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    Wondering where all the cool kids will be this weekend? Apparently, quite a few of them will be at the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company fire hall for the Indian River Alumni Association’s Sixth Annual Beef ’n’ Brew event on Saturday, April 14, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.

    The event features music by the Glass Onion Band — chosen, according to organizer Nancy Hickman, for dance music that appeals to all ages. Food will be provided by the Tribbitt Sisters and includes pit beef and sides, clam chowder, sausage sandwiches and, for dessert, homemade cupcakes.

    Libations will include 16 Mile beer on tap, as well as beer and wine sponsored by Banks Wines & Spirits.

    Silent and live auctions will go on throughout the evening, with the help of auctioneer Robert Kauffman, according to Hickman.

    “That’s always fun, as we receive a ton of donations from the business community,” she said. “This year, we have a wine fridge from Delaware Appliance; Jaynes’ Reliable donated a really cool, casual piece of furniture; Dagsboro Paint & Wallpaper supplied us with a Yeti cooler that we will hold a raffle for,” she said.

    Also up for auction will be a Laura Hickman print, a Kevin Fleming photograph, golf packages, hotel stays, restaurant gift cards and many other items.

    The Beef ’n’ Brew event is not only a time to reunite with IRHS classmates and meet other alumni, but is also an important fundraiser for the community, Hickman said.

    “We’ve given more than $30,000 in college scholarships away to graduating seniors, and this annual fundraiser is how we make most of our scholarship money,” she said.

    “Something new we started last year was a continuing-education scholarship for adults returning to school,” Hickman said. “I personally love that idea, because we know how challenging that can be — especially for someone who’s been out of school for a while — perhaps raising a family at the same time. That person may need a little extra help, and we’re glad to assist.”

    The alumni association has also helped the high school itself with several major projects, such as the large digital sign in the front of the school and the new sign at the back, at the Clayton Avenue entrance. That sign was dedicated last year in memory of Valerie Brewington Rogers, a member of the Class of 1978.

    Another alumni association project has been the revitalization of the school’s Hall of Fame.

    “It had practically gone dormant, and we have graduates from IR that have gone on to do great things,” Hickman said.

    That program is back up and running, and several nominations have been received this year for new Hall of Fame members, she said.

    Hickman said the Beef ’n’ Brew event helps the association serve the community, as well as to foster “IR Pride.”

    Hickman emphasized that anyone can get involved in the alumni association, whether they graduated from Indian River or not.

    Tickets for the Beef ’n’ Brew event cost $35 per person and are available at Delaware Appliance in Frankford, from any alumni association member or by calling (302) 245-7454. More information on the event and on the alumni association can be found on the Indian River High School Alumni Association Facebook page, or on its website at

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    The Sussex County Council this week unanimously approved a tower license agreement for wireless high-speed internet that would be aimed at incentivizing wireless service providers.

    “We know to provide internet to our rural areas is not economical,” said Dwayne Kilgo, director of Information Technology for the County. “It’s very costly. It’s tens of thousands per mile.”

    Kilgo said significant broadband “deserts” exist in the county, noting that Sussex is ranked 438th out of all the counties in the country in terms of broadband service.

    “Affordable wired broadband is still out of reach for many rural areas, where access beyond 10 megabits is rare.”

    The agreement, said Kilgo, would serve county residents and businesses, and provide for economic growth.

    Councilman Sam Wilson asked about the use of satellites to provide service. Kilgo said they have a high latency, noting that the “USDA does not consider satellites as true, proven internet service to rural areas, so it’s not even considered.”

    County Administrator Todd Lawson noted that the council had allocated $1 million in its current fiscal-year budget for broadband expansion.

    “We’ve got to do this because of the kids,” said Councilman Rob Arlett. “A lot of these kids go home, can’t do homework, they can’t gain access. I think we have to continue to seek and search for new ways to bring high-speed internet to our residents and those students.”

    According to a memorandum to the council, the agreement “authorizes any wireless internet service provider access to all County-owned vertical assets (e.g. towers) and/or access to up to two (2) state-owned towers. In the agreement, the county would pay the Delaware Division of Communications $1000.00/month for each state tower requested by the WISP for a maximum of two (2) years.”

    The council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve the agreement.

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    Coastal Point photo • Laura Walter: Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Executive Director Chris Bason shows Mountaire's proximity to Swan Creek, a tributary of the Indian River.Coastal Point photo • Laura Walter: Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Executive Director Chris Bason shows Mountaire's proximity to Swan Creek, a tributary of the Indian River.Delaware may have lots of environmental regulations, but whether they’re being enforced is a different story. In studying the Mountaire Millsboro poultry plant’s repeated violations and ultimate 2017 wastewater treatment upset, the Delaware Center for Inland Bays (CIB) this week partly blamed state and federal regulators for allowing the problems to mount up.

    The 11-page CIB report was issued April 9.

    “It’s possible the facility might have been in violation of permit conditions since 2005. Today, neither the EPA nor DNREC [Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control] have enforced compliance with multiple permits and orders, and this contributed to the failure of the wastewater system in 2017,” said CIB Executive Director Chris Bason.

    In August of 2017, an “upset condition” caused the Mountaire Farms wastewater treatment system to spray wastewater with elevated levels of nitrogen, fecal coliform concentrations, biochemical oxygen demand (BODs) and total suspended solids (TSS) onto local farm fields. The incident was the culmination of several years of lesser permit violations.

    Mountaire’s processing plant and spray-irrigation fields are located right beside Swan Creek and the Indian River, which flow into the inland bays and right into the CIB’s purview.

    “What we found was that the Mountaire facility has a history of chronic permit violations and has increasingly polluted drinking water resources, and the state’s estuary is in most need of protection,” Bason said. “This is going to degrade the Indian River for years to come, as the polluted groundwater enters the Indian River over time.”

    The poultry plant has existed there since the mid-1900s. Mountaire took over in the new millennium and signed an EPA consent order for wastewater disposal. Mountaire has a permit to spray more than 2 million gallons of treated wastewater daily onto 1,000 acres of farmed fields that it owns.

    More problems come from overloading water and nutrients onto the fields — groundwater can move at a faster rate, shaking loose legacy nutrients from the soil into the aquifer and open rivers.

    “Under high rates of wastewater application on the fields, groundwater can travel even faster, and … in a greater variety of directions than it would under natural conditions,” Bason said.

    The inland bays have naturally long flushing times before the water is refreshed at the ocean, so the Indian River is extra-sensitive when pollutants get stuck in the system.

    Looking at DNREC’s water tests since 2000, the CIB reported that total nitrogen concentration in the Indian River near Swan Creek was typically above the 1 mg/L standard, only surpassing 4 mg/L just a few times. However, the number spiked to 7 mg/L in August of 2017.

    “This is a single value, and it’s very alarming,” said Bason, although he admitted the other factors could be at play in a watershed with many farms, homes, businesses and septic systems.

    Over the years, the EPA and DNREC have issued and reissued various permits and orders, but “violations of wastewater discharge permits in southern Delaware are not uncommon, and DNREC has a history of inadequate enforcement,” stated the CIB’s report.

    They cited a 2013 EPA report that was critical of DNREC’s enforcement activities.

    “DNREC, according to the EPA, did not appropriately escalate enforcement on significant violations and long-term noncompliance of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination program. … They found the same thing roughly in 2004 and 2008,” Bason said.

    That surface-water program is different groundwater monitoring, Bason clarified.

    “But it is pretty close, and I think you can draw some conclusions about the general regulatory climate by taking a look at what they EPA found in this report.”

    Although the CIB had asked about DNREC staffing levels needed for adequate enforcement, that information was not available before the report was published, Bason said.

    Despite their sharp review, the CIB will wait until DNREC completes its investigation, he said, before issuing further recommendations, although a draft of those recommendations has already been written.

    “The Center is supportive of the work DNREC is undertaking now to take action to mitigate the pollution and resolve violations,” Bason said, “and we realize and recognize this must come from a thorough investigation, and that this takes time.”

    The chickens, the water and the people

    The report was crafted by the CIB’s ad-hoc Committee on Mountaire Pollution, then approved by majority vote of the CIB Board of Directors. That approval was not unanimous. Indeed, some of the board members represent agencies including DNREC and the EPA, as well as the agriculture sector.

    “Our concerns are the health of the people and the health of the bays … and that we stop the pollution in the bays. That’s our mandate,” said Susie Ball, CIB board chairperson. “And with all that pollution going in the water, the water gets murky, all the little fish die. That’s a huge industry — the tourism industry on our bays.”

    It’s a simple connection to make: excess nitrogen leads to algae, which consumes the oxygen fish need to grow. Delaware’s inland bays are considered critical to tourism, real estate, boating and fishing. Although agriculture is also a top industry for the state, it needs to be done intelligently, said Mike Dunmyer, CIB board member.

    “I think the best companies that we have in the area are the ones that see themselves as members of the community” and take that seriously, said Dunmyer. “I think Mountaire acting in the best interests of the bay and the people around them is also Mountaire acting in their own best interest.”

    Bason said Mountaire hasn’t responded to his invitations to talk, but he said he understands their hesitancy, with likely threat of lawsuits. Since winter and the revelation of the wastewater incident, nearby residents have lawyered-up as they have frantically tested their private wells for possible contamination. Mountaire has also offered free water or new wells to some of their neighbors.

    “This has been a particularly frightening and frustrating time for the people that live in that area, that have had to deal with the situation,” said Bason. “I think it’s been frustrating for everybody that has, over the years, contributed and sacrificed so much to clean up the river,” including those who follow their permits, or act voluntarily, he said.

    The full report includes more details and findings, and is posted online at

    Public invited to River Rally

    The CIB will continue its education and outreach efforts with a River Rally on Thursday, May 10, at Cupola Park in Millsboro. From 4 to 7 p.m., their goal is to examine water quality and inspire meaningful action, with free resources, as well as free food and drink.

    “This is going to be a chance for the residents of the area to come out, learn about the river, celebrate the river and find out what they can do together … to help protect the river,” Bason said.

    The rain location for the event is the Indian River Senior Center, 214 Irons Avenue, Millsboro.

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    Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: This year’s seniors were Indian River Band Director Nathan Mohler’s first freshman class and, years ago, his first fifth-graders.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: This year’s seniors were Indian River Band Director Nathan Mohler’s first freshman class and, years ago, his first fifth-graders.Nathan Mohler says the band was great when he came to Indian River High School. In the past four years, he has built upon that strong foundation, now being named IRHS Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019.

    He considers himself a director and guide.

    “I’m teaching music, that’s true. But the elementary teachers have done such a great job teaching them to play that I’m directing,” he said.

    Also, with so many styles of music in the world, Mohler said it’s his job is to help students find something special.

    “I’m just trying to help them focus. … If they enjoy that one thing, they’re going to gravitate toward it,” said Mohler.

    So what is Mohler’s favorite genre? It depends on the day and the season. He loves concert band music specifically written for the band. Yes, it’s fun to play arrangements of rock music in the football stands, he said, but a good piece of concert music will highlight instruments to their full potential.

    Mohler joined the school district in 2010 as elementary school band teacher at the three non-magnet feeder schools to IRHS (excluding arts magnet school Southern Delaware School of the Arts).

    Through a trick of the calendar, this year’s band is an amalgam of Mohler’s teaching milestones. The seniors were his first freshmen when he first came to IRHS midway through the 2014-2015 school year. They were also his first fifth-graders in 2010-2011, when he first came to the Indian River School District. Moreover, his last class of fifth-graders from 2014-2015 are now freshmen.

    For years, IRHS only had one music teacher who managed the entire band and chorus. Now, Chantalle Ashford leads the chorus (and also several English classes). So Mohler is fortunate to focus entirely on band; music theory and music appreciation classes; and the small music ensembles.

    He and Ashford also direct musical shows and revues, recently including IR’s first book musical in perhaps decades, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

    Music has a wonderful way of bringing together students from all walks of life, he said.
    Nathan MohlerNathan Mohler
    “It’s very rewarding to help a group of 90 people who may not always talk to one another. For many of them, this is the only thing they have in common,” he said. “I enjoy helping them discover and try new things.”

    Mohler said he believes that anyone can play an instrument. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right one.

    Teaching seems a natural fit for Mohler, who always like helping and cooperating with people. His parents were teachers, and he grew up playing music. Mohler had considered a career in landscape architecture, which he jokes is just a different medium for creating art. He chose the musical route instead.

    Originally hailing from Kutztown, Pa., he graduated from West Chester University’s well-known music education program. After college, he started teaching in Philadelphia in 2009, then came to Delaware in 2010.

    “This is a friendly area,” he said.

    He’s also done some gigging on the horn and bass. In the future, he hopes to write concert music for elementary-school and intro-level bands (as a side job to teaching, of course).

    Mohler is currently president of the Sussex County Music Educators Association. His free time is full of music and family, with his wife and two small children at home, ages 2.5 years and 2.5 months. This summer, Mohler is also working to complete his master’s degree in band directing.

    Despite his love for teaching, Mohler admits there are challenges.

    “I think today a good number of people come to school with baggage. A lot of people didn’t, years ago,” Mohler said.

    Kids have trouble focusing on school if they’re worried about parents fighting or no dinner on the table that night. But music helps people overcome tough times, even if it’s for one period a day, he said.

    “When you play, you get to forget about things for a bit,” Mohler said. “It’s stress-relieving. It’s very difficult to explain to somebody who’s not a musician. As opposed to watching TV or jogging, you’re creating something.”

    This weekend, the IRHS band takes their show on the road — about 500 miles away to Cleveland, Ohio. Visiting a different city every year, the students get to perform and workshop a piece with distinguished conductors. Mohler has his fingers crossed that they’ll glimpse a famous musician at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Friday, since the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is the next day.

    This spring, the public can hear IRHS musicians perform at three more spring concerts at the high school:

    • The IRHS ensembles will back up the Lord Baltimore Elementary School spring concert on May 10 at 6 p.m.

    • The IRHS chorus will perform May 15 at 7 p.m.

    • The IRHS band will perform May 16 at 7 p.m.

    Indian River School District will announce the districtwide Teacher of the Year award later this month.

    “I never thought I’d be nominated this early and be selected. I teach with a lot of very talented people,” said Mohler, who added that he looks forward to representing his school.

    “It’s been a great experience since I’ve been here. It’s been an easy school to work for,” said Mohler, complimenting the administrators and teachers for their support and flexibility. “I have a great bunch of families that help support the students and the band.”

    He also thanked the community for supporting the IRHS band program.

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    Verizon Wireless is looking for public comments as it works to improve wireless service in coastal Sussex County. Both residents and police have lamented the at-times poor service near the Atlantic Ocean.

    At this point, it appears that Verizon and Cellco Partnership are just doing research. They have not begun requesting construction permits.

    “With the rising usage of mobile devices, there is a need to make additional investments in our network to keep up,” said David Weissmann, Verizon’s northeast public relations manager. “We are always looking for opportunities to improve the Verizon network for residents, visitors and first-responders.

    The two companies have hired the international real estate advisors CBRE, whose White Plains, N.Y., office specializes in telecommunications advisory services, environmental site assessments, construction risk management and more.

    Currently, CRBE is looking for “public comments regarding the potential effects from this site on historic properties.” They published legal notices in Coastal Point newspaper in the past several weeks regarding six utility pole installations or replacements:

    “Cellco Partnership (and its controlled affiliates doing business as Verizon Wireless) is proposing to” construct a 47-foot utility pole/tower at 9 Lewes Street, Fenwick Island; construct a 46-foot utility pole/tower at 1201 Bunting Avenue, Fenwick Island; construct a 46-foot utility pole at 214 Garfield Parkway (Route 26), Bethany Beach; construct a new 46-foot utility pole at Ocean View Parkway and Atlantic Avenue (Route 26), Bethany Beach; replace an existing telephone pole with a 47-foot utility pole at 1-39099 Spicer Lane, Fenwick Island; replace an existing utility pole with a 46-foot utility pole at 202 South Ocean Drive, South Bethany.

    Comments may be submitted within 30 days of the publication dates, mailed to CBRE; 70 West Red Oak Ln.; White Plains, NY 10604, emailed to or called into (914) 694-9600. Amanda Sabol takes comments for the Lewes Street, Bunting Avenue and Route 26 sites. Laura Mancuso takes comments for the Ocean View Parkway, Spicer Lane and Ocean Drive sites.

    “The historic-preservation notices that appeared are a notice requirement for feedback on the potential impact to historic properties related to network improvement projects,” said Weissmann.

    “The addresses listed … have recently been considered for network equipment that would help our customers use their devices where they live, work and play. The notice is an early step in a process, which many times includes changes of sites or equipment,” Weissmann added.

    The move comes soon after the Fenwick Island Town Council finalized new laws for cellular technology, drafted with some help from Verizon, as the company looks to improve mobile service.

    In Fenwick, any cellular service company can now request to install “small-cell” technology, which are like signal booster boxes on existing utility poles. A town committee would approve or deny the request. The town council would vote on larger requests for major changes, such as installation of a new pole. Companies must also request permits to replace an existing pole in town limits, said Fenwick Island Town Manager Terry Tieman.

    “We haven’t received a permit request yet, so they’re still working on the plan,” Tieman said.

    However, there are plans for Verizon to install a small antenna behind Fenwick Island Town Hall, to help boost signals for police vehicles. Officers have said they sometimes have to let perpetrators go if they lose a signal while processing a traffic ticket or other arrest.

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    It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights. The Freeman Stage has released “Volume 2” of their summer season lineup.

    “This is going to be our biggest season yet. Get ready, because we are going to have 67 performances,” Executive Director Patti Grimes told the dinner crowd gathered April 9 at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach. “The Freeman Stage wants to make sure everyone has access to the arts, so thank you for coming out tonight.”

    With this inaugural open-to-the-public reveal, the Stage announced more than 40 performances, including kids’ shows, national acts, cultural performances and free shows. That includes country, R&B, rock, reggae and beatbox, salsa, pop and more.

    Tickets for the newly announced shows go on sale to the general public Monday, April 16, at 10 a.m. Tickets are already available for shows announced in March. Details are online at

    The new headliners include Alison Krauss on June 9; The Four Tops and The Temptations on July 2; Lee Brice on July 5; Boys II Men on July 12; Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo and Rick Springfield on July 23; Gov’t Mule on July 25; Matisyahu on July 26; Mary Chapin Carpenter on July 28; Gin Blossoms on Aug. 2; Postmodern Jukebox on Aug. 17; SOJA on Aug. 19; Michael Bolton on Aug. 31; Phillip Phillips and Gavin DeGraw on Sept. 1, and the Gipsy Kings on Sept. 16.

    Founder Michelle Freeman encouraged people to share the stage with a friend, since “word-of-mouth and grassroots is how we’ve grown this thing,” she said.

    “If you see something on this season and go, ‘What the hell is that?’ — Come! Come to that very thing! That’s how we grow as human beings,” Freeman added. “That’s how we expand our horizons.”

    “There will be something for everyone,” said Grimes.

    In addition to headlining acts, 45 percent of this season includes free performances, such as The Hunts, a family band from Chesapeake, Va., on June 28; magician Mike Super on July 11; David Engel’s Jedi Academy! workshop event on Aug. 1; and Step Afrika dancers on Aug. 17.

    This summer’s tribute acts will celebrate Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Elton John and music hits through the decades.

    Youth can enjoy free Young Audience programs on Saturday mornings and some weeknights, sponsored by the PNC Foundation.

    In all, the 2018 performers have more than 68 Grammy awards, plus 80 nominations; 30 Country Music Association Awards and more than 50 nominations; 15 American Music Awards; a Tony Award; and two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions.

    Located four miles west of Fenwick Island, the Freeman Stage is situated in the Bayside golf community. As a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, the stage’s mission is to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all.

    Many sponsors and volunteers help the nonprofit stage host big names and bring free programs to schools, including more than 100,000 local students to date.

    Major sponsors and grants come from Sarah Chase Carlson, Schell Brothers, the Meltzer Group, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, the Sussex County Council and the State of Delaware, Delaware Division of the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

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    Coastal Point • File Photo: Beth Ann Cahall and George Keen share a moment, and a laugh, at a previous Springtime Jamboree.Coastal Point • File Photo: Beth Ann Cahall and George Keen share a moment, and a laugh, at a previous Springtime Jamboree.For 36 years, the Hocker family has been organizing the Springtime Jamboree — two nights of country, Western and gospel music, supporting local non-profit organizations.

    “I started playing Minor League when I was 8 years old,” said Gerry Hocker, “and dad’s sitting there, watching the games, and would see batters hit the ball and see it go right through a fence. He decided to try to do something to help the Lower Sussex Little League raise just enough to put up a fence.

    “Somebody who knows what the Pyle Center is now… If they could’ve seen the early days, they would be amazed that at one point it only had three fields and the fence was old snow fence they would take down after the snow season, and the State would make a temporary fence for our ball field. Someone would hit a groundball, and it would go straight through the fence.

    “Dad went to the Little League and asked if they were willing to be a beneficiary. It was a new concept in this area.”

    Working with Floyd Magee, who started the Country Hoedown in Georgetown, Gerald Hocker — today a state senator — started the Springtime Jamboree.

    “Floyd’s reply was, ‘Let’s get it done,’” said Gerry Hocker simply.

    This year, the Jamboree will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, at Indian River High School. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with pre-show entertainment provided by Ron Howard on piano, starting at 6:30 p.m. The show with begin at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 per person.

    This year’s Jamboree will support the Millville Volunteer Fire Company, which is one of a few organizations that have been the beneficiary of the Jamboree more than once over the years.

    “Our building on Route 26 is outdated,” said Greg Hocker, the youngest Hocker and a member of Millville Volunteer Fire Company. “It’s got some structural issues. As a company, we don’t know if we’ll end up building a new firehouse or renovating, but all the money raised from the Springtime Jamboree is going into a separate account to go toward the building. All the money’s been allocated to that.”

    Greg Hocker said that because the company consists mostly of volunteers, with the exception of paid EMS staff, raising funds is critical to their ongoing operations.

    “They are providing all of the emergency services for our community, and it does take a significant amount of money to run a firehouse and provide those services.”

    At the Jamboree, the fire company will be selling T-shirts and raffling off a golf-for-four package at Salt Pond, excluding holidays. The drawing will take place in the second half of Saturday’s show.

    The Millville Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary will have refreshments for sale, including hot dogs, popcorn, baked goods and drinks.

    New faces on stage in 2018 edition

    Those who’ve attended the Jamboree in years past will see new faces. The Hap Tones, who had served as the fundraiser’s house band, will not be performing together, as everyone’s schedules became busy.

    “We have completely regrouped and put together a completely different band, and I think the group is phenomenal,” said Gerry Hocker. “It’ll be a change of faces for the audience to see, but certainly we won’t skip a beat. It’s exciting. There are so many talented musicians in this area.

    “It’s nice when you ask people to help out in a moment of need and everybody is willing, knowing how much time and dedication it would take.”

    The new house band, known as Eleventh Hour, comprises many local musicians, some of whom are members of Dirt Road Outlawz, a group with which Hocker plays.

    This year’s performers include Gerald, Emily, Gerry and Greg Hocker; Tyler Bare; Kevin Short; Grace Otley; Nikki Ireland; George Jenkins; Linda Magarelli; Danita Robinson; Cheryl Howard; Jaime Parker; Lily May Border; Floyd Megee Jr.; Charlie Lynch; and The Jamboree Boys. The emcee will be George Keen, and comedy will be provided by Scott Evans.

    “We have a lot of local talent,” said Gerry Hocker. “The audience always seems to enjoy the comedy. We’ve come up with some good ones over the years.”

    “The performers and the people in attendance are what make the jamboree a success,” added Greg Hocker. “It’s not myself, my brother or my father.”

    This year, Hocker’s sister, Beth Ann Cahall, a country music recording artist, will not be in attendance, as she recently had her second child.

    “Sadly, she won’t be here,” said Gerry Hocker, who usually performs a duet or two with his sister. “I’ve arranged for another duet to take place, and I don’t want to give anything away, but I think people will really like it.”

    Music has been a Hocker family tradition for generations — a love that has continued to be passed down to the younger generations.

    “It’s great to see my brother’s children and my children growing up with the jamboree like we did. They look forward to it every year,” said Greg Hocker, whose son Mason went on stage last year with his guitar.

    “Music is such a passion for me… it’s a hobby that’s totally different from what I do on a day-to-day basis. It’s been my hobby my whole life,” said Gerry Hocker, who helps run the family’s grocery business.

    Gerry Hocker, whose time at the ballfield helped create the Jamboree, said the first fundraiser was such a success his dad decided to keep the tradition going. And for the second fundraiser, at age 8, he was told he’d be performing.

    “As a young child, I had always sung in church. That year, it wasn’t my choice; the decision was made for me.

    “Naturally, I wanted to, I had some confidence in singing,” he recalled. “My grandfather helped me pick out my first song, Jim Reeves’ ‘Yonder Comes a Sucker.’ It’s an old country tune. That was Year 2, and I’ve been in it ever since.”

    Gerry Hocker went on to play tuba in the Indian River High School marching band, and learned to play guitar, but he had always wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and learn the steel guitar.

    “My grandfather always played steel guitar with the Jamboree Boys. He would always make the comment, ‘One of these days I’m going to teach you how to play steel.’ And I always kept it as an interest because it’s a very unique instrument. That never happened. He passed away when I was a senior in high school in 1990. His steel guitar was in my parents’ house in the basement. I told myself then that someday I would master that instrument.

    “If my grandfather could come back for just one day and play with me… boy, what a rewarding opportunity that would be. I still have his steel guitar.”

    Following his graduation from the University of Delaware in 1995, Hocker kept his promise to himself, and eventually met through a mutual friend a steel player who agreed to give him lessons.

    “I’ve been playing steel since I was 23 I’m still learning. It’s something you never stop learning new ways to do things, chord progressions and scales. It’s a passion. It clears my head. When I’m sitting down at my steel guitar playing, that’s the only thing I’m thinking about — no phone, no distractions. It’s 100 percent focused when I’m playing.

    “It does take a lot of coordination. I play a double-neck steel, so I’ve got 20 strings, 10 on each neck, eight pedals for my left foot, my right foot has a volume pedal. Then on both sides of both knees I have knee levers, and on my left knee I have a vertical pedal.”

    Now, along with helping to run the family business, Hocker also plays with the Dirt Road Outlawz.

    “When you surround yourself with musicians much better than you, I like to be a sponge and just take in as much as I can,” he said. “Playing with a group like that is certainly an honor.”

    Similarly, Greg Hocker, who played drums in the high school band, has been in the Jamboree since 1990, and now fills in with the Dirt Road Outlawz as well.

    “I don’t get to play drums very often, so I enjoy that the most,” said Greg Hocker.

    Charity in the family and in the community

    Over the years, various area charities have received the monies raised from the jamboree, including River Soccer Club, Delaware Hospice, Lions Clubs and fire companies.

    “Some beneficiaries have been fortunate to be a multi-year beneficiary,” said Greg Hocker. “So we start thinking about what organization needs money. What organization we see might benefit from a show. There is no limit to what an organization can raise as far as their ad book.

    “They have sold more ads than any organization in the history of the Jamboree. It is the thickest ad book ever. It’s amazing the amount of positive response the fire company has received. It’s overwhelming just the positive outlook on people willing to support the fire company.”

    Supporting the community has always been a top priority to the Hocker family, who’ve been in the grocery business for 46 years. Last year, the family moved out of the store on Cedar Neck Road and into a vacant retail space previously held by a large chain grocer, near Salt Pond.

    “It’s been a year now. It’s been a blessing. The locals stuck with us; they moved with us,” said Gerry Hocker. “We had a whole new chapter. We were able to take a whole new building and expand.”

    Gerry Hocker (who more than once during his interview with the Coastal Point was interrupted to take requests for food donations) said his family never says no to helping the community that has supported them throughout the years.

    “It’s part of what we do to give back to the community that’s been so generous. It’s a very generous community, and we do not take that lightly at all,” he said. “You give a dollar and it comes back to you tenfold sometimes.”

    In its nearly four decades of fundraising, the Jamboree has raised nearly $750,000, all of which goes directly to the non-profit organizations.

    “My father always said he would continue to do it as long as the community kept supporting it,” said Greg Hocker. “They’ve continued to support it, and we plan to continue it when our father’s not able to one day.

    “Everyone who goes to the Jamboree for the first time says they’ll never miss another one. It’s a great fundraiser. It’s just a great family event for all ages.”

    Those who wish to purchase a video recording of the 2018 Jamboree by Unscene Productions may do so by contacting Hocker’s Super Center at (302) 537-1788. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Hocker’s Super Center and Hocker’s Grocery & Deli, located at 34960 Atlantic Avenue in Clarksville, (302) 537-1788 or (302) 539-0505, or G&E Inc., located at 695 Bethany Loop in Bethany Beach, (302) 539-5255. Indian River High School is located at 29772 Armory Road in Dagsboro.

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    The Town of Ocean View will hold its annual council election this Saturday, April 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at town hall.

    Two candidates have registered for the District 4 position: incumbent Carol Bodine and resident Berton Reynolds.

    Those who wish to vote in the election must be an eligible registered voter with the Town. Those who are registered to vote in county or state elections are not automatically entitled to vote in the Town’s elections. They must have registered directly with the Town. Those who go to cast their vote must bring at least one form of identification.

    Once the polls are closed, the Town’s Board of Elections will tally the votes and announce a winner that evening.

    To find out if you are registered to vote in the Town’s election, call (302) 539-9797, ext. 101.

    Ocean View Town Hall is located at 32 West Avenue, near John West Park, in Ocean View.

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    The Ocean View Town Council this week approved a budget for the Town’s 2019 fiscal year that includes a 50 percent property tax increase.

    During the monthly council meeting, council members noted that, as previously discussed, assessed property values would be switched over from the current Town-assessed values to that of Sussex County, “which are 50 percent of 1974 appraised values,” said Finance Director Sandra Peck.

    “Our revenue-neutral tax rate of .1652 per $100 is equal to $1.78 per $100 using the Sussex County assessments,” she explained.

    Peck noted that a letter explaining the changeover had been drafted and would be sent to property owners in the coming weeks or included in the 2019-fiscal-year property tax bills.

    She noted that the Town’s budget is revenue-neutral as a whole.

    “Individual impact is not consistent across the town because it depends when Sussex County’s assessment was done, which is dependent on when the last sale was or when the last building permit was pulled,” she said, noting that there are more than 3,000 properties within the town. “It is not revenue-neutral to every homeowner, because that’s not possible.”

    Prior to voting, Councilman Frank Twardzik apologized again for how the council had previously presented the tax increase issue to its citizens.

    “We did a poor job of public relations, and this council pledges to do better in the future.”

    Twardzik said he has twice taken an oath to uphold the Constitution — once as a Pennsylvania state trooper and again as a councilman for the Town of Ocean View.

    “I knew both positions would require me to make tough decisions in the performance of my duties. Some of these decisions would be unpopular. However, my duty is to do what is right, not what is popular.”

    The council has been weaning the Town off of transfer taxes for the last several years, said Twardzik, and the 2019-fiscal-year budget eliminates that reliance.

    “All future transfer tax monies will be applied to fund our capital projects and our various long-range trust funds…

    “This council, under the leadership of Mayor [Walter] Curran these past four years, has now eliminated that potential problem of feast-or-famine regarding the transfer tax. I believe future councils will look back on this vote and thank us for creating a stable platform for the Town’s operating budget.”

    Twardzik noted that, while voting against the tax increase — knowing it would pass regardless — would be the political thing to do, he did not believe it would be the right thing to do for the Town’s financial future.

    “Just like when I was in the Bureau of Professional Responsibility, my position required me to make the tough decisions. I did then and I will now,” he said. “I, like you, will pay the new proposed rate as I, too, live in Ocean View. I have since 1991, when my wife and I built our retirement/vacation dream home. I, like many of you, am retired, on a fixed income, and my last COLA was back in 2002. I will have to budget for this increase.”

    The council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget.

    Citizens comment following tax increase

    With the cost of planned drainage improvement projects — delayed, as some property owners are not providing easements to the Town — being one area of major expense for the Town, Bill Goodwin of Woodland Park asked if easements the Town has already acquired would expire and whether the Town could simply do drainage improvements on properties that have provided easements.

    Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said the easements do not expire and that the issue is the Town doesn’t have all the easements required to do the necessary repairs.

    “If you have six properties in a row — you may have property No. 1, No. 2, not have No. 3, have 4 and 5, and not have No. 6. If you’re going to have a drainage project, if you don’t have all six of those, water will back up where the one person hasn’t given us an easement; you go two more properties, and then you have another blockage.

    “In the absence of having all of the easements, we can’t actually build the project, because it won’t flow all the way through the course designed by the engineers.”

    Goodwin also noted that a company had been to his development to clean out the ditches, and a recent rain still left standing water.

    “There are two parts of what a swale does — it allows water to flow off the property to some low point, like a tax ditch or a stormwater management pond, and the other thing it does is accumulates water and allows for downward percolation,” said Schrader. “The ones that were cleaned out, we had photographs that were brought in at the last regular town council meeting and it was almost like someone had jammed cork up those pipes, because they were that full of tree roots and other vegetative matter.

    “But it’s part of the Town’s responsibility to keep all that going, once we get all the easements.”

    Resident Ray Wockley asked the council if they had any problem with publishing that each member is paid $700 for their service to the Town. All said they would be fine with that number being published on the Town’s website.

    “There are people that think you’re getting rich,” said Wockley. “One of the ways of getting rid of problems is lay it all out there.”

    Wockley also recommended that the Town use its “highly-trained police force” to stop criminals, rather than to give out speeding tickets, and instead install speed cameras to enforced speed limits.

    “Our highly-trained police force is also doing all of those things,” said Curran, who added he would never vote to install speed cameras. “It’s purely a scam to get money,” he said.

    “The way we catch the people doing the robberies and the burglaries and the thefts is via traffic stops,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “That is our No. 1 tool for enforcement that we utilize.

    “The No. 1 complaint the Ocean View Police Department receives and has received for the 18-plus years I’ve been employed here is speeding. Citizens call every single day, complaining about speeding… Just two days ago, we clocked an individual coming past the police department doing 78 miles per hour in a 30-mph zone. Speed enforcement is a big part of what we do.”

    McLaughlin said the Town loses money when it comes to speed enforcement, noting that the Traffic Enforcement Code of Ethics, which he proposed, would prevent the Town from making a great deal of money off of traffic tickets.

    “If we exceed that threshold, that money would be given to the State of Delaware,” he added.

    Wockley also asked about the department assisting other agencies, noting a recent multi-agency investigation in Seaford resulting in arrests.

    “The money that was expended was expended for overtime for the three officers that participated in that particular investigation,” said McLaughlin, noting that it was paid out of grant monies the department received.

    Schrader also noted that there is a mutual police aid agreement, which allows law-enforcement agencies to respond with manpower where it is necessary.

    Wockley said the police department needs to be reimbursed for calls they are sent to outside of the Town limits. He said a regional police department could be the answer — a topic that has been discussed in Ocean View in the past.

    “We have led the parade for a number of years to create a regional police force and spread the wealth. In the meantime, we are what we are,” Curran said. “This is a legislative problem that has to be done at the legislative level, and we are trying to do that. It is a long, slow process.”

    “I would certainly support anything you’d like to do to further that cause,” said Wockley.

    Chris Carlin of Avon Park asked what specifically has been done regarding creating a regional police department.

    Curran said he has spoken to state Rep. Ron Gray and state Sen. Gerald Hocker but will be going back to them again.

    “I’m on a learning curve myself on how to walk through the landmines of the State system to get a result.”

    Also a member of the Delaware League of Local Governments, Curran serves on the group’s Executive Committee and Legislative Affairs Committee.

    “It’s not a paid position, but it’s worth it because it gives us a better perspective as a town. I’m still learning how to make this happen, but mostly it’s also a fight with the county council.

    “The state legislators can create all sorts of laws, but if the county council doesn’t come along and agree with us on this, it probably won’t happen. So, we have to work on them too, to get them to understand it’s in their best interest… I’m going to be a big pain in their butt up there. They’re going to learn to not like me, almost as much as you folks.”

    Fairway Village residents continue to ask for Town support

    Fairway Village resident Berton Reynolds — who is running against incumbent Councilwoman Carol Bodine for the District 4 seat — said his development has not received support from the Town or the State in its dealings with the community’s developer, with which the residents are currently in a legal battle regarding the rental of properties in the development that are still owned by Fairway Cap.

    “When we came to the town council back in September, we were basically told there was nothing more you could do,” he said. “We are not afforded the same benefits the same citizens…” he said, noting that the community had to raise more than $100,000 to take legal action against Fairway Cap. “When we presented this same information to our state officials, we were told the same thing.”

    Reynolds said the Town needs to do a better job in terms of communicating with its residents, which is why he proposes having an HOA liaison and holding more community forums.

    Reynolds also encouraged those in attendance to vote in Saturday’s council election.

    Fairway Village resident Hal Soloman also spoke to the council about the development’s unfinished roads, which have yet to be dedicated to the Town.

    “The bond is there to ensure the project gets completed, in terms of the roads, sidewalks, curbs, etc.,” said Curran. “Until they’re turned over to the Town, we have no right to take action.”

    “There are a lot of things, it seems to me, a political subdivision can do to get developers to do what they need to do. For example, you can hold up building permits,” said Solomon.

    “No sir, we cannot,” said Curran. “We also have rules and laws we have to follow.”

    Soloman asked Curran to call the developer and ask specifically why the roads in the development are not completed. Curran agreed to call and ask the question.

    In other Town news:

    • During the meeting, the council was asked why former town administrative official Charles McMullen had recently quit his job with the Town.

    “He wanted to. He voluntarily resigned,” said Curran, referencing a recent social media post accusing McMullen and Kercher Engineering of financial misdeeds.

    “There were Facebook postings that were libelous and slanderous, and they were outright lies. Those statements that were made about Charley McMullen and Kercher Engineering are totally false,” Curran said. “There is no truth to them whatsoever — end of story.”

    Alan Kercher of Kercher Engineering this week told the Coastal Point, “We absolutely have not done anything illegal and certainly are not involved with any embezzlement of funds.” He added of the allegations, “We have met with our company attorney, and we are investigating our legal options.”

    • The Town of Ocean View will hold its annual election on Saturday, April 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at town hall. Those who are registered to vote with the Town may do so between those hours but must bring a form of identification with them. The District 4 council seat currently held by Carol Bodine is up for election. Bodine is running for re-election to the seat, being challenged by Berton Reynolds.

    • The Town has been contacted by Rebecca and Patrick Adams, requesting the Town consider adding “miniature golf” as a permitted use in commercially-zoned areas. In their letter, the Adamses said they would like to create an outdoor recreation area for families at 3 Atlantic Avenue.

    • The council voted unanimously to alter an ordinance related to the Capital Replacement Trust Fund, specifically noting the funds “shall be expended only for the repair and replacement of capital assets or improvements determined by a majority of the members elected” when the repair cost exceeds $2,500. The previous cost was delineated at $1,500.

    • OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin said that his department does utilize volunteers, and in the month of March had $6,728 in savings due to volunteer hours expended.

    “They’re doing everything from answering the phones to providing janitorial services.”

    • The council introduced a proposed ordinance to amend the town code that would allow for an exception to permitting requirements when a proposed use is already permitted and requires no alterations, additional parking or construction, or extension of public utilities or streets.

    “If all you’re going to do is change a renter from one company to another, you will not have to dance the dance and jump through all the hoops that you had to in the past,” said Curran. “It will be an administrative procedure that can be done in a day.”

    Two readings of the ordinance will be held prior to the council voting on the proposed amendment.

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    Coastal Point • File Photo: The Tigers get their group photo taken during last year’s event.Coastal Point • File Photo: The Tigers get their group photo taken during last year’s event.“Play ball!”

    That’s what players, coaches, parents, and just about anyone associated with the Lower Sussex Little League program, will be hearing Saturday morning, as yet another season of baseball and softball commences at the Pyle Center complex in Roxana.

    Opening Day ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. as more than 600 kids eagerly anticipate the start of their first games of the season. The LSLL will feature 49 teams this year.

    “LSLL is proud to be a great place for young people and families to have a great experience together,” LSLL President T.J. Bunting said. “Softball and baseball are only part of the benefit the entire community receives from all the activity at the Pyle Center complex. Providing young people a positive place to be coached and to compete in a team setting is invaluable.”

    New this year for Opening Day is Anchors Aweigh Entertainment, which will be featuring their new video-game trailer. There will also be barbecue chicken platters for sale. As always, concession stand food will be available all day.

    The day will also feature raffles and other fundraising opportunities. Local churches and the Lower Sussex Indians Pop Warner team will be on-site, conducting registrations for this fall.

    The 2018 Senior League Softball World Series will once again be hosted by LSLL this year. The tournament will take place from July 30 to Aug. 5. It promises to be another world-class week of softball as teams from all over the globe descend on the complex, vying for a World Series championship.

    The LSLL program features manager, coaches, team moms and dads, umpires, concession-stand staffing, and its Board of Directors are all providing their time on a volunteer basis.

    With weather forecast to be beautiful on Saturday, there is plenty of fun, food and baseball or softball on tap for the area this weekend.

    Extra Bases: Information on the Lower Sussex Little League can be found on their Facebook page at

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    Coastal Point • File Photo: An American kestrel falcon perches on a gloved hand during Bethany Beach Nature Center’s 2016 Earth Day event.Coastal Point • File Photo: An American kestrel falcon perches on a gloved hand during Bethany Beach Nature Center’s 2016 Earth Day event.Once a year, the calendar reminds humans to show the planet some love. Earth Day 2018 is officially scheduled for Sunday, April 22, and all weekend long, local groups are hosting events to celebrate Earth Day, including three road cleanups, two festivals and a paper-shredding event. Each is free to attend.

    Dagsboro festival

    Jayne’s Reliable is a Dagsboro shop specializing in reused and reclaimed home décor. With so many people interested in repurposed furniture, the shopkeepers decided to expand their horizons with the Peace, Love & Earth Festival on April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    “Our goal is to have green-minded and/or community-building groups be a part of this mini-festival,” said organizer Karen Jayne.

    They invited earth-friendly organizations Delaware Center for Inland Bays (CIB) and the Delaware Botanic Gardens, and a certified arborist from Coastal Plant Care.

    People can go shopping among the vendors: native plants by Inland Bays Garden Center; organic dog treats by Yuppy Puppy; hydroponic produce by Bearhole Farms; local produce by Parsons Farms Produce; plants in their choice of reclaimed planting vessels by the Bleached Butterfly; and architectural salvage pieces, furniture and décor by Brian Hess.

    A-LERT Motivations will show green products, recycled bags and ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Avi Mae’s Farm will sell honey, handmade soaps and sugar scrubs, and discuss the current status of honey-bee health. Local author Sandie Gerken will have a book-signing.

    Live music will be courtesy of the band East of the Mason Dixon Line, performing folk-rock and Americana.

    People can also bring money for Blue Scoop ice cream and Good Earth Market sandwiches.

    The Jaynes are a husband-wife team who merge in-house creativity with customers’ ideas to create reclaimed home décor.

    “It’s almost like we don’t throw anything away,” said David Jayne.

    “Give everything a second chance,” said Karen Jayne. “It’s sort of Earth Day every day at Jayne’s Reliable.”

    “And it’s something that both of us are so passionate about,” her husband added.

    Jayne’s Reliable is located at 33034 Main Street, Dagsboro.

    Nature Center festival

    Why should our planet only get one day of attention? The seventh annual “Every Day is Earth Day” Celebration returns to the Bethany Beach Nature Center on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Families can meet animals, build crafts and enjoy lively entertainment, including from the Delaware Children’s Museum from Wilmington; Raptor’s Eye, a rehabilitator who brings hawks and owls into the crowd; singalongs with Crabmeat Thompson; and Eric Energy’s crowd-pleasing science show at 11 a.m.

    Other local environmental-based companies will bring displays, too.

    To celebrate Arbor Day a week early, on Earth Day, kids can help shovel soil for the ceremonial tree planting around 11:30 a.m. While supplies last, attendees can also take home free seedlings for a redbud tree, which grows quickly and sprouts pink and purple buds.

    Coastal Point • File Photo: Earth Day participants in Millsboro’s event hold hands in a Circle of Unity.Coastal Point • File Photo: Earth Day participants in Millsboro’s event hold hands in a Circle of Unity.Inside the Nature Center itself — a relocated and repurposed 1903 cottage — people can do crafts and view nature displays and aquariums. The playground, garden and nature walk also tempt people outdoors.

    “Kids are welcome to take binoculars, bug boxes [and] a scavenger-hunt clipboard. They can make a scavenger-hunt bag and a butterfly net, and have a nature adventure on the Baldwin Trail,” said Nancy Lucy, director.

    “We’re trying to educate our visitors in an entertaining way how to get the most out of observing nature,” Lucy said. “When you come to the Nature Center, you’re up close and personal,” with the science experiments and the birds.

    A big-screen monitor will broadcast live footage from the Chesapeake Bay Osprey Cam.

    “People just love that,” Lucy said. “That really gives them an opportunity to ask a lot of questions, because you can really get a birds-eye view of the osprey nest. We’re in osprey season now. They have migrated back from Central and South America, which is over 2,200 miles they travel back to their same nests.”

    The Nature Center itself boasts three active nests, which hatched nine ospreys last summer, with the young birds spending the next four or five years in South America before coming right back to coastal Delaware to build their own nests.

    Most families do everything at the event in 45 to 75 minutes, Lucy said. People can also bring a picnic lunch. The celebration will be held rain or shine.

    Parking is limited onsite, but attendees are allowed to park next door at Grotto Pizza. Better yet, “Honor Mother Earth, and ride your bike or walk,” Lucy said.

    For more information, contact Bethany Beach Nature Center at (302) 537-7680 or 807 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach.

    Fenwick road cleanup

    Although organized by the municipality, Fenwick Island’s 3rd Annual Earth Day Cleanup will also include the unincorporated parts of Fenwick, all the way to the Maryland border.

    Volunteers will meet April 21 at 9 a.m. at Fenwick Island Town Hall to enjoy coffee and refreshments, learn about the local ecosystem from environmental experts and then grab trash bags for the road cleanup.

    All clean-up supplies will be provided, along with giveaways and door prizes for participants, donated by area businesses. People should dress for the weather.

    “It’s important to keep our beautiful little Fenwick Island community in pristine condition. It takes everybody’s efforts to do so,” said organizer Colleen Wilson of the Fenwick Island Environmental Committee.

    She said she also thinks the cleanup will inspire future cleanliness.

    “If people are walking up and down Bunting Avenue, if they see trash, they’ll consider picking it up. Because trash breeds trash,” Wilson said.

    “It’s a lot of cigarette butts, bottles, cans that have gotten discarded around the year. And with the [weather] this year, there’s just a lot of trash that’s been blowing around construction sites,” Wilson said.

    This year, there’s a major national emphasis on ending plastic pollution, as it injures marine life, litters the landscape, clogs landfills and can disrupt human hormones, according to the Earth Day Network.

    That’s why volunteers should bring a reusable water bottle to fill at Town Hall this year. Organizers will not be distributing disposable water bottles.

    “We’ll have our water cooler available at Town Hall, so if people bring their own bottle, they can fill their own,” Wilson said.

    That’s especially critical as Sussex Countians try to be good neighbors to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Fenwick Island Town Hall is located at 800 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island. Details of the cleanup are posted at and

    Coastal Sussex road cleanup

    It’s time for spring cleaning in all the Quiet Resorts.

    People can celebrate Earth Day by “adopting” a section of roadway in the inaugural “Keep the Quiet Resorts Beautiful” Community Clean-up on April 21.

    They will collect roadside trash and recycling debris at different sites around the area. The event offers an opportunity for families, businesses, non-profits and community groups to work together, or people can also register as individuals and be assigned a group, said event organizers at Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Groups of five or more will be assigned a quarter-mile stretch of road, or they can request up to a mile.

    Not only will the effort help the environment, but it’ll also prepare Sussex County for the Chamber’s annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, being held the following weekend.

    “We will be working on many of the back roads, like Burton’s Farm, Burbage, Old Mill, etcetera — roads that are traveled by the cyclists and have been identified as areas of concern for community members as well,” said Lauren Weaver, Chamber executive director, who said she always wanted to spruce up the roadways before putting guest cyclists on them.

    “The new Keep Delaware Beautiful initiative and some amazing community partners have made this pipe-dream a reality.

    Local legislators have helped secure funding through that initiative, and the Delaware Department of Corrections will also send inmates to help along Route 1.

    “Our state and local representatives are providing an opportunity for our area to come together to do something positive and unifying, to take pride in what is ours as a community, do something good for the planet and meet our neighbors,” Weaver said.

    Participants will receive their assignments via email. They can pick up supplies as early as 8 a.m. and must finish their cleanup on their assigned section of road by 3 p.m.

    Trash bags, reflective vests, pick-up claws, pokers and other cleaning materials will be provided by partners at Republic Waste and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). Then, volunteers will drop the trash and recycling bags at designated pickup locations. (Motorists should be mindful of volunteers working on the roadway and shoulders this weekend.)

    For more information and registration, find the event listing at, or call Susie or Lauren at (302) 539-2100. Groups that want to work in a specific area should write that in the registration comments.

    Paper shredding

    Declutter the house and add some zen to life by tossing out excess paper.

    Regular paper can always be thrown in home recycling bins. But First Shore Federal bank will host a free shredding event on Earth Day for confidential documents. People can safely and securely have their important documents shredded on-site on April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon.

    The bank is located at 35742 Atlantic Avenue, Millville. For more information, call the branch at (302) 537-5474.

    Route 54 cleanup

    The Sussex County Democratic Committee is inviting people to spare an hour for a good cause. The Route 54 Earth Day Cleanup will be Sunday, April 22, from noon to 1:30 p.m., as the 38th Representative District’s Environmental Committee will host a two-mile cleanup on Route 54 (Lighthouse Road).

    “The Route 54 corridor is an environmentally-sensitive area sandwiched between Dirickson Creek on the north and Assawoman Bay on the south. Trash from our main road eventually filters into both waterways,” organizers said.

    The clean-up will continue eastbound on the road shoulder, starting at the B.P. gas station at Old Mill Bridge Road. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring a “reacher” or hand-grabber tool, if possible. Organizers will provide plastic gloves, trash bags and safety vests, courtesy of the Adopt-a-Highway program by the Delaware Department of Transportation.

    The gas station is located at 36345 Lighthouse Road. For more information, call Tom at (301) 518-5500.

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    Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: Michael Tougias, author of ‘The Finest Hours’ and ‘Above and Beyond,’ will speak at South Coastal Library and Fort Miles on Sunday, April 22.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: Michael Tougias, author of ‘The Finest Hours’ and ‘Above and Beyond,’ will speak at South Coastal Library and Fort Miles on Sunday, April 22.A New York Times bestselling author will bring his love of historic adventure to two locations in Sussex County on Sunday, April 22.

    Michael Tougias, author of “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue,” is scheduled to make a presentation at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach at 10 a.m. on Sunday and at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park at 2 p.m. that day.

    In 2016, “The Finest Hours,” co-written with Casey Sherman, was made into a movie starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. The book and subsequent film tell the story of the two ships in a 1952 nor’easter off Cape Cod. The World War II-surplus oil tankers broke in half in the storm, necessitating four separate search-and-rescue efforts.

    A particularly dramatic part of that rescue involved a 36-foot motorized lifeboat and four U.S. Coast Guardsmen, battling towering 70-foot waves to save 32 crewmen on the oil tanker the Pendleton.

    The harrowing tale told in “The Finest Hours” will be the focus of the second half of Tougias’ presentation. But the first part of the multi-media presentation will cover his book “So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During World War II.”

    “So Close to Home” tells the true story of the Downs family, who had moved to South America for work opportunities in 1941, only to end up in the path of a German U-boat off the U.S. coast.

    The story, Tougias said, follows the survival tale of the family and the intrigue of the German U-boats’ presence at the mouth of the Mississippi River. He shares details he gleaned from Ray “Sonny” Downs, who was 8 years old at the time of the event. Tougias tracked down Downs — now in his 90s — and interviewed him for the story.

    That topic is one that has somewhat of a link to Fort Miles itself, as the history of the fort includes its receipt of prisoners from a German U-boat taken off the Delaware coast during World War II.

    Tougias said he is looking forward to sharing with Delaware audiences for the first time information he unearthed during research for the two maritime-themed books. He said he has been writing books for about 30 years but only in the past few years has he focused on finding little-known stories of bravery and survival to tell.

    “I try to make the presentations ‘edge-of-your-seat,’” he said.

    When speaking about “The Finest Hours,” Tougias will use slides of the storm, the sinking oil tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the waters along the outer arm of Cape Cod.

    While the bulk of his talk will focus on those two stories, Tougias has another “hot-off-the-presses” book that tells yet another story of bravery and intrigue. That one involves a much better-known incident but brings to light a little-known aspect of it.

    “Above & Beyond: John F. Kennedy & America’s Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission,” also co-written with Casey Sherman, tells the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis through the eyes of a pilot who was coerced by superiors to keep secrets about what he had experienced in the skies over Cuba in October 1962.

    Tougias will be signing books at both programs. For more information on his books, go to Both programs are free and considered appropriate for all ages. There is an entrance fee to Cape Henlopen State Park for those who do not have state park passes.

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    South Bethany’s 2018 election could be a kind of musical chairs, as six candidates have filed for four seats, but everyone running is a familiar face.

    Tim Saxton could cut his current town council term in half, having entered the mayoral race against incumbent Patricia “Pat” Voveris.

    Meanwhile, four candidates have applied for three other town council seats, including incumbents Don Boteler, Sue Callaway and William “Tim” Shaw. Former council member Wayne Schrader declared his candidacy anew after choosing not to run for a second term in 2017.

    If Saxton wins the mayor position, then the town council would appoint someone to finish the second year of his current town council term. They may appoint anyone, which could include whichever candidate earned fourth place in the regular town council election. If he loses, he would continue in his current seat, which is up for reelection in 2019.

    The election is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, and the two-year terms begin in June.

    Eligible voters must be U.S. citizens and be either: a town resident for at least nine months (consecutively or nonconsecutively) of the preceding year; a freeholder who holds property through a deed or trust at least 90 consecutive days before the election; or the spouse of a freeholder, whether their name is on the deed or not.

    Absentee voting will be permitted. For details, email, call (302) 539-3653 or visit South Bethany Town Hall at 402 Evergreen Road.

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    It’s a topic with interest spreading across the state and the nation: How will municipalities deal with the coming proliferation of new wireless technology, including small-cell and 5G antennas. Will they turn streets into forests of antenna poles, or will municipalities have enough control to tailor installation styles to their liking?

    In Fenwick Island, officials have aimed to open to the town to more antennas, seeking to shore up spotty service for both consumers and first-responders.

    In Bethany Beach, the discussion is now focusing on exactly what the Town can require of wireless providers when they come in to install their new technology, including the aesthetics of the devices.

    At their workshop on April 16, the Bethany Beach Town Council heard from Christina Thompson of the law firm Connolly Gallagher, who was asked by the Town to brief the council on wireless antennas and the current status of related regulatory law, as well as to draft a set of regulations the Town could implement.

    Thompson began her report by emphasizing to the council that federal and state law are evolving, but that already some federal regulations will limit exactly how much they can regulate the installation of wireless antennas in their town.

    There already exists a “federal overlay” of FCC rules and regulations that have been designed to “give companies as much leeway as possible to provide service,” she noted, while they also have been aimed at not curtailing the right of the municipality to control location of the antennas and other aspects, such as aesthetics.

    The federal regulations have been primarily targeted, Thompson said, at setting timeframes for municipalities to address and approve applications from wireless companies.

    “The wireless companies were submitting their applications, and the municipalities weren’t acting or weren’t acting in a timely manner,” she explained.

    The result is a federally mandated set of timeframes for processing such applications, which is reduced when an application deals with a support structure already approved for such use, including by another provider.

    The FCC regulations may limit what the Town can say about approving the antenna locations and may result in a very short time for response, Thompson said. They also put a high priority on precedent in approving such installations.

    “You don’t have the right to say no based on the fact that there’s one already on it,” she said of support structures, which can be simple poles, buildings or tower structures — anything that can hold an antenna, even if it wasn’t originally intended for that purpose, including streetlight poles, such as the one the Town owns inside its borders.

    A Pandora’s Box

    A given support structure can have multiple providers’ equipment on it, but each provider would have a separate antenna, she explained. That’s called “co-location,” and while it might reduce the number of poles needed in a given location, it can raise other concerns.

    “In California, they had instances where the pole was up and one company puts equipment on it, and it looks nice and neat, but then…”

    The regulations don’t automatically make any possible support structure an “eligible support structure,” so a utility pole may be able to host an antenna, but until an antenna is approved to go on it, it isn’t automatically eligible for additional antennas.

    But once a structure is approved for such use, the municipality’s ability to say no to further equipment on the structure is severely limited.

    “You can have an application from AT&T for a small-cell on a pole, and you can have an agreement worked out. … Then, if Verizon asks, federal law controls what you can look at and the time you have to do it, the safety issues that can be reviewed.” So, if the Town didn’t start off the initial approval process for use of a given structure — or type of structure — by examining those issues in the first place, it could lose its right to do so entirely.

    “Whatever you require the first person to do, that’s all you can ask another person to do after that,” she explained to the council. “If you ask the first one to paint it black, you may not be able to do any more going forward” in terms of requiring camouflaging of the devices.

    “You have to look down the line. If you allow it, and 15 more come on down the road…”

    The result of that concern is a lengthy draft of policy for the Town to approve wireless antenna installation — what Thompson said she believed was “one of the most comprehensive” legislation yet drafted in the state, owing to Bethany Beach officials’ desires to control the aesthetics and other elements of the installations.

    Among the issues to be considered are camouflaging or “stealthing” — the ability to look at the installation with the naked eye and not have it be obvious that an antenna is one. Stealthing tech would allow for replacement of a light pole, for example, where the wiring for the antenna device would be concealed inside. Thompson said she believes the Town can require companies to use stealthing for their installations.

    However, she noted, stealthing generally precludes a structure from being used for more than one antenna and thus by more than one wireless provider. Therefore, it can lead to a greater number of poles overall, even if those structures are less obtrusive in their use with antennas.

    Overlapping regulations murky

    Complicating the regulations on the municipal level are remaining questions about how municipal and state regulation interacts, including how DelDOT’s oversight of roadside structures may override, overlap or otherwise impact municipal regulation efforts.

    “It’s very political right now,” she said.

    “Bethany wants to take a stronger position, based on streetscaping and the environment of Bethany,” Thompson emphasized. “Taking one town’s ordinance isn’t necessarily going to work. Fenwick’s may be different.”

    Balancing co-location, stealthing and pole placement/proximity is one aspect of the Town’s discussion as it works to draft the new regulations. But they still have to be mindful of the federal regulations that keep the municipalities in check.

    “You have to determine the priority of placement. You can do a lot with what you want it to look like, aesthetically, or where you want them placed” in terms of distance, she said, “but the federal mandate is that the municipality can’t act in manner that prevents them from providing their service, such as requiring 100 feet between them when they need 50 — or all utilities underground, requiring that. That would prohibit them from working.”

    “If allow them on one, you probably would open all the other posts to be used by other providers,” Thompson cautioned.

    “You will open the Pandora’s Box — there’s no choice in that,” Town Manager Cliff Graviet warned of the inevitable flood of applications.

    “The State has four applications from carriers now,” Thompson noted. “DelDOT has a system gateway for the applications, and once they figure out what’s needed, there’s a ‘button’ and there’s hundreds of applications behind them. That’s why it’s important that the Town be ready.”

    Already the Town has been approached by Verizon with a plan to use a pole in front of town hall. Vice-Mayor Lew Killmer said the tone of the notification from Verizon to the Town had bothered him.

    “The problem is the first contact was basically poking us in the eye. ‘We’re putting it out in front of town hall, and you can’t do anything about it.’”

    Thompson said that, contrary to the tone of that letter, the Town’s hands are not tied, but she said DelDOT officials have been struggling over how to deal with rights-of-way and who owns them.

    “DelDOT is saying, if they’re coming to [DelDOT] and the location is adjacent to state-maintained road, they’ll do the permit, but they’ll do it based on safety, not aesthetics,” Thompson noted. “They’re required to answer the question of the Town’s response,” she added, but there’s no requirement for them to follow the Town’s wishes.”

    In that case, she said, there’s “no good answer, other than the towns should get together and put pressure on DelDOT” to consider their wishes.

    In the case of the pole in front of town hall, she said, Verizon came to the Town for historic-district approval, and federal law requires they talk to the Town about that. Meanwhile, it’s still unclear, she said, how much say the Town would have in an application coming to DelDOT.

    Graviet also noted that the Town has to consider in developing its regulations technology that may not even exist today.

    “I don’t think we would be sitting here if we’re just talking about cell service as it exists today,” he said, noting that “5G will involve massive, intensive placement of antennas all over.”

    And, in the end, Thompson said, “It may come down that the federal government says, ‘It’s all in our purview and the municipality doesn’t have right to control it.”

    Thompson said the draft regulations are also intended to address abandonment of equipment in case of obsolescence, especially since it can be more efficient for a company to leave the outdated equipment in place instead of taking it out. “So we want to ensure it requires removal.”

    Process would aim to streamline timeframes

    As drafted, much of the application and approval process would be handled in the town manager’s office, with input from Town staff. The council would be asked to make decisions on initial installation requests and Graviet would able to approve applications for additional equipment on structures already approved by the council for a first provider. That’s intended to address what could be a very short required timeframe for response from the Town.

    Appeals of Graviet’s decisions would go to the council.

    Council members noted the potential to prohibit installations, for example, within 75 feet of an area where utilities are all underground — a regulation Thompson cautioned may need to be reworked to address the need to have a pole but could prohibit other equipment, or require it be underground or located outside of such an area, where possible.

    Killmer also noted draft language prohibiting installation in a flood plain, though 85 percent of the town is in a flood plain. Thompson said she’d written that into the draft knowing it would probably be ignored in a legal ruling or that the Town might, in the end, adopt different requirements.

    The draft also requires that there are no guidewires used for the structures.

    “What Verizon sent us for the pole out front is no guidewires, but they are planning to put the pole right next to another one,” Graviet noted.

    Thompson said other municipalities have required that any private property owner asking to host a structure be required to show the Town that they have a contract in place with the wireless provider, to prevent people from speculating on income potential by constructing a support structure that could be used in the future.

    “We just want to have some say in this,” Killmer said.

    “While you want to allow it, you still want to have control over what they look like,” Thompson added.

    The council was set to introduce the draft of the regulations at their April 20 council meeting, at 2 p.m. at town hall. However, Thompson, Graviet and the council all acknowledged that it’s unlikely the “first reading” on the meeting’s agenda would actually be an official first reading, since that would start a clock on completing a final version for approval and adoption.

    Instead, the council is expected to review the draft and offer thoughts and suggestions at Friday’s council meeting, leading to further refinement of the draft for a possible future first reading and later adoption.

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    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Meghan Kelly has filed to run against Rep. Ron Gray in the 38th Representative District electiom. Kelly resides in Dagsboro.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Meghan Kelly has filed to run against Rep. Ron Gray in the 38th Representative District electiom. Kelly resides in Dagsboro.Dagsboro resident Meghan Kelly is hoping to make a difference in her community via the halls of the state legislature, having filed to run in the 38th Representative District election.

    Kelly filed in March for the seat, which is currently held by Ron Gray.

    “I have been interested in choosing the laws and improving them to better serve those in the state of Delaware. I found myself contacting legislators, going to meetings, suggesting ideas,” said Kelly, discussing her decision to run. “My three purposes: seek improvement on infrastructure, clean water and preserving the environment.”

    Kelly grew up in Sussex County and graduated from Indian River High School prior to receiving her degree from the University of Delaware. She is well-rooted in the community, as her father taught for 20 years in the Indian River School District and lifeguarded in the summer months.

    “I grew up here,” she said.

    She went on to receive her juris doctorate from Duquesne School of Law. While in law school, she interned with the Hon. Thomas Hardiman at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, who now serves as a Third Court of Appeals justice.

    “I definitely think my education will help me, because I have training in the area of law and I know how they work together, with federal, state and local laws. I might be able to propose solutions that other people would not be aware of … based on how the laws relate to one and other,” she explained.

    “In addition, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing laws over the years in my bar sections with other attorneys, in groups such as the real estate section, bankruptcy, wills and trusts sections of the bar… So, we have a whole group of attorneys analyzing bills and then we review entire titles or sections together related to the areas we practice in.

    “I think that will assist me in helping to serve the community better, because I’ve had experience reviewing and making comments on different laws throughout the years…

    “I want to uphold Delawareans’ freedoms and fair application of the laws, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, wealth or poverty. Every citizen is important and valuable to our community.”

    Kelly is also licensed to teach social studies, physical education, health, elementary education, special education and middle school math in Delaware.

    “I am a supporter of education at all ages. We are all learners and teachers. Every citizen at every age is valuable and is worthy of opportunity. A student’s worth does not diminish when schooling ends, and Delawareans do not necessarily need to go into debt in order to gain employment.

    “Nevertheless, they do need to have a valuable skill. We should encourage people of all ages to invest in themselves throughout their lives, not merely when they are young.

    “I think the most important thing we can do is make sure the state legislature supports adequate funding so that the schools can operate,” Kelly added. “In other states, there are a lot of problems, and I don’t want to see those problems in Delaware, where they’ve been reducing the amount of money and teachers are being let go.”

    Infrastructure is also an area Kelly said she believes could be improved, especially in Sussex County.

    “I think it’s really important to make sure roads are fixed and that the State of Delaware works with local governments as well. We need to make sure our roads are safe and that people can get to the places they need to go to without much difficulty,” she said, adding that she applauds the State for bike-path improvements done in recent years but believes more could be done.

    She is also quite passionate about the environment and said she believes maintaining the area’s natural resources is essential to its economy.

    “The environment is important to us. Our beautiful beach towns rely on the three R’s — real estate, restaurant and retail. A lot of our local livelihood is based on that three to six months of the tourist season. If we don’t have a clean beach that attracts business, we don’t have much to offer the people in our community. Where are they going to work?”

    Kelly said she is seeking to bypass the influences of big business and money during her campaign — and, if elected, in her service to the community and state.

    “I want to focus on serving people, and preventing abuse and corruption by those who seek to take advantage of Delawareans for profit or gain. I want to work on solving problems while holding individuals and businesses receiving funds personally accountable for loss and self-dealing,” she said.

    “In the past, the State of Delaware has given businesses big chunks of money to come to Delaware. Those businesses took the money, but when the money dried up, they left. I want to create penalties if they should leave within 15 or so years, so they don’t come here for money and then leave when it’s no longer profitable. I want them to invest in the community.”

    While she will not be accepting monetary donations toward the campaign, to ensure there is no appearance of “buying a vote,” Kelly said she would accept donated items related to the campaign, such as signs or shirts.

    “My desire is to help people, to serve people — not profit. A lot of laws in Delaware are skewed to serving those with money and property, instead of serving the person. I value people more than money.”

    In campaigning, Kelly said she hopes to speak to groups in the area, but also get to know constituents on a one-on-one basis.

    “I’m happy to attend functions if anyone would like to invite me, to learn how I can better serve you. I’m happy to speak about anything anyone is interested in learning about or to merely answer questions,” she said.

    Taking a page from the book of state Sen. Brian Townsend, who does walk-and-talks at the mall, Kelly said she would like to do the same — but at the beach.

    On the third Saturday of every month, Kelly said she will do a walk-and-talk at the Bethany Beach boardwalk around 5 p.m.

    “I would love the opportunity to see people. Regardless of party affiliation, everyone is welcome to attend,” she said. “I am open to discussions on how we can help our current work force to thrive, instead of merely survive. Too many talented, smart, hard-working people are taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet.”

    Kelly said her campaign is focused on the people in the 38th District, and she hopes it will bring about open and positive discussions.

    “Being in the position as state legislator may enable me to serve the community I grew up in and love,” she said. “My focus is going to be on ‘How can I serve you better?’ I’m going to put people before profit and money. I’m going to serve everybody. I value people.”

    She noted that while there hasn’t been a Democrat representing the 38th District in a while, she hopes the voters will consider supporting her campaign.

    “I think I would do an excellent job because I care,” she said.

    Kelly said she looks forward to the months ahead and thanks those in the community for their support.

    “I look forward to, hopefully, meeting more people out in the community, listening to their concerns and addressing them,” she said. “I hope they give me a shot, because I would love to serve them.”

    Those who wish to contact Kelly regarding her campaign may do so by calling (302) 537-1089 or emailing

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    ProbertProbertWith Indian River School District School Board elections around the corner, two Millsboro women have thrown their hats into the ring to represent IRSD’s District 3.

    Dana Probert and Leolga T. Wright are competing to serve the voting district, which includes south Millsboro and north Dagsboro, on both sides of Route 113.

    Three of the school board’s 10 seats were up for election this year. The election will be Tuesday, May 8.

    In District 5, the winning candidate will just serve one year, finishing the full term for another board member who had moved away this winter. Candidates Derek E. Cathell and Carla M. Ziegler are vying to represent Selbyville, Gumboro and parts of Frankford. Jeffrey W. Evans has withdrawn from the race.

    Board Vice-President Rodney M. Layfield will automatically serve a five-year term, as there were no challengers for his District 2 (northern Millsboro and southern Georgetown) seat.

    All terms begin on July 1.

    Residents do not need to register to vote. Eligible voters must be 18 or older; U.S. citizens; a Delaware citizen; and live in the voting district for which they’re casting a ballot.

    Absentee voting will be permitted, but people must request from and return an affidavit to the Department of Elections in order to receive an absentee ballot by mail; or they can vote in person at the Department in Georgetown by noon on Monday, May 7.

    People can request an absentee affidavit by printing one online, emailing, calling (302) 856-5367) or visiting Department of Elections Sussex County Office, 119 N. Race Street, Georgetown.

    All election details are online at

    Editor’s note: In order to give candidates the last word before the election, Coastal Point will publish candidate questionnaires on May 4. The deadline to submit letters to the editor regarding the IRSD election will be April 23 at 5 p.m., for publication on April 27.

    Dana Probert, the challenger

    Perhaps only an engineer would describe the importance of school like this: “Education is critical infrastructure,” said Dana Probert, a resident of western Millsboro.

    “What goes through my head is: How do we best prepare young people for the jobs that are so desperately needed right now, and also the children of Sussex County, if Indian River School District, they are the future of our region… How can we best prepare them for a sustainable future for our community?” Probert said. “That’s the biggest thing. I see education as critical infrastructure,” equally as important as good roads, she said.

    Probert and her husband, also a civil engineer, moved to Delaware in 2002, seeking a small-town, rural atmosphere. She grew up in Pennsylvania, married and moved to Canada for a while, then returned to the U.S. to be closer to family.

    Probert has worked in road, drainage and stormwater management projects. She left active practice after becoming a parent and became a consultant, now with software at Autodesk Inc.

    In her own professional experience working for large engineering companies and interacting with architecture, aerospace and defense firms on a regional and international scale, Probert said “They’re in a talent crisis right now.” CEOs, she said, are wondering if there are enough skilled people for their workforce, from hands-on, trade and technician skills up to the engineers, accountants and businesspeople.

    Probert’s engineering experience could help as IRSD considers building new schools in the near future, since she’s worked with county and state agencies on construction projects. In particular, she has done site searches, feasibility studies and reviews for traffic and access.

    “I think there’s a lot I can bring to the table. … Being able to navigate those conversations can be very helpful,” said Probert, who also holds an MBA.

    She said she also wants to help navigate the budget challenges “and work with the constituency to put together solid referendums that will be supported,” Prober said. “I think that referendum did a lot to wake people up. … You can’t just take for granted that things are going the way you want, if you are a parent or someone who values education,” she added.

    “A big part of what I can bring to the table is real understanding of return-on-investment in business. I did this [as a civil engineer]: make intelligent investments so the project is profitable,” she said.

    “Part of what got me interested [in the school board] … were things around the referendum last year, conversations around special programs” that were considered for budget cuts. Although the administration says every line of budget was reviewed for potential savings, Probert said she wants to “take a hard look at the numbers” regarding return-on-investment for IRSD’s educational programs.

    IRSD has led school safety initiatives in Delaware, placing an armed and trained constable in each building.

    “I feel they are safe when they go to school,” Probert said of her children, but she wants to hear community and police perspectives, plus learn what has worked well elsewhere. “How can we make sure that parents and teachers and principals and everyone feels safe, while also making sure that we are providing a positive educational environment?”

    Probert’s three children attended district schools, although the oldest chose to continue at a charter school. The youngest two are in the Spanish immersion program at East Millsboro Elementary School.

    The family is very involved in the Sunset Branch of 4-H in Dagsboro, which Probert helped to found and still leads. She was named Delaware 4-H Sussex County Volunteer of the Year for 2018.

    “I’m passionate about education — clearly, since this is something I’m taking on with the school board — and building leadership skills, long-term life skills in kids, and the more hands-on, the better, so that’s a big part of what drives me,” she said.

    As they build a family farm, Probert said she hopes to raise horses to ride, plus livestock for the 4-H kids to study.

    Probert has not held elected office before, although she brings financial and civil engineering experience, plus her own experience teaching in 4-H.

    “Not only am I a parent, I am a professional woman that … I like to think of myself as a good balance between small-town, grassroots, local 4-H leader mom you see at the soccer field, and also having the unique opportunity to have international perspective, especially as science and technological education — you know: ‘What are employers looking for?’” she said.

    “I don’t think every kid should grow up and move away to have a great job,” said Probert, who emphasized the need for college-prep and hands-on learning. “We need to find more ways to educate folks for the long-term sustainability of the community…”

    Leolga Wright, the incumbent

    On the Oak Orchard side of Millsboro, Leolga Wright was appointed to the school board in 2012 and kept her seat in the 2013 election.

    “I take pride in being able to represent my community and be part of the board and be out in the public and let people know I am a board member,” said Wright, who occasionally casts a vote dissenting from the majority, often regarding spending. “I am more than willing to sit down with anyone and review my voting history.”

    WrightWrightEven when she disagrees, Wright said she will still enact the will of the board, upholding the decisions they make.

    “I like to think that, as board members, we can go to the administration with concerns we hear out in the public and they would be willing to listen to it, and if it is warranted, we would make changes,” she said.

    “I’m choosing to run for re-election this time because we’ve gone through some difficult times in the district, a difficult few years, but I believe we are turning the corner, with great effort.” And Wright said she hopes to help “put Indian River back on the map, where it should be,” with finances and education.

    The IRSD’s overcrowding problem is “bittersweet,” because “It’s nice to have kids that want to come into our district because of the opportunities they have to learn, but at the same time, we have to take care of our own students,” she said.

    And with the likelihood of new buildings being built, the IRSD has to prove itself good stewards of the money. She said she believes the IRSD has already renovated where possible, so new schools might be the next step — perhaps just one at a time, to reduce the impact on taxes.

    “In the northern end, in Georgetown, we have the Hispanic population, we have the [English language learners], and it takes its toll. However, I’m of the opinion that you are in this county, you are in this state, you are in this county, you should be afforded this opportunity to learn,” Wright said.

    “You can’t slight these children for a decision that maybe their parents made, so it would be my hope we educate the younger ones and help them familiarize themselves with what they have to do to become a citizen.”

    In the future, she said, those very children might be earning their U.S. citizenship, paying taxes and giving back to the community “because we afforded them the opportunity to learn. But I think every child should have the opportunity. I don’t think the race or anything should have bearing on it. If they choose to be successful, we can pat ourselves on the back” for a job well done.

    Other challenges nowadays include mental health, although Wright said she doesn’t yet know how that may impact IRSD’s changes in curriculum, safety or administration.

    “Right now, I think we are at the top of our game as far as the comprehensive safety plan we have implemented in Indian River School District, but I would think there’s always an opportunity to maybe expand upon it,” she said.

    Wright said she supports the district’s progress in securing building entrances and only arming safety monitors who have law-enforcement training.

    “I am not a proponent of having teachers and administrators carry handguns in school. That is a personal opinion of mine,” said Wright, adding that she has imagined the nightmare of several students overpowering an armed teacher who has her head turned. “Then you’ve got a handgun in a classroom with people who aren’t even familiar with how to use it.”

    As the IRSD considers population growth and overcrowded schools, the State has approved a new Howard T. Ennis School for students with severe special needs, as the current facility is very aged.

    “The biggest thing right now for me is to see Ennis with a new school, because I’ve walked the schools of Howard T. It’s unfortunate that the students are in the health issues that they are, but if there’s something we can do to help them learn and be self-sufficient, that’s something we need to do. The school we have now… It just doesn’t fit.”

    Right now, the IRSD is just hoping for money in the state’s budget to begin engineering for the project.

    Outside of her involvement in education, Wright was appointed to Delaware’s Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC), doling out environmental grants from a state fund businesses pay into for environmental violations.

    Wright also serves the Delaware Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Advisory Committee for implementation of federal education law.

    Wright graduated from Sussex Central High School in 1972 and raised her own son to graduate in 2008.

    Retired after 34 years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (including around 15 years in management), Wright’s current “day job” is volunteering for Cheer and as a Meals on Wheels delivery person.

    She is also a member of the Nanticoke Indian Association, the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company and its ladies’ auxiliary.

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    ReynoldsReynoldsThe Ocean View Town Council will have a new face on its dais, as Fairway Village resident Berton Reynolds won the town’s annual council election. Reynolds beat out incumbent Carol Bodine for the Town’s District 4 council seat, with 237 votes to Bodine’s 66 in the April 14 election.

    “I think we got a lot of the community out, which was part of what I was really speaking about — getting people out to vote. It’s very refreshing that they heard it,” said Reynolds following the election. “I’m just ecstatic to have won.”

    Reynolds will be sworn in at the council’s reorganizational meeting on Tuesday, April 24, at 6 p.m.

    “My biggest thing is communication. I need to work on the communicating, whether it’s with the HOAs, whether it’s with folks that are not represented with an HOA, and just get the word out,” said Reynolds of his main focus as a new council member. We had a tremendous amount of people attend the meetings this last month, and that can’t stop. We have to have the community involvement.

    “Getting here, understanding what’s going on so we can have more community involvement and more voiced — that’s truly what we’re here for, to really represent the community. If they’re not showing up, that’s really hard to do.”

    While Reynolds said he does not know the other four members of the council — Tom Maly, Bill Olsen, Frank Twardzik and Mayor Walter Curran — particularly well, he said he looks forward to working with them during his three-year term.

    “Just through this process I’ve met them all — shaking their hands and saying hello. It’s all been very cordial and all,” he said. “I’m here for three years. They’ll know me.”

    In all, 303 residents voted in the election, either in person or through absentee ballots. The Town’s previous election, held in 2015, had a total of 232 voters.

    Reynolds said the election helped inform residents about what was going on in the Town in which they live, and he hopes they will continue to stay involved.

    “Thank you to everyone who helped me — especially my wife and the people within Fairway Village who did everything for me,” he said. “And thank you to the people who came out and voted regardless — whether it was for me or Mrs. Bodine. I just really appreciate them coming out. Keep it up, keep involved.”

    Ocean View Town Hall is located at 32 West Avenue in Ocean View. For more information about the Town, visit

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Jacki and Stephanie Fowler, one month after a kidney transplant.Coastal Point • Submitted: Jacki and Stephanie Fowler, one month after a kidney transplant.As the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, kidney disease affects thousands of people in Delaware and their families, with roughly 2,175 currently on dialysis and more than 400 on the organ transplant waiting list. About 9,300 residents of Maryland are impacted by kidney disease. And with the increase in the incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure nationwide, those numbers continue to climb.

    To call attention to the prevention of kidney disease and the need for organ donation, to raise funds, and to provide an opportunity for patients, family, friends and businesses to come together to support the millions of Americans with chronic kidney disease, each year Kidney Walks are organized around the country.

    The area’s two Kidney Walks are set this year for April 29 at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes and May 6 in Salisbury, Md., and local families are planning to participate.

    The Ferracci family of Millsboro is one of the families battling the life-altering disease. Kristy Ferracci — the Delaware Kidney Walk chairperson — donated a kidney to her husband Michael 11 years ago. She is a dialysis technician at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes. She also works at the dialysis clinic in Rehoboth Beach. Their son R.J. is 16 and has his own team in the walk as well.

    “My husband, Michael, was a patient when I met him,” Kristy Ferracci said. “We just started talking because he was having his treatments in the evening after work. He asked me to dinner for my birthday in 2005. In April 2006, we got engaged, and we were married by September later that year.

    “He was going to get his testing done for transplant, and I said that I would get tested to maybe be a match,” she explained. “This past March, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the transplant. We are both doing well. I still get teary-eyed when I think about it. So, kidney disease is something very close to my heart and my husband’s.”

    They will be participating in the Delaware walk on Sunday, April 29, at the Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, beginning at 11 a.m. Walkers can register on the day of the event, beginning at 10 a.m.

    More than 600 people are expected to attend the Delaware Kidney Walk. Participants can choose from a 3-mile route or a shorter, more patient-friendly, route for strollers and wheelchairs. The day will also feature entertainment, refreshments from Starbucks, Giant and Panera, a petting zoo, photo booth, interactive vendor booths, and the Kidney Kids Corner with face painting and games.

    Stephanie Fowler, a Frankford resident, donated a kidney to her mother, Jacki, on March 9, 2015. They will be participating in the Salisbury Kidney Walk on Sunday, May 6.

    “Today my mother is healthy and happy,” said Stephanie Fowler. “On her last visit to her kidney specialist in Baltimore, the doctor told her that it is rare to find a patient so compliant and with such a positive outcome for a transplant.

    “Mom often remarks that she treats Louise [the name they gave the kidney] the same way she treated her pregnancies with my sister and me. She ate all the right things, exercised, slept well, and followed the medical rules with precision. Louise is her new baby.”

    And how happy was she to find out she was the “perfect match”?

    “On Dec. 23, 2014, a transplant nurse coordinator called me,” Stephanie Fowler recalled. “I was at work, sitting at my desk. It was a big moment, and I desperately wanted to be a match. The thought of being unable to help her terrified me. ‘You’re a match,’ she said. ‘Actually, you’re a perfect match. You are a 6-out-of-6 match.’ I could have jumped out of my skin! I cried and thanked her.”

    More than 500 people are expected to attend the Salisbury Walk, which will take place at Winterplace Park & Equestrian Center. Registration begins at 9 a.m. that day, with the walk starting around 10 a.m.

    Like the walk at Cape Henlopen State Park, participants of the Salisbury walk can choose from a 3-mile route or a shorter path that better accommodates strollers and wheelchairs. Refreshments by Panera Bread, Giant and Starbucks will also be provided. Music will be by Moonbeam Entertainment, and the Kidney Kids Corner will have face painting and games.

    In our May 4 issue, we will have a story on former Indian River High School coach Howard Smack, who earlier this month went through his own kidney transplant procedure.

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    It’s been quite a run of good fortune for the Indian River High School golf team recently, as the Indians have won four straight matches. Most recently, IR picked up a pair of wins in a tri-meet with Delmarva Christian and Sussex Central.

    In the contest with DCHS, the Indians won the match 203-204, based on a tiebreaker. Joe Dorazio was low-man for IR, with a 48. Ryan Stone followed with a 50, while Patrick Gogarty came in with a 52. Luke Morgan and Isabel Wolfanberger each carded a 53, and Mikaela Brosnahan rounded out the match with a 54.

    DCHS’s Chris Vonhof was the match’s medalist, with a low-card score of 42.

    IR also posted a 203-217 win over Sussex Central in the same match. Central’s Cade Bullock was low-man for the Golden Knights, with a 48.

    In a match against Milford last Thursday, April 19, the Indians kept the ball rolling with a 188-193 win over the Buccaneers.

    Milford’s Kyle Strassle was the medalist in the match, with his low-round score of 42.

    Solid balance led IR to the win in that one, with the top three finishes of Gogarty posting a 44, Wolfanberger a 46 and Dorazio a 47.

    The Indians were looking to make it five in a row in a Henlopen Conference South Division meeting with Cape Henlopen on Wednesday, April 25, (after Coastal Point press time). For scores and highlights, check out the Coastal Point sports Facebook and Twitter pages.


    The Indians dropped a 10-1 decision to Delmar on Tuesday, April 24, falling behind early and never getting themselves on track for a comeback in the Henlopen Conference South Division contest.

    Delmar scored a run in the first, and six more in the fourth to put an exclamation point on the win.

    Abby O’Shields took the loss in the circle, allowing seven runs on five hits while striking out four. Braydee Whitman and Samie Mayfield each collected a pair of hits for IR in the loss.

    Last Friday, April 20, IR had a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth before Sussex Tech rallied to cut the lead in half. Lizzy Alley came on to close out the game and preserve the win for Abby O’Shields and the Indians, 6-3.

    O’Shields allowed five hits and three runs over six and a third innings, striking out seven. Alley recorded the last two outs to earn the save for Indian River.

    Indian River tallied eight hits in the game. Brandi Mitchell and Kathryn Collins each managed multiple hits for Indian River.

    Then, last Saturday, April 21, the Indians fell to Lake Forest, 6-1.

    After starting the season 5-0, IR is 4-4 in their last eight games, for an overall mark of 9-4.

    Their final five games start with a home date with Cape Henlopen on Thursday, April 26, (after Coastal Point press time). For score and highlights, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.


    The Indians suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of Delmar on Tuesday afternoon, 14-0, after building momentum heading into the contest with a 5-4 win over Sussex Tech last Friday.

    In the loss to Delmar on April 24, IR managed just one hit. The loss dropped their record to 5-4 on the season.

    In the win over the Ravens on April 20, IR jumped out to an early lead in the Henlopen Conference South Division contest.

    J.J. Killen’s RBI-single in the first inning scored Grant Argo to get the Indians on the board. In the second inning, Brock Wingate lined a two-out double to right field, and later scored on a double by Derek Bellemare to make it 2-1.

    Killen helped himself again in the third inning, plating Mark Smith with a fielder’s choice groundout to put IR up 3-1.

    The Indians still were ahead 3-2 heading into the fifth when they scored a pair of runs. Smith and Killen each had back-to-back singles before Cole Hitch laced a line drive to left, scoring Smith and Tyler Kramer, who was running for Killen.

    Sussex Tech would score two runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the score to 5-4, but Chase Hall came in to close the door in relief of Kyle Firle, delivering two innings of two-hit, shutout relief to pick up the save. Killen picked up with win with four innings on the bump.

    Jacob Anderson, Wingate, Argo, Killen and Hitch each had two hits to lead a 14-hit attack for the Indians. Killen and Hitch both had a pair of RBIs.

    Girls’ lacrosse

    With a score like 17-14, one might think two teams were playing football. Well, last Friday afternoon, the IR girls’ lacrosse squad put on quite an offensive show in a very impressive effort, taking down a very tough Caravel Academy team.

    “It was a very exciting win, and I am so proud of the girls’ efforts,” head coach Cat Roselli said after the game.

    IR’s Lexi Webb led all scorers with seven goals (and two assists) in the contest. Kealey Allison scored four goals (three assists) for the Indians, with Sarandon Slebodnick and Drew Szlasa (one assist) each chipping in with two. Helen Davis and Briana Dulsky also scored for IR.

    Goalie Mya Parks made eight saves to earn the win between the pipes. IR outshot their hosts 28-21.

    Boys’ lacrosse

    Meawhile, the Indians boys’ lacrosse team traveled north to face perennial private-school power Caravel Academy in a non-conference fray, and suffered an 11-8 loss in the process.

    The Buccaneers jumped out to an 8-1 lead through the first half of play and held a convincing 11-2 advantage after three quarters. However, IR mounted a late-comeback bid with six goals, while shutting out their hosts. But they would run out of time and lose the game.

    Cole Josetti and Zach Schultz led the Indians with three goals apiece. Ryan Burbridge and Thomas Harris each scored one goal as well. IR was credited with 22 shots in the game, and goalie Samuel Miltner made 12 saves in front of the cage.

    Girls’ tennis

    The Indians picked up their first girls’ tennis win of the season last Wednesday, April 18.

    Alexa Fitz picked up a straight-set win at first singles, 6-1, 6-2. Maddie Galbreath made quick work of her opponent at second singles, 6-0, 6-1.

    IR picked up their third and decisive point at first doubles, with the duo of Analy Marquez and Katelyn Timmons getting a 6-3, 6-3 decision.

    On Tuesday, April 24, Galbreath picked up the lone team point in a 4-1 setback to Smyrna. The junior won her second singles match 6-2, 6-3.

    Boys’ volleyball

    The Indians made it two-in-a-row with a straight sets sweep of visiting Mt. Pleasant last Friday afternoon, April 20.

    IR cruised to 25-16, 25-9 and 25-14 wins over the three sets.

    Alex Canseco picked up 20 assists to go with four aces, a block and three digs to pace the IR attack. Michael Barnes also played a huge part in the win, with 10 kills, three aces, a block, a dig and a pair of assists.

    Mitch McGee had nine kills and five aces, while Andrew Scalard also had six kills and an ace for IR. Mason McClure-Singer picked up a kill, two aces and a block. Porter Palmer chipped in with a pair of kills, three aces and a block as well.

    The Indians had another home match planned on Thursday, April 26, (after Coastal Point press time), with visiting Dickinson. For score and highlights, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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    Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Isabella Binko, above, drives past a Cape defender in IR’s come-from-behind win on Tuesday, April 24. Below, Anastasia Diakos prepares to defend a Cape player.Coastal Point photos • Tyler Valliant: Isabella Binko, above, drives past a Cape defender in IR’s come-from-behind win on Tuesday, April 24. Below, Anastasia Diakos prepares to defend a Cape player.This season has seen its fair share of ups and downs for the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team. Tuesday afternoon’s contest with visiting Cape Henlopen was a case in point.

    The Indians came from behind to score four straight second-half goals, to defeat the Vikings 4-2 in a key Henlopen Conference South Division contest that evened the IR season mark to 3-3.

    After controlling the ball for essentially the entire first half, the Indians had found themselves locked in a 0-0 tie with the Vikings. Then, after the intermission, two quick goals by the guests saw IR facing a tough hill to climb.

    “I believe we controlled play most of the first half,” IR coach Steve Kilby said after the game. “We moved the ball well and created some good chances. The half ended, and then [Cape] scored two quick goals. As soon as the second goal was scored, our girls finally switched on, which I was happy to see.”

    On-switch flipped, indeed.

    Izzy Binko received a pass from Sammi Whelen down the left side. Binko’s cross to the front of the net was punched away by Cape goalie Lucy Siranides. Anastasia Diakos was in the right place at the right time, punching the ball into the back side of the post to make it 2-1.

    Diakos and Bingo teamed up to tie the score about five minutes later. Diakos sent a through-ball to Binko, who buried the ball in the bottom right side of the goal.

    “Cape’s two goals came as a result of good ball movement and combination play,” Kilby assessed. “The first goal was a result of a one-touch finish, and the second on a strike from about 18 yards out.”

    With the score tied and play going back-and-forth, IR kept putting heavy pressure on the Cape goal. Grace Engle was rewarded with a free-kick around the 68-minute mark that deflected off a Cape defender and into the net for an own-goal, giving the Indians their first lead of the game.

    Binko put the game away at 72:47 on a give from Avery Congleton, to make it two in a row for the Indians.

    IR goalie Fabrea McCray made three saves to pick up the win, while Cape’s Siranides was credited with nine saves on the day. The Indians outshot the Vikings 15-5 and had five corner kick opportunities to Cape’s three.

    Both of Cape’s goals were scored by Brooke Hollingsworth. Hannah Bieler and Madalyn Swontek each picked up an assist.

    The loss dropped Cape to 6-3 on the season.

    IR was set to be back in action on Thursday, April 26, (after Coastal Point press time), hosting Seaford. Follow Coastal Point sports on Facebook and Twitter for results and highlights from the game.

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