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Lewes, Delaware
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June 19, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 19, 1998
 

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6 - C G, rda&apos;y,'Jime 19 - Jime 25, VIEWPOINq 'S Editorial Bays bycatch issue misses larger question The pressing need to continue to seek out and implement efforts aimed at cleaning up Delaware's Inland Bays grew more graphic this week. While the owner of one of the mobile home communities ting- ing the.north end of Rehoboth Bay explained that some residents have moved out due to the sea lettuce problem, the smell of the rot- ting sea lettuce in other areas began to increase. These are manifestations of a problem that needs correcting. And while fish and wildife officials within the Department of Nat- ural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) are stymying efforts to use recently purchased sea lettuce harvesters to clear up intense trouble spots due to concerns over bycatch of small crabs and other marine critters, concern is starting to circulate in the public health arena. Those concerns arise from potential respiratory and related heart problems that can result from the hydrogen sulfide gas given off by rotting sea lettuce. When that gas mixes with water, it creates a weak form of sulphuric acid that in past years has discol- ored paintings in some homes near Rehoboth Bay and peeled the paint from some walls. While the concern over bycatch is a legitimate dimension of the problem to consider, it misses the larger question. What will happen to the marine life under the rotting sea lettuce when it sinks in thick anaerobic mats and suffocates the bottom? This happened in areas of Rehoboth Bay and Indian River last year. Professional clammers found large areas of dead clams under dense mats of sea lettuce. They had been suffocated. The problem is not unique to our inland bays. "Atlantic Monthly" magazine reports this month that vast quantities of nutrients flowing into the Gulf of Mexico are leading to massive algae blooms. Those blooms eventually sink to the bottom, creating vast dead zones where seafood once thrived. A presidential panel of scientists has been appointed to study the problem and strategies are being developed to address the concerns. The inland bays sea lettuce problem is being driven by phosphorus loadings in the bay systems from the Rehoboth and Millsboro waste- water treatment plants. Although there are many sources of nitrogen overfertilizing our bays, the nitrogen doesn't go to work promoting vegetation until it combines with phosphorus. That's why the major concentrations of sea lettuce are in the northern end of Rehoboth Bay, near the Rehoboth Beach treatment plant effluent in Lewes- Rehoboth Canal, and in Indian River where the Millsboro plant emp- ties its treated effluent. There are a variety of efforts underway to improve our bays and they should all continue. But we won't get real results without the removal of the sewer plant effluent for the long term and use of the harvesters in the major trouble spots for the short term. Those strate- gies will result in real, long term benefits for people and marine crit- ters alike. Letters The Weather Picture Kerry Kester photo Ducks invite themselves to the Beebe Cardiac Rehab Cen- ter's picnic at Blockhouse Pond in Lewes. New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Last Quarter June 24 July I July 9 July 16 Schroeder addresses issue of classroom size One of the most contentious issues fac- ing lawmakers in Dover before the Gen- eral Assembly adjourns for tile year is how to resolve the impending debate on reforming Delaware's public education system As you know, the discussion has focused primarily on the issues of accountability and class size. Nearly all of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate support the idea of enhancing the quality of education for all of our students up and down the state, and I anticipate that an 'education accountability bill will be passed, in some form, before the June 30 recess. However, the gravity of such an impor- tant issue is lost on no one, and we should not rush to pass legislation for the sake of meeting an arbitrary deadline. Representative Tim Boulden and I, along with 39 of our House and Senate colleagues, have introduced H.B. 663, legislation which sets maximum sizes for classes in grades kindergarten through third. This bill authorizes funding for one teacher for every 17.5 students through grade three starting next fall, and one teacher for every 16 students through grade three in 1999, with a maximum of 20 students per class. Funding for capital improvements which may arise as a result of the smaller classes is fully pro- vided for in this legislation. Since in most cases, kindergarten is the first structured educational environment to which these children will be exposed, it is imperative we take the necessary steps to ensure that the structure we have put in place is sound, and capable of being built upon. It is my hope that this legislation will lead to a much more conducive teaching environment for the students as well as the teachers. I am confident we will achieve that goal. We only need to look at the program instituted last January in the Appoquinimink School District at Silver Lake Elementary to understand the potential impact statewide. At Silver Lake, teachers_ cut the kindergarten class in half when only I0 students could count beyond the number 10 and none could count above 45. Two months later, all but two children could count past 20 and all but two could count to 100. The added attention these chil- dren received greatly attributed to the dramatic change in their academic per- formance. The concept of reducing class size as a first step in reshaping the way we edu- cate our children is a good idea. Any action taken by the General Assembly with regard to education in accountabili- ty should not be done in haste. We have an opportunity to enact substantive legis- lation which will impact all of our chil- dren's futures. We should not squander such an opportunity. There is too much at stake. I urge my colleagues to support H.B. 663 when it is brought before the Gener- al Assembly for consideration. Rep. John R. Sehroeder D-Lewes Residents along Lewes canal bank up in arms Citizens along Pilottown and Gill's Neck Road owning structures over water went into a state of shock recently when they received letters from the Corps of Engineers requiring them to have a "real estate instrument," for which a fee, based on the larger of a fair market assessment or a flat administrative charge, must be paid. The letter went on to state that unless these people contacted the Corps before June 30 to make such arrange- ments, their bulkheads, piers, etc. would be torn out by the Corps at the owners' expense. Now, that's a friendly gesture! Whenever I am faced with a crisis of this sort, I like to consult my old friend, Mooselook, a self-educated, sidewalk Continued on page 8 Write Now Letters are always welcome and should be signed and include a tele- phone number for verification, Please keep letters to 500 words or less. Write to Cape Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 1,99.58. Volume 6 No. 4 Publisher Dennis Fomey Editor Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angie Moon Proofreader Bill Rable Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Forestieri Nancy Stenger Joseph Madann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Circulation Harry Stoner Production Coordinator Deidre Sudimak Production Staff Susan Porter Chris Wildt Contributors: Tim Bamforth Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Geoff Vemon The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is published by Cape Gazette Limited every Friday at the Mid- way Shopping Center, Highway One, Rehoboth Beach DE 19971. Sec- ond class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 645- 7700. FAX: 645-1664. E-mail: <capegaz @ dmv.com> Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in SLissex County; $40 else- where. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "Power, like a desolating pestilence, Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame, A mechanized automaton." Percy Bysahe Shelley