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January 24, 2014

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8 FRIDAY, JANUARY 24- MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 VIEWPOINTS Cape Gazette Letters )) Continued from page 7 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed all workers, regardless of skill level, should make enough "so they can live and educate their children and buy a home and have the basic necessities of life." Please get in touch with your elected state representa- tives and Gov. Markell and urge them to work for a bill that will increase the minimum wage to $9 with annual cost-of-living provi- sions. Contact information can be found at Thomas J. O'Hagan Lewes Beware of 'expert' advice on healthy living It is heartening to see in your special section Jan. 17 on Healthy Living an emphasis on the inclu- sion of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains in one's daily diet. This information, if put into practice, would reap health ben- efits for everyone. What is troubling is the content of an article by Molly MacMil- lan, also in the special section, in which Kim Westcott, medi- cal nutrition therapist at Beebe Healthcare, is reported to en- dorse animal products as part of a healthy diet. In her position at Beebe, Ms. Westcott may be re- quired to follow the ill-conceived USDA guidelines that include animal products, but it does not prevent her from keeping up with the professional literature in her field of nutrition. For example, she should be aware that leading health advocates such as the Physi- cians Committee for Responsible Medicine have demonstrated for years the importance of eliminating all animal protein and processed foods while consum- ing a whole food plant-based diet for the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers. Also, in addressing the sky- rocketing occurrence and cost of preventable diseases, Kaiser Permanente in its Spring 2013 Journal advised its physicians that "healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant- based foods and discourages meats, dairy products and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods." This same information is presented in the outstanding documentary film "Forks Over Knives," cited by Don and JoAnn Szczepkowski of Rehoboth Beach in their informative letter in the Jan. 17 Gazette. Myhusband and I once loved our steaks, but have since elimi- nated all animal products and processed oils from our diet and as a result have been happily enjoying renewed health and vigor. I now teach classes at no cost to community groups wish- ing to learn about the importance of diet in combating chronic diseases. For more information on this way of healthy eating, see my blog Plant-based Living at Dorothy P. Greet Lewes State senator explains stance on HB 88 I wanted to speak to you, my constituents and others in the State of Delaware regarding the recently defeated House Bill 88, and my thoughts on why I could not support this bill. House Bill 88 did not come back for reconsideration last week when the Senate came back in to session. This bill was touted as a mental health bill by the Attorney General's Office. In my opinion, and upon close review of the bill, HB 88 had little to do with mental health. This bill is a new way for the state of Dela- ware to confiscate firearms. Here are a few of my thoughts on the bill, and they in no way constitute all the concerns I had with it. The only parts of this bill that I could support were adding persons who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, or guiky but mentally ill, as well as adding persons who have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for a crime of violence to persons who are prohibited Barefootin' Continued from page 7 should be, and the community has to know that such cases are being handled effectively, so identified arsonists don't pose a future threat to any of us. Bitter cold, icy roads and accompanying power outages threaten us in ways we can feel through our skin. They trigger our internal survival mecha- nisms, just as do hunger and thirst. No debate on relevance there. Finally, the double murder. Multiple gunshot wounds. The welfare of the community at stake? Police say the killings weren't a random act, which, without further explanation, presumably means the killer or killers targeted these victims specifically and weren't just out joy killing. That may be comfort to some, but the tragedy of two lives snuffed out so violently and the uncertainty surround- ing the murders makes this issue urgently and immediately relevant. The stability of any commu- nity depends on the willingness of its participants to face all issues that threaten its peace and harmony forthrightly, hon- estly and openly. That's why discussions of relevance are so important. At the Cape Gazette, we have no monopoly on know- ing or determining relevance in our community. We welcome the comments and observations of our readers on these and any other issues they deem relevant to our community. from possessing a firearm. All other parts of the bill deal with adding a new class of persons who may have their firearms seized by the state of Delaware, or who may be forced to relin- quish their firearms to another person. The civil procedure that was outlined to relinquish firearms or ammunition directs a mental health professional to report to local law enforcement, or the Delaware State Police, any person that they feel may be a danger to themselves or others. The appropriate police agency is then required to investigate that claim, and if substantiated, forward the complaint to the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General's Office will then review the claim, and if they feel it is substantiated, they bring the complaint to a Superior Court judge. Only the party who is being investigated notified that there is an active investigation in process, and at that time may be able to mount a defense to these charges. This person, as in any action brought before the court, has the right to an attorney, has the right to call witnesses, and has the right to cross-examine their accuser. I had a couple of issues with this process. 1. Local law enforcement is overworked as-is. To add this new duty to them, and to have them make a determination of mental health state is a burden that I would not want to place on our towns' and cities' police departments. Moreover, if the firearms are seized, the local agency would have custody of these firearms and ammunition for an indefinite period of time. This raises the question of care for expensive or antique firearms, storage and security space in small police departments, and liability for any damages to fire- arms while in the custody of the police department. 2. The Attorney General's Office is also overworked for the workload that they are faced with. Will these cases receive the proper attention and review? One of the most disturbing aspects of this legislation was that the burden of proof that the state must obtain is less than is required to prove guilt in a traffic court. Let me say that again. The state has a higher burden of proof in proving that a person was speeding, ran a stop sign, did not use the turn signal properly, etc. (beyond a reasonable doubt) than was required in this bill to sepa- rate a person from their constitu- tionally protected right to possess a firearm (clear and convincing evidence). Additionally, the amount of time that may be taken to mount this case against a person and bring it to a court is alarming. Again, with police departments that are overburdened, and an Attorney General's Office that is overworked, and a court system that is also overworked, these people who may be a danger to themselves or others would still possess their firearms for days or weeks until their case is adjudi- cated. We currently have a procedure for separating a person from their firearms. It is currently in Delaware code, and is currently being utilized. This process calls for an individual to be involun- tarily committed to a psychiatric institution if they are a danger to themselves or others. Under current Delaware code, that person would then be considered a person prohibited from owning a firearm in our state. If a medi- cal practitioner is concerned to the point that they feel a person should be separated from their firearms, this should be the ve- hicle by which the state ensures that a person is not able to have access to a firearm. House Bill 88 did not guarantee physical sepa- ration between a mentally ill per- son and a firearm. As we know from seeing news reports of other crimes involving firearms, persons prohibited, if left on the street, can and do obtain firearms regardless of any law prohibiting them from doing so. I plan on introducing a bill later this week to add the aspect of HB 88 that I and many others fully support: adding persons who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, or guilty but mentally ill, as well as adding persons who have been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for a crime of violence to persons who are prohibited from possessing a firearm: This is an alarming loophole in our current Delaware Code, and one that I hope to see fLxed very quickly. Thank you for letting me explain my stance on this bill, and thank you for the opportunity to serve the people of the 19th District! Brian Pettyjohn Delaware State Senator, 19th District Don't leave your pets outside in the cold Over the past few weeks, I have read time and again of pets found frozen to death due to the cold. On my twice-weekly trips to Georgetown, via Zoar Road, alone, I see two dogs constantly left outside. They have the legal requirements of food, water and shelter. One is in an approxi- mately six-foot by six-foot fenced kennel which is barely big enough for the dog to stretch out in. The other one is in an approximately 10-foot by 10-foot fenced kennel which is big enough for the dog to change positions. Again, both of them have the legal require- ments. One of the dogs is kept near a frequently flooded ditch. So added to the constant expo- sure to outside elements is the smnmertime misery of flies and mosquitos, and the real danger of heartworm infestation. But why have a dog if you are going to leave it outside? As a guard dog? How is the dog going to guard you when locked in a kennel? As a pet? Again, how when left outside all the time? We had single-digit temps in the last cold spell with wind chills of minus degrees, and there is another one in the works. ! know how miserable this can make a pet. I have a senior rescue dog who was left out all the time. He has permanent hair loss from flea allergies, scars from lying on hard concrete and cries when he has to go out in this cold, snowy weather for his potty breaks. How can people not realize that if they are cold when outside, so are their pets. No, not pets. People who leave their dogs and cats outside with a total disregard of the elements obviously have them as possessions. I have a sug- gestion for these folks, why don't you get a concrete pet. It would be so much easier for you: no food costs, no having to shovel up waste from the kennels, no visits from animal control to make sure you are providing the (basic/ minimum) legal requirements, no muss, no fuss!!! I was going to add no vet costs, but I really doubt this is a priority for this type of dog owner. Please bring your pets inside. tila Brown Angola Milton not the same without antiques shop Antiques in Milton on Union Street in the town center is gone now - and that, in my opinion, is a loss for the town of Milton. More than just a business, it was a gathering place for many - tour- ists and townspeople alike. A source of unique merchandise, it also served as a friendly stop where one could get directions to and helpful information about different businesses in the area (even competing antique shops). For those of us who reestablished roots here in Milton, the shop was a reliable guide to neighbor- hood organizations that needed volunteers, as well as to the rich history of Milton and its people. Antiques in Milton was owned and managed by Kathryn Greig in partnership with her son Matt. For eight years the shop was open seven days a week, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few Tuesdays in the off season. During that time Kathryn wore many hats, shopkeeper, Mikon Garden Club member, local event organizer, to name just a few. She has a 10ng history of committed involve- ment in most everything that helps the town she loves so much. I cannot do anything to change the situation Kathryn is in. There are many of us who would, were that possible. The one thing I can and will do, and the primary rea- son for writing this, is to simply say "Thank you, Kathryn." Thank you for your friendship and thank you for your loyalty and service to Milton, the town we both love and call home. M. Oates Milton MLK holiday: Just another shopping day? My last Air Force assignment was as the Secretary of Defense's personal representative to the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. I was privi- Continued on page 9