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May 30, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 30, 1997

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16 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, May 30 - June 5, 1997 Castle's public housing reforms pass House, await Senate approval Congressman visits Rehoboth's Burton Village to explain goals By Kerry Kester Congressman Mike Castle an- nounced Wednesday, May 14, that a bill aimed at reforming pub- lic housing laws received biparti- san approval when it passed the House with a 293 to 132 vote. Passed along with the bill was an amendment that will prohibit known sexual predators from ac- quiring residency in public hous- ing. Castle was instrumental in pass- ing the Housing Opportunity and Responsibility Act last congres- sional session and for revising it for legislative consideration dur- ing the current session. The Housing Opportunity and Respon- sibility Act is aimed at reducing federal intervention in publicly as- sisted housing communities. Other provisions of the bill in- clude the following: stops penaliz- ing public housing residents for working and removes disincen- tives to work; fosters development of communities; empowers hous- ing authorities to maintain safety in the communities and rewards them for well-run communities. The amendment will provide housing authorities with access to records indicating whether a pub- lic housing applicant has a crimi- nal history of sexual misconduct. Those applicants who have back- grounds as sexual predators will be prohibited from obtaining the housing. Prior to the bill's presentation to the House, Castle visited Burton Village on Friday, April 25 to tour some of Delaware's public hous- ing. He visited the apartment of Yvonne White, who has lived in the home for a year and a half with her two children. The Delaware State Housing Authority owns and rents out the Burton Village apartment building to low-income families. Burton Village has 51 units. "It's a nice size community," said Castle. Small community size, he said, "is one of the advantages we have in Delaware. "I believe that every Americma should be able to live in good and affordable housing," said Castle. The homes, he said, should be safe, clean and affordable. The bill "places major decisions back into local communities and not in Washington. You all know what would work best in your commu- nities," said Castle to community members on hand for his visit. Washington, he said, does not have a role in micro-managing low-income housing develop- ments. "This could be the year to final- ly reform...the housing program," said Castle. His concern, howev- er, is even with reformation, mon- ey allotted in Washington for housing is decreasing. "This is a problem," he said. Castle is attempting to counter- act that problem not only by en- couraging support in Washington for not cutting the funding, but al- so by steering governance to local housing authorities. By doing so, he said, the locals can be more flexible with how they use what monies are available. The bill now awaits Senate approval. Kerry Kester photo Congressman Mike Castle visited Burton Village recently, on a tour of publicly assisted housing in Delaware. The Hous- ing Opportunity and Responsibility Act passed the House of Representatives and awaits Senate approval. The act is aimed at decreasing federal intervention in state housing communities. Shown with Castle is Yvonne White, whose apartment in Burton Village he visited. Bunting calls for DRBA buses to stop putting pedal to metal By Michael Short The issue of how to handle bicycles on Route 1 continues to simmer. Ardent Lewes bicyclist Mike Tyler has urged Delaware's Department of Trans- portation (DelDOT) to do more to accomo- date bikes in the shoulder lane of Route 1. He has urged Delaware to either put bicycle logos on the lane or to mention bicycles on the signs on the shoulder to let bicyclists know the lane can be used for bicycling. DelDOT's position has been to try not to encourage bicycling on the roadway be- cause it is considered too potentially dan- gerous. Tyler, together with fellow bicy- clists Jim Ippolito and Larry Wonderlin, have urged the state to do more and Tyler says that it is in- evitable that the area will be used by bicy- clists. The state's current stance amounts to "creating an unsafe so- lution for an inevitable activity," Tyler said. BUNTING Tyler is an ardent supporter of safe bicycling and also has said frequently that bicyclists ought to have to follow proper safety rules like riding in the proper direction while on Route 1. He said the state should be saying "we know you are going to use this road. We want you to be safe. Sen. George Bunting (D-Bethany Beach) said he is trying to organize a meeting be- tween De!DOT, bicyclists and himself, rep- resentative John Schroeder (D-Lewes) and Sen. Bob Voshell (D-Milford). In the meantime, Bunting has written to the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) asking them to reduce the speed of their buses. That is another bicycle-related issue be- cause of concern that there could be con- fiicts between buses and bikes in that same shoulder lane. Bunting said he is asking DRBA to cut the speed of its buses to no more than 35 mph while in the shoulder. Jim Salmon, DRBA spokesman, said on Thursday he hasn't seen Bunting's letter and can't com- ment until after he has a chance to review it. In the meantime, Tyler is suggesting some sort of "public" event this summer to draw attention to the bike issue if some- thing is not resolved. Tyler declined to say what he has in mind, but said he may do something "visible" but legal. State says no more horseshoe crab collection By Michael Short An emergency order signed on Tuesday night closes off much of Delaware to horseshoe crab har- vesting. That emergency order was in- tended to safeguard the crab popu- lation from a booming market for the crabs, which for years were considered useless for virtually everything except cluttering beaches and creating a monumen- tal stink. The horseshoe crabs, consid- ered one of the most ancient of life forms, come ashore every year to lay their eggs. Many, if not most, of the crabs die. Those eggs, however, are con- sidered crucial to birds migrating thousands of miles every spring. Because of that the shores of Delaware Bay are considered in- ternationally significant to migrat- ing shorebirds. But crabs are also coveted by watermen who use them for conch number of licenses to collect crabs in Delaware has risen from 60 last year to 127 this year. With shorebirds declining and the perception that horseshoe crabs are also in decline, the in- crease in fishing pressure prompt- ed the emergency order by De- partment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Christophe Tulou. Whether crabs are in decline is uncertain and depends largely on which expert you choose to listen to. But there is no doubt that fish- ing pressure is up dramatically. Under the emergency order, it is now illegal to take horseshoe crabs along Delaware Road 89 (Port Mahon Road) until July 1, when the crabbing season is fin- ished. The order also extends the clos- ing of state and federal lands and water to collecting and dredging of the crabs. vately owned land. David Small, DNREC spokesman, said that there have at times been as many as 30 trucks lined up to collect the crabs. Prices are perhaps 50 cents per crab and the SMALL busiest area is in the Port Mahon vicinity. Environmentalists are cheering the move, but some commercial watermen say it isn't necessary. Charles Auman said that this will cost hit# 3.0 percent of his yearly income. The commercial waterman said he works in the Slaughter Beach, Mispillion area and says that he can show you horseshoe crabs piled three to four feet thick in some spots. uninformed and had no chance to voice their opinion. He said the state bungled the handling of this, saying they used "sneaky" ways. A crabber can make perhaps $100 or $200 a day, but the work is hard and the season is short, Auman said. Auman said the state should on- ly allow full-time watermen to collect crabs, blaming the increase in crabbing pressure on johnny- come-lately's who are ruining the business for people like him who depend on it. "I do not think it was handled properly." Rusty Trout is one of only five people in Delaware who have re- ceived a dredging permit for the crabs. The Lewes waterman is not happy with the decision, but he said that if the fishery is in de- cline, then the crabs should be al- lowed to have a chance to recover. "I don't want to overfish either... If they are down [in number], they ougltt'lY geltd lbTd. 'm Horseshoe crabs litter the beach inside the Point at Cape Henlopen-State Park. ....