Small Town News
Contradiction a way of life in Dewey
It's not easy being Dewey Beach. The town has long billed itself as "a way of life," a way centered on music and partying, fueled by plenty of drinking.
That image has drawn visitors for decades, yet it's an image that an ever-changing coalition of residents has sought to change. Promoting films on the beach, bonfires and other events, town leaders and others have sought to cast Dewey as a family-centered beach.
The bipolar character of the town was certainly on display over the weekend, when Starboard-owner Steve Montgomery first donated a $14,000 all-terrain vehicle to Dewey Beach Patrol to assist in medical emergencies such as spinal injuries.
Montgomery said simply that he knew the lifeguards needed the ATV, so he donated one, equipped with lights and a siren.
Montgomery went on to announce plans for the 20th annual Running of the Bull, an event whose popularity even he can't explain: Throngs of people chase a couple of people in a bull costume across Route 1 and down the beach.
With the drinking starting about 8:30 a.m., there's no question many drink to excess during this event, a few to the point they can't walk. There is also no question that Montgomery voluntarily provides extra police to help corral revelers and thousands of bottles of water to help keep everyone safe.
It is interesting to note that at the same meeting at which Montgomery announced his donation, Town Manager Marc Appelbaum said the town is expecting an audit of last year's budget to show a remarkable $300,000 surplus.
Yet it also displays what could be called a bipolar aspect of town government. In the name of improving public safety, town council passed a measure allowing the town to assess businesses to pay for extra public safety resources.
Yet even with a large surplus, council left the purchase of needed safety equipment to a volunteer donation.
It's not easy being Dewey, but apparently that's just the way people of Dewey like it.
Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; and Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor.
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