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December 19, 1997     Cape Gazette
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December 19, 1997

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6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 19 - December 25 1997 VIEWPOINTS Editorial Alcohol education better than regulation Two legislative initiatives discussed recently are focusing attention on alcoholic beverages and how their distribution is regulated in Delaware. Rep. Shirley Price (D-Miliville) two weeks ago said*she is having legislation drafted that would require the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) to consider neighborhood concerns when deciding on applications for alcohol-dispensing licenses• Price, whose'district has a long history of anti-alcohol sentiment, also wants to take a look at the Maryland approach to alcohol regulation, which puts control into the hands of individual counties. That approach puts decisions closer to the people who could be affected by them. Then one week ago, Delaware Speaker of the House Terry Spence (R-Stratford) conducted a press conference at the site of JJ Stein's death in Rehoboth Beach - a death attributed in part to alcohol abuse• Calling his proposed legislation "JJ's Law," Spence proposes "to reduce drunk driving fatalities and to close a loophole in Delaware law which prevents bars, taverns, restaurants and other commercial liquor servers from being held liable for negligent actions•" Those supporting Spence's initiative, including members of JJ's family, have said that while they don't discount the need for personal respon- sibility and accountability for one's own actions, they also don't want to see a death like JJ's pass without careful examination of the cir- cumstances and any action that might be taken to prevent future acci- dents that cause such sorrow. At the same time, the Delaware State Police traffic fatality bill- boards remind motorists daily that nearly 40 percent of deaths on our roadways this year have involved alcohol• Because of the volatile nature of alcoholic beverages and the wide- spread damage that can result from their misuse, the legislative dis- cussion underway, regardless of whether any new hiws result, can only be beneficial. Such discussion serves .as education and educa- tion will always in the long run return greater benefit than regulation• The first area of examination, however, should be how well we edu- cate about alcohol use and how that affects the overall environment in bars and restaurants, especially as closing hour approaches. As far as legislation goes, since we're already extensively regulat- ed, the first energy expended should be toward determining whether ABCC regulation or general civil law provides sufficient legal redress in these matters and whether those existing tools are being used as aggressively as circumstances require. Using broad-sweeping legislative initiative to address specific abuses always tends to punish far more people than using the tools presently available. Letters Doubts about "JJ's Law" effectiveness I wish it was possible to bring JJ Stein back to his loving and grieving family, but it isn't. Neither the proposed legisla- tion (referred to as "JJ's Law") nor its million dollar compensatory damage award will succeed in avoiding or revers- ing any future tragedies. Rather, the proposal will require small- business owners to purchase expensive and extraordinary insurance, in order to provide a cash reward to the survivors of irresponsible patrons who engage in risky behavior. The best and only effective way to avoid these tragedies is to expect and demand personal responsibility from every individual. Personal responsibility is the keystone of democracy. It distin- guishes adults from children and free men from slaves. When we seek to blame and punish others for failing to stop us from engag- ing in reckless behavior, we reinforce the notion that we are victims. This notion is a sad and destructive legacy for our chil- dren. Urge your representative to vote against "JJ's Law." • Leslie Marsh Lewes JJ's parents thank community We write to thank - from the bottom of our hearts - all the people who showed our family such an overwhelming amount of love and support during our most difficult time. The loss of our son, JJ, has been the greatest tragedy of our lives• Through such an extreme outpour- Angie Moon photo The winter sun reflects on the phragmites growing along the banks of the canal on Thompson's Island. Last Quarter New Moon First Quarter Full Moon December 21 December 29 January 5 January 12 ing of letters, flowers, poems, gifts, and donations to JJ's foundation, it is obvious the impact JJ made on so many lives. He touched the heart of this town and for that we are very proud. Over his 30 years we saw him grow from a caring young I boy into a truly exceptional, interested, i warm, and thoughtful human being as well as a successful businessman. He had j great dreams for the town of Rehoboth. He loved this town. We have received so many acts of kindness, even from people that we have briefly or never met. We are amazed by the generosity. While our lives will never be the same without the presence of our beautiful son, our tragedy has been made easier with the help you all have given US. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: To laugh often and much, To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, To appreciate beauty, To find the best in others; To leave the worm a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded. Our son, JJ, definitely succeeded. We would like to recognize the follow- ing people and apologize if we have left anyone out: Issie Kratka, Max Nuss- baum, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Matan, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Tingle Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vignola, Jay Prettyman, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Zimmerman, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Matthews, Sandy Laird, Fr. Stuart Dunnan of St. James School, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Judson Bennett, Den- nis Meyers, Mr. and Mrs. John O'Brien, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Leddington, Dr. Michael Centrella Jr., David Kelaty, Jim Gilliam and Linda Johnson, Michael Harrington, Holly Hunter Cristaveo, Robb Resh, Val Braverman, Mr. and Mrs. David Potts, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Tigani, Janet Grillo, Drexel Davidson of Bad Hair Day, Elizabeth Moxley, Wayne Hodge, Alfred Meyers, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Sugar, Mr. and Mrs. Jon Olson, Mr. and Mrs. Blake Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lingo, Diane Rollins, Bill 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• i '| i | | Volume 5 No. 30 Publisher Dennis Fomey Editor Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angie Moon Proofreader Bill Rable Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Forestieri Nancy Stenger Joseph Madann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Circulation Harry Stoner Production Staff Susan Porter Deidre Sudimak 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, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 645- 7700. FAX - 645-1664. : E-mail: i Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in Sussex County; $40 else- where. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "1 will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." Charles Dickens