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Articles on this Page
- 06/07/18--11:41: _Namorato gets the b...
- 06/07/18--12:00: _Davis training for ...
- 06/07/18--12:24: _Reconstruction unit...
- 06/07/18--12:27: _State hears parent ...
- 06/07/18--12:37: _Sussex County teams...
- 06/07/18--12:41: _Arlett throwing his...
- 06/07/18--12:47: _Frankford council c...
- 06/07/18--12:55: _Millsboro starts ap...
- 06/07/18--12:56: _Department of the I...
- 06/07/18--12:57: _Supporters, opponen...
- 06/14/18--08:49: _Little League teams...
- 06/14/18--09:19: _It’s Min for the win
- 06/14/18--09:37: _Three IRHS lacrosse...
- 06/14/18--09:43: _Bethany hosting a s...
- 06/14/18--09:49: _Beach & Bay Cottage...
- 06/14/18--11:12: _Millsboro shop is a...
- 06/14/18--12:08: _Coast Guard honors ...
- 06/14/18--12:14: _Frankford firefight...
- 06/14/18--12:17: _Murray headed to co...
- 06/14/18--13:26: _DNREC and Mountaire...
- 06/07/18--11:41: Namorato gets the ball rolling for ILC students
- 06/07/18--12:00: Davis training for a life on the sea
- 06/07/18--12:24: Reconstruction unit investigating crash that killed school bus aide
- 06/07/18--12:27: State hears parent concerns in new anti-discrimination Reg. 225
- 06/07/18--12:37: Sussex County teams with state agencies to address littering
- 06/07/18--12:41: Arlett throwing his hat into the U.S. Senate ring
- 06/07/18--12:47: Frankford council cuts ties with town solicitor
- 06/07/18--12:55: Millsboro starts approval process to add Taco Bell to the menu
- 06/07/18--12:56: Department of the Interior gets earful on drilling
- 06/07/18--12:57: Supporters, opponents offer comments on wind power
- 06/14/18--09:19: It’s Min for the win
- 06/14/18--09:37: Three IRHS lacrosse players are Blue-White All-Stars
- 06/14/18--09:49: Beach & Bay Cottage Tour Sneak Peek No. 6
- 06/14/18--11:12: Millsboro shop is a family affair
- 06/14/18--12:08: Coast Guard honors change of command at IR Inlet ceremony
- 06/14/18--12:14: Frankford firefighters bringing back their Shrimp & Wing Fest
- 06/14/18--12:17: Murray headed to conference in its first year at IRHS
- 06/14/18--13:26: DNREC and Mountaire enter consent decree on Millsboro violations
Kelly Namorato starts each school day with her 14 students by allowing the fourth- and fifth-graders in her class to check in with each other. The tool she uses to “get the ball rolling” for the school day is, literally, a ball.
She uses a large, soft “knot ball” as a kind of “talking stick,” passing it between students who are sharing their thoughts on the day.
As an Intensive Learning Center teacher at East Millsboro Elementary School, Namorato teaches children who “come to me identified as kids with a disability,” after being screened by such specialists as speech pathologists, school psychologists and special-educators.
“I take the kids who are considered intense or complex — meaning that their needs aren’t necessarily addressed in the general-education classroom,” Namorato said.
Once children are identified as qualifying for ILC instruction, “we take the information that they give us about strengths and weaknesses, and we develop an individualized education plan (IEP),” she said.
An IEP is a detailed document that includes specific goals for each child; it’s a road map for teacher and student to travel together during the year. In Namorato’s case, she is the one who writes the IEPs for each of her students.
Say, for example, she’s writing an IEP for “Student A” — “I’ll plan his year out in his IEP and say, by the end of this year he needs to be able to do this… I’ve got to be able to produce that he can, in his IEP,” she said. “For example, one of my students, when given 10 problems, does she know which problems are adding, does she know which ones are subtracting? At the same time, she has a secondary goal of subtracting with regrouping with two digits.”
“I’ve got to take care of some of the curriculum that IR gives me, but at the same time I have to address those IEP goals. It’s a balance,” she said.
During the school day, Namorato is constantly thinking not only about how best to structure each day to meet each child’s needs but also to group them and their activities in the most logical, efficient way.
“I have to take all the IEPs and kind of lump them together and say, ‘OK, this child needs this and this child needs this,’ and make logical groups not necessarily based on grade level but based on their academic needs,” she said.
All of that has to be accomplished within the structure of the school day and within certain curriculum requirements.
“I’m given a classroom schedule where I have to do so many minutes of English language arts, so many minutes of math, so many minutes of reading intervention, so many minutes of math intervention… I have to kind of find these groups or these pockets” of instruction time, she said.
That involves using quite a large toolbox of educational programs during any given day. Reading instruction for the day might involve using a reading program “where I’ll pick a grade level, target that level with some whole-group things, and then pulling out and addressing their individual needs,” Namorato said. “I have students that can read anything from a second-grade level book to a fifth-grade level book.”
“And then we carve out some time for math,” said Namorato, who focuses on reading and math in her classroom while her students work with their homerooms for other subjects. For her fourth- and fifth-graders, she said “Basically, we use grade four math curriculums, but at the same time I’ve got to pull kids to the side and go, ‘OK, this student needs subtraction with regrouping, this student needs two-digit multiplication, this student needs math problem solving — he needs to know when to add or subtract.’”
“It’s a lot,” she said of the daily requirements of her job. But it is that daily challenge that makes Namorato love her job.
She said that when she started working at Phillip C. Showell Elementary as a third-grade teacher, “I was encouraged by the principal at the time to take this special-education test, because a lot of our (general-education) classrooms have students with special-ed included into the environment.”
At the time, she had recently completed a reading specialist degree at Loyola University.
“I kind of went that route because I like to find out what’s going on in there and why isn’t A making B,” she said. “I like to try to diagnose and find what’s that underlying speed bump that gets in the way of why you’re not being able to read.”
“When I moved here, special-ed was kind of the next answer on top of that. How do I dive deep? What are those underlying things, those holes that are missing so that they’re not performing as well as they could?” Namorato said.
Particularly because her students have complex needs, both educationally and socially, Namorato believes in starting each day with the gentle support of a “morning meeting.”
“We toss a knot ball around to each other and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’” she said. “I am very much about an environment where there’s honesty, respect, kind words — all of those things — and I’ve been very, very blessed with the group that I have, that, if there is a disagreement, we find a way to find a solution.”
Using a recent day as an example, she said, “I had a spat on the playground yesterday, and my [paraprofessional) was able to hold an emergency class meeting, and they all sat down and they all hashed it out. They figured out what was wrong, what happened, and went from there.”
Students learn how to communicate with others, develop empathy and support each other, she said. One boy, she said, “doesn’t verbally share a lot, but he will in morning meeting if you ask him about Legos,” she said, So, the other students will often ask him about his latest Lego creation.
Namorato is in her fourth year as an ILC teacher; she taught third grade at Showell for three years before that. As with all teachers, continuing education is part of her career path. She said that for the past 18 months she has directed “most of my attention toward crafting a strong, well-developed IEP.”
As the school year winds to a close, Namorato spends a lot of time making sure her fifth-graders are ready for the transition to middle school.
“I always worry about sending them,” she said. Since she has had some of her students for three years, it’s hard to see them go.
Namorato said continuity is also good for the students’ families, because there is a level of comfort there.
“They know who they’re communicating with; they know who’s been writing their plan. It’s easy to communicate, and when September comes, the kids know me. There’s no getting-to-know-you period. We’re getting right back to work.”
Getting to know her students on a personal level is Namorato’s favorite part of her job.
“I just feel like I know them. I can see things before they happen,” she said.
She also sees herself as a “tough cookie” who pushes her students to meet goals and to strive for their best. “I’ll use the IEP to target need, but at the same time I want to keep them moving. I’m a very diligent person in that I want them to succeed as much as possible and I’m pushing them,” she said.
The best part of her school days, she said, are the “lightbulb” moments. For a student who has struggled, for whom “there’s something that’s getting in the way… when that lightbulb clicks it’s like, ‘Yeah!’” she said. “We’re there! All right!”
While many 18-year-olds are spending their summer vacation working in local businesses, in between trips to the beach, Helen Davis is spending precious time with family… and working out.
Davis, a Dagsboro resident who graduated from Indian River High School last month, will be leaving home at the end of the month for indoctrination (akin to boot camp) into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
“Indoc is a three-week program where you’re learning the ropes of the military, basically. It’s going to be really difficult, because it’ll be the first time I’ll be away from my whole entire family, but I’ll be surrounded by my 250 classmates going through crazy things, like waking up super-early, not being able to wear a watch so we don’t know the time,” said Davis.
“We’re going to take math placement, working out every day, learning to square our corners… like every little bit for 21 days. That’s the first mental test of many.”
Davis said she began looking at military service academies after talking to her father about future career options.
“I didn’t really decide until June last year that I was going to apply,” she said. “I was talking to my dad one day about what I wanted to do as a career. I knew I wanted to help people and that I wanted to get that immediate effect, that immediate response.
“My dad had served in the Army — he enlisted right out of high school — and my mom is a nurse-practitioner. My dad is no longer in the Army, but I just loved hearing his stories… Every time I see someone in uniform, I have to thank them for their service. I just have that urge because I respect them so much. All of those things combined, it was like, ‘OK — I have to serve.’”
She said she also knew she wanted to stay near the water — either to live nearby or to work on it, so she settled on applying to the Naval Academy.
“My initial interest was the Naval Academy in Annapolis. I even went there for an overnight candidate’s visit weekend. I just fell in love with the atmosphere,” she said. “I really enjoy structure. I think having rules and discipline is really helpful, for me especially. Not that I couldn’t do well in a normal college, but I just prefer that one.”
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) wasn’t on Davis’ radar until last year, after she spoke to a friend, Reid Carey, who is a student there.
“He graduated from Worcester [Preparatory School] last year, and when I expressed my interest for the Naval Academy, he said, ‘OK — so I know you’ve probably never heard of this school, but it’s a great school. It’s a hidden gem… You should try it.’ I thought, ‘What’s the harm? I’m already applying to one academy, why not make it two?’”
An avid lacrosse player, Davis served as team captain for both her junior and senior years and was All-Conference recognized. In her applications to the academies, she noted she was interested in playing lacrosse, and last fall, the USMMA’s lacrosse coach contacted her.
“He reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, I’d love to have you over for a recruit visit. You can stay overnight with one of our freshmen to see how the life is.’ I did that right after Thanksgiving, and I knew that was the place I wanted to go to,” she recalled. “I turned all my focus to the academy and made it my first choice when I went to all of my senator interviews, and it all worked out in the end. I’m so happy.”
Up for a challenge
Davis will be the first female student from Indian River to attend the USMMA. Not only is she a star athlete, but she was also a member of the National Honor Society and Leo Club, and served as president of Business Professionals of America (BPA) her senior year, even placing in a few competitions.
“I’m always one for a challenge, and everything was either a physical test or a mind game… testing your mental toughness. I love that because I like to prove myself over and over again. And I think it being a difficult school to get into made me want to take the challenge on even more,” said Davis of the USMMA, noting that the school has a 16 percent acceptance rate.
Not only does a student need to get into the school based on their academic merits but they are also required to take a medical exam, complete a fitness assessment and receive a nomination to the academy from a U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator in their state.
Davis had received a Letter of Assurance from the USMMA; however, she would still need to receive a nomination to the academy.
While most students aim for just one nomination, Davis received a nomination from all three of Delaware’s Congressional representatives — U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.
“I applied to all three offices,” said Davis, noting that she had a total of five interviews. “I was in BPA, so I had a lot of experience. I got first in the state for interview skills, so I wasn’t nervous going in, but I really wanted to do well because I knew it would reflect in my final interviews.”
The first two interviews took place at Indian River, but her final round of interviews were in Dover.
“The interviews — they were hard, but I was ready. I was surrounded by seven people, and it was about 15 minutes long. I really made sure I wasn’t nervous in that time, because I was really confident, and still am, that I am a good candidate for this. I felt like I have such a strong passion for what I want to do,” she said. “I am physically qualified, educationally qualified. I think my passion really pushed me over… For me it was, ‘No one has done this before, I want to do it.’”
Davis thanked her guidance counselor, Stephanie Wilkinson, for her help throughout the process.
“She’s one of the most helpful people ever, because if I got nervous about an interview, she’d remind me that I’d done it before and to stay calm. She really helped me when I needed to get little forms, like transcripts, along with my actual guidance counselor.
“Through BPA, she helped me gain confidence. She’s always been encouraging me and I’m grateful for that second mom at school.”
Davis received her first nomination letter in December, the day after her dad’s birthday.
“I was so happy. My dad and I just hugged and said it was all worth it,” she recalled. “I didn’t need all three, but it was really reassuring that I was going where I belong, because they have faith in me. The fact that I got my favorite school nominated three times… it was meant to be.”
In April, Davis finally received her official acceptance letter, surrounded by her lacrosse team and family.
“After my lacrosse game one day, I was checking my email on my phone… I had this gut feeling that I had heard from them. I opened the email — it said, ‘Congratulations! Welcome to Kings Point…’ I immediately burst into tears. My whole team was like, ‘What’s wrong? Are you hurt?’ ‘No! I finally got into school!’ I ran across the field, and my mom and dad were like, ‘Are you hurt?’ ‘No! I got in!’
“Everyone was hugging me and crying. It was the best feeling, because I was surrounded by my family and my team who I love. It was the best moment. I love reliving that.”
Mental toughness key
Davis will begin indoctrination on June 29, but she has already started building relationships with her fellow USMMA classmates through Facebook.
“It’s really encouraging that other people have the same questions and concerns. It’s nice to know you’re not alone. Everyone wants to act kind of tough coming in because, of course, it’s a huge change, but it’s nice to know everyone else has the same curiosity of ‘What the heck is going to happen?’
“No one is better than anyone. We’re all getting yelled at for the same silly things. We’re all going through the same things. I’m excited because we’re always going to have each other’s backs. I have a family of 250 surrounding me every single day. It’s really unique. Every other school is so spread out, and you don’t really talk to everyone… This one, you have no other choice — it’s all together.”
During that 21-day training, Davis said she’ll only have access to her cellphone for 10 minutes on Sundays, to contact her family. She will have no other communication with the outside world.
“I think that’s part of the mental toughness that they’re trying to instill in you — that you can’t always call your family when you’re in the middle of the sea. You have to be independent,” she said.
According to its website, the USMMA is a “federal service academy that educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.”
“Known for its rigorous academic program, USMMA requires more credit hours for a baccalaureate degree than any other federal service academy.”
“It’s a four-year service academy. It’s actually the smallest of them all. I think an incoming class size is 250 students — 80 percent male, 20 percent female,” said Davis. “You’re have trimesters, and you have four years where you’re basically working up to get your Coast Guard license.
“That’s the final test at the end of your years, but you take really rigorous courses where you can major in engineering or what they call a ‘deck major,’ which is marine transportation, logistics and security, and that’s what I’ll be doing. I want to be the captain of a boat and work above ground on the seas…
“I do have this vision in my head that I want to be a captain of a big boat. In my mind, when I was applying to the Naval Academy, that was a huge destroyer. But, who knows? I might end up on a cruise ship. I might end up on a cargo ship. But I just want to be captain. I want to be one of the first females to have that honor.”
Davis said that, along with taking the same kind of difficult classes that one would take at a regular four-year university, she will also be taking water-related courses, such as navigation.
“Then, your sophomore and junior year, you participate in a sea year. You and a partner who has an opposite major — since I’m a deck major, I’ll work with an engineer — and you’re assigned to a vessel, and you work on that vessel, paid, for five months.
“Five months of your sophomore year and five months of your junior year — because you need about 300 days experience. That’s where you really get to see what job you want to fulfill. I think that’s so cool, because that’s unique from the other academies.
“I know with the Naval Academy, you get two weeks at a time on this boat, two weeks if you want to see how it is on the airplanes… You get bits and pieces, but this time it’s legit. You’re working, you’re getting paid and traveling the world. I don’t know where I’ll be going or what vessel I’ll be working on, but I’m so excited about that unique aspect.”
Following graduation, she’ll have the choice of serving for five years or going into the reserves while working in the maritime field.
“Basically, I’m signing up for a lot hard work, a lot of physical training and a really big mental challenge. I’m so excited!”
At home on the lacrosse field
While at the USMMA, Davis will also play lacrosse — something she said she’s really looking forward to.
“I think this is going to bring a sense of home, because I’ve played lacrosse my whole life and I’ll get to have a team there. A lot of it is strict — like, you can’t talk to upperclassmen. But that doesn’t matter, because you’re on a team with them and you’ll talk to them. I think that’s going to be comforting because it’s such a foreign environment.”
With less than a month left in Delaware before she heads to New York, Davis said she is looking forward to spending quality time with her family.
“My dad and I have been watching YouTube videos about what to expect at Indoc and reading books about the sea. We’ve been practicing me driving his little Carolina skiff boat, just so I can get comfortable on the water. I’ve never been afraid of the water… I think it’s so cool that you can manipulate the tides and the winds, and make it work to get to where you want to go.
“My dad really helped instill confidence in me. He said he’s a little jealous of my curriculum. He grew up on boats and lived by the harbor in Baltimore. I think that’s also where my passion for the sea came from.
“They’ve been so supportive,” she said of her family. “I really couldn’t have done it without them. There were nights where I’d have to stay up until 1 a.m. writing a letter or filling out a form, and my mom, dad or sister really supported me with that. I’m really grateful for that.”
The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit this week was investigating a crash that occurred on Wednesday, May 30, around 11:43 a.m., on Route 113, killing the aide on a school bus.
Police said the 2017 Blue Bird School bus, which did not have any students on board, was traveling eastbound on Daisey Road in Frankford had stopped at the posted stop sign at the intersection of northbound Dupont Boulevard (Route 113). That section of Daisey Road is the median crossover between the northbound and southbound lanes of Route 113, police noted.
At that time, a 2017 Ford Transit van was traveling northbound on Dupont Boulevard in the right lane, approaching the intersection of Daisey Road, police said. The operator of the bus allegedly failed to remain stopped at the stop sign and allegedly pulled across the northbound lanes of Dupont Boulevard, directly in front of the van, police said.
The operator of the van swerved left, they said, in an effort to miss the bus, but was unable. As a result, the front of the van struck the right side of the bus.
The driver of the bus, a 57-year-old Bridgeville woman, was properly restrained and was uninjured, but seated on the right side of the school bus was an aide, 66-year-old Barbara J. Atkins of Georgetown, who was unrestrained in the bus, although a seatbelt was available. Atkins was removed from the scene by EMS and transported to Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, where she was pronounced dead.
Impairment did not appear to be a factor on behalf of the bus driver, police said.
The driver of the van, a 32-year-old Dover man, was properly restrained and sustained minor injuries, police reported. He was removed from the scene by EMS and transported to the Beebe Healthcare, where he was treated and released. Impairment did not appear to be a factor on his behalf, they said.
Northbound Route 113 in the area of Daisey Road was closed for more than three hours while the crash was investigated and cleared. The Collision Reconstruction Unit was continuing their investigation into the incident this week, and charges were pending, they said.
After receiving more than 11,000 public comments on a proposed anti-discrimination Regulation 225 in late 2017, the Delaware Department of Education has rewritten and shortened the proposal to include more parental notice and fewer school requirements.
The record is now open for public comments until July 6.
In 2017, Gov. John Carney personally ordered the Department of Education to update Delaware’s one-paragraph policy that prohibits discrimination for all public schoolchildren on the basis of any legally protected characteristic, including race and gender identity.
“It is critical that all schools in Delaware be welcoming, inclusive places where students and staff members alike can flourish. Every student should be able to learn, achieve and grow without unlawful discrimination,” Carney’s memo said.
The new five-page proposal replaces the seven-page draft from November 2017, which generally prohibited discrimination in any program receiving DOE funds or approval. The regulations, once adopted, carry the same weight as a law. If approved, the updated regulation would be implemented on Jan 1, 2019, and be printed in school handbooks the following autumn, for the 2019-2020 school year.
The new version of the proposed regulation prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics, including “race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, age, gender identity or expression or other characteristic protected by state or federal law.”
But, in contrast with its first iteration, if minors want to change any protected characteristic in their school profile, their parents will have to be notified.
“A school shall request permission from the parent or legal guardian before accommodating a request by a minor student that the school take action to recognize a change in any Protected Characteristic [including gender and race]. … If the student does not permit the school to request permission from the parent or legal guardian, then the request to take action shall not be accepted,” the proposed regulation states.
The change addressed concerns from many of those who opposed the first draft of the regulation, arguing that it undermined parental authority over children.
While the proposed regulation would ensure that parents are notified, it does not specifically state that parental permission must be obtained, only “requested.”
The text still encourages schools to look out for these potentially vulnerable students: “Prior to requesting such permission, to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of the student, the school shall discuss with the student the permission process and, based on its discussions with the student, assess the degree to which the parent or legal guardian is aware of the change to the protected characteristic.”
The initial 2017 proposal allowed students enrolled in Delaware public schools to self-identify their gender or race, and there was a loophole that would allow the school to accept such changes without parental permission.
Under that original proposal, schools could request permission from the parent or legal guardian, or they could consult with the students to determine how aware or supportive the guardian would be, and “take into consideration the safety, health and well-being of the student in deciding whether to request permission from the parent or legal guardian.”
Restrooms and sports teams are also addressed in the revamp. The new regulation removes its initial requirements in those areas. Instead, it merely states that “school districts and charter schools shall comply with Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) regulations and policies regarding equal athletic opportunities for all students.”
Schools will only change students’ legal names when approved by court order. Students can request that a “preferred name,” such as a nickname, be included in the school records system. The proposal no longer suggests that a school request permission from the parent or legal guardian before a preferred name is chosen. Graduation diplomas will continue to be printed with legal names.
The State also backed off from requiring mandatory language in school policies that address discriminatory behavior. Instead, the new proposal suggests that school districts “seek to prohibit” discrimination, including discriminatory acts such as “disallowing a student’s access to locker rooms or bathrooms on the basis of the student’s gender identity or expression.”
In a final note, the proposal suggests “Schools are encouraged to work with transgender students and their families to determine how to best provide access to bathrooms and locker rooms,” such as: a private bathroom at the nurse’s office; single-stall bathrooms; free access to their gender-identified bathroom; or even a different schedule to use locker rooms separately from their peers. “Such opportunities and accommodations should be open to any student to promote a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.”
The ACLU of Delaware has already criticized the concessions in the new proposal, with ACLU of Delaware Executive Director Kathleen MacRae arguing that the changes “will sacrifice the interests of some of Delaware’s most vulnerable young people in order to appease adults who do not believe in protecting the civil rights of people who are transgender. … Students who are transgender will not be treated consistent with their core identity or accommodated in any way unless the school requests permission from a parent or guardian.”
She said ignorance, and even bigotry, about transgender people led to those changes, when “transgender students are already at risk of violence in schools and family rejection. … Students should not be forced to choose between abuse at home or basic dignity at school — such as being called by appropriate gender pronouns or being able to use facilities that match who they are.”
She also scolded the authors of the revised proposal for deleting the model policy that encouraged reporting of discriminatory activities.
Concerns from 2017
Many people complained that the 2017 amendment would reduce parental rights by potentially keeping secrets from parents.
Though Delaware law since 2013 has prohibited discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas, some comments on the proposed education policy also personally attacked the idea of gender dysphoria, or differing identities of race or gender.
In 2017, the Indian River School District’s Board of Education had officially opposed the draft proposal for several reasons, including what board members said was the potential for building conflict between students and parents; the potential for lawsuit surrounding bathroom and locker room access; the construction costs associated with installing new facilities; and the potential for safety violations if the schools couldn’t scrutinize “whether the self-identified gender is legitimate or based on clinical consultation or treatment,” or could potentially be a ruse to gain entry to private parts of the school.
Public comments being accepted again
“Secretary [Susan] Bunting thanks those who shared their feedback during the first formal comment period and encourages the public to again share comments by July 6. All comments received will be posted online after the public comment period ends,” according to a June DOE press release.
Details are online at www.doe.k12.de.us/antidiscrimination. People can read the new proposal — both compared to the existing one-paragraph policy and compared to the 2017 proposal.
The revised proposed 225 Prohibition of Discrimination Regulation was published in the Delaware Register of Regulations for June.
To be considered as part of the public record, comments must either be submitted via email to DOEregulations.email@example.com or via mail to: Attn. Tina Shockley, Department of Education; 401 Federal St., Ste. 2; Dover, DE 19901. Comments submitted to other email addresses will not be accepted. Comments must be received by Friday, July 6.
Sussex County will now be working with the Delaware Department of Corrections (DOC) and Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to ensure that county roadways are cleaner.
In May of 2017, Michael Costello, government affairs manager for the County, gave a detailed presentation related to littering throughout Sussex County. At that time, the county council learned that the top three complaints to the County constable’s office are about lot maintenance (grass/weeds), the parking and storing of vehicles, and prohibited accumulations, such as trash.
Lot maintenance complaints make up approximately 50 percent of the office’s total complaints per year, equating to three calls per day on average.
At the June 5 council meeting, Costello said the County has always recognize the longstanding partnership between DelDOT and DOC, and that litter collection is a function DOC can provide, when staffing permits.
“With that in mind, we felt the wisest investment would be in assisting to make that staff possible,” said Costello. “We set out on a mission to provide funding for positions which are dedicated to the supervision of inmate crew used to collect litter and trash.”
Costello said that, over the last nine months, they were able to negotiate a memorandum of understanding between the two government departments and the County to boost cleanup efforts already undertaken by the State on the more-than-2,300 miles of roadways in southern Delaware.
Under the agreement, the County will not exceed funding of $120,000 annually to cover the overtime costs for Delaware correctional officers to supervise inmate work crews on supplemental cleanup jobs. The work performed will be in addition to the routine cleanup for which the County already pays.
“In the agreement, DelDOT would provide the additional vehicles needed and would handle the disposal of trash collected by inmate crews. The Department of Corrections would also receive a list of roadways based on the County’s input — this is important — that would take priority,” said Costello.
The County will be billed for the work monthly, and also receive monthly reports describing roadways covered and amount of trash collected throughout the work.
The additional work will be on an as-needed basis, driven by constituent complaints. An individual may now request litter clean-up through an online portal on the County’s website, in addition to calling the constable’s office.
“We’re extremely hopeful that these efforts will not only improve the appearance of our roadways and the environment, but also reveal the true problem areas that may require other prevention and enforcement efforts by the organizations with jurisdiction to administer those.”
Councilman Rob Arlett said individuals also need to take responsibility and not litter.
“We do live in a beautiful place,” he said. “Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the citizen who is doing this.”
“Thank you very much for all of your effort in putting this together,” added Council President Michael H. Vincent, commending Costello.
The council voted 5-0 to approve the memorandum of understanding.
Those who wish to submit a request for litter clean-up may do so by visiting the website at sussexcountyde.gov/litter-report or calling the Sussex County Constable’s Office at (302) 855-7819.
While the end of his term on the Sussex County Council is nearing an end, District 5 Councilman Rob Arlett has no plans to leave public service.
In April, Arlett —a registered Republican — officially announced his bid for U.S. Senate.
“I have traveled up and down our state for, really, three years. I think there’s probably very few people, if anybody, who has traveled our roads perhaps more than I over the grassroots over the last three years,” he said. “After the last presidential election in 2016, soon thereafter, many people up and down the state were very encouraging of me to run for a statewide office, a federal office.”
Arlett said the decision to run was ultimately a family decision — after having lengthy discussions with Lorna, his wife of 28 years, and his sons Jared and Justin.
“People want change. People desire change in Delaware. That’s the message. They were seeking for me to be that agent of change,” he said. “My focus is to represent Delaware at the national level and place a focus back on Delaware. I want to put the First State first.
“The question I have is, ‘Who is Delaware today?’ If we’re losing jobs, if we’re losing our kids, if we’re not bringing industry here, then what are we doing? As an elected official, my responsibility is to put Delaware first.”
Arlett moved to Sussex County in 2005 from Virginia and opened Beach Bound Realty. He had previously attended George Mason University and served in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence specialist. In 2015, he was elected to the county council, and he also served as Donald Trump’s Delaware state campaign chairman during the 2016 presidential election.
One area of focus for Arlett, if elected, he said, would be to work to improve Delaware’s economy.
“Our economy is still struggling in our state as compared to the national averages. It has been stated … that our state was ranked 50 out of 51 in economies. That’s unacceptable. A .9 percent growth rate in our GDP is unacceptable,” he said. “We want to bring jobs back here to Delaware,”Arlett said, noting that, as an elected official, he loses sleep over the state of the economy.
Keeping families together, while bringing jobs back to the state, is also an area he hopes to focus on.
“The No. 1 focus for me is to bring opportunities and jobs back to Delaware and keep our families together. As a father who has two kids who no longer live here … many people in our state are educated here and then they leave because there’s little to no opportunities for them,” he said.
“Even at the college level, we educate our kids… And almost all — most — leave the state of Delaware. And to me, that’s unacceptable. We were once a very prideful state. We used to be the DuPont and chemical capital of the world. We used to be a car-manufacturing state. We used to be the credit card capital of the country. We are none of those today.”
Arlett said he also hopes to bring change to healthcare, calling the current state of healthcare in America a “debacle.”
“What we have today is unacceptable. People’s premiums have skyrocketed… What we have today is just not acceptable,” he said. “I support competition. We need to go across state lines. We need better competition, more options for our families.
“Right now Delaware has one [healthcare provider]. That is unacceptable for our families and residents in the state of Delaware that we have one! Premiums have greatly increased, to the point where it is a major financial burden.”
Arlett said he applauds Trump’s decision to remove the individual mandate penalty of the Affordable Care Act.
“The Affordable Care Act has not been what it was promised to be,” he said, adding, “There were some good things with the Affordable Care Act that I support and encourage. I’m not somebody who is totally against it because it was forced on the American people. I was agreeable to raising the age limit on the family plans to the age of 26.
“Preexisting conditions I don’t think should limit one’s ability to obtain insurance. They may need to pay a higher premium, but they should not automatically be excluded from being insured because of a preexisting condition.”
To continue that conversation, Arlett will host a healthcare reform town hall on June 19 at 7 p.m. at the Word of Life Christian Center in Newark.
“We’re not just a person of talk, we’re a person of action — that’s the difference. People want someone in Washington, D.C., who just doesn’t talk the good talk. People don’t want their representative in Washington who is partisan and politically-driven; we need someone in Washington that is people-driven.
“That’s what we’re going to bring. We’re going to bring action and results, and not just talk and partisan politics. That’s why we’re having the workshop. We’re very excited to bring this dialog to the forefront and have a dialog in our state regarding healthcare. I look forward to the conversation as a state, and as a community, to learn together how we can improve healthcare, because we have to.”
While he will not hold a healthcare town hall in Southern Delaware, Arlett said the Newark forum is one of many forums being held throughout the state.
Arlett: More needs to be done for veterans
Another area Arlett said he hopes to work on at the national level is that of veteran care.
“I’m very passionate about the military, as a veteran, as the son of a veteran — a military career officer — as the father of a veteran, as a sibling of a veteran… We have let down our military, our veterans and their families,” he said. “I would suggest we bring the [Department of Veterans Affairs] back in, within the Department of Defense, and not as a separate agency, because right now it is a separate thought. Once you raise the right hand, the commitment from our country should be forever.
“The way it is set up today, it is an afterthought and not a priority. The military has always had the mindset that today’s mission is the most important — to support and defend our country — and I applaud that mission. If it were a part of the [Department of Defense] they would remain a priority and it would not be an afterthought… I think that is the first step. They are part of our mission.”
Arlett said many veterans are prideful, and do not typically want help or believe they need help. And while he acknowledged there are resources for veterans, he said he believes more needs to be done.
“We need to have a required mentoring program. The way it works today is, when someone exits the military, they basically go through a weeklong process. Once they’re done, it’s basically, ‘Good luck, have a great life.’ That’s a problem.”
Tying both healthcare and veterans affairs together, Arlett said the government needs to consider its stance on natural medicines, such as medical marijuana — especially given the opioid epidemic overtaking the nation.
Calling on his own personal experiences, Arlett said his own mother was ill for many years and ended up becoming addicted to pain medications.
“If there is a natural remedy that does not have the same side effects, that are not as addictive, then we must look at those as alternative options. If it’s good enough for what we eat, why wouldn’t it be OK for us to consider those for pain relief options?
“Right now, our military, at the national level, considers marijuana a Class One felony. Therefore, our veterans have no options for natural remedies. They’re forced to use the synthetic options that are highly addictive and highly problematic.
“I would petition the need to remove that hurdle, for not just our veterans but all Americans. We need to look beyond our normal way of doing business, because it’s not acceptable. We should look at alternative options that provide the same relief for pain but not as harmful with side effects.”
‘I am not a party guy’
Adding that he is supportive of the agricultural community in the state, Arlett said he would also seek to be an advocate for agro-business.
“Our farming industry is the No. 1 industry in our state, and I want to ensure we remove unnecessary burdens and regulations to ensure our farmers can prosper. My job as a sitting U.S. senator from a state where farming is their No. 1 industry — I will be their No. 1 advocate in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
“That topic of conversation will continue in our campaign. I believe the federal government should be serving the American people, versus demanding the American people serve them, by way of taxation and regulation. We are to be servants to Delawareans, and not just lip-service, but action. That’s something that I’m very passionate about and very excited to do.”
Arlett said he has received a great deal of support throughout the state, for which he said he is thankful.
“We’re attracting interest, support and endorsements across all party lines, all ethnicities, all demographics. This is a campaign about the people and not party politics,” he said. “We continue to add volunteers; we continue to add people that are financially supporting our campaign on a daily basis throughout the state of Delaware.”
Arlett said he will not stick strictly to party lines, if elected, but rather serve the people of the state.
“I think people in Sussex County probably know me best about that — I’m not a party guy, as evidence from my tenure on county council. I will not be influenced by party politics. I will vote for the people of Delaware and not political partisanship. That’s what’s missing in Washington, D.C.,” he said, noting discourse between political parties.
“It is a sad state in our country that, whoever is the president, the opposition party that is sitting in those seats in Congress will not stand and applaud for the American people. They will only stand and applaud their political party. I will stand for the Delaware people and the American people every time, no matter who is the sitting president.
“That’s why people are fed up with politics, that’s why people are fed up with Congress, because they are so far removed from the people. I’m tired of that, and I think the American people and Delawareans are tired of that. We will stand for them every time.”
As of Coastal Point’s June 6 deadline, Arlett had not officially filed to run for the U.S. Senate or for County Council — two offices for which he could legally run simultaneously.
“We’re all in,” he said of his senatorial campaign, adding that he does not currently plan to run for both offices. “I know many people from District 5 and from Sussex County want me to do both because they want me to represent them in some capacity. We are being encouraged to consider that, because they want me to represent them.”
Arlett also made note that going from county council to the U.S. Senate is a natural progression, given that was the path taken by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and former U.S. Sen. and Vice-President Joe Biden.
“I understand the needs of the people because I am one of them. We are a normal person with normal successes and normal challenges, like many other Delawareans,” he said, adding that he is not a politician who was born with a silver spoon, but rather “raised with a plastic spoon.” “I think many people would relate to that,” he said.
Arlett said he looks forward to serving the people of Delaware and bringing focus back to the state.
“I think it’s about time we have representation from Delaware in Washington, D.C., who understands the average individual, because I am one. That’s why I am most qualified, because I get it,” he said. “The status quo is just not acceptable anymore. We need leadership and we need courage. We’re going to bring that leadership and courage to Washington, D.C .I would be honored and humbled to represent this great state in our nation, and bring pride back to Delaware.”
For more information on Rob Arlett, visit www.robarlett.com.
The Frankford Town Council confirmed at its Monday, June 4, meeting that it has terminated the employment of its town solicitor.
Responding to a question from resident Jerry Smith, Council President Joanne Bacon said the council had voted to fire attorney Chad Lingenfelder at a May 1 special meeting. That meeting was an executive session and was closed to the public.
Approval of minutes from the May 1 meeting, as well as those from the May 7 regular council meeting, were tabled on June 4.
“They need a lot of work,” said Council Vice-President Greg Welch.
“We were involved with a personnel issue regarding the attorney for the town. After that meeting, and discussion with the council, the council voted to terminate the services of Mr. Lingenfelder,” Bacon said. “So now we are in the process of trying to obtain another attorney for the Town of Frankford.”
When Smith asked why Lingenfelder had been fired, Bacon responded, “It’s a personnel issue,” and therefore not a matter of open public record. “I don’t think we’re required to tell you what that was,” she said when pressed by Smith for details.
“Can you give us some idea?” Smith asked. “We waited a very long time to get this attorney, and it was a very laborious process,” after former town solicitor Dennis Schrader resigned, Smith said.
When Smith characterized the council’s comments as “vague,” Welch agreed, saying, “We’ve had discussion amongst the council about being forthright about what’s happened, or being silent on it.”
“Are we hiding more things than what are necessary?” Smith asked. “Are we being secretive with things that maybe sometimes we don’t have to be as secretive with?”
“I believe we are,” Welch said. “I believe you’re correct, and I think we should be more forthright,” Welch said.
Velicia Melson, the newest town council member, said, “This incident is a personnel matter, and we’re not really at liberty to discuss it.”
Welch said that, by the council not saying more than it has, “We can look bad in this situation. “It can come back on us and make us look like we were in the wrong.”
“I think that’s a double-edged sword,” Bacon said. While, she said, “It’s not my intention to hide anything from the residents, it’s just not the time yet.” She added that she would not say anything more on “the case with our attorney,” other than that the issue is “ongoing” regarding Lingenfelder. “It’s not a done issue,” Bacon said.
Property owner Kathy Murray said she felt that if there is an “ongoing investigation” involving Lingenfelder, it would be best for the council not to comment.
“If it comes back that you’re wrong, and you’ve made this public statement about him, then you’re going to look bad,” Murray said.
“We’re looking for another attorney right now,” Bacon said, adding that, currently, the council has one attorney “who is willing to meet with us to maybe come on board” but that a meeting has not yet been scheduled.
“We really want an attorney that’s familiar with municipal law,” Bacon said.
“There are some complex issues going on,” she said, such as issues with the Town’s water plant.
Add another option for the fast-food connoisseur dining in Millsboro.
Millsboro Town Council members voted unanimously on Monday, June 4, to approve preliminary site plans for a new Taco Bell restaurant in the Peninsula Crossing Shopping Center. The location will be just south of the recently opened Chick-fil-A restaurant.
“This is exciting for the town,” said Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “This shows again that businesses are interested in operating in Millsboro, and we are happy to have them.”
The parcel is zoned Highway Commercial (HC), according to AECOM’s Kyle F. Gulbronson. AECOM is a consulting firm employed by Millsboro and reviewed the site plan for “Taco Bell Land Development Plan,” prepared by the Pettit Group in mid-May. According to AECOM’s review, the proposal by Pettit is for a 2,753-square-foot fast-food restaurant and drive-through.
Hudson said the preliminary site plan approval paves the way for the Pettit Group to begin obtaining various other approvals — such as fire marshal, sediment and erosion control, water and sewer service, parking and others.
He noted that there was a minor issue regarding parking spaces obstructing a proposed commercial trash container, so some layout changes would be needed.
The AECOM report also mentioned “a second existing curb cut from Commerce Drive to this property. If the curb cut is not being utilized it should be removed, curbed and sidewalks should be extended along the frontage of Commerce Drive to yield a continuous sidewalk. Currently rain water collects in the curb cut area, and ponding on Commerce [Drive] occurs. This situation should be corrected during the development process.”
Hudson suggested that those are not major issues, and said he did not expect any significant hurdles moving forward.
In other news:
• The Millsboro Town Council had already committed $10,000 to the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce’s Stars & Stripes celebration, scheduled for Saturday, June 30, at Cupola Park. Now, that number has been increased to $12,000.
Council members voted to rent a restroom trailer for the event. According to Hudson, the trailer has lighting and air conditioning, and provides an alternative for people who might not be comfortable using the more-traditional portable toilets. Council Member Tim Hodges, speaking in favor of the expenditure, said, “This will reflect well on the Town.”
• Jim Parker of Jim Parker Builders spoke to the council regarding the possibility of the Town annexing a property held in a revocable trust, for a potential future hotel and restaurant. The location is the property that formerly housed the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post on Route 113, and would feature a restaurant pad site, according to Parker.
Millsboro Vice-Mayor Michelle Truitt (who held the gavel for Monday’s meeting since Mayor John Thoroughgood was out of town), put together an annexation committee to study the request. Hudson said on Tuesday that the process could be wrapped up in a few months if there are no roadblocks along the way.
“I’m very excited about this, because it is part of an [unincorporated] enclave along Route 113,” said Hudson, adding that this was the second entity to approach the Town about building a hotel since last fall’s vote to increase the maximum building height for hotels from 35 feet to 60 feet.
• The council also discussed the potential to add a paid day off for each Town employee, per a request from the mayor that Hudson had relayed on Monday evening. The council members spoke mostly in favor of the idea, but Town Solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox suggested that some more research would have to be done because of the need to negotiate changes with the police union. They agreed to revisit the issue when more information was in hand.
If Florida gets a special meeting with the federal government, why shouldn’t Delaware?
That was Gov. John Carney’s essential message in January when Florida’s special meeting with the U.S. Department of the Interior resulted in that whole state being removed from consideration for offshore oil and gas drilling.
“After they removed Florida from the list, I asked for the same consideration here,” said Carney, who has opposed Atlantic oil exploration since he was a Congressman.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke originally planned to attend the May 31 meeting in Rehoboth Beach, but at the last minute sent Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt instead.
Carney invited members of the business and environmental communities to discuss the potential risks of offshore drilling to Delaware. He explained that Sussex County is one of three counties, and contributes significantly to the state’s economy through agriculture and tourism, which is primarily beach-based.
“The health of Delaware’s economy and environment are directly tied to the health of our coastal areas,” Carney has previously said.
“Overall, our whole economy is pretty dependent on tourism. It gives our residents and our visitors a really good impression of Delaware,” besides serving as a gateway to the shore for surrounding states, said Linda Parkowski, acting director of the Delaware Division of Small Business. “It is a great place to live and a great place to visit.”
In attendance were town council members who double as business owners and eco-buffs. There were restaurateurs who hire hundreds of people and donate millions to charity. All raised concerns about the impact of a potential oil spill if the Atlantic Ocean were leased for oil exploration and drilling.
After listening to concerns and sharing Zinke’s regrets for not attending in person, Bernhardt shared his own experience vacationing at the Delaware shore and his youth in a western Colorado town that had to balance the tourism and energy industries.
Bernhardt promised that Zinke is a good listener and that Delaware has been heard “loud and clear.”
While the Trump Administration has officially scrapped the prior Obama Administration plan to put a hold on any exploration or drilling in the Atlantic, the 2017-2022 oil and natural gas program still has several drafts and public comments periods before being finalized.
“There are many opportunities for public comment, and don’t think for a moment that it’s not worthwhile,” said Bernhardt, adding that he has seen one comment change a decision-maker’s mind. “Don’t let up.
“When we go through our process, we’ll look at the relative concerns of everybody, the effects to governors, the likelihood of industry interest — and I have to tell you, candidly, the industry has not expressed a lot of interest in a lot of these areas, and that’s going to be a factor” in the decision, he said. “The Secretary and I will be diligent in making those ultimate decisions … [for what] makes sense for states and for our country overall.”
So how did Florida get such a quick exemption?
“I think the Secretary — his statement speaks for itself. I think he has a view that Florida is unique in a couple of ways. Obviously, just like you, they have a significant portion of their economy is tourism-based, and that’s similar. They also have, through 2022, a specific [Congress-enacted] moratorium on this area on the Gulf of Mexico,” Bernhardt said. “And then, their governor and their entire congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle had all written in very quickly.”
Carney pointed out that Delaware had responded pretty quickly in opposition as well.
Bernhardt said the process is unfolding as Zinke continues to meet with officials and learn about each state.
But if its coastal waters were ruined, Southern Delaware doesn’t have other large-scale recreation — unlike Florida, which has Orlando’s theme parks and the space program — said business owners Jen Adams-Mitchell and Richard Mais.
Proposal on the table
Every five years, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) writes a national management plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, about 50 miles from shore.
Right now, Bernhardt said, the Department of the Interior is just doing as instructed. President Donald Trump started the department process from square one. He ordered Zinke to reconsider offshore drilling for more than 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf acreage.
That would be written into BOEM’s new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, which would replace the 2017-2022 Program, in which the Obama administration had removed the Atlantic from consideration. The schedule includes the size, timing and location of leasing activity that would best meet national energy needs. Details are online at www.boem.gov/National-Program.
During the first public comment period this winter, many people asked BOEM not to consider the Atlantic.
of oil drilling
The Delaware meeting demonstrated that even people who support the current presidential administration do not support Atlantic drilling.
“I understand that we need energy-independence. … I’m a big supporter of our administration. I’m a Trump guy. And I understand what’s he’s trying to do — make us energy-independent so we don’t have to fight wars. But it’s not the right place,” said Jeff Hamer, owner of Fins Hospitality Group.
“Collectively in this room, we make big industry, which is small [businesses],” said Hamer, who proposed drilling elsewhere in the United States that wouldn’t disrupt industry.
Local restaurants and charter fishing boats depend on healthy seafood, including migratory rockfish, blue crabs and other shellfish.
There is one pro “and a lot of cons,” said Kevin Denison of 3 Amigos Sportfishing charter boat company.
“I’d be the guy out there daily seeing construction. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were benefits to my industry — fish tend to populate around structures. There are people in my industry who would be all for drilling,” said Denison, adding that, despite that, he has “severe concerns” that “anything in the way of a catastrophic event would shut businesses down, would shut tourism down.
“I’ve been a huge supporter of the current administration from the start and now continue to support. This is a topic that that I’m having a hard time with,” he said.
Thousands of local jobs depend on tourism, and the business owners said they feel responsible for those families. Chad Moore said he’s not confident he could keep people employed in the event of a catastrophic spill.
State Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th) agreed that Delaware, like Florida, is environmentally sensitive. Even without a major spill occurring, small leaks occur, and he said he wouldn’t want to see the tar balls washing up in Delaware, as he once witnessed in Texas.
“Seventy percent of Delaware coastline are wetlands, and they provide the state an essential buffer for coastal storms, said Kristin Barnekov-Short, chief of staff of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC). “Wetlands are vital to the health and safety of the residents Delaware,” which has the nation’s lowest average elevation.
Not only is that important sanctuary for animals — including the horseshoe crabs whose spawning provides a smorgasbord of eggs for birds migrating across continents — but the eco-tourists and birdwatchers bring another round of tourism income.
“It is a phenomenon that attracts visitors from around the world,” said Anne Harper, executive director of the Delaware Nature Society.
“The attraction here is the environment, the beach, the ocean, obviously,” Carney said. “We have commercial and recreational fisheries here as well. And the idea that any kind of any catastrophic event would be — catastrophic. That’s been our fundamental concern all the way through this process.”
Delaware builds its defenses
State Senators entered two bipartisan bills in May to push against potential drilling. Both await consideration in committee.
Senate Bill 200 would prohibit drilling for oil or natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters and stops DNREC from issuing any permits regarding the development of offshore drilling infrastructure, whether in Delaware’s territorial waters or beyond.
Senate Bill 207 has several parts, including expressing the General Assembly’s and the governor’s opposition to the draft proposed program and instructing the Attorney General and DNREC to keep a close eye on the process and Delaware’s own Coastal Zone Management Act.
Residents who are opposed to construction of offshore wind turbines, as well as those in favor of them, had a chance to voice their opinions at a workshop in Bethany Beach on May 31.
Currently, the only plans for wind turbines off the coast of Delaware are those proposed before the State of Maryland, which would build turbines off the coast of Maryland and Delaware to produce wind-generated power for Maryland customers.
The May 31 workshop was to address recommendations from Delaware’s Offshore Wind Working Group, which was formed late last year and is made up of state legislators, representatives from power companies and environmental groups, and state Department of Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin. The group is chaired by Bruce Burcat, who is chief executive officer of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC).
MAREC is a group of wind-energy industry representatives, solar company representatives, attorneys, wind turbine manufacturers and others seeking to promote the growth of renewable energy in the region.
The recommendations include two resolutions. The first is that Delaware should not move forward now in procuring wind energy from a project already approved by another state. The second resolution, however, leaves open several possibilities for Delaware to either buy wind power from projects completed by other states, or to construct its own wind turbines.
The group had suggested in a Dec. 15, 2017, memorandum to Gov. John Carney that Delaware consider several options. These include:
• Large-scale purchase of wind power (more than 100 megawatts);
• Making incremental commitments to future projects, instead of large-scale purchases, until the market drives costs lower;
• Considering waiting until more developers propose projects in the Mid-Atlantic region, such as proposed projects in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts; and
• Explore other sources of renewable energy in lieu of offshore wind.
The memo to the governor also included more than 20 questions regarding offshore wind that the group said they feel should be answered before proceeding toward any offshore wind projects. Those questions range from “What are the expected impacts on tourism?” to “How will an increase in utility rates impact economic development and jobs?”
Wind power would be more expensive to produce than current sources of power, according to information provided at the workshop by moderator Tom Noyes of DNREC’s Division of Coastal Climate & Energy.
Several of those who commented at the May 31 workshop at the South Coastal Library expressed concerns that if wind turbines are constructed off the coast of Delaware, tourism would be adversely affected.
If turbines are visible from their chairs in the sand, “will people continue to come to the beach?” wondered Jeff Pohanka, who said his family has had a home in the Gull Point community for 30 years. Pohanka cited a poll in which 54 percent of respondents said they would not rent beach property if turbines were visible.
He also questioned estimates of jobs created by wind turbine projects, which he said would probably be lower than the estimate of 69 jobs created by the approved Maryland projects. Pohanka added that wind turbines would not replace energy from fossil fuels because wind is not constant and would have to be backed up by another power source.
Another speaker, Bill Zak, said he is in favor of wind power.
“I think nothing is perfect,” Zak said, “but we should not make utopian perfection the enemy of the good and the better.”
Zak said part of the “good and the better” would be the addition of power that is less harmful to those who live near it than coal power, citing studies showing shortened lives and higher rates of heart and lung disease in those who live within 50 miles of coal-powered power plants.
Nancy Feichtel, a longtime local educator, said she herself suffers from severe asthma and would like to see less fossil fuels used to generate power.
“We need clean fuel,” Feichtel said. “We have a resource right in our back yard.”
Feichtel disagreed with Pohanka’s view of economic impact, saying wind power is “a resource that could build the economy of Delaware” and that Delaware could become a leader in the field, supporting efforts all over the East Coast.
“We would be stupid to miss this opportunity,” Feichtel said, adding that she has seen wind turbines in other areas and was not put off by them. “I have found pleasure in sitting in Denmark and looking at the lovely windmills,” she said.
More information on the topic of offshore wind power in Delaware is available online at www.de.gov/offshorewind.
Cancer is rough. Plain and simple.
It doesn’t matter what type it is, and everyone knows someone who has fought the disease. Some have lost their fight, others continue to fight every day, and then there are those that have beaten it.
William Reber is one of the brave souls who continue fighting each and every day for that opportunity to one day say he has beaten cancer.
You see, at 8, William would like to be just like any other kid his age, riding bikes, playing sports, jumping on the trampoline… whatever makes him happy. Unfortunately, William was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt lymphoma back on Nov. 19, 2017.
Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which the cancer starts in the immune cells called B-cells. Recognized as the fastest-growing human tumor, Burkitt lymphoma is associated with impaired immunity and is rapidly fatal if left untreated.
Back on Nov. 19, William was struggling with what was originally thought to be strep throat. His mom, Tina Schlosser, took him to Beebe Healthcare, where they gave him some antibiotics and sent him home.
A couple days later, William was struggling to eat some oatmeal. Grains were getting stuck to his tonsils. After unsuccessful attempts to wash all of them down, his mom took him back to Beebe, which sent him to A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital. He was later admitted, and the medical professionals did a scan and biopsy, determining that William had a tumor in his tonsil.
It was at that point diagnosed as Stage 2, but further tests and scans revealed that William had another tumor in his femur bone, just above his growth plate. The Stage 4 diagnosis was then given to his parents.
Tina and her husband, Greg — who are William’s foster parents — were floored after hearing the news. One of their little boys — the couple also has another son, Elijah, as well as two daughters, Faith and Elizabeth — was considered terminally ill.
“As a parent, it’s all so confusing,” Tina said of the situation. “Unfortunately, for lymphoma and the treatments, I have heard so many horror stories on other cancers developing. There are survivors, yes, but there are a lot that don’t. It is truly an emotional rollercoaster.”
In stepped Lower Sussex Little League coach Steve Shuart of the Red Sox, a team that William’s brother, Elijah, plays on. Shuart wanted to give William and his family an opportunity to forget about their fight — even if for just a couple hours.
He presented to the LSLL board the idea of setting up a scenario for William to get a chance to play in the first inning of his team’s last game of the year. One at-bat … with the bases loaded!
“I presented the idea to the board, and they were just totally supportive,” Shuart said. “I talked to Tina, and she was so appreciative of the opportunity. I wanted William to get a chance to just forget about things, and just be a kid for a couple of hours.”
William stepped to the plate in the first inning, hit the ball, and rounded the bases with the biggest smile on his face. He made it all the way around to the plate. A grand slam!
“When we got home, he tried to play it off like it was no big deal,” Tina said. “A moment passed, and he screamed out, ‘It was just the best day of my life!’ Watching him round the bases, I am always emotional, but even his father got teary-eyed watching it. We were so happy to watch him just be a kid and enjoy himself for that moment.”
William has been undergoing treatments since December, and as with any cancer treatments, it has not been without challenges. He has his good days and bad ones. He dreads the trips north for treatment and just wishes he could be normal.
Greg works out-of-state, and Tina has had to take time off from work to help with getting William to his treatments. As with any family dealing with this type of situation, the financial toll it has taken has been something for which they never could have prepared.
“Greg and I moved here in September, got married on Oct. 14, and closed on our home on Oct. 31,” Tina said. “Then William was diagnosed on Nov. 19. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, and one heck of a first year of marriage. Trying to keep bills paid and find the money to do the adoption for the three kids and me not working is just not getting it.”
To help the family with donations, a GoFundMe page has been created. Go to www.gofundme.com and search for “Sir William Warriors.”
It all came down to a battle of No. 1 versus No. 3 in the finals of the 2018 ResortQuest Pro Women’s Open at Sea Colony on Sunday. Top-seeded Grace Min prevailed with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-2 win over Katerina Stewart on Sunday to become the eighth singles champion for the event.
For her winning effort, Atlanta native Min earned a $3,919 victory check, 50 ranking points and an Alex & Ani bracelet. The ranking points allowed her to jump 14 spots in the world pro women’s rankings, to No. 183.
Min and Stewart, who was the 2014 champion of the event, battled for an hour and 24 minutes on Court 23. For the week, Min dropped just a single set in her five matches en route to the tournament’s championship. She is now on her way to London, where she will try to qualify for the Wimbledon tennis championships.
This year’s tournament was again sponsored by ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, as well as the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit and UBS Financial Services—Richard Rogers. The singles and doubles main draws had attracted nationally- and internationally-ranked women tennis players from nearly a dozen countries to the local clay courts.
Tournament officials and staff offered a very special thanks to the Sea Colony homeowners, the resort’s tennis committee and volunteers for making the event possible — as well as successful — again this year.
For more information on the ResortQuest Pro Women’s Open at Sea Colony tournament, check out their website at www.SeaColonyTennis.net/pwo, or look at their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SeaColonyTennis or Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/seacolonytennis with the hashtag #ProSC.
For all intents and purposes, Tuesday night’s exhibition games were exactly what they were meant to be — a fun opportunity for graduating Delaware high school seniors competing with and against each other one last time.
The 2018 U.S. Lacrosse Blue-White All-Star game featured 50 female and 72 male student-athletes and was played at Dover High School. The scores of the games may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things athletic, but a final chance to represent their schools was so much more important.
Indian River High School was represented by Kealey Allison and Delaney Brannon on the girls’ side of things, while Ryan Burbridge was the lone boys’ participant for the school.
“It was really fun to be able to play one last game with and against some girls we’ve competed seen the last four years,” Allison, who wore a No. 18 jersey, said after the game. “We had practice [Monday], and I was worried some of our rivals would be tough to play with, but none of that mattered. We just wanted to come out and represent our schools one last time, and play one last fun game together. It was so much more fun than I was expecting.”
“It was just so much fun to play with girls that had this extreme level of talent,” Brannon, still wearing her No. 17 jersey, noted. “It made me feel like, ‘Wow, I am at this level with them.’ We just all had so much fun, and it was great to be a part of it.”
Allison scored three goals and assisted on another in her final scholastic contest, but it wasn’t enough, as her White squad fell to the Blue, 19-17. The White team comprised members of teams from the southern part of the state, while the Blue consisted of teams to the north.
Bethany Beach is known for filling its bandstand with entertainment all through the summer, but this year a new form of entertainment is occupying the bandstand as well: Movies.
For the last seven years, the Town of Bethany Beach has hosted movies on the beach once a week for viewers of all ages, but this year, due to beach replenishment, the big screen is being moved to the bandstand.
Starting at dusk on Monday nights will be movies both old and new, from classics such as “The Lion King” to the relatively new movie “The Greatest Showman.”
Bethany Beach Event Coordinator Julie Malewski said that one of the reasons that people have been coming for the last seven years is “because we give them the movies that they want: current features that appeal to families and young audiences, as well as a few throwbacks that everyone loves during the summer.”
To determine those favorite films, the Town gives out audience participation surveys each year to help find the films for the summer to come.
On movie nights this summer, benches will be set up all around the bandstand on a first-come, first-served basis, and bringing a chair is always an option. The movies will continue through August on Monday nights, and starting in September will continue on Fridays for just that month.
Malewski said the change allows kids to be able to keep enjoying the once-a-week movies and not have to worry about it interrupting a school night.
Along with movies on the beach, Bethany’s Summer Concert Series continues on strong. Many favorites are returning again this year, such as Still Surfin’, a tribute to the Beach Boys, Jesse Garron with a tribute to Elvis and many more. The concerts are held on the same bandstand, located on Garfield Parkway, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
The musical entertainment is free of charge, and benches are also provided, though personal chairs are still more than welcome.
Bethany also offers many different forms of exercise classes during the summer, either right on the bandstand or actually on the beach itself.
Most popularly, yoga is offered daily (except Thursdays) on the bandstand from 6 to 7 a.m. for $10 per class. It is also offered from 7 to 8 a.m., for the same price, every day on the beach on Central Boulevard, just in case vacationers want that extra hour of sleep. A third class is offered free of charge on Sundays from 8 to 9 a.m. on the beach off Garfield Parkway. Instead of a charge, the class collects donations for local non-profits or families in need.
Along with yoga, Coastal Athlete instructor Trevor Hurd offers Bootcamp on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. for $10 per class. Beach Pilates & Wellness Studio hosts Pilates classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. on the beach on Garfield Parkway, for $15 per person.
Certified personal trainer and owner of Bowman Systems Academy MMA Noel Bowman teaches an aerobic kickboxing class 9 a.m. on Sundays on the beach off Garfield Parkway, for $10 per adult or $5 for children younger than 10.
Back due to popular demand after its debut last year, Trevor Hurd of Coastal Athlete will also be instructing Ninja Warrior Junior Fitness Class on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m. on the beach off Garfield Parkway. The class is for kids ages 7-13, for $10 per person, starting June 16.
While most of the Town’s summer entertainment will continue unabated, if slightly relocated, this summer Bonfires on the Beach are being canceled until further notice, due to the beach replenishment.
Any cancelations due to weather will be posted on the Town website at www.townofbethanybeach.com, and the public can also keep a lookout there for when the bonfires start back up.
(Editor’s note: This is the sixth 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. until 4 p.m.)
When the wife’s grandfather bought a $900 lot in South Bethany some 50 years ago, he established a family vacation tradition that has continued ever since. She grew up coming to the home he built there, and her love for South Bethany was cemented when her husband proposed to her on the beach in 1997. They went on to purchase a small South Bethany rancher in 2010, spending many happy summers there with their three young daughters.
As the children grew, they realized they needed something larger and so, in 2016, they purchased a canalfront lot and began construction on their custom dream home, completed last year and dubbed “Instead of 3 Weddings.”
The new 3,000-square-foot home utilizes an inverted floor plan, providing the family space to spread out and also to come together. The second floor was designed for the girls, with three bedrooms, two baths, a kids’ TV lounge and a waterfront deck equipped with three Adirondack chairs.
Upstairs, the main living area is topped by a vaulted ceiling and opens out to a screened porch, sun deck and views of the canal. The master suite and an adjoining office complete the upper level.
The transitional interior design balances the modern sophisticated feel of large graphic art with the warmth and character of reclaimed wood found in the custom dining table, coffee table and ceiling beams. Multiple entertaining areas both inside and out comfortably accommodate large groups.
The dockside patio, equipped with an outdoor TV and all-weather sectional sofa, is the perfect spot to relax while awaiting a ride on the family pontoon boat or a turn in one of the two outdoor showers. With a focus on fun and function, this family has created a vacation home that will welcome generations for years to come.
This is one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 27th Annual Beach and 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.
For Roger Perry, work is just something he does.
The Riverdale/Oak Orchard native joined the United States Army a few days after graduating from Millsboro High School. He thought he was ready to try something else after returning stateside from a tour in Vietnam but decided to go ahead and re-enlist in the Army National Guard. He became a signal warrant officer, and eventually ran the Bethany Beach training site for approximately 10 years.
Perry ultimately served as command chief warrant officer for the entire state of Delaware, and went to work as special assistant to the command chief warrant officer of the Army Guard — making him the second-highest-ranking warrant officer in the entire Guard, before he ultimately retired in September 2010 after 42 years in the military.
“The next day, I went in to the repair shop and got back to work,” said Perry, with a small laugh.
That repair shop was a gun-smithing operation Perry ran from his Georgetown property. He eventually added his grandsons, Jordan and Connor, to the operation, and while Connor ultimately moved on to pursue a career as a golf professional (“I strongly encouraged him to pursue that dream,” said Perry. “It’s something he really wanted.”), Jordan continues to work with his grandfather.
“Jordan does extremely good work,” said Perry. “He’s really blossomed. He started with cleaning guns, and now he builds all our ARs (AR-15s) — they’re the only ARs you’ll find that say ‘Georgetown, Delaware’ on the barrel.”
The family gun-smithing operation was going well for Perry. In addition to his grandsons, Jordan’s friend Travis joined the team and has been an active member for about five years now, according to Perry. The company was doing repairs for about a dozen gun shops around the county, according to Perry, and was doing so well that they opened a retail location in 2015.
Always moving forward, Gunshooter Enterprises moved into its current location on Main Street in Millsboro in 2016 — and they could be there a while.
“Millsboro’s growing,” said Perry. “We’re glad to be downtown. We have a great relationship with the Town, and the Town has been very good to us. This is where I grew up. It’s good for us. We like Millsboro, and we want to stay in Millsboro. We looked at some other options when our lease ended here, but we decided to stay. We’re happy here.”
Like many gun shops across these fruited plains, Gunshooter Enterprises sells firearms ranging from handguns to shotguns to rifles, along with the ammunition, holsters, safes, cleaning equipment and everything else a responsible gun-owner would require. What sets them apart is the display of M1 Garands — a .30-caliber semi-automatic rifle that saw action in World War II, the Korean War and some stages of Vietnam.
“We do Garand work for folks around the country,” said Perry, who does the Garand work himself. “I’m a history guy, and I’ve had several hundred Garands come through my hands over the years. “Boy, these guys could tell a story if they could talk.”
With the opening of the retail shop, Perry hired Don Dempsey, a retired Wilmington police officer, and his daughter, Meghan, who does a lot of the shop’s office work, as well as their social-media presence. Perry’s wife, Bonnie, also comes through the office to check on their paperwork.
Gunshooter Enterprises also offers training courses. There is a basic handgun course, which Perry says is mostly one-on-one training with an instructor who teaches about safety and maintenance of the weapon. The concealed-carry class is once a month, and is part of the requirements for obtaining a Delaware Concealed Carry Deadly Weapons (CCDW) permit.
The store is also friendly to first-responders, with each first-responder receiving a free box of ammunition with the purchase of a firearm.
“We try to take care of our officers,” said Perry.
Gunshooter Enterprises does a monthly drawing for a $100 certificate to use in the store, a “coveted gunshooter.com” baseball hat with every purchase of a gun and a “No B.S. Warranty” for purchases. Each used weapon sold by Gunshooter is test-fired at a bullet trap at their Georgetown facility.
“All of our used guns have been test-fired and safety-checked before they are put out for sale,” professed Perry.
Was there any doubt that a 42-year veteran would double-check everything?
Gunshooter Enterprises is located at 240 Main Street, in Millsboro. Their new website is at www.gunshooter.com, and their phone number is (302) 663-0838. They are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.
On the water, the U.S. Coast Guard serves first-responders during natural and man-made disasters. This month, USCG Station Indian River welcomed a new commander to continue leading the service’s mission to be “Semper Paratus” or “Always Ready” in coastal Delaware.
On June 8, outgoing Senior Chief James Pond was officially relieved of command by incoming Chief Donald Holcomb. The change-of-command ceremony allowed the crew to celebrate their outgoing boss, while meeting the new leader.
In his outgoing speech, Pond thanked the community, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and, most importantly, his staff, who he said fulfilled his mission of hard work, preparedness and teamwork.
“I know you have endured challenges, and I hope you have had fun,” Pond said. “On a daily basis, I know you are doing an outstanding job on the water and as a unit. … The recognition that I just received from the captain is based on the outstanding job that you have done every day for the past three years.”
“I’m very thankful to the community. They embrace us, everything that we do,” Pond said afterward. “This area is a very special place to be assigned. I try to do my own recruiting to get people here. It’s kind of a hidden gem in the Coast Guard. … Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to come back here, but I always steer people this way, because it’s a wonderful community.”
Following in the path of many local vacationers, Pond is departing Delaware for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, taking command of a slightly larger staff, surf and station at USCG Station Hatteras Inlet. Commanders typically have a four-year rotation, but he is advancing a year early.
Sector Capt. Scott Anderson promised the local crew a “fine boss” in Holcomb, whose prior service includes leading two units and three cutters.
“With change comes opportunity, and I know that the crew of Station Indian River will seize the opportunity and continue to serve the American people with pride and professionalism,” Anderson said.
During the ceremony, Pond jokingly handed Holcomb a cell phone.
“If anything happens, they call me,” Holcomb said afterward. “When the senior passed me the phone, that’s kind of what that signified. I get the calls now.”
Holcomb followed his father into the Coast Guard. He was raised in New England and now brings his own young family to Sussex County from New Haven, Conn.
“This is my first time in this area. But I’m enjoying this beautiful area. … I’m excited to be here,” he said.
During the ceremony, the two commanders inspected the station’s staff together. Although Holcomb’s speech was brief, he thanked the people who helped him to this new commission, and he recognized the pride displayed at Indian River.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with this fine group of professionals,” Holcomb said.
“Not a lot is going to change,” he said afterward. “We’re going to do our best to keep the boating public safe, and that’s really it — we’re just going to continue to train and do the mission.”
Officially founded in 1915, the U.S. Coast Guard traces its roots to a young United States, in 1790. They are responsible for maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and waterways. In times of war, the Coast Guard takes on a military role.
Station Indian River Inlet operates under the Delaware Bay Sector, which operates in the USCG’s Fifth District. Station Indian River includes 45 active-duty and reserve officers, plus a dog named Beefy, who serves as the station mascot.
In sweltering heat and in frigid conditions, Station Indian River oversees the water from Bower’s Beach to Fenwick Island, offshore to 30 miles, plus the Indian River Bay and the Delaware Bay.
“They successfully protected the world’s largest freshwater port — an area where disrupting the flow of marine traffic could affect commerce by up to $1,680 per second. It’s $150 million dollars a day if you stop traffic on this river and the economic impact of that,” Anderson said.
The Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s Shrimp & Wing Fest was so successful it its first year, it’s back for seconds.
The fire company will host the event on Saturday, June 16, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the fire hall. Hundreds of pounds of shrimp and wings — 400 of each, to be exact, will be cooking in preparation for the event starting Saturday afternoon, according to FVFC Chief Hunter Holland.
How does one cook 400 pounds of shrimp and an equal amount of chicken wings? As for the shrimp, Holland said, the job gets done in a big pot. A really, really big pot. How big?
“About 5 feet tall and 2 feet around,” Holland said. The huge steamer was specially made for the fire company by Mumford Sheet Metal in Selbyville, he noted.
The chicken wings, which were donated by Mountaire Farms, will be cooked in a barbecue trailer from Hocker’s, Holland said.
In addition to the “main events,” there will be hot sausages, as well as potato salad. A beer trailer will also be on site, and water will be available as well.
Entertainment will be provided by the local band Dirt Road Outlaws starting at 8 p.m., in the fire house engine bay. The food will be set up in the dining hall.
Holland said the event committee started planning this year’s festival the “the day after,” the last one — starting with booking the band, which also played at the 2017 inaugural festival.
“It’s a fun event,” Holland said. “I enjoy getting ready.”
The idea for the shrimp-and-wings dinner came about because the fire company wanted to have an event similar to its popular bull-and-oyster roast, held during the winter months — but they wanted to try a warm-weather event, Holland said.
“If we make a little extra money,” the shrimp and wings fest will be considered a success, the fire chief said. In addition to ticket sales for the dinner, there will also be raffles of items including a Yeti cooler and several fishing poles. Of particular interest is a custom-made pink fishing pole, he said.
Tickets for the Shrimp & Wing Fest cost $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Tickets are available at the fire house, at Frankford Town Hall next door or from any fire company member. The fire house is located at 7 Main Street, Frankford. For more information, call the fire house at (302) 732-6662.
Riley Murray figures that teaching is the only job she’s ever considered. Both of her parents are in education (her mother, Dana, teaches at Millsboro Middle School, and her father, Bennett, is an assistant principal at John M. Clayton Elementary School).
As Murray was finishing her sophomore year of high school at Indian River High School, she has also been preparing for a major milestone this summer: representing Delaware at a national teaching conference in Orlando, Fla. This is IR’s first year with the Educators Rising program, but Murray earned a spot at the 2018 national conference, which will take place June 21-24.
The Educators Rising organization helps future teachers learn about the job and chart a course forward. More than 20 competitive events allow students to develop and showcase their teaching skills, in public speaking, lesson-planning, writing, creativity and more.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that someone from Sussex County, that we get to represent … Educators Rising at such a huge competition. It’s a great way to get IR out there,” Murray said. “Even though we’re small, we do good stuff.”
She’ll get to compete, attend workshops, meet students from across the nation and hear from keynote speakers, including the U.S. Teacher of the Year.
Although the state competition was in February, students held their breath for final results until the state conference in March. IRHS students won several awards, but Murray was proud to earn gold.
For her speechmaking competition, each student speaks up to four minutes about a teacher who inspired them to become an educator. Murray talked about a beloved Lord Baltimore Elementary School teacher, Mary Kreger, whose classroom, she said, was more “like a family than an actual class. … She just made it more inclusive,” Murray said.
Educators Rising is like the club component of IR’s regular education career program. But students can join the club even if they’re not enrolled in “Teacher Academy” courses, which are part of a formal career program to train future educators.
“It’s open to everyone. … They should try it,” said Murray. “I’m seeing a lot of good qualities, leadership-wise. It’s pretty easy finding officers and dedication” in the fledgling club, she said.
Teacher and club advisor Megan Hines helped coach Murray and the others.
“She does step back and lets her officers run the club, which is how it should be,” Murray said.
Besides competing, the club mentored children at John M. Clayton Elementary School; fundraised for Teacher Appreciation Week; and hid rocks with inspirational messages around IRHS.
But now somewhat alone, Murray is facing the same challenge that other clubs share: fundraising. She’s turning to the local community to help send her to Orlando. Anyone wishing to contribute toward her travel and competition expenses can contact IR guidance counselor Stephanie Wilkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 732-1500.
As an added challenge, Hines is on maternity leave, so Murray’s father was certified as her school-sanctioned chaperone, although he will pay his own travel expenses.
“It’s a first-year program, and we’ve already qualified someone for nationals,” said Wilkinson. This will give IR a leg up to experience high-level competition. “It’s an incredible experience for these students.”
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control on June 4 filed a complaint in state Superior Court against Mountaire Farms of Delaware Inc. that requests civil penalties for Mountaire’s alleged violations of its spray and land application permits at its Millsboro facility.
The complaint, which includes reimbursed costs for DNREC, calls for Mountaire to make short-term corrective measures and long-term system upgrades at the plant, along with environmental mitigation, and for Mountaire to provide an alternative water supply to nearby residents.
The complaint also requests that the Superior Court approve a consent decree that redresses those permit violations through monetary penalties and mitigation measures that abate the total nitrogen amount sprayed above permit limits by Mountaire’s Millsboro facility.
DNREC has also filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, raising claims that Mountaire has violated the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conversation & Recovery Act.
On Sept. 5, 2017, Mountaire reported to DNREC that the Millsboro wastewater treatment facility was in failure due to a build-up of solids throughout the plant, as well as a depletion of oxygen in the plant’s aerobic operations, causing Mountaire’s wastewater to exceed the effluent limits of their spray permit.
Mountaire undertook interim action to reduce the solids from spray effluent and disinfect effluent prior to its application on the spray fields.
In November 2017, Mountaire submitted a corrective action work plan setting forth interim measures and proposed long-term measures for permit compliance.
On Nov. 2, 2017, DNREC issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) identifying a total of 17 categories of permit violations, including 13 categories of spray permit violations, and four categories of land application permit violations.
On Dec. 22, 2017, DNREC supplemented the NOV requiring additional corrective actions by Mountaire for violations of both permits.
Subsequent interim measures by Mountaire resulted in significant improvements in the quality of the effluent from the wastewater treatment plant, officials said, but full permit compliance is not expected to be consistently achieved until Mountaire completes a planned long-term wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
The consent decree, which was submitted for approval in Delaware Superior Court, requires Mountaire Farms to pay a civil penalty of $600,000 and to reimburse the DNREC $25,000 for expenses incurred during the Department’s investigation.
The consent decree also requires Mountaire to implement a beneficial environmental offset project that will reduce the penalty by 30 percent to $420,000 by offering an alternative water supply to nearby residents.
Mountaire is required by the decree to seek to make available an alternative water supply through a central water supply company that meets safe drinking water standards. If unable to obtain necessary approvals from the Delaware Public Service Commission and other government agencies, Mountaire must provide deep drinking-water wells to the residential property owners.
In addition, Mountaire is required to implement, or to complete, in a timely manner interim measures designed to improve functionality of the company’s wastewater treatment plant, implement long-term corrective measures to return the wastewater treatment plant to full compliance with the current or future spray permit and land application permits, and provide environmental mitigation at a ratio of 2:1 for the quantity of total nitrogen sprayed on fields in excess of its permit limit.
Mountaire also must submit to third-party monitoring of all remedial measures, according to the consent decree.
According to DNREC, Mountaire will begin environmental mitigation upon completion of the wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Mitigation involves relocating Mountaire’s shallow production wells to spray fields where elevated levels of nitrates occur in the groundwater, using that well water for processing within the plant, treating the water at the upgraded treatment plant, and finally applying the water to the spray fields in accordance with spray permit requirements to achieve a net reduction of nitrates in the groundwater.
The relocated production wells will allow for hydraulic control of groundwater — a “pump and treat” system — beneath the spray fields to assist in capture and treatment of nitrates that may move from potential onsite or offsite sources even after the 2:1 mitigation is complete.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, on
Tuesday responded to the announcement of the consent decree, saying, “I’m encouraged that the parties involved could reach this agreement. It is my hope that DNREC will fully explain to the public how the consent decree announced this week will not only help address past violations, but also ensure that long-term measures are implemented in order to better protect Delawareans going forward.
“This action is a meaningful step in the right direction that, if approved by the court, will better ensure all First State residents have access to clean, safe drinking water when they turn on their tap. There is a good deal of work still left to do to fully remedy this situation and alleviate residents’ concerns, but this announcement is a positive development and one that the public has the right to fully understand.”
The consent decree can be found on the DNREC website at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Info/Pages/SecOrders_Enforcement.aspx.