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December 19, 2003     Cape Gazette
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December 19, 2003
 

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Continued from page 6 What was the uproar about? 1. Conlon reads the gravel en- graving aloud about "being here for kids," but her indignity of her action spoke louder than her emp- ty words. 2. Conlon had said earlier that after five years of disputing block scheduling, and rather intensely since July 2003, something had to be done, but she proceeded to block any progress to be made for 2004. 3. Conlon believes that the past five years were spent building a consensus, but she constantly thumbs her nose at the parents who have high schoolers and ig- nores their wishes. 4. Conlon understands the im- portance of a subject continuity, of a reasonable class time period, and about academic excellence for all, but she has a weak grasp on the staffing needs and costs. 5. Conlon doesn't want the community to worry about the comparative costs involved, but she decided to sentence this dis- trict (and its stumbling "cells") to an instant replay of the past five years. In the final hour, after hours of intelligent presentation, comment and questioning by others, she showed she's not capable of the kind of thinking and leadership required. After all, what type of thinking sentences an entire high school body to another year of going without English or science; going without homework to reinforce the classwork; going without a challenge to excel; and worst - this thinking costs us the most in terms of the reverse peer pressure it causes among students as it be- comes more "cool" to be mediocre than to do the things to excel. (Where we come from, that's known as a country club mentality - don't worry, just have fun- Daddy will always be there for you)? At the most critical moment, when she could have "flowed," Conlon "ebbed," and voted a re- sounding no to the compromise that was being sought by the ma- jority present. Suddenly, her thinly veiled aforementioned assertion about student schooling and learning sunk to the level of Streett's, Porter's and Prettyman's, the three stooges, who a) said little; b) did little of the research; and c) gave no reasoning, intelligent or otherwise, for their riot-provoking no votes. Clearly, Conlon was in way over her head. It's not that she didn't give a reason - something sentimental and educational she had experienced with her daugh- ter - but her interests were evi- dently self-serving and somewhat smug, which naturally triggered the uproar. Isn't it about time we taxpayers acted more responsibly? Should- n't we start the process to remove Conlon from her position, along with the removal of the lame board members, so we can rectify this great disservice to our district - now, before those so-called pro- fessionals, educators and leaders do anymore damage? If so, and the newspaper will disclose the process so it's known to all, then we can put an end to the unilateralism and isolation, and to the toll that this district has taken from the terrible lack of leadership. David Termotto Lewes Dennis Forney Cape Region offers excellent education Please excuse the clich6 of "proud parent" but I feel a com- pelling need to brag about my youngest daughter, Julie Ware. Not only has she been a delight for the past 22 years, but she also managed to maintain a 3.97 point average throughout four years of college, and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in early education and spe- cial education from Eastern Uni- versity. Her honors appeared in the Dec. 13 commencement program held last Saturday, and we are thrilled to have her back in Sussex County. The other reason I am so proud is that she is the product of our Cape Henlopen School District teachings, and graduated with honors from Cape Henlopen High School, enjoying the benefits of a UD education through a cospon- sored Parallel program. This pro- gram for advanced studies allows the student to shoulder a full aca- demic curriculum along with UD courses in English and math. It is a lot of work, but a strong compo- nent of an excellent education in Sussex County. Not only are we so happy to have her back home, but she is al- so teaching full time at H.O. Brit- tingham in Milton. Maybe our "out flight" of young people is fi- nally turning around, and we are growing in the right direction to lure our youngest and brightest back to Sussex. Congratulations Julie. Sandra L. Ware Lewes Memory of generous child still haunts me It was a late afternoon on July 13, 1992. The sun had already sunk below the horizon. I had to make a quick stop at the IGA store in Milton. In the check out line, there was a little boy facing me sitting on the back of a shopping cart. He wore nothing but a pair of diapers. On his fresh powdered chest was a string of pastel-colored rings, and in his hands was a carton of cookies. I am sure I waved my hand at him; I never miss a chance at doing so. What attracted my attention was a bold printing of "no choles- terol" on the carton. I thought food with cholesterol tastes better, but only makes a problem for old- er people. I didn't know how to thank him. Instead, I smart-aleck- ly said to his mother, "He knows about health food." I have regret- ted saying that ever since. She said it was his favorite cookie. I handed the carton of cookies back to him. By his body language, I could detect his next three reactions. First, he showed all his disap- pointment that I didn't accept his cookies. Then I could tell he was searching for what he could give me. And finally, I actually could see his head light up when he realized there was a string of candies on his chest. He quickly brought the string up, bit off one ring and started to chew on it. He was probably telling me, "Look, dumb dumb, these aren't plastic rings; they are genuine Life Savers can- dies" Then he removed the string from his neck but before he could hand it to me, his cart moved on. What amazed me was that he did- n't try to give one cookie or one ring of candy, instead he fried to give me the whole carton of cook- ies and the whole string of can- dies. It was a few days later before I realized the full implication of this episode. This diaper-clad American sitting on the back of a shopping cart, with 40 seconds of pantomime, demonstrated one facet of the American spirit - giv- ing at its finest. As the spirit of giving goes, not the amount - this little boy put all those big name givers to shame. They give what they feel they can spare, and some give with ulterior motives or reasons. He gave all his possessions, except the diaper, to a total stranger, a grey haired Oriental man, without any reason. Encountering this little boy that summer afternoon 11 years ago not only brightened my day, it fur- ther brightened my life. It also reinforced my firm be- lief that human nature is basically good. At the last moment of my life, remembering this little boy will give me peace of mind, knowing that mankind has a fu- ture. I would like to meet him again to properly thank him for the greatest kindness anyone has ever Continued on page 8 CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, Dec. 19 - Dec. 25, 2003 - 7 Cycles of change evident in Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth downtowns; notes on poetry, new The cycles of change show themselves colorfully and dramat- ically at Christmastime. The downtown areas of Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach offer a good study. Fifteen years ago, Lewes's Sec- ond Street glowed during the holi- days with the bicentennial Brad- ford pear trees laden with white lights from one end of the busi- ness district to the other. Then, one by one, the trees began losing branches to disease and storm. The hazards created required that the city begin removing the trees. Now there are few left and Lewes finds itself with a starker down- town than it once had and at the beginning of another 25-year cy- cle. Plans for a bond issue to fi- nance a makeover of Second Street with the burying of utilities and the planting of many new trees are continuing. Milton represents a community on the rising cusp of a cycle but far enough in to be glowing in its own way. Last Saturday, down- town Milton bustled with the an- nual Holly Festival and the annual John Milton and Co. Poetry Festi- val. Slowly but surely over the last dozen years, Milton's down- town has seen its utilities placed underground, its sidewalks re- placed with brick, its riverfront transformed into an attractive sys- tem of parks and walkways, and its evenings charmed into a village intimacy by human-scale, period street lamps. For the holiday sea- son, the lamp posts have been adorned in a natural greenery style that complements Milton's her- itage as a major cottage-industry provider of holly, turkey beard and mistletoe to the nation's East Coast. Those who drive into Mil- ton from the east on Cave Neck Road and turn onto Front Street to follow the Broadkill into town can't help but notice the leafless trees near the river loaded with bushy green clumps of mistletoe. Milton's up cycle is already at- tracting more businesses down- town. Walking in the pools of warm light cast by the lamps, you can almost taste the excitement of a vibrant community on the rise. In Rehoboth Beach, the BAREF00TIN' Streetscape project is jump start- ing a new downtown cycle for the community. Rehoboth Avenue, with some of its utilities buried now, is betwixt and between. While there are pains from the disruption caused by construction, Rehoboth's downtown cycles are overlapping. The fully mature cherry trees that graced the medi- ans for so long were coming to the end of their expected healthy lives. Those trees are being re- placed by an even greater number of trees of substantial size. As such Rehoboth Beach, through the infusion of millions of dollars, will be able to move quickly into the heart of an up cycle and sus- tain that position for many years because of the heavy investment under way. Over the past 30 years, downtown Rehoboth Beach has gone through several up and down cycles in the Off season. There have been many years when the greatest majority of downtown storefronts were locked up from Thanksgiving through Easter. Then efforts came along to bring vitality to the off season. There are more businesses along Re- hoboth Avenue open in the off season now than ever before and Streetscape will go a long way to- ward ensuring year-round viabili- ty in Rehoboth. Regardless of the stage of up and down cycles, the holidays make all of our downtown areas magical places for walking and shopping and visiting' and enjoy- ing the unique quality of life in Delaware's Cape Region. Continued on page 8 Dennis Fomey photo The Milton Theatre was filled last weekend with five poetry being read from the stage and an audience bundled in blan- kets against the cold.