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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Noel Lenhart was named Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018 at the G.W. Carver Educational Center.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Noel Lenhart was named Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018 at the G.W. Carver Educational Center.Noel Lenhart has always loved education, ever since she was a little girl.

    “I just always loved going to school. … I was the one who wanted the workbook at the end of the year,” Lenhart said.

    She chased that love into a career and was recently named the Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018 at the G.W. Carver Educational Center in Frankford.

    Lenhart teaches children ages 3 and 4 who have developmental delays in the Indian River School District’s TOTS (Transitioning Our Toddlers to School) program.

    “I’ve always loved this age group,” Lenhart said. “I think early intervention is so, so important, because it levels the playing field with their peers. The more early services they can get, the less they are behind.”

    She usually has about 23 students daily, split into morning and afternoon sessions.

    The TOTS goal is to prepare young children for kindergarten. All of its students have a developmental delay or qualifying disability, such as a speech or hearing impairment. TOTS provides screenings and physical, occupational and speech therapies. All school districts have similar programs.

    Lenhart said she loves seeing how quickly students learn, growing from a few words to full sentences in one year. It’s a regular preschool classroom, and learning occurs through hands-on and playtime-based instruction.

    “We really try to make it fun for the kids. They don’t even realize they’re learning when they’re here, because they’re in the block station and we’re counting blocks,” Lenhart said.

    The difference is that they’re pulled from “play” stations to work on individual needs. That helps children transition to kindergarten and be better prepared, even if they might need help following directions, working and sharing with others, focusing and more.

    Children might attend TOTS for a year or two, or just a few hours weekly for several months.

    If any parents have concerns about their child’s development, Lenhart encourages them to call the Indian River School District.

    “It’s so important for them not to be behind when they start kindergarten,” she said. Some simple remediation now can prevent major delays in the future.

    Enrollment is based solely on educational needs. TOTS is open to children of any income or background. IRSD’s TOTS program has also earned a five-star rating from Delaware Stars for Early Success.

    “A lot of paperwork involved, especially in special education,” such as lesson plans, data collection for Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals, report-writing and the IEP itself, which is written by teachers, staff and parents. “It can be several hours per student. I do a lot of it at home on my own time, but you have to collect all the data, see where they are.”

    Some students might have two goals. Some might have seven. Goals might include focus on an activity or speaking in longer phrases.

    But Lenhart said she loves “just being with the kids, seeing them every day and getting them where they need to be,” and then celebrating their success.

    Originally, Lenhart’s upstate banking job brought her to Sussex County, where she dedicated her days off to substitute-teaching. Lenhart entered education as a long-term sub at the Howard T. Ennis School, then she became a fulltime resource teacher at Selbyville Middle School.

    When she became a mother in 2001, Lenhart left the traditional classroom to teach night courses for Even Start (family literacy) and daycare certification (for other teachers). She has just finished her third year at TOTS.

    She said she’s excited about new programs made possible by Carl M. Freeman Foundation grants. That includes the new toddler-sized playground, safely enclosed by an old courtyard.

    TOTS also won an “exploring art” program that brings art and live music to the children.

    All of the IRSD district Teachers of the Year were honored earlier this spring.

    “It was such an honor. There are so many hard-working teachers in this building,” Lenhart said.

    Her coworkers called her “compassionate, nurturing, confident, poised and fun.”

    “Parents absolutely love her as their child’s first teacher and have nothing but compliments about her throughout the school year,” according to TOTS coordinator Loretta Ewell.

    “Noel always advocates in the best interest of the students, trying to bridge the gap between parent and teacher,” another colleague wrote. “Noel is always finding ways to better educate herself, her colleagues and her students.”

    Lenhart earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood/elementary education from Wilmington College. She’s currently working on earning a master’s degree in special education.

    Lenhart has three children with her husband, who is also a local teacher. Together, she said, they love to travel, camp and explore.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Abraxas’ painting of Joe Hudson.Coastal Point • Submitted: Abraxas’ painting of Joe Hudson.During the 1940s, Joe Hudson began his flying career while still in high school, as a student fish-spotter. Today, he is known as the “dean of Delaware crop-dusters.”

    Meanwhile, by the summer of 2016, Cape Henlopen High School students had been flying camera drones and taking pictures of Delaware beaches, including the World War II fire-control towers, for almost two years.

    Thanks to a very unique photography class and enthusiastic art teacher Jason Fruchtman, these students learned to master the camera drone and create these stunning images.

    More than 70 years ago, Lewes High School students were quite literally flying over these same beaches for a very different reason. It was not a class. They were at work, fish-spotting. Just how did these guys get to do this?

    Growing up in Harbeson during the 1930s and ’40s, Joe and his best friend, Ted Freeman, hung around the airport in Rehoboth Beach. They washed planes, got a job “sweeping up,” then traded more work for flying lessons.

    In ninth grade, Joe took his first airplane ride, in a J-3 Cub, and he continued to work delivering milk to the Georgetown Airport each morning at 4 a.m. Once the sun came up, he could watch the Navy trainers practice carrier landings and “snatch guys up off the ground by a hook.” The trainers flew over the Delaware Bay from their home at Cape May County Naval Air Station in Wildwood, N.J.

    In 1943, the 23rd Carrier Aircraft Service Unit was stationed in Georgetown, so Joe was able to watch the Grumman TBF-1 Avenger — the Navy carrier-based torpedo-bomber — practice its landings. And he watched the Curtiss 2B2C dive-bomber practice bombing near the marshlands adjacent to the Georgetown Airport. Joe’s high school years were filled with days of work at both airports, with his friend Ted.

    As high school students, Joe and Ted were already flying, and being paid to do it! They flew over the Delaware Bay and along the Atlantic Coast in Stinson aircraft owned by Rehoboth Airport, looking for schools of menhaden fish.

    Later, their planes were owned by Lewes mayor Otis Smith, who also ran his family’s fish products company. Their task was to identify the blackish stains on the water’s surface as menhaden, determine their direction of movement and inform the fishing-boat captains below.

    The Stinson aircraft of the late ’40s were not yet equipped with radios, so while flying, Joe and Ted dropped jars sealed with lids and bottles with corks that contained notes as to the menhaden’s location and direction of travel. And that was called “fish spotting.”

    By his senior year in high school, Joe had already earned his commercial pilot’s license and used it to win a contract to spray for mosquitos for the State. Joe also ran charter flights and continued fish-spotting.

    During high school, he and Ted flew their boss, Otis Smith, to all his fisheries along the Atlantic, from New York to Florida. They may have been just “student fish-spotters,” but later pilots would have considered them “pioneer fish-spotters.” By the late 1950s and early ’60s, the adult fish-spotter pilots used radios to communicate with the big steamers.

    But, by then, both Joe and Ted were flying larger aircraft for different purposes.

    In 1950, Joe began his own aerial application business, with two World War II vintage aircraft. Originally used as Air Force trainers, he redesigned the Stearman biplanes and outfitted them for spraying chemicals. By 1956, he owned and operated seven Stearman spray planes and hired other pilots and a “ground man” to mix chemicals and keep them flying. At 20, he and his team worked off of his private airstrip just north of Lewes.

    About a year later, Joe traded his Stearmans for two twin-engine Beechcraft airplanes, because the nozzles on the Stearmans continually leaked, covering the pilots, planes and ground crew with chemicals.

    The equipment on the Stearmans had been converted for spraying, but Joe said “it was not made for it” and never really worked very well. His aerial application business was becoming more precise and needed to be much more efficient, as well as safe.

    Joe took what he had learned, then designed, built and installed new spray systems for both twin Beeches. He won FAA approval for his new spray systems. They were the first twin-engine spray planes in the East and so effective that they replaced five of his seven Stearmans. Joe soon became one of the largest aerial applicators on the Delmarva Peninsula and “one of the first pioneers of the aerial spraying business.”

    Reporter Andy Cline named Joe the “crop-spraying pioneer” in 1978, after watching him work a field of wheat. Andy wrote about how the “sleek racy craft banked steeply then zoomed inches from the crop expelling the load.”

    After each pass, he said, the plane appeared to “float for a moment” as it turned to make another pass. It would disappear behind the trees, reappear, engine roaring, skimming the tree line, and dropping quickly to the wheat after dodging power lines. Then it was gone and quiet.

    Andy watched as the “duster” headed west for home, disappearing into the pink dust. Flying in to the darkening blue-pink twilight, was Joe really thinking “another field with a higher yield because of aerial applications?” Maybe. He did love to fly, but he also did so much good for so many people.

    During his flying career, Joe Hudson also helped Beebe Medical Center add facilities, including a wing in 2008 and a helipad to service the Delaware State Police helicopters.

    In 2014, Joe donated his beloved Navion Range Master aircraft to the power-plant program at the Delaware Technical Community College. The airframe and power-plant facility located near the Delaware Coastal Airport is now home of the Theodore C. Freeman Powerplant Education Building, dedicated in 2014 and named after Joe’s best friend. Joe’s wish was that his donated Navion would help the college graduate more students as airframe and powerplant technicians.

    As of early 2016, Joe was still a farmer, aviator, business entrepreneur, humanitarian, philanthropist, developer and “dean of Delaware crop-dusters.” Asked what he would say to students today, he said, “Learn to fly. The No. 1 thing is to be good at business and then make money and make people happy.”

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    The annual Zoar United Methodist Church Ice Cream Festival will be held on Saturday, July 1, at 4 p.m., featuring homemade ice cream, as well as other desserts, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken-salad sandwiches and more.

    The ice cream is made at the church by church members. Eight flavors — including traditional fruit flavors, chocolate and vanilla — will be available at this year’s festival, said church member Bonnie Hall. The ice cream can be purchased by the quart or cup or as an ice cream sandwich.

    The festival, which is run by church members, usually draws between 50 and 100 people, but Hall said the turnout varies by year. Profit from the festival is put toward the church’s general fund, and the event usually runs until about 6 p.m., she said.

    The ice cream festival started as a family social event because many families belong to the church. The summer festival has been going on for years, Hall said.

    “We usually make a good profit, but we do [the festival] mostly for the community and the people who make the ice cream,” she said.

    The event is one of several special events the church puts on each year. In addition to the festival, the church will hold an outdoor service on Sept. 17, and its men’s group will host Peas & Dumplings Dinners in October and January to raise money for needy families.

    Zoar United Methodist Church holds services on Sundays at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. For more information, contact Bonnie Hall at (302) 934-7221. Zoar is located at 24463 Gravel Hill Road, Millsboro.

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    It’s more than just celebrating the United States’ birthday — it’s also about recognizing the individuals who fought for the freedom that keeps the nation alive.

    Veterans residing in Southern Sussex County express their feelings about Independence Day and the local celebrations that revolve around it.

    Keeping Fourth of July traditions alive is a major concern of Vietnam War veteran John Mitchell, the chaplain of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234. He and Post Commander Fulton Loppatto said Bethany Beach does a great job in upholding the importance of the holiday.

    Mitchell, an Ocean View native, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam for a year, from February of 1968 to February of 1969. Loppatto, originally from New York City but who now resides in Bethany Beach, also fought in the Vietnam War, as a citizen-soldier in the Army for 13 months.

    “Bethany Beach has one of the finest parades for a small town, with several veterans’ groups participating,” Loppatto said.

    Loppatto has helped organize the Bethany Beach parade for the past 12 years. He has been participating in the parade for the past two years. Loppatto said he prefers to walk in the parade and hug fellow veterans. He also has given out VFW 7234 pins to thank them for their service.

    The veterans have been sharing a float with the National Guard for several years now. Mitchell noted that many of the National Guardsmen who participated in prior Bethany parades have served in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

    Last year, the Veteran-National Guard float actually won the float decoration competition, Mitchell pointed out.

    It is an honor for the veterans to have the opportunity to be recognized in the parade, said Mitchell. He added that he has enjoyed seeing numerous people cheering and waving at the float in the past. He said he really liked the fact that so many members of the community, along with visitors, came to show so much support for all of the different groups participating in the event.

    “Bethany Beach has grown and become more mature,” Mitchell said.

    Both of the veterans shared a common notion that it is important for young people to remember and respect veterans. Mitchell said he felt as though many everyday people these days only recognize holidays such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day as long weekends that excuse them from work or school.

    That is a key reason why Mitchell and Loppatto enjoy the Bethany Beach parade, they said, because they feel that the parade, in particular, does a good job conserving the true meaning of Independence Day.

    Loppatto said that, even though Independence Day is not directly geared toward veterans, people should actually recognize that veterans have helped to keep the true meaning of the Fourth of July alive through fighting for the nation’s freedom.

    “On the Fourth, we, as veterans of the greatest nation on Earth, take great pride that we served as a soldier on the front lines to continue to provide these freedoms for our fellow citizens,” Loppatto said.

    Kids expect this Fourth of
    July to go off with a bang

    Fireworks seem to be the crowd favorite amongst children ranging from toddlers to teenagers residing or visiting areas in southern Sussex County.

    The Fourth of July is seemingly one of the busiest time periods during the summer season, especially in the beach towns, and many families from the area or visiting it will be attending or celebrating Fourth of July-themed festivities throughout the week. With that influx of families, there will also be an increase in children partaking in the events.

    A common go-to destination amongst families in the area is the fireworks shows that can be seen throughout several days of the week in multiple locations, such as Bethany Beach, Rehoboth, Millsboro and Ocean City, Md. For many children, the fireworks is the highlight of the holiday.

    The fireworks show has also directly and indirectly brought families together in the past, an idea suggested by 8-year-old Aiyden from Newark, Del. Aiyden said he was staying with his great-grandmother in the area during the Fourth of July last year and has recently enjoyed being able to spend time at her house.

    “After we go to the fireworks, we go to [his great-grandmother’s] house and get dessert,” Aiyden said.

    His grandmother said she was glad that she had the opportunity to spend more time with her grandson.

    Marleigh from Millville, 4, said she likes to see the fireworks every year. Her mother added that, for the past two years they have been trying to see the show, but, unfortunately, Marleigh’s 2-year-old sister, Lilli, has gotten frightened by the loud noises in the past. Their mom is hoping that, this year, Lilli will be old enough to be able to enjoy the fireworks as much as her sister does.

    Teenagers such as Nolan, a 13-year-old living South Bethany, have also enjoyed the fireworks shows. Nolan said he really enjoys going to the parade that takes place in Bethany. He also mentioned that he, too, enjoyed the fireworks show, and it was his favorite part of the events surrounding the holiday.

    “We wait till the fireworks go off and then come to the beach and watch them,” Nolan said.

    Younger children have also recognized that the Fourth of July is more than just a long weekend or a fireworks show. Phoebe, 6, is residing in South Bethany for the summer. She said it’s about celebrating winning the Revolutionary War.

    The older teens seemed to be especially patriotic. Emily, 18, said she expresses her love for America by wearing Fourth of July-themed apparel in remembrance of how the country started. She and her older sister, Christine, enthusiastically stated that they love America very much.

    “We love the Fourth of July,” the sisters both said.

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    The competitive component is off for this year’s Millsboro Kid’s Parade, after the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce created its own event, leaving Kid’s Parade organizers to focus on the fun.

    For the past 11 years, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church has been holding a parade for children so that local and visiting families could dress up in costumes, as well as decorate bikes and strollers, on July 4. Gale White, one of the coordinators of the event, said that, in past years, families would compete in categories such as best costume or best decorated dog; but, this year, there will no longer be any contests.

    The Millsboro Chamber of Commerce used to take part in the event and provided trophies for the winners. Now that the Chamber has started its own event — Millsboro Stars & Stripes, set for July 1 this year — it has pulled out of the parade and is therefore no longer providing trophies.

    “It’ll be a better feeling than a group of judges scoring them,” White said of the parade walkers.

    She said the lack of a competitive factor will actually encourage a more fun and light environment, with people not trying to out-do others.

    This year, White said, the parade will start at 10:30 a.m. on the grounds of St. Mark’s Church. White said that families are still being encouraged to dress up in costume and parade around the grounds to show their patriotism.

    At the start of the event, there will be a brief patriotic ceremony, which will include Boy Scout Troop 382’s color guard performing with American flags. Singer Cathy Gorman will be singing the national anthem during the ceremony.

    The ladies of the American Legion Post 28 Auxiliary will also take part in the ceremony, carrying a large banner and giving out small American flags to people in attendance.

    After the ceremony, Carol Huston, the parade marshal, will be leading children in the traditional children’s parade around the church grounds. At the end of the parade, all of the participants will receive a small gift.

    White said she felt as though it would be more enjoyable if everyone received a prize instead of just the winners of some categories. The children will also get the opportunity to be quizzed on Independence Day facts by Millsboro resident Roberta Collins, White said. There will be hotdogs, chips, drinks and even cupcakes at the event.

    “It’s just about the kids understanding what the Fourth of July is,” White said.

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    To ignite Fourth of July festivities full of fun and community involvement, South Bethany will be holding its fourth annual South Bethany Boat Parade on Sunday, July 2.

    Beginning at 5 p.m., the decorated boats are going to sail across the waters of the Jefferson Creek “bay area” on the west side of South Bethany while visitors and residents watch and cheer from the sides.

    Upon registering for the free event and decorating their boats in whatever theme they desire, the parade participants are expected to arrive around 4:30 p.m. to arrange themselves in an orderly line. South Bethany Boat Parade organizer Kathy Jankowski will be calling out boat numbers with a bullhorn.

    A day prior to the parade, participants will be given two laminated numbers, which will be attached to both sides of their boats. Designating the boats’ positions in the parade, the numbers are intended to ensure a safe parade and to help judges evaluate the boats.

    With Kent Stephan leading the procession, the boats will begin their route traveling up and down Jefferson Creek Canal and then up and down Anchorage Canal, up Bayshore Canal, up and down York Canal, back to Bayshore Canal and finishing the parade at the starting point.

    To prevent any potential safety issues, resident Joe Conway and South Bethany Police Chief Troy Crowson will drive the “Safety Boat” in the middle of the line, while Jankowski will be stationed at the back.

    “We usually bring up the rear, so that we make sure everyone is organized and so that we make sure everyone is going where they are supposed to be going,” Jankowski said.

    To supplement those safety measures, organizers of the boat parade explained that paddle boards, personal watercraft and boats under sail are not eligible to participate in the parade. Kayaks and canoes may follow behind the procession but may not register as official participants. Officially registered vessels must comply with Coast Guard safety regulations.

    As the boats proceed along the waterways of South Bethany, judges Dave Wilson, Steve Farrow, Lori Cicero and Frank Cicero will be assessing the contestants’ adornments from the point of Rebecca Road at the intersection of the Anchorage and Bayshore canals.

    The 18 registered boats will compete for awards, consisting of Most Patriotic Boat, Funniest Boat, Most Creative Boat and Best in Show. All winners will receive a certificate, while the Best in Show recipient will be awarded with a flag, passed down from previous winners, to put on their boat for the rest of the year.

    In order to obtain these awards after the parade, all participants and observers are being invited to attend the Boat Parade Award Ceremony at town hall around 7 p.m. to recognize the victors and also enjoy refreshments of hotdogs, chips, sodas and water.

    Although the parade comprised boats and their owners, the fun of the event is not solely limited to boat owners but also includes the observers. Before the parade, South Bethany community members were sent a map of the parade’s course in a news update so that they are able to follow the parade.

    While the parade occurs, the residents and visitors usually cheer on the boats as they celebrate from their homes in South Bethany.

    “We’ve had quite a few people show up for this,” Stephan said. “We have people who plan events around it. They’ll have a party outside on their deck.”

    “A lot of people have invited guests to come over and watch the parade,” Jankowski said. “They make a big deal about it and have cocktail parties and barbecues.”

    Before the Boat Parade became a town event, it started as a Fourth of July celebration of boat decorating for Jankowski and a few friends. Jankowski’s idea soon grew to become a larger-scale festivity.

    “I wanted another activity that people in or community could participate in and do something that everyone would enjoy, so that people — even if they didn’t have a boat — could be along the route and cheer,” she said.

    As a town council member and the chairman of the Communications & Public Relations Committee, Carol Stevenson has been helping Jankowski gain publicity for her event while also approving any information regarding the Boat Parade before it is sent to the townsfolk.

    Having watched the parade all four past years, Stevenson said she loves the parade since its fun extends to the entire town.

    “It’s just fun to watch everybody having fun,” Stevenson said. “It’s fun to watch interactions between the spectators and the boats as they go by. It’s just a real feel-good thing.”

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    Who says the Fourth of July can only be celebrated once each year?

    In 2017, residents of and visitors to southern Sussex County and coastal Maryland can enjoy not one but five different events focused on the Independence Day holiday. Most of the events will take place on different days throughout the week before the Fourth, so people can enjoy fireworks, concerts and parades more than just once this year.

    Bethany Beach gets its Fourth on

    The town of Bethany Beach will be hosting its annual Independence Day celebration, which will include the traditional Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, a concert and other forms of entertainment for the public on July 4.

    The parade, which will start at noon at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Garfield Parkway, will include a float competition, 12 bands and more.

    Participants interested in entering a float into to the competition must register their float at a table located on Central Boulevard near the Bethany Beach Christian Church grounds. Registration will be held between 9 and 11:30 a.m. on the day of the parade.

    Parade participants have the opportunity to compete in four categories, for the best entries by individuals, organizations, businesses and walkers.

    Prizes will vary, but according to Julie Malewski, events director for the Town of Bethany Beach, winners can expect to win this year’s collectable Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade T-shirt, a trophy or a gift certificate.

    The T-shirts, which raise funds to support the parade, can also be purchased on July 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. on the boardwalk or on July 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Christian Church entrance.

    This year’s parade theme is “Bethany Celebrates,” which Malewski said was inspired by a photograph taken by photographer Bryan Scar. The parade float guidelines, which can be found on the Town of Bethany Beach’s website at, encourage float-makers to follow the theme to further their chances of winning in one of the categories.

    “It’s a nice, neutral apolitical theme that can apply to many different interpretations,” Malewski said.

    The parade will also include a series of local and out-of-state music groups, including the Delmar District Pipe Band, the Tidewater Brass Band, the 287th National Guard Army Band, the Back Bay Strummers, the German Oompah Band, the First Delaware Regiment, the First State Detachment Marine Corps League, The Circle C Outfit LLC, The Honeycombs, the Nautical Sounds Chorus, the Paddlewheel Strutters and the Downtowners Fancy Brigade.

    After the parade, at 2:30 p.m., “Art Thou Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader in Ben Franklin Trivia” will be held on the boardwalk bandstand. For the trivia event, Ben Mulligan, a “first-person interpreter,” will be acting as Ben Franklin. Mulligan has appeared as Franklin on shows such as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show.”

    Then, at 7:15 p.m., the parade awards ceremony will be held on the bandstand, right before a concert by Dewey Beach-based band Love Seed Mama Jump, which will perform at 7:30 p.m., also on the bandstand. Majewski described the band as family-friendly and mentioned that it tailors to a wide variety of ages and music tastes.

    The Town’s annual fireworks display will conclude the event around dusk. They will be set off over the beach near the Wellington Parkway entrance. The shells in this year’s show may be a little smaller, due to the current width of the beach, but as a result, the show is expected to last a little longer than it has in some recent years.

    “The whole town gets alive with excitement,” Malewski said as a final note of encouragement to attend the event.

    For more information about the event, go to the Town of Bethany Beach’s website at, or contact Town Hall by phone at (302) 539-8011 or email

    Ocean City doling out dual displays

    Ocean City, Md., will be having two sets of Independence Day festivities that are each expected to include a live musical performance and a fireworks show on July 4.

    The two events will take place at the same time, starting at 8 p.m., offering visitors the opportunity to choose between two different Independence Day experiences.

    One of the locations will be in downtown Ocean City, on the Dorchester Street beach. The other will in Northside Park, off of 125th Street, bayside. Both locations will host a concert, which will start at 8 p.m., and a fireworks show, starting at 9:30 p.m.

    Downtown, the theme will be a modern take on the fireworks show. It will be “heavily synchronized to music, and it’s more of an enveloping experience,” Ocean City Director of Special Events Frank Miller said.

    The band Triple Rail Turn will be performing near Dorchester Street, on Caroline Street, at the start of the event, Miller said. He described the band as a modern country-rock group that is very fun to watch live.

    The Northside Park location’s theme will be a more traditional approach to the celebration. Miller said that the show will incorporate traditional and big-band music.

    A stage will also be set up on 125th Street, in the park, where the band Mike Hines & the Look will perform at 8 p.m., according to Miller. He said the concert will be very family-friendly and will feature a wide variety of music types.

    The beauty of having two locations 10 miles away from each other, is that visitors and residents of Ocean City will be able to enjoy two separate experiences in one night, Miller said.

    The fireworks displays, Miller said, will be the highlight of both celebrations. He noted that there will be a different fireworks company operating the show this year. Image Engineering, a Baltimore-based company that Miller said specializes in special effects and pyrotechnics will be in charge of both locations’ shows. Each show is expected to last around 18 minutes.

    “Don’t be surprised if what you think is the finale for the fireworks isn’t the finale,” Miller said.

    For more information about the events, visit Ocean City’s website at, or call 1-800-626-2326 or (410) 250-0125.

    Rehoboth Beach putting the Funsters in the Fourth

    Rehoboth Beach will be hosting its annual fireworks show and live concert event on July 2.

    Communications Director Krys Johnson said the festivities will begin at 8 p.m., when the band The Funsters, which has been performing at the event since 2006, will give a live performance on the bandstand. The Funsters will play until 9:15 p.m., when the fireworks show will begin.

    This year, Zambelli Fireworks will be in charge of the fireworks show.

    “Every year gets better and better,” Johnson said.

    Approximately 100,000 or more have attended the celebration in past years, said Johnson. She remarked that the large turnout is the main reason why the event is not being held on the actual day of the holiday.

    With several neighboring towns also having their own Independence Day celebrations, each one requires an adequate amount of emergency responders to maintain a safe environment, said Johnson. That is why she decided to having the event on a different day, to ensure that Rehoboth will have a sufficient amount of responders.

    “I can’t stress enough the importance of safety,” Johnson said. “That is at the top of our list.”

    The number of visitors can also result in a lot of traffic and difficulty in finding parking, Johnson noted. She suggested Rehoboth celebrants consider parking at the Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Road, where the parking lot will open at 6 p.m. with a fee of $20 per vehicle, which includes Jolly Trolley rides to and from downtown.

    For more information visit the City of Rehoboth Beach’s website at, or call or email the City at (302) 227-6181 or

    Bear Trap to parade around community

    Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View will be hosting its traditional Independence Day parade for the community and the public on July 1. The parade will start at 9 a.m. in front of the community pavilion. Bethany Beck, the pavilion manager, said the parade will form a half-mile loop around the community. The route will go around October Glory Avenue, Sycamore Street and Willow Oak Avenue.

    The local fire company will be participating in the event, said Beck. She said they are expected to bring firetrucks and rescue vehicles for the children to see. She said people in the community are being encouraged to participate and that she expects many of them to walk, skateboard and bike in the parade.

    Children are also usually treated to complimentary ice-pops after the parade, Beck added.

    Live entertainment for the event had yet to be secured, Beck said early this week, but she said she would really like to have a local band perform.

    Later in the day, Bear Trap’s Fourth Annual Children’s Boat Race will take place, limited to Bear Trap community members only. Children will be expected to build boats solely out of cardboard and tape. They will then race their creations across the length of the pool. Beck said that, this year, since the event was so successful in previous years, there will be not one but two divisions of racers based on age.

    “To be able to have an event that size is pretty exciting,” Beck said.

    Getting more people to come out to the community is an important priority for the event, Beck said.

    For more information, contact Bear Trap’s Pavilion front desk at (302) 537-6371 or email Beck at

    Millsboro gets in on the fireworks game

    The inaugural Millsboro Stars & Stripes event will give that town the opportunity to attract holiday visitors of its own on July 1.

    For the first time ever, according to Amy Simmons, the executive director of the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce, the town of Millsboro will have the opportunity to come together and celebrate Independence Day in their own town.

    The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Cupola Park and will include various local food vendors, including Fat Daddy’s Barbeque, Insante’s Ice-cream & Italian Ice, and possibly a truck selling hamburgers and hotdogs.

    The musical entertainment for the evening will be by D.J. Sky Brady, who will be performing up until the fireworks show at 9 p.m.

    The fireworks show will be orchestrated by Brothers Pyro, who Simmons said are a local, family-owned company.

    There will also be free face-painting for kids, cornhole and a 50/50 raffle. She said the Chamber has been selling the raffle tickets for $1 each — with $5,000 available. If all of the tickets are sold, the $5,000, accumulated from ticket sales will be evenly split between the Chamber and the winner of the raffle, so the maximum prize will be $2,500. The winner will be announced on July 2.

    The idea behind scheduling the Stars & Stripes event on the first day of the month was to not conflict with some of the larger celebrations in neighboring towns, said Simmons. She said the event will give visitors to Millsboro an opportunity to see multiple fireworks shows throughout the week and will draw more people to the town.

    “This will be our signature event this year,” Simmons said.

    For more information, visit the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce’s website at, call the Chamber at (302) 934-6777 or email

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: A Pontiac Bonneville was on show at a recent ‘cruise-in’ event at Magee Farms.Coastal Point • Submitted: A Pontiac Bonneville was on show at a recent ‘cruise-in’ event at Magee Farms.Classic cars, fresh produce and a local festival-food favorite have been combined for a series of “cruise-ins” at Magee Farms’ Selbyville location.

    The cruise-ins are the result of pre-season brainstorming, according to Magee Farms employee Katie Bickford, who is coordinating the bi-weekly events. The first Magee Farms Cruise-in & BBQ was held June 16, and although there were only a handful of cars at the inaugural event, Bickford said they were each unique in their own way.

    One of the cars was an Austin Marina GT — one of only 12 such cars on the East Coast, Bickford said.

    “There were some really cool cars,” she said, adding that she is hopeful that as the summer progresses, “we get a good group together” for local car enthusiasts to enjoy.

    Bickford said owners of cars, trucks and motorcycles are welcome to show off their vehicles at the cruise-ins. There is no registration fee, nor is pre-registration necessary. Parking is also free for “spectators.”

    Hocker’s BBQ truck will be at the farm during the cruise-ins, with their hotdogs, barbecue and fries. The Magee Farms produce stand will also be open, with an abundance of local produce, as well as jams, jellies, salad dressings and other goodies.

    Cruise-ins are planned for the following Fridays, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., through the remainder of the summer: June 30, July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18 and Sept. 1.

    Magee Farms is also planning to hold free family movie nights at both their Selbyville and Lewes locations, starting in July, with popcorn and other snacks available to purchase.

    Magee Farms is located at 34857 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville. For more information on the Summer BBQ & Cruise-Ins, call (302) 524-8128.

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    While the South Bethany Town Council brainstorms a way to pay for a police department expansion, they’ll shuffle some rooms around for the time-being, in an effort to reduce, but not eliminate the SBPD’s liability issues.

    They will swap the evidence and holding rooms; move the court videophone; add several key-card locks; and install a new exhaust fan.

    The shuffling of the space is just a temporary fix for a bigger problem: a bigger police station would allow officers to safely separate each task assigned to them.

    Currency, there’s not enough room to properly separate detainees from evidence, staff, the public and each other. Meanwhile, one “multipurpose room” serves (poorly, officials said) as the kitchen, armory and locker room.

    The longer they wait to fix it, the longer their liability continues.

    “Anyone could sue us. It could be detainees who feel they were treated improperly while they were in our custody,” said Councilman Tim Shaw.

    Since a consultant identified the obvious issues late last summer, the Town must address the problems.

    “At least this addresses immediate need and gets people safe,” Mayor Pat Voveris said.

    “It’s moving furniture, for the most part,” said Police Chief Troy Crowson, who will oversee the changes. He will hire professional staff for camera rewiring and keycard installation.

    The council never discussed a specific cost estimate for the work during this week’s meeting and vote, even at a community member’s urging. Afterward, Crowson said he needed to consult with the contractors, but he anticipates the cost to be around $5,000 or $7,000 at the very most. He said the annual Sussex County grant to municipal police may be used.

    “It gives us the breathing room” for long-term planning, Shaw said.

    Soon, the town council will get input from professional groups and the Budget & Finance Committee.

    The council had planned all winter to expand the police station by 936 square feet. Including engineering, construction and contingency costs, they hoped for a total budget of $232,000 for the project.

    They were startled when just the base bids began at $225,000, plus about $50,000 for desired —and, some would argue, necessary, alternatives. The Town has already invested $30,000 in preliminary designs and soil testing.

    Earlier this month, the council unanimously voted to hire International City/County Management Association (ICMA) for up to $8,000 to bring management perspective to the issue. The previous consultant brought more of a police background. ICMA staff will analyze the SBPD’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

    Now, South Bethany envisions a project in three phases. Phase 1 would create a processing room and detainee bathroom, for an estimated $104,000, according to Ryan Architecture. SBPD has about $71,000 set aside in grant funding.

    Phases 2 and 3 would add a kitchen, office and enlarged conference room.

    Providing 24-hour-a-day police coverage for South Bethany are Crowson, six full-time officers, one administrative assistant, one weekend administrative assistant and one seasonal parking enforcement officer.

    In other South Bethany Town Council news:

    • Financially, the Town ended $4,381 in the red this year. The 2017 fiscal year ended April 30, with $121,200 in additional revenue, but $125,600 in additional costs.

    Official said they’re still comfortably holding about $2.75 million in reserves.

    Overall general revenue was $2,580,195, with expenditures of $2,584,576. The deficit was less than two-hundredths of a percent.

    • Stating that it was too political of an issue, the council this week made no motion to sign South Bethany onto the Paris Climate support letter circulating across the country, which more than 300 municipalities have already joined. Council members stated that they do not deny climate change or reject eco-friendly actions. But they said they did not wish to participate in the letter.

    • Wireless communications companies can now place small signal boosters on existing utility poles in the Delaware Department of Transportation’s right-of-way. The idea is that, in the near future, cell phone and some internet connectivity could be improved.

    • Monthly town council meetings will now be held at 2 p.m. on Fridays, instead of 7 p.m. There was some debate about the change. In the 2015 town survey, the majority of citizens did not favor a time change. However, earlier meetings will reduce the need for staff overtime, and everyone involved will be able to enjoy their Friday nights. The measure passed, with dissent from Council Members Sue Callaway, Time Saxton and Carol Stevenson.

    Years ago, council meetings had been moved to Saturday mornings, in an effort to attract more citizens. But veterans of those days said attendance didn’t change, but council discussion dragged on too long.

    The South Bethany Town Council’s next workshop meeting will be Thursday, July 27, at 2 p.m.

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: International students showed up for a day of fellowship, food and fun at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach on Thursday, June 22.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: International students showed up for a day of fellowship, food and fun at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach on Thursday, June 22.Some visitors to the area may pass by St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach and think it’s a sleepy little parish. But don’t be deceived — St. Martha’s is doing big things.

    Last week, the church welcomed about 100 J-1 visa foreign student-workers from around the world — including Russian, Serbia, China, Romania, Kazakhstan and Turkey — who will be working in and around Bethany Beach for the summer, offering up the local hospitality with a picnic that looked more like a feast, as well as a great deal of fellowship.

    “It’s really cool,” said Gabriella Damyanova, 22, of Bulgaria, who attended for the first time. “There are so many people here, and you can talk with them and know each other. It’s really cool. I make so many friends from every different country.”

    Damyanova, who is studying sociology, is in her third summer in the U.S. and is working as a hostess at 99 Sea Level.

    “I love Bethany Beach so much. The people here are really nice. It’s not so big, it’s quiet,” she said, adding that she also loves her job. “My managers and the people there are so good to me. They are like my second family here in America.

    “Last summer, for my birthday, they surprised me so much, because they made a cake for me and made a big surprise in the restaurant. It means a lot for me, because I’m not from America. I’m so far away from my parents. It’s really cool.”

    The picnic, held on June 22, included hotdogs and hamburgers grilled by parishioners and a spread that would rival the best of Fourth of July picnics. The students were able to enjoy seconds and thirds of foods donated by volunteers, ranging from sides and salads to oh-so-many desserts.

    Students who attended wrote their names on a piece of paper, along with their country. A large world map was also hung on the wall, where students would place a pushpin on the town or city from which they hail.

    Although word of the picnic has spread over its 12 years of existence, parishioners still hand out flyers to students, as well as work with the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, local media and social media to ensure as many students as possible receive an invitation.

    During the evening, students won prizes including shirts, backpacks and a plethora of gift certificates to local restaurants, donated by about 15 different businesses.

    Bethany Beach Surf Shop owners Jim and Shiela McGrath donated about 40 T-shirts that were also given out during the event.

    Earlier this week, Russian students working for the surf shop were able to give approximately 40 fellow students a free standup paddleboarding lesson as well.

    Bethany Beach Fire Department Chief Brian Martin attended the picnic for the first time and handed out emergency information cards to all the students.

    “We asked them to fill them out and carry them with them at all times, just in case they’re in an accident or need an ambulance. If that happens, hopefully, they’ll have it on them, and it gives us a little bit of background information on them. It just helps us take care of them a little bit better,” he said. “We, as an emergency services community, are trying to do as much as we can to help keep them safe for the summer.”

    Safety was a priority on June 22, as parishioners installed lights on students’ bicycles throughout the entire event and the South Bethany Police Department distributed traffic vests.

    “It was great. It was a nice community event. The support St. Martha’s gives the students is fantastic. We got to mingle with everybody and chat,” said Martin.

    Randy Forster of Dickens Parlour Theatre also performed a magic show for the attending students.

    One student, Mimie Vissuta of Thailand, enjoyed the show so much she emailed Forster a photo, saying, “Thank you for your fantastic magic. We really appreciate it! If we have a chance, we will go to watch your magic at Parlour Theatre.”

    Rafal Roszkowski, 22, of Poland is about to enter his senior year of college, where he is studying computer science. Roszkowski has returned to Bethany for his second summer and is working for Sea Colony.

    “People over here are very friendly. They welcome everybody, they are smiling. They are doing the small-talk. It’s an odd thing… Like, usually, if you’re just passing by someone on the street in Poland, you’re just passing by him — that’s it. Here, you say, ‘Hi!’ ‘Hi! How are you?’”

    Ieva Golubickaite and Rytis Stakaitis, a 24-year-old couple from Lithuania, agreed.

    “I never met a rude person, but maybe that’s just because I work on the beach. For example, I think we would never have this kind of community welcome of international students in Lithuania. So, this whole thing makes the whole nation of your country be very nice,” said Stakaitis.

    “And kind and friendly!” added Golubickaite.

    Stakaitis said that in Lithuania, people do not tend to smile at strangers.

    “It’s not common to make small-talk. If you’re going to talk with someone, it’s going to last at least a half an hour.”

    “We don’t say, ‘Hi,’ if we don’t know the person,” added Golubickaite.

    The two are in their third summer working in Bethany and are currently working on their master’s degrees in laboratory medicine at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas. Their bachelor’s degrees are in genetics.

    Both work for Sea Colony — Stakaitis as a beach attendant and Golubickaite in the recreational office.

    “I think we just like it here. We like the people. … We can spend the whole summer by the ocean,” said Golubickaite.

    “You can go out from your daily basis and just leave all of your troubles behind you. It’s kind of a vacation for your mind, to be here,” Stakaitis said.

    During their time in the U.S., students can rent apartments or stay with hosts.

    “We live with a very nice guy who lets us use his car to do grocery shopping,” said Stakaitis.

    “He has a father, and they’re both retired veterans. They have some good stories to tell,” added Golubickaite.

    Some other differences between the U.S. and the students’ home countries include traffic laws, food varieties and portions.

    “The sizes of the plates and the food you order in restaurants are enormous. They are gigantic!” said Roszkowski. “You order a plate and you have a meal for a whole family for days!

    “You have so many different cheeses. This is fun; this is really amazing. Most of the foods that are not salads are greasy. You use a lot of oil. You order anything from the restaurant, you have a side coming, like fries… You can just eat fries and be full.”

    Damyanova said she loves the food — especially Fox’s Pizza and Coke.

    “It’s my favorite,” she said with a laugh.

    Roszkowski also said that, in Bethany, unlike in Poland, it is legal to make a right turn on red while driving.

    “The biggest difference is you have very big cars,” said Stakaitis, noting that four-way-stops were also different.

    “You have to eat a lot of food here to feel full. In Lithuania, you can eat twice less and feel the same amount of fullness,” said Golubickaite, opining that perhaps Lithuanians eat more natural foods with fewer additives.

    “But we have McDonald’s! But we don’t get free refills, which is not very nice,” she said, laughing.

    “What we do love here is that you do have seedless watermelons,” added Stakaitis.

    The two said they do miss a traditional Lithuania dessert that is not available in the States — glaistytas vašk?s s?relis.

    “It’s curd inside and chocolate on the outside. It’s really nice,” Golubickaite explained.

    Golubickaite said that, while Lithuania is a colder country, it enjoys longer days.

    “We have more daylight time — especially in summertime. It’s not dark until 11 there and the sun rises at 5, so that’s really nice.”

    They recommend visiting Lithuania in July or August, because they are the warmest months. Lithuania is a very green country, the two said, with lots of forests and meadows.

    “We have a very nice beach with big dunes in Nida,” she said. “It has one of the largest dunes.”

    Stakaitis recommended visiting the Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai, a site that was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

    “They also have very nice small towns,” said Golubickaite.

    “You can feel the spirit of Lithuania in the towns,” Stakaitis said. “In the United States, the cities — they don’t have their spirit down here. In Lithuania, when you go to the OLD TOWN it has that unique feeling.”

    The two noted their language is a great deal different from English, which they began learning in grade school.

    “In Lithuania, the first names are usually literally the same word as some type of nature things. My name in Lithuanian means ‘morning.’ For example, one of the popular names in Lithuania means ‘Oak,’” said Stakaitis.

    “My name would mean ‘Bird Cherry,’” added Golubickaite.

    Many of the international students, who typically arrive at the beginning of June and leave in September, have been able to travel around the United States during their summers.

    “This year, we don’t have so much time to travel, but last year we visited the West Coast, which was very, very cool. We really liked it,” Golubickaite said. “We like the TV series ‘Gray’s Anatomy,’ so we want to go to Seattle… Florida and then maybe Texas, I think. We’ll have to come back next year.”

    Last year, she and Stakaitis flew from Baltimore to Las Vegas and rented a car, traveling to Zion National Park, the north and south ends of the Grand Canyon, and then proceeded to the West Coast. They visited Fredonia, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara before returning to Delaware.

    The two noted that, before their big trip, their American friends in Bethany warned them to beware of rude drivers. However, that is not what they encountered.

    “Everybody drives by the rules. Nobody uses their horn… That was nice,” said Stakaitis.

    In their first year as J-1 students, the two visited New York, Niagra Falls, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

    “One of the nicest parts — we took a ferry from Lewes to Cape May, and we saw all of those Victorian-times houses,” Stakaitis said.

    Damyanova, too, did extensive traveling in previous summers, including to Miami, Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., and New York. She said Niagara Falls was her favorite, and if she could, she would love to return.

    “This may be my last [summer as a student], because I’m about to graduate in Bulgaria. I hope I will have a chance to come back again.”

    Parishioner Al Thomas said he loves volunteering at the picnics to interact with the students and uses it as a rare opportunity to practice speaking Bulgaria.

    “They’re all good kids,” he said. “A lot of them kept in touch with me, and returning kids remember me. That means I did something right.”

    “It’s great. I really enjoy meeting the kids and the different kids,” added Lorraine, Thomas’ wife, who volunteers throughout the community but attended the picnic for the first time last week. “It’s really awesome. To me, I love listening to them talk. I love the fact that they come here to work. And their work ethic is amazing.”

    St. Martha’s offers a number of programs for foreign students throughout the summer months, with “Practice English Nights” and the “Enjoy a Meal in an American Home” program, along with hosting the picnic.

    “A number of years ago, when we first started doing this, the students were not welcome and, in some instances, were not treated very well, and that bothered us,” said Martha Fields, who helped start the picnic more than a decade ago. “We decided we could do something to make them feel welcome and participate in our community. And it’s just grown from there.”

    Fields, who was joined by more than 20 volunteers on the evening of the picnic, was all smiles at the end, noting that the evening had been “fantastic.”

    “The young people have come up and said, ‘Thank you for doing this. It was more than the food — it was meeting people and being welcome.’ So, it was a huge success. For me and St. Martha’s in general, it’s a thrill every year. It’s a new group with a few familiar faces. It’s just a thrill to be able to do this.”

    And the students agreed.

    “I think the picnic they have been doing here is really an amazing thing,” said Roszkowski. “It’s really amazing. Last year I was feeling kind of lost. I didn’t really know the country, my English was poor, I didn’t know what to do... Everything seemed so different from home… Making all international students come together is really nice thing, and I appreciate that. I’m happy to be here! It’s like the best place to be!”

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    It was a worldwide honor for some of Indian River School District’s most creative students recently, as a middle-school team placed in the Top 10 at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

    Around the globe, Odyssey of the Mind encourages creative problem-solving in students from elementary school to college. In May, thousands of students flocked to Michigan State University for the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and outside-the-box creativity.

    In the end, a team coached by Mary Bixler and Laura Miller earned ninth place out of 61 teams in the one of five problems, called “Catch Us If You Can.” The team included Mason Cathell, Isaac Chandler, Jackson Chandler, Abigail Guy, McKenna Miller and Mia Trageser.

    The teams brainstorm and rehearse for most of the school year to create an 8-minute skit (“Eight months in eight minutes,” Isaac Chandler said). They also have a day-of “spontaneous” problem.

    “It’s where you have to be creative, you have to be good at problem-solving, and you have to be kind of weird,” Jackson Chandler said.

    Teams had to design, build and run vehicles from a multi-level parking garage to a secret meeting place, without being stopped. Vehicles traveled different routes to reach the same destination and had to perform tasks to evade their follower.

    From this, the IR team created an oceanic world. The vehicles were sea creatures that had to elude a feisty angler fish. The sea turtle vehicle moved when small weights pulled a fishing line that was attached to the axle. The shark and octopus vehicles used RC power and portable fans.

    It was no easy feat. As most OM teams quickly learn, a handmade vehicle often needs last-minute repairs.

    The strongest teams are often diverse and bring different perspectives to the table. They love drama, tech, sports, music and more.

    “We’re all very different. … I think that’s what helped,” Trageser said.

    Half the teammates were tasked with building vehicles, while the other half created the script and set design.

    The students also have to get creative because of the cost limit: $145 in materials. Creative costumes included a fisherman inside a boat (which hung like a cardboard sandwich-board on shoulder straps). An octopus had legs made of stuffed pantyhose, which moved on fishing lines.

    Their coral reef set piece was sculpted in spray foam insulation and cut pool noodles. Large foam fish were covered with coffee-filter scales, tie-dyed with food coloring, plus old CDs for extra shine.

    The team represented grades 5 to 8, with the students coming from Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Selbyville Middle School, Georgetown Middle School and Southern Delaware School of the Arts.

    This was their first experience at World Finals, although strong showings at regionals have earned them a trip to State Finals before.

    Judges complimented the team for excellent stage presence, good vehicles and an endless supply of fish puns, which entertained the audience while they were resetting the vehicles.

    At World Finals, teams from across the U.S. and the world — including China, Japan, Poland and South Korea — compete. The IR students even had a “buddy team” from India.

    Many people don’t even know about Odyssey of the Mind, so it can be a mind-blowing experience for the students to suddenly be surrounded by 850 other teams.

    “I feel like I’m surrounded by my people. … It was pretty cool seeing other people rehearse their skits. To me, it sort of had a surreal feeling. I’ll remember that forever,” Trageser said. “Seeing all these kids actually involved in Odyssey of the Mind is pretty cool.”

    Most importantly, they said, it’s fun. Teams can check out other performances, the International Festival, the Creativity Festival and, most importantly for many, pin trading.

    Pin trading is big deal at Worlds. Each country, state and sometimes individual teams design special pins to trade.

    This year, 34 Delaware teams attended World Finals in Michigan. Other Sussex County teams also earned eighth- and 11th-place honors. A high school team also placed 12th of 56 teams, and another middle school team placed 33rd out of 56 teams.

    It’s not cheap to send students, coaches and their props to World Finals, so the IR team thanked the community for helping them fundraise all year.

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    Two local non-profits are coming together to bring history to life, benefitting the community in the process.

    Recently, Contractors for a Cause was approached by the Ocean View Historical Society regarding their efforts to build a replica of Hall’s Store — a re-creation based on the general store that “gave rise” to the town of Ocean View. The resulting structure will be a visitor’s center and education center housing local artifacts, a meeting room, kitchenette and restrooms.

    “It’s a win-win for both of us,” said Mark Hardt, a charter member of and director of scholarships and membership for Contractors for a Cause, as well as co-owner of Miranda & Hardt Contracting. “We’re both 501(c)3’s. It’s a total giveback to the community.

    “The front end of this is going to be the replication store/museum,” he explained, “and then the back end is going to be an event center.”

    On June 26, Contractors took their first step in helping the historical society, by razing the garage that once sat on the society’s historic complex.

    “Our next big move is going to be in September, with the foundation going in and the building going up. We’re going to have lots of fundraising between now and then,” said Hardt.

    The organization will be donating financially to the society, as well as giving at least 200 man-hours to the actual construction of it.

    “We’re also going to try to get our supplies, to see the value of this, as far as the community, and maybe get some donations to help reduce the cost,” added Hardt. “They have a pretty large campaign here. This isn’t just the building, it’s the entire infrastructure — the sewer, the water, pavers… This is like a mini-Williamsburg for Ocean View.”

    “They’re giving us a great deal of expertise, because they think, for the community, it’s a very worthwhile project,” said OVHS’s Richard Nippes. “That’s why this whole partnership is so phenomenal. We are just thrilled to have them partner with us.”

    Contractors is a non-profit formed by area contractors who were looking to give back to the community. The organization has three areas of focus — Helping Hands, which provides disadvantaged community members free services and professional advice in the field of home construction, maintenance and repair; a scholarship for two local high school senior graduates; and the Good Neighbor program, under which the historic society project falls.

    “Most of our organization is made up of contractors,” said Contractors President Garth Troescher of Garth Enterprises. “Most of them are in the trade, so they’re very familiar with the kind of stuff we need to do — put a roof on someone’s house or fix a bunch of broken windows, and a lot of people can’t afford it.”

    Perhaps the best-known Contractors project is Justin’s Beach House, run by the Justin W. Jennings Foundation, offering families dealing with cancer a respite at the beach.

    “Quite often, we’ll do a fundraiser for a specific purpose,” said Troescher.

    Some of their fundraising events include an annual golf tournament, as well as a Family Fun Day in September.

    “We get local restaurants to donate their time and food. Last year, we had over 550 people there. We held it at the Ocean View VFW. That particular fundraiser, we raised well over $30,000 in one day to help a local concrete guy who had Stage 4 cancer,” said Troescher. “So the money helped him and his family with all the troubles they had to go through and all the bills.”

    Troescher said Contractors is currently working with ACTS to build things like handicapped ramps for veterans, mostly of the Vietnam era.

    “We do a lot of those kinds of things,” he said. “Mark did a project two years back for this elderly lady. Her roof was leaking; she was living on $700 a month Social Security. Her house was paid for, but she couldn’t fix her roof. She couldn’t afford it.

    “When we found out about it, there were literally 30 buckets in the house to hold the water, and the floor was rotten. We fixed it, replaced the roof. Then we went into the house and fixed the substructure. It was all for a good cause, and we felt great at the end because we helped this lady out. That’s what we do.”

    Troescher said he would encourage anyone in the community who is in need to apply to Contractors for assistance.

    “We would love to have more of the community reach out to us for their needs,” he said, noting all projects are first approved by a committee. “We would like to find more projects.”

    Contractors is also always looking for new members, if anyone in the community wants to get involved.

    “It doesn’t have to be contractors. It can be anyone who wants to help out in any kind of way,” he said. “I’m very interested in helping and giving back because I’m very blessed for everything I’ve had.”

    As for their new partnership with OVHS, both parties said they are very excited.

    “It’s just unbelievable that community groups like this are willing to work together for the good of the community. This is a project that will bring visitors from all over the state,” said Nippes.

    “Our commitment to this [came from] its history, and it’s something that’s going to keep on giving for generations,” added Hardt. “This is a very good project for us to commune on. The Ocean View Historical Society is very, very committed to this project. And it’s easy to work with people who are committed to a project.”

    Hardt added that he hadn’t been aware the society existed until they were approached about the partnership, but he has since learned of their offerings.

    “Now I know a lot, and it’s neat learning the history about Mrs. Steele’s chicken house and the post office. They host field trips from Lord Baltimore here so they can see the outhouse…”

    Currently, the complex, located next to John West Park in Ocean View, is operating with summer hours and will be open every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m., until Labor Day. Adults and children alike will be able to tour the restored 1860 Tunnell-West family home, a two-seater outhouse and water pump, the town’s first free-standing post office, circa 1889, and Cecile Steele’s first chicken house, circa 1923, free of charge.

    The society is also in the midst of its capital campaign and selling engraved bricks that businesses and community members may purchase to financially support the building of the education center. They are also working with a grant-writer and received a $100,000 grant from the Crystal Trust Foundation earlier this year.

    The society plans to host a house tour on Oct. 7 and an auction fundraiser in September.

    OVHS President Barbara Slavis said the partnership with Contractors has been fabulous.

    “This is really what gets the whole community excited, when Contractors for a Cause shows an interest!”

    “It’s a win-win for everyone and a good way to get the community involved in seeing what we as Contractors for a Cause do, but also make them aware of what’s going on here,” Troescher added of the Ocean View Historic Complex.

    The Ocean View Historical Complex is located at 39 Central Avenue in Ocean View. Free parking is available in the Ocean View Town parking lots adjacent to John West Park.

    Those who are interested in donating to the Ocean View Historical Society may mail donations to the Ocean View Historical Society, P.O. Box 576, Ocean View, DE 19970. For more information regarding the Ocean View Historical Society and upcoming events, visit Those interested in donating to the society or becoming a member can visit

    For more information about Contractors for a Cause, to donate or volunteer, visit or call (302) 537-8048.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: A platform bed and whitewashed reclaimed wood are featured in the master bedroom of this builder’s home.Coastal Point • Submitted: A platform bed and whitewashed reclaimed wood are featured in the master bedroom of this builder’s home.(Editor’s note: This is the 10th in a series of previews of the homes that will be on display during the 26th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to be held July 26-27, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.)

    This local builder’s dream since college was to live east of Route 1 in North Bethany. She finally made it in 2016, with the construction of her 6,500-square-foot, six-bedroom home in North Bethany, just a short block from the beach.

    The house has been filled with family members and friends ever since.

    The inverted floor plan offers privacy and space for both her and her guests, with a main living area separating their quarters from hers. The master suite tops it all, with an ocean view retreat that includes a fireside sitting room and an expansive marble master bath. The beach-themed décor is both casual and classic. Touches include numbered dining chairs, a scattering of colorful surfboards and a game room with a custom pool table designed by the owner.

    Having grown up in a family of builders that spans four generations, she has honed her skills over time and developed a personal style that is distinguished by design features seen in many of her homes in the area.

    Signature elements include 8-foot raised panel bedroom doors, coffered ceilings, sliding barn doors, picture-frame patterned stairwell landings and the use of weathered wood accents, all found in this home and familiar to those who visited the owner’s South Bethany home on the 2013 tour.

    This is just one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 26th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.

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

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Michael Thanner and ‘Gracie’ are bringing some land and sea style to Fenwick Island.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Michael Thanner and ‘Gracie’ are bringing some land and sea style to Fenwick Island.Dress like John F. Kennedy. Speak like Ernest Hemingway. Work like Ralph Lauren. And party like Gatsby.

    That’s the mantra of Michael Thanner and the MGT & Co. Toggery, which recently launched in Fenwick Island to offer the “Low Country” a taste of the high life when it comes to premier men’s clothing and the latest in luxury fashion.

    While the Ralph Lauren lifestyle and fictitious Jay Gatsby may have been a very real inspiration for Thanner and his new experience-centered men’s boutique, catering to weddings in West Egg isn’t the only focus at MGT & Co.

    Whether it’s picking up a dress shirt from Mizzen+Maine for dinner at Just Hooked right next door or a pair of swim trunks from Rhythm for trying to hook dinner at the drive-on beach across the street, the Toggery aims to keep their wide-range of customers covered, literally, with everything from headwear to footwear.

    “We’ve got everything you could need from head to toe — there’s something for everyone,,” Thanner said. “It’s classic, it’s American and it’s simple, but at the same time, it’s very unique.”

    It was through his various travels that Thanner formed the concept behind what’s become an eclectic selection of contemporary classics at MGT & Co.

    But while much of the inspiration stemmed from visits to similarly-themed shops along King Street in Charleston, S.C., living in Manhattan after graduating from college and trekking across the trend-setting cities of Europe, where he spent a semester in the South of France at the Institute of America University, it wasn’t until his most recent trip that the augury for the Toggery made itself known.

    au·gu·ry (noun, a sign of what will happen in the future; an omen)

    Always the family business, where most kids grew up on cookies and milk, the Baltimore native now calling Sussex County home grew up on trade shows and retail.

    While he had long since decided that a typical desk job wasn’t for him, all doubts were put to rest during a particularly impactful visit to London over the holidays this past winter.

    “I was in and out of all these stores while I was away, and I was just very inspired by them. It was more about the feel and the atmosphere — the customer service, the friendliness and just enjoying the experience,” Thanner recalled. “That’s when I decided that, when I got home, this is what I was going to do.”

    Originally searching out locations throughout Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, he’d soon find a home for MGT & Co. right in his own back yard, when the location next to Just Hooked became available.

    Fully realizing a need in the area, Thanner said he knew that it was the opportunity he’d been waiting for.

    “It all came full circle,” he said. “It was a perfect location, because there was nothing like this here. My whole thing was I wanted fill a void, but at the same time carry brands that you won’t find at the outlets or other stores in the area. So far, it’s been great — we’ve been very well-received.”

    “They provide a higher-end men’s clothing option, so it’s definitely unique to the area,” added area homeowner Neal Brown, who recently added some MGT threads to his wardrobe after his daughters stumbled upon the store just in time for Father’s Day. “Don’t get me wrong — I like wearing board shorts and flip-flops, but when I need something for date-night, they’ve got some stuff that you can’t find at the surf shops.”

    Carrying lines from Smathers & Branson, Strongbolt, Castaway and Barber, and Hari Mari sandals, just to name a few, MGT & Co. also carries an array of American-made accessories — including watches, wallets, hats, belts and plenty more.

    Soon, they’ll add an on-site tailor for formalwear fittings, to cater to weddings, proms and homecomings, and after attending trade shows in New York City later this month, will continue to keep up with seasonal fashion trends.

    But aside from a reason not to brave summer traffic to the outlets of Rehoboth or West Ocean City, it’s the causerie at the Toggery that Thanner said set MGT & Co. apart most.

    cau·se·rie (noun, light informal conversation for social occasions)

    It starts at the door, where the official MGT & Co. greeter and mascot — a friendly golden retriever named Gracie — waits eagerly to welcome guests.

    Then it continues throughout the shop, where it may not quite be a Gatsby party, but where, from the antique classical piano and land-and-sea inspired ambiance to offering up both helpful expertise and refreshments, everything about the MGT & Co. experience is designed with the customer in mind.

    “The look of the store was a huge part for me as well. Walking in, it’s just an old-school feeling — I wanted it to be relaxed and welcoming,” Thanner explained.

    “You can come in, have a drink, catch up, go next door to Just Hooked and come back, or we’ll have food brought over for you. It’s more about just being comfortable and enjoying the experience. We’re not going to push you into something. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. We want you to find something that you’re going to like.”

    “The store itself is very inviting, and the interior of it is really cool also. We were helped out by Michael himself — and his dog, of course,” Brown added of the experience. “He’s definitely got a nice eye for higher-end men’s apparel.”

    Just as Thanner prides MGT & Co. on being able to cultivate a friendly atmosphere, it was the help of his friends that the atmosphere cultivated around — with the camaraderie at the Toggery making it all possible.

    ca·ma·ra·de·rie (noun, mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together)

    From renovating the showroom to programming the computer systems, it took a village, between family, friends and the guidance from established area entrepreneurs, such as Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, before MGT & Co. was ready to open its doors.

    “Everyone had something unique that they brought to the table to help out and was very much appreciated,” said Thanner.

    “I could not have gotten this store open without the support of all of my friends, my family — Steve Hagen, who helped me out a lot, even just by seeing my vision and believing in it — and everyone else who contributed. It was not done single-handedly. It really did take a team.”

    With what was once a dream now fully realized and enjoying early success, Thanner said that, while he may appreciate his time spent traveling to big cities, New York and London will always be there to visit, but the small-town vibe in Fenwick will always be where he calls home.

    “That’s the kind of thing that kept me here. What I like about Fenwick is that everyone helps each other — it’s like a synergy,” he said.

    “If Just Hooked runs out of straws, they can go over to Warren’s and get straws. If I need something, I can go down to Pottery Place and they’ll help me out. You see familiar faces, and everyone works together in unity. It truly is a small-town vibe and that feeling of being home. People just want to help each other out. Now, MGT & Co. is a part of that, too.”

    tog·ger·y (noun, a clothing store)

    As for the MGT & Co. mantra, they’re set to prove that you don’t have to be the president to dress like JFK, win the Pulitzer to speak like Hemingway, become an international fashion mogul to work like Ralph Lauren or get the green light to party like Gatsby — but even still, the right clothes can help.

    “I definitely think Gatsby would shop here. I think [Ralph Lauren] would probably pop in, too,” said Thanner with a laugh. “If you look good, you feel good. It’s the way you carry yourself — the air of confidence. It’s not about the brand — it’s about the lifestyle.”

    MGT & Co. Toggery is located at 1500 Coastal Highway, #2, in Fenwick Island, next to Just Hooked in the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Center.

    The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later seven days a week and will remain open through the off-season. For more information, call the shop at (302) 581-0441 or check out MGT & Co. on Facebook at or on Instagram (@mgt_co_).

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: These campers pitched tents at the old Key Box campground.Coastal Point • Submitted: These campers pitched tents at the old Key Box campground.Delaware Seashore State Park is inviting visitors and local residents of all ages and skill levels to participate in the 37th Annual Sandcastle Contest at the South Inlet Day Area on Saturday, July 8.

    In honor of the state park’s 50th anniversary and another year of sculpting sand creations, the contest will enable participants to celebrate traditions while reminiscing on past memories formed at the park.

    To partake in the beach activity, sandcastle building competitors can register at the South Inlet Day Area on the day of the event, beginning at 9:30 a.m. They can register in either the 12-or-younger category or the open-class category for all ages.

    Once participants have registered, they will then embark on their quest of designing and sculpting their sandcastles, with whatever tools and sand toys they bring, until judging begins at 1 p.m. Officials with Delaware Seashore State Park will evaluate the creations what is expected to be a couple hundred participants and give out prizes, such as $100 gift cards from local restaurants, home furnishings and sunglasses.

    Laura Scharle, interpretive programs manager for Delaware Seashore State Park and one of the organizers of the event, said a large component of planning for the event has involved contacting local businesses to donate items as prizes.

    “It’s a really great family-friendly event,” Scharle said. “It’s free to enter, and almost everybody gets a prize.”

    After 10 years of judging the competition firsthand, Department Superintendent Doug Long said admiring the imaginations of each adult and child, and speaking to them about their final products as a judge, has given him a new perspective on the event.

    “It’s fabulous,” Long said. “You see a little bit of everything. Sandcastles are built by kids of all ages and even adults. It’s been a lot of fun.”

    The annual sandcastle-building event has become a tradition, and event organizers said guests and residents often schedule their vacations to align with the date of the contest.

    “It’s really cool to see people come year after year for some old-fashioned family fun at the beach,” Scharle said.

    This year’s event is not solely limited to building sandcastles and competing for prices, however. Since Delaware Seashore State Park was created 50 years ago, the Sandcastle Contest will also celebrate the park’s history and the fun and natural beauty it has provided to its visitors throughout the years.

    Other beach-themed, hands-on activities will supplement the sandcastle building. To inform residents and visitors about Delaware Seashore State Park and familiarize them with the park’s grounds, this year’s event will also feature a scavenger hunt.

    “One activity is going to be a scavenger hunt, to get people involved and walking around the beach, noting things that they maybe wouldn’t normally pay attention to,” Scharle said.

    Besides the fun and games, park workers and event organizers will display a park history exhibit in honor of the Delaware Seashore State Park’s 50 years. A main attraction of the demonstration is the Delaware Seashore State Park Family Scrapbook. Scharle has been collecting photographs of state park visitors’ trips from over the last 50 years and will present the pictures as a part of the display.

    “It’s really cool to see the old vintage pictures of people in their old bathing suits in the 1950s,” Scharle said. “It’s really cool to see how things have changed over the years in the park.”

    In the exhibit, community members and visitors can also examine newspaper articles from when the park was first established, old aerial photos of the park and pictures of the different inland bridges.

    “It’s a pretty detailed timeline of how the park came to be,” Scharle said.

    In addition to the special activities and a tribute to the park’s past, the sandcastle event will also include a lifesaving demonstration that the state park beach patrol will perform while professional sand sculptors construct their own sandcastle creation.

    With the combination of two important celebrations for Delaware Seashore State Park, Sandcastle Contest organizers and state park workers said they are hoping for a large turnout of individuals who will spend time with family and friends, admire the state park and enjoy the beach activity.

    “It’s just one of those events that is just so simple,” Long said. “It’s just so ‘the beach’ that everybody understands it. Anyone can participate with an imagination. Just being outside, smelling the salt air and being by the ocean — you can’t beat it. It’s just a great event.”

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    Professional magicians have already begun to amaze audiences at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront on 67th Street in Ocean City, Md., with “Dickens on the Road shows” returning for the fifth year. The nightly magic shows feature eight magicians throughout a two-month period, which runs until Aug. 29.

    “It is a unique experience for visitors to Ocean City,” said Jason Gulshen, general manager at Holiday Inn Oceanfront. “It’s always fun to watch a group of strangers all sharing laughs, and by the end of the show working together to try to figure out how certain tricks were performed.”

    Another summer of magic kicked off with Kevin Bethea, who has been astonishing audiences for more than 25 years with his illusions and sleight-of-hand skills. He performed through July 4.

    “These are world-class performers who do hundreds of shows each year throughout the country and the world,” Gulshen said. “Some have performed on various popular television talent shows recently and now will be performing live in Ocean City.”

    Next up is Mark Phillips, will show off his close-up card tricks and perfected sleight-of-hand through July 11.

    “These shows are family-friendly productions that will have everyone in the crowd laughing and astonished,” Gulshen said.

    Chris Capehart, who infuses comedy into his master-magician performances with spellbinding illusions, will be performing July 12-18. His routine has earned him the title of “The Ring Master.”

    It’s the fifth year Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville has brought its professional acts to the southern resort town.

    The performances are followed by a meet-and-greet, where audience members can enjoy an intimate, up-close show from the night’s magician. Drinks and snacks can be purchased before or after shows.

    “These shows are, of course, great for families, but it is also fun for date-nights, group outings and team-building,” Gulshen said.

    Dickens on the Road takes place every night through Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. in the conference room at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront on 67th Street, which has been converted into a theater. All rainy days will have a 2 p.m. matinee.

    Tickets cost $15 and are free for children younger than 3. Tickets can be reserved by calling (410) 524-1600 or visiting

    Dickens Parlour Theatre kicked off its eighth season in Millville this year, with nightly shows running simultaneously with the Ocean City performances, at 7 p.m. Visit for a list of shows at the Millville location.

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: First-responders take advantage of hands-on training for active events. The training took place at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, and is designed to incorporate all elements of responders working as a team to save lives.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: First-responders take advantage of hands-on training for active events. The training took place at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, and is designed to incorporate all elements of responders working as a team to save lives.Lord Baltimore Elementary School was quite busy last week. The school was not filled with young kids, but rather a slew of emergency-services personnel who were getting hands-on training for critical situations.

    “Rescue Task Force training is, in the event of any active violence event — whether it’s a shooting, a bombing, vehicle-borne attack, whatever it is — EMS can integrate with the police officers and provide medical care to the injured more quickly,” explained Andrew Vickers of the Sussex County Paramedics.

    Vickers said that, in the past, EMS would wait in a staged area while police officers cleared an area of a threat completely, before allowing medical help to enter.

    “What we’ve learned is a lot of lives have been lost because we were waiting,” Vickers said. “The thought process is we could train the police officers to do medical care, but they don’t do it every day. We want to get the best medical care to the patient as quickly as possible.”

    “Police officers in Delaware are now trained to actively go to the shooter,” added Ocean View Police Department Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw. “The first arriving police officers, when they arrive on-scene, they’re not waiting for a backup or a SWAT team to show up. They’re immediately going in to engage that threat.”

    The three-day training included personnel from the Bethany Beach Fire Volunteer Fire Company, Millville Volunteer Fire Company, Sussex County EMS, Bethany Beach Police Department, Ocean View Police Department and Sussex County security.

    Vickers said coastal Sussex is one of the few areas in the country that has adopted this type of training from the Arlington Fire Department in Arlington, Va.

    As part of the training, personnel learn how to communicate between agencies, move together as a unit and a variety of rescue rope drag techniques, among other things.

    “We take this time in training to become familiar with each other’s equipment and bags, because everybody comes to the table with different experiences,” said Vickers. Those going through training also work on wound-packing, using tennis balls and whiffle footballs to keep training costs down.

    Cindy Blades of the Millville VFC’s Fire Police has been in the fire company for 27 years; however, last week was her first time going through RTF training.

    “I give all the EMS firefighters credit for what they do. It takes heart and dedication to do the job. Paramedics, EMS and fire service — I don’t know what we’d do without them. They just don’t get enough appreciation.”

    Those participating also go over various types of tourniquets and practice applying them to various limbs of differently-sized patients.

    Vickers said Sussex County EMS is a big proponent of the Stop the Bleed Campaign, which, according to its website, notes that trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 46. To keep on top of their game, Vickers said, EMS conduct drills.

    “We go over the application of tourniquets quite extensively. The idea is to get familiar enough with it that you can get it on within seconds of contact with the patient,” said Vickers. “A person can bleed out within five minutes with an arterial bleed. We really want to get to the patient’s side as quickly as possible… Our goal is always 10 seconds or less.”

    During the training, the paramedics also wear their body-armor vests, which Vickers said they keep with them at all times.

    “It’s mandatory for EMS to wear vests on events of this nature — violent events, civil unrest events, domestic disturbances. If we’re dispatched to overdoses, now it’s highly encouraged that we wear these. Now it’s gotten to the point where we’re wearing our vests quite frequently.”

    During the training, personnel were also run through three different live-action scenarios. Groups maneuvered outside, working on making movements when in a more hostile environment, using different objects for cover or concealment.

    Inside, the sounds of alarms, people screaming and making noise plays on a sound system to simulate what the emergency services personnel may be subjected to during a real emergency response.

    “We make it as realistic as we can so that, God forbid, something like this happens… We train so we can go into autopilot in these situations — we do what we need to do,” said Bradshaw.

    Two scenarios were run inside the school — one was assisting and removing injured bystanders in a stairwell, while another was to assist two injured patients while a shooter was down the hall.

    Davis Watson, 9, whose father, John Watson, is the EMS chief for the MVFC, said he plans to follow his dad’s career in emergency services. Out of school for the summer, he assisted by playing the part of one of the injured victims in a live scenario.

    “When there’s an active shooter, I’ve learned you dive into cover, and once you find the patients, pull them out as quick as possible and get them to cover so you can treat them,” he said.

    After each scenario, the team was debriefed — with a discussion of what could be improved, potential alternative actions and what was spot-on.

    Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin, who served as an instructor, as well as a simulated victim, in one of the scenarios, made a point to tell the trainees to be aware of everything in their surroundings — no matter how benign it may appear.

    “We’re trying to be as real as possible, so everyone understands the potential threats. Every one of those backpacks is a suspected IED, until they’re deemed safe. You can imagine, in a high school setting, in particular, with a lot of kids running around with backpacks, everyone drops those — we don’t know which one may contain a bomb, for example.

    “We’re going to be navigating an environment filled with trip hazards… Carrying somebody, even a student, some of them are 6 feet, 6 inches and 250 pounds… So trying to move somebody, especially long distances, with these types of hazards — we might not be able to drag them… We may have to pick them up. Our goal is to make it as realistic as possible. We’re improving every year.”

    Preparation is key, said McLaughlin, noting that having the organizations work together is vital.

    “We’re responsible to the community to make sure that we have some level of preparedness to be able to respond to a mass-casualty-type of event,” he said. “Coordinating with our local fire and EMS is absolutely vital. The more training we can do like this, the more prepared we’re going to be — God forbid, if we ever have a scenario like this we have to respond to.”

    Vickers said that the RTF training is an annual training event and that all organizations involved would love to do more training.

    “Every day, we work close together. We’re now taking that close relationship that we have every single day, and we’re saying ‘what if,’ and ‘when, if’ this drastic situation happens, how are we going to respond? How are we going to be prepared?”

    “It’s important to know how the other operates,” added Bradshaw. “That the police know how the fire operates, the fire knows how the police operate — so if something like this does happen, we fall back on our training. When I say something to the firemen, they know what I’m talking about — move here, hold here. So, we can get the language down. That’s why it’s important for us to practice together.”

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    Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Prior to gaveling in the start of a Veterans Treatment Court session last week, Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes took time to call attention to the great work being done for veterans in Sussex County.

    “A lot of good things are happening because we have a great number of people and organizations that are pitching in for our veterans,” said Stokes.

    He called attention to Home of the Brave in Milford, a non-profit whose mission is to “reduce homelessness among our military veteran population,” and its executive director Jessica Finian.

    Home of the Brave not only offers transitional housing for male and female veterans (along with their children), but also assists with employment, counseling services, access to healthcare, transportation and locating affordable housing.

    “She has what I call a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Stokes. “Nothing was handed to Jessica. It was her mission to establish facilities to take care of homeless veterans... It didn’t come easy. She had to go to bat several times…

    “I want you to be recognized for the good work that you do,” he told her.

    Also, on June 29, Stokes called out the efforts of Superior Court Chief of Security Rene Flores Sr., who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force reserve, beginning his military career in 1987. Flores retired as a senior master-sergeant, having been deployed in various combat areas, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Flores reached out to his colleagues throughout Georgetown to collect a great many household goods, a “wish-list of items,” to donate to Home of the Brave.
    Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Judge Richard F. Stokes is surrounded by volunteers and bailiffs at Veterans Treatment Court.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Judge Richard F. Stokes is surrounded by volunteers and bailiffs at Veterans Treatment Court.
    “This was Rene’s idea. He talked about what ways we can help Home of the Brave,” said Stokes. “Rene circulated material to our court — Superior Court — Court of Common Pleas, Public Defenders Office, Attorney General’s Office, VFW [Post 2931], and all different sources… As Rene stepped up to the plate, so did everybody else.”

    “I can’t take all the credit,” said Flores. “My team of bailiffs were presented with a challenge to do this, and they all stepped forward.”

    A new mural in Courtroom 3 was also unveiled last week, reading “Thank you to all who have served and all who are still serving!” with the seal of each branch of service displayed.

    “That’s something me and my bailiffs have had a passion for — to decorate that area to recognize our veterans,” said Flores, noting that he worked closely with Steve Weaver to make the mural a reality.

    “As most of you are probably aware, we’re in a budget crunch with the State. So, I approached Mr. Weaver, and he gladly donated all the materials and labor to the Superior Court and the Veterans Court. So, I would like to take this time to thank him.”

    On the opposite wall is a shadowbox created by the Gonzales family, in which veterans may anonymously display their medals.

    “It was a good family project,” said Oscar Gonzales, a retired U.S. Army Ranger who worked with his three sons — Diego, 17, Niko, 14, and Henry, 15 — to create the box.

    “It’s a very rewarding feeling, knowing that the use of this will bring a feeling of gratitude to veterans,” said Niko Gonzales.

    “They definitely deserve the recognition,” added Diego Gonzales.

    The Gonzales family is actively involved in a number of military-focused organizations, including Operation SEAS the Day.

    Gonzales, a third-generation military man, said he is proud of his sons and their work.

    “They are awesome. They can do anything they put their mind to. They are very inspired by veterans, and that inspires me.”

    To learn more about Home of the Brave, visit

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Having lived along Dirickson Creek for 30 years, Lynn LeBrun wouldn’t let her grandchildren swim its waters anymore. In fact, anyone with an open cut risks serious bacterial infection from the waters of many parts of the Delaware inland bays. The creeks are beautiful but have serious health issues.

    “I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve seen the creek change. The color of the water is darker. In the wintertime, you could see the bottom,” LeBrun said of a time decades ago.

    “Cleaning up a water body like this is like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper — it takes time, but it is possible.

    And the movement has begun. The Dirickson Creek Team is a volunteer group that advocates for the creek and educates their neighbors and legislators. By helping protect the major local tributary, they’re hoping to impact the Little Assawoman Bay.

    Recently, Carper, LeBrun and many others drove the winding gravel road to the Assawoman Wildlife Area, where the Delaware Center for Inland Bays (CIB) released the new State of Dirickson Creek environmental report.

    Dirickson Creek and its tributaries currently are listed as “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act, for bacteria and levels of nutrients. Those nutrients are fueling algae blooms, which block the sun and reduce oxygen available to for fish and plants. High bacteria levels come from human, pet and poultry manure, and old septic systems.

    Marshes and forests are being eaten up by housing development, with needy lawns that demand pesticides and fertilizer. A growing population brings impervious surfaces, runoff, traffic and more.

    Meanwhile, the creek is too harsh an environment for significant beds of baygrass, which provide habitat for small animals.

    Originally from California, Pam White and her husband saw the same cycle of rapid development there as they see in Delaware now.

    “We saw the development, changes in population growth [and erosion of resources]. Moving here, we very quickly saw a comparison. We wanted to share with people, ‘There are things you can do at the beginning of the process, not 20 years later.’”

    For example, she helped some neighbors plant a small wildflower meadow along their waterfront back yard. It’s beautiful, peaceful and low-maintenance. (It only requires mowing once a year, she said while showing off photographs of a deer that had wandered into the backyard habitat.) Plus, it’s an all-natural buffer between a more manicured lawn and the waterway.

    “All of our stories go something like this: awareness, concern and action,” said Anna vonLindenberg, Dirickson Creek team leader. “With the release of this report, our Dirickson Creek group will become an [independent entity]. We will use this report as a tool going forward as we interact with state agencies” and educate the public.

    The “State of Dirickson Creek” report is online at It was compiled by the University of Delaware, citizen-scientists, the Dirickson Creek Team and the CIB.

    From Mulberry Landing, the group had a sunny, sparkling view of Dirickson Creek on June 30.

    “But as you travel up the creek, nutrient levels grow, bacteria levels grow and oxygen decreases,” said environmental scientist Andrew McGowan. “We need to get our voices out and let people know, if they’re going to build, it’s not a bad thing, but build correctly, to minimize our impacts to the creek. We need to push for these things if you are going to have a cleaner creek.”

    People can volunteer on a basis large or small to advocate for their local waterways. VonLindenberg encouraged the public to submit comments on the 2018 Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, to let legislators know what’s important for the next 10 years of land use.

    “Together, we can create a more coherent voice,” she said.

    The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a National Estuary Program, for which Carper has advocated.

    “For every dollar the Environmental Protection Agency provides, National Estuary Programs leverage $19 in local funds to protect and improve coastal environments, communities and economies,” according to Carper’s office.

    The “Your Creek” initiative was a goal of the CIB to build community around each of the tributaries leading to, and ultimately impacting, the inland bays. Near the Rehoboth Bay, the Love Creek group has already split off into their own advocacy group, and Dirickson Creek’s group has now announced they are branching off, too. Next, the CIB will begin work on Herring Creek.

    Groups like these can provide hope for Delaware’s waterways, which attract animals and people.

    “We’re really lucky,” LeBrun said. “Whenever we go away, we can’t wait to come back.”

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    The Town of Millville may be growing by 31-plus acres, after receiving a Petition for Annexation submitted by Howard Robert Hickman Revocable Trust and Dr. James W. Schiff.

    The property consists of 31.32 acres located at 32525 Dukes Drive, with the proposed use being a single-family-home development of 94 homes.

    Town Manager Debbie Botchie informed those in attendance at a June 28 meeting that there are many actions and steps that must be taken prior to such a petition coming before the Town’s Annexation Committee.

    She noted that the property is consistent with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and that the land is contiguous with a common boarder of the Town. The property is currently zoned AR-1 in Sussex County but owners’ requested an R-Residential zoning if it is annexed into Millville.

    A Preliminary Land User Service application has been filed with the Office of State Planning, regarding the proposed development. The Town later received a comment letter stating that, “while the property is under Sussex County jurisdiction, it is adjacent to both the Town of Ocean View and the Town of Millville. In addition, the Town of Millville is proposing a municipal park adjacent to this property. The owner should consider annexation into this town.”

    On March 30, a Petition of Annexation was submitted to the Town of Millville. A municipal annexation plan was completed, and letters were sent out to service providers in the area regarding the potential annexation and development.

    On June 14, certified letters requesting return receipts were mailed to 22 property owners within 100-foot radius of the proposed property to be annexed, regarding the June 28 meeting. Of the 22 letters, 15 return receipts were received.

    Phillip Tolliver of Morris & Richie Associates Inc., representing the Hickman Trust and Schiff, said it had initially been intended to be a Sussex County project.

    “This project could be done as a County project, but it doesn’t make sense because it touches. It’s in the Town of Millville’s Comp Plan for future annexation area.

    “If this project were done as a County project, you’ll still have State troopers responding to it, emergency services and so forth, yet there wouldn’t be the revenue going to the Town, because it would be a County project.”

    Tolliver said the plan is to incorporate buffers throughout the project, specifically between the back ends of the lots, so they don’t butt up against the neighboring property.

    “It’s extremely important to us to keep as many trees as possible, because that lends a sense of maturation to the project.”

    The project would include an “invitability factor,” said Tolliver, where those entering the development will not be looking into someone’s home, but rather a clubhouse facility.

    Tolliver said he has met with Sussex County Engineer Hanz Medlarz regarding services to the property. He noted capacity was built into a nearby regional pump station just north of the project.

    Tolliver said there are no wetlands on the site; however, there are a number of tax ditches. The roads for the development would be maintained by the home owners association, but would be public roads built to Delaware Department of Transportation standards.

    He said the idea currently is to build an upscale community; however, what would be build would be market-driven, thus upscale is not guaranteed.

    Windmill Drive resident Karen Lucas asked Tolliver what the plan is for the turn lane into the development.

    “DelDOT has done a lot of work on Route 26 and Windmill… What we are proposing and what looks like is going to be accepted is a bypass lane and two through-lanes.”

    Lucas said summer traffic is only getting worse on Windmill, noting it can be a “cluster.”

    Town Solicitor Seth Thompson said entrances would be at the discretion of DelDOT.

    The annexation, he said, is simply dealing with whether or not the property in question will become part of the Town.

    “Then it would go through the normal process, in terms of the subdivision approval, site plan approval and all of that,” he said. “It’s still helpful to kind of see an illustration as far as what most likely will end up there but there will be more of a process, and that process involves public comment.”

    Windmill Drive resident Todd Vickers asked if there was a projection as to how much fill would be brought onto the property when its is being developed. Tolliver said that, in looking at preliminary plans, they hope to not bring any fill onto the property.

    Carolyn Townsend asked what will happen to the graveyard that is on the property in question.

    “One of them says, ‘Here lies to God one unworthy soul.’ Can you imagine?”

    Tolliver said they hired an archeologist to go through the entire area to ensure there were just the two known plots.

    “There’s a wooded area that will stay undisturbed. There’s an old fence there. We’re going to reestablish the fence around it, and then we have buffer beyond that, even, that’s wooded, undisturbed property.”

    He added that community members will still have the ability to visit the plots; however, it will be easier, because they can park outside the area, on the development’s streets, and walk to the plot.

    Tolliver said that, in his estimation, there’s significant benefit to annexing into Millville, as the process would be faster than that of the County.

    “Sussex County — they’re saying it could be a year backlog just to get on an agenda for a preliminary plan.”

    He said working with the Town and Botchie has been a “delight.”

    “We’re eager to get jobs going. This is all local market… stimulate the local economy.”

    Thompson noted that, if the property were to be annexed into the Town, those residents would get to vote in Town elections, run for Town office and enjoy its services, such as police hours contracted with the Delaware State Police and ambulance service at a discounted rate.

    “For the Town’s part, this development is going to get built, either in Sussex County or Millville, so why not in Millville?” said Botchie. “They’re right next to the park. They’re going to use the park. So, why not have the Town realize the tax revenues to help with the maintenance of the park? That’s the way I have to think, because I have to control the budget. The Town will benefit from the transfer taxes, and that’s huge. They pay for police protection, which we have 20 hours a week, which would patrol this development as well.”

    She added that, if the property were to be annexed into the Town, it would be looked at as controlled growth.

    “They would have to follow our regulations. They would have to have certain amenities in there, sidewalks… You’re going to have to deal with DelDOT either way. For me, as the town manager, I see way more advantages if they come into Millville than build in Sussex County.”

    The committee adjourned at the close of the hearing and will reconvene to compose a written recommendation to the town council. The recommendation must be made within 90 days of the hearing. Thompson noted that the report will be written in an open meeting; however, no additional public comment may be made at that time. There will then be a public hearing, allowing for public comment, at the council level.

    If annexed into the Town, the property owners would have to bring in their preliminary plan for the development to be reviewed by the Town’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

    The last time a property was annexed into the Town of Millville was in 2007.

    Tolliver said that, if everything aligns perfectly, ground could be broken on the development at the end of the first quarter of 2019.

    Botchie said the Town will not send out any additional letters; however, public notices of related meetings will be published in the Coastal Point and on the Town’s website.

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