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    As troublesome as Selbyville’s water problems have been, the Town has landed in a safety net of state and federal funding. The Town recently earned a $500,000 emergency grant toward its new water plant.

    Between the USDA Rural Development grant and a previous state Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, Selbyville will get more than $3 million in free money toward the new plant.

    After years of gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) leaking into its groundwater, Selbyville is adding another layer of water filtration. Construction on the second treatment facility has begun behind Town Hall, across the street from the existing facility. Work should conclude in April of 2017.

    “This project is getting accomplished at no additional cost to taxpayers of Selbyville,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons at an Aug. 8 celebration of the grant. “This is the sort of thing for which you pay taxes in the first place, which is having federal agencies that set air quality, water quality standards, and then provide resources when there’s an emergency or an unexpected challenge.

    USDA Rural Development State Director Bill McGowan compared groundwater to an ant farm. A contaminant in one corner can take years to work through an entire system, and the best solution is flushing. But it takes a while.

    “It’s a big, complicated system, and when things happen, it’s a mess,” McGowan said.

    Decades ago, the government reduced smog by requiring MTBE additives, but without fully understanding them.

    “You don’t see smog in the air like you used to,” noted U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. But that came at an unexpected cost. Science is still learning how contaminants behave and affect groundwater. But in the meantime, the government is trying to fix the problems that have resulted.

    “So this $500,000 from an emergency community action water grant is a great example of what we are able do when we deploy federal resources and partner them with a substantial contribution from state resources,” said Coons, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and chemistry.

    Delaware had previously provided technical assistance with investigating the contamination, as well as a Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act Program grant of $123,700, meant to help problems like this, said DNREC Secretary David Small.

    More than 80 percent of Delawareans are on public water systems, but it’s an expensive thing for towns to manage, said Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. That’s why the Division offers low-interest loans.

    The Town already won a $2.7 million loan from Delaware Drinking Water Revolving Fund (federal and some state money). With 0 percent interest, the loan will also be 100 percent forgiven when the filtration project is completed, essentially making it grant money.

    Now, this new grant lets Selbyville keep its promise to finish the project and avoid a huge repayment plan.

    Selbyville took advantage of a similar $1.4 million loan to build two new wells after older wells were contaminated with MTBE in 2009. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provided that 0-repayment loan in 2012.

    “We thought we had it beat with the new wells,” said Mayor Clifton Murray.

    “We’ve got to have clean water. The residents are entitled to it. … We feel pretty confident that we’ve got it beat this time,” said Murray, thanking everyone involved, including Town Councilman Rick Duncan, who brought expertise from his day job at the Delaware Rural Water Association.

    “We have a great little town. … We’d just like to get through this thing, really,” Murray said. “We didn’t have the resources to begin to do a lot with it,” he added, mentioning the help Selbyville got from all levels of government.

    It takes courage to ask for help, said McGowan.

    “Today is really a celebration of partnership,” McGowan said. “It is this quiet role of government that is sitting there as a safety net,” not just to write a check, but to connect people who make things happen.

    “Some folks haven’t managed drinking water challenges as responsibly as they should have. You have. You were on it,” Small said. “You were working with the appropriate partners … to make sure your drinking water was safe and the public in your town was being protected.”

    During the celebration, state Rep. Rich Collins (R-41) raised eyebrows when he reminded the group that federal grants often have “strings attached,” but, he allowed, “Hopefully, this is not one of those programs.”

    Also present were state Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-20th) and County Councilman Rob Arlett (R-5th).

    The two towers

    The Town’s MTBE filtration system has two simple air-stripping towers, around 30 feet tall, behind the existing water plant. The columns are filled with a material like plastic balls in a children’s playpen. Water flows downward over all that surface area, while air is pumped upward. MTBE is a volatile organic that evaporates when it touches air, so exposure automatically pulls it from the water.

    This is not a replacement, but a second plant. Some chemical treatments are being moved to the new building, but others remain in the old plant. The capacity hasn’t changed, and water will flow from the old plant to be finished in the new one before flowing onward.

    Construction should finish around April of 2017. Selbyville wanted to build a similar project around 1991 but couldn’t afford it.

    The Town bought its current water treatment plant in 1934, “used,” Duncan said. It was upgraded in 1994 with filters, new electronics, headworks and more.

    Close to compliance

    While Selbyville deals with MTBE, another problem is pelting rocks at Selbyville’s window: another chemical is showing up in violation levels.

    In June, Duncan announced that Selbyville’s water had high levels of total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), a disinfection byproduct. The maximum allowed is 80 parts per billion, but Selbyville’s recent four-quarter average was 124 ppb.

    The water is safe to drink, and boiling isn’t required, Duncan said. But vulnerable populations can be affected by high concentrations of TTHM.

    Selbyville was still in violation during the Aug. 8 grant festivities, although readings have decreased, Duncan said. After an Aug. 9 retest, private lab results showed Selbyville to be mere points away from the 80 ppb federal limit.

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    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up to seize more than 100 marijuana plants growing in a field west of Ocean View on Friday, Aug. 12. Authorities estimated the street value of the plants to be $214,000.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up to seize more than 100 marijuana plants growing in a field west of Ocean View on Friday, Aug. 12. Authorities estimated the street value of the plants to be $214,000.Through the collaborative work of more than 10 local, state and federal agencies, law enforcement officials last Friday were able to seize 107 marijuana plants, with an estimated street value of $214,000.

    “As our public safety needs increase in Sussex County, all of the police agencies are trying to enhance our collaboration on criminal investigations. This is one of those initiatives. Spearheaded by Chief [Robert] Longo of Milton Police Department, through the Sussex County Police Chiefs Association, we came up with the idea to do some marijuana irradiation,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.

    The Delmar, Georgetown, Milton, Ocean View and Selbyville police departments worked with the DEA Task Force, Delaware State Police, Delaware State Police Aviation unit and Natural Resources Police, as well as the Maryland and Delaware National Guard Counter-Drug teams, as part of “Operation Summer Harvest,” which looks to address the growing drug issues in Sussex County.

    “It’s an ongoing operation, and we plan on continuing different missions when we can get the resources to do so, and coordinate that with the agencies in Sussex County, our state partners and federal partners, along with the National Guard,” explained Longo.

    “This particular field of marijuana was spotted two days ago,” he said of the sighting on Wednesday, Aug. 10. We had a number of officers who were up doing aerial surveillance in the National Guard helicopter. It was spotted, and we subsequently met up this morning and located it.”

    Law enforcement officials met early Monday before heading into the field, located west of Ocean View, on foot.

    “We met — we had a briefing on what we were going to do. We went out and secured the area, to make sure there was no one there that was performing counter-surveillance on us. Once we had secured the area, we expanded our search. We knew we were close, based on the intelligence we had, but to confirm it we had the State Police Aviation come out to pinpoint it,” said Longo. “At that point, we went in and harvested it.”

    McLaughlin said the grow area was surrounded by 8-foot tall briars, marshy-type reeds and other overgrowth that made it difficult to find it on foot.

    “These guys are resourceful. They put these plants in places that are very difficult to find most of the time,” he said, adding, “this particular location, we have it, it’s marked. It will get routinely checked now to prevent people from coming back and planting in the same location.”

    The plants, following harvest, were turned over to the DEA. McLaughlin said they would be taken to a secure location where they will be dried out and maintained as part of the investigation, and ultimately incinerated.

    Although no one has been charged yet, as the investigation is still ongoing, McLaughlin said the grower faces felony charges.

    “There will be more,” he added. “There are other investigations that will come out of our operations. It’s a good example of what we can do when we collaborate and work together.”

    McLaughlin noted that, with the county steadily growing in population, it’s important for agencies to work together.

    “The reality of it is, we’re getting busier and busier here in Sussex County, and we have to pool resources in order to stay ahead of the game, stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the drug problem that’s plaguing Sussex County.”

    Longo said the operation was a great example of teamwork and thanked all those who worked to make the operation a success.

    “The best part about it is everyone came together. This is an example of law enforcement working together at its finest. Everybody participated — the chief, myself, DEA officials — everybody was on equal playing field. It was a picture-perfect operation in my opinion, as far as cooperation,” said Longo. “I’d like to thank all the agencies that participated. I know a lot of the agencies used grant overtime to fund their officers to be here today.”

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    Schools in the Indian River District will host a series of open houses in the coming weeks.

    Open houses are designed to allow students and parents to meet teachers and staff, view class lists and tour school buildings. A number of schools will host multiple sessions during a three-day period, with each session catering to a different grade level.

    The 2016-2017 school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6, for K-12 students. Preschool programs, including Project Village and TOTS, will begin on Monday, Sept. 12.

    The open house schedule on Aug. 30 includes:

    • Millsboro Middle School, Grade 6, 5 p.m.

    • Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Grades K-4, 5-6:30 p.m.

    • G.W. Carver Academy, 5 p.m.

    • Selbyville Middle School, Grade 7-8, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

    • Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Grades 5-8, 6:30-7:45p.m.

    • Millsboro Middle School, Grades 7-8, 7 p.m.

    • Selbyville Middle School, Grade 6, 7-8 p.m.

    The open house schedule on Aug. 31 includes:

    • TOTS, 5 p.m. (at G.W. Carver Center)

    • Lord Baltimore Elementary, Grade 1, 5 p.m.

    • East Millsboro Elementary, Pre-K and K, 6 p.m.

    • Lord Baltimore Elementary, Pre-K and K, 6:30 p.m.

    • East Millsboro Elementary, Grade 1, 7 p.m.

    • Indian River High School, All Grades – Principal’s Message, 6:30 p.m.; Open House, 7 p.m.

    The open house schedule on Sept. 1 includes:

    • Lord Baltimore Elementary, Grades 2-3, 5 p.m.

    • John M. Clayton Elementary, Pre-K, K & 1, 5 p.m.

    • Phillip C. Showell Elementary, 5-7 p.m.

    • Long Neck Elementary, All Grades, 5-7:30 p.m.

    • John M. Clayton Elementary, Grades 2-3, 6 p.m.

    • East Millsboro Elementary, Grades 2-3, 6 p.m.

    • Lord Baltimore Elementary, Grades 4-5, 6:30 p.m.

    • East Millsboro Elementary, Grades 4-5, 7 p.m.

    • John M. Clayton Elementary, Grades 4-5, 7 p.m.

    On Sept. 8, the open house for the Howard T. Ennis School will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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    In February of 2015, Sussex County purchased 3 acres of land on Plantation Road in Rehoboth Beach to be used for the Medic 104/EMS 100 facility. At its Aug. 23 meeting, Bobby Schoonover, technical services division manager, provided an update to the county council regarding the project.

    “We’ve been busy designing a station that meets the current and future EMS needs of that area,” he said of the 5,222-square-foot facility. Schoonover added that the location on Plantation Road is perfect, as it has prime access to Route 1 and back-road access to Lewes.

    The lease on their current facility, located on Olde Coach Drive, is set to expire next May, with the construction of the new facility expected to be completed in March/April of next year. Schoonover said all permits for the Plantation Road project have been attained.

    The County received four bids for the project, with Delmarva Veteran Builders of Salisbury, Md., having the winning bid of $1,254,544.

    The County will receive 30 percent of the cost of the project back from the State, so the total County cost for the project is $878,181.

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    Devotees of the Chesapeake Bay’s most notable crustaceans rejoiced this spring when results of the 2016 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey predicted a second straight year of record population growth.

    Still, according to several area experts, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.

    Since 1990, biologists with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have worked each winter to excavate crabs buried in mud to record length measurements and develop population estimates from 1,500 sites throughout the bay.

    The 2016 survey concluded the bay contained approximately 553 million crabs, up 35 percent from the prior year. That finding continues the upswing revealed in the 2015 survey, which showed an increase of 38 percent.

    After half a century of working the Maryland waterways, Bob Higgins, owner of Higgins Crab House restaurants on 31st Street and 128th Street in Ocean City, Md., said he always takes good news from DNR with a grain of salt.

    “We’ve been in the crab business all my life, and we’re always a little suspect when DNR says at the beginning of the year, ‘It’s going to be the best, it’s going to be the greatest,’” he said. “I do have to admit the great majority the forecast has been spot-on and the quantity has been there.”

    Despite his generally positive take on the state of crab affairs in Maryland this summer, Higgins admits the bigger ones have become elusive as of late.

    “In the past few weeks, we haven’t seen as many of the jumbos, the super-jumbos or really great big crabs,” he said.

    Calling it hit-or-miss, Albert Levy, owner and general manager of the Crab Bag at 13005 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, said the Chesapeake typically doesn’t yield the weighty specimens many consumers demand.

    “We cannot count on a consistent supply of quality Chesapeake Bay crabs,” he said. “They always get a lot of crabs, but they’re pulling out crabs they shouldn’t even pull out of the bay. They’re all small, and they’re light.”

    While, at first glance, more than half a million crabs in the Chesapeake Bay might seem encouraging, Levy said that, without a strong end-product, it’s still challenging to meet customer’s expectations.

    “A lot of the crabbers this year — we were all excited to hear that they predicted a good harvest, but that’s not the case,” he said. “Most of the crabs average from 5 inches to 5.5 inches, and that is not what people want — that’s just too small.”

    While availability hasn’t been a problem for Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City, General Manager Ryan Intrieri said he has noticed a wide variance in quality.

    “I’ll label the year as ‘the year of you get what you pay for,’” he said. “You’re talking to some people and they’re talking about no big crabs. There are big crabs, but you’re paying a lot more money for them.”

    The apparent quantity — albeit sometimes on the lighter end of the weight scale — still provides a boon for many who earn a wage working the water, Higgins said.

    “There’s a volume of product to be caught, but we’re just having to work a little harder to find that jumbo, that great big product,” he said.

    From his sources, Levy has heard widespread reports of mixed results from crab trap returns.

    “I’ve had crabbers tell me, ‘Albert, I got to pull the pots — I can’t catch enough to even pay for my bait,’ then all of a sudden they hit a bunch of crabs, but they’re still all small crabs,” he said. “There might be a few bushels of good local crabs, and then they’re gone the next day.”

    The three purveyors agree the best time for the crab trade begins as summer winds down and September begins.

    “It will get better, because there are a lot of smaller crabs and the summer is still going, so they still have a chance to shed,” Higgins said. “There’s a lot of 5.5-inch crabs — they’ll still shed again this year. They’ll go from 5.5 to 6.5 or 7 inches. There will be some beautiful crabs after the next shed.”

    Describing the crab market as backwards, Intrieri said people should realize the crab season generally ends on a high note.

    “Everybody wants crabs in April and May — that’s when they’re the most expensive and of the least quality,” he said. “By September and October, when crabs are at their best quality and cheapest prices, everyone’s had their fill.”

    It’s all makes perfect sense when you consider the life cycle of the callinectes sapidus, Levy said.

    “If you think about it, crabs hibernate all winter, they come out in the spring, they’re fat, and what do they do?” he asked. “They shed and grow all summer long, so they’re always light; then they fatten up for the winter to hibernate. The best time in the world for crabs in the Chesapeake Bay is September.”

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  • 08/25/16--13:02: Agenda — August 26, 2016
  • Bethany Beach

    • Bethany Beach Town Hall will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5, for Labor Day.

    • There will be no town council election in Bethany Beach in 2016, as incumbents Bruce Frye, Jack Gordon, Rosemary Hardiman and Lew Killmer were the only candidates to file for the four seats up for voting in the planned September election. They will each serve a new two-year term starting with the Sept. 19 council reorganizational meeting.

    • The public can view on the Town website the presentation by Oasis Design Group to the Bethany Beach Town Council, soliciting input for preliminary concept development for the features and organization of “Central Park,” at the intersection of Routes 1 and 26. The URLs for the four presentation segments are (and 31, 32 and 33). The Town plans to send out a survey regarding specific design elements for the park.

    • Bethany Beach’s pay-to-park season resumed May 15 and runs until Sept. 15.

    • Prohibitions on dogs on the beach and boardwalk in Bethany Beach resumed on May 15.

    • The regular meetings of the Bethany Beach Town Council and Planning Commission are now being broadcast, with video, over the Internet via the Town’s website at, under Live-Audio Broadcasts. Both meetings are at town hall.

    South Bethany

    • There will be no 2016 town council election, as only four candidates registered for the four available seats: incumbent Mayor Pat Voveris as mayor, incumbent Councilwoman Sue Callaway, and incoming council members Don Boteler and William “Tim” Shaw.

    • The town council will hold a workshop meeting Thursday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m.

    • The South Bethany Charter & Ordinance Committee will meet Friday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. to discuss attorney feedback on Ordinance 182-16 (amending Chapter 50 “Bulkheads” to regulate the height of boat docks, permit the installation of modular floating docking systems [MFDS], clarify violations and adjust the appeals timeline) and development of an ordinance to set the maximum measurement of a house from base flood elevation (BFE).

    • Recycling is picked up biweekly, continuing on Friday, Aug. 26.

    • Yard waste is picked up biweekly, continuing on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

    • The town council’s next regular meeting is Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m., starting with a public hearing on Ordinance 183-16 to amend the Town Code, Chapter 145, Zoning, to clarify the definition of “pervious area” in the setback of any lot in South Bethany.

    • The Cat Hill barricade hours have been changed to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for traffic turning from Kent Avenue onto Black Gum Drive, from May 15 to Sept. 15.

    • Parking permit requirements have resumed for the summer. Permits are available at town hall.

    • Prohibitions on dogs on the beach resumed on May 15 and run until Oct. 15.

    • The Town of South Bethany’s website is located at

    Fenwick Island

    • The Fenwick Island Town Council has several meetings on Friday, Aug. 26: a council orientation workshop at 2 p.m.; executive session regarding personnel at 3 p.m.; and its regular monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m., which will include on the agenda holiday pole light funding; potential revision of the floor-area ratio (FAR) regulation; a second reading of Chapter 146 —Taxation; a second reading of Chapter 120 — Property Maintenance; and an amended second reading of Chapter 120 — Property Maintenance).

    • The Fenwick Island Town Council will hold a workshop regarding Town voting/election regulations on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m.

    • The Fenwick Island Charter & Ordinance Committee will meet Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 9:30 a.m.

    • In town council elections on Aug. 6, elected to two-year terms were incumbent Gardner Bunting, former councilwoman Vicki L. Carmean and newcomer Bernard H. “Bernie” Merritt Jr. Kevin Carouge came in fourth in the voting for three seats. Incumbents Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling did not file to run for re-election. Would-be candidates Charles W. Hastings and Marc McFaul were deemed not to be eligible. Bunting, Carmean and Merritt have now been sworn in.

    • The Fenwick Island Farmers’ Market has moved to Warren’s Station, at 1406 Coastal Highway, and will be open on Mondays and Fridays, until Sept. 5, from 8 a.m. to noon.

    • The new Homegrown Harvest Festival will be Sunday, Oct. 9, from noon to 4 p.m. at Warren’s Station restaurant, featuring a beach run/walk, pumpkin patch on the beach, beer vendor, crafts, etc.

    • Recycling is collected every Friday from May to September.

    • Parking enforcement began on May 15.

    • The new Fenwick Island town website is located at

    • The Town of Fenwick Island is now on Twitter, at or @IslandFenwick.

    Ocean View

    • The Ocean View Town Council will not meet in August. The next regular council meeting has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.

    • The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustments will not meet in August.

    • The next Concert in the Park will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. in John West Park. Local group Glass Onion Band will perform.

    • The Town of Ocean View’s Facebook page can be found at

    • The Ocean View town website is located at


    • The Millsboro town website is located at


    • The town council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m.

    • The town council’s next workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m.

    • Vendors can apply now for the Great Pumpkin Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no registration fee. Contact Town Hall ASAP at (302) 539-0449 for details.

    • The Millville town website is located at


    • Curbside recycling is picked up every other Tuesday, continuing Sept. 6.

    • The Town of Frankford website is located at


    • The Selbyville Town Council’s next regular meeting was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.

    • Curbside recycling is collected every other Wednesday, continuing Aug. 31.

    • Bulk trash is collected on the first Wednesday of each month. Households may put out one bulk item, such as a television, each month.

    • The Town website is at


    • There will be no town council election this year. All three incumbents re-filed for their seats, with no challengers.

    • The town council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m., at Bethel United Methodist Church.

    • The Town can now accept credit cards payments from citizens online. Instructions are on the Town website.

    • The Town of Dagsboro website is at

    Indian River School District

    • Committee meetings are scheduled for Monday, Sept. 12, at the Indian River School District Educational Complex in Selbyville: Policy at 4 p.m.; Curriculum at 5 p.m.; Buildings & Grounds at 6 p.m.; and Finance at 7:30 p.m.

    • The Board of Education will meet Monday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School.

    • Schools will host a series of open houses from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. Details online or by contacting individual schools.

    • Schools will host a series of open houses from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. Details are available online or by contacting individual schools.

    • The 2016-2017 school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6, for K-12 students. Preschool programs, including Project Village and TOTS, will begin on Monday, Sept. 12.

    • There is no school for students Tuesday, Sept. 13, for Primary Election Day.

    • The district website is at

    Sussex County

    • Agendas, minutes and audio, as well as live streaming of all County meetings, may be found online at

    State of Delaware

    • Continuing work on the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project, DelDOT has ended daytime lane closures for the summer, returning to only utilizing overnight lane closures, though lane shifts and brief lane closures for project logistics can still be expected during the day. Motorists are being encouraged to use detour routes to avoid delays when lane closures are in place.

    Overall, the 4-mile-long project includes the reconstruction of Route 26 (Atlantic Avenue) from Clarksville to the Assawoman Canal and will widen the existing two-lane roadway to include two 11-foot travel lanes with 5-foot shoulder/bike lanes and a 12-foot wide continuous shared center left-turn lane. Construction is expected to be largely complete mid-summer and completed by the fall. George & Lynch is building the 4-plus-mile project from Assawoman Canal in Bethany Beach to St. George’s U.M. Church in Clarksville.

    Regular Route 26 project meetings have concluded, with anticipated completion of the project by late September. The public can get email updates from DelDOT via the project page for the Route 26 project at For additional Route 26 project information or concerns, residents and businesses can contact Ken Cimino at (302) 616-2621, or or at 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.s

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    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Women from the Bishop’s Landing development used donations they collected to fill 40 backpacks for students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Women from the Bishop’s Landing development used donations they collected to fill 40 backpacks for students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.More than four dozen students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School will receive backpacks filled with school supplies to start their school year, thanks to the efforts of a group of local women.

    The idea for the backpack project came about as a group of women who live in the Bishop’s Landing development collected their usual money for local charities during their monthly luncheon. The women decided that they wanted to contribute backpacks and came up with filling 50 packs as their goal.

    First, the backpacks themselves were purchased, and into each one was placed a supplies list for one of the grades at Lord Baltimore, which encompasses kindergarten through fifth grade. The individual backpacks were then taken by households in Bishop’s Landing and filled with everything from dry erase markers to earbuds.

    “When I first started the mission, I told the school I’d like to fill 30 backpacks,” said organizer Judy Burgo. By the time the project was finished, 50 backpacks filled two SUVs, she said. While some families filled whole backpacks, “We also put the call out that if people didn’t want to do a whole backpack, they could just do one thing, or whatever they felt they could do to help,” Burgo said. Together, the supplies contributed by about 75 people added up to help for the families of 50 children who received them.

    With supply lists seemingly getting longer and longer every year, sometimes it is a struggle for families to purchase everything on the list for their children. So anything that was contributed toward filling the pack was a help.

    “It all adds up,” Burgo said.

    Lord Baltimore Principal Pamela Webb agreed.

    “It is a monetary hardship” for some families to check off all the items on that supply list each year, Webb said.

    The backpacks will be distributed based on need, she continued.

    “Just from building those relationships with families, we know which ones would benefit from that generosity,” Webb said. Also, some families contact the school themselves and ask for assistance. “The parents are so appreciative” of the help, she said.

    The LB principal also wanted to express gratitude to the Bishop’s Landing “backpack packers” for not only buying the packs and the supplies, but for sorting the supplies and placing them in backpacks labeled by grade.

    “It would bring tears to your eyes,” she said. “I said to them, ‘I don’t think you understand the impact” of the donation.

    In addition to the backpacks, Webb said boxes of extra classroom supplies were included in the donation — which will also help teachers, as well as students, throughout the year

    For their part, Burgo said, she is pleased with the outcome.

    “It was a really rewarding project,” she said. “The community jumped right in and helped.”

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    A former Town of Ocean View employee recently lost an appeal to the Delaware Superior Court after the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board found she was disqualified for unemployment benefits.

    Melanie Breech, who served as the Town’s receptionist from October of 2003 to May of 2015, was deemed to have been terminated from her position with just cause following testing positive for marijuana, which was in violation of the Town’s Personnel Policy.

    Within the policy, there are eight separate line items related to prohibited activities related to substance abuse. According to the Town Code, any employee who engages in those activities may be dismissed.

    According to the five-page decision written by Judge Richard F. Stokes, Breech applied for unemployment benefits, alleging she was terminated without just cause.

    However, in his Aug. 15 letter opinion, Stokes said that Breech argued, while at the time of her drug testing she was not a medical marijuana cardholder, she would have been “had the process of becoming a cardholder was faster.”

    He also found that Breech was aware of the Town’s Personnel Policy, which addressed substance abuse, and that she “freely and voluntarily admitted to using marijuana.”

    “At the time of her drug test, marijuana use was illegal,” wrote Stokes in his decision. “Accordingly, Ms. Breech’s violation of the Town’s policy constitutes just cause for her termination.”

    Following her dismissal and initial appeal, a Claims Deputy had determined Breech was disqualified for benefits because she was dismissed from the Town for just cause on June 4, 2015. Breech went on to file an appeal to the Appeals Referee, and a hearing was scheduled.

    According to court documents, Ocean View Town Manager Dianne Vogel and Breech’s supervisor, Public Works Director Charles McMullen, testified at the hearing. Breech, who was present, did not testify.

    The Appeals Referee had reversed the decision of the Claims Deputy, stating Breech was discharged without just cause. The Town appealed the decision of the Appeals Referee to the Unemployment Appeal Board, who then reversed that decision.

    Breech went on to file an appeal in Superior Court on Dec. 7, 2015.

    In his decision, Stokes added that Breech’s argument that with a speedier medical marijuana card process “her marijuana use would have been legal is without merit.”

    Although the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act came into law in May 2011, Gov. Jack Markell did not sign legislation to decriminalize the possession and private use of up to an ounce of marijuana until June 18, 2015. The law did not take effect until December of that year, about six months after Breech had been terminated from the Town’s employ.

    “The alleged delay in receiving the medical marijuana card has no bearing on the situation,” wrote Stokes.

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    After initially awarding a $2.8 million prize for the lone qualifying white marlin caught in Ocean City, Md.’s 43rd Annual White Marlin Open after fishing closed on Aug. 12, tournament directors mid-week issued a statement suggesting that the winning anglers may have violated the tournament’s rules and may not be awarded the lucrative prize after all.

    “Subsequent investigation, as required by the rules and regulations of the White Marlin Open, indicated a possible violation of the rules,” said James Motsko, White Marlin Open president.

    Motsko said White Marlin Open directors met with the independent judges and provided complete information for their input with regard to the issue of the potential violation of rules.

    “After much discussion, and providing evidence of the possible violation of the tournament rules, the judges agreed that the prize would not be awarded to the boat catching the qualifying white marlin, but would, in accordance with the rules of the tournament, be withheld pending the determination of the proper recipient of the prize money,” he said.

    Motsko did not specify which of the tournament’s rules — which range from hours of permitted fishing to approved baits (for instance, no live bait is permitted) and types of hooks — may have been violated by the originally declared winner, Phil Heasley and the crew on the Kallianassa, from Naples, Fla., who reeled in a 76.5-pound white marlin on Aug. 9.

    A violation could mean the awarding of the prize to the winner in another of the tournament’s categories, which include blue marlin, tuna, dolphin, wahoo and shark. Motsko did not specify which of the other winners might be the beneficiary of the potential rules violation.

    But, according to the tournament rules posted on the official website, if a category is not won at all, the guaranteed prize money will be equally divided among the other winning categories, and in the event that a winning white marlin is not caught, the captain’s and mate’s guaranteed prize money go to the mate and captain of the boat with the heaviest blue marlin.

    Jim Conway and the crew on the Get Reel had pulled in the largest blue marlin caught in the tourney in the last five years, weighing in at a staggering 790 pounds, good for a $258,995 check, and now, perhaps quite a bit more.

    The rules also specify that all anglers winning $50,000 or more and all anglers winning any amount in Level R may be required, at the discretion of the White Marlin Open, to take and pass a polygraph test prior to the distribution of any awards. The White Marlin Open may, at its discretion, also request that a polygraph test be taken by any other angler or crew member registered to that boat, the rules state.

    “The White Marlin Open strives to obtain the highest integrity and level of transparency in fairness in all of its award and determination of adherence to the rules and regulations in all cases. It is for these reasons that the tournament directors, in coordination with the independent judges in the tournament, have made the determination to withhold the winning prize until it can be ensured that the prize is being paid to the proper recipient thereof,” Matsko said.

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  • 08/25/16--13:39: Clarification
  • In our Aug. 12 article “IR educator: Teachers undermined as parents demand special treatment,” we referenced the IRSD board’s decision-making on additional admissions to the East Millsboro Elementary School Spanish Immersion program. The four students who were recommended did go through the lottery process with all applicants. But when they weren’t accepted through the lottery, they were still recommended because they’re siblings of students who had already gone through the immersion program. We hope this clears up any confusion, and we remain baffled as to what exactly our editor does with his days.

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    Special education is “an ever-evolving specialty,” said Heather Statler, who has dedicated her career to the subject. Now, this Indian River School District board member is chairing the new Special Education Task Force, which will review the district’s entire special-ed program.

    About 15.9 percent of students fall under the umbrella of special education, out of IRSD’s more than 10,000 students, meaning they have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan.

    The Task Force will “help us to examine our strengths and weaknesses. We know there are certain areas where we excel, but at the same time we have pockets where we can improve,” Statler said.

    Officially forming in April, the Task Force aims to report its findings by mid-2017. Eventually, the IRSD will likely create a more comprehensive plan of services.

    “This group is very positive, very forward-thinking and research-based,” Statler told the school board in August.

    They’ll find IR’s weaknesses, increase knowledge and adherence to government guidelines, research best practices in other schools and create a blueprint upon which to structure IR’s overall approach to special education. That includes operations, leadership, transparency and accountability.

    “At core of the project is making sure our students are getting everything that they need to be successful,” Statler told Coastal Point after the August meeting.

    That means talking to parents, teachers, specialists and administrators. She said she thinks test scores, parent involvement and student success will all improve.

    “It is a great deal of self-examination, and that is not always an easy process,” said Statler, publically commending the teachers and administration involved.

    “It’s a positive process, because it’s going to yield better results for our students,” she later told the Coastal Point. “It’s the heart of my work. It’s what I’ve devoted my career to.”

    IRSD officials already knew there was room for improvement. In October of 2015, the Delaware Department of Education sent notice that the IRSD had a “disproportionate representation” of certain groups in special education: African-American children with mild intellectual disability, learning disability and emotional disturbance, plus Caucasian children with other health impairments and autism.

    The Curriculum Committee discussed the report in April.

    That report “did not prompt” IRSD’s realization that they needed to strengthen services, Statler said. Instead, she said, that idea was already growing after she joined the board in August of 2015.

    “Services for special education is my specialty area. … When I got on the board last year, that was one thing that I wanted to delve into,” Statler said. “In my opinion, I think that we can … strengthen what we do, so that we can be a leader in the state with special-education services. I think we can put supports in place and connect with families so that our students can be successful.”

    The Task Force is currently developing goals and a mission statement.

    Other Task Force members include teachers and special-education coordinators at the elementary and secondary level, as well as the IRSD’s special programs administrators.

    Meetings are held internally, not generally open to the public. The Task Force is not affiliated with the IRSD Special Education Parent Council, a parent-run group, which the state mandated every district must have to help connect parents. But Statler is still asking the Parent Council and many other focus groups for feedback.

    Statler now gives special-ed updates at school board meetings. The August report included ideas (such as increasing “self-advocacy” skills for students 14 or older, as they plan their own lives after high school) and challenges (the Department of Education said the IRSD “needs assistance” in implementing regulations regarding special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

    “It seems, at the board level, the only time we discuss special education is when there’s a problem,” Statler said. “Part of my mission is to have more frequent conversations [at the board level], to see all the great things going on and the challenges.”

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    On Friday, Aug. 19, the Delaware State Police, along with the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division and the Ocean City Police Department, concluded an eight-month investigation into a human trafficking ring allegedly operating in Sussex County with the arrest of two area men.

    According to police, beginning in December 2015, investigators obtained information that Rashawn B. Davis, 24, of Millsboro was allegedly running a prostitution ring out of numerous motels. Troopers then launched an investigation into the activities and known associates of Davis. Over the course of several months, police said, people connected with Davis were contacted several times at local motel rooms in eastern Sussex County.

    In April, police said, the Delaware State Police and agents from the Homeland Security Investigations, with the help of the Ocean City (Md.) Police Department, led an investigation into Davis’ activities. During that month investigators discovered Davis had recruited George L. Dunn, 24, of Georgetown and allegedly showed him how to operate another prostitution ring.

    According to the DSP, over the course of the investigation, detectives were able to identify more than eight women who were allegedly current or former victims of Davis and Dunn. The investigation also revealed that Davis and Dunn were allegedly business associates who operated jointly and independently.

    Through interviews, detectives said, they learned that Davis had allegedly been operating prostitution rings out of local motels since the fall of 2015. Dunn and Davis allegedly used coercion, verbal abuse and the withholding of heroin to control the behavior of the victims.

    Police said Dunn and Davis allegedly posted advertisements utilizing the website; Dunn and Davis allegedly negotiated with potential clients and set all prices; and all proceeds from prostitution activities went back to Dunn and Davis.

    According to police, the female victims involved were only provided with minimal amounts of heroin, and basic items, such as fast food and clothing.

    As the result of the investigation, Davis was also charged with an unrelated home invasion that occurred on Jan. 4 on Carriage Lane in Rehoboth Beach.

    During this incident, police said, two masked suspects armed with a handgun had allegedly forced their way into a residence and forcibly removed items from a 42-year-old man.

    On Friday, Aug. 12, Dunn turned himself in to troopers and was charged with: three counts of Human Trafficking—Sexual Servitude and Conspiracy 2nd degree. Dunn was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in default of $10,000 secured bond.

    On Thursday, Aug. 18, Davis was arrested without incident and charged with: two counts of Human Trafficking—Sexual Servitude; two counts of Conspiracy 2nd Degree; Robbery 1st Degree; Home Invasion and Wearing a Disguise during the Commission of a Felony.

    Davis was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institute in default of $147,000 secured bond. (Additional human trafficking charges against Davis are to be added by indictment, police noted.)

    Victims or any other person with information regarding the activities of Dunn or Davis are being asked to contact Detective J. Rowley at (302) 752-3801 or the Troop 4 Major Crimes Unit at (302) 856-5850. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

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    Earlier this month, the Town of Frankford filed a statement of appeal to the State’s Environmental Appeals Board following the decision of Delaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary David Small related to well permits issued to Mountaire Farms.

    The letter, dated Aug. 16, said the Town challenges DNREC’s finding that the industrial non-potable well is not in violation of Delaware Code for being “interconnected with any portion of the building’s plumbing and/or any water utility’s service connection,” as well as the failure of DNREC to revoke the permit, as “Mountaire has failed to abide by Permit #252076’s conditions, which is to ‘follow all current regulations governing well construction.’”

    The appeal states that the interests of the Town have been substantially affected, as the Town provides water to its approximately 888 citizens, and that they were never informed of the permits being requested or issued.

    It goes on to state that there are “severe issues and concerns with the non-potable well drilled by Mountaire… causing health concerns and quality of water concerns with back flow and cross-contamination problems — a severe health hazard for potable water usage.”

    Virgil Holmes, director of DNREC’s Division of Water, in a statement to the Coastal Point disputed that the Town’s water supply would be impacted by the new well.

    “I want to alleviate any misconception that Frankford’s water supply might be compromised by the installation of a non-potable well at the Mountaire Farms of Delmarva facility in the town,” he said. “Water was previously supplied to Mountaire by the Town of Frankford. Mountaire requested and was granted a permit by the Division of Water to install a well that is now supplying water to their facility.

    “It is important to understand that existing law does not afford DNREC the ability to withhold a non-potable well permit solely on the basis of the well being installed in a water utility area,” Holmes said. “Nor does the law compel the Department to issue a well permit if doing so would adversely affect public health and the environment.

    “Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water inspected the Mountaire well and determined that the non-potable well’s water supply had no interconnection with Frankford’s municipal water system that could threaten the Town’s potable water supply,” he concluded.

    The Town’s appeal also argues that Small’s decision was “improper” due to failure of notice, along with Delaware Code violations, including municipality approval of all well permits issued within Town limits and permission from the municipality approving the activity of drilling the non-potable well within town limits.

    During the May council meeting, Frankford Councilman Greg Welch said the Town had noticed a sharp decrease in water usage — a drop of almost a million gallons per month — as a result of Mountaire’s well.

    At its July meeting, the council said the decrease in usage has caused the Town to face a $71,000 deficit, causing the Town to consider raising water rates. The water rate is proposed to increase from $8.75 per 1,000 gallons to $12.68 per 1,000 gallons. There is also a monthly service rate of $3.

    At that same meeting, as in past meetings, the council and residents discussed ways to put pressure on Mountaire and potentially recoup the lost income from the business in other ways.

    “If Mountaire is really putting an extra $250 a year on every resident in town, they need to pay. They’re not a good neighbor; they’re not an asset to the town,” he said. “If they were a good neighbor and doing something wrong, that would be one thing, but they’re not a good neighbor… Stick it to them. You put a 2 percent tax on rentals, make an industrial tax,” said property owner Dean Esham at the July meeting.

    Michael Tirrell, vice president of human resources and business services for Mountaire, told the Coastal Point that Mountaire is very willing to sit down with the leadership of the Town of Frankford to try work out a solution to the issue that Frankford has with the company drilling a well.

    “We didn’t have constantly good quality water, high enough pressure or high enough volume, which was causing us operational problems at the feed mill. You’ve got to have good quality water pressure and volume to make feed,” he explained.

    “We had a problem we had to solve, and we couldn’t get it solved through normal Town water, so we applied for a permit to drill a well so we could drill it ourselves. We were granted permission to drill that well, so we felt we drilled a legal well. The Town has objected to that. We’re still trying to try and sit down with the Town and try to work it out.”

    Tirrell said Mountaire doesn’t believe there is an issue with the well’s impact on the Town’s water supply.

    “We don’t have any possibility of any cross-contamination. There is no connection between the process water and the drinking water. And we’re still a customer of Frankford for our drinking water, the water in our restrooms and the water in the fire-protection system.

    “We’ll wait to see how that plays out, and maybe at the end of that we’ll be able to sit down and talk,” he added.

    Tirrell said the company has tried to work on the water-related issues with the Town.

    “We sat down with the Town and made an offer to help with the shortfall they’ve had,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned, the offer is still under consideration, but they haven’t accepted the offer.

    “We are still willing to talk with the Town. We think they’re willing to talk with us, they’ve just chosen to go through this legal appeals process. Maybe that’s something they have to do to satisfy themselves that everything was done in order,” he added.

    As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday news deadline, a date for the appeal hearing had yet to be scheduled.

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    Forge Youth & Family Academy is bringing in Christian rapper B-SHOC for a free show at the Selbyville Fire Hall on Monday, Sept. 5. The Selbyville-based ecumenical family ministry hopes to send area students back to school with a boost of energy and a renewed attitude, according to Forge leader Rob Shrieves.

    “B-SHOC,” whose real name is Bryan Edmonds, is known for his high-energy shows featuring such songs as “Jesus Jump,” “Hands in the Air” and “Christ-Like Cruisin.” Shrieves said he saw him in concert in the area last year and was impressed, and reached out to him for a Forge-sponsored event. “The kids really connected with him,” Shrieves said.

    The past year has been one of growth for Forge, which is currently housed in the House of Mercy in Selbyville. From three youths a year ago to about 78 on the rolls now, Forge began with the acknowledgement of a need for youth programs, Schrieves said. Average attendance at Forge events, which include weekly gatherings, as well as special programming, is about 30 to 35 youths.

    The Forge ministry is an outgrowth of youth programing at The Odyssey church, also in Selbyville. The ministry is ecumenical, and Shrieves said he includes a “life lesson with a Bible lesson” at each session, but he emphasized that attendees are not required to believe one way or another, or at all.

    Shrieves said the first goal for the Forge Academy was simply to serve “some kids who basically just needed some guidance.”

    Forge Academy’s mission expresses that goal equally as simply: “Breaking the cycle through positive decision-making.” Shrieves, who is a corrections officer in Maryland, said he has seen over the years how bad decisions perpetuate more bad decisions throughout the life of a family.

    Something as simple as offering a meal for youths and their families every week, Shrieves said, is making an impact. “Some of the kids had never sat around a dinner table together with their family,” he said.

    In addition to empowering youths to make better decisions, Forge has begun a program called “Rewind” in which individuals who might currently be dealing with consequences of faulty decisions can move forward toward a more positive life.

    Forge also supports parents with its programs, Shrieves said. In addition to the Rewind program, Forge plans to offer a family support group, which will address various issues, including addiction in families, single parenting and budgeting assistance.

    Another part of Forge’s outreach is a hotline that will be open 24/7 and will be designed as a safe space for questions, problems or concerns. Shrieves said the idea came from the “say anything” area his mother established outside their home when he was a child. Anything, no matter how negative, could be said in the “say anything” area, but it had to be put away before entering the house, he said.

    Shrieves added that the hotline follows Forge’s goal of preventing bad decisions. He said he hopes that community members will feel free to call it and talk things out “so that you never have to make a bad decision” again.

    The B-SHOC concert will begin at 6 p.m. in the Selbyville Fire Hall; doors open at 5 p.m. All are welcome, and admission is free. Forge Youth & Family Academy meets each Friday at 6:30 at the House of Mercy, 36674 DuPont Highway, Selbyville. For more information, call Robert Shrieves at (443) 366-2813 or Tara Bartlett at (443) 513-1048, email or check out the organization’s website at

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    This year, hundreds of Indian River School District parents will begin navigating a new pathway they didn’t expect: special education services for their kids.

    It’s a tricky road to follow. Families try advocate for their children, sometimes not even fully understanding the educational process and their rights.

    That’s why school districts statewide are forming parent groups, such as the IRSD Special Education Parent Council.

    Monthly meetings began in January. It’s not a decision-making body of the district, just a place for parents to network and learn from guest speakers and each other.

    “This is great, right here,” said parent leader Megan Browne, watching families chat after the Aug. 23 meeting. “You feel so isolated sometimes, so it’s just nice to chat with people who have the same life.”

    Of the 10,000-plus students in Indian River School District, around 14 percent are considered “special education” because they have an IEP or 504 Plan.

    In 2015, a new Delaware law instructed every school district to create such a parents group, “with the ultimate goal that the district would step out of the picture, and the parents would have a forum to work together,” said Regena Izzo, IRSD special education implementation specialist.

    After providing some training in the first few meetings, Izzo now sits in a room nearby, letting parents run their own meetings, but close enough to answer questions if need be.

    “We’re thrilled to have them in place,” Izzo said. “It’s a big deal to have parents who can support each other and help educate each other … and be partners with us as we work for their children.”

    At meetings, the parents ask district staff without children to identify themselves beforehand, so people are comfortable speaking openly, without the perception of “gotcha” moments.

    The Aug. 23 meeting drew a smaller summertime crowd, as two dozen parents and children played “IEP Lingo Bingo” in the Millsboro Middle School auditorium. They won prizes while learning the many acronyms found in the special education world, like “mild intellectual disability” (MID), “speech language pathologist” (SLP) and “positive behavior support” (PBS).

    Meetings are run by an executive committee of four or five parents. They will invite guest speakers, such as therapists, other parents, state officials, district staff and more. One meeting focused simply on understanding an IEP and related terminology.

    “We’re learning, too,” Browne said. “We’re not the experts. We want to bring the experts to you.”

    A translator helped the Spanish-speaking families to keep up with discussion.

    Get the information flowing

    When a child has a disability that merits special instruction, he or she gets an individualized education program (IEP). Parents and schools create each IEP to officially map a child’s goals — plus the school’s plan to get there — including special services, supports or accommodations.

    Meanwhile, a 504 Plan is for a child whose disability warrants some accommodations but not special instruction, Browne said. For example, a very fidgety child might be given an inflatable ball chair to help dispel some of his energy.

    “We really hope to empower parents so they can make better choices and ask better questions for their kids,” Browne said. “The more you know, the more you can ask for.”

    She’s creating an information portfolio and planning to create a webpage to share presentations and family resources.

    The goal is to keep discussion more general and positive. But if parents come with specific issues or concerns, they can find Regena Izzo in the hallway, ready to provide further guidance.

    The group is currently developing a mission statement and goals.

    They aren’t affiliated with the IRSD’s Special Education Task Force, which formed in April as an official review of district special-ed services. However, district officials hope to get input from the Parent Council, as well as other focus groups.

    Who’s coming to these meetings?

    Parents came from all walks of life, some with children well into high school and others parents of students just starting pre-kindergarten. They can all learn from each other’s experience.

    When his son was first diagnosed at age 3, Morley Daehn just thought, “OK — now what do we do?”

    More than a decade later, Daehn just calls his high-school-age son a “quirky kid” who worked around his learning challenges to focus on his strengths as a computer whiz.

    “I just wanted to help other people get through the system,” Daehn said of his decision to join the Parent Council. “I really want this to take off. I’d love to talk to every single [district] parent,” and help them understand the “road map” of special education.

    In August, some families didn’t even have a full diagnosis yet, just the knowledge that something wasn’t quite clicking for their child.

    Rimmer said the Parent Council is welcoming to families who don’t have an IEP or 504 Plan quite yet.

    “If your child is struggling, if you’re consistently seeing the same problems come home, seeing the same grades come home, but you don’t know what to do — this is the group that’s going to give you one-on-one attention to help you understand what you can even ask for, what terms to use, how to start a process and, more than likely, help your child get services you may not even realize they qualify for.”

    Even a career in clinical social work hadn’t fully prepared Rimmer to answer the question “What services do you want for your child?” Moving forward, the Parent Council could help her answer that question.

    A good place to be

    Delaware has great special education resources, agreed parents who have moved here from nearby states. The trick is navigating the system.

    “It never felt like a partnership. It was very adversarial,” Browne said of her previous home. Now in Delaware, “They care and they want to help you.”

    Having moved to Delaware in 2015, Laura Rimmer joked that she used to attend parent conferences with a briefcase of documents (and lawyer on speed-dial) to continue proving her son needed special services.

    But Delaware offers much better services, said Rimmer, adding that she is particularly happy with the IRSD.

    She proudly describes how, at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, her son wasn’t treated like a problem child, but as a student absolutely overwhelmed because of a sensory processing disorder. By the year’s end, and with the proper accommodations, the formerly “self-defeated” first-grader was reading far above his grade level.

    “There’s a tremendous difference between empathy and excuse,” said Rimmer, who won’t let her son’s condition be an excuse for his not accomplishing things.

    “We want them to be functioning, self-sufficient adults. We want them to reach the fullest potential they can, within whatever their capacities are,” Rimmer said. “That doesn’t mean turning a blind eye or not challenging them. It’s just understanding that there’s going to be hiccups.”

    Getting involved

    Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 6 to 8 p.m. Meetings may be at different locations, so the district sends automated phone calls to notify all families of upcoming meetings.

    A website is coming soon, to share parent resources more publicly.

    For more information, or suggest a guest speaker, email the executive committee atå“There is no fear in the label,” Rimmer wants parents to know. “You will meet and network and bond with other parents and see we come from all walks of life, we speak all different languages, and yet we’re all trying to do the best for our kids.”

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    The Sons of the American Legion Detachment of Delaware have taken on the Home of the Brave II as their fundraising project for the year.

    Home of the Brave II is a women’s and children’s facility located in Milford that provides transitional housing, food and security for veterans, as well as assisting with employment, counseling services, access to healthcare, transportation and locating affordable housing.

    As part of their fundraising efforts, raffle tickets are being sold, with the winner able to enjoy a two-bedroom Bethany Beach condo for the week of Sept. 24 through Oct. 1.

    “This is compliments of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Hocker,” said Gary "Hoot" Holloway, one of the service commanders for the unit. Holloway noted the Hocker family has donated use of the condo to the detachment in the past and are great supporters.

    Raffle tickets cost $5 each or $10 for three, and are available for purchase in any squadron throughout the state of Delaware. The drawing will be held on Sept. 10.

    Holloway said the legion has no specific monetary goal for its fundraising efforts.

    “I don’t think we ever do. We just hope we get every dollar we get. It’s a dollar more than we already have, you know?”

    Jessica Finian, executive director of the Home of the Brave Foundation said that donations like those from the American Legion are essential to making the non-profit operational.

    “We operate on private donations, grants, and then a lot of our funding come from local VFOs or veterans service organizations,” she explained. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to pay our utilities, pay our staff — those things we have to do because we’re not fully funded by federal or state. Specifically, our female house is funded solely by donations and private donation grants.”

    Finian said the foundation not only helps with housing needs but gives veterans assistance, be it through purchasing Up passes, gas for the veteran’s car or new clothing for children who come in.

    “Anything they may need,” she said.

    Up to eight individuals at a time may be housed in the women’s facility, which opened in March of 2014 in a rental house, before opening at its permanent location on Sharps Road in July of this year.

    Finian said those who would like to continue to support Home of the Brave II may also purchase for $100 a brick that will be used in the construction of a walkway and patio for the women’s home.

    “It’s a great way to memorialize someone who has passed on in your family, maybe a grandfather or an uncle who serviced in the military, or it could just be your family. You don’t have to be military-affiliated to buy a brick to go into our patio.”

    Holloway said he hopes the community will do their part in supporting the Legion and Home of the Brave II.

    “We’re here to help the veterans,” he said. “We love doing it.”

    For more information about the raffle, contact Scott Underkoffler at (302) 448-0830. To learn more about Home of the Brave or to purchase a brick,

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    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Mary Ann Hook and Karl Gude of Feed My Sheep and Sharon Palmer, the children's services coordinator for the South Coastal Library pose for a photo with the donated bread at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Mary Ann Hook and Karl Gude of Feed My Sheep and Sharon Palmer, the children's services coordinator for the South Coastal Library pose for a photo with the donated bread at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.This summer was the second time local and visiting children were able to learn how to make bread from scratch through a program created by King Arthur Flour and offered at the South Coastal Library.

    The Bake for Good Kids Program is a free program offered to kids in grades 4 through 7 and has three goals.

    “One is to learn: the kids will learn to make bread using skills they already have — their math skills, reading skills and science skills,” said Paula Gray, manager of the Bake for Good Program.

    “Two is that they will bake bread, pretty much on their own. So they will have the confidence to bake the bread using their new skills and will bake the bread at home with the ingredients and knowledge we provide. And, lastly, share — share with someone in their community in need.”

    In the 25 years that the program has been in existence, Gray said, the offering went from just being taught in schools to being expanded to smaller groups, such as libraries, scout troops, church groups and homeschoolers.

    “We reach about 35,000 kids a year. That’s a lot of bakers and a lot of bread… Normally, when we send an instructor, we visit several schools over a few days,” said Gray, who noted that instructors have previously visited 10 schools in Delaware to present the program.

    South Coastal Library Children’s Services Coordinator Sharon Palmer heard about the program through a library list-serve and offered it for the first time last summer.

    “When I read about the program, I thought, ‘Wow — this would be a neat way for the children to participate’ because Bake for Good, they want the kids to be learning lifelong skills. I thought, wouldn’t that be a neat way to help support the café?

    “And I wasn’t sure there would be any interest, but we ended up with a waiting list of children who were interested in learning how to do this. That was pretty cool,” said Palmer. “We had nine kids participate last year and 12 participate this year, which is as many as I could fit in the room.”

    Each participating child receives a gift bag filled with items, all sent for free by the King Arthur Flour Company.

    “The company sends us a tote bag, a 2-pound bag of whole wheat flour, a bread scraper, a packet of yeast, a bag to put the bread in, a twist tie and a little card that says, ‘baked for you by:’ and the child can put their first name on it,” explained Palmer. “We send a tote bag with each of those items in it home with the families. They bake the two loaves, and they bring one back here.”

    Participating children watch an instructional video before trying their hand at baking bread themselves.

    “Anybody can watch the video — kids can watch it again at home, they can watch it with their families, they can refer to it again and again. It’s a great way to help people learn how to bake a delicious, nutritious recipe using whole grain flour.

    “I like to say it’s bomb-proof — it’s been tested by over 300,000 kids,” said Gray. “I like to tell kids, it’s not hard to make bread — people have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years — but it can be tricky to make bread that is good. But once you know the tricks of it, you can make delicious bread over and over again.”

    “When I started teaching this about 10 years ago, I went to six schools in a year, and now we visit 200,” Gray said. “We believe we can build community through baking. It’s a way to reach out to people; it’s a way to share good food and good feelings. We believe it’s a great skill for kids to have.”

    Each participating child returns one of the two loaves to the library so it may be donated to a local food charity.

    “Part of our mission as a company is to give back to the community, so this program is a win-win for everybody. It empowers kids to make a difference, which can be difficult to do when you’re only 9. It teaches them a skill that they can really use forever,” she said. “We do feel very strongly about it; we devote a lot of resources to it, and it has been very, very successful over the years.”

    Gray said King Arthur Flour feels so strongly about its Bake for Good program that they have declared October to be Bake for Good Month.

    “What we’re trying to do as a company is encourage everyone around the country to bake and give during the month of October. We’ve reached out to all the schools we’ve been to ever and all of our friends, and we’re inviting them all to participate.”

    Those who are interested in participating may do so by signing up online and baking throughout the month of October.

    Bread helps food ministry feed the community

    Palmer said that, to keep the children who participate in the program through South Coastal Library connected to their donation, she talks about the ministry.

    “During the program, I explained to the children about the Feed My Sheep Café, and that we have families within the community that don’t have enough to eat,” said Palmer.

    The Feed My Sheep Café is part of a ministry at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church. Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the church’s social hall serves up nourishing, healthy food and spiritual support free of charge to anyone in the community. The ministry also offers carry-out meals, and delivered meals on Thursdays as well.

    “Since I’ve been with it, we’ve doubled, if not tripled, what we served when I first started cooking here.”

    “Without these donations, it would put a strain on the church budget to finance this,” said Karl Gude, who co-chairs the ministry. “The people who come in here, sometimes it keeps them from eating at home by themselves. The fellowship is fantastic. It’s becoming a big operation.

    “The mission of Mariner’s is that there be no unmet human needs within a 12-mile radius of the church. This fits right in with our mission. We also partner with a church in Costa Rica that does it within 20 kilometers.”

    Along with serving soup, Gude said the ministry tries to send families home with more, if needed — such as substantial casseroles, cereal and even local produce.

    “Right now, we have a lot of fresh vegetables that people are donating. A couple of the produce stands donate them to us. We’re cutting what we can and freezing it for soups, but we’re also sending a bag of tomatoes or a bag of apples home. We’ll send home whatever we think might help somebody,” he said.

    Gude said the ministry was very grateful to receive the bread donations for the second year in a row.

    “It’s wonderful — they’re learning from a young age the gift of serving.”

    “This is fresh bread baked by caring children… They’re going to go to people we are delivering to at home and maybe keep a couple loaves here to slice up and give out. It’s a gift of love,” said café volunteer Mary Ann Hook. “I think it’s great that we’re partnering with the library. It’s community helping community. South Coastal Library is just a wonderful resource.”

    Each week, the ministry serves approximately 200 meals to those in the community.

    “Yesterday, we had a woman who just got home from the hospital and was just elated to get food from us. She said sometimes she can’t get out to get food. She said this is such a blessing to her,” said Hook, adding that they serve homeless or near-homeless community members, foreign students and many of the Route 26 construction workers.

    “Especially when it’s warm, they’ll come in — it’s air conditioned in here — they’ll be able to have a cool drink and enjoy some soup, and a little chitchat. I think they enjoy that, too.”

    “I know when we first started we were taking it — we’d go out and find out what they wanted and we’d deliver it and pray with them,” said Gude. “We encourage people, if they’re homebound and would like a meal and someone to visit with them on Thursdays, to call. We’re always looking for more people.”

    Hook said the community-based program meets many needs beyond food.

    “It’s socialization, all different kinds of needs we’re meeting here. I think it’s a good balance of how we’re touching people in our community,” she said. “It’s a wonderful program that touches a lot of people in a lot of different ways.”

    “I have about six ladies who come every week, and I flirt with them, get them to laugh and make sure they have a good time. It makes their day,” said Palmer’s husband, Don, who volunteers at the cafe.

    Palmer said one customer, when she first started coming to the café, didn’t always appear to be in a good mood.

    “It was my mission to make her laugh every week. Now she looks for me!”

    Five different churches volunteer their efforts to the ministry, and they are supported by area supermarkets and restaurants as well.

    “The community touches us. Everyone who works here is a better person for being here,” said Gude.

    “It’s wonderful how people, whatever they think they’re good at, they contribute,” added Hook.

    Palmer said the program will be offered at South Coastal Library again next summer, with a larger number of participants allowed.

    She added that it has been a wonderful program and extra-special to see young kids giving back to the community.

    “I found it very interesting, in speaking with the parents after the bread was made, how much the parents enjoyed it, because many of them had never made bread. A lot of the children that participate are here on vacation. To want to give back to the community while on vacation, I think is just awesome.”

    Those who are interested in getting involved in the Feed My Sheep Ministry may contact Mariner’s Bethel, located at 81 Central Avenue in Ocean View, by calling (302) 539-9551. For more information on free programs at the South Coastal Library, located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach, call (302) 539-5231 or visit

    To learn more about King Arthur Flour’s Bake for Good Program, to apply, watch videos or pledge to participate in October’s Bake for Good Month, visit

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Meghan KellyCoastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Meghan KellyMeghan Kelly was voted “most optimistic” by her classmates at Indian River High School — a superlative she said she planned to carry with her as she went to college and began her career.

    Years later — after, Kelly said, she “lost (her) sparkle” — she asked a colleague what they thought had caused her to lose her positive outlook. “You became a lawyer,” he responded.

    The two laughed and carried on, but Kelly was determined to find that optimistic outlook she’d been known for as a teenager. Now an attorney at McDonnell & Associates in Bethany Beach, Kelly said, “I am getting my sparkle back at this new position. I am so grateful for this job.”

    Kelly, a Sussex County resident for nearly all of her life, came up through the Indian River School District, attending Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Selbyville Middle School and Indian River High School, before seeking a degree in education from the University of Delaware. From there, she went on to attend Duquesne Law School, where many of her family members have gone before and after her, during what she considers her one little break from life in the First State.

    Growing up, Kelly said, she was “of course involved in Little League and sports and honor roll” and “probably worked at every place in Bethany Beach and numerous places in Rehoboth.”

    Laughing, she added that, in high school, she played soccer for the boys’ team because, back then, the school didn’t have a girls’ team.

    Echoing the sentiments of many longtime, born-and-bred Sussex Countians, Kelly said that the area “was a lot quieter when I grew up. There were fewer homes and fewer banks and fewer businesses.”

    However, now, Kelly said, “It’s grown, and I absolutely love it. I loved it back then as well, but now more people love and enjoy Delaware, which is why it’s getting built up more and more.”

    One of Kelly’s fondest high school memories was being nominated by her history teacher to attend Girl’s State, a program that allows girls to learn more about state government by spending a week role-playing key players, such as the governor and state auditor.

    “I probably went to law school, in part, because I learned a little about the legislature there,” Kelly said.

    Kelly praised her parents for the values and lessons they imparted on her, calling her mother an “angel” and a “saint” and her father a “local hero.”

    Of her immediate family, Kelly is the last to remain in Delaware and call it her home. While her siblings have moved out west, to California and Hawaii, and her parents are living in Florida, Kelly insists that she has no plans of leaving the place she calls “heaven.”

    “There’s no place like Delaware. It’s so beautiful here, and I feel fortunate to be here,” she said.

    Luckily, Kelly landed what she considers her “dream job” when she accepted a position at McDonnell & Associates.

    “I feel so grateful for the position at the law firm,” Kelly said. “They’ve given me a great team of paralegals and support in each of the departments. They’ve given me the freedom to expand as I see fit. The law firm is run like a well-oiled machine. It is a real blessing, and I’m really thankful for this opportunity to work with such intelligent, seasoned real estate attorneys throughout the East Coast.”

    Kelly also said that one of the many perks of working with the firm is the “beautiful office space,” situated on Route 1 in Bethany Beach, just across the road from the beach.

    Before returning to southern Delaware, Kelly worked for a few law offices in Wilmington but said that the city vibe and fast-paced lifestyle was not for her.

    “I know you make more than four times the salary when you live up in Wilmington, but is it really worth your life when all you do is work from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. and live in a box, a studio?”

    Taking a leap of faith and following her heart, Kelly said, she was led back to her stomping grounds, where she first accepted a position with Insight Homes and decided to focus on real estate law.

    “It’s a great opportunity to help neighbors without actually having to litigate,” she said. “It’s non-combative, and it’s fun. Basically, you get to help people move to Delaware, and you get to welcome new neighbors and old neighbors.”

    As she was getting reacquainted with her hometown, Kelly worked part-time as a substitute teacher in area schools, including Sussex Technical High School and her alma mater, Indian River — something she said she considered a privilege.

    “I’m grateful for the ability to influence young minds. I feel like that’s a privilege. It touches my heart to see the kids in the community and seeing kids that are driven to do well and to take care of themselves and others.”

    “I try to train the kids to be kind critical thinkers, to lovingly forgive older people because we can be a little stiff-necked and stubborn.”

    Kelly noted that, over the years, she’s developed a unique outlook on the way she practices law and balances her life and career.

    When it comes to work, she said, “It’s not about money — it’s about helping people and trying to do the right thing.”

    While she and her colleagues might differ in their philosophy from time to time, Kelly maintained that her goal is not to use her position to create tension, but to peacefully resolve conflict and correct miscommunication.

    “Not everyone is perfect. You realize that most lawsuits are not about adult behavior, they’re about mistakes and misunderstandings, and I did not enjoy making people cry. I think we can correct each other in a more loving manner, and we don’t necessarily have to go to court to do what is right.”

    As for what the future holds, Kelly said, “Hopefully, I will get married to my Prince Charming and have a family and live a good life like my parents lived. I hope to be here for the next 20 years, and I hope to raise future children the way my parents raised me.”

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: From left, owners and stylists Angela Hutton, Amy Smith, and Kira DiSabatino recently launched Pin Up Girls Salon in Ocean View.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: From left, owners and stylists Angela Hutton, Amy Smith, and Kira DiSabatino recently launched Pin Up Girls Salon in Ocean View.It was their moment.

    So much so that, on the morning of Aug. 25, upon entering the newly renovated space above Ocean Vayu Yoga and Pivot Physical Therapy, on what was to be the day of their grand opening, Angela Hutton, Amy Smith and Kira DiSabatino — the proud new owners of Pin Up Girls Salon in Ocean View — took full advantage of it, very literally jumping for joy to mark both the occasion and the milestone.

    “I won’t lie — we walked in this morning, and we just collided and hugged. We acted like a bunch of little girls, screaming,” said Hutton with a laugh. “It feels amazing. It finally feels like we’re at home.”

    PUG’s three co-owners may be embarking on a brand new venture but they are by no means strangers to the scissors and chair, each with an extensive salon résumé, having worked together at a salon in Millville for the past seven years. That’s where they not only honed their craft, but spent days dreaming about eventually going out on their own.

    “We were always talking about our own salon. There were so many things that we wanted to offer,” explained Hutton. “We wanted to give our clients more of an experience, not just the service.”

    “We just wanted something a little bit different, something we could put our spin on,” added DiSabatino. “This whole vintage vibe just clicked with all of us and snowballed into this awesome opportunity.”

    As the name suggests, Pin Up Girls Salon is all about vintage style — bringing together the space’s sleek atmosphere with elements of what they like to think of as the Golden Age of hair in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Hanging on the shop’s soft green pinstriped walls is evidence of their homage to those decades: classic depictions of the time’s perpetual beauty in the form of artwork and framed photographs.

    “I feel happy here. It’s sunshine, it’s glowing, it makes you feel up. And I am glad they do have an elevator,” said Ginny Johnston, an Ocean View resident and a long-time client of Smith’s, with a laugh. “What more could you ask for?”

    “Up-to-date, modern, sophisticated, catering to a new generation of young retirees,” added Vicki Cook of what she was looking for in a salon after poking in a curious head to check things out on that Thursday.

    Recently moved to the area from Northern Virginia, Cook went on to explain that she had been anxiously awaiting the opening and had previously been traveling as far as Newark in her search for a new hairstylist.

    Of course, just because the motif says “retro” doesn’t mean that Hutton, Smith and DiSabatino aren’t keeping up with modern styles and trends.

    Frequently, the three PUG proprietors hit the road for hair shows to do just that, all the while keeping up with the in-vogue and keeping tabs on the latest in style-related social media hashtags.

    The shop offers an extensive list of services, specializing not only haircuts for men, women and kids (mothers themselves, they made sure to include a play center for children), but almost anything else that caters to the coif.

    Blowouts and stylings, coloring and contouring, perms, specialty treatments, hair extensions and even waxing are all combed out by appointment. And as for damaged hair, they can handle that, too.

    “We know how to treat your hair, protect your hair. We can rebuild your hair if it’s been damaged,” Hutton said of the team. “We all have a very high base clientele that’s been following us for a while.”

    After the ’do is done, freshly clipped clients can get the skinny on an array of hair and beauty products offered at the shop, all which have been tried and trued by the stylists themselves.

    One of those featured products includes Beauty & Pin Ups — a haircare company centered around “beauty with a purpose” that donates a portion of its sales to charity organizations, such as Best Buddies International.

    Other Pin Up perks include refreshments, such as coffee, danishes and muffins, with the aim being to pamper patrons on what Hutton, Smith and DiSabatino each said should always be a special experience.

    “This isn’t something that you do at your house. You’re not going to get your hair blown out every day. This is something special,” DiSabatino explained.

    “You really get to know people. They become part of your life. You become part of their life. Our clientele has been super-supportive in this whole transition. I’m excited for all of them to come and see this, just as much as I’m excited to be here for them.”

    While right now it’s just the three of them, Hutton said they have big plans for the future. There’s plenty of room for more stations and in the coloring room for future additions to what she likes to refer to as “the Pin Up Girls team.”

    For right now, however, that team of three is just happy to have gone from daydreaming, to living the dream daily, enjoying a moment that has been a long time in the making.

    “It’s more exciting, because it’s ours now. I’m super-pumped to just get started,” DiSabatino said, noting that when she started hairdressing was her “a-ha moment,” when she finally found her calling.

    “I have a daughter that I really just wanted to show that you could do anything you wanted. If you want something, you just go get it. You just do it. You work really hard, and you do it. I think that’s exactly what we’ve done, and I’m really excited about it.”

    Pin Up Girls Salon is located at 29 Atlantic Avenue, Unit 6, in Ocean View and open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule a consultation or appointment, call the salon at (302) 537-1325. For more information, visit their Facebook page at or check out the “P.U.G. Life” on Instagram (@pinupgirlssalonllc).

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    Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: IR junior Pedro Zarate and sophomore Thomas Hernandez recently attended   CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: IR junior Pedro Zarate and sophomore Thomas Hernandez recently attended CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.Readers who think young people today spend too much time on computers might want to stop right here. On second thought, keep reading… and be impressed.

    Two students in Indian River High School’s Junior ROTC program spent a week in August at CyberPatriot camp at the Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va. The camp is part of a cybersecurity education program in which teams from all over the country learn cybersecurity tactics and compete against each other to identify threats and defuse them.

    The program was started in 2009 by the U.S. Air Force Association and funded by the Department of Defense.

    The AFA has been increasingly concerned with cybersecurity — keeping the nation safe from threats against computer systems. Disruption of computer systems can cause major damage to the country’s banking, commerce, manufacturing, defense and other industries — and the CyberPatriot program has several goals that address those threats.

    “We use computers for everything,” said Maj. Frank Ryman, lead instructor for IR’s JROTC program.

    By introducing students to cybersecurity tactics, the CyberPatriot program not only provides them with tools to protect themselves from internet predators, it also seeks to encourage youth to enter the field as a career. By introducing cybersecurity through a fun, competitive program, CyberPatriot also endeavors to introduce more students to careers in science, math and technology fields, now referred to as STEM.

    The CyberPatriot training and competition allows students to hone skills needed to keep the country’s computer systems safe, all while having fun. Teams consist of two to six members, and compete against other schools on a regional and national level.

    IR junior Pedro Zarate and sophomore Thomas Hernandez, both of Selbyville, attended CyberPatriot camp this year and now are actively involved in bringing together a team (or teams) from Indian River for the competition.

    Hernandez said the material learned at camp not only involved identifying threats but, in a more general sense, “how to use any software safely.” Zarate explained that, through computer simulation, students at the camp had hands-on experience in “what to do and what not to do” when a security threat is detected.

    The tuition for the camp was provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, under which IR’s JROTC program operates. The two students are currently recruiting team members and hope to get started in the competition in October.

    Ryman said the CyberPatriot program is a worthwhile extension of the existing JROTC program at IR, which includes training in marksmanship, a drill team, color guard, leadership and other components.

    While cybersecurity might be new in terms of its capacity as a threat to national security, Ryman said its introduction into JROTC training is timely.

    “You can’t see it, but it’s there,” Ryman said of the danger of cyber threats.

    Zarate and Hernandez encouraged other JROTC members to join a CyberPatriot team at IR’s JROTC open house on Thursday, Aug. 25. Both said they are looking forward to putting together at least one team and getting other students involved.

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