruce and Rosemary!
Young gets support from residents
Having attended many Bethany Beach Town Council meetings, it has been our observation that Margaret Young is the only council member with the temerity to routinely question and challenge the efforts that the Town has made to expand the commercial profile of Bethany, forever altering its unique and enviable identity as a quiet family resort.
We applaud her willingness to ask the hard questions and to vote according to her conscience, rather than following the council in rubberstamping many of the pro-development proposals.
The fact that there has been a concerted and coordinated effort by other candidates to promote a slate that eliminates her from the running should give every citizen pause as to why there is no room on the council for legitimate dissent.
We urge everyone who welcomes the presence of an independent voice to join us in voting for Margaret Young.
Marylou & Gil Tietz
Connor gets support in primary
I have known Brad Connor for a long time and before he became an elected official. I remember when his father owned Connor Broadcasting, which consisted of four radio stations serving all the small towns in western Sussex County and beyond.
Brad was 15 years old when he first became the station’s disc jockey. He quickly moved into sales and management. Brad has spent a lifetime as a small-businessman and eventually an elected official. He and his family have also over the years given back to this county and its small towns.
Over the lifetime of the Connor Broadcasting Company, they regularly donated back and raised money for non-profits and community groups. I remember the first Laurel 4th of July parade, when Brad was personally broadcasting the parade from the site all the way through the parade.
Connor also worked with and raised money for several of the local Chambers of Commerce, including Millsboro, Selbyville, Bethany-Fenwick, Laurel and Seaford. There were others, like the Boys & Girls Clubs in Seaford, Leukemia Foundation, United Way and Salvation Army.
Brad Connor has lived an ethical life through his own businesses and his small-government work. I plan to vote for him on Sept. 9 so that he can raise the ethics of the Sussex County Council and its appointed boards. We cannot miss this opportunity to bring our county into the sunlight.
Calvin and Linda Ward
Reader upset with FOIA in Delaware
Like the federal government and many other states, Delaware prides itself on maintaining one of the fundamental building blocks of any true democracy: a transparent, open government where state citizens have the right to know how their elected officials and public servant employees are behaving.
Attorney General Beau Biden puts out a brochure that states, “Delawareans have the right to expect government transparency, and our State’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees citizens’ access to information about our state and local governments.” Yet when it comes to transparency in Delaware, expectations and reality don’t always match up.
For the past several months, I have requested access to email correspondences between the state’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) and a poultry industry trade group, the Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI), related to poultry operations on the Eastern Shore. I also asked for emails between the DOA and a University of Delaware researcher, James Glancey.
Since my request was filed, though, the DOA has done nothing but place inappropriate roadblocks to keep the documents out of my hands. First, they told me I needed to provide them with the names of the DOA employees who might have had communications with DPI or Glancey, as if state citizens would know who specifically at the Department was writing to these people. Then they asked me to provide them with “search terms” so they could find the emails because no one at the Department, apparently, could come up with search terms themselves.
When those attempts didn’t stop me, DOA told me that I’d have to pay $400 to get copies of the emails. When I asked for an itemized estimate so I could better understand how retrieving some emails could be so expensive, I was told that they were charging me $102 per hour for 3.92 hours of work.
The state FOIA law says that fees for retrieving documents must be based on the “hourly pay grade of the lowest-paid employee” capable of performing the work. When I asked how it was possible that the lowest-paid employee” was getting $102 per hour to run an email search, they changed their story.
Now, instead of just staff time, they said the charges were also for “enterprise server hardware and software and tools” to search for the emails. When I asked DOA to explain why I was paying for hardware that my tax dollars already bought, they told me they would not provide me with any further clarification about the costs related to my request.
What might be even more disturbing than DOA’s efforts to overcharge for citizens’ access to public records, though, is that it looks like they’re also illegally destroying government documents. DOA claims they only retained emails for a one-year period, so they wouldn’t have any emails older than that.
I pointed out to them that Delaware’s document retention policy requires all state agencies to permanently maintain emails that pertain to programs and policies, including all correspondence with people outside the Agency. DOA replied that these retention provisions don’t apply to the emails that I requested, but they can’t or haven’t explained why emails with industry and researchers regarding poultry operations and water pollution don’t count as program and policy documents.
Under Delaware’s FOIA laws, agencies must respond to requests within 15 days. I filed my request with DOA over 100 days ago and still have not received the emails I asked for. It seems that, at least with DOA, FOIA requests are dead on arrival when our government is trying to cover up some public information they don’t want citizens to see.
Delaware’s FOIA states that “it is vital that citizens have easy access to public records in order that the society remain free and democratic.” I’ve asked the Attorney General’s Office to review DOA’s actions. Hopefully, Beau Biden’s commitment to open government goes beyond the paper it’s written on and his office will take the steps necessary to force DOA to produce the emails I have requested and ensure that Delawareans can truly enjoy the kind of democratic transparency we all deserve.
Wheatley has support from voter
I attended the Sussex County Council Fifth District Candidate’s Forum sponsored by the Laurel Library and the Delaware League of Women’s Voters, held at the Laurel Library. Bob Wheatley stood head and shoulders above the crowded field of aspirants.
The candidates did not know the questions in advance, but Bob displayed a remarkable ability to think on his feet and a thorough knowledge of the issues. His answers were clear, specific, thoughtful and forthright. Most importantly, he didn’t hedge on the tough questions.
Also, I believe Bob was the only candidate that didn’t feel obligated to use every second of time allotted to him; he just answered the questions and closed his mouth when he was done. How refreshing.
Bob Wheatley will be an excellent councilman for District 5. Cast your vote for Bob Wheatley on Sept. 9 and Nov. 4.