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Lewes, Delaware
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January 25, 2002     Cape Gazette
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January 25, 2002

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6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Jan. 25 - Jan. 31, 2002 VIEWPOINTS Editorial Lewes BPW Undermining public's trust. The people of Lewes should be keeping-a close eye over the next several months on their Board of Public Works (BPW). The last few months have seen a wild roller coaster ride including a 54 percent sewer rate increase, a pending 31 percent water rate increase and, most recently, the unanticipated turnover of operation of the waste- water treatment plant to a private firm. We're told that a significant decrease in electric rates is. on its way, but until the rates are actual- ly adjusted, best not f0 hold our breaths. The decision to turn over operation of the wastewater treatment plant came in a hurriedly called special meeting on Jan. 4. Other than a posting on a bulletin board in City Hall, there was no advance notice given of the meeting. For all intents and purposes, the public was effectively shut out of this important decision. The decision may ultimately prove to be a good one - the jury is still out on that - but the decision-making process was not good. The tact that employees were given almost zero notice - about two hours - that they were no'longer employed by the BPW should be enough to raise the concerns of all residents. Yes, they were given the option to interview for work with the private firm - but no guarantee. What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the BPW's long-term and loyal employees? The firm that has been hired made a presentation several months ago but the only formal action taken on their presen- tation was a vote to not move forward with privatization. One reader called this week suggesting there might be a connec- tion between the rate increase and the hiring of Severn-Trent. "Maybe they told Lewes they would consider taking over the plant but not until rates were increased." Given recent events, such cyni- cism isn't surprising. Then there was last month's vote to raise water rates 31 percent. The vote surprised manY because no item about a proposed rate increase appeared on the publ!shed agenda. Although the vote on the increase was unanimous, it left one BPW member - Howard Seymour - fuming as he walked out of the room prior to an execu- tive session. Oi further review, members decided a few days later it might be best not to officially enact the rate increase until after the January meeting. All of this leads to the sad conclusion that too much of the public's business is being conducted out of the sight of the public. BPW members need reminding that their work is the public's work, not that of a private company. Great eflbrt needs to be made over the next several months to restore the public's trust. Letters One more sad note - redi,gtricting Delaware's General Assembly members have once more left Dover without having a redistricting plan in place. The public is being shortchanged. There are gross redistricting inequities up and down the state that seriously affect this state's representational form of government. Rather than thinking about the people, incumbents are thinking most about saving their own political skins. They should return to Dover immediately and earn their decent salaries, pensions, health care and other benefits by getting the job done. The Weather Picture Jim Cresson photo This photograph of synchronized snow geese feeding in cutover corn stubble make a person wonder about just how closely these beautiful creatures are communicating. Hear Ye! Her YeJ Stand asidel The Dewey Beach Comprehensive Development Plan hes arrlvedl Milton has challenges to face in next ten years Two years ago, I purchased an old home in Milton so as to be close to the beach and yet enjoy the quietness and beauty that only the town of Milton can provide. When not here, I live and work in Frederick, one of the fastest growing regions in the state of Maryland and have seen firsthand, the results of poor planning and quick, knee jerk reactions to problems that come with fast and unmanaged growth. Both towns share more than just a long history, but noW, the possi- bility of an unfocused plan of what we want our community to be like in the next 100 years. If you want to see firsthand how our town leaders failed us in Frederick, just take a drive up, sit in lots of traffic and visit one of the first houses built by our German ancestors. Stand on the front porch and watch semi trucks roar past you at 50 miles an hour. The house is com- pletely surrounded by an 8-foot chain-linked fence to protect it; how ironic and sad. Imagine my reaction when I found out about the proposed change in zon- ing for a high-density housing devel- opment right in the town of Milton. I've watched this kind of thing for years back home in Frederick and now someone has chosen Milton to be their financial goldmine. Those that argue, "You can't stop pr, ogress!" or "Progress is good for the economic strength of our community," need not look any further than the rich history of Milton and the decisions our past Miltonians made that shaped this wonderful town as guidance and insight. When our scenic Broadkill River could no Iofiger afford the depth need- ed to bring in the ships, it could have meant the end of Milton. Instead, our townspeople looked to holly produc- tion and mother-of pearl button mak- ing, all made possible by the intro- duction of newer and more productive machinery. So you see, progress has served this town well. But now, some- .one has confused "progress" solely with "profit." Milton was built on the resourcefulness of its people who found a way to harness progress for the betterment of the community. And how did they choose to show the world what they had accomplished? Look at their houses! Each one is a showcase, and a testament to their ability to adapt to progressl Lik e voic- es from the grave, each house says, "Look at what ingenuity, progress and hard work built." To desecrate this town with traffic noise, over crowd- ing, and poor planning, is to some extent; a desecration of our past and future. What an awesome but exciting challenge we have in the next 10 years. For the sake of our past her- itage, and for our future heritage, we need to be proactive. Ignorance can- not be our excuse when a visitor asks, "Why didn't they put a stop to this?" Did our past townspeople prosper by hard work and ingenuity only to pass all of what they accomplished to ignorant and misinformed hands? We have choices to make that could destroy or showcase the rich history of Milton. You cannot have them both! Finally, isn't it thrilling to think that the houses left behind, reminders of their hard work and ingenuity could in turn serve as the foundations for our own future economic survival and prosperity? Or are we to trade in the often spoken sentiment, "Oh what a quaint little town Milton is," for, "Oh what a crowded town Milton has become?" Is our only response to this question going to be, "Yes, but we have our own Food Lion!" Victor Frush Milton Delaware Milton planners respond to voice of the people Milton's planning & zoning com- mittee responded well to the voice of the people of Milton and voted to rec- Continued on page 7 Write Now Letters must be signed and include a telephone number for verification. Please keep letters to 750 words or less. Write to Cape Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. fax to 645-1664 or email Volume 9 No. 36 Publisher Dennis Fomey dnf@ Editor Trish Vemon newsroom @ Associate Editor Kerry Kester kester@ News Editor Michael Short mshort @ News Steve Hoenigmann steveh @ Jim Cresson jcresson @ Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth jen@ Bridin Reynolds-Hughes bridin @ Janet Andrelczyk Photographers Dan Cook Sarah Greene Sports Editor Dave Frederick davefredman@ Sports Wdters Tim Bamforth tbamforth @ Frederick Schranck Fsch ranck @ Advertising Cindy Bowlin cindy @ eapegazette.eom Sharon Hudson shudson @ eapegazette.eom Nancy Stenger Joseph n joseph @ eapegazetle.eom Maureen Russell rnrussell @ eapegazetle.eom Pat Jones Classified Sandy Barr Kim McPike OfficeManeger Kathy Emery kemery @ Webmsster Catherine M. Tanzer web@ Receptionist Kandy Vicary Circulation Harry Stoner Joni Weber Production Coordinator Laura Kucharik Production Staff Chris Wildt Molly Wingate Teresa Rodriguez Norma Parks Contributors: Susan Frederick Nancy Katz E-mall for news, letters: newsroom @ E-mall for advertising: production @ E-mall to subscribe: subscribe @ capegazette.corn The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is published by Cape Gazette Limited every Friday at the Midway Shopping Center, Highway One, Rehoboth Beach DE 19971. . Second-class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gaz- ette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: 302-645-7700. FAX: 645-1664. Subscriptions are available at $27 per year in Sussex County; $45 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "The phrase 'working mother' is redundant." Jane Sellman