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Lewes, Delaware
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August 16, 1996     Cape Gazette
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August 16, 1996

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8 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Continued from page 8 cedures that were recommended by a reputable engineering firm that would have cut the above costs at least in half. To add insult to injury, the council charged the cost of that firm's studies, amounting to more than $190,000, to the sewer district. I charge the Sussex County Council with irresponsibility and indifference to the needs of the many senior citizens and working people who must subsist on fixed or marginal incomes and who are burdened with the cost of financ- ing the sewer district. In most cas- es, the annual sewer charges ex- ceed annual real estate charges. Further, increases in the annual charges are scheduled. The result will be increasingly burdensome to the public. Despite the fact that the State of Delaware, in general, and Sussex County in particular derive great financial benefits from this resort area, the pleas of the residents in the sewer district for financial re- lief have fallen on deaf ears. It is ironic that the state and the council continue to engage in commercial advertisements ex- tolling the benefits of visiting the resort area and even living in Sus- sex County. It is unfair that the people in this area must be bur- dened with all the sewer and sew- er-related costs that benefit the tourists and others who use our fa- cilities. As reported in the Washington Post on Sunday, August 4, "From the time Delaware Park intro- duced slots late in December and Dover early in January, net pro- ceeds totaled $76.7 million through June 30, bringing the state about $16 million in revenue and beefing prize-money reserves at both tracks by $8 million." The ar- ticle went on to state that Delaware Park added 285 slot ma- chines in July and that Dover plans to increase its number to 1,000 in September. Obviously, the State's revenue from the slots will be more than $32 million the first year alone. All this leads up to the request for your help in financing the sew- er district in question so that the $76 million cost may be cut in half. This would allow the affect- ed property owners relief at least to the extent that the annual costs would be more or less compatible with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. What could be a more reason- able use of the revenue obtained through gambling than to finance the state's infrastructure? This would include schools, libraries, roads etc., as well as sewers. In this regard, the sewer district in question deserves first call on the revehues mentioned above be- cause of the unwarranted burdens placed on the citizenry by the County Council. In this regard, it is my understanding that no other sewer district in Delaware has a similar cost structure, principally August 16 - August 22,1996 because of grants, whether federal or state. It may be added, perhaps paren- thetically, that favorable action in response to our request would go far in compromising the class ac- tion suit that has been brought in a federal court against Sussex County Council because of its op- pressive actions. Also, consider- ing that this is an election year and the fact that your constituency here includes owners of approxi- mately 6,000 lots, it is urged that you use your good offices with the state legislature, if that is required, for the relief of our situation. Daniel J.B. Bierman President Citizens for Affordable Sewer Who orders wildflower destruction? Yesterday I drove down Rt. 9 toward Five Points, Lewes. The roadside was beautiful. Wildflow- ers bloomed in wild profusion: blue fringed fall asters, graceful Queen Anne's lace, splashes of orange day lillies, pink crown vetch (which is protected in Delaware), golden black eyed su- sans and many more. It was lovely to see and enjoy. Today, I drove the same route and there were huge "orange drag- ons" driven by men with long hairy arms, black bubble helmets and strange out of space bug-eyed goggles eating up the wildlfowers that had bloomed here yesterday. Not only did the "orange dragons" eat the current wildflowers, but they destroyed the milkweed and the golden rod which would have bloomed in the fall. The wildflowers "just growed" like Little Eva. They beautify the roads and lanes of Delaware at no cost to anyone - God's creation and it's free! The "orange drag- ons" cost the county and state money to destroy this beauty. Who orders this destruction? Wake up, Delawareans, and keep the beauty of our highways and biways for all to enjoy. Save our tax dollars. Don't cut the wild- flowers! Erie Leahy Lewes Bike path disturbing Concerning the two proposals for a bike path between Lewes and Rehoboth, I am disturbed by the blatant disregard for the re- markable and sensitive wildlife environment that this area pre- tends to protect, the needs of the current landowners in that area, and the safety and concerns of se- rious cyclists. Based on years of cyclist associations, serious cy- clists would have no interest in what could be a potentially short and disjointed bicycle path that does not satisfy aerobic exercise. The path might not even accom- modate road bikes, which would eliminate may cyclists from its USe. Further, bicycle paths clearly are not safe for serious or casual cyclists or any others using the path, for that matter. Well-re- searched statistics show that a very high percent of accidents oc- cur on bicycle paths, where it is common to encounter cyclists of varying speeds and abilities, hik- ers, joggers, people walking dogs and parents pushing baby strollers each believing he or she has the righbof-way and right of use, without regard for accepted traffic patterns. Personally, my only seri- ous cycling accident was on a poorly maintained bicycle path in the Washington, D.C. metropoli- tan area. While I agree that bicy- cle traffic should be discouraged from Route 1, many cyclists would use Route 1 to hook up to the path. We all agree that Route 1 riding is not safe. What is the plan for maintaining the path and en- suring safety? What is further disconcerting is that the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is seek- ing and prepared to spend $150,000 to do a feasibility study on the rail trail. Doesn't this tell the government that this is not a good idea if a study is even a con- sideration! I encourage DelDOT to spend the money paving bike- able shoulders on moderately car- traveled, rural roads that cyclists frequent. A worthy regard for safety would encourage cyclists of all abilities to use rural roads where they feel protected and an enjoy the beauty of Sussex Coun- ty. Safety, not political recogni- tion, should be the number one priority. In addition, the welfare of the delicate wildlife and the various protected species needs to be con- sidered. I urge those in opposition to the path to contact the politi- cians, DelDOT, state park offi- cials, Department of Natural Re- sources and Environmental Con- trol (DNREC), and the newspa- pers to plea for leaving the areas under consideration to the pre- cious wildlife and instead protect- cyclists on safer, rural roads. Politicians and constituents should bear in mind that this is an election year. Kathy Donovan llarbeson More on bike path Michael Short's article on the State's proposed bicycle path (Stenger calls for Attorney Gener- al to stop bike path," Aug. 9) through Cape Henlopen State Park touched on many serious concerns and issues. The chief issue, however, is that the State Park's Master Plan of 1973 must be revisited. It's now time to update it and present it to the public for discussion and in- put. At the July 29 meeting for concerned citizens (some 50 were present), park officials could not even answer simple questions about use of the bike trail. They couldn't project how many people would use it. Nor had anyone made any studies regarding the need for such a trail. They couldn't tell us how many other trails were planned or where they might be located. They revealed no priority list of park needs or long-range plans dealing with fu- ture use and environmental con- cerns. My impression was that they were "winging" it. They even seemed unaware of the interna- tional significance of the dunes and Gordon's Pohd site of this "multi-use" (bike) trail. We are not opposed to a bicycle trail. Somewhere. We are for the State Park to develop a master plan that outlines future use, that focuses on development and lays the groundwork for preservation of environmentally sensitive nat- ural lands at Cape Henlopen State Park. The park has many trails right now. Why is such a priority being exerted on a bike path to connect the park with 100,000 Re- hoboth vacationers.? Finally, one point in the article requires clarification. I did state at the meeting that I supported the Butts Road or northern route for the trail. My support, however, was predicated on the use of the existing road where I have biked, run and skied. That road has been there for more than 50 years. Un- fortunately, the park management never intended to use this perfect- ly acceptable road. Instead, the bulldozers carved a new 10-foot swath west of the Butts Road right through dune and healthy beach growth and precipitously close to wetlands. I am opposed to such wanton disregard for the environ- ment and also for haste in which it was done. This unconscionable act sacrificed natural land for a questionable use when a possible alternative could have been achieved. We believe that the state could have allowed Butts Road to be graded and surfaced. We believe that what has sur- faced regarding the bike trail is only the proverbial "tip of the ice- berg." Likewise, citizen concern and action is also one of those ice- bergs whose tip is about to erupt through the surface. We hope our State officials will heed our plea and stop an irreversible disruption of our precious natural land. Mike Tyler, President Citizens Coalition Rehoboth needs "can do" attitude The foUowing letter was sent to Rehoboth Beach City Manager Greg Ferrese with a copy submit- ted to the Cape Gazette for publi- cation. I would like to take a moment and communicate some of the challenges my family experienced at Rehoboth Beach in the last cou- ple of days. First of all, trash is a problem here on the weekends. I would not let the children on the beach Sun- day evening due to the "landfill" appearance. Trash was out over the cans and had quite a smell. I forgot to mention that my only goal of this letter is to make Re- hoboth Beach a better place for visitors. After all, the visitors spend enough money to be enti- tled to such a basic service as trash removal. It is my opinion that it will soon reach the point where the health department should study the risk for people on the beach and streets. The smell was just overbearing. I do no believe the city is putting its best foot for- ward in reference to appearance. I can only imagine the tourist dol- lars that come in and the priority should be to have the people hap- py so they return! I spoke to Sue Frederick today in the city engineers office about the disabled. Unfortunately, I have to go out in a wheelchair due to an accident a few years ago. I did not ask for this life of hell, but I try to make the best of it. I went down over the indent which runs along the entire Country Club Drive, which looked accessible, and banged up the leg pieces on my wheelchair. Several of the property owners have adjusted their driveways so as not to be a step. I do not feel Rehoboth Beach is as disabled friendly as it could be. We went today to the Services- tar Hardware on Rehoboth Ave- nue to purchase a tool in an effort to fix the wheelchair. The gentle- man was very nice and suggested we go to a rental place with a shop who could properly help us. As we came out of the hardware store to go across the street to High's, there was no indent in the side- walk. That situation initiated a call to Sue Frederick. She said the Public Works Department does a good job, once notified of a curb problem. I personally would want a department which does work be- fore the complaints come in. I think the city should now do a review of every single curb. City employees are all over just to do their normal work routine. I do not feel it would be too difficult to complete this task if the right atti- tudes were in place. I also believe all policy makers and city execu- tives should be assigned a day or two in a wheelchair to appreciate the challenges of the disabled each day. Healthy people do not look at life the same way! I also communicated to Sue Frederick my disappointment when traveling on Rehoboth Av- enue one evening. My family went into many of the shops and business places which excluded me due to steps. Sue Frederick explained that many of the shops were houses converted into busi- nesses. My money spends the same as healthy people. I can not share with you the feeling when my family went into the store and I sat on the sidewalk. My wife has a small business so I can appreci- ate the hard work and tight bud- gets. But, right is right and no ex- cuse explains the feeling of rejec- tions experienced. What irony, even the attorneys' offices have steps. I told Sue Frederick that I was not totally up on the Ameri- cans with Disabilities Act which passed as a federal law several years ago. I asked Sue Frederick for a copy and was told there would be a charge. She suggested I try the library. I think it is time Rehoboth Beach takes on a "can do" and "will do" attitude instead of "do when and if complaints are filed." Tourist money being spent has no disability. Michael Heagy Bensalem, Pa.