Amen to the praise
for Margate's Cookie Till
Regarding the Nov. 18 story, "Community pitches in to feed workers rebuilding Steve and Cookie's in Margate":
If my wife, Grace, and I were still in Atlantic City, we too would have joined in efforts to help rebuild Steve and Cookie's.
I first met Cookie Till when I was interim pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Atlantic City. She attended a banquet honoring Pop Lloyd, and on the following Sunday, she attended worship at the church.
As Grace and I got to know her, we discovered that Till was one of those rare, gifted and committed people who act as a bridge over the gap between what is not yet, and what could be.
We rode with her as she took us to the places in Atlantic City where she had helped others establish gardens. We found that neither her spirit nor her vision were stunted by the negatives that too often are rooted in people and in communities.
I am reminded of President John F. Kennedy's words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Cookie Till got others to do things for their communities and Atlantic City without waiting for the city to do things for them.
Oscar Castro, a former busboy at her restaurant, is quoted in the story saying, "She's an awesome, great person." I know that I join many, many others who say, "Amen," to those words about Cookie.
REV. GILBERT H. CALDWELL
The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell was interim pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Atlantic City from August 2010 to January 2011.
Having a dog in the lap
is a danger for drivers
Cell-phone use and texting are illegal while driving in New Jersey. Having a dog in your lap while driving should also be illegal, if it is not already.
What a severe distraction. What if the dog reacts to a situation and distracts the driver so that he or she has an accident?
Get the dog off your lap and into the back seat.
'Best of intentions'
paved way for waste
Regarding the Nov. 25 feature, "A conversation with: New Jersey Turnpike Authority Executive Director Veronique Hakim":
Is it the bridge over the Great Egg Harbor Bay or the highway to somewhere else? Hakim used an interesting choice of words - "a bad project started with the best of intentions" - to describe the ridiculous fencing that was put up around this Garden State Parkway bridge. We all know where the best intentions can take us.
This project cost $250,000 to install the fence and an unacknowledged amount to remove it, along with the cost of the new plantings.
Despite the efforts of many hard-working and dedicated public-sector employees, the abandon with which our tax money is wasted is staggering.
Egg Harbor Township
Thursday, Friday sales
ate into Thanksgiving
Watching and reading the news of Black Friday - and even late Thursday - sales and visualizing the characters in the "run for the gifts" saddened me.
I thought about the treasured time our family spent leading up to and including the holiday feast and the company we shared over the Thanksgiving time period. How disappointing to acknowledge that our national tradition was so casually abused in the sport of retail purchasing.
I realize commercial enterprises place great emphasis on Black Friday sales, especially in our current economic situation, but little enough family interaction takes place these days, with the advent of social networking.
Maybe, in years to come, folks will realize the importance of setting aside a day for reflection, and with it, gratitude for life's bounty - in feast and family.
CINTRA C. CUNNINGHAM
Will all Stockton vendors
have to pass litmus test?
Regarding the Nov. 21 story, "Student Senate asks Stockton to expel anti-gay Chick-fil-A":
The decision by the Student Senate of Richard Stockton College is disturbing. I would assume Senate members are supposed to represent the students, which they surely are not as two-thirds of the campus wants Chick-fil-A to remain. Is it not possible to opt out of the meal plan altogether if one opposes Chick-fil-A rather than deprive the vast majority of students from a choice they clearly prefer?
This is another instance of the tail wagging the dog in today's America.
If indeed Chick-fil-A is expelled from campus, I look forward to reading research led by the Student Senate detailing and evaluating the personal beliefs and spending practices of all of the other owners, vendors and providers of goods and services to the college. This will guarantee that no students feel they are being discriminated against, as any organization with any presence on campus should be treated similarly to Chick-fil-A. Tuition and tax money provide the funding, so let all be held equally accountable.
Stop all the negativity
about Atlantic City casinos
As an employee of the casino industry, I am sick and tired of reading all the negative articles about the possible closing of some Atlantic City casinos.
We are all striving to keep our heads above water in this industry and to get our businesses running smoothly and successfully again. Not to mention all of the many thousands of employees who need to work to pay bills and to support their families.
Too often it seems there are negative articles about the Atlantic Club casino. We are not closing. Why on Earth would you write gloomy articles on the closing of casinos? Is that good for business?
The Atlantic Club and all of the other casinos have survived through thick and thin and will continue to thrive and grow, despite all of the negative publicity.
Don't ease building rules
in Ocean City dune zone
On Oct. 17, the Ocean City Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend to City Council that it approve, as part of the Master Plan, a change to the Beach and Dune Zone that would greatly reduce control over the size and scope of homes in the area on the east side of Beach Road and 4900 Wesley Avenue. During Sandy's high tides, the dune just north of 237 Beach Road was breached, filling the surrounding streets with tons of sand and water. All of the homes on Beach Road sustained severe damage.
Currently any changes to these properties must be brought before the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a use variance since there are no residences or businesses currently allowed in the zone. The Planning Board recommends these residential properties be allowed as a conditional use and allowed to be enlarged, renovated or rebuilt without further oversight, as long as they meet the requirements of an R-1-60 zone (residential single family on a property at least 60 feet wide). This would allow very large homes to be built in this very sensitive area.
The Planning Board's recommendation would require the owner of these properties to allow the city to build dunes east of their properties. The dunes that withstood the storm surge, however, are west of these homes. The owner of 233 and 237 Beach Road has not given this permission to the city.
Common sense would dictate that after Sandy any changes City Council makes to the Beach and Dune Zone would be to more stringently control building in that sensitive area. It is incumbent on City Council to refuse to make this change. To do anything else would be to give in to extortion by these owners rather than to adhere to the city's responsibility of protecting the greater good.