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Once again, we ask for you to cast your ballots

One of the msot anticipated election days we’ve had in quite some time will finally take place next Tuesday, Nov. 4.

No, there’s nothing as glamorous as a presidential or gubernatorial election during the mid-term balloting, but the ramifications of this year’s elections will be strongly felt, both locally and nationally.

Close to home, we have two interesting Sussex County Council races going on in front of us. In District 4, longtime incumbent George Cole is attempting to defend his seat from noteworthy challenger Shirley Price, formerly the state representative from the 38th District. In District 5, Bob Wheatley, a well-known figure in the county for his work on planning and zoning, will oppose Rob Arlett, a relative newcomer to the scene, and already a prominent member of local Republican organizations. Those two candidates are hoping to replace longtime Sussex County Councilman, and former president, Vance Phillips.

There is also a very interesting rematch over in the 42nd District for state representative. Incumbent John Atkins will be trying to hold off challenger Rich Collins for that seat, and two years ago Atkins was able to come out on top in a photo finish. Keep a close eye on that one, as well.

Voter turnout is always a significant factor to watch in elections, and this year’s will be no different. Some say that a small turnout means people are generally satisfied with how things are going and don’t feel a need to get out and vote. If you are in that group, please reconsider. If you are happy with the status quo, and want it to remain the same, get out and defend it with your vote. If you want change, get out and make your voice heard, as well.

As has been our policy since we started the Point, we are not running any letters to the editor regarding this year’s election in this issue. We do that simply because nobody has an opportunity to respond before the polls open. Judging by the letters we have received, many of you do care about this election. Please show it with your vote on Tuesday.

Hey, sometimes life gives you fortune — twice

Date Published: 
October 31, 2014

Who wouldn’t want an extra $25,000 a year? For life.

Well, to be fair, it’s for 20 years, but the name of the game hosted by the Massachusetts Lottery is “Lucky for Life,” so let’s stick with the “life” concept for now. Besides, none of us really know when that final curtain will drop, so 20 years might indeed be a factual statement. In fact, if I could sign a contract right now that guaranteed me another 20 years and...

But I digress.

Regardless, what would your reaction be if you found out your numbers literally came in, and you could either take that $25k every year for “life” or accept a one-time, post-tax number of $273,000? If you’re Kenneth Stokes, of Norwood, Mass., you got the opportunity to figure that out for yourself recently, as Stokes indeed discovered he had found directions to Easy Street, via that state’s lottery system.

Understandably excited with the news, Stokes was even more happy when he was on the phone with lottery officials and heard that someone else from his hometown also had a winning ticket. Heck, it didn’t change his winning amount. The more the merrier, right?

As he began to come back down to reality a little bit, another thought entered his mind. His family, knowing that Stokes enjoyed playing the lottery, had gotten him a season pass for the “Lucky for Life” drawing — with the same lucky numbers he had played on the ticket he purchased for himself.

“He called back and it all came together when he was like, ‘I’m that guy in Norwood,,” said Christian Teja, director of communications for the Massachusetts Lottery, via a story from Yahoo News.

So, instead of just hitting one significant lottery, Kenneth Stokes has found himself doubling up to a nice check worth $546,000.In addition, Stokes mentioned in an article that he has been working the same job for more than 20 years, so he only has a few years left before he can retire.

I’m going to assume retiring just got a whole lot easier.

Of course, being the fan of metaphorical trainwrecks that I am, I kept reading into the story, waiting for that little nugget that’s always hidden at the end of these lottery-winner articles — how is this person going to spend the loot?

The reason I laugh at these is because the response is typically one of three options:

• The first is that the winner says he or she is going to continue working, donate a huge chunk to charity and put the rest into savings or investments. I firmly believe that this answer is often delivered with the best of intentions. I do. However, if you’ve ever read one of those articles on what happens to lottery winners down the road, or seen any of these stories on television, the winners seem to always understimate how many people come out of the woodwork looking for start-up capital to fund big-idea businesses or investments. Plus, even if people don’t pop up out of the mothballs of your life, it takes an awful lot of restraint to not go a little crazy with all that money when it’s thrust upon somebody. And restraint isn’t often a calling card of those who regularly participate in the lottery.

• The second response I often read is that the person is going to quit working, but buy a small piece of property somewhere remote and just live a comfortable life without the headaches. You know, change every part of how that person has lived to that point and just become a hermit in the mountains. For instance, I can totally see our own Tom Maglio winning the lottery, packing up his bag of hair care, exfoliants, toe moisturizers and beauty masks and hitting the Ozarks to live off the proverbial grid.

• The third response that typically appears in these stories is that the person is quitting his or her job the next morning, buying a limo and taking every friend or relative that person has ever met to Vegas for a week of debauchery and behavior that would make Caligula feel like a prude.

These are my people.

It’s people like these who make those “what has happened to lottery winners” stories so much fun. They line their homes in solid gold, buy courtside seats for Cleveland Cavaliers games and hire Hilton sisters to show up at their Groundhog Day parties. It’s a five-year ride of room service, private jets and jewels that would make Elizabeth Taylor purr, and they take their friends and loved ones along for the ride.

And in five years they hold a massive auction to sell off their belongings, retreat back into the coldness of reality and take whatever money is left to the convenience store to buy another lottery ticket.

But you have to admire their adventures, if nothing else.

As for Stokes, he appears to have a somewhat realistic plan for his double winnings. He said he will retire in a few years, pay off his son’s college tuition and daughter’s car payments, and ultimately take a nice vacation with the family.

Now that sounds like a winning plan.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — October 31, 2014

Gilmour gets thanks for efforts

Editor:

A special thank-you to Sara Gilmour! On behalf of the students and families that Pathways to Success Inc. serves here in Sussex County, we thank Sarah Gilmour, Pathways to Success outreach coordinator, and Chicks for Charity for an incredible fundraising event at Fish On restaurant at the Villages of Five Points in Lewes.

Sarah Gilmour worked tirelessly with our local businesses, gathering items to be raffled at the event. Our hats go off to Sarah and the local businesses whose generous donations contributed immensely to the success of the evening.

The work that Chicks for Charities does to support charitable organizations that are essential community resource agencies in Sussex County is to be commended. Their ongoing efforts to help area non-profit organizations provide services that aid kids, families, the elderly, abandoned animals, and those that are under-served, is vital to the communities we serve.

Their support aids Pathways to Success Inc. in the continuation of our mission to educate, inform and empower the families of the students we mentor at the Cape Henlopen and Sussex Technical high schools. It will also help our ongoing efforts to assist residents of our under-served communities to understand and advocate their rights under the Fair Housing Act.

Fay Blake, Director
Pathways to Success Inc.

Reader frustrated with lack of power

Editor:

My wife and I moved to our current home in Blackwater Village in December of 1998. We have enjoyed our comfortable home in a quiet and friendly neighborhood less than five miles from the Atlantic Ocean at Bethany Beach, Del.

Our only exception is that we never know when our little piece of paradise will suddenly be without electricity. The kicker is that it’s not the whole development out of power, it’s the nine homes at the end of Shawnee Drive.

I realize that nine customers in the grand scheme of things are not as much consequence for a company the size of Delmarva Power; however, you all enjoy being a monopoly, guaranteed a profit for your services. After 16 years I, for, one would like to get the same reliable service others in my area are getting.

To be fair, the crews from your Millsboro service depot do come, work for several hours on each outage, on the same equipment, and get it working again. It seems to me, however, that after 16-plus years of chewing gum and bailing wire, the equipment that continues to fail may need to be replaced.

I am copying this letter to my state senator, Gerald W. Hocker, Rep. Ronald E. Gray, Public Service Commissioner Mathew Hartigan and HOA President Gary Hornbacher.

I will look for a prompt response from your office on this matter.

William C. Jones, Sr.
Dagsboro

Reader defends health, care of waterways

Editor:

My name is Les Warrick, and I am 64 years old and have been going to Possum Point at the Indian River since I was weeks old.

My grandfather bought our cottage here in 1947, and it was such a grand place to go during the summer. I recall being able to walk across the river at low tide on the sandy gravely river bed in crystal clear water, only having to swim the channel to get to the other side, but now the muck on the river bed is at least two to three feet deep, making this impossible.

At the time, I also remember hardly being able to get a rowboat past the bridge on SR 331 to get up into Wharton’s Branch, but now this opening is 60, 70, maybe 80 feet wide. This muck in the river is from the discharge from Vlasic food processing plant over their 30-plus years of operation washing the silt out of the marsh into the river via Wharton’s Branch.

To add insult to injury, the unsuccessful dredging operation by the Army Corp of Engineers many years ago has left the river un-navigable most of the time, other than maybe getting up and down the actual “channel” at high tide, as the area is nothing but a big mud flat. Then the federal government abandoned the river from the power plant to the Town of Millsboro, leaving their mess up to you, the State of Delaware.

I might add that “nothing” has been done to rectify this situation for over 25 years, and it still continues to get even worse, with nothing in operation at the plant site. We will not be able to crab or fish on the river anymore due to fear of contamination or enjoy any type of water sport, such as water skiing.

Even our time on the river is very limited by the tides and weather, in such that a westerly wind blows the water out and we are stuck. My children and grandchildren, along with any future generations have lost, maybe forever, all the wonderful experiences I had, due to inland industrialization and lax oversight or monitoring.

We have protected the coast but ignored many other treasures our state holds, or held. This damage, destruction and lack of responsibility that has already occurred to “Our Indian River” is outrageous to say the least, let alone the environmental instability of water supply in the area, which is of the utmost concern. And you wonder why the concern for the proposed chicken processing facility, which could possibly quadruple this discharge rate into Wharton’s Branch and the river, along with all the other environmental concerns associated with it?

Believe me, I know the state of our state, but at some point the line has to be drawn and people need to be held accountable to make the hard decisions that are real and in everyone’s best interest, not just hypothetical ones. Therefore, I am against any further discharges into any waterways.

Les Warrick
Possum Point