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Articles on this Page
- 06/09/16--10:00: _Classic car show ro...
- 06/09/16--11:33: _Drivers cautioned t...
- 06/09/16--13:38: _Candidates can regi...
- 06/09/16--13:50: _Keep a leash on it:...
- 06/09/16--14:12: _Local emergency ser...
- 06/09/16--14:18: _Selbyville has wate...
- 06/09/16--14:20: _Fenwick Island trie...
- 06/09/16--14:28: _Frankford Town Coun...
- 06/09/16--14:30: _Shorter than expect...
- 06/09/16--14:33: _Fenwick talks money...
- 06/09/16--14:35: _County officials co...
- 06/16/16--08:40: _Summer events for t...
- 06/16/16--10:52: _International stude...
- 06/16/16--13:05: _Delaware Seashore S...
- 06/16/16--13:36: _Things we love – Ju...
- 06/16/16--13:50: _Don’t add a trip to...
- 06/16/16--13:54: _VFW chicken shack r...
- 06/16/16--14:24: _‘She made us feel h...
- 06/16/16--15:08: _Millsboro Children’...
- 06/16/16--15:09: _Boardwalk Arts Fest...
- 06/09/16--10:00: Classic car show rolling into Selbyville on June 18
- 06/09/16--11:33: Drivers cautioned to watch out for terrapins crossing area roads
- 06/09/16--13:38: Candidates can register for 2016 FI election
- 06/09/16--13:50: Keep a leash on it: Millville passes dog-control ordinance
- 06/09/16--14:12: Local emergency services, law enforcement train together
- 06/09/16--14:18: Selbyville has water violation, approves water/sewer increase
- 06/09/16--14:20: Fenwick Island tries to protect trees from fatal pest
- 06/09/16--14:28: Frankford Town Council discusses budget shortfall
- 06/09/16--14:30: Shorter than expected, Route 54 sidewalks still an improvement
- 06/09/16--14:33: Fenwick talks money, approves budget and fire company fee
- 06/09/16--14:35: County officials continue signage discussions
- 06/16/16--08:40: Summer events for teens and tweens at the South Coastal Library
- 06/16/16--10:52: International students invited to picnic at St. Martha’s
- 06/16/16--13:36: Things we love – June 17, 2016
- 06/16/16--13:50: Don’t add a trip to the emergency department this vacation
- 06/16/16--13:54: VFW chicken shack reopens, with help from strangers
- 06/16/16--14:24: ‘She made us feel happy when we came to school’
- 06/16/16--15:08: Millsboro Children’s Parade to celebrate Yankee Doodle
- 06/16/16--15:09: Boardwalk Arts Festival adds arts and antiques tour
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.
Drivers are being urged to use extra caution when traveling Delaware’s coastal highways through June and July. As the summer gets under way, female Diamondback terrapins are crossing Route 1 to lay their eggs in the soft sand of the ocean dunes, and many are killed in the process.
“The dune area along Route 1 in Delaware Seashore State Park is one of the state’s prime terrapin nesting areas,” explained Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the CIB. “Because female terrapins mature late and have a long reproductive lifespan, the loss of a single female means the loss of many years of potential offspring.”
Boswell said those who come across a turtle attempting to cross the highway should first ensure their own safety, then pick the terrapin up by the sides and place her on the bay side, behind the turtle fencing. Unlike snapping turtles, she said, terrapins are very gentle, although they may squirm and kick their clawed feet. “It is very important not to drop her,” Boswell said.
The diamondback terrapin is listed as a species of concern in Delaware, and for years the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) has installed and repaired fencing along Route 1 to prevent the terrapins from crossing the roadway. But some still manage to find their way through or around the barrier.
Sandy beaches around the Inland Bays also provide nesting areas for terrapins, but in many areas, sandy shorelines have been lost where bulkheads or riprap have been installed to prevent erosion, Boswell noted. As an alternative to bulkheads and riprap, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays recommends installing a “living shoreline.”
That method of shore stabilization preserves natural beauty, and also protects the shoreline from erosion by reducing wave energy, trapping sediment to re-build the shore edge, and providing food, nesting and feeding areas for many birds and marine animals, including the diamondback terrapin.
To learn more about diamondback terrapins, and what can be done to protect them, visit www.inlandbays.org/diamondback-terrapin. To learn more about living shorelines, visit www.inlandbays.org/livingshorelines.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays and its watershed. With its many partners, the CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays, the water that flows into them and the watershed around them.
Candidates can now throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Fenwick Island Town Council election, scheduled for Aug. 6. The three seats up for election are currently held by Gardner Bunting, Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling.
Candidates must register by June 22 at 4:30 p.m. Forms are available at Town Hall.
Candidates must be a U.S. resident; 21 by Election Day; a qualified voter for at least one year prior to the election; either a bona fide resident or property owner in the municipality; and never convicted of a felony.
Official election details will be published by the second weekend in July.
Voters must be registered at Town Hall to vote. Registration is currently open, and forms are available online or by contacting Town Hall. The deadline to register in person at Town Hall is June 30. The deadline to register by mail is July 8.
Eligible voters must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 by election day. Voters can either be a town resident; a non-resident property owner on the deed as of March 1; or the designated voter for an artificial entity (only one per trust or LLC), as authorized by notarized power-of-attorney. Owners of multiple properties still only get one vote.
Absentee voting will be permitted.
The 2016 Board of Election was appointed on May 27: Inspector Audrey Serio, and judges Faye Horner and Carl McWilliams. On that day, the town council also approved removal of about a dozen people from the voter rolls, for reasons including death.
Details of the election are available thought Town Hall, online at www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov, by calling (302) 539-3011, or sending mail to 800 Coastal Hwy.; Fenwick Island, DE 19944.
Millville has a new leash law for dogs, starting immediately, after the town council unanimously approved Ordinance 17-03 at their May 24 workshop.
“It’s minor. It’s just for dogs being on a leash,” said Councilman Steve Maneri.
Dogs aren’t allowed to run free on public or private property in Millville now, unless a property owner has given permission. Basically, the new Chapter 41 of the town code forbids any dog from being unrestrained when off its owner’s property.
That does not apply to specially trained companion dogs or police dogs when they are engaged in their official duties.
Millville is starting to get a lot more property owners, which means a lot more dogs, said Maneri.
“We really don’t have [a law]. We go underneath the County’s. I feel we should have our own,” Maneri explained.
The move seemed especially timely for the council as the Town begins planning a new municipal park. What if a dog were to jump on or bite someone? Maneri hypothesized.
“We’ve seen two large dogs roaming around in this area, and if we think we know who the owners are, we can call, and we can do something,” Town Manager Debbie Botchie explained.
Any complaints could be directed to Millville Code Enforcement Constable Eric Evans, or straight to Delaware Animal Services at (302) 255-4646.
Millville’s penalty for a dog not being on a leash is not specifically stated in this ordinance, so it falls under other code violations: a fine of up to $1,000 for each offense, plus with the costs of prosecution.
Cats weren’t included because they’re different, said Botchie. Most people don’t put cats on a leash, and there are more feral cats locally.
Last week, the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and the Bethany Beach Police Department, along with the Ocean View Police Department and South Bethany Police Department, joined together for a three-day training session on tactical emergency casualty care (TECC).
“It’s for active-violence-type situations, such as a school shooter event, any type of mass casualty incident where we might have a lot of patients,” explained Brian Martin, fire chief of the BBVFC. “We have a lot of events here in the Bethany area — 5Ks, triathlons, Fourth of July events, that type of stuff. So, we’ve begun the process of being prepared for some type of act of violence or hostile situation.”
Martin said law enforcement officers, fire officials and emergency medical personnel were working together to learn how to better deal with such a situation, if it were to occur.
“It’s sort of a national trend that’s just starting to take hold, with all the acts of violence across the country. The fire and EMS community is beginning to learn that it’s important to get first-responders to the patients as soon as possible.”
Martin noted that the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 taught emergency officials that the sooner emergency medical attention can get to those in need, the better chance for a positive outcome.
“There were patients there that weren’t given EMS care quick enough because the police were still securing the area,” he said. “So we’re looking at changing those tactics and trying to get people emergency care a little quicker than we have in the past.”
The company overseeing the three-day TECC training is based out of Arlington, Va., and has a great deal of experience, said Martin.
“They’re very diverse in their instructor knowledge. They have an emergency-room physician, a combat veteran who’s an instructor. They do a lot with the government and military instructing. They’re very knowledgeable; the instruction is great.”
Martin said the first day of training was spent mostly in the classroom, giving some basic knowledge, with the second day focusing on more hands-on applications of what was learned. On the third day, a smaller group of individuals participated in the “training the trainer” education.
“Today, it’s a 10-person group, and we’re teaching those 10 people how to instruct other groups of people, so we can pass along the information to other people in the fire company and police department.”
Working with neighboring agencies and ensuring the public will be taken care of effectively and efficiently is of the utmost importance, said Martin. Therefore, having training sessions like the TECC training is critical.
“Working with other local police departments, we will be training on it frequently, like all the other tasks we perform. This will become another task that we train on,” he said.
“If we were unlucky enough to have an incident, the first people who are going to be responding are probably the police. Then, when we get there as fire and EMS, we’re going to have to work with them in order to get to the patients. It’s important that we understand what their job is and they understand what we need to do, so that we can work together.
“Working with the police is paramount. We can’t do our job unless they’re there, and vice-versa,” he said.
Selbyville is building a new water-treatment system to help remove chemicals from town water. But until the plant is completed in April of 2017, the Town risks water quality violations, such as the one they just received from the Division of Public Health.
Tests at 73 Main Street have shown Selbyville’s water had elevated levels of total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), a disinfection byproduct.
The state standard is a maximum of 80 parts-per-billion, but the recent four-quarter average in Selbyville was 124 ppb.
This is not an emergency, Councilman Rick Duncan Sr. told the town council on June 6. “The water is safe to drink.”
Residents do not need to boil their water or take other corrective actions, he said. However, the Town had 14 days to contact residents on the south Main Street line.
TTHMs may present increased risks to infants, the elderly or those with other medical problems. Prolonged exposure to TTHMs can affect the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and cancer risks.
These were the last four TTHM samples at south Main Street:
• 145.6 ppb on June 30, 2015;
• 153.2 ppb on Sept. 21, 2015;
• 98.1 ppb on Dec. 9, 2015; and
• 98.5 ppb on March 24, 2016;
Of the four water testing sites, south Main Street has long suffered from water impurities. During past water inspections, the Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water has found that the Shady Grove neighborhood had almost no chlorine (a common disinfectant). Instead, the water had elevated levels of TTHMs, a byproduct of chorine disinfectants.
TTHMs form when water sits stagnant in the system for too long. But the southern water pipe ends in a dead end, and there’s no heavy use there, Duncan said. So water sits around, waiting for a faucet to turn on.
After a week of flushing, Duncan said, the Town will ask for a resample, and they hope they’ll be back in compliance.
“The new plant will, hopefully, eliminate these violations,” Duncan said.
Selbyville is building the system to supplement the existing water plant. The filters are simple: two basic air-stripping towers, around 30 feet tall. In the columns, water flows down, while air is pumped upward. Volatile organics (such as some trihalomethanes and gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether, or MTBE) evaporate when they touch air, so the exposure to air pulls them from the water.
Building the plant should essentially be free, as Selbyville received $2,526,300 from the Delaware Drinking Water Revolving Fund for the project. Officially, that is a loan with 0 percent interest that will be 100 percent forgiven when the water filtration system is complete.
But where money runs thin, the council this week also approved an application to request an additional $500,000 Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant from USDA.
Construction is on schedule, although designs and permits took more than a year longer than expected. The foundations have been laid, and builders are hoisting walls into place, said engineer Jason Loar of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc.
Anyone with questions can contact Selbyville Town Hall at (302) 436-8314.
In other Selbyville Town Council news:
• Sewer and water prices will increase this year. The town council approved a residential rate increase of $1 per month. Water customers living outside of town limits pay a staggered rate of approximately 1.2 times the residential rate. Their rates will also increase proportionally.
• Public Works is repairing some water meters that have shown inaccuracies lately.
• June 18 is the Old Timer’s Day festival, hosted downtown from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again featuring a show of vintage and antique vehicles, as well as fun and games for the whole family.
• A Delaware State Police car chase recently led through town, but the Selbyville Police Department deployed stop sticks and apprehended the suspect during a foot chase. Police Chief W. Scott Collins complimented the officers and said “things are picking up” for summer.
• Beyond the annual Old Timer’s Day event, classic cars are coming full-time to downtown Selbyville. The town council approved a zoning conditional-use for Rick Danzi at 88 W. Church Street. He’s already begun upgrading the three lots to open a classic car workshop and display. That will likely be the future of his auto business when he retires or downsizes the Danzi Brothers business on Route 113.
It will not be a regular repair shop or used car lot. But up to 15 classic cars may be displayed there at any given time. “Not bigger than what I have out there,” he said. He may also host antique or show car cruise-ins.
• Town hall needs a new roof, so the town council accepted the $17,409 bid (plus any add-ons) from Empire Construction Group in Milton to replace the roof.
• The Town is seeking a new town administrator, as Michael Deal looks forward to retiring.
• Mountaire was observed to have unhitched trailers carrying live chickens at its plant in the town, which “is not what we agreed to” in a Town agreement, said Councilman Frank Smith III.
“That does happen,” Mountaire’s Jay Griffith said, promising to look into that complaint, plus questions of why chickens in cages were recently seen sitting on the ground at the plant.
The next Selbyville Town Council meeting has been rescheduled for July 11 at 7 p.m.
In the back yard of an attractive beach house in Fenwick Island, Mary Ellen Langan opened a large hunting knife and began scraping at the solid branch of a pine tree.
She was looking for a blue stain among the light tan wood. That would be proof that the dead tree had suffered from an infection caused by an insect.
Some of Fenwick Island’s black pine trees have died quickly this winter, infected by a contagious microscopic nematode carried by beetles.
“These beetles and nematodes spread from tree to tree. So if you drive around town, you can see a lot of these dead and dying trees,” said Langan, head of the municipality’s Environmental Committee. “The only way to stop it is to take these trees down immediately. [Otherwise,] it’s going to spread.”
“There is no known treatment,” said Laura Yowell, a Sussex County forester for the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.
“Pinewood nematode lives in the wood of the infected trees. It’s transmitted by a pine sawyer beetle. Both are native pests,” she noted, which can live in native trees without causing any trouble but can also be fatal for some non-native trees.
First, beetles find and feed on the weakened trees. They carry the nematode, which gets under tree. About 95 percent of the time, people can see the blue stains indicating a fungus the nematodes carry.
“You have to cut into a limb. If you see a blue stain under the bark, there’s evidence there’s a nematode,” Langan said.
The dead and rusted branches will stand out among the springtime greenery.
“If you have a black pine, if it went from alive to dead in a very short amount of time, this is what it is,” Yowell said. “It’s a tough one to fight. It really is.”
“These trees need to come down,” Langan has been saying all winter.
Officially, the only way to diagnose these trees is through the University of Delaware lab, but Yowell said that’s hardly necessary, “because any black pine that suddenly dies is probably this.”
Only non-native pines are being affected by this sudden wilting, browning and death.
However, those symptoms shouldn’t be confused with regular windburn, which Yowell described as the sudden browning of needles that clears up after a few months.
Keep ’em safe
Trees are considered valuable at the beach. They anchor the sand, block wind, protect houses from storms, buffer noise and generally add depth in a town where houses often fill almost the entire lot.
But, ultimately, black pines are a non-native species, and they can’t withstand the Delaware insects.
“They were planted here because they do pretty well in the poor soils that you have, and they grow really well,” Yowell explained.
The native loblolly pine is more resilient against pine wilt, she noted.
But prevention is possible. Black pines are vulnerable when stressed (and they’re always stressed in a sandy saltwater environment), so they need some love to stay healthy. They can be watered during dry spells, and people can avoid damaging their roots when digging nearby.
If the infection strikes, however… “It must be removed and completely destroyed. … You can’t just cut it down and leave it,” Yowell said.
The bugs will still infect a downed log, so the wood must be completely destroyed, by chipping, mulching or burning. But the stump and roots can remain behind.
“A lot of people are taking them down, which is great,” Langan said during a May tour of the town.
Langan had estimated about 30 sick trees in town, though it’s hard to tell without trespassing on private property. But once a person starts looking for dead trees, they’re easier to spot.
Where possible, the Environmental Committee has already contacted some people, encouraging them to remove infected trees on their lots. Of course, committee volunteers are limited to the trees they can see from the road.
In her effort to educate, Langan has gotten both support and the stink-eye. Removing trees isn’t exactly cheap and easy, but it will save the others.
“If your neighbor has a dead tree on their property, would you please tell them to remove it?” she suggested. “Otherwise, it’s going to kill all the other trees in the vicinity.”
“As soon as the weather started improving, people start coming down” for spring maintenance, Langan said. “We want to educate the public about this problem and let them know, if they have an infected tree, all of trees on the property could be affected, too.”
And their neighbors’ trees.
“The pines look nice, but they also have a role to play in this community,” Councilwoman Julie Lee said after Yowell’s talk. “Better to take them down than to have the whole town devoid of pine trees.”
“They’re very important to the town because they protect the town. It’s important that we save them,” Langan said.
Anyone with questions can contact Fenwick Island Town Hall staff, who will pass the message to Langan.
The Town of Frankford held its first public hearing for the 2017-fiscal-year budget on June 2.
Property owner Kathy Murray, who sat on the Budget Committee, reported to the council that the group met nine times, and had met with each council member regarding the town departments they oversee.
Murray also said that the committee “has evidence to prove” the budgets for the Town in previous years were not balanced.
“As a result, this current sitting council has more financial challenges,” she said. “They are now in the position where they are to make tough financial decisions going forward.”
For General Fund revenue, the proposed budget lists a total of $334,540 — with the most revenue coming from taxes, at $111,500, followed by trash income at $75,000.
As for expenditures, the proposed budget shows a total of $379,029, which could put the Town in a $44,489 deficit.
Councilman Marty Presley said the council has some ideas about how to make up the deficit.
“Some are easy; some are not easy,” he said.
Presley mentioned looking into increasing water rates and property taxes. He also said that, with the J.P. Court building being vacated by that tenant at the end of the year, the council should look into potential income from renting that commercial space. Other options discussed included being more aggressive in collecting back-due accounts, and identifying and applying for all grant opportunities.
Presley said the Town is feeling the pinch after Mountaire Farms had stopped using Town water for making feed, choosing to use well water instead, “leaving us hanging” on user charges — a decrease of approximately $10,000 in revenue per year.
“So, for $10,000 a year, we’re allowing them to run 18-wheelers up and down our roads. They have access to 113, a major artery — that’s why they want to be here.
“We had a gentlemen’s agreement for the last 15 to 20 years that we would allow this feed mill plant to be in the middle of our town, with all the inherent dangers, smells, demands on water system, the demands on our police department…
“In your discussion with them, in my discussion with them, they’ve made it very clear, it’s a dollars-and-cents issue… For $10,000, why do we want the feed mill in the middle of our town that goes completely against our comprehensive plan?”
Presley went on to ask if the council would want “to make it difficult for them to be in our town because they went against a gentlemen’s agreement?”
“Do you have an attorney involved?” asked Murray.
“We’re trying to get one. He hasn’t been too responsive…” replied Councilman Greg Welch. “Maybe he’ll step up and start doing something.”
Presley said the council has a number of options to put pressure on Mountaire, including creating an ordinance to prevent future wells from being dug and looking into the zoning of the property, along with the possibility of a heavy industry tax.
“I don’t want to — excuse my language — whore ourselves out for $10,000 a year. I think we can do some other things and put pressure on them.”
At the council’s monthly meeting on June 6, representatives from Mountaire were in attendance.
“We would like to continue to purchase all of fire suppression and potable water from the town,” said Sam Parker, plant manager.
Murray said one of the reasons given for Mountaire’s change to well water for feed production was water quality.
“Yet I don’t recall … Mountaire coming to these meetings and voicing that same concern to the council in a public forum. Who did you present that to?”
Justin Tomlinson of Mountaire said that those concerns were directly relayed to the Town’s water liaison.
“We feel they should’ve been presented in writing to the council, so there would’ve been a record of it,” said Welch.
A second public hearing for the Town’s 2017 budget will be held on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. in the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s dining hall.
In other town news:
• Denise MacLeish, community program director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, spoke to the council at the June 6 meeting regarding the grant the Town applied for regarding a feasibility study and environmental report of the Town’s water system.
“It can include future improvements, as well as identify what needs to be done presently. Once that report is completed, it would give the Town the opportunity to work with the USDA, and possibly state agencies, to provide funding for future improvements to the Town’s water system.”
MacLeish presented the council with a letter of intent to meet conditions and an obligation document that they will need to complete before anything moves forward.
Once those are returned, “We’re ready to move on it,” she said.
• Police Chief Michael Warchol said the Department of Highway Safety contacted him to see if the department had any funding requests for equipment. He requested monies for a speed trailer and said if they could find the funding, the Town would receive one.
• An executive session will be held on June 16, at which time the council will discuss hiring someone to replace Warchol, who plans to leave the Town, possibly in the fall.
Warchol said he’s had some inquiries already about the position and will speak with the council regarding avenues to advertise the opening.
• The council agreed to bring in a commercial Realtor to look at the Justice of the Peace building, as the court will be moving next year, to get their opinion on the viability of renting the building to another tenant.
Route 54 isn’t very pedestrian-friendly. Near Fenwick Island, the two-lane road is narrow, with shoulders, but lacking sidewalks or a center turn lane. Joggers and cyclists must share the road shoulders with regular traffic travelling at least 35 mph.
But the Delaware Department of Transportation has now revealed plans to add sidewalks and street lighting along a short stretch of the north side of Route 54, from Route 1 (Coastal Highway) to the Route 54 Walgreens (officially, Beacon Drive).
“This project has been needed for a long time,” said State Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. (R-Ocean View), saying he started working toward it 10 years ago.
The project is being sponsored through the state legislature by Hocker and state Rep. Ron Gray (R-Selbyville) on behalf of local residents, but it is being administered by DelDOT for professional and technical support.
Sidewalks already exist directly in front of that shopping center. The new 5-foot-wide sidewalk will be 0.28 miles long, running from the shopping center to Viking Golf & Water Park, where a sidewalk already takes pedestrians to the Route 1 intersection.
But at the June 6 public information session, some residents said they felt that the most dangerous aspect of Route 54 still isn’t being addressed. Although the sidewalk project will allow people to walk safely inland from the highway, people still run across Route 54, north or south, presumably from the neighboring developments to the drug store and restaurant.
In 2013, two men crossing Route 54 at night were fatally hit by a Jeep just east of Dukes Avenue. But the sidewalk won’t extend that far.
Also, DelDOT officials don’t want to build a crosswalk there on Route 54 for other safety reasons. They only want a crosswalk where vehicles expect to stop, such as at a traffic signal. Additionally, there’s nothing really to connect a crosswalk to, as the south side of Route 54 has no sidewalks there.
“It’s a great first phase,” said Gray, adding that he was “delighted” with the plans but looks forward to an expansion in the future.
Projects like this have a $1 million price limit, and the funds available were basically depleted with 1,500 feet of sidewalk because of the engineering required.
“This seems like a very simple construction project, but underneath there’s a very complex drainage system,” said Sonia Marichic-Goudy, highway engineer for design contractor McCormick Taylor Inc.
To minimize land acquisition costs, sidewalks are to be built as close to the roadway as possible. But the drainage ditches they’ll cover are important to stormwater management for this flood-prone strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay.
In a more environmentally-friendly design, underground pipes will replace the ditches and then be covered with sidewalk. The pipes will be perforated and surrounded by gravel, so stormwater will seep into the earth, rather than washing straight out to the canals. Like a rain garden, the system will allow soil to naturally filter harmful nutrients out of the water. The pipes will still connect to two existing canal drainage pipes.
Some folks want even more safety improvements but, for now, “People haven’t had issues with [the project] because it’s adding safety and traffic improvements,” said Stefan Rukowicz, of McCormick Taylor Inc.
The price estimate for the project was $920,000, but that will likely increase, due to some drainage design changes. The project falls under the Transportation Alternatives Program, a federal initiative to improve roadway safety and accessibility. The feds pay the majority of the 80/20 cost-share. The remaining funds are a mix of Delaware Community Transportation Funds (special funds each legislator can access for local road projects) and DelDOT’s own TAP contribution fund.
“The price to get this project done is well worth it when you’ve seen deaths and many close calls,” Hocker said. “It’s a very dangerous place; it’s very dark. There’s loss of bicycle traffic, a lot of foot traffic.”
Because it’s a community-driven project, the easements must be donated. DelDOT is still confirming a few more needed rights-of-way.
“This is prime real estate, and we could not really expect people to donate readily,” which is another reason to build the sidewalks near the road, said Marichic-Goudy.
There is no particular change to bicycle access, as cyclists will continue using a shared roadway shoulder. There will also be no change to the intersection of Routes 1 and 54.
DelDOT contracted McCormick Taylor Inc. to design the plans, but a low-bidding contractor will build the project.
Design of the project began about two years ago, but the designers had to regroup when state stormwater regulations changed. They’re expected to be done by early fall, with a project construction timeline of four to six months during the off-season — either this winter or next winter.
Sometimes the canal’s tide gate is closed, so water can’t escape the ditches. With that hindrance, the construction team will aim to find ways to make up the lost time.
Construction will eventually require lane closures, with flaggers directing traffic, although they’ll use two 10-foot lanes when possible.
Money talks, and the Fenwick Island Town Council talked money at their May 27 meeting.
The council approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Plan, with a balanced budget of $2,026,775.
There have been no real estate property tax rate increases in more than a decade for Fenwick’s 817 properties, including Town properties
Some properties may pay slightly different tax rates, based on when the house was assessed.
“Our assessment is significantly different for Fenwick and Sussex County, and that happened when we replaced our house,” said Mayor Gene Langan. “Fenwick reassessed us, and the County didn’t. That’s why there’s a difference.”
Some of Fenwick’s biggest revenue sources are property taxes ($682,000), gross rental receipts tax ($275,000), realty transfer tax ($274,000) and building permit fees ($175,000), totaling about $1.4 million, or 69 percent of the budget.
Salaries and associated employee costs are Fenwick’s largest chunks of the expense side of the budget: police (27.5 percent), administration (15.9 percent), lifeguards (12.7 percent) and public works (9 percent).
Lifeguard costs jumped up by about $30,000 this year because Fenwick added about nine days of coverage, plus $1,200 for the junior lifeguard camp. Town Manager Merritt Burke IV said the Town is paying the market rate to attract good talent but not overpay.
Fenwick will have another year of 24/7 public safety coverage, despite ever-increasing employee costs.
Fenwick is still offering competitive salaries and professional growth opportunities to staff, to encourage high level of customer service, Burke said. Meanwhile, they’re still applying for grants.
“I’m not sure of many projects that have been paid for with 100 percent local money since I’ve been here,” Burke said.
“I think we’re one of the only towns that doesn’t hire a lot of seasonal administrative staff, which is a challenge,” and sometimes more is needed, he said.
The budget process included two public meetings, and Burke thanked the citizens who commented and asked questions.
Approving the fire fee
The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company recently requested emergency funding for a paid firefighters program. Concerned with the potential for future shortages of volunteer firefighters, the BBVFC wants to ensure they’re adequately staffed all summer. Only about eight of the air-pack certified volunteers can get to the fire hall in a timely manner during summer, Burke said.
The fire company wants one paid employee to be present 24 hours a day from May 1 to Sept. 30, using 25 part-time staffers.
The BBVFC has requested funding from the four biggest entities in their coverage area — the ones who already assess a yearly fee to property owners for ambulance service from the fire company: the towns of Fenwick Island, South Bethany and Bethany Beach, and the Sea Colony development.
The Fenwick town council agreed to pay $4,679 of the $42,824 price tag for the full-time paid firefighter coverage, based on their share of the population.
“This is one-time?” Bunting asked. “That’s the only way I would vote for this.”
Councilwoman Julie Lee suggested Fenwick host a fire department fundraiser during the fall festival, an idea several people said they liked.
“We already do a number of fundraisers. There’s point where you run out of staff,” said Councilman and BBVFC member Richard Mais. “There are a number of fundraising avenues — this is kind of a new problem for us. It just kind of came up.”
After settling the summer’s schedule, the fire company will brainstorm funding mechanisms for the future.
In other Fenwick Island news:
• The town council approved the following fee increases: hearing fee (from $275 to $500, which pays cost of town solicitor); summer parking permit fee (from $300 to $350); and additional blue parking tags (from $75 to $150, only one per property owner).
The existing $53 ambulance fee was officially added to the fee schedule, and waste collection fee reduced from $299 to $269.
• Fenwick may consider establishing a fund for canal dredging (which Langan said he doesn’t remember ever discussing in his seven-year tenure) and beach replenishment.
The federal government has local beaches on a 50-year maintenance plan, with three-year rotations for renourishment. But project funding is still tentative, so Fenwick has socked away some money, expecting a day when Congress and the State of Delaware no longer foot 100 percent of the bill.
However, Fenwick’s account has “minimal funds. I think it has $35,000,” Langan said. “In the future, we’re probably going to have to contribute to beach replenishment.”
(In contrast, Bethany Beach recently established its Storm Emergency Relief Fund, or SERF, which does not specifically address beach replenishment costs but is instead intended to help fund replacement of infrastructure, such as the boardwalk and municipal buildings, and cleanup of debris in the event of major damage from a storm or other natural disaster.)
• The Town’s new website is up and running at www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov. It has news, meeting notices, emergency updates, committees, laws and more.
Agendas and meeting minutes are being moved to the Town Code site at www.ecode360.com/FE1574.
By using the free State program, Fenwick will save money on website costs. Burke thanked the Town team for months of hard work to make this “much better than the old site. I’m not going to say that it’s perfect. It’s not. We’re going to continue to make it better. … [If anything looks wrong], email me a recommendation or suggestion.”
• During executive session, the town council voted to proceed with their attorney’s recommendation on legal matters. Council Members Bill Weistling and Diane Tingle would not go into details about the vote, except to say it was the least expensive of the options presented by the town solicitor.
• Emergency notifications for the town are available by cell phone, using Nixle emergency notifications.
“It’s totally free to us,” said Police Chief William Boyden. “Anybody can sign on anywhere in the world and get any kind of alerts from the town” for traffic, special events or major storms.
People can request alerts from just Fenwick Island or all of Delaware.
Interested people can visit the Town website, click the “Nixle” link on the left side, click the “Residents” link, and register for Town of Fenwick Island updates.
• The Fenwick Locals Program was recently created in an effort to strengthen the relationship between local residents and businesses. Each business will create its own special or discount that anyone in the 19944 ZIP code can use (including the municipality, unincorporated areas and Route 54 corridor). The free program will be administered by the Fenwick Island Business Development Committee.
• In response to concerns about parking enforcement, Lee reminded the public that any form of illegal parking is a violation of the law. Police have their priorities, but citizens may call them with parking complaints.
“Do not think commercial vehicles are being treated differently from any other vehicles when parking on the streets,” Lee said.
• Mobi-Mats will be laid on beach crossovers as the State of Delaware finishes dune repair work.
• The Town bonfire is set for Sunday, July 3, from 7 to 10 p.m.
• The Fenwick Homecoming Harvest Festival will be held Sunday, Oct. 9, from noon to 4 p.m. Events include a beach run obstacle course, inflatables, children’s activities and possibly a local beer garden.
That Columbus Day weekend will also begin Fenwick Fridays, a series of local wintertime business specials.
• Suspecting that other residents have similar questions, Mayor Gene Langan posted an open-letter response to recent questions about zoning changes, waste removal management fees, residential versus commercial rental tax rates and more.
• Town council members agreed they aren’t ready to begin “re-branding” the community, tabling a proposal to accept a $5,000 matching grant to hire a professional advertising consultant.
The Business Development Committee had recommended the Town participate in a state program to fund business initiatives. The designer would set up shop at Town Hall, research the town and create a brand, logo and tagline for Fenwick Island, to be presented at a public reveal. The Town Council would approve where and how to use it, such as stationary, banners and more.
Lee questioned spending that money when the Town already has a lighthouse logo. She said she wanted to be sure it’s a full public-private partnership, as stated in a previous council resolution. She asked if Fenwick was getting full feedback from other businesses.
Mais said the BD Committee includes business owners who talk to other entrepreneurs in town.
But Lee said she wanted the town council to slow down and take advantage of the program affiliation that already gives Fenwick access to networking and training opportunities designed to give Fenwick businesses a boost.
“I think we need to be very careful, as a town, how we spend money,” Lee said.
Council Members Gardner Bunting and Roy Williams said they were comfortable waiting for a public workshop discussion of the issue.
Burke said he will research if a guest speaker can come and how long the grant money will be available.
The town council’s next regular meeting is Friday, June 17, at 3:30 p.m.
The Sussex County Council this week discussed at length a proposed ordinance to amend the County Code related to signs.
Public hearings were held recently before the Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as County Council, at which time many voiced their concerns about the proposed ordinance, with many saying it did not reflect the months of hard work put out by the working group the County had assembled on the issue.
Georgetown attorney David Hutt of Morris James Wilson Halbrook & Bayard LLP had spoken at the public hearings on behalf of Clear Channel Outdoor, Geyer Signs, Hocker Signs, Jack Lingo Realtors, J.D. Sign Company, Ocean Atlantic, Phillips Signs Inc., Premier Outdoor Media LLC, Rogers Sign Co. Inc. and Timmons Outdoor Advertising, and even presented the council with an alternate ordinance that he said was more representative of the working group’s recommendations.
At the June 8 county council meeting, the council was provided a 10-page document, with items numbered 1 to 48, to go over the differences between the ordinance introduced by the council in April, the alternate ordinance recommended by Hutt and what the Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended at its May 25 meeting.
The council agreed that a purpose statement should be added to the proposed ordinance. One was not provided in the introduced ordinance or the alternate ordinance.
“Signs including outdoor advertising structures are herein regulated with the intent of regulating excess signage, encouraging the positive economic development of the county, preserving and improving tourism views, promoting the safety of the traveling public, protecting property values in residential and non-residential areas, preventing overcrowding of the land and excess clutter, and protecting the aesthetics of the County,” reads the proposed purpose statement.
While the council reviewed items such as signage per street or road frontage, a consensus was not reached.
The introduced ordinance would limit signs to one per parcel, eliminating permission for one sign per street or road frontage. The alternate ordinance would restore the allowance of a sign per parcel or road frontage, which was supported by P&Z.
“That seems crazy,” said Councilman George Cole, suggesting that one billboard on the corner where roads intersected would suffice.
Assistant County Attorney Jamie Sharp said the rule would most likely be used for on-premises signs.
“An example would be, off the top of my head, Rehoboth Mall, which has two distinct entrances off of two separate roads,” said Vince Robertson, assistant county attorney. “Under this proposal, they would get just one on-premises sign — either on Route 1 or Route 24. They wouldn’t get both.”
Councilman Rob Arlett asked if perhaps council could limit it to a sign per entrance. The council said they would revisit the topic.
For off-premises signs, the introduced ordinance does not distinguish between two-lane and four-lane roads, while the alternate ordinance does. The P&Z recommended adopting the alternate ordinance. The council said they would revisit the issue.
In discussing off-premises sign setbacks, Cole called attention to two-lane roads possibly expanding in the future, which he believes would require a 40-foot setback for an off-premises sign, as opposed to 25 feet.
Cole said it would be costly, with the Delaware Department of Transportation potentially purchasing the right-of-ways to move signs.
“To me, it’s strange to think we have to have them that close.”
Cole said he would personally like to not see digital billboards on any two-lane roads in Sussex County.
“Why are you against that?” asked Arlett.
“The aesthetics of it and the impact of it on a two-lane road is greater than on a four-lane road…” replied Cole.
As for electronic message centers, the introduced ordinance proposed to have a special-use exception required for all on-premises signs. The alternate ordinance removed the special-use requirement, which was supported by P&Z.
“I would think this would greatly increase the number of applications before the Board of Adjustment,” said Jamie Sharp, assistant county attorney.
The council agreed to remove the special-use exception requirement.
Another topic discussed was whether variances for off-premises signs should be allowed at all. The original proposed ordinance does not allow for variances, while the alternate ordinance removed the prohibition.
The P&Z recommended prohibiting variances for off-premises signs, but only for new billboards. Those who wish to replace billboards already in existence would be able to apply for a variance.
The council could not come to a consensus on whether off-premises electronic message centers should be prohibited, per the introduced ordinance.
The council also said they needed more time to think over transition requirements for electronic message centers, and display transitions, such as “animation.”
“We don’t want to do anything that’s going to be really, really detrimental to them advertising their business,” said Council President Michael Vincent of business owners. “Personally, I’m not sold on on-premises signs with no animation.”
The council went along with the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendations to adopt the alternate ordinance’s recommendations of retaining the original definition of multi-faced signs in the current code.
The council, with the recommendation of P&Z, amended the definition of wall sign, and limited their size to 150 square feet, as it would be easier to enforce.
A moratorium was placed on the acceptance of all off-premises sign applications by the County’s Planning & Zoning Office in September 2015, to give the council and staff the opportunity to revise the ordinance in its entirety.
The moratorium, which was extended in March, is set to expire June 15. The council is expected to once again extend the moratorium at its Tuesday, June 14, meeting.
To view the spreadsheet prepared for council, view the council’s meeting packet at https://www.sussexcountyde.gov/sites/default/files/packets/Full.Packet.0....
The staff of the South Coastal Library is inviting teens to participate in their 2016 Summer Reading Program, with sign-up now under way.
Participants in the summer reading program for those ages 12 to 18, “Get in the Game,” can read anything of their choice (at their reading level) for a total of 1,000 pages, and complete a brief book review for each title they read. Once they’ve read 1,000 pages and completed their reviews, they will earn prizes, including a $10 Tanger Outlets gift card, a T-shirt, a book and a certificate.
Summer Reading Program events and other offerings for teens and tweens at the library this summer will kick off June 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m., with the Teen Summer Reading Program Kick-Off Party, featuring music, Wii, games, pizza and a treasure hunt, courtesy of the Friends of the South Coastal Library, Grotto Pizza and Giant Foods of Millville, for ages 12-18, pre-registration required.
Artists ages 12-18 can enter their original 2D and 3D art work in the 8th Annual Art Show. Prizes will be awarded to the artists of the three best overall entries within junior and senior divisions, selected by local artists. First prize is a $50 gift card to Michael’s craft store. The entry deadline is July 9, before 3 p.m. Prizes will be awarded at the opening on July 20 at 7 p.m. Pick up an entry form at the library, or visit www.southcoastal.lib.de.us/teens.
Craft time for ages 10-18 will be offered on July 5, 3-4 p.m., when participants can create a colorful mandala suncatcher; and on Aug. 9, 3-4:30 p.m., when they paint and decorate a shadowbox frame. All craft materials are provided free of charge. Pre-registration is required. (Wear “craft” clothing that you don’t mind getting stained!)
Those looking for the “games” part of “fun and games” will be offered events throughout the summer:
• June 16, 3 to 4:30 p.m. — Minecraft, with a round of the computer game for ages 10-16.
• June 28, 3:30-5 p.m. — Get in the Game! (indoor sports team games for ages 10-18).
• July 6, 6-7:30 p.m. — T3-Team Teen Jeopardy, (team up with your friends and make new ones as you test your trivia skills), for ages 12-18.
• July 12, 12:30-2 p.m. — Get in the Game! (indoor sports team games for ages 10-18).
• July 13, 6-7:30 p.m. — T3-Team Teen Jeopardy: (team up with your friends and make new ones as you test your trivia skills), for ages 12-18.
• July 19, 3-4:30 p.m. — Minecraft, with a round of the computer game for ages 10-16.
• Aug. 3, 6-7:30 p.m. — T3-Team Teen Jeopardy (team up with your friends and make new ones as you test your trivia skills), for ages 12-18.
• Aug. 10, 6-7:30 p.m. — T3-Team Teen Jeopardy (team up with your friends and make new ones as you test your trivia skills), for ages 12-18.
• Aug. 11, 3-4:30 p.m. — Minecraft, with a round of the computer game for ages 10-16.
Workshops being offered include:
• June 23, 4-7 p.m. — Personal Safety & Self-Defense Workshop: Learn how to avoid being a crime victim, and how to defend yourself using martial arts in this class for ages 12-18, taught by three black-belt instructors from Coastal Martial Arts.
• July 7, 6-7 p.m. — Skimboarding Workshop: Professional skimboarders Dave and Tom Bracht of RELYance Skim Camp will get you ready for the surf with “dry land” instruction for ages 12-18.
• Aug. 2, 4:30-6 p.m.: Hip Hop Dance Workshop: Learn some breakdance moves with the members of Hip Hop Fundamentals, a professional dance troupe from Philadelphia, for ages 10-18, no experience necessary.
The library will offer free movies, popcorn and ice cream on:
• June 30, 3-5 p.m. (a neighborhood baseball comedy, rated PG, 101 minutes)
• July 14, 3:30-4:15 p.m. (an Olympic comedy on ice, rated PG, 102 minutes)
• Aug. 4, 3:30-5:15 p.m. (an anime film)
The library’s Book Swap Picnic for ages 12-18 will take place July 23 from noon to 1:30 p.m., with attendees talking about their favorite books over lunch in the library’s Reading Garden. Bring a lunch, a beach chair and a book to swap with someone else (the book swap is optional).
Reading programs and special events are available for children and adults as well, all free of charge. Visit the South Coastal Library at 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach, for a brochure. Programs are made possible by the South Coastal Library and the Friends of the South Coastal Library.
For more information, call (302) 539-5231 or visit www.southcoastal.lib.de.us.
The little church with a big heart is doing its part to welcome the influx of international students to the area, by hosting its annual international students picnic next week.
St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach will hold the picnic on Tuesday, June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It started about ten years ago,” said Martha Fields, who has served on the committee since the picnic started. “Members of Saint Martha’s became aware of the number of international students that were coming to work in our area and thing weren’t going very well for many of them.
“They would get here and not have housing, or the job they had been promised was not available. This interest in outreach to the students resulted in us having a welcoming picnic for them every year as a way to have them feel like someone is caring and concerned about them, and welcoming them to the U.S.”
Fields said in the past the church had some difficulty reaching out to the students, as it was a grassroots effort. However, once people started posting about it on social media last year, the event grew.
“It was a real challenge. We would go to places we knew hired the students and carry flyers so when we saw someone we would just hand them to them. So there was a fair amount of personal outreach and giving of invitations,” she said. “I was taking flyers around to businesses a week or so ago and handed one to a young man at Shore Foods on Route One and he said, ‘I went to this when I was a student! Can I take a picture of this and put it on Facebook?’”
Last year the picnic hosted approximately 90 international students.
“Last year we had a record number of people, so we’re trying to plan for a large number this year too because the social media involvement has made a huge difference…
“We have a social hall that was absolutely full of young men and young women, mostly from the eastern European countries. It has shifted over the years. When we first started there were al lot of people from England, Ireland, Scotland, and then over the years, the program has shifted more to being eastern European.”
The free picnic is held in the church’s social hall, and all international students are invited to attend.
“We grill hotdogs and hamburgers and serve various side dishes and salads, fresh fruits. We’ve developed a sense of what the students like over the years and we try to have what we think they would enjoy. They don’t have much money, particularly at the first of the season. So they bring their appetites, believe me,” she said with a laugh.
The annual picnic is organized by a small group of parishioners, however Fields said the entire congregation pitches in to help.
“The small committee is really supported by the people of St. Martha’s. They really pitch in and help with side dishes and coming to set up tables and that kind of thing. We have tremendous support from the people of Saint Martha’s.”
Fields said parishioners are passionate about such community outreach because of the blessings they feel for being born in the United States.
“We are very proud obviously, we feel very blessed to have been born and grown up here. And we felt they were coming and sometimes just not treated properly, and we didn’t think that was right. We wanted them to come and feel welcome here, feel they had friends here, and would leave at the end of the summer with a positive impression of our country.”
The hope this year, said Fields, is to have a large turnout of students as the church did last year, and give them a warm welcome to the community and to the country.
“It is always our hope that we feel like we’ve befriended the students and that they leave the picnic of a positive impression of Saint Martha’s of course, but more broadly speaking the U.S. And that they’ve been welcomed warmly and people have invited them to have food, fellowship, and a good time.”
St. Martha’s Episcopal Church is located at 117 Maplewood St. in downtown Bethany Beach.
Not everyone realizes that the undeveloped stretch of Route 1 between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach is a state park, and even those who regularly enjoy Delaware Seashore State Park as an access point to the beach, bay and inlet may not be aware of the wide variety of educational and recreational programs and events that are offered by park staff throughout the summer season.
Located about a mile north of the Indian River Inlet is the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum. The site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, not only introduces visitors to Delaware’s maritime history, but it also acts as the anchor point for all educational programs offered by Delaware Seashore State Park. The programs range from kayaking and fishing to jewelry-making and museum tours.
Each week this summer, from June 15 to Aug. 19, park staff will be offering more than 30 individual programs allowing visitors to experience the natural beauty and ecology of the Delaware coast, learn about the area’s rich maritime heritage and try new recreational activities under the guidance of trained park staff.
For those who enjoy being active, Kayak Eco-Tours are offered every Tuesday through Friday. The Tuesday trip is called “Sit Back, Relax & Kayak” and is a shortened version of the Eco-Tours that are offered later in the week — designed to be perfect for beginners.
The kayak trips offered Wednesdays through Fridays is a 2.5-mile journey through marsh islands and bay tributaries. Those trips provide participants with an opportunity to learn how to paddle while experiencing the sights and creatures of the bayside habitat and enjoying a unique view of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station.
To learn about the various critters of the coast, visitors can check out Seining the Bay, Clamming 101, Jelly-Jelly-Jellyfish or Squid Dissection. Most of those programs are considered perfect for families with children.
The park is also offering a day camp — that is, a “1-Day” Fishing Day Camp. The camp will take place on Wednesdays and is geared toward children 7 to 11. Campers will get the opportunity to go seining, crabbing and fishing.
For night owls, Delaware Seashore State Park will also be offering several evening programs throughout the summer that are either free or low-cost. One activity for children is the Wild Crab Chase, where families use flashlights to try to spot the nocturnal ghost crab.
Lantern Tours, held on Wednesday evenings, allow visitors to tour the Indian River Life-Saving Station by lantern light and to experience what it was like to be a surfman, patrolling Delaware’s coast more than 100 years ago.
Back by popular demand are the Thursday-night live music series and beach bonfires. Each Thursday, from 7 to 9 p.m., a different local musician will be featured at the North Inlet Day Area gazebo. After the music, guests can walk on over to the beach to roast a marshmallow with park staff.
A full calendar of all of Delaware Seashore State Park’s summer programs can be found at destateparks.com. For additional information, or to register for programs, call the Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991 or stop by and pick up a program guide.
Coastal Point Staff
Summer has arrived — unofficially, at least— with the Memorial Day weekend, as it does every year. And that change of seasons and the seasonal nature of the resort area brings to mind all those little things (and some not-so-little ones) that Coastal Point staff members have discovered and come to love as locals growing up in the area and as visitors who have now made the area our home. And we’re going to share them with you each week, right here in the Coastal Point.
Perfect peaches, succulent strawberries and more
Whether it’s memories of going strawberry picking at local farms, or biting into a juicy peach right from the orchard, or those delicious melons, sweet corn and tantalizing tomatoes, everyone has a connection with the produce of the Delaware shore, and many of those memories offer a connection with the agricultural history of the area — family farms, old farm houses, rows of crops lining the highways and byways. Here are a few of our favorites:
• Peaches from Bennett Orchards, 31442 Peach Tree Lane, Frankford, DE 19945; (302) 732-3358. This family farm not only brings bushels of beautiful peaches to our local farmers’ markets each summer but offers you-pick peaches and nectarines so you can get juicy fruits literally right off the trees. Unfortunately, due to an unseasonable frost that devastated a portion of their peach crop earlier this year, there will be no pick-your-own peaches for 2016. However, we’re looking forward to their latest crop of blueberries and their first-ever crop of exotic melons, both of which begin their harvest this summer.
• Strawberries, and more, from Parsons Farm, 30469 Parsons Rd., Dagsboro, DE 19939; (302) 732-3336. Pick-your-own strawberries are on the menu right now if you stop by the Parsons farm. But the offerings don’t stop there: fresh local asparagus, tomatoes, corn, green beans, cherries, plums, melons, canned goods, goat feed… Wait — goat feed? Well, that’s a favorite among the Coastal Point kids, who don’t eat the stuff themselves but love to pick up a tray of goat feed to offer to the Parsons’ goats on “Goat Mountain,” which features its own feed conveyor belt that rewards the King of Goat Mountain — and those who feed him or her.
• Strawberries, melons, sweet corn and more, from Magee Farms, 34857 Lighthouse Rd., Selbyville, DE 19975; (302) 436-5589. The Magee family grows strawberries, squash, zucchini, sweet corn, watermelons, peppers, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, plants and herbs, bringing them to local farmers’ markets, too, but also offering a long-running you-pick strawberry patch that has made many a memory over the years.
• Heirloom tomatoes, flowers and fresh food from East View Farms, 36144 Bayard Rd, Frankford, DE 19945; (302) 436-4605. East View Farms is tucked away in the Bayard area, just off the beaten path, but provides some of the amazing fresh produce that our local farm-to-table restaurants are famous for, including heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, beets, greens and more, which you can also take home right from the farm. They can also help pot up a dazzling planter of flowers and started offering community-supported agriculture (CSA) box subscriptions last year.
• Our local farmers’ markets. It hasn’t been long since the first local farmers’ market arrived, but they’ve already become a cherished part of life at the Delaware shore, opening weekly to offer not just produce but locally produced meats, eggs, cheese, bread, honey, plants and more. Market days offer the unique opportunity to make a meal while wandering the market stalls.
At the Bethany Beach Farmers Market, Sunday morning can mean a breakfast of a sweet breakfast bread from Old World Breads, a piece of cheese from Chapel’s Country Creamery, a ripe peach from Bennett Orchards and a honey-sweetened lemonade from Honeybee Lake Apiary, with organic greens to take home for a lunch salad and some lavender for a relaxing bath in the evening. Nearly all of our local towns now have a farmers’ market, offering a chance to enjoy the local bounty nearly seven days a week. (Information on all of Delaware’s farmers’ markets is online at http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/delaware_farmers_markets.shtml.)
Summer means tens of thousands of people are visiting Delaware beaches. They are strolling on the boardwalk and spreading out in the sand with towels, chairs and umbrellas. The Delaware beaches offer a summer playground with the ocean waters bringing relief from the sun’s sweltering rays. Yet, the power of the waves and tides also poses serious health and safety risks.
Each summer season, hundreds of beachgoers end up in Beebe’s Emergency Department because of injuries they sustained while in the ocean. Those injuries can be as benign as a sprained toe, or as serious as a broken neck.
Beginning in the summer of 2010, Beebe Healthcare partnered with Delaware SeaGrant, the University of Delaware Center for Applied Coastal Research, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) and several local municipalities to study injuries occurring in the surf zone (the area from where waves form to dry sand). Since the study began, there have been 1,795 patients treated at Beebe for injuries sustained in the surf zone.
For years, beachgoers have been warned of the risk of injury they face when going into the water. Surprisingly, the people who sustain the most injuries are those who are standing in about ankle-deep water.
A common scenario is when people are standing and watching the waves or other people around them. They may even be chatting with a friend. Then, they turn around to walk out of the water. While facing toward the beach, they are hit from behind by a wave, which knocks them off their feet and onto the hard sand. Often, the person will be tossed and hit by the next wave and sustain more injuries.
Never turn your back on the waves. Injuries happen quickly and unexpectedly.
Other common ways that people sustain injuries in the water include when they bodysurf, bodyboard or dive straight into the shallow water where the waves are breaking. In these cases, injuries to the muscles in the neck are common, as are ankle sprains, broken wrists, and knee and shoulder injuries.
The problem is that the seemingly calm waters of the beach can be misleading. People look at the ocean and may think it is safe, even though waves are strong enough to cause injuries. According to the results of an ongoing study of surf data and surf injury data, serious injuries have occurred in clusters on what must have seemed to be nice days, as injuries rarely occurred on stormy days.
Beebe Healthcare shares some safety tips for those who would like to stay safe while enjoying the local waters:
• Swim near a lifeguard, and pay attention to safety instructions. Lifeguards are the local expert regarding swimming hazards. Swim between flags.
• When standing in shallow water, avoid turning your back on the waves as you walk back to your towel. A wave can hit you unexpectedly and knock you down, causing you to dislocate a joint or break a bone. In fact, a small wave can carry as much force as a pickup truck.
• Be aware of the depth of the water before swimming or diving. Diving into shallow water under the breaking waves can cause a broken neck.
• When you are in the surf, be aware of who is in the water around you.
• Never swim alone.
• Learn the signs of a riptide and avoid the area. If you are caught in one, relax and float. Remember to breathe. Lift your arm up to signal to the lifeguard. If you believe you are a strong swimmer, do not swim against the riptide, but swim parallel with the beach until you are out of it.
Please enjoy the summer at the beach and take precautions when you go into the water.
Dr. Paul Cowan, DO, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He is chief of Emergency Services at the Emergency Department at Beebe Healthcare’s medical center in Lewes.
After a winter storm wrecked a local chicken shack, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 members didn’t imagine they’d be able to reopen for summer, without paying a dime. But, the fundraising barbecue shack reopened on May 21, in time for the summer season.
Storms had blown down the heavy pavilion on Delaware National Guard property, just north of Bethany Beach on Coastal Highway, ruining the fire pit. But Aaron Rogers united the building industry to renovate the simple, but essential, barbecue shack.
As president of Empire Construction Group in Milton, Rogers said he felt that he had the ability — and therefore, the responsibility — to help.
“[Rogers] was driving by, and he saw that it had fallen down,” said Ken Weber, a VFW volunteer who oversees the chicken shack. “He said, ‘Look, I would like to offer our company’s services to rebuild that for you, and we’ll bear all the costs and materials and labor for doing it.’”
Originally, members had planned to just rebuild the brick barbecue pit, but realized the sales shack needed an overhaul, too. So Rogers offered the VFW a chance to expand. The pavilion now has a comfortable amount of space to move, with proper roofing ventilation, and the new shack is sturdy and modern. But it’s still simplistic enough to get the job done: cook good food, and feed the people.
“He basically said, ‘Well, you guys have done so much for the country, this is the least we can do.’ It really warms your heart when people are generous like that,” said VFW member Jerry Hardiman.
Major donors included Wyoming Millwork, Parker Block Inc. and ABC Supply Co. Rogers also thanked the Luckow Family Foundation, Coastal Container, GAF, Sussex County Councilman George Cole (R-4th), The Gutter Guys and Cummings Electric/Sean Cummings. Empire’s subcontractors also donated time or quoted discounted prices. Coastal Maytag also gave a new refrigerator. Another cash donation made the entire project come together.
“I think it turned out really well,” Rogers said. “I know the feedback that we got from them was very, very positive. All those guys are tickled because they’re not used to having somebody on their side” to volunteer so much help.
“He’s a young man who doesn’t have a background in the military, and he stepped up to rebuild it for them,” said Kathy McQuowan, who is both Rogers’ mother and vice president/jack-of-all-trades at Empire Construction.
“The thing that really shocked me was the younger veterans and the younger armed services guys don’t get involved in the veterans associations. … Those associations are all there to support [each other],” Rogers said.
Rogers marveled at the stories he heard from the older VFW veterans.
“They love to see these young men come in there and talk with them to find out what their experiences are,” McQuowan said. “They can learn a lot from these veterans of World War II and Korea…”
Rogers estimated it would have cost $30,000 to rebuild the chicken shack if he had contracted the job out regularly.
“We are truly grateful to Empire Construction and the coalition of contractors involved, because without their generosity, we may have very well may not been able to open the chicken shack this season … to be able to generate the kind of monies we previously generated,” said Weber, who wants to install a plaque of thanks.
“Last year, our chicken shack concession netted to the post $24,000,” Weber said. “Everything that’s made goes right back out to donations to worthwhile programs and services.”
For 70 years, local VFW volunteers have helped veterans and civilians near and far, as well as medical research, fire companies, school programs, social work and more.
“They do a lot of tremendous stuff,” Rogers said.
“We’re pretty proud that we’re able to give that much back. We’re grateful to the community for all the support we get from them,” Weber said, especially when people could choose so many other restaurants on a Saturday afternoon.
Time to eat!
The VFW chicken shack is open on Saturdays until Labor Day, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., or until they’re sold out.
Every single week each summer, Weber leads a cadre of about 20 other men and women who stand over the coals, flip the birds and sell lunch to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
The oldest volunteer, every week, is a World War II veteran in his 90s.
Believed to have begun in the 1960s, the chicken shack first delighted diners in downtown Bethany, at the corner of Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue. And the recipe hasn’t changed in 50 years, although the shack moved to Delaware National Guard land around the 1980s.
“[Longtime member] Irv Hudson’s mother, Flora, gave them her recipe for her secret barbecue sauce,” Hardiman said. “It’s not a red sauce. It’s a Carolina sauce. It’s really, really delicious.”
“We have a dedicated group of ladies who make up our barbecue sauce for us. I call ’em ‘The Sauce Girls.’ They’ve been mixing the secret sauce for longer than I’ve been involved in the chicken shack,” Weber said.
“The food is outstanding,” Hardiman said. “I’m not doing this as a sales pitch. It’s delicious. It sells out [often]. People come from all over.”
Meals cost $7 for half a chicken, chips and a roll, plus $1 for a soda.
“It’s amazing the iconic status that that chicken shack holds here in Bethany,” Weber said.
People eat immediately at the picnic tables, carry their lunch to the beach or reheat the meat for dinner. Some come every weekend, and some out-of-towners time their vacation arrivals with Saturday lunchtime.
Surrounded by small desks and chairs, Amanda Miller lights up when she talks about teaching.
Her joy and professionalism combined to make her Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.
“You only need to spend a short time with Mrs. Miller to learn that she cares very deeply about being an educator and strives to give her very best to her students each and every day,” according to Principal Pam Webb.
“Teaching isn’t just reading, writing and arithmetic anymore. We teach respect and socialization and how to get along with others … so time can be a challenge, fitting all those things in,” Miller said.
But the kids give her energy, and she gives teaching her all.
It’s an inclusion classroom, so a special-ed-certified teacher joins Miller in a standard class that also includes students with disabilities or diverse learning styles.
“My big learning experience this year was making accommodations for those students,” Miller said. “I learned how to adjust my classroom and how it can fit them.”
For instance, hyperactive kids might get moving chairs or knickknacks to help them get rid of the wiggles, so their minds are gyroscopically focused on the assignment while their hands or feet have a physical task.
“I just try to stay open, because what works today might not work tomorrow. But we try to make adjustments,” she said.
Teachers have to be flexible to engage all 22 students. Miller’s lessons have to be fun and interesting, but also follow state education standards.
“I believe that kids will not learn unless they are happy and are in a supportive learning environment,” Miller said. “It’s essential to build positive relationships in the classroom.”
She must be doing something right to get such glowing student feedback:
“She was always kind to us and made us smile all the time. She made us feel happy when we came to school,” said one student recommendation. “If we needed help with something, she would sit next to us and show us that what we were doing really was not that hard.”
Miller said she loves seeing her students take pride in their learning, and she loves making a positive impact on this small portion of their lives.
“They have that internalized intrinsic gratification, knowing they accomplished their goal,” she said. “Coming to school is meaningful now, knowing that the hard work pays off.”
And they grow in more ways than one. Miller joked that they can all fit on one classroom rug before winter vacation, but they’re all too big after New Year’s.
Miller said she loves teaching second grade. At that age, “They still love to learn. They still love school. But they are a little more independent. … This is the grade where they’re making the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.”
Now the kids don’t want to put their books down.
She tries to connect with classroom parents, so education is a team effort for the kids.
“I think parent involvement is essential,” Miller said, even when parents don’t know how to help their children. “They need to stay involved and be models for their children.”
That includes reading to or in front of their kids, or showing how learning relates to the real world.
As Teacher of the Year, Miller said she was humbled to represent her colleagues, “a fabulous team of teachers.”
“I’ve always been fortunate to work with a great group of teachers here and at Phillip C. Showell [Elementary School],” where she was previously a reading and writing teacher.
Originally from Downingtown, Pa., Miller came to Delaware for a job, but just fell in love with the beach area.
A career in education was inevitable for Miller, who used to help small children add and subtract in her own mother’s classroom. Then she married into a family of teachers.
“There was never any question in my mind teaching was what I wanted to do,” Miller said. “I love what I do.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Penn State, then specialized in reading for her Wilmington University master’s degree.
Besides serving on the school’s English Language Arts Committee and School Liaison Committee, she stays busy with her own children. Today, Miller is inspired to be the kind of teacher she’d want for her children.
“Through Mrs. Miller’s commitment and passion, she elevates teaching to an art form,” stated Assistant Principal Matthew Keller.
The 10th Annual Children’s Parade and program will take place on July 4, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Mark’s Labyrinth at the corner of State and Ellis streets in Millsboro, hosted by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Millsboro.
The theme for this year celebrates Yankee Doodle.
“This is a theme I’ve been wanting to do for some time, and it’s perfect for our 10th anniversary!” stated Dotty LeCates, co-coordinator. Yankee Doodle will be a featured guest in the program at St. Mark’s Labyrinth.
Following a brief patriotic program featuring the voice of Sussex County’s own Cathy Gorman, parade participants will compete for a trophy in: Best in Show, Best Stroller, Best Wagon, Best Bike and Best Dog. The Chamber of Commerce will provide the trophies.
Children 12 or younger are being encouraged to dress as a “Yankee Doodle or dandy” for the parade. Parents and grandparents are being encouraged to wear patriotic colors and can push strollers or pull wagons, and anyone can dress their pet dog.
Grilled hot dogs, chips and ice cream will be offered.
In case of rain, the celebration and parade will be held in the Parish Hall.
For more information, contact Dotty LeCates at (302) 934-7750 or Gale White at (302) 644-0777.
The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with new presenting sponsor, Schell Brothers, for the 38th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year, to complement the fine-arts show, the Discover the Arts & Antiques Tour of the Quiet Resorts will make its debut as a self-guided tour available to art enthusiasts who want to experience local flavor. The current Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival program will be expanded to become the “Discover the Finer Things Guide.”
The Discover the Arts & Antiques Tour map will now be in the center fold of the publication, while businesses that create and sell fine arts and antiques will be featured in the second half of the publication. The Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival will be continue to be highlighted in the front half of the “Discover the Finer Things Guide,” Chamber representatives noted.
The guide and map will be distributed at the festival and at the Chamber Information Center throughout the year. In addition, all the information will be available on the www.BethanyBeachArtsFestival.com website.
Whether a resident or visitor, the Discover the Arts & Antiques Day Tour will be a fun, entertaining way to explore and shop throughout the Quiet Resorts, Chamber representatives said.
“Every year, the Arts Festival grows in popularity, and oftentimes guests of the show ask about other art galleries, and even antique shops, in our area,” said Kristie Maravalli, executive director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, “The Discover the Arts & Antiques Day Tour is a way for our visitors — not only during festival weekend, but all year around — to shop the beautiful shops and artistic talents here in the Quiet Resorts.”
The Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival brings in more than 100 artists to showcase and sell their work, traditionally on the Saturday after Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival or how to be a part of the Discover the Arts & Antiques Day Tour, visit www.BethanyBeachArtsFestival.com or call (302) 539-2100, ext. 118.