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    Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : Dara Callaway was named Teacher of the Year at East Millsboro Elementary School.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : Dara Callaway was named Teacher of the Year at East Millsboro Elementary School.“It’s almost like an alien traveling from outer space and you have to show them how to do everything,” said kindergarten teacher Dara Callaway.

    That is how the East Millsboro Elementary School Teacher of the Year for 2018 likes to describe the transition her students go through from the beginning of their kindergarten year to the end.

    “At the beginning of the school year, it feels like you have so far to go,” Callaway said. “But to take them from basically a blank slate to being able to read and write and have number sense and add and subtract and compare numbers — it’s really amazing.”

    Callaway is in her third year teaching kindergarten at East Millsboro. Before coming to the Indian River School District, she taught in Worcester County, Md., schools for seven years. In Worcester, she taught third grade, both general education and special education; she also taught in the district’s gifted program, as well as serving as an instructional coach for teachers.

    She made the move to the IRSD because, she said, “I have always liked this district. Everything is about the individual child.”

    Calloway said she was also thinking about where she wanted her own children to attend school; she now has a 6-year-old son going into first grade at East Millsboro, as well as a 1-year-old daughter.

    “Everything is about the individual child” in Indian River schools, Callaway said. For her own children, she said, “I really want a place that balances high expectations and high-quality instruction with a sense of caring and compassion for kids. I feel like this district tries to balance both very well. The individual child is never forgotten about.”

    When Callaway came to East Millsboro, she said, “I was a little bit nervous, because I had never taught such a young age group. But I think that the really awesome thing about teaching kindergarten is that you get to see so much growth in a year. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, because you literally are responsible for not only their entrance into school and how they perceive school, but you’re also responsible for teaching them how to read. That’s a pretty big deal.”

    Callaway teaches in an inclusion classroom, in which special-education students make up about 40 percent of her 18 students. She has a full-time paraprofessional and, this year, for the first time, an intern.

    “That was a great experience,” Callaway said of her intern, a Wilmington University student. “It really benefitted the kids a lot, and it was really awesome to learn from someone who is a little bit younger and tech-savvy,” she said.

    Having the two aides in her classroom allowed Callaway to meet the varied needs of her students, she said.

    “Every child has the same goal, essentially, but the way that they get there is very different.”

    Although Callaway said some opponents of Common Core, which is the standard used by the Indian River School District, feel it sets standards that are too high, she feels differently.

    “You can look at it as we’re expecting too much of them,” she said. “Or, you can look at it as, ‘Wow, look at everything they’re able to learn at such a young age that we never knew before.’ Yes, you’re holding them to a higher expectation, but they can do it,” Callaway said, referring to all of her students, including those in special education.

    “Every child is perfectly able. They’re very able. I see it every day,” she said.

    “I’m very high-energy, and that’s why I love kindergarten so much,” Callaway said. “It is high-energy. It’s very intense. It’s a lot of change and movement going on. It’s doing something for 10 minutes, and then changing it and doing something else for 10 minutes. But that is part of the beauty of teaching these kids, how fun it is,” she said.

    Callaway said she relishes the challenge of using multiple learning strategies at any given time in her classroom.

    “I feel like, personally, one of my strengths is knowing how to manage a lot going on at one time,” she said. “Speaking honestly, that’s probably why they gave me the class that I have. I feel like that’s one thing that I do pretty well.”

    “It’s structured chaos,” she added. “That’s the beauty of it, though. It’s the best; it really is the best.”

    Callaway has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, with dual certification in general and special education. She also has a master’s degree in educational leadership. While she said she would like to pursue that end of the education career spectrum at some point, she plans to wait till her children are a bit older. Plus, she said, “I want to have a good balance of different experiences before I pursue that.”

    When Callaway had to choose a “platform” once she was selected as East Millsboro’s teacher of the year, she didn’t have to ponder what to pick.

    “What I’m noticing is — depending on what a child has done and experienced and been exposed to before school directly impacts their readiness for school,” she said. Minority and low-income children, in particular, are misrepresented in special education, Callaway said, when the issue is not learning disabilities but lack of early learning opportunities.

    “So, I have a classroom of kids, some of which are fully ready for kindergarten because they’ve already had a curriculum and been to a day school, learned to work within centers. And I have some kids whose families just weren’t aware of what is expected in school in this day and time,” she said.

    “Maybe they stayed home with a grandparent and they didn’t do that much over the summer. That’s OK,” Callaway said, “but what ends up happening is that a lot of those kids that end up coming in not ready” are in certain minority groups and are also from low-income families.

    “What ends up happening,” Callaway said, “is that the school system — and really this is not just an issue here; this is really a national problem — is that we’re giving these students individual education plans and we’re putting them in special education,” she said. “Which, you would think, ‘Well, what’s the problem with that, because they’re getting extra help?’ But the research shows that they never really ‘exit’ from special education,” she said.

    “And what happens is we enable them more,” Callaway continued. “And our standards are lowered for these kids. And I think, if I could change the world, in education, the one thing I would do is I would make preschool mandatory and the resources would be given for every single child. I feel like it’s unfair to have the education bar set ‘here’ when not every family is aware or able to provide these resources to their child to make them ready for school.

    “The research shows if they start behind, they stay behind. That’s really what I see and what I’d like to change. I feel like we need to work with legislators and a lot of people outside of this district if we really want to make a change and make it impactful.

    “If we can fix that problem and get all of these kids coming to school ready, you’re going to see a lot of problems fixed as they get older. But until we fix the problem where they start, it’s not going to get better. It’s a domino-effect,” she said.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Mackie, Ted and Kami Banks Kane recently received their Retailer of the Year award from the magazine ‘Beverage Dynamics’ during a June 4 conference in Denver.Coastal Point • Submitted: Mackie, Ted and Kami Banks Kane recently received their Retailer of the Year award from the magazine ‘Beverage Dynamics’ during a June 4 conference in Denver.Banks Wines & Spirits in Millville has been named a Retailer of the Year for 2018 by the trade publication Beverage Dynamics. The magazine gives top honors to beverage retailers each year, and this year Banks is one of 17 retailers across the country to receive the title.

    Banks opened 15 years ago, under the ownership of Mackie and the late Russell Banks and their children, Ted Banks and Kami Banks Kane. Ted Banks said the family prides itself on customer service above all else.

    “Being owner-operated and hands-on is what sets us apart,” Banks said.

    Kane added that the staff at Banks Wines and Spirit receive training in product knowledge and customer service, and that makes a big difference in store quality. Year-round, the store has 18 employees; in the summer, that expands to 26.

    “We live in the community; we give back to the community; we’re very involved in the community,” Kane said.

    Kane also said the emphasis on customer service means the store is able to provide services such as planning beverage service for weddings and other events. Having Banks help plan what and how much to buy for special events “makes it an easy shopping experience for the customer,” she said.

    While the award is a nice way to celebrate 15 years of service, the family is not resting on its laurels. Plans to expand the store in the coming year are now in full swing. The addition of 3,000 square feet of warehouse space will not only allow for more efficient deliveries and more storage capacity, but will also result in changing the store configuration to double the current retail space, Banks said.

    “It will allow us to really open up our beer section,” Kane said. With the current craft-beer craze, “there are so many new products and so many new packages” to display, she said.

    Banks currently stocks about 3,000 wines and more than 300 different beers.

    Bourbon is also a hot commodity in beverage sales, and Kane said Banks has one of the largest selections of bourbon in Sussex County.

    “It’s really going to make the store so much more efficient,” Banks said of the addition.

    While a beer delivery typically can take as long as four hours with the current space, when the addition is complete, those times will decrease substantially, he said, meaning less time that delivery trucks are taking up parking lot area.

    Groundbreaking on the addition is expected within the coming months, Banks said.

    Banks and Kane received the Retailer of the Year award at a conference in Minneapolis on June 4. Each of the winning businesses is profiled in the May/June issue of Beverage Dynamics magazine.

    “It was really interesting. We learned a lot” at the conference, Banks said. Particularly interesting, he said, was information on using digital technology in stores to set up interactive displays, where customers can learn more about products based on their preferences.

    “We’re always watching the trends to see what’s happening in the industry,” Kane said.

    The pair also pride themselves on their creative displays for different holidays.

    “Especially Halloween,” Banks said. “We really do Halloween big in here.”

    Although businesses may nominate themselves for the yearly award, Banks was nominated by another Delaware liquor retailer, Peco’s Liquor Store in Wilmington.

    Banks Wines & Spirits is located at 38014 Town Center Drive, Millville.

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    Coastal Point photos • Kerin Magill: Members of the Salt Air Gardeners gather at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. Front row, from left: Lois McNamara, Ginny Seaman and Marilyn Chaney; back row, from left: Donald Muller, Cindy Thalmann, Louise Egan, Kathy Nork and Don Egan.Coastal Point photos • Kerin Magill: Members of the Salt Air Gardeners gather at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. Front row, from left: Lois McNamara, Ginny Seaman and Marilyn Chaney; back row, from left: Donald Muller, Cindy Thalmann, Louise Egan, Kathy Nork and Don Egan.The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce office sits on a narrow strip of land just north of Fenwick Island, between the beach and Coastal Highway, and is a hub of activity for visitors and members alike.

    On Wednesday, June 27, however, a different type of activity surrounded the Chamber grounds, as members of the Salt Air Gardeners worked to trim and refresh the plantings and remove weeds on the property.

    Susie Miller, the Chamber’s tourism information manager, said she had contacted the Salt Air Gardeners after seeing their work at the Indian River Life Saving Station.

    “We’re trying to be a showcase to visitors, so they can see how to do native gardens,” Miller said.

    Project co-chair Ginny Seaman said the Chamber gardens had a good base but had gotten “a little bit overgrown” over the years. The focus of the project, Seaman said, will be freshening up the beds around the building and adding more native plants to the ones already there.

    “It will be a multi-year, phased project,” Seaman said, with the initial work being done along the front of the building. The project is being jointly funded by the Salt Air Gardeners and the Chamber. Inland Bays Garden Center is supplying most of the plants for the project “at a good discount,” Seaman said.

    While the gardeners weeded out and trimmed some of the plantings, including yucca and prickly pear, they added such varieties as blue flag iris, butterfly weed, red twig dogwood, ninebark, rose mallow and a particular hardy, butterfly-attracting perennial called gaura. In addition to focusing on native species, the group is focusing on plants that attract butterflies.

    “The nice thing is that there is such a movement toward native plants that there are lots of cultivars available that can be used for landscaping purposes,” Seaman said.

    Coastal Point photos • Kerin Magill: Don Egan puts some muscle into his work as the Salt Air Gardeners began the first phase of a project at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.Coastal Point photos • Kerin Magill: Don Egan puts some muscle into his work as the Salt Air Gardeners began the first phase of a project at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.While the Chamber project is similar in some ways to the group’s work at the Indian River Life Saving Station, there are differences in the site and in the soil, Seaman said. So “it’s a little bit of an experiment to see what works” on the Chamber property, she said. Two advantages to the Chamber site are that the soil is less sandy and the gardens are irrigated.

    “We started planning for this back in the dead of winter,” Seaman said. “It’s been a long time coming to this planting day.”

    Project co-chair Louise Egan said the club, based in the Bay Forest community near Ocean View, is also making plans to work with residents of Brandywine Assisting Living on a garden project at the West Fenwick location, and is currently working with the Barbara K. Brooks Transition Home, a residential facility for female recovering addicts.

    “The women wanted a fruit-and-vegetable garden,” so the group helped them create a garden on the property and teach them how to maintain it, Egan said.

    “We like to work in the community,” she said.

    While the Salt Air Gardeners began as a group interested in creating a potting shed and an herb garden in Bay Forest, Seaman said it is beginning to attract members from outside Bay Forest.

    For more information on the Salt Air Gardeners, visit the club’s website at or contact the club by email at

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    All are welcome to attend a free veterans’ town hall-style meeting to discuss current issues, including healthcare and other vet topics. The forum will be held Tuesday, July 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Selbyville fire hall, 30 N. Main Street, Selbyville.

    The free event is being hosted and moderated by Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett (R-5th), who is also running for U.S. Senate.

    The panel includes Larence Kirby (executive director of Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and a U.S. Air Force vet) and Shawn Greener (a Navy vet, former New Castle County police officer, consultant on counter-terrorism and personal protection, a pastor and talk show host).

    While the event is open to the public, due to space limits, preregistration is encouraged, at

    “My whole goal here is to bring experts in for the conversation that we need to have as a community,” said Arlett, who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and whose father, brother and son have also stepped up to serve. “We are a very big military family, so it’s something that needs to be focused on.

    “I think we have too much talk and not enough action,” Arlett added, so he’ll enter the conversation by inviting the public to discuss issues and ask questions.

    Other veterans’ support organizations are also being invited to set up tables at the July 10 event. To register, groups should contact Phil Drew at or (703) 402-5735.

    Organizers also hope to invite speakers regarding the VA Mission Act of 2018 (S.2372), which was recently signed into law, and the Delaware Veterans Treatment Court, which processes veterans charged with new criminal offenses and those charged with violations of probation.

    Event cosponsors include Arlett, the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Faith & Freedom Coalition Delaware.

    “The veterans’ event certainly is not political. Otherwise, the governor’s appointee would not be coming,” Arlett emphasized.

    However, his campaign logo is on the flyer, and the “Putting the First State First” town hall series echoes his campaign slogan. Also, this six-part series will occur in locations all over the state, not just his Sussex County representative district.

    “These are just very important conversations that we as a state and a community want to have,” said Arlett. “We just want to bring these subject matters to the public and hear from them. I don’t have all the answers.”

    His first forum, on healthcare, was held in New Castle County in June. Future forums topics are to include education, criminal justice reform, economic revitalization and religious liberty, and may also include farming, public safety and immigration.

    Arlett talks vets

    On a grander scale, Arlett is proposing two major reforms.

    The first is to bring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) back under the U.S. Department of Defense.

    The VA is currently a standalone cabinet-level agency. By folding it back into the DOD, Arlett said the VA would be “more of a focus than an afterthought,” with simpler recordkeeping.

    Arlett has also proposed a mentoring program to help vets assimilate back into civilian life.

    He mentioned veterans’ struggles with healthcare and suicide.

    “Military personnel are very prideful. They typically, very calmly, don’t want any help, because they’re very prideful, but they’re also used to a chain of command, to following a system… So I would like to see a required mentoring program, and it does not need to be more government — there are plenty of nonprofits and civilian agencies,” Arlett said.

    “Why not require [vets] to continue to be part of a system, part of chain of command and part of a mentoring program? And the program would aid in employment, in medical, in transition back into civilian world. … Shift them from an active chain of command to a civilian chain of command.”

    The 2018 election

    While Arlett has announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, he has not officially filed for the 2018 election, either for re-election to the Sussex County Council or for a U.S. Senate run.

    Either seat would be contested. So far, John L. Rieley, also a Republican, has filed for County Council District 5. Republican Gene Truono Jr. has officially filed for Senate, as has California resident Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (who filed in at least five other states, to show that the U.S. Constitution’s candidacy laws are vague). Senate candidates also include Democrats Tom Carper (the incumbent) and Kerri Harris, as well as Libertarian Nadine Frost and the Green Party’s Demitri Theodoropoulos.

    This year, July 10 is deadline to register to run in these races, and July 13 is the deadline to withdraw from the election or file for a different office without forfeiting the filing fee.

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    DavisDavisDagsboro resident Colleen Davis has filed to run for state treasurer, as a Democrat. Davis, 38, grew up in Sussex County and returned two years ago with her family.

    “I’ve been involved in a lot of humanitarian efforts of different kinds. For the last few years — and maybe a lot of people feel similar — I started to see a lot of changes in government that didn’t really align with my values.

    “I knew I could continue to act personally in my own community, but there’s a certain point where you want to step in” and serve the broader community, Davis said.

    To Davis, the office of state treasurer seems a good fit. She said she began to consider it after a fundraiser at which she was telling her own story, and the story of her family — which she now tells on her campaign website.

    Davis’ childhood started out without a care, in a large suburban Baltimore family. Then her father became ill, and she and her seven siblings learned that “life is hard, and it can turn on a dime” she said. Davis recalls watching her dollhouse being sold at auction, along with other family belongings, after her father’s business partner left for Canada with the firm’s money.

    Davis, who is running unopposed, will face Republican incumbent Kenneth Simpler in this year’s election. She said she feels that her communication skills and life experience make her a better fit for the job.

    She said people who know Simpler have told her as much, citing their feeling that “it’s really difficult to negotiate anything or collaborate on anything” with him and that, unlike Davis, he “doesn’t understand what it’s like to need a pension or a benefits package.”

    A recent move by Simpler and Gov. John Carney that would force legislators to limit spending in years of strong economy, saving it for leaner years, was rejected by Democrats in both chambers of the state legislature at the close of this year’s legislative session. Davis said she agreed with that move, calling the proposed “budget-smoothing” amendment “a little bit of overreach” by Simpler and Carney. “Putting a set-aside fund in the hands of the state treasurer is not exactly a good idea,” she said.

    While Delaware’s finances are ranked 19th in the nation — and fourth in the nation on credit issues — the state’s rank at 37th in the nation for short-term stability is concerning, Davis said.

    “I think we can do better than that.”

    Davis, who works as a consultant for 2.0 Healthcare, said her work with large hospital groups across the country has given her valuable experience in seeking solutions that work for corporations, as well as the communities they serve.

    In general, Davis said, her negotiating skills would hold her in good stead as state treasurer.

    “Bringing people to the table when they’re on opposite ends,” she said, “I’ve been able to do that. If we’re going to bring more stability, that requires being able to convey to multiple parties that we’re speaking the same language,” Davis said.

    Throughout her life, Davis said, she has been inspired by her family, from her grandmother’s involvement with the NAACP to her parents’ founding of a school to enhance the workforce skills of Delaware residents. Having the support of her parents, Rosemary and Bill Carroll, has meant the world to her, she said.

    Davis herself has worked in disaster relief, including ongoing efforts in Haiti, among other humanitarian projects.

    She said her parents’ values have always informed the directions her life has taken, regardless of whether they’re in the same political party.

    “They’ve always been champions of mine,” Davis said. “Whenever something seemed insurmountable, seemed like ‘There’s no way I can do this,’” she said, “they always said, ‘Push on.”

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    Time travel may be impossible, but there are other methods to visit the past. One way is through artifacts, such as coins.

    Coins from various countries and eras, circa 500 2015, will be exhibited during the annual South Delaware Coin Show, which will be held in the Bingo Hall at American Legion Post 28 in Millsboro on Saturday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Hundreds of coin collectors are expected to gather for the event. Some will make the short drive from surrounding areas, such as Georgetown, Lewes and Bethany Beach, while others will travel longer distances, from D.C. and Glen Burnie, Md.

    There will be 15 dealers, including Crown Jewel Coins & Currencies and RNH Collectibles.

    Jeff Glase, the founder of the Southern Delaware Coin Club and retired logistics analyst, is organizing the event. His collection is 45 years in the making and is worth more than $100,000. He has collected international currencies since living in West Germany. Now, he owns 2,500 pieces of paper money from around the world and 3,000 foreign coins — some dating back to 460 B.C. He also owns two pieces of currency from the Civil War.

    “One is a $50 and one is $100, and they’re certified. They’re real ones. I’ll part with them for about $500 — just those two,” Glase said.

    But what is his most-prized possession?

    “I got a set of coins — it’s a four-coin set that I am sitting on. If I ever, ever have to sell anything, that would be the last thing I sell,” Glase said. “That is a 10-, a 25-, a 50- and a 100-dollar platinum set. They’re all made out of platinum, which is more expensive than gold.”

    Glase is also a member of the American Numismatic Association. Since its founding in 1891, ANA has grown to be the largest non-profit organization of coin collectors in the world.

    The South Delaware Coin Show is free to the public. For more information, contact Jeff Glase at

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    The Sussex County Council is looking to “clarify” farm use and agricultural activity in its code, following a long discussion on June 24.

    Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson presented information on the issue to council at the meeting and noted that the county code does not have definition for the term “farm.” However, the code does have definitions for agricultural-related industry, commercial feed lot and structure; commercial poultry house, private feed lot and structure.

    Robertson noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “farm” as “any place from which $10,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year.”

    He also presented definitions from the states of New Jersey and Maryland, as well as Delaware’s other two counties.

    Kent County code defines “farm” as “a parcel of land not less than 10 acres in size primarily used for agricultural purposes, including farming, dairying, pasturing, agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, animal and poultry husbandry and the necessary accessory uses for packing, treating or storing the produce; provided, however, that the operation of any such accessory uses shall be secondary to that of normal agricultural activities. Above uses shall not include raising of animals for use in medial or other tests or experiments on the same property.”

    New Castle code defines “farm” as “the land, buildings, structures and machinery which are primarily adapted and used for agricultural purposes.”

    “It seems to me already that we should look at this and tighten it up. It’s just so simple if we could just condense all this stuff and come up with something that could be enforceable that are zoning regulations for activities. It’s all over the place,” said Councilman George Cole following the presentation.

    “It’s confusing to the citizens of Sussex County and to the farmers, I think, in some sense as well,” agreed Robertson. “It’s not well-organized. There’s parts of it all over the AR-1; some are permitted uses, some are permitted uses on any acreage, some are permitted usage on 5 acres. Some require a conditional use, certain things require special-use exceptions, and there’s no definition of farm.”

    Cole said he was concerned about not only present-day conflicts with residential and agricultural uses of AR-1 properties, but also conflicts that may occur in the future.

    “There’s no clear definitions of what you can do on these things,” he said. “I think as we go through this land-use thing, we’re revising things. If we don’t have some clear definitions as we work on this land-use thing, we’ve left a big hole in what zoning is here in the county… I think we need to determine… There’s field crops and there’s the animals — pigs, chickens, et cetera, et cetera.”

    Cole also noted that enforcement of the code could be an issue, especially related to farm animals.

    “Who’s going to count pigs? Who’s going to count ducks? Who’s going to count this stuff? Nobody is. I think it’s time to start looking at this thing and come up with something logical.”

    Robertson said the council perhaps should not look at how they would define “farm” but rather look at how people can use their properties in specific zoning districts.

    “I think everyone here know a farm when they see it but may have a slightly different specific definition of what a farm actually is. I think we could get caught up on that too much.”

    Council President Michael Vincent said he was fine with putting the topic on the list of items the council is working to address.

    Cole asked if it would be possible to have someone from the Planning & Zoning office to be assigned to review the code as it relates to farming in AR-1.

    “The Planning & Zoning office overall is extremely busy right now with the work they’re doing with the applications that are coming through. If we were to assign a staff member, that would probably mean that that member is not doing what they’re doing today,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson.

    Lawson also said he and staff would need more direction from the council before they could move forward.

    “I’m hearing we’re all over the place and we need to streamline, and there are some things here that don’t seem like they make sense… But I’m not really hearing some direction as to what the council wants us to analyze,” he said.

    “Some of our items on our list — this infamous list — are pretty straightforward. We want to tackle 10 feet and bring it down to 5. That’s just a straightforward code change that we all, as staff, understand what council wants.

    “I don’t understand what you want related to what we’re talking about today, nor do I know of what the actual problem has been identified,” Lawson explained. “If we know what the problem is, I can tackle that.”

    Cole said he is trying to make the County proactive, foreseeing conflicts in the code.

    “It’s just going to get worst,” he said, suggesting Sussex could look to Kent County for how they address farming.

    County Attorney J. Everett Moore said some of Cole’s concerns could be dealt with through changes in setbacks, to keep structures such as poultry houses farther away from adjacent property owners.

    “Anyone who buys into AR-1 neighborhood has placed on their deed or restriction that’s required by the State that they understand they are buying in an area that has farming, and they could be subjected to dust, odors, noises that are related to agriculture,” he added.

    Cole also noted that in Sussex County, the smallest parcel one could erect a poultry house on is 5 acres. He suggested the County move to a 10-acre minimum.

    “There’s nothing that says agriculture is more important than residential in the AR-1 district, right? They’re equal, so we have to treat them like that. We have to protect both concerns.”

    “I agree with Mr. Cole, and I believe taking a proactive role will both help the farmer, the residents — everybody. I think we should do that,” said Councilman I.G. Burton.

    “It sounds to me like you want to do away with agriculture and take care of the people moving in,” said Councilman Sam Wilson, expressing opposition.

    Councilman Rob Arlett said that, while he was not opposed to the discussion, he would like it to be more inclusive.

    “We’ve not heard from the farmers. To me, I think we do need to provide clarity… if there’s confusion that exists,” he said. “To me, I wouldn’t be agreeable to doing anything without the input of the farmers because, ultimately, this is going to impact them.”

    Vincent requested that staff come up with ideas and suggestions for what they believe would offer clarity.

    “Then, after that conversation, we could invite in people from the farming community to give their input.”

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    For all its charm and beauty, Delaware was dealt a double whammy with its geology: not only is the First State bordered by a rising sea, the landmass is also slowly settling downward into the ocean. That’s why sea-level rise rates in the state are expected to double over the next century.

    Delaware has already been studying the impact of a higher ocean level for years — not just for long-term effects, but for increased local flooding.

    Now, that risk has shot back into the spotlight, with a new scientific report that suggests 24,703 Delaware homes worth $1.3 billion are at risk of inundation. That means the land would be completely underwater — though not necessarily the three-story house atop of that land — which generally means all practical access to the house is gone as well.

    Using Zillow real estate data, the Union of Concerned Scientists considered three scenarios (high-, intermediate- and low-impact) over the next 82 years (through the year 2100).

    Today, they suggest that 507 properties are already at risk.

    According to those scenarios, at the intermediate risk level, Bethany Beach, South Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island alone would have a combined 13,000 properties at risk of chronic flooding in 2045.

    “The results for Delaware are quite sobering,” the UCSUSA announced. “The analysis finds that without additional measures to adapt to rising seas, by 2045, nearly 6,000 of today’s residential properties, currently home to more than 7,000 people, are at risk of chronic inundation. The total number of at-risk residential properties jumps to roughly 24,000 — home to about 31,000 people — by 2100.”

    That’s the highest risk scenario, which would impact $269 million worth of residential properties. That number jumps to $1.30 billion by the year 2100.

    The study suggests the affected property is worth $4.6 million in annual property taxes (or up to $24 million in 2100).

    Real estate is just one piece of the pie. Those figures don’t include rental or real estate transfer taxes; jobs that derive from real estate, hospitality or tourism; food and jobs derived from farming (if fields are inundated); public infrastructure; emergency services; or even mental health for the people forced to leave or adapt to a changing landscape.

    Interestingly, it isn’t just the million-dollar beach houses at risk.

    “In Delaware, nearly all (more than 98 percent) of the chronic inundation risk within the next 30 years is borne by residents of homes valued below the state median property value,” the UCSUSA stated. “Some of the most exposed places are also home to a large percentage of elderly residents, who may have more of their wealth tied to their property and could be more heavily affected by the erosion of the property tax base that funds community-wide services.”

    They used data from multiple sources, including Zillow, NOAA and the 2014 National Climate Assessment. Those numbers aren’t perfect. The group used ocean-facing tidal gauges, which doesn’t include the impact of Delaware’s unique coastal features, including bays, inlets, wetlands and even bulkheads. They also didn’t assume any growth in population, nor any preventive measures communities might take.

    The problem also doesn’t occur in a vacuum. The study included 22 states (plus D.C.). At the most, Delaware’s potential loss is less than 2 percent of the national’s total (and, often, it’s less than 1 percent). California and Florida lead the pack. Combined, half the time, those two states carry at least 20 percent of the total impact, and even 70 to 94 percent in a few categories.

    Nationwide totals range from 138,394 to 2.39 million properties, in various scenarios. It would directly impact at least 272,628 people, and up to 4.7 million.

    The most dramatic nationwide totals for lost market value —$912 billion or $499 billion in the high or intermediate risk scenarios, respectively — don’t even include the jobs lost if businesses, schools or nursing homes go (physically) underwater. Even if the maximum of 4.7 million people aren’t displaced, there still could be half a million people affected in the low-risk scenario.

    Nearby, Maryland’s risk is 8,381 to 68,183 properties in various scenarios, with market values ranging from $1.9 billion to $21 billion and populations of 13,800 to 105,000 people impacted.

    With the stakes that high, the group has encouraged adherence to international climate and energy agreements: “If nations adhere to the primary goal of the Paris Agreement — capping warming to below 2 degrees Celsius — and there is limited loss of land-based ice, about 74 percent of Delaware’s at-risk homes would avoid chronic flooding by the end of the century, thus safeguarding the vast majority of property values and annual property tax revenue,” the UCSUSA stated.

    The full reports and data sets are online at

    Delaware already having the conversation

    Many Delaware officials are likely aware of the state’s vulnerability to the sea, although this study specifically highlights the risk to real estate.

    Already, Route 1 closes near the Indian River Inlet when the ocean or bay floods the highway. Coastal towns suffer flooding during just mild storms and high tides. Nor’easters and hurricanes shred the coastline and flood along much of the state’s eastern reaches, along the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.

    Based on 2007 maps, Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee estimated that between 8 and 11 percent of Delaware’s landmass would be inundated with water by the year 2100, which contains up to 5 percent of the state’s housing stock.

    Sussex County’s 6 to 9 percent of land inundated would equal 3 to 14 percent of its housing stock. And with a basis of the 2007 maps, that doesn’t include the past decade of housing growth.

    Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee was established by executive order in 2010 to identify what inundation (water on normally dry land) could do to the state. With that information, every state agency was directed to brainstorm adaptations for climate change, from heavier rain to longer droughts.

    They used the three identified sea-level rise scenarios, of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 meters by the year 2100. (Based on more recent studies, scientists may update the numbers to 0.52, 0.99 and 1.53 meters, or roughly 1.7, 3.25 and 5 feet.)

    The public can view the Delaware Coastal Programs online map viewer for a look at what sea-level rise and inundation could do to their neighborhoods, at

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    The Frankford Town Council will hold several meetings in the coming weeks to address the Town’s 2019 budget, while also continuing to work toward hiring a new town solicitor.

    At its Monday, July 2, meeting, the council set dates for two workshop meetings and two public hearings on its budget. The first workshop will be July 10 at 6 p.m. and will focus on the Town’s water plant. The second, set for July 12 at 6 p.m., will focus on all other Town departments.

    Both of those meetings are open to the public, as are two hearings on the proposed budget. Those hearings are scheduled for consecutive Thursdays, July 19, and July 26, both at 6 p.m.

    Meanwhile, the Town continues to struggle to keep its water plant running. Clarence Quillen of White Marsh Environmental Systems, which operates the plant for the Town, said one of the pumps is down, but that a secondary pump is now in use, and a third backup is also available “for dire emergencies.”

    “So, we’re OK,” Council President Joanne Bacon said. “Yeah,” Quillen said. “It will keep the town in water.”

    Council Vice President Greg Welch said the Town continues to wait for word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on help with upgrading the water plant. He said an environmental review was done a year ago and “they’re waiting on a couple other things,” and he has not heard anything further. “I don’t really feel like they’re dealing with us candidly,” Welch said.

    “We are looking at other options for our water plant,” continued Welch. “This budget season, we should have been really looking at what it’s costing, and we haven’t had a sit-down to do that yet like we had in past years, like every past year that I’ve been on council.”

    “We really need to delve into the water plant,” Welch said. “There’s all kinds of options and directions we could go, and you need to plan for it.”

    Welch, and fellow budget committee member Kathy Murray, were critical of the lack of budget meetings this year, with the first public hearing on the proposed budget less than three weeks away.

    Welch and Murray, along with Council Secretary/Treasurer Velicia Melson, expressed concerns about changes in the budget process in previous years that were the result of an audit of the Town’s finances. Murray said previous changes “made it very difficult to really streamline the budget last year.”

    Welch offered to send Murray updated financial information to look at “because I know you’ve got a great deal of knowledge of how it was structured and how it was restructured and everything else, but this year we haven’t sat down and looked at what was happening like that.”

    “We were in a situation this last couple of years where we were looking at raising taxes to pay for things,” Welch said. “But we also had wants, like a town manager. We have to budget for something like that,” he said. “This is the season when we’re supposed to be doing all that.”

    “We’ve got a busy month ahead of us,” Welch said.

    He added that the Town needs to address the loss of revenue from water service to Mountaire, which constructed its own water system at its feed facility in Frankford and no longer uses the Town’s. “The sad fact is, we’re going to have raise rates and fees, and taxes, or something,” to cover that shortfall, he said.

    Welch said the Town has missed payments on a loan from the state Office of Drinking Water for the water system. “That’s how we’re staying solvent — we’re not paying our bills,” Welch said. The state drinking water office had offered to forgive the loan if the Town added fluoride to its water.

    Welch said he has not been in contact recently with the state’s drinking water office.

    “When we had an attorney, he was doing that,” Welch said. (Town Attorney Chad Lingenfelder was dismissed in May.)

    Welch blamed the state Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control for “illegally” approving Mountaire’s in-house water system, which caused a 50 percent loss of revenue for the Town’s water system.

    Right now, he said, the Town needs to “raise your rates or get some [new] customers” to address the loss in revenue.

    Meanwhile, the council decided to require annexation of a neighboring mobile home park in order for the owner to be able to hook up to town water. Park owner Nino D’Orazio had expressed a desire to join the town water system but did not want to annex into the town.

    Welch said he did not feel that policy is beneficial to the Town.

    “We’re not going to have any growth if you do that,” he said. “We’re certainly working on water rates to make it beneficial for those who want to be in the Town,” he said. “I think it’s really fair the way we do it, but I think our rates are really high.

    Resident Travis Martin asked the council, “Isn’t it better to have that additional revenue? Why not just get the money from the water?”

    Another resident, Robbie Murray, countered that “Once he has water, there’s no incentive to annex in.” Murray suggested the Town consider allowing those outside town limits to join the water system, but requiring that they annex into the Town within a given time period, with their water rates increasing each year that they do not annex.

    In other business, the council:

    • Announced a July 11 executive meeting during which the council will interview a candidate for the town attorney position.

    • Announced the departure of the town’s maintenance supervisor, David Ward, although Bacon declined to provide information on whether Ward quit or was fired;

    • Heard a presentation from Councilman Skip Ash on proposals to deal with ongoing drainage issues throughout the town;

    • Accepted an $8,000 purchase bid for a Chevrolet Suburban owned by the Town from a resident of Pennsylvania; and

    • Approved a request from Envision Frankford to build a “gingerbread house” for sales of refreshments during town events that will double as a storage shed when not in use for that purpose. The shed will be built by Contractors for a Cause.

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    Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Construction appears back on track at the site of a future restaurant and office/retail space on Route 26.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Construction appears back on track at the site of a future restaurant and office/retail space on Route 26.With heavy rainfall this spring, many saw the effects of Mother Nature, with fields flooding and swales overflowing.

    Such was the case with the property of C.J. Pines in Ocean View. The 3.37-acre property, located at 83 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) is undergoing construction of the structures for a restaurant and office/retail space.

    While the property is protected by silt fence that has been constructed in accordance with the Sussex Conservation District’s requirements (even including super-silt fence along the back side of the property) the project had issues during the heavy rains with silt leaching.

    “We have those things in place,” said property owner Russell Archut, who is also developing the site. “That doesn’t mean that some silt doesn’t get off the site.”

    With a particularly heavy rainfall in May, concerned neighbors contacted the Town of Ocean View and the Sussex Conservation District after noticing silt in the ditch on Hudson Avenue.

    “Water does leach through the silt fence, and I’m sure there’s places where it may be passing under it when we’ve had these torrential rains,” he said. “At one point, because we had so much water on the site, we were contacted by the Town about their concern of the water on the site and silt running off. I contacted our stormwater consultant and asked them is there anything I can be doing?

    “They pointed out to me that on the plans, there’s a statement here that says, ‘prior to outfall structure and pipe installation, if trap is not dry within 48 hours after the rain event, use a dewatering bag and pump to drain.’ They pointed out this was one option, so I directed my contractor to perform this operation. The purpose of it — that’s my understanding — you empty the pond so that when the next rain event comes it’ll contain all the silt from the runoff at that time.”

    While Archut said he believed he was responding appropriately to the concerns, as directed by his consultant, due to the heavy rainfall, the water had so much silt in it that it was being discharged into the ditch and going downstream.

    Archut said that once it was noticed, they stopped the operation and have not performed it since.

    The discharge was reported to the Sussex Conservation District, which issued a notice of violation for dewatering without proper controls, having sediment leave the site via runoff, not complying with the sequence of construction and dewatering without approval from the District inspector resulting in sediment laden discharge.

    The Sussex Conservation District requested that Ocean View stop construction on the site until it could be brought into compliance, which the Town did, issuing a stop-work order for the construction of the building on site.

    Archut said that because the dewatering practice had been noted on the plans, which had been approved by Sussex Conservation District, he felt it was an acceptable response to the rainfall.

    Jessica Watson of the Sussex Conservation District said part of the problem was that, while the developer was waiting for an outfall structure to arrive and be installed for stormwater management during construction, there was significant rainfall.

    “Part of their construction plan has a stormwater management plan,” she explained. “They have sediment and erosion controls for when the site is under construction and also permanent stormwater facility. Right now, we’re in a temporary configuration.”

    She also noted that many temporary stormwater management plans are designed for 1 inch of rainfall.

    “When you have 4 inches of rainfall… you can’t capture everything.”

    Once the rains had begun, though, the temporary outfall structures to address the rainfall on the site could not be installed, due to the ground being so saturated. Archut noted that, on June 9, an additional 4.5 inches of rain fell.

    As of last week, all the in-ground stormwater controls were in place, with a temporary berm that will be replaced with a permanent retaining wall along the northwest corner of the stormwater pond, and a second catch basin has been installed on Woodland. The temporary outfall structure, including a skimmer, has also been installed.

    “That will alleviate the silt problem to a certain extent,” said Archut. “It’s not going to alleviate everything until we get some cover on the site.”

    All construction on the property — stormwater management and building construction — was on-hold last week due to the weather. Archut said that once the site was dried out enough, stormwater management structures would be put into place, prior to any work continuing on the commercial building.

    Archut said the site work was to have been completed June 13, according to the construction schedule they received in January.

    “But we had four coastal storms in January. Then we had about a three-week dry spell… Now that date is Aug. 14. So, it’s almost exactly two months we’ve lost because of the rain.

    “That’s to get the site work done — that doesn’t include the building, which is obviously going to lag behind that.”

    Archut also said outside factors affected the project greatly, including the State removing two catch basins on Woodland Avenue, adjacent to the property, during the Route 26 improvements project.

    “We started raising the question two years ago… What it was doing was draining onto our property. They kept saying, ‘We’re going to fix it. We’re going to fix it.’”

    Archut said that, after months of negotiations, the State agreed to pay for half of the solution — cutting into the new pipe and installing a new junction box before installing a new catch basin. Archut will also have to run pipe and install a second catch basin.

    Another issue was neighboring properties had in the past had their stormwater draining onto the Archut property.

    “We’ve handled their water for all these years. Now, we’re obligated to put a drainage pipe along the property line, create a drainage swale along our property to take their stormwater off. We don’t have to manage it on our site, but we have to [install] 155 feet of 12-inch pipe.”

    In addressing concerns that damage may have been done due to the silt leeching, Watson said her office did not believe the amount of silt that left the property was of great concern.

    “It wasn’t like elevations changed,” she said. “I don’t think we had that much sedimentation. We have to move forward and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

    She added that if the Conservation District were to address a great deal of sediment leaving a property, it would likely require excavating some or all of the ditch, of which she said, “Doing some type of effort like that would do more harm than good.”

    Both Watson and Town officials said Archut has been fully cooperating with officials to correct the issue.

    “We’re trying to communicate to all the neighbors out there where we are in the process,” said Watson. “Now we’re going to work hard to get the site stabilized.”

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    Millsboro Town Council members unanimously approved an $8.5 million budget for the 2019 fiscal year at their July 2 regular council meeting, and the Town appears to be fully intent on continuing their push for growth and quality-of-life improvements.

    “We talk a lot about being a Town that is attractive to businesses, and that cares about its citizens,” said Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “It’s very important to me that our actions match our words. We are very fortunate that this council is so forward-thinking.”

    Hudson said after Monday’s meeting that approximately $4 million of the budget is earmarked for water and sewer, with another $2 million going to public safety.

    The Town is also moving forward with new technology to help them grow more. Millsboro is partnering with Buxton — an analytics firm that made its name by filtering data to retailers and determining if their businesses would work in specified potential locations, but that is now making a move into working with municipalities to help identify which retailers or restaurants would be good fits for specific towns.

    Hudson said he believes Millsboro is the first town in Delaware to partner with Buxton.

    The company, according to Hudson, studies each address in town and uses algorithms to determine what stores and restaurants would most likely be attractive to residents. Those efforts, combined with a survey conducted by the Town recently, will help guide Town leaders to specific businesses to target.

    The Town will also be working with Govpilot, a software platform that will allow full-automation of the permit process. Again, Hudson said, he believes Millsboro is the first Town in the state to use that technology, and he said he hopes it will be another benefit to builders and residents who do business with Millsboro.

    Millsboro is also seeing the benefits of an increase in the Town’s height limit for hotels from 35 feet to 60 feet. One project is already in the works, and Jim Parker Builders is attempting to get the former VFW property on Route 113 annexed into Millsboro to build another hotel and restaurant inside Millsboro town limits.

    An annexation committee led by Councilman Tim Hodges has reviewed the request, and recommended the council continue forward on the motion. A public hearing is scheduled for the next town council meeting, on Monday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m.

    “We see someone requesting annexation into Millsboro as the ultimate compliment,” said Hudson. “And we love the hotels coming into town. While we don’t see ourselves as a full- fledged tourist destination, we can pick up some of those weekend vacationers who have a hard time finding a non-weekly rental at the beach.”

    In other Millsboro news:

    • Since there was no council election in Millsboro this year, the council will remain the same. Officers for the coming year will continue to be Mayor John Thoroughgood, Vice-Mayor Michelle Truitt, Secretary Jim Tells and Treasurer Brad Cordrey. Tim Hodges will continue as mayor pro-tem, while Ron O’Neal and Larry Gum will continue in their council duties.

    • The Millsboro Chamber of Commerce’s Stars & Stripes event on Saturday, June 30, was deemed a resounding success. Millsboro Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Lynch addressed the council on Monday and thanked Hudson for the Town’s cooperation with the event. He also had high praise for Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway, and his entire department.

    “I can’t come up with the words to thank you, Chief,” said Lynch, adding that he thought the spectacle itself was amazing. “Aside from our neighbors to the east with the surf and the sand, I think we’re now the ones to beat,” said Lynch.

    • Calloway also discussed the event during his time on the floor.

    “I thought this event was very well-thought-out and planned,” said Calloway. He reported that there was one person who lost a credit card (which was subsequently found), and one minor accident involving a mailbox. He also had high praise for Sgt. Barry Wheatley for his work at the event. Calloway said traffic got out of town within 25 minutes after the fireworks ended — a significant improvement over last year.

    • DelDOT officials discussed a road project that will start next spring on Route 113 — Bridge 3-507 on the southbound side of the highway. According to DelDOT, the core of the bridge was constructed in 1916 to carry the then-new T. Coleman du Poet Highway over Iron Branch in Millsboro. That original bridge was then modified two more times to accommodate wider shoulders and to dualize the highway, but the concrete-encased steel beams and concrete abutments are showing severe damage.

    DelDOT is looking at two alternatives for the project: one would involve lane closures and take approximately eight months to finish, while the other, that they prefer, involves a 14-day shutdown of the southbound side of the road, with detours going through town.

    “It will be a lot of pain,” said Jason Hastings. “But it’s for a short time.”

    DelDOT will start advertising for the work in the fall, and more information will develop on the project. State Sen. Gerald Hocker was at the meeting, and said he has been in discussions with DelDOT on the project.

    • Assistant Town Manager Jamie Burk has been doing research on showing movies at Cupola Park, and he learned that licensing fees add up quickly, and that a discussion he had with Town Solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox affirmed that the Town should take the licensing issue seriously. He found a rental company that takes care of the licensing fees and all equipment for $750. The council agreed to spend the money to do one movie at this point, to see if it’s worth continuing. It will be held on a Tuesday in August, and Burk and Hudson plan to set a date soon.

    • The council also decided to put a nightly cap on venue rentals at the Millsboro Town Center, making sure all events are done by 11 p.m. Burk expressed an interest in not keeping Town employees there any later than that, and Hudson offered another reason.

    “I think the chief would agree that there’s a different crowd after 11 p.m.,” said Hudson.

    “I would,” confirmed Calloway, eliciting laughs from those in attendance.

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    If Ken Cimino’s name sounds familiar, that’s because many local residents have heard it over the last few years in connection to the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project.

    Now Cimino is taking on a new role — the Planning & Zoning director for the Town of Ocean View.

    “I am thrilled that Ken has decided to come to work for us at this point in time. It worked out for him, and the timing was great,” said Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran. “He not only has a good background in planning, zoning and all those related issues, but because he was essentially overseeing the Route 26 project, he already knows all the business owners in town and has a good relationship to start with.

    “Remember, part of the change we’re making here is revamping our internal services to put a better front to the public,” Curran added. “I think he’s the ideal candidate to help in that respect as well.”

    Cimino graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute “a long time ago,” he said, and immediately went to work for the Maryland Department of Transportation, where he worked for 30 years.

    “I touched all the disciplines. I worked in survey, bridge design, construction management, traffic and planning, maintenance and operations,” he said. “I went as high as administrator of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and assistant district engineer.”

    Then, in 2007, after years of commuting, Cimino decided to relocate to Selbyville.

    “I was living in Bel Air, Md., for 23 years, and I was commuting to Annapolis every day. The ride was quite cumbersome, so I thought, if I’m going to drive an hour and a half-plus to work every day, I think I’ll just build a house on the lower shore.”

    He then began working for AECOM Technologies in 2013, and worked as a construction manager and public outreach coordinator.

    “My history with the State of Delaware has mostly been in construction management, with a heavy emphasis on community engagement and political outreach,” said Cimino. “I think it will serve me well, having managed the SR-26 Mainline Improvement Project. I know the majority of business owners in the area. My name should be rather familiar to most folks after working here for four years on that project.”

    Cimino said he believes his time working on the project will help him in his new role with the Town of Ocean View.

    “I think it will help me to resume relationships I formed and easily build new ones with the folks I have not yet met.”

    A self-described public servant, Cimino said deciding to work for Ocean View was an easy choice. And having just started working for the Town on June 25, Cimino said he’s not looking to make changes to his department any time soon.

    “It’s getting my bearings, seeing how the organization conducts business,” he said. “At some point, we’ll sit down, look at our processes and procedures and see, are there things we could be doing more efficiently?

    “Jill [Oliver] and Greg [Durstine] have been phenomenal Week 1 in helping me get settled in, answering my many questions. Those questions will continue, because my style of management is all-inclusive. I like feedback. I like to get opinions from my staff on certain issues, especially when they’re knowledgeable and involved, before we make a decision. Ultimately, the final decision is mine, but I like to gather as much information as I can before making a decision, and that’s where staff plays an important role.”

    As he’s just getting his feet wet, Cimino said he won’t be running Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment hearings until possibly September, to ensure he’s up to speed.

    “I also intend to be heavily involved in the drainage projects coming up that the Town is looking into. One of my goals is to implement a long-range strategy as our town continues to grow and folks continue to build and move here, so we can provide the best services needed for our constituents.”

    Cimino said he is looking forward to a long career with the Town, its staff and constituents.

    “My hope and my goal is to move our department forward, into the future, in a progressive manner, and really build something special here for the Town and the Town’s staff,” he said. “I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to be back close to home, working with the Town of Ocean View.”

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    Some Sussex County taxpayers will see a slight decrease in their property taxes this autumn.

    Indian River School District property taxes will decrease by 3 cents, from $3.097 to $3.067 per $100 of assessed property value. (Sussex County property values have not been reassessed in decades, so the assessed value is much lower than the real estate value.)

    “I think we had a really good year. … I feel the financial staff has done an excellent job this year getting everything taken care of,” said Jan Steele, IRSD director of business.

    “I suggest we decrease our tax rate by 3 cents,” Steele recommended to the school board in June.

    Changes to the tax-rate breakdown were as follows:

    • Current expense remains $2.35 (the public changes this by referendum);

    • Debt service decreased from $0.194 to $0.192 (the board changes this based on IR’s repaying debt on building projects);

    • Tuition decreased from $0.520 to $0.480 (the board changes this based on yearly needs for special programs)

    • Minor capital improvement funds increased from $0.033 to $0.045 (the board changes this to match the State’s contribution for this repair fund);

    • Capitation remains $12 per person ($7 for current expense and $5 for debt service).

    After tightening their belts heavily this past school year, the IRSD has made significant strides in rebuilding its savings account. They expect to finish this fiscal year with about $8.5 million in their reserve fund.

    The 2017 current-expense referendum was based on a need for more funding just to keep the lights on and rebuild the district’s savings fund.

    The reserve fund is necessary for two reasons. First, the fiscal year begins in July, but property taxes don’t arrive until autumn. Districts need a reserve fund for payroll for those few months. The IRSD is just finishing its “barebones” year, in which Steele did major finagling to meet payroll during the slow months, especially when the State of Delaware requested that districts give money back during the State’s own tight year.

    Also, it’s just good financial policy to save. Steele has repeatedly said that school districts traditionally build a reserve that depletes with inflation and other expenses, which then needs replenishing with a new referendum roughly five years later.

    “The measures that you have put in place have been very successful,” said Dave Marvel, member of the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee, in January. “That’s what taxpayers were looking for: Could you turn this thing around? It appears that you’re heading in the right direction.”

    That will be important when the district likely goes to public referendum in the 2018-2019 school year, for building and renovation projects, said Marvel, a longtime coach and teacher.

    “We are trying to be very conscientious about lowering it wherever we can,” Steele said.

    “Continue to be frugal with your budget, and wherever we can scrape a few pennies together, let’s do it,” said audience member Bob Maloney at the June meeting.

    Sussex County will send property tax bills in mid-August. Payments will be due Sept. 30.

    The IRSD’s detailed financial reports are available by viewing the June 25 agenda at

    Building projects

    The IRSD continues working toward building projects to increase student capacity. The board is brainstorming a new Sussex Central High School building for roughly 2,400 students. The current school would be repurposed as a middle school, and the current Millsboro Middle School would be renovated into an additional elementary school. Also, Selbyville Middle School and Indian River High School would each get six or eight classrooms.

    Fearn-Clendaniel Architects was awarded a $47,500 contract for architectural services, as IRSD requests Certificates of Necessity (CNs) from the State. Because it is a professional-services contact, the district didn’t need to request bids.

    If the State approves the CNs, the IRSD would have permission to take the funding question to public referendum.

    In other IRSD news:

    • With a workforce of more than 1,400 people, there are plenty of IRSD retirees each year.

    “I’d like to personally thank you … for the years of services you have given your school district,” said Mark Steele, adding that he hopes to join their ranks soon. “I think you’ll have the opportunity to kick back and enjoy life, and I’m hope you’ll take that opportunity.”

    • The board approved eight new athletic uniform designs for Indian River High School, worth $19,823 (not including baseball uniforms). The IRSD is finishing its one-year moratorium on extra spending, so sports teams are now working back up to their regular uniform replacement schedule. The money is already in the budget for uniforms that were last replaced in 2013 (softball, boys’ soccer, boys’ lacrosse and boys’ tennis) and in 2014 (baseball, wrestling, cross country and girls’ soccer).

    • The board finally approved a Student Activity Funding Procedure, which outlines how clubs and organizations can request money from the district.

    Funding will support the purchase of necessary supplies and fees. Annually, each school will submit a list of organizations they feel should be eligible to receive funding. Each group will submit a budget request to the business director for any supplies, fees and other unforeseen expenses.

    She will meet with reps from each group to further discuss their needs and request. The board will have final approval, but after allocation, the groups will determine the best use of the funds. “Preference should be given to organizations who are within their first three years of programming,” the text suggests.

    For last-minute or unexpected opportunities, the superintendent (or his designee) and the business director may also approve additional funding requests throughout the year, as needed. That information will then be provided to the board.

    • The board declined to re-join the Delaware School Boards Association, due to the $15,105 cost. Although Superintendent Mark Steele recommended joining the group, which has become a stronger advocate for school districts, the board voted 6-3-0 to decline. Board Members Donald Hattier, Heather Statler and Leolga Wright said they were in favor of re-joining. (Board Member Jim Hudson was absent.)

    • IRHS coach Jim Barnes thanked the board for approving the new boys’ volleyball club team, which won third place in the state tournament and featured three All-State players, including Rookie of the Year.

    • Resident Darryl Burton requested that Millsboro Middle School’s running track be reopened to the public as a safe and convenient place to exercise.

    • The IRSD finished part one of a two-year Special Education Focus Schools Project. The goal is to take a “deep look at the level of special education being offered,” the good, the bad or room for improvement, said Judy Brittingham, supervisor of special education. She shared highlights of good work done at focus schools IRHS, Phillip C. Showell Elementary, Selbyville Middle, North Georgetown Elementary and Sussex Central High schools. Next year, they’ll review the Georgetown Kindergarten Center, Georgetown Middle, Lord Baltimore Elementary and Howard T. Ennis schools.

    “This work has probably given us the best idea of what needs to be done districtwide. … We’re excited to begin year two,” Brittingham said.

    • With new tech comes new responsibility. The IRSD passed Policy KBG “Social Media Monitoring,” including rules for district-managed Facebook and Twitter pages. That encourages comments and questions from the public, but also creates guidelines for when inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed.

    • Visitors to schools are already screened before accessing the main building. The board reiterated safety procedures with edits to Policy KK “Visitors to Schools,” noting that new Ident-A-Kid software will screen visitors’ IDs.

    • Grading Policy IKA passed its first reading. All AP/IB/AP grades would automatically be weighted higher, with bonuses for passing the qualifying exams. Currently, the bonus weights only apply if the student sits for the exam.

    Also, the parent/guardian of any student in danger of failing for the marking period, semester/school year would be contacted in a reciprocal manner (i.e., phone call, e-mail, parent conference).

    The next regular monthly meeting of the Indian River Board of Education has been rescheduled for Monday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School.

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    Coastal Point: File Photo : • Lifeguards assist a mini lifeguard-in-training during a previous year's Fenwick Bonfire.Coastal Point: File Photo : • Lifeguards assist a mini lifeguard-in-training during a previous year's Fenwick Bonfire.Summertime is almost synonymous with bonfires—which is why, for the last 15 years the Fenwick Island Beach Committee has been hosting an annual bonfire to support the Town’s lifeguard patrol.

    “It’s a great way for visitors and residents to enjoy a night on the beach,” said Fenwick Island Beach Patrol Captain Tim Ferry. “It really does tie the community together. I think here, it’s something that everyone looks forward to. It’s another opportunity for residents and visitors to interact with the lifeguards. To get to know them a little bit better. It’s a family-oriented event and also to help sponsor the lifeguards for the lifeguard championships.”

    The Annual Fenwick Island Bonfire will be held Saturday, July 7 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the beach off of Dagsboro Street. The event is free and open to the public at large.

    “It started out as a very small affair with just the lifeguards and a small gathering of other local people within the Town,” said Fenwick Island Beach Patrol Captain Tim Ferry. “The following year it started to take off a little bit more.”

    Ferry said as the patrol grew and began competing in regional and national competitions they started looking for ways to raise funds to have them compete.

    “We were looking for ways to off-set the costs because, depending on the number of people that would go and where the venue was, you’d have to consider airfare potentially, hotel rooms for several days,” he said. “As we got better and better there was a need to supplement that the best way we could.”

    The Beach Committee was formed with Becca McWilliams at the helm, and Ferry said the event continued to grow.

    “We went from a couple hundred people to several hundred people. I think we’ve hit over 1,000 people over the last three or four years out there on the beach for the bonfire.”

    The event now includes a bonfire, entertainment, games for the kids, silent auction, and Fenwick Island t-shirt sales.

    “It’s one of the biggest events here in the town. There are many, many people that I talk to every year who schedule their vacation whether its right here in Fenwick or nearby, just to make sure they have an opportunity to go to the bonfire,” Ferry said. “It’s awesome. We have a great report with the residents and visitors here in town.”

    All kids who attend are invited to take part in games, starting around 7:30 p.m., which include relay races and “dizzy buoy.”

    “We take all kids—whoever wants to come and join in. We put them into groups of 15 or 20. We try to get into at least four events with them,” explained Ferry. “We have a kind-of potato sac race with lifeguard sweatpants. It’s kind of fun to see these big baggy pants on these kids trying to run back and forth. Dizzy Buoy, similar to dizzy bat, the kids have spin around their head on the can two or three times and then run down and come back. It throws their equilibrium off a bit.”

    The pièce de résistance is a game of tug-of-way, where kids will first face off against each other before taking on the beach patrol.

    “Then all the kids, as many as they can fit on their side of the rope, get to pull against the lifeguards. It’s a fun way to end it.”

    There will also be a 50-50 drawing that evening, with guards selling tickets. Ferry said the variety of silent auction items are donated by local businesses.

    “The business community has been extremely generous.”

    This year’s United States Lifesaving Association’s National Lifeguard Championships will be held in Virginia Beach, Va. Aug. 9-12. Fenwick guards attending will be chosen following the Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition will be held in Rehoboth Beach on July 11.

    “It’s not all about the competitions. We want to be the best lifeguards first, and the competition is just kind of the icing on top of the cake for them,” said Ferry. “A lot of the residents are involved in that. They will come to some of the competitions to watch them. They will follow our results, and those types of things.”

    The mission of the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol is to be an “effective and well-trained beach patrol that provides a safe beach and swimming environment for visitors by using proper rescue, first aid and preventive lifeguard techniques as well as enforcement of all applicable beach ordinances.”

    “We set a standard of excellence out there on the patrol and they do a great job, day in and day out, year after year. I think people really appreciate the job they do out there,” said Ferry. “The guards, part of their job is public relations out on the beach, informing people of a variety of different things. People actually seek out the guards and know they can find out what they need to know and they’re going to be helpful in any way they can.”

    Ferry noted that his patrol also helps assist people to over the dunes with their beach vehicles.

    “We’re very fortunate that our dune system allows for that here,” he said. “We’re upwards of transporting 600 people a summer on and off the beach. Elderly, injured—you name it. That draws into the whole support, when you see the types of things we do out there. We take a lot of pride in that. We really enjoy being able to have a positive impact on the community.”

    Ferry said he hopes residents and visitors alike will attend Saturday’s bonfire.

    “There’s lots of things to do, which is why we consider it to be a real family event,” he said. “There’s stuff for the big kids, little kids and the parents. It’s a lot of fun. We don’t try to overdo it. Lots of things for everyone. Good music, a friendly environment.”

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Kim Royster demonstrates an exercise at South Bethany's new fitness area, while her husband and daughter, Mel and Tory, look on.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Kim Royster demonstrates an exercise at South Bethany's new fitness area, while her husband and daughter, Mel and Tory, look on.South Bethany visitors can now feel the burn in the shade. Outdoor exercise equipment was recently installed next to South Bethany Town Hall, open for public use.

    The adult fitness area includes spots for push-ups, sit-ups, balance beam and more. These seem like simple exercises, but the modifications keep things interesting.

    “We have a wide range of ages here … so we think what we’re doing will be good for everybody,” said Sue Callaway, town council member who helped spearhead the project.

    “Maybe after using the equipment, I’ll be ready for boot camp,” Callaway joked.

    South Bethany’s exercise bootcamp concession instructors, Mel and Kim Royster, helped select equipment and returned to demonstrate exercises at the grand unveiling on July 6, accompanied by their daughter, Tori.

    They gave advice, such as considering opening up instead of crunching into a ball when doing sit-ups, to help stretch the neck and spine.

    “Don’t push yourselves too hard, especially with being out in the heat,” Kim Royster said.

    And hydrate!

    “If you’re a beginner, just do this once or twice a week,” Mel Royster said. Don’t try climbing if your legs hurt, he advised. “Listen to your body. … You have to stay consistent if you want to see progress.”

    “Never beat yourself up. Just move on. You’ll do better,” Kim Royster offered.

    When exercising, Kim Royster suggested, people should start with the equipment on the left, since it targets major muscle groups. (The equipment on the right-hand side is for more targeted muscles.)

    People can add the equipment into a bigger routine by doing a set of 12 reps, then doing jumping jacks or walking a lap around the town triangle.

    The plan for the fitness area faced some scrutiny in council meetings, from the cost to the possibility of ticks among the trees. But the council approved the cost, and the Maintenance Department staff installed the equipment. In the future, they might invest in more equipment, officials said.

    The town’s Community Enhancement Committee led the charge for South Bethany to become “a healthy community,” a goal of the 10-year Comprehensive Plan.

    South Bethany Town Hall is located at 402 Evergreen Road. For more information, call (302) 539-3653.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Special Olympics gold medal-winner R.J. Franco shows off the prize after his win.Coastal Point • Submitted: Special Olympics gold medal-winner R.J. Franco shows off the prize after his win.Enjoyed by millions of people as a leisure activity, tennis can be a lifetime sport for Special Olympics athletes.

    More than 37,000 of the athletes participate worldwide, and can delight in and benefit from the sport even when not competing in an official Special Olympics competition. Tennis is a spring sport, with the skills competition and tournament taking place at the Special Olympics’ Summer Games.

    One local competitor stood high above them all in the most recent Summer Games tournament. That competitor was Ocean View’s own R.J. Franco.

    Franco took home a gold medal in the singles competition, while also winning a bronze in the unified doubles tournament with his partner, Tony Gough. The unified doubles event features a Special Olympian paired up with a peer without a disability.

    “He likes winning,” said R.J.’s mother, Carmelita Franco, with a laugh. “He gets to practice one time a week with other Special Olympians at Sea Colony. Sometimes he will go over to the courts with his father and play here in our development.”

    Carmelita and her husband, Bobby, have supported their son’s love of the sport for the past 17 years. The family had originally lived in northern Delaware near Hockessin, but there wasn’t really anywhere for R.J. to play year-round.

    “We struggled to find him a place to play in the winter,” Carmelita said. “We moved down here in 2014, and have loved the move. R.J. gets to play a lot more now, and all year long.”

    The 33-year-old not only loves playing tennis, he also enjoys playing on his computer and watching “Jeopardy” with his parents. And his troubles with verbal communication certainly don’t hinder his ability to focus on the court.

    R.J. is coached at Sea Colony by Marie MacIntosh. She has been instrumental in R.J.’s development on the court, his parents said.

    “We would love to extend our sincerest appreciation and gratitude for all that Marie does as R.J.’s coach,” said Carmelita. “She has shown R.J. so much support and inspiration. She has made all this possible for him all these years.”

    The Summer Olympics competition allowed athletes to participate in singles, doubles, Unified doubles or the individual skills competition. All matches took place on the University of Delaware’s outdoor tennis courts.

    In the field of intellectual disability, the Special Olympics organization has sharpened the focus on its mission as not just “nice,” but critical — not just as a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, but also an effective catalyst for social change.

    The Special Olympics movement, the organization says, “unlocks the joy of sport to inspire people to open their minds to human giftedness, to accept, include and value people with intellectual disabilities in all aspects of life, and thereby unite people in a shared belief of a more just and welcoming world.”

    Special Olympics Delaware provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for more than 4,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. They give those individuals continuous opportunities “to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

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    Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Big Foot was the highlight during a Monster Truck event at Georgetown Speedway on Friday and Saturday night, July 6 and 7.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Big Foot was the highlight during a Monster Truck event at Georgetown Speedway on Friday and Saturday night, July 6 and 7.Monster Truck fans flocked to Georgetown Speedway last Friday and Saturday nights, July 6-7, for a chance to see the Monster Trucks and their drivers, who fans watch on television and in Hollywood movies.

    Highlighting the show was the legendary Monster Truck Big Foot, with driver Darron Schnell, who won two of two of Saturday’s non-points competitions before a large capacity crowd.

    Like the truck itself, Big Foot’s origins are legendary. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, Bob Chandler of St. Louis returned home and began working in the family construction business as site manager and carpenter. In 1965, he married his wife, Marilyn. The young couple enjoyed the great outdoors and camping, so in 1974, they ordered a brand new Ford F-250, and they planned to enhance the cargo capacity and off-road ability.

    To their dismay, they soon learned that there was a lack of parts and services for 4-by-4 owners. So, partnering with their neighbor and longtime friend Jim Kramer, they formed Midwest Four Wheel Drive. The business held its grand opening in 1975.

    After a few years, the business outgrew their Ferguson, Mo., shop, and they moved to a larger facility in Hazelwood. Chandler’s truck became the errand vehicle, which he drove hard and fast. When the truck broke down, he replaced the broken parts with stronger, more off-road savvy, parts. He put on larger tires, military-type axles and larger military-style suspension parts — all of which required more powerful motors.

    It was during this time that one of his employees, referring to Chandler’s hard-driving style on- and off-road, called him “Big Foot.” The nickname stuck. In the coming years, Bob and Big Foot began touring the country, and eventually the world. The name Big Foot transferred from the man to the truck.

    Chandler and his crew showed the truck at fairs, farm shows, truck shows, mud bogs, and tractor and truck pulls, where Big Foot showed the competition that, despite his clean appearance when the pulling sled was connected or a mud bog was to be ripped across, fans saw a tough work truck when needed for competition.

    As word of Big Foot spread from the Midwest to the rest of the country, requests for appearances at various events led to Big Foot’s first paid appearance, in 1975 at a Denver car show. Soon, the national 4-by-4 press got wind of Big Foot, and the term “Monster Truck” was added to the world’s vocabulary.

    Big Foot’s popularity continued growing and, in 1981, Big Foot appeared in the first of its seven feature films, the iconic movie “Take This Job & Shove It.”

    In 1981, it was also the year Chandler and Big Foot started crushing cars in an empty Missouri cornfield far away from the stadiums and arenas they would fill in future years. For no other reason other than to see if he could do it, Chandler placed two crushed cars side by side and, with a video camera capturing the historical event for posterity, he piloted Big Foot over the crushed cars.

    As Chandler continued conquering crushed cars, curious crowds began showing up at his events. Soon after its birth, Monster Truck Racing over crushed cars became its own sport and a household name.

    Fans at Georgetown Speedway got to see Monster Trucks competing in three styles of competition: wheelies, side-by-side and freestyle. Saturday night, Schnell and Big Foot won the first two, but fans shouted loudest for the freestyle show of Bad News Travels Fast machine piloted by Bruce Haney.

    “This course is very slick, but the people are great here, and we’re looking forward to coming back again next year,” Schnell said while autographing a fan’s hat.

    In addition to the full-size Monster Trucks, Mini Monster Trucks and Tough Trucks also competed. Mini Monster Truck driver Tucker Rife, 10, ran away with his division.

    Racing returns to Georgetown Speedway on Friday July 20, with the Blue Hen Disposal All Night Sunoco Modifieds (30 laps) with $3,000 to win, and Super Late Models (25 laps) with $2,500 to win. Also racing will be the L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman, Delmarva Chargers, Delaware Super Trucks, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars and Little Lincolns.

    Looking further ahead, on Thursday Aug. 16, the Fulton Bank 40-laps World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series will make its annual visit to Georgetown Speedway, with a $10,000 purse. Delaware Super Trucks, Delmarva Chargers and Little Lincolns will also race that night. The rain date for that show is Aug. 29.

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    Coastal Point • Jason Feather Old Tymers round third base in a game on Tuesday, July 10.Coastal Point • Jason Feather Old Tymers round third base in a game on Tuesday, July 10.For 20 years now, the game of softball has been kept alive and well for more than 160 Sussex County senior men who continue playing a game they love.

    The Old Tymers Softball of Delmarva League has been thriving and growing continuously on the two fields located behind the Dagsboro Church of God on Hickman Street.

    “We’ve gotten bigger every year with 15 to 20 new players each year,” said Bo Wood, OTS president and manager of the Pivot Physical Therapy team. “We don’t advertise. It’s all word-of-mouth.

    “Our youngest player is 60 years old, and our oldest is 83 — soon to be 84. The median age is 70. We have 160 guys playing right now. It’s a couple days a week. We umpire ourselves, do all the field work. It’s a neat league. We have a waiting list of guys that are looking to play.”

    The Dagsboro Church of God gave the fields to the OTS for their use, and the group of guys has truly made them their very own “Fields of Dreams.”

    “In Sussex County, there’s no recreation department,” Wood continued. “So, as seniors, we do it all ourselves. We built these fields ourselves. Back in 2007, Church of God gave us the permission to do it, and we have done all the work on them.”

    Fences enclose both fields, while covered bench areas provide some shade from the blazing hot sun on game days. Three games each Tuesday and Thursday are played at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon.

    And they don’t just play in the summer — no. This large contingent of fellows plays year-round, as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees.

    “It is a chance for us old guys to go out and have a little fun,” Wood said with a laugh. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years now. We play all year. We have our Fall Ball league, but we are still out here playing in the winter as well, if the temperatures allow it.”

    The league consists of 13 teams, each of which is sponsored by local businesses or organizations. The Atlantic Orthopedics team currently sits atop the standings, with a 16-3 mark, as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday.

    Bin 66 (15-4), American Legion Post 28 (13-6), Community Bank Delaware (10-8), Pivot Physical Therapy (10-8) and Edward Jones Investments (10-9) round out the top half of the standings.

    “We play every Tuesday and Thursday,” Wood added. “Guys are out here every week. There are six teams playing every Tuesday and Thursday. Our sponsors like us and have no problem paying the $350 fee. We follow our sponsors, and we have a good time with them.”

    The league does do a couple of fundraising events throughout the year, such as a bowling event and golf outing, but those all are just side gigs for the Main Event, which takes place from May 1 to the end of August.

    For more information, visit or contact Wood at (302) 945-1849.

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    Over Time to play the pavilion in John West Park: Coastal Point • File photo Over Time will play at Ocean View’s John West Park on Friday, July 13.Over Time to play the pavilion in John West Park: Coastal Point • File photo Over Time will play at Ocean View’s John West Park on Friday, July 13.Rock-and-roll lovers can head to Ocean View’s John West Park this Friday, as local band Over Time will be performing as part of the Town’s annual summer Concerts in the Park.

    “We’re hoping for a nice evening,” said Ocean View Town Clerk Donna Schwartz. “This is one of the bands that pulls in a lot of people.”

    The concert will be held on Friday, July 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. in John West Park. The event is free and open to the public.

    Over Time, an area cover band, plays a variety of tunes, from Elvis to Foo Fighters, that Schwartz said everyone will enjoy.

    “This is one of our biggest draws,” said Schwartz. “This concert always has the most attendance, partially because they’re local. They have a lot of friends and family that comes to see them. The whole neighborhood just supports them. Everybody will enjoy this music. It’s a good old-time rock ’n’ roll. They’re a real crowd pleaser.”

    During the event, those who attend can purchase hotdogs, sodas and water from Boy Scout Pack 281. There will also be ice cream available for purchase.

    “They have very good prices,” noted Schwartz.

    She added that the concert tends to bring around 600 people to the park, which includes a playground beloved by many children.

    “It is a great place because the kids can come play. A lot of people take advantage of that,” said Schwartz.

    Attendees are being encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy an evening of comradery and good music.

    Last month, the Delmarva Big Band was scheduled to perform in the park, but the event was postponed due to rain. The concert has yet to be rescheduled. The Jean Lenke Band will play on Aug. 10.

    The Town hosts one concert each month in the summertime as a way to give back to the community, said Schwartz.

    “The Town likes to encourage neighbors to get to know each other. That happens when you have events like this, when people can come together, talk to each other and enjoy themselves.”

    For more information about Ocean View’s Concerts in the Park, visit or call (302) 539-9797. John West Park is located at the intersection of West and Oakwood Avenues. Free parking is available in adjacent municipal parking lots.

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    Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church will be hosting its final Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser of the season on Sunday, July 15, from 8 to 11 a.m. The $7 donation paid by attendees will benefit the CRASH Youth Ministry’s trip to Costa Rica from July 31 to Aug. 13.

    High-schoolers from CRASH are partnering with the United Methodist Organization in Ciudad Quesada to build structurally-secure houses for residents in El Mirador, Costa Rica, who currently live in unstable homes without walls, and some still with dirt floors.

    “We will also have a Vacation Bible School with the children there, besides the building projects,” said Youth Director Christina Wilson. “The first day, we’ll start with 20 children... and by the end of the week, we can have 100 children.”

    The CRASH participants will lead the local children in crafts, games and skits, Wilson added.

    CRASH Youth Ministry has also held a variety show and is still selling “stock certificates” to raise money for the mission trip. The stocks cost $25 per share.

    With that investment, community members are invited to attend a dinner in Mariner’s social hall to learn about the trip. The dinner will feature Costa Rican cuisine that the CRASH students ate during the trip. The hall will be decorated with a Costa Rican flair as well.

    In addition to fundraising, the high-schoolers attending the trip are required to contribute for their participation.

    “Each participant is responsible to raise $1,500 for their trip, which includes lodging, airfare, other transportation and meals,” Wilson said.

    CRASH stands for Creating Revolution And Saving Hearts. The youth ministry welcomes individuals between sixth grade and 12th grade for the weekly meetings on Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m. Youth ministry activities include mission trips, work camp, volunteering at homeless shelters, Bible study and more.

    For more information about CRASH or how to join, contact Christina Wilson at

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