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September 22, 2000     Cape Gazette
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September 22, 2000

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ii IIIi i il 6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Sept. 22 - Sept. 28, 2000 VIEWPOINTS I I legislation to Editorial the Inland Bays which affects Mercer's accomplishments worthy of tribute local control Frank Mercer died quietly this week in his sleep. The quiet death fit the man's character. Not that he was quiet in his accomplish- ments. As first superintendent of the new Cape Henlopen School District when it formed in 1969, Mr. Mercer went about building X, X THINK upon a local educational system that valued the fundamentals. In fhaf'$ Whof only a few years, Cape Henlopen School District was getting known throughout Delaware as one of the state's best. He worked to keep class sizes small in the elementary grades where the foundation is builL He also gave tree reign to school board members who insist- ed that a strong sports program was important to the success of a school system. Cape Henlopen High School teams earned many state championship banners during Mr. Mercer's administration. Hazel Brittingham, who served as Mr. Mercer's secretary during his years as superintendent, hit the nail on the head when she spoke or tax breaks for homeowners and this week during a funeral service: "He will never truly get the cred- businesses who provide affordable it he deserves for what he built here because of his style. He was a living for guards (and other public great listener. He chose his words carefully. He had an uncanny servants, such as summer police). The ability of assessing situations quickly and completely and acting investment made in such measures promptly to head off problems. As a result, it appeared as if he never Suggestions on keeping will be repaid many times over. A related suggestion is that veteran had many difficult problems to deal with. He just quietly went about good guards on duty guards or alumni be encouraged to getting the job done.',' Lewes local Dave Robinson, who now serves as superintendent of Caesar Rodney School District, also spoke at I am looking out over the beach come back to serve when they can, Mr. Mercer's funeral. After discussing his professional admiration after just having read the Sept. 9 issue e.g., weekends, holidays, postseason. for the deceased, he suggested that a fitting tribute for the man who of the Cape Gazette article on life- This is a trend around the country, when more lucrative and safer job played such a pivotal role in the formative years of Cape school dis- guard shortages, compromised beach offers in the private sector being trict would be the naming of one of the new middle schools to be safety and the efforts of a few public constructed in his honor. Such a tribute would be well deserved and servants to rectify this situation. The available as never before for would ensure that Mr. Mercer's quiet accomplishments would not go Cape Gazette article helps me to teenagers and young adults are cut- unnoticed. Mercer Middle has a nice unassuming ring to it. begin to comprehend what, until up to ting into the numbers of people who could lifeguard. Veteran guards and now, has been incomprehensible, alumni not only usually have the Good news from Cape High On the one hand, the beach is Education, not surprisingly, is at the top of many candidates' lists almost as crowded as you would find financial wherewithal to take care of of issues this election season. It's good to hear so many people talk- on a summer's day, despite the fact their own lodging, but many remain committed to public service and the ing the same talk. One of the main education topics being discussed that we are already almost a week past is discipline 'and the need to get disruptive students out of the main- Labor Day. And especially for a pic- high level of physical fitness required stream classrooms, so those who are th6re to learn can do so in a ture perfect postseason beach day, for ocean lifeguarding. Plus, they proper environment. News came in this week that there are also peo- there may be more people in the water bring with them invaluable years of than I have ever seen. - ocean guarding experience which can ple out there walking the walk. The first few days of the school year Yet, when I look up and down the only be learned on the job. are often a testy time when lots of people are pushed together in tight Patrick Hamilton places. Such situations often lead to tension. Tension hooked up full length of the beach, I see fewer Rehoboth Beach with burgeoning adolescent hormones can lead to fights. Such was lifeguards than I have ever seen the case in the first couple ot  weeks at Cape Henlopen High School before at this time of the year in the Suggcstions Oil better - similar to previous years. This year though action was taken swift- past. What is more, I have never seen ly and that action was broadcast immediately over the speaker sys- so few lifeguards on duty this past school efficiency tern. Three boys were suspended from school pending hearifigs on week, fight after Labor Day, nor this the fighting incidents in which they were involved. Principal Alfred past Labor Day weekend, nor the Did you hear that? Sounds like a Best took to the school's airwaves and announced what had occurred week leading up to Labor Day. I have also heard that for the past referendum sneaking up on us. When and emphasized that fighting would not be tolerated. Students and few weeks, qualified ocean life- we turn on the TV, the radio or read staff were glad to be informed of what was happening and to hear a the papers, we hear the same desper- strong position on discipline being staked out early and clearly, guards, who have offered as in the past to full in the holes in Rehoboth ate mantra: Teacher shortage! late season lifeguard manpower, have Overcrowded classrooms! Test scores The Weather Picture all been turned down flat for end-of- falling! Buildings only used half the season service with Rehoboth. time! Oh, I guess we're not familiar Who is responsible for this policy with that one. Maybe it's time we get which greatly undermines beach safe- familiar with it. ty? The school year for students is 180 A related issue is why hasn't life- days; for teachers it's 185. One hun- guard pay been increased commensu- dred eighty five times eight hours per rate with both labor market competi- day equals 1,480 hours. A full time tion and rapidly increasing public job is usually rated at 2,000 to 2,200 safety needs? hours per year. We have enough schools and we have enough teachers. Rehoboth is dependent on the beach as the foundation of its economy and We need to utilize them more effi- compromised beach safety will ciently and effectively. undermine public trust and the pub- Continued on page 7 lie's willingness to come here and spend its money. Write Now I would also like to suggest that since lodging at the beach has become Letters must be signed and Innis Forn photo SO prohibitive for most lifeguards, include a telephone number for ver- ification. Please keep letters to 750 Fall brings magnificent weather to Delaware's Cape some means should be provided to Region. The point at Cape Henlopen has reopened now help guards secure housing. Such words or less. Write to Cape affording wonderful views of the east-end lighthouse on the means might take the form of a dor- Gazette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958 or fax to 645-1664. Delaware Breakwater. mitory provision or lodging subsidy,  [ r [ Volume 8 No. 18 PuMIsher Dennis Forney DNF Editor Trish Vernon newsroom @ Associate Editor Kerry Kester kester @ News Editor Michael Short mshort @ News Steve Hoenigmann steveh @ Jim Cresson Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Bridin Reynolds-Hughes Janet Andrelczyk Photographers Bob Bowden Dan Cook Sports Editor Dave Frederick fredman @ dmv, com Sports Wrttem Tim Bamforth tbamforth @ Frederick Schranck Fschranck@ Advertising Cindy Ferestieri dndyf Sharon Hudson Nancy Stenger Joseph njoseph @ca Maureen Russell merussell@ Pat Jones Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery kemery @ WebmHter Catherine M. Tanzer RecepUonlet Kandy Vicary Circulation Harry Stoner Production Staff Susan Porter Chris Wildt Molly Wingate Laura Kucharik Norma Porks Contributors: Susan Frederick Nancy Katz E-mall for news, letters: oewsroom @ E-mail for adverUslng: production @gazette.corn E-mall to subscribe: subscribe @ capegazette.c0m The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is published by Cape Gazette Limited every Fdday at the Midway Shopping Center, Highway One, Rehoboth Beach DE 19971. Second class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gaz- ette, PO Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: 302-645-7700, FAX: 645-1664. ,Subscriptions are available at $25 per year in Sussex County; $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape ,Gazette, p.o. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." Charles Dickens