Articles on this Page
- 06/21/18--14:26: _Sussex County Counc...
- 06/21/18--14:30: _Wingate appointed t...
- 06/21/18--14:34: _IRSD reluctantly en...
- 06/28/18--12:23: _Get the picture?
- 06/28/18--12:31: _MIKEN Builders reco...
- 06/28/18--12:41: _Body Double gets yo...
- 06/28/18--13:28: _CNN’s Tapper to sig...
- 06/28/18--14:14: _IRHS (re)welcomes m...
- 06/28/18--14:26: _Fenwick to celebrat...
- 06/28/18--15:13: _Sussex County could...
- 06/28/18--15:16: _Chesapeake Utilitie...
- 06/28/18--15:22: _Bonky’s move gets d...
- 06/28/18--15:25: _Millville United Me...
- 06/28/18--15:27: _Jimmy Oliver brings...
- 06/28/18--15:30: _Fireworks fanatics ...
- 06/28/18--15:35: _Fourth of July cele...
- 07/05/18--09:48: _Georgetown Speedway...
- 07/05/18--12:33: _Beach & Bay Cottage...
- 07/05/18--12:48: _Reporter gets a les...
- 07/05/18--13:03: _St. Martha’s hosts ...
- 06/21/18--14:26: Sussex County Council approves budget for 2019 fiscal year
- 06/21/18--14:30: Wingate appointed to County P&Z
- 06/21/18--14:34: IRSD reluctantly enters the busing business, hires drivers
- 06/28/18--12:23: Get the picture?
- 06/28/18--12:31: MIKEN Builders recognized for business ethics
- 06/28/18--12:41: Body Double gets you in the right suit for you
- 06/28/18--13:28: CNN’s Tapper to sign ‘The Hellfire Club’ at Bethany Beach Books
- 06/28/18--14:14: IRHS (re)welcomes music honor society
- 06/28/18--14:26: Fenwick to celebrate birthday on Sunday
- 06/28/18--15:13: Sussex County could offer storage of wills
- 06/28/18--15:16: Chesapeake Utilities aims to bring gas service to Millville
- 06/28/18--15:22: Bonky’s move gets deferred by Ocean View Planning & Zoning
- 06/28/18--15:25: Millville United Methodist Church to host Patriotic Sing-a-long
- 06/28/18--15:30: Fireworks fanatics can celebrate
- 06/28/18--15:35: Fourth of July celebrations set to brighten local communities
- 07/05/18--09:48: Georgetown Speedway sees Clash for Cash
- 07/05/18--12:33: Beach & Bay Cottage Tour Sneak Peek No. 9
- 07/05/18--12:48: Reporter gets a lesson in empathy, needs more leafy greens
- 07/05/18--13:03: St. Martha’s hosts annual international student worker picnic
The Sussex County Council unanimously approved its 2019-fiscal-year budget following a public hearing on July 19. The $177.5 million budget will begin on July 1.
Broken down, the budget is made up of $74,142,260 in the General Fund; $16,622,500 for Capital Projects–General Funds; $38,692,624 in the Water & Sewer Fund; $40,655,000 in Capital Projects–Water & Sewer; and $6,876,000 in Pension — for a total of $176,988,402.
The general fund budget is up by $5.4 million, with a $900,000 increase in paramedic and emergency preparedness, and a $900,000 increase in pension contribution. The proposed budget includes $3.6 million in grant-in-aid, including the $1.5 million loan for the Sussex Sports Complex, and a $1 million increase for land preservation.
“There’s also a $75,000 increase for the emergency home repairs conducted through our Community Development program,” said County Finance Director Gina Jennings.
For public safety, $16.2 million is budgeted for paramedics, $4.3 million for fire and ambulance services, and $3.6 million for the Sussex County 911 Center. Another $3.1 million is budgeted for the County to have an additional 22 Delaware State Police troopers.
For grant-in-aid, there was a $900,000 increase to public safety agencies — $500,000 increase for ambulance service, $200,000 though building permits and $200,000 for Delaware State Police.
“I think the $500,000 we’re putting toward the ambulance, the majority of it is going to tourists,” said Councilman Sam Wilson. “If it wasn’t for the tourists, we wouldn’t have all this expense.”
While property taxes will not increase, water and sewer fees increase approximately $6 each annually. There is a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment in the budget, and employees also receive merit increases based on their performance.
The proposed budget also increases $14.3 million in reserves for one-time expenses.
The budget also included a change in fees for those who use the services of the Recorder of Deeds. Prior to the new budget, for non-subscribers it cost $1 per page downloaded, while subscribers paid $50 per month for a discounted download cost of 25 cents.
With the new budget in place, non-subscribers will be charged $1 per document downloaded, and subscribers will pay $50 per month for unlimited downloads. Larger firms that would want to have up to 10 subscriptions would pay $300 per month.
“Is there any reason we’re doing this while the Recorder of Deeds is making a profit?” asked Bridgeville resident Dan Kramer. “Why am I going to be charged if I want to go down there and get a copy of something?”
“Currently you can search the entire property records in the office for free — that won’t change,” said Recorder of Deeds Scott Dailey, noting the office’s digitized system now goes back to about 1952. “This makes it very usable online and affordable for people who may just want one document… It’ll reduce the fees and increase the accessibility to the general public.”
To view a copy of the 2019 budget, visit www.sussexcountyde.gov/county-budget.
The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission will have a new face on the dais, as Millville resident Holly Wingate was approved by Sussex County Council this week to serve on the commission.
“I grew up in Sussex County, and I have a great passion for this wonderful place we can all call home,” said Wingate before the council.
Having been involved in construction for 34 years, Wingate said she is familiar with zoning regulations and the review process.
She told the council she has been involved with many community projects, including River Soccer Club, where she served as president, as well as serving as chair for the building committee for Mariner Bethel UMC’s Hope Center.
“I hope that I will have the opportunity to serve the Planning & Zoning Commission, and I see it as serving for my community.”
She also served on the Planning & Zoning Commission for the Town of Millville for two separate terms — March 2007 to April 2011, and May 2014 to November 2015.
“That experience offered a lot of experience in considering many aspects of new construction, how the zoning laws apply, and given the area, we faced a lot of applications,” she said. “While serving the Town of Millville, I was also involved in developing the Town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.”
In terms of the role the Planning & Zoning Commission has in the decision-making process in the county, Wingate said the zoning laws must first be considered, and how a project will align with those regulations.
Wingate said she comes from a family with agriculture roots and believes the industry is important to the county.
“I sincerely believe farming offers great economic advantages to our area, and I support all farming operations, from poultry to the orchards to all of the crops grown here,” she said. “I think it also provides for some green space in our area as well, which I think is important.”
Councilman Rob Arlett, who nominated Wingate, asked if she would be able to recuse herself when necessary, and asked if she could take off her “developer hat” when reviewing anything that may come before the commission.
“I would absolutely recuse myself if there was any conflict of interest at all,” she said.
Councilman I.G. Burton said that it is important for Wingate to have the time to not only review every application but visit each site — no matter its location in the county.
“I am committed to doing the job to the best of my ability, and I understand it is not only a large county but a very busy one,” she replied.
The council voted 4-0 to appoint Wingate to the Commission. Councilman Sam Wilson did not vote, having said he wished to defer the vote.
The appointment will take effect July 1, following the departure of Commission Chairman Martin Ross on June 30, and last through June 2021, when the three-year term ends.
Delaware’s shortage of school bus drivers has finally left the Indian River School District feeling stranded.
Until now, the IRSD has hired bus contractors to transport thousands children to school, athletic activities and field trips. But with the contractors unable to find enough drivers to fill the demand, the IRSD has finally bent to the pressure and will hire 11 drivers and buy nine buses by autumn.
Although the Delaware Department of Education will cover most of the costs, the IRSD now has to deal with maintenance and management of a small bus fleet.
Neither IRSD officials nor the State want schools getting into the bus business. But the IRSD needs flexibility and a safety net so sports games are no longer canceled or postponed due to driver cancelations, and so children don’t arrive 45 minutes late to school or home.
“I think we have no other choice at this point, because we’re going to be expecting too many drivers to come in that history tells you we’re not going to get,” said Tyler Bryan, IRSD transportation systems analyst. “We can’t … guarantee we have enough drivers for September. That’s the big issue.”
Bryan has been bailing water to keep this metaphorical boat afloat, even substituting as a bus driver and driving the students himself. Contractors have also helped each other as much as possible.
But no one has offered a better solution to the problem, from which multiple school districts are suffering.
“We cannot go through another year like we had this year,” Bryan said. “It was down to the wire many days that I did not know if we were going to get our kids to school, or even home. It was many Hail Marys. … It took a lot of intricate moves to keep it going, and all I see is that gap growing.”
Public school districts must provide students with transportation.
IRSD began scrambling in 2018 and has never caught up. The deluge began in late summer as drivers have continued to quit, retire or take medical leave. Bus contractors are, with disappointment, turning back in routes that they cannot fulfill, despite trying to entice drivers with the flexible schedule and meaningfulness of working with children.
“They don’t have drivers to cover it, so they have to turn in routes,” said Bryan.
Moreover, the IRSD actually needs an additional route because the attendance of autistic students increased, especially around Long Neck and Oak Orchard. And enrollment is rapidly growing, which could require even more routes in the future.
The IRSD mitigated the problem in past years by consolidating routes and even changing school start times so buses could make multiple routes. But those tricks can’t plug the gaps anymore. Even when the IRSD helped to train new drivers last fall, only three people obtained their actual license of the 14 who completed the driving class.
The new plan
On June 12, the IRSD Board of Education agreed to hire 11 full-time employees. They will be cross-trained, to improve staff retention. Most of the new hires will serve dual roles, as bus drivers and custodians or paraprofessionals. They’ll drive the morning and afternoon routes, then work at the school for the rest of their 40 hours each week.
The Howard T. Ennis School will get two full-time drivers, since the special-needs school requires more time. Finally, one lead bus driver will be a certified to train new employees or substitute-drive any route.
By hiring drivers who also perform custodial or educational duties, IRSD officials hope to avoid dipping into the same pool of candidates that the existing bus contractors use.
The IRSD buses would not drive any route, game or field trip unless the contractors had been exhausted first, as per their bidding contracts.
The IRSD will also own nine school buses to perform the nine routes they’ve lost. This month, the Department of Education agreed to purchase six more buses for the district (but the IRSD must buy the buses and be reimbursed later, since the DOE’s budget isn’t approved until July 1). That’s on top of the three buses that the IRSD decided to buy last autumn, when the school board first saw the problem coming down the road. Those three original buses will arrive this summer.
The IRSD needs the three buses immediately, since summer-school begins on June 26. One bus is ready for purchase on a nearby lot. The next two are being purchased as used, and they’ll be kept as backups after the DOE buys the district new vehicles later this summer.
Costs to contractors and IR
Most of the cost should be covered by the Department of Education, which will buy the buses and pay 90 percent of salaries, just as they would if the IRSD was hiring a contractor instead. The exact cost hasn’t been completely finalized, because there will be tweaking, due to unknowns, especially in gas or maintenance costs.
“Long term, wouldn’t it be cheaper to increase what district pays to contractors? Once we hire these guys, they’re our employees,” said Board Member W. Scott Collins.
But other districts have faced roadblocks when trying to supplement bus driver payments, Bryan said, possibly because additional pay would require a second payment contract beyond what the State requires.
Because the IRSD can’t pay more, Bryan emphasized the importance of supporting drivers in other ways. For example, they need to feel more appreciated, he said. Also, current IRSD policy requires them to telephone parents regarding discipline problems, which can lead to drivers being confronted by angry parents on their personal, unpaid time.
“They are the ones who show up every day and transport our students for our school district,” Bryan said.
Not an ideal situation
This plan of attack has concerned local bus contractors, several of whom were invited to chat with the school board during executive session.
“It’s very frightful,” said contractor Judy Powell. “I just have a feeling in years to come the district will own all the buses. That’s just a guesstimate. … They’re opening a can of worms.”
Contractors said they fear they can’t compete with the IRSD in attracting bus drivers, since the new State hires would be eligible for benefits.
“A lot of people are leaving and going anywhere for health benefits. Health benefits is the name of game in the world today,” and a contractor can’t compete, Powell said.
Indeed, some drivers who previously quit working for the contractors had recently approached the IRSD directly about driving again, Bryan said.
Finances are tight for contractors trying to make ends meet, especially since the State of Delaware controls the payment rates, which haven’t been permanently updated since the 1970s, said Keith Johnson. (This spring, Delaware’s Joint Finance Committee is considering an update to the busing contracts, Superintendent Mark Steele said.)
The new IRSD buses and drivers were unanimously approved by the school board, with Board Members Derek Cathell and Donald Hattier absent. The board also approved its annual contract with bus contractors Powell and Johnson.
When she photographs, Kira Kaplinski wants to show people the beauty of coastal Delaware.
“The whole area is inspiration. It’s so beautiful. I just love this town,” said Kaplinski, an IT consultant who bought a South Bethany house about three years ago. “The beach is very nice, and wetlands and canals. Every time when I’m walking or running … it’s something new, something that you want to share — so I’m taking the pictures and sharing them with other people.”
She and 20 other people have displayed that beauty in the South Bethany Art in the Hall photography exhibit, located at South Bethany Town Hall. All participants live or own property in or near the town.
Images ranged from macrophotography with close-ups of a delicate coral reef to aerial views of the town from drone-captured images. There are funny and arresting photos of animals around town, such as dogs frolicking and wild deer spotted on the beach. There are also familiar scenes, including local landmarks and all-natural landscapes.
It’s not just paper prints, either. Artists got creative with their media, displaying their images on metal, behind window panes and on cubic blocks. Exhibitors range from professional to hobbyists.
“That’s what I think really makes this a fun and unique exhibit. It is diverse. … Avid weekend photographers or professionals or folks that just like to have fun taking pictures,” said organizer Sue Callaway.
“One of them is just a recent high school graduate, and her family has a home down in this area, and she just couldn’t have been more excited,” she added.
Despite the heavy rains of June 9, the exhibit’s opening reception welcomed a small crowd of neighbors and guests, Callaway said, and the photographers enjoyed seeing each other’s perspectives.
“It really teachers you to open your eyes and look around you,” said Susie Werner, a family attorney who does photography on the side. “It’s something that makes me slow down and look at what’s around me. That’s what I love about taking [and] looking at pictures.”
Her subjects included horseshoe crabs, sunflowers, the moon and eagles.
“I go out every morning on my boat to shoot eagles,” Werner quipped. “The birdwatching out here is some of the best.”
Art in the Hall is displayed at South Bethany Town Hall, 402 Evergreen Road. The public may visit during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., until July 13.
“Everybody should go. … It really lets you see a different aspect of the beach,” Werner said. “It’s not just schlepping your stuff down to the sand. … It’s a great exhibit and shows all the aspects that Southern Delaware has to offer.”
The exhibition is organized by the Town’s Community Enhancement Committee and the Communications & Public Relations Committee.
When Michael Cummings finished trade school post-college, he began working for a construction company. An opportunity arose for him to join in ownership of a general-contracting firm. Now, 25 years later, he is the proud owner and CEO of a multi-award winning business, MIKEN Builders.
On June 7, at the DuPont Country Club at the Better Business Bureau banquet, MIKEN Builders was honored with its most recent award, the Torch Award for marketplace ethics.
“We are a second-time winner of this award,” Cummings said. “They give it to one business in each county in Delaware from the Better Business Bureau, and it is awarded for the company with the best business ethics and integrity.”
On May 18, the National Home Builders of Delaware had awarded MIKEN Builders for Best Luxury Community Home and Best Residential Addition at a ceremony in Bethany Beach.
Those awards are added to a long list of recognitions by Houzz and the Home Builders Association, including Best of Houzz 2018 Client Satisfaction award, 2016-2017 Sussex County Custom Home Builder of the Year, 2014 Remodel Excellence for under $50,000, and 2013 Best Condo (Chesapeake Penthouse).
MIKEN Builders does custom home building in the Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Fenwick Island and Dewey Beach areas. The company specializes in general-contracting services, construction management and design-build to the residential and commercial industry. The approximately 20-person staff consists of construction industry experts, each with decades of experience.
The construction business is also a family affair. Michael Cummings works alongside his son and project manager, Sean.
“My dad is a pretty patient guy, so he understands the trials and tribulations I go through on a day-to-day basis,” Sean Cummings said, adding that his father is empathetic when problems arise and makes himself available to help the team find solutions.
Michael Cummings, and his team, also employ that problem-solving mentality outside of work, through community outreach programs.
“We’ve always been committed to community service,” Michael Cummings said. “I am the co-founder of Contractors for a Cause. We were instrumental in building Justin’s Beach House on Route 26 and, now, annually we put every dollar that we raise back into the community through scholarships and our Helping Hands program, helping less fortunate families in Sussex County.”
MIKEN Builders is located at 32782 Cedar Drive, Unit 1, in Millville. For more information, call (302) 537-4444 or visit mikenbuilders.com.
There are three absolutes in this wacky world of ours:
(3) Nobody likes how they look in a swimsuit.
“Even if they’re the tiniest little thing you’ve ever seen, everyone is kind of intimidated and scared,” said Liz Welsh, the owner of Body Double Swimwear in Fenwick Island. “But once they show us and let us help them, we will find them a suit.”
Welsh knows of what she speaks. The owner of Body Double since December 2017, Welsh worked for the Fenwick retailer during the summers since she was 16, spending the busy season in town with her family each year. It didn’t take her long to know that this was the place for her.
“The first summer I worked here, I came home and told my parents, ‘We’re going to own this store one day,’” said Welsh. “It was my dream to have it. To be honest, I didn’t really think it would come true, because I always envisioned myself living in New York City. I never really thought I’d actually live in Fenwick Island, Del., year-round. I would have thought that was crazy if you told me that years ago.”
And, Welsh did indeed live in New York City for a while after finishing college at Syracuse University. She worked for a year in the Big Apple doing social media, and then another year doing planning for Lord & Taylor. After that stint, Welsh moved to Washington, D.C., for a year, and then another year in Baltimore. Then she knew what she had to do.
“In July 2016, I was in my job in Baltimore, and I called Nancy one day,” she said of former Body Double owner Nancy Ruppert, “and said I was miserable. ‘Let’s do it.’ So I quit two weeks later, moved here and have been doing this. I survived my first winter here, so I knew I could do it. I actually loved it here in the winter.”
Welsh leapt into her new business interest with both feet. While eating at One Coastal one night with her mother, discussing plans for the store, she noticed designer Gina Drago’s name on the back of the restaurant’s menu. The two of them Googled Drago’s work and were so impressed they hired her to help launch a new look for the store.
“She’s incredible,” said Welsh. “I told her a few ideas of what I wanted, and the next thing you know, she presented me with an amazing design board. I just let her run with it. The only thing I picked out was the [dressing room] curtains. I won that one.”
The changes are indeed dramatic. The outside color of the store has changed, as have the walls on the inside. There is a new front desk — custom-made by a wood artist in Berlin, Md. — and a new format for the fixtures, opening up more space on the sales floor. There is also a newly-updated logo, meaning new signage outside to reflect that change.
“I’m kind of crazy,” said Welsh, with a laugh. “I take on everything at once and say, ‘Let’s do it.’ There’s still so much more I want to do, but I have to pace myself. Now I’ll wait until the fall.”
What hasn’t changed at the store is an emphasis on customer service — something that Welsh credits to Ruppert’s preaching over the years.
“Our customer service sets us apart,” said Welsh. “We wait on people. We explain the layout of the store, which can really be overwhelming and intimidating when someone walks in. And I’m really big on the thought that everyone must be greeted — it can’t just be a ‘Hello.’ I want to hear, ‘What are you looking for? Can I point you in a general direction?’ I’ve had customers comment to me how much they like that. I hate when I walk into a store and nobody says hello to me, or having to track someone down in a mall to ring me up. It’s like, ‘I’m trying to give you my money. Where are you?’”
Body Double is also well-known for their ability to get people into the right swimsuit, with the right fit. Welsh credits a vast selection at the store, and the willingness of her employees to genuinely help.
“Our big thing is, pick out a few get in the room and show us something,” said Welsh. “Every brand we have here runs different. Some run smaller, some run bigger. And my girls are educated on that.
“We carry bra sizes up to an H-cup, and I think we’re known for that. We have kids sizes. Sizes up to 24. And everything here is sold separate, so you don’t have to buy a top and bottom of the same size. You don’t even have to buy a bottom, because most people already have a black bottom at home.”
And Welsh said she and her employees are honest with their customers. She doesn’t want someone walking around with a swimsuit from her store that doesn’t fit well or isn’t particularly flattering.
“I want everyone to look great when they leave here, and I want them happy with what they picked.”
Body Double Swimwear is located at 1010 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island. They can be reached at (302) 537-1444, and they are located online at bodydoubleswimwear.com.
Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN, will appear at Bethany Beach Books on Monday, July 2, to sign copies of his newest book, “The Hellfire Club.”
Tapper has written three non-fiction books, but “The Hellfire Club” is his first foray into fiction. Its book jacket characterizes “The Hellfire Club” as a “political thriller. The story follows newly appointed Congressman Charlie Marder in the early 1950s as he navigates the nation’s capital during its second ‘Red Scare’ — a time when fears of Communist infiltration into the United States were being viciously stoked, in particular by Sen. Joseph McCarthy.”
The book begins with a sentence that could be a metaphor for the murky atmosphere in which Marder finds himself: “He snapped out of the blackness with a mouthful of mud.” From there, Tapper takes readers on a bumpy ride through backroom politics and outright mayhem that follows Marder through a few tumultuous months in Washington, D.C. The book also includes a brief side trip to England, circa 1772.
Although “The Hellfire Club” is a work of fiction, Tapper told the Coastal Point this week that readers should be sure to read the “Sources” section at the end of the book, because they might be surprised to find out that “so many of the wildest things in the book are true.
“So many of them are just enjoyable to write about,” he said, inviting readers to find out for themselves what true tidbits he included in the book. He cited the “coziness” between the Kennedy family and McCarthy, and the fact that McCarthy would often eat a stick of butter when he drank, as examples. “That’s real,” Tapper said.
He said he has long been fascinated by the 1950s — partly because of the divide between how the decade is often portrayed and what was actually going on in the country at that time.
“It’s usually portrayed as this benign period of time,” but in actuality it was a time of “great menace,” rampant with bigotry and sexism, Tapper said.
While quite a few of the themes in the book seem as if they could be ripped from today’s headlines — a fact that is not lost on Tapper — he said he actually started the book before the current presidential administration.
“They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes,” he said. “It really does.”
As CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, Tapper is smack in the middle of the vortex of the “wild news cycle that we’re in,” as he calls it. The book, he said, was a pleasant release from that pressure-cooker atmosphere, as much as it mirrors today’s political climate.
“It was nice to be able to control the characters and the politicians,” he said.
Asked whether he thinks it is possible for “good guys” like “The Hellfire Club’s” protagonist to survive in today’s Washington, D.C., Tapper said he does believe they can.
“It’s not always easy, and it involves compromise, but they can,” he said, emphasizing the need for lawmakers to understand “how and why you compromise” and “the difference between compromising in politics and compromising your principles.”
On the other hand, Tapper also said he believes there are probably still secret Washington, D.C., clubs like those highlighted in “The Hellfire Club.”
“I don’t know for sure, because they’re secret, and they wouldn’t be inviting me as a member,” he said, “but knowing what I know about powerful men, I’m sure there are.”
Tapper said the current political climate didn’t push him toward using the equally turbulent atmosphere that came with 1950s McCarthyism, but that he chose that era because “it was the best time to place the book. He did say, however, that “the current climate lent itself to certain things being emphasized” in the book.
The book doesn’t take place only in Washington, D.C. Many readers will immediately recognize two islands visited by the main character’s zoologist wife as fictionalized versions of Assateague and Chincoteague.
“I based that on my trips to those islands with my kids,” he said.
Tapper added that he, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children frequently visit the Delaware beaches. And, not only that, he said, but Rehoboth Beach in particular holds special significance for the Tappers.
“We got engaged right outside the Boardwalk Hotel,” he said.
Jake Tapper will be signing copies of “The Hellfire Club” on Monday, July 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Bethany Beach Books, 99 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach. Tapper will also be signing copies of his newest book on Thursday, July 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Browseabout Books, 133 Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach.
Students who go excel academically and musically have a new opportunity to celebrate that work at Indian River High School, with the rebirth of their Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Although inactive for at least 30 years, the IR chapter is intended to inspire passion for music leadership, education and service.
This May, 19 students were inducted based on their scholarship, character, leadership and service. IR now houses the only active Tri-M chapter in Sussex County. Formerly known as Modern Music Masters, the Tri-M is found in all 50 states, serving grades 6 to 12.
Around the start of the new year, the IRHS Band Boosters were inspired to kickstart the group when one of the parents heard from a band parent at another school.
A friend noticed how involved Shari Kerr’s daughter was in IR’s music program and mentioned Tri-M as a great group (and résumé-booster).
“Why don’t we have this at Indian River High School?” Kerr wondered. “The whole reason we are here is to further their musical education. This is going to be vital to their music education.”
Since teachers already have enough on their plates, she said, Kerr and the boosters did the legwork in researching Tri-M. They were surprised to learn IR already had a charter, in the 1980s, that had gone defunct. So now, IR only needed to reactivate the program, rather than request a whole new chapter.
First, music directors Nathan Mohler and Chantalle Ashford identified prospective candidates, who were permitted to apply. They were judged based on their application, essay and a musical performance.
“It is about musical interest, but not music ability,” Kerr said. “It’s somebody that wants to pursue music in some shape or form, and also exudes leadership.”
Ideally, the honor society students will perform musical-based community service, such as performing free concerts in public or nursing homes, or tutoring fifth-graders new to band or chorus. Students must also maintain a minimum GPA to remain eligible.
The students will begin when the new school year begins. When they graduate, members will wear a special pink cord with their graduation robes.
The 2018 seniors were not invited to take part in the honor, although it is a lifetime membership.
“I wouldn’t say that we were trying to exclude them. It just seemed like at this juncture it would be a moot point,” since they wouldn’t be able to participate significantly before graduating, Kerr said.
The first Tri-M executive officers are juniors Kathleen Carter (president), Frederick Stinglin (vice president), Amber Hills (treasurer) and Alexis Landrie (secretary/historian). For this first year, the adult selection committee chose the officers, but in future, students will choose their own leaders.
More details are online at www.musichonors.com.
This weekend, the community at large is being invited to celebrate the 65th birthday of the Town of Fenwick Island, which was incorporated in June 1953.
Town Manager Terry Tieman said the idea to host a birthday celebration arose after Town staff had realized there had been no celebration for the Town’s 50th birthday.
“This was an opportunity to celebrate Fenwick Island and recognize its significance over the last 65 years,” she explained.
The event will take place on Sunday, July 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the town hall parking lot. Tieman said everyone is welcome to attend the free event.
The family-friendly celebration will kick off with a brigade of vintage cars announcing the celebration at noon from Bunting Avenue.
The event will feature D.J. Caleb Miller, while Lollipop the Clown will offer face painting and crafts for the children. Go Melvo will be giving out snowcones from 2 to 3:30 p.m. There will also be a K-9 demonstration and informational tables.
There will be “complimentary refreshments, including hamburgers, hot dogs grilled by the town council and community volunteers,” said Tieman. “Boy Scott Troop 382 from Dagsboro will be handing out soft drinks and chips. St. Matthew’s by-the-Sea will be handing out water.”
During the event, the Town will be unveiling a giant Adirondack chair with the new town seal.
“It will be placed in front of the town park. It will be a great photo-op for years to come,” Tieman said.
There will also be commemorative giveaways, and those who attend can purchase Town swag, including T-shirts and flags with the new town seal.
Event sponsors include Big Eye Jacks, Boy Scouts of America Troop 382, KCI Consultants, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, Royal Farm Store #44, St. Matthew’s by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, and the Fenwick Island Town Council, its staff and volunteers.
Tieman said special thanks go out to Easter Seals of Delaware & Maryland Easter Shores, the Fenwick Island Environmental Committee, the Friends of Fenwick Island Lighthouse and the Fenwick Island Society of Homeowners.
“We are hoping for good weather and a nice turnout. This is a celebration for the community and an opportunity for fellowship.”
Fenwick Island Town Hall is located at 800 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island. For more information about the event, visit https://fenwickisland.delaware.gov or call (302) 539-3011.
Sussex County Register of Wills Cindy Green spoke before the county council at its June 26 meeting, regarding Senate Bill 238, relating to the storage of wills.
“What Senate Bill 238 will allow Sussex County to do is to store wills,” explained Green. “Currently, we do not offer that as a service. And in order to do it, we did have to amend the Delaware Code.”
Green said the bill, thus far, has received positive feedback and support.
“My first piece of legislation is in progress,” said Green. “It has been voted on in the Senate … for this to move forward. The bill is now at the House, and we’re not expecting any issues with it. It has been received very positively.”
Green said New Castle County has been offering will storage since 1984.
Green said that, prior to purchasing equipment for the storage, the code needed to be altered. In order to implement the law, Green said, her office will need a fireproof filing cabinet, which costs approximately $400.
Council President Michael Vincent noted that New Castle County charges a fee of $5 for storage.
“Does that cover the cost of it?”
Green said the council can set the fee, and currently New Castle charges $10 per will storage.
“Is $10 enough?” asked Vincent.
“This is not going to be a revenue-generator. This is going to be a service that we’ll provide… I will check that when we get there,” said Green.
“I agree with you that it shouldn’t be a revenue-generator, but it shouldn’t be a loss item. I think it should be a break-even item,” responded Vincent.
Green said two members of her current staff will be trained to carry out the new offering.
“We will only take what our office can handle,” she said, noting that people will have to make an appointment for the service. “We’re going to control the flow so we can handle it.”
Vincent said that, while he believes it’s a great service to offer, there are a few outstanding questions.
“Reading the bill, it takes effect with the governor’s signature. So, if the governor signs this thing on July 2, you aren’t ready to do that, are you?”
“My fear is somebody would walk in the door or call for an appointment, and we’re going to say, ‘We can’t do it yet.’”
Green said her office would give those inquiring about will storage a date for when the program would be operational.
A day-long training will be offered through New Castle County. Green said she sees the initiative as being positive for Sussex County and her office.
Green said she hopes a lot of families will take advantage of the program, stating that 20,000 wills would be on the high end of what she expects to come in.
“There will potentially be thousands, but it will take time to get to that point.”
She added that attorneys’ offices will not be allowed to bring in boxes of wills.
“An individual will make an appointment, or their attorney will individually come in and make an appointment to store that one will,” said Green. “We’re not going to be a dumping-ground for boxes and filing cabinets of wills.”
Councilman I.G. Burton asked if the office would be reviewing the wills to make sure everything is signed and notarized.
“We will only be storing the document itself,” said Green. “The person will be totally responsible for what’s in that document. It’ll be in an envelope and sealed.”
County Attorney J. Everett Moore Jr. noted that he would like something added to ensure the individuals are aware that while they are storing their will at the Register of Wills’ office, they still may amend or create a new will.
“Over the years, there’s been this perception, whenever a private practitioner drafts a will, the people think it gets filed right away, and it does not,” said Moore. “We need to make sure that they’re aware, even though they may opt to store it in your facility, that they have something in front of them indicating that it is storage only… They still, until the day they die, have the right to amend it or make a new one.”
“When they’re there, we will speak to them about what can be done,” Green said.
The Millville Town Council at its workshop meeting on Tuesday, June 26, heard a proposal for a natural gas pipeline to connect to the planned Beebe Medical Center campus in the town.
The presentation by Dean Holden, manager of business development for Chesapeake Utilities, outlined the company’s proposal for a 9-mile pipeline connecting to existing natural gas pipes in the Dagsboro area.
Holden told the council and those in attendance on Tuesday that Chesapeake Utilities is hoping to receive a grant from Delaware’s Department of State for part of the cost of the proposed gas line, which is estimated to cost between $2 million and $5 million, depending on the size of pipe they use.
“We have service in Millsboro, we have service in Frankford, we have service in Dagsboro, but as you know, we don’t currently have service east of that,” Holden said. The company currently has about 80,000 customers in the region, most of which are residential, he said.
Holden said the company has been growing its customer base by about 3 percent each year, and that “with the economy picking back up,” hopes are that the growth will only get better. However, he said, the company has to have customers lined up before it starts a new pipeline project.
“The Public Service Commission holds us to ensure that any new gas main has customers committed to pay for it, or alternative revenue sources to pay for it. We can’t build gas mains and have our existing customers pay for that infrastructure,” Holden said.
He said customers in the new service area may pay a higher meter charge per month “if the economics don’t prove to support the installation or the cost of natural gas to get to you. For larger customers, Holden said, “We can do negotiated rates,” which are higher than normal rates. “That’s what we did with Beebe when we got to Beebe in Lewes, to help pay for the infrastructure,” he said.
Customers in the potential service area may be able to hook up to propane services prior to completion of the gas line, as a preliminary step toward natural gas service, according to Holden.
Chesapeake is applying for a $6 million grant from the Delaware Department of State that became available in May for natural gas infrastructure expansion, Holden said. The company’s proposal includes a smaller project in Milford and the Dagsboro-to-Millville extension.
Holden said the line that runs to Lewes was made possible by the presence of three large corporate customers, including Beebe, Allen Harim and SBI Pharma. Since that gas main was run, Chesapeake has added about 1,700 residential customers along the path of that gas main.
The lack of large customers east of Route 113 from Dagsboro has been an obstacle to running a main in that direction, Holden said. Now that Beebe is due to start construction on Route 17 in the coming months, a gas main is closer to becoming a reality in Millville, he said.
A decision on the state grant is expected at the end of July, Holden said.
“The grant could provide enough money to put that gas main in,” he said, adding that the company may foot part of the cost based on customers signing up in the first year of construction. “A few thousand” homes could be served by the proposed 6- or 8-inch main, he said.
The permit process would take about 12 to 18 months, with completion of the project within two to two and a half years, Holden said.
In order for them to serve customers in Millville, the Town would have to grant Chesapeake a franchise, so those discussions would follow in the coming months, if the project is to move forward, he said.
If the grant application is not successful but the Town does approve a franchise for Chesapeake, an alternative to the gas main project could be something called a “tube trailer” system — a small distribution system wherein natural gas is put in pressurized tubes and brought to an area on a tractor trailer, then released into a pipe system that serves a specific area.
“That’s a tool that we use to get a distribution system started to generate enough use that then it supports the economics of bringing a natural gas main in,” Holden said.
In the long term, Chesapeake hopes to bring natural gas from Dagsboro to Millville and then south to the Maryland state line, he said.
Chesapeake, which supplies natural gas to the Ocean Pines community west of Ocean City, Md., hopes to eventually come up to the Maryland-Delaware border from Ocean City, Holden said. All of those pieces, are included in a plan “that’s probably a 10-year expansion plan,” he said.
The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission this week deferred voting on a revision to the site plan for Bonky’s Ice Cream & Snoballs.
The business is looking to move east from its current location across from Atlantic Auto on Route 26, just inside Millville town limits, to 44 Atlantic Avenue, on the other side of Route 26 in Ocean View, in a small building behind Ocean View Deli.
During the hearing on June 21, Jim Lober, P.E., director of engineering for Kercher Engineering, provided comments to the commission regarding the application.
Loeber said that, while there was a survey provided to the Town in May, he believed they also needed items such as providing the required parking calculation for each existing use, along with providing a separate calculation for the proposed use of the dwelling at the rear of the property.
A grading plan would need to be provided (and ADA compliant), he said, and would need to receive approval from the Sussex Conservation District for any proposed disturbances and/or additional impervious cover.
Loeber also commented that he would like the Town to be provided with an assessment of the existing gross floor area on-site, including the specific uses and the total gross floor area associated with each.
Loeber said the last application that came to the Town for the “relatively large site” was in 1988.
“Without detail of what is exactly out there, we can’t really pass judgement,” he said.
Keith Gordon, who owns Bonky’s with his wife, Bonnie, said they had submitted the plans and were told they were required to have handicapped parking spots.
“I felt we did that,” he said. “We’re going to do everything by code… Our first job is to keep everyone safe — both our employees, customers, everyone. We sell ice cream, but we’re here to make smiles. We’d like to do that here in Ocean View.”
Gordon asked how many spots would be required for them to open on the parcel, to which Loeber said the applicant would have to check the code.
“You need to have somebody sit down with your plan and the code and say, ‘There are 3,500 square feet of office use, there are 2,200 square feet of restaurant, there are 1,700 square feet of an ice cream parlor’; and then go through the code and say, ‘3,500 square feet of office requires 52 parking spaces, 2,200 square feet of restaurant requires 15 more parking spaces…’ That would be submitted along with your site plan.”
Gordon voiced his displeasure at not being informed of the written letter Loeber had provided to the Town with his notes regarding the application.
“I don’t know why we didn’t know this so that we could’ve been better prepared for this … meeting,” he said.
“Unfortunately, that is part of the risk you take on when you do one of these things on your own, and I understand,” said Town Solicitor Eric Hacker. “It’s not your job to know the zoning code. If you choose to undertake a zoning matter, the fact that you’re not well-versed in the zoning code does not exempt you from the requirements… We can’t go off of what you think it’s going to look like at the end of the day.”
Loeber said that, because the applicant is proposing to change the use of existing square footage, that kicks in code requirements to ensure for the proper flow of traffic and impervious cover and “all that goes along with newly proposed use.”
Loeber added that, because the building is part of a larger parcel, with other buildings in use, it brings the entire parcel’s code compliance into question.
David Long, Sr., who has owned the property since the 1950s, said it has been continuously occupied by renters for the last 35 years at least.
“We’ve always gone by the rules and regulations. We’ve always paid all the taxes and fees. And we’ve never seen anything like this in our lives,” said Long of the Town’s process. “I’d like to be out of Ocean View, to tell you the truth, when I see things like this… I don’t agree with what you’re doing.”
“This commission has no authority to change the rules,” responded Hacker.
The commission voted 5-0 to table the application until the Town is asked to place it back on the agenda.
“We’re too late for the season,” said Gordon. “We’re a three-month business.”
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Barb Clair will be hosting a Patriotic Sing-a-long to spark the celebrations.
The annual event will be held in Wesley Hall at Millville United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 30, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The church, located at 36405 Club House Road in Millville, is encouraging all members of the community to attend.
Those gathered will sing patriotic songs with the choir, including the “Pledge of Allegiance,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
“I do a tribute to the Armed Forces,” Clair said. “I play all the Armed Forces songs. We have all the veterans stand up and usually say what branch they are from.”
In addition to singing, there will be a skit to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” prizes and refreshments.
The sing-a-long began as a small gathering in Clair’s home to celebrate the holiday and has since increased to an audience of about 50 to 60 community members.
Clair said she sees the musical event as a way to give back to her fellow parishioners, who she calls her church family, as well as to serve the larger community.
“I just get rewarded and blessed from doing it. It’s fun, and I love getting together with people,” Clair said.
Clair also hosts a Christmas sing-a-long at the church and sing-a-longs at the CHEER Senior Center and Brandywine Senior Living.
For more information about the Patriotic Sing-a-long, contact Barb Clair at (717) 575 -9303.
While the May election caused some shuffling on the South Bethany Town Council, the resulting vacancy has now been filled.
James “Jimmy” Oliver was appointed to serve the remaining year on Tim Saxton’s term, which Saxton cut short when he won the 2018 mayoral election.
“I’ve always wanted to help and support the town. … It’s time to give back,” Oliver told the Coastal Point.
Per South Bethany law, in the event of a vacancy, the town council must appoint a new member to fill the term’s remainder. After Oliver and others submitted their bios for consideration, the council unanimously accepted the mayor’s nomination on June 11 to appoint Oliver, who was to be sworn in at the June 28 meeting at 3 p.m. (Election winner Wayne Schrader also had not been sworn in for his council seat yet.)
Like many South Bethany property owners, Oliver is still a part-time resident, living mostly in Great Falls, Va., with his wife, Maryann. They have two daughters in their early 20s.
Asked about his leadership style, Oliver said, “Collaborative leadership. I believe in getting everybody’s input. I think Tim Saxton is going to be that kind of leader.”
Although he has not served on any municipal boards or committees, “I was an accountant, so I bring a strong finance background, budgeting background, operations background,” Oliver said, plus “strong organizational skills.”
Oliver said he brings technological know-how and ideas for South Bethany to utilize tech a little better. For instance, the Cat Hill neighborhood has been discussing and debating the heavy cut-through traffic. Oliver suggested the municipality request that the Waze GPS navigation software company remove South Bethany roads from their overflow traffic routes. (He said he’s seen this done in Virginia towns.)
“We can change that, and it’s no cost. It won’t solve the problem,” but it’s a start, Oliver said.
Oliver and his wife have owned property in town since 1997, first on S. 8th Street, the existing house from which he said they donated to a Dagsboro family in need. They built their current house in 2014 on Logan Street.
Oliver’s been visiting the area since childhood, as his parents both vacationed and purchased land there. Today, his parents, Dick and Margaret Oliver, live fulltime in South Bethany, both involved in Town committees.
Oliver said he likes South Bethany because “It’s not a long distance from home… It’s quiet. You can find a place on the beach to sit!”
As for the biggest challenge — “I think it’s managing the growth west of here, managing the traffic coming from the west, because it’s substantial, and Sussex County hasn’t really kept up the roads or improvements to be able to handle that amount of traffic.”
Now serving as the only “ocean-side” council member — the only one who lives east of Route 1 (Coastal Highway) — Oliver said he still carries perspectives from both sides of the highway, since his parents live along the western canals. So, he says beach access is also an important issue now.
“I think it’s important for the people on the canal side to also have beach access,” Oliver said, adding, “In some respects, the ocean side would like more access to the canal side, too.”
Within the town, he said he’d like South Bethany to be “keeping up with the times as it relates to the technology,” plus better cable and Wi-Fi capability.
“I am dedicated to the town. My parents are here, my kids are here, I’ve got cousins that live here year-round,” Oliver said. “I’m dedicated to keeping it the best little town.”
Originally from Rockville, Md., much of Oliver’s life has centered around the Washington, D.C., region.
“I retired about two years ago,” Oliver said. “I was a healthcare executive for a government contractor, so … we satisfied government contract requirements for healthcare work.”
Since retiring from analytical firm, he still does a handful of healthcare consulting each week.
He does other volunteer work, including now studying to become a Master Gardener in Virginia. That is a mostly volunteer program that requires three years of training and coursework. Through a college extension office, Master Gardeners are trained volunteer educators who teach the public about good and sustainable gardening.
“It takes patience. You have to know a little bit about the soil and the environment,” said Oliver, who dove into training to escape from his previous “hit-or-miss” gardening experiments.
Constituents may contact him with the town council information listed online at www.southbethany.org/index.php?content=15 or by calling Town Hall at (302) 539-3653.
Changes for 2018
The South Bethany Town Council has also aimed for — literally — better public hearing, responding in part to requests from South Bethany Property Owners Association.
First, Town Hall has a new microphone and recording system to improve audio access for everyone.
The challenge was getting a system that both transmitted and recorded voices in the meeting room and via telephone when council members participate by remote access. Past audio quality was so poor that council members would frequently abstain from votes because they couldn’t actually hear the discussion.
The SBPOA donated about half of the $7,800 price tag to make that happen.
“We’re very thankful,” Saxton said.
(Someday, SBPOA leaders hope that the public could hear meetings live via telephone.)
During public comments, the public will need to speak from a podium microphone, also, so their comments are heard clearly. Currently, audience members often speak from their seats.
Meeting times will also return to a daytime/nighttime schedule. The town council voted to hold regular council meetings on the second Friday of each month at 6 p.m. and workshops on the fourth Thursdays at 2 p.m.
The goal is to make Friday nights more accessible to weekend visitors and to break up Thursdays a little less. (This year, the council had tried 2 p.m. for all meetings, to increase consistency and reduce overtime hours for the Town staff).
Rules of procedure are unchanged, but Saxton said, “It’s going to be my objective to change the workshop format,” which he said was originally intended for work, not voting.
“I’m not going to really be in favor of doing a lot of voting in workshops,” said Saxton, adding that he prefers to slow down the process (in addition to the required three readings for ordinance changes) especially when voting to spend money.
While Saxton won the public race for mayor, the council itself selected other leadership positions on June 11: Mayor Pro-Tem Sue Callaway, Treasurer Don Boteler and Secretary Carol Stevenson.
Committee chairpersons are Callaway for Community Enhancement Committee; Boteler for Budget & Finance Committee; Frank Weisgerber for Canal Water Quality Committee; property owner and former councilman John Fields for Charter & Code Committee, which still has one open position; Stevenson for Communications & Public Relations Committee; and Wayne Schrader as council liaison to the Planning Commission.
The council tweaked committee guidelines to clarify that only citizens of the town may be voting members of a committee, which allows non-citizens to participate as dedicated members, but not decision-makers.
When is a firework not a firework?
Let’s take that question apart, shall we? Things may have gotten a bit murky in the past month, with the newly legalized sale of some types of pyrotechnic devices in Delaware.
Those colorful displays popping up in area stores, with all manner of sparklers or other things on sticks that light up and might even make popping or whistling noises — those are not “fireworks,” at least as far as Delaware law is concerned.
Those items are, however, now legal for sale in Delaware, for the first time. As of May 10, with the passage of House Bill 53, those types of pyrotechnics can be sold for limited periods of time, and may be used on just two days of the year — July 4 and Dec. 31. The items may only be sold during the 30 days prior to each of those dates, and only to people 18 or older.
Under Delaware law, these “non-fireworks” that are now legal to use on two days of the year include devices that are “wood stick or wire sparklers which produce a shower of sparks upon ignition and which consist of wire or stick coated with not more than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture per item; other hand-held or ground-based sparking devices which are non-explosive and non-aerial, (and) which sometimes produce a crackling or whistling effect…” That includes “snakes” and “glow worms” and smaller ground-based “fountains,” as well as cap guns.
According to current Delaware law, the term “fireworks” applies only to a device that explodes or combusts or detonates or shoots into the air. Some examples of the still-banned fireworks include items labeled as firecrackers, rockets, torpedoes, Roman candles and fire balloons.
A permit is still required to shoot those off, and that process falls under the purview of the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Delaware State Police spokesperson MCpl. Melissa Jaffe said the state police will be patrolling key areas during the Independence Day holiday period, to ensure the newly sparkler-tolerant law is still being followed.
“While firework celebrations are certainly more prevalent this time of year,” Jaffe said, “DSP will remain vigilant, and enforcement actions will be taken when necessary.”
“The Delaware State Police’s main concern is the safety and welfare of our citizens,” she said.
While the website of the Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal as of June 27 did link to the updated section of state law (Title 16, Chapter 69), the site’s statement on fireworks had not been updated and still listed sparklers as illegal, stating that only regulated public fireworks displays are permitted.
Reiterating the stringent warnings the office has traditionally sent out annually before the Fourth of July holiday, their statement on fireworks still points out that fireworks of any kind carry some danger.
“They are as unpredictable as the weather,” the statement says.
Sparklers, for example, burn as hot as 2,000 degrees F, and are the most common source of fireworks-related injuries, especially for kids. Fireworks-caused fires also remain a concern for the area’s firefighters.
The new Delaware regulations allowing limited use and sale of ground-type and hand-held pyrotechnics expire on May 10, 2021. Delaware now joins 40 other states in which these types of devices are legal. Massachusetts is now the only state in which all consumer fireworks are illegal, while Illinois, Ohio and Vermont permit only sparklers and similar novelty items.
So for those who have already purchased the things in those colorful boxes now greeting customers at entrances to many local stores — yes, they’re legal. Yes, this is new. And, yes, they’re only legal to use on July 4. The next chance to use them will be New Year’s Eve.
Happy Independence Day, Delaware! Let’s be careful out there.
With a long strand of beaches ready to celebrate the biggest holiday of the summer, the Fourth of July, the real question is, how and where is everyone going to celebrate?
In order to continue the festivities as long as possible, events are spread throughout the few days preceding, and the big day itself.
To start the celebration, Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will gather people for Stars & Stripes on June 30. With free admission, the public is welcome to Cupola Park from 6 to 9:30 p.m., for food trucks, vendors, activities, music and a big end to the night, with a fireworks show.
The next day, celebrators can drive on over to South Bethany for the annual Fourth of July Boat Parade. For the fourth year straight, South Bethany will celebrate Independence Day alongside their canals, watching a special parade taking place in the water.
Residents of South Bethany, including former mayor Kathy Janowski, started the tradition four years ago, and it has been a popular event ever since. The Town of South Bethany has sponsored the event the last two years and handed the reins over to the South Bethany Property Owners’ Association and Joe Mormondo this year.
To kick off the first day of July, South Bethany home owners can sit on their dock to see 20 or more boats parade through the canals of their town. Visitors are more than welcome to view the parade from the ends of the streets. Those wishing to participate can submit their boat to Joe Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, South Bethany address and phone number, along with the type and length of boat being used.
Viewers should make sure to stay to the very end, when kayaks and canoes follow the end of the parade!
Participants should also be sure to decorate their boats for the 500 to 1,000 residents and visitors and to possibly win an award for most patriotic, funniest or most original. Prizes have been contributed by McCabe’s Gourmet, Just Hooked, Perucci’s and Café on 26.
The parade will start at 4:30 p.m. in Jefferson Creek and will use a follow-the-leader style through the canals, using the same course as in years past. Awards and refreshments will be given out at town hall following the event, at 7:30 p.m.
Instead of its traditional date of the last Sunday in June, the Firecracker 5K will be held on July 1 this year. Starting in downtown Bethany, at 7:15 a.m., runners will race to raise money for the Fourth of July Parade Committee and the fireworks display. To register for the race, visit www.bethanybeach5k.com.
Bear Trap Dunes will host its annual Independence Day Parade for the public on Tuesday, July 3, at 9 a.m., in front of the Pavilion. There will be a steel drum band out of Baltimore on hand, “The first band we’ve had in the parade,” explained Bear Trap’s Bethany Beck. Following the parade, a special Kids’ Day celebration will take place at the Pavilion from noon to 3 p.m. The Kid’s Day event is for residents and renters of Bear Trap Dunes.
Bethany Beach will be hosting the nation’s birthday party on July 4, featuring a day of events with a theme of “Happy Birthday, America!”
Bethany’s Fourth of July Parade Committee has been meeting since November to put together the event, and at noon on July 4, bands, floats, cyclists and many residents and businesses will join together for their 34th hometown parade.
Bands participating include four marching bands, six bands on trucks, and many returning bands and floats that have become fan favorites, including the horse-drawn carriage provided by Circle C Outfit.
The committee is always looking for new floats to participate in the roughly two-hour parade, from both individuals and businesses. Float registration begins at 9 a.m. on the day of the event and ends at 11 a.m. A simple registration form can be found at the registration table on Central Boulevard.
In order to qualify, the float must be able to fit within a single lane, hit no overhead wires, be able to easily turn corners, be no wider than 8.5 feet and no taller than 13.5 feet. It also can be no longer than 40 feet (60 feet with trailers).
People looking to volunteer can register ahead of time by contacting Julie Malewski or Bruce Frye at (302) 539-8011.
Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade T-shirts are on sale now, while supplies last, during concerts at the bandstand. The unique shirts are created each year, promoting the theme of the parade and raising funds for it. They’re also known for being collectors’ items for each year’s parade.
Short-sleeved youth shirts cost $10, short-sleeved adult shirts cost $15, and this year, A+ Printing has provided a limited supply of long-sleeved shirts for $25, while supplies last.
To close the night, Bethany will have its own fireworks show, with the exact location to be announced, and party-rock group Love Seed Mama Jump will be playing on the bandstand for the summer concert series. To start off the concert, at 7:15 p.m. on the bandstand will be the announcement of float winners from the day’s parade. Prizes are provided by area merchants. (Keep an eye on the Town of Bethany Beach website to find out where they will be firing off their fireworks, to get the best seat.) Upwards of 40,000 people are expected to join in the July 4 celebration with the Bethany community.
Even those who don’t head to Bethany Beach for the Fourth this year can expect to see fireworks, as surrounding towns and communities will be firing off their shows, including Dewey at 9 p.m. and downtown Ocean City, Md., on Caroline Street just a half-hour later. Also going off at 9:30 will be the uptown Ocean City fireworks at Northside Park, at 125th Street and the Bay. For those too eager to wait until Wednesday, at 9:15 p.m. on July 1, a fireworks show will be launched south of Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach.
Seaford-based Super Late Model racing legend Ricky Elliott shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and said, “I didn’t have anything for him.”
The him he was referring to was Dale Hollidge.
Hollidge had just denied Elliott a win on Georgetown Speedway’s high-banked, half-mile clay oval last Friday night. Not only did Hollidge, a resident of Mechanicsville, Md., deny Elliott the win, Hollidge also pocketed the $3,500 purse offered as part the speedway’s hosting of the “Clash for Cash” Super Late Model traveling series.
Earlier this year, Georgetown Speedway joined other Mid-Atlantic racetracks hosting the Clash for Cash races, with large guaranteed purses that include a $3,500 share to the Super Late Model winner. Two more confirmed dates are on the 2018 Clash for Cash schedule. Their next stop will be at Bedford Speedway on Friday, Aug. 10. That Saturday, Aug. 11, they’ll end their season at Hagerstown Speedway.
In last Friday’s 35-lap Super Late Model race, the early laps were fast and furious. From the pole, Hollidge hustled into the early lead and was never seriously challenged on his way to the checkers for his second Georgetown win of the season. Farther back, Millsboro native Donald Lingo Jr. was fighting his way to third. Lingo secured third and tried closing in on Elliott, who was busy trying to run down Hollidge in the final laps.
Then, with just two laps left, the caution flag waved. When racing resumed, Hollidge rocketed away from the field, leaving the lead pack evenly spread out behind him and the rest of the field fighting for positions.
“We had a really good car tonight, and we led all 35 laps,” Hollidge said of his Rocket Chassis powered by a Super Build Hershey motor. ”I’ve got to thank my crew for working really hard on the car all this week. Everything went well for us. I don’t know what the deal was — our tire choice or something, but our car was just great tonight. I want to thank all of our sponsors: Dennis Honey, Rocket Racing Chassis, Integra Shocks and QE1, Hoosier Racing Tires and Henry’s. We need them all.”
Georgetown native Ross Robinson and Andy Haus rounded out the top five.
Robinson said he had wanted to come away with two wins. While he did fall halfway short of that goal, he did win the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car feature, taking the checkered flag over C.J. Schemer, Jamie Eichotz, Charlie Moore and Freddy Brightbill for the top five.
“I started fifth and had to work my way up there,” Robinson described. “It was a fun race with C.J. in it. Now, we’ve got to go back and work on my Super Car. Hopefully, we’ll have some luck there, too.”
Vintage Sportsman racers competed with them. Jamie Eicholz was the race winner.
“We started ninth. Just rode a few laps, avoided a couple of little tangles, and the next thing I knew, I was in third,” Eicholz described. “I just got on it from there. The car’s handling really good. It’s a 602-crate motor with a two-barrel, so its tongue is hanging out, but she gets the job done.”
Five other support classes also competed.
After 20 laps of feature racing in the Rush Late Model class, the checkered flag waved for Georgetown local Matt Hill. Amanda Whaley was second under the final flag. Trailing Whaley in the top five were local David Pettyjohn, Billy Thompson and Zac Weller.
“I just stayed forward and stayed focused, hit my marks in the corners, and it worked,” Hill said of his second Georgetown win of the season. “Winning $1,000, that does it all.”
Piloting a ’57 Chevy chassis powered by a powerful 602 sealed crate motor, Matt White won the Little Lincoln Stock Car Club feature, with last time’s winner Kirk Lawson chasing him under the checkers.
“I started on the pole and fell back a little bit, came back and ended up winning,” White said after the win. “I want to thank my dad — he owns the cars. We had three of them in the field tonight. So we had fun tonight for sure. The car handled great. We changed tires right before we went out, and hit the setup, and things went pretty well for us. This is the first time I’ve won one of these.”
Following Lawson in the top five were Landy Adams, Jordon Herbert and Brian Piercy.
Laurel resident Dale Elliott led the Delaware Super Truck racers across the stripe. Following in the top five were Noah Vincent, David Smith, Kirk Miles Jr. and Corey Sapp.
“I started ninth and, somehow, I started third in the next two cautions,” Elliott remarked. “I don’t know how it happened, and then I won. I guess you have to get lucky once in a while.”
Jerry Barker, of Bloxom, Va., beat Geoff Carey to the Delmarva Charger’s checkers. Robert Paczkowski ran third, and was followed by Chris Martinez and Ashley Merritt.
This week, Georgetown Speedway will present the Monster Truck Racing League “Monster Truck Madness” featuring BigFoot, Tough Trucks and more. Gates open at 4 p.m., and a Pit Party will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The Monster Truck Madness begins at 7 p.m.
(Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a series of previews of the homes that will be on display during the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to be held July 25-26 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
After visiting a North Bethany community for many years, the owners of this home eventually purchased there in 2016 and began planning a home that would comfortably serve multiple generations of their family, completing it just in time for this year’s tour.
The 4,500-square-foot house incorporates a modern mix of industrial, coastal and organic elements to create a transitional twist on the traditional gabled beach cottage. A dramatic floating oak staircase ascends from the entry to reveal a towering bank of windows designed to flood the home with natural light from the southern exposure.
The upper level is designed to maximize ocean views and cross ventilation, with a 16-foot wide bank of folding doors that open the main living area to a screened porch and adjacent deck. A vaulted ceiling with exposed ductwork and wooden rafters tops the great room, adding to the bright and airy open floor plan.
Reclaimed woods and woven textures in the furnishing soften the industrial elements. A master suite with a walk-through closet of custom cabinetry sits at the back of that level, capped by an ocean-view balcony.
The entire middle level is dedicated to houseguests, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study, laundry and a communal sitting room anchored by a custom wood-slat wall.
This is just one of the properties that will be open to those who purchase tickets for the 27th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. Volunteers are still needed to serve as hostesses and hosts in this year’s 10 tour homes. Anyone who can give some of their time on either one or both of the tour days is being asked to send an email to email@example.com or call (302) 537-5828.
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.
I was furious. I was several days into a crummy mood, and I had just slept through the meditation class that was supposed to make me feel less crummy.
I had killed my phone earlier that week, overloading the last of its storage with concert videos and then watching the battery skydive to 0 percent. Suddenly, I’m without an important work tool: my camera, audio recorder and instant fact-checker. That awoke other frustrations, and I was in a funk.
I needed calm thinking. What better than to learn meditation — from a live person, not just a YouTube video.
Well. Nice try, you dope. You overstayed your trip to Sleeptown.
So now I had my foot on the gas, grumpily driving toward the Bayside Institute Wellness Week, where my meditation class was now ending.
This inaugural Wellness Week at the West Fenwick community was June 20 to 24, offering daily lectures, workshops and health screenings. Topics were wide-ranging, including physician’s chats, healthy cooking, yoga classes, natural remedies for pain relief and the Kelly Noonan Gores documentary “Heal.”
On this day I had chosen the mental health avenue: a good old-fashioned meditation class, followed by a Beebe Healthcare lecture on the impacts of love and support in the healing process.
Beebe Healthcare’s nine-week Dean Ornish Program tackles the roots of heart disease with four major lifestyle changes: fitness, nutrition, stress management and love/support.
Everyone knows that to avoid heart disease — you exercise, reduce stress and stop eating trash food. But when a person is surrounded by love and support, it means faster recovery times and less likelihood of cardiac issues, despite genetic predisposition.
“It all goes together, the mind and the body,” said Kate Adamek, who guides the love/support group, which is a quarter of the Ornish program.
At Bayside, we got 45 minutes of her Cliff’s Notes on empathy and communication.
That means connecting to people. Social isolationism isn’t about people being alone — it’s about being an emotional hermit. It’s the person who keeps quiet about his challenges because it’s “personal” or “nobody’s business.”
“I think people are frightened of emotions,” Adamek said. “If we tell ourselves not to feel something, you’re not going to feel anything.”
Rather than suppress, you have to recognize the pain and allow yourself to experience it, which totally bites (and is what my mother would call “having a good cry”). When we suppress anger, it builds until bubbling over.
The key is to express anger or sadness in a healthy way. Yell into a pillow. Rip a magazine or phonebook in half. Take a boxing class to beat up a real punching bag, rather than turning that verbal or physical rage against a human punching bag.
“It’s rage and anger that’s stuffed down that has a negative impact on our cardiac health,” Adamek said.
“We are not our feelings. Our feelings are something we have,” Adamek added. “They will pass, no matter how hard they are. It might take some time. … When a feeling becomes long-term, we call it a mood.”
She compared emotion to a 2-year old: Don’t let it drive the car. But listen if it needs a pit-stop, since you can’t contain a problem forever. Eventually, there will be a big mess.
“To manage our emotions, we have to know what they are,” said Adamek.
So, we practiced identifying our emotions. Sitting quietly with eyes closed, we identified all the topics on our mind that day, and then all the emotions we felt.
Afterward, we opened our eyes and shared the emotions. Personally, I was simultaneously angry (cell phone, oversleeping, various failings) and excited (my friends and I were going out that night). I envied the man who simply felt “a sense of wonder” and assumed him to be a lucky vacationer. But maybe he just had a grandchild. Maybe he had just spotted a pod of dolphins for the first time.
Next, the Ornish support group will also share why they feel their emotions, and then offer each other a chance to empathize.
The listener doesn’t have to agree, or even completely understand. What counts is that they respond honestly: “I’m listening, and I appreciate you telling me. That sounds upsetting.”
The goal is trying to connect and understand the feelings running underneath the situation.
It reminded me of a sympathy card I once bought a friend in elementary school: “I don’t understand what you’re going through. But I understand a little, and I care a lot.”
Unexpectedly, I found myself reaching for those words a day later, when my classmate’s husband passed away. Forget the disappointment of losing your phone, photos or work notes. Imagine losing the love of your life instead.
In the nine-week Ornish program, the cohort builds intimacy quickly. As they listen to each other, they learn to judge themselves less. That’s important. We’re our own harshest critics.
Afterward, I walked through the rain to my next event, still trying to forgive myself all my faults (they’re easy to list when I’m in a bad-enough mood).
I’m not perfect, which is disappointing. I barely exercise, and I don’t eat enough leafy greens (as a Beebe nurse quickly deduced during a bone density test at the afternoon health fair). But if we humans were given a capacity for love and empathy, we have to use it — for each other and for ourselves.
The doors to St. Martha’s Episcopal Church opened at 5:30 on Tuesday night, welcoming international student workers to Bethany Beach. More than 100 students filled the social hall to eat, meet new people and to be introduced to American culture.
Martha Fields began the event 13 years ago, when she learned that some international student workers were not being welcomed and were being treated poorly. She said she “saw a need and stepped in.”
Fields was quick to say that she could not have put the event together alone. Donations from businesses all over Bethany occupied the tables around the perimeter of the social hall. Food was donated by Bethany Beach Diner, Bethany Blues, the Blue Crab, Charlie K’s BBQ, Dunkin’ Donuts, Giant Food of Millville, Mac’s Catering, McCabe’s Gourmet Market, Ocean View Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Penguin Diner, Royal Farms of Ocean View and Subway, and by parishioners of the church.
The menu consisted of traditional American foods, such as hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue and pasta salad.
Door prizes that included local logo wear and food were donated by 3 Blonde Bakers, Al Casapulla’s Subs & Steaks, Armand’s Pizza by the Sea, Ba Roo’s Ice Cream, Bethany Beach Goods & Rentals, Fox’s Pizza Den, Made by Hand International Co-Op, McDonald’s of Bethany, ResortQuest Sea Colony Gift Shop, Taco Taco and the Bethany- Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.
Also on hand were Bethany Beach police, giving out and installing free bike safety lights, South Bethany officers giving out free safety vests, and free sunscreen from Walgreens and CVS.
Many people were there to talk to and welcome the students, including a Delaware State Police trooper who was once an international student worker herself. When she was a student, she said, she attended the picnic and never looked back. Since then, she has graduated from Delaware Technical Community College and become a state trooper.
Every year, Fields adds pieces to the picnic that were suggested in years past. Last year, a game of chess was added, leading to the 1st Annual Chess Challenge. The 2nd Annual Chess Challenge will be held this summer. This year, American magazines were added for students to take home, read and bring back for another.
Also donated to the event was a trip to Dickens Parlor Theater for a magic show, and both Bethany Beach Surf Shop and Coastal Kayak donated free stand-up paddleboard lessons. One of the most exciting events for the students is a trip to tour University of Delaware’s Engineering Labs and NASA’s Wallops Island Visitors Center.
Even with all of the donations, there is one more thing that the international students look forward to the most: home-cooked meals.
Three years ago, Fields and her husband, John, hosted a dinner party for a small group of students. Since then, she has encouraged parishioners and volunteers to do the same. Many invite students over for dinner, where they just talk, in order to enhance the student’s English, and some people meet the student at the Bethany Beach bandstand and watch a show and have ice cream, so they can experience American culture together.
Anna Chernegova is in her second summer in Bethany and worked at the church last year. Originally from Russia, she said that she loves coming to the picnic and being able to meet new people from different countries, whose backgrounds differ so greatly from her own.
Martha Fields said she is often asked, “Why do you do this?” For her, she said, the answer is simple: “We just open the doors and feed them. … They deserve to feel welcome in our country.”