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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, seines the bay.Seaweed tastes a little different when pulled straight from the ocean. Visitors laughed as they tentatively nibbled a bite of sea lettuce in the Delaware Bay. They were on the final leg of the marine ecology tour in Lewes with the new Sun Otter Tours.

    The new tour company is taking people on “science-based learning adventures for the naturally curious.” Jody and Steve Dengler created the program to encourage more visitors to visit cool places in coastal Delaware.

    “We are a family of travelers. We are a family of science nerds,” Dengler said.

    Steve Dengler was selling windows, while Jody Dengler taught at Wilmington University, until the school’s Rehoboth Beach location closed in 2016. But she wanted to keep teaching people about their community.

    So they bought a surplus CHEER bus and can now shuttle 14 people to each tour stop. Guests can meet the air-conditioned tour bus on location or catch a ride from two public pickup spots in downtown Rehoboth Beach.

    “They’re always amazed at all the amazing science that’s right here under your nose,” Dengler said. “They always say, ‘I always wondered about that!’”

    The Marine Ecology Tour is completely hands-on — four hours with people who love their work, bouncing from science labs to state parks.

    Back at Cape Henlopen State Park, park naturalists and Sea Otter guests pulled a 30-foot seining net into the shallow Delaware Bay, then tossed the aquatic life it collected into a child-sized wading pool. Small killifish, mummichogs, black drum and Atlantic silversides zipped around sea lettuce, red seaweed (“mermaid hair”), comb jellies, mud snails and a tiny crab.

    “Every single time you do it, it’s different. You get something new,” Dengler said.

    It’s not the crystal-clear water of the Caribbean, “but there is still stuff going on,” said park naturalist Abigail Ferkler, who graduated from West Chester University this winter and said she loves teaching visitors.

    When on vacation, they said, guests want more than just sunbathing — especially when they’ve got a whole week in town.

    “They’re tired of the beach already by Wednesday and Thursday, so let’s get ’em here, show ’em some science stuff,” said Chris Petrone, marine education specialist at Delaware Sea Grant.

    The self-proclaimed “science nerd” was already teaching year-round, so he gladly added a public tour to the mix.

    Because Sea Grant’s goal includes supporting both environmental and economic programs, Petrone said he was happy to help Sun Otter Tours. If other science groups came along, he’d help them, too, he said.

    Guests on the day’s marine ecology tour started in Lewes, by climbing aboard a ship that it is hoped will never be used for its job. If an oil spill ever occurred nearby, the Delaware River & Bay Cooperative’s 166-foot vessel the DelRiver is on-call to respond. The crew are ready to respond 24 hours a day.

    Next, they explored the very bottom of the food chain at University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean & Environment’s research facility. On the floating docks, visitors caught tiny creatures and plankton in a fine-mesh net.

    They found a tiny grass shrimp with brood of tiny eggs and a jelly-like ctenophore (which glows fluorescent at night when shuffled in the water). Back at the UD lab, a microscope revealed a copepod (the real-life inspiration for “Plankton” in the “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoon).

    Upstairs, in the air-conditioned library with its ceiling-high windows, the group looked out over the university’s 2-megawatt wind turbine, which at peak production can power the entire campus and 105 local houses. It’s a large-scale windmill experiment, as the college tests salt-air corrosion and the impact on bird and bat populations.

    They discussed current events and asked about Delaware’s old plans and Maryland’s recent swing toward wind turbines in the open ocean.

    Dipping their toes into that realm can help visitors understand what local residents value, on a local or national level. It can provide new perspective to visitors from landlocked states, for example, who never had a frame of reference for issues such as beach replenishment or oil-spill response.

    “It’s about people telling the stories behind the attraction, whether it’s manmade” or natural, Thomas said.

    People really become sponges for information on the tour, said Steve Dengler, who witnesses everything from the driver’s seat.

    “Everybody walks back on the bus, and the amount of information they’ve learned is incredible,” he said.

    That’s the point. Southern Delaware has many opportunities to learn and explore. In fact, Sun Otter’s first clients were new residents wanting to learn about their new home.

    They’re already brainstorming a children’s science tour, at the request of grandparents needing activities for visiting grandkids. Sun Otter Tours is also planning wintertime activities.

    People can choose two other tours this summer: the “Night Moves” nighttime boat tours at Trap Pond State Park and “Alchemy of Alcohol” trips to Dogfish Head brewery and Brimming Horn Meadery for grownups.

    Prices range from $34 to $49 per person, with $5 coupons available in many places (online coupon code “SFW2017” or “SUNOTTER”). Details are available online at www.sunotter.com, by calling (302) 519-3580 or by emailing jody@sunotter.com.


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    The next Vendor Sale at the Bethany Beach fire hall at 215 Hollywood Street will be Sunday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees are being strongly encouraged to enter the fire hall off Hollywood Street.

    There will be a variety of vendors and local crafters offering apparel, accessories, makeup, skin care, health and wellness supplies, and home decor for sale. Some brands in attendance include LuLaRoe, Customized Kenney Coastal Crafts, Scentsy, Party Lite, Chesapeake Local Crafts, Lip Sense, Young Living Essential Oils, Mary Kay, Thirty One, Perfectly Posh, Di’s Mustard Seed Creations, Chloe + Isabel, Darlene Freas Photography and Ebusi Designs. Most of the vendors will be accepting cash or credit cards.

    “The last event was a success on many levels, as it brought together a group of local entrepreneurs and allowed us to promote and support one another while building relationships with new clients,” reflected Jennifer Bland, a LuLaRoe vendor.

    A new addition to this event is that Drifting Grounds Coffee Shop will be offering coffee on site during the event.

    “There truly is something for everyone, and we all can’t wait to see you on Sunday,” said Bland.

    For more information about the event, contact Jennifer Bland at (302) 745-3439.


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    Bear Trap Dunes will host a Blues & Brews event on Saturday, July 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. on the front lawn and amphitheater of Bear Trap, located at 7 Clubhouse Road in Ocean View. The debut event mimics the previously held autumn festival at Bear Trap but will be the first summer music event of its kind.

    Hoping to create an atmosphere of a music festival, the event will showcase local blues band Lower Case Blues.

    “It’s an event to celebrate the mid-summer with beer and blues music and barbecue. We’ll be bringing out the grill and selling plates of mac-and-cheese pulled pork bowls, and pulled pork and pulled chicken,” said Food & Beverage Director Craig Krick.

    Along with the barbecue, the SnoYo Mobile will be selling frozen yogurt. Visitors to the event can also purchase beer from any of the four craft breweries in attendance, including 3rd Wave Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing Company, Founders Brewing Company and RaR Brewing.

    “There will also be a dunk tank that you can pay to dunk the mayor of Bear Trap, some of our golf pros and others, with all the proceeds going to the Delaware Breast Cancer Foundation,” said Krick, “It’s going to be an afternoon to relax, to listen to some music, and to have a few beers.”

    For more information about the event, visit Bear Trap Dunes’ website at beartrapdunes.com.


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    The Millsboro Public Library’s used book sale will continue for its second weekend on Friday, July 28, from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    On Friday, books will be sold individually; paperback books sell for $1 and hardback books sell for $2. The sale will also feature CDs, DVDs and more.

    On Saturday, books will be sold by the bag. Customers will be given bags with handles, and they can fill the bag with as many books as they can fit inside. Bags cost $5 each, and people can easily fit 20 books into a bag, said Friends of the Millsboro Public Library Co-Chairman Jan Thompson.

    “We have been told that the sale is one of the best around,” said Thompson.

    Volunteers alphabetize the books by author and sort out popular authors for easier shopping. The sale has a large variety of books, including children’s, young-adult, fiction, non-fiction, hobby, travel and large print books. The books are acquired through donations and library surplus.

    The sale’s first weekend behind them, “Sales have been great, and there’s still a lot of books left,” Thompson said.

    The sale is held in the Millsboro scout hut next to the library, and the group is able to have the sale for two weekends because the Boy Scouts are away camping for a month. This is the second year that the Friends of the Millsboro Pubic Library has extended the sale over two weekends.

    The group, with the help of the scouts, moves books from the library to the hut. This year, they moved 450 boxes of books.

    Thompson estimated there were about 40 books in each box, amounting to a total of about 18,000 books for sale this year, so even with a successful first weekend, there are thousands of used books left to sell, said Thompson.

    Any books that don’t sell go to a company called G2 Liquidators, which then sells the books online. The company plans to open a bookstore in Laurel as well.

    Any books that G2 Liquidators can’t use will go into producing paper pulp or insulation, but none of the leftover books go to the landfill, said Thompson.

    Last year, there were about 120 boxes of books remaining after the sale, and Thompson estimated there will be even more boxes left after the sale this year. She noted that the sale has grown each year.

    “Last year, we had more sales than the previous year, and we expect to have more sales this year than we did last year,” she said.

    The Friends of Millsboro Public Library sponsors the sale and donates the proceeds to the children’s summer reading program at the library. The summer reading program needs funds for things such as craft supplies and entertainment, said Thompson.

    The Friends of Millsboro Public Library has approximately 40 members, and about a dozen of them work on the sale. Thompson said her group’s work with the sale has led her and the other members to believe that print books are not dying.

    “We don’t think the end of books is in sight,” said Thompson. She said that, two years ago, the volunteers asked book-sale customers about e-readers. They found that the general opinion was that e-readers were inconvenient for the beach and that people who had e-readers primarily used them for travel.

    “We have been pleased with the sale,” said Thompson. “We are a group that works hard and loves books.”

    For more information, call (302) 732-3216 or (302) 934-1113.


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    Coastal Point • Susan Lyons: Craig Reeves of Over Time Band gets down during their performance during the last Concerts in the Park event.Coastal Point • Susan Lyons: Craig Reeves of Over Time Band gets down during their performance during the last Concerts in the Park event.The Ocean View community is getting a double dose of music this year during the Ocean View Summer Concert Series, which includes six concerts this summer instead of the three concerts offered in previous years.

    The Town of Ocean View has brought back its annual summer concert series at John West Park, on Western Avenue. The concerts in the park, which run from 6 to 8 p.m., are meant to give residents and visitors a chance to experience some “fine arts and entertainment,” said Donna Schwartz, Ocean View town clerk.

    For every concert, a different performer has been invited to the park. Musicians who have performed already this summer have included the Glass Onion Band, the Delmarva Big Band and Over Time. Schwartz said each concert had been a success, drawing in 300 to 600 people, but she noticed that one of the crowd favorites was Over Time, which features retired Indian River High School music teacher Mark Marvel and some of his former students.

    Schwartz said having three more concerts this summer has meant more work for the coordinators, as instead of only doing about one concert per month, the Town has taken on two.

    “It’s a little bit more work on our part, but it’s been rewarding,” she said.

    The next concert will be on July 28, featuring Junior Wilson & Chatty. Schwartz said they have been performing in the concert series for several years now and have developed a large following.

    Wilson said that he has personally been a part of the concert series for at least 12 years, and he attributes his return each time to the amiable people of Ocean View. Wilson and Chatty plan to perform a variety of songs from several different genres. He also said he was impressed by the diversity of music interests amongst previous concerts’ audience members.

    “It’s a nice cross-section of people,” Wilson said.

    As is the case with Over Time, many of the bands that have been and are on the lineup for the series are local and highly regarded by Sussex County audiences. Schwartz said the Delmarvelous Dolls, who will be performing on Aug. 12, are very popular and plan on performing as the Andrews Sisters. The trio is known for reenacting the World War II swing and boogie-woogie style of the Andrews Sisters and even has done tributes to veterans.

    The last concert of the series, which will take place on Aug. 25, will feature The Funsters. The 10-member group has performed at various events throughout Coastal Delaware and Maryland, such as Rehoboth Beach’s Independence Day celebration and several other festivals and fundraisers.

    As an added feature, a local Boy Scout troop has sold hot dogs during the concerts, noted Schwartz, with ice cream has sold by either Rita’s or the Ice Cream Man.

    “We’ve had a nice variety this summer, and we have a nice variety coming up,” Schwartz said.


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    Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Dale Clifton, owner of DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island, shows off some of the museum’s historic artifacts.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Dale Clifton, owner of DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island, shows off some of the museum’s historic artifacts.Mountainous waves swell overhead as a Spanish fleet drifts helplessly in the storm. Torrential rain pummels the boats, scattering the soaked crews as they yank on ropes and bark panicked orders. Below deck, about $14 million worth of silver and gold glitters in the half-light as water begins to sweep into the hull with purposeful, destructive force.

    It’s July 31, 1715, and all seems lost.

    But it isn’t. Because about 300 years after the ships were smashed against the coral reefs and sunk, a man named Dale Clifton would help to uncover their stories, and the stories of many other shipwrecks, and make it his mission to share them with the public.

    As the owner/director of the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island, Clifton was able to transform every child’s fantasy of discovering buried undersea treasure into not only a career, but a fascinating tool with which he can bring history to life.

    A small but atmospheric museum located above the Sea Shell Shop, the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum is packed with artifacts from some of the world’s most famous wrecks. Cutlery and stained-glass windows from the Titanic and the R.M.S. Republic rest there, as well as a trove of artifacts, including the Queen of Spain’s wedding chain from the long-elusive ship the Atocha.

    Everything from coral-encrusted cutlasses and skull-adorned pirates’ rings to miraculously-preserved Aztec gold statues can be found in the glass cases. To the left of the museum entrance, a laboratory sits so that museum-goers can actually watch Clifton in the process of cleaning and preserving artifacts.

    Although the museum is filled with gold and silver, Clifton emphasized that the value of the artifacts is not monetary, but educational.

    “Every artifact out there has a story to tell… The stories behind them is just what blows you away.”

    Each of the artifacts does have a unique piece of history to relate, and Clifton considers it his duty to tell those fascinating, and sometimes tragic, tales. He calls his museum an “edu-tainment” museum because of his ongoing work to make the history he presents even more exciting.

    “We have to make it educational, as well as fun ... by giving the talks and bringing stuff out and letting children hold an actual piece of gold from a shipwreck, or a pirate coin,” he said.

    The museum’s interactive, hands-on approach gives it a unique appeal. Seeing history from the other side of a glass panel is one thing, but actually being able to “shake hands” with it, he said, is what brings it to life.

    In addition, the exhibits are constantly changing as more artifacts are brought to the surface, keeping things fresh and engaging. A patron can come to the museum every week and still see something new.

    Clifton personally found each of the 10,000 relics in his museum. And the museum carries only around 10 percent of his full collection — the rest being on loan to other museums across the globe.

    However, despite the fact that he’s worked with some of the most well-known divers and researchers of the era, including Mel Fisher, and uncovered thousands of relics, Clifton said he doesn’t strive for fame and glory.

    “It’s not about me. I don’t care if people know about Dale Clifton. I want them to know more about the museum and what it represents and what it offers them and their families.”

    To Clifton, educating the younger generations is what is truly important about his work.

    Many shipwrecks that Clifton has uncovered have been in Delaware waters, and because of that, the DiscoverSea museum is a treasure trove (pun intended) of local maritime history. Clifton accentuated that what he finds is a part of the community.

    “I have one boss — the public. … This belongs as much to them as it does to me. This is my way of giving it back to them,” he said.

    The future of the museum also revolves around education. Clifton is currently working on documentary projects that explore the history of Delaware, and he also has some new ideas about bringing the thrill of shipwreck excavation right to the classroom.

    “What we’d be able to do is actually give cameras to schools… We’ll be able to take a remote camera in the field with us when we’re actually working a site, and the classroom can actually tune in live to what we’re doing, and ... the children can actually ask questions about what’s being found.”

    That way, children can tag along, virtually, as the divers explore real shipwrecks.

    The DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum is on the brink of some very exciting opportunities, Clifton said.

    “We’re on the verge of actually making history.”

    The research being done there could be groundbreaking (or water-breaking), and Clifton makes it clear that some of these breakthroughs might truly alter how people live today.

    “We’ve found seeds that are 307 years old, and we’ve been able to plant them and they’ve grown. So it could help better our food supplies for the future, because we now have original examples of the heirloom seeds which were thought to be extinct.”

    Shipwreck archeology could be changing daily lives in the near future.

    Clifton invited the public to come by and see what adventures the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum has in store for them.

    To locals, Clifton declared, “This is their museum. This has a lot of our local maritime history. ... Come out and see the ever-changing exhibits and how it impacts our daily lives.”

    The museum is kid-friendly, and the staff has a wealth of information for any shipwreck-related or historical questions visitors might have.

    Admission to the DiscoverSea museum is free to the public, though donations are accepted. It is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through August, with more limited hours during the fall and spring. It is closed in January, February and March for annual renovations. For more information, including stories about the shipwrecks and artifacts on display, visit www.discoversea.com, or for information on visiting the museum, visit the website or call (302) 539-9366 or 1-888-743-5524.


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    Coastal Point • Marissa McCloy: Jimmy and Kathy Guido are providing the Clarksville area with organic produce on their farm, Berry Lovers Farm.Coastal Point • Marissa McCloy: Jimmy and Kathy Guido are providing the Clarksville area with organic produce on their farm, Berry Lovers Farm.Berry Lovers Farm sticks to its roots by farming organically grown produce in Clarksville.

    This summer, heirloom cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, eggplant and sweet peppers are for sale at the Berry Lovers Farm stand, which is only open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

    The farm and stand are located at 31897 Organic Growers Lane, just off Route 26, near the Route 17 intersection. The eggs sold at the stand come from chickens that live on the farm and are fed only organic food grown there.

    Husband and wife Jimmy and Kathy Guido bought the 11-acre parcel in 2015. They said it was difficult to find a piece of land for their organic farm, because most of the land in the area has been used for conventional farming. There is a three-year waiting period before conventionally-farmed land can be farmed under the term “organic.”

    Jimmy Guido’s story is one of a “city boy-turned-farmer,” as he describes it.

    Guido grew up in Washington, D.C., where he lived most of his life. In D.C., his father got him working in refrigeration and air conditioning, and by the age of 15, he was working nearly fulltime and supporting himself. He eventually worked in mortgages as well.

    Then, about 10 years ago, he and his family moved to Maryland, where he began planting tomatoes for fun. He found that the tomatoes that he grew tasted different than those he bought at the grocery store. Guido then became more interested in food and learned more about the chemicals in foods, which made him want to grow organic foods.

    “Growing organic food is a way to heal your body and the earth,” Guido said, “It is our duty to take care of ourselves, our kids and our planet.”

    Guido said there was a learning curve for organic farming, but it was worth it to give his children the best food possible.

    “It’s been my mission to grow organic vegetables for my kids,” he said.

    Guido has been farming organically since 2007 and has lived in Ocean View since 2012. And even though it was difficult to find land to farm organically in the area, he was set on buying land there because he loves the area, he said.

    “It’s nice to just take your kids to the beach and relax after a long day on the farm,” Guido added.

    It’s early days, still, at Berry Lovers Farm, and people are still discovering the new stand.

    “There isn’t really a lot of business at the stand,” said Kathy Guido, “but it has been picking up in the past few weeks.”

    She said that many people hear about the produce stand by word of mouth and via Berry Lovers Farm’s Facebook page. The Guidos also just put a sign out on Route 26 to advertise their stand.

    All of the food grown on Berry Lovers Farm goes to local restaurants, the produce stand and community supported agriculture (CSA). Local restaurants that the farm has sold to include the SoDel Concepts restaurant group and Just Hooked. The CSA model is one in which a farmer offers “shares” to the public. People who purchase the shares receive produce each week during the harvest season.

    Because the farm is so new, the Guidos are still waiting for their berry crops to mature. Blueberries and strawberries will not be picked until next year, Jimmy Guido said, “to encourage the foliage to grow fuller plants.” Jimmy Guido said that he personally planted the blueberries.

    Even though the berries take three years to grow, Jimmy Guido admitted that he’s stolen a few of the early blueberries for himself. Berry Lovers will also grow raspberries, blackberries and elderberries — a berry with medicinal benefits that is often used in cough syrups.

    Jimmy Guido said they are hoping to have pick-your-own berries next year.

    “And, if all goes well, we’ll have a festival for blueberry-picking,” he said. “But that may not happen for a few years.” The growers are also aiming to get into a local farmer’s market.

    In addition to berries, the Guidos recently planted apples, which they said should be ready in November.

    Running the farm hasn’t come without its challenges. This year, the farm lost 18 of its chickens to a fox.

    But the Guidos plan to purchase a 30-by-72-foot-high tunnel to expand their growing season and a shed to use as a storefront for their produce stand.

    In addition to raising acres of organic produce, the Guidos are raising four children, ages 9, 11, 13 and 15. The farm is quite the family operation, as the couple says that only they and, occasionally, two of their children work on the farm. There are also plans to one day have their house built on the back of the lot.

    The Guido family is enthusiastic about organic farming and takes pride in the Berry Lovers Farm’s produce.

    “We try to make sure that our food is the best and the freshest,” said Jimmy Guido, “We only pick what we plan on selling that day.”


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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Party Decor & More owner Jim Schnepf-Pratt poses for a photo at his new location in Ocean View.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Party Decor & More owner Jim Schnepf-Pratt poses for a photo at his new location in Ocean View.Ocean View now has a party store to call its very own, as a Rehoboth Beach-based business has opened a second location in Ocean View, expanding its offerings for the needs of the area’s growing communities.

    Party Decor & More has been in business in Rehoboth for four years, and owner Jim Schnepf-Pratt said it has been very successful and popular amongst that community. And on June 21, the second location of Party Decor & More opened in Ocean View.

    “Ocean View chose us,” Schnepf-Pratt said of why he decided to expand his business in the area.

    He said he was initially approached by the property owner, who asked him if he was interested in opening another location at 29 Atlantic Avenue, where Curves was formerly located. He visited the location four times before making the final decision to move in.

    Schnepf-Pratt said he decided to stock the new Ocean View location with unique merchandise, rather than just duplicating what his Rehoboth store carries. If the Rehoboth store carries silver balloons, for example, the Ocean View store carries gold ones. The Ocean View location also has a different variety of piñatas, he noted.

    Despite the differences, Schenpf-Pratt said many of the new store’s aspects are the same as the original.

    Party Decor & More has been known for its balloon displays, something in which Schnepf-Pratt said he takes great pride. He is self-taught in the skill and does all of the arrangements himself, keeping his art and his expertise a trade secret.

    The intricacy of his creations goes so far as to use only one string to hold together balloons that were formed into a dolphin shape that was on display at the Ocean View location during its opening. He noted he did not even have to use a pole to hold the structure together.

    The balloon displays have been in great demand, Schnepf-Pratt said, and he even recently designed one for a funeral.

    Personal touches in the stores go a long way toward attracting customers, Schnepf-Pratt said. One of his favorite aspects of his Rehoboth store, he said — but one that he has not yet added to the new location — is the Christmas tree that he keeps year-round. Instead of just having it for the winter holiday, he decorates the tree for every season. Currently, the tree is red-, white- and blue-themed from the Fourth of July.

    The stores also offer a wide variety of supplies that go beyond party needs, including greeting cards, seasonal lights and more.

    “We aim to put a smile on people’s faces, and we do it,” Schnepf-Pratt said, adding that that phrase is the goal of his store and one taken to heart by himself and the rest of his employees.

    Party Décor & More is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information, stop in at the store at 29K Atlantic Avenue or call (302) 541-0220.


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    No one ever wants to receive a phone call from a loved one in trouble, but authorities are asking the public to be wary and remember that those callers may not be who they say they are.

    One Ocean View man received a call from a man who claimed to be his grandson.

    “‘I’m in trouble. I’ve never bothered you for anything,’” the man recalled the caller saying. “The voice sounded somewhat familiar.”

    The caller said he had been in an auto accident and needed financial help. The Ocean View man eventually determined the man was not his grandson and did not lose any money to the scammer. But such calls have become commonplace.

    “This is one that’s been going on for quite some time,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “It’s a financial scam. We get reports of this in our community off and on. It seems like there has been an uptick recently with some of these scams.

    “Before you do anything, before you send money, if anybody is in trouble — if you’re a resident of Ocean View, I would encourage you to stop by or call the Ocean View Police Department and let us look into it.

    “We can usually make a determination pretty quick whether it’s a stranger or a family member in need. A lot of times, they’ll say they’re on vacation in Mexico and got jammed up and need money for bail. There was one that came in that involved somebody from out-of-state that had gotten arrested for drunk driving, and they needed $2,000 for bail.”

    McLaughlin said a red flag to the public should be any request to send money by Western Union.

    “We had one woman who was victimized — they called her and said, ‘Send it Western Union.’ She said, ‘I don’t know where I can do that.’ They said at the Food Lion two miles from her house, and, unfortunately, she did.”

    Another common phone scam is one in which a “representative” from the Internal Revenue Service calls, allegedly regarding monies owed.

    “The IRS wouldn’t do that with a phone call.”

    Other common scams including calls claiming that the person’s computer has gotten infected by a virus and that the caller represents the manufacturer and will help clear up the problem for a fee — sometimes requested to be paid via iTunes gift cards or other unrecoverable payment method.

    McLaughlin said that, although authorities cannot always do something about the scammers, because many are calling from overseas, he encourages anyone who believes they may have been scammed to contact the police.

    “Oftentimes, people are too embarrassed to call the police. It’s still important to call us and let us know this activity is going on.”

    McLaughlin said there are a lot of websites that track phone scams that consumers can utilize as well. A call from an unfamiliar number can be searched online to see if other people have reported the number as being used in a scam. People can also screen their calls by not answering calls from unfamiliar numbers and allow legitimate callers to leave a voicemail message that can then be verified before returning a call.

    He added that, if someone receives any phone call asking for money, they should take a moment before acting.

    “I would just encourage anybody — if somebody calls you and asks for any money, don’t send them any money until you can verify,” he said. “Take a minute, pause, calm yourself down, and tell them you have to consult with another family member first. Then hang up, and you can check into it.

    “If it does turn out that it is an emergency, you can still respond to it appropriately. If not, you can pat yourself on the back for not falling victim to the scam. For the residents of Ocean View, they’re welcome to come to the police department for help from us in determining if it is an emergency or a scam. Please, don’t send anybody any money, especially Western Union, until you’ve verified that there is a real emergency.”

    Those who wish to be added to the Do Not Call list that prohibits legitimate marketers from calling them should visit https://www.donotcall.gov. For more information on phone scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer information website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams#Signs.


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    I previously published a column titled “Read all about it! — A guide to Civil War Delaware.” (Coastal Point, Aug. 31, 2012). It included a list of publications that dealt with Delaware’s involvement in the Civil War.

    Included among these historical works were: “Delaware During the Civil War: A Political History” by Harold Bell Hancock, “History of the First Regiment Delaware Volunteers” by William P. Seville, and “Slavery and Freedom in Delaware, 1639-1865” by William H. Williams. These studies cover the state’s political, military and social aspects, respectively.

    More recently, Jeffrey R. Biggs updated Seville’s publication with a version titled, “They Fought for the Union: A History of the First Delaware Volunteers in the Army of the Potomac.”

    Beyond these basic works, over the years, the Delaware Historical Society published a number of articles in its journal “Delaware History” on a variety of Civil War subjects, including:

    • “The Civil War Diaries of Anna M. Ferris,” edited by Harold B. Hancock (April 1961). Ferris was a thoughtful, outspoken resident of Wilmington on the issue of slavery, and the importance of preserving the Union. Her diaries are held in the collection at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

    • “The Brandywine Home Front During the Civil War, Part 1: 1861,” (April 1961); Part II: 1862 (April 1963); Part III: 1863 (October 1964); and Part IV: 1864-1865 (October 1965), by Norman B. Wilkinson — who was a research associate at the Hagley Museum. This four-part series discusses the roles of prominent individuals in the New Castle County area, and their impact on the outcome of the Civil War.

    • “Confederate Prisoners of War at Fort Delaware” by Nancy Travis Keen (1968-1969). Keen, a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware, documents the fate and fortunes of 32,305 Confederate POWs who spent time at Fort Delaware prison on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River.

    • “Delaware Military Academy, 1859-1862,” by B. Franklin Cooling, III (April 1971). Cooling, who was chief of the Historical Research & Reference Division, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, describes the brief life of this military academy that provided “a small coterie of alumni to the bloody battlegrounds” of the Civil War.

    • “The Vallandighams of Newark: A Delaware Copperhead Family,” by Jan Joseph Losi (1978-1979). The author, who held master’s degree in history from the University of Delaware, narrates the difficulties experienced by the Rev. James L. Vallandigham and his family, who were pro-South in their political leanings while living in a state that fought for the Union.

    • “A Confederate View of Prison Life: A Virginian in Fort Delaware, 1863,” by Walter L. Williams (1978-1979). Williams, an assistant professor of history, University of Cincinnati, quotes from a diary that Joseph Edward Purvis, 19th Virginia Regiment, kept for two months during his stay at Fort Delaware prison after capture on July 3, 1863, at Gettysburg. It provides a description of the privation and boredom experienced at the island prison.

    • “Alexander B. Cooper’s Civil War Memories of Camden,” edited by Harold Hancock (1982-1983). Hancock relates Cooper’s personal recollections of the Civil War’s effect on his quiet community of Camden that, as a result, “was never again the same.” This came about because of political divisions among those in the community who chose to support either the North or the South.

    • “The Civil War Letters of S. Rodman and Linton Smith,” by Robert F. Crawford (1984-1985). The author, the great-grandson of Linton Smith, describes the Civil War through the eyes of two Wilmington Quakers, brothers Rodman and Linton Smith, who served the Union after enlisting in the 4th Delaware Infantry.

    • “Camp Life of Delaware Troops in the Union Army” by Annette Woolard (1984-1985). Woolard, who graduated from the University of Delaware with a master’s degree in history, relates behind-the-scenes stories of what life was like in military camps for Delaware soldiers when they were not engaged in combat on the battlefields of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

    The author emphasizes that Delawareans did not “display the culture shock, the anger against Confederates, and the hatred of the land that other Yankee soldiers exhibited,” because their proximity to Delaware permitted them to travel between camp and home more readily than soldiers from other states.

    For information about obtaining copies of the Delaware History articles, contact the Delaware Historical Society Research Library at (302) 655-7161.

    Tom Ryan is the author of the multiple award-winning “Spies, Scouts & Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign.” Signed copies are available at Bethany Beach Books. His latest book, “Eleven Fateful Days in July 1863: Meade Tracks Lee’s Escape after Gettysburg,” is due out in 2018. Contact him at pennmardel@mchsi.com or visit his website at www.tomryan-civilwar.com.


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    The Millville Annexation Committee met on July 20 and unanimously agreed to recommend annexation of a 31.32-acre property to the town council.

    A petition for annexation has been submitted by the Howard Robert Hickman Revocable Trust and Dr. James W. Schiff. The property is located at 32525 Dukes Drive, with the proposed use being a single-family-home development of 94 homes.

    The annexation committee comprises Council Members Steve Maneri, Valerie Faden and Peter Michel, and Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

    Faden said an advantage to recommending the property be annexed into the town includes increasing monies to the tax base and transfer taxes to provide additional services to all property owners — for example, police protection and funds to sustain the new municipal park.

    “Another advantage would be potential future involvement of residents of the town, control of future town’s development… [There’s a] significant number of advantages for the Town of Millville.”

    Faden added that she doesn’t believe they’ve identified any disadvantages to the annexation; however, she noted, it would add to the workload of Town employees.

    “I will say, as the town manager, the employees are behind this annexation 100 percent. The additional work? Minimal, I believe,” said Botchie.

    The committee voted unanimously to recommend the approval of the annexation by the town council.


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    The Sussex County Council this week received an update on the Bayhealth Sussex Campus project now under construction outside of Milford.

    Coastal Point • Submitted: Rendering The Bayhealth Sussex facility outside of Milford is expected to be open and running by January of 2019.Coastal Point • Submitted: Rendering The Bayhealth Sussex facility outside of Milford is expected to be open and running by January of 2019.Terry Murphy, president and CEO of Bayhealth, said the not-for-profit healthcare provider treats on average 17,000 patients admitted to their hospitals in any given year. On an average day, they treat 251 patients.

    Murphy said they hope to be completed and moved in to the Sussex campus by January of 2019.

    The project will use 50 acres of a 169-acre parcel, which Murphy said would allow them to grow for generations to come. The 30-bay emergency department will feature trauma and treatment bays, as well as behavioral health rooms. There will also be a 12-patient-bed clinical decision unit.

    “We are expanding our number of operating rooms,” he added. “Again, the population is growing in Sussex County, as well as its aging, and with the obesity epidemic, the number of patients that present to us with multiple chronic conditions continues to increase. We’re also increasing cardiac procedural capabilities, as well radiology procedures for diagnostic testing.”

    Murphy said the skin of the building is currently being put on and is visible to those traveling along Route 1.

    He noted the $300 million investment has and will continue to have an economic impact on the county and state. At least 50 percent of project labor will be accomplished by Delaware businesses, with 50 percent of materials sourced through Delaware businesses.

    “We’re very proud of that,” said Murphy.

    Recruitment is also a focus, said Murphy, noting they are working closely with other providers in the area. Bayhealth is also a magnet designated by the American Nursing Association for Professional Nursing.

    “We think that actually helps us attract the best and brightest.”

    Murphy said they are pleased to have attracted Nemours DuPont to the southern part of the state. Approximately 3,500 square feet of office space on the campus will be dedicated to Nemours pediatric specialists, he said, noting it would not be a hospital facility.

    Nationwide Healthcare Services will be purchasing the 22-acre Milford Memorial to create a “wellness community” with a skilled nursing facility, with capital investments of more than $20 million, creating more than 300 full-time jobs.

    “We are extremely pleased to find Nationwide,” he said. “There is a need for skilled nursing beds in this part of the state. They fulfill a need.”

    Murphy thanked the council for their time and support of the project.

    “We are very pleased with the reinvestment into Sussex County,” he said. “We’re planning this for generations to come.”

    “We’ve very, very happy for you and the whole of Sussex County,” said Council President Michael Vincent. “It’s going to be a great facility.”

    Also at the July 25 meeting, the council discussed a draft ordinance to amend the County’s signage code.

    Janelle Cornwell, director of Planning & Zoning, said her department has seen an issue with property owners wanting to place an on-premises sign on their property for a business but who are unable to do so because a neighboring property has a billboard within 50 feet.

    “The intent of this ordinance is to amend that, to allow an on-premises sign to be located within 50 feet of that billboard; however, a billboard could not be erected within 50 feet of a sign,” she explained, adding that the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the council approve the draft amendment.

    Councilman Rob Arlett asked if the separation also required that the two signs be on separate parcels.

    “The way it reads now, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the same parcel or an adjacent [parce],” said Assistant County Attorney Jamie Sharp.

    Arlett asked whether or not the proposed amendment could be used to “circumvent the original intent of separation.”

    “Perhaps,” said Sharp.

    Arlett said that, if a property owner who had a billboard erected on their property wanted to create a brick-and-mortar business, they would potentially have to remove their billboard, as the code currently reads.

    “It’s quite possible that that’s something they would have to do,” said Cornwell.

    “My concern is this is a potential loophole to circumvent the original intent,” said Arlett.

    The council chose to approve the amendment with a 5-0 vote.

    The council at the meeting also unanimously approved a new memorandum of understanding with the Delaware State Police, which provides a shared-cost approach to address staffing needs in Sussex County.

    “Previous MOUs created the arrangement that the County Council would fund half of 44 troopers, up to the rank of trooper first-class. During this year’s budget process, the State requested that the County pay for the full personnel costs of 22 officers that range from trooper to lieutenant,” said County Finance Director Gina Jennings.

    “The primary difference is the way the County Council funds the additional positions allocated to Sussex County,” she added.

    Jennings said the County will still be allocated 187 DSP officers.

    “The new allocation of cost has increased the County’s commitment by approximately $700,000.”

    The council voted 5-0 to approve the MOU.


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    School band isn’t a perfect fit for some kids — even for the musicians among them. Some desire to enhance their performing abilities and get a chance to stand out while rocking the house.

    Coastal Point • File Photo: Students at last year’s Rock & Roll Summer Camp got into that rock ’n’ roll spirit.Coastal Point • File Photo: Students at last year’s Rock & Roll Summer Camp got into that rock ’n’ roll spirit.That’s a concept that Walt Hetfield of Mr. Hetfield’s Rock & Roll Summer Camp, based in Rehoboth Beach, had in mind when he first started the camp 18 years ago.

    The two-week day-camp, held in late July and early August each summer, draws children ages 8 to 16 from all over Sussex County each summer — many of them from the Cape Henlopen and Indian River school districts. Hetfield said even kids coming to the area on vacation with their families have attended the camp.

    The longtime music teacher at Rehoboth Elementary School and the frontman for the Buddy Holly tribute band Oh Boy!, Hetfield has also taught children from New Jersey, Maryland and even Virginia.

    Hetfield said he recognized from personal experience that school band programs often lack in creativity and do not give kids the opportunity to express themselves and stand out. As a child, Hetfield said, he was not satisfied playing the trumpet in his school band but found a creative refuge in learning how to play the guitar, which was not an instrument offered at his school.

    At Rock & Roll Summer Camp, Hetfield said, students get the chance to play in small groups and have their musical talents be heard and developed. He said the program increases their confidence and gives them a taste of what performing as a professional musician is really like.

    “I don’t believe in virtual reality,” Hetfield said.

    He said he thoroughly believes that getting kids on stage and exposing them to the ins and outs of performing is an important skill for them to have as young musicians. And, Hetfield said, the kids get excited about being on stage and getting the chance to be actively involved while working together and making music.

    “Kids just like to do things,” he said. “They like to be actively engaged in whatever activity it is.”

    Hetfield said that, this year, he has about 20 kids in the camp — guitar players, bass players, drummers, keyboardists, brass and singers. Prior to coming to camp, all of them are expected to have some musical training in the instrument they wish to play.

    During the first days of the camp, Hetfield and other staff members teach the group new songs. (He noted the addition of a smartboard as a great learning tool.) Depending on which song each child wants to perform, groups are created, making smaller bands out of the larger mass of kids.

    He said he allows the kids to choose their groups “organically,” depending on who they had the best chemistry with. Some of the older students tend to drift toward each other or more experienced musicians, Hetfield added.

    The camper’s aren’t limited in how many times they can attend the camp. Once they move beyond the 8-to-16-year-old range, some campers have continued their Rock & Roll Summer Camp experience by becoming counselors.

    Justin Fisher, 17, can hardly remember how many years he has been a part of the camp, but he guessed it was about 10. Fisher, a drummer, said he has been a counselor for a number of years now and has enjoyed helping the younger campers with their percussion skills.

    “It’s such a blast,” Fisher said. “I even find it’s more fun as a counselor.”

    Younger campers said they have already gotten a lot out of the camp. Frankie, 10, said the highlight of his learning experience has been figuring out how to play songs on his own. He and his cousin, Lynden, 9, said they were both most looking forward to performing during the camp’s two life performances, in Lewes and Dewey Beach.

    Grace, 13, said that her biggest highlight is the friends she has made in the multiple years she has attended the program.

    In his second year at the camp, 11-year-old Cian Titus is not only playing the electric guitar — an instrument he’ll play in the rock band at Southern Delaware School of the Arts this fall — but opted to try bass on the classic tune “Wild Thing.”

    “I wanted to expand my range instruments,” he said. “I just wanted to try it,” he added of the bass, which he noted his godfather, Al “Big Loud Al” Cook, plays professionally with the classic rock band Tranzfusion.

    Along with learning their songs and practicing their instruments, throughout the week, the students are also exposed to several different activities from the music industry.

    On Thursday, they were set to see Love Seed Mama Jump perform at the Rusty Rudder. Hetfield said he feels it is important for the young musicians to see how a successful band uses proper stage presence and musical technique.

    The campers will also go to B&B Music in Lewes, where they will be taught how to use musical equipment, such as amplifiers. They’ll also get to take part in a real recording session at Mid-South Audio in Georgetown, so they can get a feel of how they sound when they play together and how making a recording works.

    Hetfield added that he wanted the kids to have a very busy week because that, too, mimics the lifestyle of a real musician.

    “It’s really crazy at some points, but we get a lot accomplished,” said Asia, 13.

    All of the hard work the campers put in during the first week of camp and beyond goes into the preparation for two live performances by the groups. Their first concert will be Monday, July 31, at Bethany Blues in Lewes. Then, on Aug. 3, the bands will have a special opportunity to open up for Love Seed Mama Jump at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach.

    The Rudder makes an exception for that night, allowing people younger than 21 to attend the camp’s performance before Love Seed Mama Jump takes the stage.

    After the two performances, the students are rewarded for their hard work with a pizza party on the final day.

    “It’s all about preparation,” Hetfield of how hard the kids work to achieve their goal. “You prepare them for the moment.”

    For more information on Mr. Hetfield’s Rock & Roll Summer Camp, visit the website at http://rockandrollsummercamp.com, email info@misterhetfield.com or call (302) 245-1670.


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    Coastal Point • File Photo: The Fenwick Island Lighthouse’s keeper’s house, on the left, will become a public historical site, if state historians can get their plans, and finances, approved.Coastal Point • File Photo: The Fenwick Island Lighthouse’s keeper’s house, on the left, will become a public historical site, if state historians can get their plans, and finances, approved.In days gone by, sailors looked for the beacon on dark nights. The Fenwick Island Lighthouse warned ships away from the shallows that could trap or shred a boat to bits, depending on the weather. And lighthouse staff were so dedicated to their jobs that they lived next door.

    Today, the State of Delaware wants to show people a slice of that life by renovating the keeper’s house into a public historical site.

    Delaware has long owned the lighthouse and more recently acquired the keeper’s house, just to the west, said Tim Slavin, director of Delaware’s Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs.

    “We are looking at creating that keeper’s house into a kind of community site and interpretive center for lectures or gatherings of any kind,” Slavin said. “We’re also going to do a little better job of marrying the two parcels together, … create a campus there, so when people visit, it’s more than just two parcels.”

    It’s a tight fit, as the two tiny lots comprise about a fifth of an acre at 146th Street.

    In the 1850s, the lighthouse was a lonely tower set among the Fenwick sands. Now it’s crowded in beach development: beach houses, hotels, condos and summertime trailers.

    Two residential homes still stand on either side of the tower — both of historical significance. The State of Delaware’s plans are under way for the western house, while the eastern house remains privately owned. The eastern house was built first, as rather cramped quarters for the keeper, the assistant keeper and both their families. The western house (now also owned by the State of Delaware) was added in 1881, at which time the keeper moved into the new house, leaving the assistant keeper in the original.

    “It’s very exciting. We’ve had input from the community as to the general plans,” said Slavin. “Now we will bring those plans into detail. The work that we do — it’s about historic preservation. We look at the way the building was built and its period of significance, architectural details on windows and shutters or siding…”

    “So it’ll go back to looking very much the way it did when it was built,” said Richard Mais, Fenwick Island Town Council member. “We’re looking forward to it.”

    Although the lighthouse is technically two blocks outside of Fenwick Island town limits, the tower is a beacon and symbol for the whole area.

    “It’s an iconic site. Everyone knows the Fenwick Island Lighthouse,” Slavin said. “We want to change that a little bit, from everyone knowing it to everyone going to it,” he said.

    Their goal is a site the community will be even more proud to show off and able to access more fully. The site could even be a venue for special events, such as group gatherings, wedding receptions or a garden party.

    Of course, the project could take three to five years to complete. The State’s budget is slim this year, so the project will be tackled in phases, with some hope that it could attract private funding.

    Now, they’re in the design phase.

    When the State of Delaware restores buildings, they start from the outside: stabilize the structure; restore windows, doors and roofs; improve electric service and plumbing; add handicapped access; and remove any asbestos or lead paint.

    The National Park Service must also sign off, since the lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    First illuminated in 1859, the 87-foot lighthouse stares straight across the road from the Maryland border. It also overlooks one of the three Transpeninsular Line markers — large stones erected centuries ago to separate William Penn’s three counties (now the state of Delaware) from Charles Calvert’s Maryland.

    Fenwick Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1978 by the U.S. Coast Guard. But volunteers petitioned to have the light turned back on, so now a more symbolic electric light shines each night through a classic third-order Fresnel lens.

    Thanks to the revived Friends of the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, the grounds are open in summertime. People may visit the tiny lot and view historic artifacts. The volunteers have done the legwork to fundraise, landscape, welcome visitors and other day-to-day work.

    “They’re wonderful. They keep the site open for us,” Slavin said. “We haven’t figured out how to operate the site once we’re up and going. That’s a dialog and conversation to have in the future.”

    But will the public ever witness the most thrilling part of a lighthouse — the climb?

    Currently, the general public is not permitted to climb the lighthouse. Mais suggested this was a deed restriction from when the federal government gave the lighthouse property to the State.

    There’s no word yet on whether the State will explore the option of opening the tower.

    The non-profit Friends group is online at www.fenwickislandlighthouse.org. History and visitor hours are posted online.


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    It might be one of the biggest charitable donations ever in Sussex County, and it’s coming from Atlanta, Ga. But the Rollins family hasn’t forgotten its roots in Lewes or their love for Beebe hospital.

    That’s why Margaret “Peggy” Rollins and R. Randall Rollins are giving $10 million toward Beebe Healthcare’s planned expansion.

    To serve a growing Sussex County, Beebe is making a $180 million investment in renovations and expansions, with groundbreaking expected in autumn of 2018. That includes the $82 million estimated at the medical center in Lewes for the new Rollins Pavilion, which will include new rooms and a new labor-and-delivery wing.

    “It truly is a historic moment in Beebe’s 101 years of caring,” said Judy Aliquo, president and CEO of the Beebe Medical Foundation (the hospital’s fundraising arm). “This … is the largest gift Beebe has ever received. It is the largest gift in Sussex County. It is one of the largest gifts in the state of Delaware.”

    Across Sussex County, the nonprofit Beebe Healthcare organization includes a nursing school, adult daycare, cancer center, outpatient centers, walk-in care centers, physicians network and more.

    “As our community has grown, Beebe has also grown, from a family hospital to a large state-of-the-art healthcare system,” said Bill Lee, board chairman of Beebe Healthcare. “Sussex County is one of the fastest growing communities in the nation.”

    And those people need health care.

    The overall $180 million expansion will also transform Beebe’s approximately 210 hospital beds into 210 private rooms (between retrofitting the existing rooms and adding more in the Rollins Pavilion).

    A long-awaited new Beebe health campus will also open Millville, on Route 17, with a year-round emergency department and a satellite facility of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center, offering radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

    Beebe will also create a Rehoboth surgical center for inpatients and outpatients.

    “It’s not like we have this huge birth rate, but more people are retiring. We know that people who are retiring tend to use healthcare services at a higher rate than the rest of the population,” Beebe Healthcare President and CEO Jeffrey Fried told the Coastal Point. “So, all of this is part of our plan to continue to serve our community, so that people can continue to remain here in Sussex County for their care.”

    A major change is the move to build more rooms and transform the existing double rooms into singles.

    “Everybody wants to have a private room, No. 1, because it offers more privacy,” Fried said. “There are crucial conversations that patents and family members have with their caregivers that are much more conformable and should occur in a private setting.”

    Besides privacy, single rooms will help the hospital prevent infections from spreading among patients. Plus, if an emergency room patient needs a regular bed, the staff won’t have to juggle to find a roommate of compatible gender or health condition.

    Donating the first 12 percent of the building’s $82 million price tag comes with the naming rights for the future Margaret H. Rollins Pavilion. It will replace an existing office building at the corner of Savannah Road and Fourth Street in Lewes.

    Beebe had barely announced its plans for expansion in June when the family came forward with the donation.

    Hopefully, this gift will encourage others to donate, said Thomas Cooper, foundation chairman.

    Beebe is “full of talented, compassionate and caring professionals who routinely deliver life-changing and life-saving services, and that’s what has made and enabled the Beebe reputation,” which has encouraged the Rollinses’ decades of support.

    Beebe leaders thanked the Rollins family and everyone in the community who supports the Beebe mission.

    “To have somebody who is so supportive in what we do, so interested in helping us, so down-to-earth — we’re just so blessed to have a friend like Peggy and her husband and the rest of their family,” Fried said.

    Margaret “Peggy” Hastings Rollins was born at Beebe Hospital and worked there during weekends and after school as a teenager. Two of her children were born there, and she later served as a board member.

    The Rollinses themselves eschewed attention at the July 21 announcement of the donation, only releasing a statement: “We are pleased to be able to contribute to this wonderful institution.”

    The Ma-Ran Foundation is the couple’s avenue for charitable giving. Margaret Rollins’ name is also on Beebe’s School of Nursing and the new museum at Lewes Public Library. Randall Rollins and his brother Gary are billionaires who oversee the Atlanta-based family business, Rollins Inc., whose subsidiaries include pest-control company Orkin and others.

    Details about the hospital and its expansion plans are online at www.beebehealthcare.org.


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    The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce announced on Wednesday the resignation of executive director Kristie Maravalli, who will become the director of development for the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. Lauren Weaver, currently the events and member-relations manager for the Chamber, will assume the role of executive director effective Monday, Aug. 7.

    “I have immense gratitude for Kristie, Lauren and the entire team. The Chamber has seen significant growth in the last four years,” said Ron Derr, president of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Change is always bittersweet. With Lauren transitioning into the director position, the Chamber will continue in its success, due to our stakeholders and support of the business community.”

    In June of 2013, Maravalli began working as the director of membership, while Weaver was hired for her current role three days later. Maravalli was promoted to executive director in January 2014.

    Derr noted that, during that time, the team reached benchmark achievements in events, membership and publications, with the organization undergoing a major overhaul to its operational structure.

    “Our team, with the guidance from our Board of Directors, has worked at such a high level of efficiency with dedication and passion,” said Maravalli, “Words cannot express the appreciation and pride I have in the work we have done together in advancing the mission.”

    Applications are being accepted for the events and member-relations manager position through Friday, Aug. 18. For more information, visit business.bethany-fenwick.org/jobs/.


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    Kevin Patterson’s third-grade daughter has found success in the Indian River School District, and he looked forward to sending his son to kindergarten this fall. But, living outside the district, the boy isn’t guaranteed a spot, and the school has recommended that the school board reject his school choice application. After all, the Kindergarten Center is filling up faster than usual, and they haven’t even entered the heavy enrollment period of August.

    “We have our daughter in the school system now, and she’s been there since kindergarten. She’s scheduled to go into third grade,” Patterson said. “If our son doesn’t get approved, we have to pull her out of the school system and return to the home school.”

    The Pattersons are just one family that won’t know if their child is attending a school in the Indian River School District until August. The school board at its most recent meeting tabled discussion of their application.

    Although they consider it an honor that so many students want to leave their home districts for IRSD schools, the Board of Education is floundering to decide just who can come. The board has been questioning school recommendations because of school capacity concerns and perceived issues with fairness to students.

    At the end of their most recent discussion, the board members agreed they would like to form a School Choice Committee to explore the issue in depth, without repeating the same conversation at each board meeting.

    School-choice applications have traditionally been cut-and-dry. Principals review student applications and make a recommendation to the school board. Students are either accepted or rejected, based on building capacity, attendance or discipline history. The board has typically confirmed a principal’s recommendations in a matter of seconds, no questions asked.

    But for the past several months, with growing populations and shrinking budgets, the board members have more closely examined those would-be students.

    The IRSD currently has a school-choice policy with 14 levels of student priorities, including whether they live in the district, whether they already have siblings attending a district school and whether their parents are employed by the district.

    But the policy doesn’t provide for consistency across all schools. Once a school population reaches 85 percent of the building’s or program’s total capacity, state law allows schools to reject school-choice applications. But it’s not required. So, some schools are still welcoming students when they’re past 85 percent capacity, or even when the school is completely full, since the individual program isn’t full.

    “How can we reject people due to capacity?” asked Board of Education Member Heather Statler, saying she was frustrated that a policy isn’t being applied uniformly across the district. “The board needs to work on refining that clarity to better make those decisions.”

    Although no formal vote was taken July 24 to create a committee, the idea was well-liked, and Preston A. Lewis — administrator of student services, who oversees student choice and has borne the brunt of the board’s recent questioning — said several school administrators had expressed an interest in serving by the meeting’s end.

    “My opinion is that we should all be … on the same page,” agreed Lewis.

    The timing fits, since the 2018-2019 school-choice application process opens this fall, giving the district time to make changes before applications open up. It is not expected to be a speedy process. The committee and board need to deliberate exactly how to balance the State’s requirements with local desires and school programs.

    Board Member James “Jim” Hudson admitted that his opinions of school choice keep changing because of new information and situations each month.

    “We’ve got siblings in the district, and now we’re telling them, ‘Now you can’t bring your younger kids.’ … It seems to me we have not gotten enough information as we go through this to make common-sense decisions,” Hudson said.

    For instance, some rising freshmen who live outside the district were recently rejected from attending an Indian River School District high school after attending the Southern Delaware School of the Arts (grades K-8) on school-choice for eight years, Hudson said. “It doesn’t seem quite right if they’ve been with us.”

    Board Member Rodney Layfield said he understood that frustration, but he also believed school principals know what’s best for their school, so the board should trust their recommendations each month.

    The board should trust principals, but they also need consistent rules for each building, concluded Board Member Gerald “Jerry” Peden Jr.

    “I couldn’t honestly sit here tonight and honestly say that we follow those guidelines [consistently],” Hudson mused.

    Special programs also throw a wrench in the works — especially as, overall, the northern schools are growing far faster than southern schools.

    The Georgetown Kindergarten Center only serves one grade, so it’s the only kindergarten program that doesn’t guarantee out-of-district children access to an IRSD school through fifth grade. Sussex Central High School’s acclaimed International Baccalaureate program practically needs more students, but the building is over capacity by 135 students.

    “I still have difficulty explaining to anyone in the public why that building is so crowded and we keep taking more and more students,” Statler said. She said she is proud that the IB program is attracting distant students, “but I’m struggling immensely with balancing that with that building being so filled.”

    The board accepted principals’ recommendations for most of its schools but tabled discussion of the Kindergarten Center and Georgetown Middle School (where capacity may have changed after some rooms were switched around).

    Meanwhile, because they have chosen a school through school choice, the Pattersons said they hold their daughter to a higher standard and feel she’s accomplished that level of success.

    “We’d like to keep our kids in this district. … The most important thing to us is that they go to a good district,” Patterson said. “We’re hoping they can find some room for our son.”

    Indian River’s school choice policy is titled JECC-A “School Choice” and is located online at www.irsd.net (click “Parents & Students” and then “Policy Manual, then “Policies – J – Students”).

    The next IRSD Board of Education meeting is Monday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. at Sussex Central High School.


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    John StetsonJohn StetsonWhat is it about magic that draws people in, regardless of age, background, or personality? Is it the allure of the mysterious, of the unknown? Is it the attraction of darkened theaters, thick velvet curtains and buttered popcorn? The promises of knowledge about the future; miracles spun under the fingers of witty wizards?

    Maybe all of these factors play a part, but perhaps what truly entices people is the notion that, if just for a moment, they can believe in the impossible. Minds can be read. Objects can disappear. Anything one can dream becomes irresistibly within reach.

    Dickens Parlour Theatre — and the host of world-renowned expert magicians who travel to perform there — offers the chance to make dreams of the impossible come true. In an enchanting Victorian theater, both adults and children are astonished and mystified daily. And, this week, a truly special act is coming to the theater.

    Jon Stetson — otherwise known as “America’s Master Mentalist” — is performing in the Dickens Parlour Theatre on Aug. 2-7, ready to not only blow minds, but to read them. A man capable of baffling even the most skeptical crowd, Stetson is known for his signature mixture of magic and psychology used to predict the unknowable.

    His expertise led to his being hired as a consultant for the CBS television show “The Mentalist,” and with clients as prestigious as U.S. presidents (three!), Moroccan and Swedish royalty, and hundreds of enormous corporations, Stetson knows how to expertly interact with the audience and produce a jaw-dropping show.

    In addition, he comes armed with a sharp sense of humor that’s sure to entertain adults and children alike. Stetson proves with each intelligent, funny performance, that magic is never boring, no matter one’s age.

    Companies that he’s performed for rave about him long after he’s left the building. A managing partner from New York Life said, “We can’t decide what it is you do best. Some say you’re a great mind-reader. Some say you’re a great comedian, and others say you’re an incredible entertainer. What I do know for certain is that you amazed and entertained us completely, and we are a tough crowd to please.”

    From Wednesday, Aug. 2, to Monday, Aug. 7, Stetson will perform at 9 p.m. each night. After each show, a magician meet-and-greet will be held in the Parlour, so audience members can get to know Stetson and have some up-close magical fun.

    For more information about Stetson, visit www.stetsonmastermentalist.com. For more information about the theater, the magicians appearing there or to buy tickets, go to www.dptmagic.com. Tickets are also sold from the box office, which can be reached at (302) 829-1071. Dickens Parlour Theatre is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue, Millville, and is open at 6 p.m. every night during the summer. During the rest of the year, shows are held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.


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    Book lovers from all over Sussex County and beyond get the chance to both donate and buy books during the Friends of the South Coastal Library’s Summer Book Sale.

    The Friends of the South Coastal Library — a group of volunteers that organizes fundraisers for the facility — each summer organize a book sale to raise money for the library and its programs. The book sale this year will take place over a span of three days, Aug. 10-12, during the library’s regular hours.

    The chair of the sale and the former president of the Friends of the South Coastal Library, Lois Rubinsohn, took over the event after former chairs Joe and Dorothy Lane retired. She gave the couple all of the credit when it came to the success of the sale.

    “They willingly gave up their time and talent,” Rubinsohn said.

    The Lanes, along with other volunteers, did everything free of charge, which Rubinsohn said was very meaningful, because the library would not be able to afford to pay employees to work the fundraisers.

    The Lanes originally ran the event by themselves, for more than a decade. When Rubinsohn and coworker Terry Druiz took over, they decided that they needed to recruit a number of volunteers to help make operations run more smoothly. Rubinsohn said it takes about 80 volunteers to run the sale, doing jobs that include setting up the tables, organizing the books, manning the cash register and helping customers find what they’re looking for.

    “We all believe in a team effort,” she added. “And it works.”

    On top of the work that will be put into setting up and selling the books, Rubinsohn said it takes several months to plan the event. A committee met several times throughout the month of June to discuss this year’s sale, and they will meet again after the event to reflect on what went well and what didn’t.

    Rubinsohn said that some of the most regular customers of the annual sale are retirees from the area. She said that Lower Sussex County, especially, has an extensive population of retired people who are very avid readers. The book sale has given them a chance to recycle the books they have read.

    “It’s a constant circling there,” she said.

    The sale has become big event amongst community members, said Rubinsohn. Books ranging from children’s books, to non-fiction to cookbooks have been available for purchase. She added that the most popular books over the years have been the children’s books, That section usually sells out first, she said, and, in addition to books, people can also purchase audio books on tape or disk.

    “You name it — it’s a whole gamut of things you can read,” she said.

    Each summer, people drop their used books off at the library, donating them for the sale.

    The book sale has become an institution amongst the community surrounding the library. Rubinsohn said it has been a place where parents can buy affordable reads for their children and where book clubs can buy new material for their conversations. People go to the event because it not only benefits them directly but also aids an establishment that improves their lives and community, she said.

    “It’s a celebratory atmosphere, to be honest,” Rubinsohn added.

    Between their two book sales held each year, the Friends of the South Coastal Library have been able to raise about $12,000 annually. Rubinsohn said they have spent the money on new amenities for the library, which have come from a list written by the librarians. She added that the library has tried to fund as many programs as it can itself, and the two fundraisers that take place for the library — which include Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, in addition to the book sales — are the library’s main ways of obtaining funds.

    “We know that the end results will benefit the community at large,” Rubinsohn said.


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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Mama’s Black Sheep jams out on stage during the first Locals event at the Freeman Stage at Bayside.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Mama’s Black Sheep jams out on stage during the first Locals event at the Freeman Stage at Bayside.For the fifth season, the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville is hosting its Locals under the Lights performances, so that local up-and-coming artists have the opportunity to further their musical interests while audience members are able to appreciate the local talent.

    This summer’s second Locals under the Lights will take place Thursday, Aug. 10.

    “We want to help not only expose a variety of art media to people, but we want to be able to let people express their love for music and performing as well,” said Alyson Cunningham, communications and public relations manager for the Freeman Stage.

    From 7 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 10, people of all ages are being invited to listen to vocal and instrumental performances from 5th Avenue, Cologne, Hedera SOJO, Bad Avenue Band and Jacob Osias, while sitting on the lawn in front of the stage.

    With a variety of genres — classic rock, blues, country, jazz, pop-rock and rock — to offer the audience, the local musicians will each have about 15 to 20 minutes of stage time to perform their mix of original songs and covers.

    Starting at 5:45 p.m., the gates of the venue will open, and since seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, Patron Services Specialist Ashley Quasney said she encourages event attendees to assemble their own chairs and blankets in their preferred locations on the grass.

    Because the event is free of cost, registering for tickets is not required. However, when individuals claim their tickets on freemanstage.org or eventbrite.com and bring them to the show, they will be entered into a drawing to win two free tickets to future performances at the venue.

    For a separate cost, the café will be serving food, beer, wine and soda to accompany the live music, so Freeman Stage employees have advised audience members not to bring their own alcoholic beverages or food.

    In order for this event to run smoothly and successfully, Quasney has been working with two other employees to plan and organize the event. In April, the team reviewed applications of potential performers, selected musicians for the event and communicated with the artists to assist their preparation.

    As part of the application process, musicians, dancers, singers and instrumentalists from the Delmarva area interested in performing at Locals under the Lights were asked to fill out applications on the event’s webpage. They provided their names, genre of music they play, types of music that influence them and links to examples of their own musical works.

    While reviewing submissions of the applicants, Quasney said, she wanted to select a group of performers who would offer memorable performances with a multiplicity of talent.

    “We want to make sure we get a wide range of performances for each showing, so that we get to show off the many different talents Delmarva has to offer,” Quasney said.

    After meeting as a team to select the applicants, the organizers of the event said they were pleased with the lineup of five local artists and that they believe the audience will enjoy the performances.

    “This group that we chose has a nice mix of different genres and different groups,” Quasney said. “We have a good range of artists and ages.”

    Since the artists are of all ages and have different levels of experience performing, Freeman Stage employees said watching youth participants spark and further their passion for the arts while interacting with the audience is a unique aspect of Locals under the Lights.

    “I enjoy watching the kids come into their own on the stage, with the light shining on them, and seeing how excited they are to be in front of a crowd,” Cunningham said.

    Freeman Stage employees said they hope Locals under the Lights will be an experience that inspires these young artists to continue their love for music and that introduces them to the process of performing at professional music venues with crowds as large as 750 people.

    “It’s a nice opportunity for them to see what it’s like if they were to pursue a musical career as an adult,” Quasney said.

    Because many national recording artists have performed on the Freeman Stage in the past, sharing a stage that has showcased well-known musicians is an accomplishment and honor for the local performers, according to the event organizers and employees.

    “We really do enjoy bringing the kids on here, because it’s a really fun chance for them to feel like rockstars on a big stage,” Quasney said.

    The enjoyment of basking in the limelight on the same stage as famous musicians is not only limited to the younger performers. Craig Coffield, the lead singer and guitarist of Bad Avenue Band, said performing at Locals under the Lights for the first time will supplement his list of prior concerts, because his musical inspirations have also performed on the Freeman Stage.

    “I’m most excited to play on the stage that has had so many national acts on it, including Gary Clark Jr. — one of my favorites,” Coffield said.

    Ever since four men met at Fairway Jam Thursday nights at Jonathan’s Landing in 2015, Bad Avenue Band has spent weekends across Delaware and Maryland playing classic rock, blues and country. The band members said they are ecstatic to perform at Locals under the Lights, to share their love of performing with the audience and to further their musical experiences.

    In addition to the benefits for the performers, Locals under the Lights was also created five years ago for community members to appreciate the local talent surrounding them and to honor and learn more about the arts.

    “Local residents and visitors, when they are here, are able to experience a show right in their back yard without having to travel, and I think that is really what our community has embraced and enjoyed,” Cunningham said.

    Lisa Condon of Frankford, who attended this summer’s first Locals under the Lights, said she has decided to attend the events for her second year in a row to increase her knowledge about and exposure to the arts, while also supporting a community of artists.

    “I think arts in our community is incredibly important,” Condon said. “Even more so, I think it is crucial for artists to see they are supported in their efforts. The Freeman Stage provides this opportunity, and it is our privilege and responsibility to attend.”

    Condon and othor audience members recognize the significance of artistic expression within their community, which is at the heart of why the Freeman Stage was built in the summer of 2008.

    As an open-air performing arts venue that offers performances in dance, live music, theater and children’s programs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the venue was created as a part of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. Founder and President Michelle Freeman decided to facilitate the building of the stage to honor her late husband’s dedication to the arts and extend his love for musical expression to the entire community.

    “She always said she thought as though Sussex County and Southern Delaware felt like an art desert at the time, so she wanted to create a place where people could come and experience art performances,” Cunningham said.

    As for the upcoming Locals under the Lights performance, the event organizers, audience members and musicians have all expressed their enthusiasm for a night of artistic expression, education and enjoyment.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing all the great local music that Delmarva has to offer and to see some of these new artists that have not yet had the chance to grace our stage and to give them their chance to show this town what they’ve got,” Quasney said.


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