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Lewes, Delaware
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April 18, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 18, 1997
 

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22 - CAPE GAZEE, Friday, April 18- April 24, 1997 CAPE LIFE Sussex Strong Communities present video history to governor By Kerry Kester Fewer crack houses, improved motivation for young people to get their educations, less crime, more cooperation and improved living conditions in impoverished com- munities mark the essence of suc- cess in the Sussex County Strong Communities Initiative. Strong Communities members showed their gratefulness to those who helped them find community empowerment when on Thursday, April 10 they presented a special video, prepared by students at Sussex Technical High School, to Gov. Tom Carper. The video briefly outlined the history of the communities and the progress of the initiative, which began three years ago. "The Strong Communities Ini- tiative has helped our community a great deal," said Minnie Smith, vice president of West Side New Beginnings and one of the fea- tured community leaders in the video. Smith recounts! that in 1994, prior to the initiative's beginning, West Rehoboth was plagued with drug trafficking and students not maintaining their commitments to their educations. "Since the initiative, we've had the community policemen in and help with getting rid of some of the drugs. The young people seem more interested in getting a job and going back to school," said Smith in the video. The eight communities are scat- tered throughout Sussex County, and last year the initiative expand- ed into Kent County. Those Sussex communities cur- rently involved are as follows: West Rehoboth, Lucas Develop- ment in the Milton area, Coverdale Crossroads, Lazy Lagoon, New Hope, Pepper Ridge, Shockleytown, and Twin Cedars. Delaware State Police Cpl. Lionel Maull, who works closely with members of the communities through the Rural Community Policing Unit, explained that one of the reasons for the success the initiative has enjoyed is that com- munity members have taken active roles in improving the areas in which they live. Community needed "Community policing will not work without the community," said Maull. Community police officers working with community leaders, he said, is attacking "the problem of crime proactively." "Crime talks" with residents, he reflected, were positive tools police use to help the communi- ties. Through discussions with the residents in each of the Strong Communities, problems were identified and then tackled through a group effort. Working through agencies such as First State Community Action Agency, appropriate local and state resources were contacted and problems were aolved. 'Whis initiative has truly, truly touched some people," said Maull, who told how he had grown up in West Rehoboth as part of a poor family. "There were people in that .community who saw what I didn't see in myself," he said. "I know that we can help them...not by giv- ing them a hand out, but just by giving them a hand up." Many accomplishments Accomplishments of the initia- tive have included promotingedu- cation through after-school pro- grams and the Delaware State Police special programs. Green- wood Trust Company has also Kerry Kuter photo Sussex Technical High School students prepared the video that shows the accomplishments that the eight communities of the Strong Communities Initiative have attained s/nee the ini. tiative's inception in 1994. JamiIa MeKenzie of Lewes narrated the video that was presented to Gov. Tom Carper at Sussex Tech on Thursday, April 10. McKenzie told Carper that through her work on the project she had not only learned a lot about the county's communities, but she had learned the value of people working together and helping each other. provided scholarships to three stu- dents who could not have attended college except for those scholar- ships. State police have worked with resources such as the code enforcement department, fire mar- shal's office and other county and state agencies to eradicate crack cocaine houses. Through collaboration with state agencies, the initiative has also allowed communities to find resources to improve street light- ing and road conditions, improve existing homes (through Delaware State Housing Authority grants), and improve living conditions such as updating water and electri- cal systems. Carper compared the initiative to a story of a child who had fallen into a well. The child called out in distress, and although many people dropped ropes down into the well, none of the ropes were long enough to reach the child. When someone suggested tying the ropes together to form a community rope, the rope was long enough to help raise the child to safety. "It's not the governor doing anything magical," said Carper. Neither is it any one agency, he said. "It's everybody who has a rope...and is willing to tie the rope together. "Success is not measured by the sum of our possessions, but by the good that we do for othe.rs, said Carper. "By that measure, we're enjoying enormous success in Sussex County." A lot of people in Sussex County, hesaid, have new-found hope as a result of the partnerships formed tO support the initiative. Delaware State Police Superin- tendent Col. Alan Ellingsw0rth cited other successes in the com- munities: community centers; community anti-drug marches; fencing; donations of clothing, car seats, bike seats, food and toys. "If you measure [success] from the respect between the citizens and good county and state govern- ment...we've been successful," said Ellingsworth. Kleenex around that stuck to my shoes and at times hung out the bottom of the ear door. And the advertising media has contributed to the image of this ugly scenario. The typical televi- sion commercial for allergy relief depicts a woman getting out of bed in the morning. From the looks of her, allergies are the least of her problems. She is wearing a nightgown that resembles an old burlap sack, the kind you buy in the grain store to keep ears of corn in to feed the pigs. Her hair is sticking straight up and a pair of sparrows are circling it with motel confirmation slips in their beaks. And this woman is whining and listing every last symptom until it makes you want to puke. Naturally, she has taken the wrong allergy medicine before she went to bed. You can tell this because she is holding up a big box that says external use only and to notify a physician should you have the urge to confess to the OJ. murders. Her husband, on the oth- er hand, took the right medicine and is doing 50 sit-ups across the room, having lost 20 pounds and taken 15 years off his age. But not all advertisers of allergy relief medications take this emo- tional approach. Some, after con- suiting scientists or plumbers, use complex diagrams of the anatomy of the nose that usually resemble a swirling drain much like the one in the shower scene in the movie "Psycho." Also seasonal allergies, unlike other diseases like Mad Cow Disease, have a tendency to have a sense of humor. Once you are rid of the obvious disgusting visual effects of blowing your nose continuously for the last three weeks and thank God every night that you are out of the woods, you will develop a mild bark. In animals this is known as kennel cough. It will happen at very inopportune moments like when you are in the gallery at the Masters and Tiger Woods begins his swing for a crucial putt. At first you will look around assuming it's a stray German Shepherd, for it is a low, throaty cough. And without even think- ing, this bark will slip from your lips again. And then it will happen again and again until all eyes sus- pect you are some kind of.reincar- nation of Rin-Tin-Tin. You actual- ly may want to book an appoint- ment with a veterinarian at this point. But hey, hot to worry. Aller- gies do pass so then you can go on to other things like poison ivy and Lyme disease. AROUND TOWN before I was married. In fact, I don't ever remember being sick before I was married. The minute I said "I do," which just as easily could have been, "Achoo," I was forever delegated every spring and fall to carrying a wadded up ball of It's time for one of the most unattractive, repulsive, down right ugly phygieal conditions imagin- able. Allergies. If you don't suc- cumb to this seasonal malady, you can be sure the person across the table from you will be sporting a nose that has grown to bulbous proportions, like some over- soaked root that has taken on a life of its own. You may as well be eating airline food for all of the taste buds left in your mouth. Trust me, the coughing, sneezing, runny nose' is not attractive. If a guy is sitting on a couch with his arms around a girl who is exuding the unmistakable aroma of Halls Mentho Lyptus, more than likely he will be suddenly overly con- cerned about leaving to get up ear- ly for work the next morning. I personally never used to have allergies. That, of course, was Seasonal allergies have a great sense of humor Nancy Katz