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Articles on this Page
- 05/31/18--11:58: _Henlopen South cham...
- 05/31/18--12:23: _Selbyville discusse...
- 05/31/18--12:26: _Ocean View seeking ...
- 05/31/18--12:32: _Beach & Bay Cottage...
- 05/31/18--12:48: _Strawberry Festival...
- 05/31/18--12:51: _Candidates can file...
- 05/31/18--12:56: _Fenwick eyes rental...
- 05/31/18--12:58: _Democrats to host o...
- 05/31/18--13:22: _Civilians taught ho...
- 05/31/18--13:29: _Indian River School...
- 05/31/18--13:34: _Ocean View BOA defe...
- 05/31/18--13:37: _South Bethany voter...
- 05/31/18--13:43: _Public reminded to ...
- 05/31/18--13:46: _‘Don’t stop here, C...
- 06/07/18--09:05: _IRSD volleyball coa...
- 06/07/18--09:12: _Pennsylvania driver...
- 06/07/18--09:34: _Indians’ soccer kno...
- 06/07/18--11:03: _Beach & Bay Cottage...
- 06/07/18--11:23: _With comp plan upda...
- 06/07/18--11:30: _IR students get fre...
- 05/31/18--11:58: Henlopen South champs knocked out of state championship tournament
- 05/31/18--12:23: Selbyville discusses local health, police and road repair
- 05/31/18--12:26: Ocean View seeking new director of planning, zoning, development
- 05/31/18--12:32: Beach & Bay Cottage Tour Sneak Peek No. 4
- 05/31/18--12:48: Strawberry Festival returning to Indian River Senior Center
- 05/31/18--12:51: Candidates can file for Fenwick council election
- 05/31/18--12:56: Fenwick eyes rental tax increases for houses, rooms and businesses
- 05/31/18--12:58: Democrats to host officials, candidates at Picnic in the Park
- 05/31/18--13:22: Civilians taught how to respond in life-threatening situations
- 05/31/18--13:29: Indian River School District gets creative with new-building plans
- 05/31/18--13:34: Ocean View BOA defers vote on Barn Hill Preserve
- 05/31/18--13:37: South Bethany voters pick Saxton for mayor
- 05/31/18--13:43: Public reminded to stay vigilant on roads after tragedies
- 05/31/18--13:46: ‘Don’t stop here, Class of 2018’
- 06/07/18--09:05: IRSD volleyball coaches aim to build through summer camp
- 06/07/18--09:12: Pennsylvania drivers dominate Georgetown Speedway races
- 06/07/18--09:34: Indians’ soccer knocked out of playoffs by champs DMA
- 06/07/18--11:03: Beach & Bay Cottage Tour Sneak Peek No. 5
- 06/07/18--11:23: With comp plan update on tap, Millville encourages involvement
- 06/07/18--11:30: IR students get free ride with Give Back scholarship
The Indian River High School baseball squad had been rolling over the past two or three weeks, clinching the Henlopen Conference South Division championship and earning a berth in the DIAA state championship tournament.
In only their second season under head coach Derek “D.J.” Long, the Indians have made a marked improvement from a 2017 campaign that saw them go 6-12.
After an 11-7 regular season and spot in the postseason, the Indians were looking forward to continuing their late-season success. Little did they expect to run into a team, in Dover, that may have been playing just as strong as they were down the stretch.
The Senators had come in at 11-6 overall and had won six of their last eight games entering the postseason. A quick five-run first inning off IR starter J.J. Killen was all the Senators would need, en route to a 7-4 win over the Indians.
The loss was bittersweet IR, as they had had high hopes of at least advancing into the second round.
Dover’s Hiram Davis pitched six effective and strong innings for the Senators, striking out eight. Chris Dabney and Andrew Carney both had RBI singles in the blistering first inning for Dover, while Nathan Turner added a two-run double. Mike Carrington reached base all four times for Dover, and he picked up the save as well.
IR’s Jacob Anderson, Mark Smith and Killen each had three-hit days for the Indians in the loss.
Extra bases: As of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Dover was still alive in the DIAA state playoffs bracket, having followed up the win against IR with a 7-2 decision over William Penn in the second round. They were set to face Salesianum School in the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon.
Just 10 miles south of Selbyville, inside the Maryland border, Atlantic General Hospital is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
At the Selbyville Town Council’s May 7 meeting, Mayor Clifton Murray called the hospital an asset. He said he remembered when Selbyville didn’t have a full hospital nearby, but now those services are just miles away.
AGH President and CEO Michael Franklin gave the town council a rundown of the hospital’s current projects.
“We’re obligated every three years to do a community needs/risk assessment … to help inform us on what we need to be doing in the community,” Franklin said.
“The top issue that came up was access to healthcare — especially primary care,” as well as chronic illness maintenance and cancer. “We have a higher incidence rate in this region,” Franklin said.
Three of the biggest local challenges are addiction, cancer, access to good healthcare.
Locally, AGH is trying to increase the availability of doctors, surgeons and oncology services.
Right now, they’ve raised just over half of the $10 million called for in their capital campaign. They’re looking at putting a total of $35 million into five facility upgrades in the future.
The local battle against cancer continues as AGH completes its John H. “Jack” Burbage Jr. Regional Cancer Care Center this spring, “on schedule and on budget,” Franklin said. AGH also partners with cancer networks and treatment centers to increase technology and knowledge, Franklin said.
They have opened a women’s health center in West Ocean City, Md., in addition to renovating patient-care areas, surgical facilities, emergency services and outpatient services.
The workforce includes nearly 230 medical staff, in addition to all of the support services and a payroll of more than $48 million.
The hospital’s vision is “to be the leader in caring for people and advancing health for the residents of and visitors to our community.”
Franklin encouraged the Town to make any suggestions it has for how AGH can improve or expand service, especially as Selbyville continues to add housing.
More information about the hospital is online at http://atlanticgeneral.org.
In other Selbyville Town Council news:
• A Lighthouse Lakes resident complained of a sulfuric “rotten egg” smell coming from their tap water, despite having a tankless water heater. Council members seemed surprised, since the Town recently built additional water treatment systems and tests the water daily.
Town staff said they would check her system.
Residents and property owners are encouraged to contact Town Hall regarding any problems or anything unusual with their water, such as discoloration or smell.
• The Selbyville Police Department is available to teach defense classes for emergency situations. Training for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) is open to educators, churches, businesses and any other interested individuals. The police also hope to host a public event later this spring.
• Drivers need to play it safe this summer, as the police have grants for extra patrols, targeting distracted driving and seatbelt violations.
• The public can anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription pills at the Selbyville police station. Proper disposal prevents the chemicals from entering the water supply or the waste stream or ending up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. It is a popular service, said Police Chief W. Scott Collins.
• Selbyville recently ranked No. 6 in an online ranking of “10 Safest Cities in Delaware” by SafeWise, a Utah company. Selbyville was reported as having 3.69 violent crimes and 31.97 property crimes per 1,000 people. The population itself was 2,440 people.
It’s a nice feather in the cap for Selbyville, although the list is only based on the 2016 FBI crime report statistics for towns over a certain population threshold that also submitted complete reports. Lewes and Milton took the top two spots in Delaware, while Millsboro followed at No. 9.
• Exactly three years have passed since a culvert under Railroad Avenue first showed the first signs of collapse.
Engineers at Davis, Bowden & Friedel Inc. were tasked with designing a permanent fix. This summer, they hope to put the plans for that fix out to bid. After that, Selbyville needs to find the money to fix it. Initial construction estimates ranged from $300,000 to $500,000.
Railroad Avenue crosses over the Sandy Branch tax ditch, with a galvanized metal culvert that is rusting away. The hole was temporarily patched when soil and asphalt began crumbling away. But heavy vehicles were also asked to avoid the road. The pipe continues under Mountaire Farms’ poultry processing plant and the Southern Delaware School of the Arts properties.
• The 61st annual Old Timer’s Day festival will be June 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a classic car show, door prizes, food, crafts, live music, children’s activities and more. Car judging is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with awards at 3 p.m. The festival and street fair are free. Car registration costs $10. Details are online at http://business.bethany-fenwick.org/events.
• Mountaire and the Selbyville Police Department mutually complimented each other and the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company for a quick response to a roof fire at the poultry plant on April 23.
• Selbyville will officially take control of the streets, water and sewer utilities in Lighthouse Lakes for building Phases 1 to 6. The vote was 3-0, with Councilman G. Frank Smith III absent and Councilman Jay Murray abstaining because his company helped build the project. Some of the developer’s bond money will remain in place until they complete the final coats of pavement.
The Selbyville Town Council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, June 4, at 7 p.m.
The Town of Ocean View is currently seeking applicants for its newly reconfigured position of director of planning, zoning and development. The Town has not had an administrative official filling a similar position since the resignation of the former town administrative official on April 2.
The three-page job posting, made public on May 15, seeks an individual to provide “administrative and supervisory oversight regarding the Town’s current and long-range planning programs for the Town, specifically related to the development and implementation of land use and related municipal plans and policies.”
The council chose to not post the position until recently, officials said, because they wanted to revamp job responsibilities and delegate some of the work previously done by the administrative official.
“We wanted to take some time to evaluate what we really needed in this position,” said Town Manager Dianne Vogel. “I certainly wanted the input of the staff that we currently have, and that was very helpful in seeing what they had individually to bring to the table, and some of their ideas.”
Requirements for the position include a bachelor’s degree in land-use planning and public administration; American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification desired or to be obtained within the first year of employment; four years of progressive municipal planning experience (or equivalent); and experience in zoning enforcement/code enforcement.
“There’s nothing in there that’s new,” said Vogel. “What’s been removed is all of the responsibilities for facilities management. Those responsibilities have been delegated out to the Public Works supervisor.
“Stormwater management is a hot topic, so there’s more of a focus on stormwater management,” she said, adding that the Town is looking for “someone with a lot of experience working with roads and drainage. Really, someone who can help facilitate some of these big developments that are on the front end — Ocean View Beach Club, Silver Woods.”
The salary for the position will range from $62,000 to $98,000.
The search committee for the position comprises Vogel, Mayor Walter Curran, Councilman Tom Maly and representatives from the Town’s engineering consultant, Kercher Engineering.
“Obviously, a lot that goes on in that department is driven by engineers in various areas, whether it’s road construction, drainage projects, site development — someone from that firm is involved,” said Vogel. “In determining the best way to restructure, we used the input of their firm and what we thought would work best for Ocean View, and came up with a new job description.”
The advertised closing date for applications is May 31. As of Monday, May 20, the Town had received one application and résumé.
“It just went out, so we’ll see what kind of candidates we get. I think we could have some candidates that might be from the Maryland side that are in close proximity — Ocean Pines, Ocean City… If résumés look promising, we could close it then, or we could continue for another two weeks. I’d certainly like to begin the interview process by early June, with the hope of having someone in here on July 1,” Vogel said.
Those who wish to read the full job description may do so by visiting http://api11.team-logic.com/downloadPubNewsFile.cfm?i=55&t=17&f=26768. The posting is also noted on the Town’s website, at www.oceanviewde.com.
(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of previews of the homes that will be on display during the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to be held July 25 and 2 from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.)
It might be hard to believe that this spacious four-bedroom, four-bath canalfront home was originally a small three-bedroom, one-bath 1970s-era rancher of less than 900 square feet.
The owners purchased their South Bethany beach house in 1997, when their sons were just 6, 8 and 9 years old. Despite its small size, it became the focus of every summer from that moment on, with the wife and the kids spending all of their summers there, from the last day of school in June until the early morning of the first day back in September.
Eventually, they began to outgrow the original house. Rather than move to a bigger place, they chose to renovate, because they loved their quiet location on the water, just a short walk to the beach. They began by adding a second floor in 2001, remodeling the kitchen in 2008 and just recently completed a final renovation in 2016, bringing the square footage up to 2,700 feet.
The owner described her style of decorating as simple beach elegance, choosing a minimum of soft textural beach accessories to complement the pale monochromatic background colors. In deference to her husband’s visual impairment, she said she has tried to keep everything as clutter-free and light as possible, to ease his navigation around the open floorplan.
Having spent so many years in the original tiny downstairs master bedroom, one of the owners’ priorities was to create a spacious master suite with plenty of well-ordered storage. That final renovation was done to ensure that there would be enough room for their adult sons and their future families to experience the same carefree endless summers that they enjoyed growing up, carrying on the family tradition started more than 20 years ago.
This is just one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. Tickets may be purchased for $30 at the South Coastal Library or through the Cottage Tour’s website at www.beachandbaycottagetour.com. The Cottage Tour is sponsored by the Friends of the South Coastal Library, and proceeds directly benefit the library’s operations.
Strawberries have always been a big crop in the area, and tipping their hats to that agricultural history, the Indian River Senior Center will be hosting its annual Strawberry Festival next weekend.
The festival on Saturday, June 2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be held at the center, rain or shine.
“We’re going to have craft vendors there at tables to sell their crafts,” said Barbara Harrison, who serves as chairperson of the event. “It’s a variety of crafters.”
Those who attend may want to go on an empty stomach, as a number of food items will be for sale.
“We’re going to have our kitchen sell breakfast sandwiches and lunch — hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and beverages to drink,” said Harrison. “We’ll have a baked-goods table with homemade baked goods. People donate their cakes and cookies and things.
“We’ll have a strawberry table, where we’ll serve strawberries with pound cake, ice cream and Cool Whip. We’ll be selling strawberries also.”
There will also be a raffle, where attendees can purchase tickets to win big prizes.
“The first prize is $500, and the second prize is a three-day weekend off-season in Ocean City. Our third prize is a cooler filled with anything and everything for a picnic. And we also have a 50/50 we do.”
The monies raised from the food items and raffle will go to supporting the senior center, which provides numerous activities to the area’s senior population, including dancing, yoga, bowling, art classes and trips. The center also provides lunch on Wednesdays, along with entertainment, education programs and bingo.
Harrison said she hopes members of the community will attend the event and help support the center.
“It’s just a nice day to walk around, relax and have a strawberry shortcake. You can mingle, meet new people — that’s sort of what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s just a day out for people to join the community for a function. Come out, join us and have a fun day!”
The Indian River Senior Center is located at 214 Irons Avenue in Millsboro, Del. For more information, visit www.indianriverseniorcenter.com or call (302) 934-8839.
Candidates can now throw their hats into the ring for the 2018 Fenwick Island Town Council election.
Three seats will be up for election, each carrying a two-year term. The filing deadline for candidates is Wednesday, June 20, at 4:30 p.m. The annual election is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 4.
Candidates must be registered to vote for at least one year prior to the election; a natural person and U.S. citizen; age 21 by election day; and either a bona fide resident of the town or a property owner in the town; and never convicted of a felony.
The seats up for election this year are currently held by Council Members Gardner Bunting, Vicki L. Carmean and Bernie Merritt.
Voters must be 18 by election day; registered to vote with the town (not just in the state); a U.S. citizen; and either a resident, property owner on the deed, or a designated representative of any legal entity (such as a trust) with notarized power of attorney.
Anyone who has not voted in an election for the Town of Fenwick Island since 2008 must re-register to vote at Town Hall. (This is in addition to registering for general Delaware elections.)
Absentee voting will be permitted.
For more information, contact Town Clerk Linda Martin at Fenwick Island Town Hall at (302) 539-3011 or in person at 800 Coastal Highway.
More details are posted online at http://fenwickisland.delaware.gov/election and in Chapter 13 of the Town of Fenwick Island Code.
As the Fenwick Island Town Council considers increasing rental taxes, businesses owners are trying to stay in the loop.
On May 25, the town council unanimously voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance to increase gross rental receipt taxes from 3 to 3.5 percent for hotels/motels; from 7.5 to 8 percent for single-family homes; and 3 to 4 percent for commercial properties.
“It’s been one of the topics that the Finance Committee was asked to tackle,” said Councilman Richard Mais. “It’s an issue that’s come up in some of our Budget Committee meetings over the years. We wanted to look at our fees across the board” and in neighboring towns.
“Our fees have not been increased since 2002,” said Councilwoman Julie Lee. “Fifteen years, these fees have not been raised. We’re looking at parking fees, for residential, as well as for commercial.
“We’re looking at details in terms of the finances of the Town, and I think we went to great lengths to study them and analyze them and make some good suggestions to Budget [Committee]. Maybe we failed on keeping the commercial businesses informed what was going on,” she said, but she defended the committee work.
Coming from the Business Committee, Chairperson Tim Collins reminded the town council to remember the small businesses — not just in raising their taxes, but also in not warning them before these discussions begin.
“I need to get input from either committee members or council members on anything they see moving through their committees or council that affects the business community. I try to make an effort to monitor the Charter & Ordinance Committee,” but many other committees could be impacting businesses in the town, Collins said.
He said he felt blindsided when business owners started asking him about issues he didn’t know about.
“I’m not going to come in here and fight the battle for the landlord, but I’m always concerned about the small businesses,” Collins said.
He suggested that a private resident can directly see the services gained from a tax increase, but business owners don’t personally feel great benefits. Councilwoman Vicki Carmean said a strong town with good services attracts customers for those businesses.
Town Manager Terry Tieman suggested that she report monthly to the Business Development Committee with news and updates that might affect them.
Budget and other fees
Because the rental taxes are written into the town code, they can only be changed after approval at two readings at public meetings. The town council unanimously approved the first reading of changes to Chapter 146-4, Article III (Gross Rental Receipts, Levying of Tax), so a vote on the second reading will be needed before the change becomes official.
Meanwhile, in an updated fee schedule, business licenses increased from $185 to $200 for any building or service contractor that earns revenue in the town of more than $1,500 annually. ATMs now require a $200 permit fee.
The town council unanimously approved the annual budget for the 2019 fiscal year, including a $2,090,540 operating budget and $309,975 capital budget. Both numbers are an increase over the 2018 budget figures of $2,040,702 and $191,795, respectively.
If the current budget cycle produces any surplus, Carmean requested that the council consider saving it for big upcoming projects, such as sidewalk installation or other needs.
Parking fees increased, but hours are protested
Alex Daly asked town council to reconsider the recent extension of parking permit hours to 10 p.m. He said he doesn’t want to invite houseguests to dinner and have it require a $20 parking permit.
However, resident Mark Tingle countered that the later hours were intended to help businesses. If permits were required later, maybe parked cars would be moved sooner and free up parking, rather than keeping them sitting stagnant. For instance, he said, in Rehoboth Beach, cars don’t seem to move until they have to pay for parking.
However, Rehoboth Beach has metered parking, and Fenwick Island has a flat daily fee.
If the bayside doesn’t have free evening parking, Daly said, property owners could expand their driveways to accommodate guests, thereby reducing overall street parking, since vehicles cannot block the new driveways.
As the Delaware State Legislature considers ways to thwart offshore oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic Coast, the Fenwick Island Town Council unanimously agreed to support state bills that would ban offshore drilling and related infrastructure in Delaware-controlled waters.
The federal government has created leasing sites off the coast of Delaware, Maryland and other sites for offshore wind. Delaware is currently deciding whether and how to get involved. Several council members expressed an interest in learning more, as neighboring Ocean City, Md., attempts to push wind turbines farther from their coastline, to reduce or eliminate them from view.
“I don’t think we ought to give a pass on this” potential wind farm, said Lee, encouraging acquisition of more information and more involvement by the Town.
In other Fenwick Island town news:
• Fenwick is just at the beginning stages to potentially dredge a channel in Little Assawoman Bay to provide local boat traffic access to the greater bay. Fortunately for the plan, the soil samples so far have not shown contamination, which Mais said could help the Town obtain permits to lay the dredged materials in nearby marshes.
There will be a joint meeting of the Environmental and Dredging committees on June 14 at 2:30 p.m.
• Beach replenishment has begun late in Bethany Beach, now expected to start June 1, so Fenwick Island’s start date has been pushed back to July 21. Mayor Gene Langan said the Army Corps of Engineers hosts update meetings every Wednesday morning at South Bethany Town Hall.
• Verizon Wireless and its affiliates have not submitted any requests to install small-cell technology in town, but Langan promised to keep people updated when any movement occurs.
• There will be a road project near town hall to lay drainage pipe down Bayard Street and Bayard Street Extended and into the canal, because the existing pipe has deteriorated.
• The town council agreed to relax some rules during the first week of July, partly to celebrate Fenwick Island’s 65th birthday celebration on July 1, Independence Day on July 4 and the town bonfire on July 7.
Parking permits will not be required for general parking on July 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the anniversary celebration (although blue parking permits, handicapped parking and other rules will still be enforced).
From June 30 to July 8, businesses will be allowed to erect and utilize tents for special events or sales, with Town permission.
• Fenwick Island and other municipalities are partnering under the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT) umbrella to hire consultant Tony Pratt for coastal projects, especially storm and flooding resiliency. The Fenwick town council agreed to invest $3,500 in the effort.
Council members advised ACT to be cognizant of any potential conflicts of interest, as Pratt, highly regarded as an expert in the field and recently retired from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, is also consulting with U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.
“I think everybody’s going to be doing dredging, and I see him guiding us through that, because the permitting process is unbelievable that we have to go through,” Langan said.
• The Board of Elections was reappointed — Audrey Serio, Carl McWiliams and Faye Warner. The voter roll was updated to remove names of people who are deceased or who have sold their Fenwick property.
• In response to Fenwick Pet Stop’s request, the town council said they will look into allowing simple pet grooming services, but not boarding.
• After-hours, people can telephone concerns in to the Fenwick Island Police Department’s duty officer cell phone at (302) 542-8793.
“You’re not us waking up. They’re out there working 24 hours a day,” said FIPD Chief Bill Boyden.
The Fenwick Island Town Council’s next regular meeting will be Friday, June 22, at 3:30 p.m.
Democratic candidates for state and federal office will be on hand to meet and greet voters at the annual Picnic in the Park on Saturday, June 2, in Ocean View’s John West Park. The annual picnic is being sponsored by the Sussex County 38th District Democratic Committee.
Scheduled to be on hand and to make remarks at the picnic are federal and state elected officials and candidates for the 2018 elections. Those who have confirmed that they will attend include: Jane Hovington, Sussex County Democratic Party chairperson; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; Gov. John Carney; Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwarzkopf; Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long; U.S. Senate candidate Kerri Evelyn Harris; state attorney-general candidates Kathy Jennings, Chris Johnson, LaKresha Roberts and Tim Mullaney; auditor-general candidates Kathy Jennings, Kathy McGuiness and Dennis Williams; state senate candidates Dave Baker (District 6) and Bob Wheatley (District 21); and state House of Representative candidates Don Allen (District 36), Dave Bucchioni (District 20), Brad Connor (District 41) and Megan Kelly (District 38).
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester have sent regrets that they will be unable to attend, as has Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.
Admission to the picnic costs $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Lunch will include chicken, pig pickins’, sides and beverages. The picnic will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 2; registration will be at noon.
John West Park is located at 201 Central Avenue in Ocean View. Parking is off West Avenue.
For more information and to purchase tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the hopes of having community members better prepared if a “God-forbid”-type of scenario was to one day become a reality, the Ocean View Police Department held CRASE — Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events — training last month, with the idea of helping civilians know how to respond to life-threatening situations that seemingly plague the news these days.
“Active-shooter events are happening more and more frequently,” said OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin. “I think we’re going to see more of these events in the future, unfortunately, so we need to be prepared.”
McLaughlin started efforts more than 10 years ago to train police, fire and EMS officials on how to work together to respond to an active-shooter event; however, he said, the missing component was the civilians who will already be on-scene.
“We’ve got to get that training pushed down to the citizens, because you’re going to be on-scene before we’re on-scene,” he said.
“Tonight is really about setting a mindset so that when you find yourself in the worst possible situation, that you’re able to take action that could potentially save your life and the lives of others,” said Robbie Murray, deputy director of operations for Sussex County Paramedics. “If we don’t talk about it, if we don’t think about it, then we’re not going to be prepared.”
Murray said the Columbine High School shooting of April 1999 changed the way emergency responders look at active-shooter situations. He noted that many teachers instructed students to hid under their desks — a tactic that they themselves had been taught. Back then, police staged and set up a perimeter before entering a building where an active shooting was occurring.
“Today, as a result of that incident 19 years ago, there is no more waiting,” he said. “Today, if something like that happens, the first officer on scene enters the building and stops the killing.
“Trainings like this are going to teach us that we don’t hide under desks anymore. We don’t hide and hope. We avoid, we deny entry to where we’re at, and at a very last chance, we defend ourselves.”
Civilians were taught to remember ADD — Avoid, Deny and Defend.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what your condition is,” said Murray. “You have the ability to avoid, even if it means walking, even if it means shutting the door, turning off the lights…”
Murray said the idea of “social proof,” where humans look to other humans to base their reaction to an incident, can be critical in a crisis.
“This is where one person who has a plan, who can remain calm and make good decisions can save a lot of lives. Imagine finding yourselves in the middle of an active-shooter event. Things are about to go crazy, and one person gives good direction. ‘Everybody, let’s get out that exit door right now.’ Everybody follows, because one person made a decision, one person set that social proof…
“It takes one person to set that tone… be prepared.”
Murray said people should pay attention to their surroundings, no matter where they are.
“Take a look around everywhere you go. Take the opportunity to ask yourself, ‘If someone was going to come in here right now, where would I go?’”
Civilians advised to avoid, deny, defend
OVPD Sgt. Rhys Bradshaw said more than 50 percent of attacks take place in areas of commerce, such as movie theaters, stores, etc.
Bradshaw said civilians should consider getting a concealed carry permit.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not going to be a victim… And that’s the type of mindset you have to have,” he said. “We have a right to defend ourselves… You deserve to survive.”
If an incident were to occur locally, say at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, the police officers in town could be there in three minutes.
“Three minutes is a long time. You can do a lot of damage in three minutes, whether it’s a handgun or rifle… I can shoot my handgun — I have 30 rounds on me — I can shoot that in 15, 20 seconds. Three minutes is a long time.
“That’s where civilian response comes in. You guys on the ground are the first ones there.”
Murray said, “Hiding and hoping is not the answer.”
Calling on attendees to remember ADD (avoid, deny, defend), Murray said if anyone finds themselves in a dangerous situation and has the opportunity to get out, do so “as soon as absolutely possible.”
“Think about those secondary exists; start to script stuff.”
If they’re in a situation where they cannot leave an area, civilians should instead look to deny entry to any person who may cause harm.
“Remember, they are looking for easy targets. If they come up to the door and it’s locked, where are they going? They’re going to the next one.”
Individuals can turn the lights off, barricade the entrance, or use a belt or rope to create a tactical cinch on a door.
Then, there are moments when civilians will have to defend themselves.
“Action is always faster than reaction. If you do something, you can guarantee it’s going to be done faster than they have the ability to react. They aren’t going to be able to react faster than you do,” said Murray. “Fight for your life… You are not helpless. You can take steps to save your life.”
Murray said how people act will influence those around them who were not prepared for an incident.
“Always consider avoiding first, even if we concealed-carry,” he said. “Change your mindset… ‘This is not how I’m going to die.’
“Think outside the box — stapler, scissors, pens, chairs, tables, coffee pots. Think outside the box.”
Bradshaw said that, in the age of technology, Sussex County’s emergency center (SussCom) would be inundated with calls and texts about the incident. Individuals will post images and video footage to social media accounts.
“We’re going to have 15 different descriptions of what this person looks like,” he said. “When we arrive, don’t take it personally, but every single one of you is being put to the ground at gunpoint… We’re taught to treat everyone as a suspect until they’re not, in this type of situation.”
Bradshaw said the priority of those police on scene is to “stop the killing,” noting that responding officers could be stepping over victims or ignoring pleas for help from victims.
“That’s where the Rescue Task Force comes in,” said Bradshaw, noting it’s a group made up of police and EMS personnel. “We’ll bring them into the warm zone, and that’s when they’ll start rendering medical aid and start dragging them out of the building.”
He urged civilians that if they ever find themselves in a situation where police are responding to a threat to always “follow our commands.”
“Take this information back home, back to your communities, and share it with others,” added McLaughlin.
Training expands into community
During the question and answer portion of the evening, McLaughlin said that he believed “playing dead” would not be a good way to respond to an active-shooter situation, citing the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech.
McLaughlin also said that the Sussex County 911 center is up and running with “Text 911” where individuals can text, instead of calling, a 911 center.
“You may find yourself in a situation where you need to be quiet and you can’t talk,” he said, noting that technology could be very beneficial.
One attendee asked if there are plans to bring the training into local schools.
“We’re already doing it,” said McLaughlin, noting that there are armed constables at every school in the Indian River School District. “It’s very controversial. Folks up and down the state ridiculed the Indian River School District for putting guns in the schools, but I can tell you, if one of these situations occurs, it takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun.”
McLaughlin said some training with students has been done at the high-school level, but he said it has been limited.
The Ocean View Town Council has publically stated it would like to look into forming a countywide police force. McLaughlin said, currently, if an incident were to occur locally, his department would be the first-responders.
“We have no county police department. We have no SWAT team available. If something goes down and there’s a barricaded suspect with hostages, it’s going to be myself, Rhys and [OFC] Troy [Bowden] going out and handling that call.
“We can call for the State Police SWAT team, but this time of the evening, with the rain… It’ll be a two-hour response. It is very difficult. We’re very small in numbers, and training is very critically important to us. It gives us a bit of an edge, because we don’t have the manpower resources that some places have.”
Jay Innes noted that in Maryland there are police departments that serve whole counties.
“It boggles my mind that they don’t have county-level police departments serving all the citizens who are our taxpayers,” said Innes. “That should be shared amongst everyone. I live in an area that’s not actually in Ocean View proper, so I’m not paying to support your work here; however, if it were a police force service for the county, then my contribution would be equal to that of everyone else.”
McLaughlin said that having a countywide police force could quadruple county taxes.
“Nobody wants to pay — they want the service, but nobody wants to pay,” he added. “When the sun is shining and the moon and stars are aligned, we’re not needed. We’ll have some type of regional… but it will take a major tragedy to make it occur, first. We hope an event like this is never going to happen, but we have to be prepared for it.”
Cyndie Ganc, a Sunset Harbor resident, attended the training with her husband due to the subject matter being a current issue.
“Just to find out how we might be able to be a contributor to increasing our knowledge about what to do if, God-forbid, something like this should happen… I think with all the attention and all the recent shootings, it has made me more cognizant of the fact that we really do need to be hyper-vigilant and we do need to let others know when we see something that just doesn’t seem to align with something that would be a typical situation.”
Ganc said her daughter is a teacher in Washington state, and her school did an active-shooter simulation with pellet guns.
“She says, ‘I’ll never forget.’ To her, it was such an amazing experience… She thought it was pivotal to remembering exactly what she was taught.”
Ganc said the CRASE class was an amazing service and recommended others take the initiative to learn what they can do in such a situation.
“We are outside of Ocean View’s jurisdiction, unfortunately. I just think every person can certainly benefit from attending a class like this, just to increase awareness that we really do have an active role and we don’t ever have to be a victim.”
Following the class, Sussex County Paramedics Cody Grosch and Alix Faust were on hand to teach attendees how to do basic CPR and stop bleeds using tourniquets.
McLaughlin said the training empowers individuals to not allow themselves to be victims.
“Knowledge is power. If people know what to look for, know how to react, even if they’ve had just a little bit of training… hopefully, they can recognize something that is wrong and take the appropriate action,” he said.
“There’s a component of this for police, a component for fire and EMS. We’ve tackled those, and now this is for the civilians, so everyone is on the same page and working together to resolve these incidents. I think it’s good for the general public to know what we’re going to do, it’s going to, hopefully, avoid a lot of confusion and mitigate loss of life.”
More than 40 people were in attendance at the class, and McLaughlin said the department would be more than willing to offer the training to any group that requested it.
Those interested in taking CRASE may contact the Ocean View Police Department at (302) 539-1111.
Creativity is could be key when solving the problem of overcrowding at local schools, as the Indian River School District could potentially solve most of those problems with just one new building and some creative renovations.
The IRSD Board of Education voted this week to pursue plans for a new Sussex Central High School building next door to the old one. The empty SCHS building would then be renovated into a new Millsboro Middle School, which would leave an empty building for a new elementary school in downtown Millsboro.
Under the proposal, there would also be some classrooms added to Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School, where space is getting tight.
“I think this would be the cheapest way for us to proceed,” said Superintendent Mark Steele. “I think it’s a smart move to utilize the space we’ve got. We’re not crossing the north-south border in anything we do.”
The plan could be ideal for the northern schools. The new SCHS would hold more than 2,000 students. The old building was intended for 1,600, so it would more easily accommodate all of Millsboro Middle and part of Georgetown Middle schools.
Meanwhile, the MMS upgrades for use as an elementary school should be minimal, such as lowering the toilets and water fountains for the smaller elementary-schoolers.
School attendance zones would shift in the north, as a new Millsboro elementary would relieve pressure at East Millsboro Elementary, Long Neck Elementary and Georgetown Elementary (which, in turn, could take some students from North Georgetown Elementary).
“It seems the Option 2 would get us where we need to go right now the quickest,” said Board President Charles Bireley as the school board seriously considered five different options at meetings on May 9 and May 21.
Local taxpayers would only pay 40 percent (or $51.8 million) of the total $179.7 million estimated cost. The State would pay the majority for the new high school, as well as additions to SMS and IRHS.
Since a new school could take four or five years to build, Gerald “Jerry” Peden Jr. expressed concerns that the new SCHS will be at capacity by the time doors open. However, educators have said a massive high school, beyond 2,400 students, is not ideal.
“In future, I think we’re going to have to know the properties that border our buildings… We have a lot of schools that are landlocked. We have nowhere to go,” Steele said, referencing buildings such as East Millsboro Elementary and Selbyville Middle, which have little or no neighboring property for expansions.
The board discussed the plans in detail on May 9, but did not vote at that time, due to low attendance. Only five of 10 board members were available to attend that workshop, and a sixth came in partway through the discussion.
But the May 21 vote to move forward was unanimous, with only Board Member W. Scott Collins absent and Board Member Donald Hattier abstaining. Afterward, Hattier said he wasn’t comfortable voting because he wasn’t clear on the details, having missed the information meeting and not having a chance to ask questions.
“It’s not clear in my mind that, to me, that’s the right thing to do,” said Hattier.
Although he said he supports repurposing existing structures, he still had mixed feelings on this plan.
“I mean, I’m going to support that. I’m just not clear on it. That’s all I can tell you, … I know we need to do something. I know we have a major issue in terms of space, classrooms, teachers…”
Even if everything went as planned, high-schoolers wouldn’t be in a new building for four or five years. In the meantime, portable trailers are likely to return to the district as external classrooms.
The IRSD has exactly three months to get everything on paper and submit it to the State.
Although this is IRSD’s ideal plan right now, it’s nowhere near final approval. Administrators will write an official proposal for each project, which the board will decide whether to submit to Delaware Department of Education by Aug. 31.
By autumn, the DOE would decide whether to grant a Certificate of Necessity for each project. Once the need is established, and if the State has enough money to pay its share of the project, the school district would host a major capital improvement referendum, in which the public would vote on whether to raise local taxes to raise the needed funding. The CN expires after one year.
The public would vote at public referendum this winter or early in spring of 2019. If everything passes, and the Delaware State Legislature promises funding, engineering and design could begin in summer of 2019.
Although the State of Delaware typically doesn’t grant capital improvement money for renovations, Steele said he thinks this plan would be tempting, because it’s a plan to address capacity without the expense of brand new buildings. He said he believes the State would support such a plan.
Or, if the renovation costs are low enough, IRSD might not even need to rely on a public referendum — they could renovate with Minor Capital Improvement funds from the State.
Transportation would be the next biggest challenge to address, as Millsboro bus routes would be swept up in the shuffle.
Meanwhile, during public comments at the May 21 meeting, IRHS teacher Paula Dieste reminded the school board to consider school safety in this seeming era of school shootings.
“Since Columbine High school in 1999, to the most recent last Friday [at Santa Fe high School in Texas], 214,000 students have experienced gun violence at school,” Dieste said. “Our students have never known a time without lockdowns and crisis drills. … I really would express my desire for you to invest in the safety of our schools, and that’s the way to invest in the safety and the future of our students.”
The Delaware State Legislature is currently considering various bills related to school safety, such as mandatory panic buttons and a school safety fund. For that reason, Steele said he preferred to wait until the legislative session ends on June 30 before the IRSD considers its next round of safety investments.
Board Member Rodney Layfield also reported that all district schools had completed state-required safety trainings for this year. He said he was also proud that the Delaware State Police school resource officer was already onsite when a student allegedly called in a bomb threat to Millsboro Middle School on Friday, May 18, during a school dance.
“In light of everything that’s going on in this country with the school shootings, … there’s absolutely no guarantees in this world for safety. We just need to keep that in mind when we throw money at problems. We just need to be innovative and move forward and learn from our mistakes and errors,” said Layfield, a DSP commander, encouraging people to contact him with ideas for school safety.
The Ocean View Board of Adjustment voted this week to defer its decision on an application requesting a special exception that would allow for a wildlife-learning center in a General Business-1 parcel in town.
Barn Hill Preserve co-owners Josh Mueller and Gabe Ligon spoke on behalf of the application, stating they wanted to open an education center at 23 Atlantic Avenue.
“Our primary goal over the past six years has been education. We have educated over two million students,” said Ligon. “We travel all over the states with some of our ambassador animals, educating students.”
In a packet presented to the board, the types of animals proposed for the facility include a red kangaroo, common parakeet, tayra (weasel), Eurasian lynx, Asian small-clawed otters, sulcata tortoise, Patagonian cavies and the Linneaus’ two-toed sloth.
Ligon said the largest animals that would be on the property would be the red kangaroo (not at full-grown size) or the lynx.
For safety and security, according to Barn Hill, each animal enclosure will have an airlock-style entry system (without literally locking out air) that consists of two doors, walls on all sides and a roof. There will also be an additional barrier fence 3 feet from all animal enclosures, and all enclosures will be secured with a lock with keys only accessible to the animal keepers.
There would also be a 6- to 8-foot fence surrounding the property.
In case of inclement weather, each enclosure would have a lockdown house, to provide shelter to the animals.
Ligon said the facility would be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service.
“We have federal veterinarians that inspect us on a month to month basis.”
As proposed, the property would also house a “small overnight room” to ensure staff would be on premises at all times. There will be an alarm system and security cameras installed as well.
As for sanitation, Ligon and Mueller said that food dishes would be cleaned twice a day, cages would be spot-cleaned and all concrete would be scrubbed.
“We’ll dispose all of the waste off-site,” said Mueller, noting it would be taken out of town for disposal.
Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader asked what plan was in place if an animal were to escape.
Ligon said the preserve would set up a contingency plan with local law-enforcement, also noting that members of staff can legally keep anesthetics on hand for such an incident.
“We’ve never had to do that, but we do have it on hand.”
Mueller said that, if all is approved, Barn Hill hopes to open the site next year, with tours beginning at 7 a.m., and the last one starting at 7 p.m. A maximum of 15 guests would be allowed on a tour, which would take place every 45 minutes, with tours lasting 45 to 90 minutes. While prices haven’t yet been set, Mueller said admission could range from $30 to $50 per person.
“The goal would be to open up from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” he said, adding that there would be shorter hours of operation in the fall and spring, with the facility closed from November through February.
“We offer such an intimate and educational atmosphere, it’s something people want to bring their friends and family back to,” added Ligon. “The Town of Ocean View and the location we found is one of the best locations we could have.”
When asked why they wanted to bring Barn Hill to Ocean View, Mueller responded that he was born and raised in Bethany.
“Growing up here, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to work with animals, to experience different types of animals. I think it is an extremely important thing that we need to bring to the community. The closest one — you’re going to have to go to Salisbury… or there are some smaller ones if you go north,” he said.
“Educate the children about conservation and wildlife. I have a passion for wildlife, and I want to share my passion with the people I grew up with.”
During the public comment portion of the hearing, Ron Galey, president of the Savannah’s Landing homeowners group, said the Board of Directors of the development unanimously opposes the application, citing concerns that it would cause an increase in traffic congestion, about its impact on the environment and about the treatment of the animals.
“It’s a zoo, it’s what it is,” said Galey. “We’re really concerned about our property values… We don’t want it.”
Dan Dalina of Savannah’s Landing said there should be consideration for the outdoor dining areas of neighboring restaurants.
Connie Marshall, who has owned Wild about Birds on a nearby parcel for 22 years, said she was “adamantly opposed” to the application.
“Although I believe in theory this is a fabulous concept, I’m also of the mind that this location is less than ideal for this endeavor,” she said.
Marshall said she had been approached and given the impression the facility was to be similar to the Bethany Beach Nature Center, where animals would be brought in and out for educational outreach programs.
Marshall said she has concerns regarding odor, and while manure can be removed from the premises, she said the animals’ liquid output cannot.
“You cannot remove urine. Once that comes out, it’s in the ground, unless you’re going to be putting something down to remove that. It’s there, and you have to worry about the runoff as well,” she said.
Marshall, who also wrote a letter of opposition to the application, said she has concerns as to how the facility would impact her property value.
Following public comment, the record was closed on the application. No additional comments or documents may be considered in the Board’s decision. The board voted 3-1 to defer a decision that night, with Board Member Gene Brendel opposed.
The application is expected to return before the board at its June 21 meeting.
Although they’re all familiar faces, South Bethany’s town council got a shake-up in the 2018 elections held on Saturday, May 26.
Councilman Tim Saxton defeated incumbent Mayor Patricia “Pat” Voveris, 388-238, to claim the mayor’s seat.
Incumbent Council Members Sue Callaway (484 votes) and Don Boteler (446), and former councilman Wayne Schrader (374) won town council seats, defeating incumbent Councilman Tim Shaw (306).
The four winners will begin their new two-year terms on Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m.
“I’m already working this week on creating the transition and looking forward to the organizational meeting on Saturday, the whole group of us that were elected getting sworn in, and we’re all getting prepared to hit
This election season, candidates had many spaces to share their vision for South Bethany, having completed multiple candidate questionnaires and attended various candidate forums.
“I think they know where I’m going,” Saxton said with a laugh when asked about his plan of action. “We’ve resolved the renovations to the police department building. As a matter of fact, that’s starting today [May 29]. So that’s moving forward and, hopefully, will be completed in a couple months.”
With a background in business, the former Town treasurer added, “I know I spent a lot of time talking about long-range planning, but it is critical to the Town. We need to understand that costs to some of these long-range projects … [and] present to the public so they can help us prioritize.”
The operating budget “works just fine,” but some of South Bethany have dreams of big projects, including dredging or cleaning up the town’s canals.
Other planning topics for the near future include improving beach access and considering initiatives to improve Cat Hill traffic in the west.
“We are, on council, creating a list a list of people who have expressed interest already, and my goal is to have that position filled … June 11,” Saxton said.
Due to conflicting individuals’ schedules, he said the council might vote to schedule the next regular town council meeting for Monday, June 8.
Council meetings are traditionally held the second Friday and fourth Thursday of each month. But that is determined annually at the organizational meeting.
“I want to make sure people can attend the first few meetings in person, versus having to do it over the phone. I’m trying to be flexible for the June and July meetings,” but the council schedule will be more concrete after that, Saxton said.
Outgoing Mayor Pat Voveris served has served four years as mayor, plus three years as a council member, including time as treasurer. She was hoping to serve her third and final consecutive term as mayor, as permitted by town law.
“I was proud to serve our Town and wish the current administration and South Bethany the best,” Voveris stated after the election.
“Pat did a good job for this town, the four years she was [mayor]. She worked very, very hard,” Saxton said. “I do want to compliment that.”
“Our Town was fortunate to have owners stepping forward to participate and serve,” Voveris added in an email to the Town. “Please support our new Town Council as they work towards continued betterment of South Bethany.”
Town Hall staff could not immediately say how many people voted in the May 26 election, wherein residents and property owners all could cast ballots.
On Saturday, May 26, a little after 10 a.m., 76-year-old Alfred Yergey III of Ocean View was riding his bicycle eastbound in the bike lane on Atlantic Avenue (Route 26), approaching Central Avenue in Ocean View.
At the same time, 65-year-old Jodi Silverman Bartow of Bethesda, Md., who was driving a 2018 Subaru Forester was in the left turn lane of westbound Atlantic Avenue, waiting to turn into a parking lot.
With heavy traffic due to the holiday weekend, the Ocean View Police Department reported, eastbound vehicle traffic was stop-and-go.
While Barstow was waiting to turn, a pickup truck in the eastbound lane of Atlantic stopped to let Bartow make the turn into the parking lot. The Forester began turning but allegedly failed to yield the right-of-way to Yergey, causing a collision between the bicycle’s front tire and the Forester’s front-right bumper.
Police said Bartow’s vehicle came to a stop upon impact with the bicycle, and that Barstow did not sustain any injuries. Neither alcohol nor unsafe speed were considered a factor in the incident, according to police.
“This was one of those incidents where traffic had stopped,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “The driver was waved through, yet we still had a collision
“It’s difficult to see without a doubt. The cars themselves created a blind spot, so the driver was unable to see the bicyclist and, subsequently, the bicyclist was unable to see the car.
Yergey was flown by Delaware State Police helicopter to Christiana Hospital, where he later passed away. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, police noted.
As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday press deadline, no charges had been filed against Bartow.
“Whenever we have a fatal crash like this, there’s a lot of information that needs to be collected and looked out before a decision is made whether or not to prosecute,” said McLaughlin.
“We’ll have a face-to-face meeting with a representative from the Attorney General’s Office, and we’ll review all the information with them, and they make the determination as to whether or not to proceed with any charges.”
McLaughlin said it is “extremely dangerous” to travel on the roadways in the summer months at peak traffic hours.
“I think there’s got to be a hyper sense of awareness on everyone’s part,” he said. “The congestion is so great down here, I would encourage people maybe to avoid going out during those busy time periods. Our roadways really aren’t designed for that type of traffic.”
McLaughlin said drivers should be aware of bicyclists, especially due to the large influx of international students in the summer months whose sole mode of transportation is bicycles.
Mopeds and motorcycles are also a concern, said McLaughlin, citing the fatal motorcycle accident in Ocean City, Md., that also occurred on May 26.
Pedestrian killed after stepping into traffic
The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit this week was also investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian.
Police said the incident occurred around 12:31 a.m. on Friday, May 25, on Route 1 (Coastal Highway) northbound, at the intersection of Keybox Road, south of Dewey Beach. They said a 2012 Hyundai Accent, being driven by a 56-year-old Lewes man was traveling northbound on Route 1, in the right lane, approaching the intersection of Keybox Road.
At that time, police said, Peter M. Rudnicki, 22, of Bethesda, Md., was walking southbound along the northbound shoulder of Route 1, in the area of the intersection. For unknown reasons, they said, Rudnicki entered into the northbound travel lane of Route 1, directly into the path of the vehicle.
According to police, the driver of the Hyundai Accent was unable to avoid Rudnicki and struck him with the right front bumper within the right travel lane. After the collision, Rudnicki came to rest on the northbound shoulder of Route 1, they said, while the vehicle continued northbound for a short distance before coming to a controlled stop on the northbound shoulder of Route 1 north of Rudnicki.
Police noted that the roadway was dark and that Rudnicki was not in a marked crosswalk or carrying a light at the time of the collision. Rudnicki was pronounced dead at the scene by responding EMS. Alcohol and unsafe speed were deemed not to have been factors on behalf of the driver, police said, but alcohol did appear to be a contributing factor on behalf of the pedestrian, they noted.
The driver of the Hyundai Accent was properly restrained, they said, and sustained no injuries as a result of the crash.
The northbound lanes of Coastal Highway were closed between Dewey Beach and the Indian River Inlet Bridge for approximately four hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is being asked to contact MCpl. K. Argo at (302) 644-5020. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.
Minor injuries in Route 1 crash
Additionally, on Sunday, May 27, around 3:52 p.m., there was a two-vehicle crash on Coastal Highway that resulted in minor injuries. Police said a 2004 F-150 pickup truck operated by a 61-year-old Selbyville man had just made a U-turn from Coastal Highway northbound, to proceed southbound on Coastal Highway.
At the same time, they said, a 2012 Ford F-250 pickup operated by James I. Windle, 23, of Newark, was traveling southbound on Coastal Highway, allegedly at an apparent high rate of speed, and the F-250 struck the rear of the F-150, which police said had already established itself in the travel lane. The collision resulted in both vehicles overturning.
The operator of the F-150, who was properly restrained, was treated for minor injuries at Beebe Healthcare and was released.
Windle and his passenger, a 23-year-old woman, also from Newark, were both properly restrained, and were also treated for minor injuries at Beebe Healthcare and released.
Windle was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Following Too Close. He was released, pending a future court appearance.
The Delaware State Police urged motorists to follow some easy steps to help ensure safety on the roadways:
• Ensure all occupants are properly restrained.
• Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
• If you see a drunk or aggressive driver on the road, immediately contact 911 as soon as safely possible.
• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
Sometimes, however, as in Yergey’s case, accidents do happen, even if people are following all the rules of the road.
“He was doing absolutely everything right, yet he still ended up getting killed,” said McLaughlin. “He was a local resident of Ocean View — by all accounts a very good guy. He was active in the historical society and St. Martha’s church. We’re just asking everybody to keep him in their thoughts and prayers.”
Look out, world. The Class of 2018 is coming for you.
A weekend of torrential thunderstorms, followed by a morning fog and power outages cleared into a perfect spring night, just in time for Indian River High School’s graduation on Tuesday, May 29.
IRHS Principal Michael Williams began his first IR graduation by thanking the maintenance staff who made the outdoor ceremony possible.
He also marveled that, of the 179 graduates, about 84 percent chose post-secondary education; 12 percent will enter the workforce; and almost 4 percent will go into the armed forces.
“Standing in front of you all, I see nothing but great leaders heading into the future with a lot of potential. … I’m proud of you all,” said Class President Fabrea McCray-Conner. “Walking into school every day was easier, knowing I was a part of a smart, athletic, talented and motivated group of teens who wanted nothing but the best for themselves and others.
“Wherever life may take you, always stay true to yourself,” McCray-Conner added. “Don’t stop here, Class of 2018. Keep moving forward. Go River!”
She and other students repeatedly thanked the parents, teachers, staff and coaches who guided them through their journey.
“Good teachers move extraordinary people to do extraordinary things,” said guest speaker Salome “Principal El” Thomas-El, a lifelong educator and head of the Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington. “We’re hard on [you] now so it’ll be easier in life.
“Building resilient children … is about teaching them to respond when they are not successful. How do you come back when you don’t hear what you want to hear? How do you come back when you are rejected? … Do you stop working hard, or do you say, ‘You know what? This just means that I’ll go on to the next step.’ Just understand it’s the struggle and the battle to get there that has made you successful.”
He spoke about the students who don’t have it easy, the women who keep things going and the men who stay involved in their families.
“Today is the beginning of an opportunity for you to create a way for you to provide for your family and your community,” Thomas-El told the students. “Come back to serve others because leadership is about service.”
“Don’t forget where you came from. You came from Indian River High School,” echoed Superintendent Mark Steele. “And to all of you: four years from now, we would love to see you come back, join the alumni association, be strong in our community and make our community even stronger.”
“There will always be someone who is proud of you,” said Delaney Brannon, salutatorian and senior class vice-president, “and the worth of a situation may come from how it makes you stronger, even if things don’t go as planned.”
“We may have made fools of ourselves in the best/worst way, but those high school memories are unforgettable. All of us have come a really long way these past four years. You’ve grown physically and mentally, and you should be proud,” said Valedictorian Priya Patel. “I can confidently say that each and every one of you has the potential to flourish.”
Patel said success isn’t about wealth, social status or grades.
“It’s determined by the achievement of your goal. … Each one of you is talented and remarkable in your own way. Find what you love, and follow it to glory, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.”
Including Patel, the top 10 academic students were recognized: Delaney Brannon, Kennedy Butch, Dahria Kalmbach, Nathaniel McCabe, Ryan McCoy, Emily Tharby, Samantha Whelen, Isabel Wolfenbarger and Jewel Yanek.
In a surprise announcement, the six winners of the IR Pride Scholarship from IRHS Alumni Association were revealed, including Brannon, McCabe, Whelen, Yanek, Joud Dabaj and Mackenzie Webb.
The graduation song was the acapella “In My Life (It’s Been Unwritten),” arranged by graduate Kennedy Butch.
Although the students all wore green and white robes, creativity sparked color through the crowd. The graduates had decorated their mortarboards with paint, glitter and flowers; green and gold; inspirational quotes; beloved poetry and characters from childhood; future career and college plans; and family photos.
As the ceremony ended, each of the caps was flung into the air, celebrating the completion of high school and good things to come.
See a full photo gallery at www.coastalpoint.zenfolio.com.
Passion is defined as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object or concept.
The Indian River School District — and, more specifically, Selbyville Middle School — has two people that have an unrivaled passion for the sport of volleyball. It’s obvious when they talk about the sport, and certainly IR and Selbyville students can see it when they are in their presence. Those two people are coaches Bill Croal and Sally Craig.
The two of them will be continuing their work to introduce, teach and grow the sport of volleyball with local fifth- through eighth-grade students in a one-week camp being held at Selbyville Middle School on June 18-21. The camp will run from 8 a.m. until noon each day, with the focus being on fundamentals and having fun.
“I am a retired guy that has time on his hands, and have a passion and addiction for the sport of volleyball,” Croal said. “I crossed paths with Sally three years ago and became a volunteer coach with her middle-school program at Selbyville when the program started there.
“I have over 50 years of experience with the sport,” he noted. “It really is a passion for me. It gets in your blood. I want the kids to have fun, laugh and have a good time. We have to get them introduced to the game at an early age, because volleyball is not a sport you can get good at just by starting to play in high school.”
For Craig, who has been the one and only coach of the Selbyville program, the job is also about a love and passion for the game. During their three years of play, the Indians are a combined 28-2. They won their first 24 matches — going 10-0 in both their first two seasons — before a loss to Chipman Middle School this season broke their undefeated string.
“I have coached for over 30 years in both Delaware and Virginia,” Craig confessed with a laugh, suggesting that it would show her age. “Any extra exposure we can get to the young kids will be great. We just want to promote the sport and help to keep growing the sport so that teams can get better and better.
“Bill runs a volleyball academy through the school. His enthusiasm is just amazing. I am so glad to have met him. He has been a huge supporter for the program and our success.”
Croal and Craig will be conducting their weeklong camp with the help of some fellow coaches, in the form of Jim Barnes (head coach at IRHS), Joy Clark (assistant coach at IRHS) and Ashley Revel (head coach at Georgetown Middle School). They will also have Indian River high school players volunteering and mentoring at the camp.
The camp will focus on tiered, skills-based instruction for beginners through advanced players. Campers will learn through the use of drills and fun games that focus on skill development, cooperation and team play.
“As of now we have a little over 20, and we are hoping to get to 30,” Croal said. “Registration has been extended until Friday, June 15. Interested people should contact Michele Murphy,” the districts adult and community education coordinator.
“Speaking of Michele Murphy,” Croal noted, “she has been an unbelievable supporter of this. I met with her in her office one day, and one thing led to another. She said, ‘Whatever I can do to help you with this…’ I cannot say enough about her support. This could not have been done without her.”
The fee to participate in the camp is $100, which includes a team T-shirt, as well as a pizza party. To register a child for the opportunity to learn a sport that is growing each year in the Indian River School District, contact Murphy at (302) 732-1522 (Option 7), or via email at email@example.com.
“We are hoping for a good turnout,” Craig concluded. “I just want to see the popularity of the sport grow, and — of course — if it helps our programs, it would be an added bonus.”
“This is just the start,” Croal added. “One of my goals is to create a volley-pop program for first-, second- and third-graders. It would be a good time to introduce those kids at that age to the sport when they are being recruited to play other sports, like baseball, soccer and lacrosse.”
And how soon would he like to get that started?
“It is certainly next on my agenda,” he concluded with a laugh. “Again, I am retired, so I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. I am gonna see if we can make this happen.”
A near-capacity crowd at Georgetown Speedway last Friday night saw what they came for: a great night of racing under the lights at the historic high-banked half-mile clay oval in Georgetown.
Six classes competed that night, with Oley, Pa.’s Craig VonDohren highlighting the evening’s racing action, fighting his way from ninth to first to win the $3,000 30-lap Big Block/Small Block Modified feature.
“It was worth the three-and-a-half-hour trip — it’s always worth the trip down here,” said VonDohren, who piloted the win in Dick Biever’s No. 14 machine. “We had a good car. We drove down here tonight with a chance of rain — which is a hell of a gamble — but it was worth it… we’re good, it was worth it. Track conditions were a little rough because of the rain earlier in the week, but we’re happy with the win. The car ran great, and the motor was strong.”
Rocketing off the outside pole, Norm Hansell — a past Georgetown feature winner — hustled into the early lead, which he held for the initial 11 laps before surrendering the front to David VanHorn, who was piloting Fred Vahlsing’s Vahico Wheels No. 323ov.
VanHorn was running away with the lead, leaving the field behind. Then, suddenly, a Lap 20 yellow flag changed everything. Along with wiping out VanHorn’s gains, it closed VonDohren’s gap on the leaders. When racing resumed, Hansell recaptured the lead as VanHorn’s machine developed rear-end troubles, forcing him from the competition.
In the final laps, the pair of Berks County, Pa., pilots battled side-by-side, swapping the lead several times before the last yellow waved five laps from settling it. VonDohren led them back to the green flag and across the stripe. Hansell was second under the checkers, collecting $2,000 for his efforts.
Also in the top five were Billy Pauch Jr. of Milford, N.J., finishing third, piloting the Daniel Sommeling’s No. 51. Orefield, Pa.’s pilot, Brett Kressly, came from 12th to finish fourth, and Neshanic Station, N.J., native Jimmy Horton finished fifth.
Connor King of Morgantown, Pa., clocked an L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman milestone. King led the field flag-to-flag, covering the 20-lap distance in just 7:24. King pocketed the $1,000 posted purse, plus $100 additional from Ad-Art Sign Company.
“Thankfully, we had a nice clean race with no cautions,” described the 20-year-old winner. ”I got to start on the pole, and that was great. I was able to get off real quick, and settled down into a rhythm, and click off laps. I like this class. I’ve been racing it for six years. It’s affordable, with the crate motor, and I’m having fun with it.”
With Joseph Tracey on his tail, Harbeson driver Kirk Lawson produced his second Little Lincoln feature win of the season. Trailing in the top five were Jordan Herbert, Matt White and Bunky White.
“I couldn’t tell if they were close to me or not. I wear a head/neck restraint, with no mirrors, so you can’t tell what’s going on behind you. You just run hard. I started deep in the back,” Lawson described. “With the new clay here, and the new banking, you can really get up on the outside to make up some ground, and that’s what I did. This car is set up to do that. We just started on the outside and ran for the front.
“The car handled great. It loves a tacky track. I don’t like a slick track. I don’t think it’s a lot of fun. This track tonight has a lot of bite in it. There is a lot of cushion up there, and I was able to use it. I want to thank Stockley Tavern, First State Flag, Wilkins Wild Life, and I want to thank the fab guys back at the shop, Allan and Josh. They do a good job for me and take care of this thing and keep me up front.”
Georgetown native and Super Late Model standout Ross Robinson ruled the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car Racing Club feature. Robinson, who was driving the Mark “Coot” Williams No. 26 car, got the lead and was never seriously challenged after that. Veteran Freddy Brightbill was second across the stripe, and Jamie Eicholz’s third-place finish earned him the Sportsman win.
“It was a lot of fun. We started fifth and were able to get the lead quick,” Robinson reported. “We did what we needed to do. We got up front, and that makes it easier. The car was perfect.”
Eicholz, a resident of Milford, was piloting a 2007 Rocket Chassis.
“It’s a little old to be running competitively in the Crate class, made it vintage. It’s got a 602 Crate motor in it, the old style nose on it. I’m just out here having fun.”
Chris “Tippy” Martinez and Ashley Merritt put on quite the show in the Delmarva Charger 12-lap feature. Merritt led the way until two laps remained, when she went too high in Turn 4, allowing Martinez to pass under her for the lead, which he then held to the finish.
“The car’s been really good all year,” Martinez admitted. “When we got out there on the track tonight, it was a little rough out there. It was challenging. We had that big mess in Turn 1 at the beginning. I was lucky to make it through that. On the restart, I just found my line, set sail, and away I went.
“The track was good during the race. It was fast. I want to thank my sponsors — especially Ernie Dallying. If it weren’t for him, this car wouldn’t go. He’s my motorman. We wouldn’t be here without him. I also want to thank Lye Wood Electric, Joseph Simmer, Campbell’s Collision, Ryan Plumbing, P.L. Bennington and Martina Construction. There’s been a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of stuff, or we wouldn’t be here.”
When racing returns to Georgetown on Friday, June 29, a 35-lap Super Late Models “Clash for Cash” to win a $3,500 prize will highlight the ticket, making their first appearance of the season. Also included in the lineup will be RUSH Late Models, Delaware Super Trucks, Delmarva Chargers, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars and Little Lincoln Stock Cars.
The Indian River High School girls’ soccer team certainly earned everything they got this season.
They earned their Henlopen Conference South Division title. They earned their spot in the Henlopen Conference championship game against Caesar Rodney. They earned their first two wins in the DIAA Division II girls’ state playoffs. And they earned the respect of Delaware Military Academy — their semifinal opponent in the DIAA state playoffs last Wednesday, May 30.
In fact, the Indians battled, scratched and clawed their way through an unusually chilly, rainy late May evening against the Seahawks, to a scoreless tie through the first 40 minutes of action. Despite that effort, the Seahawks responded in a big way after the intermission and wound up winning convincingly, 4-0 over the Indians.
At the 41:30 mark of the game — just 90 seconds into the second half, on a set corner-kick play — Elise Buonopane took a pass from teammate A.K. Hughes and drilled a shot passed IR goalie Fabrea McCray into the lower right corner for a 1-0 lead.
Not even five minutes later, IR’s Sia Diakos took a pass from Izzy Binko and nearly tied the game. However, DMA goalie Julia Emerich somehow was able to corral Diakos’ shot before it crossed into the goal to thwart the tying opportunity.
“That would have been huge, to get it tied up, and, unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” IR veteran coach Steve Kilby said after the game. “I’m not quite sure how their keeper caught that, because [Sia] crushed it, and the keeper caught it from 4 yards away. So that was the difference to me in being 1-1.”
And it was almost as if in that moment, any momentum the Indians had picked up quickly blew away with the wind. DMA would go back down the field and generate a free-kick opportunity from about 20 yards out, with Buonopane again doing the damage to make it 2-0 at the 47:00 mark.
“We trained specifically on making sure we didn’t allow them to run free, and we did a really good job of that in the first half,” Kilby noted of his squad’s first-half effort. “Unfortunately, they scored their goals on set plays. Our lack of urgency on defending set pieces ended up being the difference, and then, from there, the game was kind of broke.”
Buonopane figured into the scoring of DMA’s last two goals, assisting on Alyssa Ruggieri’s goal at 61:00 before helping on Melayna Immediato’s marker at 65:00.
DMA outshot the Indians 12-5 and held a 6-2 advantage in corner-kick opportunities on the night.
Emerich finished with five saves for the Seahawks, while IR senior Fabrea McCray made seven stops.
“The future is really bright,” Kilby concluded of his team. “We’ve got two huge players to replace in Fabrea, our goalkeeper, and Sammi Whelen — she really makes us go. We have people scoring goals, but it’s because she’s doing all the work behind them getting them in. So the future is bright, but right now it’s a little bit dark.”
Free kicks: Indian River won’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption after a look at the preliminary schedule for 2019 shows the Indians facing the Seahawks in their first game of the 2019 season. The Indians finished their 2018 campaign with an 11-6 overall mark. DMA went on to defeat Tower Hill in the state championship final, 1-0, to finish their season at 15-2-1.
(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of previews of the homes that will be on display during the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to be held July 25-26, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Soon after moving the aging rancher from their Sea Del lot in 2005, the owners of this home began work on a beach home that would comfortably accommodate their family and a host of regular visitors. Completed in 2008, the home is divided into three separate living areas, encompassing six bedrooms, five bathrooms and more than 5,000 square feet.
The house may look familiar to regular tour-goers, who saw it in 2010 — although it’s been tweaked and polished since then.
The lower level, referred to as “the Olympic Village,” features a dorm room designed to house the owners’ adult children and a large group of their friends who convene annually for the Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon, sometimes numbering as many as 55 for dinner and 25 overnight. A separate ground-floor entrance allows them easy access, and two outside showers alleviate lines for the inside facilities.
The middle floor, reserved for the couple’s friends and family, includes four en suite bedrooms that surround a common sitting area with microwave, refrigerator, TV and direct access to the deck and hot tub.
The light-filled third level boasts soaring vaulted ceilings that define the kitchen, dining and living areas, as well as a sunny ocean-view tower. A spacious master suite with private entry is tucked away at the rear, offering a quiet escape when needed.
The soothing décor is based on the owner’s longtime love of the color aqua, seen in myriad shades throughout the home and inspired by a beloved photo of her mother in an aqua bridesmaid dress, now displayed in the master bedroom. The Caribbean influence permeates the home, with a palette of watery blues, each room sporting a different tropical hue and grounded by sandy-colored natural maple floors. The artwork continues the theme, with prints chosen from favorite island vacations, all of them pinpointed on a family travel map in an upper hallway.
Seagull images complete the coastal theme, appearing on the cast metal sculpture at the entry, on the midlevel den mural and the glass wall hanging on the upper stairwell, and mounted on the east exterior wall of the home.
This is just one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. Tickets cost $30 and may be purchased at the South Coastal Library or through the Cottage Tour’s website at www.beachandbaycottagetour.com. The Cottage Tour is sponsored by the Friends of the South Coastal Library, and proceeds directly benefit the library’s operations.
If people are concerned or unsure about how Millville Town Hall is run, “Come in here, folks, and talk to us,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
The Millville Town Council spent most of their May 22 workshop discussing the broad subject of public education and participation.
The public is always invited to come ask questions at Town Hall.
“The Town is here from 8:30 to 4:30, and whenever a resident comes in here, we give them what they want to see,” Botchie said. “We’d rather have them come in here and get corrections, rather than continue to stir the pot.”
For instance, when she is invited to speak at local neighborhoods, Botchie said she asks for a list of desired topics, and then she creates a PowerPoint presentation or asks the expert Town Hall staff to contribute.
The staff are “more than willing” to help answer questions for the public, Botchie said. Many residents come to Town Hall for one-on-one conversations, too.
The issue was broached by Deputy Mayor Steve Maneri, who lives in the Millville by the Sea community and said he sees first-hand the frustrations of property owners living in a neighborhood under construction. He proposed a clear route for the Town to answer questions and help residents understand codes.
Residents are “in the middle and don’t know which way the Town goes,” Maneri said. “If the HOAs have a problem, I think we should be involved … help them, if we can.”
“Occasionally, the answer is going to be, ‘We don’t have control over that,’” warned Town Solicitor Seth Thompson.
Local governments only have certain jurisdiction over a developer. The Town maintains laws, but doesn’t intervene in contractual affairs of HOA covenants.
“The Town does not get involved with the developer, the residents and their HOA and their contractual agreement,” Botchie said after the meeting. “Residents who live in HOAs want to know why the Town can’t do more about [various issues], which we explain to them that the developer has a public works agreement, and a landscape agreement with the Town.”
Millville requires snow to be removed, grass mowing and landscaping, plus roads and sidewalks built to specific parameters.
“The Town regulates the development process. … Local government is designed to promote the health, safety and general welfare,” not aesthetics, such as house color or yard design, said Thompson.
The town council already hosts bi-monthly town council meetings on Tuesday nights, where people can ask questions and raise issues. In fact, one resident took advantage of the opportunity to ask about the placement of a traffic sign, and Botchie agreed to follow up on the matter.
Other ideas included hosting informal “coffee with council” sessions; creating a public liaison committee; or hosting an educational session on the role of Town Hall, basic town laws, the Freedom of Information Act and more.
“There’s a lot we can do to educate,” Botchie said.
Those in attendance at the meeting said they also liked the idea of HOA representatives gathering together to learn from each other and compare notes on common problems.
“Most people in HOAs, like myself, are transplants” who are trying to learn Delaware and local laws, said Wally Bartus, a resident of Millville By the Sea, adding that he supported any kind of public education. For instance, he said, he only recently learned about his neighborhood’s public works agreement.
Botchie emphasized the importance of calling Town Hall for information, rather than spreading false news. She referenced emails that have circulated among the public, which she said contain inaccuracies.
Various council members offered to help or visit neighborhoods, and Mayor Bob Gordon encouraged discussions to either occur at Town Hall or with Town Hall staff, who are the experts in the finances, code and other aspects of Town business.
Councilman Peter Michel said that Town Hall staff already do great job responding to issues during daily operating hours. People also access public council meetings, an active website and newspaper reports.
Those in attendance also applauded the council and staff for jobs well done.
Now is actually the best time to contribute to Millville’s future, town officials said, as residents, property owners and business owners are being asked to complete an online survey. The results will help guide writing of the 10-year Comprehensive Plan update for a variety of issues, including land use, housing, transportation, utilities, town and community services, economic development, recreation and more.
A Comprehensive Plan is an official statement about Millville’s future that is used to direct future development decisions, as required by law. The online survey is available on the Town website, at www.millville.delaware.gov.
In other Millville Town Council news, the group had to clarify a previous vote with a bit of parliamentary housekeeping.
They had on May 8 voted to reject a conditional-use application for Millville Residential LLC to build 24 townhomes on a 4.2-acre parcel at the Millville Town Center 3 subdivision. The council motion at that time was to reject the application. But when the council members unanimously voted “no,” meaning “no” to the application, they had technically denied not the application but the motion to reject the application, leaving the issue unresolved.
They reassembled on May 22 to re-vote and clarify their rejection of the project.
The next regular meeting of the Millville Town Council will be Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m.
Thomas Blackiston is a rising senior at Indian River High School, and Sam Riggins is a rising junior at Indian River High School. When each was in the ninth grade, they and about five other Indian River students learned they were the lucky recipients of a Give Back college scholarship.
The Give Something Back Foundation (Give Back) is a scholarship and mentoring program for lower-income (Pell Grant eligible), academically-proven students who have faced adversity. The program starts for accepted scholars in the ninth grade and works with them through college graduation. Tuition, fees and room and board are all included.
According to Give Back, 36 million Americans of all economic classes started college but never graduated. Some ran out of money, and others were not given the necessary tools to succeed before arriving on campus.
Give Back’s goal is to prevent that from happening. Thus far, the foundation has pre-paid for more than 1,000 students to go to college debt-free. Their partner university in Delaware is the University of Delaware in Newark.
“My first feeling when I learned I’d been accepted was relief,” said Blackiston. “I’ve known since I was a little kid I wanted to study marine biology, and to find out I’m not going to have to pay off school loans after I graduate is amazing.”
Blackiston’s mom, Cindy Stinger, a “lunch lady” at East Millsboro Elementary School, was over the moon with excitement when she got the news.
“It was Friday, April 15, when I heard,” she said. “I was up waiting for the message to come on my phone since 5 a.m., and I didn’t hear until after 5 in the evening. Tommy was away at Boy Scout camp, so I couldn’t reach him. I called my daughter-in-law and was so excited I couldn’t talk straight. She was about to call 911 for me!”
Tommy will be the first college graduate in her family — no doubt about it!
There was similar excitement in Sam Riggins’ house, except — to his mom, Devon McGee’s dismay — she wasn’t home when the letter arrived.
“I really had wanted to see his face when he got the news,” she said.
“I was super-excited and thankful when I read I got the scholarship,” said Riggins. “I called Mom and then my grandparents right away. Now I’ll be able to study music production in college and live my dream.” Riggins noted he and Blackiston both play in the Indian River marching band — he plays trumpet, and Blackiston plays tenor saxophone.
Justin Steele, a school counselor at Indian River and the contact person for Give Back said, “The scholarships are based on need, grades, an essay and taking honors classes since the seventh grade. Each scholar has to maintain a B grade through high school and college to stay in the program. They also have to participate in ‘give back’ community-focused, charitable projects.”
Steele indicated that the focus of the scholarships does change each year. For this year’s freshman class, Give Back prioritized children with an incarcerated parent. At other times, children living in foster homes and meeting the academic requirements have been preferentially selected.
“It is an amazing opportunity for those eligible in that particular year,” Steele said.
The charitable project for the Give Back scholars this spring was the My Blue Duffel program, which is part of the Kind to Kids Foundation. Since 2011, Kind to Kids has offered love, hope, guidance and a sense of stability to 12,000 vulnerable children in Delaware — those who are abused, neglected, impoverished and living in foster care.
My Blue Duffel provides emergency care packages for abused children, thus easing the painful transition to foster care with comforting supplies.
“Tommy and I decided to partner to collect as many items as we could for the duffel bags,” said Riggins. “These include blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, stuffed animals, pencils, pens and journals, crayons and coloring books, and reading books for all ages. They are all new. It was easier to collect money and stuff than we expected, because it is such a great cause.”
Many local businesses, as well as family and friends, contributed. They included D.B. Fries in Bethany, where Blackiston is working for a second summer; Integrity Builders East, owned by Riggins’ grandfather; High Tide Church; VFW Post 7234 in Ocean View; Roxana Volunteer Fire Company and its Ladies Auxiliary; and East Millsboro Elementary School.
Both moms were actively involved in the project.
“We were really lucky, because Kmart was having a sale on blankets and we caused them to sell out!” said McGee. “At this point, the boys have collected a good mix of things, but we would love to have more donations of books, or money to buy them — especially for older kids.” McGee’s living room wall is already neatly stocked with 565 separate items.
The essay the boys had to write as part of their scholarship application was to be about someone who they looked up to. Both Tommy and Sam immediately responded “my mom” when asked who they wrote about.
Both boys, as well as the other Indian River Give Back scholars, are looking forward to spending a couple of days at the University of Delaware in July.
“I went last year, and it makes you realize the scholarship is real,” said Blackiston. “You get the feel of the campus, sleep in a dorm, eat in the cafeteria, and meet other students and teachers. The best part was meeting Bob Carr, who started the Give Back Foundation. I’m so grateful to him.”