Archive for August, 2009

West Rehoboth is on the rise

August 28, 2009

IMG_2111I drove through West Rehoboth one evening this week to further my sense of the transition underway in that historically African-American community.  This is obviously a community where good people, who don’t want their children exposed to drug dealing and gunfire, are working to take back the streets from people working on the underside of the law.  A prominent sign outside the community center warns that drug dealing won’t be tolerated.  On at least two abandoned and dilapidated buildings condemnation notices have been posted by Sussex County.   Two others in the neighborhood are also slated for removal.

For decades, West Rehoboth was a forgotten community along the dead-end Hebron Road. Now Hebron is a through road connecting to Church Street and Holland Glade Road and as such is much more in the  public eye. Good people have come together in a variety of organizations to preserve what’s good about West Rehoboth and change what isn’t.  All of these efforts take time and effort but the accomplishments are already visible and as a result, the children of West Rehoboth are growing up in a settled and caring community that is on the rise.IMG_2108

In the midst of World War Two, one prominent British statesman noted that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for men of good will to do nothing.  In West Rehoboth, plenty of people with good will are showing that their community can overcome the dark days of the past and continue to improve.

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Carper wants national health care exchange

August 25, 2009

tomcarperTom Carper, Delaware’s senior U.S. Senator, stopped by the Cape Gazette office this week to talk about health care.  He said he’s confident something will happen this year but he’s not sure what. He noted that we in the U.S. spend an equivalent of 16 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on health care while other countries around the world spend in the realm of 12 percent and have better primary care.

He said the most important change he would like to see is to enable people to participate in a national exchange to buy health insurance, to expand the purchasing pool.  He said the more people in a covered pool of insured, the lower the administrative costs and consequently the lower the premiums.  “I wouldn’t have any problem allowing people to buy into the same policy received by federal employees like myself.  We are in a purchasing pool of 8 million which spreads the risk. I’d like to see a national pool that would mirror the federal pool.”  Federal employees, he said, pay 28 percent of the annual premiums of their policy.

Carper said he would also like to see far more emphasis on primary care, wellness and preventive care.

Paintings and power plants

August 19, 2009

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Milton sculptor Paul Rendel exhibited his latest work at a recent garden party to benefit the Milton Theatre. As dramatic as his new work is, Rendel will be forgiven for keeping it in two dimensions as opposed to his usual three-dimension medium. The large-scale oil shows a bird’s eye view of Rehoboth Beach during a July Fourth fireworks show. The work is truly remarkable, giving a unique sense of the resort town on its biggest night of the year. “It took me about three months,” said Rendel. “That’s working about eight hours a day, five days a week – sometimes more.” Rendel has prints of the monumental work available and for $12,000 the original can hang in your house.

20th District Sen. George Bunting called this week, feeling vindicated for the years of pressure he and others applied to the Indian River power plant operation to improve its compatibility with the local environment. “I remember walking through the plant and having employees tell me I was going to cause the plant to be closed down resulting in the loss of many jobs. Now look . It’s ironic – just the opposite has happened. NRG has announced its plans to spend $500 million to reduce its total emissions by 90 percent and the work is going to create lots of jobs. So our economy and our environment are benefiting. Jim Cresson [who covered Indian River’s environmental problems for the Cape Gazette for many years before he died] would feel very good about this. What they’re doing there means they will be there for many generations to come, virtually guaranteeing the security of those jobs.”

Indian River power plant color

Street art and kindred spirits

August 6, 2009
Hamburg Street and South Charles in Baltimore

Hamburg Street and South Charles in Baltimore

In my endless search to know God on a first-name basis, I commune with beauty as much as I can. The appreciation of beauty is a tie that binds. It’s a way to know other souls and as each soul is a piece of God, it’s a way of getting closer to God. It’s a philosophy expressed marvelously in Robert Frost’s poem titled Tuft of Flowers.

I was reminded of the poem recently while walking toward the Metropolitan Coffee House and Wine Bar in Baltimore’s Federal Hill district. There at the corner of Hamburg Street and South Charles hung a beautiful and simple piece of public art against a brick wall. Very pretty it was and it made me pause for a photograph.

Taking pictures helps us enjoy beauty more. We have to stop and compose, consider the subject and light, the background and foreground. It gives us an opportunity to appreciate the moment more and reflect on it too. Public art can be such a beautiful thing. Good for civilization. Good for love. Good for God.

Here are a few lines from Frost’s poem:

It was a leaping tongue of bloom that the scythe had spared

Beside a reedy brook that the scythe had bared.

The mower in the dew had loved them thus

by leaving them to flourish, not for us.

nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him

But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.

The butterfly and I had lit upon, nevertheless,

a message from the dawn

That made us hear the wakening birds around

And made us hear his long scythe whispering to the ground

and made us feel a spirit kindred to our own . . .

Smell the roses, laugh and love God.

Another grain elevator painting

August 6, 2009

Dr. Joe Schanno of Rehoboth Beach painted this scene of the Best family’s Nassau grain elevator in December of 2005. “At the time I painted the barn I said to myself, I had better record this for some day it will be gone.”

The Nassau grain elevator that burned last week.

The Nassau grain elevator that burned last week.