Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ernesto in Delmar

A fallen tree on Grove Street

Ernesto came to Delmar yesterday and frankly it blew harder than I was expecting. Luckily, the ground was so dry not that many trees were uprooted. Most trees I saw fallen over simply snapped from the wind. There were a lot of yards with standing water, lots of leaves and limbs scatter around, the cemeteries had grave decorations blown around. Most of the walnuts on my walnut trees were blown off and the flowers and tomato plants were flatten. If my walnuts were blown off surely the same thing happened to the apples and peaches in the area. This porta potty didn't make out so well. I noticed some corn field had sections of corn stalks knocked down which will make it difficult to run the corn pickers thro them.

In the town of Delmar summer newsletter they stated; "BFI does not pickup leaves or any type of yard waste. Please call Town Hall to request the pick up of these items and for prices and/or requirements for disposals". After this wind and all the yard trash everyone has we will see how many people bother with that rule or ordinance come Tuesday, trash pickup day for Delmar, Delaware. Maybe I will ride by the Mayor and Council people houses Tuesday and take a photo of what they are throwing out for trash pickup. It will be interesting to see if they go by the same rule.

Ebright Azimuth, Delaware

Southern Living Magazine had an article on Fall foliage and the highest points to see the fall foliage in the states that are covered by their magazine. As you know Delaware is about as far north that "Southern Living" magazine covers.

A sampling of the heights in the 17 states given showed these highest points; Texas (Guadalupe Peak) at 8,749 feet, North Carolina (Mount Mitchell) at 6,684 feet, Tennessee (Clingmans dome) at 6,643 feet, and Delaware at 448 feet. We did beat out Florida at 345 feet. For those who do not know where Elbright Azimuth is, such as myself follow this link; Ebright Azimuth

Friday, September 01, 2006

Today's Photo - It's finally raining

We are finally getting some rain. We are also getting some wind. I was at Del Tech in Georgetown this morning and took this picture of Nursing students going between buildings in the rain.

This poor man was fighting rain and wind. Moments after the photo his umbrella was turned inside out.

Megan Goes Visiting

Megan leaves after work today to visit her friend Casie in South Carolina. Hurricanes and rain means nothing to some one who is young.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Voting in Delmar

Why would any elected official argue against easier registration to vote? In Delmar that appears to the outlook of our Mayor, council people and Town manager. Last Monday night at the Town meeting I asked if it could not be made easier to register to vote in a Delmar Town election. It must have gotten their panties in a bunch or something as they were quite disagreeable about changing the way registration is done.

What started the entire voter registration discussion was a paragraph about the upcoming Delmar, Delaware election that was published in the fall Delmar Newsletter.

"To be eligible to vote in this upcoming municipal election, persons must be at least 18 years of age, and who has resided in the Town of Delmar and the State of Delaware for at least six (6) months proceeding the day of election and must register at Town Hall. Registration is Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 100 S. Pennsylvania Avenue, Delmar MD."

Now, when I first moved to Delmar you would go to Town Hall and sign your name in a notebook and that would be the registration. I posted a blog about voting and registration in Delmar a couple of weeks ago. In that blog I stated it should be easier to register to vote than in the 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM time limit. After all most people are at work during those hours. I suggested in the blog a couple of ways it could be done. Again, at the town meeting I suggested two possible ways to extend the registration. One would be to register with the Town police after 4:30PM and second for the Town to have a booth at the "Day in the Park" to facilitate registration. Well, was I surprised about the reaction of the Town Manager Bynum-King, Mayor Outten, and Councilperson Diane Buckley. In essence they said "if you want to vote you can take off work to come register". They saw no reason to put themselves out for someone to register. Now, the rest of the United States is attempting to make registration an easy and convenient process in order to get people to vote. Lets face it, Delmar has a poor voter turn out. Could registration be part of the problem? Voter apathy is one reason why I insist that you need only 50 definite votes for your campaign in order to can win an election in Delmar. I can see that if you are an incumbent you would not want any additional people registering to vote and dilute your backing. At the end of the discussion Town Manager Bynum-King finally said if someone called in she would mail the form out to them.

We requested the form be mailed to my oldest daughter, who has not registered in the Town of Delmar to vote. She received the form and in looking at it, it appears to be a standard "Voter Registration Application for US Citizens". The application has blocks for standard information such as name, address, age, ethnic group and Choice of party. There is nothing that ask the date when you became a resident of Delmar and it is pretty much your word on the rest of the information. The completed from was returned to Town Hall. The process was considerably less difficult than getting a library card. Frankly this form could be put on the Delmar Town website so it could be downloaded and printed. The form could just be mailed in.

Another comment on living in a bi-state community, why would you go out of state (Maryland) to register to vote in Delaware? The Town hall is in Maryland so Delawareans have to go to Maryland to conduct Delaware business. Needless to say this is something in the past the Delmar, Maryland Commissioners like to rub in.

The August 30th Delmar Photo

Train Tracks in Delmar.

The train has been rolling in and out of Delmar since 1859. It can take you to the outside world and it can bring the outside world to Delmar. I dare to guess how many Delmar natives have hopped a rail car as it was going by and rode a short distance (or farther) on the train for a thrill ride. It was generally agreed by the public, in the discussion at the council meeting of the noise ordinance Monday night, that the railroad was the biggest source of noise pollution in Delmar. The railroad is held such high esteem in Delmar that when the railroad stopped hauling passengers and offered the railroad station to the Town of Delmar for one dollar, the town refused it and let the station be torn down.

Delmar Joint Council/Commissioners Meeting of August 28th

A good crowd showed up at the meeting on Monday night. No doubt precipitated by the front page news about the noise ordinance, neverless there was standing room only at the meeting. All elected officials attended.

Items discussed;
A first reading to annex the property of Delmar Dinner owned by Piracus Reality and Doctor Chandrasekhara.

Public Works reported they were 80% completed on painting curbs with yellow paint on the Delaware side of town and 30% completed on the Maryland side of town. The new lawn mower has reduced grass cutting from three days to one day.

The Police Commission reported they had hired three new officers and those three are in the police academy. The Police department would have a booth at the "Day in the Park".

Planning and Zoning requested the Maryland Commissioners give approval to the Foskey Lane Business Park. It is located between Rt 13 and the new Sport Complex on Foskey Lane. A request has been sent to Maryland for a traffic study at the Rt 13/Foskey Lane intersection. Planning Zoning would like a traffic light put on Rt13 at that intersection.

Saturn Dealership versus Holly Lake Estates issues continued with Planning and Zoning and the Maryland commissioners approving the proposal of Saturn Dealership to add an entrance into the dealership before the Holly Lake development and Saturn to put up signage saying "No Parking on Holly Lake Lane" and "No Test Drives into the Holly Lake Development". The council voted not to approve the parking pads Saturn would like to put on the West side of Holly lane.

The Delaware side gave final plat approval to Still Water Development of 130 units, with some exceptions concerning the width of the streets and cul-de-sacs. Joey Morris said fire equipment could go down 24 foot wide streets if parking of vehicles on the streets was not allowed. (Note: is this a repeat of Luther Hitchens saying 19 foot streets were fine for fire equipment in Wood Creek?)

John Cannon, who is running for a seat on the Wicomico County Council, spoke briefly on his campaign to be elected.

Town Manager's report; A new grant of $177,000 has been received for upgrading substandard housing in Delmar. The annual Audit of the Towns books is under way. The Delaware Tax bill have been mailed and the Maryland Tax bills were sent on Monday.

Commission Comments Several Delaware council people expressed concerned about the trash (not referring people, but actual garbage) at the motel behind the Delmar Dinner on the Maryland side of town. Oddly, I don't think any of the Maryland commissioners complained about the motel. I think it is strange that the Delaware Council people have to go out of state to find trash when they have the Lecates property and Delmar drive-in all within their jurisdiction.

The big discussion, of course was the three ordinances of noise, vehicles and flood plain.

Noise Ordinance (Ordinance #700 & #141)
After the newspaper report was published, this was the ordinance the most public comment was made on. For the most part people felt it was not detail enough. Some were for it, some were against it. The Council and Commissioners tried to say it was not their attempt to harm the way of life of the residents and it did not need that much detail, as I pointed out however, they are elected officials and they may not be elected again and who knows how the next group elected will view this ordinance if there is not more detail in it. By the time it was done and finally tabled, they were considering reducing it to being in effect between 11PM and 7AM, but even with that who are you going to contact, the police? If it is a car with a loud sound system it will be long gone by the time the police arrive. There is no code enforcement officer working between 11PM to 7AM, so who is going to enforce it? The noise ordinance discussion was covered in the "Daily Times" on Tuesday.

The question was asked several times why the noise ordinance was proposed. The answer from the Councils was they felt one was needed. As I have posted before the noise ordinance is an outcome of the people in Holly Lake Estates requesting it, so the Town of Delmar would deal with Saturn Dealership. This ordinance was tabled for further discussion.

I have no doubt this Ordinance would have past as it originally was, had not the article in the newspaper been published.

Inoperative Vehicle Ordinance (Ordinance #140 & #699)
Again this ordinance created a great deal of public comment. Some were for it some were against it. Those for it felt it needed more restrictions added to it (from Larry "we need more sign enforcement" Points). Others felt it was too restrictive. Anyway this ordinance was tabled. Let me point out something interesting in this ordinance. If your car is inoperative on the street or in your yard, because it is creating an eyesore it will be towed to the police impoundment lot, which is in open view of everyone anyway so it merely changing the venue of the eyesore.

FloodPlain Zone Ordinance, (Ordinance #701 and #142) for the most part people were in favor of it. With this ordinance, supposely, people who live in Delmar will be able to buy Flood insurance. There was at least one person who was against it as it would prevent any building not previously built from being developed in the 100 year flood plain zone. I didn't care for the council reply that anyone who wanted to develop in the floodplain could apply to the Federal government for permits and it would just be a little more paperwork than what is currently done. Anyone who has dealt with the Federal Government on flood plains know it is more than a "little" extra paperwork and a lot of expense.

Public Comments
A person from Holly Lake Estates asked for the Mayor and Commissioners to give consideration for making the noise ordinance for 24 hours a day instead of the possible 11PM to 7AM restriction that was suggested tonight. Since the aim was to prevent the Saturn Dealership from playing music thru the day, the change proposed would have no effect on Saturn. I noticed she waited until after the crowd left so as not to draw attention to the Holly Lake / noise Ordinance relationship.

I asked my standard question of when would the streets in Delmar, Delaware be sweep, the usual answer of "we are talking about it" was given. This question has been asked by me for over a year now.

I asked about voters registration in Delmar and if it could not be made more convenient. This question had a surprising effect on the Mayor, councilpeople and Town manager. I don't know if they were sleepy and irritated, since it was after 10PM, an hour past their usual adjournment time, or what, but they were disturbed with me for asking the question and suggesting they make the right to vote more convenient. I will do a longer post, later, on that discussion and the American right to vote in Delmar.

I asked about the new proposed property assessment in Delmar and when it would be made. The Town manager said it would be in time for next years tax bills.

I told them the Delmar Drive-in had excess weeds and asked why if it was in Delmar town limits, the Code enforcement officers hadn't done anything. Again we have ordinances but no one enforce them unless they are aimed at special people who the town has a grudge against and the Town knows those people will not fight back against unfair treatment. Why does the Town wait until a taxpayers appear to complain about something that is obvious? Doesn't any of them ride around town?

I told them mosquito's were bad again and we needed mosquito spraying. The Town manager said she thought the mosquito's were under control as my wife had not called her to complain.

The meeting broke up about 10:15PM.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Delmar Utility Commission Meeting August 28th

The Delmar Utility Commission meeting was held Monday night on August 28th. It was a quiet, short meeting. It was announced that the first reading of annexing the "Delmar Dinner" would be done at the joint council meeting tonight. Since the Delmar Dinner is already on the town sewer there should be little impact on the Delmar utilities. The new asphalt drying bed was put in at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). The old system had the sludge dumped on a sand bed and when ever the drying beds were cleaned we would lose an amount of sand that would have to be replenished. With the new asphalt bed this such be remedied. It was also mentioned that some rebuilding of the grit unit at the Waste Water Treatment Plant maybe required shortly. The agreement with Tidewater Utilities, to service the East side of Town, is at a standstill. The Town is waiting on Tidewater to respond.

If it is Tuesday Spence's Bazaar Must be Open

Every Tuesday Spence's Bazaar, Flea Market, and Farmer's market happens in Dover.

Great produce, great Deli meats and sandwiches and things you never knew you need until you saw it at Spense's, can be had.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jeddah in Saudi Arabia ban sale of cats and dogs

Jeddah Municipality in Saudi Arabia has decided to ban the sale of cats and dogs according to the Arab News. They feel owning pets is too much of a “vile” Western intrusion upon Saudi culture and traditions.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice allegedly complained to the municipality that too many young Saudis were buying dogs as pets and causing public disturbances when they took them for walks outside.

To us it is an amusement to read such an article and think they would do such a thing. Oh well it is Arabs. To read the article click on Arab News

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Property Tax

The blogger Sneaking Suspicions discussed in his blog today, the property tax reevaluation in Seaford. The clown (R. A. Westergren) Seaford hired to do the assessment in essence used a simple formula of three times the 1974 Sussex County assessment. Since part of his pay was one half of the increased tax assessment, naturally he went with the highest assessment. Apparently no consideration was given to how well the house was maintained from 1974. His theory was that taxpayers are sheep and would pay whatever the amount assessed. A view apparently shared by the Town of Delmar current government.

Delmar is due for a tax reassessment and I agree it should be done. It should be done at regular intervals instead of waiting 15 or 20 years in between evaluations. I hope they don't pick R. A. Westergren to do it and I hope the issued contract is not agreeing to pay this person an amount of the increased revenues. I also hope the assessment will be based on the house, instead of a ride by assessment.

Jennifer is home

Jennifer is home visiting her mother and children this weekend. There is always something going on when Jennifer visits. This Sunday her pitbull attacked a beagle and Jennifer chained the beagle in her mothers backyard and called the Delmar Police Department. The Policeman and Jennifer, after an hour, apparently finally decided to release the dog as it seemed ok and could find it's own way back home.

High School Awaits onslaught

Delmar Middle and Senior High School

The school is bracing itself for the beginning of the school term.