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    Gov. John Carney, U.S Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) on Monday announced that the next steps are under way in the long-awaited beach replenishment projects in Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has awarded Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company a $17.2 million contract, and work is expected to begin after the new year. The costs of the project will be shared by the federal government and the State of Delaware, and the Congressional delegation said it has been a priority for them because it will help protect the homes, businesses and economy on coastal Delaware.

    The towns’ beaches and dunes were damaged by strong storms, including a nor’easter in October of 2015 and winter storm Joaquin in January of 2016.

    The project will involve dredging 1.2 million cubic yards of sand from approved offshore borrow areas. The sand will be pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches of Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island, and then graded into a dune and berm template designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses and homes.

    “Replenishing our beaches helps drive our economy by keeping our coastline accessible and accommodating for Delawareans and visitors. Delaware also is the lowest-lying state in the U.S., and beach replenishment helps us prepare for extreme weather events, sea-level rise and other effects of climate change,” said Carney.

    “We are grateful to the Army Corps of Engineers for partnering with Delaware to ensure that beach replenishment for Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island both bolsters our coastline and helps retain its natural beauty. I worked as Delaware’s congressman to bring attention and resources to this project, and want to thank members of our federal delegation for their continued leadership on this issue.”

    “We’ve learned that by proactively building up our dunes and beaches, they can stand up protect our homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure from the nastiest storms,” said Carper, top Democrat on the Environment & Public Works Committee.

    “Delaware’s 21 miles of oceanfront are more than just sand and surf — they generate more than $6.9 billion in coastal tourism annually and support 10 percent of Delaware’s workforce. We fought hard for this funding because beach replenishment protects not only our community but our economy as well.”

    “Delaware’s most valuable natural resources are our beautiful beaches and shorelines,” said Coons. “The work that will take place from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island is vital to our state, and I would like to thank the Army Corps of Engineers and DNREC for working to mitigate future erosion that not only threatens our tourism, but our natural habitat as well.”

    “Our beaches are some of Delaware’s most treasured natural resources and an important economic driver for our state’s economy,” said Blunt Rochester. “I am pleased that next steps are underway in Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick to replenish our beaches ahead of next summer. We need to protect our shores from future superstorms and preserve our pristine coastline for generations of Delawareans to come.”

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    It’s Columbus Day weekend, and for the past 10 years, that has brought dozens of local artists together under one roof, at the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company’s Artisan Festival.

    In celebration of that anniversary — and because, well, everyone loves pie — the fire company auxiliary is bringing back its famous apple crumb pies for the occasion.

    The baking of the pies, however, has presented a bit of a challenge lately, because the fire company ovens have been a bit off, according to Ladies’ Auxiliary president Kristin Steele. So the folks at Papa Grande’s restaurant in Fenwick Island have stepped up and offered the use of their ovens, for the good of the order.

    Friday morning, the ladies’ auxiliary will begin baking several dozen pies at Papa Grande’s. Another area business, T.S. Smith Orchards, donates the apples for the pies, according to Steele. Orchard owner Matt Smith takes care of the fire company’s apple needs every year, she said. And the pies have been so popular in the past that they have sold out within an hour of the festival’s start.

    In addition to the pies, Steele herself will be making apple dumplings on the day of the festival — at the fire house. She said she is able to use different ovens for the dumplings, so there need be no fears of dumpling disasters.

    As for the festival’s namesake artisans, Steele said there are 56 artisans signed up this year, and the festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. Most of the artisans will be inside the fire hall, and in the case of rain, all the artists will be able to move into the fire hall, Steele said.

    So popular is the event with local crafters, Steele said, she has a “long waiting list” of even more vendors hoping for a spot. Over the last decade, the festival artisans have offered a variety of creations, ranging from pottery, glassware, jewelry, painted wood, knitted and quilted items, wooden toys and baskets to clothing, bath products, floral arrangements, seasonal items and a variety of artwork.

    Each artist provides a piece for the event’s ticket auction, in which festivalgoers can purchase chances to win the items.

    Proceeds from the auction are used by the fire company for needed items. Steele said that two years ago, thanks to the festival, the fire company was able to purchase a Chevrolet Suburban that is used to transport fire company members to the Delaware fire school and other meetings across the state.

    Steele said fundraisers, such as the Artisan Festival, are crucial to the fire company — even more so now that fire companies are receiving less funding from the State and the County.

    “It cushions the blow,” she said of positive impact of the festival, as well as contributions such as those from businesses like Papa Grande’s and T.S. Smith Orchards.

    Admission to the festival is free, and with parking meter season over in Bethany Beach, free parking will also be plentiful throughout the town.

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    East Millsboro Elementary School was one of three schools in Delaware and 342 nationwide to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017.

    This is the second time that East Millsboro Elementary has received this national honor. It also won the award in 2008. Overall, it is the Indian River School District’s ninth National Blue Ribbon Award since 2001.

    “In earning National Blue Ribbon recognition, East Millsboro Elementary School has made the Indian River School District proud,” Superintendent Mark Steele said. “It gives me great pleasure to have this terrific school recognized as one of the top schools not only in Delaware, but in the entire country. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Principal Kelly Dorman and to East Millsboro’s students and staff for the hard work and dedication that produced this prestigious honor.”

    The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

    The award is designed to affirm the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

    Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,500 schools.

    U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education will honor East Millsboro Elementary School and the other national winners at a special awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6-7.

    National Blue Ribbon Schools are honored in one of two performance categories based on overall student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

    • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

    • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.

    East Millsboro Elementary was a winner in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category.

    “East Millsboro has been recognized as a school community where parents, teachers and the community collaborate for the benefit of all students and has received this recognition for being an Exemplary High Performing School,” East Millsboro Principal Kelly Dorman said. “I want to thank our community, families, students and the EME team for working together to receive such a huge honor! We appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication to the success of all of our students.”

    The district’s other Blue Ribbon Award winners are Long Neck Elementary School (2005, 2011), John M. Clayton/Frankford Elementary School (2004, 2014), North Georgetown Elementary School (2006), Phillip C. Showell Elementary School (2003) and Lord Baltimore Elementary School (2001).

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    The Sussex County Council at its Tuesday council meeting introduced a draft ordinance related to special events.

    Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson said most of the draft ordinance remains the same as the existing ordinance. Those who wish to host a special event would go into the Planning & Zoning office for a permit or would have to apply for a conditional use.

    The draft ordinance allows for three special events to be held on a given property in a calendar year, the duration of which could not exceed three days, which does not include setup and cleanup.

    Elements to be considered by the office when approving permits would include the parcel location, size, parking, connecting roads and traffic, et cetera.

    “Those are not mandatory things; those are just a list of things to be considered… We’re trying to keep it simple and give some guidance.”

    Councilman George Cole asked if there could be an appeal process if an event is denied a permit. Robertson said the applicant could go to the Board of Adjustment or apply for a conditional use.

    Cole also asked if there would be an application for the property owner to fill out, which neighbors could review if they requested.

    “Through the implementation of it is that we would come up with an application form,” said Robertson.

    “I get concerned about not having enough documentation,” said Cole.

    Councilman Rob Arlett asked if it would be possible to digitally attach the application to the parcel information on the County’s website. Robertson said he wasn’t on the technical side but didn’t see how it couldn’t be possible to do that.

    Cole said he reviewed the policy of a coastal resort county in Florida that classifies events by major and minor with regard to the number of people who are involved, using 200 people as a threshold of classifying an event as a major event.

    “What do you consider a major event? Two-hundred people? Five-hundred people,” asked Councilman Sam Wilson.

    “In the application found in this other county … it required the approval of their county council,” Cole said of major events, noting that he was not advocating for a 200-person threshold.

    “I think we’re already getting out of hand,” said Wilson.

    Councilman I.G. Burton said the ordinance is not about a specific parcel of land, but an ordinance for all of Sussex County.

    “I really think we should encourage simplicity,” Burton said, noting that he believes events below a certain threshold should not have to seek a permit. “A special event should be when it hits” a certain number, he said.

    The council introduced the ordinance on Oct. 3, and it will go before the Planning & Zoning Commission for a public hearing on Oct. 26. The item come back before the council in November.

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    More than a dozen residents of Hoot Owl Lane near Dagsboro came out to a Sussex County Board of Adjustment meeting on Oct. 2 to voice their opposition to a special-use exception application filed by Oakwood Homes.

    The company was seeking a special-use exception to permit a manufactured home on a lot less than .75 acres. Gil Fleming of Oakwood Homes said his company was informed that the home had been placed on an undersized lot after the manufactured home had been placed. He noted the County had provided his company with a permit to place the manufactured home there.

    “My salesperson called to do due diligence before we purchased the lot and was told by a County person that it was AR-2 and was fine for modular homes. There is no roof-pitch restrictions, there were no other restrictions mentioned.

    “Then, before we closed on the property, Mr. Hitch, who started this subdivision, signed off… We acted upon that and built the house.”

    Fleming said he wasn’t aware there was an issue until he was contacted by the County on Sept. 13, informing him of the problem and stating they would hold all inspections until the matter had gone before the Board of Adjustment.

    “At this point, we already had the house constructed on-site… We spent tens of thousands of dollars to put a house out there. I don’t see grounds of malice at this point. We were given a permit … and now we’re stuck in this position.”

    Fleming also testified that he believed the home would not negatively impact neighboring properties, adding the modular home in question was permanently anchored, with all utilities connected.

    “It’s a fine-looking home. It’s a display home,” said Fleming. “We don’t think that counts in any way as detrimental.”

    Two people in the audience said they were in favor of the application but chose not to speak during public comment. Another 15 people in attendance said they opposed the application, with the County having received five additional letters of opposition.

    Board Member John Mills noted that, since the .75-acre lot restriction was enacted, the board has only given one or two special-use exception approvals — emphasizing that the applicants in those cases had showed extreme hardship.

    “It is not conducive to our neighborhood,” said Kenneth Leib, whose home is next to the property. “It’s not constructed like any other home in our neighborhood.”

    Leib also stated that the former developer of the street, Howard Hitch, no longer owns property on the street. He added that he had called Hitch regarding the hearing and was told “what he signed gave some company permission, with the intent they put a standard home on the property.”

    Resident Charles Campbell stated that he is not a licensed real estate agent or an attorney but was still able to find the code restrictions in less than two hours.

    “These folks sat here and told you, and couldn’t find this information out from a guy who’s supposedly been in the business for years — an attorney, salespeople… I found it out within an hour or so.”

    Campbell made note of the subdivision’s covenants, which state “no structure, either temporary or permanent — a trailer, tent, barn, treehouse or other similar outhouse or structure — shall be placed on any lot... These restrictions may be enforced by Howard Hitch, his heirs, executors… or any property owner.”

    “None of us property owners signed off on any of this.”

    Campbell said he was told by a County official that the permit for the 100-by-170-foot lot had been issued in error.

    “He told us flat out, ‘Mr. Campbell, this house does not belong here.’”

    Campbell said there are no other homes on the street that are manufactured in type, and called attention to a petition signed by 20 of the 26 property owners stating they opposed the manufactured home being there.

    “The property we bought is the single biggest investment we’ve ever made,” he said. “Down the road, I don’t want to lose 10 or 20 percent or anything of my investment because of something non-conforming.”

    Nancy Butters, who built her home 32 years ago, said she’s concerned about the precedent that could be set if the application were to be approved and affect other neighboring empty lots.

    “All the other houses fit in together,” she said, stating that most are modest ranch-style homes. “This one does not.”

    Fleming said Hitch was well aware of what was going to be placed on the property.

    “We did not move forward with any intent to cause harm to any neighboring property owners.”

    He added the home was a display model, and $70,000 was spent on purchasing the lot and $12,000 was spent setting the home there.

    Fleming said that if they were denied the special-use exception, it would place the company and the property owner in a huge financial hardship.

    “We’re caught in a situation — had a permit not been issued, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

    Planning & Zoning Director Janelle Cornwell said an inspection had been conducted on Sept. 12.

    “The only inspection we did was a footer inspection, which means, at that time, there should not have been a home on that property — because we do a footer inspection, and then the home gets placed,” she said. “The only time we did an inspection, there was no home on the property.”

    Fleming said the home was on the property on Aug. 24. He provided a written timeline of happenings on the property as evidence to the board.

    Board Member E. Brent Workman asked why, if Fleming was issued a hold on all future inspections, the company continued its work to the property.

    “Those were land improvements,” replied Fleming. “It was my true feeling we were not going to have an issue with this… We’d already gone this far. We’d already purchased the property for a lot of money.”

    “Don’t you think it’s out of the character of the other homes there?” asked Workman.

    “It’s not exactly like the other homes there,” responded Fleming. “I have to go off of what I’m given.”

    The Board decided to defer their decision and to leave the record opened for the limited purpose of allowing the Board to ask staff questions regarding permitting.

    Oakwood asks

    for same exception

    in a second location

    In addition to the on Hoot Owl Lane, Oakwood homes has filed a similar special-use exception application for a modular home placed on a 175-by-130 lot on Julie Court near Frankford.

    Cornwell said the County also received letters of opposition regarding that application.

    Fleming said the property owner there, James Brown, lost his home on another piece of property due to a fire. Instead of rebuilding, the Browns chose to place a manufactured home on another lot they own.

    “I’m just trying to put a roof over my head,” said Brown. “This is all I have; this is all I can afford.”

    Brown said the modular home is 1,300 square feet in size, and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    “It does not look like a trailer… Other than the pitch of the roof, you cannot tell.”

    Brown said he doesn’t believe that home would have a negative impact on neighboring or adjacent properties, although he admitted there were no other mobile homes on the road.

    “I was surprised to find there was any opposition.”

    At the hearing on the Julie Court application, there were two audience members who expressed support of the application; however, they chose not to speak. Three people in attendance said they opposed to the home being there.

    Neighboring property owner Nicole Harrell, a licensed Realtor who worked for a land surveyor for a decade, voiced her displeasure at the situation.

    “This is out of character,” she said. “I don’t want to live in a trailer park. If I did, I would live in Plantation Park. I just think it’s unfortunate it’s slipped through the cracks.”

    Harrell said any hardship possibly endured by the company and/or property owner was self-inflicted, as they chose to work on the property even after they received notice of a hold on inspection.

    “It’s a lack of respect,” she added, noting that there have been individuals burning trash on that property as well. She said she believed the home would negatively affect the value of neighboring properties, as “mobile-home communities are selling for a lot less.”

    Sandy Prettyman, who lives on Owl Lane, said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to speak before the board, but after hearing all the testimony, she said, she felt obligated to do so.

    “I looked in Plantation Park, I looked in Shady Dell, I looked at a 5-acre piece of property, and then I chose here, and chose the neighborhood.”

    Prettyman said she’s concerned about the precedent that could be set if the applications were to be approved.

    “The guy from Oakwood Homes has been doing this for 18 years. He knows what a three-quarter-acre lot is. That’s what I find difficult to swallow here tonight. Eighteen years… He knows. Your decision is going to make a big difference in Sussex County.”

    A decision on the Julie Court application was also deferred until the board’s Oct. 16 meeting.

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    In the wake of the departure of its police chief — its sole police officer — over the summer, Frankford officials and residents early this week continued to wrestle with how best to maintain an acceptable level of public safety in the town. But on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Town announced via its Facebook page that it had decided not to move forward with a proposed merger between its police department and the neighboring Dagsboro police department.

    “The Town has decided to not go forward with the police department merger with Dagsboro, based on resident concerns and budget limitations,” Town officials said on Wednesday. “The council will immediately begin evaluating other options for police coverage, including resident suggestions of hiring a new chief or contracting with the [Delaware] State Police for coverage. The council looks forward to resident input on this important decision. Thank you.”

    At the Monday, Oct. 2, town council meeting, Dagsboro police officer Tyler Bare had introduced himself to the audience and explained that he was currently working part-time for Frankford as well, in an attempt to clear up some unfinished business left by the departure of former police chief Mark Hudson in June.

    Bare said there were eight unfinished cases at that time and that he has cleared up two of them so far. He said he has also been able to get the Town’s three police vehicles “up and running” after they sat idle for several months.

    “It’s a work in progress,” Bare said of his attempt to keep up somewhat of a police presence in the town and to deal with the now-dormant department’s paperwork.

    Bare, who formerly worked as a police officer in Frankford, said, “My goal is, whether I return as an employee or not, all you have to do is hand the keys over” to whoever takes over the police department.

    The Town in recent weeks had been considering a proposal from the Dagsboro Police Department to “unify” Dagsboro’s department with Frankford, which would have resulted in six officers between the two towns. Frankford officials had said the Town would have to raise property taxes an estimated average of $232 per year per household to fund such an endeavor.

    Town Council Treasurer Marty Presley said on Monday that he believed the Town had three options: proceed with the unification of a rebooted Frankford police department with the existing Dagsboro department; hire a police chief who would be both administrator and police officer; or rely on the Delaware State Police for coverage of the town.

    While Bare has been working in Frankford on his days off from his Dagsboro police patrols, he said he was spending most of that time in the office doing administrative work. But he noted that now that the Frankford patrol cars are functioning, he would try to at least get out on the road occasionally.

    “We asked Tyler to come in on a temporary basis to get us over this hump,” Presley explained on Monday.

    Bare said then that although state police troopers are responding to calls within the town, while he is working part-time there, “Anything that happens in this town, I do follow up.”

    “This police department is going to be fully-functioning by the time I’m done with it,” Bare said on Monday.

    When asked for clarification about the circumstances surrounding Hudson’s departure, Presley had said, “He gave us less than a week’s notice,” but added that, contrary to rumors, “we did not ask for his resignation. I don’t know where these rumors are coming from, but that’s not true,” Presley said.

    He said that, in recent weeks, both Bare and Dagsboro Police Chief Clifford Toomey had gone to Dover to speak with state officials in an effort to help Frankford retain state grants for its police department while it is in flux.

    “Things are just in the works,” Bare said on Monday. “The wheels are turning.”

    Council President Joanne Bacon at Monday’s meeting said the Town would be looking at “something along the lines of 56 percent” as a property tax increase if the Town decided to merge with Dagsboro’s police department. “We do need to get together as a town and as a council” and review the pros and cons of the different options for the future of the police department, she said.

    At the meeting, resident Jerry Smith recommended that the council simply “look at what didn’t work before” and try not to replicate that.

    “I don’t think the residents of this town can afford almost 60 percent” more town taxes, Smith said. He recommended that the Town look at which days and times seem to be the “most problematic” and aim for police coverage during those times, at a minimum.

    Resident Tom Ensor took the opportunity Monday to revisit the situation of the Town’s water tower and its ongoing issues with Mountaire regarding water service, calling it “the elephant in the room.”

    Presley expressed concern about drug dealers in the town, particularly with the reduced police patrols. “I’ve personally witnessed drug deals going down next to 4- and 5-year-olds” in the town park, Presley said.

    Council Vice President Greg Welch said on Monday that the police-chief-only scenario has seen quite a bit of turnover in the position. “We’ve been struggling with that,” he said.

    “When did we begin struggling?” Smith asked.

    “I don’t believe it started recently,” Presley replied.

    Resident Dean Esham said Monday, “Probably the best way to go is to have a chief and a part-time officer.”

    Another resident, Robbie Murray, said he was worried about the expense of hiring officers.

    “When did it become in-vogue to not live within your budget?” he asked.

    Esham expressed concern that the Town might be low-balling the cost of the unification with Dagsboro’s police department while also overestimating the cost of having one officer.

    “What you’re doing is not right,” Esham said, before angrily exiting Monday’s meeting.

    “What I’ve heard is that the preference is to hire a police chief,” Murray said. “The debatable part is whether that makes financial sense” or whether unifying with Dagsboro would be the better choice.

    “It’s a hell of an idea,” he said of the two towns joining forces. “It’s just not the right time.”

    “It’s a very serious issue for the Town,” Bacon said. And while she added, “We need more people to speak out,” as of Wednesday, at least one of the three potential scenarios for solving the Town’s police problem had already been ruled out by the council.

    With the Town’s request for more resident input on the issue coming as part of the announcement of that decision, consideration of the issue, public input and council discussion was expected to continue going forward, with no solution yet in sight.

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    In an effort to support Delaware military veterans, local animal rescue group Grass Roots Rescue this weekend is hosting 4 Paws Got Your 6, in the hopes of raising money to train a service dog.

    “We’ve always had the utmost respect for people who have served,” said Karli Crenshaw, co-founder of Grass Roots Rescue Society (GRR), an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit group founded in 2013 to rescue dogs and cats.

    “I started reading about different military organizations and ways to help. PTSD caught our attention and pulled at our heartstrings. We wanted to do something to try to help individuals who suffer from that. We kind of feel the government has let a lot of these people down, similar to shelter animals, you know. They’ve been let down by people, by the system.”

    The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 28 in Millsboro.

    During the event, at least two female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will speak about the disorder.

    Event sponsors include Support our Soldiers Foundation, Atlantic Refrigeration, Tripaw’s Pet Pantry, Get Your Wag On Pet Services and Good Dog Inn, as well as organizations including People’s Place, Frets For Vets, Home of the Brave, Ace Peer Center, Stand Down, Supportive Services/Veteran Housing, Delmarva K9, Hasslers Helping Hands Foundation, Tripaws Pet Pantry, Vietnam Veterans of America, Compassionate Hearts and Samantha Hudran Massage.

    “There will be four bands, three food trucks… We have two or three people coming to paint faces for the kids. We’ll have puppies there that will be available for adoption. We’ll have vendors there from everything from Discovery Toys, Lula Roe and Tupperware... We have something for everybody,” said Crenshaw. “We’ve gotten a really good response. Everybody seems to be pretty excited about it and onboard.”

    Event T-shirts will be available for purchase the day of the event for $22. Half of all the monies raised that day will be donated to Rebuilding Warriors.

    “They pair veterans with service dogs. The Vietnam Veterans Association Post 880 has been fundraising for things,” she explained. ‘‘Riedel K9 in Dover has a puppy there that’s in the first stage of training through Rebuilding Warriors. He will be in training for about a year, and then, upon completion, he will be paired with a veteran.

    “We teamed up with the Vietnam Veterans Association and put our money in with theirs to go toward the training of the dog, whose name is Bud. The training costs anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000.”

    Crenshaw said there are four veterans in Kent County who have been identified as being in need of a service dog.

    “So, they’ll be screening then to see who is most in need at this time.”

    Crenshaw said GGR hopes the community will attend the Oct. 14 event and help support local veterans.

    “Everyone should attend,” she said. “It’s going to be a good time for a good cause.”

    American Legion Post 28 is located at 31768 Legion Road in Millsboro. For more information about Grass Roots Rescue, visit

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  • 10/12/17--10:42: Therapy in a paintbrush
  • Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Every fish, shrimp and whale has special meaning and a positive message on this mural painted by students with help from John Donato.For some kids, it was an excuse to leave class. For others, it was a chance to paint past a bad day and inspire others having a tough time.

    George Washington Carver Academy unveiled five murals this month that are truly meant to make the school a better place.

    “Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, our students worked with local artist John Donato to create murals to display throughout school focusing on their work and positive actions … as well as utilizing art as a medium to represent themselves in a positive way,” said Principal Melissa Kansak.

    The Carver Academy is an alternative school in Frankford focusing on individual K-12 students’ academic, behavioral and personal needs in Indian River School District. It’s a transient population as students arrive or transition back to their home schools. About 65 students participated in the murals.

    “This was an area they all felt successful,” said counselor Whitney Price.

    Some murals were created in layers, very organically. Imagine a flock of 7-year-olds dripping and smearing paint on the boards, Donato said. That’s how the mural started.

    Next, the older children look for patterns and begin sectioning off the shapes that the first-graders had created.

    Finally, the teenagers used the loose patterns as inspiration. Did the colors remind them of Bob Marley? They researched inspirational song lyrics that relate to positive actions.

    “It allowed the little guys to start it off, and then we sort of had to keep adapting on top of each other,” said Donato, whose role was to guide the kids and then add solid black lines afterward. “When it comes together in the end, with all ages working on it, you get a much more robust piece of artwork. … It’s just absolutely beautiful.”

    The students really got to brainstorm over the artwork, since they worked on the murals for months, from January to almost the end of the school year in June. Donato usually comes to schools for a few weeks to guide mural creation, but this was more of a residency.

    With the art boards set up in the cafeteria, students could swing by during lunch or whenever they were having a tough time. The relaxed environment let them talk through their problems with Donato — or paint in silence until they had calmed down.

    Price was often there to help begin the conversation, and she helped train Donato on the school’s “Positive Action” curriculum, so they could better respond to students who had come to paint.

    He met with students one-on-one and in small groups at least once a month, and usually more often.

    Together they brainstormed questions such as “How do positive thoughts affect your actions?” “When is it hardest for you to think or act positively?” “What could help change that?”

    An ocean-themed mural really helped some kids dig through tough times. There are small fish trying to make their way forward in life; sneaking sharks and seaweeds that want to trap fish at vulnerable times; and wise mer-people and whales who encourage the fish forward to make good decisions.

    The mural reminds viewers to ask for help, think through their decisions and consider the impact of their actions, and also encourages them to help others having a hard time.

    The students painted thoughtful quotes:

    “Never forget your positive actions. Always ask … ‘Is what I am about to do going to make things better or worse?’”

    “Every mistake is progress. You only fail if you have given up.”

    “Might take me some time, but I have a plan.”

    These are life lessons that adults could stand to remember, too.

    Everyone also participated in bookshelf murals, which Donato commonly uses at the other local schools. Those murals resemble bookshelves, and everyone creates a positive-themed book spine.

    Carver sophomore Steven Sickle painted a peaceful nature scene, with geese flying in formation at dusk, under the caption “Life Keeps Moving.”

    “I thought of geese, how they stay together in a group — like, they stay in a triangle form, they just keep following where they need to go,” Sickle said. “I thought, ‘Well, life keeps moving. what do they do? They stick together.’”

    That applies to the country as a whole, too, he said.

    “Like the United States — it’s all in one, one country, so let’s stick together and help each other,” Sickle said.

    He got to serve as project documentarian, too, photographing the process from beginning to end.

    “Every one of these books is a completely different piece of artwork, inspired by a completely different set of situations and skills and ideals and moods, so you’re gonna get something that’s gonna be timeless,” as people absorb new details every time they pass by, Donato said.

    Price thanked the Carver staff — especially the custodians who helped bring the project to life. She also thanked Delaware Community Foundation’s Next Gen South, which provided grant money to make the project happen. Carver was one of 16 applicants and four winners.

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    The Ocean View Historical Society on Tuesday, Oct. 10, was given the go-head by the Ocean View Town Council for its future education building, to be called Hall’s Store.

    The building would be located on the society’s complex at 39 Central Avenue — a property that was leased to the historical society by the Town in May of 2010, for 15 years, with the option to extend the lease for five years, at a cost of $1.

    The society came before the Ocean View Board of Adjustment last month to request a variance that would allow the society’s new building to exceed the maximum 35 percent lot coverage by 18 percent. In the process of getting reviewed by Sussex Conservation District, the property at 39 Central was clumped in with the Town’s surrounding 4.3 acres.

    At the Oct. 10 council meeting, members of the society presented the council with information regarding the project.

    “The historical society has done a great job. If I may quote [Administrative Official] Charlie [McMullen], ‘It has been a great marriage between the society and the town. We have something the town should be proud of, we have something that could be even better,’” said former mayor Gordon Wood. “My objective tonight is to ask the council to make sure we don’t get caught up, administratively, having to wait for this meeting, having to wait for that meeting… Try to fast-track it.”

    Former OVHS president Richard Nippes said the area for the building has already been cleared and is ready for the replica of Hall’s Store to be built. He said the society has already raised $100,000 to begin construction, and is expecting to receive the rest of the funds from grants.

    “This building, I think, is going to attract many visitors, because the front of that building is going to be a replica of Hall’s Store, which was a general store built in 1820 and gave the name of the town, Hall’s Store, until 1889, until the town became Ocean View.

    “Many people are going to want to come and see what an old general store actually looked like,” he said.

    Nippes also called attention to the group’s recent partnership with Contractors for a Cause, a nonprofit organization of local contractors who have united to give back to the community.

    “We are absolutely blessed that Contractors for a Cause has decided this is a fantastic project for them,” said Nippes. “They’re going to be the ones who are building it. They’re hoping to use contractors from the area to build the whole project. It will be a spectacular thing.”

    McMullen said that if the council were to allow the historical society to move forward with the Sussex Conservation District’s review of the complex’s stormwater management, future reviews for the Town could be more stringent.

    If approved, the society would go before the Planning & Zoning Commission for a preliminary site-plan review, which could happen as early as November.

    Councilman Bill Olsen cautioned that the approval could cut down on future improvements to the park, which would impact what future councils could do.

    “The new thing nowadays is pickleball. Right away, you’re using up all that square footage,” he said.

    Councilman Frank Twardzik said he, too, was unsure about allowing the society to move forward as is.

    “I don’t want to surrender the rights of future councils,” he said. “We have no idea what we may do down the road… In 2003, we purchased this property at 39 Central Avenue for $289,000. We also purchased 41 Central for $287,500. The original intent was solely to expand the park.

    “Shortly after the purchases is when the historical society became interested in the property at 39 Central Avenue. So, in essence, we gave them a gift of $289,000 by leasing them that property.”

    Mayor Walter Curran said he disagreed that voting in favor would be surrendering the rights of future councils.

    “What you’re doing is most likely adding some cost, should they choose to do something… I don’t see it that way.”

    Councilwoman Carol Bodine said she was in favor of the society moving forward, because the society brings people a lot of pleasure.

    The council voted 3-2, with Twardzik and Olsen opposed, to allow the society to go ahead with the construction of Hall’s Store, with the variance granted by the Board of Adjustment, without returning to Sussex Conservation District to have the property reviewed as a separate parcel.

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    As people nationwide worry more about the impact of heroin on their families and communities, local police held two public meetings to discuss the problem and actions that residents can take.

    On Sept. 28, Salem U.M. Church hosted representatives of the Selbyville Police Department, Sussex County Paramedics and Delaware’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Services (MCIS). The next day, Delaware State Police led an event at Millville Town Hall, hosted by state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. (R-20) and Rep. Ron Gray (R-38).

    Prescription drug abuse was the biggest issue until the State cracked down, said SPD Chief W. Scott Collins. Now, he said, “Heroin’s cheap, and it’s everywhere.”

    The first problem is the illegal drug itself. While heroin users typically know what their body can handle, when it’s cut with lethal compounds, such as fentanyl and carfentanyl, “People don’t know what they’re getting,” Collins said.

    Additives can kill a person before the needle has left their arm.

    Naloxone (sold under several brand names, including “Narcan”) can reverse an opioid overdose, which stops the person breathing. If people revive a loved one with Narcan, experts advised, they should still call 911, since the drug is still in their system, or other drugs might be reacting in the body to cause more medical issues.

    And, they noted, when police respond to an overdose, they cannot make drug arrests, by law, though they will confiscate illegal substances.

    When it comes to repeatedly administering naloxone to the same people, longtime paramedic Robbie Murray Jr. admitted there is some “frustration in knowing that we’re waking these folks up, and they don’t have help available to them, or they don’t want to seek help … so we deal with it, and then we go back and deal with it again.”

    “I think their families are grateful,” said Capt. Rodney Layfield, commander at DSP Troop 4 in Georgetown.

    Drugs are considered a nonviolent crime, which frustrates some police officers, he said, because after they make arrests on possession or dealing, the light bail or sentencing means they are running into those same people a week later at the hardware store.

    “We understand the initiative to push rehabilitation … but also our main job is to provide safety for the public,” Layfield said. But he said he also knows that, in the long term, “We are not going to arrest our way out of it.”

    Literally anyone can be affected. Heroin addiction does not discriminate by color or socioeconomic status. Police have arrested English teachers and attorneys.

    “The face of addiction has changed,” said Lisa Venables of Kent/Sussex Mobile Crisis Intervention Services. It’s not just young street punks. “Now, the calls that we’re getting are from individuals who are 60 or 70, and their lifetime hasn’t been addiction [or crime] at all. They are like you and me, and their route to addiction truly came through prescription drugs, post-surgery. … That’s not an excuse, that’s just an explanation.”

    “We’re not dealing with the worst of the worst — we’re dealing with people that have addiction problems that are trying to live life day to day,” said Layfield. “Don’t be shocked. There’s somebody in here [today] that’s addicted, I’m sure. … The people that are suffering from addiction … they’re in amongst us, in our families.”

    Crime levels

    Police are working with intention. They’re mapping crime trends, so they can focus patrols on problem areas. For example, when Oak Orchard suffered a rash of crimes, the DSP patrolled late at night and made their presence known. Eventually, they nearly halved their monthly calls for service.

    “We’ve not ridded Oak Orchard of drugs, … crime or thefts, but we have taken a huge bite out of crime down there,” Layfield said.

    Similarly, the DSP noticed that Millville was being targeted in burglaries, especially in the many construction zones where there are empty houses. Once again, they targeted resources to the problem areas.

    “I can certainly tell when a new product hits the streets,” said Murray. In one night, he said, they’ll get multiple calls for service, with reports of cardiac arrest, no breathing and other familiar signs of overdose.

    Unfortunately, he said, if police warn the public to avoid certain packaging, that just attracts more users seeking a stronger high. People with addiction are always chasing the next high, he said, because it will never be as good as the first time. That’s why overdose victims are so often angry after being revived — because their high ended.

    Prevention of crime and drugs

    Police said they hope residents will speak up when something doesn’t seem right.

    “You call us and tell us everything that’s going on. The more information we have, the easier it is for us to enforce certain things,” said Collins. “It takes that community uproar with anything to get things done. We need that push, and, unfortunately, we don’t have that momentum yet.”

    With more data and complaints from “squeaky wheels,” the police can tell each other and legislators what crime trends they need to fix.

    Tips to a police officer are helpful, but some police prefer a more documented complaint, through a public tip line. People may call anonymously.

    Prevention is always key. DARE was taken out of the local schools, although the Indian River School District is preparing to pilot a new drug-prevention program.

    Adults are also being encouraged to mentor. The commitment is just 45 minutes per week with IRSD children, and those who mentor often say it’s among the most rewarding things they do. Details are available through the IRSD Adult & Community Education office.

    Police departments are also hosting Coffee with a Cop events — informal gatherings where people can meet their local police officers and ask about crime trends in the area.

    Safety in neighborhoods

    Police offered tips on ways for people to be proactive at home.

    • People should be more proactive in their neighborhoods. Consider adding security systems, outdoor lighting.

    • People should record the serial numbers of their home appliances, electronics and firearms, which helps items get home if they are found in a thief’s shed or in a pawn shop.

    • Know your neighbors, so it’s easier to determine what is suspicious activity late at night.

    “We can’t be everywhere at all times,” said Layfield.

    “If you see it, call and report it,” said Collins.

    • Don’t wait until the next morning, because the police can’t do much once the activity and the players are gone.

    • People must lock their car doors.

    “Our thefts would probably be cut even 75 percent if we would take the time to lock cars,” said Layfield.

    Most of the recent car burglaries aren’t smash-and-grab jobs. Instead, people are just walking down the street, looking for unlocked doors that grant them access to loose change, sunglasses, GPS devices and other small valuables. (Collins suggested that some insurance agencies may not cover car-related theft claims if the keys are left inside the car — which he said is also frustratingly common.)

    Most of the perpetrators of such crimes, he said, are heroin addicts who need money — typically white men ages 21-44.

    People can view local crimes on the DSP crime map, online at It is not a complete listing, since the DSP keeps some things under wraps (such as domestic incidents), and many municipal departments don’t participate. But it provides some overview of crime statewide.

    Neighborhood crime watch groups have been successful, and are being revived. The Delaware State Police has a community officer whose mission is helping neighborhoods improve safety. Contact DSP for details.

    Neighbors can also connect on the NextDoor app or website, which is a private social media program to connect with, or alert, each other.

    Residents can also use the Smart911 website or app, which emergency operators can access during an emergency, allowing people to list family members, allergies, pets or special situations that emergency responders should know when coming to their home, such as if a child has autism or a parent has diabetes.

    Crack is coming

    Venables has been in the treatment business for years, so she’s see the cycles, including two other opiate epidemics.

    She said cocaine, methamphetamines and stimulants are coming now. That’s because people on heroin who are still functioning with regular lives want to keep getting high, but the opiates are downers. Now they need stimulants to wake themselves up.

    The stimulants cause agitation and mood swings.

    “Crack was bad. The crack user tended to be more hostile,” said Collins.

    Heroin users act calmer, or appear to be nodding off to sleep (if they’re still conscious).

    Some evidence of the shift from heroin may be found in the fact that paramedics have administered naloxone less this year than previously. Murray said he doesn’t know why, although it could be that police, fire companies, ambulances and individuals can now carry naloxone. Or maybe drug users are turning to crack, which naloxone doesn’t help.


    Anyone having a psychiatric or substance-abuse crisis who needs assistance should contact Mobile Crisis Intervention Services (MCIS) at 1-800-345-6785 for the Southern Delaware Hotline.

    They provide “psychological first aid” 24 hours a day. Problems may include depression; major life changes, such as unemployment or loss of an important relationship; anxiety; feelings of hopelessness; thoughts of suicide; delusions; paranoia; and substance abuse.

    In an emergency, responders will drive to the house any time of day or night. They will make recommendations and try to connect the individual to a treatment center or program.

    If the person appears to be an immediate danger to themselves or others, MCIS can do an involuntary 24-hour hold on that person, but it’s not an official committal, and it only lasts until that person can detox and talk to a psychiatrist for further recommendations to move forward.

    MCIS also takes phone calls from the friends, families, church personnel and police officers who are working with an individual.

    Sometimes it’s a “very helpless-feeling family member or friend, and they have exhausted all their possibilities, and they literally don’t know what next to do,” said Venables. “It may have escalated to their family member stealing from them.”

    The best time to act, she said, is when the individual has come down from that high and says he or she wants to change.

    People can also walk in to the Ellendale treatment center 24 hours a day, and some Salisbury, Md., programs also accept Delaware Medicaid.

    A person dealing with addiction needs to truly want to change to be successful in a rehab program, and sometimes it takes multiple tries, she noted. But it’s possible, and there are many success stories.

    For information on Delaware’s addiction treatment and recovery programs, call 1-800-345-6785 or visit

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    It’s fall — and there’s a lot more to the season than “pumpkin spice everything.” From craft fairs to costume contests, from barbecue competitions to bike shows, there are just about as many events as there are leaves falling.

    Oct. 13:

    • Movie Night at Magee Farms — Magee Farms will host a showing of the movie “Hocus Pocus” on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. at its Selbyville location. Candy and drinks will be available for purchase; moviegoers should bring their own blankets or chairs to sit on. Magee Farms is located at 34857 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville.

    Oct. 14:

    • Movie night: ‘The Jungle Book’ — The River church will host Family Movie Night at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at River Soccer Club in Roxana, featuring the live-action version of “The Jungle Book.”

    • Fall Jumble Sale — On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Ocean View Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Circle will host their Fall Jumble Sale from 9 a.m. until noon, featuring plants, fine jewelry, books, homemade baked goods and “white elephant” items.

    All proceeds will help the OVPC Women’s Circle to continue supporting various missions in Sussex County, including the Tunnel Cancer Center, the Pyle Center, Ten Mile Miracle and the Cheer Center Meals on Wheels Program. Ocean View Presbyterian Church is located at 67 Central Avenue in Ocean View. For more information on the Fall Jumble Sale, contact Liz Hobler at (302) 541-0487.

    • Parsons Farms Fall Festival — Parsons Farms hosts its annual fall festival on Oct. 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of this year’s events will include a pie-eating contest, bobbing for apples contest, hayrides, a petting zoo, corn pit, dress-a-goat competition, bounce houses and more. Admission to the festival costs $7; children 2 or younger are admitted free of charge.

    • Bethel UMC Fall Fest — The Bethel Mission Team will sponsor a Fall Fest on Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bethel United Methodist Church, 129 W. Fourth Street, Lewes. The Fall Fest will feature a flea market, craft fair, food, fall stories and songs, face painting, knuckle pumpkins, root painting, pin the nose on the pumpkin, bird feeders, leaf printing, pumpkin tower/beanbag toss, ring toss, duck pool, petting zoo, sack races, limbo, parachute games, Chuckles the Clown, youth band, hotdogs, chips, soda, Two Dips ice cream truck and a fire truck to climb on.

    All proceeds benefit the Immanuel Shelter. Admission costs $4 per child or $10 per family. For more information, call (302) 645-9423, email or visit

    Oct. 15:

    • Truck R Treat costume party — The Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department will host its 10th Annual Truck R Treat costume party on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m., rain or shine. Children will get free treats, hotdogs and refreshments. The costume contest is for children from infants to age 12, with prizes to be awarded in Most Original, Scariest, Cutest, Group and Family Group. Children must be registered by 2 p.m., and judging will take place at 2:30 p.m.

    Oct. 21

    • Breast Cancer Awareness Car/Bike Show — The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Fifth Annual Georgetown Breast Cancer Awareness Car & Motorcycle Show will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown. The event is free to attend, with car owners paying $12 per car to enter the show. The family-friendly event will include a D.J., door prizes, goodie bags, live auction with Dave Wilson, craft fair vendors, swap meet, food vendors, meet-and-greet with NASCAR driver Harry Gant and an evening concert with Glass Onion. For more information, contact Levin Clark at (302) 500-1128.

    • Salem U.M. Fall Festival — Salem United Methodist Church will host a Fall Festival on Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring crafters, jewelry, a yard sale, Christmas items, gently-used clothing and a tent tag sale. Lunch and assorted baked goods will be sold. People may donate sale items by Oct. 16. Proceeds benefit Salem’s Women of Faith and local mission projects. Salem Church is located at 29 West Church St., Selbyville.

    • Craft fair, bake sale, soup sale — The Lakeside Community Home Owners Association will host a Craft Fair, Bake & Soup Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Pot Nets Lakeside Community Center, 33076 Rock Cove, Long Neck, featuring 32 crafters of painted items, jelly and jam, mesh wreaths, jewelry, sea glass art, soaps, fused-glass items, quilted items, sea glass jewelry, laser-cut wooden art, lighted bottles, American Doll clothes, candles, hand-crafted greeting cards, watercolor paintings, hand-painted slate, bird feeders, handmade purses, wooden coastal art and more, along with vendors for Scentsy Fragrance and Tastefully Simple. Baked goods of all kinds will be available for sale, as well as pints and quarts of soup to take home, and lunch and dessert offerings.

    • Friendship UMC Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat — Friendship United Methodist Church in Millsboro will host a Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 6 p.m. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will feature a moonbounce, hayrides, games, food, prizes and music. The church is located at 30983 Friendship Road, Millsboro. Starting at 6 p.m., the church will host a Trunk or Treat.

    Oct. 21-22

    • Boo-Que — The third annual Boo-Que family barbecue festival will return to Delaware Seashore State Park on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 at the Indian River South Inlet Day Area, including Halloween-themed activities, a 5K race, live music, wing competition, beer garden and a professional barbecue competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, along with amateur and children’s competitions. The event is open Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to evening. The cost of admission is $5 per person and free for children younger than 12 with an accompanying adult. Park entrance fees are in effect. Details are at

    Oct. 22

    • Halloween Appreciation Day — The Roxana Volunteer Fire Co. will host its 2nd Annual Roxana Volunteer Fire Co. Halloween Appreciation Day on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 1 to 4 p.m. The fire company holds the event as a way to show its appreciation to the members of the community for their support. A costume contest will be held, with a $25 Visa gift card for the winners in each age group and a $50 Visa gift card for the overall winner. Age groups for the contest are newborn to 2, 3 to 6, 7 to 11, and 12 and older. The fire house is located 35943 Zion Church Road, Frankford.

    Other activities include a DNREC K9 demonstration with Cpl. Josh Hudson and K9 Officer Rosco, firehouse demonstration, Emergency Operation Center demonstration on how to call 911, petting zoo courtesy of Parsons Farm, TAKE 10 CPR demonstration, 18-foot inflatable slide, fire truck rides (weather permitting), GEM Recruitment, Archery Wars (child-friendly; courtesy of Anchors Aweigh Entertainment), children’s games with candy and other prizes. There will be free hotdogs, chips and popcorn for each guest.

    The judging schedule is: newborn to 2, 2-2:20 p.m.; 3 to 6, 2:20-2:40 p.m.; 7 to 11, 2:40-3 p.m.; 12 and older, 3-3:20 p.m. Each age group will need to line up five minutes prior to their judging time. Winners will be announced at 3:45 p.m.

    Oct. 25

    • Selbyville Halloween Parade — The Selbyville Halloween Parade will be held Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. The parade will march along Church Street, from town hall to Main Street, featuring three local high school bands, parade floats and children dressed in their costumes. The Fenwick Island Lions Club will sponsor the event and will sell hotdogs, hamburgers, and hot and cold drinks near the viewing stand, and people can purchase tickets for the 50/50 drawing (the winner need not be present).

    The children’s costume contest will take place before the parade, at the Salem U.M. Church parking lot. Handicapped parking is next to the Georgia House restaurant. For more information and participant applications, call (302) 436-8314 or (301) 655-0742.

    Oct. 27

    • Movie Night at Magee Farms — Magee Farms will host a showing of the movie “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” at its Selbyville location at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27. Candy and drinks will be available for purchase; moviegoers should bring their own blankets or chairs to sit on. Magee Farms is located at 34857 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville.

    Oct. 28

    • Magee Farms Fall Festival — Magee Farms will hold its annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its Selbyville location. Magee Farms is located at 34857 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville.

    • Frankford Fall Festival — The Town of Frankford and Envision Frankford, with assistance from local churches, the Frankford Volunteer Fire Co. and the Frankford Public Library, will host the town’s annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28. A full day of activities is planned, including a costume contest, parade, and more at the park.

    Registration for the costume contest is in the fire company parking lot, 5 Main Street, and begins at 10:30 a.m. Judging will follow at 11 a.m. Winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. in the town park. For age groups 2-and-younger and 3-to-4-year-olds, prizes will be awarded for Funniest, Most Original, Best Prince/Princess and Best Cartoon. Prizes for the Scariest, Funniest, Most Original and Most Realistic will be awarded for age groups 5-6, 7-9 and 10-12.

    The parade will begin at the town hall at 11:30 a.m. and will end at the town park. Fun continues in the town park from noon 4 p.m., with games, haywagon rides, food and more.

    • Wags, Witches & Warlocks — The annual Wags, Witches & Warlocks Festival & Parade will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, in downtown Bethany Beach. The event brings families and pets to town for a day of fun while raising money and awareness for Partners for Paws of Delaware.

    The parade, featuring an appearance by the Indian River High School Marching Band and costume contest, will get under way at 10 a.m. Participants can then enjoy activities such as Halloween crafts for kids and bobbing for tennis balls for the pups. Kids can also safely trick-or-treat at the town businesses from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information, go to

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    Police and government leaders throughout the area are trying to keep pedestrians from ending up on the wrong side of a car accident, and an incident this week underscored the need for the problem to be addressed.

    The Delaware State Police this week were investigating a collision north of Fenwick Island that resulted in the death of Austin “A.J.” Powell, a 24-year-old mechanic from Suffolk, Va.

    The incident occurred around 11 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, north of Fenwick Island on Route 1 (Coastal Highway) near the Summertime Park community.

    According to reports, it appears that Powell was standing on the edge of the highway, with a group of other people and vehicles parked on the southbound shoulder, just south of South Croppers Circle, while a 50-year-old Fenwick Island man was driving a 2003 Ford F250 pickup truck southbound on Route 1.

    According to the DSP, Powell was “standing on the right edge of the right travel lane, directly in the path of the truck. As a result, the front right of the pickup struck [him], throwing him onto the southbound shoulder.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    After the impact, the driver continued south about a mile before stopping in the Sunrise Shopping Plaza in Fenwick Island, police said. The driver was not injured in the collision, but was transported to a nearby hospital for an undetermined medical condition, they noted.

    With their investigation ongoing this week, the DSP was unable to state whether drugs or alcohol were involved on behalf of either party.

    No charges had been filed as of Oct. 10.

    Keeping pedestrians alive

    Pedestrian fatalities had been on the increase in Delaware in recent years (26 in 2013, 27 in 2014, 36 in 2015), before a drop in 2016 to 27 fatalities.

    The Office of Highway Safety operates on all state-owned roads, which includes about 99 percent of Delaware’s roadways. Working under the Department of Safety & Homeland Security, OHS’s efforts “are behavioral in nature … trying to get people to buckle up, trying to get people to slow down … provide information to both pedestrians and motorists about safe motoring,” said OHS Director Jana Simpler.

    “I think three-quarters of our fatality crashes happen at nighttime, and the pedestrians aren’t using safety equipment, so it’s really difficult for drivers to see them,” said Richard Klepner OHS Pedestrian Safety Program manager.

    And that doesn’t include all of the injuries.

    Last year in Delaware, about 400 traffic collisions involved a pedestrian. Of those, one in eight of those in New Castle County resulted in a pedestrian death (18 deaths of 295 accidents), six of 51 in Kent County and three of 54 in Sussex County.

    Police cracking down

    “Over the last several years, we tried the tactic of educating the public of safe pedestrian habits — walking against traffic, using crosswalks… We’ve spent a lot of time on education,” Simpler said.

    After years of education grants, Simpler said it’s appropriate to encourage police enforcement for pedestrian rules — after all, drivers learned pretty quickly to buckle up when seatbelt laws were strictly enforced.

    Using federal money, OHS administers grants for highway safety, and the Fenwick Island Police Department used one such grant to ramp up pedestrian safety patrols this summer. Ticketing was at the officers’ discretion, and Fenwick definitely issued a few fines.

    In enforcing the pedestrian laws, police are looking or anyone not following the law: failing to use a sidewalk or crosswalk, crossing the road in unexpected places, or walking at nighttime without carrying a light or wearing reflective material.

    Those who receive tickets are sometimes a bit incredulous. One vacationing couple was cited for jaywalking in Fenwick Island late one night in July. After the regular fine and Delaware’s other fees, their penalty was $104.50 apiece.

    The Maryland couple admitted to jaywalking, but said they were frustrated to pay $210 for a moonlit stroll.

    Anyone who is ticketed or charged has a right to defend themselves in court, but that involves more time and travel for an out-of-state visitor.

    In July, six coastal police departments were doing such work under the safety grants. Due to manpower issues, Fenwick was only able to do one shift, making contact with five pedestrians. But the other local beach jurisdictions, including Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach, made 2,600 pedestrian contacts. They were instructed to target high-crash areas from 3 to 10 p.m.

    Improving the situation

    Ultimately, New Castle County has a worse problem with pedestrian crashes than Sussex. The urban setting has 50-mph routes that are congested with two-way traffic, businesses, social services, housing developments, gas stations, public transit and much more. People are more likely to be caught walking along those busy roads at all hours.

    “While we don’t necessarily have the problem [in Sussex] that we see in New Castle County, it’s important that the locals and the transient population see this message,” Simpler said.

    In Fenwick Island, they piggybacked off the pedestrian safety campaign in Ocean City, Md., featuring the “Cheswick the Lifeguard Crab” mascot.

    It’s tough to target a particular audience, though, since anyone might walk. Plus, beaches have an especially transient population.

    With Delaware often leading the nation in pedestrian deaths (per capita), the State is also brainstorming solutions through the Advisory Council on Walkability & Pedestrian Awareness (“Pedestrian Council”), reestablished in 2015 by Executive Order #54.

    Within Fenwick town limits, the town council recently started a Pedestrian Safety Committee to tackle the problem and try to install more sidewalks. The next meeting of that group is Oct. 19 at 10 a.m.

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    A slew of individuals attended the Sussex County Council meeting on Oct. 10 to voice their support for a proposed sports complex in Georgetown.

    Last month, the Sussex Sports Center Foundation requested that Sussex County financially support their endeavor to build a sports facility for residents’ and visitors’ use in Georgetown, just north of Route 9 on Sandhill Road.

    The $4.4-million-dollar project would be located on 70 acres of land donated by Joe Schell to the foundation. It would include playing fields for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and informal touch-football games, as well as walking trails, pickleball courts and playground equipment. The center would have eight regulation-sized soccer/lacrosse fields, paved parking for approximately 350 cars and restroom facilities.

    The foundation requested the County help make the project a reality with a donation of $1.5 million, with the option to eventually take over ownership of the athletic and recreation complex.

    The council did not make a decision at their September meeting but said they would like to hear from the public, and that they did.

    Henlopen Soccer Club Board Member John Robinson said the club is in “dire need” of a well-maintained home, and the sports complex would be just that.

    “It would be a wonderful boon for young people here in the county — not only for soccer players, but there will be lacrosse, track, and, I think you’re already going to hear about pickleball.”

    Robinson also quoted numbers from an ESPN article from last year showing the impact of soccer on today’s youth.

    “In this country, presently, over 20 percent of young people play soccer from ages 6 to 17. That’s in the boys’ category. In the young ladies’ category, it’s 17 percent,” he said. “If you add in track and lacrosse, the totals increase to 40 percent for boys and 37 percent for girls. I’m not sure about the statistics for pickleball, but I do know it’s a fun game.”

    Chris Nichols, who also serves on the board of the Henlopen Soccer Club said the complex’s impact would be felt far beyond the time spent on the field. He noted that he and his wife — both Sussex County natives — returned to the area after college to start their business.

    “One of the things we struggle with is attracting and keeping professional folks. Believe it or not, the complex will help us all accomplish that, because in order to live here, you have to see yourself here — not see ourselves traveling to Salisbury, or see us traveling to Milford, or to Frederica — but being Sussex Countians, living in this county where we want to play and raise our children,” he said.

    “I’m asking you, please: help us let the kids and the families see themselves in Sussex County. Someone has to work at the hospital, someone has to build the houses, someone has to fix the HVAC. Telling them, ‘Do that, and take your kids somewhere else for the weekend’ is not the Sussex County I want to be in. Your sign says you’re my business partner. I’m asking my business partner to approve the complex.”

    Kathy Casey, president of the First State Pickleball Club, told the council that, presently, the club has 424 members. She also noted that senior citizens are a significant portion of Sussex County residents.

    “I know having an active healthy lifestyle is critical in this population, because we probably represent the biggest chance of disease coming your way. The healthier you keep us, the happier you’ll be,” she said.

    “What I see, and why this project is so near and dear to me, is I get to see the joy that is created as a result of having public recreation, where anyone — regardless is socioeconomic status — has the opportunity to go out and play.”

    Millsboro resident Marion Lisehora said she picked up pickleball six years ago and has been playing the sport every day since.

    “At 86, I am still promoting sports for seniors in Sussex County and the Sussex sports complex that is proposed for pickleball, along with all the field sports, is really something I’m promoting,” she said. “Seniors need something active to do. We are lacking in places to play. Please support another place for us to play where people my age and the younger ones…”

    Susan Brooker, who serves on the board of the Delaware Senior Olympics, as well as a USA Pickleball Association ambassador, brought pickleball equipment for the council to check out.

    “The money will come back to you,” she asserted. “It isn’t just going to help out seniors.”

    Steve Burke, who serves on the board of the Henlopen Soccer Club and the board of the Sussex Sports Center Foundation, and serves on the Sussex Academy School Board, said the complex would be a great asset to kids throughout the county.

    Burke said the club, which was founded in 1996, has 1,300 players, with about 2,500 parents supporting the organization.

    “We don’t turn away any children from playing the sport of soccer. We believe it develops our players, adds to their quality of life and develops them into meaningful adults.”

    Having lost its home about a year ago, the club has had to divide up and play at various locations, which he said makes it difficult logistically, but has also raised injury concerns, as not all areas upon which they now play are ideal.

    He noted that the board of the Henlopen Soccer Club has decided to unanimously support the complex, and to arrange its fee structure, based on its current numbers, to contribute up to $50,000 per year of ongoing support for the complex.

    “We understand this is a difficult position. We understand the investment is tough for you to justify, but we ask you help us support the position and help us financially support the infrastructure that is needed for the complex.”

    Councilman Rob Arlett asked where in the process the County is, in terms of discussing whether or not to contribute financial support to the project.

    County Administrator Todd Lawson said the County would be accepting comments regarding the complex through the month of October.

    “There’s no hard deadline, but I do think they do want a decision,” he said.

    Arlett said he has more questions and would like the issue placed back on the council agenda.

    Councilman George Cole asked if the item needed to be placed on the agenda or if it could be a discussion in an executive session.

    County Solicitor J. Everett Moore Jr. said the discussion would have to be conducted in a public forum.

    The council agreed to place the sports complex on a future agenda for discussion.

    Those who wish to email comments may do so online at or by mailing comments to Sussex County Council, P.O. Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947. For more information on the project, visit

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    It’s pronounced “Eye-gor,” not “Ee-gor,” the hunchback tells the young scientist.

    Audiences have been cracking up over “Young Frankenstein” for decades, and the 1974 comedy returns to the Clayton Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

    The Halloween fundraiser will benefit Southern Delaware Education Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to adults for workforce training and certification programs. The program is designed to help adults who might fall through the cracks of scholarship funding. Depending on funds available, SDEF will pay up to 75 percent of a student’s tuition.

    “We’re in the poverty-prevention business. You can’t raise a family on $8.50 an hour,” said SDEF Board Member Lois Saraceni.

    For its latest fundraiser, the local scholarship group turned to Mel Brooks’ classic film. The 1974 comedy struck new life into Mary Shelley’s novel, starring Gene Wilder as a young scientist following in the footsteps of his infamous late uncle Frankenstein.

    Sometimes it can be hard to pin down what makes Mel Brooks’ madcap movies so entertaining.

    “The characters are just so… — they’re hysterical,” Saraceni said of the cast, featuring Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn and Chloris Leachman.

    The bawdy film is rated PG.

    Guests can also buy tickets to a 50/50 drawing and chance auction, featuring prizes from local businesses. Doors open at 6 p.m. for seats, socializing and auctions, and the movie starts at 7 p.m. Moviegoers are welcome to dress up in costumes. For easy identification, SDEF volunteers will be dressed as yellow Minions from the “Despicable Me” film series.

    Tickets cost $10, which helps a nonprofit and is still less expensive than most movie theaters, organizers noted.

    Tickets are available in several ways: call (302) 858-1861; message organizers of the “Movie Spooktacular” on Facebook at; or purchase tickets at the box office beforehand or on the night of the showing.

    “We just want everybody to come and have fun for a good cause,” said Saraceni.

    Sponsorships are available for businesses wanting to have their names broadcast on the big screen before the film.

    The Clayton Theatre is located at 33246 Main Street in Dagsboro.

    SDEF scholarships can be used for workforce development courses, such as environmental, hospitality, business, early childhood, medical coding and billing, auto work, cosmetology and other areas that require a state certification.

    “This group is looking for people that want to get certifications that can help them be better employed, make a livable wage,” said Saraceni. “They want to go to school. That’s why they’re doing it. They want to get ahead.”

    Such training could help people get a job, get promoted, increase their marketability or get a raise, she noted. Moreover, it could give people a leg up to find a new job where employers will help them obtain more training.

    Southern Delaware residents who demonstrate financial need may apply. Scholarship details are available online at or by calling (302) 537-1244.

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    The monsters are returning to Main Street, as people are being invited to celebrate the spookiest time of year at Selbyville Halloween Parade on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.

    The official parade route marches eastward from town hall on Church Street to the judges’ stand beside Main Street. (Those roads will be closed to regular traffic.)

    Local high school marching bands will pump up the crowd with live music. Meanwhile, local businesses, legislators, nonprofits, children’s groups and more will bring their best parade floats. The lineup is rounded out with thrills on wheels: antique trucks, custom cars, firetrucks and more.

    Registration is free and open for parade participants until Oct. 20. For details, contact (301) 655-0742. Registration forms are posted online at

    Families are also being invited to participate and show off their creativity. The children’s costume contest is hosted before the parade, in the Salem U.M. Church parking lot. Then, families are invited to march around the block for the final leg of the parade.

    Check-in is from 6 to 6:30 p.m. for all costumed children and regular parade participants.

    It’s also once again “Sight Night,” as parade sponsors the Fenwick Island Lions Club will collect used eyeglasses for communities in need.

    Bystanders may also want to bring a few dollars to buy food and drinks from nonprofit groups in the parking lot at Church and Main streets, or to enter the Lions’ 50/50 drawing (the winner need not be present).

    Handicapped-accessible parking is being provided in the lot next to the Georgia House restaurant. Oher parking is available in public lots and along the open streets.

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    In encouraging a developer to come to town, the Millville Town Council had promised to discount property taxes for the first year, plus transfer taxes for the home sales.

    They made it official on Oct. 10 with two tax breaks for annexations.

    “If you’re looking for people to annex into town, this is certainly one way to do it,” said Town Solicitor Seth Thompson.

    Ordinance 18-02 gives a one-year tax break for any parcel of property annexing into town limits.

    Ordinance 18-03 cuts realty transfer tax in half for annexed properties. Typically, Millville’s RTT is 1.5 percent, but newly annexed land will only have to pay a rate of 0.75 percent for the first sale. Ordinance 18-03 retroactively applies to any land annexed into town from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2019. The deadline to sell the land with discounted tax is Jan. 1, 2019.

    The cuts will most immediately benefit the proposed 92-unit housing development of Peregrine Bay, located on Windmill Drive and Dukes Drive, owned by Howard Robert Hickman Revocable Trust.

    The Town’s enticement package encouraged the 31-acre annexation in September.

    “We put an incentive package together to get them to build here instead of building in the county,” a decision that occurred in executive session, said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

    A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. for the Planning & Zoning Committee to consider a preliminary subdivision site plan submitted by Morris & Ritchie Associates LLC, on behalf of James Schiff, for Peregrine Bay.

    The site plan can be viewed at town hall during regular business hours.

    Also at its October meeting, the Millville Town Council approved a traffic calming plan at Sand Dollar Village, within Millville By the Sea. The condition is holding up approvals for Section 1 of Sea Star Village.

    Frawn Morgan said LDC Advisors hired a company to poll all MBS residents, the majority of whom did not support speed humps.

    “However, it’s my understanding that the residents … on the street where we’re proposing them do want speed humps, so we will defer to the Town,” she said.

    The council approved more stop signs at several intersections, plus four new speed humps.

    Council Members Susan Brewer and Steve Maneri recused themselves from the 3-0-2 vote.

    Some residents questioned whether the devices meet Department of Transportation standards. Although the Town is responsible for mandating traffic flow, the council ultimately chose not to dig into the details on the precise placement of each sign, instead approving the general locations at each intersection.

    The Millville Town Council’s next workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.

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    This weekend, Delaware Seashore State Park, along with the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will be hosting a two-day barbecue festival the whole family can enjoy.

    “We were approached by the Kansas City Barbecue Association with the idea to collaborate on an event with the proceeds going to our Children in Nature endowment,” said Ray Bivens, director of the state’s Division of Parks & Recreation. “We never had a barbecue event at Delaware Seashore State Park. The timing looked good — it’s the slower park of our camping season down there, so it’s been a great boom for that. Our campgrounds are entirely full at Delaware Seashore for this weekend.”

    The festival begins on Friday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m., with events including kids’ trick-or-treating, a costume contest and People’s Choice Wing Competition. The event continues on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m., and Saturday’s festivities include a 5K walk/run, carnival rides, live music from Lower Case Blues and more.

    The cost to attend the event is $5 per person, with children 12 or younger admitted free of charge.

    “This year, we’re up to over 80 teams, and they’re coming from seven different states, with the farthest ones being North Carolina and New York. There are different categories people can enter in the competition, so there’s amateur and more advanced categories.

    “There are kind of two sides of it — the public side where there’s music and barbecue food, and all the fun activities for kids; then there’s the competition side, which is my favorite. People can walk through the campground, and there are people cooking to turn in their food at certain times. Friday night, we have People’s Choice for Best Wings.”

    Those who attend on Saturday will also have the chance to bid on low-digit Delaware surf-fishing tags. The live auction begins at 2:30 p.m. and the lowest tag digit available is No. 6. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Delaware Children in Nature Coalition.

    “Our state parks are a little different than our neighboring state parks — we’re 65 percent self-funded, so any time we can get help from the form of scholarships or endowments or things like that, it’s a huge help.

    “Our Children in Nature endowment — the John & Linda Hollis Endowment — can be used for a variety of different purposes but is held through the Delaware Community Foundation, and our hope is to grow it over time,” said Bivens, noting that the endowment helps pay for things such as field trips, busing and teacher workshops.

    He added that those who cannot attend the event but would still like to support the endowment may do so at any time, online or by mail, with donations being 100 percent tax-deductible.

    Bivens said that, for those who haven’t been to the Boo-Que before, this is the year to check it out with the family and enjoy good eats.

    “So, the chance to go through all the smells, pick their brains and learn more about the culinary art — people who have seen the TV shows about these kinds of competitions, this is the chance to visit it up close and personal,” he said. “There’s a lot of good food and good music, and definitely the chance to walk through and talk to the competitors.”

    For more information and event schedule, visit

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    The Sussex County Board of Adjustment has chosen to table, for a second time, their decision on two special-use exception applications filed by Oakwood Homes.

    The company is seeking two special-use exceptions to permit manufactured homes on two separate lots, each measuring less than .75 acres — one located on Hoot Owl Lane near Dagsboro and the other on Julie Court near Frankford.

    The applications were first discussed at the board’s Oct. 3 meeting, where more than a dozen residents of Hoot Owl Lane attended to voice their opposition to the application.

    At that time, Gil Fleming of Oakwood Homes said his company had been informed that the homes had been placed on undersized lots after the County had provided his company with two separate permits to place the manufactured homes.

    At the Oct. 16 meeting, Board Member E. Brent Workman said he believed the County’s mistake in providing the permits overrules the fact the homes do not meet the County code for those lots.

    “He was doing his job after the permit, and he was doing what he thought was right. The County messed up…”

    “I believe Mr. Workman hit on something there… The County has put us in a very difficult situation because they’ve approved it, yet there’s strong argument … considering the restrictions,” agreed Board Member John Mills, adding that he feels the board is now “between a rock and a hard place.”

    Board Member Bruce Mears voiced his disagreement, stating he believed the mobile home would “deplete the value of existing properties” in the neighborhood.

    “I feel the homeowners have stated a legitimate complaint that this mobile home will impact the value of their property. You require three-quarters of an acre for a mobile home, and even though a permit may have been issued, there’s some accountability for knowing the code.”

    Mears said that perhaps other members of the board who are not in the building industry may not have known the code; however, someone like Fleming, who has been in the industry for years, would know it.

    Assistant County Attorney Jamie Sharp told the board members that their decision needed to come down to whether “those restrictive covenants prohibit what the applicant proposing here” or “does that use substantially affect adversely the uses of neighboring and adjacent properties.”

    “This has got to be one of the hardest ones I’ve had in my time here,” said BoA Chairman Dale. A. Callaway.

    “The fact that [the homes are erected] is entirely relevant,” replied Sharp. “Because other than the fact that you have something there... Normally we get special-use exceptions, and they’re proposed… The fact that it’s there really just goes to, will this substantially affect adversely — that’s the threshold, really… The code presumes that a property owner knows the code that is applicable to his or her property.”

    The board voted 4-0 to table their decisions related to the two applications until its Nov. 6 meeting.

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    The Town of Frankford held a special meeting this week to discuss options related to the Town’s police department.

    The Town had been in talks with the Town of Dagsboro regarding the possibility of unifying the two towns’ police departments. However, on Oct. 4, the Frankford council announced they would not be pursuing unification.

    At the Oct. 17 special meeting, Millville Town Manager Debbie Botchie spoke to the Frankford council regarding the Town of Millville’s use of Delaware State Police troopers to patrol the town, rather than paying for its own police department.

    Botchie told the council that she was not there to sell the DSP’s services, nor was she in opposition to the Town having its own department — she was simply sharing why the arrangement works for the Town of Millville.

    “It has worked very well for us,” she said, noting that Millville has six banks, two major food stores and 75 businesses, not to mention all the growth they’re anticipating with new development.

    The Town of Millville had originally been contracting out police protection to DSP for coverage during holiday weekends, but grew to use them for weekly coverage, going from 10 hours to 15, to 16, and, now, to 20 hours per week.

    Botchie said the Town helps pay for the coverage by putting away 5 percent of the transfer tax funds it receives quarterly. She added that the Town receives a police grant from Sussex County Council each year for $12,500.

    For the 2018 fiscal year, Millville budgeted $97,137 for the 20 hours per week of coverage, plus all holiday weekends.

    “We have a wonderful relationship with the state police,” said Botchie.

    She said she was planning to call them soon to say speeding has been reported on specific roads, and the troopers will set up speed controls for the Town, she said.

    Botchie said the Town is able to access a crime-mapping system and will receive alerts anytime there is a crime within a 2-mile radius of the town hall.

    The Town also receives a portion of any fines given out while the DSP troopers are patrolling the town.

    “Since May, we’ve received $257 in fines.”

    Over the years, said Botchie, Millville town councils have looked at the cost of salaries, pension and equipment and found having a municipal police department is not warranted for the Town “at this time.”

    “It works for us,” she said of the arrangement with the DSP.

    Botchie said the Town doesn’t own the roads within its limits, but noted that the state police do patrol all of the developments in town.

    Frankford Councilman Marty Presley asked if the Town could direct DSP as to how much time to spend on speed enforcement. Botchie said she is able to reach out to DSP Lt. John McColgan and ask for more coverage on certain roads, and he will disseminate the request to the troopers on patrol.

    The troopers who patrol are all off their regular duty with the DSP at those times but are receiving overtime pay. She said they have been excellent to work with, with troopers being polite and professional, and even stopping in town hall to say hello.

    “Delaware State Police, in my opinion, are top-notch.”

    Frankford Councilman Greg Welch asked if the DSP needs to use Millville’s government facilities.

    “They have everything in their own car that they may need. When they use our facility, they may use the restrooms, things like that,” replied Botchie. “What they will do now, in our new addition, is we have two secure interview rooms they’ll be able to utilize.”

    In Frankford, if they were to contract out coverage with the DSP, they could work out of their car but also use the former department’s videophone.

    Presley asked if the Town is charged for administrative work, or time spent taking a suspect to Georgetown.

    “They don’t charge us for that,” she said. “That’s only happened once.”

    Botchie said the Town does not have a signed contract with DSP for their services; however, they do have a lease agreement allowing the DSP to use their facility for $1 per year.

    “It’s on availability of the troopers,” said Botchie of the arrangement. “That’s something you may want to do. We haven’t had a need to do that… We don’t have anything in writing.”

    She added that the Town has never received a denial of requested coverage, but in theory it could happen. The time spent is tracked through billing, with daily timesheets included.

    Presley asked what downsides the agreement has for the Town.

    “I don’t have one,” she said. “I’ve got nothing… I can tell you my colleagues have always said to me, if you don’t have a police department, don’t start one. It’s very costly. Some of the municipalities are struggling with their budgets. That’s something we’re not ready to do yet.”

    Council discusses options

    Presley presented the council and those in attendance with a spreadsheet containing an estimation of what it would cost the Town to maintain its police department with a single police chief — $89,640 annually. The estimated cost to use the DSP for 12 hours per week would be $53,664, or $107,328 for 20 hours a week. The cost to unify with Dagsboro Police Department was estimated at $121,406.

    “This budget for one chief puts us close to what the unification was going to cost, and it doesn’t give us near the coverage,” said Welch.

    Resident Liz Carpenter said if the Town chose to use DSP coverage, they could sell the police equipment the Town owns to help pay some of the cost.

    Property owner Kathy Murray asked if the council has made a pro/con list related to each option.

    “One of the cons to me is the effective management of employees, especially with the police,” she said.

    Murray said that, five to six months ago, the council was presented with a performance review and job descriptions for employees, which have, to her knowledge, not been finalized.

    “From my perspective, why in god’s name is this council going to reestablish a police department when you can’t even effectively get what’s outstanding done? ... To me, it’s more than dollars. It’s where’s the leadership that’s going to oversee this process.”

    Welch said he believes having a town department with a single employee would not be a realistic goal.

    Presley said that, after residents opposed the option of unification with Dagsboro Police Department, the Town had two options: keep its police department and hire a new chief, or contract with the state police.

    “To me, when you look at 20 hours a week, after administrative obligations, vacations, sick time, court time… It doesn’t make a lot of sense, in addition to what Kathy said — that no one on this council has the ability to manage a police officer on a daily basis.”

    Carpenter said that if the Town can come up with the money to hire DSP troopers, she would rather use it to unify with Dagsboro’s Police Department.

    “If you’re telling me we can’t afford to hire and join forces with Dagsboro and fund two full-time equivalent — but that’s the cost of state police — then we can afford anything. The numbers show me that, if everything I’ve heard in the past is true, we can afford nothing… That’s what you’re telling me.

    “It’s funny to me that we’re seriously considering of hiring the state police for $100,000, but we turned down the deal with Dagsboro.”

    Presley said the Town didn’t have enough people showing up to meetings to voice their support of a $200-per-year tax increase per property to pay for the unification.

    “There are some people who that would be too much,” said Welch, noting it would’ve been an approximate increase of 65 cents per day.

    Murray said the problem in Town is a lack of informed citizens.

    “And it’s their choice. And it’s pretty daggone sad when you’ve got three residents here,” she said, noting she’s a property owner and not a resident.

    Presley said that, when the Town was discussing police unification, he was on multiple television stations, was interviewed by newspapers, and the meetings were posted on the Town’s website and in mailers — “We got 12 people to show up… The vast majority of this town prefers not to get involved.”

    Carpenter said the Town hasn’t raised taxes in more than a decade and needs to realize that it needs income in order to sustain itself.

    “If we don’t raise taxes, how are we ever going to do anything? We can’t grow without income.”

    Carpenter said the town has few businesses, compared to Millville.

    “A couple of years ago, when I got involved, I said, ‘A point is going to come when we’re going to unincorporate and get absorbed by Dagsboro and Selbyville…”

    She said Millville has a great deal of transfer tax monies due to the development that is occurring there.

    “Nobody is interested in coming to Frankford,” she said. “Do you think Lennar is going to come build a development here when we can’t provide community safety? No! If we want the infrastructure to come and we want this town to grow, we’re going to have to get off our asses and spend the money. You have to spend money to make money…

    “We’ve been having this conversation about lack of involvement for the last four years.”

    Presley said the Town is at a crossroads, with 25 percent of homes in town used as rental properties.

    “If the same rate of growth goes … within 10 years we’ll be over 50 percent rental houses. Nobody cares.”

    Murray recommended that if the rental properties are growing, at least a quarter of the properties would have to pay for the tax increase — either through a raise in rent or absorb the cost themselves — as a part of doing business in the town.

    Carpenter said she is concerned the council is going to “sit on their laurels” and allow nothing to happen until someone comes to make a decision to be involved.

    “That’s what I feel is happening now. ‘We’re not going to do anything, we’re not going to raise taxes, we’re not going to do anything new, we’re not going to update anything because no one is involved…’ At some point, you have to say, regardless of whether or not they’re going to be involved, ‘We’re moving forward.’”

    Presley said he would disagree, but that there are some things the council cannot do because the Town simply doesn’t have the funds.

    At the meeting, the council clarified that a referendum would not need to be held in order to raise taxes. Welch again added that the council chose not to unify with Dagsboro’s police department because it would more than double everyone’s taxes.

    “There was no real sense that we even needed it,” said Presley, regarding police coverage, adding that the council heard from 60 or 70 people who were opposed to unification.

    The council plans to vote on the police item at its Monday, Nov. 6, meeting, at 7 p.m.

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    As the breeze turns cooler, Delaware officials are brainstorming how that very wind could benefit the state.

    Maryland is striding forward with offshore wind power, causing shore residents to wonder how large a wind turbine could appear on the ocean’s horizon, both from Maryland’s beaches and across the line in the First State. Meanwhile, Delaware lawmakers are remembering the failed wind project that could have been up and running several years ago.

    In August, Delaware Gov. John Carney gave the executive order to create an Offshore Wind Power Working Group, which will study how Delaware could develop offshore wind once again.

    By Dec. 15, they will study how Delaware can participate in offshore wind energy; research economic and environmental benefits; and make recommendations for Delaware to move forward, including draft legislation.

    “We must look for ways to participate in the development of alternative energy sources,” Carney stated. “It’s the right decision for our environment, but the development of new sources of energy is also good for our economy, and for the creation of good-paying jobs. This new working group will help us explore the potential economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind development for Delaware.”

    The members of the group represent the state legislature, state agencies, the energy sector and other stakeholders.

    The first meeting

    The Offshore Wind Power Working Group convened on Oct. 6 in Dover to begin discussing the current situation and their mission.

    They discussed potential tax breaks, federal regulations and investment costs. The financial impact must be fair to customers, too, they said. Leaders must balance the potential costs and savings that aren’t immediately evident. Could the wind turbines negatively impact tourism? Could the reduction in carbon emissions improve Delawareans’ health and the state’s environment?

    Group members gave a brief background of Delaware’s once-proposed project, which began with Delmarva Power’s freezing of electricity rates. When they unfroze, costs skyrocketed. When the General Assembly instructed Delmarva Power to find a new electric supplier, Bluewater Wind envisioned building 150 wind turbines about 13 miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.

    But NRG Energy acquired Bluewater and pulled the plug in 2011, when costs and tax breaks became more uncertain. (Deepwater Wind, which operates Skipjack, has since obtained the old Bluewater lease for the Delaware Wind Energy Area.)

    Wind energy has been touted by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and co-sponsor of the U.S. Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. He called the potential for U.S. energy independence “a win-win-win for our economy, our security, our health and our planet.”

    “A lot of the proponents of offshore wind power have been touting its carbon-free benefits,” stated state Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th), who was appointed to Delaware’s working group. “That is a great attribute, but it alone cannot justify building an offshore wind farm.

    “What I will be looking for as the group conducts its work over the next few months is the economic viability of offshore power. Can it produce power at rates that are competitive with other forms of generation?”

    Project would put turbines 12-15 miles from Fenwick shore

    In May, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved two offshore wind proposals by Deepwater Wind and U.S. Wind to deliver a total of 368 megawatts to Maryland customers. With those two potential projects in the works, the time is ripe for Delaware to piggyback on a neighboring project.

    In a project located mostly in Maryland but straddling the line into waters off Fenwick Island, U.S. Wind has proposed 62 turbines about 12 to 15 miles offshore, creating 248 MW of power that would connect at the Indian River substation near Millsboro. It could be operational in 2020.

    Slightly south, Skipjack has proposed 15 turbines about 17 to 21 miles offshore, creating 120 MW of power that would connect to an Ocean City, Md., substation. That field could be operational in late 2022.

    Construction would cost a combined $2.1 billion.

    Maryland officials have attached a variety of requirements to the projects, including direct job creation; use of Maryland ports; investments in a Maryland steel plant; opportunities for minority-owned businesses and investors; and contributions to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.

    Meanwhile, Ocean City’s city council has pushed back against wind turbines being built quite so close to its shores, going so far as to hire lobbyist Bruce Bereano to help push the wind farms to a preferred distance of 23 miles offshore. The council supports green energy, they said, but they definitely do not want the turbines to be visible from shore. They’re afraid vacationers will reject a horizon that’s no longer clear.

    The two companies have been encouraged to push the wind turbines farther from shore, but they also need to be able to make practical use of their full lease areas. Each additional mile of transmission line costs big money, too.

    It’s possible that wind turbines would have no net impact on vacationers. In a recent Goucher Poll, 75 percent of Maryland residents said that seeing wind turbines on the horizon would make no difference in their decision to vacation in Ocean City. The 11 percent who said they were “less likely” to visit were balanced by the 12 percent who said they were “more likely” to visit.

    Public transparency

    The Delaware working group is working with as much transparency as possible, already listing about a dozen documents on their website and allowing people to listen to meetings live via telephone.

    The group’s next public meeting will be Friday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at the DNREC Auditorium, Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. To participate by phone, call 1-877-366-0711, using participant code 96520857#.

    The meeting’s agenda includes discussion of Maryland projects, wind market reports, supply chain, job opportunities, Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act (REPSA) and more.

    Public comments will also be posted online. They can be sent to or the Division of Energy & Climate at (302) 735-3480.

    All Delaware Offshore Wind Working Group information, data and more will be posted at Meeting schedules, agendas and minutes will also be posted on the state calendar at

    With a fast-approaching deadline, the working group has also scheduled meetings for Nov. 1, Nov. 11 and Nov. 29. They also plan to host two public workshops.

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