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Sunday, June 16, 2024


Our Readers Write 5.31.2006


Our Readers Write
Youth Need ‘Sense of Community’
To The Editor:
Al Campbell’s Compass Points in the May 17 issue of the Herald, in which he discusses a “sense of community,” really struck a chord with me. Campbell’s article brings out the fact that our sense of community, our feeling of having many things in common, our sense of looking out for each other, our expectation of goodwill may be slowly disappearing.
Campbell cites some examples of this thing we call a “sense of community,” such as the smell of certain foods cooking, the barber who knows exactly how to trim your hair, the place to get the best cheese steak in town. I’ll bet many of us boomers were reading and smiling. We forget sometimes that it’s the little things that often mean the most.
I know I feel a sense of community when the “strawberry lady” appears at the Dennisville/Court House crossroads; and when the roadside stand near my home sets aside beach plums for me because they now I’ll be stopping by and when I hear the rolling sound of the drum fish echo across the bay every spring.
It’s sad to think of the many young people growing up in our county who are missing this sense of community. And it has more profound implications than many realize.
As the executive director of a substance abuse prevention agency, I deal with this lack on a professional level. The field of substance abuse prevention has identified a “lack of community attachment” as a prime risk factor for substance abuse. Current research has shown that individuals who don’t feel this sense of community have an increased risk for abusing alcohol and/or other drugs.
Together, we can take steps, even if they’re baby steps, to start creating this “sense of community.” We can get to know our neighbors and their children by name, sit on our porches in the summertime, take notice when we see a neighbor’s mail piling up, knock on a door. Maybe even bake a batch of cookies or cupcakes once in while for the busy single mom down the street.
Also, there are many things we can do as organizations to strengthen the connection between the individual and the community. Schools can offer community service programs for their students. Churches can reach out to needy families.
Businesses can run their operations responsibly and welcome community input. The financial sector, government, and non-profit corporations can take leadership roles in the community, helping to fill gaps in needed services.
It’s up to us to foster this sense of community in our neighborhoods, and to encourage organizations and businesses to take a more active role. And it helps to remember…it’s the little things.
Executive Director, Cape Assist
Dennis Teacher Is ‘Caring, Compassionate’
To The Editor:
If your paper is anything, it is consistent, as in consistently reporting on one side of the story. The May 17 story we refer to is the one written by Christine Cote about Rachel Laird, a first grade teacher at Dennis Township Primary School, and an alleged assault on one of her students during the Christmas show on Dec. 20, 2005.
We say that the story is one-sided because the only view represented is the one of the mother of the alleged victim.
Laird happens to be our daughter’s teacher and we can’t say enough nice things about her. She is a dedicated, compassionate, caring, loving teacher. our daughter loves going to school and loves her teacher.
A lot of children look forward to breaks from school, but our daughter looks forward to going back to school at the end of breaks. She has learned so much this year and it is because Rachel Laird is an excellent teacher.
Having been in her classroom multiple times for different activities there has never been any reason to feel anything other than positive feelings toward Laird. She loves her job and would never harm one of her students, or any child for that matter.
The State Police did not feel the need to arrest her and the school administration did not feel the need to suspend her.
This is someone’s reputation and livelihood that you’re jeopardizing by your one-sided reporting.
(ED. NOTE:  The superintendent was contacted and he chose not to comment.)
Outsiders Use Community Room
To The Editor:
I live in a low-income apartment building. We have a community room with a kitchen. Some people gather there everyday. Some do puzzles, play cards, and play games, bingo.
Sometimes we eat in there. Some sit and talk. It’s our place to get out of our rooms and be with people. But now we have strangers reserving our community room free to have their meetings, parties. It’s supposed to be reserved for families of people who live here.
I thought the Red Hat ladies were supposed to go out and have a good time. But these Red Hat ladies take our room for their meeting. It was supposed to be 12:30 to 3:30, but they were there at 10 a.m. to set up.
The one who reserved it has a mother in law who lives here.  But she thinks all her friends and neighbors can have our room. She can have all her friends at her house. We are sick of it and we don’t want them here.
North Cape May
Hereford Light Is Rare Survivor of 19th Century
To The Editor:
I saw again and was upset by some anonymous Spouter, without portfolio, who says he/she is an Angelsea resident, which I really doubt.
But it seems that he/she just doesn’t or won’t get the message. So let me tell everyone again: Hereford Inlet Light Station is one of only a rare few 19th century survivors of National Maritime History in your town.
Our research is second to none; what we have discovered is coast-to-coast and boarder-to-border significant about the referenced building.
Think, if you can, about its famous German-born designer, Paul J. Pelz, who was the awarded designer of the U.S. Library of Congress.
If that isn’t too impressive, given his many years with the U.S. Lighthouse Board as the designer of many other lighthouses and U.S. Life Saving Service Stations at very important coastal locations, then the Spouter, in my esteem, is unwashed and unworthy of all the study and effort we have spent discovering and celebrating the genuine history of who was responsible for your proud building in Anglesea at Hereford Inlet.
Yes, yes, I believe in free speech, but only when the speaker/writer reveals him/herself and looks me in my offended eye. I don’t expect that the secret Spouter has that kind of fortitude or courage. I am nevertheless available as below.
Keep the old light shining proudly.
Cape May
(ED. NOTE: The author is formerly of North Wildwood)
Enjoys ‘Joyride III’
To The Editor:
It is always such a pleasure opening up a Herald Newspaper and seeing another “Joyride III” by the late Demp-Forrest’s son Keith.
Oh have I enjoyed her columns when she had them every week in the Herald.
Thanks to Keith for making my day.
Rio Grande
Mother Refutes Allegation, Story About Teacher
To The Editor:
I am writing in response to the May 17 article in the Herald titled “Parents Allege Dennis Teacher Assaulted Student.” Although the word “allege” is used in the title, your article all but convicted the teacher  involved.
As a parent of a student in this teacher’s class, and having had direct observation of her classes, I have nothing but admiration and praise for her  teaching, and do not believe anything like this could have ever happened.
She has been nothing but a wonderful influence on our child in these  critical developing years of her life.
I feel the  article was one sided and there should be a follow up article to correct this as soon as possible.
(ED. NOTE: When the court case is settled, it will be reported.)
Enemy’s Watching,
Thinks He’s Winning
To The Editor:
 Tom Halligan wrote an impassioned letter scolding Art Hall for his May 10 editorial on Iraq, the war on terror and military losses.
 What concerns me about Halligan’s letter is a possible misunderstanding he and many have about what we are into and where it is headed
 There is no misunderstanding that sane people abhor war and see every loss of a precious life as grievous. In past conflicts as now, it is not the troops who lose nerve. It’s the people back home, especially today when the enemy is betting we will lose our will and run from the fight.
 In WWII we were more united at home than now, but we clearly saw who the enemy was and overwhelmingly backed the effort. But divisions today are large and dangerous.
 The attack on the Taliban was an indirect retaliation for 9/11. It could be argued they did not attack us, rather were just harboring those who did. We have grown accustomed to conflicts between nation-states. Here we have a war that’s between ideologies, with no nation-states singularly identifiable as our attacker, though there are some aiding and abetting like Iran and Syria.
 Not only did the 9/11 Commission establish there was no direct link between Saddam and 9/11, but I recall the Bush administration acknowledged that, saying only there were some informal connections between some al Qaeda operatives and Saddam, but nothing to do with 9/11.
 Those insisting Bush made that link should quit saying so because it isn’t true.
 And there’s the flap about WMDs, the intelligence issue that almost every Western nation believed.
 It is incorrect to say Saddam didn’t have WMDs, and less correct to say he didn’t have programs. But it is correct to say none were found. That does still not rule out them being deeply hidden or shipped off to a place like Syria.
 It may be constructive to stop carping so much about how we got where we are, learn from the bumbling and misjudgments and figure how we go from here.
 For me the justification for Iraq, besides removing Saddam’s murderous regime and thwarting his desire to be supreme ruler of the Arab world, is his, like other rogue states, have huge potential for being suppliers of arms, (WMDs too) money and other assistance to the global jihad we in the free world face.
 We are headed into a protracted struggle with radical Muslim extremists who have reached into most corners of the globe already with their bloody hands. It is not a war on terror, but a war against this extremist ideological threat whose weapon of choice is terror.
 Perhaps our measures since 9/11 have helped protect us at home. But I take little comfort in that. These evil people are patient. They are determined to have an encore 9/11, but much bigger. And, they have yet to attempt suicide bombing on American soil.
 It is my belief we will face both soon enough. We may hate war and loss. But as our politicians and their followers play dangerous games with this issue, the most dangerous thing of all is to signal to the enemy we are unwilling to fight, for that is their solemn belief. That America will not have the will to stay the course or sustain losses for long.
 Meanwhile all this homebound anger and blame-placing and negativism will have consequences in the future.
 The enemy is paying careful attention and thinks he’s winning. He only needs to wait us out. Our troops surely understand this. Lets hope we at home eventually do.
 Court House
Bush Haters Have ‘Twisted, Nuanced’ Facts
To The Editor:
The letter writer, “Losing One Soldier Too Many,” in his echo of the left-wing, Bush hating, talking points – regarding the justification, or lack  thereof, for the Iraq war, does a disservice to the truth.
He labels Publisher Art Hall a Bush Kool-Aid drinker in response to Hall’s previous column “Trying Times,” which legitimately in my opinion, makes the comparison to the sacrifice made in other wars by our men in uniform. No question, there is room for disagreement on Bush’s strategy and methods of prosecution regarding Iraq.
The Bush haters have twisted and nuanced every fact, and report on this war to make the president look bad. It has become more about politics and ideology, at the expense of our national security. The pacifist, left wing, cool-aid drinkers ignore the reality of the threat that we face. 9-11 was the wake-up call. The evidence however, was there long before that…before the Bush administration. I would suggest the writer do some objective research, if that is possible. The media misrepresents, and leaves out much significant information that would tend to justify our presence in Iraq.
Go to or for unbiased intelligence not reported by the mainstream, anti-Bush media. One of Saddam’s own generals for example, in a recent interview admitted the existence of WMDs and their removal to Syria prior to the invasion…with Russia’s help. The connection between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, and Osama Bin-Laden existed.
This is really not news. The Clinton administration is on record citing the threat that Saddam posed to world peace via his possession of WMDs and his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Clinton felt Saddam should be removed, even back then(prior to 9-11). You will never see that side presented in the press. We are at war with an ideology(radical Islam) that has influence all throughout the Middle East as well as Asia and various other areas around the globe. Its stated goal is the destruction and subjugation of the USA and the West.
Saddam was a piece of that puzzle. He murdered over a million people. He was in collusion with terrorists and supported their efforts. We must put politics aside and unite behind this effort. Our very existence as a democratic republic is at stake. President Bush never stated that WMDs were the sole reason for going into Iraq. He did however say that we were in for a long fight. Some have selective memories.
North Cape May
Builders Make Life Hectic for Neighbors
To The Editor:
Although I am a strong advocate for the new construction in North Wildwood, I believe that the builders should have some responsibility for the mess and inconvenience that their building projects are causing existing residents. There has been construction on our street at Seventh and New Jersey for two years, and during that time we have been bothered with dirt and a general disruption of our daily lives with noise and vibrations from the equipment.
Large construction vehicles line the street and use our parking spaces in some cases blocking driveways. There was never any fence erected to protect our properties from the debris that blows off the construction site.  Repeated calls to the builder go unanswered.
Isn’t there any recourse for all the damage and inconvenience that this new construction is having on our properties?  Shouldn’t these builders be accountable for protecting the neighboring houses from their mess?
North Wildwood
Super 60s Sunday Was Well Received
To The Editor:
This responds to the Spouter from Fox Chase-North Wildwood who obviously is not a big Monkees fan.
Do not blame Jack Fichter, who, on the other hand is a big fan. If his report was slanted, then try not to read any of his future Monkee articles.
I am the owner of Cool Scoops and I take offense at the comment that Super 60’s Sunday was a disaster. I understand it’s easy to make nonsensical comments in Spout Off, but please take the time to visit us and I can show the pile of letters and e-mails we received from fans and nice people who enjoyed the event and appreciate what we try to do for the Wildwoods.
The Missing Links are fabulous and talented studio musicians who are being hired at various venues on the East Coast because of their appearance here on April 30. We again thank the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce for having the faith and determination to create such a wonderful event.
Regarding the Saturday night concert, I agree that Mt. Dolenz did not pick his greatest hits to perform, but the concert on the whole was entertaining and worth every penny.
In fact, if people remained at the concert long enough, they would have been part of musical history when Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz performed together for the first time in years.
As for the seating issue, contact our friends at the Chamber of Commerce. I’m sure they will be helpful.
North Wildwood

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