Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Application for Thomas Ogle Grave Site Historical Marker

Thomas Ogle's Tomb, as of Aug 21, 2021
The following has been submitted with an application for a Historical Marker at the grave site of Thomas Ogle, who will have died 250 years ago as of Dec 23, 2021.

Background:
In 1955, when DelDOT first widened State Road (SR) 4 at Salem Church Road, the Thomas Ogle House stood in the way. The State purchased the land containing the house, which included his grave site. Delaware donated the historic house to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which agreed to relocate it. Unfortunately, the DAR’s plans fell through and the historic house was razed.

The original gravesite, a flat stone slab inscribed with the epitaph of Thomas Ogle, was placed over a slightly raised base. It split into sixteen pieces (large and small) that were removed in the late 1980s during an expansion of SR4. The broken sections, some with illegible or missing words, are being preserved at the University of Delaware’s Center for Archaeological Research. During the period the gravesite became overgrown and unsightly.

While building the new SR4/SR273/Salem Church Road interchange, DelDOT took historic and cultural responsibility for the gravesite. It avoided the grave area by shifting the ramp away. Using proven archaeological techniques, DelDOT expertly and respectfully confirmed that Thomas Ogle’s remains were still at the original location. Without disturbing the remains, DelDOT prepared new concrete footings on which a new brick mausoleum/base was constructed to support a restored capstone. The red brick wall is backed with solid blocks to establish a masonry wall of 6’ 6” long by 3’ 6” wide by 20” high.

New wayside on the Jack Markel Rail Trail in New Castle
Thomas Ogle's restored gravesite commemorates the Ogletown area and the Ogle family influence, but is poorly maintained with no visible emphasis on history, place making and public access. Citing highway safety, no parking of any kind was installed from the SR4/Salem Church intersection. However, the East Coast Greenway (ECG) is a shared-use pathway (SUP) facility along SR4 that passes approx 50 yards' from the gravesite. The ECG connects to the Ogletown Baptist Church (OBC) via a 4' wide, 500' long asphalt sliver of what was formerly Red Mill Road. With no maintenance to speak of, mother nature (the elements) is reclaiming both of these facilities along with the gravesite. It should be noted that OBC greatly expanded its car parking lot since the idea of public access was last revisited in the 1990s. This lot is grossly underutilized except on Sunday mornings, and today serves as defacto gravesite car parking. Either the OBC or DelDOT needs to repave the 4' Red Mill asphalt out to 8' (according to MUTCD guidelines), and the ECG similarly repaved in an inviting manner that includes a spur pathway, bike parking and kiosk immediately adjacent to the gravesite.

Originally a cross-roads, farming and gathering community, Thomas Ogle and Ogle family generations have lived in the Area for over 250 years. A writer for the Wilmington News Journal in 1998 said it well: “Thomas Ogle’s grave is the last vestige of a town that was founded before the American Revolution and has been virtually under siege ever since”. Large office buildings, condos, apartments, sub-divisions, shopping centers, highways and streets have long since replaced the pastoral setting of Thomas’ days.

Statement of Significance:
Thomas Ogle, (born 1705 in DE, died 23 Dec. 1771 in New Castle Co., DE) was a grandson of the soldier/immigrant John Ogle, (born 1648/49 – died 1684) who came from England with the Richard Nicolls’ Expedition in 1664 and was possibly the first Ogle in the Americas. Thomas became a wealthy and influential businessman and planter in New Castle County, DE. His various businesses, large land holdings and community influence led to the sizable area around his home being named Ogle Town (later Ogletown) sometime before 1762. The stately house, which Thomas operated as an Inn, survived for 216 years. Thomas was buried near the historic house and a reasonable distance from the then narrow, dirt roads that formed the crossroad.

Thomas Ogle’s various businesses, large land holdings and community influence led to the sizable area around his home being named Ogle Town (later Ogletown) sometime before 1762. The stately house, which Thomas also operated as an Inn, survived for 216 years. Thomas was buried near the historic house and a reasonable distance from the then narrow dirt roads that formed the crossroads.

Respectfully Submitted by:
Kenneth M. Ogle, President, Ogle/Ogles Family Association, Inc.
Francis Warnock & Angela Connolly, OgletownResilience.org, 1stBikes.org

Above: Bicycling to Thomas Ogle's tomb in Spring of 2016. The site appears somewhat maintained as little as 5 years ago. Today, a quarter millennium since his death, it has nearly disappeared under tree overgrowth.

Also see: Abandoned and forgotten: Thomas Ogle, 1705-1771

Thursday, August 19, 2021

1st State Bikes presents comments for Churchmans Crossing Plan

Project boundary (click to enlarge)
Cross-posted from 1st State Bikes

Greetings, Wilmapco.
Please add our comments below to the Churchmans Crossing Plan, before the Sept 2021 deadline. Upon generations of failed elected leadership, and climate catastrophe now looming, the need to facilitate active and green transport modes could not be more dire. Thank you very much.

In no particular order:
  • The project scope contains several bi-directional SUP facilities (Shared Use Pathways) that were built decades ago. Along SR4 and SR58 is the East Coast Greenway (ECG). These need to be improved and/or rehabbed using best design & engineering guidance (APBP/NACTO compliance) esp where crossing through intersections.
  • Where SUP facilities exist, or will be added, these should never go off-alignment with acute zig-zagging through intersections via narrow sidewalks; SUPs should maintain their full width (min. 8' wide asphalt, buffered where possible) and continue in parallel to the road they are on, including through radial turns. Look to DelDOT's "SR299, SR1 to Catherine Street Project (pdf)" as a good example, or APBP/NACTO guidelines.
  • An 8' asphalt SUP facility should replace the narrow sidewalk on SR58/Churchmans Rd from just east of Christiana Hospital to at least Cavaliers, and include a marked, button actuated crosswalk (of equal width) under SR7/1. A SUP currently exists along the Christiana Hospital property, and there is a well designed bike-ped bridge over I95 further east on SR58 as you approach Cavaliers. These should all be connected in one contiguous 8' bi-directional facility, as an improvement to the ECG.
  • Upgrade/improve/rehab the following SUP connectors using best design & engineering guidance (APBP/NACTO compliance):
    => Lisbeth Rd to Brennen School parking lot
    => Old Ogletown Rd to SR4-Salem Church Jct
    => Prides Crossing to SR4 SUP/ECG
    => E. Cherokee Dr to Johnson Rd
    => SR4 SUP/ECG continuity at Augusta
  • Convert abandoned roads into SUPs:
    => Old Harmony Rd from north of Greenridge Rd to Old Capitol Trail
    => S. Wakefield thru Leathermans Run
  • Dearth of parks: Streets used as ball courts
    A park that includes ball courts, walking & biking paths, benches and other forms of place and destination-making is desperately needed for Harmony Woods and the region in general.
  • Add a shoulder bike lane on Salem Church Rd between I95 and Old Baltimore Pike, on what is technically "Bike Route 1". Cars and trucks cannot safely pass cyclists here without entering the opposing lane, and road rage commonly ensues.
  • Reduce the speed limit on SR4 from 50 mph to 40 mph, and 35 mph in school zones: DE Deaf-Blind, Kirk MS. Several speed studies over the years have shown rampant speeding along this corridor, in access of 57 avg mph. Investigate the use of traffic calming measures such as median vegetation plantings, signage, and other means to protect the children from these schools, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. They often cross SR4 at Augusta, going to and from 7/11 for snacks. Reducing the speed limit cannot be emphasized enough. Delaware is now ranked #1 deadliest State in the nation for biking, and near #1 for walking, largely due to abject failure in this regard.
  • Recognize and honor the passing of Thomas Ogle, founder of Ogletown, who died exactly 250 years ago on 12/23/1771. This should include a spur pathway connector from the existing SR4 SUP aka ECG, along with a historical wayside and some bike parking (as seen at regular intervals along, e.g. the Markell Trail/Indus Track). This article in Delaware on-line from 2015 highlights that very need, which went ignored.
  • Typical "goat path" from the ECG in S. Newark
    Reduce neighborhood street speed limits from 25 to 20 mph, led by a "20 is Plenty" safety campaign or similar. Cost estimate HERE.
  • Assess, formalize and convert all "goat path" connections into SUPs. These are commonly visible coming off existing SUPs, usually connecting to adjacent shopping centers and strip malls. These occur when numerous people walk or bike across grass that eventually erodes and forms its own trail. These should be upgraded to pathways.
Please advise how we may track our comments through the process, to verify if they are being considered for implementation or not. Thank you for listening.

SIGNED: Angela Connolly and Frank Warnock

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Abandoned and forgotten: Thomas Ogle, 1705-1771

Mother Nature closing in: Thomas Ogle's tomb as of Aug 3, 2021

Thomas Ogle, founder of Ogletown, will have passed away 250 years ago as of Dec 23, 2021. Unless something secret is planned that we don't know about, this historical moment in time -- a quarter-millennium ago -- may come and go with nary a peep from regional State and NCC Legislators. According to a reliable source familiar with historical preservation and legislation in Delaware:

Asking your State legislators for a proclamation from the General Assembly is a good place to start. The legislature won't be back in session now until January but a staff person can help draft one during the summer months, and in the opening days of legislative session read it and present it to your group.
 
Next step: It takes a while to get funding from the State as they have just completed this fiscal year and won't have access to money until next June, but this is the right time to plant the seed. It may take as long as 2 or 3 years as the legislators will have to negotiate with Parks & Rec and DelDOT, but the more clearly you can write a one page proposal of who, what, when and where (about 100 words) and get it to appropriate staff people in those agencies, with cc's to your elected officials, the better luck you will have.


Though most of this doesn't sound very difficult per se, involvement from our end will be difficult to stomach. 3 years of our lives were lost, discarded, thrown away by the region's legislators in our attempt to save the Orphanage Property, which was crushed under the boot of DE government corruption that included conspiracy, profiteering and a rampant conflict of interest.

According to The Ogle Genealogist family publication:
Ogle Genealogist Page 32

Thomas Ogle (born 1705 in DE, died on Dec 23 1771 in New Castle County (NCC), DE, possibly married three times and with nine known children), was the son of Thomas Ogle (born 1666/72 in DE, died between Juuly 30 and Sept 18 1734 also in NCC, DE) and Mary Crawford. He was the grandson of the immigrant John Ogle (born 1648/49 — died 1684) and Elizabeth, whose maiden name has not been irrefutably identified.

Thomas became a wealthy and influential businessman and planter in New Castle County. He owned three mills and a wharf at Christiana Bridge, hundreds of acres of agricultural and forested land in NCC, and many additional investments.

Thomas built a stylish, two-story, brick house in 1739 at the northeast corner of a junction of three important roads: present day DE SR273, which extended from Christiana Bridge to Nottingham in PA; DE SR4 4 (Chestnut Hill Rd.) from Stanton through Newark DE to the Elk River in Maryland; and Red Mill Road, which ran north from the intersection of SR273 and SR4 to Corner Ketch. All these roads were significant transportation arteries by 1750 and have remained important for 250 years. A fourth highway, Salem Church Road, was constructed in 1827 in a southerly direction from the intersection.

Thomas Ogle's various businesses, large land holdings, and community influence led to the sizable area around his home being named Ogle Town (later Ogletown) sometime before 1762. The stately house, which Thomas also operated as an inn, survived for 216 years. Thomas was buried near the historic house and a reasonable distance from the then narrow, dirt roads that formed the crossroads.

Sadly, don't look to Senators Bryan Townsend and Jack Walsh, Reps Osienski and David Bentz, or NCC's Lisa Diller and Tim Sheldon (all of whom represent Ogletown) to recognize anything about Thomas Ogle and this historical milestone. No park or monument designation, no spur pathway, no kiosk, not even a wayside. And why should they care? The region is socio-economically depressed and undeserving of nice things that include history and place-making. As demonstrated by the STOP travesty, citizen advocacy would likely falter (or even be laughed at) in the face of low to no public or volunteer support.

Around the anniversary date of Dec 23, we will visit the burial site with landscaping tools of our own, and leave a tribute behind to remind Thomas that someone was indeed thinking of him (UPDATE 08/17/2021: we received an email from Delaware Public Archives (DPA) with regard to the Delaware Historical Markers Program. They are supportive of a Historical Marker installed at the site, which can only happen via an application process. Stay tuned for any progress.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Comments on the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan

Cross-posted from 1st State Bikes

Greetings, DE State Parks.
Please add our comments below to the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan, before the 8-2-2021 deadline. Thank you very much.

In no particular order:

  • There is only 1 park bench/rest stop along the paved Tri-Valley SUP (Shared Use Pthway). There needs to be more, at equal distances, so people can stop, rest and take in the views. The same goes for the entire length of the Pomeroy Trail.
  • "Shared Zone" (or similar, MUTCD) and posted speed limit signs need to be added along Creek Road and Wedgewood Roads where these are paved and shared with motor vehicles. See attached image (right). Presently there is no signage, and no posted speed limit, and cars -- often times speeding -- are weaving between bike-ped traffic.
  • We do NOT agree with the others who are against using stone dust, fine gravel or limestone or other packing materials on trails. Please continue to use these as a proven means to control erosion and formalize trails as needed.
  • Please REMOVE the hanging cable that is blocking Tom Sharpe Lane, at Judge Morris Estate, turning in from Polly Drummond Road. This is a trip or crash hazard, and should be replaced with a removable bollard(s) or partial gate with clear bike-ped access, e.g. along Creek Rd.
  • Tell DelDOT to replace the unsightly concrete barriers on Creek Road at the Pomeroy Trail bridge curve with something more aesthetically pleasing. These are an eyesore and detract from the park's otherwise beautiful scenery.
  • With the advent of "Gravel" bikes and wider trail riding, park trails and pathways should be sub-grouped into the following categories, and mapped as such, e.g. 1. PAVED  2. GRAVEL  3. MTB
  • The Tri-Valley SUP is very overgrown between 9 foot Rd and its southern terminus at Thompson Station/SR72, and is reduced to about 2/3 width. This is hazardous for bi-directional bike-ped traffic. Please perform maintenance, including mowing and edging. At 8', this is the min recommended width for such a facility according to FHWA.
  • Improve safety for the bike-ped crossing between Creek Rd (gravel section) and Tweeds Mill (nature center). A large-sized MUTCD-approved R1-5 in each direction would be a big improvement. As it stands now, most motorists continue through the marked crosswalk, even with people standing there waiting.
  • Connect via SUP the Carpenter Area with the Pomeroy Trail, and that with the Possum Hill and Middle Run Areas.
  • Continue working on a WCCSP-Fair Hill connection via SUP, if that is still being considered.
Thank you so much for listening. Please let us know if there is a way to track our comments, to verify whether or not they are being considered.

--Frank Warnock & Angela Connolly


Above: A hanging cable blocks the entrance to Judge Morris Estate at White Clay Creek State Park. Bollard(s) should always be used where foot & pedal traffic is permitted. Users -- especially the disabled -- should not have to lift their bikes, step over, or cycle around a lengthy stone wall to access the Estate.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Privilege Has It's Rewards: Part 5

Cross-posted from Bryan-Townsend.com. Read the full series here.

This post was featured on Bike Delaware's Facebook page on April 11. It's pretty self-explanatory, in terms of what regions of New Castle County receive priority based on socio-economic status. Surely, Rep Osienski will head over there again, outside his District 24, to help cut the ribbon with Baumbach (Rep, 24th) when completed. Bike Delaware is a developer's wildest dream, in terms of a corrupt org that drives advocacy only for the privileged few; forget the 'unwashed' -- or those living in the vast suburbs that include Ogletown-S. Newark.

Saving the Orphanage Property required only 10% the cost of the Route 9 Library

Monday, April 19, 2021

Surprise! (not): Delaware 5th loudest State in the U.S.

Cross-posted from Bryan-Townsend.com

Time and time again
, Delaware fails miserably when it comes to leadership and quality of life. Here is yet another measure reaching the top 5: Noise. This study only crunched some numbers, and cited statistics, but it failed to include other factors such as law enforcement (level of, lack thereof). It didn't include the colossal failure by the State and its various Police agencies to penalize and/or prosecute for drag racing and modified vehicle exhaust systems. These include "fart can mufflers", straight pipes or other modified systems that vastly increases vehicle noise. For most residents living in New Castle County's suburbs, for example, even a half mile from the nearest arterial road can sound like track-side at a NASCAR event. Many people hear it inside their homes, even above their TV, especially on weekend nights. There is no police enforcement of this crime, so the offenders know they can get away with it. Often times, the decibel on acceleration is 120+ decibels, which if you're a pedestrian or bicyclist, is hurtful or damaging to the ear. This is assault, and 100% illegal according to Delaware law, in multiple code sections (HERE & HERE). Yet, as expected, it gets a free pass by Townsend and cohorts.

Where is Senator Townsend on this? Nowhere, that's where. He would rather pass a bill to criminalize snow on car rooftops, that may happen a few times each Winter. On the other hand, oppressive and painful vehicle noise from non-standard illegal exhaust systems goes FAR further in destroying the qualify of life, health and wellbeing of everyday Delawareans. Why doesn't Townsend and his Democrat-controlled legislature introduce a bill to step up prosecution of this deliberate and disgusting act by a small minority that hurts the clear majority, AND wildlife? Even the City of Newark and University Police won't enforce deafening vehicle noise, in an environment rich with walking and bicycling on or near the roads.

Senator Townsend, along with Rep Edward Osienski and NCC's Lisa Diller are the epitome of failed leadership. Not just in Delaware, but any State. Until we rise up and hold them accountable on issues like this, there will be no end to the corruption, in sight. Delaware is represented by the 4th most criminal State govt in the nation. Its residents have to act and vote with this in mind, in order to stop them.


Vehicle noise assault on a "complete street" in New Castle County, Delaware.

“If anyone walking along the sidewalk were to make deafening noises, spew poisonous gas into innocent faces, and threaten people with a deadly weapon, they would be arrested. Yet a few feet away, on the public roadway, it is considered normal behavior” ~Steve Stollman

Saturday, April 17, 2021

In Walsh's Senate District 9, equal LOS for non-motorists is a foreign concept

The following email was sent to Senator Jack Walsh, Delaware District 9 (cross-posted from 1st State Bikes)

Greetings, Senator Walsh,

What is your plan for 2021, to repair and maintain what few asphalt pathways are in your region? These serve as vital connectors for foot/pedal traffic. As of right now, and last year, they are an unmitigated disaster. We have attached a few pics in this email that you should recognize, but there are plenty of others.

There is Bike Delaware, Delaware Greenways, DelDOT's Complete Streets, Gov Markel's Trails & Pathways initiative, Gov Minner's Livable DE, Safe Routes to School, etc etc we could go on and on. These pathways should be clearly defined, with min. 8' wide smooth asphalt.

Rep Baumbach is busy cutting ribbons on parks and pathways projects in his district all the time, in Newark. But yours -- like [Senator] Townsend's -- is like a 3rd world country, at best.

What are you going to do about it?   -- Frank Warnock & Angela Connolly



Above: An overgrown hedgerow and a 2" raised steel plate are the ultimate crash hazard along Wyoming Road. Yet this is routinely used as an extension of Newark's Hall Trail.

Above: Abandoned pathway along Wyoming Road in Newark. What was once wide and appealing for multi-modal use is avoided in favor of the road shoulder. 

Above: What remains of a pathway spur connector, between Prides Crossing and East Coast Greenway along SR4.

Above: Brookbend "Park". Viable parks, pathways and placemaking are virtually non-existent in Walsh's District 9, and (Senator) Townsend's District 11.

Above: Bike Path, aka East Coast Greenway, parallel to SR 4, also in Walsh's District 9. Walsh could ask DelDOT to rehab this facility, and others, perhaps attached to local road rehab projects.

Walsh's reply as of 4/14/2021: I had previously answered your question on one of these paths. It is located on private property and the Church is required to clean up the path. This is the first I am hearing about the other two paths. One path pictured is the county's responsibility, so I can reach out to Councilman Sheldon's office about that one. The other path is on Route 4 and I will contact DelDOT to get them to clean that up.

No, Walsh did not answer anything, not in writing. We can find nothing in writing, and requested that he forward any sent emails that may have been overlooked. "3rd World Country" as defining Walsh's District 9 (and Townsend's District 11) for pathways, parks and destination/place-making is 100% accurate. It may even be an understatement. Will he answer our inquiry above, with a serious action plan? That remains to be seen.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Another Fail: East Coast Greenway in Ogletown

Cross-posted from 1st State Bikes

According to the East Coast Greenway (ECG) website greenway.org
The East Coast Greenway is a walking and biking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida, connecting our nation’s most populated corridor. The East Coast Greenway is designed to transform the 15 states and 450 communities it connects through active and healthy lifestyles, sustainable transportation, community engagement, climate resilience, tourism, and more. The Greenway offers a safe place for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and more — of all ages and abilities — to commute, exercise, and visit new destinations.

For Delaware's portion of the ECG: Enjoy the charming historic city of New Castle before continuing on the New Castle Riverfront Greenway along the Delaware River and heading westward to Newark, starting out on the Penn Farm Trail. The route incorporates a mix of side paths and roads to Newark, a small college town near the Maryland border where travelers will find themselves on the James F. Hall Trail before hitting the road again to the Maryland border.

There are numerous infrastructure and safety issues with the East Coast Greenway (ECG) in Delaware. Among them a section of shared use path (SUP) along Route 4 in Ogletown, where it crosses Augusta Drive to a 1 block section of shared Route 4 frontage street. This crossing is impeded by a raised N-S center median and there is no marked crossing through it. Crossing here is taking your life in your hands, with high speed traffic blindly turning onto Augusta exactly where ECG users attempt to cross.

Very recently
, this intersection was marked out for a traffic signal upgrade (photo left). In contacting DelDOT, it turns out that other features are being replaced as well, including pedestrian refuge islands and corner curb ramps. An existing pedestrian crosswalk across Route 4 to the "Shops at Augusta" (a small strip mall) will also be refreshed, but DelDOT will not be adding a crossing of Augusta to maintain ECG continuity.

Why isn't the ECG part of this upgrade? Even leveling the median for an unmarked at-grade crossing would be of help, as bicyclists are likely to circumvent around nearer to the lanes of Route 4. We wrote to DelDOT to inquire, and learned that none of this would be considered. In their words, "this signal rebuild has a limited scope and would not be able to address the geometric issues regarding the installation of a new crossing on SB Augusta Drive. However, as you requested we can add the R10-15 (turning vehicles yield to pedestrians sign) on the right side of SB Augusta Drive. It will be added at the end of the construction. In addition, we will forward your request for this intersection to DelDOT Project Development or the PAR program for further investigation or consideration in future projects" and "it would have doubled the scope of the project in both time and cost".

Adding a R10-15 on southbound Augusta is hardly solace for what should have been. This was a big pathways opportunity missed that could and should have earned the scope of this signal project. Minus any fix -- even a simple median leveling as suggested -- Augusta will now remain an impediment, as an unmarked and unsafe crossing in the ECG for years to come. It will still require stepping over or biking around a median in an uncontrolled manner (YouTube video). Meanwhile, there are plenty of examples of crosswalks added in similar rehab projects around Delaware one could point to. And, It has been understood for a decade now that Complete Streets improvements should be considered via reconstruction & rehab projects if at all possible -- even if additional funds might be needed. The ECG right of way should be of no exception.

Par for the course.
 Just like the loss of the Orphanage Property as a park and pathways system (the region's last chance), privilege does indeed matter. Ogletown-S. Newark is 'undeserving' of these amenities based largely on socio-economic status. Other regions of higher rank and privilege fair much better in Delaware when it comes to multi-modal and community investment. Think: would it be the same outcome if this involved the Delaware Greenway in North Wilmington?

For the record: As we have seen over and over again, it was just another failure on the part of oversight orgs such as Bike Delaware, WilmapcoDE Greenways, and area Legislators that a critical greenways/pathways improvement opportunity came and went with nary a peep. If they weren't made aware, perhaps DelDOT lacks the mechanism to reach out when a rehab or reconstruction project impacts a SUP pathway system like the ECG? Each of these org's missions emphasizes the need for multi-modal connectivity and networks that facilitate safe bicycling and walking. Bike Delaware in particular has a dismal track record in this regard.


Above: Google Streetview. East Coast Greenway 8' wide SUP is seen coming down from the above left straddling the Route 4 shoulder/bike lane to the side street intersection of Augusta Drive. A narrow sidewalk continues north on Augusta but there lacks any safe crossing of Augusta to continue east bound on the ECG (or vice versa).

Monday, September 14, 2020

Corrupt Sierra Club endorses Meyer (after not endorsing Orphanage Property)

In a stunning show of hypocrisy and ignorance, the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club endorsed Matt Meyer for re-election in 2020 as New Castle County Executive. The hypocrisy of this demonstrably corrupt organization is staggering, but not unexpected. In this case, there are simply no words that can describe the moral repugnance of Matt Meyer, an anti-environmentalist and ally of the building industry, who is now lying to the contrary to boost his re-election bid. For those with a Facebook account, you can read their endorsement HERE. Excerpts:

  • Matt supports the Sierra Club’s top priorities of addressing climate change, expanding access to affordable clean energy for all, and incorporating equity, inclusion and justice in all of our environmental initiatives and programs. Since 2016, he has demonstrated his leadership as New Castle County Executive by supporting local communities in limiting the height of a landfill, increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency and expanding the county’’s current fleet of electric vehicles.
  • Looking forward, Matt supports including environmental and social justice in the 10-year New Castle Co. comprehensive plan and will advocate for policy changes to begin to end systemic racism in Delaware. Additionally, he believes that the county needs to increase its protection of air quality, drinking water supplies, floodplains, wetlands, forests, and other critical natural resources.

For the record, Saving the Orphanage Property (STOP) was a three year grassroots campaign (2015-2018) to save the last significant open space in Ogletown, Delaware, the Our Lady of Grace 180 acre Orphanage Property, for a regional park. Sierra Club would not endorse the effort, as "something they generally do not do", and NCC Executive Matt Meyer quashed it completely. It was the last chance for the community of Ogletown-S. Newark to fulfill and live the vision promised by Gov Ruth Ann Minner's Livable Delaware initiative. Livable Delaware proposed that we must control suburban sprawl and channel development to previously used or vacant land; that every Delawarean have local, ready and convenient access to healthy outdoor activities and parkland. Ogletown-S. Newark does NOT currently have access to parkland within biking and walking distance for most, and now never will thanks to Matt Meyer and his Democratic cohorts in Legislative Hall. The effort was crushed and defeated by government corruption on the part of New Castle County (incl Meyer) in coordination with State elected legislators, all with financial ties to development interests. STOP and Community residents watched hopelessly as he, along with Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, and Councilwoman Lisa Diller allowed this one-time chance to slip away forever.

The Meyer Administration
 has shown itself to be corrupt and immoral from the first time he was elected in Nov 2016. When Meyer formed his Transition Teams in January 2017, he put the very Developer who stood to profit from the Orphanage Property, Joseph Setting, in charge of the
 Parks Transition Team -- whose task was prioritizing parkland for New Castle County. He also appointed a land use attorney from the legal firm (Tarbicos) representing the Felician Sisters of N. America, those selling the Orphanage Property. Although STOP lodged a formal complaint pleading a conflict of interest given Setting stood to gain financially from developing the Orphanage Property, the NCC Ethics Commission (whose members are appointed by Meyer himself) dismissed it. They refused to hold Meyer accountable for this gross injustice and clear conflict of interest, even though STOP had presented objective evidence, and Community outrage against this injustice, to support the charge.

Sierra Club also endorsed Lisa Blunt Rochester,
a non-signatory on a petition for Open Space as a plank in the Democratic platform. In past elections, they have also endorsed Bryan Townsend in his position as State Senator, which may eventually lead him to a Governorship or U.S. Congressional seat. As we all know, Townsend -- above all others -- could have stepped up and saved the Orphanage Property 2 full years before the community even knew about it, but chose not to given a campaign war chest largely funded by builder interests. For Sierra Club to now openly endorse Meyer as an environmental steward and praise him for his position to 
"increase its [NCC's) protection of air quality, drinking water supplies, floodplains, wetlands, forests, and other critical natural resources" is repugnant, disgusting, and beyond foul. Not only did he diss the Advocates who worked tirelessly for years to save the Orphanage Property, he didn't care that there were threatened and endangered species who lost their lives as the bulldozers came through killing everything in their wake. He, and Sierra Club didn't care about replacing flora and fauna, open space and woods with the urbanized human footprint. Land in its natural state, containing critical habitat area according to DNREC, that also included the LAST open space suitable for a regional park and trail system for an entire region -- now gone forever. The last significant open space in the Ogletown-S. Newark region went from carbon sequestering and lush biodiversity, to asphalt and thousands more car trips per day on Route 4 and the countless tons of carbon emissions this produces.

There is little to be surprised about with Sierra Club, anymore. They have taken anti-environmental positions that include
non-endorsement of grassroots campaigns like STOP, under the facade that they do. They fund raise from corporate donors that include Fracking interests. They engage in activities that include greenwashing of environmental truths by e.g. promoting "renewables" as the fundamental answer to climate change. Sierra Club, at both the National AND State levels, is not worth a dime of your money.

* * * Boycott Sierra Club * * *
Do not join them, do not donate, do not participate in any of their activities.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Hypocrites: Sierra Club, Democrats host extinction event

No Shame: Hansen preaches "extinction emergency" while Dem cohorts Townsend and Osienski pass fat envelopes with developers.

As we posted before regarding Earth Day events,
 the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club would not support or endorse the effort to Save the Orphanage Property (STOP) as critical habitat area, as a wildlife refuge, as a regional park, and a trails & pathways opportunity for Ogletown-S. Newark that will never come again. We urge all of our readers to see through the facade and the fraudulence of Sierra Club, and to ignore all of their events including this latest fake "Delaware Extinction" on Sept 9.

Corporatist money has no place in non-profit environmental organizations -- whether that be at the national, state or local levels. Yet Sierra Club is loaded with it. This article explains why, after repeated asks for Sierra's endorsement of STOP, their reply was "this isn't something we generally do". Ditto from DE Audubon Society, given they too are a national org and thus accepting of corporate payoffs and kickbacks.

Also see Hansen talking the walk on Delaware On-Line HERE. Democrats, Sierra Club and Corruption: Perfect together.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Privilege Has Its Rewards, Part 4

Cross-posted from Bryan-Townsend.com. Read the full series here.

Still think that privilege doesn't affect the decisions of Delaware politicians? Think again. Like Newark proper, Pike Creek already has multiple regional parks and vast swaths of saved green and open spaces. Despite this fact, they continue to get more and more with the fervent support of area legislators AND County Exec Matthew Meyer. In an act of corruption involving both State Legislators, Meyer sold out Ogletown-S. Newark by refusing to purchase the Orphanage Property -- the last park opportunity for the entire region.

From WDEL | A Delaware Superior Court ruling issued August 18, 2020, went in favor of New Castle County in its ongoing efforts to stifle development of a 180 acre parcel in Pike Creek Valley.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer was pleased with the Court's decision against Pike Creek Recreational Services (PCRS) in connection with the former Three Little Bakers golf course.

"There's a deed restriction," said Meyer. "I've thought from day one it's pretty clear, it's got to remain a golf course.
[Full Article . . .]


Friday, July 3, 2020

Former CLNCC President praises Meyer for Environmental Stewardship

From the Facebook page of Jordyn Pusey, former President of the Civic League of New Castle County and Candidate for County Council. We at Ogletown Resilience and the former Save The Orphanage Property (STOP) Campaign were shocked and dismayed to see her enthusiastic endorsement of County Executive Matt Meyer as an 'environmentalist'. The hypocrisy is staggering. There are simply no words that can describe the moral repugnance of Matt Meyer, an anti-environmentalist and ally of the building industry. But Ms. Pusey tries. For those with a Facebook account, you can read her post here, set for public viewing. Excerpts:

"Sustainability is both an immediate and long term goal, and we must support those who are following in [Russell] Petersons footsteps and presenting ambitious environmental policies of their own, as well as promoting equity and inclusion.

Matt Meyer has shown through his GreeNCC agenda that he is fully committed to protecting our environment for future generations. The County is leading by example in implementing best practices and policies that will have an impact on our water and natural environment while enhancing the quality of life for all of us. In my years of involvement in County government, I have never seen such a focus and dedication to the environment. The goals are as follows:
  • Enhance water and air quality;
  • Encourage healthy and eco-friendly lifestyles;
  • Conserve and protect local habitats;
  • Promote smart growth; Reduce harmful emissions by promoting renewables and improving energy efficiency.
Moreso, in today's political climate, it's imperative that we have leaders that exemplify our highest values and are in office for the right reasons; primarily the desire to serve others. We cannot discount the moral and ethical nature in which the Meyer administration has governed. That starts from the top, but the quality and talent of the entire administration shines brightly."

The Meyer Administration has shown itself to be corrupt and immoral from the time he was elected in Nov 2016. When Meyer formed his Transition Teams in January 2017, he put the very Developer who stood to profit from the Orphanage Property, Joseph Setting, in charge of the Parks Transition Team -- whose task was prioritizing parkland for New Castle County. He also appointed a land use attorney from the legal firm (Tarbicos) representing the Felician Sisters of N. America, those selling the Orphanage Property. Although STOP lodged a formal complaint pleading a conflict of interest given Setting stood to gain financially from developing the Orphanage Property, the NCC Ethics Commission (whose members are appointed by Meyer himself) dismissed it. They refused to hold Meyer accountable for this gross injustice and clear conflict of interest, even though STOP had presented objective evidence, and Community outrage against this injustice, to support our charge.

For the record, Saving the Orphanage Property (STOP) was a three year grassroots campaign (2015-2018) to save the last significant open space in Ogletown, Delaware, the Our Lady of Grace 180 acre Orphanage Property, for a regional park. This was the last chance for the community of Ogletown-S. Newark to fulfill and live the vision promised by Gov Ruth Ann Minner's Livable Delaware initiative. Livable Delaware proposed that we must control suburban sprawl and channel development to previously used or vacant land; that every Delawarean have local, ready and convenient access to healthy outdoor activities and parkland. Ogletown-S. Newark does NOT currently have access to parkland within biking and walking distance for most, and now never will thanks to Meyer and his Democratic cohorts in Legislative Hall. The effort was crushed and defeated by government corruption on the part of New Castle County (NCC) and State elected legislators with financial ties to development interests, and this newly elected pro-development County Executive Matt Meyer. STOP and Community residents watched hopelessly as he, along with Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, and Councilwoman Lisa Diller allowed this one-time chance to slip away forever.

It is ironic, because the Civic League of NCC , led by Ms. Pusey as President, supported STOP, and even granted a Resolution to back it. For Ms. Pusey to now openly endorse Meyer as an environmental steward and praise him for his efforts to "Encourage healthy and eco-friendly lifestyles, and Conserve and protect local habitats" while he has done anything but, is insulting and a slap in the face. She not only insults the Advocates who worked tirelessly for years to save the Orphanage Property, but obviously doesn't care about the creatures who inhabited it, the innocent wildlife -- many threatened or endangered -- who lost their lives as the bulldozers came through killing everything in their wake, replacing flora and fauna, open space and woods with the urbanized human footprint. Land in its natural state, containing critical habitat area according to DNREC , that also included the last open space suitable for a regional park and trail system, gone forever. The last significant open space in the region went from carbon sequestering and lush biodiversity, to asphalt and thousands more car trips per day on Route 4 and the countless tons of carbon emissions this produces. One can only question Ms. Pusey's motives for this support of  Meyer, given her own record of Community service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Guardian: Millions of Americans lack access to quality parks

The Ogletown-S.Newark region will never have
a regional park, thanks to profiteering.
Cross-posted from The Guardian

By Nina Lakhani | Years of patchy investment in public parks has left 100 million Americans, including 27 million children, without access to decent nearby green spaces during the coronavirus lockdown, a new report reveals.

Local parks have been a godsend to many people during the pandemic as schools, gyms and walking trails have closed to minimize physical contact and curtail the spread of the virus.

Multiple studies have shown that spending time in green spaces reduces stress and improves physical and psychological wellbeing for adults and children.

But the annual parks score index by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has revealed wide disparities in access. For instance 98% of residents in Washington, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, are within a 10-minute walk to a park, compared to less than 50% of those in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, Mesa, Arizona, and Oklahoma City. [Full Article . . . ]

See also:
Senator Townsend and Democrat Cohorts Say No "Naturehood" for Ogletown
CDC: Mental Health and (lack of) Green Space
The Biggest Legacy of Townsend and his "Democratic" Cohorts?
Privilege Has Its Rewards, Parts 1, 2, 3 ...

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Hypocrisy of Earth Day Celebrations in New Castle County

Nobody was "in it together" when it came to saving the
Orphanage Property on Rt.4 in Ogletown.
Environmental destruction in the form of disappearing green space, critical habitat loss, wetlands destruction, and a dearth of locally accessible parkland and commons is plainly visible throughout New Castle County. Because both State and County Legislatures (majority Democrat) are corrupt and put wealth and profits before people and planet, don't expect anything to change -- even in the worst clutches of climate change, disease and related disasters. Yet, we see articles like this appear every April:

Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day Today, Delaware!

Excerpts from the article, from DNREC:
  • While people celebrating our planet won’t be able to gather together as we have in past years, it has never been more important to renew our commitment to protect the environment and redouble our resolve for sustainable change. 
  • We must maintain our state’s natural spaces and vital natural resources for future generations.
  • But, it’s not too late to pass clean air, water and land on to our children and grandchildren. That is our job at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, but everyone can and should do our part to make that happen. [Full Article . . .]

Instead of celebrating Earth Day as one day of action each year, we urge our readers to join the Delaware Nature Society and volunteer and/or get involved in their programs. According to their mission: Delaware Nature Society’s mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, advocacy and conservation. We envision a healthy and sustainable environment.

And, unlike these other sham organizations, they delivered on this promise with their immediate endorsement -- no questions asked -- of saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park for Ogletown-S Newark.

Just getting started. Clear cutting forest canopy and destroying wildlife habitat for huge housing developments is a common sight in NCC. And contrary to anything sustainable or eco-friendly, most are located far from local services, commerce, and are deliberately disconnected from adjacent communities thus requiring cars for every trip. The land goes from carbon sequestering and a flora-fauna refuge to usurping wildlife and emitting mass amounts of heat trapping emissions. Meanwhile, unless privileged, State and County legislators refuse to champion saving any of it in favor of developer profits, even when the last regional park opportunity is on the line.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

BOYCOTT Sierra Club's Earth Day Live Events

As our readers are all too aware, the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club would not support or endorse the effort to Save the Orphanage Property (STOP) as critical habitat area, as a wildlife refuge, as a regional park, and a trails & pathways opportunity for Ogletown-S. Newark that will never come again. We urge all of our readers to see through the facade and the fraudulence of Sierra Club, and to ignore all of their events including Earth Day. Alternatives can be found, including this one with Delaware Estuary.

The below article is from 2011, but nothing has changed since. Corporatist money has no place in non-profit environmental organizations -- whether that be at the national, state or local levels. This article explains why, after repeated asks for Sierra's endorsement of STOP, their reply was "this isn't something we generally do". Ditto from DE Audubon Society, given they too are a national org and thus accepting of corporate payoffs and kickbacks.

Excerpts:
  • According to the Associated Press, in 2002 Sierra Club head Carl Pope threatened to dissolve the southern Utah chapter for “speaking out against the Bush administration’s push toward war with Iraq.”  The Sierra Club’s Board of Directors had passed a resolution “supporting efforts to strip Iraq of weapons of mass destruction” (i.e., supporting the war) ...
  • This is the first time in Sierra Club’s 116-year history that it has endorsed a product and even Club executive director Carl Pope, who’s been a driving force in the partnership, admitted that the decision by a well-known environmental group to endorse a company known for its bleach, plastics, and chemical products is “controversial.”
  • Until progressive groups successfully address the challenge of funding themselves independent of the elite individuals and institutions that act as enforcers of a corporate agenda, they will not be able to successfully advocate for progressive causes. Any success they might have will mean that their funding dries up, and they will cease to exist.
  • The Sierra Club is a marquee name that has indeed gone for the green:  cash.  Environmental activists should carefully examine the way in which the organization is operating, and whether its agenda is worthy of continued support.

STOP to Delaware's Environmental Organizations: Epic Fail


Do you support environmental conservation in Delaware? Support and donate to the Delaware Nature Society. DNC, along with a dozen other local and State orgs, didn't hesitate and immediately jumped on board to help save the Orphanage Property.