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    By Maria Counts
    Staff Reporter

    The Town of Frankford is seeking candidates for its February town council election, as the seats currently filled by Charles Shelton, Pam Davis and Marty Presley have terms that are set to expire.

    The Town’s annual election is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at town hall, from 1 to 4 p.m.

    Those who wish to run in the election must be at least 18, must have lived within the town for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the election, must be a qualified voter in the Town of Frankford and not have been convicted of a felony.

    Those who wish to file as a candidate must file a written Notice of Intention at Frankford Town Hall no later than 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 13.

    Those who wish to vote in the upcoming election may register at town hall. While a Frankford citizen may already be registered to vote in State elections, they are not automatically registered to vote in the municipality’s election.

    Those who wish to register to vote in the Town of Frankford must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18, reside within the limits of the town for at least 30 days prior to the Feb. 6 election and fill out a voter registration card at town hall no later than Jan. 15.

    The Town will also be filling a fourth seat, with the Dec. 11 resignation of Elizabeth Carpenter. The Town has 45 days from the date of resignation to appoint someone to fill Carpenter’s seat, the term of which was set to expire in 2017.

    Frankford Town Hall is located at 5 Main Street in downtown Frankford. For more information about the election or how to register, call (302) 732-9424.

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    Hair of the Dog 5K/10K to kick off festivities

    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Exercise Like the Eskimos participants rush out of the water after a quick dip in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 1, 2015.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Exercise Like the Eskimos participants rush out of the water after a quick dip in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 1, 2015.By Tripp Colonell
    Staff Reporter

    It’s been a Bethany Beach tradition for going on 20 years now, and this New Years’ Day will be rung in the same way, with the Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos.

    In addition to the annual plunge, in which participants brave the cold temperatures of the Atlantic to celebrate the new year, the days’ festivities — put on by the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation — will start out with the annual Hair of the Dog 5K and 10K oceanfront and boardwalk run.

    The race and day’s events will include live music from D.J. Padraig and, as always, will include overall and age group awards and a post-race party at Mango’s on the Bethany Beach boardwalk, with beer and food donated by local restaurants.

    To commemorate the race’s fifth year, participants will also receive a free insulated race tumbler provided by Burnzy’s Bar & Grill. As with prior events, racers are also being encouraged to dress up in festive costumes for the event and feel free to run the 5K with a four-legged friend.

    Packet pickup for the race will be held at Mango’s on Thursday, Dec. 31, from noon to 4 p.m. Online registration for the event closed on Dec. 29; however, race-day registration will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on the Bethany Beach bandstand, with the 10K kicking off at 8:45 a.m. at Parkwood Street and Atlantic Avenue. The 5K is set for 10 a.m. at the same location, and “spalshers” are scheduled to gather for the plunge at 11:45 a.m. on the beach, and jump in at noon.

    Registration for the 10K cost $45, registration for the 5K costs $35, and the plunge costs $20, though participants signing up for multiple events will be offered discounts. For more information on these events or a full pricing list and schedule, visit

    Fenwick ready to freeze for lifeguard fund

    Just to the south, the 12th Annual Fenwick Freeze will take place on the Bayard Street beach in Fenwick Island at 10:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day, with proceeds to benefit the Fenwick Island Lifeguard National Competition Fund. Day-of registration, for $25, will run from 9 to 10 a.m., with Freeze-ers taking to the cool ocean waters at 10:30 a.m., regardless of shine, snow or sleet. All registrants will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt.

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    By Laura Walter
    Staff Reporter

    Adults who struggle with reading can get a boost at the Frankford Public Library.

    To help Sussex County adults with low literacy skills, the library started a free reading program through Literacy Volunteers Serving Adults (LVSA).

    “If you know someone, a friend or family member, who struggles with reading, please tell them that it is never too late to learn,” stated Frankford librarian Joan Loewenstein.

    For many people, “Reading is so much a part of our daily life [that] we rarely consider what it would be like to be unable to read and understand medication directions, street signs, maps, bank statements, legal papers, job applications or instructions for a driving test,” stated Loewenstein.

    Imagine if you couldn’t use those skills to help your children, either, she said.

    The Frankford Public Library will pair learners with trained volunteer reading tutors. Tutoring is confidential and one-on-one, not a group class.

    Students and tutors can meet anywhere in Sussex County, in a quiet and convenient place, such as a church or library. They’ll decide their own schedule, ideally meeting twice weekly for up to two hours each time.

    The tutoring is a more casual and friendly atmosphere than school, Loewenstein said. “We try to get to know the learners, find out what goals they have…”

    But learners must actively participate and study to truly benefit.

    “This kind of tutoring asks more of people than just a regular volunteer job,” Loewenstein said.

    Registration is ongoing. People may register for this winter, but if a waiting list forms, then more classes can begin in spring. The first class of volunteer tutors was trained in November.

    There is no set end-date. Tutoring may continue as long as the learner wants assistance.

    Currently, classes are just to teach English reading skills (although the Frankford Public Library could add English-speaking classes in future).

    “Most people can read some, but the ones who come to us are under a fifth-grade level. Some cannot read at all,” Loewenstein said in September. “To see them grow in confidence, and see them learn each new thing, it’s almost like a light bulb going off. It’s very rewarding.”

    She encouraged Sussex Countians “to come and get the help they need to improve their reading and meet their goals, become more confident, productive workers, involved parents and engaged citizens.”

    In Delaware, 1 in 7 adults reads at or below a 5th-grade reading level, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Although Frankford has done literacy programs for a while, it now serves as the Sussex County branch of Literacy Volunteers Serving Adults. The Sussex County Department of Libraries has also supported the program.

    For more information or to register, visit the Frankford Public Library at 8 Main Street or call (302) 732-9351.

    To learn more about becoming a tutor or making a donation, visit the LVSA website at or call LVSA’s main office at (302) 658-5624.

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    Strong smell raises concerns, but ‘resolved’

    By Laura Walter
    Staff Reporter

    Due to a problem in the school’s swimming pool pump room, the Howard T. Ennis School was briefly evacuated on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

    “Apparently, there was a strong burning smell coming out of that pump room, and they were concerned” about the potential for a fire,” said David Maull, Indian River School District spokesperson. “It’s all resolved now.”

    A fire never broke out. The Georgetown Fire Company was dispatched around 1:30 p.m. last Tuesday to assess the situation but cleared the area as being safe. According to Maull, there was a problem with a transformer across the street from the school. That caused some pump-room equipment to go into electrical overload.

    All students were safe, according to an announcement by district officials at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. They were briefly evacuated next door, to Delaware Technical Community College. Students returned to Ennis before the regular 3 p.m. dismissal.

    The IRSD had yet to determine if there was any damage to the pool-pump equipment. Winter vacation began last Wednesday, so the facility was expected to be generally clear of students until after the new year, anyway.

    Yet, as a precautionary measure, Sussex Central High School canceled a home swim meet at the facility last Tuesday afternoon.

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    By Maria Counts
    Staff Reporter

    Within the span of three days, the Ocean View Police Department made three DUI arrests.

    In the early morning hours of Dec. 16, an officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Atlantic Avenue (Route 26). However, the vehicle did not stop, and instead continued to travel at a high rate of speed into the town limits of Millville.

    OVPD Cpl. Rhys Bradshaw, who serves as the department’s public information officer, said the vehicle eventually stopped in a parking space on Beach Plum Drive.

    Patricio A. Bautista, 29, of Millville, proceeded to exit the vehicle but refused to stop when ordered to do so by the officer, he said. As a result, Bautista was tasered by the officer and taken into custody. He was later charged with his fourth offense of DUI, as well as resisting arrest, disregarding a police officer signal and multiple traffic offenses. He was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $10,002 cash bail.

    The department made two DUI arrests on Dec. 19, the first about 11:03 a.m., after conducting a stop for a traffic violation. Bradshaw said that when the officer made contact with the driver, Douglas M. Owens Jr, 51, of Frankford, they detected an odor of alcohol.

    A subsequent field sobriety test led to Owens being charged with his sixth offense of DUI, as well as driving while suspended or revoked, and other related traffic charges. He was later committed to SCI.

    That same evening, about 5:24 p.m., OVPD was dispatched to investigate a possible drunk driver, as citizens had reported to authorities that the vehicle had almost caused multiple accidents in the area.

    OVPD officers located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. Following the stop and ensuing investigation, Charles R. Patterson Jr. of Frankford was arrested for his fifth offense of DUI, as well as disregarding a police officer’s signal and driving while suspended/revoked.

    “The Ocean View Police Department has always been a very proactive department when it comes to traffic enforcement, and especially when it comes to DUI enforcement,” said Bradshaw. “Our mission is to keep the roads safe.”

    During the holiday season, Bradshaw said, the department does see an increase in DUIs, and accordingly adds extra officers to shifts.

    Bradshaw said citizens should be cognizant as to what they drink, and when, if they are outside their home and intend to travel.

    “Know your tolerance, know your time. If you have a drink or two when you get there, don’t go drinking less than an hour later. Eat plenty of food and drink plenty of water. It’s just common-sense stuff.”

    As was the case with Patterson’s arrest, Bradshaw said citizens regularly report possibly dangerous drivers to the authorities.

    “They’re not all of those are drunk drivers,” he explained, noting that sometimes drivers reported turn out to be sleepy or distracted.

    Bradshaw encouraged any citizen who feels there is a potentially dangerous driver on the roadway to call 911 and report it.

    “We welcome people to call anytime they feel someone is impaired and could be a danger on the roadway.”

    He added that the OVPD, along with all other area police departments, are working to keep the roadways safe, especially during the holiday season.

    “OVPD, along with all the other agencies in this area, are very proactive in enforcing DUI rules. A lot of us have extra patrols during the holidays. We’re out there looking.”

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    By Laura Walter
    Staff Reporter

    If the Town of Selbyville has an emergency, thousands of people could know in a matter of minutes, now that Selbyville has registered for the CodeRED emergency notification system.

    Town officials began researching the idea of an electronic notification system after residents complained that notification by posting a flier on their front doors wasn’t adequate for a July water emergency. CodeRED is a more active alert.

    When Town officials need to contact many residents quickly, Town Hall or the Selbyville Police Department can send automated phone calls, text messages and emails.

    The system will leave a phone message if possible, or retry the phone number if the line is busy or lacks an answering machine or voicemail.

    The Town can target areas that need to be notified. The entire town limits will be notified of major emergencies. But Town Hall can pinpoint specific neighborhoods for more targeted issues, such as a pipe break or street repairs.

    As Police Chief W. Scott Collins noted, the Selbyville mailing ZIP code area is larger than the actual town limits. Selbyville’s CodeRED alerts will only pertain to addresses in town limits.

    Many Selbyville landlines are already registered in the system because the State of Delaware also uses CodeRED. Anyone wanting more connection can request emails, text messages or cell phone calls.

    However, “No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included,” said Collins.

    He said all Selbyville businesses should register, as should residents with unlisted phone numbers; people who have changed their phone number or address within the past year; or those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.

    To register additional information, visit Selbyville Police Department website at, and follow the link to the “CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment” page.

    Required information includes full name, street address (no P.O. boxes) and phone number. Additional phone lines and emails can be entered, too.

    People can choose to create an updatable account, or just do a simple, one-time sign-up.

    The CodeRED mobile app also shows alerts from around the country, as well as severe-weather alerts.

    “CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for inputting information,” Collins stated. “The data collected will only be used for emergency notification purposes.”

    Messages are based on geography, so street addresses are required for everyone, to ensure notifications go to the right people, whether they’re using cell phones or landlines.

    “Such systems are only as good as the telephone number database supporting them,” a press release about the system stated. People must have a number in the database to receive updates.

    Previously, Selbyville PD used another emergency system, but registration was voluntary and not widespread.

    For help registering or more information, residents can call the Selbyville Police Department at (302) 436-5085 or Selbyville Town Hall at (302) 436-8314.

    For more information about CodeRED’s managing company, Emergency Communications Network LLC, visit

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    Coastal Point • File Photo: Following a successful tree-lighting ceremony and a round of fun activities surrounding their Weekend Wonderland series, the town of Bethany Beach will keep the holiday momentum going with the first-ever New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop at the boardwalk end of Hollywood Street, next to the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites hotel.Coastal Point • File Photo: Following a successful tree-lighting ceremony and a round of fun activities surrounding their Weekend Wonderland series, the town of Bethany Beach will keep the holiday momentum going with the first-ever New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop at the boardwalk end of Hollywood Street, next to the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites hotel.By Kerin Magill
    Staff Reporter

    While it’s been warm enough to toss around a beach ball on the beach this holiday season, there’s an event set for New Year’s Eve in Bethany Beach that could top that.

    The first-ever New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop is set for midnight on Jan. 1. The 7-foot inflatable ball will be dropped from the top of a ladder truck on loan from the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and will light up when it reaches the end of its drop.

    The “Drop” will take place at the boardwalk end of Hollywood Street, between the north and south buildings of the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites hotel, which is sponsoring the event.

    While tickets are required for the black-tie ball being held inside the hotel at 99 Sea Level, the hotel’s restaurant, the ball drop itself is open to the public. Starting at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31, complimentary hot chocolate and coffee will be served. D.J. Magellan from radio station Ocean-98 will provide family-friendly entertainment, according to Sarah Witkowski, assistant marketing and events director for the company that owns the hotel.

    The idea for the drop came from Jack Burbage of owner Blue Water Development Corp.

    “He came up with the idea even before the hotel was done being constructed,” she said. Planning began in earnest about three months ago, and Witkowski credited town leaders for their support in bringing the event to Bethany Beach.

    “The Town was really welcoming to the idea,” she said. “It’s a great environment for the public to come together and celebrate.”

    Plans are for the ball to be dropped “rain or shine,” Witkowski said. For more information on the events at the hotel, go to or check out the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Facebook page for the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop event.

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    By Maria Counts
    Staff Reporter

    A 90-bed psychiatric hospital is still coming to Georgetown, after the failed appeal of the project’s initial approval was heard before the Delaware Health Care Commission. The 70,000-square-foot hospital is to be located in Georgetown, adjacent to La Red and Beebe Healthcare facilities. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017, with construction to begin next year.

    The facility, which will employ approximately 150 people, will provide treatment for children, adolescents, adults and seniors through intensive in-patient treatment, out-patient care and specialty programs for women, veterans and those dealing with substance abuse.

    In October, Universal Health Services (UHS), which had voiced opposition to the scale of the project at the initial public hearing, appealed the commission’s decision.

    At the Dec. 17 appeal hearing, the board reconsidered the UHS appeal but ultimately did not overturn their decision.

    Jason Powell, attorney for Universal Health Services, spoke to the board about their reasons for appeal.

    “Why are we here and why did we object to this application in the first place? ... My clients live and breathe mental illness every day and work closely to other healthcare providers, hospitals, the State of Delaware and the court-appointed monitor, and have done so for years.”

    Powell said his clients welcome any outside provider that can provide “appropriate care.”

    “What we’re asking is that you reconsider the scope and size of the project. This is the time to right-size this project. This project is too big. That’s why my clients are here.

    “This proposal, in its current scope and size, is not beneficial for the state of Delaware or its citizens.”

    Powell said that SUN’s decision to offer 90 beds was arbitrary and an “excessive number.”

    “Approval of a project of 90 beds will greatly over-bed this state,” he added.

    Lisa Goodman, who represented SUN Behavioral Health, argued that the appeal filed by UHS didn’t meet the standards required to decide if the board should reconsider their October decision to approve the initial application.

    Goodman submitted that no newly discovered, significant or relevant information that was not available to the commission was presented.

    “What they’re arguing is they don’t agree with the conclusions you drew from the evidence. The fact that they don’t agree does not meet the standard.”

    She added that there had been no significant changes in fact or circumstance since the commission made its decision to approve the application.

    “The third thing that could prompt you to rehear this is if you agree that you, as a body, materially failed to follow your procedures. You did not hear Mr. Powell argue that. Again, in good conscience, I don’t think that he can. You put this through your very careful process.”

    Dr. Nicholas Perchiniak, the associate medical director of the emergency department at Beebe spoke in favor of the 90-bed facility.

    Perchiniak said that, from June 1 to Dec. 17, for involuntary admissions, 46 percent of patients waited longer than 12 hours; 10 percent waited longer than 24 hours; and 3 percent of patients waited longer than 36 hours.

    “The longest length of stay was in November — a patient waited nearly 100 hours for inpatient care. This patient — we were told by the referral facility that all beds were at capacity.”

    Perchiniak said that, working in Beebe’s emergency department, he has a firsthand view of the need for more inpatient beds in Sussex County.

    “I think this is a critical resource, not only for our emergency departments to treat these patients appropriately, but also to allow for general medical care,” he said, “and also for the outpatient care that a facility like this would be able provide.”

    Steven Page, president and CEO of SUN, said the facility would not have an excess of beds and would be providing services needed by Sussex Countians.

    “We didn’t just happen upon Delaware. We were asked by the hospital CEOs in Sussex County to come and evaluate and see what’s going on. They were seeing it. They were seeing challenges in placement, and they were being told, ‘No bed available.’”

    During discussions, John Walsh — a citizen serving on the commission — had reached out to state legislators, asking them to weigh in on whether or not the facility was needed. Walsh abstained from voting at the Dec. 17 appeal hearing.

    Yrene Waldron, executive director of the Delaware Healthcare Facilities Association, also motioned that the commission reconsider the board’s scope.

    “We have difficult jobs. We’re a volunteer board. We try to do our due diligence. We come with our hearts and our minds ready to really get engaged and do the very best job that we can to make the right decisions, but none of us want to be taken to court… It’s a hard job to be on this board.”

    Waldron motioned that the board reconsider its decision in terms of the size of the project, stating that the board may have failed in fully considering the size and scale of the project. The motion failed, with a 3-4 vote.

    Commissioner Dr. Vincent Lobo also moved the board consider reopening discussions.

    “I see no problem with having another meeting and having a full discussion… I don’t think it would hurt anything,” said Lobo.

    Lobo’s motion failed, again with a 3-4 vote, and the board’s original approval stood.

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    By Laura Walter
    Staff Reporter

    To combat a lack of public participation, the Millville Town Council could soon allow nonresidents to vote and hold public office.

    On Dec. 22, the council reviewed Resolution 16-02, a town charter amendment involving nine changes, which include allowing non-resident property-owners to vote and hold public office.

    If the charter amendment is approved by the council and State of Delaware, one the five council members could be a “freeholder” (property owner or trustee within town limits).

    Town Solicitor Seth Thompson explained the 15-page amendment, page by page.

    “The charter is your town’s constitution,” he said. “You can’t deny residents the right to vote. It’s a question of if you want to extend the right to vote to non-residents,” he explained.

    According to Delaware Code, once voting rights are given to landowners, they cannot be revoked.

    “You have additional people who can vote, additional people who can serve on council. If you’re a resident, maybe your vote’s worth a little bit less. That’s kind of the policy you have to think about,” Thompson told council.

    Filling the council

    The measure is designed to welcome more eligible participants in town affairs, especially as people scoop up land in new developments to build their future retirement homes.

    “It becomes harder and harder to find people to [serve],” Mayor Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. told the Coastal Point on Dec. 10. “I think other towns have done the same thing. We’re not the first town to take this route.”

    Public participation in town affairs is often sparse, on committees and in the audience at meetings. The Planning & Zoning Commission was even disbanded recently when it failed to get a quorum for regular meetings.

    It seems that every time a vacant seat is filled, another becomes vacant, Hocker said. Often, there is only one nominee.

    The topic becomes especially relevant, as the town council will have another spot to fill after the holidays, having just lost a member. Harry Kent passed away on Dec. 11. He had been appointed to the council in May of 2012.

    “The Town of Millville lost a true asset to the town,” said Hocker of Kent, calling for a moment of silence on Dec. 22. He said Kent served “not for a passion to change the town, but for a passion to adapt.”

    Early praise for amendment

    Councilman Steve Maneri said he hopes this amendment will encourage truly dedicated people to participate on town boards.

    “The only thing is, I would hope this person who’s going to run — he really has Millville in his heart,” Maneri said.

    “Would it be prudent then, for the mayor to be a permanent resident? Someone who’s here more full time than not?” asked resident Wally Bartus, concerned that a non-resident mayor could have split allegiance.

    The members of the town council, not the residents, vote among themselves to choose the mayor, pointed out Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

    But the council could include a stipulation that mayors must be full-time residents, Thompson offered. The council can also vet applicants before appointing them.

    Currently, Millville taxes 1,356 properties, and it has issued 72 rental licenses at present. But only 334 properties would qualify property owners to vote, as many of those properties are just empty lots without residential homes built on them yet. As of the 2010 Census, the town had less than 600 residents.

    Every person gets one vote, although a single property could house multiple voting residents.

    “I think it’s a good idea. These are people here that need to have a vote…” to participate in town affairs, Bartus said after the meeting.

    With little advertising before the meeting on Dec. 22, the only audience members were two Millville By the Sea neighbors, as well as the Millville Volunteer Fire Company’s fire chief.

    The nuts and bolts

    Besides allowing freeholders to participate, under the proposed charter amendment, the overall requirements could tighten for voters and candidates.

    As for voter eligibility, the council must decide whether to use the state’s voter rolls or maintain its own records (which is common, but proves a challenge for some nearby towns). Currently, people can just walk into Town Hall with some proof of residency on election day.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of practical experience with elections,” Thompson said. And with few candidates recently, town elections have become infrequent.

    The draft of the amendment suggests that voters could be either a full-time resident for at least six months or a freeholder for at least 90 days before the election. (The inequity is because full-time residence is harder to prove, but Town Hall can find land-ownership records quickly, Thompson suggested.)

    Individuals listed on the deed would each get a vote. Property-owning trustees would get one vote. Corporations owning a property cannot vote.

    Town council candidates would have to qualify as part of one of those eligible groups for at least six months prior to the election. They’d also have to be 21 or older. (Currently, candidates must be 18 or older and a resident for at least 90 days.)

    As it stands today, any council member who moves outside of town limits immediately vacates their seat. The amendment would allow council members elected as residents to finish their term if they remain freeholders in Town despite moving their full-time residence elsewhere.

    Other beach towns have similar rules on the books.

    “I do believe property owners have a right to vote in a town where they pay taxes,” Botchie said.

    Other charter changes

    The text of Resolution 16-02 and the charter amendment itself can be read at Town Hall during regular business hours.

    The amendment would clarify rules regarding town council meetings, members and elections.

    All ordinances could only be passed by the majority of elected members. So if the council has five elected members, but only three attend a meeting, all three of those members must vote for an ordinance in order for it to pass. Currently, the town code only requires that kind of majority for a handful of council actions.

    If approved, the amendment would also make emergency services funding more flexible. Up to 6 percent of annual property taxes could be donated to any combination of fire, ambulance or emergency treatment services.

    The charter currently allows the same 6 percent to be funded but specifies up to 3 percent each for the fire companies and the ambulance/emergency medical services.

    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. As a result, Millville wouldn’t require a whole charter change during future annexations.

    Vote delayed

    Technically, the town council only needs to vote once on the amendment. But they opted not to vote Tuesday night. Discussion will continue at a future meeting or workshop.

    If and when they pass the resolution to move forward with the charter change, Millville must get State approval. State Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and State Rep. Ron Gray would be asked to sponsor the amendment in the Delaware General Assembly. It must pass both chambers by a two-thirds majority.

    It’s done as soon as the governor signs it, Botchie said.

    For more detailed Coastal Point coverage, read the Dec. 21 article “Hearing on non-resident voting in Millville set for Tuesday” online at

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    By Laura Walter
    Staff Reporter

    As the name implies, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company serves the community primarily on a volunteer basis. However, 11 EMS staffers are paid to ensure local ambulance coverage. Now, to improve its 24-hour ambulance service, MVFC is proposing a flat ambulance fee for local towns.

    “It’s an insurance policy … on the local level,” Fire Chief Doug Scott told the Millville Town Council on Dec. 22.

    Millville Volunteer Fire Company is proposing that local towns charge $35 to every property. The mandatory ambulance subscription would buffer individual residents from pricey ambulance costs in the event of an emergency.

    Currently, every household in the MFVC ambulance district can purchase an annual, optional $50 ambulance subscription. (The MVFC’s ambulance district covers the incorporated towns of Millville and Ocean View and unincorporated zones, such as Clarksville.)

    Ambulance rides always cost money, averaging $800. Typically, in an emergency, when people are transported via ambulance, the MVFC charges the patient’s insurance first. Then the MVFC bills any outstanding charges to the patient.

    But the $50 subscription covers any remaining ambulance charges for any members of the subscriber’s immediate household. The MVFC still charges the insurance to recoup some expenses, but the individuals do not pay for any calls all year.

    Scott estimated that 40 percent of households in the fire district currently use the subscription.

    But if the towns of Millville or Ocean View, or homeowner associations, joined the new ambulance subscription as a group, every household would pay $35. Plus, all household visitors and renters would also be covered for discounted ambulance service. For businesses, the employees would be covered, but not customers.

    “If we could get 100 percent return … we would expand who was covered, and we would do it at a lower rate than what we normally charge,” Scott said.

    The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company already uses a similar system with the major four entities of the Towns of Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island and the Sea Colony development. The four entities assess property owners a flat rate of $53 for the regular BBVFC ambulance subscription, which they pass directly on to the ambulance service to cover its costs.

    Not to shirk their duty

    For the MVFC, that money saved would pay for a second nighttime EMS crew. Currently, four EMTs are split between two stations during the day. There is one nighttime crew of two EMTS, and sometimes they can’t cover all the calls of a growing population. That means the MVFC must sometimes ask neighboring fire companies to help.

    “We do not like having anyone else answer our calls,” Scott said. “We try to maintain that responsibility as much as we can.”

    Two round-the-clock crews could elevate Millville’s service significantly.

    Last year, the MVFC received more than 1,800 EMS calls and more than 355 fire calls, Scott said.

    Until 2009, the MVCF also provided ambulance service to the beach towns and their neighboring unincorporated areas, in addition to its own service area inland. But the high call volume caused the MVFC to give up beachfront EMS in order to focus on its own immediate area. That led to the creation of the BBVFC service and its fee structure.

    But the population boom has spread inland, so Millville and Ocean View EMS numbers are approaching previous highs.

    Meanwhile, “Volunteerism is down nationwide for the fire service, and we are impacted by that,” Scott said.

    Paying for lifesavers

    Some people misunderstand fire department funding, especially if they didn’t grow up in Delaware, Scott said.

    “I think some people think we’re fully paid and we’re fully funded by another means,” but that’s not true, Scott said. Voluntary fundraising is a big part of their budget.

    Payroll is the fire company’s biggest expense. While the Towns voluntarily contribute money to MVFC, there are some stipulations on how that money is used. The ambulance subscription fee would be used however MVFC wants, whether for staff or fuel.

    The plan will be presented at an upcoming Ocean View Town Council meeting. Individual housing developments will also be invited to join the discounted service if they aren’t part of a participating municipality.

    The Towns’ participation would make it a mandatory program for property owners.

    Meanwhile, individual properties outside of town limits won’t get the discounted $35 rate, but also aren’t required to pay the annual fee.

    Ultimately, the most effective method of funding would be for Sussex County to collect and distribute fire and ambulance fees countywide, similar to school taxes, Scott said. But that discussion is for another day.

    In January, Scott will present more concrete numbers to the Millville Town Council.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 or call (302) 537-5055. The gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) Ocean View.

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    Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Cordoba, store manager at Subway in the Millville Town Center, has been on a mission to give her new friend, Mr. R and his wife a merry Christmas by organizing a Christmas meal, a few gifts and Christmas carols.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Cordoba, store manager at Subway in the Millville Town Center, has been on a mission to give her new friend, Mr. R and his wife a merry Christmas by organizing a Christmas meal, a few gifts and Christmas carols.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.”

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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Kristina Isom stands outside Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center in Bethany Beach.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Kristina Isom stands outside Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center in Bethany Beach.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, or their Facebook page at
    sole.bethany, which is the best way to
    keep up with cancelations, changes or
    additions, Isom suggested.

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Southern Delaware School of the Arts students were at times a flurry of hands as they packed six suitcases of supplies for a homeless shelter.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Southern Delaware School of the Arts students were at times a flurry of hands as they packed six suitcases of supplies for a homeless shelter.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

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    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.

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    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.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Alana Rose Prettyman, ‘Baby Alana,’ and her courageous struggle against disease, brought many in this community together.Coastal Point • Submitted: Alana Rose Prettyman, ‘Baby Alana,’ and her courageous struggle against disease, brought many in this community together.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

    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

    • Donate online to the Prettyman/Shoultes family at

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