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Lewes, Delaware
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June 20, 1997     Cape Gazette
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June 20, 1997

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6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 20- June 26, 1997 00WPOINTS Large fires illustrate important points Two large fires threatening hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property sent more than two-hundred Sussex County volunteer firefighters and dozens of pieces of equipment scurrying over the past week. They went to the marshes of Lewes at 3 a.m. on Friday, lune 13 and to a barley field of Carlton Wells near the Broadkill Riv- er on Tuesday, June 17. Fighting the fires required hundreds of personnel hours and expen- diture of great resources to protect property and lives. The barley field fire on Tuesday, for example, involved 14 different fire compa- nies either on the scene directly or serving as back-ups for the eight companies that emptied their firehouses to battle the flames. (Three of the companies called to the barley field fire were simultaneously called to other fires in their own service areas.) In both fires, the wind that has been so relentless this spring played a major role. It rekindled the Lewes marsh fire Friday afternoon, whose origin remains a mystery, and swept embers from the' barley field fire to three separate areas where large fires had to be extin- guished. The wind has also served to keep conditions very dry, suck- mg up any of the scarce moisture we've seen from the past several weeks. And the marshes are full of the dried and dead matter left over from the winter for which fire shows such a keen appetite. This week's fires graphically illustrates some current factors that all of us would be wise to keep fresh in our minds: Point 1: Lou Rickards, president of Lewes Fire Department, was among those on the scene of the barley field fire. After seeing the fires spread so quickly by the wind, he noted that dangerous condi- tions remain. "If we don't get some rain soon," said Rickards, "these sorts of fire will only worsen. We all have to be careful." Point 2: As our population continues to grow, here and around the world, natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and floods, will take a greater and greater toll on lives and property. It's unavoidable because more people and property are getting closer and closer to powerful and unpredictable natural phenomena. Land use planning and consideration must take these factors into consideration so that safety remains a high priority. Point 3: Our volunteer firefighters and other volunteer emergency personnel, who leave the comfort of their homes or the requirements of their jobs at any time of day or night, continue to provide an invaluable service to all of us. They not only protect our personal safety and property, they also help keep our taxes and insurance pre- miums low by virtue of their dedication, training and commitment to the highest standards. Part of the state revenue sharing strategy sup- ported by Sussex Cminty government, which provides a high level of funding to the county's fire departments, would involve extra fund- ing for the fire departments out of the state surplus. That strategy deserves support. And local fire departments make appeals each year for individual donations. Those efforts also deserve our support. Letters A snapping turtle suns itself in the sand on the banks of a Sussex County Pond as summer arrives. Full Moon Last Quarter New Moon First Quarter June 20 June 27 July 4 July 12 Hood control in Delaware government... Make Route 1 safe for all bicyclists Your editorial "Route 1 is no place for bicyclists" couldn't be further from the truth. Following your logic that bicycles are toys that fifth graders use for recre- ation, one could easily agree that the recreational antics of a 10-year-old on a bicycle don't belong on Route 1, or on any route, for that matter, where cars are present. As a member of the League of American Bicyclists, I take exception to your reasoning. A bicycle is more than just a toy for young children, however. It is a means of transportation and for some, a means to conserve limited natural or financial resources. Delaware and DelDOT in par- ticular have not come to terms with the bicycle as a valuable alternative to the automobile and consequently, the state has created cycling-unfriendly condi- tions on Route 1. By ignoring the fact that cyclists - be they tourists, commuters, recreational riders or families out for a spin to a fast food restaurant - continue to use the road is to ignore a crying need for public safe- ty. Of course, DelDOT will tell you that public safety is important in the trans- portation formula. But apparendy not on Route 1. First, you should have reviewed Delaware's statistics regarding cycling safety. How many auto accidents occurred on Route 1 in 1996 versus the number of bicycle accidents? What is the cost required to make Route 1 safe for tourists and commuters who will use this route? I'm sure that if you take the time to investigate, the data may give you sec- ond thoughts about travel by car on Route 1. Bicycling is by far a safer mode of transportation. Second, cyclists want to ride where "things" are - places of employment, tourist attractions, stores, places of entertainment and refreshment, friends' houses, McDonald's and so on. Thus it's logical to make existing road- ways accessible to cyclists, especially when they must use the only roadway available that gets them where "things" are. I am personally pursuing an effort to make Route 1 safe for cyclists. Signing and road markings cost very little for the return of creating cycle awareness among motorists and for enhancing pub- lic safety. Self-fulfilling prophesies that Route 1, or any other road for that matter, is unsafe and should not be used by bicy- cles are not constructive. By continuing to promote the myth that bicycles are toys used by fifth graders does a disservice to visitors to our area who are probably more cycle savvy than many local residents, to the community and to those of us who have vision enough to see that the bicycle must also play a role in the transportation formula. Let's make a minimum investment now to making Route 1 safe for cyclists before someone pays the maximum price of being seriously injured. Michael Tyler Lewes Editor's Note: The editorial to which Mr. Tyler-refers makes no mention of bicycles as toys nor does it mention recreation. Rather, the editorial notes that a national expert recognized the savviness of the Rehoboth fifth graders when they discussed their legitimate transportation needs and the common sense they displayed in saying they stayed away from Route 1 and opted instead for safer, more creative routes. We agree completely with Mr. Tyler's efforts to make Route 1 as safe as possi- ble for all interests but stand by our call for development of alternate routes for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages. 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, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Volume 5 No. 5 Publisher Dennis Forney Editor " Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angle Moon Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Roberts Nancy Stenger Joseph Mariann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Circulation Harry Stoner Production Staff Susan Porter Deidre Sudimak Chris Wildt Peter Butcavage Contributors: Tim Bamforth Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Geoff Vernon The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is pub- lished 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 Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 645- 7700. FAX - 6451664. E-mail: Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in Sussex County; $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. John Milton