Posts Tagged ‘The Circle’

Taking stock of a pot of gold

March 19, 2010

There is a pot ‘o gold out there bigger than any leprechaun’s stash. It’s the more than $15 million owed to Sussex County and school districts in penalties, back taxes and fees. Imagine what they could do with that money.

Of the total, most of it (about $14 million) is owed in back property taxes with $7.8 million in arrears in school taxes. That’s about $1 million for each district in the county.

The county is serious about collecting the money and was able to bring in nearly $800,000 in property taxes and $400,000 in water and sewer fees during an amnesty program, which ended in March.

There is still a long way to go.

Sussex officials are looking at various ways to get their money. The most ambitious is an idea promulgated by Council President Vance Phillips who wants to publish the worst delinquent’s names on the county’s website.

The county has hired its first collections manager and officials have told staff that tax sales are OK to pursue. Nasty grams are going to be sent, and I’m sure some doors are going to be knocked on.

Here is another idea. There is a nice set of stocks in front of Citizens Bank on The Circle in Georgetown. Why not set up a time each week for the worst offenders to spend some time getting humiliated in public?

Circle off limits to Lewes protesters

September 18, 2009

Prior to the Thursday, Sept. 10, Sussex County Planning and Zoning public hearing on the Village Centre rezoning request, several Lewes residents planned a protest on The Circle to draw attention to their opposition to the application.

As the protesters, holding up their signs in a pouring rain about 5 p.m., assembled along the curb around The Circle, Georgetown Town Manager Gene Dvornick greeted them.

He explained to the group they weren’t permitted to gather on The Circle because irrigation work was taking place. A yellow rope tied to light posts encircled the circle warning people to stay away.

The Lewes group was asked to take their protest to the sidewalks in front of the administration building, as long as pedestrian access was not denied.

During this discussion, Georgetown Mayor Ed Lambden and two Georgetown police officers also appeared. The mayor must have just come from work because he was still in his U.S. Postal Service uniform.

Some of the Lewes protesters got into rather long discussions with the officers, but eventually all moved off The Circle. That group must have been reliving their days of taking it to “the man.”

Although there has been some controversy about other crowd estimates in the news lately, this group of protesters was easy to count and numbered about 30. What was the average age of the protesters? Let’s say most qualified for Social Security several years ago.

I guess the Georgetown officials were expecting a gang of Lewes hooligans and were prepared for a large-scale protest.

To be honest, it seemed a little surreal to see the highest-ranking officials in Georgetown and two police officers watching over a small group of mostly senior citizens huddled together in the rain holding up signs.

John Mateyko, organizer of the Lewes protesters, said the city manager told him “you can’t be here.” He said the group did not have a permit, but one is not needed in a public area like The Circle.

“We had a personality breakdown, and I decided not to push it,” Mateyko said.

And what about the closing of The Circle, the most logical of all places to voice your opinion in Sussex County?

After some investigative digging, I uncovered some information in the Georgetown Town Council minutes that irrigation work was scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10. According to the minutes, pedestrians were to be kept off The Circle between noon and 2 p.m. for an irrigation inspection. Maybe the inspection went a little longer than anticipated.

The Lewes groups have planned another protest starting at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29, prior to the county council public hearing. One can only wonder if more work will be taking place on The Circle.

Earth Day should never end

April 27, 2009

It amazes me that the hype surrounding Earth Day dies off so quickly when it should be part of our lifestyle.

I can recall exactly what I was doing leading up to the first Earth Day in 1970. As a freshman in high school, I was leading a corps of students in an aluminum can drive. We walked the back roads of Sussex County picking up thousands of cans, filling up my backyard to overflowing.

The good news is, because of the price of aluminum, it’s hard to find cans on the roads and byways today.

That activity on the first Earth Day ignited a fire in me about the importance of protecting and enjoying the environment that has never burned out.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but most people do little or nothing when it comes to protecting Mother Earth.

In my neighborhood, about 10 percent of the residents participate in the Delaware Recycles curbside pick-up program, which is close to the statewide participation number. Most of the people I know, even though I try to lead by example, do not recycle or reuse, which is the foundation of any move to green.

Why? Money and inconvenience. Living in a throw-away society, most people are not brought up to reuse or recycle and to do so would require a major shift in routine. Secondly, there is no money in it – at least not much. When recycling puts serious money in people’s wallets, you will see that participation number jump like a Mexican jumping bean.

It’s not always been that way. My dear grandmother lived through the Great Depression and World War II years. Through necessity, her family recycled and reused just about everything. For her entire life, she saved scraps of aluminum foil, leftover food and jars – just about everything.

We have moved so far in the opposite direction, we may have gone beyond the point of no return.

But, there is some good news, and it’s on The Circle. County government has started an aggressive recycling program – with help from the public that uses the recycling center. In March, more than 20,000 pounds of material destined for the landfill was diverted, collected at county offices and recycled.

The county is doing its part – keeping about 100 tons of material out of the landfill each year.

Tea and protest has a familiar ring

April 14, 2009

Suppose they gave a tea party and no one came?

I don’t think that will be a problem Wednesday, April 15, on The Circle in downtown Georgetown. One of the more than 1,000 nationwide protest TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. in the historic spot where other protests have taken place over the years.

There are a lot of mad people out there who are fed up with the direction the government is taking. Are these people sore-loser Republicans who just can’t resign themselves to a Democrat-controlled government?

Some may be, but most feel the government is broken and is being run by politicians who have forgotten they represent the voters who put them in office. They feel a wake-up call, or bop on the head, is long overdue.

FOXY NEWS – Most of those who are mad as hell and not taking it anymore (with apologies to the movie Network) sit at home cursing the nightly news.

When they’ve had enough they eventually turn to Fox News and never return to other mainstream media. Don’t get me wrong, I like Fox News. But Fox News is so hung up on being fair and balanced they forget there is a lot of interesting news out there that has nothing to do with politics, President Obama or government.

There are times when you need to see a story or two about a two-headed cow in Iowa or a guy with a string collection in West Virginia.

DO THE DANCE – I have to count myself among those who are angry, but my anger is geared more toward basic necessities. I’m mad as hell that my health insurance premium has doubled, gas prices are $2 a gallon, electric rates are sky high, food is $10 a bag at the grocery store and everything from cable TV to haircuts to parking meter fees is going up.

I think I’ll organize a GEAR (Give Everyone A Raise) party to get the word out we all need more cash.

For health reasons, it doesn’t pay to stay angry for long. I break the spell by doing the Gratitude Dance. Go ahead and Google it – I dare you.

Oh, by the way, I’ll be on The Circle on tax day between noon and 2 p.m.