Cape Gazette

Friday Letters

Letters to the Editor

May 18, 2012
Dewey businesses need to change their tune

I feel the need to address some of the issues the Cape Gazette raises (Dewey council should take its own advice, May 15) regarding the Dewey Beach noise ordinance and expansion of premises ordinance.

The Gazette seems to think that nothing has changed in Dewey Beach. Since we have always done it that way, why change now? Two reasons: what was is now worse, and what was has changed.

First, I am convinced that the many problems attendant to being a party town have spiraled out of control. We have more bars in town, and establishments that are supposed to be restaurants are little more than bars. We have Girls Gone Wild parking in the center of town. And we have a certain number of business owners who have little regard for anything but their bottom line, which is fueled by excessive amounts of alcohol served to nonresident patrons. You don’t open a business in Dewey Beach for any other reason.Ask the people who opened Ponos. Fine dining doesn’t fly in Dewey Beach. Ask the many people who tried to open businesses in Izzy Plaza. Booze is king.

There is a great deal of talk about being a family-friendly town, much of it coming from the e-newsletters of groups that front for the business community.

The off-season events they tout are nothing more than a veneer of respectability that will disappear in a couple of weeks when "the season" opens.

Second, Dewey Beach is no longer the one-season town that it once was. Beach shacks (and I use that as a term of endearment) have given way to four-season homes, many of them investment properties that will someday fund someone’s retirement. More people live here more of the year, and many owners are nearing retirement and might like to retire to Dewey Beach. If Dewey Beach is truly to be a year-round town, it needs more than bars and bars parading as restaurants. It needs a vibrant, diverse business community that is vitally interested in the welfare of the town.

Dewey is changing, and the business community must change with it.
As for the expansion of premises ordinance, the Gazette wants council to "turn down the conflict and work with the business community.” The council is painted as the villains who don’t want to fight breast cancer. This issue is not about breast cancer. If anyone wants to hold a fundraiser for this or any other equally important cause, let them do it. Many such events are held without a tent in a parking lot and a river of booze. This is about being clear about the rules that will govern any expansions of premises that are granted.

What could be more business-friendly than a well-written ordinance laying out the rules for expansion of premises and the responsibilities of both the town and the business requesting the expansion? The promoters of the breast cancer event have promised security, toilets and cleanup. But how much security? What kind of security? Private security or off-duty uniformed officers? How much cleanup and where? The kind of clear rules that I have suggested to the council in my recent letter to them leave no uncertainty. What could be more business-friendly?

Lastly, and on a more personal note, how about the business community trying to work with the town and the council? During the last election cycle I received a bushel of mail from one business owner in particular and from a coalition of business owners. I found this letter campaign disturbing. It was a negative, hateful barrage that left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I basically take my business elsewhere. I know this is counterproductive to my vision of a year-round Dewey Beach with vibrant business and residential communities, but I am just not in the mood to support businesses that funded this attack.

The business community needs to make a real effort to reconnect with the people who hang around town after the last taco toss of the season.
Gene SirLouis
Dewey Beach
Washington, D.C.

New Dewey decibel levels reasonable

What's the big deal about the noise ordinance enacted May 12 by the Dewey Beach commissioners?  The Cape Gazette's May 15 editorial seems to favor loud music from big bars, while discounting Dewey's residents and visitors who are drawn to the ocean and bay. According to a WBOC news article published Dec. 11, 2005, the decibel levels instituted in 2006 were 70 during the day and 60 at night.  On May 12, the town simply returned permitted decibel levels to those that had been instituted in 2006. One restaurant owner was quoted back then as thinking it to be a "reasonable compromise."  Isn't it still reasonable today?   
Susan Slye
Dewey Beach

Dewey resident thanks town council

Thank you Dewey Beach Town Council and Mayor Hanson.   At least someone is trying to look out for those Dewey residents that don't live in a group house or own a bar!   The bar owners appear to think they can do whatever they like.  They have no regard for anyone or anything other than making their millions of dollars every summer.   And as far as I know, they pay minimal taxes and licensing fees to do it.  The town is their personal cash cow!

How about us property owners, sick of the hordes of bingeing, vomiting, screaming, uncivilized young adults start to put our foot down and say enough already!  Times have changed.  Sensibilities have changed.  Let’s evolve and make the town a reasonable venue for families, homeowners, renters and tourists alike. This town should not just exist to fill the pockets of a few bar owners.
Mary Michael
Dewey Beach

Cape Gazette editorial way off base

I am greatly disappointed in the editorial staff of the Cape Gazette.  Your recent editorial (Dewey council should take its own advice) was shocking in its lack of concern for the residents and homeowners of Dewey Beach.

Yes, this town is known for its live entertainment, large unruly bar crowds and summer insanity.  The property owners of Dewey Beach are well aware of this. However, they have a right to expect that the noise generated by the large bars will be confined to the establishments that create it -- and that it will not spill out into our residential areas.  Additionally, the noise measurements are not being taken inside the businesses: they are being measured from the perimeter of the property.

No one wants to see our businesses shut down.  We do want them to realize the impact they have on the residential areas in our town, to show respect for the rights of our homeowners, and to make every effort to contain the noise generated by their loud music and boisterous customers.  Dewey Beach is not the Wild West: it has laws and zoning codes that exist for the good of the town and its inhabitants.

It is unfortunate that many of our businesses have a pattern of resorting to lawsuits when they are asked to abide by our laws. If our town council is deterred from passing and enforcing laws because of this, then our town has no government - and it will be run by whoever has the deepest pockets. I  would also like to comment on your statement about the proposal for expanded events.  There is no exaggeration to the fact that, as written, the proposal allows for a large number of expansion events (approximately 32 to 40 per year).

The proposal also contains no stipulation that the events must benefit a charity.  No one thinks the breast cancer fundraiser is a bad thing, but passing such a broad amendment to our current ordinance may not be the best way to allow this event to go forward.  Additionally, under current law, the fundraiser can be held; it simply cannot include an expanded patron area.
Linda Winton
Dewey Beach

Legislature urged to pass SB205

SB 205 and its passage by the Delaware Legislature is vital to all of the 50,000 manufactured homeowners in Sussex County and other counties throughout the state, as most of us are retired and on fixed income, and manufactured homes are an affordable housing solution.  The land owners have increased rents over the years up to 40 percent.  We need this protection.  It should be noted that as land values dropped, their profits increased.  Again, SB 205 is a protection that is needed to maintain an affordable lifestyle.
Richard C. Arnold
Rehoboth Beach

DNREC asked to approve ocean outfall

On Nov. 27, 2009, I wrote to those opposing ocean outfall as the best alternative for the discharge point for Rehoboth Beach’s treated wastewater, “Stop trying to scare us!”

Respected environmental groups promoted land-based application as the preferred alternative for the discharge point for Rehoboth Beach’s treated wastewater.  Their arguments continue to be based on inaccuracies and fear tactics.

The Environmental Impact Study draft now before the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control confirms the wisdom of the city’s choice of ocean outfall as the preferred alternative.

The EIS reports that ocean outfall is the most “practical solution considering the availability of land and the protection of groundwater and water quality of the Inland Bays.  Also, this alternative has the lowest impact on estimated user charges and greatest acceptance by citizens of Rehoboth Beach.”

I strongly urge DNREC to approve the EIS and support its conclusions. The city deserves state approval and funding of ocean outfall as the preferred method for the discharge of its treated wastewater.
Joanne M. Hess
Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth resident supports ocean outfall

The following letter was sent to Gov. Jack Markell with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

I am writing you today to urge you to please support the decision by the City of Rehoboth Beach to select ocean outfall as the preferred method of wastewater disposal. I have read a considerable amount of misinformatio” printed in our local newspapers and on blogs about this ocean outfall decision.
Myth: Land-based sewage treatment is needed to protect public health.

Fact: What’s going out the outfall is 99.97 percent water.

Fact: Potential environmental impacts of land-based sewage treatment are very serious because of high water tables and close proximity to Inland Bays.
Fact: The City of Rehoboth retained an expert international consulting firm to analyze potential solutions. Ocean outfall was deemed the superior choice for our environment.

Fact: This is not 1972. This is 2012. The typewriter has been replaced by the tablet. The technology and tools exist today to ensure the city can optimize the protection of our land, ocean, waterways, and habitat by implementing ocean outfall.

Again, I ask that you please support the decision made by our mayor and commissioners to best protect our environment.
Jennifer Duncan
Rehoboth Beach

Judge's behavior a black eye for state

Judge Henriksen's behavior gave the reputation of the Delaware judiciary a black eye; the action of the mysterious special state judicial court delivered a knockout punch. I doubt that any other state employee would have received such consideration after a mere 11 years of service. "Your honor" indeed.
Thomas Dwyer

Candidate Landon thanks citizens of Lewes

I wish to thank all my friends and supporters for their help during my campaign for  the Lewes City Council election. Congratulations certainly go to Ted Becker and Bonnie Osler for their election success. My campaign also afforded me the  privilege to work alongside men such as Rob Morgan and Dennis Reardon, both highly qualified contenders and fellow lovers of  Lewes as well.

This venture was a learning experience for me. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. At almost every door, I met someone with a city concern or need to be addressed, but always the  assurance that there was no better place to live than Lewes.

My desire to give back to the town that gave so much to  me has not diminished. I will be looking for ways to serve our city in the days ahead. I will always be  hometown proud and Lewes loyal!
Bill Landon

Bonnie Osler thanks Lewes voters

In the Lewes City Council election, nearly 83 percent of registered Lewes voters cast ballots.  We can all be proud of this tremendous turnout, which showcases the democratic process at its best.  Five able candidates were on the ballot, and I am humbled that the voters selected me to serve on city council.

I congratulate all of the candidates for their willingness to serve the public interest and particularly Ted Becker, who was re-elected to city council.  I thank my supporters and well-wishers for their sage counsel and encouragement.

Most importantly, I thank the voters for their confidence - I pledge to do my best to serve Lewes well and welcome your thoughts, ideas and advice.   
Bonnie Osler

RAL deserves more respect from Acres

One measure of a highly evolved civilization lies in how its elderly societal members are treated.  Japan is a fine example of how the elders are respected, valued and revered.

Recent conflicts and issues between the Henlopen Acres local government and the Rehoboth Art League leads one to believe that the art league is a valueless, pesky neighbor that should be crippled, bankrupted and forced out of existence through endless punitive fines, threats and restrictions that disallow any meaningful programs to exist.

To threaten the director of this arts facility with personal punitive liability for simply bringing art, Shakespeare, joy and life to this otherwise sterile and lifeless neighborhood leaves this author scratching his head in bewilderment.

This community of successful professional people always has had privileged access to the finest arts and education for themselves.

Their actions are certain to eliminate arts access to hundreds if not thousands of residents, including artists, and many children who otherwise receive no arts education, were it not for the Rehoboth Art League outreach arts programs.

The recent STEAM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program was inaugurated at the Rehoboth Art League last month. It helps at-risk students to excel in science, math and the arts.  Art is believed by many to  enhance student ability in critical thinking skills, elevate SAT scores and improve intelligence test results.  Henlopen Acres saw fit to fine the art league hundreds of dollars for staging STEAM,  calling it a "new and unauthorized event" that somehow violated their sensibilities.

The property that is the Rehoboth Art League of today has been in existence for more than 75 years.  It is central to the early history of art in Delaware, and has been home to many celebrated and revered artists for countless seasons of teaching, showing art, hosting social events, and where culture has been focused for decades.  Many books and visual records speak to the use, history and richness contributed to Delaware and Sussex County long before Henlopen Acres was in existence.  It is a matter of record who owned all the surrounding properties, and who, being a selfless good neighbor, sold the highest valued waterfront property that is now the marina to Henlopen Acres for merely $1.

It is impressive to witness the reciprocal gratitude extended by those entrusted to represent, lead and steer the town called Henlopen Acres.
Henlopen Acres residents might wish to review what it is they personally value and the attributes, ethics and qualities of their elected leaders when election time arrives.  A little altruism and generosity of spirit to one's fellow man go a long way.  Perhaps we need to take this lesson from the Japanese in how we treat our elderly neighbor in the arts, the Rehoboth Art League.  
Think about it.
John C. Murray
outreach children's art instructor

Henlopen Acres, RAL must reach compromise

The Rehoboth Art League is a treasured cultural and historic resource for our area.  It was created and enfranchised by the Corkrans, the founders and developers of the Town of Henlopen Acres, as part of the town.  For some years the town council has shown less and less tolerance and certainly no nurturing for the art league. This is somewhat understandable, since the art league is located in a residential community which is logistically affected by its activities. However, all of the folks who moved into this town did so knowing in advance that the art league is a part of the community.

I was saddened by the action of the current town council last week when it fined the Rehoboth Art League $1,000 for holding a cultural program without the approval of the town council on the grounds that the property is zoned residential and the activities and programs of the art league are nonconforming to the zoning. The art league is an extraordinary cultural resource for this area, and its existence depends on the support of the community.

If citizens in Henlopen Acres have grievances with the art league, they might consider engaging it in an open dialogue for the purpose of mediating a logistical solution satisfactory to all.
Michael Zajic

Cape student opposes proposed dress code

Recently in school we were talking about how the Cape Henlopen School District was changing the dress code! This is what I think about this specific topic.

There has been a proposal to ban jeans, T-shirts, jewelry, sweatpants and sweatshirts. In my opinion this is wrong!

First of all, jeans are jeans and almost everyone wears them. They are comfortable and dress pants can make some people feel awkward. Seriously, no denim? Second of all, no T-shirts? That's what all kids wear! I mean everyone wears T-shirts! Yeah, they are not dressy, but it’s not like we are going to a wedding; it’s just school! Now they are trying to ban sweatpants and sweatshirts. Sweats are meant to wear when it's just too chilly to wear short sleeves. No jewelry either? Seriously, jewelry can’t do anything.

There is one school district that says the kids can only wear specific colors. No shirts with logos or sayings, only solid colors, no shirts without collars, and other crazy stuff! This new dress code thing has spun out of controll!
Mackenzie Smith
Cape Henlopen High School

Thank you to Savannah Animal Hospital

Savannah Animal Hospital has had a bad reputation for helping in emergency situations animals that were not on their service.

Last Friday night my 78-year-old mother received a call that her 96-year-old mother was hospitalized with a possible stroke. Mom had to get to Wilmington that night. I was out of town and she was frantic to get care for her two small dogs and then get to her mother.  As a last effort and knowing her dogs are not on service at Savannah, she called.  Within 15 minutes she received a call back and was told to bring her dogs in right away.  She was met at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night and her dogs were well cared for until Monday.  Thank you, thank you Savannah Animal Hospital for helping my mom!
Debbie Sheing

Lewes resident will miss Trader's Jewelry

I am writing because I will really miss Trader's Jewelry and Gift Shop on Second Street in Lewes.  It is and has always been a quality and dependable business that so many have enjoyed over the years.  I can hardly imagine Second Street without it.

Mr. and Mrs. Trader were such wonderful people, and one could always depend on them for quality and cheerful service.  As it passed down in their family, that kind of service was always the same.  The addition of Susan Monroe along with Margaret Ann continued that service in every way.  They always made the time to visit and help one find just he right purchase needed.
I will truly miss their store, but feel very thankful that I can continue with their friendship.
Charlotte A. Bastian

Thank you to Lewes Board of Public Works

I would like to take the time to say thank you to Darrin Gordon, the general manager of the Lewes Board of Public Works, and the other members of the board.

Together they took the time to study the utility rates and determined that they could lower our electric rates by 7.6 percent and also lower the ready to serve charge on our irrigation meters by approximately 75 percent.

It's not often in today's business climate that we see rates lowered. Usually it is a substantial increase. We generally complain about rate increases, but we don’t think to take the time to thank our general manager and board members when they implement rate reductions. So I say thank you. Of course, there is always a caveat - the caveat being that the rates continue to be studied. Then perhaps the residents of Lewes could see the sewer ready-to-serve charges reduced.
Jim Berrigan

Thanks for ring rescue at Massey's

On April 24, the sun was brightly shining and the chill we had been experiencing was just a recent memory. We decided to take a quick drive to the water and try our luck with two fishing poles. About an hour later we headed to our car with two poles and no fish. Suddenly my husband stopped and quietly exclaimed, “Oh no. My ring.” He had held onto the railing before stepping onto the parking lot and his ring slid down between a wall of rocks placed there to prevent erosion.

A young man fishing at the end of the dock heard our cries and offered to help in the search. He and my husband crawled down amidst the rocks. Our newfound friend actually lifted a 60-pound rock and probed relentlessly with a flashlight and sheer determination. All three of us had come to the obvious conclusion that the ring was gone forever when he said that he needed a branch or something just a bit longer than his arm.

My husband crossed the dock looking for a suitable object when Alex quietly approached him and said “Is this what you two were looking for?” and held out George’s ring. Alex has just graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in environmental science and has found a job here in Delaware. Once again we want to express our gratitude to Alex and we want all of you to know that there are people like him in the world.
Mary Ellen and George Winkler

Beebe Auxiliary says thanks to all

The Beebe Medical Center Auxiliary thanks the huge number of customers who supported the Second Annual Plant Sale at the Route 24 Beebe Health Campus April 20 in near perfect weather.

We extend our sincere appreciation to East Coast Garden Center and to Valerie Cordrey, who provided a huge variety of blooming spring and summer plants and shrubs for the sale.  Plans are already under way to make next year's plant sale even more fantastic. We offer special thanks to the auxiliary members who came out for this event giving their time and energy to make it a great success.

Founded in 1936, the Beebe Auxiliary is the oldest fundraising organization dedicated entirely to the support of the medical center.

Today the auxiliary has more than 250 members, and new volunteers are always welcome.  If you are interested in supporting your hospital by volunteering, please call  302-645-3538.
Betty Surbaugh
Plant Sale chairperson

Lewes Farmers Market Hoedown best ever

The Historic Lewes Farmers Market thanks the 350-plus patrons who attended our boot-scootin’, best-ever hoedown April 28.  Our auction netted over $16,000, which will help us in continuing to promote the growth of sustainable agriculture on Delmarva. A chunk of this auction money will help us provide scholarships to small farmers to attend the sustainable agriculture Farming for the Future conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.

The funds will also help us with our weekly costs of renting our market space from the Lewes Historical Society, for maintenance costs when we are at Shields Elementary, insurance, advertising and other expenses related to our educational programs, including our farmers workshop and tomato festival. Please remember that our weekly Saturday market opens Saturday, May 26, proclaimed Historic Lewes Farmers Market Day by the City of Lewes.  We will be celebrating being named America’s Favorite Farmers Market (mid-size) by the public who voted in the national American Farmland Trust annual contest. We are proud to be the first Delaware farmers market to win this prestigious award. See you at market!
Helaine Harris
board of directors
Historic Lewes Farmers Market

Thank you Cape Henlopen community

As fifth-grade teachers, we always enjoy witnessing the innovative and creative processes awaken within our students. Thankfully, we have had the opportunity to cultivate scientific curiosity for all of the fifth-grade students of the Cape Henlopen School District.

The 4th Annual Fifth-Grade Cape Henlopen High School Science Fair took place March 27 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. We are proud to say that 372 science fair projects were on display that evening! Our distinguished panel of judges, including college professors, engineers and local teachers, presented Super Scientist Awards to the projects that truly demonstrate originality, creativity and scientific research. In addition, first, second, third place, and honorable mention awards were presented in each of these four science categories: Life, Physical, Earth & Space, and Consumer Product.

This annual event would not have been possible without the support of our community members including the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation and the Dewey Beach Lions Club. We would like to give special thanks to the continued support of Greg Ferrese and the employees of the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Our judges who donated their time, parents and guardians who guided their budding scientists, and our hands-on science demonstrators all added to the successful evening. Our science demonstrators included Kathy Swingle, Bill Geppert, Steve Smailer and Todd Fritchman. They had amazing hands-on activities that included macro-invertebrates, robotics and air pressure changes.

Guest speaker Russ Werneth, an aerospace engineer from NASA, enhanced the evening with his slide show that highlighted his work experience with the Hubble Telescope. We hope that some of our students are inspired to follow in his footsteps. As educators, we believe that this event is crucial in preparing our Sussex County students for their future. Who knows - we may just have a future Benjamin Banneker or Sally Ride right here in our midst!
Jacquie Kisiel
Rehoboth Elementary
Sandy Allen
Milton Elementary

Comments (1)
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 21, 2012 09:13

I have a theory on the different, but similar controversy between Dewey Beach business and it's homeowners, and Rehoboth Art League, and Henlopen Acres homeowners. It seems that neither community homeowners can tolerate or accept historical tradition within it's town borders. They wish to demonise Cape Gazette for supporting the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. This intolerance is a recent phenomenon which I find troubling. What has changed? Surely RAL (a shining paragon) in Henlopen Acres, and the business atmosphere in Dewey have not changed over the years. Could it be that the homeowners in both communities have? Could it be that 'they' have become more conservative, more exclusive, perhaps even more incredibly naive and parochial? Privileged folk are used to getting what they want, and unfortunately I don't see any resolve in either hamlet. The larger community of Sussex should speak up and support lasting and mutual  resolution.

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The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.