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Articles on this Page
- 05/19/16--14:00: _Bethany Beach to ho...
- 05/19/16--14:04: _Community looks to ...
- 05/19/16--14:07: _Storms leave Bethan...
- 05/19/16--14:13: _Sussex Central grad...
- 05/19/16--14:20: _Selbyville starts t...
- 05/19/16--14:33: _Former MVFC treasur...
- 05/19/16--14:37: _DelDOT officials to...
- 05/19/16--14:40: _Bethany prevails in...
- 05/19/16--14:42: _DelDOT: New Route 2...
- 05/19/16--14:53: _DSP, state agencies...
- 05/23/16--10:36: _BREAKING NEWS: Bomb...
- 05/24/16--09:29: _BREAKING NEWS: Hock...
- 05/27/16--08:45: _Classic car show ro...
- 05/27/16--08:46: _State tournament up...
- 05/27/16--08:55: _Tickets available f...
- 05/27/16--08:57: _Bethany Beach Seasi...
- 05/27/16--11:02: _Man who made ‘World...
- 05/27/16--11:09: _Sign ordinance disc...
- 05/27/16--11:23: _McCabe’s celebrates...
- 05/27/16--11:55: _Dietrich finds his ...
- 05/19/16--14:00: Bethany Beach to host Poseidon Fest/EMS Day on May 21
- 05/19/16--14:04: Community looks to support 10-year-old boy
- 05/19/16--14:07: Storms leave Bethany with limited handicapped access to beach
- 05/19/16--14:13: Sussex Central grad joins Ocean View Police Department
- 05/19/16--14:20: Selbyville starts thinking about 10-year comp plan update
- 05/19/16--14:33: Former MVFC treasurer surrenders to MVFC
- 05/19/16--14:37: DelDOT officials to monitor South Bethany traffic patterns
- 05/19/16--14:40: Bethany prevails in settlement of lawsuit over cottage relocation
- 05/19/16--14:42: DelDOT: New Route 26 traffic signal soon to light up Clarksville
- 05/19/16--14:53: DSP, state agencies bring down large-scale heroin ring
- 05/23/16--10:36: BREAKING NEWS: Bomb threats called in to four Delaware schools
- 05/24/16--09:29: BREAKING NEWS: Hocker's acquire former Harris Teeter property
- 05/27/16--08:45: Classic car show rolling into Selbyville on June 18
- 05/27/16--08:55: Tickets available for Sussex County Prayer Breakfast
- 05/27/16--08:57: Bethany Beach Seaside Craft Show set for June 4
- 05/27/16--11:02: Man who made ‘World’s Largest Fry Pan’ celebrated at 95
- 05/27/16--11:09: Sign ordinance discussed before Sussex County Council
- 05/27/16--11:23: McCabe’s celebrates 30 years in South Bethany
- 05/27/16--11:55: Dietrich finds his calling to become Showell’s Teacher of the Year
The Town of Bethany Beach is teaming up with the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company to offer a special day of awareness on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
According to Greek mythology, Poseidon was the sea god who protected sailors but also created chaos if angered. Poseidon Fest/EMS Day is designed as a way for the community to celebrate the sea while learning about ways to prepare for potential coastal emergencies.
EMS Day is the fire company’s annual open house at the fire house (at Route 1 and Hollywood Street) that offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how emergency responders protect and serve the public. The Town is supporting the event by providing island-inspired entertainment at the bandstand and Bethany Beach Nature Center (807 Garfield Parkway) and handing out emergency preparedness booklets.
The free, community-wide event will feature vendors and family-friendly exhibits, including area EMS units and hospitals, DEMA, Red Cross; antique and contemporary fire trucks and emergency vehicles; helicopter landings on the Christian Church grounds; bike safety demonstrations; coloring and sand art activities; and T-shirt giveaways. Bethany Blues will also be on-site with food for sale.
There will be an interactive drum circle by Nancy the Drum Lady at 10:30 on the bandstand and the Trinidad & Tobago Baltimore Steel Band will perform at noon. The Nature Center will host a mermaid scavenger hunt. Anyone dressed in a sea-related costume will get a prize.
At the bandstand at dusk, the Town will offer a special preview of the movie “Flipper.”
For more information, call Bethany Beach Events Director Julie Malewski at (302) 539-8011, ext. 123, or EMS Chief Phil Brackin of the Bethany Beach Fire Company at (302) 539-7700, ext. 241.
A community is rallying together after a 10-year-old was struck by a van south of Millsboro last weekend.
According to police, on Saturday, May 14, around 3:33 p.m. Garrett Rogers, 10, was attempting to retrieve two baseballs that apparently went over the fence and crossed over Iron Branch Road.
At the same time, a 1994 Ford Econoline van was being driven northbound on Iron Branch Road by John C. Swift, 54, of Millsboro, in the area of the East Millsboro Elementary School.
According to police, after Rogers left the playground area to retrieve the two baseballs, he darted out into the roadway, attempting to cross the roadway from the west to the east. In doing so, he reportedly failed to see the van and was subsequently struck by the front bumper of the van in the northbound lane of Iron Branch Road.
After the impact, police said, he was knocked to the ground and came to rest on the northbound shoulder of Iron Branch Road. Police said the van immediately pulled to a controlled stop on the northbound shoulder of Iron Branch Road.
Rogers was immediately transported by ambulance to the Beebe Healthcare. After a brief stay there, he was transferred by ambulance to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, where he remained in serious condition mid-week.
Since the incident, community members have been coming together to support Rogers and his family. Monetary donations, as well as gift cards, are being collected at the Millsboro Little League concession stand and at Millsboro Daycare. Hashtags, including #22 and #gmoneystrong, have been used on social media to show support to the 10-year-old and his family.
Even lawmakers, including the Delaware State Senate Republican Caucus and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell are showing their support for Rogers.
Those in the community who want to send well wishes to Rogers may do so via an eCard through A.I. duPont by visiting www.nemours.org/service/online/ecards/ecardaidhc.html.
Following Saturday’s incident, Swift was reportedly uninjured; however, police said alcohol use on his behalf appeared to be a factor in the crash. Swift, they said, was transported to Beebe Healthcare, where he was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Driving Suspended/Revoked. The crash remained under investigation by the Delaware State Police mid-week.
With DNREC’s work on the town’s storm-battered beaches complete, Bethany Beach officials said Town staff have been working to reconstruct steps at nine dune crossing locations in recent weeks, but handicapped access to the beach will still be limited this summer, due to the damage caused by nor’easters over the winter and spring.
Set to be completed this week were new stairs at Second Street, First Street, Central Boulevard, Campbell Place’s north and south sides, Garfield Parkway’s north and south sides, Hollywood Street and Parkwood Street.
But handicapped access to the beach will only be available at Oceanview Parkway this summer, Town Manager Cliff Graviet said in an update on the Town’s website.
“The Town is not able to create the appropriate slope at Wellington Parkway to make a ramp handicap-accessible at this time. DNREC has worked to push sand to non-boardwalk streets this spring with mixed results. Wind and wave, while widening our beach, have not deposited enough sand to make major restoration of our dunes possible.
Due to a lack of sand, officials said, several of the ramps are very steep, and the use of the Town’s accessibility-enhancing Mobi-Mats at those streets “is not a viable option” due to that steepness.
“The mats that have made our beach so accessible over the years do not perform well at extreme angles and are very slippery when covered in sand or wet. Mats will be used wherever possible, and we will monitor beach conditions daily.
They said that, if there are not mats on a ramp, it is because they have judged the ramp to steep or too narrow to safely accommodate the use of mats.
Deemed to be potential candidates for use of the mats are the dune crossings at Fifth Street, Fourth Street and Third Street. Officials said the crossing at Ocean View Parkway has vehicular and pedestrian access currently available, but the crossing is steep. At Cedarwood Street, vehicular and pedestrian access is currently available, and the slope there has been deemed “fine.” Parkwood Street’s crossing has pedestrian beach access currently available.
At Wellington Parkway, the Town has been working with DNREC to restore the ramp, and officials said they anticipate it will be open by Memorial Day.
However, on crossings at three streets — Oakwood Street, Maplewood Street and Ashwood Street — the slope is considered steep enough that mats may not work there.
While access to the beach may be more limited than it has in recent summers, officials said they believe the beach has recovered enough to be ready to welcome summer visitors.
“Our beach is widening, as it does every spring, and though we don’t have the depth of sand on the beach that beach replenishment has made us accustomed to, we anticipate Bethany’s beach will be as wide and accommodating as it has been in past years.”
If you see a new officer patrolling the streets of Ocean View, chances are it’s patrolman Troy Bowden.
“We’re excited to have him,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.
Bowden started with the department on May 2 and will be doing field training with other OVPD officers for a total of five weeks before he may patrol on his own. A Georgetown native, Bowden has been interested in law enforcement since he was in high school.
“When I was in high school, I was part of the Delaware State Police Explorers Program,” he said. “It’s for young women and men who have an interest in law enforcement. I was in that my 10th-grade year in high school, and started learning how to do routine patrol, traffic stops, learning the 10 codes — how to communicate over the radio. And I just had the urge to learn more.”
Following his graduation from Sussex Central High School in 2010, Bowden served as a seasonal police officer in Dewey Beach.
“When I ended the season, it left me with the desire and eagerness to push forward, to want to learn more, to want to do more police work.”
After completing his seasonal work, Bowden worked as a cadet out of DSP Troop 7 for a year and a half.
“From that point on, I just knew what I wanted to do. I just kept pushing forward.”
He later went on to work for the DSP State Bureau of Identification.
“I worked there for 15 months, so I got to see the forensic side of police work, how they compare fingerprints from different crime scenes, and things like that.”
After his time with SBI, Bowden applied to Milton’s police department and was sent to the DSP Police Academy, from which he graduated on July 31, 2015. Bowden served as a patrolman in Milton for nine months before joining the force in Ocean View.
“You have a family in police work, and that bond is unbreakable,” said Bowden. “It was a very warm welcome here. Law enforcement is a bond between men and women who do this job that cannot be broken. I was welcome here with open arms. They treat me like I’ve been here for three or four years. It’s a good bond; I have a good relationship with all of my colleagues here.”
Bowden said that the change from Milton to Ocean View was bigger than some might think, as Milton was a more residential community.
“Down here, you’re closer to the beach. During the day down here, it’s a lot busier. The difference I see is increase in traffic patrol,” he said. “Even though I’m from Sussex County, this particular area is new to me. I’m still learning streets. We assist DSP a lot. There’s a lot of roads and street names outside of our jurisdiction that I’m trying to learn because … we’re very in the mix with helping the outside agencies.”
In his career, Bowden said, he’s interested in working as part of a K-9 unit and with children.
“I like helping people — especially youth. Working with the youth is something I really like to do in police work. I just have that desire to help people. Anytime I can change someone from making a bad decision to doing something good in life, that’s always a job well done,” he said.
“You’ve got to think the youth is going to be our future. The way I look at it, if you can get a hold of a youth and teach them that police officers aren’t scary — we’re your friends, we’re here to help you.”
In Milton, Bowden said he had a good rapport with youth and hopes to continue that with the area children in Ocean View.
“I’d stop and talk to them, buy lemonade from the lemonade stands, or play basketball with them — those types of things. That’s what I like to do. That’s definitely a pro to this job.”
Bowden said he’s excited to be a part of the Ocean View community and looks forward to meeting its residents and visitors.
“I’m new, so I just want anyone who doesn’t know me right now to get to know me. I’m a very open person. I want everyone to feel like they can come to me with any questions they may have.”
It’s time for Selbyville, among many municipalities, to start putting its future goals on paper again. The Town of Selbyville has begun planning for a 10-year update to its comprehensive plan.
On May 2, a professional municipal planner encouraged the town council to let her apply for grant money to complete the comp plan update.
Debbie Pfeil recounted her past success in winning grants for municipalities, then explained some background of Selbyville’s current 57-page document.
Like many towns, Selbyville first wrote a 2007 comp plan to appease the State, Pfeil said, so that funding wouldn’t be withheld. During the process, everything is reviewed, including the police force, railroad, housing, Mountaire and parkland.
Selbyville had focused on land use, mapping the current town limits and possible land for annexation. Pfeil said they and other municipalities learned the hard way that the State of Delaware took the plans seriously. For instance, official comp plan amendments were required when Selbyville annexed a property into the residential zone, when the comp plan called it a commercial possibility.
But, this time, utilities and environmental impact are taking center stage. Will the Town need land for a new water tower? If not, where might they be extending the water lines in the future?
Selbyville isn’t required to use a planner, but Pfeil highly recommended it.
“I’m trying to get you money to get your comprehensive plan [approved],” Pfeil said.
The grant money ($50,000 maximum) would fund the comp plan process — namely, her paycheck.
Pfeil called herself a planner, not coming to step on toes, but to work with town engineers.
“It takes all of a year, so you’re not rushed. You have a good document, and you can get it to the State for approval,” said Pfeil.
That includes studying the town, getting public input and writing the final document. Delaware can withhold funding if the final comp plan doesn’t have Town and State approval by the fall of 2017.
The town council voted unanimously (with Rick Duncan Sr. absent) to allow Pfeil to submit the up-to-$50,000 grant application, at no cost to the Town. They would hire her only after winning any grant money.
Pfeil has about three months under her belt at KCI consultants and, before that, with URS (recently acquired by AECOM).
Selbyville will assemble its own planning committee for the upcoming 2017 Comprehensive Plan, which includes the Town’s Planning & Zoning Committee and Town Administrator Michael Deal.
In other Selbyville news:
• The Selbyville Police Department had two Phoenix Award winners for saving lives in 2015 by performing CPR. Nearly every officer in the department has won the Phoenix Award at least once.
“The guys are doing a good job, and you never know what they’re going to come up on,” said Police Chief W. Scott Collins.
• All citizens are allowed to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at the police department. The anonymous-drop-off bin has collected about 400 pounds since September of 2015, Collins said.
• One resident shared a negative business experience with a door-to-door salesperson. She said she believed she was “going green” by purchasing “low-cost” electricity. It may be a legitimate company, but it was not well-represented, she said. Her next electricity bill cost “three times as much” as usual, even paying the seemingly low rate of a few additional pennies per kilowatt-hour.
• The Annexation Committee meeting on April 22 ended with more questions than answers, said Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr., so discussion will continue later regarding the possibility of annexing a 10,000-square-foot parcel of land on Route 54 into the town.
• One resident expressed frustration with his lawn irrigation system requiring a $65 backflow inspection. But that is a State requirement, said Deal, between mandatory backflow preventers and regular inspections. Even town council members have to pay the fee for the inspection.
The next regular Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, June 6, at 7 p.m.
Justin Oakley, 36, of Dagsboro, the subject of an investigation into the financials at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC), turned himself in to police on Tuesday, May 10.
The investigation, conducted by the Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts (AOA), alleged that Oakley had conducted more than $190,000 in personal transactions while acting as the MVFC treasurer from Jan. 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015. Delaware State Police said Oakley turned himself in to detectives after the Troop 4 Financial Crimes Unit received the audit from the AOA.
Oakley was charged with theft over $100,000 and 100 counts of falsifying business records. He was released after posting a secured bond of $12,500.
Motorists shouldn’t panic when they see state officials monitoring South Bethany around Memorial Day weekend, said Town Councilman George Junkin at the May 13 council meeting.
In a three-part traffic study of the Cat Hill neighborhood, Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) staff will have clipboards to monitor the vehicles that use those back roads, including residents and visitors.
DelDOT will perform traffic studies before Memorial Day, before July 4 and during the Independence Day weekend. Results should arrive by August.
The studies are being done to address residents’ concerns that the narrow Cat Hill roads are being abused as a shortcut to Route 1, with excesses in both in traffic volume and speed.
Electronic speed notification signs have also been installed, and faulty speed humps are to be corrected soon.
Some residents called it a slow process, but town council members have said that they can’t just install a stop sign without proper traffic studies, and they prefer to consult with DelDOT.
It is actually a relatively speedy process, said Mayor Pat Voveris, considering the 15 months the council invested in Ocean Drive’s flood plain map. She said changes won’t come with the snap of her fingers, but with careful planning to improve overall safety.
“Yes, the Town owns the road, but if we don’t follow the traditional or federal guidelines,” the Town is liable, Councilman Frank Weisgerber said.
The construction of residential bathrooms has been restricted in South Bethany for many years, but soon, perhaps, no longer. The town council has instructed the Charter & Code Committee to consider removing bathroom restrictions.
In an effort to control the “McMansions” that were popping up a decade ago, the council at that time had reacted by limiting houses to a maximum of four bathrooms each.
But times change, and in executive session, the council in opted not to pursue two code violations for excessive bathrooms — just a few violations of many over the years.
According to Councilwoman Carol Stevenson, many Realtors have told the Town, “get out of the way of people who want to build homes and let them do what they want.”
People can survive with four bathrooms and 30 vacationers in a family, but the Town and Realtors believe they could be making even more money on sales and rentals if there were more bathrooms permitted in such homes.
Meanwhile, the Town still limits house sizes and prevents the construction of multi-family units in disguise through the one-kitchen limit of the same era, and the newer floor-to-area-ratio (FAR) and livable-area-ratio (LAR) restrictions.
Joe Conway asked the CCC to investigate the issue of the sewage impacts of more bathrooms. Can the sewage system handle the presumed additional water caused by more guests and more flushing?
Discussion will continue with the first reading of a draft ordinance at the May 26 town council workshop.
Time to write the comprehensive plan
South Bethany has begun an organized study of its future for the 2017 comprehensive plan update, from finances to police to parking.
“It’s a requirement. Every municipality and county in the state of Delaware must file a comprehensive plan every 10 years,” said Planning Commissioner Dick Oliver.
Updates to the existing comp plan (60 pages, plus maps and appendices) include Town goals, land use, natural resources, public utilities and infrastructure.
The language describes what the Town will consider or continue doing in future.
“This doesn’t mean we plan to do some things,” Oliver said. “We plan to look at them, to study them over the next 10 years. I think the fact that this is permissive, not prescriptive, is very important.”
Goals include enhancing town attractiveness to residents and visitors; maintaining a safe community (which may include a comprehensive streetlight plan); and improving Town services (although running the power and telephone lines underground will never happen, Oliver said, between the three providers).
The Planning Commission will work with the mandatory State checklist, previous comp plan and the recent town survey.
Eventually, the state and governor must approve the revised document, and South Bethany must consider its guidance in future. Some towns have been required to amend comp plans, for instance, when annexing territory into a different zone than their comp plan originally prescribed.
“It has the force of law, which is why we write it in such a way that we don’t lock ourselves into doing something that we might not be able to do. It gives us the option,” Oliver said.
This is a draft document. The council still has to vote, and public input is required.
Measuring house height
The town council has unanimously approved a new method for measuring house height near the oceanfront, based on base flood elevation (BFE).
Ordinance 180-16 amends Chapter 145 of the Zoning Code to change the height limit on houses in the VE zone to 33 feet above BFE (or 35 feet above BFE when 2 feet of freeboard are included), but no higher than 48 feet NAVD, due to variations in the elevation of Ocean Drive.
No citizens commented during the public hearing on the ordinance change.
Meanwhile, a new ad-hoc Base Flood Elevation Committee will begin researching house height across town, including the possibility of measuring everything from BFE.
In other South Bethany news:
• Councilmen George Junkin and Tim Saxton bid farewell as they served at their final regular meeting on the town council. Their terms end May 30, and neither filed for re-election.
• When discussing recent burglaries in the town and nearby, Police Chief Troy Crowson encouraged people, “Anytime you hear something or see something suspicious, please call us. Even if it’s nothing, let us” make that assessment, he said.
Police have good leads in a Black Gum Drive burglary case, he said.
“Lighting’s always good for security. Anytime you have lighting, it’s a good thing,” Crowson said. “We have had some good resolutions from people who had video cameras.”
He reminded people that security systems need to be properly activated, too.
• The town’s canals need some cleaning, but the State algae harvester needed maintenance and hasn’t been available. South Bethany is on the waiting list, though. Junkin said the Town will soon get a business demo on possibly purchasing its own small harvester.
“I think we have to do something more proactive, in having a harvester we can get out when we need it,” Junkin said. Often, he said, the algae is bad on the surface and then sinks to the bottom, which is good for boats but bad for the canal, as it rots there, further reducing water quality.
• South Bethany’s fees have been updated, including building fees that now more closely mirror neighboring towns and reduce fraud.
• The town council unanimously voted to install a new speed hump on Black Gum Drive, having previously voted to upgrade the existing humps. That construction will require road closures.
• Norm Montigny was added to the Traffic Committee.
The next town council workshop is Thursday, May 26, at 2 p.m.
The Bethany Beach Town Council on May 12 unanimously approved a settlement in the lawsuit against it by neighbors of the Town-owned Maryland Avenue Extension 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 their 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.
On March 10, property owners Phillip L. and Mary C. Feliciano, Joseph and Mary Jane Tropea and David Namrow, whose three properties are near the Maryland Avenue location, had filed suit against the Town in the Delaware Chancery Court, seeking to stop the relocation of the historic cottage that had recently been donated to the Town.
The plaintiffs were among a number of the neighbors of the property who had raised objections to the plan to move the cottage to the site, expressing concerns over the loss of the green space that had been used as a de facto park by some of the neighbors and the potential for negative impacts from having a structure there, the resulting traffic and a more established public use.
According to Graviet, all parties to the suit had agreed to meet an April 18 discovery requirement set by the Court of Chancery; however, when the plaintiffs and their attorney were unable to fulfill that requirement, three of the suit’s original four counts were dropped. At that point, Namrow dropped out of the lawsuit, leaving the Felicianos and Tropeas to pursue the suit.
The Town filed an answer to the amended complaints on April 26, maintaining that the plaintiffs’ claims were made in bad faith and asking for recovery of legal fees incurred in the litigation.
“Subsequently, immediately following the deposition of Mr. Feliciano on April 29, the plaintiffs decided they wished to withdraw the remaining claim and settle the case,” Graviet explained.
The agreement to resolve the lawsuit was signed by the plaintiffs on May 4 and approved by the town council on May 12, with the plaintiffs agreeing to drop the one remaining count of the four originally listed — regarding Town maps — and to pay the Town $20,000 to help defray the legal costs incurred by the Town in defending the lawsuit. That payment was in the hands of Town’s attorney on May 11, and he delivered it to Graviet upon completion of the May 12 special meeting.
As part of the settlement, Graviet noted, the Town reaffirmed its original intent to relocate the 115-year-old Dinker Cottage, donated to the town by Christina and Clem Edgar, to the location approved unanimously by the council at its January meeting. The Town also therein reaffirmed the basic elements of its original decision to accept Dinker Cottage, which included some continued but limited access to portions of the property for the neighbors.
“In addition, in exchange for the plaintiffs’ payment of $20,000 in attorney fees, the Town has agreed not to pursue its claims against the Plaintiffs of bad faith litigation,” Graviet said.
“We’ve believed from the beginning that this lawsuit was frivolous and without merit, an attempt by these residents to coerce the town council into abandoning their plan to move the Dinker Cottage to an area near their homes that they wished to continue to use for their personal enjoyment,” Mayor Jack Gordon said.
“We learned of the plaintiffs’ attempt to not only encourage many of their neighbors to join in the litigation, but also to file multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Town for the purpose of creating a financial burden for the Town without concern for the merits of their litigation.”
To support that claim, the Town offered excerpts from emails between the plaintiffs and others, encouraging FOIA requests, as evidence of the plaintiffs’ alleged efforts to strong-arm the Town through legal costs.
According to the Town, Tony Namrow had written to Molly Feliciano and 50 others, in part: “Our only possible hope of solution in our favor is to threaten a law suit for $500K + for devaluation of our homes, environmental degradation and loss of quality of life. We have got to go after their jugular and make them blink. Do I think the town wants to pay their counsel $30K to defend this? I don’t know but that appears to be our only recourse.”
Another excerpt from an email the Town said Phillip Feliciano wrote Tony Namrow and 50 others reads, “Tony you are on target follow the money. That is why Joe and I believe sending freedom of information requests by the most people will cause them to make a move monetarily. For a fact just the FOIA requests I have made has cost them $8000.00 in attorney’s fee . Can you imagine if 10 people file for requests.”
Another excerpt from an email the Town said Tony Namrow wrote reads, in part: “As you Joe mentioned and my experience with the town; the only thing that will get them to stop...or at least pause if $$$$. If we threaten...just threaten a lawsuit for enough dollars to make them re-think...that is our only recourse. Will they have the will to consider a large enough settlement? Don’t know but I do know they will recognize they have to pay to defend it...and they are already over budget.”
The emails reference efforts by the plaintiffs to obtain information in the case and allege the Town was not providing all of what they had requested.
Gordon said on May 12, “We are pleased with the final outcome and, while the Town still incurred significant costs to the taxpayers of legal fees, the recovery of $20,000 of those fees helps. We look forward to going ahead as early as possible with our project of relocating the Dinker Cottage so that residents and visitors can enjoy a part of Bethany’s history.”
A vote regarding work to move the cottage to the site is on the council’s May 20 agenda. A map of the planned location is available online at http://www.townofbethanybeach.com/DocumentCenter/View/2150.
A new traffic signal was set to be activated at the intersection of Route 26 and Powell Farm Road in Clarksville this week. The new signal was set to begin operation in flashing mode on Thursday, May 19. The signal is set to get the green light to begin a regular stop-and-go operation on Monday, May 23, pending weather.
Signs are posted to inform drivers of the new traffic pattern.
DelDOT has replaced the signal because the whole traffic configuration of the existing trident-shaped intersection has been changed into two T-shaped intersections.
Previously, Omar Road and Powell Farm Road met Route 26, at a regular four-way intersection. Powell Farm will still meet Route 26 with the new stoplight. But, Omar Road has now been moved out of the Route 26 intersection, so it just sticks off of Powell Farm Road instead.
Meanwhile, Route 26 curves, rather than coming to a 90-degree turn, so heavy traffic can flow better.
St. George’s United Methodist Church will get extra parking out of the deal.
The changes are meant to improve the road safety by reducing the likelihood of crashes at the intersection.
Officials said motorists should still drive carefully through the construction zones, as flaggers and traffic cones will direct vehicles through the single-lane closures as work in that area continues.
Citizens with questions or concerns can contact Ken Cimino at (302) 616-2621, or Kenneth.firstname.lastname@example.org or at 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.
The project website is at www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sr26/index.shtml. People can also sign up for weekly email updates and use the DelDOT mobile phone application.
Construction Advisory Group meetings are held publicly every other month at Bethany Beach Town Hall, next on Tuesday, June 14, at 10 a.m.
Following a two-year investigation, the Delaware State Police Sussex Drug Unit (SDU), Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and the Sussex County Attorney General’s Office have charged 13 individuals who were allegedly part of a criminal organization that engaged in large-scale heroin distribution and money laundering.
“The result of this investigation directly impacted the heroin distribution and money laundering in the state of Delaware,” said Sgt. Richard Bratz, director of public information for the DSP.
According to the DSP, the investigation, named “Duck Hunt,” revealed Deangelo McGlotten was the alleged ring leader for the heroin distribution in Kent and Sussex counties, along with his closest associates, Timothy Felix and Adrian Coverdale.
In addition to the heroin distribution network, police said the investigation revealed the illegal proceeds of the drug organization were allegedly being laundered by Salman Choudhary through casinos, businesses and personal properties. As a result of the investigation, 11 suspects were indicted by the Sussex County Grand Jury.
“The results were only possible with everyone providing information and support,” said Greg Nolt, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “It began as a possible money-laundering case and evolved into one of the largest heroin seizures in state, along with other asset seizures throughout Sussex County, to include money, property and guns.
“The success of this operation was only possible with the full commitment of all our partners in law enforcement, along with those in the public and private sector. Thank you to everyone who assisted our efforts to reduce the impact that heroin has on our communities and remove violent criminals from our streets.”
DSP Sgt. Mark Dawson said monies collected from the sale of the illegal drugs were allegedly laundered through Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
“The income from the transaction of the heroin — that money was then funneled and laundered through the casinos and other businesses throughout the state,” he said, noting that Choudhary and Sohail Zeeshan were the two who were allegedly laundering the funds.
The arrest operation was initiated with seven search-and-seizure warrants being executed throughout Kent and Sussex counties by the Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) SWAT, and the units of the Delaware State Police.
Police said the operation disrupted the flow of heroin into the communities of Kent and Sussex counties, as the organization allegedly supplied several drug markets in Sussex County, including Chandler Heights, Meadowbridge, Coverdale and Oak Orchard.
More than $1M in drugs seized, along with guns, cash and vehicles
In total, 13 suspects were charged with 77 criminal offenses as part of the overall investigation.
Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of Delaware State Police, said two search warrants were executed on two separate occasions during the investigation.
On Jan. 13, a search-and-seizure warrant was executed at Deangelo McGlotten’s residence, located on Progress School Road in Bridgeville. Another was executed on an Acura MDX linked to McGlotten. Evidence seized included 42,250 bags, or approximately 633 grams, of suspected heroin, $7,740 in cash, a 9-mm handgun that had been reported stolen and a Marlin 30-30 rifle.
On May 11, seven search-and-seizure warrants were executed, on Woodyard Road in Harrington, on Beach Highway in Greenwood, on Progress School Road in Bridgeville, on James Street in Georgetown, on Central Park Drive in Harrington, on South Washington Street in Milford and on Aspen Drive in Cheswold.
Evidence seized that day included 74,425 bags, or approximately 1,116 grams, of suspected heroin; $200,000, including cash and seized assets from numerous accounts; approximately $50,000 worth of jewelry; three Ruger 9-mm handguns; a Raven Arms .25-mm handgun; an M4 carbine rifle; and 23 vehicles, with a total value of approximately $250,000.
McQueen said the drug seizure on May 11 was one of the largest single seizures of pre-packaged heroin in state history, netting more than 74,000 bags of suspected heroin, which has a $740,000 street value. The total heroin seizure for the overall investigation was 116,675 bags, or approximately 1,749 grams, with a street value of $1,166,750.
Individuals indicted by the Sussex County Grand Jury who were arrested and charged included:
• Deangelo McGlotten, 31 of Felton, with a total of 17 charges: Manufactures, delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possesses a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity; Criminal Solicitation 2nd degree; Conspiracy 2nd degree; four counts of Money Laundering, Organized Crime and Racketeering; Fraud and false statements, makes and subscribes a false return statement document; Possess, Purchase, Own or Control a Firearm/Destructive Weapon If previously Convicted; Possess, Purchase, Own Controlled Firearm; Ammo by Person Prohibited of a Prior Violent Crime or Felony; Manufactures, delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possess a Controlled Substance in a Tier 5 Quantity; two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Receiving a Stolen Firearm. McGlotten was committed to SCI in default of $1 million cash bond.
• Patrick Cirwithian, 30, of Greenwood, charged with Maintaining a Drug Property, Conspiracy 2nd degree, and Organized Crime and Racketeering. Cirwithian was being held in default of $350,000 cash bond.
• Adrian Coverdale, 34 of Blades, was charged with Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a Controlled Substance in Tier 4 Quantity; Possesses a Controlled Substance in a Tier 5 Quantity; Criminal Solicitation 2nd degree; Conspiracy 2nd Degree; Money Laundering; and Organized Crime and Racketeering. Coverdale was being held in default of $400,000 cash bond.
• Timothy Felix, 30, of Dover was charged with Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possessing a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity; two counts of Drug Dealing; Criminal Solicitation 2nd degree; Conspiracy 2nd degree; Money Laundering; and Organized Crime and Racketeering. Felix was being held in default of $750,000 cash bond.
• Tina Mosley, 51, of Greenwood, was charged with Maintaining Drug Property; Conspiracy 2nd degree; and Organized Crime and Racketeering. Mosley was being held in default of $750,000 cash bond.
• Salman Choudhary, 37, of Georgetown, was charged with Organized Crime and Racketeering; three counts of Money Laundering; two counts of Attempt to Evade or Defeat Tax; and two counts of Failure to File Return. Choudhary was being held in default of $1.7 million cash bond.
The following suspects were charged and arraigned by Justice of the Peace Court:
• Daniel Montalvo-Rosado, 29, of Wilmington, was charged with Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possesses a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity; and Conspiracy 2nd degree. Montalvo-Rosado was being held in default of $200,000 cash bond.
• Christian Cortes, 27, of Wilmington, was charged with Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle; No Valid License; Fail Trans T/R; and No Insurance. Cortes was being held in default of $200,000 cash bond.
Suspects at large, being sought by police
A number of the suspects indicted by the Sussex County Grand Jury in connection with the investigation were not located and were wanted by police as of the Coastal Point’s May 18 press deadline, including:
• Linda McGlotten (Deangelo McGlotten’s mother), 49, of Milford, for Racketeering and Money Laundering.
• Reginald McGlotten, 30, of Millsboro, for Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possesses a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity; Criminal Solicitation 2nd degree; Conspiracy 2nd degree; Money Laundering; Organized Crime and Racketeering.
• Obrien Morris, 26, of Millsboro for Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Possesses a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity; two counts of Criminal Solicitation 2nd degree; Conspiracy 2nd degree; Money Laundering; Organized Crime and Racketeering.
• Luis Manzanet-Garlaza, 27, of Milford, for Manufactures, Delivers, possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Tier 4 quantity; Conspiracy 2nd degree; and Organized Crime and Racketeering. According to police, Manzanet-Garlaza has ties to Milford, as well as northern New Jersey, Florida and Puerto Rico.
• Sohail Zeeshan, 39, of Rehoboth Beach, for Organized Crime and Racketeering; three counts of Money Laundering; two counts of Fraud and False Statement, Makes and Subscribes a False Return Statement Document.
The Delaware State Police are requesting any information that may lead to the location and arrest of those suspects. If anyone has any information about the location of wanted suspects, they are being asked to contact Sgt. M. Dawson at (302) 752-3815. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the Internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
AG emphasizes ongoing need for drug-treatment resources
“Heroin is a serious, serious problem in Delaware right now, and all of law enforcement is working together to combat it,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “This operation puts a significant dent in the heroin traffic in the southern part of the state and is another example of how the close working relationship between our office and Delaware State Police, as well as other agencies, can make a difference and make Delaware a safer place.
“Along with the Delaware State Police who worked diligently on this case, I would also recognize Deputy Attorneys General Rebecca Anderson, Christopher Hutchison, Michael Tipton and Adam Gelof for leading the DOJ side of this very complicated and noteworthy investigation, and I thank State Prosecutor Kathy Jennings and Chief Sussex County Prosecutor Peggy Marshall for their leadership in this important case.”
Denn, who attended Tuesday’s press conference announcing the indictments, said that, while local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are doing their part to address the growing heroin epidemic, services are still needed.
“If that picture looks like a lot of heroin, it is,” he said of the image of the drugs seized by police. “There were over 116,000 bags of heroin seized in this operation. That means that these drug dealers thought there were buyers for 116,000 bags of heroin.
“We’re going to continue to diligently pursue operations like this one to try to disrupt trafficking operations and hold responsible those who put this poison into our communities, but until our state is successfully treating the addiction crisis that has ripped our state, the demand for these drugs is going to continue.”
Bratz said that those who were indicted still need to be prosecuted, and as the investigation is still active and ongoing, additional details related to the alleged crimes cannot be released.
A total of 13 agencies were involved in the investigation. Among the special units within the Delaware State Police that participated were the Sussex, Kent and New Castle County Drug Units; Sussex, Kent and New Castle County Governor’s Task Force Units; Intelligence Unit; and Special Operations Response Team.
Federal agencies that assisted with the investigation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Homeland Security Investigations Unit (HSI) and the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force.
Local and state law enforcement agencies participating included the Department of Correction, Probation & Parole, Georgetown Police Department, Seaford Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, Dover Police Department, Delaware Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement (DATE), Delaware Division of Revenue Criminal Investigative Unit, Dover Downs Casino and Surveillance Unit.
“This investigation targeted a criminal organization responsible for large-scale heroin distribution and money laundering in Kent and Sussex County. The presence of drugs and drug dealers in our communities invariably leads to an increase in crimes such as robberies and thefts and has a significant impact on the health and safety of our communities,” said McQueen.
“The success of this drug investigation would not have been realized if it were not for the cooperation between all of the agencies involved. The large amount of drugs seized and the drug traffickers that were arrested would have continued to plague our communities. Thank you to all of our troopers; all of the federal, state and local agencies; and the Department of Justice for their excellent teamwork and collaboration on this investigation. All of our agencies remain committed to working with our communities to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking throughout the state of Delaware.”
The Delaware State Police are currently investigating bomb threats that they said were called in to four area schools this morning.
Police said the first incident occurred around 11:09 a.m. this morning, Monday, May 23, when an unknown male suspect allegedly called East Millsboro Elementary School, located at 29346 Iron Branch Road, Millsboro, and advised that a bomb was at the school.
The school was evacuated and was then searched by the Millsboro Police Department, Delaware State Police units and school administration. Nothing out of the ordinary or suspicious was located, police said, and staff and students were allowed to resume their daily activities.
The second incident happened about 11:13 a.m. this morning, when a male suspect allegedly placed a phone call to Beacon Middle School, located at 19483 John J. Williams Highway, Lewes, and advised that there was a bomb at the school, police reported.
The school was evacuated and was then searched by responding Delaware State Police units and school administration. Nothing out of the ordinary or suspicious was located, they said, and staff and students were allowed to resume their daily activities.
Police reported that the third incident happened about 11:22 a.m. this morning, when a male suspect allegedly placed a phone call to Polytech High School, located at 823 Walnut Shade Road, Woodside, and advised that there was a bomb at the school.
The school was evacuated and was then searched by responding Delaware State Police K-9 units and school administration, and nothing out of the ordinary or suspicious was located, they said. The students were dismissed by the school, police noted.
The fourth incident happened about 11:33 a.m. this morning, when a male suspect allegedly placed a phone call to Stanton Middle School, located at 1800 Limestone Road, Wilmington, and advised that there was a bomb at the school, police reported.
The school was placed on lockdown and was then searched by responding Delaware State Police units and school administration. Nothing out of the ordinary or suspicious was located, and staff and students were allowed to resume their daily activities, police said.
The four incidents remained under investigation mid-day by the Delaware State Police. They said it was unknown if the bomb threats are related to the series of bomb threats that occurred in February.
If anyone has any information in reference to any of the bomb threats that have occurred, they are being asked to contact Troop 2 Youth Aid Division at (302) 834-2620, Troop 3 Youth Aid Division at (302) 697-4454, or Troop 4 Youth Aid Division at (302) 856-5850. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
Speculation has run rampant over what would happen with the Harris Teeter building near Salt Pond since that company announced they were closing their doors there in February 2015.
Hocker’s has reached an agreement to purchase the property. Gerry Hocker told the Coastal Point the family is most focused on getting their existing stores through the summer season right now, and that nothing is imminent for the new property. He did suggest that expanding the hardware store into the G&E Supermarket near Ocean View could be one possible result of the acquisition.
The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce announced this week that Selbyville’s 59th Annual Old Timer’s Day, presented by Bunting & Murray Construction, will again include a classic car, truck, tractor and military and emergency vehicle show when it returns on June 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Church Street in Selbyville.
Judging will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 3 p.m.
The long-standing event is a tradition in Selbyville, attracting a crowd of car enthusiasts, families and tourists with something for all ages. During the event, Church Street is closed and lined with classic cars, trucks, tractors and military and emergency vehicles from 1985 and older. The occasion also features door prizes, food, vendors, live rock entertainment from the Glass Onion Band and children’s activities, including crafts, pony rides, a moon bounce and an obstacle course.
Participants can register their 1985 or older vehicle for a $10 fee to compete for a range of awards and cash prizes, including Best Interior, Best Exterior and Best Engine Compartment. The family-friendly event is free to spectators. For complete details or to register for the event, visit www.thequietresorts.com.
It took 80 minutes, two golden-goal over times, and seven shots after the game went down to penalty kicks. But the Indian River girls’ soccer team finally took down Tower Hill, 4-1, to advance to the DIAA semi-finals.
Coming off a bye in the first round of the tournament, the No. 1-seeded Indians were tested by the No. 8 Hillers early on.
Coastal Point photos • R. Chris Clark:
“It’s the tournament,” said IR head coach Steve Kilby after the game. “Everybody knows that, if you don’t win, you’re done. They were very well organized and very well coached, but they know what the finality is of this type of game. They weren’t just gonna come out here and lay down for us.”
Missed chances and stellar play from Tower Hill junior keeper Morgan Rollins played a large part in keeping the Indians off the board. However, after reaching the century mark on minutes, IR finally found the net.
Up first in the PK lineup, the Indians went with recent Gatorade Player of the Year recipient Brooke Beam, who had missed a chance just over the top left corner during stoppage time of the second OT. Beam would get some redemption when, without much thinking about it, she sent a casual shot to the bottom right corner, right past Rollins, who could only stand their frozen.
A read by sophomore goalkeeper Fabrea McCray kept the score 1-0 on the ensuing shot, with junior forward Maddie Hogsten lining up to make it 2-0 right after.
Sophomore midfielder Sammi Whelen answered after the Hillers managed their lone score, to make it 3-1. But after a Tower Hill miss wide-right, it was senior midfielder and recent All-State selection Aline Check-Guzman who got the chance to seal the deal.
“I usually always try and hit it in the left corner, usually on the ground,” Check-Guzman said of the shot that went high and left, eventually finding an outstretched glove and bouncing up into the net for the Indians’ fourth and final score.
“It was awesome — I can’t describe the feeling. I’m just so excited, because from the beginning of the season we’ve been talking about this, and now we’re actually doing it.”
The win earned the Indians a bid to the semifinals, where they’ll take on Delaware Military Academy on Wednesday, June 1, and try to get back to the state finals.
No. 5 DMA is coming off a quarter-final win in PKs as well, after a 2-1 upset over No. 4 Newark Charter.
Game time and location for that game has yet to be announced. Stay up to date with the Indians’ state tournament run by following @CPointSports on Twitter, @CoastalPointSports on Instagram, and www.facebook.com/coastalpointsports.
Update: The semi-final match against DMA is set for Wednesday, May 1, at Smyrna High School at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, June 14, people will gather together to pray for local communities at the Sussex County Prayer Breakfast. This year, the Sussex County Prayer Breakfast will host Bill Alexson, son of former Brooklyn Dodger baseball player Andrew “Doc” Alexson.
Bill Alexson played professional basketball in Greece for two years, is the founder of the NBA’s Player’s Chapel program and was chaplain to the Boston Celtics’ for 20 years. He is the founder and president of SportsPower International Inc. and has authored five pro athlete testimonial books.
Alexson presently travels the world with former and current NBA players to encourage youth to make right choices in life through games, clinics, camps, school assemblies and urban outreach. He lives in Baltimore, with his wife, Valerie, and his son Brandon. (More information on Alexson is available at www.SportsPower.org.)
The Sussex County Prayer Breakfast is held each year to bring citizens and community leaders together to pray for the county and be inspired with a morning of music, ministry and personal reflection.
Ticket sales and community sponsorships from individuals, organizations and businesses support the annual event. Former County Councilman Dale Dukes is again volunteering his time to coordinate the event.
Tickets are available at www.SussexPrayerBreakfast.com for $20 each or $150 for a table of eight. The event will be held at Crossroad Community Church in Georgetown on June 14. Breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m., and the ministry and music portion of the program will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m.
For more information, contact Kolby Dukes at (302) 875-7551.
The 12th annual Seaside Craft Show will be held in downtown Bethany Beach on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sponsored by the Bethany Beach Cultural & Historical Affairs Committee, the juried fine crafts show will feature more than 100 fine crafters along the boardwalk, bandstand area, Garfield Parkway and Parkwood Street. Shoppers can purchase jewelry, pottery, home décor, glass, photography, woodwork and more.
The Joe Baione Trio will perform jazz standards from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Baione is one of the few jazz artists to incorporate the vibraphone in his music.
The craft show is a rain-or-shine event. All weather announcements regarding the show will be made on the Town’s website, at www.townofbethanybeach.com.
On the occasion of Warren Harding Mumford’s 95th birthday, the lifelong Bishopville, Md., resident had some stories to tell.
Stories about making the famous “World’s Largest Fry Pan” with his brother Charlie. Stories about serving in the Army during World War II. And stories about dumplings.
Mumford, who was born May 20, 1921, was the guest of honor on Friday, May 20, as family and friends gathered at Doyle’s Restaurant in Selbyville to celebrate his birthday. State Rep. Ronald Gray made an appearance to present Mumford with a proclamation from the state House of Representatives honoring him.
Gray is actually related to Mumford and grew up sharing holidays and special occasions with Mumford and his family. “I don’t know how many oysters we opened at their house,” Gray said. Gray’s mother, Anna Lee Gray, and Mumford’s wife, Agnes, were first cousins.
Gray said his parents, George and Anna Lee Gray, stood up for Warren and Agnes Mumford when the two married in 1946, and Agnes and Anna Lee were roommates together at the University of Delaware before that.
Mumford and his wife were married for 67 years — and, yes, the story of how they met was shared at his birthday celebration by his son, Jeff.
It seems Agnes — whose last name at that time was Long — was walking down the street and tripped on a part of the sidewalk that was lower because it was where coal chutes were emptied. As the story goes, she fell right into the arms of one Warren Mumford. She literally fell for her future husband.
“I consider I was a lucky person to be there,” he said in a previous interview. “Lucky for her and for me. We were married for 67 years,” Mumford said. Agnes Mumford passed away in 2014, at the age of 92.
Mumford is still very much connected to his family’s business, Mumford Sheet Metal Works; he still goes to the plant five days a week, his family said at the party.
His name will forever be linked to what is probably one of the largest cooking vessels ever made: the 10-foot “World’s Largest Fry Pan,” used to fry chicken at Delmarva Chicken Festivals from 1950 to 1988. (A second fry pan, also made by Mumford’s, replaced the original one and was used until the last Delmarva Chicken Festival was held in 2014.)
Mumford’s son Charles recalled that he helped his dad and his uncle cut out the metal for the pan. “Two or three fellows from DPI (Delmarva Poultry Industry) came and asked us to make it,” he said. The pan probably cooked up some business for Mumford’s, as well as the 100 tons of chicken fried in it over the years. “Through the years, it was very beneficial to us, publicity-wise,” Charles Mumford said.
Warren Mumford’s years at the family shop were interrupted by World War II, during which he served with the U.S. Army in Germany. His service was actually deferred for two years because the government needed Mumford’s to keep functioning — the troops needed chickens to eat, and the chicken farmers needed feeding equipment (which was made by Mumford Sheet Metal) in order to keep the chickens fed.
Mumford spoke briefly at his birthday celebration, and mostly about his World War II experiences.
“I was almost killed, but it was not my time,” he said. One time, he explained, a bullet fired by a lone sniper on the opposite side of a river narrowly missed him.
Mumford just missed the historic blowing up of the Ludendorff Bridge by Hitler during the Battle of Remagen, arriving in that area one day later, he said.
The war story that garnered the biggest reaction, though, was the one about the dumplings.
Clearly no stranger to spinning a good yarn, Mumford began, “There were these two girls in Italy,” which brought groans and a few wondering where this story would go. “They made these dumplings that were just so light!” Mumford said. “I asked them what they used to season them to make them taste so good, and they said, ‘Pigeons.’”
“So, I guess you can make dumplings with anything,” Mumford said.
Emotions overcame Mumford for a time as he recalled his wartime days, and also when Gray stopped by to read the tribute to Mumford from the Delaware House of Representatives. Hugging Mumford, Gray said, “I’m so very fond of you. You know I love you.”
Gray said he recalled fondly the many special times the families spent together. Mumford recovered his composure as Gray spoke, and before Gray left, declared to the legislator that “I voted for you!” and thanked him for coming.
The House proclamation — signed by Gray, House Speaker Pete Schwarzkopf and Rep. Rich Collins (R-Selbyville) — sends “best wishes to a special man.”
Signs were a main topic of discussion at this week’s Sussex County Council meeting, as the council held its first public hearing on a proposed ordinance to amend the Code of Sussex County related to signage, as part of what has been a year-long discussion of signage in the county.
While no one spoke in favor of the draft ordinance, many voiced their opposition, including those who served on the signage ordinance working group.
Georgetown attorney David Hutt of Morris James Wilson Halbrook & Bayard LLP spoke on behalf of Clear Channel Outdoor, Geyer Signs, Hocker Signs, Jack Longo Realtors, J.D. Sign Company, Ocean Atlantic, Phillips Signs Inc., Premier Outdoor Media LLC, Rogers Sign Co. Inc. and Timmons Outdoor Advertising.
Hutt — who has been vocal about the County’s sign moratorium, imposed after the issue was raised last year — said there is a disconnect from an April letter sent by the Sussex County Board of Adjustment, asking council to review the sign code “to determine if any changes are required,” and the moratorium on off-premises signs that followed.
“While I am rarely surprised when the actions of our federal government across the Bay Bridge are mysteriously disconnected, it is surprising when local government is this mysterious.”
Hutt said the County would later go against the recommendation of the Planning & Zoning Commission and place a moratorium on applications for off-premises signs.
According to Hutt, the number of applications for off-premises signs coming before the Board of Adjustment has been about nine each year for the last 10 years, with the number of on-premises sign applications being even lower.
However, a working group comprising County staff, commission and board members, along with sign company representatives, DelDOT officials, representatives of the Delaware Homebuilders Association and other stakeholders was formed.
Following a slew of meetings, a joint session of the County Council, the Board of Adjustment Commission and the Planning & Zoning Commission was held in February, at which the recommendations of the working group were “wholly disregarded and set aside,” Hutt said.
“The unfortunate course of this matter is that, every step of the way, what people had hoped would be a valuable tool and resource in the working group, which made numerous recommendations — that these would be followed or at least used as a part of a draft ordinance — when the draft ordinance was introduced a little over a month ago now, it looks nothing like the recommendations that came out of that working group,” he said.
Hutt presented the council with an alternate version of the proposed ordinance, as members of the sign industry had requested, “because of those stark differences between what the working group recommended and what was presented as part of that, and the ordinance that was introduced by council.”
As part of the alternate version, Hutt retained the type of signs “which have more than two faces” or multi-faced signs.
Definitions related to the type of sign include, “Sign copy: The physical sign message including any words, letters, numbers, pictures, logos and symbols,” and “sign face: the surface upon, against or through which the sign copy is displayed or illustrated, not including structural supports, architectural features of a building or sign structure, or decorative trim, or any areas that are separated from the background surface upon which the sign copy is displayed by a distinct delineation, such as a reveal or border.”
Hutt displayed pictures of signage at a number of businesses along Route 1, including the pylon-style Candy Kitchen sign, which has both the business’ logo and an electronic message center that displayed “open daily!” — both of which display on both sides. If the County’s proposed ordinance were to be adopted, that one structure would be considered to house four signs.
“Which would be prohibited, because Subsection N, which says signs that have more than two sign faces” are prohibited, said Hutt, noting that, while the sign as it stands is permitted under the County’s current code, without any variances granted, it would be non-conforming if the County’s draft ordinance were adopted.
Hutt also said that the proposed County ordinance would limit on-premises signs for businesses located between roadways or along two roadways.
“Historically, businesses have put signage on both of the roads on which they front,” said Hutt. However, the County’s proposed ordinance would only allow for one sign.
“The business owner would then have to choose which road frontage they want to advertise the location of their business on.”
In the County’s draft for M Districts, UB Districts, and B-1, C-1 and CR-1 zones, the draft code allows for one on-premises wall, illuminated awning, marquee or projecting sign not to exceed 150 square feet.
Hutt said wall signs have been an issue for the County in the past and showed the council a single side of the Rehoboth Beach Panera Bread building, noting that what is conforming there currently (logo, business name and “drive-thru” signs, and two decorated awnings) would be classified as three to five signs in the County’s proposed ordinance, and would become non-conforming.
Hutt’s alternate ordinance recommends to return to a simple limit of 150 square feet, or 15 percent of a total of the wall area on which the sign(s) is/are located.
As for off-premises signs, the working group recommended two different standards be used — for roads having two travel lanes and roads with more than two travel lanes.
Hutt also called attention to removal of the option to seek variances for off-premises signs and for electronic message centers.
“This is a unique provision. I think this is the first time in Sussex County zoning history that something is found in its zoning code for which a property owner cannot seek a variance. Variances exist for unique situations… It’s impossible for anyone to say today whether or not there is a unique situation that requires a variance for a sign,” he said, calling it a slippery slope for the County to go down.
In terms of electronic message centers, Hutt said it appears when reviewing the County’s proposed ordinance that a fear of those signs exists.
“There shouldn’t be a fear of electronic signs. They’ve existed for many, many years.”
Hutt said that there have been numerous safety studies done by independent organizations, such as the Federal Highway Administration, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.
“There is not one study in which you will find that electronic message centers lead to accidents, that they are unsafe, or anything along those lines.”
The research, he said, shows there is no statistical difference between the time a person looks at a static sign versus a digital sign, adding that glances at digital signs are in the “safe range” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study showed that people look at digital billboards for less than one second, with a dangerous level being 2 seconds. Texting while driving averages 4.6 seconds.
“The present data suggests that drivers in this study directed the majority of their visual attention to the areas of the roadway that were relevant to the task at hand (i.e., the driving task),” stated a December 2013 study done by the Federal Highway Administration on the safety of electronic message centers.
Hutt also said the County should consider adopting footcandles, over NITS, in terms of a lighting measurement standard, as it is easier to check and measure illuminance, and accounts for ambient light, among other pros.
In terms of replacement signs, Hutt also called out the County’s proposed ordinance for removing the ability to replace non-conforming signs that are destroyed by nature.
“That was also not a recommendation of the working group,” he said. “If you had a non-conforming house right now, and Mother Nature saw fit to destroy that house, you would have every opportunity to rebuild that house within 12 months.”
Terry Strine of Investors Realty said that, while he applauds and appreciates the difficult task faced by council, he urged them to adopt the alternate ordinance presented by Hutt, as a property owner who was faced with getting an off-premises sign for his business due to an exceptional practical difficulty.
“There are hardships. There are things that happen,” he said. “We regulate to a fault. It has destroyed businesses; it has driven away growth.”
Ben Phillips of Phillips Sign Co., who served on the working group, said he found the County’s proposed ordinance “very disrespectful” to all those who served in the group.
As for electronic message centers, Phillips said he, like Hutt, didn’t understand the apparent fear of electronic message centers.
“Where is this coming from?” he asked. “I think it comes down to what you personally like and dislike.”
He also made mention of a regulation within the County’s proposed sign ordinance that would prohibit electronic message centers from changing after sunset.
“What about the restaurants, nightclubs?”
“I don’t think anyone here is trying to put anyone out of business,” said Councilman George Cole. “I think there has been some abuses done, with the electronics.”
Cole said most of the complaints he hears regarding the electronic signs is “how ugly” they are.
“That’s their personal opinion,” responded Phillips, adding, “I don’t think this is in the general interest of the public.”
Jason Dean, owner of J.D. Sign Company, who also spoke in favor of the alternate ordinance, said that, in the County’s current code, it prohibits flashing on electronic message boards, as well as playing videos. He said the council may be confused as to the difference between flashing and a transition, which is the seamless movement from one screen to another.
He also said that the biggest sign-related issue within the county is not the code itself, but rather enforcement.
Nancy Chernoff of Clear Channel spoke to the pros of having electronic message centers, some of which included that it’s more eco-friendly and less expensive for the advertiser, and the message can easily be changed.
As for the removal of the provision that would allow a property owner to replace their non-conforming sign in the event of damage due to a natural disaster, Chernoff said that, with the right storm, a great many signs could be destroyed.
“That is pretty much targeted at doing away with billboards over time,” she said, supporting the alternate ordinance.
“It’s hard to believe a bunch of Republicans want more regulations,” said Lynn Rogers of Rogers Sign Co., who also served on the working group and previously on the council itself. He stated his support for the alternate sign ordinance.
Gerry Hocker of Hocker Signs also spoke in favor of the alternate ordinance.
Hocker, who is a business owner, has billboards — both digital and static, old-fashioned reader boards — and on- and off-premises signs.
“We depend very much on the on-premises signage,” he said.
Having recently installed electronic message centers last year, Hocker said they have not once received a complaint about the brightness of the displays.
“They do not flash. That’s not even one of the criteria we can choose,” he said.
While Hocker said his businesses advertise on radio and television, in print and online, “the most important thing we do to get people into our store — you hope you catch them as they’re passing by your business, and you hope to do it in a tasteful manner.”
Hocker added that he personally believed that taking away the possibility of requesting a variance was “property infringement.”
“Being in business, we’re faced with so many obstacles and worry about what our federal government might do to us next. We don’t want to worry about what Sussex County, Del., is doing to us.”
Along with those who spoke in favor of it in person, the County also received three letters in support of the alternate ordinance presented by Hutt.
The County left the record open to allow time for the Council to gather more information. The Planning & Zoning Commission, which held its public hearing for the proposed ordinance earlier in the month, was expected to announce their recommendation to the council on Thursday, May 25, after Coastal Point’s press deadline.
The proposed sign ordinance is expected to return to the county council’s agenda on Tuesday, June 7. The moratorium on off-premises sign application, which was extended in March, is set to expire June 15.
The year is 1985. A young Rebecca Mais has just found out that she didn’t get the job after interviewing for a position at the University of Maryland. The next day, she’ll find out that she’s pregnant.
Mais and her husband, Richard, had already left their posts at the University of South Carolina and were set to relocate in Washington D.C. They were ready for something new. But little did they know then that they’d get more than they’d bargained for when things turned 1986.
Not only was that the year that their first-son, Brandt, was born, in January, but that spring, so was McCabe’s Gourmet Market.
“Rebecca and I laugh — Brandt was born in January, we built an ocean front townhouse that we moved into April 1st, we both left our jobs and then we started the business,” said Richard Mais. “Ten years later, we read a list of the Top 10 reasons people get a divorce, and we had done like seven of them in one year.”
Three decades, another son and a whole lot of chicken salad later, not only are the Maises still going strong, but so is their business.
In fact, on Friday, June 3, McCabe’s will celebrate its 30th anniversary, featuring 30-cent coffee and cookies, 30 percent off 1986 favorites including Turkey Tarragon and Honeycup Mustard, free gifts for every 30th customer, giveaways, gift cards and more.
But while the day is meant to honor customers, former employees and the community that’s made McCabe’s a Bethany-area tradition for so many years, starting out wasn’t exactly a day at the beach for the young couple when they risked their steady paychecks to move back to what was Rebecca’s childhood summer hometown of Fenwick Island.
Rebecca Mais was certainly familiar with Fenwick, with her family tree tracing all the way back to John McCabe — one of the area’s original settlers. Hailing from Kansas City, Mo., however, her husband was used to life in a bigger city.
“I was worried about Richard when we moved here,” admitted Rebecca Mais with a laugh. “I grew up summers in Fenwick — come Labor Day, you locked the doors and you left. Even my grandparents would move back to Roxana.”
Despite his wife’s worries, Richard Mais embraced life in a small town and getting to know what seemed like everyone in it. But getting specialty products delivered to South Bethany back in those days was a different story.
It ain’t easy bein’ cheesey
Modeling McCabe’s after their favorite shop in Columbia, S.C., the Maises set out to fill a much-needed niche and offer some off-the-wall epicurean items, such as pâté, imported cheeses, gourmet coffee and fresh baked goods — eventually going on to include their now-famous sandwiches.
But in order to get the goods, they’d have to get creative.
“It was a struggle, really, to get minor things here,” Rebecca Mais recalled. “We had cheese flown into Salisbury from New York.
“Then we had my dad’s old Toyota truck that was still running — it had a cab on the back and it was burgundy, so we painted ‘McCabe’s’ on it, and my stepdad would ride over there and pick it up.”
“Lower Slower Delaware is still Lower Slower, but in ’86 it was really, really Lower Slower,” added Richard Mais, recalling that most distributors’ closest delivery point at the time had been Wilmington. “A lot of the time, we didn’t have any way to get products.”
While there were, of course, plenty of misadventures on the way to becoming the gourmand guru’s that they are today — including the time that their cheese order accidentally landed in Indianapolis and left the store party platter-less one summer weekend — the newly incorporated newlyweds continued to more or less “MacGyver” ways of making things work.
Much of their early success they attribute to Kurt and Rolph Sexauer of Roger Sexauer & Sons — a pair of brothers in the food distribution business who had recently set up shop in Selbyville.
“We were fortunate, because they had just built their warehouse in Selbyville about the time we opened,” said Richard Mais. “Prior to that, they would drive a tractor-trailer to New York or New Jersey, and then they’d bring food back and sell it right off the truck.”
“We couldn’t have started the store without them,” Rebecca Mais said. “Kurt was always working with us — they’d pull right up and I’d say, ‘OK, I need 10 turkeys!’”
At the time, the only grocery stores around were Hocker’s and a Food Lion in Ocean City, Md., which, in hindsight, didn’t much matter anyway, considering that the alcove operation was building its business model on offering the products not typically offered by the average grocer.
Things did get easier, as the area developed and the store moved from its original York Beach Mall location to the end unit next door in 1996. But even as more vendors entered the area, the Mais’ stayed loyal to Sexhauer & Sons and still are to this day.
Growing up gourmet
While the Sexhauer brothers certainly played a role in the early beginnings, so did the family members, friends and employees who helped watch over the Mais brothers while their mom and dad were at work.
Brandt was, of course, born the same year as the shop, and his younger brother, Peter, some five years later.
They’d eventually go on to learn top-secret chicken salad recipes and develop a justifiable dread for dishwashing, but, back then, it took a team to juggle running both a budding business and hectic young household.
“In the summer, we took them up to my mom and stepdad’s, and they’d stay there,” Rebecca Mais recalled. “They did lots of babysitting for us.”
“When they would go Boogie Boarding, she would freak when they went out past the wave break, so it wasn’t much fun going to Grandma’s,” Richard Mais added with a laugh. “It was nice for me personally, because we’d split the day. Rebecca was home with the kids in the morning, and I had them home in the afternoon, so I spent a lot more time with my kids than I think a lot of dads get to.”
Even some of the McCabe’s employees would ditch their aprons to sign up for a babysitting shift every now and again, so that Brandt and Peter could swim out past the breakers without getting scolded, and give Grandma the day off.
Since the shop stays open for the majority of the off-season, during the school year, the bus would simply drop them off at the store, where they’d have a snack and start their homework before Brandt sorted the recycling and Peter tried to duck doing the dishes.
“Peter was helping me one day and he goes, ‘I like helping you, Dad — you do all the easy work,’” Richard Mais joked. “He lucked out. He had a buddy that lived across the street, so he often was able to go over there and hang out.”
When they were old enough, they started helping keep shop themselves, and the Maises would hire the boys’ friends from school and River Soccer Club — which Rebecca also runs, as the club’s president.
“Matt Poly in high school — he was one of Brandt’s friends — he would give out his number to cute girls while he was working the cash register,” Richard Mais recalled. “I’d count the register at the end of the day, and it’d be over because of a phone number.”
Both brothers are now grown, with Brandt teaching and coaching soccer at Indian River High School and River Soccer Club, and Peter at Salisbury University.
But just because they were direct descendants of the owners doesn’t mean that they were the only McCabe’s employees who got treated like family.
‘The Bagel Bunch’
One of those now-former employees, is Shari Burke — who, after making the move from Philadelphia, found a job right away when she stopped at McCabe’s back in 1992.
After meeting Richard and Rebecca and hitting it off, Burke joined the McCabe’s crew at the old shop and even managed the new location back in 1996.
“It was just like a big family — it was so fun to go to work,” Burke said. “We had a blast — we hung out, after work we would all go out — I still keep in touch with the people that I worked with there.”
From local kids looking for a summer job to former corporate kingpins and government officials not quite ready to retire, the extended McCabe’s family is a tough demographic to slap a label on. But as Burke described, they all do have one thing in common.
“We close for two months in the winter, and the staff hates it. They’d rather be here. It’s always been that way,” Richard Mais said. “Some of our best customers are now former employees. Initially, a lot of our summer workers were kids whose families had houses in the area. As they’ve grown older, they had families of their own, so they’re still coming back.”
In 2011, McCabe’s’ hired its first international employee, which they’ve continued to do ever since — offering up one of their rental properties in Fenwick to travelers from around the globe and even lending them out a car so that they can get to work.
Just like any of their other employees, the Maises, of course, grew close with their new foreign friends, even taking some off-season trips to Croatia and beyond for weddings, special events, or simply just to visit.
“They bring so much to the store — not only for our staff, but for our customers,” Rebecca Mais said, noting that they recently hired their now-50th foreign student for the summer. “More than anything is the relationship. We love to travel and travel a lot, but it’s always fun when it’s about people.”
Let the Gouda times roll
While there’ll be plenty of stories about the good ol’ days when the store hosts its 30th anniversary celebration next Friday, McCabe’s is, at the same time, ready for the next 30 years in business, catering to the customers who have made it all possible.
“Being a part of the community is very motivating to us,” said Rebecca Mais. “We really have loyal, wonderful customers. They’ve grown up with us.
“They’ve listened to us yak about our boys and what they’re doing, and we talk about their grandchildren and children. This is such a great place to raise a family.”
The community, feels the same way.
“Richard and Rebecca are just the best people in the world to work for,” said Burke. “They’re just so personable. They make friends with everyone. I think that’s a big reason why everyone comes back — everybody just loves them.”
McCabe’s 30th anniversary celebration is an all-day event being held on Friday, June 3, starting at 7 a.m. Past employees, longtime customers and new customers are all being encouraged to attend. The store is located at 34444 Coastal Highway, in York Beach Mall in South Bethany. For more on McCabe’s, visit www.mccabesgourmet.com or call (302) 539-8550.
Corey Dietrich went to Penn State University to study criminal justice.
During the summer of his freshman year, though, his career path took a bit of a turn.
Like many college students, Dietrich took a job at a summer camp, where he worked for his former high school wrestling coach. There, he discovered that he really enjoyed working with children — and his wrestling coach recognized that Dietrich was good at it.
“He was looking at me like, ‘Why are you studying that?’” Dietrich said of his coach’s thoughts on his original major. Dietrich, too, saw that he needed to change his major.
Now 15 years into his teaching career, Dietrich was named Teacher of the Year at Phillip Showell Elementary School in Selbyville last month.
“I was excited,” he said of the moment he found out he had been chosen for the honor. He added, however, that he considers himself most lucky to be working at Showell, where, he said, “This school, as far as leadership and the teachers — I don’t know that I’ve ever worked somewhere where the team was so strong.”
A second-grade teacher at Showell, Dietrich’s focus is math and science. He leads the science team at the school, a responsibility he relishes. He said he sees the responsibility of teachers — and science teachers, in particular — as “teaching them to be better thinkers.” He is a member of Next Generation Science Standards, through which he attends monthly training sessions in the latest trends in teaching science and then shares them with his fellow teachers.
Dietrich said there is “no such thing” as a typical day in his classroom of 19 students. That’s OK with him. His biggest challenge?
“It’s just…time,” he said. “You want to give everyone that individual attention; you want to make all your lessons engaging,” and he finds that, some days, there are just not enough hours.
Overall, Dietrich said, his favorite thing about teaching is making a difference — even for just one child. “There’s always that one kid, that kid that you somehow feel like you made a difference” for them, even just for one day.
While the day-to-day learning process is exciting, Dietrich said the larger picture is just as important to him as a teacher.
“The biggest impact I can have is to have a kid leave school with a good feeling about it,” he said. “It’s very empowering. More important than what we do is what they believe they can do.”
A father of two girls — an eighth-grader and a sixth-grader — Dietrich said being a parent makes him a better teacher, because now he understands the struggles that families go through every day.
“Having kids really does impact the way you teach,” he said.
A native of Allentown, Pa., Dietrich graduated from Penn State and is now working toward his master’s degree in leadership at Wilmington University.
“I’m doing it gradually,” he said. He has always taught either second or fourth grade, beginning his career in Annapolis, Md., and then moving to Milford, where he taught for six years before coming to Phillip Showell.
During the Indian River School District’s Teacher of the Year dinner last month, tributes were presented for each of the district’s teachers nominated from its elementary, middle and high schools. Four of Dietrich’s students contributed their collective opinion that “Mr. Dietrich is the best teacher we’ve ever had!” His colleagues, meanwhile, had more to say about Dietrich.
Co-workers praised his “dedication to students, a passion for teaching and learning that goes beyond the classroom and a commitment to excellence are all characteristics that Mr. Dietrich embodies. He truly cares for his students and strives to instill his excitement and passion for learning into every child.”
His fellow teachers also said in their video presentation that Dietrich is “kind and generous” and praised his attitude toward his students. “He speaks to them with compassion and respect. He encourages his students to strive and take pride in all that they do. … He is not only an educator, but a true improver of the community.”