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Articles on this Page
- 12/17/15--12:20: _Arrest made in Mill...
- 12/17/15--12:21: _Dagsboro resident t...
- 12/17/15--12:46: _Kammerer speaks to ...
- 12/18/15--08:02: _Keep it simple: Fen...
- 12/18/15--08:45: _Delaware Botanic Ga...
- 12/18/15--08:46: _Fenwick passes hote...
- 12/18/15--08:47: _Selbyville program ...
- 12/18/15--10:50: _Carpenter resigns f...
- 12/18/15--10:52: _Are sand dunes stab...
- 12/21/15--13:01: _BREAKING NEWS: Hear...
- 12/23/15--11:11: _New show ‘Stillness...
- 12/23/15--11:50: _Subway manager conn...
- 12/23/15--12:04: _Sole Sister: Isom c...
- 12/23/15--12:12: _Painting and packin...
- 12/23/15--12:39: _County gets update ...
- 12/23/15--12:51: _IR staff may be pro...
- 12/23/15--13:27: _Baby Alana passes a...
- 12/23/15--13:31: _Local men aim to be...
- 12/23/15--13:32: _Frankford trying to...
- 12/23/15--13:33: _New Year’s Day even...
- 12/17/15--12:20: Arrest made in Millsboro-area home-improvement fraud case
- 12/17/15--12:21: Dagsboro resident to compete for Miss Teen title
- 12/17/15--12:46: Kammerer speaks to Southern Delaware Tourism
- 12/18/15--08:02: Keep it simple: Fenwick committee aims for simpler rules
- 12/18/15--08:46: Fenwick passes hotels ordinance, denies petition
- 12/18/15--08:47: Selbyville program will help residents fix their homes
- 12/18/15--10:50: Carpenter resigns from Frankford council
- 12/18/15--10:52: Are sand dunes stable enough for a FEMA appeal?
- 12/23/15--11:11: New show ‘Stillness’ to open at Gallery One on Jan. 6
- 12/23/15--11:50: Subway manager connects with customer, community
- 12/23/15--12:04: Sole Sister: Isom continues wellness crusade at Mind, Body & Sole
- 12/23/15--12:12: Painting and packing holiday warmth:
- 12/23/15--12:39: County gets update on Clean Water & Flood Abatement
- 12/23/15--13:27: Baby Alana passes away, but she continues to inspire
- 12/23/15--13:31: Local men aim to be voice for ‘Holy Innocents’
- 12/23/15--13:32: Frankford trying to iron out water coverage, speeders
- 12/23/15--13:33: New Year’s Day event to have patriotic tribute
The Delaware State Police this week arrested a 32-year-old Magnolia man as the result of investigations into multiple home-improvement fraud cases in the Millsboro area.
Police said the preliminary investigation revealed the incidents started to occur back in April of 2015, when Brett D. Johnson, 32 of Magnolia, working under the name Johnson’s Custom Carpentry, was allegedly hired by several victims to complete work at their homes in the Millsboro area. A verbal proposal was submitted to the victims, who in turn provided Johnson with a deposit totaling more than $ 9,600. None of the work has been started, and Johnson allegedly failed to return the victim’s money even after numerous requests, police said.
Between April 2015 and June 2015, Johnson was allegedly hired by five local residents. During that time, he made contact with his victims, arranging to perform other side jobs for the victims. Johnson would allegedly take the victim’s money for a down payment but would never return with the materials or complete the jobs, police reported.
Johnson was arrested and processed at Troop 4 in Georgetown. He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 on five counts of Home Improvement Fraud-Receive Money for Services not Completed and five counts of Theft by False Pretenses, and was released on $5,000 unsecured bond.
If any homeowner has had any contact with this company or involving Brett D. Johnson and the work was not performed or completed, they are being asked to contact Det. T. Shockley at (302) 752-3812. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
Kylie Ucman of Dagsboro was recently selected to participate in the 2015 Miss Teen pageant competition taking place on Sunday, Dec. 20. Ucman learned of her acceptance into this year’s competition when the pageant announced their selections following interviews in the Wilmington area. Ucman had submitted an application and participated in her interview session conducted by this year’s Wilmington Pageant coordinator.
Ucman will compete for her share of thousands of dollars in prizes and specialty gifts distributed to contestants. Of the four age divisions for young ladies ages 7 through 19, she will compete in the Miss Teen division.
In each of the divisions, contestants compete in modeling routines including casual wear and formal wear. Ucman will display her personality while interviewing with this year’s judging panel. In each phase of the competition, the panel uses personality as the No. 1 criteria for judging.
If Ucman wins the title of Miss Teen, she would represent Wilmington and the surrounding communities at the national pageant taking place in Orlando, Fla. Each winner receives an expense-paid trip to Orlando for six days and five nights. At the national competition, contestants from around the nation compete for their share of more than $30,000 in prizes.
Community businesses, organizations and private individuals are expected to assist Ucman in participating in this year’s competition by becoming an official sponsor for her. Through sponsorship, each contestant receives training, rehearsals and financial support.
Some of her sponsors include Provincial Painting, Buntings Packaging Company, Mitchell’s Farm, Mike Hoey, Dr. Steve and Dona Turnamian, Linda Cresswell, Celtic Nations and LandDesign.
In 23 years, Scott Kammerer has come a long way, from a man who traveled to Sussex County from New Jersey in 1992, with a bicycle and $17.
He first began working in restaurants, washing dishes for minimum wage. After a few years competing as a wrestler, Kammerer said, he allowed his addiction to alcohol and drugs take over, and he returned to the restaurant scene. He eventually became the general manager of a busy restaurant in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
“That winter, on the steps of the church right across the street, I met Matt Haley, and my life would never be the same,” said Kammerer at the Southern Delaware Tourism Luncheon on Dec. 9 of his business partner and philanthropist, who passed away in August of 2014 while on a philanthropic trip to India.
Kammerer would later go on to work for Haley, who became his mentor and friend.
“Matt Haley founded SoDel Concepts, and every day we wake up as a company and we try to make him proud. We try to lead our company forward. He was a huge supporter of Southern Delaware, a huge supporter of culinary programs, a huge supporter of everything we have today.”
SoDel Concepts currently has approximately 500 employees, amongst their eight restaurants, catering business food truck, film company and consulting firm. Kammerer estimated that approximately 25,000 people were served by SoDel in the summer season.
Also during the luncheon, the Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers’ Festival received the 2015 Southern Delaware Tourism Award.
According to Scott Thomas, Southern Delaware Tourism executive director, tourism in Sussex County generates $850 million in revenue annually, second only to the county’s agriculture industry.
The annual award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an outstanding and significant contribution to the enrichment of tourism in Sussex County.
The Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers’ Festival, which celebrated its 25th year this fall, has grown substantially over the years, from a few thousand attendees initially to nearly 190,000 over the three-day event in 2014. The festival has been named among the American Bus Association’s America’s 100 Best Events numerous times over the years and was named one of the 10 Best Fall Festivals for Families in 2014 by Family Vacation Critic. The festival’s economic impact is estimated at nearly $30 million annually.
The award was presented to Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carol Everhart.
Other 2015 nominees included Cape Henlopen State Park’s new Gordons Pond Trail & Junction & Breakwater Trail Extension, Clear Space Theatre Company, Christian and Jamin Hudson of Hudson Management, Junction & Breakwater Trail, Lewes Dragon Boat Festival, SoDel Concepts, Sports at the Beach and Tim Bamforth of Seashore Striders Event Production Inc.
“All of this year’s nominees are very deserving of the award, as they provide wonderful experiences for our visitors and help make Sussex County, Del., such a special place. And we are grateful to the Atlantic Sands for doing a wonderful job hosting this event,” said Thomas.
Past recipients of the Southern Delaware Tourism Award include the Apple Scrapple Festival, Dogfish Head Brewery Tours, the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, the Lewes Maritime History Trail, the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, Nassau Valley Vineyards, the Freeman Stage at Bayside and Eating Rehoboth Walking Food Tours.
For more information about Southern Delaware Tourism, call (302) 856-1818, or visit www.VisitSouthernDelaware.com.
After a rocky 2015 election, the Town of Fenwick Island is being proactive on voter registration. The Ad-Hoc Election Committee met Dec. 4 to begin educating residents and property owners.
The August election is over, so Councilwoman Julie Lee, committee chair, wants to focus on educating voters for next summer’s municipal election.
“We’ll just move forward for now and encourage everyone to do that,” said Lee.
The ad-hoc committee is separate and distinct from the Board of Elections. The committee won’t change any voting requirements, but they’ll work to create a simple document in “non-legalese” language, explaining how to vote, who’s eligible and how to register.
They began drafting a notice for the Town’s winter newsletter. They’ll also write a “rack card” (or brochure) for people to grab from Town Hall. Finally, they hope to include an actual voter registration form in the spring newsletter.
“The object here is that everyone knows how to register and has time to register before the 30th [of June],” Lee said. “We want to involve more people.”
They’re aiming for clarity and accuracy, but some sections of town code left them shaking their heads. For instance, the Town Code states that “registered individuals … who have failed to vote in the past five municipal elections” can be removed from the voting rolls. However, Fenwick hasn’t had an election in at least that many years, which has made for murky waters.
“I never removed anybody from the database unless they were deceased or they sold their property and I knew they weren’t in the area,” said Town Clerk Linda Poole.
They also worked through confusion over deadlines and eligibility.
“Every property in town is eligible to vote,” Poole said.
That includes both the property owners and full-time residents of a single property. All residents are guaranteed a vote, whether they own or rent their home.
“I’m not sure that I like that,” said committee member Vicki Carmean. She suggested the Town reconsider its policy of allowing both property owners and resident non-owners to vote. (Delaware Code prohibits towns from changing the qualifications of those already entitled to vote in municipal elections.)
For instance, Lee and her husband are both named as property owners on a lease. They’re not in a trust. They can both vote on behalf of that property. However, a trust or artificial entity only gets one vote.
Meanwhile, the “one man, one vote” saying holds true, as each individual gets only one vote, regardless of how many properties are owned.
When voter registration applications are received, Town Hall needs to double-check the residency and ownership records, Lee said. But there’s a challenge: Sussex County doesn’t always tell Poole about deed transfers. People could show up at Town Hall to register with neither the property owner nor the County notifying her about the new owners.
The ad-hoc committee is meant to inform voters. But when the rack card development process has ended, the committee may send a list of suggestions to the Charter & Ordinance Committee to streamline or clarify the election process.
For complete voting information, people should go online to www.fenwickisland.org or call Town Hall at (302) 539-3011.
Fenwick Island’s next Ad-Hoc Election Committee meeting will be Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall.
The Longwood Foundation has approved a $750,000 grant to the Delaware Botanic Gardens to help it begin work on Phase One of the garden, located on Pepper Creek near Dagsboro.
The grant will be provided in two components: an immediate grant of $500,000, plus the remaining $250,000 when the garden has raised an additional $500,000 in cash or pledges. The two-for-one challenge expires March 25, 2017.
“On behalf of my dedicated board, our outstanding advisory council, and our hundreds of loyal members and supporters, we are humbled and honored by this Longwood Foundation Leadership Grant,” said Susan Ryan, president of the Delaware Botanic Gardens.
“The next 18 months will be our greatest challenge,” she continued. “We must start and complete the construction of Phase One of the garden. We must raise an additional $500,000 by March 2017 to qualify for the $250,000 challenge grant. We must begin the Piet Oudolf Meadow Gardens. And we must continue to attract members and donors to help fulfill our plans to open this inspiring garden.”
Based in Wilmington, the Longwood Foundation was established in 1937 by Pierre S. du Pont to support the people, environment and communities of Delaware and southern Chester County in Pennsylvania. It has made more than $2 billion in grants to date.
DBG’s Phase One, called “Open the Garden Gates,” will launch the first major features of the master plan. Included in the $4.1 million project will be construction of basic infrastructure and utilities for the 37.5-acre site and the creation of two major garden venues — the Meadow Gardens by the internationally acclaimed designer Piet Oudolf and the Woodland Gardens, with ADA-accessible paths.
In addition, the project’s first phase will feature an outdoor living classroom, including a wetlands habitat, as well as a temporary visitor facility housed in an all-season pavilion.
The news of the Longwood Foundation grant was greeted with accolades from officials throughout the state.
“It has been gratifying to watch this group of local citizens visualize a major public asset for our community and assemble a talented team of private and public leaders to make this vision a reality,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “I congratulate everyone involved for receiving this significant endorsement from the Longwood Foundation and look forward to seeing their continued progress.”
The grant, said Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf of Rehoboth Beach, “represents the Longwood Foundation’s commitment to the citizens of Sussex County. This generous award will enable the Delaware Botanic Gardens to start construction, but it also has a match requirement that will be met only if we all get behind this great addition to our community.”
“This project is a reflection of what makes Sussex County a great place to live and work,” said state Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-20th). “This public garden is being created by the citizens of our county, working with leading firms in Sussex and Delaware, and now supported by this Leadership Grant from the premier philanthropic foundation in our region.”
Carla Markell, Delaware’s First Lady, chairs the garden’s Advisory Council.
“Public gardens are indispensable to the quality of all of our lives,” she emphasized, adding: “We all recognize that the garden’s outdoor living classroom will be a major asset for the children in our region. The entire garden will be a stimulating venue for family activities. It will be a source of new jobs. It will be a place to enjoy and be inspired by the beauty of nature. It will celebrate environmental awareness and sustainable land stewardship.”
Casey Sclar, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association, added, “The receipt of such a prestigious grant shows that the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek is not only showing leadership, but it also possesses the momentum necessary to secure the environmental, economic and cultural benefits that only a public garden can offer. This grant and this campaign display both advocacy and philanthropic innovation at their highest levels.”
As Sheryl Swed, executive director of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, pointed out: “When we meet the matching requirement, the Longwood Foundation will have empowered the Delaware Botanic Gardens to raise $1.25 million. This combination of giving and establishment of an incentive for additional giving is a great example of the Longwood Foundation’s philanthropic leadership.”
All donations made before March 2017 will be counted toward the grant’s matching requirement.
“We hope that our supporters, existing and new, will join with us by giving back to improve the present and to create a better future for everyone who lives in or visits southern Delmarva,” said Ryan.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek is embarking on a multiyear, multiphase plan to establish a flagship botanic garden for Delmarva that manifests the values motivating all garden lovers everywhere — from the magnificence of nature to the role of horticulture in learning, enjoyment and health.
Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Delaware Botanic Gardens is planned to celebrate the coastal plain with a sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscapes, and to create a unique, inspirational and accessible garden for public benefit and pleasure.
Property owners may be interested in a moratorium on hotels, even if they were dissatisfied by Fenwick Island Town Council rejecting a homeowner petition and increasing hotel/motel room density.
In a 5-2 vote on Dec. 11, the council approved a zoning code amendment to allow existing hotel/motel uses to operate at a density of no more than one sleeping room per 600 square feet of overall property. (Council Members Julie Lee and Roy Williams were opposed.)
The second reading of the ordinance included a minor wording change to include existing hotel “uses,” so an existing hotel could be completely torn down and rebuilt but still qualify for the density increase. The change was made at the town solicitor’s recommendation, said Councilman Bill Weistling Jr.
Future hotels and hotel uses must continue on the previous maximum of one room per 1,000 square feet. All hotels must include between 16 and 65 rooms.
However, there was no discussion on the question of uniformity.
A resident-hired attorney had previously told the council that, because the amendment treats the same type of building (hotels/motels) in two different ways in a single zoning district, the amendment violates the state’s uniformity rules.
“This could definitely be challenged,” Williams said. “If we lost the case, this would open up every commercial property in town.”
Absent from the meeting was Town Solicitor Mary Schreider-Fox and her opinion on the matter.
Lee had requested a legal opinion on the uniformity issue but had received none. No other council members indicated that they received an official opinion either.
Lee said she was told by council members that the Dec. 11 meeting had been postponed, in part, specifically so Schreider-Fox could attend the meeting. There was no response to that statement.
After the meeting, Mayor Gene Langan told Coastal Point that Schreider-Fox does not regularly attend all council meetings. Although he said he was “very comfortable” voting for the amendment, he said the town council could not further comment on the uniformity issue because of the likelihood of legal challenge.
Some residents opposing the amendment placed their hopes in a petition submitted at the Dec. 4 hearing. Delaware Code states that town zoning amendments must pass with a three-fourths majority of the town council when at least 20 percent of property owners (of lots immediately within 100 feet of the impacted area) sign a petition to oppose the amendment.
The petition was not reviewed by the town solicitor but by Building Official Pat Schuchman and Town Manager Merritt Burke.
“Results show that the petition failed to meet the statute of 20 percent,” Schuchman said.
She said they had used Sussex County tax maps, Artesian water maps and their own physical field measurements, to measure 100 feet from the hotel properties.
The petition included about 19 unique names representing 17 Fenwick properties (there were also four repeat names, plus two apparently unintended duplicates).
“The petitions submitted represent approximately 50 percent of the 104,000 square feet of ‘adjacent property’ surrounding the three existing hotels,” the petition stated.
Moratorium on the horizon
The town council did have consensus on a two-year moratorium on new hotel/motel uses.
They unanimously approved the first reading of a moratorium that would halt permits, licenses or other approvals involving new motel/hotel uses in the Town of Fenwick Island.
Because renovations of the Sands Motel would fall under existing uses, the business that began the entire amendment process would still have room to renovate.
Lee called the moratorium an “excellent idea.”
“I think this gives us the opportunity for Planning Commission to work with the Comprehensive Plan … to come up with consensus on where the Town wants to go with the … commercial district,” said Lee.
Like any legal measure, the moratorium could be halted by a majority vote of council or by the courts determining it is unconstitutional.
The moratorium will be the subject of a public hearing to be held before the Jan. 22 council meeting.
Public unrest still lingers
Some residents weren’t completely happy with the vote, including the lack of discussion of uniformity.
“There’s gonna be a lot of repercussions. I think it’s going to be a problem,” resident Jacque Napolitano said afterward.
Although she said she thinks the moratorium may be good, she questioned whether the town council had the true guidelines for evaluating the petition.
“The town solicitor was not here, so how do you do that?” Napolitano said. “So I think, based on the true Delaware state law, that we have the correct definition, and we got the 20 percent.”
“Now I can move forward,” Sands Motel owner Spiro Buas said after the meeting. It’s been a long wait since the topic was first broached this spring. Although he can legally renovate, his next step is engineering, zoning approvals and structural permits.
“I’m looking forward to bringing a nice new hotel to Fenwick,” Buas concluded.
Lower-income families who need home repairs can apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“We do housing rehab, some infrastructure sometimes, … demolition of places beyond repair,” Mike Jones told the Selbyville Town Council on Dec. 7.
He represents Community Development Housing Office of Sussex County, which applies for federal HUD money on an annual, competitive basis.
In the past decade, the agency invested an “unbelievable” amount of money in Selbyville. More than $800,000 has paid for sewer hookups, electric repairs, heating, roofing, doors, windows and more.
“You guys have really … done a great job over the years,” said Jones, estimating that he’s worked in every Selbyville neighborhood.
The grants are a free program for residents, not a loan. There’s never any money paid back.
However, there is a lien placed against the house, which disappears incrementally over five or 10 years, eventually going down to $0. That ensures the repairs weren’t being made just to help someone sell the house.
Any homeowner who does sell the house in that time period will have to repay a portion of the repairs.
“That’s why I’m here, to keep you in your home,” not just to increase the property value, Jones said.
Contractors are hired to provide the best service possible.
In a sense, one CDBG project could cause a renovations domino effect.
“When I do a house … it’s the ugly duckling” of the neighborhood, Jones said. But when that house is repaired, that usually prompts neighbors to bring their houses up to snuff.
Although the Town can recommend households, Jones asked that people also call the office and fill out paperwork, which saves time when their turn comes. It also helps him know what they need.
Houses must be owner-occupied. There is a household income maximum ($35,500 for one person, $50,650 for four people and so forth).
Individuals can call (302) 855-7777 to learn more. The program is first-come, first-served.
The town council again readily approved the town’s participation in this program. However, there was one bone to pick.
“I deal with every town in the county,” Jones said. “There’s no harder town to get a building permit from.”
Some contractors won’t bid on CDBG’s Selbyville projects because of the stringent permitting process, Jones said.
Other municipalities can issue a permit in one day, but Selbyville takes three to five days, Jones said, and the County must then approve permits, too.
Perhaps an old lawsuit caused Selbyville to be more cautious, Jones speculated. Either way, Selbyville doesn’t have to change the permitting process. But it could hinder future CBDG projects.
Government money requires Jones to collect at least three bids per project, but it’s getting hard as more contractors avoid Selbyville jobs, he said.
Because CDBG’s funding is granted in February, Selbyville still has time to review the permitting process and make changes.
“I appreciate you being honest with us,” Councilman Jay Murray said.
Selbyville town staff will review the permitting process.
Selbyville’s current permitting process usually takes up to three days, said Town Administrator Michael Deal. The contractor applies to Town Hall. Then the building inspector visits the house, and the application proceeds from there.
“It’s not our intent to make it difficult,” Deal said.
He and the council members said they thought they followed the standard International Building Code, as do most municipalities.
In other Selbyville Town Council news:
• Although the Annexation Committee and Sussex County recommended that two acres on Cemetery Road be annexed into the town, the final approval has hit a snag, said Councilman Clarence W. Tingle Jr.
The State of Delaware said the property would be slated for the general commercial district, according to Selbyville’s Comprehensive Plan. But property owners Fred J. O’Neal III and Richard A. O’Neal Sr. want to build houses there, in R-1 or R-4 Residential districts.
Selbyville could change the comp plan or grant the O’Neals a conditional use.
The 38,488-square-foot parcel is located at Tax Map and Parcel No. 5-33, 16.00, 62.00.
• The Selbyville Police Department reported an encouraging number of applicants to fill a vacant officer position.
• SPD will be focusing on protecting shopping centers at night, which Police Chief W. Scott Collins said has already improved safety in one area.
• The Selbyville Public Library is one of many local Toys for Tots drop-off locations.
• The town council expressed gratitude toward residents whose holiday décor has helped brighten the town. The Town’s own streetlamp decorations got an upgrade, stripped of garland and replaced with LED lights.
• The Board of Election was reappointed for another year: Virginia Pepper, Bonita Maull and Sandra Givans.
• After the pH regulator malfunctioned this spring at the wastewater treatment plant, Selbyville has used a new chemical called Aquamag.
“At present, it’s working great, … knock on wood,” Councilman. Frank Smith III said of the small-scale system.
Currently, the plant stores Aquamag (magnesium hydroxide) in two 550-gallon tanks. By also adding a “temporary” 2,500-gallon tank, Selbyville could save money by purchasing Aquamag in bulk.
A more permanent system could cost around $100,000, but the official price will be determined when the project goes to bid. Smith has said the chemical is less caustic and more employee-friendly than the old lime silo.
The next regular Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, at 7 p.m.
In its ongoing struggle to maintain a full council, the Town of Frankford is once again down a councilperson, after the resignation of Elizabeth Carpenter, who was serving as council president, on Friday, Dec. 11.
Councilwoman Joanne Bacon confirmed Carpenter’s resignation, stating it was given verbally and stated that Carpenter was leaving for “personal reasons.” Carpenter declined to comment to the Coastal Point about her resignation.
Carpenter was sworn in to the council by Bacon on Sept. 5, appointed to a seat left vacant by a prior council resignation. Her term was to expire in 2017.
In the last 12 months, nine people have left paid or unpaid positions serving the Town of Frankford.
Former Police Chief William Dudley left the Town last December, retiring outside the area, followed by former officer Nate Hudson, who took a position in South Bethany. In March, the Town received resignations from former Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and part-time clerk Marilyn Hobbs.
Then, in August, Jesse Truitt and Velicia Melson both resigned from their seats on the council within a week of each other. Terry Truitt (Jesse Truitt’s wife), who had served as the town administrator for more than a decade, resigned in September. That resignation was followed by that of Carpenter, who served on the council for just three months.
Although Charles Shelton has not resigned from his position on the Frankford Town Council, he too has been absent from council meetings, since Aug. 21. Shelton had previously stated he would not be attending meetings due to the council’s actions related to the appointment of Carpenter and Marty Presley to fill Jesse Truitt’s and Melson’s vacant seats, which he deemed to be illegal.
At a special meeting held on Aug. 26, Bacon and Councilwoman Pam Davis had met to fill the two vacancies. Shelton was not in attendance.
According to the council’s own Rules of Procedure, Rule 5.2, “the presence of no less than three (3) members of the agency shall constitute a quorum”; however, the meeting was still called to order.
An email from Schrader explained that a vote of all three sitting council members would be required to approve anything due to the fact that there were only three council members at the time.
However, Bacon turned to Rule 10.1, “Any rule of the agency may be changed or suspended by the approval of a majority of all the members of the Agency,” and moved to suspend the Town’s Rules of Procedure, specifying that “three affirmative votes shall be required to approve any matter within the jurisdiction of the agency.”
The vote was 2-0, with Shelton absent; however, Bacon continued the meeting, and she and Davis voted 2-0 to appoint Carpenter and Marty Presley to the vacant seats.
The Town’s new solicitor, Chad Lingenfelder did not return calls to the Coastal Point. It is unclear if the Town will address the validity of the previous appointments, or how it plans to address the new vacancy.
According to the Frankford town charter, Section 10, in the event of a resignation, the council will fill a council seat vacancy for the remainder of the entire term.
“In the event of any such vacancy, a special meeting shall be called by the secretary, adhering to the notice requirements hereinbefore mentioned therefore, which special meeting held for the purpose of filling such vacancy shall be held within 45 days.”
As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday news deadline no special meeting had been scheduled to address the resignation. The Frankford Town Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.
South Bethany’s $10,000 appeal isn’t based on whether the sand dunes protect town. Instead, the appeal is based on whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) believes they protect it enough to lower flood insurance rates.
It could be a longshot, which the town council felt heavily on Dec. 11 in their nearly-split vote to appeal the latest FEMA-issued flood insurance rate map (FIRM).
The 4-3 vote was carried by Carol Stevenson, Sue Callaway, Wayne Schrader and George Junkin voting in favor. Pat Voveris, Frank Weisgerber and Tim Saxton voted against.
Via conference call, environmental consultant Leslie Fields of the Woods Hole Group described the route of attack: argue that the dune has protected South Bethany and prove it has enough vegetation to be a considered an established dune.
Typically, WHG has an idea of how successful a FEMA appeal will be, Fields said. “This is a special case. We don’t feel as confident.”
WHG is confident in its technical data, but not in FEMA’s internal process or policy.
FEMA could choose to treat South Bethany’s seven-year-old, artificially-built dune like a more longstanding dune, based on how well the vegetation has taken root.
FEMA rarely includes rebuilt dunes in its analysis. Exceptions include Ocean City, Md., Virginia Beach, Va., Sand Bridge, Va., and Hilton Head, S.C. Due to time constraints, WHG couldn’t research details as to why FEMA considers those particular projects in its analysis.
It was previously suggested that FEMA doesn’t use engineered dunes partly because there is no dedicated funding for repairs.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t design the dunes specifically to protect in a “100-year storm event” (or the severest storms, which have a 1 percent likelihood of occurring in any given year). They simply design to the best cost-benefit analysis.
But South Bethany’s dunes are “performing well during major storm events,” including Sandy, Ida and Joaquin, Fields said.
Even when they eroded South Bethany’s small dune, WHG found “that remaining lump of sand provides protection for the town,” Fields said.
“The dune itself is protecting the property, that’s no question … [But] funding isn’t guaranteed. Those properties are now at risk. Correct?” Weisgerber said.
“We think FEMA would use that argument, yes. We don’t see that in the regulations anywhere …but they are using that case in South Bethany,” Fields said.
“It’s not the policy. It’s the practice,” Callaway clarified.
FEMA regulations have some wiggle room regarding dunes.
“They don’t explicitly say that FEMA can’t consider engineered or structured dunes. [Instead, they say] the method of eroding the dunes could be different if the reconstructed dunes are or aren’t vegetated,” Fields said.
The Woods Hole Group knew most of this after analyzing the data (Tasks 1 and 2 of their work for the Town). The town council unanimously directed WHG to develop the best strategy of appeal (Task 3).
Now, WHG will draft the actual appeal (Task 4) and respond to any FEMA requests for more information (Task 5).
Property owners had already spent $15,000 privately, and the Town had spent $10,000, for two separate environmental consultations. The Town was then asked to fund and help manage the WHG appeal.
Voveris said she was disappointed that WHG hadn’t spoken with FEMA, as expected, to determine how the appeal avenue might be received. Fields said the return phone call hadn’t come through yet.
During the appeal process, WHG would continue to have meetings or provide additional data to FEMA, as needed.
South Bethany’s dune was created in 2008 and is on a 50-year maintenance plan. The Corps replenishes the beach every three years — pending Congressional budget approval every time the work is due. Replenishment costs are split 65/35 between the feds and state. Some beach towns have a guarantee of complete beach funding, even if the federal government couldn’t pay. But Delaware’s do not.
It’s possible for back-to-back storms to demolish Delaware beaches before sand replenishment could occur.
The town’s next regularly scheduled beach replenishment is in 2017, according to Town Manager Mel Cusick. But if the sand naturally builds up before then, DNREC will push some of the sand back to further build up the dunes.
The consultants are unable to use their initial planned approach of proving that FEMA applied inconsistent methodology to its FIRM update for South Bethany’s shores, because their own analysis was too close to FEMA’s to make a strong case.
“Despite two important engineering inconsistencies in FEMA’s 2015 analysis,” Fields wrote, when WHG analyzed South Bethany with the most stringent of FEMA guidelines, “we ended up with maps that looked very similar to the 2015 revised maps that the Town is being asked to approve right now,” Fields said.
But when WHG considered the dune, the models showed less risk for houses along the west side of Ocean Drive.
Residents chime in
Resident Betsi Baker pointed out that WHG has a good track record of winning FEMA appeals.
“They’re going to do their job,” Voveris said. “But the key is we hired them to make a recommendation,” which didn’t result in the Town being strongly recommended to make an appeal.
“They also didn’t tell you not to do it,” Baker said.
If the town council gives up the appeal, residents who try to continue fighting will be a “three-legged dog” before FEMA, said resident David Brune.
“All you gotta do is invest 10,000 more dollars,” Brune said. “You don’t gotta go to the courts. The home owners will be more than willing to do that. … Money is not the issue, let’s face it. The issue is protecting the citizens.”
Although private citizens could use the WHG information as a jumping-off point, the consulting firm previously indicated that, if contracted by the Town, it did not wish to be jointly contracted by the citizens.
A split council
After 80 minutes of discussion, the town council’s decision to appeal was a see-saw of “yes” and “no.”
In the end, Junkin’s “yes” vote tipped the scales forward. Although he had earlier said, “I don’t think we’re on the positive side of getting through to FEMA,” Junkin has been in the crosshairs with some property owners. His questioning of FEMA’s original maps — which would have had oceanfront homes in a more lenient VE-10 zone — may have prompted FEMA to re-evaluate South Bethany more rigorously than ever before.
“I think we’ve taken it to great measure. I think we’ve spent a lot of time on it. … You just have to be realistic about things,” Voveris said.
“FEMA has said publicly and privately that they would not accept the dune,” Voveris said. “We’re up against FEMA practice. … For them to count our dune when they said they wouldn’t would set precedent and open up a big can of worms for them.”
Weisgerber remained relatively quiet during the discussion. But after the meeting, he said he couldn’t recommend an appeal that hangs only on a dune, which may not be counted, and providing an opportunity for residents to possibly take a rejected appeal to the courts system. He also questioned the likelihood of FEMA changing the maps a second time at South Bethany’s request.
After the vote, Callaway thanked Voveris for her leadership on a project that will continue to need leadership.
“That’s why I almost voted no, because of the headaches it will cause us,” Junkin said.
“I hope my no vote was wrong,” and that the appeal is somehow successful, Saxton said.
If FEMA acknowledges the dune
“I’m looking at 143 homes that suddenly wouldn’t need flood insurance, and that blows my mind,” Callaway said of the potential FIRM if FEMA considers the dune to be established.
Compared to FEMA’s revised 2015 map, WHG’s map would pull all but three Ocean Drive homes from the VE-13 zone to the AO-3 zone. A large swath of homes east of Route 1 would go from AO-3 to the X zone (requiring no flood insurance). A few of those could move from AO-3 to AE-7. (These are different methods of analyzing the height of wave action or of flood waters.)
The appeal will include WHG’s modeling, digital data, maps and a narrative that explains why FEMA should consider the dunes.
“Good luck, everybody. I don’t envy you in making this decision,” Fields concluded. “But good luck.”
South Bethany pre-planned the costs for WHG’s service: $12,780 already paid for analysis and strategizing; $7,280 for drafting and filing the actual appeal; and up to $3,300 for additional tracking and FEMA support.
With the council’s final approval, the appeal is due to FEMA by Jan. 20.
In other South Bethany news:
• The South Bethany Police Department’s Hummer has been painted and decaled to match the fleet. Extra highway patrols have also been added to deter people from driving while intoxicated this holiday season.
• After being recertified for the Community Rating System, South Bethany flood insurance policies see an average savings of $113 each.
• Approximately 88 percent of budgeted revenue has already been collected for this fiscal year. The town council will consider a budget amendment in February for legal costs and the first half of the 2016 fiscal year.
• The flood mitigation project at 204 Carlisle Road has begun, after more than two years of preparation. FEMA and the property owner will split the cost, 75/25, for the $53,050 project.
• The Charter & Code Committee was instructed to act as a “think-tank” by developing recommendations for the council on issues surrounding floating docks and boat lifts.
They will develop recommendations for house height and voluntary freeboard to accommodate new BFEs. Saxton questioned whether council is getting ahead of itself when the appeal has just started. Voveris said she wanted some dialog already on the books and for the committee to be working during town council’s month off.
The town council’s next regular meeting will be in February.
A lack of public participation could push the Millville Town Council to allow non-residents to vote and hold public office.
Citizens are being invited to comment on Resolution 16-02, a town charter amendment including nine changes, ranging from housekeeping items to allowing non-resident property-holders to participate in Town affairs.
The public hearing on the amendment has been set for Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m., before the town council workshop meeting.
“Because of our situation here, with so many people not being full-time residents … this would probably help with getting people on boards and council,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
If the charter amendment is approved by the council and the State, at least four of the five council members would still have to be residents, but one could be a “freeholder” (property owner).
Besides allowing freeholders to participate, the overall requirements would become a little more stringent for voters and candidates.
Voters could be either a “permanent, full-time resident of the Town for at least six months prior to the date of the election” or a “freeholder in the Town … for a period of 90 consecutive days immediately preceding the date of the election.”
Whether town council candidates qualify as a full-time resident or as a freeholder, they would have to be so for at least six months prior to the election. They’d also need to be 21 or older. (Currently, candidates must be 18 or older and a resident for at least 90 days.)
As things stand today, any council member who moves outside town limits immediately vacates their seat.
The amendment would allow council members to finish their term as a “resident” if they moved away but remained freeholders in the town (and vice-versa for freeholders who move into town). Anyone who relinquished all of those qualifications would immediately vacate their seat.
A freeholder is “any natural person who holds title of record either in their own name or as trustee, to a fee simple estate or a life estate, in and to real property located within the town boundaries.” A resident is “any person who has been a permanent, full-time resident of the town for at least six months prior to the date of the election.”
Individuals listed on the deed would each get a vote. Property-owning trusts would get one vote.
Town Hall talks
According to Delaware Code, once voting rights are given to landowners, they cannot be revoked. Traditionally, the local towns that permit non-resident property owners to vote and hold office are beach towns, where property owners are less likely to be residents than in inland towns.
The measure is intended help to expand the pool of eligible participants in Town affairs.
“It becomes harder and harder to find people to [serve],” said Mayor Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. “I think other towns have done the same thing. We’re not the first town to take this route. When you ask people to volunteer their time — and it could take a great amount of their time — people don’t have the flexibility to do that.”
It seems that every time a vacant seat is filled, another becomes vacant, Hocker said. Often, there is only one nominee.
The town council recently lost a member, Harry Kent, who passed away on Dec. 11. He had been appointed to the council in May of 2012.
When the Planning & Zoning Commission hasn’t been able to assemble a quorum to meet, public hearings have been canceled, at the last-minute. In October, the council finally replaced the citizen P&Z Commission with a smaller committee of Town officials.
“We try our best to get people involved,” Hocker said, but public participation is rare.
Town council meetings rarely last more than 60 minutes, and it is rare for more than three citizens to attend to listen or participate.
“Quite frankly, we’ve had very few elections. When I got elected in 2002, we had an election, and I recall having one since then,” Hocker said.
“I am proposing this to the council,” said Botchie. “I have talked to them one-on-one about it. What will come out in full discussion, I don’t know.”
Botchie noted that local beach towns already have similar rules on the books.
“They have so many people who aren’t residents but want to be involved,” Botchie said. “I believe if you are a property owner, you have a right to vote. And our charter does not show that.”
Botchie said she did not know how many freeholders could become eligible voters. The town council may ask for that information, but she said Dec. 8 that she hadn’t researched the property tax files as of that time.
But many developments have added new houses and property owners to the town. Botchie said she has already heard ideas and enthusiasm from non-residents who will someday live in the town full-time. Those people may already be willing to serve if given the chance.
Other charter changes
The text of Resolution 16-02 and the charter amendment itself can be read at town hall during regular business hours.
If approved, the amendment would also make funding for emergency services more flexible. The town council could donate up to 6 percent annually of its real-property taxes to any combination of fire, ambulance or emergency medical services. For instance, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company could use the money to better fit its needs.
The charter currently allows the same 6 percent to be granted but mandates only up to 3 percent for each for fire companies and the ambulance/emergency medical service.
The amendment would also change the way Millville’s “Territorial Limits” are described.
Rather than spell out every boundary, the charter would refer to maps on record with Sussex County’s Office of the Recorder of Deeds. Those are always up-to-date, so Millville wouldn’t require a whole charter change during future annexations. Other towns have done that, too, Botchie said.
The amendment also does the following: updates and elaborates on the council’s process for passing certain acts; adds a process for determining forfeiture of office; removes a provision on oaths that may be inconsistent with the Delaware Constitution; updates the council’s meeting process; and creates a timeline to enact the council’s new composition.
Tuesday night is the only vote
The town council’s only vote on the proposed charter amendment is scheduled for Dec. 22.
If and when they pass the resolution to move forward, Millville must get State approval. State Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and State Rep. Ron Gray would be asked to sponsor the charter amendment in the Delaware General Assembly.
It would be in place as soon as the governor signs it, Botchie said.
The public is being invited to comment on the proposed changes. Because it isn’t a zoning change, the Town wasn’t required to advertise the public hearing beyond the regular agenda posting.
The hearing was originally scheduled for a Dec. 8 meeting, but two of the five council members would have been absent. The vote was deemed too important to have with a quorum of three council members.
The Dec. 22 workshop agenda also includes a MVFC presentation on a new “Community Discount Ambulance Service Program”; revisions to the 2016-fiscal-year budget; and a possible vote on the winning bids to construct the new Town municipal building.
Gallery One in Ocean View announced this week that its new show with the winter theme “Stillness” will be open to the public Jan. 6 through March 2. Gallery One artists will offer viewers a respite, a place or feeling of quiet in the new exhibition.
“When I think of a quiet serene place, I think of the wetlands that surround us. The silence is only broken by an occasional egret splashing down or the cry of an osprey feeding its young,” said Joyce Condry about her oil “Reflections.”
Cheryl Wisbrock described her acrylic “Bay Reflections” as “one of those glorious windless days when the bay is flat and smooth. The still water along the shore provides a perfect opportunity to capture reflections of the sky and foliage even the birds and wildlife are respectful of this meditative mood.”
A clear day with no breeze allowed the sky to reflect on the surface of a pond, creating the illusion of ducks swimming in the clouds, which is captured by Lesley McCaskill in her watercolor “Clouds on the Water.”
Dale Sheldon also looked to the sky in her acrylic “Early Evening.” The setting sun gently lights up the sky, reflecting color on the soft clouds over the ocean. There is a feeling of solitude and quiet beauty as the day draws to an end. Looking to the east, the colors are splashed throughout the sky, an engaging show of color and light.
“I love winter light, especially in the stillness of early morning. It is so clear and bright and makes up for the young darkness,” described Laura Hickman of her pastel “Early Morning Light.”
Sonia Hunt has captured the quiet moment of a crabber searching for a catch in her watercolor “Crabbing.”
Pat Riordan looks to England in her painting “View of Port Isaac Cornwall,” which shows an early morning view of Port Isaac, also known as Port Wenn in the Doc Martin series. All is still with the exception of a few early-risers.
Additionally, the Artisan Room features textiles, hand-blown glass, pottery, glass jewelry and wood pieces by local artists. Gallery One is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is always staffed by one of the artists. For more finroatmion, visit Gallery One’s website at www.GalleryOneDe.com or call (302) 537-5055. The gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) Ocean View.
She first noticed Mr. R. last summer, when he started appearing regularly at the Millville Subway.
“He came in every other day at about 3:30 or 4 o’clock,” recalled Elizabeth “Ellie” Cordoba, store manager.
At first, he came alone, and then he started bringing his wife along. Cordoba quickly realized his wife was struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. She knew, because she had watched her own grandmother’s decline due to Alzheimer’s.
“I understood what it was,” Cordoba said.
She wondered why the couple never sat down to eat but soon realized that Mr. R. didn’t feel comfortable dining out with his wife, due to her unpredictable behaviors.
Over the next few months, Mr. R and his wife continued to come regularly to the Subway. One day, though, he didn’t get out of his car. Cordoba soon learned that he had injured his leg in a serious car accident and was having difficulty getting around. No problem — even though the Millville Subway doesn’t officially have a drive-up option, Cordoba would make the sandwiches for the couple and deliver them outside to his car.
Mr. R. became a friend, more than a customer, and after Thanksgiving he confided in Cordoba that his wife’s erratic behavior had derailed his attempt to take her out for a nice Thanksgiving meal.
“If I had known that,” Cordoba said, “I would have taken him dinner.” It would not have been a problem, since Cordoba had prepared a holiday feast for employees, family and friends at Subway this year.
While some scoffed at her plans to stay open, selling sandwiches for a few hours on Thanksgiving and then to serve the traditional dinner, for Cordoba, the fact that a family had come just looking for sandwiches and she was able to invite them in to join her feast made it all worthwhile.
Meanwhile, she kept thinking about her friend Mr. R., and very quickly those thoughts turned into plans.
“I said, there’s got to be something else we can do for him,” she recalled. All the while, though, she was also wondering about her other customers — those whose stories she didn’t know, yet. “We have no idea who they are or what troubles they might have been through,” Cordoba said.
A 2007 graduate of Indian River High School who was “born and raised in this area” — and the first in her family to graduate from high school — Cordoba said she has become more and more of the idea that everyone has a story, and everyone deserves compassion. For her, it’s simply a matter of serving her community in the best way she can. Cordoba has a keen sense of how helping one person, or one family, can help an entire community.
“When someone looks at one family, they’re also looking at all the other families,” Cordoba said. She wondered at how so much need goes unaddressed. “How do you not notice that?” she asked. Learning about Mr. R and his struggles, she said, “makes me want to pay attention to the other customers that come in.”
Cordoba has started by reaching out to her community via that invention that has redefined “community” — Facebook. She posted on a locals’ page that she wanted to ensure that her friend and his wife had a good holiday in December. She planned a meal and a few gifts for the couple, but she didn’t stop there. Cordoba also organized a caroling group and a Christmas party for area children, complete with small gifts.
Subway patrons can now see Cordoba’s plans taking shape. A list of donations of gifts and food, placed next to the cash register, grows by the day. A small tree just inside the store is almost dwarfed by the pile of presents for children that she hopes will attend the store’s Dec. 23 Christmas party.
As of early this week, 39 responses had been posted to her request for help making Christmas merry for her friend Mr. R. One poster said, “In all my life, this is the most beautiful thing I have been witness to as we move towards Christmas Day.”
Cordoba is already thinking past the holidays.
“I want this to be more than Christmas,” she said, adding that she feels drawn to helping Mr. R navigate whatever the future brings with his wife’s illness, because she knows the toll it can take on caregivers. Although she said her work schedules made it difficult for her to do much more than sit with her grandmother once a week, it made her appreciate what full-time caregivers must endure.
“I can’t really give him a break, but I can talk with him,” Cordoba said. “Everything I learned when my grandmother had Alzheimer’s, I can share with him.”
Cordoba said she relishes the activity the holiday brings, especially her efforts to help one customer-turned-friend.
“I like being busy,” she said. “This Christmas is going to be my biggest Christmas yet.
Whether it’s her new friend Mr. R, or parents whose load is lightened a bit while their children attend the children’s party at Subway, or hearts that are warmed by the caroling group she has formed, Cordoba said, “I want to help as many people as I can.”
Since Kristina Isom took over the Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center in Bethany Beach, it’s seen its fair share of expansion. The facility has gone from what was simply a place for detoxification to expanding into saunas and massage therapy, and then again into facials, manicures and pedicure services.
But even after the newest addition this past October, taking over the adjacent studio for yoga, Zumba and Pilates classes, Isom still isn’t finished with what she envisions Mind, Body, & Sole becoming in the future, as she continues on her campaign for wellness in an area where she sees a growing demand for it.
“This is a growing area for wellness. There’s a need for it,” Isom said of the continued additions. “There’s a need for a place for people to come and feel comfortable taking care of themselves.” The yoga studio “was a great addition to what we already offer now.”
Isom’s interest in both physical and mental wellbeing began early, being introduced to physical fitness and proper nutrition by her mother’s involvement in bodybuilding and working out. However, the Pennsylvania native was working as a bank teller in South New Jersey when she started to hear her calling.
“I was working at a bank. I always loved working with my hands and always loved customer service,” she recalled. “I heard that there was a school down the street from where I lived that was a massage and facial school. I went in and loved the smell — everything smelled so clean and fresh and plant-based, and just felt right. I went in and was hooked.”
From there, she began developing skills in beauty and aesthetics, eventually going on to earn the title of Master Aesthetician. That was her original foray into health and beauty when she first moved to the area, starting off in natural nail services before landing a job at an Aveda salon in Ocean View.
She continued developing her knowledge and skills at a spa in Fenwick after that, but again she began to hear a calling, leaving to go off on her own before Mind, Body & Sole went up for sale at just the right time.
“I had just recently left a spa, and I kept hearing something in spirit, just kind of telling me it’s time to go,” Isom recalled. “I kept feeling the need to leave, and I finally did. I left and I had no plan.
“For a couple months, I was doing house calls, basically. I was doing home birthday parties, which I really loved — doing nail parties for little kids and seeing the joy that it would bring to them. But I was at this party and the mom had said, ‘Hey, did you here that Mind, Body & Sole in Bethany is up for sale?’ and I kind of felt that feeling again, saying ‘This is it,’ kind of like a spark.”
After going to check out the business and meeting former owner Michelle Salisbury, Isom said she knew right away where that spark had been sending her.
“That was it,” she said. “I pulled up, I shook Michelle’s hand and she told me, ‘You’re just what this place needs.’ It was right. It was perfect. It was definitely meant to be.”
Ever since then, Mind, Body & Sole has continued to offer more and more. First, she took over the space next door for beauty services and makeup services, before taking over another space for yoga, Zumba and Pilates. One of the major features is the spa’s infrared sauna, which can fit up to four people and sends out rays that penetrate the body and are believed to detoxify joints, muscles and organs.
“It’s actually a lot of fun to have a group of four come in. They have a lot of fun with it,” Isom noted. “Much better than just a steam sauna, it really penetrates down. It’s great for cleaning out the system, sore joints and losing weight — you feel a lot lighter and a lot better.”
The INF sauna’s dynamic for groups or individuals is exemplary of the atmosphere that Isom is trying to create for her clients, as whether they’re in for a facial, massage, full-body waxing, beauty, makeup or anything else, she wants them to enjoy taking care of themselves.
“It’s just a very nice environment, if you’re coming in to treat yourself or just need a little downtime or relaxation, it’s just a great place to be,” said Kim Bowden, a regular at Mind, Body & Sole. “That’s what this is about. It’s coming in to take care of yourself.”
“This is a social place for some people,” Isom added. “I have a handful of clients that come every Tuesday, Thursday or every Monday and Wednesday and this is their place to go — a lot of my clients were at my wedding. It’s definitely like family. I really try to just make it very warm and comfortable in here, and I just want people to have a good time and relax.”
But even with all the services already offered, Isom isn’t quite through with what she has planned for Mind, Body & Sole, as she continues to feel the “spark” — this time leading her into counseling, nutritional services, and possibly a food market and smoothie bar.
“That’s definitely the path that it’s headed down — this being a whole wellness center,” she explained, “not even just nutritional counseling — counseling in general. We also love integrating art and yoga and wellness, so we like to have a little fun, too.
“As we grow and expand, I’m looking for good people — good massage therapists, nail technicians… I would love another yoga instructor or any kind of fitness instructor, and we would love a nutritional counselor. I have a vision, and it’s gonna happen.”
The Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center is located at 32892 Coastal Highway (Route 1), #3, in Bethany Beach, right behind Wilgus & Associates. For more information or a full list of services, visit their website at www.mindbody
solespa.com, or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mindbody
sole.bethany, which is the best way to
keep up with cancelations, changes or
additions, Isom suggested.
SDSA students send supplies to homeless shelter
By Laura Walter
Students at one Selbyville school got a glimpse of gratefulness this month when they sent donations to a Salisbury, Md., homeless shelter. Southern Delaware School of the Arts students painted and filled six suitcases with supplies for HALO, a faith-based ministry that serves those who are homeless or in need.
The Junior Honor Society eighth-graders learned to be more grateful as they packed suitcases on Dec. 14. They categorized each suitcase by items: toiletries, warm hats, blankets, gloves, socks, diapers, books and games.
“Some of these things are common needs, and I can’t imagine not having these things in my life,” said student Grace Morris. “So the fact that people need these things so much just really shows you how much you should be grateful for the things you have.”
SDSA counselor Frank Shockley did the collecting himself in December, as the students had already hosted two food and supply drives this fall. Shockley’s parents helped collect the boxes of donations. After Theresa Shockley helped deliver the supplies, she said she used to do a similar suitcase project for individual foster children.
But Shockley wanted students to see where the supplies go, so he stepped back and let students do the packing.
“I think it’s a bit of a reality-check for them, too,” Shockley said. “[They think,] ‘Oh, we’re giving them Listerine. That must mean they don’t have Listerine. We’re giving them toothbrushes. That must mean they don’t have toothbrushes.’”
The 12 students crowded around, debating how to best organize the boxes. (“All right, toothpaste in here.” “How do you close this?” “Just make it look nice,” they chattered.) The biggest challenge was fitting everything in the suitcases, said Alex Rakes.
HALO’s many ministries include a men’s homeless shelter, a women’s and children’s shelter, a thrift shop and a day-program café.
“Everyone that comes through our doors is in need, and we freely give out the [supplies],” said Megan Saulsbury, HALO day-facility administrator/social worker. “Imagine that was you coming in, and you didn’t have much of anything. You didn’t have a hat, you didn’t have a scarf.”
“Everything’s going to a good cause, and we’re happy that we’re giving people these things,” said student Megan Moriarty. “It just makes us all feel good.
“They were beautifully decorated and painted,” Saulsbury said. “I was impressed that [the students] had done the painting themselves.”
“That kinda adds an extra something,” said student Emma Kelly of the bright designs. “It’s really festive. And it’s just a nicer way to hold everything together.”
Doing the project really speaks to the character of the Junior Honor Society students, Saulsbury said.
“It was greatly appreciated, and we will put everything to good use for the guests that come through,” Saulsbury said.
HALO Ministry is headquartered at 701 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, Md. For more information on giving or receiving help, contact them at (410) 742-9356 or www.haloministry.org.
By Maria Counts
During Tuesday’s regular Sussex County Council meeting, County Finance Director Gina Jennings gave the council an update on the Clean Water & Flood Abatement Task Force. Jennings, who sits on the task force, said a meeting was held in November, with another meeting scheduled for Dec. 17.
“The Act states that most of Delaware’s waters do not meet water quality standards for their designated uses, such as drinking water, swimming, and supporting fish and other aquatic life,” explained Jennings. “Delaware’s list of impaired waters includes 377 bodies of water that suffer from excess nutrients, low dissolved oxygen, toxins and bacteria. Extensive analysis of chemical contaminants in fish has led to advisories that fish are unsafe to eat in more than 30 waterways statewide.”
Jennings said that at their next meeting the task force will review the funding needs to meet the State’s demands for clean water.
“The Act states it is in the public’s interest to establish a Clean Water Trust Fund to coordinate the available resources for State drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, non-point source pollution reduction, toxics removal and ecological restoration,” she said.
Jennings serves on the committee with representatives from the State, and the other two counties, as well as members from Tidewater Utilities, Artesian Water and the Delaware Farm Bureau. She explained that she’s sitting on the committee because there is a tax involved.
“The calculation of the Clean Water Fee for Sussex County is $0.2071 per $100 of assessed value, from a minimum of $45 per year to a maximum of $85 per year. Our average single-family home would be charged the $45 minimum; in other words, 65 percent of our parcels will be charged the minimum. The fee will generate over $8 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund just from Sussex County alone.”
Council President Michael Vincent asked if the tax would be paid by every resident, even those who pay sewer tax.
“Yes,” explained Jennings, “and even properties who are normally exempt, such as nonprofits, would also receive the tax as well.”
Councilman George Cole asked where in the bill’s language it says the money goes.
“They’re creating a trust fund — it’s a separate fund, knowing that a similar bill was introduced last year that was generating about $30 million statewide. It would go to cleaning the waters that were listed…”
Cole asked if there was clear language as to what the monies collected from the tax could be spent on.
“Yes, it’s listed in the bill… There is language in this bill that says they could transfer funds to other needs. The needs are specifically listed as wastewater needs and things like that. I don’t know how those funds could possibly distribute their money, so my concern is once you transfer funds to another fund, that could transfer funds… When there’s language in a bill that says it’s able to transfer that does, yes, make me nervous.”
Jennings noted that the bill has not yet been introduced, as the Delaware State Legislature does not reconvene until January 2016. She said the committee will meet again twice in January, in the hopes the bill will be finalized to be introduced.
Councilman Rob Arlett noted that all people want clean water, “therefore, one would presume we would not have clean water in this state. Is that an accurate statement based on the need of this extra funding?”
“The EPA puts out regulations on how the water should be tested and DNREC tests those waters. There are 377 of those waters that are not deemed suitable for fishing or swimming,” explained Jennings.
“Do they know what’s causing this ‘bad water?’”
“It all filters down from the Clean Water Act that was passed by Congress in 1976 and it stipulates that all states have to establish lists of bodies of impaired water,” said Hans M. Medlarz, County engineer. “That watershed assessment is done on a tri-annual basis and is predated by a number of tests that DNREC runs — tests for toxins, nutrients, any kind of exceedances… The next step is you establish total maximum daily limit…
“The intent is to use the trust fund to remedy and eventually delist all of the water bodies in the state. That’s the intent.”
Medlarz said a lawsuit filed against the EPA in the late 1990s triggered the enforcement of the Clean Water Act federally.
“Now I think the State of Delaware is one of the best states in terms of watershed assessment compliance.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, County officials discussed signage for the Delaware Coastal Airport. In June, the County voted to officially change the name of the Sussex County Airport to Delaware Coastal Airport. Since then, the County has been working to replace signage that displays the new name.
County Administrator Todd Lawson said most of that work has now been completed, with a new sign in place at the entrance of the parking lot, as well as signage within the terminal building.
The County is now looking to add an additional airport sign that would be located at the corner of Airport Road and Route 9, as traffic enters into Georgetown.
“The property is actually owned by Sussex Academy,” said Lawson. “I’ve had conversations with members of the board of the Academy, as well as some of the administration of the school, and we have a gentlemen’s agreement in place right now to locate the sign on their property as long as they would get some real estate on the sign … indicating that that is the location of their school.”
Lawson said he has also had preliminary discussions with the Town of Georgetown because the sign would be within the Town of Georgetown’s purview and fall under their guidelines.
“We’ve not submitted anything as it related to paperwork or the application process. After today’s presentation, that would be the next step.”
He noted that, if all goes well, the County anticipates construction to begin early next year, with construction to be completed in early spring of 2016.
“I hope it’s not going to be one of those annoying electronic signs that blinks. It’s not going to do that, is it?” asked Councilwoman Joan Deaver.
“We will have full control of the design,” said Lawson.
“But it will be in good taste?”
“It will be fully controlled by us,” responded Lawson. “With any of your recommendations we will be able to monitor and keep the sign under complete control of the County.”
“Good,” said Deaver, noting she had to give Lawson a hard time after recent discussion of signage regulations in the county.
By Laura Walter
In a perfect world, every student athlete has parents or friends cheering on the sidelines. In real life, some kids can’t even get a ride home from practice.
As a last resort, coaches are permitted to drive students home. But that could be a huge liability if something inappropriate occurs. So, acting under its attorney’s advice, the Indian River School District may tighten up the policy by forbidding staff from driving students.
“This policy was made so coaches would not give rides … to students after events,” Scott Collins told his fellow board members at the Dec. 21 board meeting. “It’s to protect the kids and the staff.”
Despite unanimously approving the policy’s first reading, several board members said they had concerns with Policy JHFA.1 “Supervision Responsibilities of EPER Coaches/Advisors/Staff.”
“In my prior coaching experience, there were always four or five kids who simply did not have rides,” James Fritz said of his work coaching middle-school football.
“That child would lose the ability to play that sport because a single family [can’t drive]?” board member Rodney Layfield asked.
Currently, staff may drive students as a last resort. They are encouraged to have parental permission beforehand and to drive another student or adult at the same time. They take personal responsibility for any accidents or injuries, and they’re expected to log the trip details (times, locations) with the school office the next day.
Under the new policy, if no parents arrived to transport the child, coaches could call the police to transport the abandoned child, Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele told the Policy Committee on Dec. 14.
It is a challenging policy, especially with so many homeless students in the district. But liability-wise, it’s better, Steele said.
Although the policy change would allow another adult (pre-approved by the parents) to transport the student, that adult still could not be a coach, advisor or staff member.
Donald Hattier suggested the IRSD use a rule from Boy Scouts, which encourages a third person be in the car with the coach and child.
The policy text focuses on students travelling or participating in an extracurricular group, or at the conclusion of a school-sponsored event. It applies to coaches, advisors, band directors, athletic directors and other staff who sponsor students groups.
“This policy only deals with coaches,” said Steele. “We do not have policy that would cover a situation,” he said, in which a teacher drives the neighbor’s children to school.
However, that could be a problem, too. Director of Personnel Celeste Bunting stated that another school district and teacher were sued, despite being in a “neighbor” situation, when a parent specifically allowed the staff member to drive.
Convenient situations can lead to fairly big settlements, warned Superintendent Susan Bunting.
Fritz wasn’t satisfied. Find a policy that guarantees IRSD won’t be sued, he said. Otherwise, he’d prefer to operate under “common sense.”
The IRSD is doing its best to protect itself from lawsuits, Collins said. The policy will be up for discussion again. Changes could be made in any direction, whether to loosen the rules or to extend the policy to forbid all staff from driving students anywhere.
Discussion will continue at the IRSD Policy Committee meeting on Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Indian River School District Educational Complex in Selbyville.
The board could choose to approve a second reading at the Jan. 25 board meeting.
Electronic talk to be limited
Private text messages are off the table, too.
The board unanimously approved Policy GBCB.6 “Staff Conduct: Electronic Communication and Social Media Policy.” That prohibits staff from having any electronic communication with students via email, instant messaging, text messaging, telephone calls, social media and so forth. (However, another policy does backtrack with a few allowances for email).
But what happens when a coach is trying to wrangle a dozen students at a conference in Kentucky? Or if sports practice was moved to another location?
Coaches may use a text message application that sends group messages to the entire team, but one-on-one communications are prohibited.
“If they post to the group, everyone can see it … which is very transparent,” said LouAnn Hudson, director of curriculum and instruction.
What about students and staff who have summer jobs together outside of school? Some students may babysit for, or attend church with, IRSD staff members.
Previously, the policy’s prohibitions only related to IRSD staff duties. Officially, the district didn’t care if a teacher texts a student relating to their summer job waiting tables.
Previously, some communication was also permitted with parental permission. “But if something crosses the line, that piece of paper is worthless,” Steele said on Dec. 14.
Now, if a student directly contacts the coach, that staffer must ask if the student’s parent is there.
Realistically, the IRSD can’t physically prevent or know when students and staff contact each other, Celeste Bunting had said. The administration will only know when something does go wrong.
But the school board unanimously agreed to test the policy for now.
In other school board news:
• In a similar vein, the second reading was approved for Policy EHAA “Telecommunications Access and Acceptable Use.” Now, district employees may only communicate with students through district-provided email when the message is copied (cc’ed) to the parent/guardian and/or a building administrator.
Other personal electronic communications with students are prohibited, such as instant messaging, cell phones or texting.
However, the academic software Schoology is permitted for communication.
• Public participation could change slightly at board meetings. The board passed the first reading of Policy BDDH “Public Participation at Board Meetings.”
Currently, individuals may speak for three minutes, and individuals representing a group can speak for 5 minutes. The policy change would limit all speakers to three minutes.
“The idea … behind it is to allow more people to speak,” Collins said. “Basically, a few groups could come up and speak for the entire time.”
But each meeting only gets a few guest speakers, Hattier said. He said didn’t think they’ve ever been so backed up that the policy change is required.
“An idea is an idea,” whether it comes from a group or individual, Board President James Hudson said at the Dec. 14 Policy Committee meeting.
Contrary to the fear that it will limit free speech, Hudson said he believes it will allow more people to speak during the board’s 30-minute public comments time.
• More minor changes were made to other policies. The board approved the second readings of IKEA “Recovery or Original Credit Opportunities,” IGB “Title I Parent Involvement” and JG “Student Discipline.”
First readings were approved for EBCD “Extra Curricular Activities During Inclement Weather,” ECA “Security Camera System Policy,” JHCA.1 “Pediculosis” (regarding head lice).
• During public comments, Nina Lou Bunting spoke against mandatory vaccination.
“If I’d gotten a flu shot every time I was asked … I’d look like a porcupine,” said the state school board member (and former IRSB member).
Because of her family’s allergies and adverse reactions to medications, Bunting’s young children waited to get “wedding gifts” of their measles and mumps vaccinations. Still, “I was threatened by the Indian River School District that my children would be kicked out of school if they didn’t have shots,” Bunting said.
So the former IRSD teacher “bent to the threat” when her children reached middle school. One of those children had a severe reaction and now has a child with autism.
“My grandson has autism. We believe that too many immunizations at too young an age [weakens] the immune system,” Bunting said, adding that it’s very telling for a 12-year-old to have never spoken or completed his potty training since the day he was immunized at 18 months.
“Do your homework, folks. Don’t just follow the crowd,” said Bunting, who encouraged people to follow the “kindergarten” rule to stay clean by washing their hands.
“It is not our responsibility to protect the herd. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves,” Bunting said.
Bunting commended IRHS teacher Paris Mitchell, who has lectured about (and against) vaccines during comments at the previous four school board meetings. He did not speak this month.
The next regular school board meeting is Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School.
By Laura Walter
In her short life, Alana Rose Prettyman encouraged people to stretch out a helping hand, while hugging their children a little tighter.
Baby Alana passed away at the age of 15 months on Wednesday, Dec. 16, surrounded by her family in Ocean View.
Born Sept. 14, 2014, Alana’s bright and healthy demeanor faded in May, when the 8-month-old was hospitalized with a neurodegenerative disease that eroded her ability to eat, smile, sit up and visually focus. Her life expectancy was one year.
She was the first and only child of Alexa Shoultes and Kyle Prettyman, who are in their mid-20s.
But despite the mourning that occurred with Alana’s prognosis, her family looked upward again and made Alana’s life an inspiration.
They filled up her life with all the things new parents should do: Christmas portraits, Halloween events, a first birthday party and worrying about teething.
They didn’t shy away from sharing their adorable baby’s life with the world. Shoultes even posted frequent Facebook updates on Alana’s breathing, appetite and sleep patterns. She openly shared the joys and sorrows, from the occasional smile to the more hopeless days.
In telling her tale, the family reached across the nation, showing the meaning of inner strength and inspiring people in other states and countries to cherish the day and hug their own children a little tighter.
“I am so proud of Alana. I think of her life and smile,” Shoultes stated on Facebook on Dec. 21. “She was so special, beyond our imagination. God had this plan for her, and he succeeded. … I don’t dwell on all the could-haves or should-haves, because her life served a purpose and was meaningful…”
Time to help others
Knowing Alana had limited time on earth didn’t make it any easier for Shoultes and Prettyman to lose their baby. But they’ve made her life count in boundless ways. Bolstered by their neighbors, the couple re-focused their efforts to help other families in need.
They created the Alana Rose Foundation in June to provide financial assistance to other families with hospitalized children.
By not having to work full-time during Alana’s illness, “We will be forever grateful for all the moments we are able to spend with Alana,” stated the Hugs For Alana Facebook page on Nov. 23. “If we can contribute to other families’ time with their child, I know they will also be forever grateful. … We are so hopeful in having a successful foundation and helping families stay together when they need it the most.”
On the day of her death, the family’s “Prayers for Alana Prettyman” GoFundMe webpage had reached $15,999.
The new “Alana Rose Foundation” CrowdRise webpage was approaching $1,000.
Alana had a rare genetic disorder, likely caused by a recessive BOLA3 gene in both parents.
“Her nerves are losing their pathways to certain muscles,” Shoultes told Coastal Point in June. “Her eyes, lungs and digestive muscles are compromised, as well as her overall body strength.”
Doctors leapfrogged several diagnoses before realizing Alana could have a sort of mitochondrial disease never seen before. (Previously, she was thought to have a type of leukodystrophy, then nonketotic hyperglycinemia, before additional testing was done.)
“Fortunately, we got funding from similar foundations and our wonderful community to literally ‘buy time’ with our daughter,” the family stated on CrowdRise. “Because of everyone’s financial help, we didn’t have to leave the hospital to afford to pay our bills.”
The family saw plenty of children in lonely hospital rooms because their parents couldn’t afford to skip work to be with them.
Now, Shoultes and Prettyman are paying it forward to relieve other families’ financial stress. The proceeds have already helped parents to stay by their hospitalized children’s side during the holiday season.
Local businesses, from spas to restaurants, are still hosting fundraisers. Toys were also collected for hospitalized children this holiday season.
“Our daughter has so much love — people would be blessed to experience that much love in a lifetime,” Shoultes said in June. “I am so proud of the community for uniting for our sweet angel, and for us. … They are the sole source of our sparse positivity.”
Alana’s funeral was scheduled for Dec. 19 at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church. Condolences may be sent online at www.melsonfuneralservices.com.
Donations can be made to the Alana Rose Foundation in memory of this baby girl:
• Send funds directly to Wells Fargo bank in Millville. Drop in or mail a check to “The Alana Rose Foundation”; c/o Wells Fargo Millville; 202 Atlantic Ave.; Millville DE 19967. Designate that account on the envelope, too.
• Donate online to the Alana Rose Foundation at www.crowdrise.com/alanarosefundation.
• Donate online to the Prettyman/Shoultes family at www.gofundme.com/alanaprettyman.
By Kerin Magill
At Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, 31 babies have been laid to rest since the cemetery opened in 2002. Some have small stone markers, but many have only tiny plastic markers — meant to be temporary — to mark their brief time on earth.
The lack of permanent memorials for the babies has always bothered Don Lydick, deacon of the cemetery.
“It’s disgusting,” Lydick said, expressing hopes that a more permanent memorial could be put in place. While the Diocese of Wilmington supports such a memorial, it was understood that funding for the memorial would have to come from private sources.
That’s where Joe Mulholland comes in. Mulholland, 87, of Ocean City, Md., comes to the cemetery, generally twice a week, because his wife Jane’s ashes are interred there. He and Lydick got to talking and agreed that something had to be done to pay tribute to the babies.
Mulholland reached out to anyone he could think of to raise the $6,500 needed to build a memorial wall. So far, about half of the necessary funding has been raised — enough for a down-payment on a granite memorial wall.
The wall will bear the inscription “Holy Innocents” and will have space for the names of the babies currently laid to rest at Gate of Heaven, as well as about 60 more. The babies’ names will be watched over by a carved portrait of Jesus holding a lamb, Mulholland said.
Lydick said he is thrilled that Mulholland has taken the Gate of Heaven babies project under his wing. The two men share a bond over the little ones buried in the “babies’ section” and both make it a point to visit them frequently. Every time he visits his wife’s ashes, Mulholland will say a prayer over the babies’ graves, he said. Lydick also makes it a point to visit them whenever he can. “I’ll go over and say, ‘Hi, babies,’” he said.
Many of the babies buried at Gate of Heaven were born to single mothers or couples with very little money; plots were often donated by the Diocese of Wilmington. Most lived very brief lives; at least one died as a result of its mother being abused while pregnant. Lydick said that, no matter how brief their lives, those babies mattered on this earth.
“We want to make sure everybody is recognized,” he said, no matter how long they lived.
“They deserve a lot more recognition,” Mulholland said. “They were all here, and they were somebody,” he said. “God bless every one of them.”
Since few families visit the babies at the cemetery, Mulholland said, “We’re like the voice for them.” For him, the project is also a way to honor the memory of his wife, to whom he was married for 66 years. “She was a lovely gal, and she loved babies, she loved children,” he said.
In his efforts to raise funds for the memorial wall, Mulholland has enlisted the help of his grandson’s fiancée, Kelsey Marsh, who is a professional documentarian. She recorded a brief video for the project’s GoFundMe page on the Internet. In the two-minute video, Mulholland points out the index-card-sized plastic inserts that mark the spots where many of the babies were buried — some have artificial flowers placed on or near them, but some are just empty, faded plastic rectangles with no names identifying the spots where each little one is laid to rest.
With about half of the needed funds in hand, the memorial has now been ordered and a dedication has been set for May 14, 2016, Mulholland said. While donations have been coming in at a good pace for the past several months, from all across the country, he said he is worried that with the holidays and winter coming, momentum could be lost.
“My sole job has been promoter of the fund” for the past several months, he said. “It is a great thing we’re working on.” The babies buried there at Gate of Heaven will no longer be anonymous, no matter what. “We’re like the voice for them,” Mulholland said.
To donate to the Gate of Heaven Baby Memorial Project, go to the website at https://www.gofundme.com/babymemorialfundDE; contact Deacon Don Lydick at Gate of Heaven Cemetery at (302) 732-3690 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maria Counts
The residents of the Delaware Avenue Association are still hoping to connect to the Town of Frankford’s water system.
At the town council’s monthly meeting on Dec. 7, Wesley Hayes Jr. of the Delaware Avenue Association asked the council if they had followed up with anyone following their October meeting, which was attended by Hayes, along with other Delaware Avenue residents and representatives from Sussex County, as well as Delaware Rural Water Association.
“We’re going to have to take a look at the overall financing. Can we incorporate this within the water tower? If there are grants out there, how much money are we going to be able to afford before taking out bonds. All those questions need to be formulated first,” said Councilman Marty Presley.
“I understand the Town is in turmoil, but at the same time, something still has to happen,” said Hayes.
Council President Elizabeth Carpenter said she was working about 60 hours a week on Town-related business and invited Hayes to volunteer at town hall to work on moving the process forward.
“I am willing to help you. I don’t have the knowledge or the time. I don’t have time. I need more people in town hall helping.”
Hayes urged the Town to make a move regarding potential grant funding that he said could be tied in to fixing the Town’s water tower.
“If you wait on this, you might miss out because of the fiscal timing.”
Hayes said that Delaware Rural Water Association could potentially grant the Town $100,000, with 75 percent of the entire project paid for through a USDA grant.
Presley said the Town needs to see what is most effective for the Town before it makes any cost-spending decision.
Tidewater Utilities District Manager Clarence Quillen spoke to those in attendance about the company taking over the Town’s water in December.
“Our objective is to get [clean, clear water] to every customer out in the Town.”
Quillen said Tidewater was able to figure out why residents were at times having rust-colored water, due to an intermittent problem with the variable frequency drive pumps.
Since Tidewater took over the Town’s water, Quillen said, the Town had only had one dirty-water complaint.
“I know that’s only been a week, but that’s still good,” he said, encouraging residents to contact town hall if they experience issues with their water.
Quillen said that Tidewater served the Town for two years, but for the last two years the Town was served by Artesian.
“We can speak for most of the town residents, and we’re very, very happy that you’re back,” Presley said.
“My objective is to provide adequate drinking water to everyone in town,” added Quillen.
Police chief recommends radar trailer to tackle speeding
Frankford Police Chief Mike Warchol said of his department’s ongoing efforts to mitigate speeding within the town, he would recommend the Town look into purchasing equipment to survey traffic within the town.
“The first thing we need to do before we can mitigate it is we need determine what areas in town are our hotspots. In doing that, we need to do traffic surveys.”
As a one-man department, with an additional part-time officer, he said it would be difficult for him to conduct the surveys himself.
Warchol discussed two different options for digital speed cameras that would have internal software that would be able to provide the Town with data related to vehicle speeds.
One of the two options discussed was a black box that can be placed on a telephone pole, that is radar-equipped with a computer. The equipment will measure speeds of the vehicles, collect the data and give a printed report of the speeds.
“It tells you the times of day on that roadway where it would be more profitable for you to be running radar or doing speed enforcement. It’ a good system; South Bethany currently uses it,” he added, noting the South Bethany department also has more officers than Frankford.
Warchol said the downside to the device is that “there’s no real preventer.”
“It’s basically a covert machine that sits there, and you just get what your normal daily traffic is.”
Warchol said he would instead recommend the Town consider a radar trailer over the radar box, because “the people that are mistakenly speeding — you’re going to slow them down.
The chronic speeders that need the tickets, they’re the ones we’re going to be catching with this.”
If the Town purchased a speed trailer, Warchol said, they would place it on roads with the most speed complaints, Frankford Avenue, Delaware Avenue, Thatcher Street and Clayton Street, and do traffic surveys on each of those roads for one week.
“That way, when it comes back and gives us the printout, it will give us which days we have more speeders and which days we don’t. That’ll help me schedule myself, and the part-time officer, or the full-timer when he gets back, to make sure we’re here during those times to be doing speed enforcement.”
He noted that a similar survey would have to be done in the summertime, as well, given the change in traffic during the summer season.
Warchol said his department could pay for the devices through a supplement to a County grant. He noted both devices were comparable in price, at around $4,000.
Presley said that he would like to see how the Town’s audit report comes back before the Town expends any money.
As the item was not on the posted agenda, it will be placed on the council’s January agenda for consideration with a possible vote.
In other Town news:
• Representatives of the Town met with representatives of the Town of Berlin, Md., on Nov. 13 to see how that town operates.
“I would like to put out a thank-you to them for hosting us,” said Carpenter. “They were more than gracious with their time and their knowledge, are completely willing to stand side by side with us in helping us grow and move forward.”
Carpenter said the visit was “amazing,” and the Town is grateful for Berlin’s hospitality.
• Following an executive session, the council voted 3-1, with Carpenter opposed, to approve a $250 Christmas bonus to the Town’s employees.
Earlier in the evening, property owner Kathy Murray questioned the council giving bonuses.
“First of all, we don’t have an approved budget. The Town still does not have an approved budget. You don’t have the results of the forensic audit. One of the issues that I have been vocal about in the past is the annual increases for employees, is that they’re subjective. There is no formal annual performance review. It’s just, my understanding, it’s based on an opinion that they think someone has done a good job and everyone gets an increase. I take issue with that…
“What is the criteria that you’re going to discuss for issuing a Christmas bonus? Is it arbitrary? Is it just based on the fact that you’ve always done that? That’s part of the reason we’re in the shape we’re in. Because people did not make good financial business decisions.”
Carpenter said, in her opinion, the Town was in no shape to be handing out bonuses.
“I’m not prepared, at this time tonight, to just arbitrarily hand out Christmas bonuses.”
“Hell, they don’t give no big-ass Christmas bonuses, I’ll tell you that right now,” said town maintenance worker Dave Ward.
Presley said the Christmas bonuses are not part of the performance review of the employee, which is done during their annual evaluation. He said the Christmas bonuses are given as a gift.
Resident Dayna Aliberti said she agreed with Presley.
“Christmas bonuses are an added bonus that you give to somebody to promote keeping your employees happy. We’re a small community — we don’t have that many employees. If you go upsetting all of them, we’re not going to have anyone in Town.”
• The council also voted 4-0 to expend $5,600 for a security system to potentially be used in the Town’s water plant, park or other Town facilities.
• Murray asked that the town manager committee be resurrected in January. Murray said she believes it should be separate from the charter committee. The council agreed.
By Maria Counts
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
With the sun rising in the east, and those in attendance placing their hand over their heart, Bayard resident Tom Ford hopes to start off 2016 with a pledge to the United States of America.
“I said the Pledge of Allegiance every school day for 12 years — through grammar school, through high school. We would start the day with that. Now we’re getting some schools that are banning the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I certainly have no problem pledging allegiance to this country. I’m proud of this country. I may not be proud of everything this country has done, but I think we have one of the best systems known to the civilized man.”
Ford said he was moved to make a public pledge following news reports that Tashfeen Malik, one of the two gun-wielding terrorists in the Dec. 8 San Bernardino shooting, reportedly made a pledge to the jihadist militant group the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIL, ISIS or DAESH) on social media prior to the shooting.
“When Tashfeen Malik said before she went in to shoot those innocent people in San Bernardino that she pledged allegiance to ISIS, it really struck a nerve with me.
“I said, ‘We really need to say the Pledge of Allegiance… You know what? I would like to publically make a display of pledging allegiance.’”
Ford has asked his family to join him, along with friends and anyone else in the community who feels moved to do so. They plan to gather at 7 a.m. by the Bethany Beach bandstand, where he will set up a flag, and those in attendance will make the pledge around 7:10 a.m., before the 7:17 a.m. sunrise.
“It’s really simple,” he said.
Ford said he hopes others in the community will show their support of our country, and join him and his family as they pledge allegiance.
“It’s a new year, there are going to be a lot of changes in 2016. We are going to have a new president. I would just like to say the pledge of allegiance and asked my family to join me, and anyone else who would like to.”