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March 13, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 13, 1998
 

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18 - CAPE GAZE'rYE, Friday, March 13 - March 19, 1998 reconvenes March 17; menu includes slots, education By Rosanne Pack After a winter recess for budget hearings, the Delaware General Assembly reconvenes Tuesday, March 17, and elected officials will be looking at a lot of left- overs when it comes to what is be- ing served up in legislation. The matter of approving the contract for slot machine rentals awaits and land use issues seem to be perpetual. Bills regarding both of those statewide concerns are guaranteed to elicit considerable verbiage, and the education ingre- dient thrown into the mix is sure to continue to draw attention from many camps. Recent forums and public hear- ings on education issues, such as accountability and smaller class sizes, have brought out a crossec- tion of educators, parents and business people who are at the commenting, if not consensus, stage. At the heart of accountabili- ty is a system of rating schools and rewarding or penalizing them, according to scores on the Delaware Student Testing Pro- gram. Class size debate turns on how schools will provide enough teachers and classrooms if the stu- dent-to-teacher ratio is reduced. "Education is definitely going to be a hot button issue this spring," said Rep. John Schroeder. "I think that this is very good. It is raising the level of awareness on these very important matters." The Lewes Democrat has long been a proponent of smaller class- es. He said different factions weighing in with ideas and opin- ions is very healthy and he thinks that the open debate will lead to overall improvement of the educa- tion system. "Of course, parents and educa- tors have ideas of what is best for children, but the business sector does as well. They want to see the best preparation for our young people who will go on to higher education and into the wofforce," he said. "These education issues have bipartisan interest. The bot- tom line is that we want the best start for our children." Senate Majority Leader Robert Voshell, D-Milford, agrees that the openness of debate and discus- sion on education legislation is important and beneficial. "There is room for all sides; everybody will give a little," he said. "Before, representatives of different groups did not sit down around the table. "We do have a tight time line, and we want to pass the class-size reduction this year to apply start- ing in September." All area legislators know that the slots contracts must be ap- proved, and the sooner the better so the state can realize savings from the new contracts. The legis- lation stalled in the Senate in Jan- uary because of disagreement over where the savings might go: to the communities as revenue sharing or into the general fund as the governor wishes. With introduction of a bill that would give local communities a share of all proceeds from lotter- Angle Moon photo Beebe breaks ground on Long Neck facility Beebe Medical Center began construction of Beebe Health Center on Route 23, across from Long Neck United Methodist Church. There are five acres of property for the new health cen- ter; Blanche and Raymond Baker of Winding Creek Village donated the land in memory of the late John J. Williams, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1946 to 1970. The center is expected to open in September 1998. Bunting Construction Corp. of Selbyville is the general contractor for the $1 million facility that will have a laboratory, x-ray services and a community education room. It will also have space for three physicians to practice pe- diatric through adult medicine at convenient hours, including evenings and Saturdays. Beebe Medical Foundation is coordinating efforts for donations for the center, including do- nations from John and Michele Rollins and from Lena English. Anyone who would like to contribute to the facility may contact Marcia Marvel, executive director of Beebe Medical Foundation, 902 Savannah Rd., Lewes, DE 19958. Three generations of Williams' descendants participated in the groundbreaking. Shown are (l-r) Jeffrey Fried, Beebe Medical Center president and CEO; Jan McCarty, Williams' grand- daughter; Blanche Baker; Julia Ware, Williams' great-granddaughter; and Dr. Bhaskar Palekar, Beebe Medical Center chairman of the board. Dredging Continued from page 17 place sand on the beaches,]" Chlan said. Chlan said that information should be available when the pub- lic meeting is held. He said the Corps hopes to begin the work in Fiscal Year 2000. The project was authorized by Congress in 1992. The Corps estimates transporta- tion savings of $40.1 million an- nually when the project is done. Information from the Corps says "the improved channel will have a significant impact in allowing more efficient vessel loading, re- ducing the lightering requirements of crude oil tankers in the lower Delaware Bay, and attracting larg- er, more efficient container and dry bulk vessels." Delaware's proposed $2.5 mil- lion, a relatively small amount by most standards, is proposed for this year's capital budget. The budget says Delaware's share of the project is $7 million to $10 million. Overall, the lion's share of the funding would be federal. The cost of the initial project is expect- ed to be paid by the Corps ($198.9 million) and by the Delaware Riv- er Port Authority, which is consid- ered the local sponsor of the work. The Delaware River Authority would pay $100.4 million (with $34.3 million credit for acquisi- tion of upland disposal areas). ies and the slots, the pressure might be relieved enough to allow for approval of the slots contracts. Sen. George Bunting, D- Bethany Beach, said that a lot of General Assembly action can be anticipated because this is an elec- tion year. '`That's good, because you will see a lot of debate on issues, but I'm already seeing some postur- ing," he said. "There is a lot to cover, and we might get down to June 30 and not get it all covered." Bunting said that education will draw a lot of attention and agricul- tural issues are also key. Farm runoff from animal waste and field applications have put farm- ers in the spotlight on pollution problems. Liquor law bills may not attract the attention that they did before the General Assembly reconvened. A federal law tying highway funds to a 0.08 blood al- cohol level for DUI may make state debate moot. And a series of public hearings showed that "JJ's Law" is not garnering much sup- port. The law would introduce a civil liability for bars and restau- rants that are negligent in serving alcohol to those who were intoxi- cated and later caused accident or injury. Schroeder said he is not sure that sponsor, Rep. Terry Spence, R-Stratford, will "run with it," and Voshell said that he has heard little support of it. Voshell has perhaps the most novel legislation to enter this ses- sion. He plans to draft a bill call- ing for a shorter legislative ses- sion, reduced from six months to five. "I think that all we need to do can be done in less time," he said. "If senators and representatives have the extra time, they think that they have to come up with more legislation." .g. Burton Pg  Join Travel Time on our trip to the .Glorious Wlne Country of California October 17 - October 24, 1998 Your Price Includes: Hotel accommodations for six nights in moderate-first class hotels. Meals: Welcome reception: 6 American breakfasts, 2 lunches including gourmet lunches at the Korbel and Domaine Chandon estates. 4 three- course dinners with choice of entr6es including a special Chinese Dinner in San Francisco and a farewell dinner in Sonoma. Visits to the following, including admission charges where applicable: Muir Woods, Bodega Bay, Fort Ross, Korbel Champagne Cellars, Santa Rosa, Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Calistoga's Sterling Vineyards, Domaine Chandon, Jack London State Historic Park, Viansa Winery and the towns of Napa and Sonoma. Total Price - $1,634.00 per person* Only 16 seats available on this trip. Deposit of $50.00 per person needed to hold reservation. Final payment August 15th *Based on double occupancy. Subject to cancellation if insufficient bookings. Aidare is not included in this price, but may be added. Flights are into and out of San Francisco Airport. For more information and full itinerary, call Travel Time. 1-800-872-8110 or call Lori Williams (302) 645-8556