What matters most is the dash between the years

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …

Last week, readers will recall this column featured the inspirational words of Ruth Love in her obituary.

She died at the age of 100. Her family included a great line about her philosophy on life, “Each day I watch the sunset and ask myself, ‘Did I help someone today? Did I make someone feel better for knowing me?’ ”

The topic of life stories and obituaries seems to have resonated with a lot of our readers.

This editor especially appreciated the note from local PR man Dave Skocik who said it reminded him of a Linda Ellis poem — “The Dash.”

She wrote of a speaker at a funeral who read the date of birth and the date of death, then said, “what mattered most was the dash between those years.”

* * *

A few days ago, we ran the obituary of another woman who inspired generations of Doverites.

Mary “Jane” Richter got her start in education as a preschool teacher and was widely known for her time as owner and director of the Little School in Dover. Generations of children were influenced by her, and many will recall her enjoyment of leading kids in the maypole dancing at Dover Days.

She never stopped caring for the children that passed through the Little School.

This editor enjoyed a charming line from her obituary that read, “She took special pride in remembering alumni of the school, often surprising former students by mailing them a newspaper clipping that highlighted a recent accomplishment.”

“She sent me one every time I was in the paper for music, sometimes with a little note from her,” wrote Rich Engle in a Facebook post.

There’s no doubt that many of those clippings wound up on refrigerators all around the city.

* * *

As a heads-up to citizens of Dover, there will be interesting discussions brewing again Monday about the role of the city’s mayor.

Council members will debate the merits of a strong mayor government in the city with more oversight of daily operations. That might include the mayor having the authority to nominate a police chief and city manager for council approval.

There have been ongoing considerations, too, of the police chief reporting to the city manager, rather than the mayor.

Dover has had a full-time mayor since 1994 when Jim Hutchison was elected to the role.

In 2004, there was a raging debate about whether the city truly needed a full-time mayor and the issue was put to voters in a referendum. About 71 percent of the 4,470 voters said the job should be full-time.

* * *

A few weeks ago, this column featured a look back at the start of Kent County Tourism 25 years ago.

Lois Huffman was credited with the rally cry to start the organization.

Ms. Huffman received a copy of the article in North Port, Florida, where she now lives. This editor received a nice note and a few old clippings — including one about the county’s first slick tourism brochure in 1989— from Ms. Huffman.

She said in the note that Gigi Windley, then with the state tourism office, deserves credit for the launch of Kent County Tourism, too.

She wrote, “I have lived in Florida for eight years and still (work) in travel. Also I have worked for seven years at the spring training park for the Tampa Bay Rays as a cashier, also the Charlotte Stone Crabs March through August. So still helping bring in tourists — but to the west coast of Florida.”

* * *

Speaking of tourism, music fans are still pacing the floor and others are just getting agitated, wondering when the official Firefly Music Festival lineup will be announced.

On Friday, Firefly was offering free tickets to the best dance moves captured on video.

“Free tickets are only going so far,” said one post. “Two weeks past when you said the lineup would be out and still nothing. How about instead of hiding behind giveaways you give us a real reason.”

Another person wrote, “I’ll do any dance you want if you just release the lineup already.”

More than 80,000 music fans are expected at the Woodlands in Dover June 18-21.

Reach Executive Editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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