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Articles on this Page
- 01/08/16--11:22: _Fourth annual Photo...
- 01/08/16--11:23: _Police urge care af...
- 01/08/16--11:23: _Police seek second ...
- 01/08/16--11:24: _Lewes lady leads un...
- 01/08/16--11:25: _Sidewalks, turn lan...
- 01/08/16--11:44: _Three candidates ne...
- 01/08/16--11:45: _Registration open f...
- 01/08/16--11:49: _Selbyville council ...
- 01/08/16--11:49: _Frankford to hold s...
- 01/08/16--12:04: _Police ask parents ...
- 01/08/16--12:05: _New sheriff in town...
- 01/08/16--12:06: _Frankford continues...
- 01/11/16--09:43: _BREAKING NEWS: IRHS...
- 01/14/16--11:21: _Need for Speed: Hit...
- 01/14/16--11:45: _Southern Delaware r...
- 01/14/16--12:10: _After 14 years of s...
- 01/14/16--12:12: _OVHS adds Evans-Wes...
- 01/14/16--12:17: _Dinker Cottage offe...
- 01/14/16--12:31: _Controversy surroun...
- 01/14/16--12:32: _Frankford’s Presley...
- 01/08/16--11:22: Fourth annual Photo Beach Bash scheduled for April 17 in Rehoboth
- 01/08/16--11:23: Police urge care after thefts from sheds, detached garages
- 01/08/16--11:23: Police seek second suspect in Dagsboro home-invasion
- 01/08/16--11:24: Lewes lady leads university women as AAUW state president
- 01/08/16--11:25: Sidewalks, turn lanes start new year on Route 26
- 01/08/16--11:44: Three candidates needed for Millville council
- 01/08/16--11:45: Registration open for February Selbyville Town Council election
- 01/08/16--11:49: Selbyville council discusses alert and water systems
- 01/08/16--11:49: Frankford to hold special meeting to fill council vacancy
- 01/08/16--12:04: Police ask parents of Handy’s Little Disciples attendees for help
- 01/08/16--12:05: New sheriff in town: Calloway sworn in as Millsboro chief
- 01/08/16--12:06: Frankford continues discussion on water tower, access
- 01/14/16--11:45: Southern Delaware real estate continues modest growth
- 01/14/16--12:10: After 14 years of service, Hocker steps aside
- 01/14/16--12:12: OVHS adds Evans-West house to the National Registry
- 01/14/16--12:17: Dinker Cottage offers a glimpse into Bethany’s rich past
- 01/14/16--12:31: Controversy surrounds possible cottage move
- 01/14/16--12:32: Frankford’s Presley gives State of the Town address
The Coastal Camera Club (CCC) announced this week that the fourth annual Photo Beach Bash will take place on Sunday, April 17, 2016, at the Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center in Rehoboth Beach. The theme, “Learn, Imagine, Create,” is designed to set the tone for attendees to enjoy a productive and educational day.
The program will include: keynote speaker Eddie Tapp, recognized as a top expert on digital photography; Ed Heaton, a landscape master; Mollie Isaacs, who specializes in nature and macro photography; and Joe Brady, a photographer, educator, author, photo workshop leader and studio owner.
“Photo Beach Bash 2016 will be a must-attend event for anyone who is interested in photography at any level,” organizers said. “So keep an eye on the CCC’s website for developing information about this dynamic event.”
For more information, go to www.coastalcameraclub.com and click on “Photo Beach Bash.”
Delaware State Police this week urged local property owners to be proactive in protecting their property, after a series of thefts from residential sheds and detached garages at several locations ranging from Georgetown to Millsboro in the past few weeks.
Police said they learned that an undetermined number of suspects have been entering sheds and detached garages stealing items including power tools, lawn and garden equipment, and, in one incident, a 9mm pistol. In most of the cases, the out-buildings were left unsecured, they noted.
The Delaware State Police urged people to utilize the following tips:
• Lock your shed and garage doors, and secure any windows on the buildings.
• Record serial numbers of the items stored in the buildings, and take pictures of the items for identification purposes.
• Leave outdoor lights on in the driveway or have security lighting or alarms installed.
• If a large item came in a box as present, don’t advertise it by leaving the box out by the trash to be recycled or thrown away. Break down the box and shred it or take the box to a local recycling bin to be discarded.
• Report any suspicious activity to 911 immediately.
If anyone has any information on these incidents, they are being asked to contact Troop 4’s Property Crimes Unit at (302) 856-5850. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
State police detectives this week arrested a Georgetown man in connection with a home invasion-style robbery at a Dagsboro-area residence.
Police said the incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2, at a residence on Parsons Road, when two men arrived at the house and knocked on the door. A 60-year-old man answered the door and allowed the two men to enter since he knew one of them, according to the DSP.
While the three were talking in the kitchen area, the men allegedly suddenly began punching the victim to the point where he was knocked unconscious, they said. The two then allegedly removed a cell phone from the counter and ran out of the house before entering into a unknown type vehicle and driving away, according to police.
The following morning, the 60-year-old victim and his roommates located a small backpack in the front lawn near the porch that contained the identification of one of the suspects. The victim then contacted the Delaware State Police to report the incident and the turn over the backpack.
Troopers were able to locate Charles E. Daisey Jr., 40, of Georgetown at the Sea Esta Motel in Long Neck and took him into custody without incident, the DSP reported. A second suspect, who was only described as a black male, had not been located or identified early this week.
Daisey was transported to Troop 4, where he was charged with Robbery 1st, Home Invasion, Conspiracy 2nd, Assault 3rd and Theft. He was arraigned and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $90,000 cash bond.
If anyone has any information about the incident or the identity of the second suspect, they are being asked to contact Detective D. Cathell at (302) 752-3793. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
As a young doctoral student in 1970, Penny Deiner needed money to make her academic dreams come true. In finding that, she also discovered a group dedicated to equity for women of all ages: the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
In her journey to become today’s Delaware state chapter president in July of 2015, her own life became an example of both the AAUW mission and success.
As one of only two females in that Ph.D. class of candidates at Pennsylvania State University, Deiner was given a life-changing suggestion: apply for the AAUW Dissertation Year Fellowship. Winning a substantial grant, Deiner became a success story who graduated and joined AAUW as a lifetime member, for a lifetime of gratitude.
After teaching for decades (including 25 years at the University of Delaware), Deiner retired in 2007, ready get active with her local Coastal-Georgetown AAUW. She was named branch president in 2013.
“Having retired, I really felt like now I had time to give back to an organization that had given me so much,” Deiner said. “I just expected to go to meetings and enjoy bright, motivated women and began to take on more leadership responsibility,” gladly dedicating time to a group she truly believed in, she said.
Now Deiner sees statewide issues from a new perspective, leading individual branches to action.
“I believe we can make a difference,” Deiner said. “I think we can make things better for women and girls, [which would] make things better for men and boys.”
Equality is the goal. The AAUW aims to bring equity to women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. So AAUW encourages women to vote and supports Title IX, which is designed to prevent educational discrimination based on gender.
Besides running the board meetings, she said she’s excited to build the infrastructure to make AAUW ideas come to life, such as “Smart Start.” The upcoming college seminar is designed to help women negotiate their staring salary. By thinking about their worth in the job market, it is expected that they’ll improve their future income.
“Women make 79 cents on the dollar. But even when you account for the same job, the same number of hours, … women make 7 percent less than men do,” Deiner said.
Men were historically paid more because they were expected to support a wife and child. But with more independent and single parents, Deiner said, “The concept of family has changed [so nowadays,] women don’t make enough to support themselves and their families.”
A University of Delaware professor of individual and family studies, Deiner taught courses on early development, special education and family relationships. She retired as department chair.
“At a professional level, I’m becoming much more interested in trying to reaching girls at a younger and younger age,” Deiner said.
She said she wants to see more early childhood programs that encourage gender equity, exposing girls to many topics, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
“Genetically, there aren’t any differences in the ability to do math, and I think girls need to be encouraged early on to think about that,” Deiner said.
Membership in AAUW is open to any college graduate, male or female, with at least an associate’s degree. (They don’t have to have a university teaching job.)
Delaware’s six branches of AAUW (including two in Sussex County) all focus on different issues within the same mission. As the 2013 Coastal Georgetown president and representative, Deiner had experience at the state level. She was that branch’s sixth past president to hold the state presidency.
“Under her leadership, the branch increased the number of college scholarships given and grew its membership to more than 100 women,” according to the Coastal-Georgetown branch.
“I love being part of a group of like-minded women who get things done and who are committed to breaking down educational and professional barriers for girls and young women,” Deiner stated.
“I think it’s a great organization. We’d love to have more members,” Deiner said.
Initially founded by women who wanted to give other women the opportunity to go to college, AAUW is at a crossroads on the national level as it decides whether to expand membership to the many bright and motivated women who didn’t attend college, Deiner said.
Deiner said she was enchanted by coastal Delaware after volunteering one summer to teach her mandatory UD course downstate. She moved to the coastal area 25 years ago with her professor husband, commuting to UD until she retired.
Besides AAUW duties, Deiner said she also enjoys working as a Master Gardener and spending winters in a quiet Costa Rican town.
For more information about joining one of Delaware’s six AAUW branches, visit http://aauw-de.aauw.net/branches.
Pedestrians have already benefited from new sidewalks along Route 26. Now, drivers are using some of the new turn lanes promised in the State Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project.
New striping was painted on a one-mile stretch between Old Mill Road and Woodland Avenue, showing the ultimate traffic pattern.
Not including early utilities work, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) project began in January of 2013 and is expected to end in the autumn of 2016, eventually improving traffic flow from Clarksville to Ocean View.
Lane closures are still a regular part of life, with flaggers directing traffic through the construction zone, which is spread across more than 4 miles of Route 26.
The project’s transportation management plan is updated every year, said Ken Cimino, resident engineer with AECOM.
“We also monitor lane closures and length of backups,” he said at the construction advisory group’s public meeting on Dec. 8. For instance, the flaggers aren’t supposed to have 80-car backups, but “Some days, that’s just unavoidable. You got a hole in the road, and you can’t get around that.”
Overall, community outreach continues to be “relatively quiet,” Cimino said. “That’s a sign to me … there’s not a lot of heartache or hardship, although sometimes the detours can test your patience a little bit.”
Projects for late December included placing concrete for new sidewalks near Club House Road and laying concrete for directional islands at Irons Lane.
Meanwhile, Tidewater Utilities continues installing a new 16-inch water main west of Whites Neck Road.
Survey work has begun to create a permanent new stoplight at Central Avenue and Cedar Drive.
“Currently, we’re doing sewer force main relocation in the area of Town Road, in front of CraZy LadyZ! and Bethany Auto Parts,” he said, the same as West Avenue and Avenue had earlier in the job. The sewer force main needs to be moved lower in the ground to make room for stormwater drainage. That work began Nov. 18 and should end by mid-January. Passersby have noticed a big, black pipe aboveground there, which is a temporary bypass for the sewer.
Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers are all being encouraged to be especially vigilant when driving in construction zones.
Weekly emails remind drivers that “Travel times to and from your destination may be quicker if you use one of the SR 26 Alternate Routes that were constructed prior to the start of the SR 26 Mainline Construction Project.” The recently reconstructed roadways include:
• Burbage Road, from Route 17 to Windmill Drive;
• Windmill Drive to Route 26 to Central Avenue;
• Central Avenue, from Windmill Drive to Beaver Dam Road; and
• Beaver Dam Road, from Central Avenue to Muddy Neck Road.
For more information or to register for email updates, visit www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sr26.
Mobile devices can download the DelDOT app or visit www.deldot.gov/mobile.
Ken Cimino responds to all public questions and complaints regarding Route 26 construction. People can contact him at (302) 616-2621 or Kenneth.Cimino@aecom.com.
The next public meeting will be Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. at Bethany Beach Town Hall.
The Town of Millville is currently accepting nominations to fill a vacant spot on the town council, as well as candidates for two seats with regular two-year terms.
The seats up for election are currently held by Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. and Steve Maneri, and one Millville resident will be appointed by the council to complete a term that expires in March of 2017. That is the remaining term of former councilman Harry Kent, who was appointed to the council in May of 2012 and passed away in December of 2015.
Town council meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month, and town council workshops are often held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Every council member must be at least 18, a bona fide resident of the United States and of the State of Delaware, and a resident of the Town of Millville for at least 90 days prior to the election or an appointment. Those qualifications must be maintained for the entire term.
Council looks to fill vacancy
Any resident interested in filling the vacant position can submit a letter of interest to Town Hall by Monday, Jan. 25. “The letter may include your background and other information that could assist Council in making its selection,” stated the public notice of the vacancy.
The remaining four town council members may discuss and vote to appoint a new member at the regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
For more information, contact Town Manager Debbie Botchie at (302) 539-0449. Address letters of interest to: Deborah Botchie, Town of Millville; 36404 Club House Rd.; Millville, DE 19967.
Town council election set for March 5
Two seats will be available in the Millville municipal election scheduled for Saturday, March 5. The two-year terms last until March of 2018.
Anyone interested in running for those two seats must provide proof of residency; a completed application (which serves as the notification of candidacy); and filing fee of $100.
The filing period is open from Jan. 15 until Friday, Feb. 5, at 4:30 p.m.
Applications are available at Town Hall or online at www.millville.delaware.gov. More information and forms are online at http://elections.delaware.gov/elections/municipal.shtml.
Mail or deliver forms to Town of Millville Mayor; c/o Deborah Botchie, Town Manager; 36404 Club House Rd.; Millville, DE 19967.
Candidates may now register to run in the Selbyville town council election for 2016.
Two seats will be up for election — those currently held by Richard “Rick” Duncan Sr. and Jay Murray. Each position carries a two-year term.
The deadline to register as a voter or a candidate is Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 4:30 p.m. at Selbyville Town Hall. Forms will be provided at Town Hall, including the Notice of Candidacy.
Any candidate must be at least 21, a registered voter in the Town of Selbyville, a U.S. citizen, a town resident for at least one year prior to the election date.
Selbyville residents must specifically register to vote in Town elections. Voters must be at least 18, U.S. citizens and town residents.
If more than two candidates register, the election would be held Saturday, March 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Selbyville Town Council’s meeting was short and to the point on a chilly Monday, Jan. 4.
• Selbyville’s new emergency notification service is off to a good start. CodeRED alerts were sent to businesses on Route 113 and Church Street regarding a string of burglaries, said Police Chief W. Scott Collins.
Landlines in town limits should already be in the CodeRED system, but people can add cell phones, text numbers and email addresses.
Free registration is available online at www.selbyvillepd.org, by following the link to the “CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment” page.
For help or more information, call Selbyville Police Department at (302) 436-5085 or Selbyville Town Hall at (302) 436-8314.
• Town Hall continues to report unpleasant odors emanating from the Mountaire plant. “It’s the same odor every time,” said Mayor Clifton Murray.
People are being encouraged to report the odors, so Mountaire staff can compare times and complaints with weather and operations logs.
• The Selbyville Police Department had about 18 applications for one open position. Testing begins this week to choose a top candidate.
• Designs for a new water filtration system are “99.9 percent” complete, said engineer Jason Loar. With just a few details left for Town Hall to review, the council unanimously approved the bidding documents for an additional water plant.
Advertising will begin soon, and contractors can submit bids to perform the work. Loar said he was hopeful that Selbyville will have a competitive bid process, as he saw a similar project elsewhere receive seven or eight serious inquiries.
The project has been delayed already, as bidding was expected to begin a year ago.
Councilman Rick Duncan Sr. asked that the solar panels be considered as a future add-on, especially as “green” energy grants are available.
“It can be done,” said Loar, the principal/engineer of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc.
The town council’s next regular meting will be Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
The Frankford Town Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. to appoint a resident to fill a vacant council seat.
On Dec. 11, Elizabeth Carpenter — who had previously been appointed to fill the vacant seat of former councilwoman Velicia Melson, who resigned from the council in August — herself resigned.
The special meeting to fill her seat will take place at Frankford Town Hall at 7 p.m., and those who are interested in filling the seat are being asked to submit a letter of interest to town hall. The person who is appointed would complete Melson’s term, which expires in February 2017.
Three council members’ affirmative votes are required in order to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
There were questions about that issue raised when Carpenter was originally appointed, alongside Marty Presley, because they were appointed by a vote of 2-0 from among the three remaining council members, with Councilman Charles Shelton having expressed concerns about the legality of the vote and of the Aug. 26 special meeting at which Bacon and Councilwoman Pam Davis had met to fill the two vacancies. Shelton was not in attendance at that meeting.
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 former town solicitor Dennis Schrader to the council prior to the Aug. 26 meeting 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, which states “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 Rules of Procedure, specifying the rule that stated “three affirmative votes shall be required to approve any matter within the jurisdiction of the agency.”
Having voted 2-0 to suspend that rule, Bacon and Davis subsequently voted 2-0 to appoint Presley and Carpenter to the two empty seats on the council.
With Carpenter’s resignation last month, the council has three elected council members — though Shelton has refused to attend meetings since Aug. 26 — and one appointed member (Presley), whose appointment itself has been called into question. Shelton told the Coastal Point mid-week that he did not plan to attend the Jan. 13 special meeting, either.
In addition to the vacant seat set to potentially be appointed Jan. 13, the Town will also hold an election this year — with voting scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, at town hall, from 1 to 4 p.m. —to fill the seats currently held by Shelton, Davis and Presley.
As of the Coastal Point’s press deadline on Jan. 6, only Presley had filed to run in the upcoming election. 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. Shelton said he had not given thought to whether he would run for re-election.
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.
Residents 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 and must register with town hall if they wish to vote.
Registered voters 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.
Frankford Town Hall is located at 5 Main Street in downtown Frankford.
The Delaware State Police are continuing their investigation into the death of a 10-month-old male infant at Handy’s Little Disciples daycare in Millsboro on Jan. 28, 2015, and requesting to speak with parents whose children attended the facility.
On Jan. 28, 2015, a daycare worker at Handy’s Little Disciples daycare, located at 28194 Layton-Davis Road, called 911 around 2:15 p.m., after reportedly attempting to wake the infant from a nap and finding him to be unresponsive.
The daycare provider began infant CPR prior to EMS arriving at the facility. Following their arrival, the young child was transported by EMS to Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, where he was eventually pronounced dead.
At the time of the incident, police reported that there was no visible sign of injury or trauma to the infant.
Following an autopsy, the case was ruled a homicide, with the cause of death being medication overdose. Valorie Handy, 51, of Millsboro was indicted on July 27, 2015, by a grand jury on the charge of Murder by Abuse or Neglect 1st Degree.
“The deaths of children at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them are tragic and heartbreaking cases,” said Attorney General Matt Denn following Handy’s indictment.
After the original incident, Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the Delaware State Police, said he was unable to provide information as to whether or not the DSP or paramedics had been called to Handy’s Little Disciples prior to that incident.
The Attorney General’s Office and Delaware State Police Homicide Unit would like to speak with the parents or guardians of any children who have ever attended Handy’s Little Disciples. They should contact Detective J. King at (302) 698-8561 or Attorney General Investigator P. Fraley at (302) 856-5353.
Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood told the public on Monday, Jan. 4, that while the Town of Millsboro may be losing their best motorcycle police officer, they’re gaining an excellent chief.
The Town is also losing an “acting chief,” which had been Brian Calloway’s title until he was officially sworn in as Millsboro’s new official police chief at Monday’s town council meeting, in front of friends, family, co-workers and those who have inspired him throughout his 18-year police career.
“I’ve known him for 14 years. Brian, by the looks of this room, you’ve made a lot of friends, and that says a lot about your character,” Thoroughgood said. “We’re going to lose our motorcycle police officer, but we’re gaining an excellence chief. I’ve got the upmost resect for you, and I just wanted you to know that.”
During his career, Calloway has garnered honors including being named Municipal Police Officer of the Year for the state of Delaware by the Delaware League of Local Governments in 2008, Millsboro’s Officer of the Year in 2004 and multiple life-saving awards. He’s also been instrumental in developing programs including the Citizen’s Police Academy, Police Business Academy and the department’s motor unit, in addition to spending time working with the school resource officer program.
Despite his various achievements and accolades, Calloway attributed his success to those who have inspired him along the way, and support from his wife and the officers of his department.
“I can remember 18 years ago being a young man, 22 years of age, and being given the chance by the Town of Millsboro to be a police officer, and remembering how proud I was to wear that uniform,” he said. “I want to thank the Town of Millsboro for the many opportunities that they’ve bestowed upon me.
“I want to thank the members of my police department that are here. We’ve had a lot of challenges, and I feel like we’ve been able to work together to be successful. I’ve told them from the beginning that they don’t work for me — I work for them. I work for the people.”
And even though the festivities of the occasion may be over with, Calloway knows that the work is not. Noting the challenges that are sure to lie ahead, he explained that he’s ready to take them on.
“I look forward to the challenges, because I know there will be many,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Town of Millsboro and the council. I look forward to working for my police department and the people of Millsboro.”
The Town of Frankford is still considering how to address its water tower and providing citizens with access to water, following the council’s monthly workshop on Jan. 4.
At the meeting, Town Engineer Kyle Gulbronson of URS said he had reviewed two bid proposals from the “very qualified firms” of Southern Corrosion and Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co.
“Our recommendation is that the Southern Corrosion proposal is more complete, offers you more services and is actually about $30,000 cheaper over the 10-year range of the maintenance program. That’s really the best opportunity for the Town,” said Gulbronson. “Again, that’s something I think you need to move on.”
In March of 2015, representatives of Southern Corrosion, based in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., visited the town and inspected the water tower. The company handles maintenance and repair for all Artesian Water Company tanks. Their estimated cost was $111,000, which includes pressure-washing the exterior of the tank, cleaning rusted areas, painting it and sterilizing the tank’s interior.
Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co. of Henderson, Ky., also provided a refreshed bid of $190,576 for work to the tank; however, they did not visit the site.
Steven Lewandowski of CABE Associates had given a presentation at the council’s July 6, 2015, meeting regarding two refreshed bids to provide service, and ultimately recommended the Town contract services with Southern Corrosion.
At the Jan. 4 meeting, Gulbronson added that there are also funding opportunities available to the Town that would completely pay for improvements to the water tower.
“We met just before the holidays with USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and Delaware Rural Water,” said Gulbronson. “They’re offering the Town a 75 percent grant for water improvements — that’s engineering and construction. The State has offered 25 percent to make up that difference.”
Gulbronson added that the Town could have improvements made to Delaware Avenue through those grants, as opposed to paying for the improvements out of the Town’s coffers.
The residents of Delaware Avenue — a road in unincorporated Sussex County that runs through the Town of Frankford — have been trying to get clean drinking water since 1997, according to Delaware Avenue resident Wesley Hayes Jr.
“It’s conceivable we could do the improvements on Delaware Avenue, roll in the maintenance of the water tower and any other improvements the Town deems appropriate into that grant funding scenario,” Gulbronson said.
“You’re talking about trying to throw all these other projects in, which is great, let’s face it,” said Hayes. “What you’re standing up there saying right now is no more than what I told you guys in the meeting last month, the month before… That’s been there, but nobody was moving… Let’s face it, we’ve been discriminated too long, and the Town now has an opportunity to fix some things.”
Hayes said it is bothersome to him that, while the Town has yet to make a move on getting Delaware Avenue residents clean drinking water, having previously been told the Town wants to cautiously spend money, the Town would invest in purchasing property to be used for parking for the Town’s park.
“All we’re after is quality water, which is deserved for any individual.”
“Just to be fair, you guys, Delaware Avenue were given the opportunity when the water plant came online to come onboard with everybody in town,” said Councilman Marty Presley. “True, or not true?”
“No, we didn’t. No, we didn’t,” responded Hayes.
“My understanding is that the group on Delaware Avenue would not agree to be annexed into the town,” said Presley.
“No, we weren’t afforded that opportunity,” said Hayes.
“There’s nobody in town — regardless if the State is paying for the money or the federal government is paying for the money — unless you guys are agreeable to being annexed in… It’s still people’s money. I pay State taxes. I pay federal taxes…”
“We do, too,” Hayes said.
“Everybody in this room does. It’s not a matter of whether it’s coming out of the Town budget or not, it’s still taxpayer money that we have a fiduciary responsibility to look after,” said Presley.
Gulbronson said it is estimated that it will cost $700,000 to get water service to the residents of Delaware Avenue.
Hayes said that the residents on Delaware Avenue have been dealing with poor water quality for decades, and emphasized that clean water is a basic human right.
“They’re real issues that we have to deal with. You think we would still be talking about this… in 2016? This has been an issue… We’re not just in this for the fun of it.”
Hayes noted that he felt progress was made on the issue following an October meeting of the Delaware Avenue Association with council representatives Elizabeth Carpenter (who has since resigned) and Presley, along with a representative from Rural Water Works, held between council’s monthly meetings.
“The very next month, after you met with us at Trinity and I spoke to you guys, it was like, your hands were up in the air — nobody had done anything. We were just pushed aside. We’re tired of being pushed.”
Presley said government moves slowly because of restrictions placed on the council from the Freedom of Information Act. If council members want to speak about an issue, they need to call each other individually, rather than meet together.
“An idea that should take five minutes ends up taking five hours,” he said.
Wesley Hayes Sr. said that the residents of Delaware Avenue are not opposed to being annexed into the Town.
“The thing of it is, we want to know what’s going on. If we’re annexed, we want to know up front what it’s going to be — because you want to come up with prices, what it’s going to be. We don’t want to obligate to something we don’t know what we’re obligating to.”
Gulbronson said the only thing the Town would need to authorize to be done is a preliminary engineering report, which would cost approximately $30,000. He added that Delaware Rural Water representatives had said the DRW would be able to pay for the study.
“What that engineering report would do, it would look at Delaware Avenue and give an up-to-date cost for that, any other improvements in town you feel would need to be taken care of, which there are some. We’ve had a request from the trailer park on Honolulu for possible water service, that could be rolled into that, as well,” he explained.
Once the feasibility study was completed, the Town would then submit a laundry list of projects, in order of priority, to the USDA.
“They’re ready to fund your projects tomorrow once we get that in,” said Gulbronson.
“I think it’ a win-win situation for the Town. An opportunity doesn’t come up very often where a town doesn’t have to pay for anything. I think we need to move with it.”
The council did not take a vote on whether they would authorize the feasibility study.
Indian River High School was one of several Delaware schools evacuated on Monday morning due to a bomb threat.
The threat was telephoned into IR’s main office at 9:35 a.m. on Jan. 11, said David Maull, Indian River School District spokesperson.
All students and staff members were safely evacuated to the nearby John M. Clayton Elementary School. They were permitted to re-enter the high school once the Delaware State Police (DSP) OK’d students to return at 11:20 a.m. By noon, almost all students had returned.
After the DSP bomb-sniffing dogs had gone, the school day was to proceed as usual, with regular dismissal time.
Caesar Rodney High School, Seaford Middle School and Smyrna Elementary School were also subject to bomb threats this morning.
DSP investigations were conducted at Seaford and Caesar Rodney for “an apparent robotic phone call that was made into the respective schools,” said MCpl. Gary Fournier, DSP spokesperson.
Seaford Middle School was also being searched with the canine unit. Nothing of suspicious nature was located at Caesar Rodney, so students returned to class.
Several municipal police agencies were conducting their own investigations in similar incidents, Fournier said, including Smyrna and Milford, although there was no reports on whether those were related or if robotic calls were also received. (The Milford Police Department did not confirm a bomb threat.)
The Smyrna Police Department was investigating the Smyrna incident, in which students were also evacuated to a nearby school.
Updates will be provided as information becomes available.
Scott Hitchens likes speed. And ever since he got his first dirt bike at just 3, all he’s wanted to do was go fast.
Now a 22-year-old seasoned veteran, Hitchens has come a long way from his dirt bike days, going on to make a name for himself as one of the area’s top young dirt track drivers.
The Gumboro native has racked up a variety of titles and accolades throughout his 19 years of racing, including back-to-back Dirt Track Modified Championships at the Georgetown Speedway in 2013 and 2014. Most recently, Hitchens added another title to his résumé, picking up his first AC Delco PSC Modifieds Championship at the Delaware International Speedway in Delmar this October.
The victory for Hitchens and the Blades HVAC Services Racing Team had come just a year after Hitchens finished second overall on the same tour. But even after entering his 2015 campaign as a favorite, and backing it up with a comfortable points lead for the majority of the season, an unexpected breakdown with just two races left made things a little more interesting.
“It came down pretty close,” Hitchens said. “The second-to-last points race, we broke. If we wouldn’t have broke that night, we would have had it wrapped up. So the last week was pretty stressful.”
The setback narrowed the gap considerably, with Hitchens leading second-place driver Jordan Justice of Laurel by just four points and third-place drive Brandon Watkins of Harrington still in the running, back only five points. But when race day rolled around in October, the Blades team showed up to take care of business.
“We went out there and ran and did what we had to do,” said Hitchens. “It was a big-time relief. We raced all year, and then it came down so close — talk about nerves.”
After securing the 2015 crown, the Delco champ will head to Dover Downs on Saturday, Jan. 16, for the annual championship banquet, where he’ll be recognized for the victory. But while Hitchens will be put in the spotlight at that event, he knows that that title was a team effort.
“Everybody was super-pumped — they knew how much work went into it to make it happen, every weekend from March all the way to September,” he said. “Brandon [Blades] has got a whole team over there, about eight or nine of us. My one buddy, Jordan Long, helps me out big-time. There’s a lot of work that goes into the cars.”
Equally important in the effort, he said, was the support of his friends and family — not just throughout his latest conquest, but throughout his entire 19 years of racing, much of which has been spent traveling all over the East Coast on the search for speed.
“Without my parents, I wouldn’t be where I am. My dad’s driven me up and down the East Coast since 2001. I’d hate to see how much money he’s spent [on gas],” Hitchens said with a laugh. “My grandparents drove down as many chances they could, down to North Carolina, Florida, wherever I was racing.”
While the team will be back together again for the 2016 series at the Georgetown Speedway in March, Hitchens said he wasn’t sure if they’ll be looking to defend the title in Delmar. Instead, they’ll aim to take on some tracks throughout the Northeast, by entering the Brett Deyo Short Track Super Series, where the competition will be revved up.
“We’re gonna do his whole tour,” Hitchens said of his next challenge. “Just going there and winning some of those races would be awesome. [Brett Deyo] pulls in the best of the best. If you can run with them, you’re doing something right.”
The South Region portion of the tour will span from March to April and includes stops in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But local race fans will have plenty of chances to check out the Blades car, as the series both starts off and wraps up at Georgetown Speedway and features a race at Delmar, as well.
It will be yet another next step for Hitchens, with Big-Block Modifieds the only place left to advance outside of professional NASCAR. But, for him, it doesn’t really matter what he’s racing — as long as he’s going fast. It’s that need for speed that’s turned a 3-year-old with a dirt bike into a three-time crate block champion who’s not planning on taking his foot off the accelerator anytime soon.
“If you really love racing, you’ll figure out a way to do it. You’ll find someone who’s gonna back you. You’ll go work hard to get it done, just to be able to show up,” Hitchens said. “I’m gonna do it as long as I can afford to do it. Honestly, I’d race anything. It doesn’t matter. I like the beach and everything, but I like going fast.”
For the fifth consecutive year, data compiled and released by the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) earlier this month indicates a period of modest growth in the region’s real estate markets.
Again led by the coastal market, the numbers indicate nearly $1.52 billion in southern Delaware real estate changed hands in 2015, which is a 1 percent increase over the previous year.
There were more than 5,000 properties sold during the calendar year, also a 1 percent gain from 2014.
But sales exclusively in the category of “single-family homes,” which excludes commercial properties, lots and land, mobile homes and condominiums, were up 6 percent over 2014 figures.
“We’re continuing on this path of modest growth, and that’s really what we want to see here in southern Delaware year after year,” said 2016 SCAOR President Frank Serio. “We are fortunate to be buoyed by a strong coastal market, but overall the county is performing very well, as indicated by the fifth year in a row of positive data.”
Single-family home sales for 2015 accounted for more than $1 billion, with the average residential home in the county selling for a price of $359,395.
In total, 2,921 single-family homes were sold in Sussex County in 2015, with residential homes remaining on the market last year for an average of 86 days before sale.
“All in all, the data here is very positive and, most importantly, the rate of growth is slow and steady,” said Serio. “We may have had better overall years in the last decade but, as we later found out, it wasn’t sustainable. This steady rate of growth leads to a much healthier overall real estate market in Sussex County.”
Year-end figures revealed that more than 5,000 real estate transactions were completed in Sussex County during the last calendar year. That includes single-family homes, as well as more than $307 million in townhome and condominium sales, nearly $23 million in mobile home sales and more than $105 million in sales of lots and land. There were also 12 farms that were sold last year, with the average farm selling for approximately $475,000.
Commercial real estate, which has enjoyed a recovery of its own in the last couple of years, showed gains again in 2015, with nearly $34 million in commercial sales being conducted in the county. A total of 64 commercial properties changed hands during the previous calendar year.
The data released by SCAOR is compiled from the Association’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which tracks all data regarding real estate transactions in Sussex County.
To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s website at www.scaor.com.
In March 2002, the son of a prominent local businessman and politician took the oath to serve the Town of Millville as a councilman. And Tuesday night he announced he is taking a step back from handling town business, ending a journey that saw him serve as mayor, vote on the Millville By the Sea and Super G projects and generally see the town grow by leaps and bounds.
Gerry Hocker has served that town for 14 years, and seen a lot of change, from the aforementioned projects through the building of the current town hall to the approval of an expansion to that town hall. He has seen people he’s served with pass away, move away and step aside.
And he has been a consistent, active participant throughout it all.
Most people don’t really appreciate what it takes to sit on a town council. They believe it’s showing up to a meeting once a month, voting for what he or she wants to vote for and moving on to the next item in life. But it’s not that at all. Once you assume a public position, you serve at the public’s pleasure. That means many nights on the phone, or hurrying out of work for committee meetings or using your weekend time with the family to attend a ribbon-cutting or event.
It is a thankless, time-sucking chore that requires a true love of the town and people you serve to do it with any kind of longevity.
And Hocker has certainly done that.
We applaud Gerry Hocker for his 14 years of service to the Town of Millville, and for the hundreds — if not thousands — of hours he has put in to improving and maintaining the quality of life in the town.
We wish him and his family all the best as they move in to the next chapter in their lives.
The Ocean View Historical Society has successfully had a second home listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
Last month, the Evans-West house, which is to be donated to the society by a local family in March 2017, was placed on the National Registry following the unanimous approval by the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation in April 2015.
“The Department of Interior has to approve the application, and it took about nine months,” explained Richard Nippes of the Ocean View Historical Society. “We got notified maybe a month ago that the house is on the National Registry, and the barn and the shed are considered contributory assets.”
The Division of Historic & Cultural Affairs stated the Evans-West house “is a significant vernacular-interpretation of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Minimally altered since its construction in 1901, the house and associated barn, storage shed and star-shaped daffodil garden, represent an early-20th-century domestic complex which is not duplicated in Ocean View or the surrounding area.”
The home’s barn has been restored, said Nippes; however, the society hopes to replace its roof with cedar shakes.
“It’s leaking to some degree, but not enough that we need to worry about it immediately. It’s expensive to put a roof on — not to mention a cedar-shake roof,” he said, adding that the society is in the process of looking into fundraising to pay for the expense.
Later this month, the OVHS will meet with a representative from the Delaware District of Cultural Affairs to get recommendations on what it would take to turn the home into a museum, which would focus on the history of the Baltimore Hundred.
“That’s still being worked on by the committee at this stage of the game,” noted Nippes, adding that representatives from Ocean View, Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach and Millville serve on the Coastal Towns Museum committee.
On Jan. 21, the OVHS will go before the Ocean View Board of Adjustment, seeking a special-use exception for the residentially-zoned property to be used as a museum.
“We’re just starting a lot of preliminary things, so we’re ready to roll in March of 2017,” he said. “We’re starting the process, and depending on what modifications are recommended, we will start raising funds to do that, so that when we officially take ownership we will have the money available to make those changes as quickly as possible.”
Along with the main house, the Tunnell-West complex boasts an 1800s outhouse; the town’s first post office, built in 1889; and an exact replica of Cecile Steele’s first chicken house. And in addition to the Evans-West House, OVHS also plans to build a new Hall’s Store, a replica of a country store from the early 19th century, on its historic complex behind the Tunnell-West House.
“What’s going to be unique about that — it’s not going to be a very big building, but it’s going to be a replica of Hall’s Store. As you know, Hall’s Store was built around 1820, and it was a little store that gave birth to the town of Ocean View.
“We don’t have a picture of it, and nobody knows of any pictures of it,” Nippes said. “We’ve come up with pictures of old stores and our architect has drawn what he thinks the old store would look like. When we are able to raise the money, we will build that. The back part of it will be a classroom that we can use to bring students in and host lectures.”
Nippes said it will take an estimated $250,000 to build the replica Hall’s Store and that the society is gearing up for its future fundraising campaign.
“We’re working on fundraising events; we’re working on applying for grants; we’re working on getting tax credits,” he explained. “I have gotten some tax credits for money we spent on the Tunnell-West House. And we will, hopefully, be receiving those funds in the early part this year, because when they get bought, the company that buys them can use them for their tax purposes and we get the money.”
To commemorate the Evans-West House being placed on the National Registry, Nippes said the society will most likely place a plaque on the house — similar to that on the Tunnell-West House.
“We’re excited that it’s on the National Registry. It’s a beautiful house. It will make an excellent exhibit or museum.”
Those who are interested in donating to the Ocean View Historical Society may mail donations to the Ocean View Historical Society, P.O. Box 576, Ocean View, DE 19970.
For more information regarding the Ocean View Historical Society and upcoming events, visit www.facebook.com/oceanviewhistoricalsociety. Those interested in donating to the society or becoming a member can visit www.ovhistoricalsociety.org. The Tunnell-West historic complex is located at 39 Central Avenue in Ocean View.
Even on a frigid January morning, well-worn rockers on the porch of one of the last original cottages in Bethany Beach seem to beckon visitors to sit and relax.
The “Dinker Cottage,” as the house on Garfield Parkway with the white siding, green trim and wide porches is known, may be about to enter a new phase in its long, fruitful life. Current owner Christina Edgar, whose family has owned the cottage for about 90 years, hopes to soon complete arrangements for the cottage to be moved and transformed into a town museum.
Edgar, 72, recalls spending summers in the cottage where her Grandma Jenny’s narrow quarters contrasted with the beds lined up dorm-style in the larger room where all the children slept.
The smooth, battleship-gray painted floors — original to the circa-1902 cottage — must have felt blessedly cool to the generations of Edgar’s family whose sunburned feet trod the pine slats for five generations. The front windows, also original to the house, bear the wavy imperfectness of antique glass. Stained hardwood beadboard ceilings appear to have their original finish — a deep, rich, timeless brown.
There are also signs of adventurous times, such as the hole in the stained glass lampshade over the kitchen table — which, according to Edgar, is the result of an errant shot decades ago by neighbor and then-Bethany Beach Postmaster Sid Bennett, who was shooting at squirrels across the street. A small divot in an adjacent wall indicates where the bullet ended up.
“My aunts were shelling peas!” Edgar said.
She also recalled the time a family of raccoons took up residence in a large metal pipe that had originally led away from a stove in the main room of the cottage.
There are also more pedestrian memories — sitting on the porch steps after days on the beach, scraping tar from passing ships off her feet with a stick. Watching the ice delivery men carrying 25-pound blocks of ice up the street to the cottage, “drip, drip, dripping as they walked” — destined for the small icebox still tucked in a corner of the kitchen.
Edgar and her husband, Clem, built a larger house next to the cottage where they have lived for the past 10 years. She recalled that, during the years when she and her husband had three children in the college, renting the cottage out provided extra income. In recent years, though, it has housed only family.
While younger relatives are sad about the prospect of giving up the cottage, Edgar said the younger generations only come for a few days or weeks each summer. Upkeep of the cottage has been increasingly difficult for her and her husband, she said.
While the house is called the “Dinker Cottage” in town historical publications, Edgar’s family mostly thinks of it as the “Irvin Cottage.” The house was built in 1902 by William A. Dinker, one of the “Pittsburgh Six” — a group of religious leaders who foresaw a booming summer retreat on the stretch of shoreline east of the existing town of Ocean View. Sometime around 1922, it was moved from its original location on First Street, westward to 310 Garfield Parkway, where stands today.
The first “Irvin” to own the cottage was Edgar’s great-aunt, Ida Mae Irvin. When she died in 1946, the cottage passed to Edgar’s grandmother, Jenny Lind Irvin Hayes. After Hayes died in 1980, at the age of 98, Edgar’s mother, Mary Jane Hayes Hicks, became its owner. In 1983, after Hayes’ death, it passed on to Edgar.
Stacks of photo albums and scrapbooks in the Edgar home tell much of the story of the family’s time in Bethany Beach — and of the town itself.
While Bethany Beach town officials are hoping to secure the donation of a historic cottage this week, there is opposition to the relocation of the cottage onto a town lot that some nearby residents claim is unsuitable for the structure, and for its use as a town museum.
The owners of the Dinker Cottage, located at 310 Garfield Parkway, have offered to donate the cottage that has been in their family for 90 years, with the condition that it be moved off the property by April 15. Town Manager Cliff Graviet has proposed moving the structure, which was built by town founder William Dinker, to a town-owned lot on Maryland Avenue Extended.
Narda Namrow, who lives in the Bethany Crossing development next to the proposed location, said there are three homes surrounding the Maryland Avenue site that “will be bumping into the house” if were to be moved there.
Although the land is already owned by the Town, Namrow said the lot has been used for many years as green space by neighboring residents and visitors. She said the use of the lot has not been limited to surrounding residents, though, and that residents of Bethany West often use it when they are walking their dogs.
She also said she and others nearby are concerned about “noise pollution, traffic, cars turning around and the values of our homes,” if the cottage is moved to the site and turned into a town museum.
“We feel it’s kind of dubious,” she said of the Town’s moves to accept the donation and to go forward with moving it to the new location. If the cottage is moved to Maryland Avenue, Namrow said, she would fear for the safety of her small children. In the summer, she said, “there’s kids all over, playing” and they could be struck by cars pulling in and out of the proposed museum’s parking area.
Namrow said the neighbors first learned of the proposals when stakes began to appear on the Maryland Avenue property. The town council is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on the acquisition and moving of the house at its next regular meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15.
In a Dec. 14 letter to property owners, Graviet said he first considered the possibility of moving the cottage to the Town-owned former Christian Church/Neff property on the opposite side of Garfield Parkway. But that, he said, was rejected in favor of the Maryland Avenue parcel.
“The Council, after listening to public input, has been consistent for several years in their desire to keep the [Church/Neff] property open, natural, devoid of formal structure and as aesthetically pleasing as possible.”
After many meetings and hearings on the matter of what to put in that proposed park, and taking into consideration a 2012 survey in which most respondents concurred with keeping it devoid of structures, the Town passed a resolution to that effect.
In his letter, Graviet said the Maryland Avenue property seemed the next best location.
“Maryland Avenue is so accessible, close to downtown Bethany and adjacent to the town’s most walked and biked sidewalk west of Route 1, that it seems an excellent possible location for a town museum.”
Graviet added that the Maryland Avenue property “is the last piece of Town-owned property of any size that is not being used at this time” by the Town. He said developers have approached the Town in recent years about buying the property, and that the Town at one time considered putting a 60-space parking lot there, though it currently is used only as an informal parking area for seasonal employees.
Graviet said he had also previously suggested the council consider placing fitness stations and benches there, on a landscaped walkway for public use, but neighbors “expressed strong opposition to such a publicly accessible park in their back yards,” and the plan was dropped.
Now, with the possibility that the cottage could be moved onto the property in a matter of months, neighbors are objecting to the disruption they feel it would cause in their neighborhood. They have also sought, through a Freedom of Information Act request, to obtain a copy of the preliminary agreement between the owners, Christine Edgar and her family, and the Town.
The agreement includes 10 conditions, including:
• The removal of the cottage from the property by the Town;
• Removal of outbuildings (a bathhouse and garage) by the Town;
• Cleaning up of the property and adjacent property by the Town after the structures are removed;
• Approval by the Town of the partitioning of the house’s current Garfield Parkway Extended site into two lots, which would return them to their 1902 status;
• Transfer of ownership of the cottage to the Town and the Town’s absorption of any cost involved in the transfer;
• The Town to pay 1 percent real estate commission to Realtor Jane Hickman Tribbitt, based on an appraisal of $240,000 for the cottage; and
• The Town’s preparation of a certificate of donation based on the appraisal.
In his letter, Graviet estimated the cost of moving the cottage at $75,000, and annual costs of operating a museum to be less than $10,000 per year. The residents, however, also question the accuracy of those figures.
In written comments provided to the Coastal Point, Kent Avenue resident Molly Feliciano said Graviet “provides no formal or written proposal/estimates from licensed contractors to support the $75,000 estimate for moving the house, nor does he state what this $75,000 includes.”
Feliciano questioned whether site preparation, such as connecting utilities at the new site and hooking up those utilities, have been taken into consideration.
“It appears the Town has to accept the Dinker House and do all the required work to find out how much the total cost will be for the Town,” Feliciano said.
Another concern, she said, is the possibility that placing the cottage on the Maryland Avenue site would require moving a sewer main to avoid the house being placed over the existing main, which violates Sussex County regulations. Such a move would require hearings and would undoubtedly add to the cost of the project, Feliciano asserted.
In her comments, she also said that, when the Town passed the resolution to keep the Neff property free of structures, the possibility of a historic cottage on the site had not been considered, but rather larger, more modern buildings, such as a community center.
“Placing the Dinker House on the Neff/Church property does not prohibit the majority of the property being used as a park,” she said — in contrast to Graviet’s assertions that its placement there, with existing drainage needs, would use a significant portion of the park property — and is not in conflict with the 2012 resolution, she contends.
Phillip Feliciano, Molly Feliciano’s husband, questioned the value of acquiring the Dinker Cottage, as opposed to the costs associated with it, as well as the timing.
“How do you accept something without knowing its cost?” he asked. “I would say, in the kindest way, it would be improper.”
He also questioned whether the Town has checked into compliance issues with the house regarding things such as lead paint and asbestos, removal of which could be another added cost for the project.
Namrow said about 100 residents had signed a petition objecting to the placement of the Dinker Cottage on the Maryland Avenue property as of mid-week. She said residents intend to attend the Friday council meeting to voice their opposition and would be wearing green as part of a “Keep Bethany Beach Green” initiative.
She said the residents do not wish to be “adversarial” but just want to be heard. She said efforts to talk directly to Graviet have been unsuccessful.
“We don’t feel we’ve had a voice in it,” Namrow said, adding that she wants to see the Town in a “win-win” situation, and that she feels placing the cottage on Maryland Avenue would not be that.
At the Jan. 4 Frankford Town Council meeting, Councilman Marty Presley opened up the session by giving a “state of the town” address, focusing on some of the positives in town.
“We’ve gone through several council members; we’ve gone through a new town clerk. We’ve gone through a brand-new police department. We’ve gone through a lot of changes,” he said. “And if the only places that you ever receive your news is in conventional media and you only see the snapshots you would think, ‘Oh, my God — Frankford is in turmoil. It’s a lost cause.’
“But if you condense it down and look at some of the good things we’ve actually accomplished over the last year, there’s some really good things being done, and we’ve really set the stage for accomplishing some good things moving forward.”
Presley also mentioned the hiring of Cheryl Lynch as the town’s new clerk, following the resignation of longtime employee Terry Truitt.
“Last year, we got a completely new administration. .... Everyone in this room knows how the administration we had up until September did… It was their way or the highway — nobody’s opinion really counted. If you remember, they used the police force as a hitman. They would sit in the back of the room and, if you try to express your opinion, the hitman would basically escort you out of the room or tell you to shut up, in not so many words. That’s changed.
“We have Cheryl manning the town hall these days. If you going in with a question or you are going in with a problem, you get treated with respect and you get treated with dignity, and you’re certainly not brushed off.”
Presley also mentioned the numerous committees the council has started in the last year, including pension, town manager, budget, charter, and human resources committees.
He praised recently resigned councilwoman Liz Carpenter for her dedication on the human resources committee.
“Going forward, we’re going to have employment contracts, are going to have a town handbook — what’s expected of the town council and the town employees — we’re going to have a myriad of all the different documents and forms that all the other businesses and all the other town governments abide by,” he said. “To be quite honest with you, it’s gotten us in a lot of trouble because we haven’t had these policies in place.”
He added that the hiring of Police Chief Michael Warchol has been a wonderful decision.
“We have a brand new police force. As I said before, it doesn’t take too long to look back and realize how the chief of police in this town treated residents,” said Presley. “They don’t have that anymore. Mike has done a very good job. I think we are so much further ahead in the game with our police force than we were this time last year.”
He noted that the Town’s new website has gone live, and that, although it is not fully operational yet, they hope to have agendas and other events posted there for citizens to access. He added that the Town also hopes to add a feature where property owners can pay bills online.
Presley said some of the greatest highlights from last year were the Frankford Fall Festival and Christmas in the Park.
“Christmas in the Park, in my opinion, in the 13, 14 years, and, I think, the 25 years my wife has been here, was probably the best event we’ve had, as far as the community coming together. Opening night, we had somewhere between 700 and 1,000 people show up,” he said. “We only have 700 residents, and we had more people show up in the park than we do residents.”
He said he was pleased to see how hard the people of Frankford worked to put on the two events.
“That was the most heartwarming thing… To see the community come together like it did. A lot of people put in a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money to pull it off.”
The council went on to acknowledge those involved in Christmas in the Park, presenting certificates of appreciation to representatives from the United Methodist Church, Frankford Antioch Church, the Father’s House, Frankford Presbyterian Church, the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company and Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary.
“Thanks to all the organizations that participated. I know it’s been a discussion for a couple of years, having Christmas at the Park,” said Robbie Murray, who spearheaded the event. “The Christmas at the Park just blew our minds away. We thought going in Nov. 28 that we would have 300 people. If we hit 400, we would be doing high-fives and dancing.”
Murray said he was also pleased that, throughout the events, there was never an issue in the park. Instead, Warchol was able to attend and simply socialize with citizens.
As for the future, he noted that they plan to continue planning family-friendly events.
“Rumor has it that there’s a large bunny that hops around in April and likes to hide eggs. So, there’s potential there for an Easter egg hunt,” he said. “Thanks again, because it wouldn’t be possible without your help.”
to lock vehicles
During the meeting, Warchol warned citizens that there had been a lot of intrusions into unlocked cars in driveways.
“I cannot impress enough — lock your cars,” he said.
Warchol stated that the department has an idea of who the culprit is and is working on obtaining evidence with which to file charges.
“We have people who are here that are bored and are looking for something to do, and unfortunately, this is it.”
He also informed the council, to follow up on December’s meeting, that the department was able to procure a used speed sign, free of charge, from a law-enforcement surplus program.
“It’s not going to do the traffic surveys we need, but once we get it up and running, looking a little prettier than it is, it’ll give us something to put out there to show people exactly how fast they’re going,” he said. “As we talked in previous meetings, that’ll slow the honest ones down, but it’s not going to slow the chronic speeders down.”
He noted that the unit would’ve cost the Town approximately $5,000 new.
Warchol reported that he is also in the process of setting up a Frankford Police Department Facebook page.
“I’m going to use it to let everyone know what we are doing, but I would also like to use it for anyone in town who hears of anything, sees something and are unable to get in touch with me. Just put it on there. We’ll use it as kind of our crime watch for the town. It’s only going to be as good as the help I get from everyone in town,” he said.
He also said he hopes to sell some of the department’s vehicles through USGovBid.com, set up an extra patrol list for residents who leave their homes on vacation and institute a “Coffee with a Cop” quarterly meeting.
“I welcome anyone to come in and have coffee with me and tell me what your issues are. I’ll do whatever I can to fix them. And if I can’t fix them, I’ll tell you. I want that open communication with everyone in town.”