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Lewes, Delaware
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June 26, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 26, 1998
 

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00APE 0000TTE, "+&apos;+-+ June 1998 . Friday, 26y 2, " VIFNPOINTS Editorial Use existing laws to avoid more accidents The recent tragic accident on Route 1, north of Dewey Beach, involving two drivers and a pedestrian is not the kind of event that we need to remind us that the high summer season for 1998 has arrived. But it did occur and all too graphically accentuates the con- cerns that Dewey Beach Police Chief Ray Morrison had been expressing to the town's elected officials only hours before. However, before there's a rush to enact new laws that severely penalize many people as a result of the actions of a few, a review of existing laws and how they're being enforced should be undertaken. If speeding is a problem, erect speed traps. The laws exist plus enforcement results in revenues that can help offset the expense. If liquor abuse is a problem, send in the ABCC to monitor dispens- ing practices. The ABCC has plenty of authority to level sanctions against proprietors who don't responsibly manage the liquor aspect of their operations. ABCC stands for Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. The name implies that there will be control. The time to send monitoring agents in is early in the season, not late. If jaywalking is a problem leading to traffic control problems and more tragedies, Chief Morrison's pledge to ticket Dewey Beach offenders without warning falls in the same category of speed traps. It's a strategy designed to send a message and correct a problem to avoid serious accidents. Warnings should come in the form of signs advising people of the consequences of breaking the law. (Posters placed on shop, restaurant and bar windows and bulletin boards and other visible places to further raise general awareness of the prob- lems would also not hurt. Delaware's Cape Region has plenty of fine artists who could make the project fun, collectible and more impres- sive in the literal sense.) Stricter enforcement of existing laws of course will lead to the inevitable claims of "police state" by critics. But those calling for serious measures are sounding a warning that serious action needs to be taken to avoid more tragedies like we've already seen. If we want to avoid harsh measures, we all have to take responsibility for help- ing to ease the situation, whether we're in the resort area for business or-pleasure. Many people taking small steps in the right direction can ease this rocking boat back to an even keel. Letters Postscript: Successful lawmaking, like successful surgery, takes time and careful consideration. No cut should ever be made deeper than necessary. Dramatic law changes were proposed last year in the wake of J.J. Stein's tragic death. Most felt, however, that the pro- posals cut too deeply. A revised version of the so-called J.J.'s Law was floated last week and appears far more surgical in nature. It pro- poses to limit to one the number of drinks that may be served to a per+so+n in the'iast i5 mlnutes daat anestatiishment is open. A related bill proposes a study of Delaware's DUI laws. This legislation makes sense, focuses tightly and deserves support. The Weather Picture Michael Short photo Fierce thunderstorms have grazed Sussex County lately, leaving broken trees in their wake. @ First Quarter Full Moon Last Quarter New Moon July I July 9 July 16 July 23 Suggestions on solving Dewey's pedestrian woes I have lived on the highway in Dewey Beach for four years and stayed here sea- sonally since 1979. I have complained many times to the town about safety issues created by a large pedestrian pres- ence and the lack of enforcement of the state crosswalk laws. It is far too late for this problem to be resolved. We have the unique problem of being a resort town bisected by a highway. There is a constant need for all of our tourists to cross the highway repeatedly each day. Through the lack of any struc- ture since the incorporation of this town, almost all pedestrians have embraced the strategy of cross where you can, when you can. Anyone who has attempted to cross the highway knows you could wait in a crosswalk all day for someone to allow you to cross. The town has made minor attempts to have the monitors stop traffic for the pedestrians. Unfortunately, the lack of consistency has led to no improvement. The time has come to stop the blame game. The tourists who vacation here deserve to be protected from the weapon we call Highway One. The beauty of solving this problem is that the busy pedestrian times are pre- dictable. Each and every day there are specific time periods when attention needs to be paid: when people head to the beach, when they come back from the beach and when the large facilities in town close for the night. Regardless of the closing hour of these facilities, the foot traffic problem will be the same, only at a different hour. To create a whole block of new law- breakers by issuing jaywalking tickets is only a bandage repair attempt. The solu- tion is in helping our tourists cross the street safely. I present the following suggestions: Man the traffic signals with hand controls during peak times to create traf- fic breaks. s Post monitors at crosswalks during peak foot traffic hours. Enforce the state crosswalk law (any state that enforces this law experiences strong driver-compliance). Re-evaluate where the crosswalks are now placed with the possibility of alter- ing their placement. I suggest that the corners are not necessarily the safest place to cross. There are probably many other sug- gestions that could work. Possibly the formation of a committee to research the subject would be a good start. The time for blame should pass and solving the safety issues should take the forefront. I look forward to a positive discussion of this subject. I am raising my four children here and have chosen to stay in the midst of all the confusion, but my concerns about safety are daily and I have considered moving many times because of this issue. Many families with children have moved out of town during the past year; I chose to stay and fight for improvement. Charlie Pollard Dewey Beach Councilman Cole not representing constituents Mr. Cole is still misstating the facts about the West Rehoboth Sewer District. The reason the rates are high is because Sussex County Council made the sewer district, the largest ever built in Delaware, to promote growth. They hired Weston Engineering Co. to do a value engineering study. This study was required by the Environmental Protec- tion Agency (EPA), and the cost of $195,000 was paid for by the people of West Rehoboth Sewer District - and the council members failed to adopt the rec- ommendations of the Weston Co., which showed many ways to cut the cost of the sewer by 50 percent. In 1985, when there were still grants 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 19958. Volume 6 No. 5 Publisher Dennis Forney Editor Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen EUingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angle Moon Proofreader Bill Rable Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Forestieri Nancy Stenger Joseph Mariann 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 Vernon 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 Sussex County; $40 else- where. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, PO Box 213 Lewes, Delaware 19958. "From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents; from 18 to 35, she needs good looks; from 35 to 55, she needs a good per- sonality; from 55 on, she needs good cash." Sophie Tucker