No one outside the corporate hierarchy here
and in Charlotte, N.C., is privy to how much of an impact Bank
of America's acquisition of M.B.N.A. -- which was effective on
Jan. 1 -- will have on Wilmington and environs. And they're not
talking. Even state officials attempting to come up with the
required projections of revenue on which to base the budget for
the coming fiscal year have not been able to pierce the
green-and-gray cone of silence. Delaware Economic & Financial
Advisory Council was told at its recent meeting that there is
not sufficient information to allow for even an educated guess.
been announced that the combined company's credit card operation
will be based in Delaware and that there will be additional jobs
in that unit. But there is a general assumption that they will
be more than offset by the number of jobs transferred to other
locations or eliminated.
What is known, of course, is that
the area is in for its second significant cultural shock in a
generation. M.B.N.A. supplanted Du Pont as the state's number
one employer a few years back. Well before that it was
recognized that the Du Pont way of life was no more. M.B.N.A.
never had a chance to replace that with its corporate ethos.
Even those not actually on the payroll knew enough to understand
in a general way what was being talked about when folks at a
cocktail party mentioned 'textile fibers' or polymers. Who much
cared about 'affinity cards' or electronic transfers?
formidable remnant of what used to be remains at 1007 Market and
the oval still shines nightly atop the fortress-shaped building
the company no longer owns. It's unlikely a few years hence that
the bank's downtown complex will engender comparable nostalgia.
Even the former Public Building and courthouse will be
remembered for past roles and scarcely associated with its
expanse of former farmland designated as the future site of 'Waterfarm
Two' stands a derelict building which Councilwoman Patty Powell
said symbolizes county government's benign neglect of an area
she considers a proverbial best-kept secret. "Nobody will take
me up on my invitation to come down here and let me show them
what we have," she said.
here' is the about a third of the county which lies -- to use
the common expression -- 'below the Canal'.
Powell, who grew up in what was then a
predominantly rural area and graduated from Middletown High, has
a strong devotion to the area. While it is not uncommon for a
Powell (center) said that if the building (above left)
was located anywhere else in the county it would be
preservation. Although residential development is fast
taking the land, there are still working farms (right)
which need saving.
to have an affinity for the district he or she represents,
Powell's borders on a crusading spirit. Each time a reference to
a county service or project is made during a Council meeting,
she presses the official making it to be specific about where
her area fits in.
has been promised parks, libraries and an expanded sanitary
sewer system. So far, she said, there is more promise and little
reality. A park pavilion is an open shelter; a playground is a
single climbing structure; and a regional library is, at best,
several years away from being built.
about 8,000 houses are on the verge of being built in
communities for which development plans have already been
approved. Powell is concerned the commuters and retirees who'll
live in them will arrive from an area which extends beyond the
state long before the amenities to which they are entitled do.
In a speech delivered as Iraqis prepared to
go to the polls, President Bush said he didn't believe a civil
war would break out in the country. But some observers believe
it has already begun -- a quiet and deadly struggle whose battle
lines were thrown into sharp relief by the highly polarized vote
Postage rates will go up by 2¢ an ounce for first class
mail on Jan. 8 with a possible further increase a year later. While the U.S.
Postal Service touts the fact there hasn't been an increase in 3½ years, there
has been a steady escalation over the long haul.
Postage rate history
Jul. 1, 1885
||Aug. 1, 1958
||Mar. 2, 1974
||Feb. 17, 1985
Nov. 3, 1917
||Jan. 7. 1963
||Dec. 31, 1975
Apr.. 3, 1988
||Jan. 7, 2001
||Jul. 1, 1919
||Jan. 7, 1968
||May 29, 1978
||Feb. 3, 1991
||Jun. 30, 2002
||Jul. 6, 1932
||May 16. 1971
||Mar. 22, 1981
||Jan. 8, 2006
Nov. 1, 1981