Cape Gazette

Tuesday Letters

Letters to the Editor

May 22, 2012
How should Stockley Center be used?

As the secretary of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services, I have the privilege to be a part of exciting and inspiring work to improve health and well-being in Delaware. From empowering individuals to control and direct their own healthy choices to strengthening our physical and mental health care systems, I see firsthand that the opportunity for Delawareans to live healthy, independent and fulfilling lives is within our reach.

If we truly are to realize our potential, we must constantly look for new ways to use our resources, look at ourselves and our surroundings from new perspectives and embrace possibilities that we might not have considered before. One example of this approach is the Stockley property in central Sussex County.

The Stockley property is more than 750 acres located south of Georgetown. You may know about the Stockley Center’s long history of service for the residents of our state.  Built in 1921, it has been the state’s care facility and home for adults with developmental disabilities. While the property still serves the needs of some Delawareans with disabilities, there is great potential to use the land and facilities to improve the health and well-being of all of the residents of Sussex County.

This large expanse includes approximately 87 acres currently used as farmland and 307 acres designated as Stockley Center tract of Doe Bridge Nature Preserve. The property is owned by the state of Delaware and is adjacent to Sussex Central High School.

The Stockley Center includes a 50-bed skilled nursing facility and has residences for Delawareans with disabilities. It has a fully accessible, aquatic therapy facility, a full-size gymnasium, medical and dental offices, a computer training center, chapel and a day-care center. As valuable as its built resources are, its outdoor features are fantastic in their natural beauty, including miles of interlinking trails over varied terrain.

You may ask why it is critical that we act now. The fact is that the health of our residents is at risk. In our state, preventable chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are now among the leading causes of death. Lack of physical activity, tobacco use and poor nutrition are the most common risk factors for chronic disease.

Obesity in Delaware has more than doubled in the last 20 years, and nearly 60 percent of Delaware’s children do not get the recommended one hour a day or more of physical activity. In Sussex County alone, more than 46,000 people are obese.

Staying healthy can be easier if people have support from families, friends and communities. One way we can be a healthier community is to fully use the resources around us to support healthy choices.

Creating a healthier community in Sussex County is critical.  We need your help, and invite you to contribute your ideas about how you, your family and your community might use a resource like this property as an opportunity to be healthier.

We seek your advice, in the form of answers to the following question:
If the Stockley Center and its surrounding property were open to all in Sussex County, how do you think you, your family or members of your community might use the facilities and outdoors to improve health and well-being?

To see photos from the Stockley property, go to
Rita Landgraf
Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services

Cancer survivor thanks Beebe team

What can I say but “wow” about the amazing care for cancer patients here in Sussex County!  I have always been on the “other side” of care giving and unfortunately, but fortunately, the tables were turned. It all started the weekend of Labor Day with the dreaded phone call. but handled in a way that I could not believe.  As I was shared the diagnosis, Dr. Palekar proceeded to tell me that he had already spoken with Dr. Peri and the pathway had been laid.  He knows that I am a planner and that this would be extremely important to me.
Next was my visit with Dr. Peri and his amazing staff…so gentle and kind and accommodating to my crazy schedule.  For those who know me, I have one crazy schedule and this was not fitting into it!

Now off to the Tunnell Cancer Center in Lewes for infusion - no words can describe this amazing place.  From entering the building to leaving after a treatment, it was an experience that was made as pleasant as could be by the “angels” who work there. The oncology nurses are angels that are sent to Earth to help care for cancer patients.  After 19 weeks of treatments, I saw many come and go and each person was treated as if they were the only ones there!

Preparing for surgery, I could not have asked for a better team of doctors and nurses at a remarkable hospital, Beebe Medical Center.  Not only did they keep me always in mind, but my family and friends as well!  What a team…Dr. Spellman, Dr. Peri, Dr. Wang and Dr. Berlin could not have been more compassionate!  Their teams were always there for me when I called and had a “quick” question!

On to the road to recovery now, I now know that we are so fortunate to have these resources at our fingertips and a team of medical professionals that truly do care!  I don’t know what else to say but thank you, and that just doesn’t seem to be enough!
Henrietta Belcher-Stack

Dewey put on a great art and craft show


The town of Dewey Beach had a real treat May 12 when Kelly Ranieri, and her band of helpers from the Dewey Beach Business Partnership put on a great arts and craft show on Dagsworthy Street. The show had something for everyone, including the  kids! The booths ranged from jewelry and crafts, to several types of art and photography.  There was a kid’s art display tent, pony rides and face painting.  Two of Delaware's premier beach photographers, Kevin Fleming and Tony Pratt, not only had displays of their work, but stayed for the afternoon and chatted with locals and visitors alike. The beautiful weather just made it all the better.  What a great way to start Dewey’s summer season! I hope we will continue to see this event again!
Bronie Zolper
Dewey Beach

Comments (1)
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 27, 2012 07:18

I agree with secretary Rita Landgraf that Stockley Center property should be open to all Delawarians for health enjoyment. It is an incredibly beautiful and naturally diverse property which has not been open to the public. There are NO TRESSPASSING signs posted all over, and access is limited. All publicly owned property should be open to Delaware taxpayers with no admittance fee and reasonable restrictions. Should Stockley be open to public use, who knows, maybe we could all make friends with some of the residents.

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