Articles on this Page
- 10/06/16--14:13: _Bethany Beach staff...
- 10/06/16--14:17: _Frankford looks to ...
- 10/13/16--09:16: _Believe in Tomorrow...
- 10/13/16--09:49: _Agenda – October 14...
- 10/13/16--12:51: _VFW post celebrates...
- 10/13/16--13:04: _Frankford to host C...
- 10/13/16--13:18: _Students see first-...
- 10/13/16--13:54: _Bear Trap Dunes cel...
- 10/13/16--13:56: _Absentee voting now...
- 10/13/16--14:05: _New power-plant gui...
- 10/13/16--14:12: _Millville residents...
- 10/13/16--14:26: _Dump your docs: Mil...
- 10/13/16--14:32: _DelDOT lays out tra...
- 10/13/16--14:38: _Ocean View council ...
- 10/13/16--14:41: _Sussex County appro...
- 10/20/16--09:57: _Seashore State Park...
- 10/20/16--10:31: _Lighthouse Christia...
- 10/20/16--12:26: _In Selbyville, the ...
- 10/20/16--12:31: _From circuit riders...
- 10/20/16--12:56: _Selbyville Hallowee...
- 10/06/16--14:13: Bethany Beach staff go above and beyond for beach rescue
- 10/06/16--14:17: Frankford looks to sell police property, move to court building
- 10/13/16--09:16: Believe in Tomorrow 5K to benefit respite program
- 10/13/16--09:49: Agenda – October 14, 2016
- 10/13/16--12:51: VFW post celebrates its volunteers
- 10/13/16--13:04: Frankford to host Community Health Fair on Saturday
- 10/13/16--13:18: Students see first-hand that agriculture is more than seeds and soil
- 10/13/16--13:54: Bear Trap Dunes celebrating fall with families on Saturday
- 10/13/16--13:56: Absentee voting now under way ahead of Election Day
- 10/13/16--14:05: New power-plant guidelines? Delaware’s ahead of the game
- 10/13/16--14:12: Millville residents chomping at the bit for playground
- 10/13/16--14:26: Dump your docs: Millville shred event helps prevent fraud
- 10/13/16--14:32: DelDOT lays out transportation plans through 2023 fiscal year
- 10/13/16--14:38: Ocean View council continues to discuss ambulance fees
- 10/13/16--14:41: Sussex County approves revised signage ordinance
- 10/20/16--09:57: Seashore State Park to host second annual Boo-B-Que this weekend
- 10/20/16--10:31: Lighthouse Christian student donates hair to wig-making charity
- 10/20/16--12:26: In Selbyville, the talk is coffee, heroin and public safety
- 10/20/16--12:31: From circuit riders to SURGE
- 10/20/16--12:56: Selbyville Halloween Parade offers a ghoulishly good time
The rough sea did not deter two Town of Bethany Beach employees from braving the waters to save an 11-year-old boy on Monday.
On Oct. 3, a little after 2 p.m. Bethany Beach Public Works employee Sean Ely was on the beach at Maplewood Street when he was flagged down by a woman who informed him that her husband had gone into the ocean in an attempt to save her 11-year-old son, who was drowning in the rough surf.
“I looked and saw both of them in the water, then called police dispatch. I told them people were stuck in the water, in distress. I then took off my shoes and socks and went into the water,” said Ely, who has worked for the Town for 12 years.
“I had just gotten back to the department from lunch. I went into the secretary’s office. She got a call from Sean… ‘Oh, my god — someone’s having problems in the surf,’” recalled Bethany Beach Police Department Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Scharp, who responded to the call.
“I jumped in my police car and headed over there. I ran up to the top of the dunes and saw two people in the water. But it wasn’t at Maplewood — it was between Maplewood and Cedarwood, at Ashwood Street.”
“He told dispatch, ‘I’ve got to go. He’s going under — I’ve got to go in,’” said Bethany Beach Police Chief Michael Redmon. “The surf went out very far that day — probably 25 yards. It was angry seas, and they were over their heads. They couldn’t reach the bottom.”
After Ely went into the water, he swam to the boy and was able to take him from the man, who was struggling to keep him above water. The man, with the help of another bystander, was able to get ashore; however, Ely and the 11-year-old had more difficulty.
“Then, me and the boy started to swim in, but he started to panic,” recalled Ely, who tried to keep the boy calm. “Then I spotted Officer Scharp, and I figured it was best to wait for him to come in and help.”
Scharp joked that he is not as spry as he once was, and running to the edge of the water in his full uniform was tiresome. Once he got there, he removed his police vest, gun belt and shoes before swimming out to help.
“The undertow there was terrible. I’ve been in the ocean hundreds and hundreds of times, and it was just rough,” said Scharp. “He’s trying hard to keep this poor kid up — as he’s pulling his head up, Sean’s head goes down. And when Sean’s head goes up, the kid’s head goes down. The kid’s yelling, ‘We’re going to drown! We’re going to drown!’
“Usually, there’s a shore break, but due to the storm last week, the waves aren’t breaking right on the shore… It was over our heads.”
Scharp instructed the 11-year-old to take hold his neck, as if going for a piggyback ride, and he swam inland to a point where he was able to touch the sand. At that point, he turned to check on Ely, who had been able to make it in as well.
“Somehow, we made it,” he said.
Scharp, who has been with the department since 2005, said that, while he has received training in water rescue, this was his first.
“I’ve been in the ocean hundreds of times — I spearfish and scuba dive — so I’m very familiar with it... But it’s a whole different story, swimming in pants, than it is in a bathing suit. Thank God everyone was OK,” he said, adding, “It’s a good thing we have a fitness program in Bethany Beach.”
Scharp called attention to the heroic act of Ely, who, without hesitation, went into the ocean to help the boy.
“He told me he’s been in the ocean a few times in his life. For him to run out there and, basically, without knowing anything, risk his life to get this kid in — to me that was heroism beyond heroism.”
“It’s probably been eight years,” said Ely of the last time he was in the ocean. “I just don’t like the ocean; it’s not for me.”
Ely said he has never received water-rescue training, nor has he ever been involved in such a rescue during his tenure in Bethany.
“This was the first… Let’s hope it’s the last, too.”
As for his actions being called heroic, Ely said he doesn’t see the big deal.
“I just saw them in trouble and figured I had to do something. I knew help was coming, because I had just got off the phone with our dispatch. Anything I could do to help, I was willing to do.”
Redmon praised Scharp and Ely for their quick response in a dangerous situation.
“It was very heroic of both of them. In the police field, my officers are prepared mentally and physically to go above and beyond the call of duty. Their ability to think quickly and react simultaneously; they’re physically and mentally prepared,” he said.
“Sean Ely is not my employee; however, Sean Ely was the first one there. The mother came up, hysterical, telling him her son was drowning. Sean Ely was very instrumental in keeping that child above water until my officer got there.”
Redmon said Ely and Scharp would be recognized at a future Bethany Beach Town Council meeting for their heroic actions and have been nominated for a national lifesaving award.
“I have a great department, a great group of guys. I have 100-percent respect for them. When they’re out there, they go beyond the call of duty,” he added.
At the Frankford town’s council’s regular monthly meeting on Oct. 3, Councilman Marty Presley said the council had recently spoken to a number of Realtors regarding Town-owned property.
“The consensus is the best thing to do is to sell the police department” property, said Presley, adding that the money gained from the sale would be used to update the old water plant. He said the property is estimated to sell for $70,000 to $75,000.
The Town would consolidate all its operations, including town hall functions, into the building that currently houses the Justice of the Peace Court, which had been leased from the Town until recently. Once that is done, Presley said, they would look into the possibility of allowing the Envision Frankford group to use the current town hall building as its headquarters.
Presley said the water department and the police department facilities are contained within one deed. The council voted unanimously to separate the two, so as to be able to sell the police department property.
At the meeting, the council announced that it had moved forward with refinancing the Town’s existing debt with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC).
“We took on a tremendous amount of debt in the early 2000s to upgrade the water plant, and we’re still paying that debt. One of the options we’ve been looking at is to refinance the debt with lower interest rates.
“DNREC has come up and said that they could potentially give us a 0-percent interest rate on existing loans, and we could extend the maturity of those loans out to minimize the cashflow hit we’re getting from Mountaire being disconnected from our [water] system.”
Presley said that Council President Joanne Bacon had already signed paperwork to move forward with the refinancing.
“The good news is it will cost us, going forward, 0-percent interest on the outstanding loans we have. The bad news is it extends the loan for another 10 years.”
Presley added that the council has two meetings scheduled for the month of October related to the Town’s statement of appeal to the State’s Environmental Appeals Board. That appeal comes following the decision of DNREC Secretary David Small to allow well permits to be issued to Mountaire Farms for the Frankford feed facility, with the resulting water significantly reducing the amount of Town water once used by Mountaire.
“The loss of revenue over the next 20 years … is a minimum of $1.4 million. Our point of view is where is that $1.4 million going to come from? That’s how we’re going into the meetings. We’ll see what happens.”
Presley said that, depending what comes of the DNREC meeting, the Town may choose to drop the appeal. He added that the closed meeting would be held off-the-record and without attorneys present.
Delaware Avenue resident Wesley Hayes, who has been working to get his street clean water, asked the Town to provide the residents of the neighborhood, in writing, a list of what they would expect of them.
The residents, who live in unincorporated Sussex County just outside town limits, have said they would consider being annexed into town for the water access, as long as they were given a clear understanding of what the Town would want from them.
“Why should we be annexed in? You have a lot of unresolved issues right now. I’m not saying we don’t want to be a part of the town, but at the same time, I would like to hear why we should be a part of the town — other than we would have a voice.”
Presley said it would provide the benefits of police and fire protection, along with the other services the Town provides.
“I would say increased property values,” he added. “If you’re hooked up to Town sewer and water, I would say it’s going to increase your property values.
He added that the residents would be able to talk to the council about issues they were having, and see action.
“It’s got to be a two-way street — I agree with you 100 percent. But I think, from the Town’s perspective, we do offer some services. Our taxes are extremely low… Overall, it will be a benefit to you.”
Hayes said that, because of past dealings with the Town, the Delaware Avenue residents are on “high alert.”
Also on Oct. 3, resident Jerry Smith complained that while prisoners were being used by the Town to clean streets, there were rumors going around that they had been told not to go down Reed Street because the residents might throw them cigarettes or drugs.
Presley said there were other streets within the town — not solely Reed Street — where the prisoners were not allowed. He stated that the prison warden had chosen what streets the prisoners could and could not work on.
Bacon said the Town doesn’t even know what days the prisoners will be working until that morning.
Smith also asked why grass growing in Reed Street sidewalks had not been addressed by the Town’s maintenance worker, though other streets were getting attention.
Robbie Murray of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Department said he sprays all around the fire hall once month.
“I guess I could wait for the Town to do it…” he said.
Resident Albert Franklin said it wouldn’t hurt Smith to do it himself.
Resident Barbara Franklin said the railroad track runs behind their home, and she noted the trash that collects along the tracks.
“The railroad company doesn’t pick it up. We do, because we want our yard to look right.”
Councilwoman Pam Davis, who reports on streets, said she would go down to Reed Street and look at the sidewalks and trash situation.
When a child has a serious illness, the lives of everyone in the family are affected. It might seem as if the illness sends out ripples of stress, worry and exhaustion that leave families feeling as if they have been hit by a tsunami.
Since the mid-1980s, an organization called Believe in Tomorrow has given such families the gift of a few days away from the relentlessness of the routines that develop around the child’s illness. Believe in Tomorrow was the first organization to develop the concept of pediatric respite programs in the United States.
Local runners have an opportunity to help Believe in Tomorrow serve these families through a 5K race to be held in the Bayside community west of Fenwick Island on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Of the Maryland-based organization’s five properties set aside for families to spend precious “down time” together, three are on Delmarva — two in Ocean City, Md. and one in the Mallard Lakes community west of Fenwick Island. Proceeds from the race will benefit those properties, as well as two more that are being developed as Believe in Tomorrow respite sites.
An additional cottage has just been purchased, on 65th Street in Ocean City, and is soon to be renovated; it will be dedicated to use by military families with critically ill children, explained Elaine Morgan, special events coordinator for Believe in Tomorrow.
Armed forces families often have a particularly tough time when a child has a serious illness, she said, as hospitals are often far from the family’s home and many lack the support services attached to larger civilian hospitals. In addition, families must often deal with the realities of deployment in the midst of a child’s illness and treatment.
In addition to the Delmarva locations, the group’s other properties are located in Maryland’s Deep Creek area and in Asheville, N.C.
“We believe in keeping families together during a child’s medical crisis and that the gentle cadence of normal family life has a powerful influence on the healing process,” said Morgan. “There is such a need for these programs,” she said.
Since 1986, the charity has provided more than 800,000 individual overnight accommodations to families with critically ill children and their families, from every state and more than 82 countries worldwide, Morgan said.
In addition to the use of the resort properties, families staying at Believe in Tomorrow beach respite facilities are treated to a number of donated activities and meals provided by local businesses.
Donations from local businesses help provide Believe in Tomorrow families with beach activities, such as surf lessons, amusement park access, fishing and boating trips, as well as meals from local restaurants. The activities are provided free of charge to the families. All activities are solicited by volunteers and are provided by local businesses.
Morgan emphasized that 95 cents of every dollar donated to Believe in Tomorrow goes directly to the respite services provided by the organization.
The Believe in Tomorrow 5K begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Bayside community west of Fenwick Island. Runners are being encouraged to run dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes. Another way to show “team spirit” is to participate in the Centipede Division and run the race while tied together with friends or family as a unified group.
For more information or to register for the Believe in Tomorrow 5K, visit the website at BelieveInTomorrow.org/5k. The race location’s address is 31252 Americana Parkway, Selbyville.
• The Bethany Beach Non-Residential Design Review Committee will meet on Friday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. at town hall, to discuss and vote on an application submitted by Candy Kitchen for new signage for the existing business located at 100 Garfield Parkway in the C-1 zoning district, requesting approval of lit channel letters on a pink metal background wall sign and a lit circular sign (both signs will replace existing signs).
• The Bethany Beach Town Council held a public hearing on Sept. 19 on proposed new design criteria for residential building (“bulk density”) in the R-1 and R-1B Zoning Districts. For more information on the proposal, go to http://townofbethanybeach.com/CivicMedia?VID=37.
• The Town of Bethany Beach is asking citizens to take a survey regarding specific design elements for the proposed “Central Park,” to be completed before Sept. 30, with no more than two submitted per residence. The survey is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCL2QB2.
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 http://www.townofbethanybeach.com/mediacenter.aspx?VID=30 (and 31, 32 and 33).
• Bethany Beach’s pay-to-park season ended Sept. 15 and will return on May 15, 2017.
• Prohibitions on dogs on the beach and boardwalk in Bethany Beach ended on Sept. 30 and will resume on May 15, 2017.
• 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 www.townofbethanybeach.com, under Live-Audio Broadcasts. Both meetings are at town hall.
• The Traffic Committee was set to meet Thursday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m.
• The town council’s next regular meeting is Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m., starting with a public hearing on Ordinance 184-16; introduction of the new police officer; discussion of the annual financial audit; a possible vote on the Center for the Inland Bays closeout of the York Canal oyster gardens/floating wetlands and relocation; a possible vote to respond to the 2015 Survey result for improved lighting on Canal Drive by sending a survey to owners living near potential lighting placement; a third reading and possible vote to adopt Ordinance 182-16 to amend Town Code, Chapter 50, Bulkheads, to regulate the height of boat docks, to permit the installation of Modular Floating Docking Systems and to clarify violations and appeals; a third reading and possible vote to adopt Ordinance 184-16 to amend the Town Code, Chapter 145, Zoning, to increase the maximum height of houses from 32 feet to 33 feet and allow house elevations to be measured from either the center line of the road and the base flood elevation in the AE and AO Zones.
• The town council’s next workshop is Thursday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m.
• A Pot Luck Dinner and Halloween Party will be held Saturday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, sponsored by Communications & Public Relations Committee.
• Recycling is picked up biweekly, continuing on Friday, Oct. 14.
• Yard waste is picked up biweekly, continuing on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
• A pot luck dinner and Halloween party will be held Saturday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. at town hall, sponsored by the Communications & Public Relations Committee.
• Prohibitions on dogs on the beach will end Oct. 15 and will resume May 15, 2017.
• The Town of South Bethany’s website is located at www.southbethany.org.
• The Environmental Committee was set to meet Thursday, Oct. 13, at 2:30 p.m.
• The Planning Commission meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. The agenda includes a review of notes from the public workshop, liaison reports and a future public workshop.
• The Business Development Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m.
• The town council’s next regular meeting is Friday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m.
• The Fenwick Island Farmers’ Market has closed for the season.
• Recycling is collected every Friday from May to September.
• The new Fenwick Island town website is located at www.fenwickisland.delaware.gov.
• The Town of Fenwick Island is now on Twitter, at https://twitter.com/IslandFenwick or @IslandFenwick.
• The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at town hall.
• The Ocean View Police Department will hold the second annual Cops & Goblins event in John West Park from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, when families will have the opportunity to trick-or-treat in a safe environment while meeting local law enforcement officials.
• The Town of Ocean View’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/townofoceanview.
• The Ocean View town website is located at www.oceanviewde.com.
• The town council’s next workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
• The town council’s next regular meeting is set for for Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.
• The Millville town website is located at www.millville.delaware.gov.
• The Millsboro Town Council will hold its next regular monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.
• The Millsboro town website is located at www.millsboro.org.
• The Dagsboro Town Council will meet Monday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m., at Bethel United Methodist Church.
• There will be no town council election this year. All three incumbents re-filed for their seats, with no challengers.
• The Town of Dagsboro website is at www.townofdagsboro.com.
• Frankford’s Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, beginning at 10:30 a.m., with registration at town hall for the costume contest. Lineup for judging begins at 11 a.m., with the parade to Frankford Town Park beginning at 11:30 a.m. The festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m., and includes face-painting, a hay ride, pumpkin painting and more. “Hotel Transylvania II” will play in the park at 7 p.m. following trick-or-treating. Families are being encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for the screening.
• The Town of Frankford’s official trick-or-treating hours are between 4 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.
• Curbside recycling is picked up every other Tuesday, continuing Oct. 18.
• The Town of Frankford website is located at www.frankfordde.us.
• The town council’s next regular meeting is Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.
• Curbside recycling is collected every other Wednesday, continuing Oct. 26.
• 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 www.TownOfSelbyville.com.
Indian River School District
• The IRSD Parent Center will host two college scholarship workshops: FAFSA Submission Workshop for Seniors on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Indian River High School’s computer lab and the College Scholarship Workshop & Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at IRHS. Parents or students should register online at www.irsd.net or by calling (302) 732-1522.
• The IRSD Board of Education will meet Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Sussex Central High School. The School Safety Committee will meet at 6 p.m. for northern schools.
• The first marking period ends Friday, Nov. 4.
• There will also be no school for students Nov. 7-11, for Election Day, Return Day and teacher in-service, and no school Nov. 23-25, for Thanksgiving.
• Committee meetings are scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, 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.
• A public referendum is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22, to address a current-expense issue. The vote will be on a proposed 49-cent increase per $100 of property tax assessment. The district will host a series of public meetings to highlight the current expense referendum: Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at Lord Baltimore Elementary School; Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Millsboro Middle School; Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at Selbyville Middle School; Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at Sussex Central High School; Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School; Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Georgetown Middle School; and Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at North Georgetown Elementary School.
• The Indian River School District’s Special Education Task Force will host parent focus group meetings on Wednesdays, Nov. 30, at Selbyville Middle School; Feb. 8, 2017, at Georgetown Middle School; and March 22, 2017, at Millsboro Middle School. All of the meetings are at 6 p.m.
• The school district website is www.irsd.net.
• The district website is at www.irsd.net.
• The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m.
• The Sussex County Board of Adjustment will meet on Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.
• Sussex County Council will not meet on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
• Agendas, minutes and audio, as well as live streaming of all County meetings, may be found online at www.sussexcountyde.gov.
State of Delaware
• DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section will make a public informational presentation on Delaware’s revised beach regulations Oct. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach.
The Shoreline & Waterway Management Section will outline recent revisions made to the Regulations Governing Beach Protection and the Use of Beaches (which went into effect Aug. 11). Topics to be presented include: a history of coastal storms and erosion that have impacted Delaware, and the importance of beaches and dune systems for their protective and recreational benefits; a brief history of the Beach Preservation Act and the state’s beach regulations; building line maps; 2016 revisions to the Regulations Governing Beach Protection and the Use of Beaches, including: The Regulated Area, Substantial Damage, Substantially Improved, The Four-Step Process, Cantilevered Decks, and Temporary Structures; and new application forms for Letters of Approval and Permits.
The presentation is designed to provide the public, local construction-industry professionals and local and county officials with information about revisions made to the regulations. Registration is required for the event, as seating is limited. Attendees may register online at http://www.eventbrite.com/o/shoreline-and-waterway-management-1138158124... or call Coleen Ponden of the Shoreline & Waterway Management Section at (302) 739-9921. If registration fills, a second presentation may be scheduled at a future date.
It’s true that its location, on the shores of the Indian River Bay, with a million-dollar view of the nearby Indian River Inlet Bridge, helps make Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 in Ocean View a popular gathering spot. But without the work of dozens of volunteers, the meals and special events held at the post would just be pretty pictures.
The post held its annual volunteers’ dinner on Friday, Oct. 7, hosting about 180 members without whom the special events wouldn’t be possible. Instead of working in the kitchens and over hot grills, the volunteers were feted with steamed shrimp, scallops, oysters and many other delicacies.
“It’s just to thank them for all their work,” Post Commander John Hickman said.
One of the most popular events at the post, which is located at the end of Cedar Neck Road, is the Sunday breakfasts. Held on 19 Sundays each summer, the breakfasts offer members an array of foods each week.
George Hickman, the post commander’s brother, who oversees the breakfasts, begins preparation early in the week, when he places his order with his food supplier. He’s there each Thursday, when the food arrives for that weekend, and on Friday he’s out on the roads, placing the familiar signs advertising the breakfasts.
“You want my French toast recipe?” he asked. “Start with 3 gallons of liquid egg,” which translates to 128 eggs, cracked, Hickman said. Add cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and milk, and loaves upon loaves of bread, and the results are enough French toast to feed the Sunday crowd.
Hickman said that on a “good” Sunday, the breakfast crew will feed between 450 and 500 people. On an “average” Sunday, the number is 250 to 300. It takes a lot of sausage, scrapple and bacon to feed those folks — 45 pounds of bacon, to be exact, on an “average” Sunday, and 60 pounds on a busier holiday weekend. By the end of the summer, 875 pounds of bacon have been consumed at the Sunday breakfasts.
Every Sunday, Hickman is up at 3:30 a.m., staying at the VFW until 1:30 p.m. to make sure everything is taken care of — every Sunday, all summer. A Marine Corps veteran, Hickman’s experience managing mess halls stands him in good stead in his responsibilities at Post 7234.
In addition to Sunday breakfasts, the VFW Post hosts cheesesteak dinners each Tuesday, steaks and seafood each Thursday and Friday buffets, as well as dances with live bands each Saturday night, Post Commander Hickman said.
Although those events are open to the post’s 2,500 members and their guests, the community at large — visitors and locals alike — supports the VFW’s chicken shack each summer.
Ken Weber, who oversees the chicken shack and its 20 volunteers, said the shack is “part of the fabric of the community,” having served barbecued birds since the 1960s — first at the corner of Garfield and Pennsylvania avenues in Bethany Beach and then moving to its current location at the Delaware National Guard training site on Route 1 in the 1980s.
Starting at 8 a.m., the volunteers cook and sell the birds “until we sell out,” Weber said. Over all those years, the shack has only missed two Saturdays — both due to hurricanes, he said.
Volunteers include veterans from every conflict from World War II to the desert wars, the oldest now in his 90s and going strong, Weber said.
The chicken shack netted $26,000 in profits this year, all of which goes back to the post for use in funding veterans’ programs and services, as well as scholarships for area students “and any local organization that needs help,” Weber said.
Getting ready for this summer’s crowds was a little more challenging than usual, after the shack blew over in an April storm. Thanks to help from Empire Construction owner Aaron Rogers, along with a half-dozen subcontractors, the shack was rebuilt in time for the start of the summer season.
With another successful season in the books, the summer VFW crews can take a well-deserved break, but the activities at the VFW keep rolling through rest of the year. For more information on activities, or on becoming a member, call (302) 539-9981, or visit the post’s web site at www.vfw7234.com.
Firetrucks, flu shots and freebies — oh, my!
The Frankford Community Health Fair is back, and the Beebe Medical Center-sponsored event, set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., promises to supply some fun along with a multitude of free health screenings and other beneficial offerings.
“We will have things there for children, for older adults and for everyone in between,” said Melissa Williams, executive director of Beebe’s Population Health programs.
Held at the Frankford Fire Hall, the health fair will provide an opportunity for area residents to receive free screenings for bone density, blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, cholesterol and cancer.
“Being able to do these screenings is a huge cornerstone of a healthy community,” Williams said.
Many of the illnesses targeted by the screenings can be reversed when they are caught early but can have devastating effects on health if they are left untreated. Williams used the example of diabetes, which can often be reversed if it is detected early. But when diabetes is left unchecked, it can cause serious health complications.
“We want to be as proactive with health as possible. The more proactive we can be, the healthier the community will be,” Williams said.
In addition to the free screenings, free flu shots will be provided by the Delaware Department of Health for anyone 9 or older.
“This is the perfect time of year to get a flu shot,” Williams said.
Lessons in hands-on-CPR will be offered during the fair — and the easy-to-learn skill could be the key to saving a life, she noted.
Christiana Care’s Life-Net helicopter will be on-site for inspection by young and old, weather permitting, and, of course, since the event takes place in a fire house, there will be plenty of firetrucks on display. A number of giveaways will round out the event.
Breakfast will be provided by the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; refreshments will also be supplied by the fire company’s ladies’ auxiliary until 1 p.m.
The Frankford Volunteer Fire Company is located at 7 Main Street in Frankford. For more information, call Beebe Medical Center’s Population Health Department at (302) 645-3337.
Millsboro Middle School is only a half-mile away from a major laboratory and vaccine manufacturer. But a small group of students experienced their very first trip inside the gates of Merck Animal Health facility for Manufacturing Day on Oct. 7.
A handful of Future Farmers of America (FFA) members joined U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, USDA Under-Secretary Michael Scuse and other national leaders to learn that agriculture isn’t just growing plants or livestock. Merck is one of many manufacturers in the agriculture field, creating poultry vaccines.
“To me, it was kind of an eye-opener, because I’ve never been in here before, and I’ve just imagined it as a factory. But it’s so much more than that,” said student Taylor Bullis.
Indeed, the media wasn’t even allowed to attend the tour of the facility, but the students and senator said it was interesting.
“We looked through a microscope at a cell line that they use for vaccine production — a cell line where the virus is actually growing and busting open the cell walls, essentially,” Coons said. “And then we did candling of a series of eggs that are at different stages of growth.”
“You take a light, and you shine it on top of the eggshell, and you can see all the veins inside of the egg, and the embryo and all that stuff … to see the development,” student Jessica Lewis said.
The goal is to see different stages of the embryo’s development.
“It relates so much to what we do in class, right?” FFA advisor Susan Mitchell asked her students.
“We talk about it all the time — it’s so much science now. It’s what we push in my classroom,” Mitchell said. “But the fact that they can actually see the hands-on, and what we do and how applicable it is to real-life agriculture — it’s a good feeling. I feel like you guys got it today.”
“Agriculture is not just about the ranches, the farmers. It’s about the people who invest their time developing, like, vaccines for rabies and working on the agriculture epidemic,” Kelso said. “The White House issued a statement saying we need agriculture to prevent the world’s economic problems — we’re the highest producer of chicken [as a county] — if we were to go out of business with our chickens, how the whole economy would collapse. It’d be catastrophic, basically.”
Messing with people’s food sources can cause economic turmoil, Mitchell said, because of rising costs to find remaining food or import more.
“The agriculture industry here in Delaware has about an $8-billion impact. So it’s extremely important for us to be able to feed the people in our state and country and the world, so that they … have the time to pursue research and development, technology and science,” said University of Delaware student David Townsend, former FFA state officer.
“There’s so many opportunities within the agriculture sector that are just as important to help our farmers and ranchers stay profitable,” Scuse said. “Look at how important this facility is, to provide vaccines so that we have a healthy livestock and poultry industry — the research side of it, the development, the testing, just the different jobs that there are within this one facility.”
An ag career might include engineering; plant and livestock genetics; drone technology to survey fields; satellite technology and much more.
“So the whole day is to try to bring awareness about the diversity in jobs within the agriculture sector,” said Scuse, who works for the USDA’s Farm & Foreign Agricultural Services.
Manufacturing Day is “an annual celebration of the strength of American manufacturing and an opportunity to educate and motivate the next generation of manufacturers,” according to the senator’s office.
The adult delegation also visited New Castle’s Croda Inc. facility, which produces bio-based chemicals, and the Delaware Manufacturing Development Center (DMDC), which provides training through Polytech Adult Education center in Dover.
The delegation included the Delaware and national heads of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, a nonprofit that helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers.
“We’ve traditionally been known for helping clients through [various] certifications,” said Delaware MEP head Rustyn Stoops. “We’re also helping manufacturers go global … helping manufacturers get their strategic plans in place to go overseas.”
If people aren’t talking to MEP, they should be, Stoops said. MEP helps with growth, exporting, supply chains or new technology. The extension is found in in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
“We’re … helping get them to the latest technologies and information they need to be successful in this global environment,” Stoops said. “We work with … state and federal partners, other industry resources — we help companies pull it all together.”
This weekend, Bear Trap Dunes will be hosting its first Fall Festival, inviting the community to enjoy a family-friendly day on the front lawn.
“We’re hoping for it to grow it to a yearly thing,” said Erin Swanson, Bear Trap membership and event sales manager. “After winding down from a very busy summer, we started to brainstorm. The goal is to really give back to the local community that’s in our back yard, that’s in our front lawn.”
The festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a rain date of Saturday, Oct. 29.
“Fall is our favorite,” said Swanson. “What better way to give back than by channeling that love for fall to our customers? We’re excited!”
The event is free and open to the public, and will feature games, food by The Den at Bear Trap Dunes and the Drift’n Kitchen Food Truck, giveaways and more.
“There’ll be hayrides and face painting that are complimentary for the kids. Pumpkin decorating, cornhole emceed by D.J. Dom, who’s really popular,” said Swanson. “He’s really great — he gets the crowd going.
“We have an adult’s section highlighting the craft beer, but on the flip side of that, we have a cotton-candy machine. There’s certainly something for everyone. It’s really is focused on the family.”
There will be a scarecrow-building contest, for which those who wish to participate must register in advance (the deadline to register was Thursday at 5 p.m.). Bear Trap will be providing the hay and participants must provide their own decorations.
“If they want to do raffia for pigtails, they bring the raffia. If they want to do buttons for eyes, they bring the buttons. My recommendation would be to go to ACTS on Route 26 to buy your outfit, because they’ve got a wide selection. You could put it in a floor-length sequin gown. The possibilities are really endless!”
Swanson said that local businesses have signed up to participate in the contest, with a grand prize of a $500 gift card to Bear Trap Dunes and The Den.
“It should be fun. We should have a nice eclectic mix out there.”
The Great Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by SoDel Concepts, will also take place, beginning at 3 p.m. Participants can preregister up until the day of the event.
Swanson emphasized that the public is welcome to join them at Bear Trap for the fun, fall-themed day.
“All are welcome,” she said. “One of the challenges we have found is a lot of folks think we are a private club because the members are treated as if it were a private club. But the club and the restaurant are absolutely open to everyone. We certainly want to help get the word out that The Den is open year-round — not just to members, but to everyone.
“We have the beautiful Dunes Room — brides can host their weddings here. It’s not just for members to throw their parties here. The golf course is open to anyone. Anyone can be a member. So this event also helps us spread the word that we are open to the public.”
Swanson said Bear Trap’s staff are excited to be hosting the event and hope the community will celebrate the fall season with them this weekend.
“We couldn’t be more excited to host this event,” she said. “We’ve got such a great property here, and such a great staff. We’re really looking forward to it.”
For those who may not be able to get to their polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, absentee voting is now available. Those who wish to vote by absentee ballot must be registered to vote and must fill out and submit an absentee affidavit, which can be found on the State of Delaware’s Department of Elections website or at the county’s Department of Elections office.
The affidavit for an absentee ballot requires the voter to note the reason they are unable to go to their polling place on the day of the election. Depending on the reason, the affidavit may need to be notarized before being submitted.
It may then be submitted to the county Department of Elections office, either by mail or in person.
Absentee ballot timeline:
• Nov 4 is the last day the Department of Elections office is required to send General Election absentee ballots.
• Nov 7, at noon, is the deadline for a person to vote by absentee ballot before the General Election at the Department’s office in their county.
• Nov 8, at 8 p.m. is the deadline for the Department’s office to receive an absentee ballot for the General Election in order for it to be counted.
Officials with the Department of Elections recommend that those who wish to vote by absentee ballot get their ballot early — don’t wait until the last minute.
To learn more about absentee voting, visit http://elections.delaware.gov/services/voter/absentee/citizen.shtml. To obtain a copy of the Affidavit for absentee voting, visit http://elections.delaware.gov/pub/saff_gen_2015.pdf. The Sussex County Department of Elections is located at 119 N. Race Street in Georgetown.
When it comes to clean energy, Delaware is ahead of the pack in some ways. Although Sussex County is still home to Delaware’s last coal-fired energy plant, the First State might not have to change a thing to comply with the national EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
That’s because the CPP was modeled after the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative (RGGI), which Delaware and eight other northeast states (excluding Pennsylvania and New Jersey) already use to regulate emissions.
The public was recently invited to a series of workshops hosted by DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate, including on held Sept. 27 at Millsboro Senior Center.
The 2009 RGGI aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, it’s more thorough, because it oversees nine Delaware facilities, compared to the CPP, which only identifies five (including two in Kent County and two in New Castle County).
In the RGGI marketplace, one ton of CO2 costs producers just over $5, said Babatunde Asere of the Division of Air Quality. Companies may buy or trade credits, based on how much carbon dioxide they expect to emit. But they must stay in compliance and have enough credits for every ton of CO2 they emit.
In one year, Delaware emissions only equaled about 4.6 percent of the whole nine states’ total 92 million tons of CO2. That limit is decreasing by about 2.5 percent each year.
The CPP limits would start in 2022. The nine states will work together, and the EPA would oversee all as a group.
Delaware’s plan is to just continue what it’s doing.
DNREC staff met with a range of people at the recent meetings, including those who don’t believe climate change is caused by humans and others who wanted even more stringent energy guidelines, said Valerie Gray, DNREC planning supervisor.
The CPP has not been completely enacted, as two dozen states have challenged the plan in court and a stay was issued. In fact, oral arguments in the case were presented on the same day as Millsboro’s workshop. A decision is expected in December, but Delaware was already incompliance, so they are getting public sessions out of the way.
Locally, Millsboro houses the coal-powered Indian River Power Plant, which has shrunk since the state and nation doubled down on emissions enforcement.
Responding to Delaware regulations in 2006 and federal regulations around 2013, the NRG-owned power plant eventually took three of four turbines off-line. It also put in about $400 million in air pollution controls to reduce mercury, VOC and other small particles in the air people breathe.
“For every one of these pollutants, they have put on specific controls to reduce the emissions of all that stuff,” said Karen Mattio, a DNREC environmental engineer.
The plant cannot use natural gas, because there is no pipeline nearby. Built in 1957, it is the only coal-fired power plant in Delaware.
“The community, from everything that I’ve heard, needs this plant, so we are hoping we can find a balance with compliance and [human health],” Mattio said. Delaware is a net importer of energy, so closing the plant wouldn’t help the local area with energy or jobs.
DNREC staff also shared ways for people, businesses and municipalities to save money on energy costs.
When the power plants pay for RGGI CO2 credits, that money helps to fund projects that improve energy efficiency, provide energy audits and more.
(For information on Delaware’s Weatherization Assistance Program, visit www.de.gov/wap or call the Division of Energy & Climate at (302) 735-3480. Energy-saving information is online at www.energysaver.gov and at www.de.gov/greenenergy. The federal Clean Power Plan website is at www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan, and the RGGI website is at www.rggi.org.)
The evening presentation revolved around power plants, but traffic plays a huge part in local air pollution.
In the 3-mile radius around the Indian River Power Plant, 39.2 percent of pollutants come from “secondary formation,” such as photochemical reactions where chemicals break down after a few days up in the air, perhaps even coming from a chemical company elsewhere, according to loose estimates in the EPA 2011 National Air Toxic Assessment (NATA).
The next 27.9 percent is traffic-related; 12.1 percent is nonpoint sources, such as homes, gas stations and burger joints; 7 percent is non-road mobile sources, such as ocean barges or construction; and the last 12 percent is fires, biogenic sources (including natural sources, such as swamps) and other background pollutants.
Citizens are so excited about the prospect of a new Millville playground that they protested even the thought that town council might delay discussion of the project by two weeks.
But the Millville Town Council was pleased with the park concepts discussed on Oct. 11, voting unanimously to approve the layout, general concept and the purchase of about $115,000 in playground equipment (which includes a $103,000 grant the Town will receive from the manufacturer).
“We’re starting with a blank slate. It’s a piece of grass on Dukes Road,” said GameTime representative Brian Lewis.
Big plans and millions of dollars could go into those 4.9 acres.
The current concept is a nautical-themed playground. That includes two large structures, for older and younger children (costing $115,000); more children’s climbing structures; a swing set; a large field that leads to a pavilion stage; a walking path with exercise stations; pickleball courts; picnic tables; and more.
A new attraction will be the challenge course, which Lewis compared to the obstacle course on the “American Ninja Warrior” television show. People can do the obstacle course, with built-in timers. By downloading a mobile phone application, they can even upload their best times onto a worldwide server. The same goes for a 50-yard dash course nearby.
For safety, surveillance cameras would likely be installed, and the parking lot would be visible from the playground. The clamshell-surface parking lot would have about 48 parking spaces, as well as bus pull-offs.
The playground and walking path are designed to be ADA-friendly. Lewis suggested the equipment is long-lasting and requires less maintenance than some other options.
“I think this is something that will be fantastic for the town,” he said.
Phase I of the project would be completed in summer of 2017. Phase I includes play equipment, site preparation, a parking lot, utility preparation, the challenge course and 50-yard dash, for $1.49 million. Phase II includes a maintenance building, 4,000-square-foot community building with kitchen and restrooms, part of the trail, another parking lot and utility connections, for $670,000. Phase III includes the loop trail, fitness stations, pickleball courts and rear pavilion, for $251,000.
That’s an estimated total of $2.32 million, and the work will be put to bid. Liability insurance costs won’t be available until the final cost is determined, said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
“It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s literally 5 acres that are being developed into a commercial playground facility,” Lewis said. “I think, with the proper maintenance, we will get a great investment on the money.”
He cited the benefits of health and recreation, as well as funds coming into the area from people willing to travel to the unique playground.
Residents chimed in with suggestions for more shaded areas, pathway maintenance and ground material under the swings.
In other Millville news:
• The town council opted for a conservative investment plan, as they unanimously approved investment of $1million of town funds in four certificates-of-deposit (CDs).
They chose three standard, shorter-term CDs in separate banks, with a fourth market-linked CD. Each will hold the maximum FDIC-insured investment of $250,000, and interest will be sent to a separate account. They chose Allied Bank, MB Financial Bank and Bank of New England.
Interest rates could go down soon, but they’re expected to go back up later, said Steven Z. Dunn, MBA, of WSFS Wealth Investments. In a town with much development, but few major expenses, the large investment is only a portion of the unrestricted reserve fund. The Town also has other CDs coming due in 2017.
• At Bishop’s Landing, Insight Homes will now be building 16 of the single-family homes (plus one model), instead of Beazer. The town council voted 4-0-1 (with Councilman Steve Small, who resides in the neighborhood, abstaining) to approve an amended record plat for Phase 4B that essentially shifted the lot lines by 1 or 2 feet, to accommodate the new Insight designs. There is no change in density, and home sizes will be roughly the same, said Steve Marsh, engineer with George, Miles & Buhr.
The next meeting will be the town council workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
Got old paperwork gathering dust? In Millville, County Bank is hosting a paper-shredding event, open to the public on Friday, Oct. 14, from noon to 3 p.m. People can bring up to three banker-size boxes worth of papers (a standard-size financial container is approximately 10 by 12 by 15 inches).
“We’re helping combat identity theft and financial fraud. And we’re helping the community protect its privacy, basically,” said Jason Moshire, marketing and public relations officer at the bank’s Rehoboth Beach headquarters.
People might toss old bank statements, tax returns or other personal paperwork.
“We all have documents at home with our Social Security number on them, date of birth, identifying information,” Moshire said, “that, if it got into the wrong hands could be easily used … to apply for loans, credit cards, bank accounts and other things. It can affect their credit down the road.”
Because it is a free event, people are also being encouraged to bring an item for the bank’s food drive, to benefit local charity food pantries.
People can just drive up to the parking lot with their items to be shredded. Paper will be destroyed on-site in a shredding truck. The local shredding company, DataGuard Inc., will drive the material back to their Bridgeville site for recycling.
“So not only are you saving yourself from identity theft, but you’re also saving the environment,” Moshire said.
Founded in 1990, County Bank has seven locations, all in Delaware. They host up to 12 shred events each year. This is just a community service, but not a salesmanship opportunity, Moshire said.
County Bank is located at 36754 Old Mill Road in Millville. For more information, call (302) 537-0900.
Good planning starts early, so people recently got a look at Delaware’s six-year Capital Transportation Program (CTP) for the 2018-2023 fiscal years.
Billions of state and federal dollars could go into Delaware’s transportation system during that time, so public hearings in each county were jointly sponsored by the Council on Transportation and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
Sussex Countians were able to review the proposed transportation plans and give feedback on what they think the priorities are at a workshop on Sept. 28 in Georgetown.
“We have all kinds of ideas what to do” but need citizen input on what’s important, said Josh Thomas of DelDOT.
Should DelDOT install more bike paths, stop signs or alternate routes? Citizens who have such ideas, or others, can speak up.
One couple in attendance lived just east of the Indian River in Millsboro. They’re ready for a Route 113 bypass to alleviate traffic problems, and they shared stories of Route 24 congestion.
People entered the hall to find a list of 102 projects that DelDOT is considering in the next five years, statewide. DelDOT ranks the projects based on impacts on road safety, pedestrian safety, congestion and other factors. Projects are laid out through the year 2023, all at different points in the process of engineering, land acquisition and construction.
For instance, Sussex County’s highest-ranking project is No. 6 on DelDOT’s priority list: grade-separated intersections at Route 113 and Route 9.
Major Millsboro projects
The future North Millsboro bypass, which will connect Routes 113 and 24, is ranked No. 57 at this time. The current cost estimate (from the 2017 to 2023 fiscal years) is $84 million, of which Delaware and the federal government would pay a 20/80 split. It’s finally beginning, with engineering for the next four years, then actual land purchase starting around 2021. Construction could potentially begin around 2022.
DelDOT also showcased several upcoming projects, including improvements in downtown Millsboro at Iron Branch Road/State Street (between Ellis Street and River Drive).
The safety project will move utility poles off the road, reconstruct sidewalks and curbing, replace streetlights, resurface the pavement and more.
Construction on that project will last about seven months, starting in March of 2017. There will be no nighttime work, at the request of the Town of Millsboro. Drivers and pedestrians can expect detours during the daytime, but the project will be done in phases, so detours shouldn’t extend very far.
Another project is farther down Route 24, toward Oak Orchard and Long Neck. Turn lanes will be added or lengthened at Route 24 intersections at Mount Joy Road and Bay Farm Road. Some sidewalk and new paving is also proposed.
DelDOT is currently purchasing the necessary property to expand the road, and construction may begin in fall of 2018. The project is part of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and it ranked No. 15 on the CTP priority list.
Details about other DelDOT projects are online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects.
The CTP website is at www.deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/CTP/index.shtml.
People can always submit comments or get information by contacting DelDOT Community Relations; P.O. Box 778; Dover, DE 19903 or calling 1-800-652-5600 (in Delaware) or (302) 760-2080.
Sussex County plans
Sussex County makes its own requests to the Capital Transportation Program. Some requests are from constituents, and some requests are issues that have been observed by officials, said Sussex County Chief of Public Information Chip Guy. What gets built all depends on what money is available.
The County’s top three priorities are congestion on east-west corridors, such as Routes 26, 24 and 404; Route 1 pedestrian safety and traffic flow; and moving/improving Park Avenue (Truck Route 9) to accommodate a longer runway at the Georgetown’s Delaware Coastal Airport.
This year, Sussex County has also requested improvements in biking and walking trails; alternative transportation, such as the DART First State bus service in Millsboro, Selbyville, Long Neck and other job centers; intersections and signals; and north-south highways.
Local road requests include improvements to Fred Hudson Road near Bethany Beach, to address flooding; on Double Bridges Road near Ocean View, for shoulders and a bike path; median crossovers for EMS on Route 113; separate bike/pedestrian paths at the viaduct on Fenwick Island’s Route 54; paving at Dagsboro’s Piney Neck Road and Fox Run Road, as well as Millsboro’s Godwin School Road; shoulders at Central Avenue, Old Mill Road and Railway Road near Millville and Ocean View; and much more across the county.
Separate from the CTP request, Sussex County is working on its own Comprehensive Plan update. It’s a plan for a growth, preservation and development up to the year 2045 (including a section on transportation). Public input is being requested to help county leaders make decisions. Comments made earlier are more likely to be impactful, so citizens are being strongly encouraged to complete a survey with their ideas for the future, at www.sussexplan.com.
The Ocean View Town Council this week reviewed its latest draft agreement for ambulance subscription fee, which would require businesses and property owners to pay a flat rate of $35 per year to the Millville Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC) to help pay for ambulance service, for a period of three years.
The fee would provide that any resident who is transported by MVFC ambulance would have their insurance is billed first, and the MVFC wouldn’t charge the patient any remaining balance if the family has an ambulance service subscription.
Ambulance subscriptions are currently offered, for $50 annually, to all households in the fire district, which includes Millville, Ocean View, Clarksville and other unincorporated areas; however, participation in the subscription is not mandatory. The new fee would be assessed on all improved properties and would be passed on by the Town to the MVFC.
Last winter, the MVFC approached the towns of Ocean View and Millville with a fee proposal. Both councils instructed their town staff to begin drafting an agreement for municipality-wide discount ambulance subscriptions; however, the brakes were put on that process in May, when, after a year-long investigation, the Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts confirmed that it appeared that there had been an embezzlement of more than $190,000 in fire company funds, allegedly by the MVFC’s now-former treasurer,.
Justin Oakley was arrested in May of 2016 on charges of Theft Over $100,000 and 100 counts of Falsifying Business Records.
Last month, the Millville Town Council conditionally approved the discounted ambulance subscription, with the caveat that MVFC change its bylaws by the Dec. 13 town council meeting, to reflect safeguards suggested by the Auditor’s office.
The Town of Ocean View, however, tabled their decision to review the draft agreement more closely. A third Ocean View meeting was held on Oct. 5, with representatives from the MVFC and the Town of Ocean View reviewing the latest draft agreement.
Some of the items in the draft agreement include requiring MVFC to “at all times comply with Delaware State Fire Prevention Regulations, 710 Ambulance Service Regulations.”
A section dedicated to the company’s responsibilities was also proposed, including following:
“1. MVFCIAS shall provide quarterly budget updates within forty-five (45) days of the end of each quarter to Municipality. The update shall show, among other things, (1) income, (2) expenses, (3) any project to changes in Municipality funding requirements and timing and (4) appropriate explanations of the adjustments.
“2. MVFCIAS shall retain a certified public accountant (‘CPA’) to make recommendations on internal budgeting, accounting, reporting and auditing policies to keep the Service’s operations separate from all other MVFCIAS emergency service operations. The fiscal year of the service shall begin the 1st day of [month] of each calendar year. The CPA shall, within one-hundred twenty (120) days of the end of each fiscal year, prepare an audit and deliver same to the Municipality.
“3. MVFCIAS shall secure a fidelity bond for its treasure, assistant treasurer and check signatories in an amount acceptable to Municipality.”
The latest draft removed the requirement that, “MVFCIAS shall prepare and present for review by the Municipality an annual Operating Budget for the Service that is independent of any other emergency service operations provided by Millville Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.”
Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran said that, outside of the subscription service they hope to have with Ocean View, MVFC still has their $50 subscription plan for anyone outside of the municipality.
“This is a discount to that… We will have to make some internal adjustments to that, along with other billing procedures for lack of a better word.”
Councilman Tom Maly asked if there had been any movement by Sussex County with regard to having an ambulance fee for the whole fire district.
“They know it’s a concern,” said Fire Chief Doug Scott. “I don’t really see that moving fast.”
“That’s on the slow belt,” added Curran. “I don’t see that happening in the next five years at least. They’re going to talk it to death.”
Council could hold back monies if siren stays
Curran also brought up concerns about the company’s fire siren, which he said has been a “thorn in everybody’s side.”
The Town has been receiving complaints about the siren, which is located at 33 Central Avenue and operates from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. to notify volunteer firefighters of an alarm.
Although it has been the minority of citizens complaining, Curran said they too deserve to be heard, as the siren has become a nuisance to their daily lives. He agreed 100 percent that the siren serves a valuable purpose, but questioned whether it might not be antiquated technology, given the age people live in today.
“The larger question still remains, though: In the era of electronic communications … is a siren really needed?” asked Curran. “From my perspective … we feel, if you had a scheduled shift of volunteers, the reaction time would be better, more consistent.”
Curran said he had met with Scott and requested the siren be disabled on a voluntary basis.
“The chief made it pretty clear at the time that they weren’t ready to do that.”
Curran said he had gone on to discuss with Scott whether movement on the issue of the siren might happen if the Town started to seriously consider withholding from the fire department funds that come through the Town’s Emergency Services grant program.
“Should we put a cap on it?” he asked, adding that the Town would want the fire company to keep the siren but only use it if their electronic system fails.
Since the grant was started in 2008, the Town of Ocean View has awarded MVFC with approximately $650,000 in grant monies.
Scott told Curran that if he wished to present that in a letter to the fire company, Scott would present it at their next meeting and it would be discussed.
Curran said that in the month of August 2016, there were a total of 304 calls to the MFVC for service, of which 263 were for ambulance/EMS and 41 were fire calls. Of those 304 calls, 49 were within the municipal limits of Ocean View.
He noted that the siren is not used for EMS calls.
Curran said the Town considering reducing the grant could make the council look like the bad guys but would be a practical move on the Town’s part, given that that money could be used elsewhere — for instance, to reduce permit fees and make the cost of doing business with the Town less.
He said the idea was not up for a vote that evening but up for serious consideration. He added that the Town could wait until after the next election to decide and do a poll of residents at that time.
Scott, who was in attendance at the council’s Oct. 11 meeting, first thanked the Town for their past financial support.
“I think it’s inappropriate to mix funding and the fire siren,” he added. “That’s the way I feel about it. I think they’re two separate issues.”
Scott said the fire company appreciates the Town’s recommendations in terms of scheduling volunteers so as to avoid having to use the siren. He said they would consider it; however, at the moment, he said, the MVFC needs “every volunteer we can get.”
He noted that the grant money had been offered up to reflect growth in the Town, which resulted in a growing need for emergency services.
“The reason that money is valuable to us — if you’re building more homes, we’re getting more calls,” Scott said. “I’m just a fire chief. My job is to ensure public safety… to answer calls effectively. I think the fire siren is still a part of that response system.”
Maly asked if the siren could be relocated to an area that would be of lower impact to residents. Scott said it would be moving the problem from one area of town to another. Maly asked if the pitch or volume of the siren could be adjusted, Scott said it could not.
Councilman Frank Twardzik said he lives near the siren and rarely notices it anymore. There was one night it did wake him a few years ago, he said, when a neighboring house was on fire.
Councilwoman Carol Bodine asked how volunteers are responding to fires at night, since the sirens are no longer on during the night,
“We’re definitely relying on the pagers. We’re trying to accommodate as much as we can,” said Scott.
Resident Steve Cobb suggested a trial period of disconnecting the siren, to see how the company is affected, if at all.
“We are starting to slow down in the town,” he said. “Why don’t we shut off the siren for a 90-day window and report back on how it reacts? Doing something is better than doing nothing, in my opinion.”
After nearly five hours of discussion on Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Sussex County Council approved its revised signage ordinance.
The council has been discussing signs since April of last year, following a letter from the Sussex County Board of Adjustment, which led to the entire ordinance being reviewed and a moratorium on off-premises sign applications.
A working group was formed, composed of County staff, members of the county council, Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment, along with professionals from the signage and real estate industries.
Following the introduction of an ordinance in April, those in the signage industry voiced concerns that the document did not reflect the months of work the working group had done.
The ordinance has since been revamped to, for the most part, reflect the recommendations of the working group. There were still a few points of concern, which were voiced by Georgetown attorney David Hutt of Morris James Wilson Halbrook & Bayard LLP, who spoke on behalf of Clear Channel Outdoor, Geyer Signs, Hocker Signs, Jack Lingo Realtors, J.D. Sign Company, Ocean Atlantic, Phillips Signs Inc., Premier Outdoor Media LLC, Rogers Sign Co. Inc. and Timmons Outdoor Advertising.
Hutt, who volunteered his time to the working group convened last year, spoke during the public hearing process and submitted a letter to the council following the recommendations of Planning & Zoning related to the second proposed ordinance.
The ordinance, which was approved on Tuesday by a vote of 5-0, included changes to a handful of items within the ordinance made since the last time it was reviewed by the council.
The new ordinance provides for temporary real estate signs with a maximum area of 32 square feet, per side, for each street frontage on which the premises abuts.
The revised ordinance also notes that electronic message center (EMC) messages must remain fixed for a minimum of 10 seconds, and the change to a new message must be accomplished in 1 second or less. The approved ordinance also allows for animation on signs, although Councilman George Cole and Councilwoman Joan Deaver voted against that provision.
Provisions for non-conforming off-premises signs were also changed to allow for non-conforming signs to be maintained unless abandoned or intentionally removed.
A number of issues brought up by Hutt and the Planning & Zoning commissioners were not changed in the ordinance. The front-yard setback for off-premises signs will be 40 feet, instead of 25 feet, as the code previously read. Separation distance between churches, schools, dwellings and public lands must be at least 150 feet from the property line.
A variance process for off-premises signs has been removed from the ordinance for EMCs, despite Hutt and sign professionals advocating the return of the process. In September, Hutt said the State of Delaware gave all of its counties the ability to enact zoning ordinances, through the State Code.
“Recognizing zoning codes, by their very nature and definition, are imprecise and imperfect, and require constant updating and changing, the State code also requires that a municipality or a county which has been given zoning authority have a process in which a property owner whose property is being impacted can appeal the impact of that zoning to a Board of Adjustment or, in certain circumstances, to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“That’s simply a recognition of the fact that real property is something that is always unique. The look on Route 1 is not the look on Route 113 or the look on 13. Every one of those highways has a different set of facts and circumstances, and the properties are all configured differently.”
However, the variance process was not returned to the ordinance prior to the vote.
The updated ordinance can be viewed online by visiting https://www.sussexcountyde.gov/ordinances.
This weekend, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Division of Parks & Recreation will host its second-annual Boo-B-Que By the Sea.
The event, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22 at the Delaware Seashore State Park near the Indian River Inlet, in the south inlet day use and campground areas, will feature a variety of family-friendly activities.
“The Boo-B-Que really started with John Hollis, of Nemours Health & Prevention Services, who wanted to do a barbecue festival in compilation with the annual Sussex Outdoors Summit,” explained Caroline Foltz, enterprise development coordinator for Delaware State Parks.
“Sussex Outdoors is a project based on Community Partnerships to Promote Active Use & the Development of the Built Environment in Delaware. The partnership includes agencies like the Governor’s Office, Delaware State Parks, Sussex County Council, Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition, Nemours Health & Prevention Services and the majority of the executive branch of Delaware state government.
“Hollis’ goal was to get people outdoors; and what better way to do that than an outdoor barbecue competition? He also saw this as an excellent way to promote the state parks, showcase the beautiful Indian River Marina, and encourage people to visit and value Delaware State Parks.”
A special event fee of $5 per person will be in effect for the festival. In support of Children in Nature, all children 12 or younger will receive free admission. Visitors interested in making a weekend out of the festivities can get a 20 percent discount on RV campsites at Delaware Seashore State Park for the event.
The event will begin Friday evening at 4 p.m., with the People’s Choice Wing Competition running from 5 to 8 p.m.
The competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), a competitive cooking organization and the world’s largest non-profit group of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts.
“Boo-B-Que event planner and owner of ASAP Screen Printing & Embroidery Darrell Meade has worked with Sandy Fulton of Kansas City Barbeque for over 15 years. Darrell refers to Sandy as the ‘Pied Piper’ of barbecue — when she calls, the barbecue competitors come running! Darrell says it was a no-brainer to involve KCBS and Ms. Fulton when John brought up wanting to have a barbecue competition.”
Foltz said the event received a lot of positive feedback after last year’s successful event, with praise from some of the 15 judges from different states.
“We had judges from 15 different states, and some said it was the most beautiful venue they had ever been to,” she said. “The vendors agreed and said that it was the best run, most accommodating competition they’ve ever done.
“The people also loved it. Many people raved about the bridge and ocean backdrop, and said they would be coming back to visit the park throughout the year. In this area, it filled the ticket that people were looking for. The campgrounds at Delaware Seashore State Park are full for this coming weekend, which shows the impact of last year’s festival!
“This year, competitors will be pouring in from all over. As of Monday, Oct. 17, we have 76-plus barbecue competitors, from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York and Connecticut. Many competitors bring their families and friends, which brings a terrific economic impact for Sussex County.”
A number of items are planned for the evening, including a bonfire, social media contest and guided bridge walk. That same evening, children can trick-or-treat from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and attendees can enjoy the Bo Dickerson Band from 5 to 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 22, festivities will kick off with a 5K run/walk at 9 a.m., with awards presented at 11 a.m.
The Boo-B-Q Festival will begin at noon, featuring music by the Tom Larsen Band from noon to 4 p.m. That day, there will also be a Jeep show (from noon to 4 p.m.), “Kids-Que” Competition at 2:30 p.m., shipwreck storytelling and more.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws will be the live auction for low-digit surf-fishing tags, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
This year, bidders will get the opportunity to try to win surf fishing tag No. 1, along with other select low-digit surf plates. Bidding will open at $250. Foltz said the winning bidder for each tag will receive a certificate of authenticity.
Funds raised from the auction will benefit surf-fishing access and Delaware State Parks, which was awarded the National Gold Medal Award for the best-managed state park system in the country for 2015/2016.
“All revenue generated will directly benefit the operations and maintenance of Delaware State Parks’ 26,000-acre state park system. Many people don’t know that Delaware State Parks is 65 percent self-funded, through user fees (daily entrance, camping, annual permits, surf fishing, programming, etc.), and the surf-tag auction is another innovative way to provide funding to support day-to-day operations.”
Foltz said events like the Boo-B-Que are a great way for Delaware State Parks to reach out to the community.
“Special events are an important part of creating family-fun activates that allow visitors to get outside and enjoy the natural resources,” she said. “The Boo-B-Que is a great example of providing activities for the whole family: trick-or-treating, programs provided by state park interpreters, music from local entertainers, costume competition, great barbecue and local beverages, a unique5K run/walk over the Indian River Inlet Bridge and overnight camping at the park. These types of partnerships are winners for everyone involved.”
“Special events within the state parks are important, because they make people aware of all that these parks have to offer,” added Meade. “I can’t tell you how many people came up to me last year and told me things like they didn’t know the park had a campsite, or didn’t know that the park offered waterfront cottages for overnight accommodations. The event even brought awareness to locals! A lot of people born and raised in the area had no idea the park had been recently remodeled, or hadn’t visited the park in years.”
Foltz said events like the Boo-B-Que would not be possible without the support of sponsors.
“We are thankful for the wonderful support of sponsors and partners like Memphis Wood Fire Grills, Spicer Bros. Construction Inc., Focus Multisports, SoDel Concepts, Giant Foods, Discover Bank, Walgreens and many others!”
“At this family-centered event, there’s something for everyone. Great food, gorgeous scenery (views of the Indian River Bridge!), live music and two days full of fun activities.”
For a full list of activities and times for the two-day event, visit www.boo-bq.com. For more information on the Boo-B-Que Family BBQ Competition and festivities, visit http://www.destateparks.com/boo-bq, or go to http://www.boo-bqrun.com to enter the 5K Run/Walk.
For more information on the low digit surf tag auction, visit http://www.destateparks.com/lowdigittag. Reservations for RV campsites can be made online at http://delawarestateparks.reserveamerica.com or by calling 1-877-987-2757 and using promotional code BBQ2016.
Any organization or business interested in having a special event at one of Delaware State Park’s 16 sites can contact Enterprise Development Coordinator Caroline Foltz at email@example.com.
A Lighthouse Christian Middle School sixth-grader has been granted a special exception from the Dagsboro school’s dress code for the last year. Dillon Polly, 11, of Laurel, has spent the last year growing out his blond hair to donate to a wig-making charity for children.
Last year, Dillon and his mother, Michele Laux, read an article on a news site about a 9-year-old boy who grew out and donated his hair.
After reading it, they said, Dillon thought it was something he’d like to try. The cause has a special place in the hearts of Dillon and his family.
“Our uncle, he died at 9 because he had cancer, and he had hair loss,” said Dillon.
“After we read the article,” Laux explained, “I told him, ‘That’s what they do with it — they make wigs for kids that lose their hair, just like Uncle Michael.”
Though he died when Laux was a child, in their house there is a photo of him from a time when he was in the midst of his treatment.
“Putting the whole picture together, I think [Dillon] really understood the concept in what actually happened during the process, and that’s when he decided to do it,” Laux continued. “It has a special place in my heart, anyway, for my brother.”
Laux admitted that Dillon faced some degree of teasing during the process.
“He did get teased and mistaken for being a girl,” Laux said, “but he just told them he was growing it out for charity and they were like, ‘Oh, that’s really great!’”
But Dillon said he has really grown to like having his hair long. When it was 10 inches long, he began wearing it in a fashionable “man-bun,” which got compliments. His mother said that he would probably rather keep growing it. Dillon confirmed that, saying, “I don’t want it short. It doesn’t feel right.”
Laux is glad that he stuck with his decision, she said, because there was certainly an “awkward in-between growing-out stage” where his hair was not very manageable. However, as long as he’s at his current middle school, in deference to the dress code, they feel that they should donate to the charity with the smallest hair requirement.
“We love our school, and we appreciate the fact that they gave him the waiver to do this,” Laux said. “The simple fact that his is longer than the earlobes is a huge exception. The principal [gave us] permission… because it was for a good cause.”
As the school encouraged Dillon to cut his hair, the mother-son pair researched various charities and their hair length requirements. Since some charities require 12 inches of hair minimum, they chose to donate to Children with Hair Loss, which requires just 8 inches.
Dillon was to cut and donate his hair before the end of the month, Laux said, to her son’s surprise and apprehension. He went to “Miss Kelly” at the Hair Court in Georgetown last week. He has always gone to Kelly, Laux explained, and she has been trimming it for the last year to ensure it grew out healthy and ready to donate.
Dillon’s hair had to be sectioned into five ponytails before being cut, then put into envelopes to be delivered to Children with Hair Loss.
Dillon has already expressed the desire to grow his hair out again to donate, and to grow it longer next time. Laux agreed that he could certainly grow it longer when he no longer attends his middle school. He said he would love to donate 12 inches.
“I’m very proud of him,” Laux said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing, and I try to teach the kids to give to people who are less fortunate. He’s the oldest of my three, and I try to teach him to lead by example and give to kids less fortunate. I myself have donated a kidney, so they’ve watched me go through that experience. I hope that I set a good example for them and a good foundation.”
In turn, Dillon may set the same kind of example for others that he has followed and plans to follow in the future.
Selbyville police officers sat down to discuss local issues with residents for National Coffee with a Cop Day on Oct. 7. The Selbyville Public Library hosted the event to help bring the citizens and law enforcement together.
The Selbyville Police Department expects to handle more than 3,000 calls for service this year. They have seven full-time officers and three part-timers, as well as several contract officers hired only by Mountaire for security.
“We are trying to use technology to make up for the manpower [shortage],” said Police Chief W. Scott Collins, who just hit his 25-year milestone with SPD, where his father previously served as chief.
New developments contribute impact fees to pay for Town services. With all the new growth on Route 54, Collins has requested another officer in the coming year’s budget. It’s up to the town council to approve.
With three schools inside town limits, 50 percent of Selbyville’s population during the daytime hours is students, Collins said.
Officer Larry Corrigan is the school resource officer for the three Selbyville schools, and he said the district was very receptive to the program.
This generation is growing up with horrific events happening in schools, Corrigan said, hearkening to the increase in mass shootings and school invasions. Police need to make children feel safe at school, without it feeling like a police state.
Some children are plagued with issues that their parents created, so Corrigan began several mentoring groups for different groups of boys, girls and ethnicities, which he said helps them focus on specific issues to their lives.
Meanwhile, the SPD is continuing to build relationships with the Hispanic community, which has put roots down in the area. Perhaps wary of police in their hometowns, immigrants didn’t always report crimes, but the SPD has worked with community leaders to help get justice for everyone.
Although the grant money isn’t available as much for Spanish-language seminars, the SPD uses the Language Line, which can translate up to hundreds of languages, as necessary. Mandarin Chinese was the first language Selbyville ever translated using that service.
Drug problems and thefts top crime concerns
Heroin is “absolutely everywhere,” Collins said. “It’s horrible. … It’s everywhere, and it’s a shame.”
Selbyville is a thoroughfare to the beaches, which explains some of the high numbers. The SPD meets regularly with Maryland investigators on local crime issues.
Previously, he said, heroin was mostly coming from Philadelphia, and cops knew what to expect. But now, the consistency is “all over the place,” as Baltimore blends are being cut with unknown, and potentially more dangerous, substances, such as fentanyl. Now, emergency responders have no idea what to even expect when they’re told someone is on heroin.
The Selbyville PD does not currently use naloxone, the emergency opioid overdose medication but they’re lined up to be trained it its administration, Collins said.
“We would rather do the CPR rescue breathing until the medical people get there. … Paramedics can control the dosage [of naloxone],” Collins said.
By Delaware law, anyone who reports a drug overdose will not be arrested for their involvement. The goal is to get life-saving help. Collins recalled an incident in which police searched needlessly for 30 minutes because the caller reporting an overdose was afraid of prosecution and reported it as being in the wrong area. The overdose victim died.
The Delaware State Police only has about eight officers to patrol the unincorporated zones of Sussex County — meaning only one or two are ever in the southeast corner of the state. That number is actually already on the high side, since Sussex County government has funded extra DSP positions locally.
But people must stop leaving doors unlocked, Collins said.
“We don’t see cars being broken into,” just people rifling through cars that were unlocked. In the last five years, he estimated, vehicle thefts have only occurred when the vehicle was left running with the keys inside.
Also, please report incidents immediately, Collins said. The station gets phone calls on Monday to complain about parties from the previous weekend.
People can call 911 and be transferred to the non-emergency line for a seemingly minor situation or suspicious person.
On that note, Delaware is a non-retreat estate, so people aren’t expected to retreat from an intruder in the home, Collins noted. However, trespassers outside on the property cannot be handled the same way. Residents should just call the police in that case.
CodeRED is the new emergency notification system sponsored by the Town. It can send information for any emergency, from major storms to water main breaks.
Residents who don’t get notifications should update their contact information by visiting the Selbyville Police Department website (online at www.townofselbyville.com, Click “Police Department,” then click “CODERED”).
St. George’s United Methodist Church in Clarksville has served southeastern Sussex County for 200 years — a milestone that will be celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 22, with a special service and meal, attended by members, former pastors and United Methodist Church officials.
When St. George’s was established in 1816, the church was served by circuit riders — pastors who covered a certain territory and would preach in each church every few weeks.
“We Methodists love to talk about the circuit riders,” said St. George’s pastor the Rev. Dr. Robert Kirby. “Since there were not enough clergy to go around, the laity would conduct worship services in many of our early churches until a pastor would come through.”
If a circuit rider was not available, church members directed their own meetings, which by 1816 were being held in an “old house, just 16 feet by 18 feet,” according to a church history compiled by church member Doris Collins.
According to the church history, the first circuit rider to serve St. George’s was none other than Francis Asbury, one of the first two bishops of what was then the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. A native of England, Asbury traveled to America as a young man and would travel thousands of miles over the next 45 years, with a mission of bringing the word of God to the faithful.
As the Methodist faith grew in the new nation, it also blossomed in Delaware — in fact, Barratt’s Chapel in Frederica is considered the “cradle of Methodism” because of a meeting there in 1784 between British clergyman Thomas Coke and Asbury, who celebrated the sacraments of the church and considered the future of the church in America there.
“This is a very special area of the United States to be Methodist, with all the rich heritage and culture at our disposal. There are times when I openly wonder what our founder, John Wesley, would think if he were alive today,” Kirby said.
Around 1820, St. George’s would see its first church built, after a man by the name of George P. Johnson donated an acre of land “in a thick pine woods on the west side of the [Clarksville] branch” for that purpose.
Best estimates are that the first St. George’s was located about a half-mile from the current location, off of what is now Holt’s Landing Road, near the Sylvan Vue community, Collins said. Although there was a cemetery there, Collins said she believes all but one grave from the old church graveyard was moved to the new church cemetery.
That first place of worship was built log-cabin style, of trees felled by the men of the church, and measured 20 feet by 25 feet, according to church records. When it was replaced by a new church a few decades later, the old church was torn down by its new owner, Will Steele, who bought it for $10. Steele used the timbers to build a barn, which reportedly stood until 1976, when the owners had it burned down.
That church building was enlarged to twice its original size in 1850. Collins’ history contains this description of the completed structure: “The building had a 10-foot pitched roof, with hewed frame, shingled walls and eight windows and shutters that could be bolted when not in use.” When a “gallery” was built for use by “colored people” as part of the 1850 expansion, the posts used for supporting the gallery soon drew ire from the women of the church, whose hoop skirts would get caught on them. So the posts on one side were removed.
To meet the needs of its ever-expanding congregation, a new church was built in 1880 — the first version of the church building at the current location. Located on 1.5 acres of land donated by John R. Steele, the building was paid for by contributions from 250 men, women and children of the church, with donations ranging from 10 cents to $400. The new building was raised on June 9, 1880.
That project apparently had its challenges, according to a letter written by Joshua A. Townsend when the decision was made to go ahead with the construction.
“We have been worshipping in an old church for many years now, and with the help of the Lord, we intend to build a new one,” the letter said. “The land is poor and so are the people. It will be quite hard to build a larger church with corn 50 cents a bushel and eggs 10 cents a dozen and chickens 8 cents a pound,” Townsend’s letter stated. “These are our staple articles, but we hope when the cornerstone box is opened, times will be better.” (When the cornerstone was eventually opened, the contents of the box were water-damaged.)
On a positive note, Townsend also observed that “our Sunday-school is prospering with John R. Steele as superintendent.”
Although the new church building contained an organ, not everyone was a fan of the tones it produced, according to Collins’ history. One member of the congregation, Gideon Lynch, is said to have walked out of the church the first time the organ was played, and church lore has it that he said “They might as well have the devil in there with his fiddle.”
A church belfry was built in 1911 by Hank Moore of Ocean View, with two bells in it — a “mourning bell” made of wood and a metal bell. In 1928, further expansion was needed, and between then and 1930, the church was rebuilt.
That is the point at which the stained glass windows were added, at a cost of $150 each. The current Sunday-school room was added and a basement was dug out by hand, using mules pulling a drag scoop.
Other expansions and renovations have occurred over the years, including an addition in 1961, with eight elementary classrooms, a study for the pastor and new restrooms. In 1970, the story goes, that shortly after air conditioning was completed, during a “powerful” sermon by Rev. Melvin Tingle, smoke began pouring out of air conditioning vents. Tingle reportedly said, “Maybe it was the devil, as he always tries to stop people from telling the truth.”
In 1995, the church steeple was found to be in serious need of repair, so the St. George’s church bells were silenced for about a month while the work was done. Two years later, the steeple, which had always been topped with a weathervane, finally received a stainless steel cross at its apex.
Charles Marvel, 90, is a member of one of the earliest families to attend St. George’s. His parents, Clarence and Edith Marvel, were born in the late 1800s and while both attended after their marriage, his mother’s family had attended all her life. Edith Marvel’s mother died very young, he said, but her father — Charles Marvel’s grandfather, Charles S. Calhoun — had been a member of St. George’s for many years.
Marvel recalled that, when he was a child, “there was no television, or tablets, or anything like that,” and that church was where people went to socialize.
“The main thing when I was growing up was our church,” he said. “Church was our main attraction, and everybody knew everybody.”
A favorite memory of Marvel’s was the ice cream socials that were held after Ladies’ Aid meetings.
He also recalled befriending a particular boy at the church, Frank Baker, whose father served as pastor from 1934 to 1940. Although Baker’s family moved from the area, the two remained friends and, to this day, they often talk on the phone and still occasionally enjoy fishing together.
As an adult, Marvel said, he enjoyed singing in the St. George’s choir for more than 50 years. He credited former choir director Ruth Koenig with making the choir something special.
“We had a fantastic choir for a little, small church” he said.
On a more spiritual note, Marvel said he credits the church with giving his life direction.
“I thank the Lord every once in a while for all the preachers and ministers we had,” he said. Thanks to them, Marvel said, he feels he was “grounded in the right Word. They taught us what was right and what was wrong and how to live our lives.”
As it enters its third century, St. George’s continues a strong outreach into the community. Particularly strong is its service to the prison community, with several programs serving those currently imprisoned, those preparing to end their time in prison and families of those who are incarcerated.
St. George’s Needy Family Fund uses donations from the congregation to provide for those who are having difficulty paying for rent, food, fuel or other needs.
Continuing to seek out ways to reach out to its community, members in 2010 began to look for inspiration for ways to engage area youth in the life of the church. Doug Griffith had begun a successful program using the gym at Lord Baltimore Elementary School that grew to around 40 youths. At the urging of Ruth and Herman Koenig, an old garage at the former parsonage was moved onto church property for use by the youth group, which was named SURGE.
The church’s children’s ministry, called VOLT, was created in 2011, out of a desire to offer a more “interactive” children’s program. Through the program, which features live skits designed to help the children apply Bible stories to their own lives, the St George’s Sunday-School program has grown.
St. George’s celebration of its 200th anniversary will include many former pastors, as well as Bishop Peggy Johnson and District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Kyung Hee Sa of the United Methodist Church’s Dover District. A special Sunday-morning service will be held at 10:30 a.m., which will be open to the public, followed later in the day by the bicentennial service and meal at 2 p.m.
It’s one of the biggest, spookiest celebrations in southeast Sussex County: The Selbyville Halloween Parade will return on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. The Fenwick Island Lions Club and the Town of Selbyville sponsor the event, which is more than 60 years old.
What makes it so special?
“I think part of it is the tradition, and that it’s a family event,” said Lions Club parade organizer Fran Pretty. “The old-timers talk about it, and then the new people that have moved in, I think they come to see what it’s like.”
The parade marches east on Church Street, from town hall to the traffic signal at Main Street.
Participants include fire companies, scouting troops, a Southern Delaware School of the Arts dance group, local businesses, local politicians and candidates, and more. Live music comes from the marching bands of Indian River, Sussex Central and Stephen Decatur high schools.
“It’s to get into the Halloween spirit, and maybe get ideas for costumes and parties, and just a fun thing for the kids to see,” Pretty said.
Children can participate in the costume contest, then march in the parade. They should report to Salem United Methodist Church parking lot at 6 p.m. Awards will be given for best dressed and most original costumes of each age group.
All other parade participants and floats should report to the check-in desk behind the PNC Bank on Dukes Street.
Pretty said she is especially charmed by the kids in costume.
“They’re so cute, and they seem to be having so much fun, and to see their eyes — they’re looking up and down the street to see if they recognize anyone,” she said.
Several thousand spectators line the streets each year, Pretty noted.
“We look forward to do doing it every year,” she said. “It’s special because we, the Lions Club, like to do things that are family-oriented, things that are on the local level and things that people really enjoy and continue traditions that have been in existence for a long time.”
It’s also “Sight Night” for the club, so people attending the parade are being asked to donate old eyeglasses or sunglasses, which the Lions Club will donate to people in need in other countries. Lions Clubs worldwide are known for their sight and vision work, collecting eyeglasses, providing vision screenings and fundraising for vision research.
Indian River High School LEO Club volunteers will go through the audience, collecting glasses. The teenagers will also help escort the children in the parade.
In addition, the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company will have a food shack. The Lions Club will also sell hamburgers, hotdogs, sodas and hot chocolate.
The winner of the Lions’ annual 50/50 drawing will be announced at the end of the night. It has historically produced some impressive cash winnings. The winner need not be present.
Handicapped parking will be available in the Town parking lot behind the Georgia House restaurant on Main Street.
Details and last-minute sign-up information are online at www.townofselbyville.com.