While Memorial Day weekend is circled in red on many area desk calendars as the start of another summer season, it’s also important to note that the unofficial kickoff each year is Mother’s Day weekend.
Yes, we have seen more crowds in town for recent weekends as the golfers come down to take advantage of the amazing courses we have around us, but Mother’s Day weekend is when a lot of the local restaurants have to start ramping up what they do in terms of maintaining a full staff and getting specials ironed out before the zaniness ensues.
Many families who are second-home owners will be down to enjoy Mother’s Day weekend at the beach, and a significant number of them will be waiting to head home until they can enjoy a great brunch at one of our eateries. They will be visiting shops, walking on the beach (weather permitting) and basically enjoying all that we have to offer. And, if that experience is a positive one, they will most likely be rushing to come back down and enjoy the community as quickly as possible.
We know we sound like broken records — shop local, be kind and helpful to our visitors, etc. But it is important, both to our local economy and in terms of how we present ourselves to the world. One bad experience can lead to 50 negative reviews, thanks to the world of social media and online review services, and that can lead to someone losing their business. And home. And peace of mind.
Clarksville resident Douglas B. Hudson is replacing Rodney Smith on the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, and that is good for this community. Smith has been a long-time voice for this area on the county level, and to be able to replace him with Hudson is perfect. Congratulations, Mr. Hudson.
It has been said that each individual’s life is its own book, and the chapters contained within tell the tales of different phases of that person’s life story.
There are times I have felt that my personal book was of the comic variety or something from the Stephen King collection, but, regardless, it would be one that contained some very high highs, some very low lows and some tales of personal failures and redemptions.
Probably just like the rest of you, but with more curse words and self-destructive behavior.
My daughter has been writing her own early chapters over these first 18 months of her life, and I find it compelling stuff. It details her insatiable appetite for closely examining each new thing she gets in her fingers, her battle with learning to walk upright (which has evolved into a breathless sprint) and, now, an exciting new chapter in which she employes the word “no” to everything said to her by her parents — often culminating in an Oscar-worthy performance of screams, cries and burying her face in her hands because of the atrocities we commit in telling her to stop turning off the dishwasher or trying to plug the dogs’ tails into the electrical outlets.
Whew. That was a long sentence. Let me get my wind back. Alright, let’s do this.
While sorting through what my personal book would look like at this point, I came to the not-so-surprising revelation that my mother would be a central figure throughout every chapter. She was a prominent character when I first made an appearance on page 1, nurtured and loved me when I was too young to fend for myself and changed many diapers that I can only assume were not of the pleasant variety — though she stubbornly put a stop to that when I turned 14 and...
But I digress.
She helped me to learn to walk, talk and read, and thoroughly beat my backside when I was fully deserving of a thorough backside-beating. She was there to celebrate my wins in life, offered a shoulder during my losses and served as an inspiration as she went back to college when I started school, eventually earned her teaching credentials and shared her gift of educating with countless young people over an honored career of service.
I was actually flipping through Facebook the other night on what was deemed, “Teacher Appreciation Day.” I won’t name who posted it because I don’t believe this person’s intent was to have it used in my column, but it was a previous student of my mother’s, and it was posted to her page for her Facebook friends to see. It goes to show what kind of person my mother is.
“I hope that some day my son will find a teacher who means as much to him as you meant to me. The love you had for teaching and for the ancient languages were evident in everything that you did during the four years that I took classes with you. I still picture you reading to us in Latin so we could hear how it was spoken, with your coffee cup in one hand and ‘The Aeneid’ in the other.”
My mother retired from the teaching profession many years ago, closing that particular chapter in her life’s book, but she has continued to keep in touch with many of her former pupils over the years, and has now morphed into a teaching role with her four grandchildren whenever given the chance. I can tell you that watching her read a book to my daughter this past Christmas gave me chills, and I could hear the joy in her voice with every word.
She still loves to teach, and she still likes to try to make an impact with young people. That is a gift.
My mom is now entering a new chapter in her life’s story, and it’s one that comes with a bit of a fight for her health. It’s her fight, and her business, so I won’t go into any details here, but it’s a fight worth fighting, and she appears up for the challenge. It’s also a new chapter in my life, as it’s my turn to play a nurturing character, and to offer her the same kind of love and support she has shown my way through every step of my life.
And I believe I’m up for the challenge. I should be, at least, as I was trained by the best.
I will celebrate Mother’s Day this year by taking my wife and daughter to brunch with some friends, and stealing away for some “alone time” to talk with my mother on the phone. Just like every year, I will be in competition with my sister to see who calls her first. And, just like every year, I will call her early to take advantage of the two-hour time-difference advantage I have on my sister.
Because, you know, I’m kind of a jerk.
But this year I will also be offering some encouragement and hope when I speak with my mom, instead of soliciting it from her. Hey, it’s a new chapter.
Letters to the Editor
Beebe auxiliary offers thanks for assistance
The Beebe Medical Center Auxiliary extends its appreciation to those individuals and organizations that supported this year’s Annual Plant Sale and Family Fun Fair held at East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro, Del., on Saturday, April 23.
This year’s event attracted more than 750 individuals and families in support of the Beebe Auxiliary’s 80th anniversary as the “oldest fundraising” organization supporting Beebe Healthcare.
This very special event for families and children living in our communities would not have been possible without the support of the following: The Cordrey Family and the East Coast Garden Center; Beacon Pediatrics; Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant; the Glenn Kohr Magic Show; the Lee Ann Wilkinson Group; Lewes Realty, Inc.; Paul and Pat Mylander; the Meoli Companies; Beebe Population Health/Community Outreach; Author George Vouros; Delaware State Police — Aviation, K-9, the Seat Belt Convincer; Indian River Volunteer Fire Department; Lorie Grove and the Angelic Therapy Miniature Horses; Acme Markets, Rehoboth; Food Lion, Five Points; Safeway Markets, Rehoboth; Sysco Eastern Maryland; U.S. Food Service and the more than 40 Auxiliary volunteers.
Since its founding in 1936, the Auxiliary has raised more than $4 million for Beebe Healthcare.
We extend our sincere thanks to the Beebe Healthcare community for their attendance, which helped make this annual event the best ever!
Rosey Vanderhoogt, Event Chairperson
Beebe Medical Center Auxiliary
Reader: Who benefits from decisions?
I would first like to thank you and the Coastal Point, and especially Laura Walter, for your timely reporting on the happenings of Fenwick Island. This is one of the only ways that the non-resident owners, which make up 70 percent of our community, can get timely information. The most recent council minutes available on the town’s website are from January. The mayor’s most recent comments to the community in the Spring Newsletter were not even 100 words.
Reading Ms. Walter’s report of the April 22 town council meeting, I was shocked to learn that the mayor not only will not respond to letters to the editor, he also does not respond to emails or requests from a civic organization, the Fenwick Forum. He states that he would prefer individual face-to-face communication.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to have a conversation in three minutes, which is the time limit he imposed on citizens participating in public discussion. This was done at his very first meeting. He actually sits there and times people with his phone. He even once used police force to remove a Yale-educated citizen from the podium when the time limit was exceeded. I contend that the mayor has no interest in what the people have to say.
Councilmember Weistling and Building Official Schuchman responded to my earlier complaints that all the recent changes have been “pro-development” by pointing out that the changes came from the Business Development Committee. That is no wonder, as that committee is made up of six business owners, three council members, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and only two members of the community at large. That certainly does not seem like a balanced committee.
I would also like to know, and I believe the community would as well, why we are expending vast amounts on legal bills to make these changes that benefit the commercial sector when their overall contribution to our tax base is minimal?
The Town does not receive any gross receipts tax. The commercial rental tax rate is 230 percent lower than the residential tax rate. The residents pay the Town a management fee for refuse removal that is almost equal to the actual cost, effectively doubling the cost to residential. This is clearly just a tax subsidy to the commercial sector, as they do not pay this.
There have been dramatic changes to our zoning over the past year, and I believe that the mayor and town council have a responsibility to tell us how this is going to help our community over time. What is their vision of the Fenwick Island of the future? Why are we not addressing this through the planning process, which would be the conventional way to do it?
HB202 gets support from Clean Air
On Wednesday, May 4, the Delaware House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee has a very important decision to make: Should it support House Bill 202? If the committee choses to vote yes, it will save Delaware millions of dollars per year, save consumers money, and create a cleaner and safer environment throughout Delaware.
Delaware, like the rest of the United States, uses a tremendous amount of single-use bags (both paper and plastic). Although Delaware’s population is relatively small, the state churns through about half a billion single-use bags per year. This amount could be reduced by almost 70 percent with a small $.05 fee on all single-use bags at checkout.
Hundreds of other municipalities have successfully enacted bag bills and have seen drastic reductions — with no credible evidence that it adversely impacts low-income communities.
One complaint anti-bag-fee people repeat over and over again is that they do not want to pay for their “free” bags at checkout. The truth is that Delawareans pay a tremendous amount for these supposedly free bags. Single-use bags cost Delaware almost $10 million per year, and cost consumers over $25 per year at checkout. Do you really think the retailer is “giving” you these bags for free? No, they imbed the cost into the goods that you buy.
The sad truth about single-use bags is that, for all of the damage they create to the planet, they are only actually “used” for a few minutes and can be completely avoided if customers merely bring their own. Delaware taxpayers are subsidizing consumers who use single-use bags. These bags clog the waterways, create blight in communities and generally make Delaware a more polluted state.
The right thing to do is to put a small, commonsense fee on all single-use bags to give consumers a reason to bring their own bag, save Delaware money and make Delaware a more sustainable place to live. The state legislature should vote yes on House Bill 202.
Logan Welde, Staff Attorney
Clean Air Council
Great mothers receive respect they deserve
On behalf of the Delaware Association of American Mothers, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Gov. Jack Markell, the staff at his offices, to Corey Marshall-Steele and his staff at Woodburn, to the elected officials for their kind words and tributes, to the friends and families of the nominees that attended, and to everyone who pitched in to help in anyway on April 7, 2016, to make the 2016 installation ceremony of Loretta Wootten as Delaware Mother of the Year, Michelle Wall as Young Mother of the Year, and Dr. Janet Trout as Mother of Achievement, a most memorable day in Delaware history.
Surely, I am certain it was a day these three deserving ladies won’t soon forget, and it was only through a team effort that this was accomplished. A big thank-you goes right here!
Rosalie Betts Walls, President
Delaware Association of American Mothers
Hattier, Elling meet to discuss issues
Remarkably, Dr. Hattier, member of the IRSD Board of Education, called me a few weeks ago and wanted to have lunch together. We met at Grotto’s Pizza in Bethany Beach. It was a pleasant and open discussion.
He explained to me the steps being taken in the District’s “road” to expand their facilities in relation to student population increases. He identified the next meeting of the IRSD Board of Education would not be making a final decision in the presentation of the Board’s plans for new construction. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred, and Dr. Hattier voted with the majority to move forward with their proposals. Change can occur rapidly.
Yes, Dr. Hattier called me after the IRSD Board of Education vote to tell me why it progressed that way. I find it questionable that Dr. Hattier keeps pointing the cause of student increase on the “Hispanic” population. In our second phone conversation, Dr. Hattier corrected his percentage of “Hispanics” driving the increase in student population in the northern section of our school district. He stated that the figure of increase is actually 87 percent Hispanic.
There may very well be an increase in the “Hispanic” student population, but it certainly is not the dominating ethnic group that swells our student population. Surely, the European-American-descendant students dominate the school district’s population. It is here that one could easily identify as the “source” of overpopulation. The better explanation is we have more students than we have space for… period.
I am not overly opposed to an increase in the school tax rate to benefit all the students of the IRSD, but it must be questioned. The voters will want to question the process of voting for the coming referendum after the State of Delaware approves State funding for the IRSD plan later this year.
Understand, the voting will take place in selected IRSD schools. It will be “show time” or better defined as “electioneering” to influence the vote. Registered and non-registered voters may vote, but the vast majority of residents will not vote, and a smaller vote assures the passing of the referendum.
Why does not the Department of Elections use non-school facilities (fire station halls) to host an impartial voter setting for our citizens? Better yet, why not mail out a paper ballot to every eligible voter in the IRSD with a stamped return envelope and vote by mail? The District already mails out informational flyers to each household. IRSD can share the mailing list with the Department of Elections.
The cost of promoting the IRSD referendum has started. An expensive full-color TV ad is greeting each of us already… a year in advance. An announcement by the superintendent that “new school facilities will include athletic facilities” was presented.
Athletics also exist to gather a voting “bloc” in favor of referendum approvals… The bait has been cast by the IRSD superintendent. Flyers will be flooding our homes. Lots of District (property tax payer) educational money will go into the sales of this referendum. Our District does not want to lose.
Interesting how public school referendums can be called for a new vote after new vote till they achieve the answer they want. Candidates for public office cannot. School board members cannot.
Senate Bill No. 165, an act to amend the Delaware Code relating to Public School Elections, failed to be approved. School districts statewide do not want any changes to the present code. It is very favorable to their referendums.
Lloyd E. Elling
Reader: Trump should nominate Cruz
I have been a Trump supporter from the beginning, while also recognizing the talents and abilities of Ted Cruz.
I believe it is a very good thing that Mr. Cruz has suspended his campaign, because he brings so much to the table that could be better used in a different capacity to get our country back to its constitutional roots.
Ted Cruz’s talents, knowledge and ability would bring the Supreme Court into line with what our founders intended.
We who are Trump supporters should get behind Ted Cruz and encourage the Trump campaign to identify Ted Cruz as Mr. Trump’s pick to replace Antonio Scalia on the Supreme Court. This appointment will go far beyond the term of any president.
That would be a team that would be unbeatable, unify the party and the country, as well as lift this campaign out of the mud of the past few weeks.
We can’t afford to throw away the best America has to offer.
Reader grateful for support
Thank you to Dr. Hattier and the Lord Baltimore Boy Scouts with the Lord Baltimore Lions Club. Their help is greatly appreciated.
VFW Chicken Shack to open May 21
The VFW Post 7234 Chicken Shack BBQ concession will open for the new season beginning Saturday, May 21. We will be open every Saturday through Labor Day Saturday 2016. Hours of operation each Saturday are 8 a.m. until mid-afternoon each day.
Each dinner includes one-half barbecue chicken, a bag of chips and a roll, still for only $7. Assorted drinks are also available for $1 each.
The Chicken Shack is located adjacent to the Delaware National Guard Training Facility, Route 1 south, north of Bethany Beach.
During a recent April storm, our barbecue pit was destroyed. Through the efforts of a coalition of local contractors led by Aaron Rogers of Empire Construction of Milton and a number of private contributors, the Chicken Shack and barbecue pit are being totally rebuilt.
The magnitude of their generosity, donations of time, manpower and monies cannot be overstated. Their support of our operation and the causes of the VFW organization is truly appreciated, and we thank them for all they have done.
VFW Post 7234