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July 31, 2012     Cape Gazette
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July 31, 2012

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6 TUESDAY, JULY 31 - THURSDAY, AUGUST 2~ 2012 Cape Gazette Letters State must step up on Prime Hook issues Gazette editorials recently have called for those who know and love the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge to bring knowl- edge, insights, and reason to the draft Comprehensive Conserva- tion Plan, that this is not the time to complain, but to participate. You applaud the Fish & W'fldlife Service's "vision statement" about maintaining ecological integrity and building a stewardship ethic, but with the caveat that there are still serious questions about plan details. Few would disagree with this analysis. The key issue here is that while broad visions are easy to write and easier to support, they STRONG RIPCURRENTS IN AUGUST?, Editorial are often hard to achieve. The devil is in the details. Right nowrefugemanagement Public bodies: heedAG's warning plans are marked by uncertainties and fuzzy long-term implementa- tion strategies that deeply trouble stakeholders - mostly refuge fans who must deal'with the everyday realities of life in the short term. It was on thig basis that people from the larger community, the three beach communities - Prime Hook Beach, Broadkill Beach and the Town of Slaughter Beach, hunters, farmers and naturalists offered their views last week at the public session at Cape Hen- lopen High School. What they expressed loud and clear was a sincere desire that the service succeed in restoring the refuge from the catastrophically damaged place it is now to a sus- tainable habitat with a diversity of wildlife and healthy wetlands while making it user friendly to hunters and naturalists and pho- tographers and being a good neighbor to the built communities and farms around k. Toward that end, I would point to six major areas where the serv- ice must get "down in the weeds" with its stakeholders and address the following questions: (1) How will it stabilize and manage the Fowler Beach breach- scoured shoreline (with DNREC/U.S. Army Corps of En- gineers participation) that would allow it to proceed with credible habitat restoration while not flooding out three communities in the meantime? (2) How w'fllit better protect farms from saltwater intrusion, especially those already part of the state-funded farm preserva- tion program? (3) How will it work with Del- DOT to maintain and enhance Prime Hook and Fowler Beach roads? (4) How w'lU it resolve safety concerns over proposed changes in hunting policies (e.g., "free- roaming") raised by the hunting community? (5) How will it resolve dimin- elaware's Attorney General's Office recently fired a volley of cannonballs across the bow of Dewey Beach's ship of state. Finding that the town violated requirements of the state's Freedom of Information Act laws at least 28 times in the past two years = by not properly notifying the public about the nature of sessions closed to the public - the AG's Office stated firmly that the town needs to change course. Every town in Sussex County, every school ' board and every other public entity whose ac- tivities fall under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act should take a careful look at the AG's findings. We would bet without hesi- tation that many of the public entities we regu- larly cover, if formally challenged the way Dewey Beach has been challenged, would also be found guilty of Freedom of Information Act violations, according to the standard the AG's Office is using. In a meeting last week, Attor- ney General Beau Biden said his office doesn't routinely inspect the proceedings of public en- tities like towns and cities to make sure they are complying with Freedom of Information Act requirements. "We address complaints when we get them" said Biden. "In reviewing the way Dewey Beach goes about its public business, it was clear to us that they weren't complying with some of the very basic require- ments of Title 29 Chapter 100 [the Freedom of Information Act provisions in Delaware]. What we're most concerned about is trans- parency and openness in government." Clearly, the government of Dewey Beach, in its divided community, should expect any and every misstep, no matter how small, to be chal- lenged. In fact, the AG's Office is investigating other complaints. However, the message from this should be clear to all public entities in Delaware: closed sessions are not in keeping with transparent and open government. Public bodies thinking it necessary to go into closed session to discuss public business related to personnel or litiga- tion better review notification requirements for such sessions and be very specific about their nature so they too don't find themselves on the wrong end of an Attorney General's Office opinion. Caoe Gazette editorials are considered and written by ~nembers of the Caoe Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick. soorts editor: Laura Ritter. news editor; and Jen Ellingsworm arts and entertainment editor. Pictare >> Weat e ished access and opportunities for PA~R ends up spending time RON MACARTHUR PHOTO each year in the Lewes Yacht Club WR;T Letters must be signed and include a telephone number for verification Please keep letters to 650 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Write to Cape Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958; fax 645-1664; or email naturalists and photographers? ~1~ For oca weather, ncluding highs and ows see page 39 Continued on page 7 . Web Poll Most believe gambling in Dewey not inevitable Is gambling in Dewey Beach inevitable? Yes 36.7% No 53.7% Not sure 9.6% The total of votes counted was 229. To Dar- ticipate in the current web poll, visit Cape Gazette Vo iume 19 No. 15 Publisher, Dennis Forney, Ext. 303 Editor. "irish Vernon. Ext. 315 Office Manager, Kathy Emery, Ext. 305 Kemery@capegaze[[ Sports Editor, Dave Frederick. Ext, 304 News Editor. Laura Ritter. Ext. 320 ritter@capegaze~[e,corr A&E Editor. Jen Ellingsworth, Ext. 319 Copy Editor, Bernadette Hearn. Ext, 316 NEWS Henry Evans. Ext, 336 hevans ~capegazet[ Ron MacArthur. Ext. 318 mnm ~capegazettc con" Ryan Mavity, Ext. 337 ~(ara Nuzback. Ext. 317 Rachel Swick Mavity, Ext. 321 racnel@capegazetm,com Nick Roth, Ext. 335 Melissa Steele, Ext. 338 Molly MacMillan mollymac@capegaze[te.corn SPORTS WRITERS Tim B~imforth Frederick Schranck CONTRIBUTORS Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Chris Antonio Eric Bureley Denise Clemons John McDonald Bob Yesbek Chris Wildt Don Flood WEBMASTER Catherine M. Tanzer maine@capegazette,com PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Cook Steven Billuns PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Norma Parks, Ext. 309 CLASSIFIED Sandy Barr, Ext. 300 Kathy Long, Ext. 302 klorg@capegazette,com ADVERTISING " Cindy Bowtin. Ext. 307 Sharon Hudson. Ext. 306 Amanda Neafie, Ext. 311 amanda Chris Rausch. Ext. 312 crausch ~capegazet[ Steve Lhotsky, Ext. 313 Andrew Thomas, Ext. 310 PRODUCTION STAFF Teresa Rodriguez Kristin Corneil Edwin Krumm Christopher D. Foster Sherresha Powell DISTRIBUTION JoniWeber Scott Vickers SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Email for news. letters: Email for advertising: Email to subscribe: subscribe Email for web: About Cape Gazette: The Cane Gazette (USPS 0.10294). known office of eublication at 17585 Nassau Commons Blvd.. Lewes. DE 19958. is published every Tuesday and Friday by Cape Gazette Ltd Periodicals postage ~aid at Lewes. Delaware, Subscriptions are available at $39 per year in Sussex County; $56 elsewhere. Address all correspondence to : Cape Gazette, ~.O, Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958 Telephone: 302-645#700 FAX: 302-645-1664 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P,O. Box 213 Lewes DE 19958