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    The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) announced this week that the fifth annual Bunny Palooza! 5K/10K run/walk will take place on Saturday, March 26, the Saturday morning before Easter. The Bunny Palooza home base is at the Bethany Beach bandstand, and races will start on Parkwood Avenue and South Atlantic Avenue in downtown Bethany Beach and will end on the boardwalk.

    The races will be chip-timed by Races2Run and NoVa, featuring real time results posted on large-screen monitors. Bunny Palooza will award winners in the following categories: overall, masters and age group awards, and there will be a post-race party at Mango’s, with Shock Top and Michelob Ultra provided by NKS Distributors, and music by D.J. Bump.

    The 10K finishers (limited to 300) will receive finisher medals. Runners who register by March 11 are guaranteed a technical shirt. Registration for the Bunny Palooza 10K run costs $40, while registration for the 5K run/walk costs $30.

    Online registration is open until March 23. Race packets may be picked up at Mango’s on March 25, from noon to 4 p.m.; on-site day of registration will be available if the race has not sold out, beginning at 7:15 a.m. Registration for Bunny Palooza as a participant can be done at Bunnypaloozarun.com

    “We are so excited to jumpstart the spring race season with this popular race for a great cause — the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation, also known as QRCF. This race is sure to sell out for the fifth year in a row, so I hope everyone registers early.” said QRCF President and Race Chair Brigit Taylor.

    On race day, the public is being invited to “Palooza!Plaza,” featuring family-friendly entertainment on the boardwalk before and during the race. Palooza!Plaza features music by D.J. Bump, face-painting and other surprises.

    “Bunny Palooza offers something for everyone. For runners and their families, visitors and residents, the festival-like atmosphere is sure to be entertaining.” said Taylor.

    Proceeds from the Bunny Palooza 5K & 10K Run benefit the groups, clubs and organizations that are served by the QRCF.

    “Events such as Bunny Palooza, our Hair of the Dog Run and Caribbean Christmas help us fund two $8,000 scholarships annually to local students, and both major and minor grants to area non-profits. We are grateful for the extraordinary community support that helps us to do good work in the Quiet Resorts.” said Taylor. “We have awarded more than $550,000 in our 14-year history.”

    “The QRCF is also excited to announce that we are currently accepting applications for our annual college scholarship program — an opportunity for an area senior to receive an $8,000 four-year scholarship commitment to help a worthy student get ahead in college, and a $1,000 arts scholarship to a local junior or graduating senior.” said Taylor.

    For more information or to apply online, local students can visit www.qrcf.org. The deadline for this year’s scholarships is April 6.

    Bunny Palooza! Is currently seeking sponsors and volunteers; for more information, call (302) 537-QRCF (7723) or visit Bunnypaloozarun.com.

    The QRCF offered thanks to sponsors including: Burnzy’s Bar & Grill, Bethany Beach Books, Mango’s, Scott & Shuman, Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team, Steve Alexander, NKS Distributors, Tidepool Toys, Coastal Point, Carl Freeman Foundation, Harris Teeter, ResortQuest, McDonald’s Bethany Beach, Giant, D.J. Bump, DiFebos, Mio Fratello, Cottage Café, Bethany Blues, The Jetty Café, Sedona, Northeast Seafood Kitchen, Hooked Up, Mind Body & Sole, Allison Stine, Pepsi, Run & Tri Rehoboth and Rusty Rudder. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.


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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Robert Wingo holds a portrait of his mother, Elsie Wingo, the first African-American nurse at Beebe Hospital.Coastal Point • Submitted: Robert Wingo holds a portrait of his mother, Elsie Wingo, the first African-American nurse at Beebe Hospital.As Beebe Healthcare celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, Lewes native Robert Wingo can’t help but reflect upon the mark his mother made on Beebe history, as well as on the history of the African-American community in Lewes. His mother, Elsie Dunning Wingo, died Nov. 25, 2014, when she was 92 years old, yet her legacy lives on.

    In 1964, when Elsie Wingo was 43 years old, she became the first African-American nurse to work at Beebe Hospital. Robert Wingo was just 9 years old then but still feels the overwhelming sense of pride at seeing his mother attain a status that no other African-American around him had attained. He remembers the nurse’s pin that she earned, and the white uniform, stockings and cap that she wore.

    “I was so proud. She inspired me to work hard to reach my dreams,” he said, recalling that her dream was to become a nurse.

    Elsie Wingo had worked in the laundry department at Beebe with Robert Wingo’s grandfather, Dewey Dunning. In the 1950s, she had worked as a domestic and sometimes helped out with her father’s catering business, too.

    She was in her early 40s when she finally earned her high school diploma, after returning to school. She soon earned an LPN certificate, enabling her to be promoted to caring for patients at Beebe Hospital.

    “She was the talk of the town,” recalled Stell Parker-Selby, who was an African-American teenager in Lewes at the time. “There was an announcement in every black church in the area. People were celebrating.”

    “We didn’t have the opportunities that people of color have now. It was a time when you had limited opportunities due to your race. We were segregated, and there was so much we couldn’t do, places we couldn’t go. And then we saw Cousin Elsie become a nurse at Beebe. She inspired all of us,” recalled Parker-Selby.

    Parker-Selby herself went on to become a teacher and the first African-American woman administrator in the Cape Henlopen School District. She continues to serve on many boards, including the Milton Town Council, and recently retired from her position on the Beebe Healthcare Board of Directors.

    “Elsie was a Dunning, and they were a caring and hard-working family. They were always doing good things for the kids in the neighborhood,” said Parker-Selby.

    Robert Wingo, born at Beebe Hospital in 1955, remembers his mother as a woman who worked hard and who had a heart of gold, thinking of others until the end of her life. Neighbors, friends and family members told him stories about her from before he was born; the rest he observed and experienced.

    Elsie Dunning was born in Lewes in 1921. She was the oldest of 14 children, though three of them died soon after they were born. She was an avid reader growing up and believed in education. She attended the Delaware High School for African Americans at the Delaware State College campus in Dover, staying there for the week and coming home on the weekends.

    “My grandfather drove her back and forth to Dover in one of the Beebe doctors’ cars,” Robert Wingo said. But, she had to give up high school before she finished because she was needed at home to work and help with her younger brothers and sisters.

    The Dunning family lived next door to the Happy Day Club at West Fourth Street and Dupont Avenue. It was a popular nightspot in the African-American community in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s that was on the Chitlin’ Circuit and attracted many famous entertainers. People went there to dance to jazz bands and to relax.

    It was at the club that Elsie met her future husband, Pearl Edward. The U.S. Army had brought him from Ohio. Robert Wingo recalled that Pearl Edward was stationed at barracks at Redden Forest. The two married in 1942 and had three children. Elsie also continued to work as a domestic.

    In 1962, she began her daily travels to William C. Jason Comprehensive High School in Georgetown, Sussex County’s segregated high school. Pearl Edward died in 1964, not long after Elsie had become a nurse.

    Dr. Anis Saliba, a physician board-certified in general surgery, thoracic surgery and surgical critical care, arrived in Lewes in 1967 and soon met Elsie.

    “She became one of my best friends,” he recently recalled, pointing out her professionalism and loyalty to her patients and to Beebe. Saliba, a member of the Beebe Board of Directors, practiced until 2003, and often cared for Elsie and her family.

    Beebe respiratory therapist Nancy Collick recently recalled how her mother, Nancy Gooch, had talked about Elsie’s kindness. “She always had a smile on her face.”

    Elsie left Beebe in 1968 to be a nurse at Dover Air Force Base, driving a long, two-lane road to and from work each day.

    Once she retired, she continued to be an active person in the Lewes community. At St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lewes, she was a lay-reader, sang in the choir and served as treasurer. She worked in home health. She took care of local children, later becoming a foster parent to children that had nowhere else to go.

    Dennis Forney, publisher of the Cape Gazette, recalled that she was “sweet, kind and always filled with humor. The kids loved her.”

    Elsie’s work ethic and commitment to helping others inspired Robert, who earned his bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences from Wilmington College. He worked for many years in mental health, including more than 20 years with the State Division of Family Services, retiring in 2015.

    “Doors were opening in the ’60s for African-Americans, but there was still segregation in the towns around here,” Parker-Selby recalled. “Elsie stuck with it. She was determined not to give up.”


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    Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Ocean View police officers, members of the Millville EMS staff and Sussex County paramedics recently trained together for a three-day active-shooter exercise at the Millville fire hall.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Ocean View police officers, members of the Millville EMS staff and Sussex County paramedics recently trained together for a three-day active-shooter exercise at the Millville fire hall.In these uncertain times, when shootings seem to be a staple in national news, local emergency organizations are doing their part to ensure that, if the worst were to ever happen in their quiet communities, they would be better prepared.

    This week, Ocean View police officers, Millville career EMS staff and Sussex County paramedics came together for a three-day active-shooter training facilitated by Emergency Services Group International (ESGI), based out of Reston, Va.

    “Recent events in history will show us, today we’re faced with a different threat, and in order to meet that threat, the police need a set of tools and training to do that, as well as the fire and EMS providers,” explained Mike Marino, an ESGI trainer. “What we’re really doing here is trying to integrate those agencies to provide rapid, effective medical treatment in hostile events.”

    Marino, who has a law-enforcement and medical background, said ESGI does high-threat guidance training across the country.

    “ESGI was founded in 2011 because we recognized that there was an operational gap for some of these scenarios,” he said. “[We] provide unique training for some of these agencies to integrate at a higher level and provide a different perspective — especially for medical providers — mirroring some data that came from the military experience out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about getting to patients early and treating preventable causes of death.”

    Over the three days, the two groups worked both separately and together, with training including how to maneuver and communicate.

    “What we’re working up to right now is an active violent incident where providers have a threat that they need to mitigate and then deal with the medical scenarios that are dealt to them. We try to mirror their experience based upon historical data. A lot of active shooter data has been produced by national-level organizations, including the FBI and NYPD. So we try to mirror actual events,” Marino said, adding that the emergency responders were training to respond to gunshot wounds, massive soft-tissue injuries and IED blast injuries.

    Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said that, while he hates to put a focus on “active-shooter” scenarios, the sad reality is a tragedy like that can happen anywhere.

    “Ninety-eight percent of all the active shooting incidents that happen in the United States happen in small communities. They’re not happening in big cities, like Chicago, New York City or Baltimore. They’re happening in places like Littleton, Co., the Amish school house in Pennsylvania,” he said. “These are events that, historically, 98 percent of the time are happening in smaller communities. So we need to prepare for them.”

    That being said, McLaughlin added that the training covers any sort of mass-casualty event. If a rogue wave were to hit an area beach laden with tourists, causing severe injuries, they would be better prepared. If a driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of his breaks and drove into the waiting room of a medical center, they would be better prepared.

    “What are we going to do? How are we going to respond to that? It has to be a team effort. It’d be different than an active-shooter incident, but it’s a mass-casualty incident, and we just don’t see a lot of those here,” he said. “Back in the day, we would never think of bringing unarmed EMS or firefighters into a situation where there could be a guy with a gun. But we know we’ve got about two to three minutes tops from the time the injury occurs to when someone bleeds to death. We’re down to seconds a lot of times.”

    The OVPD and Millville Volunteer Fire Company have a longstanding working relationship, one that John Watson, the EMS chief for MVFC, said continues to be cultivated by doing joint training.

    “The career staff here, we already have a good working relationship with the Ocean View Police Department. Probably about 80 percent of our calls have a police presence with us, as long as they’re not tending to something else,” Watson said.

    “We’ve trained in the past with them, and this just enhances the reasoning for us to enter a hostile environment to help improve the survivability of the patient,” said Watson. “We need to be able to move the way they move. We need to be able to go in and treat patients under their protection. So we need to get used to being able to work behind a police officer with his gun drawn. That’s not part of our everyday scope.”

    “We’re very fortunate that we have a great working relationship with the fire company. A number of our officers are also members of the volunteer fire company. So, it comes easy to us,” said McLaughlin. “Our protocol is we respond to all EMS and fire calls in the town of Ocean View, so it’s an automatic dispatch. So we’re working side by side with the folks here every single day. That has done tremendous good in fostering a relationship between the police and fire company.”

    The OVPD and MVFC try to do joint training at least once a year, and in the past that has included a full-scale emergency drill in 2011 at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

    “We’ve been, over the course of the years, trying to enhance our response capabilities in conjunction with Millville fire company,” added McLaughlin. “We’ve done a number of exercises at Lord Baltimore school and other places, just to keep everybody abreast of the latest techniques and response strategies that are being developed nationally.

    ‘We’re seeing all types — particularly federal agencies — that are encouraging public safety agencies to develop this rescue taskforce concept, to have that component available as part of their response plans.”

    McLaughlin said that, in discussions with the MVFC, joint training was something they wanted to continue.

    “In the past, we kind of focused on the police response to these kinds of events. And, initially, it is law-enforcement response. Especially when we’re talking about an active-shooter event, the cops are going to go in there. They’re tasked with neutralizing the threat.

    ‘Once the treat is neutralized, that doesn’t mean it’s over — it’s just begun,” he said. “You’re talking a number of potential casualties. There’s another component of this type of event that has to play out. We wanted to make sure we were prepared to do that. The key part of doing that is getting fire, EMS and the police unified in the response, unified in the training, and that’s really what’s taking place here today.”

    Even once the three days are over, McLaughlin said, the training doesn’t stop. Members of all three agencies will be able to provide similar training to other local emergency services agencies, to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to a unified response.

    “We don’t have a lot of resources when it comes to manpower, so we have to rely on each other. It’s just how it is. It’s how it’s always been.”

    McLaughlin added that it is essential for local agencies to work together to provide the best emergency services to their citizens, which is why joint training is so important.

    “We don’t deal with this stuff every day. If we’re not training for this, when it does happen, we’re going to be totally off-guard. So we’re trying to do the best we can to be prepared.”


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    The Delaware State Police this week were investigating a serious motor vehicle crash last week that injured five people, including three Millsboro teens.

    Police said the incident occurred around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, as a 17-year-old Millsboro girl was driving a 2001 Dodge Stratus westbound on Avenue of Honor, stopped for the stop sign at the intersection of DuPont Boulevard (Route 113). They said an 80-year-old Lewes man was driving a 2016 Subaru Outback northbound on Route 113 when the Stratus entered into the northbound lanes.

    The Outback struck the Status on the driver’s side, causing both vehicles to continue in a northwesterly direction. The Stratus came to a stop in the middle of the southbound lanes, while the Outback stopped in the grass median.

    The driver of the Stratus, who was properly restrained, was extricated from the vehicle and then transported by EMS to Beebe Healthcare. She was later airlifted by LifeNet to Christiana Medical Center (CMC) where she was admitted in critical condition.

    A 15-year-old Millsboro boy who was a front-seat passenger in the Stratus was not properly restrained and was initially being transported by Delaware State Police Aviation (Trooper 2) to CMC before being diverted to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital (KGH) due to the seriousness of his medical condition. He was initially listed in critical condition at KGH.

    A 15-year-old Millsboro girl who was a rear-seat passenger in the Stratus was also not properly restrained. She was transported by EMS to Beebe Healthcare, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released.

    The driver of the Outback and his 75-year-old wife were properly restrained and were transported by EMS to Beebe Healthcare, where he was admitted with undetermined injuries. She was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released.

    The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit was continuing their investigation into the incident this week. No charges were filed at the time of the accident.


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    The Millville Town Council will get some new faces in the coming weeks, with two seats up for election this year and a vacant council seat to be filled.

    After councilman Harry Kent passed away, three residents offered to fill his seat. The Millville Town Council will host a forum on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. to hear from the candidates: Tony Gough (from the Coventry neighborhood); Kent’s wife, Linda Kent (Coventry); and Steven Small (from Bishop’s Landing).

    The council has the right to choose one or none of the three. The replacement councilperson will complete a term ending in March of 2017.

    Meanwhile, the 2016 election had two candidates for two positions. Incumbent Steve Maneri will return. Newcomer Valeri Faden will fill the vacancy recently left by departing mayor Gerald “Gerry” Hocker Jr. They’ll be sworn in in March, for two-year terms.


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    One of South Bethany’s welcome signs on Route 1 was destroyed after an alleged drunk-driving incident. According to the South Bethany Police Department, South Bethany resident Joan DeSantis was responsible for the single-car collision with the sign on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 11:11 p.m.

    “The sign was pretty much destroyed” at the Coastal Highway median at Evergreen Road, said Cpl. Patrick Wiley, public information officer. (The southern sign still stands, one mile away.)

    There were no other passengers in the vehicle, and the black Volvo was towed away afterward.

    The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company’s incident log includes a South Bethany vehicle accident at 11:43 p.m.

    After DeSantis was transported to Beebe Healthcare to evaluate her for injuries, she was arrested and transported to Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) to be committed. Bail or release information was not available at the Coastal Point’s deadline.

    She was charged with six crimes: driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol; malicious mischief by a motor vehicle; reckless driving; resisting arrest; offensive touching of a law enforcement officer; and offensive touching of an ambulance attendant/paramedic.

    “I know, in looking at the video, she made certain allegations [as to getting people fired],” said South Bethany Police Chief Troy Crowson.

    DeSantis has previously served on the South Bethany Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment, but never on the town council.

    As for the beachy “Welcome to South Bethany” sign, a replacement was already in the works before the collision. According to Councilwoman Sue Callaway, the Town’s Community Enhancement Committee submitted a draft budget in January that includes two new signs. They are being designed on reflective material, as new Delaware Department of Transportation regulations would prohibit the permanent lamps that currently illuminate the signs.

    Meanwhile, South Bethany will submit estimates for replacing the destroyed sign to the insurance company, in conjunction with the police department.


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    The Town of Ocean View will hold a public hearing and workshop on its 2017-fiscal-year operating and capital budgets on Tuesday, Feb. 23, with the public hearing beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by the workshop at 6 p.m.

    Currently, in the draft capital budget, funds have been set aside for workout equipment in the locker rooms for the police department, security enhancements for the second floor of the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building and a new vehicle for the compliance officer, as well as a vehicle for an additional police officer.

    Funds have been set aside for street maintenance and to address ADA non-compliance issues, as well as make improvements to John West Park.

    “There’s a lot of money going out and not a lot coming in,” said Councilman Bill Olsen at the council’s Feb. 9 monthly council meeting.

    Town Manager Dianne Vogel said the Town’s proposed 2017-fiscal-year revenue looks different from the current year’s budget. She noted that building and sign permits are expected to increase, due to activity, and the proposed budget reflects that increase — from $215,000 to $250,000.

    “Business and rental licenses will be increased from $122,000 to $127,000,” she added. “Gross rental receipts will be increased from $206,000 to $225,000... Zoning and Board of Adjustment fees have been increased from $13,000 to $15,000 for the ’17 budget.”

    Olsen had sent an email to council members, suggesting a tax increase may be necessary for the upcoming fiscal year.

    Finance Director Lee Brubaker said that it would be best for the Town to figure out all other aspects of the proposed budget before looking into a tax increase.

    “That’s the absolute last resort we have,” he said.

    “I don’t believe in raising money before you know what you have to spend it on. There’s too much temptation to whittle it away,” added Mayor Walter Curran.

    Vogel said that, additionally, it is recommended that the Town include an additional police officer in the 2017 budget. That officer would be the Town’s ninth sworn officer.

    “If approved by council, this officer would be placed in the academy beginning March 2016. There are sufficient dollars remaining in the public safety budget for an additional officer,” she said.

    Curran noted that the Ocean View Police Department has been shorthanded “for quite some time,” he said. “We’re bringing it up to where it should’ve been a year and a half, two years ago, by bringing this additional person in.”

    Councilman Geoff Christ agreed that the additional officer is needed.

    “We did a study in 2010, and we were at 8.5 [officers] in 2010 when we paid for that study. We’ve been behind for almost six years now,” said Christ. “I’ve been on the council. This is my sixth year. And in the six years I’ve been on council, we’ve had five officers leave — four for other departments, one due to a career-ending injury. In my average, we’ve almost had an officer a year leave for various reasons.

    “With the increase of homes, year-round residents, and businesses and calls for the police… We’ve read stories of the defibrillators being there before the ambulance to save people. I think this is much-needed and a little bit overdue to have a ninth officer fulltime.”

    The council unanimously agreed they felt hiring an additional officer was necessary. Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin said the department would be looking to identify a qualified candidate for the March academy.

    The Town must adopt the budget no later than April 30. Copies of the draft are available by visiting the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building.


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    Residents of Cat Hill love their idyllic beach lifestyle. With winding roads, the South Bethany neighborhood feels very off-the-beaten-path. There are no sidewalks, so people walk their dogs, jog and bicycle in the narrow streets.

    And those pedestrians share the road with sometimes 20,000 cars a month, Cat Hill resident and former mayor Jay Headman told the town council on Feb. 12.

    Cat Hill is a popular shortcut for beach traffic looking to avoid the Route 26/Route 1 intersection. Drivers often shortcut from Kent Avenue to the highway using Black Gum Drive, Cattail Road, Tamarack Drive, Canal Drive, Russell Road and Evergreen Road.

    Despite the secluded feel, “It is one of the most major intersections in our town today,” Headman said.

    “Things have changed dramatically in the last few years, due to the increased volume using the roads, especially during summer,” which, Headman said, exacerbated the existing issues of speeding and rolling through stop signs.

    Cat Hill includes the westernmost part of town, between the Assawoman Canal and the town canals. Development began there in 1985 with 144 homes (more were approved later on).

    Headman gave a presentation created with Dennis Roberts, Bob Smith, Mike Trentadue, George Rosenberg and Gary Bergman.

    Having talked to dozens of local property owners, Headman submitted letters from residents describing the near-misses they’ve seen.

    “Our town has been lucky so far, yet how long will that last?” Headman asked. “Our community doesn’t want to wait until someone is injured” to address the problem, he said. “We’re asking for your help.”

    Black Gum Drive processed 20,070 vehicles in May, then 10,153 in November, according to traffic data.

    But the audience at the Feb. 12 council meeting was startled to learn that, in addition to the current burden on the roadways, thousands of homes have already been approved for development on roads that lead directly to Kent Avenue (including Millville By the Sea, Ocean View Beach Club and many more). There are only so many roads to the beach.

    Using GPS, those people will likely discover the Cat Hill shortcut, too.

    None of the speedbumps in the community are completely up to Delaware Department of Transportation standards, being too low, too narrow or inefficiently spaced.

    Headman suggested that more painted striping to the road edge would increase the narrow feel, potentially slowing drivers down. He said a goal would be to make Cat Hill less attractive to those looking for shortcuts than Sea Colony’s eight speed bumps and four stop signs.

    Resident Barbara Lazzati grew emotional as she described a traffic incident in her own South Bethany back yard. Her granddaughter was visiting in July of 2015, and the child had left some toys in the yard near the road.

    A car was speeding so fast between Tamarack and Canal that it needed an extra-wide turn, swerving into Lazzati’s yard.

    “The person swerved onto our property, ran over her toys, crushed these toys,” she told the South Bethany Town Council on Feb. 12.

    “Many people turn right on Tamarack at a high speed,” Lazzati said. “It’s not the people from South Bethany. They know how to share the roads. … There’s no courtesy left.”

    Lazzati and her husband are approaching their fifth summer in South Bethany, but she called the traffic in Cat Hill “a ticking time-bomb.”

    “My concern is my children, walking our dogs, riding our bike this summer,” Lazzati said. “I think the speed bumps on Tamarack do little to nothing to slow people down.”

    It may be an inconvenience, but “the safety of our residents is well worth” adding 30 to 40 seconds to the drive, she said.

    Blocking the block

    Speed is a problem, but so is volume, said Councilman Wayne Schrader. “We ought to think about the measures, like the barricade that we’ve had in the past. … In theory, you have to think about turning it into a cul-de-sac, or at least exploring it.”

    But those are State-owned roads, so South Bethany can’t completely restrict access with a private gate. However, they could permanently separate Black Gum Drive from Kent Avenue with a cul-de-sac.

    “It won’t cost us anything to close the road. The gate is what causes you to lose [funding],” said Councilman George Junkin.

    Ultimately, turning the street into a cul-de-sac would make Cat Hill accessible only via Route 1 (Coastal Highway). That’s a long drive for residents and their guests, adding two miles to the drive if they cut through Sea Colony and 2.5 miles if they go to the next public street, Jefferson Bridge Road. A cul-de-sac must also be wide enough for emergency vehicles to turn around.

    “It’s nothing shocking,” said Mayor Pat Voveris. “It’s a way of life, not just for us, but many communities across the country.”

    Voveris chaired the former barricade committee when it was originally proposed to limit traffic. But Voveris said traffic volumes have changed, and the times need to be reconsidered to better impact beach traffic instead of residents.

    South Bethany has begun planning a traffic study, and the council will consider the recent town survey results, Voveris said. Plus, Cat Hill will get two of South Bethany’s four new electronic speed-monitoring signs.

    Some residents of Cat Hill bought their houses in winter, before seeing summer in a resort town. They were especially surprised at the deluge of beach traffic.

    But “we all bought our homes and knew that” the neighborhood has no sidewalks, just one narrow road, said resident Barb Wise.

    That said, she favored a gate over a cul-de-sac. Permanently losing one of their exits would be “a real problem,” Wise said.

    “Whether we own a piece of property on the oceanfront, ocean side, canal side or Cat Hill, we’re all South Bethany,” said Sandi Roberts, a resident of Canal Drive. “Anything that improves quality of life in this town … really benefits all of us.”

    She was also referring to complaints she’s heard about the Town spending thousands of dollars to appeal Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps, just for the ocean side properties.

    Half of the audience left after the Cat Hill presentation, leaving the council to finish other business:

    • The council adjusted Town finances in the 2016-fiscal-year budget.

    Revenue is expected to increase by $190,000 (building permit revenue by $75,000, to a total $195,000; and realty transfer tax revenue by $115,000, to $420,000).

    The Town received an unexpected transportation grant for $10,396 for electronic radar signs.

    Expenses have increased by $44,000 (legal fees for the FEMA appeal, plus monthly fees of $37,000, to a total $62,000; the police chief’s $5,000 bonus, approved last autumn; and bank fees increased by $2,000 to $6,500.)

    With $7,500 in unused beach patrol salaries, the Town will repair or replace lifeguard equipment.

    The budget amendment was unanimously approved, with Councilwoman Sue Callaway absent.

    • Although council members are “encouraged to be actively involved in the affairs of the Town and to express their individual opinions on Town matters,” the group unanimously amended Town Council’s Rules of Procedure.

    “Unless a Council member has been authorized to speak on behalf of the Town Council, council members should always make it clear that any opinions expressed represent their individual positions and not the position of the Town Council.”

    • Election staff were approved, including the 2016 Board of Election (Carolyn Marcello, Bonnie

    Rae and Sally Baker) and election workers (Pat Spangler, Jay Headman and Lora Caputo).

    The town council will meet Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. for a budget workshop and March 11 at 7 p.m. for a regular workshop.


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    Coastal Point • M. Patricia Titus: An aerial perspective of the proposed Central Park project in Bethany Beach, as prepared by Oasis Design Group.Coastal Point • M. Patricia Titus: An aerial perspective of the proposed Central Park project in Bethany Beach, as prepared by Oasis Design Group.A possible future vision for Bethany Beach’s proposed “Central Park” was unveiled last week, as the Bethany Beach Town Council heard from Oasis Design Group’s Scott Scarfone at their Feb. 12 council workshop.

    Scarfone’s presentation showed the latest design ideas for the park that is planned to be constructed on the former Christian Chuch/Neff properties, on the northwest corner of the intersection of Routes 26 and 1, with public comment to-date now taken into account.

    The park’s proposed design features elements that the council has specifically asked be present, including walking paths, gardens, open lawn, an open pavilion and benches, as well as a limited amount of parking on the north side of the park on Central Boulevard, “earth sculpting” or mounding to add visual interest, and natural screening of the homes along the west side of the park property.

    Scarfone said other possible elements that could be incorporated were lighting and a “gateway” signage monument that could serve as a focal point for those driving past the park on Route 1, letting them know with a strong visual that they were in Bethany Beach.

    Using a diagram depicting existing vegetation, including some mature trees, Scarfone described the proposed design as creating a series of “rooms,” such as the large open lawn space, a smaller lawn space on the opposite side of the pavilion and a more secluded “reading garden” in the northwest corner.

    The resulting “hallways,” Scarfone said, led to the design for pathways, as well as entry/exit points for the park and related crosswalks.

    A service driveway would allow the Town access off Route 26, next to the existing pump building. “Plaza” gateway areas would be constructed at the Route 1/26 intersection and the central section of the park along Central, with another gateway planned nearer the southwest corner of the park property, accessing that smaller lawn area.

    Scarfone said two new crosswalks were planned as part of the design, allowing pedestrians to cross Routes 26 and 1 on the west and north sides of that intersection.

    While the Town has been asking DelDOT, unsuccessfully, for some time to allow some changes to the existing crosswalks in that area, Scarfone said his office had been in touch with DelDOT on a preliminary basis and believed the two proposed crosswalks wouldn’t be an issue.

    “We see no problems. It’s just a procedural thing,” he said.

    He said the signals there would need some modifications as well, and there would need to be pedestrian “refuge” islands created in the roadway. An existing crosswalk on Central Boulevard would also be utilized, as is.

    Once pedestrians cross the highway or Route 26, they could enter the park from the proposed “gateway” entrance at the intersection there. It would be “a very strong visual gateway for people driving north on Route 1 and off Garfield, and south on Route 1 also,” he said. “It will need to be treated specially.”

    Vice-Mayor Lew Killmer said, “It’s important to make that entrance grand, to get the most bang for our buck.”

    Under the proposed design, the small “monument wall” on the north side of the gateway could have “Town of Bethany Beach” or “Central Park” written on it, and small islands of plantings would be used to create paths to the left, right and center of the gateway that would then lead to the pathways that run to the left and right.

    “I would envision it would be heavily planted with ornamental plantings,” Scarfone suggested, pointing to the heavily planted medians already in place along Garfield Parkway downtown.

    Councilman Bruce Frye asked about the use of the various entrances proposed for the park, saying he felt people would enter off Route 26 at the west, rather than the “gateway” entrance at the intersection corner.

    Scarfone noted that he had vacationed in the area for more than 30 years and had observed that both entrances would likely be equally heavily used, but at different times of day. During the day, he said, most would enter from Route 26; while, at night, with the number of people downtown for events, shopping and dining, they’d use the main entrance on the corner.

    Rain gardens would run along Route 1, draining the area when needed but also providing visual interest, becoming a feature when mixed in with the existing pine trees in that area.

    Taking note of council members’ concerns about the existing drainage problem on parts of the property, Scarfone said he and an engineer from his firm had walked the site already and had purposely placed the rain gardens where they had in order to deal with the issue.

    He said future study would be done on the soils on the property, to look at the volume of water that would be able to percolate, and that if it couldn’t drain in 24 to 36 hours, they would look to add an under-drain to the rain gardens to deal with the excess.

    Killmer noted that, historically, the northeast corner of the property has been a problem area for water. Scarfone said plans were to utilize the existing culvert, and if there was potential for overflow from the rain gardens, an overflow pipe could be run from them to the culvert.

    Pavilion, lawn areas to be major features

    “The predominant use is lawn,” Scarfone emphasized of the overall park design he proposed. “You’re not dramatically changing the use from now. You’re just providing more organization to it.”

    Under the design, amidst that lawn the park would have .75 miles of pathways, providing “a sense of connections and spaces,” Scarfone said.

    The major feature of the park itself would be the pavilion or similar open-air structure, which Scarfone said offered “a multitude of events opportunities,” as well as shade. In the design, it is placed southwest of the center of the property, with the large open lawn space stretching to the northeast and the smaller one to the southwest. A trellis or pergola on the north side of the park, to the eastern side of a central entrance there, would be designed to match the pavilion.

    “The pavilion location will be a very iconic element as you drive south on Route 1 and look into the park,” Scarfone said.

    Working with an architect, he said, they had come up with two options for the pavilion.

    The first is a somewhat traditional round gazebo-type design, with its architecture to play off that found in the area’s beach houses, but also remaining open and airy. It would feature wood construction and a metal roof, custom-constructed for the town and “nicely ornamented.”

    The trellis would match it in style and provide built-in seating in the shade the trellis would offer.

    The second design involves a tensile structure that would emulate sails — similar to designs found elsewhere along the coast, including at the entrance to Cambridge, Md. — constructed out of a plastic-type material that has a long life, Scarfone said, adding that designers were particularly excited about that concept.

    “It gives the flavor and character of the beach. It would be an iconic visual element,” he described, citing that it would provide the functions of shade and shelter, as well as the visual element of design. The configuration of the sails, he said, would evolve during the design process, with the example shown just to offer a feel for what it could look like.

    He said it would be possible to create some kind of seating around the edges of the pavilion, leaving sections open for people to walk through and for clear viewing of events set there, as well as options for height and construction to further minimize any concerns about views and ease of access. Or, he said, the seating could be eliminated entirely from the design.

    Again, a trellis or pergola-like structure would offer shade, and possibly seating, on the north side of the park, with a design to match the pavilion.

    Councilwoman Rosemary Hardiman asked Scarfone if the pavilion sails could withstand hurricane-force winds, and he emphasized that there were hundreds of examples of them being used in coastal communities and that they had been tested in 160 mph winds.

    She also asked about the maintenance differences between the two designs. Scarfone said the round pavilion would require more maintenance than the sails, though it could be constructed (at additional cost) entirely of metal that could be dipped and powder-coated, eliminating the need to paint a wooden structure every several years.

    Gardens, mounds and paths to add interest

    The reading garden in the northwest corner of the park would feature an open lawn, “with earth mounding to provide a little refuge from the main lawn area,” Scarfone said, as well as benches for the comfort of those sitting down with a good book.

    The design’s pathways through the park include some side pathways off the main large oval pathway, with “gentle earth mounding” in between to offer screening and seclusion. The result, he said, is a series of major open spaces with smaller adjunct spaces off to the side.

    “If people wanted to sit out in the open, they can. If they want a more secluded area, more privacy, they can have that. It’s all predominantly done with walkways, plantings and earth mounding.”

    The paths themselves are proposed to be constructed of an ADA-compliant sustainable material that Scarfone said looks like exposed aggregate but is actually a pervious material made of pea gravel with a binder. “It’s beautiful. I’ve seen it done at botanical gardens. It’s suitable for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers. We’re very excited about it.”

    To screen the homes adjacent to the park along Gibson Avenue, the existing berm will be retained, he said, but will be more heavily planted, “to essentially take those houses out of play and give them more privacy, to provide a more official separation.”

    The west edge of that area, he said, would be heavily planted — a process he noted that the Town had already begun. The plantings would be naturalized and random along the berm, Scarfone said, with a more formal hedge around the smaller open lawn area on the southwest corner, to help define the space. “That first room would have a wall,” he described of the resulting hedge.

    Behind the gateway entrance, a small garden secluded within a grove of trees at the southeast corner of the property would, he said, be “more of a shrub garden,” moving away from the use of annual plants to perennials that require less maintenance.

    The landforms planned for the northeast corner of the property, between the paths, Scarfone said, are being inspired by the shape of dunes, to create relief in an otherwise flat area.

    “The park is pretty flat,” he acknowledged. “This will define spaces and add some visual interest,” he said of the 3- to 4-foot-tall mounds. “They’re also great places to play. The kids can somersault and tumble down them.”

    Hardiman said she was concerns the mounds would block the view and wouldn’t be pretty, and that she was ambivalent about breaking up the view of the park instead of being able to see it as a whole.

    Scarfone said the intensity of the mounding could be reduced, but that its intent was just to break up the visual space. “It’s so flat now,” he emphasized, adding that the slope of any mounding would be designed so that it would be easy to maintain. He also pointed out that the mounds were not intended to block the view entirely but just to filter it.

    Scarfone did offer a few alternative design elements to the main proposal, including simplifying the gateway entrance by featuring a circular garden that would place the monument wall more centrally but still offer some separation between the roadway and the park paths.

    He said the decision on that would be based on whether the Town wanted to keep the view at that entrance open or to soften and screen it, and whether they wanted the focus to be on the monument wall signage or elsewhere.

    The reading garden, he said, could be kept simple, with just the lawn and some grading, or made more elaborate and secluded by creating a garden around the space, using some minor changes to the pathway and more intense plantings.

    He noted that the trellis/pergola structure on the north side of the park could be eliminated entirely and the area planted with a few street trees instead. The main lawn could also be simplified by removing the earth mounding and side paths, and utilizing a few new clusters of trees instead, he added.

    “You really have an opportunity to create something nice,” he said of the project.

    Timeline, costs, public comment to be considered

    Other considerations for the council include whether they’d want to build the project all at once or do it in stages, over time.

    Oasis supplied the Town with a “phasing diagram” that shows certain sections done at certain times, with the large main lawn done first in a phased project, along with pathways, crosswalks and other infrastructure, and the entrance areas coming next, followed by the additional screening on the berm, and so on.

    Scarfone said the next steps for the project would involve getting feedback from the council and town staff, then soliciting community preferences, followed by coming to agreement on an approximate budget and then finalizing a master plan, before approving any phasing timetable and the related budget sequence.

    From there, the project would move on to construction documentation and a separate construction contract, followed by permit approvals, bidding for construction and then the start of that construction.

    Killmer said he’d like to have some detailed numbers on the cost for the variations in the plan, including a phased implementation. “The public will want to know what it is going to cost,” he said, also noting his hopes that the project would be able to reduce costs by integrating some in-house labor for some of the work, as has been the case with many of the Town’s projects in recent years.

    Mayor Jack Gordon said the next step was to make sure more of the townsfolk know about the park design and can comment on it. While the park is nice as it is, he said of the proposed plan for the space, “To get that started would be great step toward making it look even nicer.”


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    Inaugural Tommy Ten Miler and Fifth Annual Daffodil Dash 5K to benefit Sussex Consortium

    On Saturday, April 23, two races will be held at Irish Eyes Restaurant at 213 Anglers Road in Lewes. Both races will kick off at 8:30 a.m. A free Kiddie K will begin at 8:15 a.m. for children 8 or younger. Funding will go to the Sussex Consortium, part of the Cape Henlopen School District, which helps students with disabilities.

    Additional funding will be presented to the Tunnell Cancer Center in honor of Tom Coveleski, who was a long-standing physical education instructor, runner and coach. He started the Junior Lifeguards program and was a strong advocate for physical activity.

    “Please come and take part in this memorable day of running and walking,” said Vivian Bush, principal at Sussex Consortium. “So many individuals will benefit from your support on April 23. Please attend and bring your friends and family.”

    Pre-registration for the Tommy Ten Miler costs $35 and the 5K costs $25 until April 21; after that the cost is $40 and $30, respectively. Online registration is available at www.races2run.com. Packet pickup is on Friday, April 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Irish Eyes in Lewes. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the events. Sussex Consortium students do not pay a registration fee.

    The course is USATF-certified with chip timing. The Tommy Ten Miler extends down the new Junction-Breakwater Trail connection. Entrants will receive a gender-specific or youth-sized soft-cotton T-shirt. Awards go to overall male and female and master’s winners, top three male and female finishers in 10-year-age categories, from ages 13 or younger to 70 or older, in both running events. Walkers are only permitted in the 5K, and awards will go to the top three male and female finishers.

    The post-race party sponsored by Irish Eyes includes beer and Bloody Marys for racers 21 or older.

    For more information about sponsorship or about the events go to SCDaffodilDash@gmail.com or www.races2run.com.


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    Anglers encouraged to check requirements before fishing

    The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife this week announced that its spring 2016 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 5, with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout, weather permitting. On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m.

    “As in past years, we plan to stock these ponds before opening day, and we plan to do a second stocking later in the month,” said Fisheries Administrator John Clark. “We will include trophy-sized trout again this year as an added attraction for trout anglers.”

    Trout anglers planning to ply the waters of Tidbury and Newton ponds should note Fish & Wildlife regulatory requirements:

    • A trout stamp is required to fish the ponds from the first Saturday in March through April 1, unless otherwise exempted by law.

    • Following the opening day 7 a.m. start, trout fishing at the two ponds is permitted a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.

    • The daily possession limit is six trout.

    • Both ponds are closed to all fishing for 14 days prior to the season opening, with the restriction in effect from Saturday, Feb. 20, until opening day, March 5.

    “These rules serve several purposes,” said Michael Stangl, Fisheries program manager. “Closing these ponds to all fishing for two weeks before the season provides a better opportunity to complete our stocking and eliminates incidental trout-hooking mortality by those who are fishing for other species. In addition, the closure gives stocked trout time to adjust and spread out in their new waters. The pre-season closure also eliminates any harvest prior to the opener and improves fair access to the fishery.”

    Each pond will initially be stocked with about 300 pounds of rainbow trout, with an average size of 11 to 13 inches. “Trophy-sized” rainbows — weighing 2 pounds or more and measuring well over 14 inches — also will be stocked. Plans call for stocking to be repeated Thursday, March 17, with the same amount of fish in each pond.

    Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Levy Court, Department of Parks & Recreation, and anglers are being asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. No boats of any type are permitted in Tidbury Pond.

    Newton Pond, owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, will be stocked for the eighth year. The 10-acre borrow pit site was restored using Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds and opened for its first trout season in 2009.

    The pond features a boat ramp for car-top boats and canoes, with no gasoline motors allowed, plus a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to distance themselves from others. Clark emphasized the restriction of “car-top boats only,” since the ramp at Newton Pond was not designed or constructed for heavy vehicles with boat trailers, and vehicular traffic is blocked from using the ramp. Boat anglers are being urged to exercise courtesy and caution while operating near others fishing from the shoreline.

    “With the exception of the two-week closure preceding trout season, Newton Pond is also open for catch-and-release fishing for bass and bluegill. Although barbless hooks are required at Newton Pond throughout the year, they are not required from opening day through April 1 while fishing for trout. Beginning March 5, trout in both ponds will be fair game, and we encourage anglers to keep these trout up to the limit of six,” Clark continued, noting that trout are a cold-water species and can only survive while water temperatures in the ponds remain cool.

    Upstate, trout season will open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, in six designated trout streams in northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek, which will all be stocked with thousands of rainbow and brown trout.

    All of the streams will receive a heavy stocking just prior to the season opener on the first Saturday in April. Trout stocking in the spring will continue on a regular weekly basis in some streams through Thursday, April 28. For more information, click http://de.gov/troutstocking.

    In addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most trout anglers also must purchase a Delaware trout stamp. All proceeds from the purchase of Delaware trout stamps are used to help purchase next year’s fish for stocking. The popular fishery also is supported by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

    “Since the price of trout is not expected to decrease in the immediate future, the Fisheries Section is hoping plenty of anglers will come out this season to help support the program,” Clark added.

    Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call (302) 739-9918.


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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean;) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean;) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Ponce de Leon would be jealous. The Fountain of Youth was discovered in a new musical, opening soon at Sussex Central High School.

    In March, the Take Two Drama Club will debut an original show, “Under,” created by two school district teachers.

    The zany comedy was written by David Warick, SCHS drama teacher, with music and lyrics by Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School music teacher.

    In the show, after discovering an elixir of life in Florida in the late 1950s, a billionaire secretly builds the town of Under. Real-life celebrities known for mysterious deaths or disappearances came to this underground utopia.

    Here, Marilyn Monroe has become warm and nurturing, Billie Holiday is a wise woman, and James Dean is still cool.

    “They have their talent, but they don’t have an audience,” Warick said. “We come in at a time where there’s a lot of problems.”

    The show opens with Under’s wealthy founder, “Harry Allenby” flying into the sunset. He mysteriously disappears, but the show finds him again in Under.

    Meanwhile, Allenby’s bitter son is left to run the company, but he’s clueless about Under. Worlds collide when Allenby’s grandson is kidnapped by the underground villains.

    “We don’t want the audience to know right away what’s going on,” Warick said.

    Audiences get a proper musical introduction to the whole underworld in the Act 1 finale.

    The musical rounds out with a few love interests, a possible zombie apocalypse and the evil “Lord Lucan” (a real-life Englishman who disappeared amidst accusations of attacking his wife and killing their nanny).

    Under residents can drink to remain forever young, but they can’t return to the real world, aboveground, because sunlight ruins the effects. They’ll decide whether to enjoy an eternity underground or face the spotlight aboveground. But they’ll definitely get their grand finale.

    Like any great show, the musical studies how people face their problems and the future. But it sure approaches that from a unique angle.

    “Have you every heard of a show where celebrities fake their deaths and live underground?” asked freshman Abbey Ruark.

    Most of Tsavdar’s original music and lyrics are in a classic 1970s/1980s rock style, plus touches of 1950s, 1960s and grunge music, based on the character’s era.

    Audiences see or hear about Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, three Alcatraz escapees, Aaliyah, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Selena, Kurt Cobain, Elvis, Jim Morrison and 1971 plane hijacker D.B. Cooper.

    “It’s very easy to imagine that anyone could be there,” Tsavdar said.

    The creators tried to evoke these public figures in a respectful way. How do they justify showing Marilyn onstage decades after history records her body was found in Los Angeles? Often, the characters are seeking a simpler life, or they recognize their own potential for self-destruction.

    “They talk about it in their songs … ‘If I don’t do this I’ll be dead,’” Warick said. “[Under’s founder] is offering them a chance, and they recognize it. He’s trying to make a place” built on happiness, where they can be their best selves. Drugs and booze are forbidden in that healthy utopia.

    “It’s nothing that’s extremely serious, but it’s not extremely silly either,” said junior Rebecca Payne. “It kind of brings in the serious factor of life, but then the factor of having fun without losing too much control, and not letting power get to your head.”

    Warick’s original script was based on one quirky idea from Tsavdar. The formula worked for their other slightly supernatural show, “Dr. Ghost,” which SCHS premiered in 2012.

    An original show is challenging, but students get to perform the work of respected teachers, and the teachers can write specifically to student talents.

    “This is a great cast,” Warick said of the more than 30 students.

    “We have a lot of new talent, too. People are working really hard to perfect their roles, and a lot of kids are so passionate,” said Rebecca Bristow, grade 10. “People should at least come and support them.”

    “We all work really well together,” said stage manager Kayla Reed, grade 11, who said people shouldn’t underestimate what the Sussex Central drama department can do.

    “I’m hugely grateful to the students … They’re giving me and David a chance,” Tsavdar said. “If they’re having fun on stage, the audience will enjoy it.”

    “It’s an original, so it’s something that’s never been seen before,” said freshman Elizabeth Holz.

    “I think it’s liberating, as an actress,” said junior Kerinn Walls. “You create your own character. You don’t really have anyone — except for the actor themselves — to copy from.”

    To distract from scene changes, a dance captain — Natalie Atkinson, grade 11 — choreographed mini dances/movements to set the scene.

    In a true collaboration, several Indian River High School students were invited to perform, too.

    Show times are at 7 p.m. on March 10, 11 and 12. The box office opens at 6 p.m. The cost is $8 general admission; $5 for students, seniors and military; and $5 two-for-one special rates for middle school students. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.

    Sussex Central High School is located at 26026 Patriots Way, Georgetown.


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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Chilling between scenes are Rebecca Bristow (Dr. Joy Lovejoy), Braeden Swain (James Dean) and Richard Jake Ward (Jimmy Hoffa).Ponce de Leon would be jealous. The Fountain of Youth was discovered in a new musical, opening soon at Sussex Central High School.

    In March, the Take Two Drama Club will debut an original show, “Under,” created by two school district teachers.

    The zany comedy was written by David Warick, SCHS drama teacher, with music and lyrics by Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School music teacher.

    In the show, after discovering an elixir of life in Florida in the late 1950s, a billionaire secretly builds the town of Under. Real-life celebrities known for mysterious deaths or disappearances came to this underground utopia.

    Here, Marilyn Monroe has become warm and nurturing, Billie Holiday is a wise woman, and James Dean is still cool.

    “They have their talent, but they don’t have an audience,” Warick said. “We come in at a time where there’s a lot of problems.”

    The show opens with Under’s wealthy founder, “Harry Allenby” flying into the sunset. He mysteriously disappears, but the show finds him again in Under.

    Meanwhile, Allenby’s bitter son is left to run the company, but he’s clueless about Under. Worlds collide when Allenby’s grandson is kidnapped by the underground villains.

    “We don’t want the audience to know right away what’s going on,” Warick said.

    Audiences get a proper musical introduction to the whole underworld in the Act 1 finale.

    The musical rounds out with a few love interests, a possible zombie apocalypse and the evil “Lord Lucan” (a real-life Englishman who disappeared amidst accusations of attacking his wife and killing their nanny).

    Under residents can drink to remain forever young, but they can’t return to the real world, aboveground, because sunlight ruins the effects. They’ll decide whether to enjoy an eternity underground or face the spotlight aboveground. But they’ll definitely get their grand finale.

    Like any great show, the musical studies how people face their problems and the future. But it sure approaches that from a unique angle.

    “Have you every heard of a show where celebrities fake their deaths and live underground?” asked freshman Abbey Ruark.

    Most of Tsavdar’s original music and lyrics are in a classic 1970s/1980s rock style, plus touches of 1950s, 1960s and grunge music, based on the character’s era.

    Audiences see or hear about Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, three Alcatraz escapees, Aaliyah, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Selena, Kurt Cobain, Elvis, Jim Morrison and 1971 plane hijacker D.B. Cooper.

    “It’s very easy to imagine that anyone could be there,” Tsavdar said.

    The creators tried to evoke these public figures in a respectful way. How do they justify showing Marilyn onstage decades after history records her body was found in Los Angeles? Often, the characters are seeking a simpler life, or they recognize their own potential for self-destruction.

    “They talk about it in their songs … ‘If I don’t do this I’ll be dead,’” Warick said. “[Under’s founder] is offering them a chance, and they recognize it. He’s trying to make a place” built on happiness, where they can be their best selves. Drugs and booze are forbidden in that healthy utopia.

    “It’s nothing that’s extremely serious, but it’s not extremely silly either,” said junior Rebecca Payne. “It kind of brings in the serious factor of life, but then the factor of having fun without losing too much control, and not letting power get to your head.”

    Warick’s original script was based on one quirky idea from Tsavdar. The formula worked for their other slightly supernatural show, “Dr. Ghost,” which SCHS premiered in 2012.

    An original show is challenging, but students get to perform the work of respected teachers, and the teachers can write specifically to student talents.

    “This is a great cast,” Warick said of the more than 30 students.

    “We have a lot of new talent, too. People are working really hard to perfect their roles, and a lot of kids are so passionate,” said Rebecca Bristow, grade 10. “People should at least come and support them.”

    “We all work really well together,” said stage manager Kayla Reed, grade 11, who said people shouldn’t underestimate what the Sussex Central drama department can do.

    “I’m hugely grateful to the students … They’re giving me and David a chance,” Tsavdar said. “If they’re having fun on stage, the audience will enjoy it.”

    “It’s an original, so it’s something that’s never been seen before,” said freshman Elizabeth Holz.

    “I think it’s liberating, as an actress,” said junior Kerinn Walls. “You create your own character. You don’t really have anyone — except for the actor themselves — to copy from.”

    To distract from scene changes, a dance captain — Natalie Atkinson, grade 11 — choreographed mini dances/movements to set the scene.

    In a true collaboration, several Indian River High School students were invited to perform, too.

    Show times are at 7 p.m. on March 10, 11 and 12. The box office opens at 6 p.m. The cost is $8 general admission; $5 for students, seniors and military; and $5 two-for-one special rates for middle school students. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.

    Sussex Central High School is located at 26026 Patriots Way, Georgetown.


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    Gallery One in Ocean View recently announced the theme of its March show, “Great Escapes,” open to the public March 2-29.

    Coastal Point • Submitted: ‘Solitude,’ an oil by Joyce Condry, is just one of the works featured in Gallery One’s March show, ‘Great Escapes.’ The show runs from March 2-29 at the gallery in Ocean View.Coastal Point • Submitted: ‘Solitude,’ an oil by Joyce Condry, is just one of the works featured in Gallery One’s March show, ‘Great Escapes.’ The show runs from March 2-29 at the gallery in Ocean View.
    “‘Great Escapes’ conjures images of getting away whether from ordinary doldrums or relief from a stressful job or life situation. It may be a journey or just a moment of quiet. Artists practice great escapes regularly when they enter their studios to create. The outside world fades away. The artists at Gallery One invite you to view their great escapes.”

    Joyce Condry’s oil painting “Solitude” depicts such a time. “Sometimes, in the hectic world we live in, it is just good to get away from it all,” said Condry.

    Dianne Shearon’s acrylic painting “Waiting and Watching” is an invitation to watch the beach birds. “A lone beach bird may be the smart one or maybe just escaping from the group, waiting and watching for his dinner. “

    Dale Sheldon’s acrylic “Before the Storm” is an escape from the chaotic world through the peace, beauty and repetition of nature. Lesley McCaskill’s watercolor “Out for a Catch” captures an early morning sunrise and a couple heading out of the harbor.

    “The air is so clear, the sea so blue, and the buildings so clean and white” said Sonia Hunt, which is evidenced in her watercolor “Santorini.” Laura Hickman also travelled afar in the pastel “Harbor in St. Ives.” “I made a great escape to Cornwall, England, last fall, where I stayed in a 14th century fisherman’s cottage on the harbor of this beautiful port of St. Ives. St. Ives is a thriving artist’s colony, so well worth the visit.”

    A great escape can be a rescue. Eileen Olson’s watermedia work “The Visitor” is inspired by a red-tailed hawk that flew through the porch screen and escaped with the aid of Tri State Bird Rescue.

    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 information, visit Gallery One’s website at www.GalleryOneDe.com or call (302) 537-5055. The gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Ocean View.


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    Looking for something relaxing to do this Saturday at the beach?

    Longtime Bethany Beach bandstand performer, singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording artist and Cole Younger Band founder John Pollard will perform throughout the afternoon this Saturday, Feb. 27, in Bethany Beach, at the Ellen Rice Gallery.

    Armed with his acoustic guitar, Pollard will perform songs including “My Bethany” from his album “Winds of Time,” songs from his five other albums and a wide range of audience requests from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. in the gallery’s seating area. The afternoon event is open to everyone. Coffee, wine and light refreshments will be served.

    Pollard and Rice’s collaboration with musical events at her gallery began in 2004, when Rice debuted her pastel painting “Winds of Time.” Pollard arrived an hour early for its debut so he could get print No. 1 of a painting that had special meaning to him, and soon Rice was agreeing for him to use the painting as the cover of an album featuring songs about coastal Delaware. The following summer, Pollard began making regular appearances at the artist’s gallery.

    Plans are for Pollard to perform inside in the seating area of the gallery, but if the weather is fair and warm enough, he’ll take it to the boards outside, where guests may pull up a butterfly or dragonfly bench and enjoy his sounds in the fresh salt air.

    The Ellen Rice Gallery is located on the south side of the Bethany Beach circle in the Blue Surf building, a half block from the ocean and a couple of doors east and a few steps up from Grotto Pizza. For more information, call the gallery at (302) 539-3405 or visit www.ellenrice.com.


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    The Town of Ocean View held a public hearing and workshop earlier this week to discuss its proposed 2017-fiscal-year operating and capital budgets.

    Town Manager Dianne Vogel said that, since the council had last met, the draft budget had been updated per direction from council.

    “As we’ve said in two other meetings … [personnel and benefits] represents about 70 percent of the operating budget.”

    In Draft 2, a pool of 2 percent of total salaries —approximately $12,000 — for compensation remains in the budget.

    Vogel said the Town did receive confirmation that there will be no increase for life insurance and short-term disability premiums for the upcoming renewal period.

    “Presently, the Town pays 100 percent of these premiums. Based on the current census, this represents about $610 per month.”

    The Town’s dental coverage will increase by 2.7 percent, or $27 per month, effective May 1. The Town currently pays 100 percent of dental premiums.

    Vogel said the Town has heard from the State of Delaware that medical coverage will increase in cost by 8 percent across all six plans, effective July 1.

    “Presently, the Town pays 100 percent of the premiums for the First State Basic Highmark Plan. The financial impact of the increase is approximately $20,000 per year, based on the current census of the employees that participate.

    “Employees who select another plan over the basic receive a credit against their premium, and they pay the difference on a biweekly basis through payroll deductions.”

    The Town also received preliminary rates from the State for the employer contributions to the pension plans that will change effective July 1.

    “The preliminary rates for the municipal police is going to be $13.77 of base payroll and 6.76 percent for municipal general employees.

    “These rates are subject to change, but from Lee [Brubaker’s] experience, generally the rates that are released the first time are the rates that are accepted.”

    She noted that two speed monitors were requested by the Town’s police department, at a cost of $7,000. Vogel said that, in looking at the current year’s budget, the cost for two monitors was $6,000.

    “At the last meeting, [state] Rep. Ron Gray was present and called me after the meeting and has offered to share the cost of one of those speed monitors with [state] Sen. [Gerald] Hocker. So they have committed to pay for at least one.”

    Town Finance Director Lee Brubaker reminded the council to remember what they’re working on.

    “Remember, this is a budget. It’s an itemized projection or estimate of revenues and expenditures for a set period of time,” he said. “We happen to project out five years. I find it hard enough to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week, let alone five years, but it gives us an early warning system.

    “As council members, you have to remember, we’re talking about five years, but we only adopt one year at a time.”

    Although there was a 2 percent property tax increase last year, Brubaker said that, with changes to the draft budget for the 2017 budget, it does not appear that the Town needs to increase taxes.

    Brubaker noted that the Town receives $700,000 per year, on average, in transfer tax revenue from the State.

    “Last year, in their budget deliberations, the State talked about taking that money away from the towns and from the county,” he said. “At the very last minute, they gave up on that idea, but they thought about it once. So they can think about it again.”

    Brubaker said the Town’s drainage projects’ costs were recently updated, based on updated numbers provided by the Town engineer.

    “Last year’s budget, these drainage projects were projected at $1,180,000,” he said, noting the cost has now increased to $2,023,000.

    Brubaker said the updated figures came from estimated contractor, easement, legal and advertising costs, based on the Town’s recently completed Avon Park drainage project.

    “Drainage is a major issue,” he noted.

    The drainage projects for Woodland Park Phase II, and Woodland Avenue Phase II and III, have not been, nor have they ever been, provided for in the Town’s budget.

    “There’s now still $1.288 million that are still not yet provided for in this budget.”

    Mayor Walter Curran said it appeared that the Town seems to have the ability to increase its allocation to the Street Repair & Replacement Trust Fund. Currently, the Town increases its yearly allotment by $25,000. Curran suggested that be increased to $75,000.

    Brubaker said he can run the numbers in varying increments to show how an increase would affect the budget and the trust fund.

    Council Members Bill Olsen and Carol Bodine said they liked Curran’s idea of increasing the allotment.

    Although citizens were in attendance at the meetings, no one opted to make comment.

    Vogel said the budget ordinance would be introduced at the Town’s March 14 meeting.

    The Town must adopt the budget no later than April 30. Copies of the draft are available by visiting the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building or online, at www.oceanviewde.com.


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    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Ricky braved 19 days of winter weather, wandered 5 miles away from home and lost half his body weight in the process, but is now safe at home.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Ricky braved 19 days of winter weather, wandered 5 miles away from home and lost half his body weight in the process, but is now safe at home.Imagine living out in the elements, outside of your warm home, for 19 days — surviving through two snowstorms and a heavy rainstorm. Now, imagine you’re 4 pounds, having lost half your body weight, and a Chihuahua who wandered nearly 5 miles from home, and you can’t find your way back.

    That, in a nutshell, is part of the extraordinary journey Ricky the Chihuahua had for nearly three weeks.

    “He was totally out there all alone,” said Judith Cordier, Ricky’s mom.

    The Cordiers have owned Ricky, who celebrated his second birthday on Valentine’s Day, since he was 6 weeks old.

    “He’s my baby,” she said. “If he loves you, he loves you.”

    It all started on Jan. 28, when Cordier let Ricky outside, but he sadly didn’t return.

    “We have an invisible fence, and he had his collar on, but we had just got back from Florida. While we were gone, there was a bad storm and, unbeknownst to us, there was a break in the invisible fence,” said Cordier. “He went out and just kept going, and next thing I knew, he was gone. That’s when the journey started.”

    “I went right to the vet to tell them, because we don’t live far from them and they know Ricky. She said, ‘We just saw him out there.’ People were trying to get him, but he just kept running away from everybody. Then he ran so far away he didn’t know how to get back home.”

    Cordier said that, later that day, there was a sighting in Bay Forest, and a search party gathered to try to locate Ricky.

    “We got our troops together. There was a sighting at Bay Forest. We probably had four or five cars out there driving through, people walking through Bay Forest, calling his name, with, obviously, no luck.”

    Cordier later went on to print flyers and post them throughout the area, in hopes that someone who had seen or found Ricky would contact her.

    “The second week, we kept doing it and got a bunch of flyers out there and posted them everywhere I could. Then a friend of mine posted it on Facebook,” she said. “We did get a few phone calls, and we’d rush out to an area where people thought they saw him.”

    Megan Browne, whose family had seen the post on Facebook, was one of many who helped in the search for Ricky.

    “My husband was working outside, and he saw this little dog run up the side of our fence. He initially thought it was a little fox, and then he said, ‘Wait a minute — that’s a dog… It looks like that Chihuahua,’” recalled Browne. “He ran around the other side of the house and tried to head him off in front of our property but couldn’t get there in time. Ricky kept going and ran into the neighborhood next to us.”

    A few minutes later, the Cordiers and a police car showed up, having received a report that Ricky was nearby.

    “The next day, we saw them driving through our neighborhood again, so my husband and the boys jumped in our truck to help them and drove around looking for him… Pretty much every day for five days, they were driving through our neighborhood. They even took Ricky’s sister Lucy, and they were walking in and out of our neighborhood with her.”

    Browne said she and her husband would continue the searches when they would walk their own dogs.

    “We walk our dogs in the neighborhood next door to us, so we took a leash and treats with us every time, hoping we would see him,” she said. “There’s new houses being built over there. So we thought, maybe he’s hunkered down in one of those houses. We went over a few nights, wandering through the new-construction houses with a leash and treats, trying to find him.”

    During the endeavor, the Cordiers had to leave on a business trip, but still the community kept up search efforts.

    “I didn’t want to go, but we were committed,” said Cordier. “The first day we were there, I got a call from somebody who said they saw Ricky. So I just called all my people and they went out, but it wasn’t Ricky.”

    Browne was one of many who saw the look-a-like dog, and was out searching for it and Ricky.

    “Even if it’s not Ricky, it’s another poor dog lost.”

    She laughed, noting that eventually everyone — even Route 26 construction workers — knew about Ricky and the other missing dog.

    “One day, I was out looking and the construction workers were jumping up and down, waving at me, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey!’ They would point, and there he would go, right by… I got to know the construction workers,” she added with a laugh.

    The ordeal culminated on the evening of Feb. 16, when the Cordiers received a phone call from Pat Brown, who lives in Bethany Forest.

    “It was the rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy sidewise day… It rained horrible that day,” said Brown of Feb. 16. “I was talking on the phone, and I heard a dog barking, and I know all the dogs in the neighborhood. I got up and looked, and I had not seen this dog in my neighborhood before. In fact, I thought it was a fox. It was so little and scrawny.

    “As soon as I opened the door, he ran off the porch, but I saw his collar, and I knew it was a dog. I tried to call after him, but he didn’t come back…

    “It dawned on me after I saw him that I’d seen these posters posted all up and down the road… So I got my coat on and drove up the road, but all the signs were torn up because of the rain.”

    Driving home, she came across a flyer that was enclosed in plastic, with the Cordiers’ phone number, and called them.

    “She told me to turn on all my outside lights and put out a plate of meat for him,” recalled Brown.

    “Last Tuesday, we got a phone call from a dear woman, Pat Brown, who asked if he was still missing. ‘I think he was here, barking on my porch,’” recalled Cordier. “Bethany Forest made sense, because that was the last time it was verified that anyone had seen Ricky.

    “It was around 7 o’clock at night, and my husband and I said, ‘Well, let’s go.’ And we went over there, stopped the car in front of the house, and kept calling him and calling him and calling him. We were there about 15 or 20 minutes. It was very dark, very wet. We thought, if it is him, he’s not coming out We couldn’t find him.”

    After setting out a plate of her turkey meatloaf, Brown went to her neighbors’ home to see if Ricky had been barking at their door as well.

    “[The Cordiers] came to the house and were calling his name — unbeknownst to me — calling his name. But I was calling my neighbor to see if any dog had been barking at their front door. Just as I was walking to my neighbor, she said, ‘You know, I saw a car out front, and there were people sitting out in front of your house.’ And just then Ricky came up on my porch to eat the meatloaf.” But the Cordiers had already gone.

    After her second Ricky sighting, Brown called the Cordiers, telling them to return to the house.

    “So we turned around and went back, and he wasn’t there. One of her neighbors had one of these heavy-duty flashlights,” said Cordier. “Pat said he went toward the bushes, so my husband took the flashlight and looked in the bushes — nothing. Then he looked under her porch and saw his little nose sticking out.

    “But he still wouldn’t come out. So my husband said, ‘You’ve got to come over here. He’s only going to come out for you.’ So I went over, got on my hands and knees, and stuck out my hand with a piece of meatloaf and just put it near him… I could just see his little nose. And, then he stuck his little head out, and as soon as he saw it was me, he came out.”

    Cordier said that her whole family, including Ricky’s Chihuahua sister Lucy, was thrilled to have Ricky home.

    Brown said it was an amazing rescue, given the weather, and a special reunion for all those involved.

    “The yard was soaking wet because of the horrible rain, but they finally got him,” said Brown. “All of us were crying. It was so emotional because of the length of time that dog survived. We were all crying, and the husband said to me, ‘We are going to get him to the vet, and you will hear from me.’ They called me later, told me there was a reward. I said, ‘No, I don’t want a reward. I’m just so thankful that Ricky came to my door.’

    “They sent me a big bouquet of flowers… I was so emotional about finding this dog. If I hadn’t found him that night, I probably wouldn’t have slept that night, because I was so sad.”

    Brown said that, in between her two Ricky sightings, she had called her son, who lives in Ocean View, to tell him about seeing Ricky.

    “‘The worst possible thing has happened… I had a dog that has been missing for two and a half weeks right in the palm of my hands almost, and he ran off.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, somebody will find him.’ Well, I called him when it was all over, and he said, ‘Mom, you are a hero.’”

    Browne said she and her husband were in a baseball meeting when they heard of Ricky’s safe return home.

    “We’re sitting in a board meeting… and I was looking on my phone, and I see this post ‘Ricky has been found!’ We were blown away! We couldn’t believe it.”

    After Ricky’s rescue, the Cordiers took Ricky to the vet to be examined.

    “Skin and bones,” said Cordier of Ricky after his adventure. “He was half his body weight. According to the vet, he didn’t have much longer to live, because he didn’t have enough nutrients in him.

    “Thank god for Pat Brown and the community. Everybody in the community has been so incredible. Everybody was helping looking for him. The community could not have been better.

    “The police have been great. … The post office has been great. All the different establishments — the diner, the liquor store, the drug stores — everyone let us post the flyers.”

    To thank all those who helped in the search, the Cordiers are hosting an appreciation happy hour at Hooked Up in Millville on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 4 to 6 p.m.

    “People who were out there, boots on the ground, looking for my little dog, I would love to have them come so I could meet them and thank them,” she said. “I’m looking forward to Saturday, just to thank everybody. We’re going to have just a little bite to eat and toast Ricky’s return.”

    The man of the hour will also be making a special appearance to thank everyone who helped.

    “The restaurant is actually going to let us bring Ricky in, so he’ll be there, too,” she said. “It’s just something we can do to show how appreciative of everyone — people I don’t even know — who were out looking, and just praying.

    “I just can’t believe a now- little 6-pound guy could bring out so much love and worry from people. They don’t know him, they don’t know me, but, my, there are a lot of dog lovers in this area.”

    Cordier noted that she has even had special “Ricky Strong” sticker printed for the event, for those attending to wear.

    Browne, who volunteers for Paws of Tomorrow, an animal rescue out of Ocean View, said that she is now fostering a Chihuahua because of Ricky.

    “I think it’s phenomenal. I have a whole new respect for Chihuahuas.”

    She added that she can’t wait to meet Ricky on Saturday.

    “It was great how the whole community was looking for him,” she said. “My kids are so excited. It’s so awesome it had a happy ending, and I can’t wait to meet him!”

    “I think it’s a happy miracle story,” added Brown.

    Cordier praised the community’s efforts to help them find their missing family member.

    “It’s just been incredible. We haven’t been in the area that long; it’s only our eighth year. It gives us such a good feeling to know what a nice, nice loving community. It makes you feel like you came to the right place.”

    Author’s note: Browne declined to share her meatloaf recipe, stating, “It wasn’t anything special.”


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    Three candidates have offered their services to fill a one-year vacancy on the Millville Town Council.

    Before extending an invitation to any of them, the council hosted a Feb. 23 public forum, to learn more about those candidates — Tony Gough, Linda Kent and Steven Small.

    The council will choose a replacement at a future meeting. The candidate selected will complete a term ending in March of 2017.

    “It’s always a pleasure to work with good people who really want to do the right thing for the town and be public servants,” said Seth Thompson, town solicitor and forum moderator.

    Tony Gough has lived in Millville for three years, and locally for about 28 years. He retired from IBM, worked for Apple and spent years as an independent consultant.

    On the Frederick County Board of Education, he helped oversee a budget of more than $1 million. He noted that Millville and surrounding areas are facing a lot of growth, which will require major changes on the county’s part, too. He wants Millville to plan for the future with its neighbors.

    Linda Kent is the widow of the late Harry Kent, whose death created the council vacancy. A resident of the town for four and a half years, she was previously a physical education and athletic coordinator in charge of 12 budgets, plus fields and employees. She’s also served as chairperson of the Millville Volunteer Group and market manager of the Millville Farmers’ Market.

    “I’d like to see the growth continue, but, where possible, to limit it, so we do have open space for the townspeople,” Kent said.

    Steven Small spent his life in governance and legislation, from student council in kindergarten to lobbying for trade companies as an adult. He’s campaigned for both parties, and also served on a senior management team for a $2 billion company.

    • Asked about ideas for the town charter, Small proposed no changes. But he suggested the Town (already skilled in tracking strategic expansion) start at the other end by asking, “What is the farthest in any direction the town could go?” and “Is it reasonable to pursue?”

    Gough said he is familiar with the town charter but that he ultimately wants more coordination between Sussex County and the Town regarding planning and green space.

    Kent said she’s read the charter “through three times. I’d like to see the people that own property here have a vote, whether they live here full-time or part-time.” She agreed that Millville must work with developers to enhance growth but provide community parkland and green space.

    • Candidates were asked their top three concerns for Millville.

    Kent responded with the incoming Delaware State Police annex; improving Route 26 zoning ordinances to guide future business growth; and improving streetscape, park areas and future open space in the community.

    Small listed implementation of the park and administrative buildings; a full-scale ordinance review; and a mystery issue, or whatever unexpected issue arises next year.

    Gough said monitoring Planning & Zoning to “ensure development and growth is done in a planned manner”; expanding park resources; and adding green space to each development built in town.

    • How do candidates conceive relationship between council and town administration? How would they deal with conflict between the two?

    Gough said there should be no conflict between the council and administration. They should have a friendly relationship and openly discuss ideas. The worst idea is to join council with any other agenda, Gough said.

    Kent said she’s only missed about four council meetings in four-plus years. She’s never heard of conflict between the two parties, and she’d expect that partnership to continue for the betterment of the community.

    Small said the administrators are “indispensable as implementers because they’re fulltime,” and the council would be foolish to ignore their advice. But legislative decisions come down to individual council members, who must weigh the advice and opinion of all parties.

    • How would candidates handle a proposed housing development that met all requirements, but which citizens opposed?

    Kent said she would base her decision on guidance from laws and legal counsel, deciding if the development would be a benefit or detriment toward town as a whole.

    Small said he would listen to the residents, then weigh the advice of legal counsel and other council members, perhaps finding a way to ameliorate the opposition. “You have to choose your battles,” but must be prepared to make hard decisions, he said.

    Gough said he would meet with the unhappy residents and consider if there’s a legal basis to slow the development, at least until the council could make the best decision possible.

    • Do the candidates have an overall philosophy of local government? Should a candidate’s vision mirror previous councilmembers?

    Generally, all agreed that politics don’t weigh as heavily at such a local government level. But coordination is key for best serving the town. They shared experiences in keeping confidentiality and avoiding conflicts of interest — especially important, as all have worked in leadership positions.

    They also responded to a hypothetical situation in which constituents complain about speeding vehicles. (Tell the police, who enforce speeding, said Gough. Also tell the town manager, Kent added. Also ask if the police find a pattern of speeding, Small added.)

    The town council’s next regular meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 7 p.m.


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    In the wake of two storms that heavily damaged dunes and beaches in Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island, the potential for funding for shoring up the storm-beaten beaches remains unclear.

    Last week, officials announced that there would be no funding this year for replenishment of those beaches in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ working plan for 2016.

    “Each project competes for the limited funds that are available,” said Stephen Rochette, spokesman for the Corps’ Philadelphia District, which includes the Delaware beaches. “Those decisions, made at the Washington level, are based on many different factors and other projects across the country.”

    Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach, also hit hard by the same October 2015 and January 2016 storms, will undergo replenishment this year, Rochette said, simply because they were already on the schedule for replenishment.

    “Regarding Rehoboth & Dewey, the available funding is from fiscal year 2015, provided late in fiscal year 2015, to be used for scheduled renourishment in fiscal year 2016.” Those funds, Rochette said, were provided prior to the two storms.

    Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control spokesman Michael Globetti emphasized that “Bethany and South Bethany were never scheduled for a 2016 maintenance project. They have been on schedule for a 2017 maintenance project, and we expect that will be the schedule going forward.”

    “If the Army Corps receives funding for these projects in 2017, a maintenance beach replenishment project will take place next year in those communities,” Globetti said.

    Last week, Gov. Jack Markell wrote to President Barack Obama, requesting disaster funding to help in repairing damage to boardwalks in Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach. The storms, Markell said, “affected every town in the state, with particularly severe flooding and damage to the beach-side communities.”

    “At least 28 homes sustained major damage or were destroyed,” Markell’s letter said, with additional ongoing assessments likely to increase that number. He also noted that “extensive damage to four state-maintained beaches resulted in severe beach erosion and multiple dune breaches.”

    Sussex County alone qualifies for “Major Disaster” funding under federal guidelines, Markell said.

    Beach and dune repair, however, will not be included in the $2.5 million in federal disaster funding sought by Markell, because those are projects overseen by the Corps of Engineers. The funds typically cover damage to boardwalks and other infrastructure, as well as aid in repairs for individual properties.

    The need to address the damaged beaches has caught the attention of Delaware’s members of Congress, who visited the beaches last week to survey the damage.

    “While effective emergency preparations prevented much of the damage last month’s storm could have caused, Sussex County and many communities around the state are still recovering from significant flooding.” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “The federal funds provided through the Federal Disaster Relief Fund will help get those communities hardest hit back on their feet, and help ensure Delaware continues to be prepared for similar disasters in the future. I thank Gov. Markell for his leadership, and I urge President Obama to approve this Disaster Declaration as soon as possible.”

    “Winter Storm Jonas packed a devastating punch last month, and many Delawareans are still struggling from the effects of flooding in Sussex County,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. “Businesses, homeowners and our infrastructure all continue to feel the ramifications of the storm.”

    “Coastal communities in Delaware were hit hard, and they need help. I had the chance to see a lot of the damage and flooding immediately after the storm,” said U.S. Rep. John Carney. “State and local resources are doing as much as possible, but we need federal assistance.”

    State officials are hoping that Congress will approve funding to help the battered beach towns.

    “It is our hope, and our expectation, that Congress will appropriate adequate funds to bring the projects back up to design levels,” Globetti said.

    The Army Corps’ Rochette said funding is still being evaluated for storm damage along the beaches.

    “We are still going through our process, for Bethany and South Bethany, as well as other projects,” Rochette said. That process, which the Corps goes through following “significant storms,” follows federal law and will determine whether federal funding is warranted.

    “Once the process is complete, repairs would be subject to the availability of funds,” which would be separate from the routine funding allocated yearly by the Corps, Rochette said.

    Meanwhile, DNREC’s Globetti said, the state agency is working on pushing sand onto the beach as a temporary measure to help prevent further damage.

    “DNREC is utilizing the sand which is naturally returning to the beach, to bulldoze up to protect the front of the dune from additional impacts, and improve pedestrian access. Where conditions are appropriate, grass will be planted in late March in areas where it is needed,” he said.

    Globetti emphasized that, although “the beaches and dunes have been through a very tough winter, and the impacts have been far greater than normal,” the fact that the dunes were in place at all helped prevent major damage in the beach towns.

    “It is important to bear in mind that the dunes and beach system in Bethany and South Bethany is in better shape now, even with the tough winter we’ve had, than it was prior to the initial construction of these projects in Bethany and South Bethany, “ he said.

    “With the lack of protection that existed in Bethany and South Bethany prior to 2005, the series of storms we have experienced this winter almost certainly would have caused damage to homes, businesses, boardwalks and streets in these communities,” Globetti added.

    State and local officials spent part of the week in meetings in Washington, D.C., regarding beach replenishment issues.

    “DNREC and the coastal towns have been discussing these ongoing issues — and we expect this open line of communication to continue,” and the same will occur, as well, with federal officials.

    While South Bethany Mayor Pat Voveris was not in the nation’s capital this week, she said she strongly urged state and federal officials to come through with funding to shore up the damaged beaches and to protect the state’s coastal towns. Voveris lauded DNREC’s efforts to protect the coast from another devastating storm. She said there needs to be serious “behind the scenes” work done to ensure that the coastal towns remain protected.

    Voveris said federal officials need to be mindful of the impact the beaches have on local and state economies. She added that even temporary damage can have long-lasting economic impacts, and emphasized the need to address the damaged beaches or face long-term consequences.

    “If it goes away, it will never come back,” she said.

    “It seems to me that if the government can send money to help other countries when they need it, it should certainly be able to help those towns here at home,” Voveris said.


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    Students are squeezed into conference rooms and shuffled into auditoriums. Teachers are working out of boxes instead of classrooms.

    The Indian River School District just needs more space.

    District officials have dreamed about a new school for several years, but now they’ve got four new schools on the brain, plus two major additions.

    At almost weekly meetings, an IRSD Futures Committee has come to envision two additional elementary schools, one new middle school, a replacement Howard T. Ennis School and expansions to Indian River and Sussex Central high schools.

    Nothing is definite, except the speed at which enrollment is growing at the Millsboro- and Georgetown-area schools.

    “You’re about to see your middle and high schools explode, folks,” Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele said at a Futures meeting that included district staff, parents and local politicians.

    “The elementary schools already have,” said Director of Instruction LouAnn Hudson.

    However, even if the population projections are accurate, the Delaware Department of Education might not let the IRSD build too big of a school.

    The DOE made a rare exception for the 2000 referendum, when it allowed IRSD to build two new high schools for a larger capacity than their then-population.

    Whatever happens in five years, the district will probably be more crowded than ever. Their only hope is that they’ll have already passed a successful referendum, with new schools on the horizon. (Additions can be done in about three years, but a new school needs five.)

    Building up Millsboro

    Sussex Central High School already has room for several new schools on its 155-acre parcel.

    Under the current concept for expansion, SCHS itself would get a new 500-student annex for the ninth grade.

    SCHS used this “academy-style” when the school was first built, before becoming overcrowded. “Back in the day, academy-style was a good sell to parents,” who liked that under- and upperclassmen were separated for core classes, said former principal Jay Owens.

    Milford already uses that kind of system, which is “instructionally sound,” by keeping students closer to their age groups, said LouAnn Hudson.

    As for discipline, “It’s easier to break down grades and keep people where they should be,” said SCHS teacher Dave Marvel.

    Ninth-grade teachers and students would simply move into the new wing. As the student population increases naturally, the State will automatically pay for more staff.

    Meanwhile, a new middle school and elementary school would relieve pressure for Millsboro and Georgetown.

    Those will warrant a few traffic studies, but the land is mostly clear.

    Just southwest of there, Ingram Pond is located on a 179-acre (mostly forested) parcel that could handle excess elementary students from Millsboro and Long Neck.

    Picking a site is practically political, too. Officials said communities never like the inevitable redistricting that comes with creating new schools.

    With a bus driver shortage, the IRSD must be careful which students are sent to other schools. For instance, about 200 students currently walk to Millsboro Middle School. They alone could fill four buses.

    Career training could get the votes

    But the trick is getting public approval in the north and south. And if the north needs space, the south needs a carrot.

    The IRSD must entice southerners to vote “yes” even when they don’t personally need new schools.

    In 2013, the public approved a referendum that built classrooms mainly in the north, but southerners also benefitted from full-day kindergarten and other academic programs.

    But today, the southern schools aren’t growing very fast. So, once again, “this is not just about buildings, but programs,” said James Hudson, school board president.

    That’s how Indian River High School could get more career training pathways.

    Career training may help retain IRSD students, who have four high school options in the Georgetown area. Plus, hands-on programs are appealing for teens who aren’t as academically inclined and need a reason to enjoy attending school each day.

    Despite a recent push for college readiness, Superintendent Susan Bunting lamented a loss of local career readiness. IRHS has land enough to build a career center, which is “sorely needed in the south.”

    Although Sussex Technical High School was created as a vocational school, the local school districts were angered partly by Tech’s increasing focus on college prep instead of vo-tech.

    But while the IRSD wants to provide hands-on career training, they’ll get state dollars by addressing overcrowding, not vo-tech, said former state senator George Bunting.

    “We don’t a have a vocational charter,” agreed LouAnn Hudson.

    Ultimately, the state wants career and technical education (CTE) programs that lead to a professional certification, or at least link to nearby training and further education.

    The best CTE programs feed a local industry need and provide internships or entry-level jobs, without competing with nearby schools.

    Delaware’s local tourism economy might call for programs in culinary arts, construction management or restaurant/hotel management.

    Either way, career training calls for immersion, such as setting up an actual preschool center or working restaurant on school grounds. Those facilities would need start-up money.

    How to fund four new schools

    After deciding what it wants, the district must decide what it can’t live without.

    That’s what happened in 2012, when the IRSD requested a new elementary or middle school. Instead, it ended up with a smattering of classrooms across the district, plus extra supplies, programming and instructors. (Construction is almost done on those 38 new classrooms, plus a new kitchen, funded in that 2013 referendum, which brought temporary and permanent tax increases.)

    Generally, when a school district begins a capital improvement project like this, it requests a Certificate of Necessity (CN) from the Department of Education. Once the need is established, and if the State has enough money to pay its share of the project, the school district hosts a public referendum to raise taxes.

    But there are plenty of schools competing for a slice of the pie (for instance, Appoquinimink School District is growing even faster than IRSD), and local communities can fail to pass a referendum, leaving districts to work with what they have.

    IRSD Chief Financial Officer Patrick Miller loosely estimated that this project will cost up to $30.2 million for each elementary school, up to $50.9 million for a middle school, an unknown amount for the high school additions, plus 38 percent more for designs, permits and other fees.

    Numbers haven’t been released as to specific costs or potential property tax increases.

    Close to the beach, the IRSD is considered a wealthier district, so the State will only pay the majority of a 60/40 cost share of regular schools.

    On that scale, the IRSD’s 2000 referendum funded the $67 million construction of the two new high school buildings; renovations to 10 buildings, including an expansion of Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

    Since then, IRSD has spent another $29 million in referendum-approved construction, including $11 million in 2013. This does not include “current expense funding for programs and staff.

    The Indian River School District has already proven to be good stewards of taxpayer money, said School Board Member Donald Hattier, and is well deserving of the proposed “educational revamp.”

    Ennis bursting at the seams

    The Howard T. Ennis School is a special school administered by the IRSD. While some might be under the mistaken perception that it serves only students in the Indian River district, Ennis is actually a county school, serving young people with significant cognitive delays, up to age 21.

    District staff have officially begun plans to request a Certificate of Necessity for a new Howard T. Ennis building (IRSD’s most concrete plan right now).

    It’s a tight squeeze for Ennis’s 134 students, plus special staff and medical equipment. Because the state pays 100 percent for special schools, Ennis only requires State approval, not a public referendum.

    But abandoning that old Georgetown school won’t give the IRSD much leverage, property-wise. Susan Bunting said she recently learned that the current Ennis land reverts back to the neighboring Delaware Technical Community College when the building is no longer used for Ennis. The IRSD currently has no other rights to that property.

    There is talk of building a new Ennis on State-owned property across from SCHS.

    What about the pool?

    Abandoning Ennis could make waves for local swimmers.

    The swimming pool was originally installed as a physical therapy tool for handicapped children. It’s wheelchair-accessible and kept near body temperature.

    Although the State paid for 60 percent of pool construction in 1991, Susan Bunting said “the State is not interested” in funding the project today.

    The Dr. Lorraine Wray Aquatic Center is also home to the swim teams from IRH and SCHS, and the Otters, a Sussex community swim team. The public can use the pool, and the IRSD curriculum has even included middle-school swim lessons.

    The swim teams could potentially partner with Sea Colony or Delaware Technical Community College for facilities usage. (Meanwhile, the new swimming pool at Sussex Academy charter school is the result of a private donation.)

    Some administrators said they doubted the community would support swimming enough to pay 100 percent for a new pool. (“Keep it away from our referendum,” Hattier said.) But there could be some hope for public support, if the public can use it, too.

    Possible art school expansion

    District eyes have also turned upon the waiting lists at Southern Delaware School of the Arts. SDSA could gain about eight classrooms by expanding into the neighboring building.

    Currently, SDSA shares space with district headquarters in an old building next to Mountaire’s Selbyville poultry processing plant.

    Although SDSA’s expansion could appeal to northern and southern families, if it were to expand into the IRSD building, the Indian River Educational Complex would need a new location. That would add another office building to IRSD’s to-do list.

    Whatever happens, officials said the district is grateful for the public’s support thus far, but schools are getting desperate for space. Healthy growth will require public support, even if that means sweetening the pot for voters.

    “Our schools’ bottom-line goal is to make somebody better than they were yesterday,” teacher Dave Marvel said.

    How full are the schools?

    The Indian River School District has grown steadily over the past decade.

    While the southern schools are slowly climbing in population, the northern schools are leaping.

    In the past 10 years, the IRSD has grown by an average of 228 students per year. That’s a 29 percent enrollment increase since the 2005-2006 school year.

    Some developments are so populous that buses fill up in just one neighborhood, especially in developments near Millsboro, Long Neck, Georgetown and Harbeson.

    To keep up, teaching staff has increased by 13 percent, and they literally don’t have enough rooms, either. Some teachers “float” between classrooms, without a space of their own.

    After regular classrooms are filled, schools have to get creative, squeezing classes into conference rooms and auditoriums. (With the 2000 referendum, the school board promised never again to use outdoor trailers as classrooms.) Meanwhile, cafeterias are so packed that some children eat lunch before 11 a.m. or after 1 p.m.

    By the year 2020, Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele projected, there will be a growth of at least 1,568 students (not including special schools) — 87 percent of which is in the north.

    “We can’t keep this many kids in Georgetown,” James Hudson said, and Sussex Central can only handle so many additions if the enrollment trend continues.

    “Bigger is not always better,” said Director of Instruction LouAnn Hudson, suggesting a (not so) distant future with two northern high schools.


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