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Lewes, Delaware
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January 3, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 3, 1997

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6, CAPE GAZETTE, Fridayi January 3 - January 9,1997 : VIEWPOINTS Don't forget to recycle Christmas trees On Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1997, a steady stream of cars flowed toward Cape Henlopen State Park carrying drivers and passengers to the annual Lewes Polar Bear Jump beginning the new year. Many felt cleansed by the process, their bodies scoured by the water, salt and sand. And the 38 degree water put a new edge on their spirits as they began 1997. For the next several days, the steady stream of vehicles to Cape Henlopen State Park will continue, though for a different purpose. Cape is one of a number of state parks accepting Christmas trees being taken down following the holiday season. Park personnel run the trees through machines creating mulch for a variety of uses in the parks. A relationship exists between the renewin of the souls on New Year's Day and the recycling of the Christmas trees. Considering that the universe contains all that ever was and ever will be, we really onty reshape, renew and recycle the matter and spirit within and around us. The cleansing of the spirit and the recycling programs remind us. The Christmas tree recycling program not only helps us dispose of our trees in a useful fashion, they also keep them from our landfills which fill up quickly enough without the addition each winter of thousands of trees. It also offers us one more excuse to visit our parks - another form of renewal. Capt. Tom will be missed Capt. Elmer Thomas, who taught hundreds of men and women in this region how to capably and responsibly captain motor vessels, died during the past week. His passing is notable due to the tremen- dous contribution he made to safe boating in the area. Capt. Tom, as most people knew him, developed a course which taught rules of the road, safe boatsmanship, navigation, safety and emergency procedures, and other information designed to mold good captains with the knowledge to pass the Coast Guard examination for charter boat captains. Capt. Tom built a classroom specifically for his special school behind his Rt. 30 home. A man of great spirit, humor, and a love for beauty, Tom took great pride in the landscaping around his home and classroom and posted a sign at the end of his lane pro- claiming the name of his small estate as Shortwood Gardens. Capt. Tom chartered fishing trips out of Lewes for a few years before tak- ing on the toughest battle of his life - a bout with cancer. Most peo- ple familiar with his situation know that Tom came to within a heir's breadth ofdeath during the course of his chemo and radiation thera- py. But he was determined to beat the disease and he did. He devel- oped the charter captain's course after regaining his health and went on to help many people become knowledgeable seafarers. The Coast Guard had such respect for Capt. Tom and his course andthat they honored him by making him the first instructor in the east authorized to administer the charter captain test. Capt. Tom's spirit, and love for the water and teaching, will be missed. Letters The vertebrae and ribs of a young deer, picked clean by scavengers, bleach in the sun and sand at Cape Henlopen New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Last Quarter Jan. 9 Jan. 15 Jan. 23 Jan. 31 In response to Silver Lakd path controversy I am one of the homeowners whose backyards on the south side of Silver Lake were declared, in an absurd 1993 Court decision, to be part of a long-for- gotten public right-of-way. Recently, my neighbors and I, along with the Delaware Department of Transportation, filed a petition to vacate a small portion of the right-of-way and instead impose a conservation easement on it. This letter is necessary to correct various untrue statements made by a few individuals in their unfair efforts to arouse public senti- ment. To understand the current situation, some historical background is necessary. Lake Drive was originally created in the 1870s as a fifty foot right-of-way sur- rounding Silver Lake. The southern por- tion of the right-of-way was never improved, never used, and in fac L became submerged as the level of Silver Lake rose in the next century. When we bought our homes years ago, we were told that the portion of Lake Drive which we now seek to vacate was underwater and that our properties backed up direct- ly to Silver Lake. Imagine our shock and dismay when, in 1993, a Delaware court said essentially that Lake Drive would move to follow the shoreline as Silver Lake rose to the south. In other words, as the shoreline moved outward, so did the right-of-way. As a result, large portions of our backyards were cleared to be a part of a public right=of-way. Since the 1993 court decision, we have sought a resolution to this situation - as would, we believe, each reader of this letter. We doubt anyone would be happy with the problems we've experi- enced: trash, people allowing their dogs to attack the ducks and other wildlife, people allowing their dogs to use the right-of-way to relieve themselves (leav- ing us to clean up the mess), and believe it or not, people themselves defecating and urinating along the right-of-way. More seriously, there has been one instance where the right-of-way was used as access for a burglary to one of our homes and another incident of an attempted sexual assault. Because of these problems, the State's lack of resources to adequately maintain and police the right-of-way, the fact that the public had never used this right-of- way prior to 1993, and given that numer- ous other rights-of-way exist in the area for public use, DelDOT agrees with us that it makes sense to vacate this small portion of Lake Drive. Instead, a conser- vation easement will be imposed, ensur- ing that the ecology of the delicate shoreline will be preserved. This conser- vation easement will apply to everyone, including us, and no new structures may be constructed in the easement area (incidentally, all existing structures were constructed only after receiving all required permits from the State and County). I should also point out that we have agreed to "donate $50,000 to Del- DOT. Those falsely accusing us of a "land grab" "have also accused us of trying to hide our petition and not giving proper notice. Not so. Advertisements of our petition were published in two newspa- pers, rather than just one as required by state law. Notices were posted at fifty foot intervals along the right-of-way, rather than 100 foot intervals as required by state law. Moreover, the posted notices were sealed in plastic so as to survive the rain and elements - another extra feature not required by the court - and, as a result, the notices are still legi- ble. As to the suggestion that filing the petition during the off-season was an attempt to avoid controversy, we believe that filing in the off-season, rather than the summer when people are muh busier with their businesses, allows the community to tocus on the position with greater clarity than otherwise possible. In sum, we have never tried to hide what we are doing, and have actually given more and better notice than required. Given that public access to the area was denied prior to 1993, and given the fairly limited usage since then, we have Continued on page 8 .... ................... "t ...... ................ ii00ii:00i I Volume 4 No. 33 Publisher Dennis Forney Editor Trish Vemon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angle Moon Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Roberts Nancy Stenger Joseph Miriann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Circulation Harry Stoner Production Staff Susan Porter Deidre Sudimak Chris Wildt Contributors: Tim Bamforth Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Geoff Vernon The Cape Gaz0tte (USPS 010294) is pub- lished by Cape Gazette Limited every Friday at the Shoppes of Camelot, 4375 Highway 1, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 19971. Sec- ond class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gazette, "P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 226- 2273. FAX - 226-2277. E-mail: capegaz @ Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in Sussex County; $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.b. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "The only difference between a saint and a sinner is that every saint has a past and every sin- nor has a future." Oscar Wilde