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    Clarksville resident and former state trooper Douglas B. Hudson was appointed this week to the Sussex County Council Planning & Zoning Commission.

    At the May 3 county council meeting, Hudson underwent a public interview before the council.

    A native Sussex Countian, originally from Bethany Beach, he has lived in Clarksville for the last 25 years. Hudson is married to Lou Anne Hudson, director of curriculum for the Indian River School District, and spent almost 27 years with the Delaware State Police. In 2013, he took a position as a school safety monitor in the Indian River School District.

    When he was young, he joined the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, and later attended Delaware Technical Community College and Wilmington University, to study criminal justice.

    Asked about his previous experience, Hudson said he has served as vice president and fire chief of the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, as president of Lower Sussex Little League, as a member of the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union’s board and as vice president of the Indian River High School Football Boosters for four years.

    “I enjoy working in the public. I think I have a lot to offer, and my honesty and integrity will go a long way, I think, in Planning & Zoning. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve,” said Hudson.

    Councilman George Cole nominated Hudson in April to fill the seat vacated by then-commissioner Rodney Smith, who resigned in March for health reasons, after serving 12 years on the commission.

    “Land use is the single largest function of County government. We need people who understand the role of government in serving the people, the needs and trends within the development community and, most importantly, how to work with people who have differing perspectives,” Cole said. “Doug has spent his career working with people of all types, sometimes in stressful situations. I think he will be a great fit on the commission.”

    While Hudson acknowledged he doesn’t have experience with the commission, he said his background makes him a good candidate for the position.

    “I don’t have much experience at all with the Planning & Zoning Commission in and of itself, but I do know a lot about building developments, what it takes for setbacks, stormwater management, things of that nature,” said Hudson.

    “Planning & Zoning plays an important role, as far as land use. I think responsible growth is a big part of it, but I am a property rights [advocate] — but you have to see how it impacts community and environment as well.”

    Hudson also stated that he is a part-time Realtor with Beach Bound Realty, which is owned by Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett.

    “As far as the conflict of interest goes, it’s a simple matter of integrity, as far as I’m concerned,” said Hudson. “If a conflict does come up, I will quickly recuse myself from any discussion in the matter.”

    The council voted 4-0 to appoint Hudson, with Councilwoman Joan Deaver absent. Hudson’s appointment took effect immediately and will last through June 2017, when the current three-year term ends. Commissioners are paid $250 per meeting.


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    South Bethany house height limits could soon be based on their likelihood of flooding.

    While considering that change for oceanfront homes, the South Bethany Town Council has created a committee to consider using base flood elevation (BFE) as a measurement for all South Bethany houses, besides the oceanfront VE zone.

    That stemmed from the council’s April 28 discussion of Ordinance 180-16, which amends Chapter 145 of the Zoning Code to change the height limit on houses in the VE zone only to 33 feet above BFE (or 35 feet above BFE when 2 feet of freeboard are included), but no higher than 48 feet as measured by North American Vertical Datum (NAVD), due to variations in the elevation of Ocean Drive.

    It’s “not complicated, but some sections of it are difficult to visualize,” said John Fields of the Charter & Code Committee

    Miken Builders had originally suggested the change because they thought houses need about 33 feet for a good design. That would ensure some equality, so everyone can get 8-foot ceilings, which is considered a comfortable standard.

    Currently, houses may be 32 feet tall maximum when measured from the centerline of the street (or 34 feet, when 2 feet of freeboard are included), or 38 feet based on NAVD 88. The house’s height doesn’t necessarily reflect the housing envelope, or its amount of living space. Based on the elevation of any road versus the flood plain, a house could have more or less living space, depending on how high the bottom floor must begin to avoid flooding.

    For instance, Councilman George Junkin said, Councilwoman Sue Callaway’s house only has 30 vertical feet of living space, and the lower level doesn’t have 8-foot ceilings because of BFE.

    There was some disagreement on the Charter & Code Committee, as Bob Cestone said he felt that 35 feet (with freeboard) is too high.

    “This is a problem for the rest of town,” said resident Jim Gross. “I don’t think it’s fair for the oceanfront people to have heights above what is needed and the rest of the town has much less.”

    Moreover, he said, he felt that building height across the town should be consistently based on BFE, which is more stringent than measuring from the road height.

    But, in all honesty, Fields said, the oceanfront area is an expensive part of town that produces a bulk of South Bethany’s tax money. The houses are more marketable if they can fit in 8-foot ceilings.

    Fields said it’s easier just to round up, if 8-foot ceilings sometimes fit in a 31.5-foot-tall house. “Why don’t we just say 33 feet and be done with it?”

    People couldn’t build an additional floor of living space under the new ordinance, but they could have more storage under the house.

    Resident Jack Whitney said he supported the ordinance because it would add variety to building design.

    “I’d like to see some variances in roofs,” Whitney said. “If you don’t get the height, you’re not gonna get the variances in this.”

    Councilman Tim Saxton said he wasn’t comfortable with voting on the change before hearing recommendations from the new housing committee.

    “It’s not that I oppose giving extra space, necessarily. The whole town went up a foot” in BFE during recent floodplain changes. “We’re looking at one street,” Saxton said. “I would take this section out for now. You let the committee study the whole town,” then make a decision that affects everyone, rather than “piecemeal” ordinances, he suggested.

    But Fields said he saw no harm in giving some immediate “relief” to oceanfront property owners who want to tear down their homes and rebuild.

    “I think rest of town should get benefit of this thing, but I do not want to delay,” said Junkin. “This gives precedent for tying it to BFE, which I’ve been for forever. … It gives precedent for what you do for the rest of town, and the committee can make those decisions.”

    Committee members will include Dave Wilson (chair), Callaway, Frank Weisgerber, Junkin and Cestone, plus nonvoting members Joe Hinks and Frank Brady (of Miken Builders).

    The town council voted on April 28 only to approve (unanimously, with Wayne Schrader and Frank Weisgerber absent) some minor word changes to the ordinance, as suggested by the town solicitor.

    Ordinance 180-16 would make changes to Article III “Definitions,” Article X “Dimensional Requirements,” Article XI “Setback Requirements” and Article XV “Board of Adjustment.” That includes authorizing the code enforcement constable to grant up to a foot of encroachment into the setback for minor surveying and/or construction errors; and allowing steps and ramps to encroach into the setback for existing structures being raised to meet BFE and/or to provide for freeboard.

    Residents can continue lobbying for their preferred house height until the final vote on May 13.

    Paid fire service in the works

    The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company wants to hire part-time firefighters for the summer season. They’re requesting one paid employee be present 24 hours a day, using part-time staff.

    “They indicated that fire department was in trouble,” said Mayor Pat Voveris. “They have dwindling volunteer numbers. It’s not just our town; it’s across the country.

    The local firefighters are all volunteers, although some EMTs are paid staffers. The BBVFC gets ambulance funding from its four major beach communities (the Towns of South Bethany, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island, and the Sea Colony development), which, in turn, collectively oversee their portion of the budget.

    They fund the ambulance service, so now they’ll fund the new, paid firefighters. The BBVFC had proposed a year-round program, but the four communities had requested just a summertime effort for now.

    The $42,824 price tag includes training, regular wages and uniforms for 25 employees.

    The South Bethany Town Council unanimously agreed to a $8,265 share of the costs. (Based on data from 2008, South Bethany’s 1,390 properties make up 19.3 percent of the properties in the four communities.)

    “It’s gonna take a while to get it resolved, if it’s resolved. This is just a stopgap,” said Town Manager Melvin Cusick.

    All of Delaware may need to re-address funding for fire companies, as there is only one fire department in the entire state that has full-time paid firefighters.

    Also at the April council workshop:

    • The Town’s Fee Schedule was amended. Several changes made include a new $25 returned-check fee; new building constructions permits increased to the ICC Index times 3.15 percent per square foot; building permits for indoor and outdoor renovations were changed to whichever is higher, $50 or 1 percent of the contract fee; and variance requests have new $250 town council committee review fee, typically covering Town legal fees.

    • The town council unanimously approved purchase of a new all-terrain vehicle. South Bethany had one bidder for the purchase, which came in at less than $17,000. (South Bethany had budgeted nearly $18,000.)

    The council’s next regular meeting is Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m.


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    Although it may be hard to believe, this September, Operation SEAs the Day will be welcoming its fourth installment of warrior families to Bethany Beach.

    The mission of Operation SEAs the Day is “to organize and facilitate a beach week event for our wounded soldiers and their families as a means of showing our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. It is our hope that such a community-based gesture of support will be comforting and help ease their transition back into civilian life.”

    Warrior Beach Week 2016 will run Sept. 6-11 and give 25 wounded veterans and their families the opportunity to enjoy a beach vacation.

    “This is a program that is locally founded by Bethany Beach people and implemented as a local community program,” said Annette Reeping, who serves on the organization’s board. “We found the program to be pretty successful, running the way it was.”

    When SEAs first began hosting families in 2013, 25 “warrior” families attended.

    “We had learned in Year 1 that it takes the families, and particularly the veteran — the wounded soldier — some time to relax,” said Reeping. “They’re not used to being on vacation. They’re not used to being in a community that embraces them wherever they go, and it took them quite a while.

    “So we thought we would bring back five people from the year before who seemed to be very proactive and positive and engaging, to then each take five families and talk to them about their experiences and share with them, because they like to talk to each other. The wounded families understand each other.”

    In 2014, 30 new families attended, along with five alumni families. In 2015, 25 new families came to Bethany Beach, along with five alumni families.

    “So far, the community has impacted 500 people, of these veteran families. With the 2016 plans, we’ll probably end up with 650 people. So the community is really making an impact.”

    When the warrior families — also known as “Very Important Families” (VIFs) arrive, they will attend a welcome reception, where they will meet their host family, and later be taken to their host home for the week.

    At the homes, each family receives a large welcome tote bag — sometimes two — packed with goodies for the week.

    “It’s a bit of everything. It’s beach towels and books, toys for the children — clay and crayons and sand buckets — things like that. They’re tailored to each family,” Reeping explained, adding that the families are also welcomed with a stocked refrigerator, courtesy of Giant.

    Reeping said there are plenty of recreational activities, such as golfing at Bear Trap Dunes, available to the VIFs, and this year they may introduce tennis at Sea Colony.

    “Then, during the week, they participate in things that people on vacation would participate in. They have boating available to them, fishing available, therapeutic horseback riding, kayaking — the things that we all take for granted.

    “Many of these families have never been on vacation before. Some have never seen water — the ocean. But they also don’t have to participate in some of those things. They can just sit on the beach and relax, and just enjoy themselves as a family. We will have a spa day again for the ladies.”

    On Friday, Sept. 9, the VIFs will travel from Bethany Beach to the Freeman Stage at Bayside to enjoy a night of music provided by Bruce in the USA. Community members are again being encouraged to line the streets during the “A Hero’s Welcome” motorcade, as the families travel to the show.

    Their route will be littered with posters created in previous years, as well as this year, welcoming the families to Bethany. As part of SEAs’ Poster Cal program, families can decorate welcome posters at a table across from the Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market from mid-June to the end of July.

    Community members interested in attending the musical performance along with the VIFs may do so by purchasing tickets from FreemanStage.org. Tickets cost $25, and the show begins at 7 p.m.

    For the first time, this year, two alumni families will be serving on the operating committee in planning this year’s Warrior Beach Week.

    “We’ve found that having their eyes on what we do is extremely important. We look at things that we think are very positive but maybe bring back memories to them that aren’t. So they’re able to tell us that,” said Reeping, adding that one spouse conducted survey last year, which they’re hoping to use to improve things.

    Families have yet to be selected for this year, but the organization is working closely with the Wounded Warrior Project, Coalition to Salute American Heroes and Team Red, White & Blue to qualify families.

    “We need to work with them to qualify the families. They have to screen them. We do have an application form, if you will, that we give to them. We also have someone on our board who has contacts at Walter Reed [Army Hospital],” said Reeping. “We’ve had people from California, Washington state, New Mexico, Texas. The majority of them are up and down the East Coast.”

    Although SEAs is just gearing up for September’s Warrior Beach Week, Reeping said they will begin seeking volunteers in mid-July.

    “We do encourage people to keep in touch, go to the website, sign up for the newsletter which comes out monthly over the summer.”

    Those who wish to support the organization may also purchase SEAs merchandise at the Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market, the Ocean View WSFS Bank branch, the Sea Colony Beach Show and Bethany Fine Arts Gallery.

    “The sale of the merchandise goes back to the families — primarily provide them with a free week here in Bethany.”

    Reeping said that if individuals wish to support the 501(c)3 nonprofit monetarily, they may do so by visiting their website.

    “All donations made to Operation SEAs the Day are tax-deductible,” she said, with 95 percent being spent directly on the warrior families. “There are no salaries or other compensation for work paid to any board member, officer or committee member. All fundraising is done at no cost by local, unpaid volunteers.”

    Reeping said it is always amazing to see the support the community shows for the warriors and their families.

    “We’ve recently had some people who have been involved as hosts and such, who are also military individuals who have expressed to us that they cannot even put into words how proud they are of this community and the businesses here in supporting the veterans,” she said.

    “The community continues to embrace the opportunity to recognize these families. And the families get so much out of it. The Bethany Beach community makes them feel valued for their service.”

    For more information about Operation SEAs the Day, to donate or find out more about how to get involved, visit www.operationseastheday.org.


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    Having just celebrated his one-year anniversary as chief of police for the Town of Frankford, Michael Warchol announced to the town council on Monday, May 2, that he would be leaving the post.

    “I am going to be leaving. My wife has accepted a job with transfer with her job in the Baltimore area. I’m not sure of the date yet, but I am notifying council that it will be coming.”

    Warchol said that, as soon as he knows the date he will be leaving, he will inform the council.

    He said he has started a revision of standard operating procedures and will do his best to have those completed prior to his departure.

    “I will assist you in hiring a full-time officer, and whatever you decide as far as a chief position — I’ll do whatever I can to assist you with that as well.

    “I want to thank everyone. I’ve enjoyed it here. I love the town, I love the people, and I’ll continue doing the job until I do leave.”

    During his monthly report, Warchol said the police department received a $3,500 grant from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council to upgrade the department’s vehicles.

    The department also received, at no cost, a new electronic fingerprint machine.

    “So we don’t have to go to another agency to do it,” said Warchol. “It’ll save us some time. We got lucky. They came out with some new ones, and they were moving some of the older ones around, and for some reason they gave me a new one… It’s about $15,000 in equipment that they just dropped off.”

    Resident Jerry Smith spoke to the council again regarding an ordinance to bring the Town into compliance with municipal voting laws.

    Smith said there are discrepancies in the State’s law versus the Town’s, with the State requiring a candidate to be 21 years old but the Town requiring candidates to be just 18.

    “What we’re looking to do here is to, at least, bring the Town into compliance with the law,” he said.

    “Why not take the time to set it up right the first time,” asked Councilman Marty Presley. “Why piecemeal something together?”

    Smith said that, if the Town doesn’t do the Charter change, it should consider an ordinance to bring the Town into compliance before the next council election.

    “There seems to be some resistance to it,” said Smith of making the changes sooner, rather than later.

    “There’s no resistance to it. We just want to get it done one time and get it done right,” said Presley.

    Smith said the nature of the document prevents the Town from “getting it done one time.”

    “We’re always going to need fixes in the Charter. We’re always going to be doing fixes for ordinances.”

    Resident Dayna Aliberti voiced concern about a trailer home that she said is running a generator all night long and appears to no longer be hooked up to central electricity.

    Warchol said the Town will take whatever action they can; however, as far as county code goes, there is no regulation about a dwelling being required to have central electricity. He said he would look into what, if anything, is in the town code.

    He recommended that the council consider adopting an international code enforcement handbook.

    “Most of the codes don’t have a penalty. There’s no way you can enforce it,” he said, adding that adopting the handbook would help with that.

    Residents talk turkeys

    A property within the town has been housing two turkeys, which Aliberti told the council she believes is a safety concern.

    “Why are we allowing the turkey to be out to procreate… block traffic?” she asked. “We got dog rules — we don’t got turkey rules?”

    Warchol said animal control won’t handle the turkeys, whose eggs are supposed to hatch this week.

    “We’re aware of it. We’re doing all we can,” he said.

    “A lot of good that’ll do if it attacks your car,” Aliberti responded.

    The turkey discussion, which went on at some length, yielded laughs from attendees, as well as council members, which caused Aliberti to get up and leave the meeting.

    Robbie Murray of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company tried to bring Aliberti’s concerns into focus.

    “I know everyone likes to laugh about it, regarding the turkey,” he said. “But it has chased kids on bikes and kids walking. It’s only going to take one episode of it scaring a kid out into the road and getting hit, and I think there’s going to be a completely different approach regarding this turkey.

    “How would we treat a dog if a dog were to chase a kid out into the road and the kid gets struck and dies or is seriously injured? I’ll laugh about it all day, but when you start looking at the safety aspect of it, there has to come a point where we draw a line. And if their people can’t control their pets, then maybe they need to get rid of their pet.”

    Murray said he would have no problem with stopping by to speak with the turkeys’ owners, or taking “care” of the turkey, if need be.

    In other Town news:

    • Envision Frankford will soon be hosting movie night in Frankford Town Park. The first Fridays of June, July and August, they will be showing “The Incredibles,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Zootopia,” respectively.

    The movie nights are free and open to the public, with the gates to the park opening at 7 p.m. Children’s activities will take place from 7 to 7:30 p.m., with an educational program beginning at 7:30 p.m. The movies are expected to begin at 8 p.m.

    • At Monday’s meeting, Murray was presented with an outdoor stepping stone decorated by special-needs children who attended Frankford’s Easter celebration.

    • The Town will hold its first budget hearing of the fiscal year on Tuesday, May 27, at 7 p.m. at the Frankford fire hall.

    • Presley again asked the council to consider what they would like done with the J.P. Court building located next to town hall. The building, which is owned by the Town but rented to the State, will have its lease run out in January. In a previous meeting, Presley said the State did not plan to renew the lease.

    “If we want to explore the opportunity to rent that building, we need to get on the stick,” he said.

    • Resident Albert Franklin praised the fire company for a recent controlled burn they conducted.

    “I think the fire company should be commended for the job they did Ms. Alma Campbell’s house,” said Franklin.


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    Five freshmen from Indian River High School have been awarded full scholarships to the University of Delaware by the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF). The announcement was made to the students on April 15 by GSBF, a nonprofit organization that provides mentors and scholarships to help Pell Grant-eligible students go to college and graduate in four years, debt free.
    The recipients of the Give Something Back Foundation scholarship from Indian River High School were Thomas Blackiston, Robert Gonzalez, Alexis Landrie, Martina Rexrode and Jake Sneeringer.
    Each Indian River student completed the GSBF application process, which included attending a family information meeting, completing a college cost estimator, as well as an extensive online application, obtaining school and community recommendations, and participating in in-person interviews in order to be eligible for the scholarship.
    GSBF was established through the generosity of Bob Carr, founder of Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems. Carr received a $250 scholarship grant from the Lockport Woman’s Club in Illinois in 1963, when he was accepted as a student at the University of Illinois, and he vowed someday he would “give back” when he was able.
    His foundation partners with high schools and colleges in Illinois, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The program has provided scholarships and mentoring for hundreds of students.
    The Indian River freshmen are among GSBF’s inaugural class in Delaware.
    Students must maintain a B average throughout high school, participate in a mentoring program and attend GSBF-sponsored workshops to continue in the program. As seniors, students must complete the FAFSA and be accepted into the University of Delaware.
    GSBF is currently recruiting volunteer mentors for its freshmen at Sussex High School. Anyone interested can visit https://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org/mentors/.
    For more information about GSBF visit https://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org or email deinfo@givesomethingbackfoundation.org.


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    Cheryl Carey of Phillip C. Showell Elementary School in Selbyville has been named the 2016 Delaware School Counselor of the Year.
    The award was given in March by the Delaware School Counselor Association. Prior to winning the overall state award, Carey was named Elementary School Counselor of the Year in February by the DSCA.
    “It’s a great honor,” Carey said. “I look at it as my opportunity to represent all of us in the field of school counseling.”
    Carey has been a school counselor at Phillip C. Showell since 1996. She is a past president and board member of DSCA and has served on the State Advisory Council for School Counselors. She has also been a professional development facilitator for counselors in the Indian River School District.
    “Mrs. Carey has an extensive, in-depth knowledge of our students and their families. She has worked with several of our students’ families for years and several family members are her former students,” Phillip C. Showell Principal Karen Clausen said.
    “This background knowledge of family history and needs has proven to be invaluable in enabling Mrs. Carey to plan for and provide the necessary services that encourage student success. She advocates and provides for children not only while they are attending Phillip C. Showell, but often follows these students through high school and beyond. Mrs. Carey’s contributions to her profession within the school setting, the district and state levels, as well as the local community are beyond commendable.”
    Carey was also named Delaware Elementary School Counselor of the Year in 2007 and Sussex County Elementary Counselor of the Year in 2012.
    “I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about my kids. Once you’re my kid, you’re always my kid,” she said. “I know students are better prepared for middle school because of what we do here.”
    This is the third consecutive year that a counselor from the Indian River School District has won the Elementary Counselor of the Year award. Other district winners at either the elementary or middle school level were Jan Bomhardt (2015), Cathy Showell (2014), Dawn Brasure (2009), Cheryl Carey (2007) and Lisa Hunt (2005, overall state Counselor of the Year).
    “I love what I do,” Carey said. “We have a fabulous group of school counselors in the Indian River School District.”
    Carey is now eligible for the national School Counselor of the Year award given by the American School Counselor Association. The national winner will be announced in January 2017.


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    Gallery One in Ocean View will celebrate its 10th anniversary and welcome new partner Eileen Olson at a special artist reception Saturday, May 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. May’s show theme “Round, Round, I Get Around,” will be on display and open to the public from May 4 to June 1.
    Olson brings to Gallery One work that is abstract and inspired by nature. Using a variety of mediums, such as acrylic, oil, pastel and collage, she develops works that focuses on dramatic color, shapes and dimension.
    An established artist from the Washington, D.C., area, Olson maintained a working studio at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center, was a partner at Spectrum Gallery and a member of Gallery West. She has been painting since her teenage years, developing her style by taking classes at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Corcoran School of Art and numerous workshops. She is now a full-time resident of Bethany Beach.
    The new Gallery One poster will feature May’s theme, “Round, Round, I Get Around,” which visually explores possible ways to get around the beaches and shore towns through the eyes of Gallery One artists. Boogie Boards, bicycles and Olson’s watercolor “Helen Marie II,” which features the boat that coursed between Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach using the Loop Canal in 1912, are some of the subjects explored by Gallery One artists.
    Additionally, the gallery’s Artisan Room features textiles, hand-blown glass, pottery, glass jewelry and wood pieces by local artists. Gallery One is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is always staffed by one of the artists. Visit Gallery One’s website at www.GalleryOneDe.com for more information or call (302) 537-5055. The gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26), Ocean View, and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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    A fiscal inspection report released by the State of Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts (AOA) on Tuesday, May 10, reported that $190,433.61 was allegedly embezzled from the Millville Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC) by their former treasurer between the years of 2012 and 2015.

    The treasurer’s name was not found in the official report.

    “Of this amount, over $144,000 were attributable to ATM and cash withdrawals,” read the report. “AOA also found MVFC’s accounting records were falsified to conceal the irregularities. MVFC’s lack of internal controls had a critical impact on the financial management of the MVFC during the former Treasurer’s tenure.”

    Officials from the MVFC said they were first alerted to some irregularities in their finances in early 2015, when some bills were coming in marked as “Past Due.” A part-time administrative assistant was brought in to assist the treasurer and increase internal controls and financial reporting to their membership, according to the MVFC. That is when unauthorized and unexplained charges were discovered in their accounts.

    Following an internal investigation, evidence was gathered by MVFC officials, and the individual was suspended, according to Bob Powell, public information officer for the MVFC. The company then reportedly worked with Delaware Volunteer Firefighter officials and their accounting firm to quantify the loss.

    “We immediately contacted the Fraud Hotline and began the process with the Auditor of Accounts for the State of Delaware,” said Powell.

    The AOA inspection revealed that MVFC officials met with the former treasurer in May of 2015, and he reportedly admitted to the personal transactions.

    “The leadership of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company would like to apologize to the members of the community we serve,” according to a statement released by the MVFC. “This is truly a low point in our history. We would like to assure the members of our community that at no time was the delivery of emergency services affected in any way. We remain committed to providing quality fire, rescue and emergency medical services to our community.”

    For more on this story, pick up the May 13 edition of the Coastal Point.


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    Delaware State Police have arrested a 36-year-old Dagsboro man after an audit of a local fire company’s accounts reveal he allegedly stole more than $190,000 in funds.

    Justin K. Oakley turned himself into detectives Tuesday, May 10, after the Troop 4 Financial Crimes Unit received a forensic audit from the State of Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts.

    The audit indicated the former Millville Volunteer Fire Department treasurer had allegedly conducted more than $190,000 in personal transactions using fire department funds, while acting as the organization’s treasurer between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 30, 2015.

    The information came to light after Oakley reportedly admitted to Millville VFC officials in a meeting around May of 2015 that he used the company’s money for personal transactions.

    Oakley was charged with Theft over $100,000 and 100 counts of Falsifying Business Records. He was arraigned and released after posting $12,500 secured bond.

    (See the story on the front page of the May 13, 2016, Coastal Point for more on this story.)


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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year,  Jennifer Hitchens, is helping to lead the state in a shift in teaching philosophy.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Selbyville Middle School’s Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Hitchens, is helping to lead the state in a shift in teaching philosophy.The future of teaching won’t just be about teachers giving answers. It’ll be students actively asking questions.

    At Selbyville Middle School, inside Jennifer Hitchens’ sixth-grade classroom, the learning experience is flipped. That’s because she’s piloting the new Next Generation Science Standards for the State of Delaware. She was also recently named the SMS Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.

    Hitchens is helping Delaware to shift from traditional teaching, where the teacher is a “master” who passes along knowledge. Instead, under the new model, the teacher is a guide, walking the educational path with children.

    “If you present a kid with a phenomenon that’s interesting to them,” Hitchens said, they’ll be invested in learning it. That’s a far cry from the traditional classroom lecture.

    With endless sources of information, science teachers are training students the best way to observe a phenomenon, ask a good question, then answer it for themselves. Students ask the questions that will guide their research.

    What is the physics of a skateboard trick? Could Delaware ever have an earthquake? Why does poop look like that?

    “They’re motivated because they want to know the answer,” she said.

    Suddenly, they’re much more engaged, accepting the challenge for themselves. They’re out researching geographic areas that do have earthquakes, and how Delaware compares.

    They frequently work with partners or in groups. They end up asking the right questions about “98 percent of the time,” Hitchens said.

    “It intrigues them,” she said. “It’s fun when you have kids come in, excited, asking, ‘What are we going to do today?’”

    As most states in the U.S. have upgraded their English and math standards though Common Core, the science teachers jumped on board, too, using NextGen. As of 2015, 11 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, were using these standards.

    Because Delaware is a “forerunner” for the new standards, Hitchens and other lead teachers were trained by the actual creators of NextGen, themselves.

    “We went through it as learners first. They threw the phenomena at us,” she noted with a laugh.

    Hitchens helped write the units with teachers from other districts. (That’s the advantage of working in a small state, she said.)

    She’s in the second wave of pilot programs, testing the revisions to lessons and classroom assessments that other teachers made last year.

    Sometimes, students have a more physical challenge, rather than just asking questions.

    For example, Hitchens might give them some batteries and wire. The kids have to figure out how to illuminate a light bulb.

    Can’t solve it?

    Hitchens helps them brainstorm. She points them to a website or textbook (“Read it again.”). She won’t just give them the answer, and “I don’t know” isn’t enough. They have to solve it for themselves.

    “It teaches them to really be thinkers and individual problem-solvers,” which Hitchens called preparation for the real world. “It’s not the Charlie Brown teacher, ‘Wah-wah,’ talking in front of the room.”

    It can be chaotic, but it’s not a complete free-for all, she said. They’re not just set adrift in the wide ocean of Internet resources. “They’re being guided to the right answer,” but they don’t know it.

    Teaching still presents its challenges. While piloting this program, Hitchens has to keep students on track when they overeagerly keep asking questions. And, sometimes, students still aren’t interested in the day’s topic. Hitchens keeps them motivated by explaining why they need to learn the material, besides ‘because I said so.’

    “It’s just a fun, never-ending challenge every day,” she said. “It’s been interesting watching them walk through that learning [process].”

    She acknowledged that some parents were originally upset about the new system. Grades were low early in the year, as children got used to the new system. (They have to do all the talking?) But grades and participation climbed back up as kids began learning what kinds of questions to ask and how to have a productive class discussion.

    How to teach all students

    Having taught for more than a decade, Hitchens said she loves the sixth-grade classroom. She attended SMS herself, back when it was located in the older Selbyville school building.

    Inspired by her own first-grade teacher, Hitchens said she always wanted to teach, even wrangling her siblings into playing “school” with her.

    “I am a hands-on learner… You see it, do it, then you can write about it,” she said.

    Computer technology lets Hitchens reach all the students — even at multiple learning levels — simultaneously. She can assign homework online but select the students’ reading levels so they’re all getting the same information but at different reading levels.

    With the technology side of “blended learning,” teachers can include more students with many diversities, from autism to English language learners (ELL). Hitchens said she is amazed at the technical work her kids have created, such as video presentations.

    “You have to learn how to incorporate everything,” Hitchens said. “Every kid can learn. You’ve just got to give them the access they need.”

    First Teacher of the Year award

    Hitchens said she was humbled and honored to win her first Teacher of the Year Award.

    “You do everything every day because you want them to be successful and bloom and grow,” Hitchens said.

    SMS Principal Jason Macrides called her a “highly dedicated, highly talented educator, and we’re very fortunate to have her at Selbyville Middle School.”

    She said it’s an honor to be recognized for her hard work, although that may be a positive reflection of the NextGen standards.

    “Mrs. Hitchens has so many traits that make her a special teacher, and everyone can’t wait for her class,” according to one student’s recommendation, shared at the school district’s April 15 Teacher of the Year celebration.

    Hitchens thanked her family for their patience; her team of “awesome” teachers, who made for an easy transition to sixth grade; the school parents who support her; and the kids for working hard.

    Hitchens emphasized “how important science instruction is in all grades, not just your secondary levels. … Kids need to learn how to think, and science teaches that.”

    Even with limited time in the classroom, she encouraged schools and parents not to skimp on science: “Make sure all content areas are equally addressed.”

    “For me, you can’t be bored in science,” said Hitchens, adding that she loves hands-on learning.

    Teaching young adults is a fun challenge, she said.

    “There’s never a dull moment in your day in middle school. You never know what they’re going to ask,” Hitchens said. “I always say, ‘To teach it, you gotta be a little crazy.’”


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    Coastal Kayak of Fenwick Island will be host two more fundraisers for two local charities this summer: Cancer Support Community and Delaware Audubon Society.

    On Sunday afternoon, May 22, Coastal Kayak will hold their 15th Annual Paddle for a Cure, benefitting Delaware’s Cancer Support Community. The Cancer Support Community is a state-wide organization, with a separate office in Sussex County, whose mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

    “Our programs help people diagnosed with cancer, and their loved-ones, cope with the emotions that accompany a cancer diagnosis and the difficult journey that follows,” said Jo Allegro-Smith, Sussex County director for CSC. “We are so grateful for the generosity of Coastal Kayak. Their support will truly make a difference to our friends, family and neighbors right here in Sussex County who are facing cancer.”

    All funds raised will go directly to subsidize the free cancer support programs for residents of Sussex County. For more information, visit: www.cancersupportdelaware.org.

    This year’s event will be for intermediate paddlers and up (no first-timers or kids younger than 13). It will be a short paddle to explore the Ocean City commercial harbor, paddle along the north end of Assateague Island and land the kayaks to enjoy the view.

    Coastal Kayak’s ACA-certified kayak instructors have been paddling those waters for more than 20 years and know how to navigate the currents to make the trip fun while giving participants an opportunity to play in conditions they might not otherwise experience.

    Registration is required. Donations to the Delaware Cancer Support Community will be collected in lieu of a registration fee.

    On Sunday evening, June 19, Coastal Kayak will offer a special Salt Marsh Sunset/Moonrise Tour to benefit the Delaware Audubon Society. The Delaware Audubon Society is dedicated to developing a better appreciation of natural resources and working for species and habitat conservation. For more information, visit www.delawareaudubon.org.

    Participants, with expert guides, will enjoy a twilight paddle through the salt marshes of the Rehoboth Bay, hoping to see osprey, blue heron and oyster catchers, as well as the annual spawning rituals of the horseshoe crabs. Space is limited, and advanced reservations are required. The cost of the tour is $50 per person, with all proceeds going to the Delaware Audubon Society.

    In the last five years, Coastal Kayak has donated thousands of dollars to organizations including the American Cancer Society, Delaware Wild Lands, Horseshoe Crab Conservation Fund (ERDG), Justin’s Beach House, Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute Inc. (MERR), Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF), Rebecca Adams Green Foundation, SMAC (Sock Monkeys Against Cancer), Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Inc. and the Worcester County Humane Society.

    For more information and additional details, visit www.coastalkayak.com, call (302) 539-7999, email info@coastalkayak.com or stop by 36840 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island (across from the Fenwick Island State Park bathhouse).


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    With the arrival of spring weather, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police are increasing patrols and monitoring state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas for visitor safety and compliance, as well as checking for illegal activity, such as vandalism, littering, dumping and damaging wildlife habitat.

    “The public is encouraged to enjoy our wildlife, fishing and boating access areas and the unique outdoor experiences they offer,” said Sgt. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “However, as stewards of these areas for Delaware, we cannot allow the few people who do not respect our conservation mission to ruin things for the many who do. Those caught abusing our natural resources through illegal activities will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    McDerby noted that state wildlife areas, fishing piers and boat launching facilities are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise unless a person is actively and lawfully engaged in fishing, hunting or boating in accordance with state regulations and individual wildlife area rules. Individuals not meeting those requirements and found at such sites between sunset and sunrise face fines up to $100 for trespassing after hours.

    Wildlife-area visitors also are reminded that it is illegal to operate motor vehicles — including motorcycles, cars, trucks and SUVs — off established roadways in state wildlife areas. Violators who cause damage will be cited for destruction of state property. In addition, operating a motor vehicle that is not licensed for use on established public roadways — including ATVs — is prohibited both on- and off-road on state wildlife areas.

    The following rules also apply to all state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas:

    • Camping, swimming, target shooting (including paintball), dumping and littering, and fires are prohibited in state wildlife areas.

    • Dog training is permitted only within established dog training areas or during open hunting seasons for the game animals that the dog is being trained to hunt.

    • Hunting is permitted only in specified areas and only during designated hunting seasons.

    • Firearms are prohibited on state wildlife areas from March 1 to Aug. 31, except during legal hunting seasons or as authorized by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

    “Littering can be a problem, especially in many fishing areas, so please leave no trace behind and take your trash with you,” McDerby said, noting that the policy of carry-in, carry-out of trash is required in all state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat ramps and multi-use areas.

    For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each area, visitors can check Delaware wildlife area maps published by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. The maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. The maps also are posted online.

    Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 25 and May 1 made 692 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 53 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 24 complaints and issued 17 citations.

    Citations issued during the week included unlicensed hunting, hunting turkeys on a state wildlife area without required permit, harassing migratory waterfowl, hunting migratory waterfowl without required state waterfowl stamp, hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal waterfowl stamp, hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal harvest information program (HIP) number, damaging state property on a wildlife area, two citations for operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area, net-marking violation, no fire extinguisher (on a boat), four citations for possession of a firearm/deadly weapon by a person prohibited (in an incident in which a Hartly man was arrested on numerous charges), possession of ammunition by a person prohibited and operating an uninsured motor vehicle on a state wildlife area.


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    Paddle Second Chance (PSC) this week announced their fourth annual stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and kayak day of racing and fundraising for Operation Second Chance (OSC), set to take place June 25.

    OSC is a non-profit organization committed to serving wounded veterans and their families’ recovery and transition back to active duty or civilian life, with 90 percent of the funds raised going to impact wounded veterans’ lives in a meaningful way.

    “There will be a few exciting changes in this year’s event. We will be opening up the race to kayak participants, introducing a new SUP race course, adding a cornhole tournament for the terrestrial type, and, yes, our signature SUPSquatch team challenge will be back,” said Walt Ellenberger, PSC chairperson.

    Pre-race activities will kick off on Friday, June 24, with registration, packet pick-up and a PSC happy hour at The Starboard in Dewey Beach. Race day will be Saturday, June 25, at Holts Landing State Park near Millville, featuring an Elite 5- and Open 2.5-mile SUP and kayak race, followed by the Kids SUP and SUPSquatch team races.

    The new event, the Cornhole Toss, will kick-off at noon, with tournament play. The day will wrap up with an awards ceremony and community picnic for all those in attendance.

    This year’s Headline and Platinum sponsors are B2 & Company, Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club, CSI Printing and NKS/LandShark. Local sponsorship from individuals and businesses is welcome.

    Paddle Second Chance 2016 (#PSC2016) is officially open for early paddler registration. For more sponsorship information and paddler and volunteer registration, visit www.paddlesecondchance.com.


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    Coastal Point • Submitted : Architectural features abound in this new home in Bethany Beach, which will be featured on the 2016 Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.Coastal Point • Submitted : Architectural features abound in this new home in Bethany Beach, which will be featured on the 2016 Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.

    New home offers ocean views for long-time visitors

    (Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of previews of the homes that will be on display during the 25th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to be held July 27-28 from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.)

    The owners of this contemporary 4,500-square-foot home had enjoyed vacations in their Ocean City, Md., condo since 1995 but began to search for something quieter as their children grew into adulthood. While biking through Bethany in 2011, they discovered an ocean-view lot and began working with Summer Hill Builders to design a home for their growing family, with an eye toward eventual retirement. Completed in 2015, this home’s six bedrooms and 4.5 baths easily accommodate their four adult children and guests.

    A distinctive three-story glass chandelier in the winding staircase serves as a centerpiece that unites all three floors and sets the stage for the artistic use of decorative glass throughout the home.

    Visitors can look for colorful glass apothecary jars, lamps and fishing floats, a stacked glass side table, glass sink bowls, backsplashes, vases and a prized Venetian glass chandelier. Shades of cobalt blue and sea green create a seaside palette that connects the home with the ocean views captured from the third-floor great room and corner deck, a spot for them to savor the quiet beauty of Bethany Beach.

    This is just one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 25th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.

    Tickets, priced at $30, may be purchased at the South Coastal Library or through the Cottage Tour’s website at www.beachandbaycottagetour.com. The Cottage Tour is sponsored by the Friends of the South Coastal Library, and proceeds directly benefit the library’s operations.


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    “I certainly can relate to the idiosyncrasies of students and teachers!” said Carissa Meiklejohn, one of four performers appearing in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” who can draw on their day-to-day experiences as they enact their roles.

    Meiklejohn, who plays “comfort counselor” Mitch Mahoney, is an English/drama teacher at Milford High School, where she also runs the theater program. Regarding her own role, she added, “I’m a pretty sympathetic and emotional person who wears her heart on her sleeve. Mitch has a tough exterior (and no sleeves!) but she finds a way to connect with these kids.”

    Also drawing on life to inform his art is Anthony Natoli, who teaches English at Sussex Technical High School by day and moonlights (weekends through May 22) as Bee Middle School Vice Principal Douglas Panch.

    Two bee competitors — Leaf Coneybear and Olive Ostrovsky — are played by students whose own middle-school years linger in recent memory: Kyle Atkinson-Steele (a senior at Sussex Technical High School) and Jamie Ditzel (a sophomore at Stephen Decatur High School).

    Ditzel said she feels she and her character, Olive, would have gotten along well in middle school.

    “Olive is very shy and awkward, but bursting with creativity and imagination — I really would have connected with her.” Ditzel said she also admires Olive’s optimistic outlook. “She truly sees the best in everything and everyone — that’s a trait I admire and hope to acquire.”

    “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” with music by William Finn and Tony Award-winning book by Rachel Sheinkin, features six ’tween-age bee finalists and four competitors chosen from the audience at each performance.

    The competition is managed by three quirky adults: The moderator (and former spelling bee champ) Rona Lisa Perretti (Melissa Pipher), Vice Principal Panch (Natoli) and comfort counselor Mitch (Meiklejohn).

    Directed by David Warick, founder and director of Delaware Comedy Theatre, with musical direction by Melanie Bradley, the show is an adult-themed musical comedy. Performances continue weekends through May 22 at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. There also is one Thursday performance, on May 12 at 11 a.m.

    Tickets for all shows cost $15 to $32, and may be purchased online at www.clearspacetheatre.org or by calling the box office at (302) 227-2270.


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    The International Code of Signals is a system of signals that mariners use to communicate messages between vessels, typically regarding safety and navigation. The surfmen of the United States Life-Saving Service likely used the code on a regular basis. The first International Code of Signals was drafted in 1855 and consisted of 18 different flags that could communicate up to 70,000 different messages. The code was particularly helpful when language barriers existed between vessels.

    The International Code of Signals has gone through a number of revisions over the years, but it is still used today. A series of flags can be displayed to spell out a word or message, or many of the individual flags have specific messages behind them.

    The Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum will be hosting a program on Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m. for park visitors to learn about the International Code of Signals. Participants will then create their own message by painting a series of signal flags on a rustic piece of wood to display in their home or yard. In an effort to recycle and reuse park materials, each piece of wood has been hand-cut from old picnic tables from the Delaware Seashore State Park campground.

    The program costs $20 per person and is considered suitable for those 15 or older. Pre-registration is required and can be done by calling the Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991.

    For more information on this or other programs at Delaware Seashore State Park, visit destateparks.com.

    Delaware Seashore State Park offers beach driving clinic

    Beach driving has been part of the Delaware Seashore tradition for years; however, some drivers are uncertain when it comes to driving off the road and onto the sand. For these people, the Beach Driving Clinic can help.

    The program on Sunday, May 15 at 9 a.m. will outline park rules, licensing and equipment requirements, as well as driving techniques to get drivers ready for beach-driving on their own time. After a short indoor portion, drivers with appropriate vehicle tags and safety equipment will have the opportunity to practice their beach driving under instructor guidance.

    Surf tags are available for a fee at the park shop with the presentation of the vehicle’s registration. Safety equipment includes a tow rope, a shovel, a 16-by-16-by-.5-inch board, and a tire gauge.

    The cost is $8, and pre-registration is required, as space is limited. The program meets at the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum, located 3.5 miles south of Dewey Beach and 1.5 miles north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. For more information or to register, contact the Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991 or at destateparks.com.


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    In 1963, the U.S. began to recognize the contributions of older people by using the month of May to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM). Led by the Administration for Community Living, the annual observance offers the opportunity to learn about, support and celebrate the nation’s older citizens.

    This year’s theme, “Blaze a Trail,” emphasizes the ways older adults are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities and blazing a trail of positive impact on the lives of people of all ages.

    While CHEER, a local non-profit senior services agency, provides an array of services, from home health care to Meals on Wheels, to older adults year-round, it uses OAM 2016 to focus on how older adults in the community are leading and inspiring others, how people can support and learn from them, and how people might follow their examples to blaze trails of their own.

    Throughout the month of May, CHEER will conduct activities and share information designed to highlight its programs. It will offer all mid-day meals at its seven activity centers throughout the county (Georgetown, Milton, Long Neck, Lewes, Ocean View, Roxana and Bridgeville) for the reduced price of $1 during May to all seniors 60 or older, except on Wednesday, May 18, when a special luncheon featuring chicken cordon bleu will be offered for $5.

    CHEER is a non-profit agency that promotes healthy and active lifestyles for seniors to keep them in their homes. For more information about the agency, call (302) 856-5187.


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    The community of Ocean View can trace its origin to 1688. In that year, Lord Baltimore of the Maryland Colony granted 500 acres of land to a Matthew Scarborough. That land grant was called “Middlesex” and was situated in what today is the area located on either side of Central Avenue north of Route 26.

    During the early 1700s, Scarborough sold much of the acreage to the Hazzard family. The Hazzard family later sold most of the land to a William Hall (1746-1798). Hall married Mary Evans, and they had seven children. The Evans family was a prominent family that owned extensive land holdings in the area.

    A child was born to William and Mary in 1793 and was given the name of William Spence Hall. In 1798, when the father, William Hall, died, each of the male children received land to be used for farming.

    But William Spence had a different vision. He witnessed his neighbors and his own family members struggle to provide all the staples necessary to have quality of life. William decided to take a risk and build a general store to service the community. The store was built around 1820 and was located on the east side of Central Avenue, near where Daisey Avenue empties on to Central Avenue today.

    Daisey Avenue was just a dirt path that traveled down to White Creek. A boat dock was built at the edge of the creek, and the dock assumed the name “Daisey Landing.” The dock enabled ships to load and unload during high tide.

    The two-masted schooners were specifically built with a low draft to ply the shallow waters of White Creek and the Indian River Bay. The ships would sail up through the Indian River Bay and out into the Delaware Bay via the very dangerous Indian River Inlet. Once the schooners were in the Delaware Bay, they would sail up the Delaware River to Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia was a major commerce center where goods from Europe and Asia were sold. Ships would take lumber to Philadelphia and bring back sugar, spices, tobacco and cloth that would be sold in Hall’s store.

    Hall’s General Store provided an essential exchange center for this isolated community. (Remember, Route 1 didn’t exist in this early time period.) Hall was a true entrepreneur, acting as an intermediator between his neighbors and the outside world. He would sell goods for money or in exchange for locally grown crops. Most likely, he extended credit to his customers when crops were delayed or destroyed by bad weather.

    The economic impact his store provided in the community was profound. Other entrepreneurs followed in his footsteps to open a variety of stores, blacksmith shops and saw mills. This community became the commercial center for families living near the ocean. Truly, Hall’s risk-taking qualifies his as a “founding father” of present-day Ocean View.

    In 1822, the U.S. Postal Service selected Hall’s Store as the area’s post office, and that gave rise to the mailing address of Hall’s Store, Del. The mail would come in by wagon from Frankford, and he dispersed it at Hall’s Store.

    During the 1840s and 1850s, local sea captains would send mail back to loved ones addressed, for example: The West Family, Ocean View, care of Hall’s Store, Delaware. (Remember, the main means of travel at this time was by ship.)

    Officially, the community of Hall’s Store ended in 1889, when the state legislature incorporated the town with the name Ocean View. In 1889, Captain George Handy West became the first council president. He built the first free-standing post office and had his daughter Annie Betts named postmistress.

    This post office building still exists and has been restored by the Ocean View Historical Society (OVHS), and is on display at the historic complex located at 39 Central Avenue in Ocean View.

    Unfortunately, Hall’s Store does not exist anymore, and after extensive research, the OVHS feels the significant importance of this store to the evolution of Ocean View requires our building and replica at our historic complex.

    After researching stores of the 1820 era, our architect has created a rendering of Hall’s Store. To turn this rendering into an actual general store, OVHS is beginning a capital campaign to raise the necessary monies to build this 1,500-square-foot building at its historic complex.

    OVHS felt compelled to honor Cecile Steele for her contribution to the legacy o Ocean View being the “birthplace” of the broiler chicken industry. Thus, we built a replica of her 1923 poultry house, which is on display at the historic complex. Our Hall’s Store, when built, will serve as the visitor’s center for the historic complex.

    The front half of the building will be Hall’s Store, and the rear half will be an educational and artifact display center. The architects’ estimated cost to build this replica of Hall’s General Store around $250,000.

    Please come to Homecoming on Saturday, May 14, and walk to the historic complex. OVHS will have a table set up where you can study the architect’s construction drawings of Hall’s Store and the land planners’ design for the historic complex.

    OVHS will be selling engraved bricks that will be used to construct either a walkway or patio next to the store. The back room, porch and patio can be used by local organization for a specific function. We hope that everyone will want to have his/her name permanently attached to this unique project by purchasing an engraved brick.

    Editor’s note: The Ocean View Homecoming event will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at John West Park. The Ocean View Historical Complex is located at 39 Central Avenue. For more information about the Ocean View Historical Society, visit www.ovhistoricalsociety.org.


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    The Bethany Beach Town Council on May 12 unanimously approved a settlement in the lawsuit against it by neighbors of the Maryland Avenue Ext. property planned to become the new home to the historic Dinker Cottage.

    In exchange for the plaintiffs paying $20,000 to offset some of the Town's attorney fees in the case and dropping the one remaining count in the case, the Town agreed to not pursue claims against the plaintiffs involving alleged bad-faith litigation and attempts to create a financial burden on the Town through FOIA requests.

    Work to relocate the cottage could proceed later this month, Town Manager Cliff Graviet told the Coastal Point.

    More in our May 20 issue.


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    Coastal Point • File Photo: Kids climb the rock wall that was present during a past Ocean View Homecoming event.Coastal Point • File Photo: Kids climb the rock wall that was present during a past Ocean View Homecoming event.This weekend, the Town of Ocean View will host its annual Homecoming Festival & Crafts Fair.

    Homecoming will take place on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in John West Park. The free event features a wide variety of activities for kids, including a rock wall, inflatables and carnival rides.

    “The mayor will open the event with the national anthem before we raise the flag and welcome everyone to the event,” said Ocean View Town Manager Dianne Vogel.

    Vogel said that, along with a D.J. providing musical entertainment, there would be more than 40 crafters attending this year’s festival.

    “They’re very diverse this year, so we’re very excited about that,” she said.

    Mr. Softee ice cream will be served, while Hocker’s BBQ will be on site, selling its foods.

    “Hocker’s is very excited to be the solo food vendor this year. He will be providing crabcakes, barbecue and many different things that we haven’t done in the past.”

    The event was originally started in the early 1900s, as a way for townspeople to come together and reconnect with those who left town. The event took a sabbatical of sorts in intervening years but returned in 2010 with the help of the Ocean View Historical Society, and is now a Town-organized event.

    “The Ocean View Historical Society will be in attendance, with the historic buildings open, and have planned several activities as well,” added Vogel.

    The event is sponsored by Fulton Bank, Lyons Companies, Morris James Wilson Halbrook & Bayard LLP and the Sussex County Council.

    Free shuttle service from parking at Mariner’s Bethel, Ocean View Church of Christ and Ocean View Presbyterian churches will be provided to attendees who choose not to walk to the park.

    Vogel said the Town hopes the community attends the family-fun event and enjoys the company of their neighbors.

    “We hope the sun will be with us this Saturday for Homecoming,” she added.


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