Saturday, May 30, 2009

V-Mail to E-Mail

For some reason I was thinking today about letters and how long it has been since I have received an actual handwritten personal letter. I guess I can also think about how long it has been since I have written a handwritten personal letter. When I was in the military mail call was the highpoint of the day, week or month - how ever often we received mail. Today's military person I assume receives e-mails instead of letters. Must be a bitch getting a Dear John E-mail. Or they just whip out that cell phone and talk directly to the person.

So with Memorial day here and "D" day coming up I thought I would write about letters to and from the Military. June of 1942 saw the first use of V-Mail. V-Mail or Victory Mail was a system that even today amazes me that it worked. The basics of it was you used a V-Mail letter form that in turn would fold over and become an envelope. You wrote your letter on the form in black ink (the ink companies had special V-Mail Ink). The letter was opened by the military, censored and photographed. The reel of film with all the photographed letters were sent overseas or to the United States (the system went both ways). The film was then printed at 60% size and sent to who ever it was mailed to. This system cut down on both tonnage and space in the ships or airplanes carrying the mail. That space and weight could be used for war supplies. The National Postal Museum says "The 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack. The weight of that same amount of mail was reduced dramatically from 2,575 pounds to a mere 45."

The end letter you received is above.

Families were generally quite dubious to start with; they didn’t like the idea of someone else opening their mail but there were also rumours that some of the 16mm reels had been projected in cinemas by mistake – it was, of course, a myth.

A good reference on V-mail is at Alphabetilately

Just a thought; in the 1940's and on into the 1950's the pen that was used was a pen with a bladder in it to hold the ink. It also required a bottle of ink to go with the pen, as you didn't write long before it was time to refill. So in the upcoming week when you begin to see film of soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy think about the fact they probably had a bottle of ink in their backpack and beside dodging bullets they had to think about not breaking the bottle.

Forward to my time in the military in the 1960's. Mail call was a big deal. Some places I was at, you actually had a mail call where they would call your name and throw your letters at you. Most places I was at had a postal mailbox with your name on it. Anyway receiving mail was a big deal and I think the most time I went between mail deliveries was when for a year we had a once-a-week ship arrival with the mail at the island I was on. Once when a typhoon set in the area for a week or so I think we went two weeks before receiving mail. It didn't matter if the letter was from your mother, your buddy stationed some else, a relative, or a girlfriend it was just always great to receive it.

Now the letters I received were basic stuff. Most people I knew were lucky to read and write, composing a great letter was beyond them. But let me tell you about some one who could write a great letter. When I moved into Delmar I acquired the Harlan Tull House. Mr. Tull had died and his family took the items they wanted and left a large amount of junk in the house. In the attic were about two hundred letters to Ted Tull (Harlan Tull's son) dating from the time he was in the military (about the same time I was). Ted received letters from a number of women but the letters that stood out were the letters from someone named Linda. Linda could write a letter. No - get your mind out of the gutter, they were nothing in the porno direction. She could just write a ten page letter about nothing but what had occurred to her that day. If she talked as much as she wrote she must have been one talkative person. Now I have long since tossed the letters but I did keep a photo of Linda that was in one of the letters. I thought if I ever ran across this person I would tell her what a great letter writer she was.

So this is Linda from the 1960's, classic bedroom of that time - chenille bedspread, plush tiger on her bed. I think she lived somewhere between Laurel and Sharptown. Not bad looking, Ted Tull was a lucky man. So if you are reading my blog, Linda, let me say; you are a great letter writer.

Uncle Paul's Hero

Over at "What a smell" Uncle Paul has found a new Hero in the form of Desmond Hatchett. Mr. Hatchett is age 29 and has fathered 21 children by 11 women and is, of course, black. The mothers have him in court for child support. Hatchett works a minimum wage job and by law the state can only take 50% of his paycheck for child support. By the time that money is split 21 ways, some of the mothers get less than $2 per month. That leaves the taxpayers footing a large portion of the bill for these children. Read the few hundred comments on the Examiner's post.

The Might Hannum Shows - 1971 - Salisbury Mall

Dan Seaton Kisses Pig - 1995

From the State Register May 31, 1995
Delmar Elementary School Vice Principal Daniel Seaton won the pig kissing contest. On field day the students voted for the administrator they would like to see kiss a pig and Mr. Seaton won.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good News For Delmar

I received an email today from the Delmar Town manager, Sara Bynum-King, that said Delmar is to receive $2,000,000 in Stimulus Grant Funds. It is to be applied to our "shovel ready" Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR)/Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) Upgrade. BNR/ENR processes removes even more nitrogen and phosphorus from our treated sewage water discharged from our treatment plant so the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waterways will receive reduced levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.

It's Not Too Late To Rent a Spot

DELMAR DAY IN THE PARK Sat. June 6th 10am - 6pm at State Street Park - Delmar, DE

Food, crafts, attractions, games, raffles, live entertainment and more!

Something for everyone!

Sponsored by the Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce

Vendor spaces start at $35.00 for 12x12 space.

Vendor applications are ready for mailing!

Call the Chamber voicemail at 302-846-3336 and leave

your information for packet or email

Tracy Turns 39

Today my niece, Tracy, turns 39. Happy Birthday Tracy !!!

DNREC Press Release

Fish for Free in Delaware Waters June 6 and 7

Have you been thinking of casting a line into that nearby stream or daydreaming about a sunny afternoon on the beach with your surf rod, but just haven’t gotten round to purchasing your 2009 Delaware fishing license yet?

To celebrate National Fishing Week, June 6-14, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife invites you to test your favorite First State waters for a free taste of this year’s fishing, clamming and crabbing season by holding free fishing days on Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7. On these two days, anyone may fish in Delaware waters without a fishing license.

National Fishing Week festivities will also include the Division’s 23rd Annual Youth Fishing Tournament from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at Ingrams Pond in Millsboro, Wyoming Pond in Wyoming’s Town Park and the dog training area at Lums Pond State Park in Bear.

With the exception of this one weekend, resident and non-resident anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 fishing in any Delaware waters – including ponds, impoundments, streams, rivers, bays and ocean - are required to purchase a fishing license and display it while fishing. Clammers and crabbers are also required to have fishing licenses. Delaware residents older than 65 and both residents and non-residents under age 16 do not have to purchase a license. Licenses are required for non-residents age 65 and older.

Fishing licenses for Delaware residents cost $8.50, while non-residents pay $20 a year or $12.50 for a seven-day license. Licenses may be purchased at DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, or at any of the nearly 100 license agents located in sporting goods stores, hardware stores, bait and tackle shops and other businesses throughout the state.

The 2009 Fishing Guide, which includes complete details on licensing and exemptions, is also available from the DNREC Dover office, licensing agents and on the Division of Fish and Wildlife website.

To purchase a Delaware fishing license online, view the Fishing Guide, or for more information on fishing licenses, please visit the DNREC Fisheries homepage at

For other inquiries or further information, please call 302-739-9918.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Britain's Surveillance System

I had picked up on a piece while reading two blogs this morning one is The Rag and the other is the Raw Story, both had a piece on the camera surveillance systems in use in Great Britain. These blogs picked it up from the BBC
It seems the British government will soon have a fully-operational network of cameras fitted with license plate recognition software, and the new system will allow any vehicle in the United Kingdom to be tracked to its precise location. Officers say it is a useful tool in fighting crime, but critics say the network is secretive and unregulated. It is already being looked at for use in New York City. Even in Delmar our police have a couple of surveillance cameras mounted. I don't think the town has any kind of software other than people watching the cameras but your movements are being observed and recorded as you go around town. It seems to me that the British system just opens itself up to all kind of abuse from individual policemen tracking the movement of their wives and girlfriends to God knows what. In the last ten years I have heard of more personal privacy being intruded upon than I had ever thought possible.

The Morning Walk

Some sights on my morning walk;

The Japanese Dogwood in front of Town Hall looks good.

Overwhelming I am told this is the skateboard park, not the basketball court. It now has fencing around it. Interestingly later in my walk I encountered a young man with his skateboard heading in the direction of the park. Word must be out.

This is inside the basketball court. This little section of the park is really great now. Beside the little league fields, it has playground equipment, concession building, rest rooms, basketball and skateboarding.

I think all of us are guilty of bad mouthing our public works people but they are the ones who go around and pickup our trash we leave in the park and they were out this morning doing so.

With the recent rains all the ditches have water in them. This section of the Mason Dixon park always has poor drainage and people have installed the Classic Eastern Shore Bridge over the ditches.

The big Ditch over on South Maryland avenue. Mosquitoes are but a few days away.

As I made my way up Maryland Avenue, past all the "For Sale" and "For Rent" Signs I came across this House on Maryland Avenue in the process of being constructed by Hastings Brothers. When it came before the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval they made him add a window on this side and the opposite side. Otherwise it would have been a blank wall on the ends of the house. I don't approve of P&Z telling you what the outside of your house should look like but it would look worst than this if it was just a blank wall. From the front the house doesn't look bad.

This has always intrigued me. This is the railroad tracks from the Maryland side of town looking north to Delaware. As you can see instead of a straight line it takes an odd jag to it. I have always envisioned a story in which the tracks was being laid from Delaware heading south to Salisbury and track was being laid in Salisbury heading to Delmar and as they came with in a block of meeting up they realized the track was not going to match up so they had to put a little jag into an otherwise straight line to make them match up.

and of course Uptown the streetscape continues - putting in curbs and sidewalks. This work is scheduled to be completed in about two weeks I think.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society Volunteer Day

Today was my day to volunteer at the Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society.

Normally it is slow at the The Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society (LDGS) no doubt because we are only open on Wednesday afternoons. Today we had a few people stop by.

Above is Jane Carter Gaffney, Rob Hall and Carol Livingston on the computer. As sometimes happens in helping people trace their families you find you are related to them or have known them in the past. Today it turns out Jane Gaffney was in the same High School Class as I was and Carol Livingston was in the Class of 1959 and her brother Doug Livingston was in my class (61). Just shows the tightness of the Eastern Shore.

Above is a blast from the past; Jane Carter Class of 1961

and Carole Livingston Class of 1959

Later that night I returned to the LDGS meeting room for an interesting talk Rob Hall gave on the resources available at the Worcester Room at the Snow Hill Library. The Worcester Room in Snow Hill has over 1,100 books in it plus over 300 folders of families trees. It is not just the information on display that is helpful but they have a ton of information in their "vault" in the back that can be asked for. Because it is in Snow Hill there is no reason to think the information is just related to Snow Hill you will find it covers most of Delmarva.

Little League 1960

From the Bi-State weekly May 27, 1960
Click To enlarge
Phil Baker, Jerry LeCompte, Greg Maloney, Greg Budd

DNREC Press Release

DNREC Secretary Issues Notice of $10,000 Penalty to Playtex Products for Hazardous Waste Violations at Dover Facility

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to Playtex Products, Inc., for violations of Delaware’s laws and regulations governing hazardous waste management at its manufacturing plant in Dover. The order includes a cash penalty of $10,000 and an additional $1,500 as cost recovery reimbursement to the department for expenses associated with its investigation.

The Playtex Dover facility and quality assurance laboratory located at 50 North DuPont Highway generates hazardous waste as a result of quality assurance testing of its products, which include feminine, skin and infant care products.

During a compliance assessment on Sept. 4, 2008, the Department identified 14 violations of Delaware’s Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste. The violations include storing leaking containers of hazardous waste, storing hazardous waste in open containers, improperly labeling containers of hazardous waste, failing to make a hazardous waste determination, and failing to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste accumulation areas, in addition to other violations. Hazardous waste materials included waste methanol, damaged lead acid batteries and various liquid and solid hazardous wastes. On Sept. 24, 2008, the Department issued a notice of violation to Playtex Products, Inc., addressing these issues.

Playtex Products, Inc. has 30 days to request a public hearing before the order becomes final.

Howard's Comment; I would think a $10,000 "penalty" would have been cost recovery enough. I don't see the reason for another $1,500 added to it. Reminds me of the IRS where they take so long to do an audit and then add so many penalties and interest to the amount you didn't pay that it doubles the taxed amount.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Delmar Joint Council Meeting For May

The May Delmar Delaware and Delmar Maryland Joint Council meeting was held tonight. Delaware Councilman Thompson and Maryland Commissioner Williams were missing. My usual disclaimer is I am not part of the council and what I write is my personal views, not the minutes, of the meetings. It is also just the parts I want to comment on or write about. If you want to know the real story go to the meeting.

Maryland Mayor Doug Niblett mentioned the VFW would have a ceremony for Memorial day on the "real" Memorial day, Saturday at 11 AM at the post.

The Budget for the 2009/2010 year was approved for both sides of town and the Utility budget. Maryland Councilman Carl Anderton was the only member voting against approval of the budget. He felt there was not a need for an increase. The Delaware tax rate increased from 40 cents a hundred to 50 cents a hundred. The Maryland side of town increased from 67.6 cents to 69.3 cents. Garbage pickup stayed the same at $165. Water and sewer rates increased. The only capital item to be purchased is a new police car, a financial software package and the improvements to the waste water treatment plant. There are no cost of living increases for the town employees next year. The town is looking at purchasing the Bank of Delmarva building and using it as a town hall (as you may remember part of this building was town hall back about 30 years ago). The Police Car and financial software package are being paid for by the Maryland side of town with the Delaware side of town giving them an IOU for their part.

The town had discussed with Wicomico County/State of Maryland about having lines painted on Foskey and Pennsylvania Ave. Wicomico County has a budget problem and the town may go to a private contractor to paint the lines for about $2,600. The town would have had to reimburse Wicomico county or the state for the line painting if they had done it.

The skateboard park ramps and equipment are on order.

On Friday May 29th the Delmarva Inn is suppose to be auctioned off.

The meeting was overwith by 8:30 PM.

Delmar Utility Commission Meeting - May

The Delmar Utility Commission meeting was held tonight at 6:30 PM in Town Hall. Commission member Dewald was missing. The main item discussed was property owned by Lou Alberti. The first piece of property was a lot being built on in Wilcher Park (Spruce Street). Wilcher Park, altho part is out of town and part is in town, had an agreement signed in 1958 with the town to provide water to it. Mr. Alberti had installed a water meter to the property in 1992 but never built on the property until recently. With the usual difficulty the town has with records in this time period there was some doubt water should be supplied to the property but after some discussion it was decided the town should supply water with current impact fees to be paid at the time of connection.

The second piece of Lou Alberti property was the "Hastings" property on North Maryland Ave. The Delaware council had approved this property for subdivision in to two additional lots beside the existing lot the house sets on. The Utility Commission merely followed up with approval for two Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU's) of water and sewer allocated from the town Utility system.

The Morning Walk

A wet day for a walk but I took a brief one. The Delmar Streetscape is advancing along. The most recent improvement has been the iron fence.

It is a nice looking fence. Don't ask how much it cost. It should keep children, small animals and drunks from walking onto the train track. If they were to have an art festival in Delmar it would be a good fence to hang paintings on. In Delmar I am sure it will be used more frequently as a backboard to throw glass beer bottles at.

Yes it is a long stretch of fence for Delmar but does it need a sign calling it "Long Fence"? Click to enlarge so you can see the sign

and as rain showers threaten a friendly place beckons to me

Perhaps on a rainy day the fence is viewed best from inside the Sports Nut Bar

And to wrap it up a few posters put around town

Upcoming Events

May 26, 6:30 PM Delmar Utility Meeting

May 26, 7 PM Delmar Joint Council Meeting

May 27 7 pm Special informational meeting on special referendum to transfer $450,000 Delmar District Office meeting room.

May 28 6 PM Sussex County Planning and Zoning Georgetown

May 29 The “Pinta” and the “Nina” replicas of Columbus ships will be in Lewes. The ships will be docked at town dock. $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children, children under 4 free. Open 9 to 6

June 1 7 Pm Delmar Del Mayor and council meeting

June 2 special election to vote for or vote against referendum to transfer $450,000, Delmar School District

June 2 3 PM Sussex county Council Meeting Georgetown

June 3 6 PM Parks and Rec Meeting Town hall

June 4 6 PM Sussex Technical High school Graduation

June 5 7 PM Delmar High School Senior Graduation

June 6th Sat. 10am - 6pm at State Street Park - Delmar, DE, Food, crafts, attractions, games, raffles, live entertainment and more! Sponsored by the Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce, Vendor spaces start at $35.00 for 12x12 space. Vendor applications are ready for mailing! Call the Chamber voicemail at 302-846-3336 and leave your information for packet or email

June 8 7 PM Delmar MD Mayor and Commission Meeting

June 9 3 PM Sussex county Council Meeting Georgetown

June 11 6 PM Sussex county Planning And Zoning Meeting Georgetown

June 14 Flag Day

June 16 3 PM Sussex county Council Meeting Georgetown

June 17 3 PM Sussex county Planning And Zoning Meeting Georgetown

June 18 7 PM Delmar Planning and Zoning Meeting

June 20 – 21 Dover Air Force Base Open House

June 20 the Hidden garden of Lewes garden tour from 10am to 5 pm tickets $20.

June 21 Father’s Day

June 22 6:30 PM Delmar Utility Meeting
June 22 7 PM Delmar Joint Council Meeting

June 23 3 PM Sussex county Council Meeting Georgetown

June 25 6 PM Sussex county Planning And Zoning Meeting Georgetown

June 30 3 PM Sussex county Council Meeting Georgetown

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Carnival in Delmar 1993

Over on Dick Dykes' blog he has a photo of when he was playing Delmar with Taylor and Son Amusements. He had a gold fish concession.